Ayn Rand’s Ten Most Anarchist Moments
While Ayn Rand was nominally a statist, many of the passages from her works point toward anarchism as a political system that is compatible with Objectivism.
The Source of individual Rights
The source of man’s rights is not divine law or congressional law, but the law of identity. A is A—and Man is Man. Rights are conditions of existence required by man’s nature for his proper survival. If man is to live on earth, it is right for him to use his mind, it is right to act on his own free judgment, it is right to work for his values and to keep the product of his work. If life on earth is his purpose, he has a right to live as a rational being: nature forbids him the irrational. Any group, any gang, any nation that attempts to negate man’s rights, is wrong, which means: is evil, which means: is anti-life. http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/individual_rights.html#order_4
By identifying the fact that the source of rights is natural law, she destroys the notion that government is a necessary condition for rights to exist.
The Basic Political Principle
“The basic political principle of the Objectivist ethics is: no man may initiate the use of physical force against others. No man——or group or society or government—has the right to assume the role of a criminal and initiate the use of physical compulsion against any man. Men have the right to use physical force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use. The ethical principle involved is simple and clear-cut: it is the difference between murder and self-defense.” – Ayn Rand “The Objectivist Ethics” (emphasis added)
As I argued in What is an AnarchObjectivist? this basic political principle forbids any initiation of force, including the establishment of monopolies, such as the minarchist system she later advocated.
Speaking of Monopolies
A “coercive monopoly” is a business concern that can set its prices and production policies independent of the market, with immunity from competition, from the law of supply and demand. An economy dominated by such monopolies would be rigid and stagnant.
The necessary precondition of a coercive monopoly is closed entry—the barring of all competing producers from a given field. This can be accomplished only by an act of government intervention, in the form of special regulations, subsidies, or franchises. Without government assistance, it is impossible for a would-be monopolist to set and maintain his prices and production policies independent of the rest of the economy. For if he attempted to set his prices and production at a level that would yield profits to new entrants significantly above those available in other fields, competitors would be sure to invade his industry. http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/monopoly.html#order_2
No Compromise between Freedom and Government
“There can be no compromise between freedom and government controls; to accept “just a few controls” is to surrender the principle of inalienable individual rights and to substitute for it the principle of the government’s unlimited, arbitrary power, thus delivering oneself into gradual enslavement. As an example of this process, observe the present domestic policy of the United States.“ http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/mixed_economy.html#order_3
Minarchism not compatible with Capitalism
“It is the basic, metaphysical fact of man’s nature—the connection between his survival and his use of reason—that capitalism recognizes and protects.
In a capitalist society, all human relationships are voluntary. Men are free to cooperate or not, to deal with one another or not, as their own individual judgments, convictions, and interests dictate. They can deal with one another only in terms of and by means of reason, i.e., by means of discussion, persuasion, and contractual agreement, by voluntary choice to mutual benefit. The right to agree with others is not a problem in any society; it is the right to disagree that is crucial. It is the institution of private property that protects and implements the right to disagree—and thus keeps the road open to man’s most valuable attribute (valuable personally, socially, and objectively): the creative mind.” http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/capitalism.html#order_5
On Galts Gulch
“We are not a state here, not a society of any kind – we’re just a voluntary association of men held together by nothing but every man’s self-interest. They say that it’s hard for men to agree. You’d be surprised how easy it is – when both parties hold as their moral absolute that neither exists for the sake of the other and that reason is their only means of trade.” – Midas Mulligan, Atlas Shrugged
“I am speaking to those who desire to live and to recapture the honor of their soul. Now that you know the truth about your world, stop supporting your own destroyers. The evil of the world is made possible by nothing but the sanction you give it. Withdraw your sanction. Withdraw your support. Do not try to live on your enemies’ terms or to win at a game where they’re setting the rules. Do not seek the favor of those who enslaved you, do not beg for alms from those who have robbed you, be it subsidies loans or jobs, do not join their team to recoup what they’ve taken by helping them rob your neighbors.” – – John Galt, Atlas Shrugged
A statist is a man who believes that some men have the right to force, coerce, enslave, rob, and murder others. To be put into practice, this belief has to be implemented by the political doctrine that the government—the state—has the right to initiate the use of physical force against its citizens. How often force is to be used, against whom, to what extent, for what purpose and for whose benefit, are irrelevant questions. The basic principle and the ultimate results of all statist doctrines are the same: dictatorship and destruction. The rest is only a matter of time. http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/statism.html#order_4
The Nature of Government Action
No individual or private group or private organization has the legal power to initiate the use of physical force against other individuals or groups and to compel them to act against their own voluntary choice. Only a government holds that power. The nature of governmental action is: *coercive *action. The nature of political power is: the power to force obedience under threat of physical injury—the threat of property expropriation, imprisonment, or death. http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/government.html#order_5
Statism and War
If men want to oppose war, it is statism that they must oppose. So long as they hold the tribal notion that the individual is sacrificial fodder for the collective, that some men have the right to rule others by force, and that some (any) alleged “good” can justify it—there can be no peace within a nation and no peace among nations. http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/war.html#order_4
In a fully free society, taxation—or, to be exact, payment for governmental services—would be voluntary. Since the proper services of a government—the police, the armed forces, the law courts—are demonstrably needed by individual citizens and affect their interests directly, the citizens would (and should) be willing to pay for such services, as they pay for insurance. http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/taxation.html#order_1
As George H Smith noted “The principle of “voluntary taxation” reduces Rand’s “government” to a free-market protection agency, which, like every business, must either satisfy its customers or close up shop. What is to prevent a dissatisfied customer from withholding his money from a Randian “government,” while subscribing instead to the services of another agency?
The right to pay for services or not, according to one’s own judgment, is a characteristic of the free market; it has no relationship, either theoretically or historically, to the institution of government. There is no way a government can retain its sovereign power – its monopoly on the use of legitimate force – if it does not possess the power of compulsory taxation.”