A friend wrote me something along the following lines, re some of my debates recently (1, 2) with Objectivists over the state and whether it is inherently aggressive, and what it means to be an anarcho-capitalist: “your argument about any government (or acceptance of such) equates to an endorsement of aggression strikes me as wrong. Couldn’t it be a contractual, legal issue? If gov. can do X, I agree to let it do X to protect my life and property. Conversely, if it fails to do X, Y, Z, I can sue or stop it AND keep it from expanding to do A, B, C.”
You assume you can sue it if it does ot live up to its agreement–this presupposes a body of contract law (law, rights) outside that little government. Where are you gonna sue it? In its courts? Makes no sense. So you must be assuming other courts or some body of meta-law outside the government itself.
The problem is that suppose 90 people sign up to this “government” but 10 don’t. Okay, fine. the 10 don’t want to pay dues, and they don’t get protection. And if one of them, A, robs a “citizen” C, of the government G, I agree, the government has a right (as agent for the victim-citizen) to punish the robber A, even if he had never signed an agreement with the government.
But A retains a right of self-dfense, does he not? If C robs him, A has a natural right to defend himself, doesn’t he? he even has a right to have C punished. Now I can see C’s agency stepping in and saying, “You may not just punish him on your own, you are too biased and there are not enough procedural protectsion to ensure a fair process, so we will forcibly prevent you from being the judge in your own case.” Fine, I even have no porblem with that. So waht would happen? A might say to C’s government, ‘Fine, then you hold a trial for him, and I’ll pay the costs.” That might work. Alternatively, A might say, “I don’t intend to try him myself. My own private agency is giong to do it–and it has just as fair procedures as you do, so you have no objection.”
I.e., what if those 10 pool their resrouces and hire a small, lean, efficient defense agency D, which is charged with protecting their rights? So wouldn’t Government G and Defense Agency D have an arrangement with each other where so long as certain norms are respected they will cooperate rather than go to war? That is after all what Objectivists say that states have to do today, in a multi-state world.