Update: Well, okay to be fair technically I’ve only been “Market Anarchist” for half a decade. But saying so kind of sort of ignores all the time I was in denial about what I really thought could “work.” And after all this time messing around with Python I refuse to count like a programmer unless I absolutely have to. If I had to pinpoint a day when I first began the transition at all, it would have to be in 2007, when I first came across the general case for abolishing the FDA. A year later when the 2008 Presidential election was called, I finally adopted the title “Anarcho-Capitalist.” To satisfy those who don’t like the origins of the later term, “Market Anarchist” should suffice.
I can sort of remember the day. The past several months prior to it I went from being nominally conservative to total minarchist Libertarian. All government ought to do is protect people from initiation of force at home and abroad. Yeah I was pretty outside the mainstream but nothing along the lines of wanting to scrap our political system altogether.
At the same time I was having some doubts. After spending some time on a now defunct social networking site called “Bureaucrash Social” I had been exposed to some ideas and arguments I never knew existed. Combine this with spending some time on the Mises Institute website, skimming through the daily articles, and it wasn’t long before I started to realize just how far the arguments against government could go.
My breaking point ultimately was on the night of the 2008 elections. Having switched from being supportive of McCain (please forgive me for that) to being fascinated by Bob Barr’s campaign (he too defected from conservative politics), I knew I was going to be pretty dissatisfied with the results whether Barack Obama or John McCain won the presidency.
As soon as the election was decided, a key element of the outcome finally dawned on me. My mother was in a relationship with someone at the time who noted that millions of people who probably weren’t too happy about the outcome would probably wake up sick the next day. Because just over 50% of the people who chose to vote outnumbered the rest, that was the outcome whether people liked it or not.
So what was this key element you ask? I knew to some degree that arguments could be made that law and order could be provided in the absence of government thanks to a short bit that David D. Friedman posted online from his most famous work. He had posted chapter 29 from his book on how the free market might provide police and courts. Combine this with the fact that I was convinced that non-interventionism was the way to go when it came to foreign policy, and that really didn’t leave much of anything for government to do. Consequently, this meant there was next to nothing that a president or elected congress could possibly serve any legislative purpose for.
Why waste so much time and effort on having half the country impose certain preferences on the other half if there was so little elected officials should even be allowed to do once elected? That was when a couple months of letting some arguments against anti-trust, intellectual property, government legal systems, and government provision of various public goods finally sunk in. I had yet to figure out precisely how on a functional level a society with no government was supposed to work, but I knew that the idea of supporting one with government kind of relied on some serious double-standards. If business is so evil, why should an institution that can force payment and restrict you from other providers of various services within it’s “legal territory” be any better?
No need to go into detail about how my views developed after that. In a nutshell, I started gathering notes for “State Exempt” about a year later in the winter of 2009. I thought I would have it done before summer of the following year because at the time I expected it to be only 150 pages or so. Boy was that a dead wrong estimate on my part…
So it’s taken way longer than I thought it would. Rather than a short primer, it will be a borderline treatise even though I never once published a book before in my whole life. I would probably get fired from any job that required me to estimate the amount of time I needed to get something extensive done – no question about it. Hell, at least I have the cover finished:
Procrastinators of the world unite! Better late than never ought to have merit if it means a better final product.