Statist claim: Anarchy is Chaos


"Why do you voluntaryists want anarchy? Isn't that chaos?"


Anarchists did not try to carry out genocide against the Armenians in Turkey; they did not deliberately starve millions of Ukrainians; they did not create a system of death camps to kill Jews, gypsies, and Slavs in Europe; they did not fire-bomb scores of large German and Japanese cities and drop nuclear bombs on two of them; they did not carry out a Great Leap Forward that killed scores of millions of Chinese; they did not attempt to kill everybody with any appreciable education in Cambodia; they did not launch one aggressive war after another; they did not implement trade sanctions that killed perhaps 500,000 Iraqi children. In debates between anarchists and statists, the burden of proof clearly should rest on those who place their trust in the state. Anarchy's mayhem is wholly conjectural; the state's mayhem is undeniably, factually horrendous. — Robert Higgs

“Anarchy” has multiple meanings, one of which is “chaos.” But the political sense in which voluntaryists, libertarians, and anarcho-capitalists (not the same but there's plenty of overlap) use “anarchy” hails to the original Greek roots: without rulers, that is, with no rulers imposed on individuals, no imposition on the natural right of self-ownership.

Further, a free society is not one without rules; but they come about through voluntary agreements — contracts — not the arbitrary fiat of coercive third parties. If I want to drive on your road, for instance, I might agree to drive on the right side, stop at red lights, etc.; to use a particular arbitration service if I do harm; and to carry a certain amount of insurance or bond. If I don't do these things, you don't have to let me drive on your road. Said road may have all the usual road signs (it is expected that a free society would draw on many of the former state's symbols, since they are familiar, and are probably the result of considerable taxpayer expense, gradually evolving to more efficient traffic flow over time).

Even today, private gun ranges, for example, have safety rules that the state doesn't mandate: they are just in the interest of the customers, and hence the owner (if he wants to have customers). Ranges known to be lax about safety get a reputation (like one in particular where I used to live), and lose custom, not to mention having to deal with the results of any actual unsafe acts. (DBR)


Historical Examples of Anarchy without Chaos
Rule of Law