Minarchists, What’s Their Excuse?

“… the State claims and exercises the monopoly of crime …. It forbids private murder, but itself organizes murder on a colossal scale. It punishes private theft, but itself lays unscrupulous hands on anything it wants, whether the property of citizen or alien.” – Albert Jay Nock

“The State … is the ‘organization of the political means’, it is the systematization of the predatory process over a given territory ….. The State provides a legal, orderly, systematic channel for the predation of private property; it renders certain, secure, and relatively ‘peaceful’ the lifeline of the parasitic caste in society” – Murray Rothbard

I think Walter Block argued that healthcare is too important a service to be left to the government to provide. Rather, the private sector, the free market, should provide us with doctors, nurses, hospitals, pharmaceutical drugs, hospital beds, etc. If we must settle with the state monopolizing a service, we should let it manufacture elastic bands, or shoe laces – things we can get along without relatively easily. Anarchists argue the same for defence and justice, services possibly even more important than healthcare.

Minarchists are great at disproving government intervention in virtually every area of economic and social life: money, education, healthcare, infrastructure, morality and private life, drug use, international affairs. Yet they seem to think that possibly the single most important aspect of our lives, our personal security, can be managed by the same people that can’t pave a street within budget or on schedule. Minarchists don’t trust the state with chalk and a chalk board but they trust it with M16s and tanks. What gives?

“But defence is too important to be left to the market” some may say. Well, I agree that defence is important. But let’s just use Walter Block’s argument. If defence is really that important than its production should be left to the free market. If the market were left to provide security I would not be so concerned about the roads or high tuition fees.

Minarchists will make great arguments about why we should take the state out of various aspects of our lives. They make these arguments to conservatives, liberals, and socialists. “Power corrupts; the state cannot calculate; by their very nature, governments go into debt; it’s a public goods problem; the market allocates resources more efficiently; it is immoral to use force against other individuals”. They have mastery of this rhetoric and yet when it comes to abolishing the state all together they freeze up. Lock down mode. They can’t take their arguments to their logical conclusion. “Well, we just can’t get rid of the state all together. We need it for some things.”

I understand how a layman sees government as necessary an institution as he does. After all, he is indoctrinated with state propaganda from birth. He is told he needs the state to keep crosswalks safe, or to be protected from UV rays. In some ways he is more justified than the minarchist for having the views he does. Libertarians, on the other hand, know the alternatives. They read Rothbard, Mises, Hayek, Friedman, Hoppe. They have access to resources that libertarians 25 years ago would have never been able to find without substantial effort. Yet despite all their exposure to libertarian ideas, they still see the state as either necessary or desirable.

What’s their excuse?

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