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What It Means To Be an Anarcho-Capitalist (2004)

What It Means To Be an Anarcho-Capitalist, January 20, 2004, LewRockwell.com (wayback archive version)

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  • William Dwyer July 5, 2016, 7:02 pm

    Stephen wrote, “Accordingly, anyone who is not an anarchist must maintain either: (a) aggression is justified; or (b) states (in particular, minimal states) do not necessarily employ aggression.

    “Proposition (b) is plainly false. States always tax their citizens, which is a form of aggression.”

    On the contrary, neither (a) nor (b) is required for a rejection of anarchism. It is not essential to the nature of a government that it tax its citizens. It can get revenue voluntarily in a number of different ways. What is essential to government is not that it tax its citizens but that it have a uniform system of laws over a well-defined geographical area.

    Stephen continues: “They always outlaw competing defense agencies, which also amounts to aggression.”

    Just the opposite: A defense agency uses physical force in defense of its clients. Competing defense agencies would, therefore, use physical force in defense of their clients’ competing claims and interests, which would necessarily entail aggressive force on the part of at least one of the competing agencies.

    In order to prevent this kind of civil warfare and corresponding aggression, a uniform code of laws based on individual rights would have to be established with procedural rules guaranteeing its proper administration. This would require a single authorized enforcement agency administering a legitimate form of retaliatory force against those who violate is laws: in other words, a government.

    The government would, in turn, require that whoever is enforcing its laws be certified as understanding its enforcement procedures so as to ensure respect for the rights of any accused violators. Accordingly, a civil constitution would have to be established overseeing the administration of the government’s laws and procedures.

    Far from ensuring a respect for individual rights, anarcho-capitalism necessarily involves a violation of those rights. It necessarily entails the use of aggressive force on the part of competing defense agencies. Only a government with a monopoly on retaliatory force can ensure a respect for the rights and liberties of its citizens.

    • Dave July 6, 2016, 5:24 pm

      William’s comment seems to make some hidden assumptions. Otherwise, I don’t see how his conclusions follow from his premises.
      “A defense agency uses physical force in defense of its clients. Competing defense agencies would, therefore, use physical force in defense of their clients’ competing claims and interests, which would necessarily entail aggressive force[…].” A defense agency is an organization to which persons may delegate their right of self-defense. If persons have no right to commit aggression, they cannot delegate such a right to others. If they have a right of self-defense, they may delegate this right. William seems to assume that defense agencies are just thugs for hire who will sound the battle cry at their customers’ whim, rather than peace officers who try to prevent aggression or put an end to it when it occurs. I agree that we cannot merely assume that a DA will perform as we wish, but we have even less reason to believe the state monopoly will perform as we wish.

    • Stephan Kinsella July 7, 2016, 1:14 am

      I’m Stephan, not Stephen. Do you call a girl named Stephanie “Stevenie”?

      “On the contrary, neither (a) nor (b) is required for a rejection of anarchism.”

      This is a common habit of statists: instead of saying they favor the state and its aggression, they say they “reject anarchism.” It’s a way of avoiding admitting what they really are for. Instead of saying “I favor murder and robbery by the state” they say “Oh, libertarians haven’t come up with a convincing case for their view.” That kind of thing.

      “It is not essential to the nature of a government that it tax its citizens.”

      Notice he says “government” instead of the more accurate state. And also–if there is an agency that doesn’t tax, well, news for you–anarchists don’t oppose it. But of course statists favor the state and its ability to tax. Sometimes they call it “government” to confuse or equivocate. Sometimes they pretend that it can get its taxes voluntarily. Though funnily enough, it never, ever, does so.

      ” It can get revenue voluntarily in a number of different ways. What is essential to government is not that it tax its citizens but that it have a uniform system of laws over a well-defined geographical area.”

      And if it can outlaw competition and force people to join and force them not to hire competing agencies, it can charge a monopoly price for its services. Hmm, you know, this monopoly price sure sounds like a tax to me!

      “Just the opposite: A defense agency uses physical force in defense of its clients. Competing defense agencies would, therefore, use physical force in defense of their clients’ competing claims and interests, which would necessarily entail aggressive force on the part of at least one of the competing agencies.”

      Stupid, braindead, Randian bullshit. Not even worth refuting, it’s so retarded.

      “In order to prevent this kind of civil warfare and corresponding aggression, a uniform code of laws based on individual rights would have to be established with procedural rules guaranteeing its proper administration. This would require a single authorized enforcement agency administering a legitimate form of retaliatory force against those who violate is laws: in other words, a government.”

      Aaaaand this logic would require a one-world government. Congrats, Randians, welcome to 1984!

      “The government would, in turn, require that whoever is enforcing its laws be certified as understanding its enforcement procedures so as to ensure respect for the rights of any accused violators. Accordingly, a civil constitution would have to be established overseeing the administration of the government’s laws and procedures.”

      Yes, yes, we’ve all read the razzle-dazzler Robert Nozick. Snooze.

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