One of my favorite libertarian intellectuals is the retired professor of finance Michael Rozeff, who is a fellow devotee of Austrian economics and a prolific writer featured many times on the Lew Rockwell website and blog. Recently he published a couple of articles on the concept of panarchy, which I would briefly describe as a political philosophy that advocates complete freedom to choose one's form of government. As I understand it, this is not meant to be antagonistic to anarchy, or any form of government, but I have doubts. I invite you to read his thought-provoking article and then my response, below.
As an anarchist (aka voluntarist, aka anarcho-capitalist, aka free market anarchist) I'm having some trouble understanding how panarchism could be compatible with my choice of self-governance.
I submit that we already live in an essentially panarchist world, with real choices (in the past or present but nonetheless in the realm of reality) to live in states that are or were minarchist, monarchist, republican, democratic, socialist, fascist, communist, and all shades in between. Although it's not always possible for people to freely choose which type of government they prefer and then actually move to a locale where such a government rules, it could and did happen even in such times as the Cold War.
The one option that has always been unavailable to every citizen, at least since the rise of the modern state, is any form of anarchism in any living situation not involving a cave. The reason is obvious to me: all forms of statism are based on a lesser or greater degree of coercion, which is not only antithetical to anarchism but incapable of competing with it in a free market of political ideas. Anarchism and statism are diametrically opposed; they simply can't coexist.
Therefore, when an anarchist advocates the end of the state, he/she is merely doing so in the interest of survival. It doesn't mean that the anarchist will try to forcibly overthrow the state; if he/she is a libertarian, that option is absolutely proscribed by the libertarian credo. But the state will always deny and destroy any organized attempt to form an anarchic society - I know of no exceptions to this rule.
The future may yet present us with the possibility of building a stateless society out of reach of the vast statist majority, of course, but until then, please tell me how you think anarchism can coexist with statism in our world.
Thank you for your time and courtesy,