When it comes to government a big problem comes from the fact that the thing we need to change about it is also its defining characteristic, the self appointed authority to initiate force against people.
So you could argue that a government without that characteristic is no longer government.

Like voluntary taxation, a voluntary government would not actually be a government and many would view such a term as an oxymoron.
That may seem like a pedantic point, but this maybe a crucial reason why people struggle to accept the idea of a society without government. They associate losing government with losing everything government provides. When the truth is we could just remove the power to rule, impose, violate and oppress while keeping the desirable qualities associated with it (Infrastructure, law enforcement, regulation, democratic representation [allegedly] etc.).
We achieve this by making the Non Aggression Principle (NAP) the overriding law for a free society.

If we make government subservient to the NAP, by establishing the NAP as the law, then government loses it power to violate, oppress and initiate force against peaceful people.
It would probably no longer be appropriate to call it “government”, as the definition of government would be compromised, but this new entity can still provide the things people want and need.
Government, or to be more accurate the entity that replaces it, does not need to wield the power to oppress to still be able to serve. It does not need power beyond what any individual possesses to be able to enforce and obey the NAP. We can have leaders without rulers.
The ability to act against those who cause, or threaten to cause, harm or loss to others does not require also having the power to initiate force against peaceful people or to rule over them.
So we can keep the virtue many associate with government and just lose the criminality and insanity.

We can still have a police force (for want of a better word) to enforce the NAP. In fact the only law that can exist in a free society, the only law that can exist without contradiction and violation, is the law of the Non Aggression Principle.
When crime is defined by violation of the NAP then the law can be enforced without contradicting or violating itself because it does not involve initiating force on peaceful people, but instead just demands action against those who aggress against others.
In addition to this, it stands to reason that such a police force can and will be more efficient when its focus is only on protecting people from other people, rather than spending time and resources policing victimless crimes (which itself is a criminal violation of the NAP).
Also when the law has such a universally agreeable consistency and objective morality then the public resistance to such policing will disappear and the real criminals in this world will have no where to hide (another aspect that would contribute to superior efficacy of law enforcement).

It is important to remember that the NAP does not demand pacifism, it is only the initiation of force that is prohibited.
Force is perfectly acceptable in both self defence and the defence of others.

Collective infrastructure/”public services”
We can still provide democratic representation, or to be more accurate we can for the first time actually provide true democratic representation (it’s not like government currently provides this).
As long as democratic representation does not become democratic rule, democracy can be a valuable practice in a free society. As long as non participation remains part of the choice and as long as no amount of democratic majority can allow for violation of the NAP then an alternative to government that serves as a democratic representative body can exist in a free society. We can have any and all of the socialism style programs imaginable as long as they are all voluntary. Voluntary is the key.
Democratic leadership must never be democratic rule and non participation must be guaranteed as a choice.
With the NAP setting the boundaries, a democratically controlled entity can provide numerous benefits without the potential tyranny traditional “democracy” has always threatened. Again, the key difference will be the voluntary nature of such a system.

An ideal duty for democracy is to decide what the NAP cannot. The NAP provides a clear principle to govern law. It provides a clear principle for the black and white issue of causing harm or loss to another. However it does not provide objective definitions for the numerous grey areas, it does not define all the specific details of boundaries, limitations and general standards.
In the absence of a clear answer from the NAP, a democratic decision is probably as fair and as logical as you can be.
Democracy will probably be important for dealing with the grey areas in a free society and a useful tool when handling the transition to a free society, like when dealing with returning what governments have stolen and handling various specifics.
In addition to this, democracy maybe the only way to bring about a peaceful but tangible and genuine revolution that paves the way for a free society.

So while the Nations Of Sanity demands an end to the force and coercion of so called democratic rule, rejecting even genuine forms of democratic rule, it is important to understand that we do not oppose democracy, just as we do not oppose collectivism, in a voluntary form.
It is only when it becomes forced upon people that it becomes immoral.

How to fund a voluntary government (excuse the oxymoron) would understandably be one of the main questions/concerns. Though there are numerous ways to do this, including utilisation of voluntary efforts that reduce required funds, the two main ways are voluntary contributions (basically like donations) and revenue from the regulated market. There are other ways, including non profit business models, and just reclaiming stolen assets from the governments that we’ll be replacing would provide much, but the regulated market provides a constant and relatively stable revenue for public services and would be an ideal way to provide a basic level of funding.

The Regulated Market
Right now we have a regulated market, which is essentially regulated by government. The duty taxes that are applied to goods and services (known in the UK as VAT, Value Added Tax) are the price of trading through the regulated market and such taxes fund both the regulation of the market and in part government itself.
The problem with this situation is that trading through the regulated market is not itself optional.
Like all taxes, duty taxes currently violate the NAP because they are mandatory and are essentially theft because of this. It is acceptable to make them a mandatory cost of participation in the regulated market, but it is not acceptable to make participation in the regulated market itself mandatory.
By demanding duty taxes on all goods and services within the nation’s borders the government is claiming ownership over all trade, and violating the NAP in the process.
However such fees could be retained in the form of a “regulation fee” and applied in much the same way as duty taxes are now, without violating the NAP.

The revenue from the regulated market could provide a safety net of funding for this new “government” (for want of a better word), funding both the regulation of the market that it provides and a few other critical services demanded by the democratic majority, either to fund them outright or to provide enough funding to ease the burden on voluntary contributors.
Though the fees will not be voluntary in the sense that they are required within the regulated market, by making participation in the regulated market itself voluntary (by decriminalising unregulated trade) the fees essentially become voluntary simply because participation in the regulated market is itself voluntary and as a result such fees will no longer be the theft of taxation that they currently are but instead simply a fee applied to goods and services that is paid in exchange for the protections provided, by the regulated market.
If you don’t like that deal then you are free to trade outside of this regulated market, but you do so at your own risk.
If people become dissatisfied with any aspect of the regulated market that is controlled by the democratic majority they can use unregulated trade or even trade through a market that is regulated by an alternative body, like through a private provider for example.

The obvious advantages of the regulated market (especially through a centralised democratically controlled collective) include consumer protection, accountability, safety standards, quality assurances, numerous guarantees etc.
In addition to this, regulation performed by an entity that is democratically controlled can be designed inline with the wishes of the democratic majority. There may be many areas where regulation is neither needed or wanted, and people are free to choose when and if they use the regulated market, but there is plenty of areas where regulation will be both desired and required.
The added advantages of doing this through a democratically controlled collective will likely motivate sufficient support to keep that as the majority choice.

When it comes to services currently provided by government, whether it is the regulated market or any other services or systems, the infrastructure is already in place, all we need to do is remove the criminality of force and coercion and make this infrastructure a voluntary choice available to people in a free society, which in turn will likely vastly enhance the efficacy and efficiency.
There is probably also room for this alternative “government”, acting as a representative of the democratic majority, to set certain standards when it comes to interpreting the NAP and defining certain boundaries and specifics, but outside of these nuances the freedom of each individual is not only free from violation but virtually guaranteed by enforcement of the law of the Non Aggression Principle, which must be so foundational and integral that even democratic majorities will be powerless to violate it.
That is the strength of the NAP and why this proposed agreement is the best, probably the only, way to achieve a truly free society.

Of course this is all just theory and principles and putting it into practice will not be without unforeseen issues (in addition to many foreseen problems) but we can’t move forward and put anything into practice until we have the theoretical sorted out and if we can create a model for a free society, and a path to get there, then all that will be left will be to do it and see how society manages when people are truly granted their freedom.
Lets see how we can flourish without a gun to our head.

The Path we take
In addition to presenting proposals for what a free society would be like, complete with voluntary democratic collectives, the Nations Of Sanity also present the path to such a future.
As was mentioned in the “Democracy – Ruler or Saviour” chapter, there is a very peaceful and democratic way to bring about a free society that is at least theoretically achievable.
Government can be simply replaced with a voluntary collective through the will of a democratic majority and, in addition to facilitating such a revolution, democracy can be a useful tool for handling the grey areas that are not clearly defined by the NAP, both as we move to a free society and after it has been established.
As long as the NAP has an untouchable authority over democracy, we can have the virtues of a democratically controlled collective without the immorality of democratic rule.
It is that distinction between rulers and leaders that is vital to understand, with the inherent choice of following a leader contrasting the forceful nature of a ruler.

Restricted by the NAP, democracy can serve as a tool of leadership and a fall back option for when the NAP fails to provide an objective answer. It can become a vital part of a free society as a way to settle the areas of grey, with the NAP providing clear answers for the black and white.
In addition to the value democratic processes can provide a free society, democracy (true democracy, not some illusory imposter) can actually facilitate the very change we need to move us all into a free society.
Using democracy to overthrow the government so we can establish the rule of the NAP and grant people true freedom is an ideal way to bring about a real revolution without the need for violence, conflict and bloodshed (I think most will agree that this world has had more than enough violence and bloodshed already).

Freedom is something we should be fighting for and demanding even while we are a numerical minority, but if we can reach the democratic majority and gain their support then the system that currently enslaves us will have no where to turn as it’s illusory use of democracy to validate its oppression will be well and truly exposed for the lie that it is. They will have no pretence for war against their own democratic majorities.

The NAP also demands that the utmost care is taken when making the transition from oppression to freedom. As the assets of the government are returned to the people they were stolen from, a responsibility exists towards the dependents of such a system.
The NAP demands that no one has the ladder pulled out from under them as we attempt to dissolve the oppressive governments by replacing them with voluntary democratic collectives.
If the metaphorical chains of bondage that we seek to break happen to be providing a vital life line for someone then we must deal with that before we break said chains.
The NAP does not allow reckless harm to others, even if involving an otherwise acceptable act. So we must take care when we take back our freedom.
You can take back a stolen ladder and return it to its rightful owner but not while it is supporting someone on top of it as that would cause them harm and while you may otherwise have a right to reclaim what is stolen from you, or on the behalf of others, doing so in a manner that causes harm to others is a violation of the NAP.

Whatever type of metaphor you would prefer to describe it, the basic point is that the NAP that demands our freedom also demands that we do not cause harm or loss as we attain the freedom we can justly make claim to.

A real revolution must be true to the principles it is built on, or else it will just become what it opposes. When we fight for the NAP we must adhere to it. This means we must not cause harm or loss to another. One thing we should have learned from Statism is that the ends do not justify the means, the means and the ends are connected and if we want a free society where we, as a society, respect the Non Aggression Principle, then we must attain such a revolution within the boundaries of that same Non Aggression Principle

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