Long ago, one of my favorite libertarian personalities, Robert LeFevre, a man unfortunately lesser well-known today, proposed a new word for a new libertarian political order to replace the modern centralized political systems, and he called it “Autarchy,” which means “rule of the self by the self.” This is an ideal meaning, but an unfortunate term.

This term was soon ruined by a new word that entered popular political usage around the same time, the term “autarky,” a homonym for ‘autarchy’ that meant an isolated polity, or political and economic self-sufficiency. It came to be a popular label for describing the policies much of Africa had come to pursue on the advice of various leftist / socialist economic planners in those days.

I should mention here that I believe we will soon be moving into a period where the world will again become receptive to new political forms and concepts, after decades of surety in the long-term stability of democracy. A crisis of confidence in democracy will come about as a result of economic turmoil generated by increasing central and dictatorial control of the economy and law. We see the early seeds of this today, with financial trouble brewing around the world, but it may still be years before we see how this plays out.

While there may be groups intending to use this instability to move the world towards a one-world government, it will also create an opportunity for those of us who want to move the world towards greater individual freedom to seize the narrative.

And despite the enormous power imbalances between the forces of the state and the forces of liberty, we should always be reminded that ultimate power is on the side of liberty because of the essentially individual nature of human existence. The state must work very hard to convince people that the state is necessary. That belief can be easily destroyed should another way be found to work, a way that does not resort to state control. We will build that way and destroy the belief in the need for statism.

But until we do that, we’ll need to invent new concepts and explain them both to ourselves as we put them into practice and then to the world.

It should go without saying that people want to be freer than they are now, only they have been convinced that this would be against their interests.

This new political order that anarcho-capitalists will build in the coming years will be collinear with the inescapable fact of the essential individuality and freedom of human beings. Indeed, it will rest upon it.

We will build a place that has voluntarist-forms of law, police, and courts–the essential trio of a stable society, removing only the concept of a central political elite that gets to force law on everyone else in society. It is this elite that can be traced to all the flaws of government, the moral hazards and knowledge problems that make lobbying an effect means of wealth extraction for corporations and others.

And we will replace this centralized political system with decentralized individual consent via private law-making of each person over themselves and their own private property using the mechanism of contracts. Private law is synonymous with contracting.

So what term or collection of terms can we used to describe this kind of society in the same way that ‘republican-democracy’ is used to sum up our current political reality?

It seems we cannot use the term ‘republic’ anymore, since this denotes use of an elected body of politicians–the very thing we want to forever banish from society. There will no longer be any res publica in the society we would build, where all property is private held and privately ruled.

In fact it would not be apt to call such a place a ‘state’ at all. Rothbard makes allusion to this fact in his essay, “Anatomy of the State”:

“In short, Calhoun does not push his pathbreaking
theory on concurrence far enough: he
does not push it down to the individual himself.

If the individual, after all, is the one whose
rights are to be protected, then a consistent
theory of concurrence would imply veto power
by every individual; that is, some form of “unanimity
principle.” When Calhoun wrote that it
should be “impossible to put or to keep it [the
government] in action without the concurrent
consent of all,” he was, perhaps unwittingly,
implying just such a conclusion.

But such speculation begins to take us away from our
subject, for down this path lie political systems
which could hardly be called “States” at all. For
one thing, just as the right of nullification for a
state logically implies its right of secession, so
a right of individual nullification would imply
the right of any individual to “secede” from the
State under which he lives.”

We may see Calhoun as an early, if unwitting, influence on the direction that anarchist political systems should take to avoid the root flaw of modern democracy. Individual nullification and secession is exactly what we want to systemically enshrine. This will require all law to obtain prior consent from each person before it can exercise authority over them, effectively banishing all forms of arbitrary and forced-authority and replacing it entirely with voluntary and consensual authority with prior consent.

This will rule out all future forms of statism-seekers from then on, because such will be seen easily as criminal activity in a society of true and actual freedom.

One striking feature of such a system is that it appears to, in a funny way, resemble the description of permanent revolution socialists talk about, without looking anything like what the socialist thinkers imagined it could take the form of. A system where individuals make law for themselves in decentralized fashion and can always walk away from a political system via unlimited individual secession and start their own without permission from anyone–what could be a more perfect description of permanent revolution?

This term “concurrence / concurrent” then could form at least part of the root of an ideal descriptive phrase for the system we want to build.

Ideally what we want is a system where there exists rule of law, without the rule of politicians; a political system without the need for representation. We want the mode of law-creation to be individualized and to require consent from all involved. To the extent that there is political and social cooperation, it must have prior consent.

The word ‘concurrent’ takes care of this last requirement, but it is not enough by itself to describe our ideal society. It could function as a qualifier however, with a word to anchor it on. “Concurrent” then can replace the word ‘democratic’ in the phrase ‘democratic-republic.’ What we really need is a word to replace the ‘republic’ half.

While I quite like the connotation that ‘republic’ has with regards to the rule of law, the fly in the ointment is this idea of electing a political elite. We need a term that will point directly to the law itself as being the governing factor of society, without reference to politicians.

Well it turns out there is such a term, it is nomocracy, meaning purely the rule of law, no allusions to an elected or otherwise political elite; as one definition-giving site put it, nomocracy is: “government based on the rule of law rather than arbitrary will, terror, etc.”

Could there be a more perfect description of the kind of society we want to build? One without the rule of arbitrary authoritarians or those claiming to be our elites with the power to rule us? A society without archons! Nomocracy is certainly the system I want to live under, one where the law rules, not where some people force their rules on me against my will.

And what’s more, I want to live in a place where the law cannot be used to oppress any political minority! Which is what the term ‘concurrent’ gives us, i.e.: a political system where all participants must give their active and continuing consent, and when consent is withdrawn they are free to leave that system via unlimited individual secession.

This is then the perfect term for what system anarchists should popularize as our preferred ideal: we want to build a Concurrent-Nomocracy.

So the next time someone asks you what system of governance you would replace our current one with, in their half-flippant and challenging tone, as if such a thing could not be done, simply tell them that you favor a concurrent-nomocracy, and watch them tilt their heads in puzzlement at the term they’ve never heard.

This is a good moment to explain that you believe in concurrency–the idea that everyone who is part of a system should give prior and continuing consent with all aspects of the law they’re expected to obey, so that no one can use law to oppress political minorities. Who could be against that?

And then explain that nomocracy means the rule of law instead of the rule of politicians–which was what the US was supposed to be about anyway, and something the political mainstream still claims it supports, or at least pays lip-service to, even if in practice this principle has been entirely abandoned.

If we can start having that conversation instead of trying to apologize for the term anarchy–which 99.99% of people can’t remotely grasp refers to political anarchy and not an actual social mob chaos, then perhaps we can make some headway on the rhetorical front.

Ultimately we won’t make much headway until we actually build our systems of voluntary governance and begin using them ourselves. We’ve got to prove it will work before others will give it a chance. But it’s important to begin talking about it now, to popularize the concept among first ourselves, then have it ready when the wider population comes asking us what it means and why it works.

That’s the conversation we really want to have.