When I was in Bulgaria recently, I came across a theory that has probably been around for some time – one that I call capitalist anarchism. It goes roughly as follows: since the state is always corrupt and since only the state oppresses, engages in wars and treats people shabbily, the state should be abolished. No law, no army, no police, no immigration authorities, no welfare, no state-sponsored education, medicine, business, anything; only capitalist relations should remain and everything should have a price, including children. In this situation there would be no war and no corruption, for only states wage wars.

I am not interested here in pointing out the obvious flaws of such a position, but I was struck by the resonances with Alasdair Maclagan’s and his Pancho’s ‘monarchist anarchism’ (as in, there’s a monarch somewhere, but he leaves things to run on largely on their own – like in the world created by the towering socio-economic theorist, Tolkien). By and large the state should fade into the distance, for only then may a full ‘big society’ of wonderfully altruistic people help each other (after all, people never ‘sin’). All of which makes me wonder whether a moderate push to the so-called red-tory/blue-labour fluff would land it squarely with the capitalist anarachists. Of course, Maclagan would object that capitalism too is a ‘heresy’, but given his support for one neo-liberal economic move after another, it seems he is far more enamoured with capitalism than he makes out.

But on one point they come very close indeed. When I asked my Bulgarian interlocutor about welfare, care for the aged, and so on, the reply was simply: that is where the church comes in.