Anarcho-Capitalism: Why Storm Clouds Gathering Is Wrong

Is Anarcho-Capitalism Broken?

I just saw a video titled “Anarcho-capitalism Why it’s Broken & How to Fix it by the YouTube channel Storm Clouds Gathering. In it, Aaron Hawkins reiterates a number of common criticisms of anarcho-capitalism, while simultaneously claiming to have done hundreds of hours of research on the subject. He makes anti-capitalist arguments over and over and over again, all while claiming to be trying to “fix” anarcho-capitalism. He asks a bunch of questions, leaves them without answers, and asserts his failure to answer as proof of anarcho-capitalism’s undesirability or impossibility.

Storm Clouds Gathering Attacks Anarcho-Capitalism

Storm Clouds Gathering Attacks Anarcho-Capitalism

Storm Clouds Gathering, otherwise known as Aaron Hawkins, is a left leaning guy who never quite makes clear what it is he’s proposing, but it’s pretty clear he’s sympathetic to the “Venus Project” or Zeitgeist movement. The basic idea behind the channel is to poke holes in libertarian philosophy while maintaining itself as anti-State through a series of increasingly contradictory statements. The anti-propertarian, anti-capitalist arguments he makes are the picture perfect example of the leftist infiltration of the libertarian movement I’ve been talking about, and the large following he has built demonstrates the damage this kind of thing is doing.

Watch the video below, (Or don’t, I quote him exactly before refuting his points throughout the article) and then I’ll address specific issues with it. I apologize in advance for you losing this 16 minutes of your life, but if you care about the cause of liberty, it’s kind of important to understand what people like Aaron Hawkins of Storm Clouds Gathering are doing to undermine it.

Aaron Hawkins starts off by saying he agrees with the non-aggression principle, the core tenet of anarcho-capitalism and libertarianism in general. He asserts that this is not anarcho-capitalism, but voluntarism, and he asserts himself as a voluntarist. Like the other left wing entryists, Hawkins understands that if he openly rejects the NAP, he will not be taken seriously by anyone entertaining anarcho-capitalism. Since the goal is to move anarcho-capitalists left, he pretends to agree with its core foundation before proposing “modifications” that undermine the concept. Just like “progressives” have been doing in State politics for centuries.

Storm Clouds Gathering then goes on to say that anarcho-capitalism is more than voluntarism. He makes the assertion that anarcho-capitalism differs from voluntarism in that;

  • Everything and anything can and should be privately owned with the exception of other people and ideas.
  • Intellectual property should therefore be eliminated.
  • The State should be eliminated and all functions currently run by the State should be privatized and run for profit by business.
  • All rules and regulations concerning commerce should be eliminated.
  • There should be no overarching societal rules on which types of commerce should take place, or how businesses can operate.
  • Nor should there be any rules or regulations on the activities an individual can engage in.
  • In fact, there’s no accounting for any unified system of rules at all.
  • There would be no borders or national boundaries

None of this is really incorrect, except for the assertion that this is somehow different from, or in addition to, voluntarism. Quite the contrary, he just outlined some of the basic tenets of voluntarism. What he’s doing here is setting up an argument to redefine aggression, as to keep himself in line with the non-aggression principle, while advocating what we would commonly term as aggression. It’s an intentional and dishonest attempt at subversion. For example, if it’s not okay for everything to be privately owned, then necessarily the anti-propertarian makes claims of legitimacy when he violates the property of another. If there is some problem with the abolition of intellectual property, then the “owner” of the intellectual property necessarily asserts the right to use force against the copycat. There’s no way to portray this as voluntarism.

To the issue of for profit agencies running things, of course, anarcho-capitalism does not forbid running an institution that does not profit. Go right ahead, losing money is not illegal in an anarcho-capitalist society. We’re just pointing out that basic math dictates this business model is unsustainable sans charity (permissible but unlikely) or aggression (impermissible and happening all the time).

If Hawkins asserts that any of the things he listed are impermissible, he necessary advocates forcing someone to stop engaging in those activities.

He goes on to assert that, unlike voluntarism, anarcho-capitalism would accomplish this in the following ways;

  • Society would be massively restructured
  • A number of new types of institutions would be introduced to replace the State, including
    • Dispute resolution organizations or DRO’s, basically private courts
    • Ratings agencies for individuals and businesses to keep records of interactions
    • Private security and rights enforcement agencies which would carry out the functions of law enforcement

Hawkins acknowledges that if you ask around, there will be variations on any of these ideas in anarcho-capitalist circles, but asserts that this is a “fairly representative top level summary of the philosophy”. Again, he’s not that far off, except for his assertion that this is somehow different from, or in addition to, voluntarism.

I also disagree that it’s that “massive” of a restructuring. We already have private arbitration services and private security. They are for profit business models that exist in the world already. All anarcho-capitalism really proposes is that State institutions be eliminated because they cannot stand in the marketplace sans aggression, and that in their absence, market forces would necessarily fill the demand.

Hawkins claims he has spent hundreds of hours listening to in depth presentations explaining on how all this would work. I highly doubt that’s true, since Hawkins never actually listens to anyone in the numerous interactions he’s had with anarcho-capitalists, instead just waiting for his turn to bash capitalism. If this were true, he would probably have an actual understanding of anarcho-capitalism, and if he did, he wouldn’t be opposed to it. If he claims to have listened to hundreds of hours of presentations, yet has only the most inept understanding of anarcho-capitalist philosophy and economics, then he’s not being honest.

In either case, he asserts that anarcho-capitalism has some serious problems, none of which have been answered to his satisfaction.

Anarcho-capitalism is not concerned with the satisfaction of Storm Clouds Gathering, or Aaron Hawkins, or the other irresponsible left wing ideologues of the world, not even the general public. If these ideas had been to the satisfaction of the general public, then we would already live in an anarcho-capitalist society. Most people like aggression when it suits them, and no amount of reason is going to change that. If we were concerned with convincing everyone, we would be Democrats. The whole point of liberty is that despite your dissatisfaction, despite the popularity of bad ideas, you have no right to impose your will upon me. Make no mistake about it, anarcho-capitalism seeks to take from you, with or without your consent, the power to use initiatory force. Those of us who honestly follow these ideas through to their ultimate conclusion will tell you, this means killing you if necessary, and the NAP provides for this defensive use of force.

Hawkins goes on to say the first problem that stands out is criminal justice, particularly in regards to violent crime. He asks “How would an anarcho-capitalist society deal with accused murderers or rapists, when all functions of the State, are handled by businesses, for profit? How would the free market provide justice?”

First things first, even without an answer, this is a rejection of the “free market’s” ability to handle problems. How can you simultaneously believe in non-aggression, and reject the free market? You cannot. People are either free to contract for services, or they are compelled, and there’s no two ways about it.

Nobody who has spent “hundreds of hours listening to in depth presentations” on anarcho-capitalism would be asking this question. This has literally been answered a hundred different ways. Instead of relying on any actual understanding he would have gained from said study, Hawkins takes a clip from a Stefan Molyneux video to set up as a straw man.

If Hawkins had even taken the time to understand Molyneux, much less anarcho-capitalism as a whole, he would know that the clip he’s about to deconstruct is not a fair representation of the whole of anarcho-capitalist justice. Again, Hawkins is exposed as dishonest, and everything he says should be called into question since he has no interest in telling the truth. Molyneux’s entire bit is to paint a picture of a Utopian futuristic society that is almost completely free of violence because it has been bred out of the human psyche hundreds of years from now. I’d be amiss to say there is nobody who takes this seriously, but there’s not a single anarcho-capitalist alive, who seriously intends on living in a free society, that can take it seriously. By Molyneux’s own account, we’re all going to die under the boot of the State.

So to answer your question of how anarcho-capitalism handles murderers and rapists, it’s actually pretty simple. By killing them. I know this is kind of hard to imagine living in modernity, but a free society would be home to armed people who are trained in the use of their weapons. Committing crimes in such a place is extraordinarily hazardous to one’s health, which is why there is so little crime in places like New Hampshire, despite a very small and inept government presence there, and no market force to fill its demand.

This makes a lot of people uncomfortable, so people like Stefan go and paint these quaint little rosy pictures of how there will be no violence in their perfect little world. The fact of the matter is, they are lying either to you, or to themselves when they do this. There is no escape from responsibility if we are to be free people, and that responsibility includes the responsibility for protecting oneself. In the absence of the State, people will either get their heads around this, or rightfully be erased from the gene pool, making room for those who are better equipped to survive.

But to the larger question of DRO’s and crime prevention, Hawkins makes the oldest anti-capitalist argument in the book, again exposing that he has not only failed to study anarcho-capitalism, but the most basic foundations of economics. He argues that the profit motive incentivizes bad outcomes because they pay better.

The argument Stefan makes is that preventative measures are more profitable than curative ones, and so DRO’s would be incentivized to prevent crime rather than dealing with it after it happens. While I think the scenario Stefan outlines for accomplishing this, specifically parents paying for parenting advice to prevent children from becoming violent in the first place, is kind of ridiculous, the theory of prevention being preferable to cure in a market setting is still true.

Aaron Hawkins asks of this “According to what economic law?” To this I answer, all of them.

When a person attempts to secure their home, they do not leave the doors and windows open in hopes a burglar will come and steal their property, so they can go and retrieve it later on. It makes a lot more sense to lock the doors and windows, to install cameras, to have an alarm system, and so on. They buy home owners insurance, and the insurance company gives them discounts for having these preventative measures in place, because the insurance company prefers the discount for prevention over paying out losses in the event of a burglary.

Same thing with cars. If you’ve ever purchased car insurance, you probably got asked all sorts of questions about safety and anti-theft features on your vehicle. This is not some inane survey to satisfy the curiosity of the the insurance salesman, these are discounts in coverage for prevention of injuries and losses that come in the event of theft or collision.

Health insurance pays for your regular medical check ups, and gives lower rates to non-smokers than smokers, along with other healthy choice incentives. Is this because they want you to take a day off of work and not enjoy yourself? No. It is because it is in the interests of the insurance company that you do not get sick, because paying for your cures is really expensive.

Most importantly, for nearly any business model, it’s pretty much common sense that they prefer their customers to be alive, because dead customers do not pay.

Aaron Hawkins says “There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever to back up this assertion, in fact, even a cursory examination of existing economies in various states of regulation shows that the very opposite is true”. I suppose Hawkins has never purchased any sort of insurance policy any time in his entire life, typical of an irresponsible leftist.

He goes on to make the case that “if you go to rural Mexico for example, in towns where there isn’t even a police station, in the regions where government officials don’t even enter for fear of being shot, you don’t find businesses thriving by preventing disease by encouraging people to eat more vegetables and exercising, but you will still find people selling cures” he says “The reason for this is simple, prevention involves making lifestyle changes before a problem is evident, and from an economic standpoint it’s much harder to convince people to cough up money for something that might happen, than it is to convince them to pay for something that’s already causing them discomfort.”

Again, he completely ignores the fact that insurance companies exist and make billions of dollars. Beyond that, the reason things are not going so well in Mexico is certainly simple enough, but not for the reasons Hawkins states. Firstly, in these rural regions of Mexico you probably don’t find many thriving businesses of any nature, cure, prevention, or otherwise. I don’t imagine a cancer patient in these regions is exactly jumping for joy at the abundance of cures available. If government officials are so afraid to enter these neighborhoods, it isn’t because thriving anarcho-capitalist societies have expelled them with competing defense organizations. It’s because the Mexican government has completely failed to do anything about the private sector criminal element, while simultaneously making it a felony to own a firearm. When firearms are outlawed, that means only the criminals and the government have guns, because your average citizen won’t commit a felony for fear of being imprisoned or murdered by his government. We don’t even need to leave the United States to see what happens when a population is disarmed by its government, the highest murder rates in the US are in the cities with the strictest gun control laws. Without a powerful government to take on the criminal elements that thrive in those conditions, no businesses can operate. These rural regions are not anarcho-capitalist societies, they are simply territories the elected government has ceded control of to the drug cartels.

In civilized places, where people go to doctors for checkups and have insurance, the doctor absolutely encourages the patient to exercise and eat healthy. Could the doctor make more money if the patient has a heart attack? Well, only if you go to a heart surgeon for your regular medical checkups, which I don’t think many of us do. We go to general practitioners who are in the business of keeping us coming back for checkups, by giving us good advice. There’s not a doctor alive who would tell a patient “I really think you should smoke more cigarettes, and those filters are for pussies”. But that’s exactly the kind of insane economic theory these anti-capitalist arguments rest upon.

So, in the event that you are armed and prepared to defend yourself, you have a crime prevention plan, you have cameras and security systems installed in your home, you have insurance and all these other wonderful things that the free market provides, and a crime still happens, then what? Hawkins asks “Let’s say Jimbob stabs his wife to death with a kitchen knife, now this happens in Ancapistan, so we can presume that the wife’s family might go to some private security or rights enforcement agency and drag the man to a private court, but how on Earth are you going to have any justice in a system where each court can make up its own rules and deal out justice arbitrarily, after all, there’s no unified laws in an anarcho-capitalist society”.

I would start by suggesting that the wife not marry a murdering psychopath. Again, prevention being preferable to cure. But, let’s start off by entertaining one of the less desirable possibilities. Jimbob gets away with it. He murders his wife, and there is no justice. Does Hawkins propose a system where this is impossible? No. Could such a system ever exist? No. Have governments been taking away more and more freedom and levying more and more violence upon society claiming to try and make this the case? Absolutely.

How are you going to have any justice in a society where each court can make up its own rules? I don’t know, how could you ever have communication in a society where each email and telephone provider is free to make up its own rules? You do realize that the Internet is almost completely ungoverned, and that all these interconnected systems that make it possible for you to read this article, depend upon cooperation between competing businesses, don’t you?

Asking questions and then failing to answer them yourself does not make your argument against something stand. Hawkins provides absolutely nothing outside of this. He simply says that he does not know the answer to a question, and that since he doesn’t know it, the philosophy he is attempting to poke holes in is somehow undesirable or incorrect. It’s the intellectual equivalent of a child asking his parent “But why, Mommy?!?!?” over and over again.

The Internet incentivizes providers to use cooperating protocols, without this, communications between networks would be impossible. A provider can give his customer a better service by being able to connect to the entire world, than he can by offering the customer a connection to his very limited network. If this were not true, we’d all still be using Compuserve, and Prodigy instead of the World Wide Web. Hell, we wouldn’t have even had those services, because telephone networks wouldn’t have been able to interconnect the world over as they had decades ago.

Likewise, competing security forces will have similar incentives. If you operate under a completely different set of laws than I do, it makes it nearly impossible for us to do business. For us to enter into contracts, we would necessarily have to agree upon an arbiter. If we cannot agree on an arbiter, then we are terribly unlikely to do business with each other. This isn’t to say that we can’t, but our transaction would be strictly between the two of us, and outside agencies would be unlikely to help either of us out in the event of a default. This provides an incentive to make laws relatively uniform, because people don’t tend to like limitations on who they can do business with. Additionally, the only law we’re seeking to enforce here is non-aggression, which is about as universal as it gets.

To the more specific question of the wife murderer, I can’t imagine an insurance company that would want to insure a murderer. The liabilities for the insurer would be outrageous. To protect him from competing defense agencies would cause costs to skyrocket and manpower to be lost in battle. Nor can I imagine an insurance company that would drop its clients on a simple accusation, as this would completely defeat the purpose of the insurance, and lead to nobody buying it. So it is in the best interests of both the representatives of the accused and of the accuser to actually get to the bottom of this mess. The investigative techniques, well, we see those on TV all the time. DNA, Luminol, questioning witnesses, checking financial records, pretty much everything except beating confessions out of innocent suspects, as the insurance company, unlike the State, has an actual incentive to solve the problem and avoid criminals driving up expenses in the future.

Hawkins asks “What if they can’t afford the service?”

The same thing that happens when you can’t afford any product or service. Either someone else pays, or you don’t get it. Freedom means responsibility, and that’s something that will be forever lost on leftists like Hawkins. Your choices in this world are limited to feeding yourself or starving to death, and every attempt to change that reality has lead to greater and greater tyranny, misery, and ironically enough, starvation in the world. The same thing goes for justice. Justice, like all things, always has been for sale, and always will be for sale. We do not seek to “implement a system of profit motive” we simply recognize that the profit motive exists, no matter how much people like Hawkins complain about it after their AdSense ads roll.

If irresponsible people can’t afford protection services (which would likely be very inexpensive in a free market, as softer personalities would spend hours explaining) then let them live by the law of the jungle while civilized people produce and improve the world around them. If the problem is something other than irresponsibility, say a disability, then we can expect family members to assist each other.

Poverty in the world stems mainly from two things, and contrary to popular belief, capitalism isn’t one of them. It is the State, and irresponsibility, which feed off of each other in perpetuity. The State over regulates economies, driving out competition, and prints money, driving up inflation, which puts tremendous upward pressure on prices. The worse this gets, the more irresponsible people rush into voting booths demanding assistance and illusory “fairness” laws, which drives up regulations and taxes putting greater upward pressure on prices, leading people back into voting booths to ask for more of the same, wash, rinse, repeat.

In the absence of the State, every rational economic analysis tells us that production will thrive and provide greater access to goods and services for all. If you still can’t afford goods and services in that environment, then you’re probably somebody who lives at the expense of the State today, and to you I say good riddance.

This part of the video is followed by an anti-capitalist rant which goes in all different directions and is too long for me to quote here. To make a long story short, he completely ignores the fact that anarcho-capitalists advocate for the non-aggression principle. That the free market is only concerned with supply and demand as expressed in prices, sellers want to make as much money as possible,  buyers want to pay the least money possible, and morality never comes into play.

For starters, if Hawkins tosses out the fact that we’re advocating for non-aggression, and says that our non-aggressionist system is going to result in massive amounts of aggression anyway. Then he necessarily has to accept that his anti-market ideology is demonstrated to have caused the most death and destruction of any philosophy to date, and in all likelihood will do so in the future, even if he tries to paint it as voluntary.

He addresses, among other things, improper waste disposal as a business practice, blaming capitalism. This is why all things should be privately owned. If somebody wants to dump garbage in their own back yard, let them. The only time improper waste disposal becomes a problem is when we’re dealing with a tragedy of the commons, which Hawkins would have known if he had actually spent “hundreds of hours” studying anarcho-capitalism, or even the most cursory study of free market economics.

He addresses slave labor, again failing the most introductory look at the subject of economics. The fact of the matter is, chattel slavery went out of style in most of the world long before government forced the issue. Businesses realized that paying wages incentivizes workers to better performance than whips and chains. If we listen to Hawkins long enough, he’ll call this wage slavery because he’s an antipropertarian leftist, but that’s not the slavery he claims to address in the video.

Like most anti-capitalists, he figures that the only way to make a moral decision is to make an economic sacrifice, that doing the right thing always involves a loss. This is obviously not the case if one studies economics. The only way to gain in a free market is to benefit others, if you do not benefit others, then others will not pay you. It’s really very simple. Every example like the two I just listed has an answer, but he never bothered to consider them, he just attacks capitalism because that’s what he feels like doing, and that’s what his subscribers signed up for. If he thinks that he is doing a good thing by producing these videos, then how can he say that he makes a sacrifice by doing so? He’s getting paid to make these videos through AdSense revenues. Before his video starts, an ad for one of the insurance companies he pretends doesn’t exist plays, and he gets money for that.

He brings up the BP oil spill, and says that markets did not boycott BP, and BP is still in business, therefore, anti-capitalism.

I guess Hawkins needs to be reminded that BP is part of a global energy cartel enforced by government. You know, that central system of rules he thinks we need so badly. Perhaps he should also be reminded that BP dumped oil into the ocean, which again leads us back to the tragedy of the commons he failed to ever consider in any of his “hundreds of hours” of economic research.

He brings up Goldman Sachs, and says that despite their immoral business practices, people still do business with them. I suppose that Goldman Sachs’s access to the Federal Reserve’s discount window means free markets are evil, right?

He brings up Monsanto, which exists entirely because of the intellectual property laws he apparently doesn’t think we should be abolishing.

He brings up reputation management services. Making the claim that exposing a company’s immoral business practices don’t harm the company, because the company will simply hire a public relations firm to make itself look better. If his point is that people tell lies, I suppose his entire presentation and persona does a pretty good job of making that case. Outside of initiating force against the people who run the company, I’m really interested to know how he proposes to deal with this problem. In the meanwhile savvy consumers can do their research and decide if they want to do business with the company. Anarcho-capitalism never made the case that all immoral actors would go out of business, only that you could choose if you wanted to do business with them.

He goes on to give US government mercenaries in Iraq as an example of private protection agencies. Now you’re really reaching, Aaron. Yes, Blackwater and companies like it run around murdering innocent people in Iraq because the US government pays them to. Sort of like it pays its regular soldiers to. Tell me, who in the free market would pay the expense of hiring people to murder random civilians on the street? What economic benefit could this possibly bring? None. This is government activity, not that of free market agents.

He says that Mafias and criminal cartels are businesses that operate outside of the law and are therefore 100% unregulated. He says they thrive when governments are weakened, as evident from the Soviet Union collapse where organized crime “filled the power vacuum left by the failed state”. When in reality, the mafia exists (to the extent that it even does) BECAUSE of government regulation. As in the example from Mexico earlier, a government’s failure to accomplish any of its stated goals is not evidence of a free market failure, it is only evidence of the failure of government. Revenues for organized crime come entirely from activity that law abiding citizens cannot and will not engage in, like drug dealing, prostitution, and illegal gambling. The violence perpetrated by these institutions comes largely to prevent people from ratting them out to governments. In the absence of the State, drug dealing, prostitution, and gambling are perfectly legitimate trades, and these organizations are deprived of huge swaths of revenue that would normally pay for the men and munitions needed to wage violence. Without a government to imprison them, there is less motivation for said violence.

In conclusion, Hawkins makes the following assertions.

1. Anarcho-capitalism needs to account for a unified set of rules. He says “You can call it a constitution if you like, but in the end it would need to be treated as a contract” a contract that everybody would have to sign, you know, to make it voluntary of course.

This sounds an awful lot like the “social contract” of today, you just want to make sure everybody actually signs it. So in other words, to “fix” anarcho capitalism, we need to not have anarchy. Thanks for the suggestion, Aaron, but the whole point of anarchism is the recognition that people have different desires and motivations, and a centralized set of rules, however you seek to impose it on people, completely defeats the purpose, even if you try to deceptively paint it as voluntary.

2. “If your goal is to organize a free society, and you’re going to organize your society around businesses, then you cannot ignore the vertical collectivist nature of modern companies horizontal decision making processes and non-hierarchical business models need to be a part of the overall vision, otherwise you’re just going to end up with a collection of miniature dictatorships”

So the other part of how to “fix” anarcho capitalism, is to not have capitalism. Thanks again, Aaron, but no thanks. I rather like the model of many mini dictatorships, where I can choose my associations freely. My home is a mini dictatorship, and anyone who steps inside is under my authority. If I provide them with services, either I accept the terms of payment and they accept the terms of service, or we go our separate ways, in this instance we are both dictators over our own dominion, and that’s exactly how it should be.

3. “Stop trying to fit every human interaction into a business model”

Make me, statist.

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  • Chris Ohge

    Meh… This kind of subversive bullshit is never going to stop so long as ancaps continue living in the US. You could spend your whole life disproving obviously fallacious arguments, and there would just be another 100 million people ready to defend their masters after your death.

  • Erik

    Great rebuttal. I’m glad you made sure to drive the point that he really doesn’t understand economics, despite claiming to. There are lots of answers to the questions he’s asking, but I suppose if he can’t find them in a New York Times article then they don’t exist.

  • AJ_Olding

    I watched this video, back around the time it came out, and I couldn’t sit through the noise that he has playing in the background.

  • Right

    Cantwell, you are a bufoon and an ass clown. You’re
    ham-fisted diatribes are yellow journalism, and it is impossible to wade
    through the relentless foam that is your non-sequiters, errant illogic, and
    bogus retorts. I do thank you, however, for linking me to that video. I’ve
    subscribed to Hawking’s channel. The guy is spot-on in his analysis of the
    anarchocapitalist sophistry. It’s proponents and adherents are cultists and
    dogmatists that, while claiming they know all about economics, have quite
    literally an eighth grade education on the subject at best.

    Cantwell, I recommend you queing up the video again and
    giving it a second, more thorough go-through. This time omit all of the
    non-sequiters in your response, and adress the crux. As it stood, I couldn’t
    even sit through a reading of your bullshit nonsensical article, which I’m sure
    took you hours to construct. What a gross misuse of time. Write something
    worthwhile next time or don’t bother.

    • Joe Clam

      Cantwell’s reasoning is flawless, his insights penetrating, and his non-sequiturs nonexistent. I’m curious to know what alternative mental universe you hail from…. Does it have a name?

      • Right

        You’re delusional. Like Hawkin, I too have engaged anarcho-capitalists in their schtick and analyzed their philosophy for hundreds of hours. I have always had the same questions as he, which always go unanswered (or in the case of Cantwell, answered with buffoonery), and have arrived at the same conclusions. That being, anarcho-capitalism is sophistry, a failed ideology, and it’s proponents are cultists and dogmatists that when you try to engage them with logic and reason, they retort with ad hominem, harangue, hyperbole, and a penchant for creatively redefining both words and history. I can only conclude that they’re not serious about their beliefs.

        I’ve resolved that it’s best to just make fun of them in the hopes of snapping them out of their stunted mental development and into reality. Perhaps I’ve caused more than a few to reevaluate their inane nonsense. For you sir, I have no aspirations of doing you such a favor. I prefer to just laugh and point at the crazy person.

        As for Cantwell, he writes with all the finesse of an eighth grader.

        • Timmy Tongemans

          Why don’t YOU pose one of the many splendid points against anarcho-capitalism right here, instead of referring to another video. That way you can show everybody just how flawed the arguments of anticapitalists are while yours are better.
          Thus far, you have impressed nobody here.

          • Right

            Where to begin? How
            about with the notion of anarcho-capitalists
            wanting to ascribe moral virtues to the market when it is in fact amoral.

            Unregulated markets will always devolve into monopolies and min-opolies for
            vital goods and services, and especially so when all property is privately
            owned. In my opinion, this is common sense. When one rich guy buys up all the
            oil wells, telecommunications infrastructure, highways, railways, steel mills
            or whatever, the rest of us are at his mercy. Claiming that others will be able
            to produce competing means of production in a world where all land and
            resources are owned by others and there is no compulsion to sell or cooperate
            against moguls, and there is no market regulation, is a recipe for serfdom.

            Then there is the naïve
            notion that businesses are not in fact dictatorships, that people don’t require
            hard and fast rules to organize and coexist in civilized societies, and that
            buying insurance for every possible thing that could go wrong or penning every
            possible contingency into a contract (that could not be litigated anyway as
            there would be no legal structure to adjudicate), is just silly.

            Not to mention the
            blatant hypocrisy in thinking that there is a moral difference in hiring paid
            militias to exact violence on one’s behalf vs. paying taxes for police and
            military forces strikes me as entirely ironic.

            Anarcho-capitalism
            has more holes in it than a block of Swiss cheese blasted with a 12 gauge
            shotgun.

            All
            I want is for AnCaps to step up and address these concerns without hyperbole
            and harangue. They can’t expect people to take them seriously when they
            repeatedly refuse to address these shortcomings with anything other than
            extravogent exaggerations.

            AnCaps love to point to
            the shortcomings of the existing system, but always fail to acknowledge there
            own glaring deficiencies in the ideology they espouse. I’d love to find one,
            just one AnCap that would take up the guidon to try to logically address these
            issues.

            And these are just the
            surface issues. I could dissect this nonsense to the Nth degree.

          • Timmy Tongemans

            I could take a page from your book, pal.

            All of these “shortcomings” you mention in this one post have been discussed ad nauseum within (anarchocapitalist) libertarian literature by among others Murray Rothbard, so when you claim to have done “100s of hours of research”, i seriously can’t take you seriously.

            Let me pick out just one:

            “Not to mention the
            blatant hypocrisy in thinking that there is a moral difference in hiring paid
            militias to exact violence on one’s behalf vs. paying taxes for police and
            military forces strikes me as entirely ironic.”

            The moral difference, if you are capable of understanding it, is that first of all we can CHOOSE which service we want to pay for, rather than being compelled to pay as we are with the state. We can also decide no longer to pay them and choose another service if we don’t like the results. They do not have a “monopoly” (and why this is, is also explained plenty of times despite your 100s of hours of research), and therefor cannot impose (as the state does) its services, and funding thereof, on people. Or we can choose not to use any service at all. How ironic that when the left leaning bemoan the monopolies that would rise up in a free market, they either do not recognize, or belittle the importance of the very MONOPOLY that the justice system itself has under the state or any central authority. This is a monopoly for a system that uses aggression, and apparently this is perfectly fine for those who suddenly see a problem with “free market” monopolies. How this “monopoly” of police could not just as easily be bought by the rich (through political corruption or otherwise) is beyond me. But i’m sure the “left leaning” have some rationalization.

            Furthermore, the moral difference is, that paying customers actually get to have a voice in what KIND of justice there would be, rather than being completely dependent on the whims of ideologues within the justice system who want to decide for everybody what “proper justice” would be (including the imprisonment of non-violent criminals for drug related “offences”.)

            I could go on, but i have already explained two clear examples of the differences in morality between the two.

            If you cannot recognize it as such, that is your comprehension problem.

            “…address these shortcomings with anything other than
            extravogent exaggerations.”

            And of course, the party to decide when we are dealing with “extravagant exaggerations” would always be the skeptics and critics, right? To make sure that no argument would ever have to be accepted on its logical merit because it can be subjectively called an “extravagant exaggeration”, and be done with it. This is not an argument or counter-argument. It is mere self-serving, biased assertion. And we don’t have to waste our time trying to find the specific place where, for the likes of you, extravagant exaggeration magically becomes acceptable argument.

          • Right

            So,
            let me summarize your position. In your delusional mind it is somehow “moral”
            and not a violation of the NAP to hire paid militia members to go exact
            violence on others on your behalf if you freely choose to spend your money in
            such a fashion. It is also NOT a violation of the NAP and is perfectly moral
            for an individual to seek and obtain employment as a mercenary/paid militia
            member to go and exact violence against those who have not committed violence
            against him personally … just as long as he is doing so willingly, without
            coercion, and is just engaging in free market employment.

            Man,
            you AnCaps are about the biggest deluded hypocrites on the internet.

          • Timmy Tongemans

            Only if the one that “violence” (which is simply force, if necessary, in bringing him to justice for having violated the NAP in the first place) is used against has himself violated the NAP by using violence against person or property.
            Anarchocapitalists aren’t pacifists. Legitimate criminals should pay for their crimes. And the fact that you DO believe that a monopoly of force is entitled to do this, without taking ANY consideration of the victims of the crimes, and making victims themselves by forcing them to pay for their services whether they are desired or not and whether they provide results or not, while taking away the choice to seek competitive services, shows who the real hypocrite and immoral jackass is. You obviously DON’T understand the concept of “moral difference”.

            Aside from that, the only thing i can see in your “response”, which is not a argued response at all but yet another spewing of meaningless ad hominem (as if your types are capable of anything else), is either a complete lack of understanding what the words “hypocrisy” and “morality” mean, or simply a deliberate skirting of any logical argument (because you have none) to prevent from showing that you have no legitimate argument to make worth a damn, aside from the ad hominems and any other logical fallacies your feeble mind could come up with..

            Basically, your so called “response” was to summarize my position, and then pretend it is somehow illogical (without making any argument to back up that claim) and call us delusional.
            THIS is why it is pointless, a complete waste of time to engage you leftist idiots. You are idiots, insult-hurling scumbags, and intellectually dishonest. In terms of honest debate you are the bottom of the barrel, as you have once again proven.

            By the way, since you felt the need to “summarize” my position as if you didn’t know it already, it is clear ONCE AGAIN, how much of a liar you are for claiming you did 100s of hours of research. You did nothing of the sort. You are completely ignorant and not the least bit interested in being at least rudimentarily informed about the positions of your opponents. You’re just a dumb hack ideologue a dime a dozen.

            I therefore reiterate that you are nothing more than a troll, and that people here are served best by ignoring your sorry ass.

            Pathetic.

          • Right

            If
            you go back and re-read them, I think you’ll find that both of your responses
            to me have been about 95% harangue, and about 5% semi-lucid retort. There’s
            hardly any red meat in them for me to sink my teeth into. In fact, I’d say that
            your first response was 100% screed and bloviations against the current system,
            as frankly, you did not address my point at all. Which is why I merely
            underscored for you your own blatant hypocrisy in a synopsis. You appear to
            have learned well from you master, that fat idiot Cantwell, how to craft an
            eighth grade essay. But at an adult level, I am assigning you a grade of “F”
            for abject FAILURE.

            That
            said, I will address the less than 5% of your screed that actually
            unsuccessfully attempts to wrestle with premise of the discussion and sidestep
            all of your other nonsense. I have no desire to give myself carpel tunnel for
            the likes of you.

            Based
            on your response (“bringing perpetrators to justice”), this implies that in
            AnCapistan there would be rules (which we statists call “laws”), police (which
            you anarchists call “free market militia members”), litigation, adjudication,
            and punishment (which is what “justice” is, generally speaking). At least for
            the people that could afford to buy such services. So, what you are proposing
            is not “anarchy” at all, at least not by the textbook definition. So, it is
            clear to even the most casual observer, that the system you propose is not
            anarchy in its normative sense.

            Am
            I to presume that you, in typical AnCap fashion, wish to put “rule” enforcement
            in the hands of insurance companies? That’s the common free market AnCap
            solution, to take the monopoly on force and place it in the hands of the
            insurance companies. I don’t know if you know this or not, but people hate
            insurance companies worse than they hate government. I mean, people literally
            despise them. Insurance companies are notorious for not paying out claims when
            they’re supposed to under the current system, or paying out as little as they
            have to, choosing instead to litigate in most instances. And I can see no
            arguments detailing why this would not be the case in AnCapistan.

            Further,
            placing paid militias in the hands of immoral insurance companies would just be
            idiotic. In a world where insurance companies make the rules and have armies to
            back them up, you’d just be a serf. You think you’re a slave now! What you
            lobby for would be far, far worse.

            Of
            course, all of this that you espouse is inane nonsense anyway. Violence is an
            inherent part of human nature. Always has been, always will be. The utopia you
            aspire for has never been and is not now. It can’t manifest itself, because
            people like you are incapable of establishing convincing arguments to people
            like me. I disavow the NAP, and I’d never take violence off the table as
            possible options. To do so is illogical and immoral. Violence, and the monopoly
            on violence by controllable governments, is the ultimate deterrent to
            miscreants like you that would prefer to leave people defenseless in a
            haphazard state of chaos run by organized crime. I like violence; it keeps you
            clowns in check. It is quite logical to exact violence on others when it is in
            one’s best interests to do so. Thus is the natural order. The NAP is not axiomatic.
            In my world a mugger robbing a person of the $50 he has in his wallet faces not
            only the potential violence that can be exacted on him by his victim, but also
            the violence that can be exacted on him by the police, the judge, the jury, and
            the cage we will ultimately lock him in. Hardly motivation to carry out his
            heinous act. In AnCapistan, it may would very well be worthwhile for a mugger
            to rob the same fifty bucks, as the deterrent would only be reduced the immediate
            backlash his victim could impart, assuming the poor schlep couldn’t afford to
            pay his insurance premiums. And even then there would be no motivation on the
            part of the insurance company to compensate the victim or to bring the criminal
            to justice as the crime would hardly justify the expense.

            You
            lobby for a world where McDondald’s, Budweiser, Coca-Cola, Walmart, BP, Morgan
            Stanley, and the other international conglomerates call all the shots. A world
            with toll booths on every road at 100 yard intervals, where television channels
            would be all infomercials all the time, where the rich made the rules and had
            paid mercenaries to enforce them, and the genocide of the impoverished.

            No,
            son. Your vision is not one that you could ever hope to convince the masses to
            accept … and your grade on your essay is a resounding F.

        • Chuck

          Are you sure you’re not Aaron Hawkins? It would explain a lot about all your butt hurt comments. Cantwell’s economic analysis was spot on target. The only thing you have succeeded in doing with all your comments is to discredit anybody affiliated with you. You have not advanced one idea. You have only participated in childish name calling, really good childish name calling, but still nothing intellectually meaningful. You have brought a mime act to a debate…and it wasn’t televised so I think you are SOL…

          • SmashAnarchy

            You AnCaps just don’t seem to fucking get it. The onus is not on me to advance ANYTHING. The onus is not on me to convince ANYONE. I am not part of a marginalized fringe minority pseudo movement. The onus, genius, is on YOU to convince ME and people like ME, if you ever want to make any forward progress.

            But fortunately for the rest of us, you and your ilk are too stupid to figure that out.

          • Chuck

            Oh I have it figured out. You have a room temperature IQ and just rant all day about how brilliant you are without ever saying anything of merit. Tell me again of all the Socialist miracles that have occurred during the history of mankind. And explain in detail how marxist economic theories really work, because I know that they don’t and I know why. I don’t care if I am a movement of just me. If I am right, I will not be persuaded by a lie, no matter how many insults come with it.

            So give me some facts on how socialism has positively transformed nation after nation. I think you won’t because you only like to ridicule people, as it is your alone time entertainment.

    • Liberfree

      LOL. I love how you dismiss the entire article yet admit you didn’t read it, all the while accusing Chris of using ad hominems, which is the only tactic you used in your response.

      Your ad hominems…
      bufoon
      ass clown
      ham-fisted
      yellow journalism
      non-sequiters
      errant illogic (double negative)
      bogus retorts
      bullshit
      nonsensical
      dogmatist
      cultist
      harangue
      hyperbole
      stunted mental development
      crazy

      Such finesse! LOL.

      And of course, your admission of complete ignorance…
      “I couldn’t even sit through a reading”

      Sadly, all that misguided anger is a simple reflection of your own inadequacies as you have clearly shown. In this case, the list above obviously describes you, not Chris.

      • Right

        I’m not the one who published a seven page essay scrawled
        with the intellect of an eighth grade English student. Are you going to step up
        and address the shortcomings of Anarcho-capitalism? Or does your hero, that fat
        idiot Cantwell, speak for you too? If he’s the mouthpiece for your movement, no
        wonder you clowns can’t get any traction. Either pony up with some cogent,
        intellectually crafted responses to Hawkin’s very valid elucidations, or take
        your mental masturbating to your mom’s basement. The status quo continues on
        unabated simply because you clowns have nothing intelligent to add to market
        place of ideas. Society considers you all reprobates and imbeciles.

        • Liberfree

          When one finds oneself in a hole, a wise person will cease digging. You are not a wise person. Keep digging.

          • Right

            I take from your cliche, plagiarized retort you’re not going to take up the guide-on for Ancaps then. Bummer. I was looking forward to making you my bitch.

          • Karl Schipul

            that’s because you are a troll looking for a fight, rather than someone looking to exchange honest ideas

          • Right

            Feel free to try me. Offer up ideas. I’m not the only one reading this. This is the perfect chance for you AnCaps to school me and everyone reading this that may be leaning my way. I may surprise you. I may not. Either way, you get your say out there and someone may be influenced. Maybe I’m just trying to pick these fights to motivate one of you pussies to peck some keyboards. Who knows?

          • Corpus DeMano

            You’re right. You weren’t the only one reading this. Your insults helped convince me they were right. And then there was the articles and such too. Thanks.

          • Right

            Sounds like a perfectly logical reason to join a cult.

          • Corpus DeMano

            Which means you’ve done nothing to discourage it with all the typing. Ignore me, I only give 1 free troll meal.

    • http://grero.com/ Grero.com

      So, where’s the argument? Quote Cantwell and show (not tell) how and why he’s incorrect.

      • Right

        Go piss in a fan. I’m not wading through that claptrap. If you’re too stupid to figure that out for yourself, you’re not worth the effort of trying to dialogue with.

        • Timmy Tongemans

          Stop feeding the troll.
          Lots of ad hominem and “go figure it out yourselves” when challenged. Typical troll behavior.

        • Karl Schipul

          “I’m not wading through that claptrap.”

          In other words, you didn’t actually read it. Thanks for wasting everyone’s time, troll.

    • Jackbooted

      Simply…..spot on.

  • Jimbob

    This sounds personal to me.Like he kicked your dog and bedded your girl.How many hours of buthurt, did it take to write this junk?Thank you for leading me to SCG.He has tons of awesome info,raises good questions,and tells you to do your own research.

  • Guest

    Thanks Chris. Great rebuttal. SCG is pretty good with most of their stuff but I’m glad you exposed this video. While yes, there are many detractors from left and right leaning positions that claim to be “anti-state” I believe it is a necessity to find common ground in our quest for a minarchist society. I would go as far as to say that most Libertarians would love and anarchist world but we know that there must be a transitional phase and that’s where the Libertarian movement comes in. And yes, we will need help from these “left/right leaning” peoples to keep the movement going forward.

    • Timmy Tongemans

      “I believe it is a necessity to find common ground in our quest for a minarchist society.”

      There’s not going to be a minarchist society. Ever. The moment you have one, is the moment the state will grow back again like the cancer it is. Didn’t you learn anything from what an utter failure the U.S. constitution has been? People who wield power in the monopoly of force are only interested in growing their own power of force. And with a monopoly, they can do it, as the U.S. has proven.
      Furthermore, where are these “left leaning” peoples that support the concept of minarchism? Even when you find a leftist that doesn’t like the state, he will consider himself an anarchist. If he suggests some form of central authority is necessary, he will find it necessary for PRECISELY THE OPPOSITE reasons as “right” or “capitalist” anarchists, to use coercion against free markets. So how, then, do you think you can benefit from their support?

      Minarchists cannot fail to stop deluding themselves.

  • RevNowWhileWeCan

    Thanks Chris. Great rebuttal. SCG is pretty good with most of their stuff but I’m glad you exposed this video. While yes, there are many detractors from left and right leaning positions that claim to be “anti-state” I believe it is a necessity to find common ground in our quest for a minarchist society. I would go as far as to say that most Libertarians would love an anarchist world but we know that there must be a transitional phase and that’s where the Libertarian movement comes in. And yes, we will need help from these “left/right leaning” peoples to keep the movement going forward.

  • Alexander Wrede Elung

    outstanding article. I’m really impressed that you had the patience to go through and debunk all those fallacies. I would have facepalmed my self to death after five minutes.

  • Timmy Tongemans

    In Molyneux’s defense, he merely proposed just one example of how a voluntary society could work, and makes clear that in the marketplace of ideas, other examples could be thought of to improve those before them.
    Having said that, it is no surprise that coming up with some theoretical examples of how a voluntary society could work, would be pearl before swine when it comes to the left, because they have no interest whatsoever in actual liberty and a non-violent society. So they use ASSERTIONS or anecdotes over argument, they tout they’ve done 100s of hours of research while repeating the same hoary old criticisms that have long been dealt with (thus proving they haven’t done 100s of hours of research at all, at least not with writers who matter). They fail to grasp definitions of things like “morality” by refusing to accept that force by a monopoly (such as state police)against the innocent (in terms of taxation, laws, justice and redress) is morally different from the innocent having a choice about which service to use, whether one is willing to pay for one, and what kind of justice they should be able to count on.
    They show a clear, repugnant hypocrisy in that “free market monopolies”, even if they would exist, would be wrong somehow (because they MAY restrict choice) yet they advocate a monopoly of actual FORCE (which has no concept of choice at ALL).
    Of course, hypothethizing a possible workable free society is kind of a utilitarian argument, and this at once shows the utter weakness of the utilitarian argument in general. Dumb asses can come up with all kinds of assertions and opinions on how this society would not really work, and claim to have won the debate. When the only thing that REALLY matters is, whether someone has the right to tell me how to run my fucking life, who to associate with and for what reason, whether i want to contract with someone voluntarily, for whatever reason, whether i want to become a “wage slave”, for whatever reason, whether i want to live in a community with a different set of laws, for whatever reason.
    In short, whether anyone has the right to use aggressive force to impose a particular kind of society, or lifestyle on me for whatEVER reason.
    The answer is NO. And that is the only argument for anarcho-capitalism that really matters. And fuck those who don’t like it.
    P.S. BP spilled oil into the ocean. It did this in the current state of society ( a state dominated world). The solution to this has also been dealt with plenty of times, another proof that “100s of hours of research” is a lie.

  • Redmond Weissenberger

    STG is a marxist/collectivist through and through, as is the Zeitgeist movement – a friend of mine attended the Zeitgeist conference that was in Toronto a few months ago and he said the anti-market and anti-capitalist rhetoric had been kicked up few notches since the face off between PJ and Stef Moly.

    As with Marx himself, there were no solutions presented, just attacks on the free market.

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  • http://www.thirdfloorlabs.com Michael Walters

    That first link, “Ancap, why its broken, how to fix it”, was NOT a documentary. It was a guy talking really fast for 30 mins. I made it half way through before giving up. I was only able to take in about 7% of what was said due to sheer volume of bullshit. I do not know who his target audience is, but I am guessing mostly nobody.

  • Doofor

    I never got it from watching SCG’s videos. But your description of what he stands for matches up with Agorism.
    Anarcho-capitalism itself is a form of entryism, at least according to reddit anarchists.
    Are there real world traditional anarchists that accept anarcho-capitalism as a legitimate form of anarchism?

  • chefjas

    I’m really trying to understand all the anger and vitriol among people who share a very important common idea; that the state of our government is completely beyond repair. I get that someday we or our progeny may have the opportunity to reshape society, but we shouldn’t we be expending more energy towards eliminating our common enemy, the state? I generally favor free market libertarianism, but there are valid criticisms of a societal model that has never actually been tried, at least in modern times. SCG offers some common sense solutions as to how it might be possible to rid ourselves of the collective state. Shouldn’t those be the main focus of our discussions rather than berating each other’s proposals for a system that we may never be able to enjoy?
    Just a thought.

  • Marcos Woelz

    I´m sorry, but you just “debunked” it for those who were already anarcho capitalists in the first place. Your article just made me scared of anarcho capitalism because you unintentionally debunked the non agression principle: with little money, I would just be killed and “removed from the gene pool”. I agree State is based on pure cohersion and should be removed. But markets alone can´t solve the problem. With better education we can come up with better ways to interact with each other, or we won´t survive in this planet as a species, and that´s a scientific fact.