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Comments on Scott McPherson’s “Stephan Kinsella Needs to Take A Nap”

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Stephan Kinsella, on June 22nd, 2009 at 5:47 pm Said: Your comment is awaiting moderation.

“One wonders if Mr. Kinsella ever thought about consulting a dictionary before insulting many of his fellow libertarians. Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (Tenth Edition, 1994, page 1149) defines “statism” as the “concentration of economic controls and planning in the hands of a highly centralized government.” Employing the arbitrariness of a spoiled child, Mr. Kinsella would change the definition to “any system that isn’t anarcho-capitalism.””

The libertarian supporters of the state sure seem to get annoyed when you point this out.

Stephan Kinsella, on June 22nd, 2009 at 5:55 pm Said: Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Kevin, good point: “I stand against libertarisn when they stand for aggression.”

Of course, libertarians who are not anarchists support the state, and since the state necessarily commits aggression, they are supporting aggression. Libertarians who support aggression! What’s next, pacifists for war?

Scott McPherson:

“I wonder if some anarcho-capitalists – threatened by the current momentum of the Freedom Movement – are seeing themselves as ever-smaller fish in a growing pond. Or could it be that with more people joining the movement the anarchist is pressed to distinguish himself from us lesser mortals? Either way, let’s not let delicate egos and delusions of superiority destroy all our good work. The true statists would love nothing more than a major rift in our ranks.
My personal views on government did not develop without a great deal of consideration, study, discussion, and debate, and it is not my intention to revisit the “anarchy vs. limited government” argument here. Feel free to email me your 8 page dissertation on the virtues of anarchism, if you like. My Delete buttons works just fine. But if you wish to call me a statist, or a sellout, or in any other manner question my commitment to freedom, I sure wish you’d say it to me in person. I’ve dedicated over a decade of my life to this cause, and have reached the conclusion that the best hope for freedom is to educate people on the value of capitalism, individual rights, limited government, and private property. If this be treason, make the most of it!”

Mr. McPherson: I don’t know you, but am glad you are a libertarian. That said, I am a libertarian because I oppose aggression on principled grounds. As I explained in What It Means To Be an Anarcho-Capitalist, the only way you can be in favor of the state is if you are in favor of aggression, or if you think the state does not necessarily employe aggression. I find it hard to believe any smart libertarian is naive enough to believe the latter, so I have to assume you realize the state commits aggression but are in favor of it anyway. And surely you realize some libertarians have a principled opposition to aggression. If you have some libertarian argument that shows that aggression is in fact in some cases justified, you ought to share it.

As for your other comments: It does not seem to me that anarchists are an ever-smaller portion of “The Freedom Movement”; but a growing part. But that’s just my experience. You could be right; but so what.

“Either way, let’s not let delicate egos and delusions of superiority destroy all our good work.”

I am in favor of your good works-that is, your opposition to aggression; but the same reason I am for it compels me to oppose it when you endorse aggression.

“I’ve dedicated over a decade of my life to this cause, and have reached the conclusion that the best hope for freedom is to educate people on the value of capitalism, individual rights, limited government, and private property. If this be treason, make the most of it!”

I tend to agree with this, except for the “limited government” part, which is a chimera. What in the world makes you think limited government is possible?

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  • David C. June 22, 2009, 9:01 pm

    I guess the “means” vs. “ends” argument is going to continue until the end of time. Being a libertarian must be so hip these days that everyone wants the label…even though who happily corrupt the language by stretching definitions into unrecognizable ink blots. Let’s have a convention with a Big Tent so “libertarians for torture” can rub elbows with “libertarians for higher taxes” and “libertarians for more effective banking regulations.”

  • Steven Hines June 23, 2009, 6:57 pm

    Stephan, I’ve read quite a bit of your stuff (and enjoyed it all very much), but I found What It Means To Be an Anarcho-Capitalist just a couple of weeks ago. What a great little article. You really boil it down nicely. Your article is a big help to those of us who aren’t all that articulate and are prone to being stumped by appeals to “workability” or “practicality” by statists. Thank you so much.

  • Manuel Lora June 25, 2009, 2:38 pm

    I think it’s awesome that minarchsits are being challenged. They hate to be called statists. They either think that the state is not an aggressor or that it’s necessary to have (lest we have chaos!) or something equally flaky. They are principled (more or less) but not at the core.

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