Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Arguing with Anarchists

You took my jacket!  Give it back!


My jacket.  You stole it.  Give it back.
   I didn't take your jacket.

Yes you did.  Now give it back, or I'll come to your house and start taking stuff.

  I have two friends, Smith and Wesson, say you won't.

Well, my gang is bigger than your gang.  Give me back my jacket now, or else!

Herein lies the absurdity of the NIF Principle, the "non-initiation of force" argument that claims to be at the pinnacle of neo-libertarian thought.

Obviously, this is where the "minarchists" come in, claiming that government should have a limited role in resolving just this situation.  There is no principle of minarchism though that would prevent such a government from being unjust in resolving the dispute listed above.

Some point to the DRO idea (I have no idea what that stands for, but it's basically a mercenary insurance company) and say that common people would "join" their protection company.  So, how's that different from every other petty monarchy or street gang throughout human history?

I had the opportunity in 1985 to ask Murray Rothbard a question.  I asked that, since he believed that everything should be privatized, including courts and military, shouldn't we, as the Libertarian Party, start resolving other issues on how we would address things like habeus corpus, bans on torture, etc.?

And at that point, aren't we discussing a Social Contract?  i.e. Government?

Most people read the NIF principle and think, at first, that it means we don't advocate political violence.  Of course, anarchists strongly believe in the ability to retaliate, to use force after it has been initiated.  So, any excuse for violence is justified if you can argue that the other person started it.

Taking their argument to the next level, anarcho-folks argue that the State is, by it's nature, the initiation of force.  By that logic, it's no-holds barred on what to do about it, and violent revolution becomes some fantasy.

Sorry kids, I'm not in your club.  Government should protect people without violating their rights.  It can be done, too, without this touchstone of ideological BS.

And don't think I didn't forget:  I want my jacket back!


  1. Obviously, this is where third party arbitration comes in to help the gangs resolve this dispute, and future disputes, with a set of rules that prevent war. The gangs don't really want to go to war if it can be avoided. By choosing certain arbitrators, they choose the set of laws that they live by.

  2. That's just crazy. A government should serve to protect the people. Under your argument, it only serves those who can pay for protection. Anarco-capitalism recognizes no rights beyond property. It's not a policy for people, it's a policy for would-be monarchs and their populist supporters.