Some Panarchistic Notions
After reading this text a person should have all the necessary information to understand what panarchy is and how it should work. After that, it is up to each and every one to accept and practice it as the best way, from all points of view, towards a much more satisfactory personal and social life.
Panarchism means "laissez faire, laissez passer" for governmental and non-governmental services and organizations, as many as different people and their groups desire, in any territory and right across all territories and their borders, world-wide. "Laissez-faire, laissez passer" means here, as originally: "Let people produce, let people exchange, freely" and not: let any crime or legal monopoly remain uninterfered with. No constitutional, legal, administrative, juridical, policing, military or diplomatic or decision-making monopoly at all, for anyone, over any dissenters. All services to be freely supplied and individually chosen, quite freely, by volunteers, or refused, in particulars or wholesale. It means voluntarism applied to all institutions. Thus it would give each individual and minority - and, naturally, all majority preferences their own undisturbed choice. "To each the government or non-governmental society of his or her dreams!"
It would be the equivalent to religious freedom or religious tolerance. It would apply in the political, economic and social spheres that panarchistic freedom that we do now take already for granted in the arts, in literature, in poetry, in philosophy, in film and the theatre, in sports, in fashions, in science, in technology, in entertainments, in gardening, in fashions, in hair styles, in professional services, and in the numerous different daily choices in our private lives.
It would deprive all governments - and all private associations - of all coercive and exclusive and exploitative powers, since it would be up to individuals (not to the results of general elections, where individuals have only one vote among millions, once every few years), to cut their connections with any government, any time in emergencies and otherwise after an agreed upon withdrawal period. It would make all tax payments and all war involvements quite voluntary and thus reduce them to a minimum, if not prevent or abolish them altogether.
I hold that ideal volunteer militias for the protection of individual rights, rightfully armed, organized and trained, would be helpful to necessary and in any case justified to realize and maintain panarchism against the remaining intolerant fanatics and "true believers". The explanation of it would require another and long article. [Much on it has been stated in PEACE PLANS 61-63]. However, I believe that non-violent resistance, defence and revolutions could then also be developed and utilized to the utmost, as far as they do go and are found to be effective. Among them would be effective tax strikes, refusals to accept government currency, mass fraternization among conscripts ordered to slaughter each other for the benefit of their rulers, mass desertions from wrongful regimes and open arms policies for deserters and refugees, governments in exile and alliances or neutrality for them, rightful and sensible full employment programmes, based on monetary and financial freedom, for millions of refugees from despotic regimes, a treatment of POWs that would induce the enemy's soldiers to desert, to become allies or neutrals, the unilateral destruction of all ABC mass murder or anti-people "weapons" by the potential victims themselves.
Numerous old and new freedom proverbs, slogans and ideals have already anticipated this freedom framework and opportunity for all. E.g. "To each his own" (the old Latin : "Suum cuique"), "Equal liberty for all", "Equal rights for all", "no privileges or monopolies for anyone!", "Self-government", "self-determination", "independence". "opting out", "alternative institutions", "experimental freedom", "minority autonomy", "Free choice in everything", "freedom of action", "decentralization", "self-management", "self-control", "self-discipline", "free societies", "intentional communities", "utopias for volunteers", "individual sovereignty", "consumer sovereignty", "competition", "cooperation", "voluntarism", "voluntaryism", "autonomy", "autarchy" (in Robert LeFevre's meaning), "anarchism", "individualism", "libertarianism", "capitalism", "collectivism", "socialism", "tolerance", "mutualism", "radicalism", "freedom of association", "freedom to dissociate oneself", "opting out", "enfranchisement", "liberation", "the one-man revolution". "Mutual convenience relationships" vs. "single convenience relationships" (Don Werkheiser). "No one is good enough to rule any other man without his consent." "Follow your own drummer!"
It could satisfy even the rightful, i.e. self-concerned, aspirations of any kind of conservative, reactionary and authoritarian. Democracy, republicanism, cosmopolitanism, humanism, communism and any other ism, that you like or know of, could have their panarchistic realization for their true believers, which would deprive them of any justification or rational excuse for attempting to force their preferred system upon dissenters. In other words still, panarchism means "doing your own thing" to yourself - at your own expense and risk.
Only the application of all such terms is different from their conventional usage and much more general and consistently and radically applied The "right to vote" and "consent" do get a new meaning with this revolutionary reform, too. It would do away with all borders and frontiers and "spheres of influence" - except those around individuals and their rightful property, whether private and individual or corporative, partnership, collective or cooperative property. The subjective value theory would find a new application - and would lead to the tolerant practice of all other value theories, too and of "value-free" philosophies - among their true believers, without any of them constituting any threat to the non-believers.
and its diverse panarchies for their believers can be introduced
peacefully, in a reformist way or forcefully, in a revolutionary, defence
or liberation situation.
Fully and consistently explained, publicized and used, panarchism can become largely self-realizing, gaining allies among all isms and movements and parties, drawing the majority of all people to it, excepting only incurable criminals, fanatics and terrorists with victims. This model has also the capacity to reduce crime, fanaticism and terrorism to a minimum, namely that among mentally defective people. With this programme all wars could become reduced to limited and rightful "police" actions, exclusively against the real war criminals and their fanatical followers.
Its experimental freedom and full publicity for it would help to solve all solvable social problems as fast as possible, with numerous different and autonomous experiments being undertaken at the same time by those most interested in making them work to prove their case. "Actions speak louder than words." Believe it or not, mass unemployment and inflation could be permanently ended within a day - by people who know their individual economic rights and the technique to properly apply them. So far, among a million unemployed or a million inflation victims you are lucky to find one seriously interested in such options. The sanction of the victims is all too widely spread. But full experimental freedom would permit a few to give a lead and practical demonstration of how well full freedom works for them.
Territorial and coercive monopolism hasn't offered any generally satisfactory solutions in the past or present and is not likely to do so in the future. Its very nature and the diverse nature and interests and ideas of man prevent that. Their territorial "solutions" involve more aggression than defence, more injustice than justice, more crime rather than less crime, more poverty rather than less, more unemployment and inflation rather than none. They are not even ashamed of sending refugees back to their despotic rulers. Territorial sovereignty and "independence" has many and unavoidable wrongs, flaws and risks and may still bring about a general holocaust. It is in no way better than coercive and exclusive religious hierarchies were.
would abolish the major preconditions for all wars, civil wars and revolutions.
Perhaps most important of all, panarchism would do away with the threats arising from the mere existence of ABC mass murder or anti-people devices and of territorial governments able and willing to use them. E.g. no nuclear targets would remain nor any war and peace making monopoly. Motives and means for conducting international wars would tend to disappear and almost everybody would gain a personal interest in becoming also a disarmament inspector against the build-up of ABC mass murder devices by anyone, anywhere and at any time. Imagine the almost general outcry of all kinds of religious and non-religious people if the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant Churches tried to arm themselves with nuclear "weapons" against each other. Everybody would realize that his own fate would then be at stake and that of mankind. No nuclear strength advocates would then get far with such an aspiration. Most religious people, today, would not even entertain such a notion in the first place. It would be too obviously wrong, self-defeating and absurd. [On this aspect consult especially my book "An ABC Against Nuclear War", reproduced in PEACE PLANS 16-18].
Would anything significant remain of the present exclusive and coercive privileges of territorial governments, once panarchism is realized? Anything that anarchists could rightly object to, although it would only be applied by others to themselves, at their expense and risk? I cannot think of anything. The abortionists would tend to abort themselves, undisturbed. The anti-abortionists would cherish the lives of all their children. Only in the far future would the vast majority be likely to consider them as we consider now child sacrifices or child murders. The remaining minority of abortionists would THEN be treated like criminals with victims. Their unborn children would then no longer be considered as their "property". And transplantation options would exist for the unborn into willing and able mothers.
However, the few so far existing panarchists would have to become able and willing to overcome the territorial statist prejudices and fixed ideas in the heads of the presently overwhelming majority. Here the technologies and media of the information revolution provide more and better avenues for enlightenment than were ever available before. These avenues can also provide better enlightenment tools and references than ever before, faster and much cheaper and easier ones, too. For instance, the first 17 volumes of my ON PANARCHY encyclopaedia are out, on 17 microfiche (19 by January 2001) - and there are several supplementary volumes in my series. If man refuses to take up the discussion of this alternative, first in the alternative media, then, indeed, he may wipe himself off the face of the Earth. He may thereby have proven himself to be after all not a rational and moral enough animal - and would thus have vacated this precious planet for other species and their development, who might do better.
Exterritorial autonomy for all volunteer communities, based upon individual secessionism and associationism, is, so to speak, just the other side of the coin, which has so far largely been left out of the discussion of public affairs. Once a sufficient public discussion of the panarchistic options for everybody would occur, the victory of panarchism would be almost certain. The best arguments and facts are all on its side - as well as the very nature of man.
We have all been and still are disfranchised regarding our most important individual vote, the one which would permit us to secede from any majority and to establish or join an exterritorially autonomous minority, whether statist or anarchistic, of our own individual choice and for the realization of our own ideals, independent of majority opinions or the opinions of presumed experts - but, at our own expense and risk only.
In short, panarchism means governments and non-governmental societies by individual choices, everywhere, for those who choose them, rather than territorial impositions upon any non-criminal dissenters. It offers a peace-promoting and just freedom framework for people as they are (apart from their remaining territorial prejudices ) rather as they ought to be, in our opinion. To anarchists it offers the fastest road to their kind of anarchism for themselves and it literally disarms their opponents and turns them at least into neutrals, if not outright allies, in an international federation that has only one platform: full exterritorial autonomy for all who desire it for themselves, regardless of whatever internal policies they want to unanimously apply among their volunteers. Sufficient unanimity would remain assured by upholding individual secessionism.
All kind of anarchies for all kind of anarchists AND all kinds of archies for all kinds of archists. Who could and seriously object against this non-compromising compromise, offering to each his own, the essence of justice?
Is this a completely utopian and impractical approach? Just consider the number of individual and panarchistic (exterritorial, autonomous and voluntary) choices we do already or still enjoy as Australians, in our private lives, compared with the relatively few extra ones, in the so-called public affairs, we would need to achieve the full freedom of panarchism. In other words, the remaining "public affairs" should become denationalized, privatized, individualized, collectivised, cooperatized options and choices for individuals and their voluntary groupings and communities. No longer any imposed package deals. Each to fill his "shopping cart" only with the goods and services that he really wants and is willing to pay for.
self-help, information and exchange network and the Internet do already
provide somewhat analogous services to those of panarchies, though so far
on a such smaller and more limited scale.
Consider also how many people, their lives, liberties, rights health and property and earnings are still and daily sacrificed on the altars of the new territorial "Gods", from "big brothers" to "democratically elected leaders", beginning perhaps with the estimated daily 40,000 child victims that could be saved or that could save themselves under panarchic liberties. (Numerous legal restrictions keep them starving, sick, ignorant, in poverty, orphaned without guardians or adoptive parents and tied to places where they can presently only vegetate or die in misery).
Atheism hasn't as yet conquered the world and made all religions harmless but religious freedom or tolerance did bring religious peace and gradual enlightenment wherever and to the extent that it was realized. The same could be said for anarchism and panarchism in the political, economic and social spheres. All people are not yet ready for some kind of anarchism. But, by all means give them the anarchist options. Just do not force any one of them upon any person. Most find it harder to give up statism than to give up e.g. smoking, drugs, alcohol, meat eating, over-eating or other habits. When you can successfully talk all people out of all such habits then you would have a chance to merely TALK them out of statism. But if you demonstrate to them, daily, in their neighbourhood, how much better off you can be as a free person, THEN you have a good chance to get them to join you, sooner or later. Whether they understand the theoretical reasons for your successes or not, they would tend to imitate your actions.
Anarchists and libertarians should be among the first to take an interest in this option and to discuss it in full, including all its historical precedents (personal law, capitulations, consular jurisdiction, extraterritorial treaties, the millet system, the cof or sof of the Berbers, governments in exile, autonomous trading posts), the large present analogies of religious freedom and freedom of the high seas and the remaining traces of personal law and of the original diplomatic immunity. The latter, alas, has been deteriorated, by more or less criminal governments, to a state of affairs where it grants immunity even for crimes with victims. At worst the offenders are sent home! The practice under competing personal law systems rarely went that far away from justice.
Under panarchism the State would not be destroyed or abolished but gradually competed out of existence, neglected, by-passed, boycotted or ignored. Right away it would be totally deprived only of its wrongful exclusive and coercive territorial powers. People are not the property or playthings of governments. Individuals should become free to hire or fire governments, as far as their own individual "public" affairs are concerned. Only that option would turn governments into servants rather than masters.
Panarchists could fully utilize all the internal factions and movements and dissatisfactions and utilize all their centrifugal forces to "atomize" and "fragment" or split up all excessive State powers, i.e. all State powers that go beyond the consent of individual victims. They would aim at unity only among volunteers and realize the dictum of Caroline Chisholm: "Nothing but what is voluntary deserves the name 'national'."
Consensual, voluntary subordination would remain - but only as long as individuals found it tolerable for themselves. Each member of the remaining and only exterritorially autonomous States, intentional communities and free societies could engage in a "one man revolution" regarding his own affairs via individual secessionism. No one would have any longer a licence to revolutionize or reform the affairs of any others against their will. Thus, with each free to live according to the own tastes, fashions and prejudices, the total amount of dissatisfaction, anger and frustration would be rapidly and continuously reduced.
Panarchies would have the best possible safety valve against abuses and the best possible guaranties for the progress or their members.
Maybe, in the very far future a complete unanimity on public affairs would be achievable. I doubt it and am not prepared to hold my breath till then or do without full liberty for myself until all subscribe to the same ideal of full liberty for themselves.