Article by Ben Doolin on Sept. 2, 2015
The ‘minarchist’ position is one that I think is a necessary step for almost everyone on their way to understanding freedom. The distance is too long for most to make in a single step.
It’s also a position that is very hard to let go of. It took me many months… I know people that took over 30 years to get past it.
There is usually a sticking point… some service that is assumed that only government could provide. We are all taught this in school, never exposed to alternatives… told the only alternative is total chaos. The word anarchy (without rulers) has been twisted to literally mean chaos by those that are afraid of losing power.
So, while 8 billion people looking creatively for ways to solve problems will undoubtedly find very many solutions to problems… it’s important for us to be able to provide at least one example of how society could function in the absence of the state.
Starting at the foundation… human beings have two natural rights… the right to self ownership and the right to own legitimately acquired property.
For any proposition to be valid it must be universal (i.e. if it ever fails, it is false). For example, if you attempt to state ‘all things fall down’ as a law of nature… it is false the first time anything floats away. The proposition must be revised.
For self ownership, there are only three possible propositions that are universal… everyone owns everyone, no one owns anyone or everyone owns themselves. The first two scenarios do not even allow for human survival… leaving only self ownership.
Property rights work in the exact same way… everyone owns everything, no one owns anything… or individuals can own property. The first two… do not allow for human survival… leaving only the right to own property.
The Constitution of the United States attempts to legitimize the violation of both natural human rights by authorizing taxation and legislation.
Taxation is the involuntary taking of property… aka theft… a violation of property rights.
While it is fine for any individual to select a leader for themselves… it is not ok to attempt to impose your leader on others. While it is fine for an individual to assign any right they have to their leader… one cannot assign a right he does not have. Legislation is an arbitrary rule backed up with the threat of the use of violence. Since one cannot assign a right he does not possess… either we can all legislate… or no one can… which makes Legislation invalid either way.
So, the entire foundation of government is corrupt… government is violence.
It’s not ok for you to use violence against others to get your way (that’s the definition of crime). It’s not ok for you to promote the use of violence against others to get your way (which includes voting in a scenario where your leader will be violently imposed on others).
What is ok… is considering ways of organizing society (enforceable prohibition of the violation of person and property) that do not require that person and property be violated to begin with. While we can show that natural rights are logically consistent and universal, they don’t mean much unless they can be protected.
This is where the minarchist says, ‘we need police, courts and a military’.
The problem is that none of those require a violently enforced monopoly to exist. Private protection exists (and is a valuable service… as opposed to police which exist simply to protect The State and threaten violence to extract additional revenue), private dispute resolution exists (aka arbitration… which is cheap enough to be available to everyone… as opposed to the court system which is only available to the rich) and no nuclear armed nation has ever been invaded… meaning that ‘Farmer’s Insurance’ could contract with Boeing to man and maintain several nuclear missiles (so cheaply that ‘invasion insurance’ could be provided for free with your home owner’s policy).
Alternatives exist… The State is not just evil (something I think most people understand)… it is completely unnecessary.