Donald Hank
Anarcho-Capitalism: Fresh fish or yesterday's catch?
By Donald Hank
October 19, 2013

I want to thank Brian White for taking the effort and time to respond to my commentary on AnCap (Anarcho-Capitalism, or AC). His response forced me to think more deeply about the subject.

Because I am always short on time, I can imagine my commentaries are often taken as glib or smart-alecky. This hyperconciseness is not on purpose.

Simply because of existential concerns, I must say this as concisely as possible.

Arguments in debates are like chains, and the opponent is tasked with breaking them. Of course, an opponent who wishes to break a chain would be foolish to try and break each individual link. One link will generally suffice to dispatch the whole argument. For example, I suppose I could focus on pecadillos, like Brian's statement that my 13-paragraph commentary was only one paragraph. But that would be a waste of your time. Here is the weakest link in Brian's argument:
    Being conversational in AC begins with the tacit understanding that the existence of the state completely skews the economic model.
Now, quite honestly, there is nothing I would rather see than the entire state apparatus simply vanishing into thin air. Our western 'democratic' state is thoroughly corrupt and doesn't justify its own existence in any way

However, my best guess is that, despite anarchist pipe dreams, it never will melt away. It is instructive to note that the communists too thought the state would melt away (see, for example, page 137 of this document). In the communist model, this would give rise to a classless society. So how did that work out in reality? An anecdote should suffice.

During my stay in Leningrad, my fellow exchange students and I took a train trip to Tallin. I was in a car with some students and our Russian teacher. We were singing folk songs and I was playing my guitar. Just then, the two tour guides came to the car and summoned me to step out into the corridor, which I did. They invited me to their car and said they had a friend there who was a party member whom they wanted me to meet. I tried to decline because I was having fun and am not impressed by rank. They insisted saying, "you are in that car with a woman who is nothing but a lowly teacher. Here is a chance for you to meet a party member" (party members were, in fact, rare). This was in about 1970. The Revolution had happened 53 years hence.

You'd think that in that many years, no communist in a responsible position (tour guides were intimately connected with the KGB if not actual agents) would be speaking disparagingly of a person simply because of their class status. In fact, what class status? Right?

But, as is well known, the state did not melt away, and it simply got more powerful and intrusive. And these ranking members of Soviet society were cheeky enough to come right out and admit it.

Now what does that have to do with Brian's weakest link, i.e., his implication that Anarcho-Capitalism will put an end to the State as we know it?

Simply put, the AnCap model, like the disarmingly similar communist one before it, calls for the disintegration of the state, as Brian implies. I can't help but wonder how the AnCaps intend to dissolve the State without an initial powerful political mechanism designed to do the demolition work, and you will note that Brian does not provide a clues as to how this would happen. But you say, AnCaps are not part of the political class and have no designs on being part of a State.

You might say that, but only if you aren't paying attention. Ron Paul, who has intimate connections with the Von Mises Institute that sponsors AnCap discussions, is indeed part of the State and has aspired to the presidency. There is a first clue. Further, his son Rand is now considered a possible GOP hopeful. And speaking of political money and power, the money bombs collected for the Ron Paul campaign ran into the millions.

The AnCap strategy will definitely require politicians to go to bat for them, and therein lies the analogy with communism. In fact, when I implied that AnCap has no real-world models, I had forgotten this "melting away of the State" idea of theirs and its stark similarity to communism.

If AnCap is to "succeed," it will indeed succeed in Washington and in other areas of political power, regardless of what its proponents and propagandizers say. Just as the first system that purported to dissolve the State was implemented in the Kremlin.

And that is where the whole thing blows apart, because the theme is to make politics and the State disappear. Yet even at this incipient stage, it is already striving hard for political power. Just imagine how much power it will have accrued once it has picked up political inertia!

Of course, Brian, and all the others who have opposed me (politely so far) have used a subtle form of intimidation, implying that I am simply not knowledgeable enough to talk about (i.e., be "conversational" in) Anarcho-Capitalism. I assume this patronizing approach is their modus operandi with any opponent. Like the liberal left, they thus pretend to be more knowledgeable and their opponents are supposed to feel stupid and slink away.

However, as a language student living in Germany for a year and then later in Russia and Poland, I became hypersensitized to tyranny and the subtle ways in which it stealthily subverts political systems, cultures and whole nations. Spiegel was then publishing numerous articles on the Third Reich, which I devoured (at the time, Spiegel was not available in English). My sensitization to the Eastern tyranny came through personal contacts with natives of East Germany, Poland and Russia, and later China, who told me many stories of woe, such as the way my Russian informants, for example, were interrogated by the KGB when caught consorting with foreigners, or the demoralizing servitude of Poles as economic pawns of Russia. Being sensitive to something through personal contact and by living in a country that has passed through a period of deeply tragic tyranny is not the same as reading books in the library or taking a course, because second hand exposure does not impart the flavor of tyranny.

By way of analogy, you don't need to be a trained taste tester specialized in seafood to distinguish between a fresh fish and yesterday's catch.

© Donald Hank


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

Click to enlarge

Donald Hank

Until July of 2009, Don Hank was operating a technical translation agency out of his home in Wrightsville, PA. He is now retired and residing in Panama with his wife and daughter.

A former language teacher, he holds an undergraduate degree in French and German from Millersville State University (PA), a Master's degree in Russian language and literature from Kutztown State College (also in PA), has studied Chinese for 3 years in Taiwan at the Mandarin Training Center, and is self-taught in other languages, having logged a total of 8 years abroad in total immersion situations.

He is also the founder of Lancaster-York Non-Custodial Parents, a volunteer organization that provides Christian counseling for non-custodial parents.


Receive future articles by Donald Hank: Click here

More by this author


Stephen Stone
The most egregious lies Evan McMullin and the media have told about Sen. Mike Lee

Siena Hoefling
Protect the Children: Update with VIDEO

Stephen Stone
Flashback: Dems' fake claim that Trump and Utah congressional hopeful Burgess Owens want 'renewed nuclear testing' blows up when examined

Jerry Newcombe
Western civilization’s most important and neglected strand

Curtis Dahlgren
God's 'practical joke' on Jew haters

Cherie Zaslawsky
Israel in the crosshairs: Part One

Cliff Kincaid
The next phase of Communist revolution in America

Cliff Kincaid
The Palestinian Removal Act

Victor Sharpe
What occupation?

Tom DeWeese
Setting the agenda for freedom’s comeback

Cliff Kincaid
America’s “collective responsibility”

Rev. Mark H. Creech
Revelation Chapter 19: The Marriage of the Lamb and the Joyous Celebration of the Bride

Joan Swirsky
The Jew haters in power were very carefully taught

Cliff Kincaid
Pope Francis embraces Global Islam and Mother Earth

Jerry Newcombe
Thanksgiving as a way of life
  More columns


Click for full cartoon
More cartoons


Matt C. Abbott
Chris Adamo
Russ J. Alan
Bonnie Alba
Chuck Baldwin
Kevin J. Banet
J. Matt Barber
Fr. Tom Bartolomeo
. . .
[See more]

Sister sites