Opinion: Voluntaryism - Voluntary Cooperation Without Force

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Auberon HerbertWikimedia

I remember getting a comment from someone saying anarchism and cooperation are somehow oxymorons, that you cannot have anarchy and cooperation simultaneously. This shows me that some people have not been reading my stories and realizing that this sentiment is wrong: anarchism and libertarianism are voluntary cooperation that goes into cooperation solely by force. I have been writing about the Wild West (a community based on nightwatchman state-style governance without a monopoly on voice), The Farm (a hippie community in Virginia based on a combination of Christian anarchist and Buddhist anarchist values), and the Zapatista anarchist army. All of these groups cooperate and coordinate voluntarily, only resorting to violence to defend individual freedoms and communities from those who just wish to cause trouble and nothing more. T

This comment saddens me a bit and I only bring it up because it reminds me that there are still people who believe that all forms of cooperation or coordination must come at gunpoint - the threat that some overwhelming government force or an authoritarian monopoly of violence must be there to convince anyone to work together. However, plenty of people disagree with that including Auberon Herbert - the British philosopher who came up with voluntaryism. Voluntaryism works to rejects a controlling or authoritarian government in favor off voluntary participation in society, meaning a lack of coercion and force for anything other than defending people's natural rights as individuals.

On top of voluntaryism being at the cornerstone of the anarchist/libertarian communities I mentioned above & in previous stories, there are American anarchist thinkers. Henry David Thoreau, an American philosopher who helped to influence the ideology of anarcho-pacifism, espoused voluntaryism in his essay Walden, or Life in the Wood and On the Duty of Civil Disobedience. Thoreau also talked about voluntaryism in his essay Resistance to Civil Government after he was imprisoned for not paying a poll tax. While voluntaryism is not perfect, it has worked before and shown that you can have a society and cooperation without a monopoly on violence & a state almost entirely backed by threats of harm if you don't comply.

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A person working in cybersecurity and living in the United States who loves to write about topics like U.S. history, technology news, and a bit of philosophy.

Wingate, NC

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