Wednesday, August 17, 2011

If You Want Rules You Can Have Rules

Many people have a hard time imagining the idea of a voluntary society because they worry that it means there would be a lack of rules which would lead to a lack of order, or chaos. They think that rules would not exist if coercive governments did not exist.

Yet we already constantly live by rules in our daily voluntary interactions. These rules work because people who do not want to abide by those rules are free to opt out.

In Issue 24 this point is made is an article by Joseph Dejan titled “Open Systems vs. Closed Systems,” discussing the differences between voluntary and coercive entities. Open systems are voluntary in nature and closes systems are coercive.

The author divides open systems into three categories:

“Three natural open systems exist that derive from man's nature, not requiring coercion or force. They are based on biological, economical and aesthetic necessities. They are: the family, business and voluntary associations (clubs, fraternities, etc.). Man by nature needs a mate to reproduce. The result of this system is a family relationship. Laws need not to be passed to compel people to organize business, anymore than for the creation of families. Voluntary associations are also open systems to organize human energy based on sharing human values. They depend on voluntary choice to join and freedom to withdraw.”

He then makes the point that within each of these categories you can find various types and degrees of rules whose purpose is to create order. Different groups will have different rules generally guided by the people in the group and if someone decides they no longer want to accept the rules, they can opt out.

Then he takes it one step further:

“It is interesting to underscore that any open system is not only characterized by its voluntary nature, but by the limitation to the application of the rules. A family does not pass rules for other families in their neighborhood. One business does not seek to force another business to follow the rules established for itself. The charter and by-laws of the Science-Fiction Club are not binding on the members of the Chess Club. The rules in all open systems follow the lines of property-ownership and control.”

So if you want rules you can have them. Just don’t push them on to those in other groups.


MamaLiberty said...

That pretty much says it all. I can't imagine just why this is so hard for most people to accept.

Paul Bonneau said...

"If You Want Rules You Can Have Rules" Hell Debbie, if you want a government you can have that too. There is nothing in a voluntary society that precludes people from having their own government if they want one, as long as it's not imposed on unwilling others. It's actually even better for statists than the current mess, because each group of statists can have exactly the type of government they prefer, rather than having to put up with "one size fits all".

Anonymous said...

@Paul - government, by definition, is not voluntary.