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Report #TL07D: DEEP ANARCHY -AN ELIMINATIVIST VIEW OF "THE STATE"

desk. The collection is picked out simply by my listing the objects that constitute the collection. Again, if I'm eccentric I might name the collection "Jeremiah." Should we say that Jeremiah is an individual, an object? If we answer in the affirmative we should also say that Jeremiah exists. Surely Jeremiah does not exist. There is no object here; there is only a mere collection of objects. By pointing to the objects in turn and then telling you that I'm going to refer to the collection as "Jeremiah" I am just giving the impression of unity and objecthood where there is none. The "components" of Jeremiah are not linked or causally related to each other in any way except one - my arbitrary act of calling them an individual with the name "Jeremiah." I might just as easily have given the name "Jeremiah" to the conjunction of the glass and computer only. There is nothing special about the group of four objects which I actually named Jeremiah. If a human act of naming random collections were enough to constitute an object then the number of objects in the universe would be arbitrary, indeterminate and limitless. Why is the first case clearly one of a collection constituting a higher-level object (or meta-object) whereas the second and third cases are examples of collections which we would not say constitute a meta-object? The answer to this will determine what we should say about "States." My suggestion is this: Functional Integrity Thesis: In the case of the existence of objects, what determines whether a collection of objects is itself an object is the degree of functional integrity possessed by the collection. Secondary Thesis: (a) For each (kind of) object, there is a lower limit of functional integrity below which a collection will not constitute an object. (b) Where that limit is will vary depending on the kind of object under consideration. An object exists when its parts possess a sufficient degree of functional integrity. Alternatively, we can say that an object exists when it possesses the requisite properties of an object of that type. This is equivalent to the previous definition: Properties will only exist where there is a sufficient degree of functional integrity. The existence of an object can therefore be thought of as requiring a second-order functional integrity - sufficient functional integrity of properties (or parts), each of which must have a sufficient degree of integrity. The three examples given above, and many others that could be given, are a major motivating factor behind the Functional Integrity Thesis. The collection of objects on my desk is a mere collection. Nothing makes them into a collection or set apart from the bare fact of my having arbitrarily put them into a group. The collection or group has no existence apart from my specification. My referring to the separate objects by means of a name is not sufficient (or necessary) to make them into a genuine object. Collections formed by fiat are not thereby objects. Such collections are not things; we can rightly say that such collections do not exist. By saying this we are not denying that, in the situation

Some limits do have to be imposed however.(7) The second part of the Secondary Thesis contends that the minimum degree of functional integrity necessary for a collection to constitute an object depends on the kind of object at issue. but conceptual clarity and communication will mean that the extension of a concept is limited. Living organisms tolerate less loss of functional integrity before they cease to exist than some other objects. we will have to decide what to say. It might be thought that objects exist more-or-less. that there is no way of saying when an object is sufficiently integrated to exist. Unlike living creatures (or works of art. Objects like clouds and oceans can exist with a rather low degree of integrity. The fact of twilight does not mean there is no night or day.(6) Higher level properties and objects may not arise at an instantaneous point. I then assert that the collection of parts constitutes an object. If the parts of a cloud are too separated they no longer form a cloud. though they may form more than one cloud. Cognitive systems such as the human brain are well built to handle fuzzy boundaries while being able to categorize the world usefully. a loose conglomeration will suffice. though. Now. what gives the collection of eagle-parts an independent existence. etc. That object is an eagle. even given all the facts. eyes. The eagle exists independently of my acts of grouping and referring.at hand. the existence of borderline cases does not show thatthere are no clear cases of existence and nonexistence. food and drink are incorporated into the body from the surroundings. There is no rigid separation of organism from environment since air. . the individuality of the eagle is not constituted by my act of referring collectively to the group of the eagle-parts. oceans and clouds don't require any very specific arrangement of their constituent parts. The internal parts of the organism are causally related in a more intimate and systematic manner than the relation of the parts to the environment. Only its parts continue to exist. For the eagle to exist the organs must function in a coordinated manner and the skeletal and muscular systems must be appropriately linked up with the rest of the assembly. lungs. However. Certainly functional integrity is a matter of degree. is the functional integrity of the collection. there is also an act of grouping or of collective reference. a thing. but a brief explanation must suffice. This act cannot constitute a new object. and there will be borderline cases where. but that is all. Yet the organism is clearly distinguished from its environment by the tightness of its internal organization and by the causal history of its constituent parts. or even buildings). If the eagle gets torn into pieces we say that the eagle no longer exists. The first part of the Secondary Thesis requires more comment than I have space for. There is an objective grouping of parts such that there is a higherlevel object in existence. The Functional Integrity Thesis claims that what makes the difference. The idea would be that functional integrity is a matter of degree and so we should hold existence to be graded into degrees. There are various very specific and specifiable causal interrelations between the parts.5 I might point in the direction of the eagle and list the eagle's parts: it's wings. liver. there is something more than the four objects.

" "The White House. or authority. and their parts must be precisely arranged. in order that we can correctly determine the degree of integrity needed for a collection to constitute that object. if the "State" is not a monopoly then it just cannot be a "State. My organs must be in the right place.." Applying the Functional Integrity Thesis (FIT) to perceivable physical objects such as tables. have responsibility. even if this has never happened (and almost certainly never would happen). Each element of this definition is necessary. "Governments" or "states" have to use force or coercion in order to finance themselves the system of taxation-extortion common to all governments. if it is a collection whose parts (persons) themselves have these qualities? The second of these problems will be discussed in the section "The Argument from Methodological Individualism.. how can a "State" act. otherwise I am not a living human. is a simple enough matter." If the "State" is to exist. chairs." Essentially this comes down to saying that a "State" is a monopoly on the legitimate use of force in a geographical area." "tax collectors. " "Congress. But now I have two problems: First." etc. Amongst all these people. Max Weber offers the most helpful definition of a "State.For me to be a human. In deciding on the degree to which something exists. Even in those cases we have to take care to identify exactly the kind of object we are looking for. it must be (a) a clearly identifiable collection of parts. clubs." "judges. condoms and cars. If no force were involved then "it" would be merely a voluntary organization. since someone could argue that it is at least conceivable that a "government" be financed entirely by voluntary contributions. Some purported objects that we need to consider are "States." "The Supreme Court. Where is "the State" to be found? I've never seen one and I don't think anyone else has either. and societies. and assorted equipment I cannot find a "State. if it is to be a thing." "the IRS." "policemen. guns. What I do find is a large number of people who claim to be "politicians." Of course "the State" is supposed to be the collection of these things. Unfortunately. very many conditions of bodily integrity must be satisfied. I also come across buildings and collections of individual human beings which I am told are "the Department of. buildings. Yet.. Even more essential is the idea of a monopoly. Integrity is required right down to the level of the cells and their molecular components." "federal agents. applying the FIT to objects of a different order is more difficult. then. pieces of paper. rather than a collection of flesh or a dead body." corporations. exactly which people and things are to be included in the collection that supposedly constitutes a "State?" Second." The deepest and most essential . and (b) a collection which exhibits a high enough degree of functional integrity." "government workers." and so on. connected up properly. Things of the same kind require the same degree of functional integrity of their parts. we must take account of the kind of thing that it is. Neither of these conditions are fulfilled. 3: Argument From Fuzziness I am now ready to apply these general ontological theses to the case of "the State.

acts. If it means "Is there literally a creature which thinks. or otherwise claim to "represent" "the State. It is quite definite and determinate who is and who is not part of a corporation. The Chicago Police. The corporation is limited in various ways. she is not acting as part of the company. It would be more promising to argue for the existence (but not the legitimacy) of groups like the Los Angeles Police. or does anything outside of the functions and activities agreed to in joining the corporation. If the question is merely "Does the collection of persons involved possess a high enough degree of functional integrity to constitute a thing?" then I believe the answer is plausibly in the affirmative. except and to the degree that the "State" grants this right (a right which it retains the power and authority to remove). only "the State" may rightfully make decisions about laws and allowable coercion. She is individually entirely responsible for the effects of her actions." let us consider other collections of persons. The illusion to the contrary is made possible simply because many people who coerce others wear uniforms. and to receive certain benefits under specified conditions. What gives a corporation its functional integrity? A corporation exists where there is a fairly tight set of relations between persons.(9) There is no similar means of determining who the people are who are to constitute a "State. carry badges. legitimate or otherwise. act. rapes. The Internal Revenue Service. before finishing with "States. decide and contract. although they are not things that literally plan. Within each of these bodies ." This is because of the coercive nature of statism binding contractual relations are not possible while under threat. Each person makes his or her own choices about the use of coercion.(8) Furthermore. these are agreements to perform certain duties and functions. her actions are in accordance with the structure of agreements which constitutes the company. We observe no organism. Do corporations exist? Does a club exist? The answer depends on how the question is to be taken. and the claims of some people that they are part of "the State" does nothing to show that there is such a thing.though we may treat them as if they have these powers. plan. other people may (depending on their contractual agreements) share in responsibility. and the House of Representatives." The reason is that there is no set of contractual relations to be found at the level of a "State." The wearing of uniforms. The idea of legitimacy comes in here. the carrying of badges. considering this to be a useful fiction. on the contrary. each of whom has the capacity to reason. A customer is not a part since he or she does not have the necessary kind of relation to the other people. or think . to accept certain responsibilities. person. As will be argued in the next section. If. No one else has the right to do this. I ask: who or what is supposed to hold the monopoly of power? I suggest that this is simply a myth. the wielders of power and coercion are individual human beings. A corporation is essentially a set of agreements between persons. There are corporations. or creature with a monopoly on the use of force. When a person who is part of the structure of the company steals. plans. and makes agreements?" then the answer is no (see next section).function of such an institution is that it decides what laws there are and enforces them. To clarify the issue.

others (judges) are telling the seized persons that they are guilty of a crime." At least when we talk of a corporation's action we manage to refer to certain fairly definite actions of specifiable individuals. we cannot truly speak about it. there is more of a connection between members of "Congress" and tax-extortion collectors than there is between the four items I arbitrarily picked out on my desk. there is a more serious failure of reference when we refer to an action of "the State. and act. In this sense no governments (or corporations or nations) exist or act." since it fails the functional integrity test. having justification. we are doing something when we say "the State is pursuing a War on Drugs. If groups (such as corporations) pass the functional integrity test and so exist in some sense. it is not a thing of any kind." and yet no one claims that voters are part of "the State" or are really also policemen.the only linkage is externally imposed by "law. So the fact that we can find some relation between those people who might be thought to form "the State" is not enough to show that there is such a thing. "The State" is not only not an ultimate actor or agent." I have many interactions and relations with my friends. . and acting. But the statist behavior of the individuals in any of these agencies does not differ in kind from that of other individuals who are not thought of as part of "the State.that certain persons calling themselves "policemen" (or "soldiers") are initiating physical violence against drug users." This leads into a related argument. and relations (at a far remove) to "the police." We are making an inaccurate and misleading reference to a wide range of differing behaviors in many individuals. They generally have no specific contractual linkage .statist behavior. Since "the State" is not any kind of thing. However. yet there is no thing composed of myself and a friend."(10) In the case of "the State. other individuals (politicians and bureaucrats) are issuing orders and directing activities. these agencies can have many links without constituting anything. In the same way. Putting all of these bodies together does not create a "State.more specific functions can be identified and there are definite agreements between the people involved. they are still merely "metaphorical constructs for describing the similar or concerted actions of individuals. This is nonsense: Only an individual has a mind and can perceive. True." Where is the functional integrity necessary to the existence of a further thing? People who go to voting booths and pull levers or make marks on paper next to the name of a politician also have certain relations to those men and women sitting in Congress. decide. We are saying . However.at least . others (prison guards and administrators) are constraining the freedom of the drug users. think. choose values. paying "taxes" and by verbal support. 4: Argument From Methodological Individualism What kind of thing is "the State" supposed to be? It is supposed to be an agent capable of making decisions. and many individuals are encouraging these activities by voting. in the course of which I will develop this point about the spectrum of statism. They do have something in common . there is insufficient coordination between the various agencies mentioned to form a higher level agency.

and elements of this can be found in almost everyone. as are the physical enforcers of unjust laws. who make laws and oversee and coordinate a wide range of statist behaviors. In a corrupt system. The person who uses the power of a "State" agency unjustly against someone (rent control. And this is not confined to easily specifiable individuals." Workers in state-run and monopolized businesses such as the post office and state schools. lowly office workers in the FDA. Obviously they can be more or less statist depending on what they do and say. apart from the fact that it would be arbitrary (unlike the division of eagle parts from non-eagle parts).As Ludwig von Mises noted. you may face the choice of working in a statist institution or starving. or turning a blind eye to statism is thereby statist. Business people who gladly accept and encourage subsidies. A group of armed men occupies a place. you must choose between the "government" monopoly or nothing. IRS. decisions. Perhaps even the least statist of us sometimes choose statism in order to protect ourselves against worse behavior by others. tariffs. are clearly guilty of statism much of the time. "The State" is really nothing more than statist behavior and belief . and because they see no alternative. that determines its character.. For example. Extropians who wish to bring about a more rational social system. Voters are statist because they legitimize the system. if you wish to mail a letter first class. a . and INS. In this country. Bureaucrats who organize and execute statist activities. Anyone voting for. and actions of the individual human beings comprising the group. there is no single dimension to be ordered into a spectrum. it is talk of statist behavior. DEA. This is the tragedy of the institutional effects of statism. Political office holders. "It is the meaning which the acting individuals and all those who are touched by their action attribute to an action. verbally supporting. It is the meaning of those concerned which imputes this occupation not to the officers and soldiers on the spot." There are only individuals acting in a statist manner. are also contributing to statism. but to their nation. in a socialist country where everything is owned by "the State" (= everything is run in a statist manner). and "government" licenses are not excused from charges of statism simply because they are supposedly not part of "the State. for example) is being statist."(11) We understand fully the actions of a group only when we understand the subjective beliefs. I have argued that there is no boundary which can divide off some behavior as constituting "the State" from other behavior.." However. and those who support their activities are all sources of statism. often because they believe it to be right. to be necessary. In so far as there is any sense to talk of "the State" then. This point can be made more forceful by considering the wide range of statist behavior and thinking found in society (or "society"!). People can be more or less statist at different times and in very different and incomparable ways. If it were possible to order these instances along a spectrum we might arbitrarily draw a line beyond which we would say the collection of behaviors was "the State. We may all be statist at times. behavior that you would otherwise reject may be the only rational course of action. There is no "State. What are you to do?(12) 5: Bringing About a Better Anarchy We already live in an anarchy.

In a forthcoming issue. a politics of individual behavior. We have changed enough to do away with monarchies and theocracy. the idea that humans could handle the freedom of modern limited democracies would have been ridiculed. We should encourage a cultural change. Freedom is our evolutionary future. art. and of minimizing conflict. movies. rather it implies a deep investigation of one's individual nature and a commitment to actualizing that self. not anger. This isn't strictly necessary since we don't normally refer to "unicorns" but to unicorns." This does not mean "do whatever you feel like doing". The point of this device is that far more people believe in "States" than in unicorns and so I wish to emphasize its mythological nature. A focus on the individual and the rationality of behavior will not only break down statism. Let us not be deterred from seeking a spontaneous voluntarist society by cynics who stand for stagnation. or try to attack "the State. . and totalitarianism is breaking down all over the planet as advanced communications technology inescapably brings awareness of superior alternatives to the peoples of those countries. but all other forms of collectivist irrationality such as racism. I write "the State" in inverted commas in order to highlight my view that there is no State. 3. and thinking. or violence. Centuries ago.system more capable of allowing diversity. in my article on spontaneous orders. while taking into account one's context of internal and external facts and relations. Living up to this principle is the best way to fight statism and to bring about the universal extropian community proper to intelligent beings. We should withhold all support for statism whenever possible without seriously endangering ourselves.(13) We should seek to minimize our own contribution to statism. choices. We should avoid paying tax-extortion (the life blood of statism) and should pay no heed to unjust laws whenever we can. but extropians are dynamic optimists and realize that hard fights against stupidity and coercion are best fought with high ideals conjoined with humor and understanding. and role-models and by pointing out what is wrong with their contraries. One of the four central extropian principles(14) is that of self-responsibility for one's values." What is needed is a micro-politics. sexism. hatred. should not join political parties. fiction.(15) Notes 1. of encouraging rational responsible behavior. by rewarding and praising voluntaristic and anti-statist behavior. Aleister Crowley expressed the second of these values in his Thelemic dictum: "Do what thou wilt' shall be the whole of the law. And in doing this a sense of humor can only help us. Sometimes it is a grim fight. and to persuade others to do the same. not to destroy. The libertarian free market anarchist view (or "spontaneous voluntarism") is best explained and defended in David Friedman's The Machinery of Freedom (Open Court. Our goal is to increase understanding and increase rationality and responsibility. and nationalism. I will illuminate the theoretical underpinning of the voluntarist society that should succeed statism as our intelligence and rationality expands over the coming decades and centuries. 2.

" (Cognition 1983). An exception to this sad tendency is the group called "The Voluntaryists. Those will not be instances of the concept. should be exactly definable even if this proves difficult. This view is now seen as wildly implausible. and Gleitman. and Logic." The Voluntaryists oppose voting and standing for election as being an endorsement of statism. Armstrong. Power and Market. pp. Lloyd (Eds. NJ: Erlbaum).B. This will require reducing the thing to be explained to its constitutive elements.relations and natures that they have independently of our acts of classification. and Morris and Linda Tannehill. and "The Anatomy of The State" in Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature and other Essays. Hooker. "Concepts and Stereotypes. 5. especially Section 4. For a good discussion of the logic of vagueness see Kit Fine." (Cognition 1981)." Synthese 30 (1975). 7. 201-236. Part 11: identity in Reduction. For A New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto. Rosch and B.1973. 6. Arguments surrounding the justification of the legitimacy of some agency are complex and cannot be considered here. We may also be selective about the interrelations on which we choose to base our categories. Paul M. E. since we may require a constrained view of what we are referring to in order to suit our conscious purposes. Theories of concepts arising from cognitive science tend to emphasize the fuzziness of conceptual boundaries and explain their content in terms of cognitive structures such as neural networks. "What Some Concepts Might Not Be. It should be obvious that such arguments are not . but also see Murray Rothbard. A Neurocomputational Perspective (MIT Press. In the heyday of logical positivism many thought that all concepts were individuated by precise necessary and sufficient conditions. (Hillsdale. The concept of art." (Cognition and Brain Theory. One problem is that though things have causal natures . "The Instability of Graded Structure". so that some inputs will be insufficient to activate the network. David Kelley. 1989). 4. in everyday non-scientific talk we may refer to "genes" as if they were distinct units. See C. Gleitman. "On the Adequacy of Prototype Theory as a Theory of Concepts." Dialogue 20: 38-59. 496-529 (1981). Summer/Fall 1984). Part III: Cross-Categorical Reduction." in E. at the level of human perception and normal discourse it may be unclear which classification is most accurate." (Cognition 1983).) Cognition and Categorization. 1989). See: Barasalou. For instance.. 265-300. 1978. There will be threshold effects.A. In doing this we should be aware of what we are doing and be prepared to speak more accurately if necessary. 8. Rey. for example. "Towards a General Theory of Reduction. Part I: Historical and Scientific Setting. The Market for Liberty. Truth. Churchland. Osherson and Smith. We decide whether something falls under a particular concept by seeing whether the input to the cognitive system (brain of synthetic neural network) activates the set of nodes (group of neurons and synapses) which encode the concept. Number 3 & 4. Voluntaryists are more consistent methodological individualists than other libertarians. "A Theory of Abstraction. Volume VII. Of course there is much more to be said here. The Ethics of Liberty. Rosch "Principles of Categorization. "Vagueness.

each of which must have a sufficient degree of integrity. and a sheet of paper with a note scribbled on it. This is equivalent to the previous definition: Properties will only exist where there is a sufficient degree of functional integrity. (b) Where that limit is will vary depending on the kind of object under consideration. a glass. what determines whether a collection of objects is itself an object is the degree of functional integrity possessed by the collection. a business card. The "components" of Jeremiah are not linked or causally related to each other in any way except one . Consider Case 3: On my desk I have a computer. an object? This is far less plausible than in the case of an eagle. I can now talk about the collection of objects on my desk. If a human act of naming random collections were enough to constitute an object then the number of objects in the universe would be arbitrary. An object exists when its parts possess a sufficient degree of functional integrity. Alternatively. we can say that an object exists when it possesses the requisite properties of an object of that type.sufficient functional integrity of properties (or parts). are a major motivating factor behind the Functional Integrity Thesis. The collection of objects on my desk is a mere collection. an object? If we answer in the affirmative we should also say that Jeremiah exists." My suggestion is this: Functional Integrity Thesis: In the case of the existence of objects. Secondary Thesis: (a) For each (kind of) object. The existence of an object can therefore be thought of as requiring a second-order functional integrity . Why is the first case clearly one of a collection constituting a higher-level object (or meta-object) whereas the second and third cases are examples of collections which we would not say constitute a meta-object? The answer to this will determine what we should say about "States. The three examples given above. By pointing to the objects in turn and then telling you that I'm going to refer to the collection as "Jeremiah" I am just giving the impression of unity and objecthood where there is none. There is nothing special about the group of four objects which I actually named Jeremiah. Surely Jeremiah does not exist. There is no object here. and many others that could be given. there is a lower limit of functional integrity below which a collection will not constitute an object. there is only a mere collection of objects. if I'm eccentric I might name the collection "Jeremiah. Again. The collection is picked out simply by my listing the objects that constitute the collection. or that Gertrude is an individual." I might just as easily have given the name "Jeremiah" to the conjunction of the glass and computer only.my arbitrary act of calling them an individual with the name "Jeremiah. indeterminate and limitless.exists. Nothing makes them into a collection or set apart from the bare ." Should we say that Jeremiah is an individual.

is the functional integrity of the collection. we can rightly say that such collections do not exist. Collections formed by fiat are not thereby objects. There is no rigid separation of organism from environment since air. there is something more than the four objects. eyes. Yet the organism is clearly distinguished from its environment by the tightness of its internal organization and by the causal history of its constituent parts. the existence of borderline cases does not show thatthere are no clear cases of existence and nonexistence. Such collections are not things. The idea would be that functional integrity is a matter of degree and so we should hold existence to be graded into degrees. liver. in the situation at hand. Certainly functional integrity is a matter of degree. The Functional Integrity Thesis claims that what makes the difference. If the eagle gets torn into pieces we say that the eagle no longer exists. food and drink are incorporated into the body from the surroundings.(7) The second part of the Secondary Thesis contends that the minimum degree of functional integrity necessary for a collection to constitute an object depends on the kind of object at issue. but that is all. Living organisms tolerate less loss of functional integrity before they cease to exist than some other objects. The internal parts of the organism are causally related in a more intimate and systematic manner than the relation of the parts to the environment. etc.fact of my having arbitrarily put them into a group. we will have to decide what to say. what gives the collection of eagle-parts an independent existence. The eagle exists independently of my acts of grouping and referring. and there will be borderline cases where. lungs. I then assert that the collection of parts constitutes an object. The fact of twilight does not mean there is no night or day. This act cannot constitute a new object. Now. a thing. There is an objective grouping of parts such that there is a higherlevel object in existence. Cognitive systems such as the human brain are well built to handle fuzzy boundaries while being able to categorize the world usefully. though. the individuality of the eagle is not constituted by my act of referring collectively to the group of the eagle-parts. but a brief explanation must suffice. that there is no way of saying when an object is sufficiently integrated to exist. By saying this we are not denying that. Only its parts continue to exist. For the eagle to exist the organs must function in a coordinated manner and the skeletal and muscular systems must be appropriately linked up with the rest of the assembly. The collection or group has no existence apart from my specification. It might be thought that objects exist more-or-less. The first part of the Secondary Thesis requires more comment than I have space for. but conceptual clarity and communication will mean that the extension of a concept is limited. However. That object is an eagle. My referring to the separate objects by means of a name is not sufficient (or necessary) to make them into a genuine object.5 I might point in the direction of the eagle and list the eagle's parts: it's wings.(6) Higher level properties and objects may not arise at an instantaneous point. there is also an act of grouping or of collective reference. There are various very specific and specifiable causal interrelations between the parts. even given all the facts. Objects like clouds and oceans can exist with a rather low .

" "tax collectors. Each element of this definition is necessary. guns. and assorted equipment I cannot find a "State. Some limits do have to be imposed however." etc. exactly which people and things are to be included in the collection that supposedly constitutes a "State?" Second.degree of integrity. and their parts must be precisely arranged. If the parts of a cloud are too separated they no longer form a cloud. Amongst all these people. Neither of these conditions are fulfilled. though they may form more than one cloud. in order that we can correctly determine the degree of integrity needed for a collection to constitute that object. Some purported objects that we need to consider are "States." "judges." "The Supreme Court. or even buildings). pieces of paper. My organs must be in the right place. buildings. then. Unfortunately." Essentially this comes down to saying that a "State" is a monopoly on the legitimate use of force in a geographical area." "the IRS. a loose conglomeration will suffice. or authority." Applying the Functional Integrity Thesis (FIT) to perceivable physical objects such as tables." If the "State" is to exist." corporations. ." "government workers... Even in those cases we have to take care to identify exactly the kind of object we are looking for. is a simple enough matter. connected up properly. But now I have two problems: First. I also come across buildings and collections of individual human beings which I am told are "the Department of. applying the FIT to objects of a different order is more difficult. condoms and cars. rather than a collection of flesh or a dead body. Max Weber offers the most helpful definition of a "State. it must be (a) a clearly identifiable collection of parts. if it is a collection whose parts (persons) themselves have these qualities? The second of these problems will be discussed in the section "The Argument from Methodological Individualism. very many conditions of bodily integrity must be satisfied. chairs. otherwise I am not a living human. how can a "State" act. In deciding on the degree to which something exists. Where is "the State" to be found? I've never seen one and I don't think anyone else has either. if it is to be a thing. For me to be a human. What I do find is a large number of people who claim to be "politicians." "policemen.." and so on. Integrity is required right down to the level of the cells and their molecular components. 3: Argument From Fuzziness I am now ready to apply these general ontological theses to the case of "the State. and (b) a collection which exhibits a high enough degree of functional integrity. and societies. Things of the same kind require the same degree of functional integrity of their parts. have responsibility. " "Congress." "The White House. we must take account of the kind of thing that it is." "federal agents." Of course "the State" is supposed to be the collection of these things. Unlike living creatures (or works of art. oceans and clouds don't require any very specific arrangement of their constituent parts. If no force were involved then "it" would be merely a voluntary organization. clubs.

It is quite definite and determinate who is and who is not part of a corporation. carry badges.(8) Furthermore. only "the State" may rightfully make decisions about laws and allowable coercion. plans. even if this has never happened (and almost certainly never would happen). When a person who is part of the structure of the company steals. I ask: who or what is supposed to hold the monopoly of power? I suggest that this is simply a myth. plan. acts. or creature with a monopoly on the use of force. If." The deepest and most essential function of such an institution is that it decides what laws there are and enforces them." The wearing of uniforms. considering this to be a useful fiction.(9) . person. Yet. the wielders of power and coercion are individual human beings. each of whom has the capacity to reason.though we may treat them as if they have these powers. Each person makes his or her own choices about the use of coercion. since someone could argue that it is at least conceivable that a "government" be financed entirely by voluntary contributions. legitimate or otherwise. There are corporations. What gives a corporation its functional integrity? A corporation exists where there is a fairly tight set of relations between persons. The corporation is limited in various ways. She is individually entirely responsible for the effects of her actions. if the "State" is not a monopoly then it just cannot be a "State. Do corporations exist? Does a club exist? The answer depends on how the question is to be taken. or otherwise claim to "represent" "the State. she is not acting as part of the company. and makes agreements?" then the answer is no (see next section). The illusion to the contrary is made possible simply because many people who coerce others wear uniforms. We observe no organism. other people may (depending on their contractual agreements) share in responsibility. on the contrary. although they are not things that literally plan. and the claims of some people that they are part of "the State" does nothing to show that there is such a thing. to accept certain responsibilities. except and to the degree that the "State" grants this right (a right which it retains the power and authority to remove)." let us consider other collections of persons. decide and contract. or does anything outside of the functions and activities agreed to in joining the corporation. If the question is merely "Does the collection of persons involved possess a high enough degree of functional integrity to constitute a thing?" then I believe the answer is plausibly in the affirmative. To clarify the issue. No one else has the right to do this."Governments" or "states" have to use force or coercion in order to finance themselves the system of taxation-extortion common to all governments. rapes. Even more essential is the idea of a monopoly. A customer is not a part since he or she does not have the necessary kind of relation to the other people. If it means "Is there literally a creature which thinks. As will be argued in the next section. The idea of legitimacy comes in here. the carrying of badges. or think . her actions are in accordance with the structure of agreements which constitutes the company. A corporation is essentially a set of agreements between persons. before finishing with "States. these are agreements to perform certain duties and functions. and to receive certain benefits under specified conditions. act.

having justification. But the statist behavior of the individuals in any of these agencies does not differ in kind from that of other individuals who are not thought of as part of "the State. there is a more serious failure of reference when we refer to an action of "the State. We are saying . They do have something in common ." The reason is that there is no set of contractual relations to be found at the level of a "State. there is more of a connection between members of "Congress" and tax-extortion collectors than there is between the four items I arbitrarily picked out on my desk." I have many interactions and relations with my friends.that certain persons calling themselves .statist behavior. in the course of which I will develop this point about the spectrum of statism. there is insufficient coordination between the various agencies mentioned to form a higher level agency. they are still merely "metaphorical constructs for describing the similar or concerted actions of individuals. choose values. 4: Argument From Methodological Individualism What kind of thing is "the State" supposed to be? It is supposed to be an agent capable of making decisions. The Chicago Police. we are doing something when we say "the State is pursuing a War on Drugs. Since "the State" is not any kind of thing. The Internal Revenue Service. think. However." This is because of the coercive nature of statism binding contractual relations are not possible while under threat. yet there is no thing composed of myself and a friend." We are making an inaccurate and misleading reference to a wide range of differing behaviors in many individuals. decide." Where is the functional integrity necessary to the existence of a further thing? People who go to voting booths and pull levers or make marks on paper next to the name of a politician also have certain relations to those men and women sitting in Congress." since it fails the functional integrity test. and the House of Representatives." and yet no one claims that voters are part of "the State" or are really also policemen.There is no similar means of determining who the people are who are to constitute a "State. "The State" is not only not an ultimate actor or agent." This leads into a related argument. these agencies can have many links without constituting anything. and act. In the same way. Within each of these bodies more specific functions can be identified and there are definite agreements between the people involved. Putting all of these bodies together does not create a "State. If groups (such as corporations) pass the functional integrity test and so exist in some sense. and relations (at a far remove) to "the police. it is not a thing of any kind. They generally have no specific contractual linkage . and acting. It would be more promising to argue for the existence (but not the legitimacy) of groups like the Los Angeles Police.the only linkage is externally imposed by "law. we cannot truly speak about it. True. This is nonsense: Only an individual has a mind and can perceive."(10) In the case of "the State." At least when we talk of a corporation's action we manage to refer to certain fairly definite actions of specifiable individuals. However.at least . In this sense no governments (or corporations or nations) exist or act. So the fact that we can find some relation between those people who might be thought to form "the State" is not enough to show that there is such a thing.

and elements of this can be found in almost everyone. and actions of the individual human beings comprising the group. decisions. Business people who gladly accept and encourage subsidies. and many individuals are encouraging these activities by voting.. The person who uses the power of a "State" agency unjustly against someone (rent control. It is the meaning of those concerned which imputes this occupation not to the officers and soldiers on the spot. And this is not confined to easily specifiable individuals. Political office holders. If it were possible to order these instances along a spectrum we might arbitrarily draw a line beyond which we would say the collection of behaviors was "the State. apart from the fact that it would be arbitrary (unlike the division of eagle parts from non-eagle parts). A group of armed men occupies a place. other individuals (politicians and bureaucrats) are issuing orders and directing activities. you may face the choice of working in a . Anyone voting for. it is talk of statist behavior. DEA. others (prison guards and administrators) are constraining the freedom of the drug users. verbally supporting. IRS. and "government" licenses are not excused from charges of statism simply because they are supposedly not part of "the State. For example. paying "taxes" and by verbal support. others (judges) are telling the seized persons that they are guilty of a crime. behavior that you would otherwise reject may be the only rational course of action.. and INS. We may all be statist at times." Workers in state-run and monopolized businesses such as the post office and state schools. "It is the meaning which the acting individuals and all those who are touched by their action attribute to an action. In a corrupt system."(11) We understand fully the actions of a group only when we understand the subjective beliefs. are also contributing to statism. Perhaps even the least statist of us sometimes choose statism in order to protect ourselves against worse behavior by others. This is the tragedy of the institutional effects of statism. This point can be made more forceful by considering the wide range of statist behavior and thinking found in society (or "society"!). in a socialist country where everything is owned by "the State" (= everything is run in a statist manner). for example) is being statist."policemen" (or "soldiers") are initiating physical violence against drug users. and those who support their activities are all sources of statism. "The State" is really nothing more than statist behavior and belief . there is no single dimension to be ordered into a spectrum. As Ludwig von Mises noted. I have argued that there is no boundary which can divide off some behavior as constituting "the State" from other behavior. as are the physical enforcers of unjust laws. are clearly guilty of statism much of the time. Obviously they can be more or less statist depending on what they do and say. People can be more or less statist at different times and in very different and incomparable ways. In so far as there is any sense to talk of "the State" then. tariffs." However. Voters are statist because they legitimize the system. that determines its character. Bureaucrats who organize and execute statist activities. or turning a blind eye to statism is thereby statist. lowly office workers in the FDA. who make laws and oversee and coordinate a wide range of statist behaviors. but to their nation.

Sometimes it is a grim fight. the idea that humans could handle the freedom of modern limited democracies would have been ridiculed. Freedom is our evolutionary future. of encouraging rational responsible behavior. Aleister Crowley expressed the second of these values in his Thelemic dictum: "Do what thou wilt' shall be the whole of the law. and of minimizing conflict. There is no "State. Let us not be deterred from seeking a spontaneous voluntarist society by cynics who stand for stagnation." This does not mean "do whatever you feel like doing".(15) Notes 1. art. choices. movies.(13) We should seek to minimize our own contribution to statism. a politics of individual behavior. A focus on the individual and the rationality of behavior will not only break down statism. not anger. In this country." There are only individuals acting in a statist manner. to be necessary." What is needed is a micro-politics. and to persuade others to do the same. We have changed enough to do away with monarchies and theocracy. you must choose between the "government" monopoly or nothing. . I will illuminate the theoretical underpinning of the voluntarist society that should succeed statism as our intelligence and rationality expands over the coming decades and centuries. should not join political parties. by rewarding and praising voluntaristic and anti-statist behavior. if you wish to mail a letter first class. and because they see no alternative. One of the four central extropian principles(14) is that of self-responsibility for one's values. while taking into account one's context of internal and external facts and relations. not to destroy. hatred. Living up to this principle is the best way to fight statism and to bring about the universal extropian community proper to intelligent beings. in my article on spontaneous orders. and thinking. or violence. What are you to do?(12) 5: Bringing About a Better Anarchy We already live in an anarchy. a system more capable of allowing diversity. Extropians who wish to bring about a more rational social system. Centuries ago. rather it implies a deep investigation of one's individual nature and a commitment to actualizing that self. but extropians are dynamic optimists and realize that hard fights against stupidity and coercion are best fought with high ideals conjoined with humor and understanding. We should withhold all support for statism whenever possible without seriously endangering ourselves. We should encourage a cultural change. or try to attack "the State. fiction. We should avoid paying tax-extortion (the life blood of statism) and should pay no heed to unjust laws whenever we can. and nationalism. often because they believe it to be right. and role-models and by pointing out what is wrong with their contraries.statist institution or starving. but all other forms of collectivist irrationality such as racism. And in doing this a sense of humor can only help us. sexism. and totalitarianism is breaking down all over the planet as advanced communications technology inescapably brings awareness of superior alternatives to the peoples of those countries. In a forthcoming issue. Our goal is to increase understanding and increase rationality and responsibility.

One problem is that though things have causal natures . This view is now seen as wildly implausible. See: Barasalou. so that some inputs will be insufficient to activate the network. In doing this we should be aware of what we are doing and be prepared to speak more accurately if necessary. For a good discussion of the logic of vagueness see Kit Fine. "Towards a General Theory of Reduction." Dialogue 20: 38-59. An exception to this sad tendency is the group called "The Voluntaryists. and Logic. Gleitman. since we may require a constrained view of what we are referring to in order to suit our conscious purposes. "On the Adequacy of Prototype Theory as a Theory of Concepts." in E. and Gleitman. 3. Part 11: identity in Reduction. 265-300. The point of this device is that far more people believe in "States" than in unicorns and so I wish to emphasize its mythological nature. "Concepts and Stereotypes.relations and natures that they have independently of our acts of classification. 1978. 1989). Rey. for example. Power and Market. Part I: Historical and Scientific Setting. 4. 1973. but also see Murray Rothbard. should be exactly definable even if this proves difficult. 496-529 (1981). Theories of concepts arising from cognitive science tend to emphasize the fuzziness of conceptual boundaries and explain their content in terms of cognitive structures such as neural networks. 5. especially Section 4." (Cognition 1983). Rosch and . pp..A. "Vagueness. 201-236. E." The Voluntaryists oppose voting and standing for election as being an endorsement of statism. This isn't strictly necessary since we don't normally refer to "unicorns" but to unicorns. in everyday non-scientific talk we may refer to "genes" as if they were distinct units." (Cognition 1981). "The Instability of Graded Structure". I write "the State" in inverted commas in order to highlight my view that there is no State. Armstrong. The libertarian free market anarchist view (or "spontaneous voluntarism") is best explained and defended in David Friedman's The Machinery of Freedom (Open Court. The Ethics of Liberty." Synthese 30 (1975). For instance. and Morris and Linda Tannehill. at the level of human perception and normal discourse it may be unclear which classification is most accurate. 7. Rosch "Principles of Categorization. and "The Anatomy of The State" in Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature and other Essays. Those will not be instances of the concept. Of course there is much more to be said here. For A New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto.2. We decide whether something falls under a particular concept by seeing whether the input to the cognitive system (brain of synthetic neural network) activates the set of nodes (group of neurons and synapses) which encode the concept. In the heyday of logical positivism many thought that all concepts were individuated by precise necessary and sufficient conditions. This will require reducing the thing to be explained to its constitutive elements. The concept of art. Osherson and Smith. There will be threshold effects." (Cognition 1983). 6. We may also be selective about the interrelations on which we choose to base our categories. Hooker. Truth. Part III: Cross-Categorical Reduction. Voluntaryists are more consistent methodological individualists than other libertarians. "What Some Concepts Might Not Be. See C. The Market for Liberty.

Summer/Fall 1984). 15. 11. 53-54. David Kelley. UK . Volume VII. and various constraining psychological traps. See also Friedrich Hayek. Bell helped sharpen the idea for me and induced me to write this article.B." (Cognition and Brain Theory. The Extropian Principles will be sent out to subscribers before the next issue and will be reprinted in Extropy #6. 13. IL: The Free Press 1955). (Hillsdale. 8. There is an interesting question about limited liability when it is imposed by law and not by contractual agreement. p. A Neurocomputational Perspective (MIT Press.1973). but also friendships romantic relationships. Paul M. 42. Andre Spies' highly extropic Meta-Information spurred the development of these ideas. Conversations with Tom W. 1949). I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Covent Garden. George Smith discusses libertarians who accept work in "the government" in "Libertarian Intellectuals as Government Lackeys" in Liberty. The Counter-Revolution of Science: Studies on the Abuse of Reason (Glencoe. 1989).New address: 25 Chapter Chambers. An excellent and empowering source of ideas on how to control your own life free from coercion is Harry Browne's How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World (Avon Books Macmillan. 9. "A Theory of Abstraction. 57. 10. This feature of currently existing corporations (and trade unions) seems to be unacceptable in my view (and in the views of other libertarian writers). Lloyd (Eds. It should be obvious that such arguments are not independent of the question of the existence of the agency: If there is no such agency we will have to refocus the discussion to one of the legitimacy of individual acts or types of acts. Individualism and the Philosophy of the Social Sciences (Cato Paper No. 1979). London WC2E 8AA. p. London SW1P 4NN). Cato Institute. It addresses not only typical political issues. Human Action: A Treatise on Economics (New Haven: Yale University Press. [Home] [Report Directory] .) Cognition and Categorization.B. Number 3 & 4. March 1990). Churchland. Murray Rothbard. The Piazza. forthcoming.4. Arguments surrounding the justification of the legitimacy of some agency are complex and cannot be considered here. work problems. 12. 14. Mises. My early deeply anarchistic thoughts were fostered by Chris Tame and others of the Libertarian Alliance in England (1 Russell Chambers. NJ: Erlbaum). Esterbrooke Street. pp.

a glass. we can say that an object exists when it possesses the requisite properties of an object of that type. The existence of an object can therefore be thought of as requiring a second-order functional integrity . There is nothing special about the group of four objects which I actually named Jeremiah. Again. indeterminate and limitless. Surely Jeremiah does not exist. an object? If we answer in the affirmative we should also say that Jeremiah exists. I scatter the marbles on the floor randomly. By pointing to the objects in turn and then telling you that I'm going to refer to the collection as "Jeremiah" I am just giving the impression of unity and objecthood where there is none. if I'm eccentric I might name the collection "Jeremiah. This is equivalent to the previous definition: Properties will only exist where there is a sufficient degree of functional integrity. Alternatively.Case 2: Imagine that I have a bag of marbles. Secondary Thesis: (a) For each (kind of) object. or that Gertrude is an individual." My suggestion is this: Functional Integrity Thesis: In the case of the existence of objects. If a human act of naming random collections were enough to constitute an object then the number of objects in the universe would be arbitrary. there is only a mere collection of objects. There is no object here.sufficient ." Should we say that Jeremiah is an individual. Does this mean that we should say Gertrude exists. I can now talk about the collection of objects on my desk. and a sheet of paper with a note scribbled on it. there is a lower limit of functional integrity below which a collection will not constitute an object." By using the name Gertrude I can then simply refer to the collection of marbles without having to point to or mention any of the marbles individually. Why is the first case clearly one of a collection constituting a higher-level object (or meta-object) whereas the second and third cases are examples of collections which we would not say constitute a meta-object? The answer to this will determine what we should say about "States. The "components" of Jeremiah are not linked or causally related to each other in any way except one . what determines whether a collection of objects is itself an object is the degree of functional integrity possessed by the collection." I might just as easily have given the name "Jeremiah" to the conjunction of the glass and computer only. a business card.my arbitrary act of calling them an individual with the name "Jeremiah. an object? This is far less plausible than in the case of an eagle. each of which we grant is an object. An object exists when its parts possess a sufficient degree of functional integrity. Now it is quite possible for me to refer to the collection of marbles as a whole rather than to each of the individual marbles. The collection is picked out simply by my listing the objects that constitute the collection. (b) Where that limit is will vary depending on the kind of object under consideration. If I'm eccentric I might even give the collection a name such as "Gertrude. Consider Case 3: On my desk I have a computer.

Cognitive systems . There is an objective grouping of parts such that there is a higherlevel object in existence. in the situation at hand. lungs. The first part of the Secondary Thesis requires more comment than I have space for. The fact of twilight does not mean there is no night or day. Certainly functional integrity is a matter of degree. and there will be borderline cases where. This act cannot constitute a new object. eyes. Only its parts continue to exist.(6) Higher level properties and objects may not arise at an instantaneous point. For the eagle to exist the organs must function in a coordinated manner and the skeletal and muscular systems must be appropriately linked up with the rest of the assembly. there is also an act of grouping or of collective reference. It might be thought that objects exist more-or-less. I then assert that the collection of parts constitutes an object. each of which must have a sufficient degree of integrity. the individuality of the eagle is not constituted by my act of referring collectively to the group of the eagle-parts. The Functional Integrity Thesis claims that what makes the difference. that there is no way of saying when an object is sufficiently integrated to exist. By saying this we are not denying that. even given all the facts. what gives the collection of eagle-parts an independent existence. liver. but conceptual clarity and communication will mean that the extension of a concept is limited. The three examples given above. Nothing makes them into a collection or set apart from the bare fact of my having arbitrarily put them into a group. The idea would be that functional integrity is a matter of degree and so we should hold existence to be graded into degrees. there is something more than the four objects. we will have to decide what to say.5 I might point in the direction of the eagle and list the eagle's parts: it's wings. and many others that could be given. Yet the organism is clearly distinguished from its environment by the tightness of its internal organization and by the causal history of its constituent parts. That object is an eagle. If the eagle gets torn into pieces we say that the eagle no longer exists. However. but that is all. the existence of borderline cases does not show thatthere are no clear cases of existence and nonexistence. The collection or group has no existence apart from my specification. There is no rigid separation of organism from environment since air. though. The internal parts of the organism are causally related in a more intimate and systematic manner than the relation of the parts to the environment.functional integrity of properties (or parts). a thing. we can rightly say that such collections do not exist. My referring to the separate objects by means of a name is not sufficient (or necessary) to make them into a genuine object. The eagle exists independently of my acts of grouping and referring. Such collections are not things. There are various very specific and specifiable causal interrelations between the parts. Now. are a major motivating factor behind the Functional Integrity Thesis. Collections formed by fiat are not thereby objects. is the functional integrity of the collection. food and drink are incorporated into the body from the surroundings. The collection of objects on my desk is a mere collection. etc. but a brief explanation must suffice.

guns. Some purported objects that we need to consider are "States. Unlike living creatures (or works of art. we must take account of the kind of thing that it is. connected up properly. is a simple enough matter. then. Amongst all these people.such as the human brain are well built to handle fuzzy boundaries while being able to categorize the world usefully. condoms and cars. " "Congress. though they may form more than one cloud." "judges. exactly which people and things are to be included in the collection that supposedly constitutes a "State?" Second.. in order that we can correctly determine the degree of integrity needed for a collection to constitute that object. Things of the same kind require the same degree of functional integrity of their parts." "government workers. For me to be a human." etc." Applying the Functional Integrity Thesis (FIT) to perceivable physical objects such as tables." "tax collectors. If the parts of a cloud are too separated they no longer form a cloud. My organs must be in the right place. have responsibility.." . and assorted equipment I cannot find a "State. 3: Argument From Fuzziness I am now ready to apply these general ontological theses to the case of "the State. buildings. applying the FIT to objects of a different order is more difficult. pieces of paper. Objects like clouds and oceans can exist with a rather low degree of integrity." corporations." "The White House. In deciding on the degree to which something exists.. clubs. and societies." Of course "the State" is supposed to be the collection of these things. Even in those cases we have to take care to identify exactly the kind of object we are looking for.(7) The second part of the Secondary Thesis contends that the minimum degree of functional integrity necessary for a collection to constitute an object depends on the kind of object at issue. Unfortunately. But now I have two problems: First. if it is a collection whose parts (persons) themselves have these qualities? The second of these problems will be discussed in the section "The Argument from Methodological Individualism. or authority." "federal agents. Where is "the State" to be found? I've never seen one and I don't think anyone else has either." "the IRS. oceans and clouds don't require any very specific arrangement of their constituent parts. Integrity is required right down to the level of the cells and their molecular components. how can a "State" act." and so on. or even buildings). Living organisms tolerate less loss of functional integrity before they cease to exist than some other objects. chairs. otherwise I am not a living human. What I do find is a large number of people who claim to be "politicians. rather than a collection of flesh or a dead body. I also come across buildings and collections of individual human beings which I am told are "the Department of. very many conditions of bodily integrity must be satisfied." "policemen. a loose conglomeration will suffice. Some limits do have to be imposed however. and their parts must be precisely arranged." "The Supreme Court.

(9) There is no similar means of determining who the people are who are to constitute a "State." Where is the functional integrity necessary to the existence of a further thing? People who go to voting booths and pull levers or make marks on paper next to the name of a politician also have certain relations to those men and women sitting in Congress." and yet no one claims that voters are part of "the State" or are really also policemen. decide. rapes." The reason is that there is no set of contractual relations to be found at the level of a "State. and the House of Representatives. she is not acting as part of the company." since it fails the functional integrity test. The Chicago Police. So the fact that we can find some relation between those people who might be thought to form "the State" is not enough to show that there is such a thing. If. or does anything outside of the functions and activities agreed to in joining the corporation. It would be more promising to argue for the existence (but not the legitimacy) of groups like the Los Angeles Police. This is nonsense: Only an individual has a mind and can perceive. on the contrary. and acting. But the statist behavior of the individuals in any of these agencies does not differ in kind from that of other individuals who are not thought of as part of "the State. In the same way." At least when we talk of a corporation's action we manage to refer to certain fairly definite actions . In this sense no governments (or corporations or nations) exist or act. The Internal Revenue Service. True.who is part of the structure of the company steals."(10) In the case of "the State. choose values. and act." This is because of the coercive nature of statism binding contractual relations are not possible while under threat. there is more of a connection between members of "Congress" and tax-extortion collectors than there is between the four items I arbitrarily picked out on my desk. these agencies can have many links without constituting anything. However.statist behavior. there is insufficient coordination between the various agencies mentioned to form a higher level agency. yet there is no thing composed of myself and a friend. and relations (at a far remove) to "the police. If groups (such as corporations) pass the functional integrity test and so exist in some sense. they are still merely "metaphorical constructs for describing the similar or concerted actions of individuals. She is individually entirely responsible for the effects of her actions.the only linkage is externally imposed by "law. other people may (depending on their contractual agreements) share in responsibility. in the course of which I will develop this point about the spectrum of statism. Within each of these bodies more specific functions can be identified and there are definite agreements between the people involved. think. They do have something in common . her actions are in accordance with the structure of agreements which constitutes the company." I have many interactions and relations with my friends. Putting all of these bodies together does not create a "State. They generally have no specific contractual linkage ." This leads into a related argument. there is a more serious failure of reference when we refer to an action of "the State. having justification. 4: Argument From Methodological Individualism What kind of thing is "the State" supposed to be? It is supposed to be an agent capable of making decisions.

"The State" is not only not an ultimate actor or agent. I have argued that there is no boundary which can divide off some behavior as constituting "the State" from other behavior. but to their nation. IRS. We are saying . that determines its character. for example) is being statist. verbally supporting. apart from the fact that it would be arbitrary (unlike the division of eagle parts from non-eagle parts). DEA. However. others (judges) are telling the seized persons that they are guilty of a crime. who make laws and oversee and coordinate a wide range of statist behaviors. . there is no single dimension to be ordered into a spectrum. As Ludwig von Mises noted. Voters are statist because they legitimize the system. and "government" licenses are not excused from charges of statism simply because they are supposedly not part of "the State.. or turning a blind eye to statism is thereby statist. Bureaucrats who organize and execute statist activities.. "It is the meaning which the acting individuals and all those who are touched by their action attribute to an action. Political office holders.at least . we are doing something when we say "the State is pursuing a War on Drugs. other individuals (politicians and bureaucrats) are issuing orders and directing activities. paying "taxes" and by verbal support." Workers in state-run and monopolized businesses such as the post office and state schools. Obviously they can be more or less statist depending on what they do and say. People can be more or less statist at different times and in very different and incomparable ways.that certain persons calling themselves "policemen" (or "soldiers") are initiating physical violence against drug users. decisions. Business people who gladly accept and encourage subsidies. The person who uses the power of a "State" agency unjustly against someone (rent control. Anyone voting for. lowly office workers in the FDA. and INS.of specifiable individuals. This point can be made more forceful by considering the wide range of statist behavior and thinking found in society (or "society"!). A group of armed men occupies a place. If it were possible to order these instances along a spectrum we might arbitrarily draw a line beyond which we would say the collection of behaviors was "the State."(11) We understand fully the actions of a group only when we understand the subjective beliefs. others (prison guards and administrators) are constraining the freedom of the drug users. "The State" is really nothing more than statist behavior and belief .and elements of this can be found in almost everyone. are clearly guilty of statism much of the time. It is the meaning of those concerned which imputes this occupation not to the officers and soldiers on the spot. and those who support their activities are all sources of statism. tariffs. and actions of the individual human beings comprising the group. it is not a thing of any kind. we cannot truly speak about it." However. as are the physical enforcers of unjust laws. and many individuals are encouraging these activities by voting." We are making an inaccurate and misleading reference to a wide range of differing behaviors in many individuals. are also contributing to statism. Since "the State" is not any kind of thing.

and thinking. Sometimes it is a grim fight. This is the tragedy of the institutional effects of statism. fiction. Our goal is to increase understanding and increase rationality and responsibility. In a corrupt system. There is no "State. if you wish to mail a letter first class. and because they see no alternative. a system more capable of allowing diversity. in my article on spontaneous orders. In a forthcoming issue. and totalitarianism is breaking down all over the planet as advanced communications technology inescapably brings awareness of superior alternatives to the peoples of those countries. choices. A focus on the individual and the rationality of behavior will not only break down statism. and role-models and by pointing out what is wrong with their contraries. And this is not confined to easily specifiable individuals. sexism. I will illuminate the theoretical underpinning of the voluntarist society that should succeed statism as our intelligence and rationality expands over the coming decades and centuries. Freedom is our evolutionary future. the idea that humans could handle the freedom of modern limited democracies would have been ridiculed. behavior that you would otherwise reject may be the only rational course of action. We may all be statist at times. and of minimizing conflict. should not join political parties. but all other forms of collectivist irrationality such as racism. Perhaps even the least statist of us sometimes choose statism in order to protect ourselves against worse behavior by others.(15) . a politics of individual behavior. Centuries ago. We should encourage a cultural change. to be necessary. hatred. In this country. of encouraging rational responsible behavior. and to persuade others to do the same. Living up to this principle is the best way to fight statism and to bring about the universal extropian community proper to intelligent beings. it is talk of statist behavior. not to destroy. And in doing this a sense of humor can only help us. art.In so far as there is any sense to talk of "the State" then. For example. not anger." What is needed is a micro-politics. often because they believe it to be right. but extropians are dynamic optimists and realize that hard fights against stupidity and coercion are best fought with high ideals conjoined with humor and understanding. We should avoid paying tax-extortion (the life blood of statism) and should pay no heed to unjust laws whenever we can. Extropians who wish to bring about a more rational social system. or violence. We should withhold all support for statism whenever possible without seriously endangering ourselves. or try to attack "the State. you may face the choice of working in a statist institution or starving.(13) We should seek to minimize our own contribution to statism. and nationalism. What are you to do?(12) 5: Bringing About a Better Anarchy We already live in an anarchy. by rewarding and praising voluntaristic and anti-statist behavior. you must choose between the "government" monopoly or nothing. Let us not be deterred from seeking a spontaneous voluntarist society by cynics who stand for stagnation. movies." There are only individuals acting in a statist manner. We have changed enough to do away with monarchies and theocracy. in a socialist country where everything is owned by "the State" (= everything is run in a statist manner). One of the four central extropian principles(14) is that of self-responsibility for one's values.

Voluntaryists are more consistent methodological individualists than other libertarians. Of course there is much more to be said here. Part 11: identity in Reduction. 201-236. and Morris and Linda Tannehill. We may also be selective about the interrelations on which we choose to base our categories. Part I: Historical and Scientific Setting. The point of this device is that far more people believe in "States" than in unicorns and so I wish to emphasize its mythological nature. 5. The Ethics of Liberty.Notes 1. in everyday non-scientific talk we may refer to "genes" as if they were distinct units. and Logic. 1989). This isn't strictly necessary since we don't normally refer to "unicorns" but to unicorns." The Voluntaryists oppose voting and standing for election as being an endorsement of statism. The libertarian free market anarchist view (or "spontaneous voluntarism") is best explained and defended in David Friedman's The Machinery of Freedom (Open Court. since we may require a constrained view of what we are referring to in order to suit our conscious purposes. rather it implies a deep investigation of one's individual nature and a commitment to actualizing that self. For instance. 7. See C. for example. 1978. This will require reducing the thing to be explained to its constitutive elements. This view is now seen as wildly implausible. 265-300. Theories of concepts arising from cognitive science tend to emphasize the fuzziness of conceptual boundaries and explain their content in terms of cognitive structures such as neural networks. at the level of human perception and normal discourse it may be unclear which classification is most accurate. An exception to this sad tendency is the group called "The Voluntaryists. and "The Anatomy of The State" in Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature and other Essays.A.relations and natures that they have independently of our acts of classification. "Vagueness. The concept of art. should be exactly definable even if this proves difficult. but also see Murray Rothbard." This does not mean "do whatever you feel like doing". 6. while taking into account one's context of internal and external facts and relations. 4. I write "the State" in inverted commas in order to highlight my view that there is no State. 3. especially Section 4. For a good discussion of the logic of vagueness see Kit Fine." Synthese 30 (1975). For A New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto. 496-529 (1981). The Market for Liberty. Part III: Cross-Categorical Reduction. Aleister Crowley expressed the second of these values in his Thelemic dictum: "Do what thou wilt' shall be the whole of the law. In doing this we should be aware of what we are doing and be prepared to speak more accurately if necessary. 1973. "Towards a General Theory of Reduction.. Power and Market. One problem is that though things have causal natures . pp. We decide whether something falls under a particular concept by seeing whether the input to the cognitive system (brain of synthetic neural . In the heyday of logical positivism many thought that all concepts were individuated by precise necessary and sufficient conditions. 2. Truth. Hooker." Dialogue 20: 38-59.

Those will not be instances of the concept. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. 53-54. Osherson and Smith. London WC2E 8AA. Human Action: A Treatise on Economics (New Haven: Yale University Press. The Counter-Revolution of Science: Studies on the Abuse of Reason (Glencoe.) Cognition and Categorization. George Smith discusses libertarians who accept work in "the government" in "Libertarian Intellectuals as Government Lackeys" in Liberty. A Neurocomputational Perspective (MIT Press. It addresses not only typical political issues. An excellent and empowering source of ideas on how to control your own life free from coercion is Harry Browne's How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World (Avon Books Macmillan. 15. Rey. work problems." (Cognition 1983). "What Some Concepts Might Not Be. Gleitman. See also Friedrich Hayek." (Cognition 1983). Cato Institute. 10. Number 3 & 4. "On the Adequacy of Prototype Theory as a Theory of Concepts. 1989). Arguments surrounding the justification of the legitimacy of some agency are complex and cannot be considered here." (Cognition and Brain Theory. Lloyd (Eds. My early deeply anarchistic thoughts were fostered by Chris Tame and others of the Libertarian Alliance in England (1 Russell Chambers. March 1990). "A Theory of Abstraction. 14. Summer/Fall 1984). 9. IL: The Free Press 1955). and various constraining psychological traps.network) activates the set of nodes (group of neurons and synapses) which encode the concept. The Piazza.1973). 57. Volume VII. Churchland. The Extropian Principles will be sent out to subscribers before the next issue and will be reprinted in Extropy #6. E.B. p.New address: 25 Chapter Chambers. but also friendships romantic relationships. This feature of currently existing corporations (and trade unions) seems to be unacceptable in my view (and in the views of other libertarian writers). There will be threshold effects. 1949). so that some inputs will be insufficient to activate the network. Mises. David Kelley. NJ: Erlbaum). Rosch and B. Armstrong. UK . 12." (Cognition 1981). . Covent Garden. Murray Rothbard. "The Instability of Graded Structure". 11. 13." in E. See: Barasalou.4. (Hillsdale. "Concepts and Stereotypes. Rosch "Principles of Categorization. and Gleitman. 42. pp. Paul M. There is an interesting question about limited liability when it is imposed by law and not by contractual agreement. Esterbrooke Street. 1979). Individualism and the Philosophy of the Social Sciences (Cato Paper No. It should be obvious that such arguments are not independent of the question of the existence of the agency: If there is no such agency we will have to refocus the discussion to one of the legitimacy of individual acts or types of acts. p. 8. forthcoming.