June 30, 2011 Leave a comment
individualism for the masses
December 28, 2006 Leave a comment
But it does happen.
I like Bryan Caplan’s reply:
Let us designate anarchism1 anarchism as you define it. Let us desiginate anarchism2 anarchism as I and the American Heritage College Dictionary define it. This is a FAQ about anarchism2.
Here is Murray Rothbard’s rather longer reply from “Society without a State,” today’s daily article at Mises.org, originally published in The Libertarian Forum, volume 7.1, January 1975 (available from Mises.org in PDF):
In attempting to outline how a “society without a state” — that is, an anarchist society — might function successfully, I would first like to defuse two common but mistaken criticisms of this approach. First, is the argument that in providing for such defense of or protection services as courts, police, or even law itself, I am simply smuggling the state back into society in another form, and that therefore the system I am both analyzing and advocating is not “really” anarchism. This sort of criticism can only involve us in an endless and arid dispute over semantics. Let me say from the beginning that I define the state as that institution which possesses one or both (almost always both) of the following properties: (1) it acquires its income by the physical coercion known as “taxation”; and (2) it asserts and usually obtains a coerced monopoly of the provision of defense service (police and courts) over a given territorial area. An institution not possessing either of these properties is not and cannot be, in accordance with my definition, a state. On the other hand, I define anarchist society as one where there is no legal possibility for coercive aggression against the person or property of an individual. Anarchists oppose the state because it has its very being in such aggression, namely, the expropriation of private property through taxation, the coercive exclusion of other providers of defense service from its territory, and all of the other depredations and coercions that are built upon these twin foci of invasions of individual rights.
Nor is our definition of the state arbitrary, for these two characteristics have been possessed by what is generally acknowledged to be states throughout recorded history. The state, by its use of physical coercion, has arrogated to itself a compulsory monopoly of defense services over its territorial jurisdiction. But it is certainly conceptually possible for such services to be supplied by private, non-state institutions, and indeed such services have historically been supplied by other organizations than the state. To be opposed to the state is then not necessarily to be opposed to services that have often been linked with it; to be opposed to the state does not necessarily imply that we must be opposed to police protection, courts, arbitration, the minting of money, postal service, or roads and highways. Some anarchists have indeed been opposed to police and to all physical coercion in defense of person and property, but this is not inherent in and is fundamentally irrelevant to the anarchist position, which is precisely marked by opposition to all physical coercion invasive of, or aggressing against, person and property.
And a brief note on the other sometimes-disputed term:
Anyone who is still unhappy with this use of the term “coercion” can simply eliminate the word from this discussion and substitute for it “physical violence or the threat thereof,” with the only loss being in literary style rather than in the substance of the argument. What anarchism proposes to do, then, is to abolish the state, that is, to abolish the regularized institution of aggressive coercion.
It’s amazing to me that we somehow never got around to putting up this brief manifesto before today. It’s Rothbard’s great, short introduction to market anarchism. The best thing about it is that it opens by addressing and debunking all the standard confusions and non sequiturs that immediately come up as soon as we speak the dreaded A-word.
December 25, 2006 1 Comment
“But the movie isn’t about fractional reserve banking, any more than it’s about angels getting their wings. It’s about the positive, cumulative, but unseen benefits to many people of individual acts of charity and honesty. It’s also about capitalism: home ownership, small businesses, and sacrificial hard work. That’s why immigrants should be required to take a test on ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’ It wouldn’t hurt to have political candidates take the test, either. I suspect that most of them would flunk.”