One of the world’s most popular social-media platforms has run a survey of anarcho-capitalists, and its results are a wake-up call.
Reddit is the seventh ranked website in the United States and 24th in the world, according to Alexa, and the r/Anarcho_Capitalism thread garnered 670 respondents in a week-long window. The participants, who averaged 24 years of age and were not limited by location, answered 64 questions, so there is a lot of data to unpack.
In particular, the gender divide is as wide as a canyon. More than 95 percent of the respondents were men who identified with their gender. Women, on the other hand, couldn’t crack 2 percent. In fact, a higher percentage of respondents (2.6) did not identify with a gender at all.
Noemi Díaz is one of the precious few women anarcho-capitalists, and she believes these results are representative. A member of the Xoán de Lugo Association in Spain, she explains that “there are biological differences between genders,” and the conventional presentation of libertarian ideas is a problem: “We are more emphatic and less oriented towards mathematics.”
“Libertarian ideas tend to focus on the economy as the main argument, [and] I believe this does not convince women, who are usually concerned with social issues. They take into account poverty, vulnerable people, education, equality under the law, and much more.”
The peculiar leaning towards a standard demographic carries over to self-reported ethnicity. Despite rising numbers of participants, both on the reddit platform and in the survey, more than 85 percent of respondents identified as non-Hispanic white. One clear exception was sexual preference, with 11 percent describing themselves as something other than heterosexual.
One clue as to who is attracted to anarcho-capitalism, in line with Díaz’s comments, comes from the question about coding. While 0.5 percent of the general public in the United States know how to code, 50.4 percent of the anarcho-capitalists answered in the affirmative. “The lack of programming knowledge is a huge social barrier,” explains Kat Duffy, vice president of global technology programs at Internews.
Alejandro Veintimilla, a freelance web-developer and crypto-anarchist, says programming knowledge is natural for libertarians: “The more effective tools [towards liberty]… are technological,” including the blockchain, peer-to-peer networks, cryptocurrencies, and 3D printing.
Rather than shy away from the tech inclination, Veintimilla says a focus on political careers diverts attention from opportunities to disrupt the status quo. He would prefer that libertarian events focus on cryptocurrencies and other emerging technologies.
Some of the results might come as a surprise and seem contrary to the belief in a stateless society. For example, 50 percent of respondents agreed that open borders without immigration controls would decrease liberty and economic prosperity. Further, suggesting alt-right inclinations, 43 percent answered that cultural homogeneity would favor a free society.
As far as the sample group goes, they tend to keep to themselves: 55 percent never meet up with other libertarians, and 28 percent do so only once or twice per year. One could assume that means anarcho-capitalists are a sliver of the population — as they are — but they also don’t appear inclined to go public with their views. Almost two fifths have never attended an organized protest, and 68 percent don’t watch conventional news shows on television.
Perhaps they are losing their confidence in achieving a stateless society. A majority, 55 percent, do not think one will exist in their lifetimes, up from 46 percent the previous year. Further, 75 percent have no confidence in an alliance or bridge to anarcho-communists, who also claim to seek a stateless society — whereas last year that was 51 percent.
Although the number of self-described anarcho-capitalists appears to be on the rise, along with the broader libertarian tent, the data suggests they have yet to shake their stereotypes. Still, the data is suggestive that as more demographics embrace online entrepreneurship and communication, they too will see less need for state intervention.
Fergus Hodgson contributed to this article.