I was having a back-and-forth email conversation with a listener that was coming to a close, so he sent off one more email saying "You're a good man, even though you're an anarchist." So I tongue-in-cheek replied "And you're a good man, even though you think I should be shot for not handing my money over to the state." But then he replied back, "I don't think you should be shot for not handing Caesar the shekels, where did you come up with that?" So I wrote back with a bit of an explanation. After all, you can't accuse someone of being a thug and then not explain why, right?
by Nick Coons
Interactions in the marketplace happen voluntarily. If you want to buy a soda for a dollar and someone wants to sell you a soda for a dollar, then the transaction occurs. If one of you doesn't want the transaction to occur, then it doesn't. Totally voluntary and peaceful.
The government, on the other hand, backs up everything by force, and that force is "up to and including murder." Let me elaborate. If I don't pay my taxes, then I'll start receiving letters telling me that my taxes are past due, but I ignore the letters (why should I have to pay something I never agreed to pay? and what's the normal way to handle letters of random people you don't associate with demanding money from you?). And they'll send me more letters, which I'll ignore. Then they'll start calling me, and I'll tell them that I haven't bought anything from them and I never agreed to give them money, so I don't owe them anything.
Eventually, they'll send someone to my house to collect money, and I'll tell them the same thing I told them when they called. Then they'll sue me, and they'll send someone to my house with a piece of paper that says I have to appear at a certain place at a certain time. But I never agreed to that either, so I'm just going to peacefully go about my business. Finally, more people will show up at my house, this time with weapons. When they knock on my door, I'll tell them to go away, because I'm still not interested in dealing with them, and I never bought anything from them nor entered into any agreement to pay them anything.
But they're not going away. This time, they break down my door. And as with any home intruder, I attempt to defend myself and my property, but there are too many of them with too many guns, so as I try to act, they shoot me.
To be sure, I have not entered into any agreement to that obligated me to make payment to them. To contrast, I do enter into an agreement with my utility company to provide me with electricity, so I am bound to pay them by my own choosing. This is not the case with the government. Let's take another example.
If I'm using pot (which I've never done and have no interest in, just illustrating an example) and a police officer witnesses it, he's going to demand that I allow him to restrain me and then to get into his car. But I don't just get into people's cars when they tell me to, especially if I'm just peacefully minding my own business. So he'll become more aggressive, he'll draw a gun and repeat his demands. When I try to defend myself, he'll shoot me.
This is how EVERY SINGLE LAW works. A government law is essentially "do what we say, or we will shoot you." Now in certain cases, I am okay with that. For instance, if someone tries to rob, rape, or murder someone, then it's okay to shoot them, or otherwise use force to stop them. But this isn't a government only function, anybody can exercise this right.. we commonly call it self-defense (or libertarians might get all technical and say "retaliatory force").
The thing that is unique to government is that they're allowed to make up rules and shoot you if you don't follow them. No one else is allowed to do that. So if you support government, then it means you support shooting peaceful people for breaking arbitrary government rules (like not paying taxes, or anything else that's otherwise peaceful). To be clear, an "anarchist" is one who does not support government. Thus, I pose the question in the title of this article -- Are you an anarchist, or a statist thug? Sorry, there are only these two possibilities, no others.
Murder In The Streets - Nick Coons
Risks and Opportunities - Richard Sutton
Self Defense - Richard Sutton