In a Free Society...


Imagine a free world where there is no state. This is a society where security, the provision of law, contract enforcement, and courts and other institutions of justice are available on the market. In such a situation, almost everything we hear on the news would sound ridiculous, inefficient and even criminal.

As there would be no taxation, anyone standing on a podium promising handouts, subsidies, tariffs, quotas or anything of that sort would be considered a buffoon.

In a free society there would be no institutionalized politics that would affect every one; there would be no legislation and no legislators. Instead of politics there would be company policies and contracts that establish the relationships between groups. Thus, there would be no government lobbying. The state is like a piñata; those able to extract power and influence from it obtain a special advantage at the expense of everyone else.

Because education would no longer be managed by governments, there would be no district superintendent (or even a school district), no budget fights or voter approval on the budget. And of course, property tax would not exist.

Though the right of collective bargaining would be respected, unions would have no special "group rights" of their own. Employers would not be forced to deal with union representatives.

Giant conglomerate companies could probably exist, but would be unlike what we see today (think Big Oil). They would not have exclusive monopolies or special treatment. Any land that they wanted to use they would have to purchase legitimately on the market (say good-bye to the thievery called eminent domain). If they wanted to dispose of chemicals they would have to do it on their own land as there would be no state to grant them pollution permits. When externalities are reduced through the enforcement of property rights, resources can be allocated more efficiently.

In a free society there would be no medical cartels. Instead of having a government monopoly in medical education and certification, there would probably be a variety of decentralized organizations handling health care. Hospitals and clinics, for example, to attract customers, would want to hire employees with good qualifications and education. Further, because most hospitals would be insured, insurance requirements might mandate that professionals met certain criteria such as certification and experience. This would be handled by the market.

But best of all, there would be no such thing as a politician (much less a career politician). People who would propose wars and intervention; praise socialized medicine; support manipulation of the money supply and interest rates; control the layout of parking lots and the amounts of water that must come out of toilets per flush — all these people would be thought of as being out of their minds and potentially criminals. Indeed, in an environment when towns and cities are protected by patrol and restitution services, the thought of taxing society at gunpoint to protect them from people who would steal from them (also at gunpoint) would at once seem stupid. (Another advantage to getting the state out of the police business would be the dramatic reduction in police brutality and taserings. How long do you think a company would last if it killed its customers?)

Go to any major news web site or watch the nightly television news. Most of what is reported is directly or indirectly an act of the state. From wars and intervention to the global subprime crisis and inflation — these are nothing but horrible and evil acts of governments. It doesn’t stop there, however. Keep watching. Protestors and drug users and arrested are jailed and a happy prosecutor claims that he is cleaning up our lives. The censors pat themselves on the back for having kept dangerous content from the children (yes, it’s about the children every time!). Airport inspectors claim to keep us safe but reports say that bombs and guns go through security quite often. The various government agencies that control what can we eat suddenly reverse themselves! And so it goes on in an endless cycle of abuses, scandals, cynicism and corruption.

Though I am a "free marketeer" for ethical reasons first (the state is evil), sometimes I yearn for a free society just because the transition period would be a delight to watch. I can imagine world leaders scrambling to find honest employment. Directors of giant government programs might have to work for a living and actually produce goods and services that others want. Even the local police department will have to openly compete with new security companies. What fun that would be.