‘Voluntaryism’ embraces philosophy of peace, prosperity
Ever heard of “voluntaryism?” Probably not, but chances are you practice this philosophy every day in your interactions with family, friends, and even strangers.
Voluntaryism is the philosophical belief that all human interaction should be voluntary, meaning individuals must consent to the interaction in question. If one individual does not wish to participate in an interaction, then, according to voluntaryism, it is wrong to force the interaction upon them.
There are only two possible types of interactions: voluntary and involuntary. Voluntary interactions are completely legitimate, while involuntary interactions are illegitimate. It then logically follows that those illegitimate interactions can justly be met with whatever force is necessary to stop the interaction (such as self-defense).
Clearly, the majority of people practice this philosophy in their daily lives. When having interactions with other people we don’t use force or any other form of aggression to get others to submit to our will; we find peaceful ways to solve our disagreements and differences.
Finding peaceful, voluntar y solutions to complex problems is the essence of voluntar yism. Some people may say “so what? Of course, most people practice voluntar yism. It’s common sense.”
That’s true, but society seems to have created a giant exemption: politics. Examining the political realm, it appears a majority of society does not agree human interaction should be voluntar y. Application of voluntar yism in this realm has implications that are uncomfortable for many people.
The major implication is that government is fundamentally illegitimate. Government can be defined as an organization with the perceived right to control people within an arbitrary region by the initiation of force, fraud and coercion. Government does not seek consent from those it attempts to rule and control. Instead, government claims ownership over its citizens due to them being born within the arbitrary region it claims to rule. The implication here is that government owns all of the land within its claimed region, which is not the case.
Many will claim government derives consent from its originating documents, such as the U.S. Constitution. However, consent can only be granted on an individual basis, and the right to rule others cannot be delegated. People writing a document over 200 years ago cannot justly grant consent for everyone born thereafter to be ruled.
Now let’s look at laws. Every law is a demand to submit backed by the threat of force via government enforc- ers. The harsh truth is if you do not obey the commands of government, then increasing violence will be used against you until you submit. Some laws prohibit involuntar y interactions and are thus legitimate in the name of self-defense, but the vast majority of laws do not. A specific law, taxation, through which government seeks to fund itself, is an example of these illegitimate threats. Government demands money and threatens imprisonment for those who do not comply. If you refuse to pay taxes, then government officials will use increasing force.
Simply put, taxation is theft. Some will say, but government provides us with goods and services so that’s not theft. The reality is you are never given a choice of whether you desired to purchase the services of government. Taxation is theft because of the crucial difference between voluntary and involuntary interactions: consent. Government carries out its control through mechanisms of violence, relying entirely upon involuntary interactions.
“But how could we possibly have a civil society without government?” is the typical response. “What will happen to the roads, the poor, education, protection services, regional defense” The answer is, not surprisingly, voluntary peaceful interaction.
The fact that government services can be best provided by the free market is just a bonus to the moral high ground of voluntaryism. A voluntary society; one without government, is certain to bring about a more prosperous and peaceful society. The principles we live our lives by must be universally consistent; either involuntary interaction is illegitimate, or legitimate. Help humanity evolve by advocating all human interaction be voluntary and embracing the philosophy of peace and prosperity: voluntaryism.