Why “Motley Anarchism” Requires Overarching Anarcho-Capitalism

The proponents of Motley Anarchism (a.k.a Anarchism without adjectives) neglect the fact that such a society could only manifest and be maintained under an overarching Anarcho-Capitalist (AnCap) legal structure. That is to say, a legal structure grounded firmly in the Private Property Ethic. This ethic states that ownership over scarce goods may only be established via original appropriation/homesteading (first user rule) or voluntary exchange. Such ownership entails the owner(s) have the exclusive right to employ said goods as they see fit, so long as such employment does not involve aggression. Aggression, in this context, is defined as the uninvited initiation of physical interference with the persons or property of others, or threats thereof.

With this in mind, one may extrapolate that every individual under such a system would be free to pool his property with others to form whatever kind of community he wants. Perhaps he would want to live in a mutualist, communist, or even a primitivist commune. Such would be his right and prerogative. However, this is recognized as such precisely because it is first presupposed that these individuals have private property rights in the scarce goods they originally appropriated or received through voluntary exchange. This is the heart of Anarcho-Capitalism.

It is due to the private property ethic that many recognize the members of voluntary mutualist/communist/primitivist communities would have the right to withdraw themselves and their property whenever they see fit (unless, of course, they transferred or expanded title of the goods they brought to all those within said community). To further illustrate this point, suppose the overarching legal system was anarcho-communist, primitivist, or even mutualist. An overarching communist and primitivist legal system would in no way recognize the AnCaps’ or even the Mutualists’ exclusive claims to any goods considered to be “Means of Production.” In fact, if a given AnCap or Mutualist attempted to use force to defend such goods from invasion, then doing so would be considered aggression in the AnCom and/or AnPrim overarching legal structure. Thus, such legal structures would necessarily preclude AnCaps and Mutualists from living according to their principles.

Suppose now that there was an overarching Mutualist legal structure in place. Though this would enable a wider variety of “anarchy types” to coexist, it would still preclude exclusive AnCap claims to land and other property that wasn’t being occupied at a “sufficient” frequency or used in such a way that satisfied the arbitrary “Occupancy and Use” norms that the overarching mutualist legal structure would have in place. Such “Occupancy and Use” norms fly in the face of the private property ethic as it places no additional positive burden on individuals to retain ownership over their property once established. According to AnCap legal theory, property may only be legally abandoned or transferred in the following ways:

1.) If the owner dies without a named heir in title.

2.) If the owner explicitly revokes title to the good in question.

3.) If the owner voluntarily transfers title through gift or sale.

4.) If the owner previously committed aggression, and such property was either being liquidated or transferred for the sake of restitution to the victimized party.


Anarcho-Capitalism allows one the widest array of options to live his life as he sees fit. Thus, there is no meaningful distinction between Anarcho-Capitalism and a functional “Motley Anarchism”.

3 thoughts on “Why “Motley Anarchism” Requires Overarching Anarcho-Capitalism”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s