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Do we need a government?

Under anarcho-capitalism, government need not disappear. Instead, people could create legitimate governments, voluntary associations that pool resources for defense of rights. This is, after all, what Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence said a government was. Assisting each other in defense of liberty is certainly a legitimate activity; compelling others to participate in our scheme, however, is not. As the Declaration says, governments "deriv[e] their just powers from the consent of the governed," and the governed should be entitled to "laying its [government's] foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." There's my right to anarcho-capitalism, under American philosophy. I know for a fact that democracy is not most likely to effect Safety and Happiness, and according to Jefferson I had the right to lay the foundation for a new system, since I don't consent to the old one. Of course, as a Christian, I am directed by God to honor "the powers that be" (Romans 13:1), just or unjust.

This principle also gives others the right to establish their own systems. Want to live under communism? Under anarcho-capitalism, that would be allowed. Establish your system, invite people to participate, and do things as you will within your group. Just count me out. That's the key: you have the right to your system, but you do not have the right to make other people participate. You could also set up a democracy, if you wish, but again, only those who wanted to participate would have to. People from different systems wouldn't be forced to submit to the will of others; they would only have to respect their rights and property. (If they didn't, they'd find justice enforced by the government of their victims. Anarcho-capitalism realizes Jefferson's ideal of governments merely being rights-securing organizations.) If you had somebody you really wanted to obey for life, you could pledge your fealty to him and his offspring and set up a monarchy. All of these are legitimate, to the extent that they do not do anything which their members could not do, to the extent that they use force only to defend the rights of their members, rather than to take what does not belong to them and compel all of society to do things their way.

Do we need a government? Probably most of us do, in some form or other. But do we need to use force to compel innocent people who have not violated our rights to participate in our government? Not at all!

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