Some people believe that government is the root of all evil, and that if we remove it, all our problems would float away. You may know them by their most common battle cry: “Taxation is theft.” I call them Ancaps. Their belief is predicated on the notion that politicians are sadists who wake up everyday and try to think of new ways to destroy the world. On the other hand, they claim that businesses are benevolent and that the power of the free market will weed out any unethical players, because all transactions are voluntary and that, given the absence of government, everyone will magically start to abide by something called the non-agression principal. Don’t strain yourself trying to understand it; it’s just as stupid as it seems at first glance.
The fatal flaw in this ideology should be obvious: government and business are one and the same. Trying to separate the two is futile. The main goal we should aspire to is to maximize ethics and morality in the practice of, and interaction between, the two. The best way to do this is to democratize the system as much is possible. This will insure that power does not fall into too few hands. I’m confident that if you were to poll any random sampling of one thousand Americans and ask them whether or not we should be helping al-Qaeda commit a genocide in Yemen, the consensus would be ‘No.’ However, if the decision is left up to a small number of psychopaths, the outcome could be very different, as our current reality proves. To this, the Ancap would say, “Ah ha, only governments can wage war,” because apparently they’ve never heard of Blackwater, The East India Company, The Knights Templar, The Teutonic Knights, The Mujahideen, ISIS, the mafia, drug cartels, etc.
The problem here is a fundamental lack of imagination. The Ancap thinks that since all past governments have been made of people and they’ve all committed atrocities, it must be the inherent nature of governments to be made of people and commit atrocities. Their minds are trapped in the archaic, 18th century paradigm of representative democracy. The idea of direct democracy never seems to cross their minds. But if you are to bring it up, and the Ancap is able to form a counterpoint, they will inevitably invoke the dreaded “tyranny of the majority,” because apparently they’ve never heard of constitutions and insuring personal rights.
Another common Ancap talking point is that true capitalism doesn’t exist. “The system we currently live under is corporatism or crony capitalism,” they say. Though the current system is certainly that, that is the only logical outcome of capitalism, and the very few speed bumps we have on the road to unethical corporate expansion and monopoly were put their by the state. If coal companies have to bribe politicians to let them pollute waterways, and drug companies have to bribe politicians to let them price gouge, what would stop the businesses from doing the same thing in a reality without politicians? Ethical capitalism is a fantasy.
But what about the roads? The Ancaps have the solution; all the people in the area must pool their money together to pay the construction company (AKA taxation). It’s totally different from the current system if you don’t think about it. Then they would be maintained by tolls. for. every. single. road.
Ancaps claim that government is inherently coercive, but they support dictatorship in the workplace. The hierarchy would remain; only the figureheads would disappear. They also support wage slavery. In the absence of entitlements, many people have no choice but to accept the available job offer or starve. Sounds pretty coercive to me.
They claim that taxation is theft. Under an ethical state, the people would reap the benefits of taxation. But as capitalists, they are perfectly OK with the business owner scooping up the excess value of the worker’s labor and pocketing it; under this system, the worker reaps no benefits. And for some unexplained reason, that’s NOT theft.
The main bone I have to pick with Ancaps is their delusional claim that the world would be peaceful under Anarcho-Capitalism. So allow me to demonstration how war actually works in the real world, by using the war in Syria as an example.
If the Ancap worldview resembled reality, it would have all started because politicians like Assad, Obama, Netanyahu, MBS, Erdogan and Putin all woke up one day and decided that they, being the root of all evil, feel the urge to go kill a lot of people in Syria for fun or to fulfill some sadistic sexual fantasy or something.
For those of us who value truth and live in the real world, what actually happened is that Syria used to be a vassal of Saudi Arabia. It suppressed leftist movements in Lebanon and Palestine and aided the Saudis and Americans in their 1990 war against Iraq. But when Hafez al-Assad’s theretofore non-political, younger son Bashar took over, he changed the tune. He allied with Iran and Russia and even supported Hezbollah over the Sunni establishment in Lebanon. (And possibly assassinated the Saudi-allied Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri in 2005) This also coincided with the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and aligned nations: Qatar, Turkey, Gaza under Hamas and, for a short time in the 2000s, Egypt. In the early 2000s, Qatar and Turkey offered to build a pipeline through Syria. Assad declined mostly because his ally and benefactor, Russia, didn’t want it because it would cut in on their natural gas exports in Europe. This brought Syria into conflict with Saudi Arabia AND Qatar. During the Arab Spring of 2011, both the Saudis and Qataris armed and funded Wahhabi militant groups in Syria.
The US later jumped in the war. They tell us it was to fight ISIS and somehow, paradoxically, also to support rebels in their fight against Assad, who was also fighting ISIS. Russia and Iran got involved to help their Syrian allies. Turkey and other countries jumped in for a litany of reasons. To save us from getting too off track, I’ll try to summarize the individual reasons for war here.
Saudi Arabia’s reason for going to war: to stop the spread of leftism and Muslim Brotherhood Pan-Islamism in the middle East
Qatar’s reason for going to war: to build a natural gas pipeline to increase their revenue, and to get Syria on board with the Muslim Brotherhood agenda.
The US’s reason for going to war: The US forces other countries to perform oil transactions in US dollars. This goes a long way in stabilizing the US economy. Syria refused to use the US dollar, which, especially if other countries were to follow their lead, would be a major threat to US global economic hegemony. The US also wanted to support the interests of their allies Israel and Saudi Arabia and to increase revenues for its arms manufacturers.
Israel’s reason for going to war: to secure control of the resource-rich Golan Heights, and to destabilize the region. If Damascus were controlled by Wahhabists, Israel would finally be able to tell the truth when they claim to be surrounded by radical Islamists to justify stealing more land from Palestine and Syria.
Turkey’s reason for going to war: to prevent irredentist aspirations between Syrian and Turkish Kurds. Also to maintain the independence of Iraqi Kurdistan which has become a strong ally of Turkey. Also they would benefit from the Qatari pipeline, and Muslim Brotherhood interests would be spread.
Russia’s reason for going to war: to support their natural gas exports to Europe which makes up large share of their economy and would be decimated by the construction of the Qatari pipeline. Also to support their only major ally in the Middle East.
Assad’s reason for going to war: to prevent his country from being taken over by terrorists
NO ONE’S reason for going to war: They’re crazy, deranged politicians who like to regulate business because they hate profit.
Do you see now that government and business are one? Do you see now how delusional it is to think that, if you remove the state, capitalism would usher in a peaceful utopia? If you don’t, you’re too far gone to be helped.
Your worldview betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of how the world works. Big business is not your friend.