17 votes

TragedyAndHope.com AnCap v. MinArch. Rd2: Molyneux vs Tom Willcutts; James Corbett (Host)

History... Debate: Stefan Molyneux vs. Tom Willcutts, Hosted by James Corbett


Published on Mar 21, 2013

Tragedy and Hope Presents: History... So It Doesn't Repeat, featuring a debate between Stefan Molyneux and Tom Willcutts, attempting to answer the question "Is government, by its very nature, immoral?".

Would You Like to Know More?


Trending on the Web

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Government isn't immoral if

Government isn't immoral if those under its jurisdiction are there voluntarily.

Money is taken out of our

Money is taken out of our bank accounts everyday through inflation. the Greece government can't depreciate so they had to take the actual numbers.

whomever you believe won the debate one thing is certain,

either of these 2 men are FAR better then what we got now.

Tom mis-interpreted all the great Anarchist thinkers and Stephan did not capitalize. Stephan has been using the same two or three arguments for years. He should go spend some time studying Mises, Rothbard, and Hoppe to name a few. I think the Anarchist side is not being well taken by Stephan anymore. This in and of itself is a great thing - the conversation is spreading and surpassing the ideas of its founders. And speaking of Founders: Ours [America's] are so revered by Minarchists for thinking the unthinkable, but after the failure of the Minarchy, why do Minarchist not applaud the brave minds that venture into such forbidden frontiers as abolishing the legal monopoly of taxation, force, and final word in justice (including matters that involve itself) in a specific geographic area?

Even with Stephan fumbling, Minarchist simply cannot argue with the elementary solution to social order: Anarchy.

You act as if the anarchy is a new idea

The idea of Anarchy was pushed during the founding generation. Ever read the Anti-federalist papers? Minarchism didn't fail, the people running the system did.

What people fail to realize is that Minarchism IS anarchy, true minarchism is being left alone, the government remains large enough to protect, but small enough to be pushed around by US when they get out of hand, we stopped pushing them and they are taking over.

This exact same thing would happen under an anarchism rule.

Who is going to stop me from forming a group of 500 loyal townsfolk and looting the next town over, then completely dominating them?

Who stopped the looting and raping during Katrina? or during the Hurricane that hit NY and Jersey?

Anarchy is flawed because it requires everyone remain good-natured. At least in a minarchy we have a support structure people can't mess with...to a point. It's a deterrence, like a lock on a door, minarchism wont stop people, but the idea is to slow them down long enough for us to respond. Anarchy removes the deterrence and allows free reign for anyone with the power to wield it.

Anarchism is like Marxism, both are Utopias that require everyone to "do the right thing." Neither is realistic.

Minarchism is not Anarchism

First let's define government. Two criteria are needed.
First, it is a compulsory monopoly of jurisdiction in a given geographic region even in cases that include itself.

Second it is the has a monopoly on taxation (the price that everyone pays for the services of it[the State].

Monopolies are always bad for consumers. So why is it preferable to allow a monopoly to exist in the most important service society needs? Security? Monopolies will always render higher prices and bad service. And this 'service' the government is supposed to provide has no contract. What happens when they fail? Do the people get their money back? Do they make a change? No. They like failure. Failure allows them to increase the cost and perpetuate the problem so they can do less for ever more money.

I did not say the founders of Anarchistic thought did not go way back. Poetsie lived in the 15th century if I am not mistaken.

Anarchists are the only ones who know that humans will always have evil outliers. That is why creating an institution with the legal right to be evil will only attract these people. You can't fight fire with fire.

I know you can't think that Katrina or Sandy are examples of anarchy, c'mon. Both are examples of a why the USGovt sucks in spite of the most monstrous tax burden ever! Including the Scandinavian countries. Yep, you have to add in our health insurance to compare us with them and that puts us higher than them.

Anarchy is not utopia. It is merely the elimination of a flawed legal monopoly on justice. Just like Ron Paul like competing currencies, Anarchist like competing justice systems.

When will you Minarchist concede that it just didn't work?

I think the issue is how much

I think the issue is how much power corporations wield. Stefan says governments are worse because they have armies and the like, and corporations would fail if they tried to raise an army. This is probably true, however, corporations have all sorts of dirty tricks they can pull, even to go as far as assassinating people that get in the way. I tend to side with Willcuts in this regard. I have a hard time believing the free market can simply keep corporations in check.


this debate was in a much better format than the first. i like the improvement. and both tom and stephen had great points.

i find it hard to believe that tom has never heard of a monopoly of force. he's not a stupid man; it's quite obvious that the state gets a free pass to aggress where the people cannot without punishment.

stephen's rape punishment scenario was indeed scary. and did i hear a "central database" in there? so there is a central authority in a voluntary society? yes, that is big brother, and merely a replacement of the current system; not a revision of it. point goes to tom on that one, imo.

stephen, i think, "won" over all. but, i like tom...a lot. this man has something to say. his point of view is valid and strong.

i think tom won the last debate, but it could have been due to format. anyway, i wonder who he'll debate next. love these!

tasmlab's picture

The central database

He refers to private rating agencies, just as there are three private rating agencies who track your credit score.

If you liked that snippet of the punishment, the whole thing is worth checking out - although that was almost the whole thing.

Currently consuming: Morehouse's "Better off free", FDR; Wii U; NEP Football

Larken brought Tom to the

Larken brought Tom to the point he could not answer simple yes or no questions without long pauses because he knew what the right answer was but was looking for an answer to support the notion some people can have special rights. The best part of the Larken debate was watching Tom squirm in his chair once Larken cornered him down to the precise thing agents of his ideal government could do that mere mortals can not do. If you do not have the power to steal how can you delegate such a power? It doesn't matter what it is ... if something is delegated mere mortals can't do, it is evil.

There was a moment where Tom realized exactly what Larken was saying where all he could do was admit he would have to take the criticism only his government agents can provide due process.

don't get me wrong

i dig larken rose. i think the moderator did a disservice to rose by jumping into the conversation. they kind of ganged up on tom. maybe, tom and larken will debate again using this format. i'd love to see it.

Larken and Stefan present

Larken and Stefan present simple points. In both so called debates Tom is long winded and not on point. I view Tom like most minarchists. They don't really have a point or philosophy of their own they are grounded in. They merely see people pointing out the evil of a group of people with an arbitrary label having special rights which challenges the notion of government authority and think but we need people with special rights who are above the law and beyond reproach ...

Stefan is bringing the common sense perspective

1. Agree on definitions. No debate can occur unless there is an agreement upon terms. It is a most basic element of communication.

2. The definition of government is a monopoly on the initiation of force over a given geographical territory. Accept the definition, point out an inconsistency with the definition, or rebut the definition.

3. Government claims to be able to do the very thing it condemns for a private individual.

4. The arbitrary classifying of some people with a "government" label to legitimize the immoral initiation of force is evil.

As Stefan rightly points out if we are going to end slavery or the immoral initiation of force how things turn out 10, 50, or 100 years from now are irrelevant. The goal is ending the immoral initiation of force. It is the single greatest action item on the agenda. Either it is ok to murder, kidnap, steal, rape, pillage, and plunder for all or it is not.

Respect to all 3 people involved in the Debate

But I can't help but gravitate towards Stephan and his message.


I watched both debates in

I watched both debates in full. I thought Larken won the first debate, but Tom came back strong and won this one rather easily.

I'm surprised that Stefan didn't seize upon Tom's defense of limited liability corporations, because it's exactly that legally protected concept which gives corporations the illegitimate power that Tom claims we need government to protect ourselves against. Corporations are considered "persons" under the law, but their liability is limited to the wealth invested in the corporation. This is a completely illegitimate concept.

Corporations are GROUPS of people, and limiting the liability of this group of persons if they abuse our rights merely because they are working together is illogical and immoral. The modern limited liability corporation is a state created and state protected abomination.

(Full disclosure: I come from the AnCap perspective.)

I must be willing to give up what I am in order to become what I will be. Albert Einstein

Stephan is a terrible debater

Stephan is a terrible debater and I cringe everytime I watch him debate in real time.

Larken is a genius though.

First time I ever heard that.

Now I'm really gonna have to watch it.

Most of those who think so actually don't and most of those who think sew actually rip.

What makes you think an

What makes you think an anarchist "legal" system would not also allow limited liability? Isn't virtually anything fair game? Is the (coercive...oooo O_O) trial by jury safe?

Ventura 2012

There may well be

There may well be corporations that operate under limited liability in a totally free market - they may require that as a condition of doing business with them - but there may well be other corporations who do not require that, and so might be preferable corporations to do business with for those who value the right to hold others fully responsible for any damages they might suffer in the course of doing business.

To me, the whole anarchist vs minarchist argument boils down to whether the actions being discussed are entered into voluntarily or not, which is why I prefer the word "voluntaryism" to describe a society absent coercive government.

Even an entity with many or even most of the same functions currently claimed by government might possibly exist in a voluntaryist society. The key is whether the agreement to abide by the decisions of this entity is entered into voluntarily.

I don't get why so many libertarians react so violently to the idea of a stateless society. Many of the 18th century thinkers who influenced the founding of the country struggled with the contradiction of freedom and government. Jefferson especially struggled with the concept, even going so far as to suggest that government should be abolished and recreated each generation so that those living under it would have a greater say in it's makeup.

Voluntaryism is an ideal. I grant you that it isn't practical - not in today's world with today's level of human understanding. But humans can and do progress, and who's to say that at some future time humanity might be ready to live in peace with one another absent coercive government?

I must be willing to give up what I am in order to become what I will be. Albert Einstein

What you described is exactly

What you described is exactly the case today, if consumers wanted to they could demand liability.

Ventura 2012

You obviously don't

You obviously don't understand corporate law or the concept of limited liability. Consumers are powerless against corporations today. Government protected limited liability renders consumers helpless and empowers corporations to push off many of their costs (environmental etc...) on society at large.

I must be willing to give up what I am in order to become what I will be. Albert Einstein

LOL I'm months away from my

LOL I'm months away from my JD and I've take Corporate law and Corporate tax dumb dumb. Not all business organizations are corporations. In fact, the government double-taxes corporations so there is even a discincentive to form them.

Ventura 2012

And so you're the victim of

And so you're the victim of collegiate propaganda. I'm supposed to be impressed?

Try thinking for yourself for a change.

Limited liability provides corporations with a legally protected advantage over other business entities, and over the consumer.

Those are the facts, friend.

I must be willing to give up what I am in order to become what I will be. Albert Einstein

Classic anarchist reponse

to wear your ignorance as a badge of honor.

My whole point is that there could very be a similar "advantage" given in anarchist courts because guess what, anarchists believe in law too. The whole point is, should the liability "pierce the corporate veil" and reach the assets of individuals...it was government courts that decided the doctrine of "respondeat superior"(you can sue the owners for the actions of the employees) to begin with. So what if anarchist courts reject THAT doctrine?

Ventura 2012

we don't know

It's obviously a speculation at this point. A good way to approach this issue is to ask, how did limited liability arise? Did it arise on the market, or what it created by a law?

"All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind." - Khalil Gibran
"The Perfect Man has no self; the Holy Man has no merit; the Sage has no fame." - Chuang Tzu

both liability and limited

both liability and limited liability regimes were created in an environment of government and enforced by government courts.

Ventura 2012

That's not how I saw it....

Tom never even made an attempt to refute Stefan's initial point, or even state his own definition of a state.

In fact, most of the time he completely ignored Stefan's points, and instead rambled on about things unrelated.

Check out the Laissez-Faire Journal at LFJournal.com

"The State is a gang of thieves writ large." - Murray Rothbard

Comments disabled.



The first round with Larken Rose was great, I'll watch it right after I'm done with Bob Wenzel's lecture at LvMI from yesterday.

Check out the Laissez-Faire Journal at LFJournal.com

"The State is a gang of thieves writ large." - Murray Rothbard