The Zero State Solution – The Libertarian Answer to the “Arab/Israeli” Conflict

In this post I will try to give the libertarian answer to a problem that has been nagging at all of us incessantly. The answer will probably shock you, so be prepared. There’s a problem. There’s this thing called the Jewish democratic State. It needs a majority of Jewish persons in it in order to maintain its Jewish character. There are these Arabs in territories that the military of this Jewish State governs. If those territories are annexed as officially part of this Jewish State, then Jewish persons will no longer be the majority in the State.

Here are the general solutions offered by the major political forces in Israel:

  1. The Extreme Left Wing – Annex everything and give citizenship rights to everyone. Forget about a Jewish majority. Arabs are awesome.
  2. The Left Wing – Give the Arabs their own State so you won’t have to give them voting rights, thereby maintaining the Jewish majority.
  3. The Center – Don’t do anything. Just keep staying in power and hope nobody notices.
  4. The Right Wing – Annex everything, give human rights but no citizenship rights to any of the Arabs, and instead pay them to leave, thereby maintaining the Jewish majority.
  5. The Extreme Right Wing – Annex everything and kick all the Arabs out of the country. Jews are awesome.

As a libertarian, I say all these solutions are wrong, and all of them are immoral to some extent because all of them assume that citizenship rights are a good thing. They are not. Why? Because as a citizen of the State of Israel, I am forced to use State-controlled money that loses value every day instead of being allowed to use gold or silver. I am forced to pay the government money for services I do not want. I am forced to use government controlled banks that only carry 10% of the money I put in them because the government gives them special privileges. I am forced to send my child to state prison every day until my child is 18, to be indoctrinated with whatever the State Education Minister wants his employees to indoctrinate her with. Usually, these employees are not skilled enough to indoctrinate, so they just end up babysitting at best. If I don’t send my children to these school-prisons, I myself will go to prison. I am forced to pay for these school-prisons in payroll taxes and excise taxes and value added taxes. I am forced to pay 8 shekels a liter for gasoline (roughly $8.25 a gallon), more than half of which goes directly to the State in taxes, to pay for roads that are constantly backed up every single day. I am forced to pay property taxes even if I’m only renting. Worst of all, I am forced, as a citizen of Israel, to risk my very life for 3 years in an inefficient boondoggle of an army as a slave with virtually no pay. The list goes on and on and on.

In return for being robbed and having my children imprisoned and being forced into an army, I get the “right of return” as a Jew, which simply guarantees me the ability to move here without being kicked out or killed by the State. Essentially, the Jewish State guarantees me that, if I am about to be killed by a different State, I can go to the Jewish one and they promise not to kill me on purpose because I’m Jewish (though I may get killed in army service for the State). They won’t kill me, they will only enslave me and my children.

But, people will say, if I don’t like something about the State, I have a right to vote. Voting, essentially, is the right to have a tiny meaningless say about who will get a piece of my stolen money that will first be filtered through bureaucratic systems of government workers who will consume most of the money before it gets to anyone else. This is what makes every sector in Israel hate every other sector in Israel. The State, which pits everyone against everyone else and makes people hate each other for directing their stolen money somewhere else. Think Haredi public schools, Government stipends, Leftist public universities, army exemptions, funding for “settlements”.

Citizenship rights are not rights. They are liabilities, peppered with a tiny ray of hope that never materializes called “voting”. It reminds me of that line from The Hunger Games where Donald Sutherland explains why the Hunger Games take place. Why take one tribute from each district and make them all battle to the death, winner take all? Why not just kill them all? Because in order to control and enslave people, you have to give them hope. The hope that they will win the battle. Otherwise they will revolt. In statist terms, the hope that their vote will change something. Otherwise, there will probably be a revolution.

Being a citizen of a State means you will be stolen from and enslaved. So, the libertarian solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict is not to either grant citizenship or not grant citizenship to Arabs. It is to abolish citizenship itself for everyone.

Wouldn’t that lead to total anarchy? No. For readers that simply don’t believe this, I suggest Murray Rothbard’s book For a New Liberty. You can listen to it in full online for free here. It is not something I can deal with in one article. But here are a few key issues:

First of all, generally speaking, Israel  in the period of the Shoftim was basically a stateless libertarian society. So there is precedent, and it was the most peaceful period of Jewish history counting the number of years between skirmishes.

What about the right of return? The answer is, without a state, bringing Jews back to Israel will be a matter of private funding. If Jews want to come, they can come, just as before. No restrictions. Nothing changes.

What about keeping Arabs out, or other potential threats from flooding the country? It becomes a bidding war. If it is really important to keep Arabs or anyone else out, then the Jewish people themselves will be responsible for keeping private land in Jewish hands. (An interesting factoid is that almost all of the land sales to non-Jewish hands are through the Israeli Government itself, not private Jews. Surprise surprise.) Those that sell to Arabs can be voluntarily boycotted and expelled from the economy if people think it’s important to do that. Arabs that are here can be voluntarily bought out by rich Jewish interests, and there are plenty that would pay. It’s a question of who wants the land more and who can be bought out – the Jews or the Arabs?

If no one is a “citizen” of Israel, then every question – army, courts, land, roads, healthcare, immigration, emigration – becomes a question of whether you trust the Jewish people can voluntarily organize themselves through the free market to keep the nation together in their homeland or not.

In a free Israel, I would be proud to serve in the army voluntarily. It could be funded by voluntary contributions instead of taxes. The Jewish people could devise a system where those who pay get special card. The card could be required by private businesses who will only sell to people who contribute to national defense. Those who don’t would be forced into a corner and concentrated together geographically, as they would be expelled from all other local economies by private businesses refusing to do business with them.

In a free Israel, all roads would be private. They would be more expensive during rush hour and cheaper at other times, spreading out traffic by the price system and keeping things moving. This would also bring down the price of gas drastically.

In a free Israel, holy sites like the Kotel and Temple Mount would be privatized. People would pay a gram of silver (shekel is State money, there wouldn’t be any) to get in, and the owner would insure the policy that would make him the most money, such as special hours for Women at the Wall time, special hours for traditionalists etc., all parsed by supply and demand. The owner of the Temple Mount, whether all of Am Yisrael via shares of stock, or a single private owner or corporation, would decide whether he would allow Jews to pray there or not. He would probably allow it. He would be responsible for private security of the Mount.

There would be police companies hired by groups of people by geographic location. Haifa would have one police company. Jerusalem another. Those who did not pay the police bill would end up paying it anyway if they called the police for whatever reason, who would then charge them for services on the fly at a premium for not having a subscription. They would function as an insurance company.

The courts would be private people with reputations for being fair and fast. The fairest and fastest ones would be called upon the most and make the most money for judging the most cases. Say someone breaks into your house and steals your TV. You call the police company to investigate. They find the suspect and force him into a court of any judge both parties accept. If it turns out he is the culprit, the police did not violate the rights of an innocent person, and part of the cost of the police is paid by the culprit, as well as the salary of the judge. If the police got the wrong man, they are fined by the court for violating the rights of an innocent person.

The only law of the land would be, “Do not violate the person or property of any human being.” The job of any private court would be to apply that law to any and every case at hand.

Armed police or army cannot conquer the area and enslave other Jews because everyone is free to be armed individually.

Is this really possible? I believe it is. All the other annoying unsolvable questions melt away if you believe in freedom. We have plenty of money, plenty of will, and plenty of ingenuity. We don’t need a State to babysit us or imprison us or steal our money and pretend to solve problems we can solve ourselves.

God did not take us out of Egypt to be enslaved to a State. Am Yisrael Chai. Not Medinat Yisrael Chai.