Voluntarism FAQ

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Voluntarism

Anarcho-capitalism (also referred to as voluntaryism, or Voluntarism, free market anarchism, market anarchism, private-property anarchism and libertarian anarchy) is a libertarian political philosophy that advocates the elimination of the state in favor of individual sovereignty in a free market. In an anarcho-capitalist society, law enforcement, courts, and all other security services would be provided by privately funded competitors rather than through taxation, and money would be privately and competitively provided in an open market. Therefore, personal and economic activities under anarcho-capitalism would be regulated by privately run law rather than through politics.

Various theorists have differing, though similar, legal philosophies which are considered to fall under "anarcho-capitalism." The first well-known version of anarcho-capitalism was formulated by Austrian School economist and libertarian Murray Rothbard in the mid-twentieth century, synthesizing elements from the Austrian School of economics, classical liberalism, and nineteenth century American individualist anarchists Lysander Spooner and Benjamin Tucker (rejecting their labor theory of value and the normative implications they derived from it). In Rothbardian anarcho-capitalism, there would first be the implementation of a mutually agreed-upon libertarian "legal code which would be generally accepted, and which the courts would pledge themselves to follow." This legal code would recognize sovereignty of the individual and the principle of non-aggression.

Voluntarist philosophy. entails the belief that the initiation of force is always wrong. This does not mean that force is wrong. It should be obvious that the voluntarist is not saying that the use of force in self defense is wrong. What's not so obvious is whether or not the use of force in retaliation is wrong.

I'll give my opinion on retaliation. Since the initiation of force is wrong, anything obtained in the process of or due to the initiation of force is not rightfully owned by the one who took it. It is right to cause the property to be returned to it's owner.If it's necessary, force may be used to accomplish this. If the thing taken cannot be recovered from the criminal, it's equivalent in value must be recovered insofar as that is possible. It may also be appropriate for the cost of recovering what was taken to be recovered from the criminal. If necessary, force may be used to accomplish all of this.

These principles can be applied to any dispute, not just those that involve theft. Any injury to a person or rightly owned property involves loss or what can be called damages. When this is caused by the action of an individual, that individual is liable to replace or make reparations for the loss or damages. Loss or damages can also be incurred by fraud. The voluntarist's position on fraud is the same as that of anyone else. It might be helpful, though, to explain the sense in which fraud is addressed by the nonaggression principle.

As defined by the nonaggression principle,aggression means any unsolicited act that physically affects the person or property of another. Insofar as deception is an unsolicited act (it may be rightly assumed that no one ever asks to be deceived), since fraud involves obtaining property or service by deception or under false pretenses, fraud can be said to be aggression. Personally, I find it easier to just say that it's wrong to obtain anything under false pretenses.

Voluntarism can be summarized by the nonaggression principle which says that aggression is inherently immoral.

It follows, from all of this, that any government that demands the property of any individual and will take that property without the voluntarily given consent of the individual should not exist. Where anarchy is defined as a people without a ruler, it is okay to say that the voluntarist is also an anarchist.

Voluntary consent can only be given in the absence of duress, coercion and deception.