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.
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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