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Letter to Lindsey

In a recent blog post, I mentioned several attacks on anti-war libertarians by not-so-anti-war libertarians. One of the latter, Brink Lindsey, continues to pile on both anarchocapitalists and anti-war libertarians, i.e. anyone who opposes the state. Following is the text of an email I sent him last night:

Dear Mr. Lindsey:

You write in a recent blog post: “… in the absence of government enforcement, there is no “invisible hand” in which people are restrained to pursue their welfare only by offering to make others better off (as opposed to seeking gain by taking things from others). That doesn’t mean that, in anarchy, everybody is necessarily a predator. It just means that predators are uninhibited.”

Do you really mean that aggressors are literally “uninhibited” under anarchy? Don’t you think private defense would still exist, and deter some crime? Surely you recognize that many people would not commit crime, for practical and moral reasons–not because it is illegal. Most people would not steal their neighbor’s wallet, even if they could get away with it. Aren’t you aware that the threat of utter social ostracism would also “inhibit” some crime? Not perfectly, of course, but it cannot be said to be completely inhibited or uninhibited, in either anarchy or archy. There will always be some degree of crime.

For even under archy, predators are not “inhibited”–of course you are aware that today crime does still occur–despite our government police forces. In fact, in addition to crimes not prevented by the state, the police themselves require crime to exist (e.g. taxes) or at the very least, inevitably devolve into a semi-criminal organization (outlawing drugs, etc.).

So crime is not completly inhibited under archy, or under anarchy. So what’s your point? That there is “more” inhibition under a state system? How do you know? By what measure?

You also say that Mises “supported conscription”–which today, “happily … is not needed [sic],” and that some of his “latter-day disciples”–no doubt a reference to the Mises Institute–“don’t share the old man’s wisdom.” I take it, then, that you think it is “wise” to support conscription, and that you would if it were “needed”; and that it’s a “shame” that Mises’ current supporters (not “disciples”) also do not support conscription.

It appears that being pro-war leads to being pro-conscription. Is this really consistent with libertarianism?

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Vinnie February 9, 2013, 3:33 pm

    Yo “Linds”, you just got schooled, son!

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