“Given any level of morality, a society will function less smoothly if shackled by government. The more moral the populace, the better, but this is a different matter altogether.” – Bob Murphy (who was probably quoting Mises or someone else)
This contradicts the state propaganda machine, which routinely spits out that anarchy cannot work without perfect people, because without the restraints of the state, people would murder, rape, rob, pillage, lie and cause widespread wickedness, creating chaos and terror. The state’s logic goes, then, that since people aren’t perfect, anarchy is the worst environment for mankind and that a state, any state, is always necessary and better than anarchism because it restrains wickedness. But is the state propaganda the truth?
A state creates a division among the people of those who rule and those who are ruled. Anarchy, on the other hand, has no rulers, but all men are equal and get through life co-operating with each other. According to Patricia Neill, the Webster’s 1847 edition of the dictionary gave the definition of the word anarchism as meaning private rule. So, anarchy can mean that all mankind rule equally, privately, with no class division.
The question then really is, in anarchy, are there constraints to wicked acts? The answer is yes. Virtually our entire lives are lived in anarchy. All our private dealings, social functions, and intimate affairs between friends, family and associates are anarchic experiences. The rules we function under are rules of friendship, rules of brotherhood, rules of etiquette. These are private rules, not public laws. In these anarchic interactions, where the government laws have no jurisdiction over us, are there constraints upon our behavior made by those around us? Of course, there are.
We see the constraining influence in families, where one child who misbehaves (when not in the presence of the parents) is chided by another child to behave. Children who play among other children will constrain the behavior of each other as one day “so-and-so is my friend” and then, due to misbehavior, “so-and-so is not my friend,” only to find a little while later that “so-and-so said he was sorry and is now my friend again.”
Private affairs naturally tend towards constraining wickedness. In fact, it might be said that private affairs is the only thing that constrains wickedness, as the fear of the law does not often deter those who are determined to commit crimes, but the word of a mother or friend can melt a criminal’s heart into repenting of the intended deed.
Adults, like children, have their own private rules whereby they deal with each other, and these rules constrain wickedness. For example, lying is a sin, but even for those who do not believe in sins, lying is wrong. An adult caught lying brings upon him or her an enormous shame and loses the trust of those around them. This is a private constraint to tell the truth. There is no law against lying, unless it is a particular type of lying, such as perjury. Yet, people are constrained against doing it, for private reasons.
The truth of the matter is that the state, instead of constraining wickedness, actually fosters it, to a greater or lesser degree. Wicked people are naturally drawn to the state, as it contains positions of power whereby they can rule over their fellowmen with the cloak of legitimacy. (The state considers all its many methods of coercion to be the only legitimate use of force.) A murderer at heart can join a state military and kill his fellowmen with legitimacy. An extortionist at heart can join the IRS. Anybody at all who has the desire to “lord it over another” can find a government position of power that allows them to do just that with legitimacy.
The state itself is the biggest (fill in the blank) of all. It is the biggest thief of all as it steals people’s money through taxes. Taxes are not, after all, charitable donations. If you don’t pay, you go to jail. It is the largest counterfeiting operation as it creates money (through the private Federal Reserve) with printing presses, backed by nothing except its good faith and credit, depreciating people’s purchasing power, which is a form of secret theft. And with these unlimited created-out-of-thin-air and extorted tax monies, wicked rulers can command armies to murder, rape, pillage and persecute on a scale that cannot be done by individual criminals living in anarchy. Therefore, a state facilitates the committing of crimes on a much larger scale than if there were no state.
(Note: as the state defines what is and what is not a crime in its laws that it alone legislates, judges and executes, what the state does is always considered to be legitimate, moral, just and not a crime. Legalized murder and plunder become defined as war, or defending one’s country; legalized extortion and theft become taxes, etc.)
Due to the tendency of the state to attract “king-men” to fill its various positions, regardless of the purity or justness of the laws, the Lord has said that “when the wicked rule, the people mourn.” (D&C 98: 9) Therefore, in order for a state, any state, to not become oppressive and tyrranical, only just and moral men and women must be the rulers. In other words, statism does require perfect people! Also, as soon as these wicked people get into office, the tendency of them (and they usually come in groups, with their accomplices) is to corrupt the laws, that they may more easily perform iniquity.
As if corrupt, wicked rulers and corrupt laws were not bad enough, the Book of Mormon seer, king Mosiah, taught that wicked rulers also lead their people into sin! (Read all about it in Mosiah 29: 16-24.)
In direct contrast to the iniquitous tendencies of statism, in clannish or tribal anarchy there exists the greatest constraints of all against wickedness, as the weight that a clan or tribal family carries upon an individual is greater than all other allegiances or ties he may have. This is why even among an exceedingly wicked people who murdered whatever prophet came among them, as recorded in 3 Nephi 7, the Nephites living in tribal anarchy still had peace and order among themselves.
In conclusion, anarchy tends to constrain wickedness, whereas statism tends to expand it (hence our current need for more and more prisons.) Therefore, the initial quote at the top of this article is correct. Given any level of morality, anarchy makes for a more ordered and peaceful society than a state does.
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