Well, individualist anarchists are many things! We're liberals in the sense of Adam Smith, and conservatives in the sense of Barry Goldwater. We're individualists like Ayn Rand, and libertarians like Thomas Jefferson.… And of course we're also anarchists, like Lysander Spooner, David Friedman, and Murray Rothbard.
Don't worry if you don't know who some of these people are (though I encourage you to find out about them — especially the last three). They are some of the people who advanced the beliefs we hold, but individualist anarchism is more than just a hodgepodge of different ideas. It is a comprehensive belief system that upholds individual liberty and opposes government involvement on every issue. (This is also commonly known as libertarian anarchism or anarcho-capitalism.)
Like liberals, we believe that government should stay out of people's personal lives, but like conservatives, we also embrace laissez-faire economics. We don't believe in “capitalism,” if what you mean by this is the present system — but we do believe in a true free market that would respect individual rights far more.
We reject the notion that government is essential to “set the rules of the market,” or that it even has a right to do so. Similarly, we see private methods of crime control as far more promising than the police state of today.
It is impossible to say exactly how people would live in an anarchist society, because there is no pre-planned structure, but one thing is certain: Anything people wanted done would have to be done without the help of government. (It could be argued than an anarcho-capitalist society exists in Northern Somalia right now, but other anarchist societies might not look anything like it.)
People might live in communes or rely on mutual aid societies to protect their individual rights. They might live much as they do today, but simply buy protection from crime on the market. (This is a common model.) People would certainly be free not to buy into any of these institutions, but they might have to pack some ammo to protect themselves from common criminals.
The world we envision is one of spontaneous, decentralized order. It is coordinated by economic networks, not government bureaucrats. In it, our protectors do not ask for our vote, merely voluntary association. If you are dissatisfied with what you receive from them, you need not elect new politicians; all you have to do is switch providers.
Though this is a world that would certainly appeal to idealists, it is also one that could run on people's self-interested motives. This is not a utopia, and things would probably not run perfectly, but they probably would be better than under any form of government.
We invite you to join us and help fight the battle for liberty. Students and non-students alike are welcome.
Learn more about these ideas
Return to the Individualist Anarchist Society Home Page