This post is about why the libertarian vision of society scares me shitless. No offense to Stefan Molyneux, but I truly hope his ideology never becomes reality.
In a stateless society, contracts with DROs are required to maintain any sort of economic life – without DRO representation, citizens are unable to get a job, hire employees, rent a car, buy a house or send their children to school. Any DRO will naturally ensure that its contracts include penalties for violent crimes – so if you steal a car, your DRO has the right to use force against you to get the car back – and probably retrieve financial penalties to boot.
Call me silly, but this sounds like the worse kind of fascism. It scares me that someone even thinks this is a good idea. I’ve been feeling critical of the society we have now which is already a mild form of fascism that some people call corporatism, but the vision outlined here takes it a step further.
How does this work in practice? Let’s take a test case. Say that you wake up one morning and decide to become a thief. Well, the first thing you have to do is cancel your coverage with your DRO, so that your DRO cannot act against you when you steal. DROs would have clauses allowing you to cancel your coverage, just as insurance companies have now. Thus you would have to notify your DRO that you were dropping coverage. No problem, you’re off their list.
Any homeless person would become the equivalent of an illegal alien. But in a DRO a homeless illegal alien would automatically be assumed to be a criminal without any legal protections or civil rights. If you were born outside of a DRO, you may or may not be able to get a contract from a DRO. Even if you did have a DRO contract, they could drop you at any moment. Fear would keep everyone in line because no rights would be considered inalienable.
However, DROs as a whole really need to keep track of people who have opted out of the entire DRO system, since those people have clearly signaled their intention to go rogue, to live off the grid, and commit crimes. Thus if you cancel your DRO insurance, your name goes into a database available to all DROs. If you sign up with another DRO, no problem, your name is taken out. However, if you do not sign up with any other DRO, red flags pop up all over the system.
Not only would a homeless person be both an illegal alien and an assumed criminal, but they would be tracked. My God, this sounds like capitalistic Stalinism. The DRO would follow your every move in Big Brother fashion. A DRO could potentially become so oppressive that cameras would be installed even in houses because all property is owned by the DRO. Your entire life (work, education, shopping, entertainment) would be controlled by the DRO. Complete propagandistic control would be possible. It would be a Communist beauracrat’s wet dream.
What happens then? Remember – there is no public property in the stateless society. If you’ve gone rogue, where are you going to go? You can’t take a bus – bus companies won’t take rogues, because their DRO will require that they take only DRO-covered passengers, in case of injury or altercation. Want to fill up on gas? No luck, for the same reason. You can try hitchhiking, of course, which might work, but what happens when you get to your destination and try and rent a hotel room? No DRO card, no luck. Want to sleep in the park? Parks are privately owned, so keep moving. Getting hungry? No groceries, no restaurants – no food! What are you going to do?
All possibility of freedom would be eliminated. Even if you wanted to escape, there would be no where to escape to. You could attempt to sign a contract with another DRO. However, no DRO may want to accept free agents because of their inherent criminal status. Even if another DRO does accept you, they might be just as or more oppressive than the one you left.
Obviously, those without DRO representation are going to find it very hard to get around or find anything to eat. But let’s go even further and imagine that, as a rogue, you are somehow able to survive long enough to start trying to steal from people’s houses.
No fuck it would be hard to get around or find anything to eat. The sub-class of those free of DRO contracts would be forced to seek out black markets or else starve to death.
Well, the first thing that DROs are going to do is give a reward to anyone who spots you and reports your position (in fact, there will be companies which specialize in just this sort of service). As you walk down a street on your way to rob a house, someone sees you and calls you in. The DRO immediately notifies the street owner (remember, no public property!) who boots you off his street. Are you going to resist the street owner? His DRO will fully support his right to use force to protect his property or life.
Yep. There is that Stalinism. Your neighbors and your family would get payed to spy on you. The paranoid’s worst nightmare would become reality.
So you have to get off the street. Where do you go? All the local street owners have been notified of your presence, and refuse you entrance. You can’t go anywhere without trespassing. You are a pariah. No one will help you, or give you food, or shelter you – because if they do, their DRO will boot them or raise their rates, and their name will be entered into a database of people who help rogues. There is literally no place to turn.
The DRO contract will probably prohibit anyone helping those without contracts. And if you helped one of these homeless criminals, you’d lose your contract too. People would just walk past these starving, wretched sub-humans.
So, really, what incentive is there to turn to a life of crime? Working for a living – and being protected by a DRO – pays really well. Going off the grid and becoming a rogue pits the entire weight of the combined DRO system against you – and, even if you do manage to survive their scrutiny and steal something, it has probably been voice-encoded or protected in some other manner against unauthorized re-use. But let’s suppose that you somehow bypass all of that, and do manage to steal, where are you going to sell your stolen goods? You’re not protected by a DRO, so who will buy from you, knowing they have no recourse if something goes wrong? And besides, anyone who interacts with you will get a substantial reward for reporting your location – and, if they deal with you, will be dropped from the DRO system.
All property would be tracked, but would the DRO stop there? Of course not. The DRO would implant all people with tracking chips. With the advance of technology, they could do all kinds of things with brainwashing and neural manipulation. Your very body would be the property of the DRO. Trying to escape the DRO would involve having to steal your own body.
Will there be underground markets? No – where would they operate? People need a place to live, cars to rent, clothes to buy, groceries to eat. No DRO means no participation in economic life.
The homeless illegal alien criminals would be forced to create underground markets or else they’d die. If those underground markets were destroyed by the DROs, the starving sub-class would revolt. The DRO is just a capitalistic version of feudalism. Each DRO would be an anarcho-fiefdom. People created democratic states in the first place to escape the oppressive rule of feudal lords. Why would we want to create a new feudal society?
I’m painting a dark vision. I am a pessimist afterall. A DRO theoretically could work out as this guy thinks, but it seems improbable considering the real world historical examples of mining towns that were the perfect example of oppressive anarcho-capitalism. And I’m certainly not alone in my doubts:
– COMMENTS (from above quoted article) –
Matt: “In a stateless society, contracts with DROs are required to maintain any sort of economic life – without DRO representation, citizens are unable to get a job, hire employees, rent a car, buy a house or send their children to school.” WTF! You just replaced oppressive government with oppressive corporate rule. If you can’t get a job, hire employees, or rent a car, etc. without their permission how is this anywhere close to a voluntary society?
Edward: I am with Matt on this one. I have listened to many of your podcasts and been in and out of here for a while but upon hearing this madness I just dont know anymore. How can you insure the type of people drawn to your DRO organizations arent the same as those who are now on our government and law enforcement/military rosters. This whole arangement to me if far more dangerous that what is currently going on. DRO is the absolute authority on my ability to be alive! What if I want off your DRO grid and do my own farming and build a house myself? Well I cant! I cant own property or a house because Im not DRO covered!!! So “crime” is my only option if i want to live without the DRO coverage!?!?! I say “crime” because according to this system i am now a rouge (criminal) even though I had a peaceful nonviolent nature and I just wanted to exist on my own. The crime here is?
masonkiller: Matt, Edward, there is a difference. If both of you don’t like a certain DRO or the way it’s running, then you have the option to break your contract. Therefore, voluntary. In our government, they have the same powers, only you didn’t sign anything. You HAVE to be in the system, you can’t say you don’t want to. Though I have other fears with DRO’s. How could you prevent one that had enough funding and owned it’s own bank or was in cahoots with a corrupt bank from coercing people into signing contracts with force and, in turn, creating a new government?
Me: I agree with Matt and Edward completely. Stefen is a very well intentioned and educated guy, and I fully appreciated his video on The Myth of the Free Market. However, the system suggested here is so inorganic and structured by a left brain thinker that it denies people the ability to exist without attachment to a system that enslaves them. I’d suggest Arno Gruen’s book, The Insanity of Normality to give a more complete version of why people commit crimes. Furthermore, I believe you’d see the err in this system by realizing it still functions as a dominator in a larger context. I don’t think that this system really factors in and analyzes human behavior and motives. Only by addresses the underlying issues of a humans instincts and desires and their response to forced compliance within any system can you truly offer a better solution to the worlds issues. This isn’t necessarily better or worse just different. There is a great video on youtube that comments succinctly on this idea. I will post it as soon as i find it, but it basically shows the cycle from anarchy to democracy to fascism etc. just being a constant loop. I would suggest that the only way out of that cycle would be remove the leveraging device – money. More difficult to put into effect than to say, yes, but with usury being imbedded in the current monetary system through Interest, Inflation and Income tax, you can never get away from oppression. To say that you propose a stateless society is just slight of hand. Maybe you don’t intend it, but the idea of having DRO is the state. Peace
To be fair, the following video is the same guy defending himself against the charge of being naive.
My response to this video is that my own criticism of naivette still stands. Stef misunderstands. His naivette isn’t in his criticism of the present system but in his proposal of his own system. Stef admits in this video that his utopian society is improbable (which I was glad to see him admit). His argument is that it’s improbability doesn’t matter. He states that all advances have come from those who attempted the improbable and so we should continue to strive for the improbable. He believes his idealized society is “the right thing to do”.
I think his admitting the improbability of his own ideal still can support the critics. The people who strove for the improbable did so because they believed it to be probable. If Stef doesn’t believe it’s even probable, then why risk everything for most likely gaining no benefit. Considering past examples, not only is his utopia improbable but that his utopia will turn into fascism is highly probable. We should consider all possibilities including the negative possibilities. His idealism is noble and his moralizing is righteous, but that doesn’t change my assessment.
Let me share another video that shows the personal context.
Stef is obviously angry and sad. The way he expresses himself here seems to imply he has suffered himself in some way. His response to suffering has been to commit his life to his ideal.
Derrick Jensen talks about this (and I think Stef would agree to an extent). We are all victims in this society. There are two common responses. Either the victim becomes a victimizer or becomes a defender of victims… and, I would add, that it’s easy for the defender of victims to become just another victimizer (which is how popular revolts sometimes lead to dictatorships). Stef idealizes free choice, but ideals have a way of becoming distorted when they’re implemented in reality. Stef hasn’t explained why his ideal will be the first ideal in history not to end in more oppression, violence, and suffering.
I sympathize with his emotion, but I fear his utopianism. I respect his devoted idealism, but his bright and shining utopia casts a dark shadow.
– – –
To end on a humorous note, let me offer an example of a normal day in your local DRO corporatocracy:
Little Johnny comes home from the company-owned school. His mommy brings him cookies and milk bought from the company-owned store.
“How was your day, Johnny?”
“Mommy, I learned today that Coca-Cola tastes better than Pepsi. In science class, we did a blind taste test. One kid said Pepsi tasted better and he didn’t get a gold star. I got a gold star because the teacher said I was a good company kid.”
“That’s nice, dear.”