A libertarian technicality? Maybe. But regardless, here’s minarchism over anarchism.

Posted on August 26, 2010 at 5.09 pm

Q. You said you believe in minarchism. How do you reply to the claim that taxation is theft?  And furthermore, since you believe in a free market, why would the market not be a good way to run things like the legal system and police forces? It works for everything else, what makes law or police any different? — logicallypositive, from tumblr.

A. Well, I’m not fond of taxation.  The income tax is certainly abusive and unnecessary.  Indeed, I’d prefer to have the government funded in as noncoercive a manner as possible.  I kind of like Ron Paul’s idea of a low, uniform import tariff — or, even better, lottery (with private lotteries legalized, of course).  That’s basically voluntary taxation, which I find completely acceptable.

That said, I’m not an anarchist and do want a nightwatchman state for the protection of person and property.  I’m inclined to think persons smarter than I could figure out a way to fund it without taxation, but, assuming they were fairly applied (not progressive or regressive, for instance) I’m not against the very low taxes which would be required to support such a minimal regime.

Note: Taxation for unjust purposes (aggressive war, corporate or social welfare, etc.) is indeed theft.  But I assume we agree on that point.

In answer to the second half of your inquiry, what makes it different is that my right to the nonviolation of my person and property has nothing to do with how much of that property I have.

This isn’t the case with the sorts of things the market handles; I have no right to health care regardless of my wealth, but I do have a right to not be assaulted no matter how poor I am.  For instance, just because I can’t afford to hire a judge and lawyer, you still shouldn’t be able beat me up or burn my house down.  But the fact that I can’t afford to hire a doctor very much means he’s not obligated to treat me.

Now, given the choice between our current government and the anarcho-capitalism you describe, I’d certainly pick the latter.  I’m just saying I don’t think it’s the best option.

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