Twenty years ago this month, the most successful 20th century experiment in liberty – begun inadvertently, as always – came to an end. In March 1993, demolition of the taxless, unregulated, autonomic capitalist enclave known as the Walled City of Kowloon began, ending nine decades of an unparalleled experiment in utter statelessness.
Facts about the Walled City of Kowloon stand in defiance of anarchy’s perennial detractors: not only were crime rates low despite the absence of a standing police force, but proven, typhoon-withstanding construction was accomplished without building codes. The common defense was upheld and maintained without military units. Neither did the Walled City of Kowloon evince any flags, anthems, or pledges, but nevertheless developed as tight a sense of community as one can imagine. Indeed, the idea that mayhem is consort to statism rather than anarchy is unambiguously championed in the historical record of efficient disorder within the City.
All seekers of liberty are forced, at some point, to reflect soberly upon our chosen path: are we ever to turn our faces toward the sun standing on truly free soil? Will we, even if fleetingly, know a world, independency, micronation or tribe inspirited by private contract, nonaggression and voluntaryism? Perhaps not. But remembering the Walled City of Kowloon – a green shoot of freedom standing for nearly a century in contrast to the gray, gnarled landscape of statism – should energize our peaceful fight.