Mark Tier, Politics, vol. X, no. 2, November, 1975, pp. 164-68, minus references. (With thanks to Mark Tier.)

The author is publisher of an economics newsletter, Mark Tier’s Economy Report, a consulting economist, and freelance writer. He is a B.Ec. from ANU. He was one of the people responsible for forming the Workers Party; and one of the three people who wrote the platform. [For more recent biographical info see here.]

“Do you mean anarchy?” some people ask me, shuddering at the thought of leaving Big Brother The State. Well, what do you mean by “anarchy”? According to The Random House Dictionary of the English Language there is more than one meaning of the word. One: chaos. Two: without government. Three: chaos due to absence of government. Four: theory that holds coercive government as evil and advocates that all interpersonal dealings be totally voluntary.

Consider Three and Four. If there was absence of government tomorrow, chaos would certainly result. But, by definition number four, aren’t most of our lives spent anarchically? In Australia, at least, don’t most of us choose what we want to do, choose with whom we wish to associate, each making our own plans in regard to most matters — rather than having to fit all our actions to one, coercively imposted master-plan laid down by the Government?

The “anarchy of the free market” is not chaos; it is individuals making their own, individual plans. No wonder politicians don’t like “anarchy”.

This voluntarism, does not, of course, apply to all our actions. We cannot choose the government we would like to deal with, unless we are in a position to impose it on everyone else, or wish to move to another country. And all governments impose some restrictions. That after all is their function: they hold a monopoly on the moral use of force in a defined geographical area. And all of them use it. (Any government which did not use it would cease to be a government.)

Anarchy on the right? Most people think of anarchists like Kropotkin, Proudhon, Bakunin, Goldman; of anarchy as being a European-Russian-socialist tradition. Most distinctly left. One might add that anarchy-as-a-movement reached its peak in the Spanish civil war and has not looked up since.

With names like Rothbard, LeFevre, Tuccille. Liggio, Chodorov and Tannehill one might think that anarchy-on-the-right sprang from the same tradition. While it is true that there is much cross-fertilisation, anarchy-on-the-right is a distinctly American phenomenon springing from America’s individualist heritage. And as a movement, it is just beginning.

Historically, the two most important figures are Lysander Spooner and Benjamin Tucker. Spooner was one of the many people who ran a private post office (reducing the US post office to almost nothing in many areas of the US) until an act of Congress put his American Letter Mail Company (and all the others) out of business on 1 July, 1845. In 1870 he published No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority in which he argued that the US Constitution did not bind him or any other person, as it had no contractual or moral basis; and that the government it established was nothing more than a band of robbers and swindlers. In terms of political theory, Spooner’s No Treason, should be read in conjunction with Rousseau’s theory of the “social contract” — as the definitive demolition of that theory. Unlike Rousseau, Spooner has hardly dated.

From 1881 to 1907, Benjamin Tucker published a paper called Liberty. To Tucker, the state represented “the embodiment of the principle of invasion … The anarchist defines government as invasion, nothing more or less. Protection against invasion, then, is the opposite of government. Anarchists, in favouring the abolition of governments, favour the addition of protection against invasion.

Tucker, however, failed to increase the number of individualist-anarchist, losing out to Emma Goldman’s anarcho-communism.

While both anarcho-communist and anarcho-individualist are anti-statists, and propose voluntary association, they part company over the issue of properly. The anarcho-communist would abolish all private property, “establishing” a non system where each give a would give what he wanted and take what he wanted. For the anarcho-communist, the ideal is, to say the least, vague — and would of course involve the use of force (government?) against the anarcho-individualist who would wish to keep his rightfully earned property. Property, says the individualist, when created or gained through voluntary association (that is, production or trade, not theft of taxation) is to reward to oneself or from others to a person’s self generated action. The definition of property is the definition of what is mine and what is thine. That definition begins with each other person’s life is his absolute property. As property is the definition of mine and thine, is defines what I can do and what you can do without each other’s permission.

Just as not all anarchists are libertarians, not all libertarians are anarchists. There is a division between anarchist and limited statists.

All libertarians agree on a certain basics: on the place of property; that the initiation of force, fraud or coercion of any manner is evil and that the only moral form of association is consensual. They agree that government is an institution that monopolises force within any society; and that force can only be used (where it is not punished) with the permission of the government; that the government denies you the right of self-defence. For example, if the mafia has paid off the police, it has gained the implicit permission of government to use force, and you are thereby prevented from effectively protecting yourself from the mafia. And, of course, self-defence against the government is called “treason”.

The anarchist proposes that the free market can provide every service that a person might require, including the services that government provides (e.g., protection — police and armies; and arbitration of disputes — law courts) and that competition would ensure that the quality of service would be the highest possible (unlike the present situation). The limited-statist proposes that a government is necessary to provide protection and arbitration, albeit a strictly limited one that would not, for example, be able to levy any taxes (try to think up definition of taxation which is any different from a definition of robbery).

Surprising as it may seem, the person mainly responsible for the spreading of anarchism as a movement in the US today is herself a limited statist and a Russian to boot: Ayn Rand. She certainly did not intend to spread the anarchism. But most of the anarcho-libertarians in the US (and Australia) began as objectivists. (Objectivism is the name of Ayn Rand’s philosophy.)

In her novels Atlas Shrugged (primarily) and The Fountainhead and her other writings, Rand completed what Aristotle, John Locke and Adam Smith began a coherent and internally consistent philosophy of individualism. If she had done this as treatise on philosophy. She would have had little impact. As it is she is ignored by the philosophical establishment. Through her writings and the work of her protégé Nathaniel Branden, her philosophy has spread widely through mainly in the United States. Until Rand and Branden split his lecture series were being given (on tape) in over 80 cities around the world, including Melbourne and Sydney.

While all libetarians would accept all the principles of Objectivism as their philosophical basis, not all agree that Ayn Rand has been totally consistent in her application of these principles. In 1968, Roy A. Childs, a former Objectivist, wrote “An Open Letter to Ayn Rand” in which he questioned her attitude towards government.

All governments use force and whether the leaders be Gough Whitlam, Malcolm Fraser, Josef Stalin or Adolf Hitler, their moral justification is the ends justify the means. A libertarians says: the ends never justify the means. Rand says the government should be restricted to using its monopoly of force only in retaliation against those who initiate force against others. Men must have a government, she says, to bring the use of force under objective control. Although each man has the right of self defence, it cannot be left up to each individual to enforce that right on behalf of each and every man.

Child suggested that her attitude towards government was in contradiction to her basic principles. If each man’s rights are inalienable, then no institution may morally exercise any of his rights without his consent. As a coercive monopoly (an organisation which forcibly excludes competitors) is, according to Rand, a moral anathema, then so is a government — which she defines as a coercive monopoly. Rand has never answered Childs, except to make disparaging comments about “libertarians”. Since most libertarians admire her, she is denying herself some of the appreciation she undoubtedly deserves. Many people have followed Childs from Rand to anarchy, and much work has been published on just how a free market could (and has in the past) provide the functions that government supposedly serves.

Ayn Rand remains “first lady” of libertarianism. “Dean” of the anarcho-capitalists is economist Murray N. Rothbard, professor of economics at Brooklyn Polytechnic. He points out that the limited-state/anarchy controversy is really of minor importance overall. In fact being individualist, there are as many differences between libertarians as there are libertarians, even though they all subscribe to the same basic principles.

Rothbard, along with Hayek, heads the “Austrian” school of economics a brand of economics hardly known in Australia. (A better name would be “free market economics”.) Most Australian economists have a vague acquaintance with Professor Ludwig von Mises, the major figure of the “Austrian” school. As an example of the difference between “Austrian” and neo-Keynesian (i.e. Australian) economics, von Mises, in his major treatise Human Action, shows that the trade cycle is caused by government control of the money supply and the banking system. As is inflation.

Another figure is John Hospers, Professor and head of School of Philosophy at the University of Southern California. In 1972, he was Libertarian Party candidate for President and achieved one electoral college vote (a Republican defector). The Libertarian Party started in 1972 is now established in most state of the US.

When Hospers announced his candidacy, Robert LeFevre sent him a “get well” card. There is an argument in libertarian circles as to the morality of being involved in politics at all. Even if you come to government only to bury it, not to raise it, the argument goes, how can you be sure that you will not be corrupted by power? John Goodson, LP candidate for Governor of New Jersey, resolved this problem by signing a pledge which would enable any elector to remove him from office if he once wavered from his stated platform.

An example of the world-wide growth of the libertarian movement is the formation of the Workers Party in Sydney on 26 January, 1975. Its platform was partly based on the US LP’s platform. US LPers have had nothing but praise for it — and are now utilising it as the basis for re-writing their own. Other Libertarian political parties also exist in Canada and the UK: and there are now the beginnings of a movement to establish one in New Zealand. (All libertarian political parties, of course, profess the limited-statist vision of libertarianism.)

It is, of course impossible to predict the future of the movement. Although many libertarians claim that “the 21st century will be libertarians — or it won’t be!” we will just have to wait and see. There is possibility that on US campuses, the growing libertarian movement there will replace the new left in importance and significance. The advantage libertarians have is in concrete solution to everyday problems. The main trouble is that most of the answers. While agreeing in spirit in some cases with the new left, involve less government and fewer controls, not the more that everybody seems to be clamouring for. As examples:

Pollution: the solution is absolute private property. When one person pollutes another’s property the second can sue the first for the damage done (plus costs, of course). If you owned a section of a river, would you want someone else’s garbage go floating through? The present owner — the government — does not seem to mind. And try suing the present owner of the roads for damages caused by car pollution. The problem is really simple; present laws only recognise specific forms of damage — theft, arson — not damage in general.

The environment; again, absolute private property. At present, you can only be the (in Australia) nominal owner of any land. The government is the real owner and it can issue a licence to any miner to dig up your property, and there is not much you can do about it. If property rights were absolute, and for example, some group of people wished to preserve a certain section of rain forest in Queensland, all they would need to do is raise enough funds to buy it (and with no taxes potentials donors would be much richer, and therefore much more generous). Once it was theirs they could exclude anyone they wished Naturally, it works both ways. But if a property owner could make higher profits leaving land in its natural state as a tourist attraction (for conservationists and others), than in leasing it to miners, which would he choose?

Justice: some libertarians (not all) are not as much as concerned with punishing the criminal as gaining restitution for the victims. Nowadays, when a theft occurs, the police are not really concerned to serve you, the victim. In any case, there so many thefts that police would be unable to cope, assuming that was their intention. If, however you or your insurance company is paying your police to find the criminal, then it is in their interest to serve you, the customer. When he is found and brought to trial, the principle involved (as with pollution) is restitution for damage caused. The criminal should repay the victim for what he stole, the inconvenience he caused, plus the costs he inccured in finding him. Note also that many of the government-defined “crimes” are crimes without victims; that is, people can be punished for things they do to themselves, which involve no one but themselves. In a libertarian society, if you want to smoke (or grow and sell) marijuana, commit suicide, or walk naked on your own property (e.g., your front garden), then as you are causing damage to no other persons then there will be no laws in your path.

Libertarians are also rewriting history, as each generation is wont to do. Strangely, they find themselves often in agreement with many of the charges laid by the new left, especially against big business. In A New History of Leviathan, a collaboration between writers of left and right, Murray Rothbard shows that Herbert Hoover, commonly called the last laissez-faire President, in fact laid the ground work for the New Deal, and Roosevelt merely took over and continued Hoover’s programmes. And forefront of the movement for the New Deal-corporate state were heads of some of the present-day multinationals.

To summarise, as a political and personal morality, libertarianism can be summed up in five words: thou shalt not initiate force. Or, to put it another way: there are two sources of evil: that which you bring upon yourself, and that which government brings upon everybody.

(in order of appearance on Economics.org.au)
  1. Governments Consume Wealth — They Don't Create It
  2. Singo and Howard Propose Privatising Bondi Beach
  3. Singo and Howard Speak Out Against the Crackpot Realism of the CIS and IPA
  4. Singo and Howard on Compromise
  5. Singo and Howard on Monopolies
  6. Singo and Howard Support Sydney Harbour Bridge Restructure
  7. Singo and Howard on Striking at the Root, and the Failure of Howard, the CIS and the IPA
  8. Singo and Howard Explain Why Australia is Not a Capitalist Country
  9. Singo and Howard Call Democracy Tyrannical
  10. Singo and Howard on Drugs!
  11. Simpleton sells his poll philosophy
  12. Singo and Howard Decry Australia Day
  13. Singo and Howard Endorse the Workers Party
  14. Singo and Howard Oppose the Liberal Party
  15. Singo and Howard Admit that Liberals Advocate and Commit Crime
  16. Up the Workers! Bob Howard's 1979 Workers Party Reflection in Playboy
  17. John Whiting's Inaugural Workers Party Presidential Address
  18. John Singleton and Bob Howard 1975 Monday Conference TV Interview on the Workers Party
  19. Singo and Howard on Aborigines
  20. Singo and Howard on Conservatism
  21. Singo and Howard on the Labor Party
  22. Singo, Howard and Hancock Want to Secede
  23. John Singleton changes his name
  24. Lang Hancock's Foreword to Rip Van Australia
  25. New party will not tolerate bludgers: Radical party against welfare state
  26. Singo and Howard introduce Rip Van Australia
  27. Singo and Howard on Knee-Jerks
  28. Singo and Howard on Tax Hunts (Lobbying)
  29. Singo and Howard on Rights
  30. Singo and Howard on Crime
  31. Singo and Howard on Justice
  32. Singo and Howard on Unemployment
  33. John Singleton on 1972's Cigarette Legislation
  34. Singo and Howard: Gambling Should Neither Be Illegal Nor Taxed
  35. Workers Party Platform
  36. Singo and Howard Join Forces to Dismantle Welfare State
  37. Singo and Howard on Business
  38. Singo and Howard on Discrimination
  39. Singo and Howard on the Greens
  40. Singo and Howard on Xenophobia
  41. Singo and Howard on Murdoch, Packer and Monopolistic Media
  42. Singo and Howard Explain that Pure Capitalism Solves Pollution
  43. Singo and Howard Defend Miners Against Government
  44. Singo and Howard on Bureaucracy
  45. Singo and Howard on Corporate Capitalism
  46. The last words of Charles Russell
  47. Ted Noffs' Preface to Rip Van Australia
  48. Right-wing anarchists revamping libertarian ideology
  49. Giving a chukka to the Workers Party
  50. Govt "villain" in eyes of new party
  51. "A beautiful time to be starting a new party": Rand fans believe in every man for himself
  52. Introducing the new Workers' Party
  53. Paul Rackemann 1980 Progress Party Election Speech
  54. Lang Hancock 1978 George Negus Interview
  55. Voices of frustration
  56. Policies of Workers Party
  57. Party Promises to Abolish Tax
  58. AAA Tow Truck Co.
  59. Singo and Howard on Context
  60. Singo and Howard Blame Roosevelt for Pearl Harbour
  61. Singo and Howard on Apathy
  62. Workers Party is "not just a funny flash in the pan"
  63. Singo and Howard on Decency
  64. John Singleton in 1971 on the 2010 Federal Election
  65. Matthew, Mark, Luke & John Pty. Ltd. Advertising Agents
  66. Viv Forbes Wins 1986 Adam Smith Award
  67. The writing of the Workers Party platform and the differences between the 1975 Australian and American libertarian movements
  68. Who's Who in the Workers Party
  69. Bob Howard interviewed by Merilyn Giesekam on the Workers Party
  70. A Farewell to Armchair Critics
  71. Sukrit Sabhlok interviews Mark Tier
  72. David Russell Leads 1975 Workers Party Queensland Senate Team
  73. David Russell Workers Party Policy Speech on Brisbane TV
  74. Bludgers need not apply
  75. New party formed "to slash controls"
  76. The Workers Party
  77. Malcolm Turnbull says "the Workers party is a force to be reckoned with"
  78. The great consumer protection trick
  79. The "Workers" speak out
  80. How the whores pretend to be nuns
  81. The Workers Party is a Political Party
  82. Shit State Subsidised Socialist Schooling Should Cease Says Singo
  83. My Journey to Anarchy:
    From political and economic agnostic to anarchocapitalist
  84. Workers Party Reunion Intro
  85. Singo and Howard on Freedom from Government and Other Criminals
  86. Singo and Howard on Young People
  87. Singo and Howard Expose how Government Healthcare Controls Legislate Doctors into Slavery
  88. Singo and Howard Engage with Homosexuality
  89. Singo and Howard Demand Repeal of Libel and Slander Laws
  90. Singo and Howard on Consumer Protection
  91. Singo and Howard on Consistency
  92. Workers Party is born as foe of government
  93. Political branch formed
  94. Government seen by new party as evil
  95. Singo and Howard on Non-Interference
  96. Singo and Howard on Women's Lib
  97. Singo and Howard on Licences
  98. Singo and Howard on Gun Control
  99. Singo and Howard on Human Nature
  100. Singo and Howard on Voting
  101. Singo and Howard on
    Inherited Wealth
  102. Singo and Howard on Education
  103. Singo and Howard on Qualifications
  104. Ron Manners on the Workers Party
  105. Singo and Howard Hate Politicians
  106. Undeserved handouts make Australia the lucky country
  107. A happy story about Aborigines
  108. John Singleton on Political Advertising
  109. Richard Hall, Mike Stanton and Judith James on the Workers Party
  110. Singo Incites Civil Disobedience
  111. How John Singleton Would Make Tony Abbott Prime Minister
  112. The Discipline of Necessity
  113. John Singleton on the first election the Workers Party contested
  114. Libertarians: Radicals on the right
  115. The Bulletin on Maxwell Newton as Workers Party national spokesman on economics and politics
  116. Singo and Howard: Australia Should Pull Out of the Olympics
  117. Singo and Howard Like Foreign Investment
  118. Mark Tier corrects Nation Review on the Workers Party
  119. The impossible dream
  120. Why can't I get away with it?
  121. The bold and boring Lib/Lab shuffle
  122. Time for progress
  123. The loonie right implodes
  124. Max Newton: Maverick in Exile
  125. John Singleton on refusing to do business with criminals and economic illiterates
  126. Censorship should be banned
  127. "Listen, mate, a socialist is a bum"
  128. John Singleton on Advertising
  129. John Singleton on why he did the Hawke re-election campaign
  130. Sinclair Hill calls for dropping a neutron bomb on Canberra
  131. Bob Howard in Reason 1974-77
  132. John Singleton defends ockerism
  133. Singo and Howard talk Civil Disobedience
  134. The Census Con
  135. Singo and Howard Oppose Australian Participation in the Vietnam War
  136. Did John Singleton oppose the mining industry and privatising healthcare in 1990?
  137. Bob Carr in 1981 on John Singleton's political bent
  138. John Singleton-Ita Buttrose interview (1977)
  139. King Leonard of Hutt River Declares Defensive Just War Against Australia the Aggressor
  140. Singo says Lang Hancock violated Australia's 11th commandment: Thou Shalt Not Succeed
  141. Singleton: the White Knight of Ockerdom
  142. John Singleton bites into Sinclair Hill's beef
  143. Save Parramatta Road
  144. 1979 news item on new TV show John Singleton With a Lot of Help From His Friends
  145. Smoking, Health and Freedom
  146. Singo and Howard on Unions
  147. Singo and Howard Smash the State
  148. Singo and Howard on the big issue of Daylight Saving
  149. Come back Bob - It was all in fun!
  150. A few "chukkas" in the Senate for polo ace?
  151. Country Rejuvenation - Towards a Better Future
  152. Singo and Howard on Profits, Super Profits and Natural Disasters
  153. John Singleton's 1977 pitch that he be on a committee of one to run the Sydney 1988 Olympics for profit
  154. Thoughts on Land Ownership
  155. 1975 Max Newton-Ash Long interview on the Workers Party
  156. The Electoral Act should allow voters to choose "none of the above"
  157. The great Labor Party platform: first or last, everybody wins a prize
  158. The politics of marketing - laugh now, pay later
  159. Singo and Howard call Australia fascist and worse
  160. The mouse will roar
  161. Viv Forbes and Jim Fryar vs Malcolm Fraser in 1979
  162. Quip, Quote, Rant and Rave: four of Viv Forbes' letters to the editor in The Australian in 1979
  163. Australia's First Official Political Party Poet Laureate: The Progress Party's Ken Hood in 1979
  164. Hancock's playing very hard to get
  165. Harry M. Miller and The Australian disgrace themselves
  166. Ocker ad genius takes punt on art
  167. John Singleton 1976 ocker Monday Conference Max Harris debate
  168. John Singleton mocks university students on civil liberties and freedom of choice in 1971
  169. Murray Rothbard championed on Australian television in 1974 (pre-Workers Party!) by Maureen Nathan
  170. John Singleton profile in 1977 Australian MEN Vogue
  171. I think that I shall never see a telegraph pole as lovely as a tree
  172. Ralph Nader vs John Singleton on Consumer Protection
  173. John Singleton's first two "Think" columns in Newspaper News, 1969
  174. Singo and Howard on Ballet
  175. Product innovation comes first
  176. Protect who from a 'mindless' wife?
  177. A party is born
  178. Tiny Workers' Party gives us a hint
  179. John Singleton on the ad industry, consumerism and innovation
  180. Workers Party Economic Policy Statement, December 1975
  181. Lang Hancock on the Workers Party, secession and States Rights
  182. John Singleton and Howard on Government Largesse
  183. Counterculture must exclude government handouts
  184. John Singleton's 1974 Federal Liberal Election Campaign Ads
  185. John Singleton believes in the Workers Party
  186. Write-up of John Singleton's 1978 speech to the Australian Liberal Students Association
  187. Singo in 1987: "Joh doesn't go far enough ... I want absolute deregulation of the economy"
  188. Maxwell Newton chapter of Clyde Packer's No Return Ticket (1984)
  189. Singo and Howard on Totalitarian Socialism and Voluntary Socialism
  190. Rip Van Australia on Ripoff Vandals Taxing Australia
  191. Singo and Howard beg for tolerance
  192. John Singleton's 1985 advertising comeback
  193. Singo and Howard Demand End to Public Transport
  194. John Singleton and Howard on Fred Nile, Festival of Light, FamilyVoice Australia and the Christian Lobby
  195. Capitalism: Survival of the Fittest
  196. Return Australia Post to Sender
  197. Singo and Howard on Public Utilities
  198. John Singleton and Howard say monarchy should be funded by monarchists alone
  199. John Singleton on cigarette advertising
  200. Singo in 1972 on newspapers' demise
  201. John Singleton farewells Bryce Courtenay
  202. John Singleton on Australian political advertising in 1972
  203. Gortlam rides again
  204. Announcement that Lang Hancock will be guest of honour at the Workers Party launch
  205. John Singleton on trading stamps, idiot housewives and government
  206. 1975 John Singleton-Sir Robert Askin Quadrant Interview
  207. Singo asks two prickly questions
  208. VIOLENCE, TV BAN, DRINK - SINGO SPEAKS HIS MIND
  209. Why John Singleton can't keep a straight face
  210. Tony Dear on Paul Krutulis, the Workers Party and murder
  211. An Ode to Busybodies
  212. Progress Party and Workers Party lead The Australian
  213. How many tits in a tangle?
  214. Viv Forbes in 1978 on loss-making government, the Berlin Wall and misdirected blasts of hot-air
  215. John Singleton wants the Post Office sold and anti-discrimination legislation scrapped
  216. A speech from the Titanic
  217. A crime must have a victim
  218. John Singleton vs Australia Post
  219. Minimum wages the killer
  220. Has Fraser got his priorities all wrong?
  221. John Singleton says "the royal family should be flogged off to the U.S."
  222. John Singleton vs Don Chipp and the Australian Democrats
  223. John Singleton vs Don Lane
  224. John Singleton. Horseracing. Why?
  225. John Singleton's 1986 reflection on the Workers Party
  226. Bob Howard in 1978 on libertarianism in Australia
  227. John Singleton on the stupidity of anti-discrimination laws
  228. Thou shalt know the facts ... before thou shoot off thou mouth
  229. Charity: An Aesop Fable
  230. Bob Howard announces the Workers Party in freeEnterprise
  231. New improved moon
  232. Announcing people ... YES, people!
  233. Creativity in advertising must be pointed dead on target
  234. John Singleton on barriers to, and opportunities for, effective communication
  235. Wayne Garland on John Singleton on Advertising
  236. John Singleton schools ad course
  237. John Singleton: advertising awards
  238. Mr Singleton Goes to Canberra for Australian Playboy
  239. John Singleton on his TV career for Australian Playboy
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