Give It Up!

Have you gone anarcho? I mean, have you given up on the idea that the government can do things for us that we (society) can’t do? Millions of people have taken this step.

I did this years ago, and it has saved me an astonishing amount of frustration, money, and time.

Getting to that point can be a wonderful intellectual adventure — one that never stops.

In Laissez Faire Today, I’ve published the introduction to this week’s ebook of the week: Gary Chartier’s Conscience of an Anarchist. The author is Jacob Huebert, a Chicago attorney has travelled the similar intellectual path as Chartier, myself, and millions of others.

How significant is this work? It is the culmination of centuries of intellectual advance. It is a manifesto, but you don’t need to brace yourself for pyrotechnics and polemical bromides. The author writes in a measured and calm way, making reasonable points from the first page to the last. He ends with a great assessment of the average person’s role in pushing history forward.

After reading Huebert’s introduction, consider joining the Laissez Faire Club for $10 a month (if you are not already a member) and getting this book and our entire archive of books, plus so many other benefits.

When I was in college — ah, those naive years when we chase around failed ideas of the past — I attended political rallies, rallied my tribe, screamed my head off at the other guys, pushed for my guys to gain control to kick out the other guys, watched the ups and downs incessantly, read and parroted the party rags, and even forked over money to the guy who would save the day.

Then, one day, I suddenly realized I had been betrayed.

Then I looked at history. It’s always the same. Political rule never results in what you think it should. Why? After reading Ludwig von Mises, Henry Hazlitt, and Murray Rothbard, it finally dawned on me. The government doesn’t do anything that the market can’t do better.

I ticked through the list in my mind. Helping the poor, getting people health care, providing education, building roads, providing retirement income, inspiring virtue, boosting the economy, making people secure. Even the whole court system is a mess, and so people resort to private solutions…and profitably.

Plus, government does tons of stuff that shouldn’t be done at all, like giving privileges to elites, bombing innocent people, meddling in business where it has no business, taxing people into poverty, and debauching the currency.

Finally, I gave in and embraced an idea that was floating around the margins of opinion at the time but has since become huge. We don’t need this thing called the state. Whatever problems exist in the world are best solved — or attempted to be solved — by people themselves. The politicians and bureaucrats contribute nothing, and they cause an astonishing amount of destruction.

What liberation that moment was! It was a bit scary at first to think this way. Then it became easier. Then the world started making a lot more sense to be. This step helped frame up events. I could see things for what they were without all the political illusions. And crucially, I realized that I had to take responsibility for my own life rather than banking on someone else’s (sometimes deadly) pipe dream.