Jeremy Kyle as a Justification for Anarcho-Capitalism

Lots of people deride the Jeremy Kyle show -often with some justification- as one of the very worst examples of car-crash television, parading the weak and the feckless for the viewing public’s titilation, and I suppose it does. What it also does, however, is provide a very real and current demonstration of how voluntary associations and trade can be harnessed to aid people absent the state’s involvement.

The Jeremy Kyle show does help people. They have comprehensive aftercare and counselling as well as providing the mediation, polygraph, DNA analysis or whatever else is required to help the participants turn whatever corner in their lives they have appeared on the show to turn. Nobody is forced to appear -except by their consciences or desire for the truth- and most importantly of all, the services provided by the show are free at the point of use.

This is not to say that the producers, researchers, counselling teams or even Mr. Kyle himself are volunteers, donating their time and energy for purely altruistic reasons (not that there is anything wrong with that), they expect to profit from it. They put on a show that people watch, sell advertising and turn a profit from helping people, all without court orders or state-certified mediation services or any of the other tendrils the big state loves to infect people’s private lives with. From this we can show that absent a state, the profit motive would indeed lead enterprising people to plug the gaps in the market left by the state’s dissolution, and those enterprises would by no means be out of the reach of the poor.

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Life Without The State part 2: Defence

This was originally one of the areas that gave me the most difficulty on moving from a minarchist position to a fully-fledged anarchist one. What do we do about defence? What about the Khomenis, the Obamas, the Bin Ladens? Surely, we’d need some sort of state, even if only to maintain nuclear weapons and aircraft carriers to protect us from nasty fellows like that?
Not neccesarily. With the exception of Bin Laden, most of the assorted nasties that stalk the world today are heads of states. States have wars with states. We may say that “we” had a war with France or Germany or Afghanistan, but in actuality it was the British State that went to war with the French, German or Afghan state and the people of these islands (and the people of those places) were merely the poor suckers who got dragged along for the ride, to fly the State’s planes, drive the State’s tanks and shed their blood in some far-off place to achieve the State’s goals. “We” did not win the Napoleonic War any more than “we” won the World Cup in 1966.

So simply doing away with the state may reduce or even remove entirely some of the antagonisms the people of these islands face. No state to wage wars on other states is also no state to interfere, indulge in covert or “black” operations and generally make a nuisance of itself overseas. Some people here may want to sell stuff, or buy stuff, or even volunteer to fight in your local conflicts if they wish but that’s about as far as it goes. “The British” would no longer collectively be defiling the land of your prophet or stealing your oil or whatever else it is that’s pissing you off.

But what about defence? When I originally became won over to this idea, it was Obnoxio who I discussed this with, and the general thrust of his argument (and what I finally grokked) was that an anarchist nation-? territory-? None of the standard terms seem to apply somehow. An anarchist geographical area wouldn’t work to the same rules when being invaded. There’s no taking the capital city and it’s all over, the whole place would need to be occupied by armies. Like many wars of recent times, the invader can take the cities, but not hold the countryside. Even in a small island like Great Britain there are lots of places to be, and it’s a huge, very expensive and possibly impossible undertaking to hold them all. This coupled with the likelihood of the majority of households being armed in such a place, what with there being no police pretending to protect people and all, any sane cost-benefit analysis is liable to find invading such a place to be unprofitable. Even a booming economy (likely without regulations or taxes hanging around the market’s neck like an albatross) wouldn’t serve as a rational prize, as the destruction of life, morale and infrastructure would likely ruin such a thing.

Of course, we don’t solely need to consider rational actors. In fact, none of the three examples I listed above could be described as rational actors. Khomeni and Bin Laden are both millenial religionists and Obama is a dyed-in-the-wool international socialist. All three and indeed many others may well decide that an Anarchornutopia land-of-milk-and-honey springing up in these islands would be worth any cost to bring under the yoke of International Socialism/ bring into the Ummah/ rule under the Caliphate and the idea of a long, bloody campaign wouldn’t necessarily put them off. It didn’t put off the worldly, rational (if wrong-headed) creed of Neo-Conservatism with respect to the Middle East after all.
But. Just because there is no state doesn’t mean people won’t organise. Such a thing doesn’t require any form of top-down goings-on. History is littered with examples of people spontaneously forming militias, partisan groups and resistance movements to defend themselves, their property and their neighbours. In all likelihood such militia groups would already exist in any case, partly for their social aspect and partly for any other number of reasons as they exist to this day in the United States. Any irrational actor invading such a place would not only find himself fighting house-to-house against householders defending themselves but would almost certainly end up fighting a protracted guerrilla war against a highly-motivated and fairly well organised partisan group. Such groups exist in Great Britain already, despite disapproval from those who pretend to rule.

The danger of invasion would still exist of course, but it does already. It’s pretty obvious that the Chinese or American State could walk in and take over any time they wanted- the fact that they haven’t is probably more to do with preferring the status quo to the world they would inhabit after setting such a precendent than any moral considerations. The British State doesn’t make it any less likely, but it costs a hell of a lot more money. Anarchy would require dealing with reality, and dealing with it without relying on nanny to come and scare the bad boys away. Bad things happen, and being adult enough to deal with them is part of the territory. Don’t you think it’s time we grew up?