>What Is This Free Market We Keep Hearing About? Part II

>Previously, I wrote an article entitled “What Is This Free Market We Keep Hearing About?” In it I attempted to demonstrate that a free market is the only economic system compatible with liberty, in addition to being the system that will yield the best results for society. The dissenting views were familiar ones, which I will attempt to answer.

The first category of dissenting opinions came from those that somehow misunderstood the article to have argued that a free market exists right now, or has existed in the recent past (perhaps under the Republican regime that has thankfully gone the way of the hula hoop). For the record, we have not had any semblance of a free market since at least the New Deal, and probably not since the institution of the Federal Reserve and the income tax in 1913. If anything, we have had markets that have been “progressively” less free in each succeeding decade, the trend accelerating markedly during a few notable periods, including the 1910’s, the 1930’s, the 1960’s, and the present devastation of our liberty that is occurring before our very eyes. As I have argued more extensively before, the Bush years did not represent free markets.

The next broad category of comments could generally be grouped as those which implied that a truly free market system would amount to no government or restrictions at all and therefore necessitate that market participants would have to be trusted to “do the right thing” at the expense of their own profits. Those making this argument went on to say that history shows that “the corporations” or other wealthy market participants will always choose profit over the good of society.

This is a complete misunderstanding of the concept of free markets presented in the article and of the non-aggression principle of liberty in general. “Non-aggression” does not mean the absence of the use of force (government) under any circumstances. In a free market, there is a very necessary role for government to play, just as in nature there is an appropriate time for the use of force. Specifically, the government brings force to bear against those who have committed or are committing aggression against another’s rights. In a truly free market, the government prevents any party from using coercion or fraud to secure an exchange of property. If a company lies on its financial statements to attract investors or credit, it is the government’s job to prosecute those responsible for fraud. If a company employs violence or the threat of violence in trying to eliminate its competition, it is the government’s responsibility to prosecute the aggressor in defense of the victims.

However, if the company participates in exchanges of property whereby all participants voluntarily consent to the terms and all information pertaining to the transactions are represented truthfully, then that activity is beyond the reach of government, just as speech, religion, and conscience are beyond the reach of government because they do not represent acts of aggression against anyone else’s rights.

With the natural boundary of non-aggression enforced, the market requires no consideration for any participant other than the pursuit of profit. With truly free markets, it is never true that society is threatened unless firms sacrifice their profits to benefit society. Rather, firms can and should pursue only profit so long as they commit no aggression against another’s rights. The law should never be a positive force – it should never compel anyone to do anything. It should only prohibit certain actions, namely those that amount to aggression (fraud being aggression against the rights to property). It is this principle that is consistently violated by our modern brand of “regulation.”

This brings us to a third category of objections, namely that insufficiently regulated markets have resulted in the massive consolidations that have occurred over the past quarter century, decreasing competition and creating overly influential corporations that dominate markets and our government. This argument is rooted in the same misconception as the first – that we have had free markets at some point in our recent past. However, even if one argues that some “deregulation” has taken place and that is the reason for the consolidation, the position still begs one question. Why are new competitors not entering the market to compete with these overly dominant corporations?

There are only two possibilities. One is that the corporations in question have achieved natural monopolies. A natural monopoly is a good thing. It means that one firm is producing products of such high quality and such low price that no other firm is able to compete with it. A natural monopoly can only be sustained as long as the monopolist continues to offer products that consumers prefer over all others based upon their own voluntary decisions. Natural monopolies harm no one.

The only other explanation for a dearth of competition is that there are artificial forces at work that are keeping competition out. This means that market participants are not acting voluntarily, but make their choices under some type of coercion. There is only one entity that can legally coerce participants in any market – government. In fact, it has been the ocean of rules and regulations itself – in violation of every market participant’s natural rights – that has led to the dearth of competition in our supposedly free markets. This conclusion is intuitive. If the corporations are not natural monopolies then their competition must have been eliminated unnaturally or artificially, i.e, by the government.

It is abundantly clear that our labyrinthine regulatory structure is an artificial barrier to new competition, particularly since the regulations are now written by the very corporations they are supposed to govern. However, the root of the problem is not bad regulations or corruption. It is the fact that any barriers to human action exist at all beyond those that prevent aggression. Even without back door deals and outright corruption, these artificial barriers necessarily favor entrenched market players over new firms trying to enter the market, as compliance with regulation drives up start up and compliance costs beyond what all but the largest firms can afford.

The so-called “deregulation” in many of our markets did nothing to dismantle this quagmire of regulation, but merely eliminated barriers to consolidation while continuing to insulate established players from new competition. The results were predictable but certainly not the results of natural market forces. The proper solution to this problem is not to violate the rights to liberty and property by prohibiting one company from buying another, but rather to remove the further violations of those rights that our massive regulatory structure represents.

On this point there were some thoughtful comments attempting to determine whether corporations have rights or whether only people have rights. I would argue that the rights in question when discussing corporations are those of the shareholders, who retain all of the same rights to life, liberty, and property as any other market participant. Some argued further that the shareholders obtain certain privileges granted by government, particularly in limiting liability, that justify taxes or restrictions that would not be justified on individuals.

However, this argument ignores the fact that corporations are required to register and therefore declare to all of society their corporate status. As the decisions to form a corporation, buy its stock, lend it money, or purchase its products are all made voluntarily and with full knowledge of its corporate status, there is no justification for government to impose special restrictions upon a corporation outside of those disclosure requirements necessary to inform the public that it is a corporation.

Finally, there were those that argued that unfettered free markets result in corporations achieving too much “power,” rather than merely too much wealth. Corporate “power” is a misnomer. Power is the ability to use force. Only government has power. It is government’s sacred duty to wield that power only in defense of each individual’s rights. No matter how much wealth a corporation obtains, it exercises no power, unless it literally spends its capital to raise an army and engage in open rebellion. Clearly, this has not been the case. However, it is also clear that corporate or other wealthy interests have used their wealth to buy political favors and to induce politicians to pervert the laws themselves, leading directly to the quasi-fascist economy that we find ourselves confronted with today.

This has been a failure of government, not the free market. It is certainly not admirable when an individual or group uses its wealth to achieve injustice. Nor are interested parties participating in a free market when trying to bring government force to bear upon competitors or other market participants. However, it is ultimately government that is entrusted to preserve justice. The members of government are never compelled to allow wealthy interests to persuade them to abandon their duty. It is the government’s job to say “no,” and when they fail to do so they are destroying the free market, not licensing it.

This brief article certainly does not answer every specific argument made against free markets, but it does illustrate something common to all of them: all objections against free markets result from a misunderstanding of what a free market is. A free market is one in which no one’s rights are violated, resulting in all transactions occurring by mutual, voluntary consent. Participants in a free market practice the non-aggression principle. This does not require unrealistic virtue from market participants, because it is government’s duty to enforce the non-aggression principle. Every economic problem plaguing American society today stems from some departure from the free market, which is some violation of the rights of market participants. Justice is the protection of those rights. Social justice can only be achieved when absolutely free markets exist. Properly understood, freedom and free markets are one and the same.

Check out Tom Mullen’s new book, A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America. Right Here!


31 thoughts on “>What Is This Free Market We Keep Hearing About? Part II

  1. daprovic

    >Dear Mr. Mullen,

    It seems that you blame, quite correctly so, artificial monopolies ("artificial forces at work that are keeping competition out" as you describe it) for all societal problems. But isn't a federal government an artificial monopoly by definition? Doesn't it have a monopoly on the use of violence, defense and law making? If yes, then how can you even think of justifying it if you truly believe in liberty and private property?
    All your articles praise the free market in all economic sectors, except in the most important ones which are defense and law making. Do you really believe that the free market could not make a better job at producing better laws for its customers and providing better private protection to them than the federal government, as in all the other sectors???

    In high regards,


  2. Tom Mullen

    >Hello daprovic,

    YOu make a point that is often made by anarchists or minarchists regarding the "monopoly on violence by the government." I don't believe that your argument is without merit, however I do believe there are some fundamental concepts of law and justice that make it not quite so simple a leap from the market to the law. I will answer you and the rest with an article devoted especially to this subject. Bear with me, as I have several articles outlined and need to sit down and write them, but have been on the run since the book got published. Thank you for reading and commenting – please continue!

  3. NFT

    >Mr. Mullen,

    I don't think you understand the concept of self-governing, which is what the founders tried to (initially) put in place for each commonwealth and state in this nation, as well as for each individual. The moment you view (and write) that 'government' has a 'right' or justified role to use force 'in special circumstances', is the moment you prove your own misunderstanding of the concept and role of government in a liberty oriented society and a self governing people. This is, by far, the worst piece you have ever written. I can taste the filmy residue of John Locke in each hostile conclusion you jot down and attempt to feed to your audience. I hope they don't swallow it, as you have. Sorry to have to be harsh and a bit 'bend you over and spank you' about this, but you are the most frustrating of all patriots, I'll have you know. It's the small errors the founders made that allowed for the tyranny we now find ourselves in, why are you suggesting the continuance of those small errors that will lead to the same outcome for future generations? Read more John Adams, investigate the difference between commonwealths and 'states' – respect the individual and the right to self govern before you lead some patriots out there to flawed subscriptions to extremely inaccurate theories on the role of government in a constitutional republic. (feel free to punch me in the arm for this next time we bump into each other at a liberty gathering.) :O)

  4. Tom Mullen

    >Well my very beautiful friend with the extremely disturbing e-mail name (something about eyebrows inside a bag) has finally come to my personal blog. Greetings Renee!

    My position in the article was that government's only role was to act as our agent in self defense. I believe that is consistent with the role designated by our founders.

    John Adams was a federalist – he believed in a stronger government than Jefferson did. Of course, Jefferson loved "the filmy residue of Locke," because Jefferson said that Locke was one of the three greatest men who ever lived (on several occasions, actually). He also said that the American people had adopted Locke's philosophy, along with that of Algernon Sidney.

    I know we've discussed all of this before, and you disagree, despite the overwhelming proof, but answer me this – what do you think the founders intended the role of government to be?

  5. NFT

    >Your seductive wooing via compliments won't suck me into your corrupt, Lockean, soft-socialistic and hardcore authoritarian views, Mr. Mullen. I do, however, find your weakness in and through them thoroughly interesting, even intoxicating.

    That you submit to such illogical 'intellectualism' in spite of your previous (and future, I'm sure) writings that are so strongly liberty oriented is a reminder to me, and anyone in future generations who reads your blog and other works on websites and in books, that it was the tiniest of errors that kept destroying mankind's innate and indestructable desire to self govern, to live in liberty, freedom and peace – and until a government is designed and constructed to allow for that, which won't happen if YOU, as a leader in this movement, continue to rely on the same philosophers that the founding fathers 'caught' the disease of their flaws from, we will continue to struggle for these things.

    I beg of you to read what John Adams INITIALLY attempted in the
    1st constitution of the United States of America, in his writing of The Constitution or Form of Government for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Granted, Adams later betrayed his own vision for commonwealths, and a nation of commonwealths, but that's because of his ties to man's LAW (he was the one who brought in the deist view of "law" here to America, as he is the one who founded the first bar association in Massachusetts.) Couple that with the fact that so many of the founders were lawyers and attorneys, and right there is your 'evidence' of what went wrong and why we are where we are now.

    The next time you are visiting the Free State, you let me know, so I can buy you a batch of drinks and argue with you about this after I get you intoxicated enough to put down your stubborn male ego and listen to what I, and so many out here, are trying to explain to you. I do not want to see the same mistakes made this time, and all I see is our best and brightest relying on the same flawed theories and attempting to start this mess all over again. I refuse to let that happen to the generations to come. I have read your hero Locke's work until my eyes (and heart and mind) bled dry, I am positive that philosopher is NOT the philosopher to utilize if liberty is the goal. We need to be able to seek out the philosophies that are sound, logical and compassionate – Locke does not fit those criteria. SOME of what he wrote, if taken out of context of the whole of his political theory, DOES sound great – but when you look at the whole of what he was saying? It's garbage. It is flawed.

    Also – and don't you ever forget this – any force of government you 'think' was or meant to be part of the role of government, was through the initiation and consent of the governed, not as a collective (if you read John Adams more, you'd understand this), but by CONSENT OF THE INDIVIDUAL. "Government" did not and does not have the role to protect "people" – it only was meant to have the role to secure the form of government that allowed self governing.

    Wow, I'm quite punchy this morning. Please know this is written with the kindest of intentions (not for or to you, of course, but for those that might be looking to you for guidance and being accidently led down the same 'wrong path to liberty' as you), and with a very sincere respect of you and your other writings. Sorry if this felt like I was shaking your hand and punching you in the gut with the other. I think this stuff is probably better not written on your blog anymore. I get way too heated – but this particular write up of yours was far too wrong to ignore or to address privately.

    Have a great weekend on your end.

    With oodles of noodles of love of debate and discussion, as well as a debt to you for all you assisted with in my own search for truth and common sense,

    NarcolepticFitThrower a.k.a. BagOfEyebrows

  6. Tom Mullen

    >No, Renee, please keep posting on my blog. I think the other readers need to hear some intelligent counterpoint. Heat it up all you want, you are among friends here.

    I restate my understanding of Locke. I have no individual right to commit aggression against anyone else, or to bring force to bear upon them to for any reason other than to defend myself against aggression by them.

    I can delegate no authority to government that I do not possess individually.

    I reserve the right to use force, violence, if necessary, to defend my life, liberty, and property against those who aggress against them.

    I also reserve my right to enlist the help of my fellow human beings in my self defense, allowing them to use force on my behalf ONLY in defense of my life, liberty, and property against aggression.

    This last right I allude to is otherwise known as constitutional republican government. It is an institution of self-defense, and for the brief time we had it, we were the greatest country in the world (because we were a collection of free individuals).

    Everything I have said above is completely consistent with Locke. You misread him when you argue that he allowed majority vote to go beyond the above stated role of government. He quite clearly stated that when the government went beyond these narrow boundaries (only defending the individual against aggression), including when the government took away property, that it entered a state of war with the people, and the people were no longer bound by its laws.

    By the way, I have read John and Samuel Adams extensively, including most of "DEFENCE. OF THE. CONSTITUTIONS OF GOVERNMENT. OF THE. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" and "A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law." I find nothing in them that his not completely consistent with Locke, whom he also praised.

    By the way, the original constitution of Massachussetts that you allude to FORCED people to go to church – that is, if they didn't they were subject to the government committing violence against them. Do you agree with this?

  7. NFT

    >Mr. Mullen,

    As you know, I do not have a church or a bible, I'm an atheist, so obviously I would not support a document that authorized 'force' to attend a church. However, that is not what John wrote.

    Although being strapped down to a pew and having a bible super-glued to my palms might appeal to me in dark-comedy ways, this type of false info you feed to your audience without doing the research to back it up is exactly what I'm talking about in regards to your responsibility as a leader in this movement towards liberty.

    I can conclude one of two things here… you either did not read the constitution of the commonwealth of massachusetts, or, you read it but with a drunken skim and didn't fully comprehend what John was saying. How dare you do this to Mr. Adams, let alone those out there new to the liberty movement who trust your guidance? You're no better than Obama when you mislead an entire mass of people to think or believe one thing when another is actually the truth.

    "Article II. It is the right as well as the duty of all men in society, publicly, and at stated seasons to worship the Supreme Being, the great Creator and Preserver of the universe. And no subject shall be hurt, molested, or restrained, in his person, liberty, or estate, for worshipping God in the manner and season most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience; or for his religious profession or sentiments; provided he doth not disturb the public peace, or obstruct others in their religious worship."

    Taking you at your word that you read the document instead of getting cliff notes from somebody you trust who themselves didn't take the time to study the first constitution, perhaps you misunderstood or didn't notice the part about 'most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience' ? There is no demand of 'church' there – only a firm establishing of a right to freedom of religion.

    Or was it article 3 that you misinterpreted? (parts of which I do disagree with John on, but all of which does not authorize use of force upon the people to attend church, read it very carefully to understand fully what John was saying – he was simply giving towns and cities a right to establish seperate denominations of religion and the people of a town or city a right to make it a rule, for that town or city, that the inhabitants of that community be educated on the denomination and/or religion designated for that particular town or city, if any, and that access to that information be available and provided to all.)

    continued in a second, post too long –

  8. NFT

    >"Article III. [As the happiness of a people, and the good order and preservation of civil government, essentially depend upon piety, religion and morality; and as these cannot be generally diffused through a community, but by the institution of the public worship of God, and of public instructions in piety, religion and morality: Therefore, to promote their happiness and to secure the good order and preservation of their government, the people of this commonwealth have a right to invest their legislature with power to authorize and require, and the legislature shall, from time to time, authorize and require, the several towns, parishes, precincts, and other bodies politic, or religious societies, to make suitable provision, at their own expense, for the institution of the public worship of God, and for the support and maintenance of public Protestant teachers of piety, religion and morality, in all cases where such provision shall not be made voluntarily.

    And the people of this commonwealth have also a right to, and do, invest their legislature with authority to enjoin upon all the subjects an attendance upon the instructions of the public teachers aforesaid, at stated times and seasons, if there be any on whose instructions they can conscientiously and conveniently attend.

    Provided, notwithstanding, that the several towns, parishes, precincts, and other bodies politic, or religious societies, shall, at all times, have the exclusive right of electing their public teachers, and of contracting with them for their support and maintenance.

    And all moneys paid by the subject to the support of public worship, and of the public teachers aforesaid, shall, if he require it, be uniformly applied to the support of the public teacher or teachers of his own religious sect or denomination, provided there be any on whose instructions he attends; otherwise it may be paid towards the support of the teacher or teachers of the parish or precinct in which the said moneys are raised.

    Any every denomination of Christians, demeaning themselves peaceably, and as good subjects of the commonwealth, shall be equally under the protection of the law: and no subordination of any one sect or denomination to another shall ever be established by law.]"

    The most important part of that to note is this: "at their own expense."

    For the record, the part I disagree with is that of public worship and/or religion as being the only way to get information about the principles this nation was founded upon to the people. I do support John's notion, though, that churhes and religion should be allowed to be at the helm of a town or city, without infringing on an individual's rights, as long as that individual doesn't interfere in the public worship (nor be forced to attend or pay for it. And, if you read John's words, he wasn't suggesting or demanding either.)

    Was there a case I'm not aware of whereas someone got thrown in jail for not going to church in any town or city in Massachusetts (post 1780)? I could only find an occurance of that in Virginia (regarding Baptist Christianity, where whipping, enslavement and jail could be used against 'godless heathens' like me.) Enlightenment me if that was ever the situation in Massachusetts (and good luck trying to find a single case where it would happen in John Adam's commonwealth.)

    I would be honored to have you prove me wrong, although I know it won't be with this particular debate, Mr. Mullen – perhaps one day when we argue about something else, but not with this subject.

    John Adams was brilliant to found this nation upon the principles (not the ethics!) and philosophy of Christianity.

    I want the right to self govern, and only God's laws and the philosophy of Christ offer that to us – one doesn't have to be religious or attend church or subscribe to any bible to see that as the truth. It isn't Christians or Catholics who seek to disarm this nation's people… it is sectors of atheism or deism that seek to do that.

  9. Tom Mullen


    First of all, I appreciate the absolute brilliance of John Adams, although I never managed to get on a first-name basis with him. Kudos. 🙂

    You needn't have posted half of the Constitution, although it makes my blog look like it has more comments, so no problem. 😀

    The relevant section to my comment is this one:

    "And the people of this commonwealth have also a right to, and do, invest their legislature with authority to enjoin upon all the subjects an attendance upon the instructions of the public teachers aforesaid, at stated times and seasons, if there be any on whose instructions they can conscientiously and conveniently attend."

    As you know, "enjoin" means "require" or "command," so the "subjects" of the various towns within Mass. could be required to attend religious instruction by the "public teachers." The qualification about "conscientiously and conveniently attend" does not mitigate the injustice of such a law one bit. Picture how it plays out. Mr. Jones refuses to go to public instruction and is brought up on charges for violating the law. Even if he is acquitted, his rights have already been horribly violated. THen, he must prove that instruction is either inconvenient, to which the prosectuor or judge replies, "but it's only 1/10th of a mile from you house," or against his conscience, to which the judge says, "but we have examined the curriculum, and we find nothing depraved or objectionable about it, but that it is nothing but the teaching of ' piety, religion and morality,' just as our Constitution requires. Therefore, we do not find that your claim of this public instruction being against your conscience to be without merit and…"

    If you have any knowledge of the law or the history of laws that provide "get-out" clauses," you are well-aware that the burden falls upon the violator of the law to prove that the get-out clause applies. See Muhammad Ali's conscientious objection to the Viet Nam war.

    This whole section is a complete violation of liberty by one of its greatest proponents, and by the way, I am not an atheist and still find it horrid.

    I didn't even bring up the fact that people were forced to pay for this. You cite "at their own expense," but that does not mean at the expense of the individual and only with the individual's consent. The expense will be born by " the several towns, parishes, precincts, and other bodies politic, or religious societies," which will of course be required to force their constituents to pay taxes to support this law.

    This is a great stroke of tyranny by the "national" government of Mass., for it requires the services to be provided, and also requires that the local districts pay for them. Meanwhile, the indvidual who does not want to attend or pay for public religious education has no rights in the matter at all.

    I believe that you should drink a glass of wine, get yourself into a calm state of mind and reread your Locke, Adams, and other writings of our founders. I believe you are coming across passages, misunderstanding them, and letting your passions prevent you from sorting them out upon a second look or further analysis.

    "Doctor, you must learn to govern your passions. They will be your undoing."

    – Mr. Spock (2136)

  10. NFT

    >Tom 'not an atheist' Mullen,

    surely you have found a case where someone was thrown into jail for not attending church, then, circa post-1780, to prove that John (or Mr. Adams, as you know him) had no intentions of individual rights or freedom of religion?

    I'd imagine the state of Massachusetts would have had jails full of church-denying and defying heathens, if what you are claiming is valid (it's not), seeing as Mr. Adams was a lawyer and president of the Bar Association. Surely his courts would have been utilized to rid Massachusetts of those who would refuse to attend church, were it a 'demand' in the constitution.

  11. NFT

    >Surely you can link me to the youtube clips of the Lifetime channel's movie about the numerous people thrown into jail for not attending church in Massachusetts post 1780? I mean, history books surely must be full of stories for us both to chuckle through about these jailed godless heathens if it was constitutional law that folks attend church in Massachusetts?

    I'm patiently waiting, Mr. Mullen. ONE case where somone was thrown into jail under constitutional law for not attending church post ratification of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

    And, seeing as you claim not to be an atheist, may I ask you this? Do you think a people should be allowed to self govern under God's Laws and the philosophy of Christ? Or do you think Man's laws and Locke's philosophy are the better route?

    Do you put Man's laws and Locke's philosophy above that of God's laws and Christ's philosophy, Mr. Mullen?

    I bet you do – in fact, I know you do. 🙂 Don't cite yourself as 'not an atheist' giving the false impression that you are a man of God, when it was that trickery of deism that got this nation into this mess. I know how the word 'God' was used to manipulate people, as well as terms like 'natural law' – and this time around, the sources will be cited, and the deceptive practices of intellectuals not allowed.

    This is a nation of good people, honest people, hard working and kind people, and they deserve a government that will allow them to prosper in freedom, liberty and peace. And self governing.

  12. Tom Mullen

    >C'mon Renee,

    You know the purpose of a Constitution is merely to define what laws may be passed, not to contain the whole of the law. I do not know whether the legislature made use of the "right" granted to them to pass laws enjoining subjects to attend religious instruction or not. If they did, then incarcerations were probably rare, as people would have just as soon complied as challenge the system. Even if no laws were ever passed or no one was ever prosecuted, the Constitutional emumeration of the power was unjust.

    In answer to your second question, I believe that the extent of the law should be the Non-Aggression Principle. THat is enough to allow people to self govern. What God's law might be is left up to each individual to determine. No human knows what is in the mind of God. Only the natural law, which can be observed objectively, beginning with the observable fact that all human beings are created equal, should direct political law. Reason, the greatest gift from God, is our vehicle to determine what is right from observeable facts.

    Your suggestion that God's law should direct human law of course begs the question, "God's law according to whom?" According to the Protestants? The Catholics? The Hindus? The Native Americans?

    My suggestion, to rely on the Non-Aggression Principle alone to establish earthly laws leaves all considerations of God to each individual, as our founders wisely intended, and also welcomes members of all religious backgrounds, or no religious background at all – like yourself – to enjoy the rights of self-government and liberty.

    It also allows each person to place the laws of God as they understand them above the human law, as by committing no aggression against anyone else, they are free to impose further restrictions upon themselves based upon their religious beliefs without aggressing against others who don't share those beliefs (trivial example: I won't eat meat on Friday).

    By imposing one person or group's understanding of God's law upon the civil law, you automatically aggress against those who don't share those beliefs, likely causing them to believe that their soul depends upon disobeying the law. Look at history: it happened all of the time.

  13. Roy


    You said (in italics):

    A free market is one in which no one’s rights are violated, resulting in all transactions occurring by mutual, voluntary consent.

    You continually extol the virtues of a true free market, yet you seem not to recognize that the logical conclusion of your position is necessarily anarcho-capitalistic. How do you not consider yourself an anarcho-capitalist?

    Participants in a free market practice the non-aggression principle. This does not require unrealistic virtue from market participants, because it is government’s duty to enforce the non-aggression principle.

    Yes and therefore the "government" as a participant in the free market must practice non-aggression too. That makes the "government" a set of services provided in that marketplace like all others. Competitively and for profit. Therefore these "government" services will tend toward the highest quality at the lowest cost. We as individuals only need to deligate these "governments" rights we already have, namely the right of self-defense.

    YOu make a point that is often made by anarchists or minarchists regarding the "monopoly on violence by the government."

    Minarchists are wrong to the extent that they tolerate the violation of the non-aggression principle by ANYBODY for ANY purpose.

    I don't believe that your argument is without merit, however I do believe there are some fundamental concepts of law and justice that make it not quite so simple a leap from the market to the law. I will answer you and the rest with an article devoted especially to this subject. Bear with me, as I have several articles outlined and need to sit down and write them…

    Not only isn't the anarcho-capitalist argument without merit, it is the ONLY argument that is COMPLETELY MERITED, unless you are willing to change your definition of "free market".

    I will look forward to your planned articles but frankly I don't see that you have any way to deny that anarcho-capitalism is the correct model of self-government without blatantly contradicting yourself.

    Natural law is stated well by the non-aggression law. That is Malum In Se. There would be no need for statutory law (Malum Prohibitum) in a free market. That leaves contract law to be established by free actors in the marketplace. What could possibly be more elegant?

  14. Roy

    >In fact there can be no malum prohibitum that is neither redundant of or in violation of malum in se. That is why statutory law so badly fails in everything it attempts to accomplish.

  15. Crusty

    >I enjoyed reading your post. I hope there are as many people reading your posts, who are NOT yet converted to the concept of free markets, as there are people who believe YOU are not yet converted to the concept of free markets. You make some very good points, which I believe a lot of people need to hear, in order to clear up their misunderstandings about the free market.

    I just have a couple of questions for you… Who will fund your ideal, free-market-protecting government, and what happens to me if I don't voluntarily pay for this government? Aggression?

    When I read your post, I didn't buy the idea that you believe in free-markets or non-aggression. Maybe you believe in them in a relative sense, but not in absolute principle.

    We may agree, in that I believe, in order to maintain some semblance of society in its current form, you would need some form of government, in order to protect individuals' rights and ensure that no other rogue government assumes control. Further, I believe a truly free market society would be short-lived, since people generally gravitate toward tyranny, and without some governmental, freedom-protecting entity, freedom would be quickly replaced by mobs, gangs, or other despots, who fascistly collude with corporations for monetary gain (much like our current government/police).

    I believe people like Thomas Jefferson and John Adams may have believed in the concept of freedom; however, they probably also realized it would be short-lived without sacrificing some freedoms and instituting governments to protect individuals' rights from governments.

    That being said, I still believe in truly free markets, without non-voluntary subjection to ANY government. I say, come what may; I believe in absolute free markets (not relative free markets). Call me a realistically pessimistic believer in absolute free markets.

    [Actually, I believe absolute free markets COULD work in a spread-out, farm-based society, wherein most members, or clusters of members, are self-sufficient.]

    NFT, tell me why absolute free markets would work in a modern society, in spite of human inclinations to tyrannically control other people through despotic, fascist governments (mobs, gangs, police, militia, etc.).

  16. NFT


    I'm here more about the liberty and freedom to Free Markets than I am here spouting off to Mr. Mullen about Free Markets. I'm not actually an advocate for any particular market system – I would like to see people be given the chance, the liberty and freedom, to have any market system they want, be it individual to individual, or as groups, in their town or city, their county, their state or commonwealth, whatever is most agreeable to them, as individuals, as well as in groups, in their transactions with each other.

    That said, though, when you ask me to tell you why absolute free markets would work, there almost seems to be this unspoken word after it of "flawlessly."

    Or without any problems?

    There is no market system that would be flawless – we are composed of very individual and flawed moments, as a people, there is no system we could put in place that would be void of interruption of the concept, ideal or philosophy, be the interruption be by individuals or groups of individuals.

    And the same is true of our designs for government, our designs for monetary systems, and our designs for 'law' – no matter what we put in place for ourselves (and/or for each other), even the most logical and compassionate of designs will not result in 'nothing going wrong' – because of the makeup of our own beings.

    I just seek the liberty and freedom to have whatever market system a people desire (as long as that market system is not via force.)

    I also don't see government as the protector of the people within the governed, I only see government as a securer of the form of government agreed to and promised to all, under the law and philosophy agreed to self govern by, which includes the freedom to design markets, monetary systems, law systems, and even systems of protection – by the people, perhaps through their governments, when they seek to secure the ideas about those things in their communities, with consent of the governed, and never by infringing on an individual's right to opt out, should they for any reason disagree with the idea or concept.

    I'm glad Mr. Mullen writes all he writes, too. He has been a tremendous help to me in bringing the message of liberty to people I know and meet, as I print out his pieces sometimes to give voice to what I think about specific topics – he does a better (and more concise) job of it than I could. Except on this particular subject, of course.

    I would only print out his writing on this particular subject to make a paper airplane out of it and send it flying into a bonfire in my backyard, to watch it burn to the ashes it is equivalent to. (hahaha, that was a poke at Tom. I can't seem to help being a punk about this :p )

    I loved your response to Mr. Mullen, Crusty. Along with all the other responses here – this is a good discussion. I hope Mr. Mullen listens.

  17. daprovic

    >Crusty, your argument stands on the assumption that a truly free market would be absent of entities that apply laws and protect its customers against aggression. Nothing further could be from the truth, since anarchy is nothing more than the legalization of competition to government, resulting in an ever expanding of those freedom-protecting entities you seem to believe to be nonexistent in anarchy.

    Another of your flawed assumptions is that people generally tend to tyranny. Those who tend to tyranny are in effect a very very small percentage of the population and would be ostracized by a truly free market society.

    In our complex modern society, dispute resolution centers (DRCs) would start competing with each other (just as in any other economic sector) to provide their services (write laws, apply them and defend private property). DRCs will protect their clients against the gangs, mobs and mafias you describe. If some shady DRCs decide to provide services to those same gangs, mobs and mafias, they will by definition need to charge exorbitant fees to those evil organizations in order cover the costs of their violence. Those DRCs would find themselves bankrupt in very shorty days and the gangs, mobs and mafias would need to rely on themselves for their violence. This would mean that they would be on a DRC shit list which would be available to everyone not to provide their services to, effectively ostracizing them from society, which would mean basically starving them to death.

  18. Roy

    >I hope there are as many people reading your posts, who are NOT yet converted to the concept of free markets, as there are people who believe YOU are not yet converted to the concept of free markets.

    Not to worry, Crusty. We are in the infancy of a very long and drawn out evolution of consciousness. We will ultimately get there, but slowly, one corpus at a time. By definition, freedom cannot be forced on anybody.

    That said, though, when you ask me to tell you why absolute free markets would work, there almost seems to be this unspoken word after it of "flawlessly."

    Yes, I noticed that unspoken word also. Perfection is not an option, Crusty, but optimization is. As we progress further into this evolution, we will discover that not only is freedom moral, but it is also practical.

    Call me a realistically pessimistic believer in absolute free markets.

    Crusty, I would encourage you to have more faith in yourself and your fellow man. Optimism is absolutely realistic. Believe and help bring your belief to fruition.

    Daprovic, you and I are obviously on the same page. I would invite Tom, Crusty, and all to join us. The destination will be unimaginable.

  19. Crusty

    >Yeah…when I say I don't think an absolute free market system will work, I'm not implying it won't work "flawlessly." I'm explicitly saying it won't last very long, because despotic governments will form and oppress the people. Small, neighborhood governments will combine to form larger, regional governments.

    The very free market agencies you think will protects you from despotic governments, will become the governments which will oppress you. Call them private police, private gangs, private mobs, private protection agencies, or private militias; they all mean the same thing.

    I agree anarchy does not mean an absence of law or order. Private companies always have their own law and system of government, which they will enforce on their private property. All property would be private, and therefore, all property would have its own system of law & order.

    Daprovic, with whom will the law reside which will make mobs comply with DRC's. In other words, who will force them to participate in DRC's? If nobody forces them to participate, then why would they want to participate? Would participation in the free market and the threat of ostracism force them to comply with DRC's? I doubt it. When a gang (mob, police, protection agencies, whatever you want to call them) has all the guns, and they control the market through oppression, why would they want to answer to a DRC? They will control the DRC's and the market. If the DRC's are the ultimate authority, then they will become the government. The evidence abounds that this is what groups of people tend to do.

    I'm glad to hear the rest of you are optimistic. I think you're delusional, but I'm glad you are delusional. If everyone thought like I do, we would never have a shot at finding out if I'm wrong, and it would persevere. In addition, we would never convert anyone else to the cause, if we were all pessimistic. Not too many people would want to implement a system (or de-implement all other systems) that doesn't stand a chance of persevering. I do.

    I would not want to settle for anything less than complete, absolute freedom & free markets. I just don't think it will last long. It's a good place to start, however, and it should always be the place to which we should try to come back.

    My point in mentioning what I've said was just to offer an explanation as to why I think someone like Tom (or Thomas Jefferson) would believe in free markets, to a degree, but not in absolute terms. Some sort of constitution or government seems like it stands a much better chance of maintaining a degree of freedom than a system with no constitution/government.

    Thanks for your responses.

  20. Tom Mullen


    Where would you send me to read the most intelligent argument for the system you describe, with competing dispute resolution centers, or some other free market solution to provide the protections of life, liberty, and property currently (supposedly) provided by government?

    My conclusion is related to Crusty's in why I believe at this moment that anarchy would not work. I believe a perpetual state of war would ensue, as each competing group would have their own idea of what laws would best protect life, liberty, and property, and even if all groups agreed to try to enforce the non=aggression principle, they might disagree on what constituted aggression, etc., so that there would always be disputes. And, like government, each of these DRC's would by definition be institutions of force, so they would have only one alternative when a member of another group infringed upon the perceived rights of one of theirs: war.

    Again, I don't even want to make my argument until I've read something that you believe faithfully represents yours. Unlike the modern "liberal" or "conservative" arguments, I don't believe the anarchist argument is completely devoid of reason and I want to make sure that I understand it before responding to it. Who knows, you may win a new convert. 🙂

  21. Crusty

    >Roy, I have plenty of faith in myself, but I have no faith in other people to act any differently than they always have. People are generally pretty sick and violent. I always say, 'People are far more oppressive and violent than they give themselves credit for.' The common fool wants nothing to do with freedom, even though he'll wave his guns in the air and oppress other people in the name of freedom. I trust nobody to be anything other than greedy and oppressive. You shouldn't either.

    This is why I say believe free markets have a much better chance of working in a farm-based, spread-out, rural society, in which people are generally self-sufficient (trading only non-necessity items).

    I only trust myself. You would be naive to do anything otherwise.

  22. daprovic

    >Crusty, once again you are assuming that the gangs and mobs have a monopoly on guns and violence, which is completely illogical since the DRPs or their subcontractors will be the most heavily armed because they would necessarily need to in order to supply the protection demand of the 99% of the non tyrannical population.

    Free markets do not equal absence of violence, they simply allow competition on violence, which would bring violence to the lowest price and best quality as it is with any other product or service in any other economic sector. The result would be very little violence. Most resolutions would be done voluntarily, because competing DRPs would look to solve problems in ways that it costs them as least as possible (violence is always the most expensive way).

    You bring the notion of war between DRPs, but fail to understand that war is expensive, and that unlike in a statist society, it isn't paid by taxpayers money, but by actual dollar votes of their customers. If customers don't pay for the war, the war will end very shortly thereafter and other solutions would be provided by the free market. As for wars between DRPs and rogue groups, I believe that that would be an impossibility, since DRPs are actually getting paid to be armed, their incentive is to have the greatest firepower that is out there. Surely with a broad customer base they would be much much better funded than individual rogue groups.

    Also, ostracism will force the gangs to become legitimate in order to sign up with a DRP and be allowed by society to buy what they need to strive in life. If they don't and persist with violence against others, they will be soon thereafter be apprehended and dealt with by the DRPs.

  23. daprovic

    >Tom, I recommend Hans-Hermann Hoppe's books "The Myth of National Defense" (http://mises.org/store/Myth-of-National-Defense-The-P171.aspx) along with "The Private Production of Defense" (http://mises.org/store/Private-Production-of-Defense-P468.aspx).

    Many Austrian scholars are anarcho-capitalists and wrote many pieces which you can probably find on lewrockwell.com

    Among many authors there is Murray Rothbard, Robert Higgs, Walter Block and Stephan Kinsella.

  24. Crusty


    You seem to trust DRP's like statists trust governments. They are the same thing. Money is easy to come by. Those who have the most money, control the DRP's and the guns.

    You don't have to actually use your guns to control other people; you just have to have enough to to keep other people from wanting to attempt resistance. Owning the most guns is expensive, but it's far less expensive than actually having to use them. In addition, controlling the guns may be expensive, but it's also very lucrative.

    Legal gambling facilities' mobs are an excellent example of how money will control the guns, and guns will control the people, thereby yielding more money and more control.

    What makes you think, in a free market, the entities which make the most money, won't use the money to buy the most control over other entities?

    I wonder if some people are trying so hard to sell liberty that cease to be honest or realistic.

    Again, don't take this pessimism to mean I'm not a principled believer in absolute free markets. I just realize, if liberty is ever achieved, it will be VERY short-lived.

  25. Roy

    >Roy, I have plenty of faith in myself, but I have no faith in other people to act any differently than they always have.

    It's great that you have such an abundance of faith in yourself. Have you considered working on your faith in your fellow man?

    People are generally pretty sick and violent. I always say, 'People are far more oppressive and violent than they give themselves credit for.' The common fool wants nothing to do with freedom, even though he'll wave his guns in the air and oppress other people in the name of freedom. I trust nobody to be anything other than greedy and oppressive. You shouldn't either.

    You are a self-described pessimist and you are certainly making a believer out of me.

    This is why I say believe free markets have a much better chance of working in a farm-based, spread-out, rural society, in which people are generally self-sufficient (trading only non-necessity items).

    Of course they have a better chance of working in less complex societies. But that does not mean that they have no chance of working in more complex ones.

    I only trust myself. You would be naive to do anything otherwise.

    Call me naive, but I usually trust myself and anybody else, unless and until they give me a reason not to. Think about it, Crusty. Do you really want to live in a world where nobody trusts anybody else? Do you really think that is the world you live in? These are rhetorical questions that only you can answer.

  26. Roy

    >You are a self-described pessimist and you are certainly making a believer out of me….


    …that you are indeed a pessimist, not that I should become one too.

  27. NFT

    >Crusty –

    I don't see the role of a free market (or any market) to be that of protector. Of me or for me.

    I see markets in the same way I see governments – or constitutions – – I see them all as formulas, equations, ideas, systems, 'words', tools – put into action by the people they are written by and for, and consented to, or not consented to, if the equation just doesn't add up to the proposed and promised sum, repeatedly.

    – I 100% agree with you about constitutions/governments, though. I think both constitutions and governments are important to use in the quest for liberty, freedom and peace, which is why I'm not known as an 'absolute anarchist'.

    I don't see governments or constitutions 'going away' anymore than I see it possible for religion to 'go away' – I don't see any of those things as a problem or a negative, though.

    When a formula, equation or system fails its theorized directives and outcomes, it is probably a good idea to go back over the formula/equation to see if the conflict/trouble was somewhere in there… because people are, in my own viewpoint and conclusion, and to loosely quote A. Frank, "mostly good", and mostly wanting to follow logical, peaceful and compassionate guidelines and systems in their daily lives and interactions with others. And many of them do it without even voting, without even trying to 'guide' or play a role in the design of it – how's that for trust and goodness?

    Most just desire to work within the systems others create – most people don't vote and don't want to vote – they would just like to live their lives in the recommended 'program.' They are the ones that most deserve the chance to have a decent array of systems to choose from, as they will be the best indicators of what is the most 'common sense' and user friendly, and also the most 'moral', as logic and common sense ARE moral.

    And I think it's possible to fix governments, constitutions and all other guidelines and systems to give people the chance, the liberty and the freedom, to resolve the tremendous amount of errors made in the past couple of hundred years of this nation.

    Just as some have been falsely claiming what has happened to our national and global financial situation is due in part, or in whole, to 'capitalism', or 'unregulated capitalism', in an attempt to never again allow it or try it as a system, when it wasn't capitalism that was the system actually being implemented all these decades, the same is true of the experiment of self governing, of liberty and freedom. We were never really allowed to self govern, nor were we allowed to live in liberty and freedom. We were promised it, but never really allowed it. It was impossible to achieve in the systems that rose up around the concept of self governing (re: state, federal governments/constitutions.)

    I don't want the future generations of the world to be fooled into thinking and believing the same types of things they are being told about capitalism in regards to liberty and freedom… "Liberty? freedom? self governing? already been tried. It failed. See what happened in the United States of America for reference."

  28. daprovic

    >Crusty, money is easy to come buy only if you can bribe the state.

    "What makes you think, in a free market, the entities which make the most money, won't use the money to buy the most control over other entities?"

    Lol Crusty, that's like if you said "what makes you think, in a free market, that the bread makers that make the most money, won't use the money to buy the most control over the bread sector."

    The only reason why a DRP would be making much more money than any other is precisely because they provide the best quality of violence to their customers (less violence as possible in essence). Once they use that money to get more guns, you still need to pay people to risk their lives to use them in a war, and if that money does not come from the customers who wish to pay for the war, the war will cease within minutes.

    It is irrational talking about the free market while taking competition out of the equation.

  29. Crusty

    >Clarification…I am a pessimist regarding the perseverance of a truly free market, if and when it is ever achieved.

    I believe people are generally good, or in other words, people don't like to think they are evil, and they find ways to justify their evil acts and regard them as good acts, in order to avoid cognitive dissonance. So, I agree with you that people are generally good. The problem is, for most people, being good entails violently oppressing other people for the sake of their "good" cause.

    I don't believe in being generally optimistic or generally pessimistic. I believe in being realistic. The glass is half-full if it's on its way up; it's half-empty if it's on its way down. It's senseless to be optimistic when it contradicts being realistic.

    I believe in hoping and striving for the best (which is why you can't count me in on working toward a truly free market), but preparing for the worst, while honestly & realistically envisioning potential outcomes. When it comes to liberty, I have a realistically pessimistic outlook on its perseverance, if it's ever achieved.

    I hope I'm wrong. I hope the rest of you are right. I hope your faith in people being good and respecting other people's rights is not as delusional as I perceive it to be.

    However, you have not convinced me otherwise. I believe people are evil (even though they consider themselves to be good), and they will take every opportunity they can to oppress other people. People generally don't care about other people's rights; they only care about their own rights. An oppressor is not sacrificing his own rights when he takes away someone else's rights, so why should he care, especially when he thinks his oppression is for a greater good? In general, people don't have the mental acumen to realize that the best way to ensure their rights are protected is by respecting other people's rights.

    I agree with you that truly free markets will increase competition and decrease profit margins in many cases. However, I still believe it would be possible for one entity to make A LOT of money (a Caesar Palace style casino, for example), or for several entities to pool their resources to oppress other people or suppress competition.

    The best, and possibly the only, way I imagine we can achieve freedom is by achieving self-sufficiency, on an individual basis, thereby achieving liberty from within.


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