Why Anarchy in America Would Never Work

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Written by Grant M. Deltz

Associate Editor – Follow Grant on Twitter @GrantDeltz!

Note from the author: This is simply an opinion piece. This does not represent the full dialogue of the anarchy – no anarchy conversation. Please read with an open mind. I encourage you to please do your own research and to develop your own opinions.

My anarchist friends won’t like me for this, but it’s the truth. The fact is simple: if true anarchy arose in the United States it would not last. In fact, it would put freedom at a risk. Those who fight to protect the freedoms and liberties we deserve must understand that to preserve these liberties there must be a government. As contradictory to my libertarian beliefs as that may sound, let me explain.

I will first address why government is necessary. We need government for the sole purpose of protecting our life, liberty, and property from threats foreign and domestic. We don’t need to be extorted into paying taxes. We don’t need to have our privacy invaded, either. We simply need our rights to be protected.

Now, why anarchy would fail. The absence of government here in America would lead to the rise of a new government, rather it be foreign or formed domestically. The most likely of the two options would be a foreign government taking control. Russia, China, or even Mexico if they wanted, could claim the land I write this on today. There are existing treaties to protect the United States from being attacked or invaded, however that would not apply in an anarchist land since the United States would no longer exist. The land, resources, and people would be up for grabs.

I believe that people are inherently good, and that power is naturally evil. A vacuum of this magnitude would quickly be filled. The people will demand for it, and foreign and domestic power seekers will fill this vacuum, likely in the name of socialism. Totalitarianism would be a high risk factor as well.

The reality remains that anarchy would not last, and that it would be replaced with a government absent of the Constitution. We must fight to ensure maximum freedom in the United States while reducing the role of the federal government to simply protecting life, liberty, and property.

I am not defending the government of today’s America – I cannot. The IRS practices theft, the actions of American foreign policy kills innocents, and the police state is getting out of control. I am advocating for a libertarian government, a constitutional government, and a government that protects your right to live your life the way you see fit as long as you don’t harm anybody else.

I don’t disagree with most anarchist principles, I just don’t see how no government could work. It would put our freedoms at risk.

I’d have more faith in a libertarian minarchist government than a pure anarchist society.

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  • Matthew Swaringen

    This is not even a well reasoned opinion. It’s a bunch of conjecture without any rigor or analysis. This isn’t even a good argument for minarchy, why wouldn’t a more powerful state beat the weak one he wants? If people demand a state, why would they ever accept a more limited one instead of an uber powerful one as we have now?

    The answers are hard but the foundation needed to produce a viable minarchy is the same as the foundation of a viable anarchy.

  • Boulder Commonsense

    This is the “night watchman state” argument against anarcho-capitalism, which I tend to agree with. However I’ll note that it isn’t a new argument and anarcho-capitalists have counter-arguments, even if I’m not completely persuaded by them. It isn’t useful to attempt to claim an argument is a “fact” or the “truth” as if that mere assertion settled the matter (ala liberals who try to pretend their mere assertion of something which is politically correct means it is absolutely correct and the “truth”).

    The issue isn’t as clearcut as this attempts to make it out to be,even if I’m not entirely persuaded by the anarcho-capitalist side. I’d be very surprised if there are many anarcho-capitalists who haven’t heard the “night watchman state” argument before, so it seems confidence that they will just accept this as the “truth” seems misplaced. If you don’t acknowledge that there are attempts at reasoned arguments against your position, even if you don’t think they are convincing, you risk the other side assuming you haven’t heard or considered their arguments and viewing your position as being a poorly informed one they won’t consider useful. In order to make headway convincing them of your position, you need to understand why this common argument hasn’t convinced them, and address the reasons they don’t accept it.