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8 Minarchistic Misconceptions that Make Me MAD!

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There are a lot of misconceptions about minarchism flying ’round the blogosphere and it’s time to correct them once and for all. First of all, minarchism is the belief that in order to prevent people from initiating force against each other we must create an organization which has the unquestionable right to initiate force against them. This is obviously stupid in a way that is beyond words.

8 Minarchistic Misconceptions

  1. Minarchists are people who have woken up. See the Ron Paul folks especially. If you guys are awake, we market anarchists are on another plane of consciousness. Wake up again please.
  2. Minarchists are allies of anarchists. We’re just pretending to be your friends until you really think this thing through and realize how stupid minarchism is.
  3. Minarchy is a feasible form of government. It’s not because the minute an anarchist wants to opt out and you let him, it’s no longer minarchism. Minarchism doesn’t last more than 10 seconds.
  4. Minarchists share the same strategic goals with anarchists. You want a government. We don’t. You’re into elections, we’re not.
  5. Minarchy is less scary than anarchy. It’s just more wool. See number 3.
  6. We must have minarchy because anarchy is well ANARCHY. It’s freakin chaos, dude! Anarchy is just a lack of government. McDonalds will still exist, don’t worry.
  7. Minarchy is order while anarchy is disorder. Since government creates disorder, without government things will be much more orderly.
  8. Minarchy enables you to avoid the leap of faith required for anarchy. See numbers 3 and 5.

Minarchists ARE the Opposition

And don’t dare post any clap here about minarchists and anarchists ignoring their differences and going to work against the opposition. You are the opposition. You are the ones cloudying our anti-aggression message with your halfway demands for just a better slavery, instead of a complete end to it.

Minarchists, come now, enough is enough.

Photo credit: jaqian. Photo license.

By George Donnelly

I'm building a tribe of radical libertarians to voluntarize the world by 2064. Join me.

15 replies on “8 Minarchistic Misconceptions that Make Me MAD!”

An anarchist society is a contractual society. No exchange occurs without the consent of all parties involved. Market forces make this happen naturally. Rothbard writes in Man, Economy, and State, “Each person specializes in the task for which he is best fitted, and each serves his fellow men in order to serve himself in exchange” Adam Smith observed that it is almost as if an “invisible hand” directs the proceedings of the free market economy. When nobody is manipulating the economy, the natural forces of the market make it the most productive system possible, and everybody wins. The stateless society is just as orderly, even more orderly than the governed society. However, order in a stateless society is ruled by natural forces, while order in a governed society is ruled by violence.

Which is worse…flat out socialists who want to increase the size, expense and tyranny of government or minarchists who want to shrink down as far as possible (I’ve heard down to just essential services, what those are I don’t know nor do they IMHO)?

Thinking minarchists are the biggest concern out there is foolish at best, but go right ahead and blog about them while the socialists continue to increase the power of government. That’ll be a good tradeoff.

The minarchists are worse because government can not be saved. It is inherently evil. Attempts to convince people to join and improve that which is inherently evil is like joining the Klan in order to reform it (see: http://www.strike-the-root.com/71/molyneux/molyneux3.html ).

Convincing good people to prop up evil is called the sanction of the victim. That is what allows evil to masquerade as harmless or good. It is what stands in the way of pulling the mask of legitimacy off the monster that is government so people can see it for what it really is.

Minarchists are whitewashers. They’re the ones that say that while this government isn’t great, governments are needed and so let’s just make it better, which is impossible, so all that happens is government gets better at eating us.

Evil can not exist without these well-intentioned people, people are proving true that saying about good intentions paving the road to hell.

Socialists will simply accelerate the collapse that is inevitable with all evil schemes. See, for example, Ponzi schemes.

Thanks for commenting, Jay.

I agree George, but seriously, in the reality we have now it’s one or the other IMHO.

Wasn’t it said in “Coming to America” that one must learn to walk before they can fly? (I’m paraphrasing and yes I know the philosopher but can’t spell his name) I think we’ve barely begun to crawl much less walk and the voluntary society means we’re flying.

Is there a happy medium or a clear path? I doubt it. I’m getting ready to head down to my bomb shelter with my tin foil cap on as we speak. I just happen to dislike the socialists more at this point than the minarchists.

“the reality we have now”, I think you mean the perception of reality that is chosen. We chose our own perceptions of reality and can chose better ones. Let’s do it.

Whatever one thinks about walking and flying, I am for flying metaphorically here and want more walkers to start flying and more crawlers to get to flying more quickly.

I see a path and I try to make it clearer every day.

Minarchists are people who have woken up. See the Ron Paul folks especially. If you guys are awake, we market anarchists are on another plane of consciousness. Wake up again please.
–A government can be a voluntary group of people who have outlawed the initiation of force. Those who opt out are still bound not to initiate force. That it rarely works out that way is not to say it can’t be that way. And say for instance that one “step” toward both minarchy and anarchy was taken. Would you oppose it, even if it would reduce the force being initiated against innocent people? (Such as eliminating “voir dire” and moving toward proper jury trials. I see no harm in attempting that, and succeeding –something that is very doable.)

Minarchists are allies of anarchists. We’re just pretending to be your friends until you really think this thing through and realize how stupid minarchism is.
–This is pretentious, and this attitude will rapifly alienate minarchists from cooperation with you. What possible goal will that serve?

Minarchy is a feasible form of government. It’s not because the minute an anarchist wants to opt out and you let him, it’s no longer minarchism. Minarchism doesn’t last more than 10 seconds.
–Untrue. See my above example. A complete social construct of courts could function easily as it did prior to income taxation, on voluntary contributions. Most minarchist libertarians desire this. Yet such a court system still “governs” the behavior of the child rapist, the contract violator, and the murderer. There are still “governable” objective wrongs. Call it a “voluntaryist protectorate” if you like, it still meets the technical definition of a government: a set of imposed rules governing the use of force.

Minarchists share the same strategic goals with anarchists. You want a government. We don’t. You’re into elections, we’re not.
–This sounds like marxist rhetoric. No, wait, it sounds like Konkinist rhetoric. Suppose you realize that without an election, a gangland war would take place? Would you support elections then? You have no intermediary solution that will reduce the initiation of force that is as effective as elections. You seem to wish to jump straight to your conclusion, without incremental steps. Is this true? If so, it’s unrealistic fantasy. If not, then you favor minarchy as well, in addition to favoring continuing on to anarchy (or a “voluntaryist protectorate”) on the continuum, once minarchy has been reached.

Minarchy is less scary than anarchy. It’s just more wool. See number 3.
We must have minarchy because anarchy is well ANARCHY. It’s freakin chaos, dude! Anarchy is just a lack of government. McDonalds will still exist, don’t worry.
–I suggest you watch Steven Pinker’s speech on youtube. In ancient times, there was a lot of anarchy, and a lot of preemptive violence, and little stability. Similar to inner-city gang wars these days. Growing up through that makes life nasty, brutal, and short. Pining for a complete lack of protection enables certain kinds of very bad crimes. (Although we’d be vastly safer with universal gun rights, that is not a 100% solution. After all, the 1930s bankrobbers had some very nice weapons and were willing to use them. And prostitute murderers have similar means of avoiding detection, without such things as the FBI’s SVU. Now, could that function be privatized? Sure. Could it be right away, without perverse incentives? No. Because then they’d be in the prison-filling business.)

Minarchy is order while anarchy is disorder. Since government creates disorder, without government things will be much more orderly.
Minarchy enables you to avoid the leap of faith required for anarchy. See numbers 3 and 5.

–Not really. One can recognize the concept of emergent order and be a minarchist (and/or an anarchist). There is no “leap of faith” necessary, only logic, reason, and compassion. But then one needs to think about specifically what emergent order cases represent perverse incentives toward the initiation of force. There are a few.
And there’s also the problem of transferring the court system to voluntaryism. That can’t be done until society is already libertarian, because if it happens before then, then you have all the evils written about in Eric Schlosser’s “The Prison Industrial Complex” (Atlantic Monthly, Dec 1998): ie: “Prohibition for profit”.

In short, minarchists need to be doing the same thing that anarchists need to be doing: paying close attention to the battle to win individual freedom.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the LP has been trying hard for 30 years and not succeeding because the system doesn’t allow them success.

In every case where the LP wasn’t infiltrated, and tried hard, they’ve won elections. Typically, freedom doesn’t mean that much to them to try hard, and THAT is 50% of the problem. The other 50% you (and Konkin) are totally right about: voluntaryism, education, and anti-state self-reliance.

A government can be a voluntary group of people who have outlawed the initiation of force. Those who opt out are still bound not to initiate force.

The NIOF is natural law. Just because govt allegedly outlaws it doesn’t mean anything.

Define “voluntary group”. Just throwing the word “voluntary” into the sentence does not somehow make it compatible with liberty.

And say for instance that one “step” toward both minarchy and anarchy was taken. Would you oppose it, even if it would reduce the force being initiated against innocent people? (Such as eliminating “voir dire” and moving toward proper jury trials. I see no harm in attempting that, and succeeding –something that is very doable.)

How is a cosmetic improvement of the state a step towards anarchy?

this attitude will rapifly alienate minarchists from cooperation with you. What possible goal will that serve?

For lack of deadly obvious alternatives to statism, many self-described anarchists do minarchist activism. There is not enough mind-space between minarchism and anarchism in some people’s heads. One of the aims of my articles on minarchism was to open up some space.

Yet such a court system still “governs” the behavior of the child rapist

That’s a different meaning of govern; i.e., not the same one as government.

You seem to wish to jump straight to your conclusion, without incremental steps. Is this true? If so, it’s unrealistic fantasy.

So you are another one of these conservative/minarchists that has a crystal ball and can dictate what is or is not going to happen in the future?

Pining for a complete lack of protection enables certain kinds of very bad crimes.

Straw man.

I see how you could call the last piece a straw man. I have called you, because feedback is necessary for us to have a meaningful conversation. You never answer your phone, and it says it is not accepting messages in a female computer voice (not sure it’s still your phone).

I actually think it’s immensely likely that we’re arguing over definitions. I’m not sure that –if we started talking about “Given this set of affairs, what would you do next? …This is what I would do next”– we’d be doing different things.

For instance, you’ve stated “the second you allow people to opt out, it’s no longer a government”. If that’s your definition, then I agree with your goal, 100% and the “government” I imagine (on the way to the DRO system) has a lot of people who are called “lazy” or “shiftless” or “noncontributing” because they have in fact, “opted out”. Perhaps 20-30 percent, initially, unltimately up to 100% minus violent “d/o UNSUBs” (disorganized unidentified subjects).

But have you considered how you’d get to that point, and then keep it going further?

I have. And I’ve found a good workable answer. That said, I will probably die with that answer, because of all the things that unite libertarians, there is one primary one above all others: the desire to be “right”. The desire to be the guy with the cool philosophy who gets a cool title, and access to a petty position of power. In that, you’re right. …But your ‘lord of the rings’ analogy breaks down. (It is good fiction, but it is not the be-all-end-all of real life.)

I’ve not found many l/Libertarians that want to work toward the goal of freedom, QUICKLY, SERIOUSLY.

Most people want success in life. Some people want success in life, and freedom. If given success, they gain what Ayn Rand called “freedom by default” (freedom because the feds aren’t trying to screw you), and real freedom is less of an option, and simultaneously less desired. But the person who is unsatisfied with a pittance and holds out for the free market risks all, and gains all: the trouble? He gains all for everyone else as well, and doesn’t profit more than “the free riders”. This makes the true freedom fighter very rare indeed.

But what happens when a small and effective team of people works together in an efficient and benevolent and prosperous corporation? (Because they all chose to work together, with their own minds as the only motivator?) The result is often excellent, even though the structure is centrally-planned. And, even though centrally-planned, it often takes advantage of group activity and emergent organization.

I simply suggest that we “leave no tool off the table” when we fight. (Media > Political Organization > Jury Rights Activism > Counter-economics > etc… ) All things can effect one another, positively or negatively. If the positive synergies are maximized, then all pieces of the puzzle complete the puzzle faster. If one section is left out, the puzzle won’t be completed, and will fall apart under stress… (Or the other pieces will need to be made larger, to “bridge the gap”. Carefully consider this. I am not saying politics is necessary. It simply reduces the cost in some situations –ESPECIALLY IN THE INITIAL STAGES. This is important to note.)

Those who are willing to do whatever it takes to win the fight typically win.

I suggest that each political situation is a set of problems that can be dealt with only by analyzing the situation, and having a lot of real-world experience and knowledge.

In some cases, counter-economic smuggling is a large part of the answer. But Konkin was wrong about the libertarian political organizations.

In some cases, running a candidate is the answer: though perhaps not for the reasons you might think.

(If some l/Libertarians controlled a city, nothing would change from D and R control. If different l/Libertarians controlled a city’s politics, many innocent lives would be saved, with the possible danger of legitimizing an evil system by making it temporarily slightly less evil — a postulate that I can negate only when allowed access to feedback. Otherwise it simply takes too long.)

I look forward to talking with you.

I described my jury rights activism plan to _____ _____ today, for 3 hours. If I talk about it online it will almost certainly be targeted by the goons who have made my life difficult lately. But that’s OK, what goes around comes around.

This is my last communication (at least for a long time) before we talk.

Bon Chance,

Jake

But have you considered how you’d get to that point, and then keep it going further?

Well, can you clarify what that point is? I’m not sure what exactly it is. But you do know the voluntaryist toolset in general, I’m sure.

of all the things that unite libertarians, there is one primary one above all others: the desire to be “right”. The desire to be the guy with the cool philosophy who gets a cool title, and access to a petty position of power.

The desire to be right, and consistent, is certainly what led many of us this far. Why abandon that now? What is wrong with being right?

I’m not seeking any position of power – that’s what you advocate people do, so I’m confused about how that criticism works.

I’ve not found many l/Libertarians that want to work toward the goal of freedom, QUICKLY, SERIOUSLY.

What tasks is it that you want seen done that aren’t getting done?

I simply suggest that we “leave no tool off the table” when we fight. (… Political Organization …

I do not find electoral politics to be a tool for freedom, rather a tool for enslavement. Therein the rub, and all that.

Jake, no offense intended, I avoid phone conversations with everyone. Sorry.

Jake, no offense intended, I avoid phone conversations with everyone. Sorry.

There are things that need feedback for clarification here. If we can’t talk, they can’t be clarified, because it would take too much time by typing.

The reason speech is better than me typing forever, is that I can’t rephrase when you begin to misinterpret what I’m saying or vice versa. Continuing like this, where you misinterpret most of what I’m saying, will take an eternity. (Too much Konkin is coming through in your words.)

Too bad you are now eschewing the valuable tool of feedback. My book is being delayed while I hustle up a new paycheck. I will be working 12-16 hour days for the near future, and will be offline long periods of time. I suggest you pursue jury rights activism, jointly with minarchists, toward the goal of reducing court punishments. (Keep in mind that you are using a Constitutional, minarchist tool of law when you do this, but you are using the most properly-designed tool of law. This is the proof that minarchism works, and it is your most powerful tool as an anarchist voluntaryist. You see? Any tool that helps you win in a fight is just and moral. It is the fight itself that delineates moral “sides”. A piece of broken glass is no more “moral” than a gun. There are rare cases where a piece of broken glass or a knife is useful in a fight, as elections are rarely useful. But sometimes they are. So why not carry a gun (jury rights activism) AND a knife (elections, initiatives, media activism) when you enter a battle? Don’t use the knife before the gun (don’t rely on the assholes at the LP National Office) but do use it when the opportunity presents itself.)

The personality of the minarchist is incredibly likely to view jury rights activism as “performing his proper role within the system”. Sadly, if you bungle this all up, misinterpret it, or try to fit them into the Spooner paradigm, you will drastically reduce your effectiveness at reducing unjust prosecutions. Because they will walk away from the ACTIVISM. They won’t be active in a paradigm they can’t understand.

A Jury rights rebellion is actually entirely “Constitutional” (I almost don’t know why I’m writing this, since it really seems like you’re trying to misinterpret what I say, when it doesn’t fit into your Konkin box). No, that doesn’t legitimize it. Yes, there’s a larger superstructure outside of the Constitution. No, the Constitution is not a contract. Yes, the Constitution is still a useful construct. No, the Constitution doesn’t do what it says it does. Yes, the Constitution can convince people who can’t understand the full superstructure of voluntaryism to nullify bad laws. No, the anarchist approach doesn’t make this likely, except for perhaps with approximately 15% of the people you’ll encounter. Yes, you should profile people based on the knowledge you perceive in them from an initial questioning. Etc…

There’s too much crap to wade through if we can’t talk.

…I don’t anticipate myself surviving much longer anyway though. If I make it long enough to finish my book and get it published, then the libertarian world will have some answers. If not, then the best writing on libertarian strategy will likely be Chapter 12 from Murray Rothbard’s “For a New Liberty: Revised Edition” and “Molon Labe” by Boston T. Party.

After that, I recommend “Out of Control” by Kevin Kelly, and “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” by Robert Heinlein.

If you want to work politics (electoral or otherwise, anything short of a picking up a gun in defense of yourself), then interfacing with the general public is 100% of your game. If you do this, you will begin to see opportunity for “programming the people you encounter”. As you get better at this, you will see your opportunity to impact the system.

You can alternate between the established “Operating System” that most people carry with them. (Minimal Constitutional Government. That government is best which governs least, and when men are ready for it the government that governs not at all -Thoreau/Jefferson) Or, you can try to supplant the existing architecture, which then begins them –MAYBE– down a path of learning.

But you want direct action, right? Time is short, right? Then why not do someone a favor, and get them out of jail?

Then, they’ll be willing to listen to Marc Stevens and Stefan Molyneux.

But what if they still vote? Wouldn’t it be best to have them vote Libertarian? (Rather than foll themselves into thinking the other vastly
worse assholes are lesser evils?)

I’ll close with a question:

Do you honestly think that if Peter Schiff was elected to the Senate, that his father –Irwin Schiff– (who was a hardcore opponent of the income tax, and who put up giant signs that my friends drove past in Las Vegas, that said “Why Are you Paying Income Tax When You Don’t Have To?” outside of his shop) would still be in prison? Do you honestly believe he wouldn’t use his new position of power as a “bully pulpit” to speak in defense of the horribly oppressed? Do you honestly believe that it wouldn’t be a huge “Fuck You” to the establishment? Do you think it would be no better than if Joe Socialist was elected instead?

I think when you make blanket judgements –as Konkin and LeFevre did–, that you eliminate valuable strategies from the table.

I think the voluntaryists are right that there is an enormous economic pressure placed on people who go into politics to become compromisers and backstabbers.

I further think that most people who enter politics are as dumb or dumber than I am, but even less honest, and this grossly exacerbates the problem of a pressure towards conformity and compromise.

But those same economic pressures are placed on good people who reject them, and therefore they are exceptions that prove the rule.

Just as heavier than air flying machines were viewed as impossible by most people until the wright brothers initial successes, and just as the atomic bomb was seen as impossible by the short-sighted nazis who kept trying to build larger lasers, etc… The exception is often a winning new paradigm.

If a libertarian gets elected, he has a podium. He has power to disseminate a message identical to Marc Stevens’ message. The goal of him and his co-conspirators could be to dismantle the system. If they are smart, they might be able to do it. If they are smart they might cripple some part of the system (say by introducing a bill to make the income tax voluntary and unenforceable, appealing to the minarchist and misinformed public to enforce the idea of the “consent of the governed”).

Would it then still be a government? You say not.

I say so, but it would be a better one, and a government possibly in transition to no government.

Countereconomics thrives in this scenario, more than it does in which there are no libertarian politicians echoing their ideas.

Moreover, slavery died the death of a thousand cuts while juries were in force. When the Northern judges created voir dire, they prevented juries from functioning properly, and began to build pressure behind a war.

The more power is decentralized, the less perverse political power there is in the system. The less pressure there is for the public to be misdirected.

Let’s say the Liberty Dollar jury trial nullifies the legal tender laws. Then the pressure for a free alternative bursts a hole in the dam, and the public flows through it, widening the stream, until it’s a deluge of non-government controlled voluntary interactions. But if that doesn’t happen, the legal tender laws are in the domain of politics –where the best option is a libertarian victory. If it fails there, then the only choice for freedom becomes civil disobedience, and open violence –bad options. …The court of last resort.

The gun of self-defense is implied in the voluntaryist position, or death is implied. Our leaders have no problem with that. They will happily kill us.

I prefer to use ALL nonviolent options at my disposal, including political speech. Speech defended with state guns, true. But speech nonetheless.
Nobody getting shot. That’s paradise compared to the breakdown of society that will come from the currency collapsing.

So yes, I’d rather voluntarily go to a voluntary system, rather than go through collapse before that voluntary system emerges.

Organized jury rights activism is one strategy.

Organized electoral political action is one strategy.

Organized media pressure is one strategy.

Organized initiative and referenda is another strategy (slightly different than voting for a person, it is voting to eliminate a specific law or laws).

Organized conter-system-economics is another strategy (but you better be selling sex or drugs if you want to make enough to defend yourself before the police state comes calling. And even then, they’ll expect a cut of the action, and you’ll need to pay them until you can fight them, if you want to live. …Trust me on this.).

In my prior email, I mention traits of most politicians, including those in the LP. You have a point there. But Most =/= all. There have been small teams of effective people within the LP in the past. They have gotten good people elected before who made things noticeably less coercive (thus better) in their local areas.

You can’t dispute this. Their names are: Andy Le Cureaux, Martin Howrylak, Fred Collins, etc… I know the people who helped elect them.

I’m not typing any more here though. It takes too long.

Whatever you decide, I hope you win all your battles.

-Jake

Your website refuses to let me open the link “When will we have our liberty?” It opens briefly, and then a popup IE dialogue box says “Internet Explorer cannot open the link {…URL…}” Then the screen behind it changes from the page to a “error page”

The fact that it opens briefly, is odd. Why does it do that, revealing the page briefly, and then takes me to the error page? It looked like a fun page of ranting against elections too, so I was anxious to see it. LOL

Too much Konkin is coming through in your words.

I’ve only read the NLM and maybe one and half times.

You see? Any tool that helps you win in a fight is just and moral. It is the fight itself that delineates moral “sides”

What does that second sentence mean exactly?

I think it is the alignment of the tools you use with the principles you fight for that matters. So, if you’re fighting for liberty but routinely use aggression, it destroys your credibility. IOW, it is self-defeating.

Do you honestly think that if Peter Schiff was elected to the Senate, that …? Do you honestly believe he wouldn’t use his new position of power as a “bully pulpit” to speak in defense of the horribly oppressed? Do you honestly believe that it wouldn’t be a huge “Fuck You” to the establishment? Do you think it would be no better than if Joe Socialist was elected instead?

This argument just does not stick to the wall for me. My response is, “So what?” How does it get us closer to minarchy or anarchy? I don’t think electing Schiff to the senate does that. In fact, what he does now is so valuable it would likely even be a step backwards for him to be elected.

If a libertarian gets elected, he has a podium. He has power to disseminate a message identical to Marc Stevens’ message.

A lot of politicians talk a great game. But they lack integrity so there is a disconnect between talk and action. That’s what has led myself and/or others in the past to rally behind someone, become disenchanted and then lose respect even for the ideas they enunciated.

So when you have an anarchist in office talking about anarchy, it’s the exact same lack of integrity and consistency as the other politicians. It’s more bullshit and it discredits the philosophy in the minds of many members of the public.

The more power is decentralized, the less perverse political power there is in the system. The less pressure there is for the public to be misdirected.

Agreed. However, it’s a band aid. It’s not a complete solution.

Let’s say the Liberty Dollar jury trial nullifies the legal tender laws.

LD is not challenging legal tender laws tho, so how could that happen?

In closing, I have enormous respect for you, I enjoy our conversations and have or am currently reading or have queued up almost all of the books you recommend to me, so please don’t get overly angry with me. :D

I think the link issue was because there was maintenance on my server around the time of your post.

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