Posts Tagged ‘Minarchy’

A Field Guide to Libertarianism

Posted on November 30, 2012 at 5.09 pm

Q. Is there any resource or link that you have that compares and contrasts the different “branches” of Libertarianism? (minarchist, classical lib, etc.) — cowboys-and-bloodsuckers, from tumblr.

A. Here’s a very basic and probably somewhat biased guide I wrote up for something one time. Hope it helps!

If any of my followers have additions, corrections, or better suggestions for people/books to look up for more info, by all means reply to this post with that info. I’d also love it if you weighed in on which term(s) you use to describe your own ideas.

  • Minarchist

I list this option first because it’s the label I use for myself when I wish to be more specific than “libertarian.”  The definition of minarchy can be seen in the word itself:  min- [minimal] archy [government].  Thus the minarchist wants to have a small “night watchman” state, limited to protecting citizens and their rights from aggression both foreign and domestic.  In practice, this would look like a military for defense against invasion; a police and justice system to deal with crime; and probably a largely inactive legislature and executive to enact and enforce laws against criminal behavior.

Famous Minarchist:  Robert Nozick, Harvard professor and author of Anarchy, State, and Utopia.

  • Anarcho-Capitalist

I mention anarcho-capitalists next because while we agree on most political questions at issue today, minarchists and anarcho-Capitalists are often at odds in the finer philosophical debates within the libertarian movement.  As their name suggests, these are anarchists with a focus on the free market as the solution for the problems caused by both the state and its absence.  Unlike minarchists, anarcho-capitalists would ideally see needs for justice and defense provided by the free market on a model similar to how auto insurance works today.  Rather than having a universal code of law to protect everyone’s liberties, they consider the more moral option to be a market-based system in which each individual pays a subscription to a private defense agency to protect them and their property.  The state would be abolished entirely.

Famous Anarcho-Capitalist:  Murray Rothbard, noted Austrian economist and author ofMan, Economy, and State.

  • Paleo-Libertarian

Though the term has to some extent fallen out of vogue in recent years, next up is the paleo-libertarian, who can be a minarchist or an anarcho-capitalist, but who adds to his convictions a preference for conservative social values (though he doesn’t wish to see them legally enforced, understanding the vice vs. crime distinction) and a disdain for the moral libertinism often associated with libertarianism.  The paleo-libertarian condemns drug use, as well as “[p]ornogaphic photography, ‘free’ thinking, chaotic painting, atonal music, deconstructionist literature, Bauhaus architecture, and modernist films,” and stands at odds with the cultural liberalism of the cosmotarian, whom we’ll discuss next.


S’wonderful, S’marvelous!

Posted on December 2, 2011 at 12.23 pm

Q. How can you be a minarchist/libertarian and be against corporatism? Corporations did not even exist until our government started acting minarchist in the economic realm. — David, from the internet.

A. Hardly.  As I’ve written in the past, the absolute last thing we have is economic minarchism.  Here is a short and incomplete list of things which exist in our current system which would not exist in a minarchist society:

After the last few years of rampant, bipartisan corporate favoritism we’ve repeatedly seen out of Washington, I find it marvelous indeed that anyone could think that we have economic minarchy.  After all, I assume you realize that, by definition, economic minarchy would look like the government being uninvolved in the economy except for providing a court system for the prosecution of fraud/other bad business practices and criminality, right?

A Couple Quick Questions, Ed. 10

Posted on June 9, 2011 at 6.08 pm

Q. Hey Bonnie, My question lies with the following site: I received it as a rebuttal after stating that Bin Laden’s capture should not warrant the reelection of Obama and should not be considered the “ends justify the means” to our nation’s spending problem.  I am reading through it and I am not sure whether it is propaganda or true for the matter.  I have asked a few other bloggers this question as well.  Thanks in advance! — Kaeside, from the internet.

A. From what I know of that site, it’s all at least nominally accurate and each claim provides a source.  The two critical questions to ask are:

  1. Is the whole story presented, or has the truth been carefully presented to imply something which isn’t actually true?
  2. If the statement is not at all misleading, is what he did actually a good thing?

So for instance, in answer to the first question, let’s consider this specific claim:  Obama issued an executive order to close the prison at Gitmo.  Yeah, he signed the order, but 2.5 years later the Guantanamo Bay prison is still very much up and running.  Without going through the entire site, I suspect you’ll find many such “true” claims.

As far as the second question — well, I guess that depends a lot on your politics and your partisanship.  Consider whether Obama’s achievement was merely impressive or actually good.  Consider whether it was constitutional.  Consider whether it added to future generations’ debt.  Consider the hidden costs which may not be obvious at first glance.  And most definitely ask those who disagree with you to consider how they’d feel if the exact same policy — particularly if it’s concerned with war or big business — was enacted by George W. Bush.

For quicker response, just link them here.

Q. If one considers the ultimate goal of anarchy to be a removal from hierarchy through supreme personal freedom, wouldn’t corporations and any other non commune organization destroy this ideal through hierarchy in workforce and further destroy it by the employers ability to almost indefinitely control the workers salary and working conditions. — blissfulsuffering, from tumblr.

A. I noticed that you asked the same question of Coeus (and have to take exception at the idea that I “couldn’t” answer the question! — I just couldn’t answer it right then) and thought both her original reply and follow-up were very well-put.  So I’ll only add a few things:

First, I’m not an anarchist myself, so I can’t say I’ve spent a whole lot of time considering the practical outcomes of a system I don’t personally advocate.  Second, is the objective outcome of anarchy freedom from hierarchy?  I’ve always understood the generic term to be much more concerned with absence of government and other forcefully-imposed, involuntary authorities.

Third, as Coeus said, I don’t share your interest in perfect equality outside the legal realm.  I don’t think it’s necessary for everyone to have equal wealth or authority, for instance.  Finally, I do think we’d agree on the importance of voluntary involvement in economic arrangements.  I’d also argue that with a smaller government and freer market, lacking all the corporatism and subsidies which are currently so pervasive, would tend to produce a less hierarchical business world in which the largest companies would not be nearly so large and powerful.  And that would be a good thing.

Q. In your perfect world would an individual be able to secede from the government and just live in their same house w/o gov’t services and tax free? — nellieblystunad, from tumblr.

A. Probably, but I doubt it would matter. Here’s what I’ve written on the subject before.

Maybe also check out the other stuff in the anarchy section of my FAQ for a couple articles which, among themselves, also address different aspects of this question.