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Yesterday I read a comment posted by an anarcho-capitalist that was truly mind boggling. The comment that was made said they (the advocate of anarcho-capitalism) had more respect for the reasoning of the authoritarian than for the reasoning of the advocate (classic liberal/libertarian/paleo-conservative) for a limited government.
Basically, this anarcho-capitalist has more respect for the reasoning of Marx, Stalin, Lenin, Mao, and Hitler than for Locke, Bastiat, Jefferson, Ron Paul, Rand Paul, and Mises.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the product of the Neo-Austrian movement that is taking place. While Ron Paul encouraged everyone dedicated to liberty to study the classic literature of limited government the Neo-Austrian/Neo-Rothbardian anarcho-capitalist is turning a rich intellectual heritage into slogans and intellectual quips. They are doing to liberty what Sean Hannity has done to Conservatism.
"You think government has a legitimate role in society! Statist!"
"Oh, you are against monopolies? So why do you support the monopoly of the state!?!?! Statist!"
"You support the Constitution? Don't you know that the Constitution allows for taxation and that all taxation is theft?!?!?! Statist!"
"So you think the government will always exist? That is like saying slavery will always exist! Statist!"
"You think a consumption tax is voluntary? Statist!"
This is what it amounts too - One extreme of a fascist, authoritarian, totalitarian state on one side or anarcho-capitalism on the other. There is nothing reasonable in between. This position, in my view, is an absurdly ridiculous position to argue on behalf of because it puts forth a false dilemma. Slavery or freedom - meaning, any government possibly conceived of or freedom. This is not free thinking. This is mindlessly attaching yourself to an ideology with zero practical application to our current situation.
The philosophical hypocrisy is apparent when it is recognized that the Neo-Rothbardian anarcho-capitalist is supportive of folks like Mises and Ron Paul. Mises emphatically denies the reality of a stateless society when he says this:
"The anarchists overlook the undeniable fact that some people are either too narrow-minded or too weak to adjust themselves spontaneously to the conditions of social life. Even if we admit that every sane adult is endowed with the faculty of realizing the good of social cooperation and of acting accordingly, there still remains the problem of the infants, the aged, and the insane. We may agree that he who acts antisocially should be considered mentally sick and in need of care. But as long as not all are cured, and as long as there are infants and the senile, some provision must be taken lest they jeopardize society. An anarchistic society would be exposed to the mercy of every individual. Society cannot exist if the majority is not ready to hinder, by the application or threat of violent action, minorities from destroying the social order. This power is vested in the state or government.
State or government is the social apparatus of compulsion and coercion. It has the monopoly of violent action. No individual is free to use violence or the treat of violence if the government has not accorded this right to him. The state is essentially an institution for the preservation of peaceful interhuman relations. However, for the preservation of peace it must be prepared to crush the onslaughts of peace-breakers." (Human Action, Mises, Pg. 149)Awkward!
Here are some of the flaws in the anarcho-capitalist reasoning. They think since their society will be absent of taxation that the threat of force is somehow more legitimate because the institutions that exist to preserve social order will be subject to the market. This is naive. First, just because people voluntarily give their money to a police-like institution doesn't mean they are living in a "force-less" society because they are still sanctioning the institution to use force against those who partake in criminal activity. It isn't force they have an issue with it is taxation, since force will still exist in the anarcho-capitalist society.
I want to say that again, the problem isn't really about force, it is taxation.
The question that needs to be addressed is whether or not it is possible to have taxation that is voluntary.
In my view this is possible. Let us consider a society that has a limited government and within this society the Constitution is followed to the letter. In order to provide funding for a police force, 100% of the citizens of this society vote in favor of a consumption tax placed on gasoline. At this point, people are free to choose whether they want to consume gasoline or not. In fact, if the police force gets out of line and starts to abuse their power, the society can go on a "gas-strike" and defund the police in order to demand a change in policy.
The anarcho-capitalists may retort and say that such a society does not exist in reality. To that I say, welcome to political philosophy because neither does their version of the just society exist in reality.
Another problem that exists for the anarcho-capitalist is the problem of the preservation of their stateless society. Our founders argued that if a Constitutional Republic is to remain viable the citizenry would have to embody certain virtuous attributes and if those virtues were left behind so would the Republic. The same goes for the anarcho-capitalist, and I maintain that the virtues necessary for the Republic would be the same for the stateless society. If these virtues are forgotten, so will the stateless society and their is nothing the market can do to re-establish virtue considering the fact that the market is nothing more than a derivative of the predominant individual virtues currently present within society.
Yet another problem is the Neo-Austrian/Neo-Rothbardian anarcho-capitalist rejects model theory in economics because they believe that models cannot properly capture reality. So for example, the perfect competition model shows what an economy would look like given these assumptions:
- Infinite buyers and sellers
- Zero entry and exit barriers
- Perfect mobility of goods and services
- Perfect information
- Zero transaction costs
- Profit maximization
- Homogeneous products
- Non-increasing returns to scale
- Property rights
All economists realize that these factors do not exist in real-time but nonetheless, it is a theory that can be utilized for advancement of a free society.
Here is the problem for the Neo-Austrian/Neo-Rothbardian anarcho-capitalist; while rejecting models for lack of realism, the perfect competition model IS the anarcho-capitalist theory of society. This, of course, is highly problematic.
The Neo-Austrian needs to get off of their intellectual high horse, get rid of their superiority complex, and start to solve the problems that exist in their own philosophy. In addition to that, they need to engage intelligent and thoughtful folks dedicated to limited government in a more meaningful way. Spouting platitudes and chanting statist is not sound argumentation.
Updated Note - This is the original quote I was responding to:
Updated Note - This is the original quote I was responding to:
"I have more respect for the reasoning of the authoritarian than I do for the advocate of 'small government'.
The former believes that because the state is good, we should therefore have as much of it as possible. Makes sense, doesn't it?
But the latter almost always admits that the state is bad, and then unbelievably declares that we most definitely should have it on some level. I am stumped."NOTE - Here is a link to my response to Amanda BillyRock's rebuttal - The Truth About Anarchism - A Reply to Amanda BillyRock