Why Voluntary Human Interaction is Not a “Utopian Ideal”

in #anarchy3 years ago


Many critics of the voluntaryist philosophy and private property ethic often critize the ideas contained therein, calling them “utopian” or “unrealistic.”

After all, what is going to make billions of people magically agree to respect one another’s bodies and property, right?

Well, this argument, while sometimes sounding at least somewhat sensible on its face, detonates fabulously upon even the most cursory, basic examination. Actually, this mostly obtuse criticism and argument self-detonates in so many different ways, it almost constitutes a kind of fourth of July fireworks show of logical inconsistencies and incongruity.


I trust myself and my friends, but we’re good people! Those OTHER people are not!

While it is definitely true that there are “bad” people in the world who violate others and their property, saying that a select few people called politicians should have power over billions of others makes zero sense. If indeed “people are bad” (they’re not, for the most part, by the way) then what sense does it make to give bad people EVEN MORE POWER by opening seats of power in a violence-based thing called government/the state? If people are inherently bad, then government by the initiation of force is a bad idea.

To say that the violent power afforded by the state won’t corrupt one’s “special guy” politician, is nothing more than special pleading.


I am not sure why the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker would mysteriously stop providing their services for a living in the absence of the state, but it seems many think that this would indeed be the case.

I am not sure why doctors and medical specialists would no longer be incentivized to provide care. I am not sure why their passion for healing and need for a living wage would magically dissipate along with the dissipation of a violent nation state. This really doesn’t make any sense.

Markets, order, rules, charity, arbitration, security, and police can all exist in the context of voluntaryist, propertarian anarchy.

The real self-detonator of this criticism, however, is found in asking the criticizer, “What? You would not help your neighbor if he needed help? Why not?” If the state was gone, and that rendered everyone immediately thieves, rapists, lazy, uninterested and shiftless bums, perhaps we don’t deserve to be alive in the first place. And anyway, if the only reason folks are working and helping one another is because the state is threatening them, and they are secretly evil and waiting for a chance to exercise this evil in the absence of the state, then the state is definitely a bad idea. What happens when these nuts come into positions of government power?!


The NAP, or Non-Agression Principle, maintains that it is illegitimate and unacceptable to initiate force against another non-violent human being’s body or property.

This criticism, that people won’t magically agree to the NAP, is actually correct. Some people won’t. This is why self-defense is an entirely acceptable avenue of recourse in view of Voluntaryism, when one is being violated.

Should someone attack me, they have initiated force. My response, using force to stop said initiation and end the threat is NOT A VIOLATION. It is not violence, as my defensive actions are not violating the other individual, but defending against him or her.


Individual self-ownership. The most practical thing there is.

While the three criticisms detailed above are all self-detonating, the Voluntaryist argument that in order for minimal violent conflict to occur in any setting, large or small, there must be a universalizable property norm based on individual self-ownership, is not.

People are not perfect. This is why affording certain groups of people “special rights” to use violence against the other groups, is not a good idea. This arbitrary assignment of “extra rights” objectively potentiates violent conflict, as many will potentially (as all humans have various, differing wants and needs) disagree about who should have what “extra rights,” and to what degree.

If individuals exercising their individual self-ownership through freely acquiring property by non-violent means, and living life as they see fit, would refuse to help themselves, their families or community members in providing goods, services, and other means by which to ensure their well-being and survival in interdependent social existence, then not even the presence of a government violence would justify the advocation of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and peace for all.

After all, if humans must be forced to be self-interested (an absurd and unsubstantiated claim), and to care for one another (a result, ultimately, of self-interest), who would be forcing those same humans in government to do so? Who would be forcing those humans to care for the others?

We are all alone, is the final conclusion. Alone and together as interdependent, social animals called humans. The question is now, will we respect our unique position among conscious mammals, being so much more for our capabilities of articulate awareness, and honor the biological, metaphysical and immutable reality of our individual autonomy—our individual self-ownership—or will we opt to continue playing this brutal and heartless game in the name of the world’s largest religious cult, where government is “GOD”?

The choice is up to you.




Graham Smith is a Voluntaryist activist, creator, and peaceful parent residing in Niigata City, Japan. Graham runs the "Voluntary Japan" online initiative with a presence here on Steem, as well as DLive and Twitter. (Hit me up so I can stop talking about myself in the third person!)


If someone believes voluntary human interaction is "Utopian", I would hate to be one of their "friends", family, or neighbors.


It's almost a self fulfilling prophecy. If the police and state are the only thing stopping you from violating others then the moment they're gone you're going to go wild. In fact if you suddenly removed all government and control crime and violence probably would shoot up as they realise that there are no consequences from the state. However, it won't be long before they realise that the people they're attacking are in the same boat and quite willing and able to defend themselves.

I Agree in all the points. Some people don't seem to understand, unfortunately. Some basically claim "People must be forced", because otherwise there will be chaos. That's what they've been taught.

If Voluntaryism is not the solution, then why is Force the solution?

I completely agree. Humans are not evil, government only allows the few evil ones to amplify their power and commit terrible crimes around the globe.

I have made a post similar in spirit, but from a technological rather than philosophical point of view here

To listen to the audio version of this article click on the play image.

Brought to you by @tts. If you find it useful please consider upvoting this reply.

"Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure. A centrally planned totalitarian state represents a complete defeat for the civilized world, while a totally voluntary society represents its ultimate success." Mark Skousen


Most people don't grow up mentally and cannot behave as real adults/ That's way they are always looking for mome and daddy and find them in government, gods and all such things.

Yup you are right agree with all your points and and its fast moving world nobody care about each other.

You care.........am I right? ;)

Yes I agree with the description in your post. Many of us often state that we are good people and others who are not in line with us are not good people. then we also see so many people treating others who disagree not in line with the treatment that is not good. Events that hurt the humanity are often also backed up with a defensive reason. They lost their empathy to help each other. As a result, there is a vicious circle that is not easily broken by the chain. And even worse is the absence of state institutions as protectors and directors of civilization. The state managers even busy with efforts to maintain power so negligent in paying attention to the fate of the people. this is also what push the state of chaos getting worse. The people no longer trust the government, and if this happens continuously then the state will run without the coveted leadership

Voluntarism will not allow for efficient organization against an aggressive foe who are happy to organize through an authority.

An efficiency of time and materials will win through concentrated interest against individuals banding together.
History proves me correct.
Sorry to keep mentioning it, but it's a fact.


Total respect for the idea of it, but it doesn't mean it's ever gonna be feasable..

Saying “it’s a fact” does not constitute an argument, sadly. That said, if you wish to argue that immorality should win out because “it’s a fact,” then your opinions are pretty inconsequential to me, so it really makes no difference, either way.

An efficiency of time and materials will win through concentrated interest against individuals banding together.

Don’t disagree, which is why this is a philosophical battle. Masturbating yourself to the war cry “it’s impractical” while knowing goddamn well it’s immoral, instead of waking others up, is just silly. Wake them up. Take the power.


Total respect for the idea of it, but it doesn't mean it's ever gonna be feasable..

Abolishing slavery will never be feasible. Herp derp.


Good and bad behaviour​ are available everywhere. Somewhere volunteers and some people. Volunteers always affect their behaviour​. Good or bad Both do not forget. The difference is only good behaviour​. Who calls humans in love with themselves. Thanks for sharing with us nice topic.

What stops voluntaryism philosophy is money, everything is a business, even war and governments, especially wars are a business

Money helps, but what “stops” voluntaryism ultimately is individual ignorance of reality.