Anarchy is analogous, but not equal, to Voluntarism. Voluntarism and Anarchism are like-terms, but they have opposite connotations.
The term “Anarchy” is derived from the Greek word “archon,” meaning “ruler,” conjoined with the negating prefix “an.” The etymological definition of “Anarchy” is “without a ruler.” Anarchy is the rejection of the belief in a ruler or government. For this reason, anarchy has a negative connotation.
Voluntarism is derived from the Latin “voluntas,” meaning “will.” Voluntarism is the principle or policy that all human interaction should be based on voluntary participation and the rejection of all human interaction based on coercion. Voluntarism has an affirmative connotation and can stand alone, being that it is a positive act of will rather than an aversion to the state.
The driving principle behind voluntarism is the non-aggression principle. The non-aggression principle is the concept that no person has the right to initiate force against another. No person, no group, no organization, no corporation and no state has the right to initiate aggression against anybody else.
In practical terms, Voluntarism and Anarchy have the same general implication: the formulation of a society based on voluntary association rather than coercive means.
However, there does seem to be a confusion in the anarchist community about this concept. It seems to be based in a distortion of language, stemming from a long-held cultural misconception in the meaning of anarchy being misrepresented as “chaos.”
Anarchy is not the absence of rules; it is the absence of rulers. Chaos, at the present time, resides in the predation of the legalized monopoly on violence known as government. The only order we can establish in a free society is that which is had through voluntary interaction between willing and peaceable participants.