What Empirical Evidence Supports Anarchism?

Anarcholibertarians ask for a complete overturning of how the American polity provides for its common defense and secures its members' right to life, liberty, and property. According to the three leading indices of freedom, only 13 nations (out of almost 200) are currently more free than America. America's constitutional republican framework has been by far the most successful in human history. It has been increasing personal and civil liberties almost monotonically for two centuries, and America is among the most economically free nations in the world, with a per-capita GDP exceeded only by Norway and Luxembourg. Our 300 million people live and work in a continent-wide nation with a $13 trillion economy built on a twenty-first century technological infrastructure. By contrast, anarcholibertarians can merely wave toward a couple of medieval island nations with populations and population densities four orders of magnitude less than those of modern industrialized states. As great as America is, we have detailed, redundant, and current empirical evidence backing up the mainstream findings of modern economic science about how market-oriented reforms within the statist framework can make America even more free and even more prosperous. Anarcholibertarians have nothing of the kind to support their moralizing a priori claim that America would be a better place if we completely dismantled our system of rights protection in favor of a promise by liberty-lovers to set a good example of aggression abstinence.

History provides many examples of situations in which there was no functioning monopoly on force-initiation over a significant region for a significant period of time, for any non-embarrassing standard of significance. There apparently has not been a single case in the entire history of organized crime across hundreds of cities in scores of nations over multiple centuries in which the unregulated market for protection behaved as predicted by anarcholibertarian theory. This track record becomes even more dismal if you include all the cases in history in which there have been regions lacking effective sovereignty by a central authority. This amounts to an empirical falsification of the anarcholibertarian theory of protection markets that by the standards of social science is spectacularly conclusive.

Every single episode in which there wasn't a monopoly on force-initiation over a region becomes a test case for anarcholibertarianism. Despite the literally hundreds of such test cases, the only purported successes advanced for the theory involve a few thousand pre-industrial farmers sprinkled sparsely across medieval Iceland and the frontier of colonial Pennsylvania. In contrast to how even bastard forms of minarchism have been so spectacularly successful compared to all other significant social experiments, the track record of anarcholibertarianism is simply embarrassing.

No experiment in anarchy has ever been characterized by

  • hundreds of millions of people expecting universal (and relatively uniform) access to a justice system across a continental geographic extent
  • skies accessible to nuclear ballistic missiles
  • coasts accessible to aggressive navies using e.g. steel armor, rifled cannons, turbine propulsion, etc.
  • borders accessible to aggressive armored mechanized armies
  • tens of millions of persons living in cities with densities >= 10,000/km^2, and the associated problems of
    • provision and regulation of streets
    • power distribution
    • water distribution
    • sewage removal
    • conflagration risk
  • tens of millions of persons living on water transported from hundreds of kilometers away
  • tens of millions of persons living on food transported from thousands of kilometers away
  • groundwater demand intense enough to have subsided entire towns below sea level
  • flood control and silting problems requiring coordination throughout watersheds inhabited by tens of millions of people
  • population surpluses, prosperity differentials, and inexpensive transportation technology that under open borders could double a society's population in a decade
  • diffused-source pollution causing untraceable damage not only regionally but hundreds of miles away (e.g. acid rain) or even farther (ozone depletion, greenhouse gases)
  • antibiotics whose overuse creates drug-resistant super-germs
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