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What a Zero Aggression society would look like

A personal message from Jim Babka and Perry Willis, Co-Founders of Downsize DC and Co-Creators of the Zero Aggression Project
Our previous message told you…

  • Why we created the Zero Aggression Project (ZAP)
  • Why we think the Zero Aggression Principle (the ZAP) beats practical arguments
  • Why you should make ZAP your main libertarian activity
  • How we plan to introduce ZAP 3.0 by telling a story-in-reverse

That story begins here…
You wake up in a world governed by the Zero Aggression Principle. What’s it like?
Three things are missing…

  • Men with guns no longer coerce you to pay for government services
  • No government service is provided by a monopoly
  • No institution of governance initiates force against anyone (force is reserved for defensive purposes only, such as criminal justice)

Instead…
All governmental services are voluntarily funded. This means…
You now live in a world with consumer-controlled governance!
The politicians are secondary. You are primary! You now have far more power as a consumer than you ever had as a voter! You get to decide whether to fund…

  • The U.S. federal government
  • State or local governments
  • Or other institutions that provide some particular governmental service (see below)

Even better, now you can decide how much money you give to government — you can even give no money at all to a particular government service.
This has completely changed the incentives that control government behavior!
In the old days our so-called government had no incentive to do a good job, because, it got paid no matter how poorly it performed! In fact…
The more it failed, the more it PROSPERED! Politicians constantly used their own failure as an excuse to grab more power and spend more money!
Think about how upside down that was! Failure was rewarded, NOT punished!
But the advent of consumer-controlled governance reversed those bad incentives. Now…
All institutions of governance have to do a good job or lose customers!
Do you remember how…

  • People told you it was impractical to abolish violence-based funding (taxes)?
  • They said voluntary funding wouldn’t work, because no one would give enough money?

Now, most people think…
The concept of “enough money” is defined by what people are willing to pay, NOT by what politicians want.  
People now believe it’s completely impractical to give politicians power to extort money from people. They recognize that it’s silly to disconnect funding from performance.
People learned that the moral and the pragmatic are connected:

  • Bad means tend to achieve bad results
  • Good means tend to achieve good results

And look at how great the results are…
You get to live the way you want, provided you don’t commit force or fraud against others. You can…

  • Participate in Social Security and Medicare, or opt out
  • Buy any type of health insurance you want, free from “cronyistic” dictates that once compelled you to purchase coverage you didn’t need or want
  • Use FDA approved drugs, or opt out. Now you can seek guidance from other sources, like Underwriters Laboratory or the Life Extension Foundation

Other kinds of product regulation work the same way. Consumer choice — your choice — rules in all things!
You no longer need The State’s permission to…

  • Enter or exit the country
  • Buy a weapon
  • Marry the person you love
  • Open a business
  • Have consensual sex however you want
  • Ingest what you want
  • Grow what you want

Groups with different views no longer use The State to gang up on each other. And you no longer need majority permission to live according to your own conscience.
Individual conscience is now respected in all things
As a result…
Decentralized institutions like homeowners associations have become the basic unit of governance. Their accountability means…

  • Roads get repaved on a regular schedule (no more potholes)
  • Alleys and other commons areas are constantly maintained
  • Legal monopolies no longer control who can bring you power, water, gas, and cable

Some neighborhoods have strict property use codes. Others have none at all. That means…
You no longer have to move to another county, state, or country to get what you want. The kind of community you prefer is usually just miles away. Perhaps best of all…
The police are now under you instead of over you…

  • The police no longer work for the politicians, they work for you!
  • The police are no longer tax funded, so they have to perform well or lose customers
  • You can buy police protection by subscription, or pay a premium if you call for help without a subscription
  • You can also add a contribution to help those who can’t afford the premium

This means the police now focus on different things:

  • NOT victimless crimes — there are none
  • NOT asset forfeiture opportunities — there are none
  • NOT traffic fines — there are none (see below)

Instead…

  • The police actually patrol neighborhoods to intimidate would-be burglars
  • No victimless crimes means no black markets for drugs and prostitution. Criminal gangs are no longer profitable!

These factors have combined to create an amazing result…
Violent crime has dwindled to almost nothing!
And the prison population has shrunk to just a few murderers, rapists, and repeat burglars (of which there are now few because of the police patrols).
Even traffic safety is handled differently…
Bad driving used to cost you both fines and higher insurance premiums. Now, only your insurance premiums go up. That means…
You’re no longer doubled-fined for making a mistake!
But beware…

  • You’ll still be taken out of your car if you drive erratically. But it’s the bad driving that gets you stopped, NOT sobriety checkpoints.
  • Banks, insurance companies and police services are also put on alert about repeat offenders. It’s like having the ultimate bad credit rating. It can become hard to get a car loan or insurance, and whole neighborhoods can ban you from their roads! (Get out and walk buddy!)

Courts have changed too…

  • Now the prosecutors work for the victim, not The State
  • Convicted perpetrators have to compensate their victims, not The State

The result?

  • Criminals pay
  • Victims are compensated
  • There are fewer wrongful prosecutions

Even national defense has changed…
Consumers rule here too!

  • Patriots and concerned citizens provide enough funding for a centralized defense, but…
  • If politicians misuse the military the funding dries up

And “defense” is no longer monopolized by The State…

  • Some people prefer local militias
  • Others argue that any centralized defense provides a centralized target, and gives politicians too much potential power to abuse

This latter groups favors a completely decentralized guerrilla strategy for both deterrence and defense. They think guerilla defense makes armies obsolete. And they can point to concrete examples…

  • The U.S. in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan
  • The Soviet Union in Afghanistan

This idea is spreading — there’s now a worldwide movement to completely demilitarize under the slogan… countries without armies pose no threat to other countries
The Zero Aggression revolution affects compassion too…
“Gunpoint compassion” is now considered a contradiction. Instead…

  • Choice and competition have caused an explosion of charitable innovation
  • The aim is not merely to sustain lives, but to improve them where possible
  • Local charities compete hard to show how they can do the best job of providing both sustenance and improvement

But it isn’t only what you can buy or fund that’s different…
Even money has changed…
There’s no more Federal Reserve monopoly. You can use anything for money — dollars, gold, silver, Bitcoin, or something else. As a result…
The Federal Reserve has to keep the dollar stable to avoid losing customers to other forms of money. That means…

  • No more inflation!
  • No more booms and busts either

Instead…

  • Prices are slowly falling as constant innovation increases productivity
  • People can now live better with less work!

Economic outcomes are more equal too, because…
Cronies can no longer use The State to garner subsidies, bailouts, and bloated contracts, or use rigged regulations to strangle competitors. That means…

  • Big business is smaller
  • Small businesses is bigger
  • No one gains unfair benefits at the expense of others

And here’s the most AMAZING part!
This was all done without abolishing ANY major institution! Nearly everything that existed before still exists now…

  • The President
  • Congress
  • Social Security
  • Medicare
  • The FDA
  • The Federal Reserve

It all still exists!
But now every institution has to compete with other providers, because the Zero Aggression Principle rules everything.
This is the world you now live in!
Or could live in, if you make the Zero Aggression Project your main libertarian activity.

  • How would that make a difference?
  • How could you use the Zero Aggression Project to create this world?

We’ll begin to paint that picture in our next message, as our story-in-reverse continues. In the meantime…
If you’re not already a member of the ZAP Founders Committee please consider joining before it closes on April 30th.
Founders will be listed on the ZAP website perpetually.

You can take a quick tour of the new ZAP site when you visit the contribution form. Some sections are already open, and some are behind a curtain, to be unveiled after we finish our story-in-reverse.
Please stay tuned for the next installment of that story. And…
If you have libertarian friends who might be interested in ZAP, please forward this to them.
With high hopes for the future,
Perry Willis & Jim Babka
Co-creators, the Zero Aggression Project
an initiative of the Downsize DC Foundation

Show Comments 8

 

  1. How does consumer controlled government get funded? Charitable donations only would allow free riders on public goods which discourages contributions. Fee for service works when you need a service (like calling the police), but does it properly distribute costs for building and maintaining the support structure? I benefit from reduced crime even though I may never need to be charged for a direct support service. How do we handle this?
    Education is another example. Most of the benefit goes to those receiving the education; it makes sense for them to pay. But there’s also a community benefit from having an educated labor force available for industry. Also, must the poor rely on charity for education? Doesn’t this retard upward mobility which is part of the “American dream”?
    Charlie

    1. Perry Willis Post
      Author

      Free riders are a positive thing, not a negative. It matters not that everyone pays for every benefit they receive. It only matters that enough people pay for the benefit to exist.
      Fireworks exist despite the fact that many who can see them at a distance did not pay for them. The examples of this kind of thing are endless. They’re also the reason why concerns about poor people being unable to fund a service are largely misplaced.
      If you’re too poor to pay for a police patrol, but your neighbors do, you still benefit from the resulting prevention of crime. That’s the right way to help poor people with such things, NOT by creating massive institutions of coercion.
      We know that this approach works because history tells us so. For instance, the road system of Great Britain prior to the industrial revolution was built voluntarily, NOT by The State, and in spite of the fact that there were numerous free riders.

  2. Excellent.
    You may want to consider substituting “crowd sourced” where you say “consumer-controlled” and “voluntarily funded”.
    I think you’d throttle up your conversion rate. Thanks for all your good work!

    1. Perry Willis Post
      Author

      Thanks for the suggestions Steve. I do think that term could add to what we’re doing, though I don’t think it can serve as a substitute. A crowd can provide many things, but that is not the same thing as the CONTROL that a consumer exerts by making decisions to buy, or not buy.
      We think this kind of consumer control is essential is we’re to get good performance from our governmental institutions. Currently, government must fear no loss of funds it if performs poorly. We must change this.
      In addition, politicians get to decide what we need and impose it on us against our will. This is intolerable. Citizens should decide how much and what type of governance they want, NOT politicians.
      Fortunately, there’s an easy way to create consumer controlled governance. Simply get rid of violence-based funding (what politicians call taxation). Make all payments to government voluntary and you will finally get exactly the governance you want.

  3. This picture is very compelling. However, there is a type of aggression that I do not see being addressed and that is how to deal with companies who are purveyors of products containing toxic ingredients. This would include drugs, agribusiness, processed foods, cosmetics, meat producers, etc. Would there still be rules regarding this or regulations, inspections? I cannot see how we can avoid regulations. I would not feel remotely safe eating meat in the context of “if enough people die we stop buying or shut it down.” We are not far from that now, but there is some lawful restriction of selling goods that are toxic. I would like to understand how this works when there is such a distaste for regulation in Libertarian thought. Thanks, Ellen

    1. Perry Willis Post
      Author

      Thanks for the question Ellen. Libertarians are not opposed to regulation in general. We’re only opposed to the specific kind of regulation that imposes prior restraints on the methods people can employ to create safe products. That is The State’s approach to regulation. It dictates that there is one and only one safe way to provide a given product or service. Now…
      Most people think that this is the ONLY way to provide regulation, and that to get rid of it would get rid of regulation altogether. But in fact, there are hosts of non-state providers of regulation. Underwriters Laboratory and NSF are two of the most famous. We’ve provided two short articles on our blog to better explain this subject. You can find them here…
      How to Think About Regulation
      The Truth About Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle”
      I hope this helps. Please feel free to ask any more questions that may occur to you.

  4. This one article should be at the forefront of the web site. It clearly explains details which help to flesh out the mental picture of a properly operating society, as well as explaining the ZAP principle in action, as nothing else can.
    Please link this directly to the home page. It is that important.
    Thank you.

    1. Perry Willis Post
      Author

      Thanks for the suggestion Michael. I’ve got this article open in a tab. I will re-read it and discuss with Jim Babka the possibility of moving it to the home page. Thanks for the suggestion.

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