Right-wing anarchists and libertarians in general are frequently confronted with questions about how a truly free society would work, free from the violence and coercion of the modern State.  My suspicion is that we really cannot blame statists for asking questions like this (and indeed the occasional grilling by a skeptic helps the philosophically inclined anarchist to refine his position and think about the possible consequences of anarchic thinking) because they have been conditioned by their interactions with other political ideologies to assume that the person with whom they are speaking wants to run their life.  If you listen to pundits from all over the political spectrum you begin to realize that in almost every case, the commentator is telling everyone what they should or should not do.

Commies think you should reject private property and materialism.  Neo-cons think you should fork over your rights to the government so that the terrorists don’t win.  Republicans think you should not smoke marijuana.  Undoubtedly all of these groups can come up with all sorts of moralistic reasons why you should do what they think is best for you (not all of them are inválid, by the way).  Marijuana results in a less healthy populace and impairs judgment.  Terrorism is a growing threat int he world, and the accumulation of property can sometimes lead to greed and Fascism.  The less scrupulous among the Statists resort to utilitarian or consequentialist reasons why you should behave their way.  Waging this or that war will result in some great good later on.  Driving drunk might injure or kill someone.  Anyway, the point is all these people want to prescribe to you what to do.

All this would be fine and dandy is we were simply having a discussion about morality or about human behavior.  I don’t think people should use birth control.  I also don’t think driving down the highway at 300 mph makes a whole lot of sense.  There are plenty of things I believe people should and should not do from moral, social, and aesthetic standpoints.  The thing that distinguishes the discussions one might have with a moral philosophy from your average political pundit is that behind every moral and behavioral admonition of a Statist is the threat of violence.  Statists look around at the world and see all sorts of problems perpetuated by human wickedness and inefficiency, and so they organize this thing we call the State, which they mean to be a force for good.  The problem, however, is that the State has no power if it cannot enforce the laws it wishes its subjects to follow.  Therefore the pot heads must be arrested.  Drunk drivers must be banned from the road.  And all private property must be collectively owned by the proletariat.  You know the drill.  Statists all believe the ends justify the means (which we know from the Catechism is never the case).  In order to achieve the (often) legitimate goods they desire, they are willing to threaten and often use violence to these ends.  So know that whenever one engages with those promoting some kind of public policy of legislation, behind all that pretty sounding language about right and wrong is a relativist who thinks it’s okay to steal, kidnap, and even murder to reach the desired goal.

So who can blame the uninitiated inquirer for wondering what we libertarians, we reactionaries, we AnCaps and AnMons think people should do, how people should be, how the world should work?  But anarchy is a descriptive, not a prescriptive philosophy.  It is simply a description of reality without government intervention.  Jeffrey Tucker puts it best when he reminds us that we don’t need the government to wake up in the morning.  Most of the world lives in anarchy every day.  We eat when we want to (if we can), we work where we want to, we watch whatever TV shows we prefer.  Before we had central planning, people still managed to build roads.  Theft has never been socially acceptable and people generally don’t want to kill each other.  Anarchism just predicts how people would act without regulations telling them how fast they can drive and what nasty drugs they can put in their body.  On a similar note, it’s not that Capitalists worship money or believe the accumulation of capital is some kind of end in itself, but rather Capitalism merely describes how people exchange property with each other in a way unencumbered by the Law.  If a group of free persons choose to live like Socialists at a compound in Northern California, that is just as much a capitalistic exercise of their freedom as the choice to exchange money for a decadent television set.

Anarchy, philosophically speaking, is like science.  It’s not there to tell you how to live or legislate how things should be.  It’s merely a description of the world based on observation, so far as we’re able to perceive.  In this respect it is totally apolitical, useful only in predictions, never in pontifications.  Really, it’s quite a beautiful thing.