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Is government really necessary?

Most discussions about government start from the assumption that we need a government, but is that really the case? Will society fall apart without it? At this Meetup we'll consider the issue using the following definition of government: an organization with a monopoly on the use of force within a specified geographical area.

Arguments will be heard pro and con while alternatives will be looked at.

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  • Katie

    Darren- thanks for a great topic today, and thanks to all the attendees for such a wonderful discussion. I hope to see all of you at future meetings!

    2 · December 9, 2012

    • Darren W.

      I resemble that remark! & hope we have many more such Meetups. A big thanks to all who attended.

      December 9, 2012

  • Darren W.

    Here is something from a more recent anarchist theorist:

    Society Without a State

    by Murray N. Rothbard

    In attempting to outline how a "society without a state" – that is, an anarchist society – might function successfully, I would first like to defuse two common but mistaken criticisms of this approach. First, is the argument that in providing for such defense or protection services as courts, police, or even law itself, I am simply smuggling the state back into society in another form, and that therefore the system I am both analyzing and advocating is not "really" anarchism.

    1 · December 5, 2012

    • Darren W.

      This sort of criticism can only involve us in an endless and arid dispute over semantics. Let me say from the beginning that I define the state as that institution which possesses one or both (almost always both) of the following properties: (1) it acquires its income by the physical coercion known as "taxation"; and (2) it asserts and usually obtains a coerced monopoly of the provision of defense service (police and courts) over a given territorial area. An institution not possessing either of these properties is not and cannot be, in accordance with my definition, a state. http://www.lewrockwel...­

      December 5, 2012

  • Darren W.

    Something else to get the discussion going:

    The Not So Wild, Wild West

    The purpose of this paper is to take us from the theoretical world of anarchy to a case study of its application. To accomplish our task we will first discuss what is meant by "anarchocapitalism" and present several hypotheses relating to the nature of social organization in this world.

    December 1, 2012

    • Darren W.

      These hypotheses will then be tested in the context of the American West during its earliest settlement. We propose to examine property-rights formulation and protection under voluntary organizations such as private protection agencies, vigilantes, wagon trains, and early mining camps. Although the early West was not completely anarchistic, we believe that government as a legitimate agency of coercion was absent for a long enough period to provide insights into the operation and viability of property rights in the absence of a formal state. The nature of contracts for the provision of "public goods" and the evolution of western "laws" for the period from 1830 to 1900 will provide the data for this case study.­

      December 1, 2012

  • Darren W.

    To prime the pump for this discussion let me post a link to the essay that started the movement for a stateless society:

    The Production of Security

    There are two ways of considering society. According to some, the development of human associations is not subject to providential, unchangeable laws. Rather, these associations, having originally been organized in a purely artificial manner by primeval legislators, can later be modified or remade by other legislators, in step with the progress of social science. In this system the government plays a preeminent role, because it is upon it, the custodian of the principle of authority, that the daily task of modifying and remaking society devolves.

    November 28, 2012

    • Darren W.

      According to others, on the contrary, society is a purely natural fact. Like the earth on which it stands, society moves in accordance with general, preexisting laws. In this system, there is no such thing, strictly speaking, as social science; there is only economic science, which studies he natural organism of society and shows how this organism functions.

      We propose to examine, within the latter system, the function and natural organization of government.­

      November 28, 2012

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