Dave Scotese — Voluntaryism is a purposeful misspelling of volunteerism or voluntarism (take your pick) because it is not founded on providing services for free. Instead, it’s founded on the non-aggression principle. More precisely, it’s founded on the idea of never threatening to violate another person’s rights. That makes it sound very common, and I believe it is, but threats of right-violation can be hidden. For example a tax is a state demand for property, and if it weren’t backed by the threat of violation of property (seizure) or movement (incarceration), then it wouldn’t be a tax. Sadly, most people accept taxation while also remaining largely voluntaryist otherwise. I believe this duplicity has been a core reason for human suffering for many centuries.
I like to provide some work for free to new clients and allow them to encourage me to work more by paying me. If they don’t like my work, they don’t pay, and I don’t work for them any more. This way, there’s no contract. My view of contract itself has changed too because to me a contract is merely a written specification of an otherwise joint agreement, intended to nail down details that might otherwise be forgotten. I would never rely on a contract in court, but rather, if I have kept up my end of a deal but the other guy hasn’t, that’s my fault for trusting someone who is untrustworthy. If you read “Woe Unto You Lawyers” by Fred Rodell, you’ll see that both myself and my clients are protected from the legal profession through this strategy.
About 20 years ago, my friend Brian Gladish suggested that when we vote, we are attempting to control the ways in which we can violate each other. One guy says we can take more money from everyone and spread it around to the less fortunate. Another guy says we can take more money from everyone and use it to spread Democracy. After thinking about it, I realized what he meant. Both of these guys want it to be OK to raise taxes and spend them on various presumably good efforts. But taxation, as described above, is stealing. Voting is generally just an attempt to control what we do with our plunder, which is managed by the state. He asked if I had read Atlas Shrugged and I said yes. He said that explained some of the advanced understanding I seemed to have.
A couple years before I met Brian, I noticed that the Internet was connecting people, which presented a tremendous opportunity for cooperation. The problem is information overload. I wanted to find or build a website that would allow the readers to increase or decrease the likelihood that other readers would see a piece of writing. That way, information that was useless would only have to be seen by a few people before it got filtered out. My friend Jeff Hardy said “Like slashdot?” I’d never heard of slashdot, so I checked it out. One of the posts I found there mentioned Condorcet Voting, so I checked it out. It is one of the best mechanisms for finding consensus, but it isn’t used much. Brian and I shared an office, so I mentioned Condorcet Voting to him one day, and that led to his point about taxes.
I built my website, litmocracy.com, based on this voting method, used to accomplish my goal of filtering out the less appealing writing submissions. What it has taught me is highly instructive: When the Condorcet Method is used by a large group of people, the group naturally separates itself into multiple pieces, each with its own set of values. For example, women tend to like one kind of writing better than another, whereas men like the other. Democrats and Republicans do the same thing, and so does subject matter: funny, about food, about animals, philosophical, etc.; each has its set of followers. In terms of picking someone to rule you, the lesson is this: Every person who wishes to be ruled should choose his or her own ruler. No ruler should be imposed on someone who doesn’t want that ruler to rule them.
The non-aggression principle is more important than filtering out low quality information, so when I think about what the Condorcet Method taught me through my website, I conclude that we don’t need rulers – we need leaders. My friend Don Eminizer said I am one, but I don’t have enough exposure. Another friend, Ernest Dempsey, said my writing is good and wanted to use it on a site he works with. Voluntaryism rejects electoral politics and so do I, but Ron Paul is a great leader and educator, and if you’re going to keep trying to force me to obey rules invented by politicians, then I urge you to choose someone like Ron Paul (or Gary Johnson) to be the president. Just remember that you are supporting what Bastiat explained: “The state is that great fiction by which everyone attempts to live at the expense of everyone else.” It is a tool of oppression and the more people stop using it and instead defend themselves and others from it, the better. And that means being a Voluntaryist.