Some thoughts for today while driving to work.

Many people seem to equate “anarchy” with “Chaos” for some reason. They can’t fathom a society where people are actually free with limited government, because they can’t grasp that people, if left to their own devices, would leave other people alone. Things that may appear chaotic, by no means necessarily are chaotic–just ignorance in the mind of the viewer.

For instance, look at any modern interstate. There are fixed boundaries (sides of the road). There are rules of behavior (minimum vehicle specifications, speed limits, size limits, etc). This is a good example of a few necessary rules; just as there is a necessity of a few laws: don’t murder, don’t steal, don’t trespass, etc.

If you look at the interstate, it appears to be chaotic (unless you understand the basic rules). Each vehicle is on its way somewhere, and simply wants to be left alone to get there, and typically leaves others alone to do the same. It only appears chaotic, while in fact, it is self-organizing. As the traffic situation is constantly in flux and rearranging (as is life), people require the freedom to be able to adjust their behavior and respond to the current reality in front of them.

Central planning doesn’t help travelers accomplish their destination goals–the free market does. If traffic is heavy in locations, central planners will do traffic pattern studies, estimations, etc, and then plan somehow to improve the situation by expanding the interstate. The expansion may or may not get funding (your tax dollars), and may or may not get scheduled, and may or may not be completed in any timely fashion (i.e., years).

The Free Market however, quickly finds solutions or alternatives. GPS could always provide a map and let you look for alternative routes. As technology improved, traffic information was integrated, and it would suggest alternate routes. Today, smartphone apps like Waze allow users to report traffic, police speed traps, accidents, other events, or even chat with each other. (Some Central Planners don’t like that speed traps are being reported for some reason, but that is a different subject for another day.)

To me, driving on the Interstate is a perfect metaphor for how any “State” or government can be modeled upon: a small set of rules that allows maximum freedom. After driving on the Autobahn in Germany, I can appreciate that there are only speed limits where they are required, not a blanket maximum. When you are driving over 100mph, it is a funny feeling when you see a flash of lights in your rear view mirror, and someone streaks past you and quickly disappears over the horizon in front of you. It always left me in awe, never in envy.