|An ugly man with an ugly world view.|
Statists generally use Hobbes to argue against a stateless, anarchist society, but Hobbes' ideas are absurd. If Hobbes is right and all men are selfish, evil creatures, then his "solution" - to give these inevitably corrupt(-ible) men the power to control the whole of society - is completely backwards. Are the kings, nobles, Prime Ministers, Presidents, and Senators not human beings themselves? Don't they have faults of their own?
But we don't live in a Hobbesian world, and anarchy does not mean "chaos." It's tempting to call other people bad, but we have to remember exactly what "evil" means. The guy who cuts you off in traffic and then flips you off might be an irresponsible douche, but he's probably not evil. Be honest, how many people in the world do you think are legitimately evil? Someone with no morals, no empathy, no conscience - a sociopath - is truly evil.
The truth is that people are generally good. I'm not saying that everyone is inherently good, since everyone is different and about 4% of people are legitimate sociopaths (according to psychologist Martha Stout, a clinical instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Med., in her book The Sociopath Next Door [Click to purchase from Amazon.com]). But the thing is, unless there's a cop around, the government isn't really "present" during the clear majority of interactions between people. Government itself is an abstract concept and doesn't actually exist, so technically you're already living in a state of anarchy for the majority of your life. Government or not, bad people do bad things despite the law, while good people don't need laws to be moral. After all, there are laws against murder and theft, yet there are still people who commit those crimes.
Without government, we'd find a way to continue peacefully, and in the long run that means voluntary, mutually-beneficial exchange with other people in the free market: for example, I need a cake. You have one. I could stab you for your cake but then I risk getting hurt myself, vengeance from you or your friends/relatives, a tarnished reputation, the elimination of future trade with you and whatever products/services you may have offered, loss of a possible friend, and alienation from the rest of the community. It's much easier and smarter for both of us if I simply offered money, labor, other baked goods, etc., for your cake. It's ridiculous and contrary to experience to assume that people would abandon this system of mutually beneficial exchange just because there isn't a cop with a gun standing next to them.
|For your protection!|
Like I said, even in a free society there are still bad people, but a free society doesn't mean there wouldn't be any courts or police. Self-policing would be just as important as it is now since, like now, police can only respond to crime and rarely prevent it. Courts and justice in a libertarian society would concentrate more on restitution to the victim rather than punishment of the criminal, although that may depend on the crime itself.
Recommended reading (click to purchase on Amazon.com):
by John Locke
by Murray Rothbard
by Thomas Hobbes
by Martha Stout