This article is against Austin Peterson’s recent 5 Reasons Why I’m Not An Anarchist.
Austin Peterson runs The Libertarian Republic. Like many libertarians, I find him ideologically illogical and inconsistent. The bottom line is that this sort of thinking is irrational pro-state evangialism, closer to neoconservativism than rational libertarianism.
Libertarians disagree on the necessity or meaning of the NAP, the definition of efficiency, the definition of coercion, the necessity of the state, epistemology, morality, and so many other things that the term libertarian is nearly useless except that it connotes a loose support for reduction in the size of most modern states.
A consistent and rational libertarian is called an anarcho-capitalist. Reduce the size of the state all the way or provide a reason for a minimal state. There is no such reason, and Peterson’s article is another failed attempt to demonstrate otherwise. He also lumps ancaps in with anarchists in general, despite glaring differences. Was this a strategic ad hominem or an attempt at guilt by association?
The specific problems with his 5 points:
- Rights are guarantees? Lol. Look around at all your rights from government. In reality, inalienable rights are rights granted by God and necessarily true as part of being a person. People have a right to life because if you don’t have life you are not a person. The other sort of right is de facto rights. I have a right to do something because I can do it and no one can stop me. There are no other rights. “Civil rights” are simply political promises and among the most alienable things in existence.
- It’s ridiculous to claim that an ACS cannot defend from foreign invasion. Yes, an ACS can defend from foreign invasion, and it can do so more efficiently then the public sector. Private security and law works and has a particular robustness to fourth-generation warfare and the absence of spending problems from political capture and incentives. Did you know private military companies have comprised 25-40% of the military workforce annually from 2005-2015, and this number has been growing over time?
- Yes, anarchy means the non-aggression principle is optional, which is a good thing. Any society which depends on the NAP is a failed society because people don’t abide by it in the real world. Why have any state at all if men are moral angels anyway? Moreover, being a libertarian also means the NAP is optional. Not only are there many self-identified libertarians who do not require the NAP, but more importantly even if all libertarians agreed on the NAP it wouldn’t make it actually true. The free market minimizes the negative aspects of the human condition by channeling selfishness into productivity, and the fact that anarcho-capitalism is robust to the absence of NAP while statism and minimal statism are not robust to that situation is a point in favor of an ACS, not a problem with it.
- Peterson falsely claims anarcho-capitalists abide by the NAP – when he earlier claimed correctly claimed that anarcho-capitalism makes the NAP optional! If you are under the impression that anarcho-capitalists abide by the NAP go read Machinery of Freedom by David Friedman. Rothbard is not the only ancap.
- Anarcho-capitalism has de facto property rights. The same sort found in the real world. Don’t count on the state to define your property rights. It’s only good at defining its own property, and it does that using force anyway, just as it is predicted in the A-C model that any government would.