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Is Albert Jay Nock a Statist Too?

In Comments on Scott McPherson’s “Stephan Kinsella Needs to Take A Nap”, I noted that “The libertarian supporters of the state sure seem to get annoyed when you point this out.”

And now Scott McPherson petulantly demands, in Is Albert Jay Nock a Statist Too?

Anarchists claim that anyone who advocates “aggression” is a statist. I have written a number of commentaries over the last decade, so perhaps I’ve overlooked something, but could someone please refer me to where in any of them I have advocated aggression?

You’re the one saying you oppose anarchy, which means you support the state. If you do, you support the aggression the state necessarily employs. The state taxes and monopolizes the institutions of justice–it uses force (violence, aggression) against innocent people (taxpayers; customers; competitors). Please explain why this is not aggression. Don’t say “but how would anarchy work?” That does not mean what you advocate is not aggression–it just means that you favor aggression for some reason (as all advocates of criminality do). (See What It Means To Be an Anarcho-Capitalist.)

If you are not for the power of a state to outlaw competition, compel membership, or tax, then fine, but you are an anarcho-libertarian like us, in this case. Which is it?

“I’m with Nock, that noted anarchist, when I say that I want a government, and that a government limited to the protection of my rights is possible. That may make me naïve, or foolish – but it doesn’t make me a statist.”

Yes, it does–if you advocate a state. If you merely are mistaken and are really advocating a stateless government that does not commit aggression, then you are not a statist, and are instead an anarchist. You’ll have to tell me which you are.

Update: see also The State is not the government; we don’t own property; scarcity doesn’t mean rare; coercion is not aggression.

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  • David C. June 25, 2009, 7:55 am

    A state (a government, what label we may choose) by definition uses force to eliminate competitors. An organization of people that does not use force to eliminate competitors is either a business firm competing in the marketplace (even if it is a monopoly for the specific thing it provides…which is pretty much impossible since there is nothing that lacks substitutes) or a group of individuals acting only on issues where exists unanimous consent.

    To speak of a state as an organization of people that does not employ aggression is fuzzy thinking to say the least. If one agrees that I do not have a moral right to stick a gun in your face and take $100 from your wallet, use $80 to plant a tree on your parkway (one that you didn’t ask for) pocket the rest for my trouble, then one has to admit that there is no moral way for a state to exist.

    Isn’t this what anarcho-libertarians have been stating and restating for over a century? Where have people like Scott McPherson been?

    Right and wrong. What’s so darn complicated here? These people are like adherents to a religion that practices ritual sacrifice of pre-teen girls but see themselves as peace-loving protectors of life.

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