There’s an old joke that runs through hard core libertarian circles that goes something like this.
An overly earnest newbie at a Libertarian Party meeting one night during a lull in a heated discussion of comma placement in a new rule change proposal asks, “What’s the difference between an anarchist and a minarchist?”
The grizzled party chair looks up from his copy of Rothbard’s The Ethics of Liberty and replies, “About two years.”
And I can tell you that that joke, like all good jokes has a nugget of deep truth in it. Embracing Minarchism is the toe-dip into the Non-Aggression Principle (NAP). It’s your first tentative step into the scarier world of imagining it without a state.
And it’s a position that’s comforting. But it is also rife with contradictions. Those contradictions weigh on a person who is trying to live up to the ideal of the NAP.
If you are truly on an honest journey to find the right path for your own personal behavior, then rigorously applying the NAP to all facets of your life leads you to shedding the precepts of the necessity of the coercive state to shape and hold society together.
Anarchy in the You ‘Kay?
Because you begin to see the break points, the fault lines of our society in NAP terms. For me, I quickly no longer gave credence to the idea that in order for my individual rights to express themselves I have to submit to a human authority with a granted monopoly power on the use of aggressive force, which the NAP itself stands in opposition to.
At the core of all collectivist thinking is this basic tautology that your rights stem from the negotiation of what others define them as. Only by submitting to a higher human authority over you can you have a hope of retaining any of them, so you need to negotiate them down from the ideal.
Sound complicated? That’s because it is and it’s also insane.
A far simpler interpretation is to state I have a right to life. I have a claim of ownership of myself. Any abrogation of that claim of ownership and right to it by an aggressor is wrong.
Clear, concise, powerful.
Once you come to that conclusion and are willing to apply it consistently then you can become comfortable with freeing your mind of the need for the state.
But it also comes with responsibility. How do you defend those rights? Will you defend every assault on them no matter how minor?
But here’s better questions, ones Marxist will always throw at you to trip you up…
If you don’t defend yourself against a minor theft, say a pen or a coffee mug, was your right to property taken from you? Do you still have it in practical terms if you can’t defend against a murderer?
The answers are, in order, No and Yes. Just because the property was taken or the threat made, you always reserve the right to express the right to defend it.
That you choose not to is… wait for it…
… also your right.
That leads to basic economic questions like: Should you always do so? When is forgiveness or acceptance better than retribution?
Is it worth my precious time to chase down a guy who sold me a fake watch rather than chalk it up to experience and go about my other business?
These are basic questions that form the filter on which to view the world around you and are the basic seeds of the growth from being mired in the inconsistencies of Minarchism and blossoming into the flower of Anarchism.
The Right Stuff
It leads you to conclusions about how to find ways to minimize, not eliminate, coercive forces on your life. That we live in a world circumscribed by tyrants constantly climbing over each other for the power to tyrannize is irrelevant. They may in real terms suppress the expression of your right to life but it most certainly doesn’t negate it.
You can always choose to say, “No.”
Notice to this point I haven’t spent one word talking about implementation or politics. Because implementing these ideas isn’t a system to be imposed. That, itself, is a violation of the NAP, the idea of imposing Anarchy is a Collectivist perversion of the process.
We’re seeing this in the hyper-violent rioting of Antifa and BLM wanting to impose their new system that they call anarchy at the point of a gun and an open-ended wrench.
Anarcho-Capitalism isn’t a political system, it is a behavioral model and a filter with which to view the world. It is a philosophy whose name implies an internal vision of the world we want rather than the world we have.
And that filter is an incredibly powerful tool to analyze the world — especially economics and politics as both lie at the intersection of behavioral dissonances within a given population.
(I talked with Jay Fratt, The Conservative Hippie, about Anarchism on his podcast over the weekend.)
It is also a personal goal most people share — the best versions of ourselves possible. Where the differences lie along the political landscape is the extent to which taking on the responsibility of fixing problems which are not ours leads to violence, i.e. the State and before that revolution.
And that leads to the next two-year process, the one of realizing that there is no Utopia where sin is expunged, theft conquered and sociopathy eliminated.
There is only the minimization of these things because people are capable of tremendous generosity and tremendous violence. All of us. At all times.
And the real struggle is coming to terms with that fear. Fear drives Communists to overreach and hubris. AnCaps are driven by the acceptance of their limitations.
Only a culture which reinforces this idea of personal responsibility for one’s actions rather than glorifying thieves as winners will put us back on the right path rather than the wrong one.
Given where we are right now, that’s going to take a heckuva lot more than two years.
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This reminds me of the Preface to “The Market for Liberty,” where Doug Casey attempts to explain what anarchy is without using the word, because it conjures up all kinds of negative connotations, like little angry men dressed in black carrying around bombs, while he points out that anarchy is really the most peaceful of systems since you don’t rely upon the government to take care of each and every so-called problem.
Imagine being a libertarian. In 2020. 😄
Lol. The fantasy of the “Committee of Interested Parties”. With all their conflicts of interest, and less accountability to the masses. What could ever go wrong? Anarchy is the stupidest idea any libertarian has ever had on their stupidest day. I’ve heard all the petty complaints about the government for over a decade now. And not one honest libertarian has ever had the integrity to admit the inarguable fact that the private sector is the singular entity behind all of the things they’re complaining about. You’re right the government doesn’t do anything productive. As such the money that corrupts it comes from the world outside the government. Am I missing something? So you want to take away the government and leave ONLY the corrupting force? Putting these same moneyed interests in the seat of power without any overarching authority is the dumbest idea ever conceived. Because what else do you think would happen assuming you even think? The money power would quickly rise to the top. You actually want to be governed by Apple Amazon and Chase bank? Seriously!? There are things that can only be accomplished at the national level. It’s inarguable that any ‘citizen commissions’ or whatever you envision as the alternative would be completely usurped by the most powerful and most moneyed interests. It already happens in government now even with checks against it. Remove the checks and what happens? We’ll all be coerced to buy their products, take their vaccines, etc. How will money be issued and distributed? Say ‘gold’ so I can laugh you out of the room. It’s so manipulated it makes our Fiat currency look downright honest. There’s some 50k dollars in circulation for every ounce of existing gold and you all think you’re George Soros because your gold ‘jumped’ from 1200/oz to 1800. Well played Rockefeller. What will it’s value be in any number of Corporate Cryptos when the government is gone? How will that value be derived? How many will it cost you to drive to work on CocaCola parkway? Clearly for all the posturing, nobody has thought much about all the things they will surrender when we get rid of the government.
Yes the government is far too large. Yes the government is corrupt to it’s core. But the US constitution, when properly applied stands as the single best roadmap for liberty, society and a functioning economy. We need to clean our house, not tear it down. We can gut and repurpose the parts that are too far gone. But what moron would purposely leave themselves with no roof over their head and no prospect of any? The real answer is so simple an idiot like me can blurt it out with less than 2 seconds of thought. Minarchy is having a government you can control. Anarchy is being completely bereft of any means to challenge the authority of any richer, more powerful person attempting to control your life. And that is the exact opposite of liberty. But oh how clever it must make one feel to say ‘2 years’ to a room full of like minded idiots. It’s more like 2 trillion light years. They’re two completely different things whose realities don’t share a single attribute. And Libertarian as I may be, I have no desire to come along for the ride where you learn this inarguable fact the hard way. All we ever needed was a government for the people and by the people. We’ve pretty much lost it but it’s a much easier path to take it back than to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Children want anarchy. No bed time, no rules and all the candy they can eat. But it’s truly sad to see Grown adults equally incapable of grasping the inherent problems in this. The private sector corrupted the government. The very thing you point to as justification for your argument will not be remedied by being left totally unchecked. What idiot cant see that?
Your entire comment can be boiled down into mis-defining ‘anarchy’ as ‘no rules’ rather than ‘no ruler.’
Again, that process of resolving that discrepancy and fear, if you are rigorous and honest, takes about 2 years.
It takes a strong person (not a child) to realize the limitations of what you can control.
It is a weak one that thinks you can control someone you’ve empowered to point a gun at you without fear of retribution to keep the psychopaths at bay when they are very people you empowered to point guns at you.
One question. Why would the corporations spend all of that time and money corrupting government? Answer; Because government has the POWER to benefit them. Lacking that power, corporations wouldn’t even exist in their current form. Lacking rulers, is not the same as lacking rules. Who enforces those rules? Everyone.
In a sane society, personal responsibility and personal integrity, would be the norm, not the exception.
Two years is about what it takes to understand and internalize the basic principles involved. It may take a life time to round off some of the edges, but the result would be a much more sane society, and civilization.
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