The Voluntaryist Vision
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“One Voluntaryist’s Perspective” is an original column appearing sporadically at Everything-Voluntary.com, by the founder and editor Skyler J. Collins. Archived columns can be found here. OVP-only RSS feed available here.
What does the voluntaryist see when his values and principles have been realized in larger society? What does the voluntaryist paradise look like? Here is my version of the voluntaryist vision, beginning in the home with the family.
Home and Family
Looking into the typical home of a voluntaryist paradise on weekday morning, one would see a baby suckling her mother’s breast as they lay next to each other in the same bed. Mother keeps baby next to her all night long, meeting her every need. Two other children asleep nearby, next to father, who’s now getting up to begin his day, quietly so as not to wake anyone else.
Leaving the family to continue their slumber, not needing to wake anyone before they’re ready, he does his morning business and routine, preparing for a day of applying his skills and labor toward the creation of value for others, as well as for himself.
One by one the children wake up peacefully, and decide what to do with their mornings. Perhaps they’ll play a little on the computer, or watch some morning cartoons, or offer to help mother with breakfast. Mother focuses on meeting everyone’s needs and when there’s conflict, she uses the arts of active listening and no-lose negotiation to see it through to resolution. She feels no inclination to ever raise her voice or get angry with those who are still learning to navigate the world, for she herself was never raised that way. Her parents, like her grandparents, understood the needs and capabilities of growing children, and always employed peaceful tools for conflict resolution.
The children continue their day, week, month, year, finding new and interesting things to do, sometimes with an adult’s help, sometimes not. Learning is a matter of interest, and every day brings new ideas that spark new interests that may eventually transform into passions. Every child around is raised this way, through free inquiry and free play, either alone or with each other. There are no limits nor controls on the pursuits of children.
Family bonds are strong due to the children being raised with compassion, connection, love, and reason, in peace, and so in your typical neighborhood you would find groups of extended families living in close proximity, probably in duplexes and four-plexes, owned by the families themselves, having either built them or bought them at some point in the past, and expanding likewise into the future.
Since everyone knows each other intimately, no one ever locks their door, and rarely knocks before entering another’s house. Most resources are shared among close friends and family. Everyone is concerned with the well-being of everyone else, and so there’s no need to lock up resources due to the very unlikely possibility of an unknown thief sneaking by so many concerned and watchful eyes. Crime is also unlikely due to the fact that most people have all of their needs meet as children and youth, and when someone is “down on their luck” career-wise, they have an ample safety net in friends and family.
While neighborhoods see resources being freely shared among close friends and family, markets are the key to obtaining those resources cheaply and abundantly. New ideas and new technologies are continuously making production cheaper and more efficient. The market boasts several mechanisms for gauging the reputation of market participants and in resolving market disputes. Customary law (norms and conventions) develops in all sorts of directions through the peaceful trade and negotiation of self-interested and peacefully-raised individuals.
Markets are both local and global. As such, there is abundance at home and protection from aggression abroad. The decentralized nature of larger voluntaryist society prevents the creation of prime targets for foreign attacks, of which is very unlikely as there is an absence of trade restrictions with any other group of people. Global markets dominate the world landscape. There are very few weapons of war around the world as there is very little demand for them. Even so, the possibility of a galactic threat is realized and mitigated through the use of ever-advancing corporate-built munitions and, more importantly, corporate- and philanthropic-built avenues of space exploration and commercial advertisement.
As each area evolved and grew on the same planet, increasing the reach of global trade, so too will peoples across the galaxy expand and trade with one another. As everyone’s needs are met from birth onward, there’s never any need or thought on the use of aggression. Now, what I have described is the voluntaryist vision, the voluntaryist paradise. I do not believe it is Utopian, because Utopian, by definition, is impossible given human nature. Not so with the voluntaryist paradise. Preventing the future use of aggression by meeting people’s needs from birth onward is a very real possibility. It happens all over the place and all the time in our non-voluntaryist world. As these practices grow and expand, which is only a matter of time and desire, the voluntaryist vision will be realized and paradise achieved.
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