There are two enormous problems with governments that are territorial monopolies of coercion (that is, nearly all governments). The first problem is that monopolies are always beneficial for those who hold the monopoly, and always detrimental for those who depend on their products or services. Clearly there is something wrong with a major organization in human society being bad for the vast majority of members of that society. This being the case, it is not enough to say, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others”, and think you have provided a satisfactory response to this problem. It is incumbent on us to do better, to find a form of government that is by nature “good” for most members of society. Kritarchy is exactly that better form of government.

The second problem exists because monopoly government claims its legitimacy comes from the consent of the governed, while at the same time it governs all within its territory, whether they consent or not. Every government that claims to govern by the consent of the governed must provide a means by which those who do not consent may live in peace. One aim of kritarchists is to find ways to live at peace within the same territory as, while not subject to, governments to which they do not give their consent.

The most harmful error.

July 22, 2008

The most harmful error in the world today is the assertion that governments have the right to create territorial monopolies of coercion. This assertion directly contradicts the assertion that government legitimacy comes from the consent of the governed.

We assert that no government has the right to create a territorial monopoly of coercion, but that they may govern only those persons who clearly give consent to be governed by them. We further assert, as human persons, the right to choose the government by which we will be governed, and that every government, at every level, must make provision for those who do not wish to be governed by them.