This article is to present a great video from an episode of the Tom Woods radio show and then to present a defense of the State. Yes you heard that last part right. An Anarcho-Capitalist is going to make an argument in defense of the State.
First, please find the video below. Michael Huemer, author of The Problem of Political Authority, joins Tom to review the fallacies in common arguments for the state:
I think the video does a great job of defeating the moral argument and the argument from political authority of the State. Rothbard had some interesting philosophical attacks on the state as well, although I think they were much weaker. I think Michael does a better job, but I still have a complaint against this style. Making a moral argument or a philosophical argument is great, but pragmatism is also a form of philosophy and morality. Perhaps even a most important one.
I think the best, most forceful and most useful arguments for anarchism are those that are based upon realism, plausibility or inevitability instead of simple moral or philosophical justification or desirability.
Elsewhere I have argued that anarchism is realistic, plausible and even inevitable in the long run as shown through economic theory and, if you buy it, evolutionary theory. Here I want to play Devil’s Advocate and make an argument for the State on the same grounds.
Before I play Devil’s Advocate, let me make clear that I am being genuine. I actually believe everything I’m about to say. While I am an anarchist, I am also a gradualist and an advocate of peaceful and legal anarchism. I want an anarchy, but I don’t want an anarchy today. I think it would result in socio-political and economic shock which would cause widespread damage. I prefer a slow death of the State. To that end, I am being genuine when I make the following argument from realism for the state, but I only think it actually holds in the short and medium run.
Realpolitik. Argument Ad Bacculum. Bombs, guns and money. These are a few of the strongest arguments for the State. The argument that the State has no authority may be true in the sense that it has no justified moral authority, but the State does have actual authority.
OK, that was it! In conclusion, imho if we want to get to an anarchic society the right way there are no shortcuts. We have to obey the law, act with honesty and simply out-compete the State over time. It may be true that the State has no special authority, but that doesn’t mean we just get to ignore it.
Also, for you Christians out there, there is a pretty good argument from the Bible that the State does have a special moral authority: Romans 13. Even so, I think we can have a godly anarchy. Check out this article.