The Church -- not the Roman Catholic Church or any other "ecclesiastical body," but the Body of Christ -- believers who resolve disputes non-violently -- should be built up to fill the world as a global civil government -- but not "government" as an institution of aggression and violence.
We should ignore the modern myth of "separation of church and state," and work for the abolition of "church" and "state."
The fact that people still cling to the belief that the State is required to resolve disputes is amazing, since modern courts are out of the reach of all but the most wealthy and patient, and are primarily used to shield the powerful from competition or criticism. In this writer’s experience, to take a dispute with a stockbroker to the court system would have cost more than a quarter of a million dollars and taken from five to ten years – however, a private mediator settled the matter within a few months for very little money. In the realm of marital dissolution, private mediators are commonplace. Unions use grievance processes, and a plethora of other specialists in dispute resolution have sprung up to fill in the void left by a ridiculously lengthy, expensive and incompetent State court system.
Thus the belief that the State is required for dispute resolution is obviously false, since the court apparatus is unavailable to the vast majority of the population, who resolve their disputes either privately or through agreed-upon mediators.
How can the free market deal with the problem of dispute resolution? Outside the realm of organized crime, very few people are comfortable with armed confrontations, and so generally prefer to delegate that task to others. Let’s assume that people’s need for such representatives produces Dispute Resolution Organizations (DROs), which promise to resolve disputes on their behalf.
Thus, if Stan is hired by Bob, they both sign a document specifying which DRO they both accept as an authority in dispute resolution. If they disagree about something, and are unable to resolve it between themselves, they submit their case to the DRO, and agree to abide by that DRO’s decision.
So far so good. However, what if Stan decides he doesn’t want to abide by the DRO’s decision? Well, several options arise.
First of all, when Stan signed the DRO agreement, it is likely that he would have agreed to property confiscation if he did not abide by the DRO’s decision. Thus the DRO would be entirely within its right to go and remove property from Stan – by force if necessary – to pay for his side of the dispute.
It is at this point that people generally throw up their arms and dismiss the idea of DROs by claiming that society would descend into civil war within a few days.
Everyone, of course, realizes that civil war is a rather bad situation, and so it seems likely that the DROs would consider alternatives to armed combat.
What other options could be pursued? To take a current example, small debts which are not worth pursuing legally are still regularly paid off – and why? Because a group of companies produce creditratings on individuals, and the inconvenience of a lowered credit rating is usually greater than the inconvenience of paying off a small debt. Thus, in the absence of any recourse to force, small debts are usually settled. This is one example of how desired behaviour can be elicited without pulling out a gun or kicking in a door.
Picture for a moment the infinite complexity of modern economic life. Most individuals bind themselves to dozens of contracts, from car loans and mortgages to cell phone contracts, gym membership, condo agreements and so on. To flourish in a free market, a man must honour his contracts. A reputation for honest dealing is the foundation of a successful economic life. Now, few DROs will want to represent a man who regularly breaks contracts, or associates with difficult and litigious people. (For instance, this writer once refrained from entering into a business partnership because the potential partner revealed that he had sued two previous partners.)
Thus if Stan refuses to abide by his DRO’s ruling, the DRO has to barely lift a finger to punish him. All the DRO has to do is report Stan’s non-compliance to the local contract-rating company, who will enter his name into a database of contract violators. Stan’s DRO will also probably drop him, or raise his rates considerably.
And so, from an economic standpoint, Stan has just shot himself in the foot. He is now universally known as a man who rejects legitimate DRO rulings that he agreed to accept in advance. What happens when he goes for his next job? What if he decides to eschew employment and start his own company, what happens when he applies for his first lease? Or tries to hire his first employee? Or rent a car, or buy an airline ticket? Or enter into a contract with his first customer? No, in almost every situation, Stan would be far better off to abide by the decision of the DRO. Whatever he has to pay, it is far cheaper than facing the barriers of existing without access to a DRO, or with a record of rejecting a legitimate ruling.
But let’s push the theory to the max, to see if it holds. To examine a worst-case scenario, imagine that Stan’s employer is an evil man who bribes the DRO to rule in his favour, and the DRO imposes an unconscionable fine – say, one million dollars – on Stan.
First of all, this is such an obvious problem that DROs, to get any business at all, would have to deal with this danger up front. An appeal process to a different DRO would have to be part of the contract. DROs would also rigorously vet their own employees for any unexplained income. And, of course, any DRO mediator who corrupted the process would receive perhaps the lowest contract rating on the planet, lose his job, and be liable for damages. He would lose everything, and be an economic pariah.
However, to go to the extreme, perhaps the worst has occurred and Stan has been unjustly fined a million dollars due to DRO corruption. Well, he has three alternatives. He can choose not to pay the fine, drop off the DRO map, and work for cash without contracts. Become part of the grey market, in other words. A perfectly respectable choice, if he has been treated unjustly.
However, if Stan is an intelligent and even vaguely entrepreneurial man, he will see the corruption of the DRO as a prime opportunity to start his own, competing DRO, and will write into its base contract clauses to ensure that what happened to him will never happen to anyone who signs on with his new DRO.
Stan’s third option is to appeal to the contract rating agency. Contract rating agencies need to be as accurate as possible, since they are attempting to assess real risk. If they believe that the DRO ruled unjustly against Stan, they will lower that DRO’s contract rating and restore Stan’s.
Thus it is inconceivable that violence would be required to enforce all but the most extreme contract violations, since all parties gain the most long-term value by acting honestly. This resolves the problem of instant descent into civil war.
Two other problems exist, however, which must be resolved before the DRO theory starts to becomes truly tenable.
The first is the challenge of reciprocity, or geography. If Bob has a contract with Jeff, and Jeff moves to a new location not covered by their mutual DRO, what happens? Again, this is such an obvious problem that it would be solved by any competent DRO. People who travel prefer cell phones with the greatest geographical coverage, and so cell phone companies have developed reciprocal agreements for charging competitors. Just as a person’s credit rating is available anywhere in the world, so their contract rating will also be available, and so there will be no place to hide from a broken contract save by going ‘off the grid’ completely, which would be economically crippling.
The second problem is the fear that a particular DRO will grow in size and stature to the point where it takes on all the features and properties of a new State.
This is a superstitious fear, because there is no historical example of a private company replacing a political State. While it is true that companies regularly use State coercion to enforce trading restrictions, high tariffs, cartels and other mercantilist tricks, surely this reinforces the danger of the State, not the inevitability of companies growing into States. All States destroy societies. No company has ever destroyed a society without the aid of the State. Thus the fear that a private company can somehow grow into a State is utterly unfounded in fact, experience, logic and history.
If society becomes frightened of a particular DRO, then it can simply stop doing business with it, which will cause it to collapse. If that DRO, as it collapses, somehow transforms itself from a group of secretaries, statisticians, accountants and contract lawyers into a ruthless domestic militia and successfully takes over society – and how unlikely is that! – then such a State will then be imposed on the general population. However, there are two problems even with this most unlikely scare scenario. First of all, if any DRO can take over society and impose itself as a new State, why only a DRO? Why not the Rotary Club? Why not a union? Why not the Mafia? The YMCA? The SPCA? Is society to then ban all groups with more than a hundred members? Clearly that is not a feasible solution, and so society must live with the risk of a brutal coup
by ninja accountants as much as from any other group.
And, in the final analysis, if society is so terrified of a single group seizing a monopoly of political power, what does that say about the existing States? They have a monopoly of political power. If a DRO should never achieve this kind of control, why should existing States continue to wield theirs?
October 24, 2005
Stefan Molyneux [send him mail] has been an actor, comedian, gold-panner, graduate student, and software entrepreneur. His first novel Revolutions was published in 2004, and he maintains a blog.
Most people will describe the "Vine & Fig Tree" vision as "impractical," "utopian" and "unrealistic." Probably everyone in 2015 would describe those on board the Mayflower, leaving the Netherlands in 1620 in a rickety old boat (by today's standards) headed across the angry Atlantic Ocean for "the New World" as nut-case religious "extremists." But their "City upon a Hill" eventually worked. Better than anything in human history.
In the last 50 years, however, the United States government has killed, crippled, or made homeless tens of millions of innocent non-combatant civilians in an attempt to impose "secular" (atheistic) "democracy" (corporate fascism) on the world. During the last 100 years, "secular" governments have killed an average of 10,000 born people each and every single day of the century. (The figure does not include "legal" killings of unborn people, which now take place 135,000 times a day around the world.)
But government-approved, university-trained, media-whitewashed mass death is "responsible," "respectable," "practical," and "realistic,"
On this page is described how the "Vine & Fig Tree" vision could actually be implemented in "the real world." [note] Here is an excerpt:
Liberty Under God is the philosophy that made America the most prosperous and most admired nation in history. America is now bankrupt and despised even by former admirers because we have abandoned Liberty Under God in favor of "Security Under Man"
By "Liberty" I mean
Freedom from Archists (burglars, "the Red Coats," etc.)
By "Under God" I do not mean
the god of Osama bin Ladin.
I mean the God of Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and America's Founding Fathers:
James Madison, the "Father of the Constitution," would say that Osama bin Ladin's religion is a "false religion." (Happily, not all Muslims share Osama's religion.)
Q.5: "Wait a minute . . . you're a political candidate. Aren't you illegally mixing politics and religion?"
Kevin Craig opposes the modern myth of "separation of church and state." The real meaning of the modern phrase is "the separation of God and State." It no longer refers to "churches," or as Madison often called them, "ecclesiastical bodies." Any government that will not acknowledge itself to be under God is a government that believes it is God.
The modern idea of "Separation of Church and State" is an evil lie. While the modern Supreme Court declares that America is a "secular" nation, for the first 100 years after the Constitution was ratified, the Supreme Court frequently acknowledged that America was a Christian nation. And the more consistently America was Christian, the less archist America was.
On May 2, 1778, George Washington ordered the troops:
The commander-in-chief directs that divine service be performed every Sunday at eleven o'clock in those brigades [in] which there are chaplains; those which have none [are] to attend the places of worship nearest to them. It is expected that officers of all ranks will by their attendance set an example to their men. While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian. The signal instances of providential
goodness which we have experienced, and which have now almost crowned our labors with complete success, demand from us in a peculiar manner the warmest returns of gratitude and piety to the Supreme Author of all good. — George Washington, General Orders, May 2, 1778 The Writings of George Washington, JC Fitzpatrick, ed., Wash. DC: US Gov't Printing Office, 1932, Vol. XI:342-343.
The Delaware Indian Chiefs came to Washington inquiring how they could leave their world of superstition and poverty, and become more like the Americans. On May 12, 1779, George Washington coached them:
You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. Congress will do every thing they can to assist you in this wise intention. The Writings of George Washington, JC Fitzpatrick, ed., Wash. DC: US Gov't Printing Office, 1932, Vol 15, p.55.
I now make it my earnest prayer, that God would have you, and the State over which you preside, in his holy protection, that he would incline the hearts of the Citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to Government, to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another, for their fellow Citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for their brethren who have served in the Field, and finally, that he would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all, to do Justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that Charity,
humility and pacific temper of mind, which were the Characteristicks of the Divine Author of our blessed Religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy Nation. a Circular Letter of Farewell to the Continental Army, containing "my final blessing to that Country, in whose service I have spent the prime of my life." Inscribed on a bronze tablet adjoining the Washington pew in St. Paul's chapel in New York
Can we know for sure who is the Divine Author of our blessed Religion? Could it have been Muhammad? On July 9, 1812, President James Madison proclaimed a day of prayer,
Because, the policy of the bill is adverse to the diffusion of the light of Christianity. The first wish of those who enjoy this precious gift, ought to be that it may be imparted to the whole race of mankind. Compare the number of those who have as yet received it with the number still remaining under the dominion of false Religions; and how small is the former! Does the policy of the Bill tend to lessen the disproportion? No; it at once discourages those who are strangers to the light of (revelation) from coming into the Region of it; and countenances, by example the nations
who continue in darkness, in shutting out those who might convey it to them. Instead of levelling as far as possible, every obstacle to the victorious progress of truth, the Bill with an ignoble and unchristian timidity would circumscribe it, with a wall of defence, against the encroachments of error.
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and make every nation a Christian nation, Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: Matthew 28:18-20
During the first 100 years after the Constitution was ratified, courts -- including the Supreme Court of the United States -- repeated on numerous occasions that America was a Christian nation, including the notable 1892 case of Church of the Holy Trinity vs. United States. Only someone ignorant of the facts or with a secularist agenda would ever say that America was not originally a Christian nation.
But Washington D.C. does not always act consistently with "the Characteristicks of the Divine Author of our blessed Religion" -- to do unto others as you would have them do unto you, and to not be like "the kings of the Gentiles." America has never been 100% consistent with "the religion of Jesus Christ." Of all the political parties, I think the precepts of the True Religion are best reflected by the Pledge required of all members of the Libertarian Party:
Did Jesus Practice "self-defense?" Yes, but not by armed revolution
Jesus said, "My Kingdom is not of this world. If it were, My servants would fight to prevent My arrest by the Jews. But actually My Kingdom is not from hence." John 18:36
The Myth of "Self-Defense"
Christians seek to prevent evil from occurring.
There are ways to defend yourself against aggression; that is, to prevent an act of aggression from happening.
Lock the door
Use a shield
But once the act of aggression has taken place and you have been aggressed against, then initiating a second act of aggression against the aggressor is not "self-defense." You're no longer defending yourself, you're on the offense; you're taking vengeance. You're not preventing violence, you're adding to the world's violence.
throughout society, not just in your home or church
Liberty is the mother of order; archism is the father of chaos.
America's Founding Fathers would say America today is chaotic and disordered, even though we have archists which are a thousand times more numerous and more powerful than the "swarms" of archists who plagued America in 1776.
Archists are the greatest source of disorder and instability in our world today.
Archists in Washington D.C. have prohibited local public schools from teaching students that the Declaration of Independence is really true
Archists are at war with "our holy religion" and with Christian morality
Archists cause economic recessions/depressions, the "boom-bust" of the "business cycle," and economic disorder; compounded by archist confiscation and redistribution of wealth known as "bailouts." Archists are an obstacle to the economic stability and predictability needed for long-term investment.
Archists destabilize and overthrow competing archists on a far greater scale than so-called "anarchists."
The government of Iran was overthrown in 1953 by U.S. and British Intelligence, which led to the Iranian Revolution, then U.S. support for Saddam Hussein in his war with Iran..
The International Islamic Jihad from Afghanistan to Kosovo to the U.S. was created with American dollars beginning before the Carter Administration to destabilize and overthrow the Soviet Union, including the building of Mosques throughout Eurasia and printing of Korans with Wahabbi notes. "America Made Islam"
We have been trained to think of "anarchy" as a situation where every man is his own god. But if Jesus is Lord, then we ought to obey His command not to be "archists." A world without archists is a world of peace, cooperation, harmony, and Free Markets, with everyone dwelling safely under his own "Vine & Fig Tree."
No.1: A burglar just broke into my home and stole my TV, but I live in a stateless society. If there's no "government," will the burglar just be free to steal forever?
Under today's government, the criminal who steals your TV is less likely to be incarcerated by the government for burglary than your next door neighbor is for possessing an illegal plant.
Part of the reason is that tracking down a violent offender costs the government more money and is more risky than tracking down peaceful people with illegal flora. The government is a monopoly of Keystone Cops without competition at best, and a menacing militarized threat to civilization at worst.
Further, government's mandatory sentencing against users of illegal plants crowds prisons with non-violent people resulting in release of violent offenders.
Regardless, if a criminal just stole your TV, why would you want a "government" stealing more from you to give the criminal "three hots and a cot" plus weightlifting equipment and color TV? Capitalist solutions to crime won't steal more from victims to incarcerate their offenders. Capitalist solutions will provide powerful incentives to criminals to make restitution to their victims.
In a stateless society, entrepreneurs and capitalists will see that there is market demand for the apprehension of criminals. Insurance companies will be interested in recovering stolen property rather than paying out claims. Evangelistic groups will be interested in turning criminals into productive members of society. There is profit to be made, and charitable works to be funded.
Yes, crimes will be committed in a stateless society. But the cost of private crime is much less than the cost of government crimes. And under capitalism, innovative and market-tested solutions to crime will replace ineffective and counter-productive government anti-crime measures.
Capitalism has shown that the vast majority of human beings cooperate in order to prosper. Only a small minority steal for a living. Honest folks who want to avoid being stolen from, or recover stolen property, will cooperate together using non-coercive market forces to create networks and infrastructure to deal with criminals, just as capitalism has dealt with all other human problems (food, clothing, shelter, etc.).
The Bible never says that a coercive non-voluntary monopoly called "the government" is the only Godly way to respond to the problem of crime, any more than the Bible says a coercive non-voluntary monopoly called "the government" is the only Godly way to respond to the problem of disease and sickness, or hunger and nakedness. Liberty allows entrepreneurs to solve human problems -- and make a profit.
If your church group went on a missions trip to Haiti, but your plane got off course and landed on an uncharted island, and you concluded that you would never be rescued, how would you deal with crime? Would you set up a "State?" No, you already have a "church," and that's all you need to deal with crime. See how Matthew 18 can be applied in an anarcho-capitalist society:
We've been trained to believe that if we don't give the government half of everything we earn, year after year, that criminals will steal from us. But they will only steal a tiny fraction of the amount the government takes from us. And a society which has Godly schools, has less crime, and without "the government," there is no public model of successful criminals -- people who get rich by resorting to force and violence ("the State").