Without government, wouldn’t warlords take over?

If you believe government is needed, and someone suggests that it isn’t, you might be rather distressed. You might start to picture bands of rogues roving the land without cease, raping and stealing. In the minds of many statists, this fear is so real that it seems certain. But of course, little is certain in life, and we can no more say for sure that warlords will take over than we can say that they won’t. However, we can at least begin to estimate the likelihood.

If you’re like most people, it’s almost certain that you are threatened by group of people which claims to help you, a group which takes your money without asking first. Just as we can’t be sure that warlords won’t take over in a stateless society, it’s not certain that this violent group won’t grow larger, to expand to a level of control where many are fearful and even people with friends in high places can be destroyed without anyone being punished. In fact, such a case is much more likely to be found in a society with a state, than a society without a state, as the power structures are already there. In a stateless society, if these structures form, they’re likely to be smaller. It’s easier to go from 8 to 10 than it is to go from 0 to 10.

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To get to a society that has no rulers, first there has to be a cultural change. People have to learn to do things without the help of their rulers, and instead depend on each other. The less they can solve problems on their own and working in teams, the more chance they have to be seduced by a person offering easy answers, or threatened by someone who comes along with a few guns and a few demands. If certain states vanished tomorrow, there would be a 99% chance that warlords would take over. However, the more the people learn to support each other, and the more people love liberty, the less chance a tyrant has of taking hold. The tragedy is, the more people cling to these concerns about warlords, the less people who learn to love liberty.

In the end, the reason cling onto these ideas is because of a deep-seated fear. People want to feel like everything is under control, even if it’s by a someone who, in their hearts, they know is a devil. Their fear leads them to fearmonger, spilling endless “what if” cases, none of which can be allayed by logic alone. As I said, nothing in life is certain. Yet, by embracing our uncertainty, and our fears, we can learn to overcome them. It’s scary to stand at the edge of darkness, not knowing what lies within. It takes heart to put your foot over that threshold, yet, that is the only way that humans grow – by putting ourselves in realms where nothing is sure, but everything is possible. Screw your courage to the sticking place, and feel just for a moment, what it would mean to be free.