I Am a Voluntaryist

I am a voluntaryist.

Voluntaryism: the doctrine that relations among people should be by mutual consent, or not at all.

I am also an anarchist and libertarian.

Anarchy: the absence of rulers [from the Greek an- (not) archos (ruler)].
Libertarian: a person who believes in the doctrine of free will and upholds liberty as their principle objective.

I’m also an agorist and capitalist.

Agorism: social philosophy advocating for civil disobedience via voluntary exchange without government permission.
Capitalism: private property ownership and free enterprise.

I see all of these as compatible. The common thread is that people have natural rights and should not be slaves or slave masters.

You own your life. The philosophy of liberty is based on the principle of self-ownership and non-aggression.

The opposite of voluntaryism is statism (involuntaryism). Statists promote violence and control of peaceful people by those who claim state authority.

None of this means that I don’t support and advocate for people voluntarily organizing and cooperating to accomplish things. In fact, I’m all for it.

Frédéric Bastiat once said:

“Every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all.”

There are legitimate, effective ways of accomplishing worthy goals without resorting to authoritarian control.

Common objections I hear usually go something like this:

“But total freedom would be chaos! There would be no consequences for people behaving badly.”
“Nature abhors a vacuum! What would stop warlords from taking over?”
“Who would build the roads/schools/hospitals?”

The answers to these and other common objections to liberty involve a clear understanding of things like natural law, mutual consent, private property, education, persuasion, and free markets. Rather than attempt an exhaustive list here, those links explain in separate posts how voluntary solutions to societal issues are not just more humanitarian and ethical, but also more practical than coercion.

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Don Duncan
5 years ago

I would argue that voluntaryism versus statism is not a matter of which is more humane/practical, but a matter of one being humane/practical and the other not either. Compromise on this issue favors statism. The Constitution was a compromise, containing means that contradicted the goal: protection of rights. The result is the US Empire, a totalitarian nightmare on the brink of destroying a nobel political paradigm: rights over rule. What was called: The American Dream was turned into a nightmare by compromise.

Rob Nielsen
Rob Nielsen
5 years ago
Reply to  Don Duncan

I appreciate your point. I think you could make the argument that statism is at least somewhat practical. I think we would both agree that many of its ends are undesirable, but that doesn’t make it unpractical. It seems like splitting hairs on the humane/ethical point. Consent is obviously crucial (as I point out in the article linked to above under “mutual consent”). Even if you consider every means and end of statism completely unethical, it’s not a compromise to say that voluntaryism is more ethical than something that is unethical. Your comments on the US Constitution seem to be… Read more »