January 14, 2012 by galudwig
I was browsing the web yesterday and came across a video of this rather interesting interview (on MSNBC, of all channels). The subject was David Barker’s new book Welcome to Free America (here’s the link on amazon.co.uk). It’s a short work (only about 100 pages) of libertarian science fiction and sketches an anarcho-capitalist future.
I decided to check it out on amazon and was pleasantly surprised that the Kindle version is only 3$/£2, so bought it. As of yet, I’ve only read the first two chapters, but I must say it is intriguing indeed. It is clear that Barker is firmly rooted in the Chicago, rather than the “austrian”, tradition of anarcho-capitalism, explicitly crediting David Friedman’s Machinery of Freedom (which I just did a short post on recently) in his preface, and I haven’t yet reached what I assume will be the more theoretical chapters on anarcho-capitalist theory. But the general approach of the book is refreshing and very interesting to say the least.
It is written in the form of a guidebook for new immigrants to “Free America” and begins with an extended run-down of the events which, in Barker’s vision, eventually led to the birth of a stateless society in the geographical area which used to be the USA. I thoroughly enjoyed this, as his telling of this tale seemed at the same time horrific, hopeful and eminently plausible. As someone who has already read quite a bit of literature on market anarchy, I was pleased to discover an alternative, and more plausible, path towards a stateless society, as the only other vision of how to actually convert the theory into practice I had ever heard of until now was the one depicted in the libertarian/agorist novel Alongside Night. While both books imagine an anarchist society to be a logical outgrowth of government failure, Schulman’s idea of the heroic revolutionary cartel becomes in Barker’s Free America a long and arduous struggle of trial-and-error, riddled with governmental incompetence and brutal violence. In Barker’s vision, America becomes free because freedom is the only thing that works and all other possibilities have been exhausted.
Anyway, I’ll finish the book soon and will post my final thoughts on it as well as a few quotes. But, in light of the book’s entertaining style, interesting subject matter, and very low price of the electronic version, I’d encourage each and everyone of you to buy it and give it a read, especially if the idea of a stateless society seems either impossible or undesirable to you.
By the way, is it me or is anarcho-capitalism becoming more and more mainstream?