From an early age, students are taught the Pledge of Allegiance to recite each morning at school. While many see this as a form of patriotism, there are some very problematic aspects of the Pledge. How it came to be and how it is used is actually anti-individualist.

Here’s the transcription of our conversation:

Brittany: Hi, Connor.

Connor: Hi, Brittany.

Brittany: So, today I want to talk about the A word. And I know that sounds weird, it’s not a swear word, I promise, but it does scare people a little bit and it does make them uncomfortable and the eight word that I’m referring to is anarchy. Now, Connor, I know. It’s shocking. Well, most people hear the term anarchy. They kind of get crazy. They get a look in their eye. Connor, what do you think comes to most people’s minds when they hear the word anarchy?

Connor: I can use my words correctly today. Throwing, I was mixing, flinging, and throwing. You get flowing Molotov cocktails and bombs and grenades and shooting people and chaos and destruction and you want civilization to burn and you enjoy, you know, just the crazy chaos of lawlessness and utter chaos and so that’s kind of how I would describe most people’s understanding of the term anarchy.

Brittany: I think that’s exactly right. And you know, when I think of it, I actually think of like, communists, almost like people in red and black. You know, again, throwing bombs through windows, but that’s not really the case and there are different schools of thought of anarchy, and we’ll get there eventually. But one way that I heard it once that I really liked when we’re talking about anarchy is that anarchy is the absence of rulers, not an absence of rules and I’ll get into what I mean by that, but in a moment. But I wanna talk about, Murray Rothbard. Go back to him for a minute. We had an episode about him. A couple, I think it was maybe a couple of weeks ago. Connor, in a few sentences, can you go and remind us who he was and give us a kind of a segue, I think you know where I’m going with this.

Connor: So, Murray Rothbard was a student of Ludwig Van Mises, who we’ve also talked about, kinda the Mises Institute is, named in his honor. And so like Mises, Murray Rothbard was an economist. and so he was an author, he was kind of a philosopher, which means, you know, you think a lot about why people do what they do. And what’s interesting about Maria Rothbard is he was a historian as well. I mean, this guy was very well-read. He was a deep thinker, really trying to understand morality and ethics. Like, what is right, what is wrong? You know, what, laws are good, what laws are bad? And he approached it from such an intellectual curiosity, meaning he was very curious about a whole lot of things. And that led him to have some really interesting observations and books and writings.

Brittany: Yeah. And one of the things that he kind of stumbled upon, or actually that he invented, he didn’t invent it, but he coined the term anarcho-capitalism, which is what I really wanna talk about today. And now you’ll notice that this term or this is actually two terms combined. So the first one is anarcho, which, and I’m saying this in air quotes, is the scary anarchy part. And the other part is capitalism, which is one of the isms we’ve talked about a lot. It’s one of the isms too that scares a lot of people almost as much as anarchy. but Connor, I wanna dive into this a little bit more. So these are two words we’ve talked about before. What do these mean? And you know, when you hear them, how do both anarchy and capitalism play into this thing? Murray Rothbard was trying to teach us about.

Connor: It is kind of a weird term, anarcho-capitalism. And just like, you know, you can have like, different shades of blue, right? You can have navy blue and royal blue and I don’t know, ocean blue. And we don’t call it turquoise blue, I guess it’s just turquoise, but that’s, you know.

Brittany: But It’s a shade of blue, right? it’s an offshoot of blue.

Connor: Right? You have all these blues, but then you have this variety within blue that is all blue. But you use these terms usually, I guess unlike turquoise, but like ocean blue, it’s a modifier. it, ocean blue is telling you what shade of blue. And I feel like it’s that way with the term anarcho-capitalism. It’s like, well, there’s capitalism, but what are we actually talking about when we mean capitalism? And, and what I think is kind of silly Brittany, is that anarcho-capitalism, really, it’s just capitalism.

Brittany: Yeah, no, exactly.

Connor: You know, just like a classical liberal, like we’ve talked about liberalism before and how today, you know, the founding fathers, we would call them classical liberals, but at, during their time they were just liberals. Cuz liberal is from the same root word as liberty, right? Just means a kind of freedom. And so anarcho-capitalism, so what is capitalism? Capitalism is basically a free market. It is, being able to buy and sell and own and exchange what you want. Not having the government restrict you not having the government boss you around and dictating.

Brittany: No taxes or anything either. Yeah.

Connor: But it’s like, you know, not dictating, you know how much you can grow or you know, what job you can have. And of course, you know, today we have something called crony capitalism. Brittany, why don’t you give a quick explainer of what crony capitalism is?

Brittany: Yes, crony and you know, Emma and I were just talking about this on a previous episode, crony capitalism is when businesses use the government to kinda get what they want. And we’ve talked about this with occupational licensing before, which is to me the greatest example of crony capitalism, where big established businesses who can afford licenses. Like let’s say a lemonade company, I’m gonna use the lemonade stand example, let’s say a big lemonade company, they can afford all these licenses. So they work with the government and say, you know, how about we make the little guys, everybody has to buy a license before they can sell lemonade. And then that ends up impacting people like kids in the summer who wanna sell lemonade. So it’s when you use the government when things that should be private like a company they use the government to get what they want and it hurts other small businesses or other people.

Connor: And this raises, the point again, like crony capitalism, that’s another modifier. It’s a form of capitalism where, you know, they’ve kind of corrupted it, if you will.

Brittany: Hijacked the term almost.

Connor: Right? And so, you know, we would say, well, that crony capitalism isn’t actually capitalism because you’re unfairly using the government to like help yourselves against your competitors. And you’re, you know, forcing people to pay more for your stuff by creating these protectionist laws that benefit your business at the expense of your competitors. That’s not really capitalism. So I think part of the challenge is we’ve kind of just like the word liberal, we’ve lost the pure definition of what it means to actually have capitalism. And so anarcho-capitalism comes along and it’s like, well, hey, look like we’re capitalists, but we actually believe what we say, we actually believe that we should be using the market. Now, I guess the point here is that I know plenty of capitalists who support, you know, or say they support a free market, but they’re also in favor maybe of like, you know, big government in various areas, let’s say, you know, welfare. They think the government should tax people to then, you know, help those who are in need. And so it’s like, well, you can probably be a capitalist and still believe in some degree of government that stays outside of like the true kind of business.

Brittany: Economic regulations, right?

Connor: Right. Like maybe it’s getting into like social regulations that are kind of bossing people around and hey, as long as you stay outta business, then I can be a capitalist, but also believe in big government. So like, you can be a capitalist but still support a big government and, and Arco capital. It’s

Brittany: Really interesting. I’ve never thought of it like that, but that’s a good point.

Connor: Yeah. And so, an archo capitalist is someone who supports, say a free market keeping the government outta the market, but they also support basically no coercive government. They’re like, look, we want to do everything through the market because what is the market? The market is two or more people voluntarily agreeing to an exchange. like, Hey, I, wanna give you $20 in exchange. You give me this, you know, food or this book and hey, I’ll pay you a thousand dollars and you give me security protection, right? Which is like police or, Hey, I’ll buy your insurance and if my home burns down, you’ll build me a new one or whatever. And so a capitalist is someone who’s like the, I wanna do things through the market because then we can voluntarily agree. And then, and Arco capitalist says, well, yeah, we should just do that with everything. Not just like with the stuff you’d normally do for buying and selling. It’s like anything that humans are doing with one another should be done voluntarily, should be done through an exchange, an agreement. and that’s what we do in the market. So let’s just use the market for everything. And that’s kind of the approach of someone who considers themselves an arco capitalist is they are such a strong believer in the free market that they believe that even what governments normally do, we should also be using the market for because the market produces the, you know, the greatest things at the best prices with the best quality. And why wouldn’t we want that for, you know, the roads we drive on or, you know, police protection or things like this, we want better quality and lower costs, and so why would we not use the market? And it’s amazing kind of incentives and its forces to produce better outcomes in kind of the traditional government world. What do you think about all that? Did I kind of miss a point? You’re Hoping to know that.

Brittany: No, I think you’re great. The only thing I’d add is that what’s interesting to me is people think they need the government to promote cooperation, right? To keep people good, to keep people safe. But as we’ve talked about with incentives and even self-interest, sometimes helping other people, the market can actually kind of be its own rule of law. It it’s not a law, right? It’s not the government, but it keeps people honest because they have to work with each other. You know, it’s so easy. I’ve noticed this, let’s say your neighbor’s being loud, it’s so easy to pick up the phone and call the police, right? And have them go over, but then your neighbor’s gonna resent you because you could have just gone over yourself and said, Hey, you know, it’s a little loud could you keep it down? I’m your neighbor. And that’s kind of what it reminds me of, right? You’re not using force, you’re actually getting to know people and you’re having to work together. And when you do that, I think it actually inspires more cooperation than we get in the system we have now where we rely on the government for everything.

Connor: it’s interesting too, just like there are flavors of capitalism. Like there are flavors of blue. There’s also flavors, you might say, of anarchy. Yes. Or people who believe in this idea of anarchism. And so we’ve talked about anarcho-capitalism, but then you have other things. You have something like anarcho-communism, which yes, I’ve always found a little odd, right? These are people who basically, believe that there should be common ownership, of the means of production. In other words, like producing things and companies. And they believe everyone should own that. I’m like, I just don’t know how you ever get there without force. I don’t know how. Yeah. Like if Connor goes and digs up some minerals and I create a process to refine those minerals and then I exchange those minerals, I turn them into nice jewelry or whatever and I exchange ’em with other people. Well, if you come to me and you’re like, Hey, you know, we should have like common ownership everyone cuz this is anarcho-communism, we don’t have a government, but, everyone should be able to own that. And then I say, no.

Brittany: Yeah, no, exactly.

Connor: This is mine and I found it and I worked hard to create this company and this process and everything. Like what are you gonna do about it? Well, like, either they’re going to use coercion because they think I’m doing something wrong by having private ownership or, you know, they then, support a government to force me on their behalf. So, it’s really interesting when you get into some of these, different conceptions, I feel like people, can kind of go off on tangents. And I probably, to be fair, if I talked with an anarcho-communist, the few that out there, you know.

Brittany: There’s too many, there’s actually a lot of them.

Connor: Yeah. They might feel that I didn’t properly kind of describe what they believe, but you know, like communism is just inherently evil and I don’t think that it becomes any better when you take the state out of it because I don’t think it works without a state. And so now if they had called it now if they would call it anarcho-communitarianism, I might be more on board.

Brittany: Which can exist in anarcho-capitalism or Well, or you call it more very voluntarism. Yeah. Like you could have that.

Connor: Tell me why.

Brittany: So because it’s about voluntarism again, right? We’ve talked about that, which is very similar I think to anarcho-capitalism. You’d basically all agree, it reminds me of the hippie communes, back in the sixties or seventies, people would form together, they’d buy a plot of land and they would be, you know, hippie farmers who all pitched in and they all did different, you know, jobs. Now we saw with Chaz last summer that does not always work. But the point is no force, right? That is the main thing here. So you could have this community where you all decide to pitch in and I promise you it probably won’t last very long cuz it won’t have incentives. But you are free to do that as long as you’re not, you know, using the point of a gun, as they say, are using force to make someone do that.

Connor: In the state, that I live in Utah, it was originally founded by pioneers who fled the United States of America,  because of religious freedom, they actually left the country. They came out here to Utah. And what was interesting is a lot of them, back in the 18 hundreds, they were doing similar, I guess pre hippie community experience.

Brittany: Or maybe like legit, like.

Connor: Absolutely. And, but they were trying to, live with, you know, all things in common they were trying to share. And you know, these experiments would often fail. There were often problems with them, but they at least would, you know, last for several years. And people were trying this out, and you’re exactly right. Like I’ve had people over the years were like, but that what those pioneers did, you know, that’s socialism or that’s communism. And I’m like that, that’s nothing like it at all. Because these are all people who are voluntarily entering into these relationships. You can choose to hoard your stuff privately or you can choose to openly share with others, but it’s under your control. It’s your decision what you want to do. And so that’s the fundamental idea of someone who considers themselves to be anarcho-capitalist is, it’s all about that individual property rights. It’s about the decisions that you can make with your property. no corruption, no crony capitalism, no state, bossing you around. Its humans were born to be free and they should be able to interact freely with other people, both through the market for traditional business type of stuff, but just even socially and politically one with another, all of our relationships should be voluntary, they should all be based on having no coercion. and so, if you guys are interested in learning more, we’ll link to just a couple of basic resources at where you can go click and learn more about this idea of anarcho-capitalism and what Murray Rothbard has written about it. So make sure to check out the show notes page to keep learning more. All these isms are so fun to learn because there’s all kinds of interesting perspectives and backgrounds that obviously we’re not gonna be able to get into, a lot of depth. And so if you’re curious about this or the other isms, make sure you’re going to the show notes page. Make sure you’re, doing your own research to learn more cuz there’s a lot to learn. Brittany, great conversation as always. And until next time, we’ll talk to you later.

Brittany: Talk to you later.