Libertatis Æquilibritas

by Per Bylund

How does one define ’freedom’? Well, it is not an easy task. I see freedom as the non-existence of coercion, non-existence of violence and of oppression. A society based on these values has to be based on individualism, equal rights and capitalism. It is easy arguing for this, but how does one symbolize this freedom? This is even harder than defining freedom--one must create a symbol that is easy to understand, flexible enough to carry all the right values (but not the wrong ones), and still be specific and original. 

The Libertatis æquilibritas (the equilibrium of liberty) combines three well-known symbols: the Circle-A, the dollar sign and the Yin & Yang symbol. The Circle-A is a universal symbol of anarchism, being a definition of an ideology based on non-oppression, i.e. no government and no ruler/ruling class. It is known by most people, but has unfortunately been given a different meaning since terrorists on the left started using it as their main symbol. In the anarcho-capitalist symbol, the circle is from the Circle-A. 

The dollar sign is famous as a symbol of capitalism. I don’t think the dollar sign is a very good symbol of capitalism, since it is a symbol of a government currency. It is, however, nowadays a global symbol of capitalism and is to most people symbolizing a system where production and consumption are unhindered, where there is unlimited competition, and every man is allowed to make a profit. The dollar sign is the most obvious part of the anarcho-capitalist symbol, since capitalism is the most important ingredient in anarcho-capitalism. Individual rights and liberties, freedom, economic growth, and stability can all be derived from capitalism, since it is a system of free men, free wills and competing ideas. 

The third part of Libertatis æquilibritas is the Yin & Yang symbol. It is originally an Asian symbol for the balance between good and evil, light and darkness. In the anarcho-capitalist symbol, it gets to symbolize the natural balance in the free marketplace. Since the free market is balanced in itself, there is no need for rule or rulers in a society based on individualism and capitalism. Capitalism rewards the Quest for Profit, but is in itself a distributing “force,” since no one can make profits on other men’s losses, and no one can make profits not justified by the values of what has been produced and made available on the market. If you look carefully, you will see the Yin & Yang symbol within the dollar sign. 

These three well-known symbols are what anarcho-capitalism is about: individual freedom, non-oppression, and capitalism. The ideology embraces the traditional libertarian ideas of individualism, capitalism, and liberty, but it holds these ideas as principles*: they must not be hindered or restricted in any way. This all means anarcho-capitalism is an anarchist ideology, since there cannot exist a ruler, a ruling class (as politicians) or a government in an anarcho-capitalist society. 

*) A principle, as Ayn Rand put it, is something you support even in an extreme case.

 

Per Bylund is a software engineer in Stockholm, Sweden. He is one of the founders of anarchism.net.

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