Building the replacement
Anarchy will not be the end of institutions. We will always need ways to coordinate our efforts and markets will be inadequate for some needs. And, naive reassurances notwithstanding, there is real danger in the kinds of institutions that arise to take the place of the state. The United Workers of the World (the “wobblies”) believed in “forming the new structure within the shell of the old,” both to hasten the demise of the old system and to soften the landing during transition. The LDS community can play a unique role in building peaceful institutions. Both doctrinally and culturally, we have a robust foundation for voluntary, decentralized institutions that provide social safety nets, work for the common good, provide for children, etc.. Here are some ways to build a Zion society.
- Donate Recklessly. I’ve been called naive for this viewpoint, but I repeat it here, dauntless. Only the cowards and liars wait for their “anarchy windfall” to start helping the poor. We cannot rely on our wit and irrefutable logic to make government obsolete. We must make state welfare programs superfluous. So, step it up, LDS anarchists. Your charity should pinch a little. But it’s good for the soul and for the movement.
- Tip Extravagantly. Tip when you don’t have to. One of the things I would miss about a state is its support for
art, science and literature. These positive externalities will suffer without government support, unless we, with gusto, create a culture of giving. As long as all of our interactions aim to squeeze as much as we can from others, the arts will suffer. And invention. And basic science. So, sign up for monthly giving to your favorite podcast. Pay for your freeware. Get on patreon and support the artists that improve your life. And, in general, when you’ve paid just a little for something that brings a lot of joy, tip with panache.
- Barter. Direct exchange of goods is legal, cheap and makes the tax man’s job harder. You are, strictly speaking, required to report these gains as income. But the effort required of the tax man to challenge your valuation of bartered goods is not worth the potential gain (way to increase the cost of enforcement!) So, would your plumber like your help on his website? Does your accountant need something from your employee discount store? Sometimes these bargains can seem more like donations. Don’t sweat it. Scatter sunshine.
- Volunteer. Your time is the most precious gift you have to give and, in most cases, it can do the most good. Be verily and anxiously engaged in good causes like schools, parks, open source software projects, libraries, sports leagues, international aid organizations and hospitals. Surf over to justserve.org and see what your community needs. But, also, keep your head up. Your may be able to meet the needs of your neighbors. Can you help someone apply for college scholarships? Or find an apartment? Does someone need their lawn mowed? Is there something in your community that’s broken or ugly? Fix it, clean it, improve it. And don’t ask anyone’s permission.
These are what practical anarchism is about. Arguing on social media will not smash the state. But when enough people catch the vision of a world without governments, they won’t be able to dismantle it fast enough.