Is Market Anarchy a form of misguided idealism?

Market Anarchy fails to convince many people, even when they acknowledge that it is a valid position, and that its arguments are superior to those of statism. The failure stems, as far as I can see, from the belief that Market Anarchy, even if right, is a form of misguided idealism, and that it’s “nice in theory” but “unworkable in practice.”

Of course one must point out that there should be no difference between “theory” and “practice,” if a “theory” is valid and justified, insofar as validity and justification means to reflect the “practical” evidence at hand. If the theory is correct, then it is not “unworkable in practice.” If the theory is invalid, then it will be “unworkable in practice.”

Now let’s look at Market Anarchy specifically. People believe that we can’t change the current system of things, and that therefore we should not think of Market Anarchy as a viable alternative. One thing I will say about this: if we accept this reasoning, then no social change whatsoever should ever be supported. We could say the exact same thing to the early abolitionists, or the early civil rights activists. And yet we now all agree that slavery was wrong and that racial or sexual discrimination was wrong. So this belief is nonsense.

Sure, one person can’t change anything right now. But Market Anarchy is still an ideology worth upholding, if only for the personal benefits (true morality, freedom for one’s own mind, taking responsibility for one’s life, rejecting the demands of authority whenever possible and keeping whatever time or money they entail). And for those who want the satisfaction of working for a better society, well there’s that too.

Truth is valuable because truth improves our judgments as moral agents. An ignorant person cannot be a moral person. An ignorant person may feel as if he is noble even when he is at his most depraved- especially when he is at his most depraved.

A related argument that a convinced-but-unrelenting statist might use is the Nozick argument that government is the product of voluntary cooperation, and that therefore, even if voluntaryism is true, we should accept it as the desirable state of affairs. This is a preposterous argument, given that we know that all States originate in the organization of tribute (what we now call taxation) or are offshoots of already-existing States. The very origin of the State comes from the need to organize and regiment pillage and war. Cooperation does not enter at any stage of the equation.

Neither is this true today. In no way does cooperation enter at any point, and certainly there is no market involved, since the State has already taken over the market by coercion and “law.” Government is not the winner of consumer demand, it imposes itself over the consumers, who become losers-taxpayers (and when they break the arbitrary rules of the ruling class, criminals). Markets are based on persuasion. Government is based on force.

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