Property and Safety in a Free Society
Extracted from the pre-released book Creating Peace and Abundance Through Stateless Economics by John G. Vibes.
This same mistake is made in regards to road construction, education and other areas of our lives that the government has had a monopoly on for generations. Even now all of these systems and services are kept alive by the average people digging the ditches and driving the buses not the people who are paying them with stolen money.
The mainstream culture presents this idea that without the surplus of stolen money made possible by government, the roads would fall into disrepair, the children would be uneducated and only the rich would have access to protection and healthcare. The truth is though, the roads are already a mess, the education system is intentionally dumbing kids down while only the rich have access to “justice” and legitimate healthcare, this is the reality that we have today.
These institutions are failing because they are controlled by central planners who do not have the best intentions of the general population in mind. These are not small corners of our civilization that are being tampered with either, these are some of the most vital services to human health and well-being. Even the few beneficial services that the government does provide are nothing but a public relations compromise to keep the people at bay and to keep them dependent upon the state for survival.
In terms of economics, just because the government has monopolized the currency and
centralized the trading structure does not mean that economics is a construct of government.
Quite the opposite, the economy functions very much in spite of government and would be able to create a world of abundance if it weren’t for governments intervening to prop up affiliated businesses and stomp out competition. Every problem that is taking place with our economy today is the direct result of government, from the market crash and inflation to unemployment and poverty. With all this being the case, it is kind of odd that people have a hard time seeing the potential of stateless economics. No doubt this thinking goes back to the authority centered mentality that has been bred into our species for many generations.
Even in the world of abundance that we hope to create, property rights and trade would still be beneficial to all people as a whole. Property rights would be vital to ensure that people respected one another’s space and trade would be necessary because even in a world of abundance it wouldn’t be practical or possible to create an infinite number of everything. Also new technologies and items would still be developed and traded among those who saw value in the product.
In today’s economic atmosphere property rights have a somewhat negative stigma, due to the offensive amount of land and resources that have been acquired through force, theft, fraud and coercion and are protected by the agents of government. This is an understandable objection, but since this property being discussed was acquired in illegitimate ways it is rightly considered stolen property that does not belong to those who currently possess it. The insane amount of land that is unjustly owned by the royal families and governments of the world creates an illusion of scarcity where there is really an abundance of land. There is more than enough land to go around for all of the world’s people even if the global population were to double, which all signs say that it is not.
Without being granted a legal monopoly on the use of force it is virtually impossible for such small groups of people to control and maintain such large areas of land. The problems in wealth disparity that we see today are no indication of any problem with property rights, rather an indication that property rights have been systematically abused. The fact that the aristocracy unjustly controls this land today only shows that mass reparations and restitution is in order, this is no case for the abolishment of property rights, though it is often used as such.
Property rights are essential to freedom because they establish a protection for people’s personal space, their homes, their land and the things that they possess. Property is just an extension of the non-aggression principle, which protects all people from harm equally. In terms of land, property rights allow people a safe haven, and a place to call home without the worry of some stranger coming along and claiming the land for themselves. Wealth and possessions are also extremely important to protect also, although this may seem counter intuitive in an age where consumerism is running rampant and the wealth gap is so large. We must remember that the aristocracy who is hording the worlds land and resources and holding us back from a world of abundance, have acquired all of their gains through legalized violations of property rights and the non-aggression principle.
When average people like you and me go through life, we end up investing our time, energy and labor into certain projects and goals. This results in the accumulation of wealth and possessions, even more so in a free society without government. The peasants in the middle ages were used as workhorses because it was decided that they were not entitled to the products of their labor.
Likewise, the slaves in colonial America were subjected to such a vile existence because they too were denied the product of their own labor. In both cases when finally granted the property rights that were denied to them, the people were able to greatly improve their level of freedom and quality of life. Unfortunately, due to the fact they were escaping generations of persecution they still weren’t entirely free because they were forced to contend with a massive wealth gap which was established generations prior and still has yet to be rectified. This wealth gap which has been established and protected by force, is a case for the widespread application of the non-aggression principle and property rights, yet so many times people cite this wealth gap as a case against property rights. As I mentioned, this argument overlooks the fact that the land and wealth of the aristocracy was acquired through violations of property rights, not the enforcement of property rights.
When it comes to protecting property rights and handling violations of the non-aggression principle, this duty is currently monopolized by the state, who uses this position to take advantage of people and protect themselves from any retaliation. In today’s world corrupt police and military are tasked with protecting people’s rights and property, yet at the same time are the biggest violators of property and liberties in the world. Putting any kind of responsibility into the hands of government is to ensure failure and mismanagement, because monopolies are naturally inefficient, corrupt and create oppressive situations.
The defense of life and property is not something that can be left in the hands of a coercive monopoly. This responsibility would be much better handled if decentralized and placed into the hands of many different independent entrepreneurs spread out over various different places. This would not only give people a variety of options but would also hold the providers of defense to a certain standard where they would be economically incentivized to actually provide value to their communities, instead of playing bully and collecting revenue for the state. This process of decentralization is not just necessary for defense, but must eventually be put into effect for all functions of government, across the board until the government no longer exists. Private weapon ownership will also play a vital role in the safety of a free society.
There is a dangerous confusion among many pacifists that government gun control will bring us a more peaceful society, but sadly this is far from true. I personally find myself in a rare but growing group of pacifists who oppose any kind of gun control policies whatsoever. It may seem counter intuitive to say that more people having more guns will make us safer, but history shows us that this is actually the case.
When gun control legislation is put into place, every gun in the civilization does not disappear; they are not thrown into some magical vortex where they will never be seen again. Those guns aren’t destroyed, and they are certainly not “controlled”, they are simply moved. They are taken from millions of individuals and placed in the hands of one group.
There are numerous problems with this situation, so let’s just get the obvious ones out of the way first. History has shown us in many different cases that as the disparity in arms between a government and society grows, the more authoritarian that regime becomes. Take your pick of any dictatorship throughout history and you will find that disarming a population is one of the steps that are essential when establishing a tyrannical control system. From Nazi Germany to the Communist empires of China and Russia, and even on the fiefdoms of the Middle Ages, authoritarian rulers made it a priority to ensure that they had their citizens out armed.
The idea wasn’t necessarily to keep the peasants from revolting, although that is a factor that eventually comes to into play as a dictatorship takes its inevitable turn down the path of self-destruction.
The main effect that this disparity in force causes is a psychological one; it
establishes the general idea that an individual is powerless in comparison to the State and its agents, thus creating an atmosphere where people thoughtlessly submit to authority out of their natural and sometimes unconscious desire for self-preservation. This aspect of gun confiscation has been covered extensively by many different researchers and activists over the years, but what is talked about even less often is the realistic benefits that can come from mass decentralized gun ownership.
One point that is often overlooked in the mainstream discourse is how gun control laws actually empower violent criminals and encourage them to prey on the innocent, disarmed people who are dependent upon the corrupt and incompetent police force for their protection. It has often been said that “when guns are outlawed, only the outlaws have guns”, and this statement rings true for the criminals in the street and the criminals in the government as well. Not only is a disarmed population preyed upon by tyrannical governments, but they are also preyed upon by violent criminals who get surprisingly inventive during times of gun prohibition.
Gun control legislation is sold as a measure to protect the innocent from violent criminals, but like most government actions the outcome is actually the complete opposite of the stated goal. These kinds of measures actually give violent criminals the upper hand by removing the average citizen’s first line of defense. It seems obvious that violent criminals will be more inclined to attack others when they are less likely to encounter any kind of resistance. This being the case we can determine quite easily that gun control policies encourage violence and chaos within any society.
Even if you believe that the police are put here to help and protect us, which they are not, you must at least admit that they rarely prevent violent crime from happening; their job is only to hunt down and punish the accused party after the fact. Therefore, they cannot be depended upon in a random encounter you have with an attacker, you need to have some means of self-defense.
Even more importantly, the fact that anyone walking down the street could be armed, makes any mugger think twice before attacking someone. On the other hand, when very few people in a society are armed, the reward far outweighs the risk for those who seek to violate the rights and property of others.
We can see the effects of strong central governments and societies without property rights all over the developing world. In many 3rd world countries there is very little opportunity for the average person, living conditions are absolutely horrible and violence is an unfortunate part of everyday life. This situation rightly causes a great deal of discomfort among those of us in the west that are more fortunate due to the random occurrence of our birth on a different landmass, where opportunity happens to be more plentiful. Living in this space age world of imagination turned reality is enough to make anyone realize that our species has the ability to create peace and abundance on this planet, right now, in this generation. That is, we would have this ability, if the natural phenomena of spontaneous order was not being stifled by the politicians, dictators and bureaucrats who insist on treating the world like their little ant farm.
Things are far from perfect here in the west, we still experience our fair share of oppression and poverty, but to watch the Stone Age existence that our brothers and sisters in the developing world are needlessly forced to endure shows us a whole other level of struggle. It is often suggested in mainstream circles that these horrid conditions exist because there is not enough government intervention in the marketplace, when in reality it is not difficult to see that the complete opposite is true.
To truly understand why this situation exists, and how things have gotten to where they are today, it is necessary to examine the causal factors to see why these unfavorable conditions continue to thrive. It is often said that the people who are caught up in this mess have entered into their agreements to work in sweatshops voluntarily, and are better off than they were before they started working there. It sounds appalling to even mention, but it is sadly true. Which begs the question, why were they living in such dire straits to begin with? Why aren’t these people running their own companies and employing one another? Why don’t they have the ability to opt out, and just live on their own property where they could farm as their ancestors probably did? Surely this would be a better existence than long hours and low pay, but unfortunately the indigenous do not have this opportunity because their property rights have been violated generation after generation, by local and foreign governments alike.
The developing countries that are currently riddled with poverty were once abundant in natural resources, as they still are today. The people whose ancestors homesteaded this land, tilled the soil, planted the crops and hunted the grounds, they are the ones who have the rightful claim to the property, and all of the resources that it possesses.
Unfortunately, there is not really a place on this earth that is truly civilized in their respect property rights, and the developing world is even farther behind. This means that in the past and present, instead of trading and negotiating over land and natural resources, people, primarily those in power have had the ability to use force, fraud and coercion as the primary means of achieving said land and resources.
This ability to use falsely legitimized force to root people from their ancestral homelands, and then to use further force to control their actions are without a doubt the primary causal factors behind the dreadful labor conditions in the third world. This is not just an abstract theory, the proof of this can be seen in every government action taken in developing countries. It can be seen in the military aid that is given to third world dictators to suppress their people, in the tough trade laws that make it impossible for anyone to become self-sufficient and in the massive involuntary evacuations that have created massive refugee populations.
To sum up the labor situation in the developing world, local governments sell or give away land that they do not rightly own to larger governments. Those larger governments then become the sole holders of property in the area, and begin to set up their own factories. Since most of the usable land has been stolen by these groups, the factories that spring up in the area will have an unnatural advantage that will result in the establishment of a monopoly. This leaves the people who had their land stolen with only 2 options, work for the monopoly and have a terrible life, or live on a reservation style wasteland and live a horrible life. This is an absolutely sickening predicament that has no place in a civilized world, but it is so important to reiterate, that this is not a natural situation, this is not the result of freedom, or of a free market. Quite the opposite, this situation has come about as a result of state violence and a primitive disrespect for property rights.
To clarify this point, lets imagine a world that actually was free, where homesteaded property rights were accepted and where people were free to do whatever they wished so long as they did not hurt anyone else. Say that a group of indigenous people had a right to land that was rich in oil or mineral resources, they would have limitless options, compared to what they experience today. They would have the ability to sell parts of the land, or just sell the resources, they would even have the ability to rip up every offer that was tossed their way and keep the land to themselves for sentimental and preservational reasons.
Now, say for example that this group wanted to turn their small village into a thriving technological community. Well, without heavy trade restrictions and intellectual property laws, they would be able to observe what was going on elsewhere in the world, research how to build what they wanted to build, then copy and create whatever they wanted. Any extra supplies that were needed would be easy to come by. Since this community would have inherited such a wealth of property and resources from their ancestors it would not be difficult to trade and barter for whatever was required.
With options and possibilities like these no one would want to work in a factory for three cents a day, so these factories would not even exist in the form that they do now. In fact, without the falsely justified violence that statism allows, this situation would have never been able to take form to begin with.
John Vibes is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war. In addition to his writing and activist work he is also the owner of a successful music promotion company. In 2013, he became one of the organizers of the Free Your Mind Conference, which features top caliber speakers and whistle-blowers from all over the world. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can find his 65 chapter Book entitled Alchemy of the Timeless Renaissance at bookpatch.com.
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