Voluntary Stateless Association – Part 2 – Violent Crime

One of the most common misconceptions about Anarchy is that the lack of an all powerful State would automatically mean violence in the streets, looting, rape, murder, cats and dogs living together… Nothing could be further from the truth. In this installment I will attempt to dispel some of these notions, explain how a Stateless society might deal with violent crimes and compare and contrast with a Statist society.

Most of us are familiar with the chaotic scenes of a riot. The looting of the stores, the stones or bullets flying and injuring or maiming innocent bystanders. The lowest common denominator in humanity. And that is just during Black Friday! But seriously; the mere fact that we are familiar with those scenes should clue us in as to how ineffective the State is in preventing these situations. If even repressive dictatorial States experience chaos and violence, how is it that the State is seen as the best solution to violent crime?

The reality of violent crime is that the State is unable and unwilling to prevent it. All measures taken by the State are ineffective at best and contribute to the violence at worst. This is caused by two distinctive issues. First, the State can only react to violence after the fact. As hard as they may try, no preventive measures such as TSA strip searches and draconian gun control laws can prevent violence. The State has no reason to prevent violent crime. There is no profit in it. So why would they try?

Second, the State cannot prevent violence because it fails to address the causes of violence. You can try to disarm a homicidal maniac but, he is still a homicidal maniac. Let us try to look at different types of violent crime and see what the Statist and the Stateless solutions are:

Rape: There are few violent crimes worst than rape. Rape, the forceful physical sexual act destroys the victim not only during the act but for life. The emotional scars left after rape are permanent. The key to rape, as it is the key to most violent crimes is prevention. Once the rape has occurred, no amount of incarceration or re-education can repair the damage. Let’s not kid ourselves, rape is violent aggression and self defense is fully justified.

Statist solution: The State has regular educational campaigns in the media and in college where two conflicting messages are forced on potential victims. First, young women are told that all sex is rape. That sex is nothing more than a male’s attempt to show his dominance over a female and that men in general should be treated as potential rapists. Then, potential violent crime victims are told that in general, resisting violence with violence (self defense) will result in their death and that the best policy is not to resist but to become a passive victim, a good witness. That the best policy is to report the rape to the State and let the State deal justice. Victims see how well this justice works. From false claims of rape and sexual assault to the very real cases of pedophilia in the Catholic church and the football lockers, we are all aware how inept the State is at preventing and later providing justice in rape cases. Best possible scenario would be for the rapist to be caught, prosecuted and sent to prison, only to be later released to rape again. And what about the victims? At best they can go thru civil courts and try to recover some monetary damages in their road to recovery. Do you see, as I see, a completely failed system?

Stateless solution: In a stateless solution the individual is taught personal responsibility and self defense. Not all people will embrace self defense. In all groups there is always a few who would rather be sheep than the lions. I used to know an anti-gun first sergeant in the Army. He carried a pistol in the field but was of the belief that guns were evil and that the State should disarm everyone in the population but the police.

In a stateless community individuals would not be taught that surrender is the best option on the contrary, since a stateless society is  based on self responsibility, self defense would be a natural reaction. A Stateless society would have no restriction against weapons of all kinds, from less than lethal solutions to very lethal firearms. Tools that equalize the weakest to the strongest would be a natural and common occurrence. A rapist would probably not survive his first encounter with a determined and armed victim.

But what about the victims that cannot defend themselves? Children or the disabled? A Stateless society is not a community-less society. A child who is attacked or abused by an adult would be known by the community. People know when a child is raped. Do you think that a parent of a victimized child would take no action? Do you think that a community would permit a molester to continue living amongst them? There might be some extreme and rare cases but, in general, rapists would be identified and at the very minimum removed from the community.

Let us look at a sample case where the attack does happens and how a stateless society deals with it. The victim in this case is an adult. This adult ends up in an emergency room. A doctor treats the victim and refers her to additional mental health treatments. Her insurance company, upon seeing the claim, sends an investigator to interview the victim, collect evidence and identify the attacker. Remember that the insurance company is now liable for about a million dollars worth of long term care and they will spend the money in order to recover their costs. The investigation yields a suspect. Just as in the case of property crimes, the suspect and his insurance company go thru arbitration and the financial side of the house is taken care of. Dependent upon the insurance policy, the woman might end up with several millions to pay for treatment and as restitution for the assault. But what about this dangerous predator still roaming the streets? Would he not attack again? Do you think that any insurance company would offer coverage to this bastard knowing that he is a rapist? He would be unable to participate in any business or travel any road or hold a job. He would become an unperson. Of course, there is the possibility that his insurance company, as part of the collection process, sends the predator to treatment and agrees to provide coverage if he completes a treatment regiment, agrees to GPS tracking device and a number of measures designed to keep him from attacking again. I have no way to know what the free market would come up with, from treatment to preventive measures in order to prevent recidivism but logic dictates that the insurance company will take extreme measures to insure that he cannot rape again. It is in their financial interest to do so.

Do these measures seem extreme to you? What measures would you take if it was your mother or your wife or your child who had been raped? Exactly. And those extreme measures are precisely a key component of prevention. No one would commit a violent crime if the costs are so high and detection so likely.

But what of those who are mentally ill? Let’s take the approach here that a rapist is mentally ill. A man who feels uncontrollable urges to violently rape a woman or have sex with a child. There would, as in most cases, be two types; those who choose to succumb to their desires but seek a means to escape detection and those who seek treatment before hand. Those who seek treatment would receive it. It is much less expensive for the insurance company to pay for treatment as a means of prevention than to pay for treatment as part of restitution. And what of those who seek to escape detection? There might be some who escape detection for a while. Just like in our current Statist system. But the numbers would be much less. At least the numbers of those who survive the encounter when compared with a sheepish disarmed society.


Murder: Here we exclude homicides that occur as part of a self defense action and will limit ourselves to murder.

Statist solution: Police are notified of the murder. They conduct a full investigation at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars and, I will be generous here, have a 50/50 chance of finding a suspect, prosecuting and incarcerating the murderer and, in some states, putting him to death. Overall cost is in the millions and the likelihood of actual capture and punishment so low that it is in effect nonexistent.

Stateless solution: Stateless societies are based on self responsibility. Just as in the old West, individuals will be armed if the situation calls for and self defense would be common. Even a cursory web search will provide with ample examples and statistics that prove that the “Wild West” was actually much less violent than today. I would point you to http://www.guncite.com/wild_west_myth.html as an example and to the book: Frontier Violence: Another Look by W. Eugene Hollon for more detailed information.

But, even in the best cases, murders can happen. How would a Stateless society deal with murder after the fact? First, we must look at what do we actually intend to accomplish. Do we want the murderer removed from society in order to prevent the recurrence of the crime? Do we want the family of the murder victim compensated for the crime? What else do we want after the fact?

Removing the murderer from society – We first have to determine what were the circumstances behind this murder. Was this a crime of passion? Was this a premeditated act of violence? What was the trigger?

Crimes of passion: Did the murderer become so enraged at the actions of the victim that he escalated what should have been a simple disagreement into violence? Here I am talking about road rage, bar fights and the like. The insurance company would either offer psychiatric treatment, and I mean effective psychiatric treatment, not just a check the box rehab or drop the criminal from coverage. If dropped from coverage, the criminal would need to find an insurance company that would provide coverage. The insurance company would probably require him to undergo psychiatric evaluation and treatment before providing coverage. Then the murderer would be electronically monitored 24/7 and evaluated to insure he does not relapse. The community would likely be informed of the crime, as they are today, and most people would shun or evade contact with the murderer. Anyone who does comes in contact with him would have prior knowledge of the crime and take appropriate precautions. This may not be the actual market solution, it is just a possible solution.

Pre meditated murder – There are evil people in the world. We have to admit that, just as there are those who enjoy raping women and/or children, there are those who enjoy killing. We have to be very clear here, there is no Utopia. If a man decides to kill for kicks, he will likely not survive long. The good riddance factor will ensure that a well armed populace would make his life on earth very brief.

Now, there are many Anarchist proposed solutions to premeditated murder. I will present two of them here. Although I don’t agree with all of them, they are potential approaches that I want to present for the sake of discussion:

Capital Punishment Clause: Your insurance has a clause that in the event of your murder, your murderer will be put to death. The same process is used as in property crimes and the murderer is found guilty. The victim’s insurance company then demands that the murderer surrenders to them and be put to death. His insurance company may decide that they, due to their contract with the murderer will prevent this from happening. Do the insurance companies go to war over this? No. War is expensive. But, insurance companies have to cooperate with each other. If an insurance company decides to not cooperate with another, they have no recourse in the future when a claim benefits them. So, both insurance companies must now make a cost benefit analysis. Let’s say that the pro-death penalty insurance company determines that if they do not comply with their contractual obligations they will lose two million dollars in breach of contract compensation to the victim’s beneficiaries and an additional two million in lost policies from customers switching in protest for a total cost of four million dollars. The anti-death penalty company determines that they will lose a million dollars in breach of contract compensation to their customer’s family if they allow him to be put to death and an additional million in lost customers. So, the pro-death penalty offers 2 million dollars to the anti-death penalty insurance company to cover their actual liabilities and calculated losses. The pro-death penalty company saves two million and the anti-death penalty company stands down, writes a million dollar check to their customer’s beneficiaries and refuses to protect him. The pro-death penalty company then goes to the murderer’s home and offers him the option of ending his life with a pill or injection and proceeds. If the murderer chooses to resist, the insurance company agents can use force.

This system, although brutal on its face, shares many characteristics with the model presented by the State as the “ideal” solution. First, it is completely democratic. If more people in a community oppose the death penalty than support it, the cost ratios are reversed and the death penalty does not occur. Second, unlike the current system of interminable appeals and delays, along with the costs of a long jail stay, it is swift. Third, and this is superior to the “ideal” State solution, the murderer does not spends his last few years in a prison cell but in his home.

A concept we need to explore here is the concept of self-defense by proxy. If someone attempts to take your life, you are free to use force as a means of self defense. Similarly you can choose to pay someone to protect your life for you. This concept can be morally extended expos facto. You could say that just as you have the right to use deadly force to protect your life, or hire someone to do it for you, you could hire someone to use deadly force in you stead after you are dead.

Banishment Clause: In this scenario the guilty party is banished from any further contact with the community. Whether this is achieved by removal from the community, either by the guilty becoming an uninsurable person, by physical removal (very unlikely) or by incarceration in a private work facility, the effect is the same, to permanently separate the violent murderer from society. These facilities would be work facilities were the violent criminals would be required to work for their subsistence. Farming facilities, factories or other production facilities would keep the criminals employed. These facilities would have to be run at a profit or they would not be worth running. In these facilities there would be armed guards, just as in Statist prisons.

But what about those who are innocent? Well, remember that, unlike the State, an insurance company is liable to their customers and other insurance companies for their actions. If the State mistakenly imprisons or kills an innocent man, they are not liable for the mistake. Yes, there may be some cases were the innocent will sue and seek restitution, but those are far and few in between and the State agents making the decisions are not personally liable. By law, they are exempt from all liability. On the other hand, if an insurance company makes the wrong decision they are subject to claims from the accused (or his beneficiaries) insurance company. The officers of the insurance company also undergo periodical internal reviews in order to prevent company loses caused by poor decisions. Also, any insurance company that becomes known as incompetent is very likely to lose their customer base. The free market is pro-active in setting up processes and systems that prevent mistakes. The State’s expertise is on hiding and denying mistakes and if found, shifting the blame and delaying justice.

When considering anarchic solutions we have to remember that no system can turn men into angels. It is inevitable that there will be some deranged criminals in every society. What anarchy does is to remove the propaganda of State provided safety and replace it with dynamic responsive systems and self-responsibility. We have to also consider the theft, violence and death inherent to Statist systems. The State, thru fiat currency, taxes, war and oppression have cause much more misery that individuals possibly could. During the 20th century alone governments caused over 200 million deaths and cost trillions in taxes, debt and plunder. Even at its worst, free men could not possibly cause more damage than the State.


Further references:



6 comments to Voluntary Stateless Association – Part 2 – Violent Crime

  • Country Codger

    You hit the nail on the head. People today think that we have always had a nanny state when nothing could be further from the truth. It is like the first 300 years that Europeans have lived here without a strong dictatorial government looking over their shoulders didn’t exist. Keep it up. It is the gradual dripping of drops of water that eats away at the limestone to form a giant cave (unfortunately over millions of years and we don’t have that kind of time).

  • MPB

    This is a well thought out read. My compliments for putting this much thought, effort and research into it all. Overall, I concur! I am sure they will be at least some that will find faults. Nothing is perfect or people nor do we live in a utopia. But, then again you already covered that here too.

  • John

    I like the post, with the exception of the inclusion of this omnipotent, omnipresent “insurance company.” I don’t believe that any insurance company could function in a stateless society, because an insurance companies’ basic premise and intent is to collect premiums then deny claims. Once it became clear to a stateless society that an insurance companies’ only purpose is to defraud, they would go the way of the dinosaur in short order. The best source of justice in a stateless society would of course firstly be personal defense and prevention, and secondly the hiring of private security teams and investigative bodies to determine violators. However, I believe those violators would soon become rare indeed, once it became the prerogative of each individual to protect and defend him or her self. Most individuals would soon become well armed and set up surveillance of their home and properties to identify and prevent transgressions. I look forward to such a society, and I hope I live to see it implemented. I personally am sick of theft and war, the two main activities of the state as far as I can ascertain.

  • James

    “The state can only react to violence after the fact… the state has no reason to prevent violent crime. There is no profit in it.” If your system of governance is essentially a series of corporations it is in their nature to act for profit… so how does this situation change? You are implying that a state acts for profit more so than a business?
    “people know when a child is raped” So kids can’t be convinced to accept years of abuse and hide it? If we all know who the child abusers of all sorts are why don’t we stop them now? Are you going to have your insurance company hire the Pinkertons to investigate uncle Chester, that can’t be cheap. What is your definition of child abuse? What if you just happen to witness an act of irrefutable child abuse (in your eyes) Is your insurance company going to permit vigilantism? That would certainly drive up the cost of your insurance wouldn’t it with everyone armed and proficient…. How about in the odd case where you think you neighbor beats his kids, you go convince them to investigate him and turns out the kid was getting beat up at school by a bully and simply had parents who did not pay enough attention (but not criminally so). Does the insurance company make you reimburse them for the investigation? Who runs the court? Is it assembled by his insurance company, or yours? How would you get impartiality? What if I am completely self sufficient or independently wealthy, would you feel terribly compensated if I simply accepted “exile” to my estate and used a proxy for my commercial needs. Heck I can guarantee in this society you would be finding plenty of crazy religion types and survivalists who would not submit to your universal ID and GPS in everything situation but would rather use some sort of holding company to do take care of their interactions with your society thus making them immune to your laws so long as they can keep the identity of the company quiet (notice I did not say secret cause your insurance company does not care, it is a business not angelic).
    Your measures don’t seem extreme to me in terms of the punishments, just a much stricter version of the system we have had in this country in the past. But run by a corporation without boundaries besides what it can convinces its share holders it should have and without concerns of due process limitations, open press or any sort of unbiased judiciary with power beyond its reach. Your Old West reminiscing is simply the result of a small group of people living together who know each other well and lived with strong self reliance. It has nothing to do with Anarchy, the town sheriff had the legal monopoly on violence you decry so much. Unless of course some cowpuncher got a bit overly liquored up and then “got what he had comin to em” the sheriff needed to do little because the commerce system was simple and small so there was little concern of corruption. But as those towns grew and the rest of the world caught up with them they had to deal with outsiders whom they did not know so well and who needed greater shepherding.
    Capital punishment: There are states (36) and nations (96) with whom the US already deals with on a regular basis who do not honor the death penalty. Do you really think under Anarchy that people would be so stubborn as to give up international trade with Canada, Mexico, the entire EU, Russia, almost all of South America and Australia considering only 39% of Americans support the death penalty (http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/documents/FactSheet.pdf) ?

    On immunity from liability while performing official duties: Do you believe that at least a small part of why police have a hard time catching and effectively prosecuting criminals is because they are worried about minutia of the law as well as being sued for “excessive force” or “wrongful arrest” etc. ? will you cede that to be true? Because I can not see where removing that protection would help anyone do that job better knowing that now not only might you get shot doing your job right but an HONEST mistake while performing your duty might lose you your freedom and property. That is the purpose behind the immunity. Of course that has been an abused privilege, but not a privilege without purpose.

    There is no protection for the uninsurable. While a child might be able to be held under their parent’s policy what future does a diabetic have in your system? What about the 1/72 kids these days with autism. The church and other charities I supposed but what about insurance for them since they are otherwise “unpersons” ?

    It appears that you, and more so your referenced Anarchist Theory FAQ, seem to portray states as having the sole functions of oppressing the masses and waging war. This is generally the same argument Atheists use against religion. But nowhere has anarchy played out to be more efficient and effective than a state. You don’t put down business for this same issue of oppression only because businesses have not been so openly in charge of states as they tend to be shown in recent times. But these insurance companies would still have organization, which is governance if not government. They would still have CEO’s making much larger salaries than the mail clerk. While you are putting lots of thought into how it could work I am still unconvinced that it would. The New World afforded our country a very unique, and required, set of circumstances in which to grow. The separation and self sufficiency of individuals made the mentality of the American Revolution possible and on a large enough scale to be sustainable. But Anarchy self implodes by its very nature from what I can tell. From the Spanish to the old west they all faded away or were over run. I like Burke’s response to Anarchy.
    I am still waiting to see how national self defense is going to work….

  • James, before we continue our conversation I need to go back and clarify a couple of things. First, I can not claim that any system or society is Utopian. No system would have all the answers. I don’t claim to have all the answers and neither do I or most anarchists want to. Anarchy is not about my system vs. your system its about a market driven, choice based system vs. a violent force based system.

    The State is a small group of people who claim the right to use violence in order to control the rest of the population.

    I know this is a very tall order for you to assimilate. And I am truly sorry that I have to challenge your basic notions and points of reference. We humans measure reality based on our points of reference. A house slave believes that he has it good compared with a field slave. A member of the French court in the 15th century believed he had it better than a waitress in Topeka today. Similarly, we have been trained to believe that in this current system but, there are two thing that are lacking and that we would find intolerable if we knew: Choice and Freedom.

    We are told that there are two parties when in reality there is only The Party. Members of the party run against each other as they are selected and we choose those who are meant to be chosen. We are told that we determine who writes the laws and that our constitution places limits on those who rule us. We don’t have any say on it. Perhaps at a micro level we can have a limited semblance of influence but is all an illusion. We don’t control it. We have not had any control for over 100 years.

    Our “freedoms” are conditional to the wishes of our masters. From the clothing you buy to the home you own, our masters have their fingers on every facet of your life and they maintain their power thru deception and acceptance.

    Have you ever read 1984? Read it not watched the movie? Inside that book there is a book called “The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism” It is an imaginary book, inasmuch as it was written by Orwell as back story to the main story line. But in this short manuscript Orwell brilliantly describes our current system. Mind you, Orwell was a genius but, he did not need to be in order to write it. All he did was to describe the current system from the perspective of an outsider. Here is a link to the manuscript. Its a bit longer than my normal rants, but not by much.


    It is true that Anarchy is scary. Self responsibility is scary. Knowing that an all powerful uncle does not have your back is scary. We humans are social creatures, that is how we have survived for so long. The problem is that the ruling class has convinced us that we need them or we will destroy the very social fabric that we depend on. Instead of continually writing that which has been explained most brilliantly by others I will be so bold as to offer some homework. Here are a few brilliantly written tomes:

    These are free:

    This one is not free but inexpensive:


  • James

    I guess I have some work before I can failry respond from here, seeing as how you have been so kind as to indulge me with a rather significant effort to respond to my difficulties with your concepts. I guess that is only appropriate at this point seeing as the original reason I stumbled upon this site was to fill some of my “free” time with some open minded leraning. Funny thing was that plan had nothing to do with your writings but rather getting into the modules that are core to this site. I suppose I will check back in a while.

    thanx again for the chat.

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