From a Facebook post:
In a classic article in 1974, Objectivist David Kelley set forth a concise argument for the minarchist view of the necessity of government (https://fee.org/articles/the-necessity-of-government/).
In this interview by minarchist Jan Helfeld, Kelley briefly discusses his views on the state — stating basically that we need a state because with multiple defense agencies, there might be war, because there might be disagreement. So, a state is justified, because it is necessary, and it is necessary, because the possibility of disagreement and conflict and war means it is necessary to have one single agency that has the ultimate, final say-so.
Of course, as I pointed out in an anarchy-vs-minarchy debate with Kelley’s colleague at PorcFest last year, which Kelley moderated (https://www.stephankinsella.com/…/kol183-stephan-kinsella-v…/), this would imply we need a one-world government — I’m sure Kelley recognizes this difficulty, which is probably why he asked Thomas to respond to this objection during our debate (of course, Thomas couldn’t answer this objection).
Another problem with this view is that there is no guarantee this minimal state would be *right* in case of a dispute with the smaller agencies it is able to suppress–mere “finality” is not a goal of libertarian justice; there would also need to be a guarantee that the “final” decisions of this one-world state are just, or, at least, more just than what its competitors might have decided. And of course such a guarantee is impossible–especially when this state has monopoly power and no competition….
In any case, at the very end of this video linked below, Kelley also points out that funding for a minimal state is a difficult issue. He notes that Ayn Rand also believed a minimal state was justified and necessary, but since she opposed aggression (what she called “the initiation of force”), and since taxation is obviously aggression–her view was that the state has to be funded voluntarily–i.e., taxation by the minimal state is impermissible.
Kelley says he disagrees with Rand on this — i.e., he seems to be in favor not only of the the minimal state, not only in favor of the state’s right to use violence to outlaw competing defense agencies, and apparently the state’s right to become the sole state in the world (so that it can have the “final say” and prevent war) — but it can also tax its … customers and force them to fund it. (And Helfeld says he agrees with Kelley.)1
h/t Jack Criss
Upate: My previous “debate” with Helfeld on anarchy is here:https://www.stephankinsella.com/…/kol123-debate-with-jan-he…/
- Apparently, Ayn Rand’s attorney and IP-advocate Murray Franck also accepts the legitimacy of taxation. See Murray I. Franck, “Reply to Sechrest: Private Contract, Market Neutrality, and ‘The Morality of Taxation,’” J. Ayn Rand Stud. 2, no. 1 (Fall 2000): 141–59. So basically Franck was wrong on everything; bad on IP, bad on the state, bad on taxation. [↩]