Intro To Ancap - Private Law (Pt 1) The Case Against MonopolySubmitted by Marc Clair on Thu, 08/23/2012 - 02:05
This is my first post in my attempt to summarize the concepts of Anarcho-Capitalism for the "common man", based on the Anarcho-Capitalism course I am taking with Robert Murphy at the Mises Academy.
I introduced the project here:
Hope you'll find it interesting, and feedback is appreciated.
In my observation, most people who describe themselves as “libertarian” – including myself up until fairly recently – are minarchists in that, while generally believing in the principles of libertarianism, they still see the existence of a minimal State as a necessary evil for the purposes of basic law enforcement. After all, how else would society take care of thieves, murderers, rapists, etc? “Every society needs rules”, the common objector might argue, “or else we’d have anarchy!” And that is the first myth we have to dispel in order to understand law in an anarcho-capitalist society. Anarchy means without rulers, but not without rules.
The real question we must then ask is: who defines the rules, and who enforces the rules?
In order to begin to understand how law would work in an anarcho-capitalist society we have to first determine the exact nature of the law. Law is distinct from morality in the sense that ,while there are certain things most of us find immoral such as say, cheating on one’s wife, this is not against the law. The purpose of law is not to impose personal morality on others. Law is also distinct from law enforcement, in that different firms would provide legal rulings and enforcement of legal rulings, as opposed to a governed society where one entity, “the government” , has a monopoly on both legal rulings as well as legal enforcement. And finally law is also distinct from legislation. There would be no politicians or government agencies arbitrarily deciding what is “legal” and “illegal”.
So how do we understand law if it is disconnected from personal morality, enforcement, and legislation? The answer is that all law is bound up in a single, underlying principle: property rights. This is the idea that everyone has sovereignty over their own property, and the law should protect or punish any infringements on the private property of another. Now there is much debate about how property rights would be defined in a free society, and it’s certainly a debate worth having. But for the purposes of this course and my summaries we are making the presumption that this theoretical anarcho-capitalist society has well-defined property rights.
An important point to note about law based on property rights in an anarcho-capitalist society is that, without a “State” to make arbitrary rules, far fewer acts would be considered to be in violation of law. In every case there would have to be a victim whose property rights have been violated making a complaint against the violator. There would be no more “State Of California vs. Joe Anarchist” type cases. No consensual acts between individuals would be considered a violation of anyone’s property rights. There would be no “War on Drugs”. There would be no undercover police officers dressed as trannies trying to ensnare desperate Johns looking to get their rocks off for a few bucks. This being the case, it is safe to say there would be far less “crime” in a Stateless society.