I have spent innumerable hours reading articles by people with all manner of New Age beliefs and the most common theme espoused by these individuals is one of unconditional love and unity with all which comes about when one increases their ‘awareness’ or ‘consciousness‘. Being receptive to these ideas I figured that these super aware individuals who question everything, think for themselves, are not afraid of offending people, and spend much time in meditation would naturally be libertarian or anarcho-capitalist. Unfortunately, for all of their 'awareness' many New Agers completely miss the mark.
I decided to investigate one influential new-ager, Steve Pavlina. He has made a career out of increasing awareness and unconditional love for all. Steve believes our thoughts create our reality and encourages us drop beliefs that no longer serve us. He is a big proponent of the necessity to ‘create value’ in order to add to society and intuitively understood the necessity to let bad companies fail. In his articles on Veganism he clearly articulates his understanding of the failings of the government regulated food industry and shows his compassion for animals is strong enough that he views the way they are treated as fundamentally wrong. His convictions are so strong that he holds anyone who purchases animal products as supporting this evil. He even goes so far as to be uninterested in protecting his intellectual ‘property’, a concept that is fringe even among libertarians.
It is clear that Steve Pavlina has all of the makings of a libertarian, so imagine my surprise when I read the following quote from this ‘aware’ guru, “I for one feel grateful for just how well systems of business and government work in the USA.” Anyone who can claim that any government ‘works well’, is clearly not a libertarian and clearly not very ‘aware’ about the nature of government as an institution of violence, fear, and propaganda.
Unfortunately, Steve Pavlina is not alone in his government blind spot. Other major players in the New Age movement such as Eckhart Tolle and those whom follow him (Oprah and Jim Carrey) have suggested that Obama demonstrated natural signs of higher consciousness through his ability to be ‘present’. At least Eckhart’s official stance is that politics is a creation of the ‘ego’ and would rather not participate.
I believe that individuals like Steve Pavlina or Ekhart are honest, sincere, and simply have not taken the time to consider the topic or how their ignorance of libertarian philosophy is affecting their life and their audience. It is for this reason that I decided to write an essay to introduce New Agers to how naturally libertarianism or anarcho-capitalism fit into their world view.
What type of government should we manifest?
One of the key beliefs of many New Agers is that our thoughts create our reality. The key is to be very intentional about the reality you want to create and to become aware of how your hidden beliefs can negatively impact or interfere with the reality you want to manifest.
For example, if your goal is to manifest peace and abundance for all then you would want to be aware of whether or not your political beliefs are in alignment with your desires. In this case we need to understand whether governments create peace and abundance or work against peace and abundance.
Take a moment to clear your mind of all pre-conceived notions about government providing ‘law and order’, ‘security’, and ‘justice’. Drop all illusions of ‘group action’ and instead lets focus on the individual as only individuals have the ability to act. If you believe that everyone around you is really part of the same higher consciousness, like Steve Pavlina does, then the reality is that only you can act and you are directly responsible for the behavior of individuals in government.
So, with the mindset of unconditional love for all consider the following questions. Given a peaceful, loving libertarian whom has not stolen or damaged any property nor committed any act of aggression against another:
Would you kill someone who resisted arrest for failure to pay for your schools, roads, police, education, healthcare, and military? Would you use any type of violence against such an individual? Restrain them, taser them, imprison them? Would you kill someone who resisted arrest for failure to pay a speeding ticket or driving without a license? Would you pay someone else to commit these acts on your behalf? If you had no fear of being imprisoned or killed for not paying taxes or not having a driving license would you pay taxes or get a license? If taxes cannot be collected except by the threat of violence and creation of fear then can any traditional form of government be coherent with a consciousness of unconditional love and elimination of fear?
At this point most people who hold the belief that government is a ‘necessary evil’ are in panic because there is an unnecessary fear of what life would be like without government and yet the only alternative appears to require the use of fear and violence. This fear of life without government is engrained into us from pre-school on and few ever seriously question it. Understanding and overcoming this fear will lead to increased awareness, freedom, and love for all and will ultimately lead to world peace and abundance for all. So hear me out and lets see if there is really anything to fear.
A World Without Government
There are generally only two major reasons people feel governments are necessary: a need for physical and economic security. First I will address the most common reason, the physical security provided by police and courts.
Police and Courts
Good guys don’t need laws, and bad guys don’t obey laws, so what good are laws? Perhaps you believe that people are only ‘good’ because of the fear of being caught and that without ‘fear of punishment’ there would be more crime. One of the nice things about creating our own reality is that we get to choose which beliefs to hold on to and which ones to let go. I suggest you let this one go and choose to believe that most people are good for goodness sake because they are aware at some level of their connection to all that is. After all, everyone out there is really just another part of the same universal consciousness that you are. Besides, believing there are so many bad guys out there will only serve to manifest more of them!
If the majority of people are inclined toward evil, then they will control the government and use its monopoly on violence to further oppress the good people of society. If the majority of people are inclined toward good, then they have the ability to voluntarily cooperate to provide self defense from criminals or foreign nations.
There is an abundance of literature on ways for the free market to provide police, courts, roads, food regulation, pollution, charity, and resistance from foreign invasion. It would take several books to throughly cover all of the effective ways that society could peacefully, profitably, and collaboratively provide everything the government does without ever having to initiate violence against an individual.
If you are not already convinced by the argument for the free market to provide police, courts, and everything else the government currently provides, then you probably have some fundamental beliefs about how a free and voluntary market operates. You probably believe that it results in the rich getting richer, the exploitation of the worker, unbridled consumerism, destruction of the environment, unaccountable monopolies and all manner of other evils. The thought of turning the necessities of life over to this chaotic marketplace without democratic oversight would be downright frightening.
Consider for a moment a that your fear of the result of uncontrolled voluntary exchanges is really just a fear of not having control! It is a fear that somehow a voluntary transaction that benefits both parties involved can harm you. It is a fear that other people seeking to peacefully maximize their wellbeing by freely exchanging the value they have produced for the value that others have produced would result in something worse than threatening to kill someone who resists paying for a democratic government that you think would control these masses of voluntary exchanges.
As with most things, the key to overcoming fear of the unknown is education and fortunately there is a huge body of literature out there that can put all of your fears regarding the free market (not crony-capitalism) to rest. I highly recommend the Ludwig von Mises Institute as a source of excellent material.
You might have noticed that I was a bit light on specific answers to your growing laundry list of questions about how the free market would lead to a society of peace and abundance. This is because I know you don’t need the answers, what you need is to believe that they exist. If you believe that the answers are out there then you will find a way to manifest them and if you can find a way to manifest these answers then you will have eliminated the need to manifest a society organized by the institution of ‘legal violence’.
The New Age movement and libertarianism go hand in hand. New Agers are a prime audience that is so close to adopting and promoting libertarianism and Austrian economics that those in libertarian circles should make a concerted effort to reach beyond their traditional atheism or Christianity and talk to these people. New Ager’s are very open minded, full of love and compassion, and most importantly have beliefs that they create reality and therefore they are not burdened by the necessity to argue over ‘human nature’ or ‘utopian thinking’ or ‘utilitarianism’ or ‘ends justifying the means’ thinking. For the most part they just need to be made aware of the relevance of the ideas to improving their reality!