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What's the deal with Somalia?

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thetabularasa posted on Sun, Jul 15 2012 10:15 PM

Forgive my lack of knowledge concerning this matter, but why do many AnCap videos show others mockingly saying, "...then move to Somalia..."? Is there really anarchy in Somalia? I know it's filled with drugs, guns, gangs and so forth, but I'm just curious to get the full context. Can anyone explain?

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Answered (Not Verified) Rcder replied on Sun, Jul 15 2012 10:21 PM
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The "anarchy" in Somalia is, to my knowledge, hardly comparable to the type envisioned by Rothbard of Friedman.  It has no ruling government, although there is one technically in existence which is backed by the UN, and I believe that various tribes and tribal courts prevail as the de facto authority in the "country".  Interestingly enough, though, on certain social welfare indicators it is appraised more highly than surrounding countries in Africa.

Somalia is a running gag among anarcho-capitalists and libertarians in general (as is "ROADS!!!" or "Won't somebody please think of the children?!") because it's poking fun at the rather brisk dismissals of libertarianism proferred by laymen, the media, and intellectuals alike. 

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Thanks for the explanation, it makes more sense now. So I have a followup question: if it is truly leaderless, how do AnCaps know that anarcho-capitalism wouldn't, indeed, lead to that type of living?

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It's not a anarchist "state" by any means. The former central government collapsed in 1991 and multiple clans began fighting for complete control of Somalia. They're definitely not libertarians. They do however have a very interesting law system that was investigated by a Dutch lawyer named Michael van Notten who studied in Somalia for twelve years. He concluded that the "Xeer" law system unique to the Somalis could be applied to a larger framework Anarchist society if a few changes were made.

 

This site might have more info

 

http://explorersfoundation.org/glyphery/139.html

 

I'm no expert on Somalia mind you and frankly I believe hailing current Somalia as anything close to libertarian is fruitless.

 

 

 

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Clayton replied on Sun, Jul 15 2012 10:58 PM

a) Somalia is remarkable primarily because of its "kritarchy" law system, called Xeer. Their legal system has proved to be incredibly durable and has outlasted colonization by at least three major European powers (Britain, Italy and the UN/US/NATO).

b) Somalia is also remarkable because, after the overthrow of the Barre regime and the US withdrawal after its failed "anti-warlord" campaigns in Somalia in 1993, the country did not collapse into an even worse state than it had been under Barre's dictatorship. In fact, the country began to improve on almost every metric, contrary to conventional wisdom on the necessity of a central state.

c) People who say "then move to Somalia" are actually guilty of a kind of soft racism where the implication is that, of course, the backward inhabitants of this African country - without a proper government made in the image of white-man's government - are going to be running around hacking each other to death with machetes. But the facts contradict this.

d) Somalia is just one of many examples of law systems not organized around the Leviathan principle (territorial law/security monopoly). Other examples include the Afghan Pashtunwali, some Native American tribal law, medieval Icelandic law, American law in the West prior during the "Wild West" era, and many others.

Clayton -

http://voluntaryistreader.wordpress.com
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Somalia, a country poor in natural resources, was raped by socialism during the 20th century and continues to this day to have foreign statists attempting to impose their rule over the sound, stateless institutions of the Somalians.

The Voluntaryist Reader: http://voluntaryistreader.wordpress.com/ Libertarian forums that actually work: http://voluntaryism.freeforums.org/index.php
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acft replied on Mon, Jul 16 2012 1:16 AM

I know it's filled with drugs, guns, gangs and so forth

HaHa, sir, I would have to say look no further than home to find a country filled to the brim with these things.

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Somalia is actually a current research project of mine.  I'm working on a review of Why Nations Fail, and my main purpose is to create a case study of a "natural experiment" that disproves one of the ideas in the book: that political centralization is needed for their to exist inclusive institutions.  For short reviews of what I've found in some of my research, see this post of mine.  To sum it up: the rule of law in Somalia, after the collapse of the Siyad Barre regime, was actually progressing.  In fact, much of central and southern Somalia has under the "control" of Islamic courts -- practicing a union between the traditional Xeer and Sharia law (which has bad connotations, but doesn't necessarily deserve the negative opinion most Westerners have of it.  These courts were supported by businessmen, who not only helped fund the rule of law, but also provided Somalia with "public goods:" healthcare, roads, et cetera.  For much of the late 90s and the first half of the first decade of the 21st century, warlords in Somalia were losing power and order was being established.  What has undermined these efforts, actually, is foreign pressure to put in place the TNG (Transitional National Government).  One of the pieces I read actually correlates an increase in fighting during an early move to back the TNG, and later you see the same correlation with the Ethiopian occupation of Somalia and then the AU occupation.  It has been the State which has caused chaos in Somalia, not the other way around.

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I like that, J.C. Where will you publish the review (or those thoughts on Somalia)?

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I'll have to figure out after I write it.  I want to publish it academically, but we'll see.

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thetabularasa:
Forgive my lack of knowledge concerning this matter, but why do many AnCap videos show others mockingly saying, "...then move to Somalia..."? Is there really anarchy in Somalia? I know it's filled with drugs, guns, gangs and so forth, but I'm just curious to get the full context. Can anyone explain?

On the global scale, there's anarchy everywhere. It's just a question of what kind of anarchy it is.

The whole "move to Somalia" thing has three purposes. One is to implicitly argue that a Somalia-type situation is the necessary result of what anarcho-capitalists advocate. Another purpose is to implicitly argue that anarcho-capitalists are hypocrites - if they prefer living under no government to living under a government, regardless of the standard of living, then they'd logically move to where there's no government. However, this is typically a strawman argument, as most anarcho-capitalists do take the standard of living into account. A third purpose is to tell the anarcho-capitalist, "We don't like your kind 'round these parts" in the hope that the anarcho-capitalist will go away or at least shut up.

The keyboard is mightier than the gun.

Non parit potestas ipsius auctoritatem.

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Honestly, I'd be more afraid to live in North Korea, Burma, Turkmenistan, etc. where the ruling government can choose to imprison, torture, and do away with you at any time.

 

At least in Somalia, you can hire protection AND buy guns to defend yourself.

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Mens Rea replied on Mon, Jul 16 2012 10:29 AM

Mocking AnCaps by telling them to move to Somalia is a red herring. The argument which is made by AnCaps regarding Somalia has always been that, ceteris paribus, a country with government is worse off than a society without one. Somalia seems to substantiate this claim made by AnCaps which is why statist never want to take it on and instead use the red herring of  moving to Somalia as if AnCaps claimed Somalia was paradise.

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Americans are pussies I swear to god

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HURR DURR SMALL ARMS CAUSE INSTABILITY NOT ANYTHING ELSE NOPE ME SO SMART

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