“Anarcho-capitalism,” “Free Markets,” Jumbo Shrimp, and Other Oxymorons

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by Tools of Control

Lately, I have been having endlessly frustrating debates with people who call themselves “anarcho-capitalists” or “ancaps” and who seem to be stuck in the McCarthy Era as they still view socialism as some kind of “Red Terror.” Ironically, these people are about as fervent in their support of capitalism and their hatred of socialism as the very government they supposedly want to destroy. These debates generally devolve into ad hominem attacks as the people arguing for capitalism tend to lose their cool rather quickly, and like most people they do not want to hear opposing opinions, especially ones supported by facts. I strongly believe in anarchism and autonomy as I believe they are the only foundations for a truly free society, so I have joined many anarchist groups, but it seems like many of the them (in America anyway) are overrun by so-called “ancaps,” which is why I end up having these silly arguments, and it is sad because they don’t understand “anarcho-capitalism” is an oxymoron or a contradiction of terms that are diametrically opposed. People who believe in this contradiction of terms do not understand what anarchism or capitalism is, and so I hope they read this explanation and do their own research, (and read authors that do not just reinforce their own opinions) instead of reacting defensively or reflexively.

Anarchy means a system without rulers. The etymology of the word demonstrates that as its root Greek words are “an” and “arkhos”, which together mean “without ruler.” Yet capitalism inherently has rulers. It puts people with massive capital and monopolies on resources at a much greater advantage over people who don’t have such capital or resources. The super rich also rely on state thugs and governments and their monopoly on violence and force to protect them. In a world without violent governments or police without the ability to use force, there would be no billionaires. Without police and governments that protect the rich and powerful, there is no way common people would allow a handful of incredibly greedy, misanthropic individuals to hoard billions while 80% of the world lives on less than $10 a day. Capitalist managers rely on cops to break worker strikes and quell worker dissent, they rely on state armies to secure resources, and they rely on government subsidies, tax breaks, bailouts, and bribes to politicians and judges for legislation that favors them.

“Ancaps” remind me of these Ron Paul “libertarians” who misunderstand libertarianism and anarchy as meaning a system with no rules where they think their freedom is defined by how much they can hoard and how much they can disregard other people’s rights and freedoms. But our freedom is not defined by how much we can take away the freedom of others. That is a zero sum equation (as is capitalism) and not true freedom. In this system, one person’s loss is always another person’s gain. For example, the loss of someone’s house due to foreclosure is a gain for the bank that lent the homeowner money, and it is also a gain for the person who buys the property from the bank because banks generally sell foreclosed homes for less than they are worth. We are not truly free unless everyone is free. As Martin Luther King said, “An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Anarchy doesn’t mean chaos or anything goes. Perfect anarchy can create widespread peace. Anarchy can have rules but only rules that everyone in the voluntarily created commune or group agrees to.  In an autonomous or anarchic system, members can govern themselves and police their own communities, instead of electing representatives to “represent them” and having mindless police forces that just want to punish, steal, and rule over people. Anarchy is a huge part of the answer, but capitalism is one of the largest problems the world faces. However, “free market” propaganda in the West is so pervasive that many in the “freedom crowd” think it actually has something to do with freedom. “Free markets” don’t mean freedom for common people. They refer to the freedom masters of labor and economies have to exploit and enslave the populace.

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