28 votes

Do I Have To Be An Anarchist or a Minarchist?

Something I tend to notice when having discussions with people, not just here but in other forums.

When having disagreements with an anarchist, I am usually called a minarchist.

When having disagreements with an minarchist, I am usually called an a an anarchist?

Remember when we all first discovered Ron Paul, and we'd get frustrated when both Democrats and Republican would try to make us fit in their box, and would inevitably call you "progressive" for holding an anti-war belief, or a "fascist" or "conservative" for defending this or that on the free market?

Well, that's the same way I feel about anarchy vs. minarchy. It has become the left-right paradigm of the liberty movement. And it's just as false.

Can't I just be someone who strives for rational political debate which aims at a consistent philosophy?



Trending on the Web

Comment viewing options

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

Then you are a

Then you are a volunteerist/anarchist and for whatever reason you are fighting the label.

"In reality, the Constitution itself is incapable of achieving what we would like in limiting government power, no matter how well written."

~ Ron Paul, End the Fed

Or...

You are not an anarchist and for whatever reason cling to the label.

If you agree people can form governments, than you aren't an abject anarchist (though you may personally wish to live in anarchy)

http://lionsofliberty.com/
*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

As I have already explained,

As I have already explained, you keep purposefully misusing the word government. You aren't intellectually honest.

"In reality, the Constitution itself is incapable of achieving what we would like in limiting government power, no matter how well written."

~ Ron Paul, End the Fed

It's okay to be either

An anarchist is just a minarchist that ran out of excuses.

"Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito."

An anarchist is just a

An anarchist is just a rational minarchist 6 months later. Any argument for a state with a monopoly on force and violence is a greater good argument that sacrifices the individual and in the end will never serve the greater good.

"In reality, the Constitution itself is incapable of achieving what we would like in limiting government power, no matter how well written."

~ Ron Paul, End the Fed

?

Can you explain this, or is just a catchphrase?

http://lionsofliberty.com/
*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

It's a catchphrase with an explanation

A minarchist has excuses for government, defense, roads, etc. over time, those excuses are shown to be wrong, and then you run out. At that point the minarchist is now an anarchist, without any excuses.

That's how it was with me.

"Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito."

When does (s)he stop

paying taxes?

When they feel the threat of violence

Is so low the risk becomes worth it.

"Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito."

I choose to see these debates as healthy & worthwhile

Sure, we're a complex species that normally doesn't like to be pinned down to a label. However, in my opinion the differences between a limited and no government philosophical position is vastly different when compared to the "left-right paradigm".

One thing I would like to see more of in our discourse on such topics is civility and respectfulness toward each other. This includes myself.

If men are good, you don't need government; if men are evil or ambivalent, you don't dare have one.

ChristianAnarchist's picture

You have to be a "Liberty-ist"

You have to be a "Liberty-ist". I'm an anarchist but I still play the Santa Clause game so that I can teach others who are on a quest to discover Liberty. When people ask me what position I take I like to respond that I take the position of Liberty. If someone is running for office I tell them that I will support the candidate who believes in and promotes Liberty. Not everyone has a full grasp of what "Liberty" is and that's ok because we are all on a learning curve here. As long as people are starting down the Liberty path they will eventually come to the conclusion that this idea of "government" is a flawed one and they will hopefully stop using the force of said "government" to infringe on others...

Beware the cult of "government"...

I like that

I'm probably a vacillating minarchist who dreams of anarchy, but find the distinction irrelevant.

I'm a "Liberty-ist". We have to get a LOT closer before the distinction makes a difference.

It seems more and more that a government that could actually work for the good of the people is the Utopian dream.

Just open the box and see

one observation, and one point

observation: your question belies a mentality which regards anarchism and minarchism as the entire spectrum of possible rational beliefs.

your formulation is interesting in itself, since it excludes 99% of humanity, which is neither anarchist, nor minarchist. most people support 'some government,' neither the minimum possible, nor none, but merely some.

very few people support the anarchists' bug-a-boo 'total state,' which was a fetish of the 20th century that sought to enwrap all civil society in the political state, generally a socialistic/democratic paradigm that was short lived and now dead.

this is different of course from absolute monarchies which have political sovereignty, but don't seek control of every aspect of civil or economic life. also different from theocracies, etc., which may have political and religious autocracy, but maybe be lighter weight than america's democratic state and less controlling of civil and economic affairs.

limited government is something else entirely, where checks and balances and built-in divisions try to limit the scope and extent of power in the political apparatus, while leaving civil society, religion, and most of the economy alone.

then there is also the concern with preventing concentration of economic power in so few hands that political power is subordinated to a purely selfish economic class or cartelizing elites.

there is a whole world of kinds of government in the present and historical landscape, and anarchism is a fleeting shadow in that boisterous rollicking reality. it has no historical basis or philosophical standing, and is a will o' the wisp of utopian fools.

minarchism is ill defined, since people can disagree about the necessary size of a minimally stable government.

limited government is a better term, and still open to discussion about the proper political posture toward permitting economic power to concentrate.

point: logically, you must be an archist, anarchist, or have no opinion. illogically, there may be other possibilities.

observation

"observation: your question belies a mentality which regards anarchism and minarchism as the entire spectrum of possible rational beliefs.

your formulation is interesting in itself, since it excludes 99% of humanity, which is neither anarchist, nor minarchist. most people support 'some government,' neither the minimum possible, nor none, but merely some."

This is all true. I am specifically responding to the type of things I hear in these forums, where I take one position and suddenly I'm an "anarchist" or "minarchist", when I personally identify with neither. I reject that classification outright, as I state in the original post.

"point: logically, you must be an archist, anarchist, or have no opinion. illogically, there may be other possibilities."

I suppose I must be illogical then. Because I believe in the right to be anarchist, and the right to participate in hierarchal systems of one's choosing. They are not mutually exclusive.

http://lionsofliberty.com/
*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

illogical it is

. "Because I believe in the right to be an anarchist, and the right to participate in the heirarchal systems of one's choosing" Is equivalent to saying: " I believe in the right to be a vegetarian, and the right to eat the cheeseburgers of my choosing." It's incredibly illogical, your second premise completely invalidates the first one. Hope this clarifies the issue for you.

nope

not one bit.

Better would be "I believe in the right to be a vegetarian, and the right to eat meat, just don't force me to be one or the other"

http://lionsofliberty.com/
*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

false

if anarchist is defined as 'concord with the voluntary principle,' then a person can voluntarily agree to any condition of subjection, all the way up to slavery.

the only way an anarchist could escape from this crushing conclusion would be to deny that free contracts are valid. who knows on what basis the anarchist could make such a claim, since there is no basis in his own viewpoint to restrict another person's right to promise, or another's right to enforce the contract, since anarchists do not claim such rights.

the only point wherein mark is mistaken is in not having an un-equivocal definition of government, and of anarchy, wherein anarchist is by definition the opposition to government. clear definitions would rescue us.

anarchist

"if anarchist is defined as 'concord with the voluntary principle,' then a person can voluntarily agree to any condition of subjection, all the way up to slavery."

Is it defined that way? I agree with this, but I don't think anarchy is defined that way in real life, though it is by many anarchists.

"the only point wherein mark is mistaken is in not having an un-equivocal definition of government, and of anarchy, wherein anarchist is by definition the opposition to government. clear definitions would rescue us."

I believe I have definitions of both, which is why I see anarchy as in direct opposition to government, and inconsistent with voluntary principles.

http://lionsofliberty.com/
*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

if by "real life"

you mean the dictionary, then No. the dictionary definition of anarchism probably doesn't even mention an-cap. an cap is the invention of a few libertarian intellectuals, drawing from a variety of intellectual strains.

it is part, voluntaryism.

part austrian economics, in its views about the nature of human economic decision making.

part natural rights or ethics, but this goes back to voluntaryism, hence Nap.

part theory of property which limits and demarcates just from unjust claims of property on the basis of some supposedly logical progression from self ownership.

part theory (or assertion) of the just levels of escalation in response to force. proportionality, etc.

the dictionary definition of anarchism is probably more akin to "belief that all forms of hierarchical authority, whether political or economic, are bad and illegitimate and should be destroyed."

this is not the view embraced by libertarian anarchists.

but if you take the voluntary principle seriously, as foundational, it would require that a contract to a period of service coextensive with a persons life would be enforceable.

to prevent anyone from enforcing this kind of contract, in an anarchist world, would require that all the security agencies bind together to destroy, as aggressors, those agents or agencies willing to enforce contracts between voluntarily agreeing parties regarding such extensive terms of service.

the same for marriage contracts, or prostitution contracts for a period longer than a few days...

some anarchists will claim that a person isn't "allowed" to alienate their own physical will... but the question is, "allowed by who?"

if you're not permitted to use force to collect the civil damage of someone violating a contract with you, then that would mean you can't jail a lifeguard for letting a kid drown by not showing up to work.

you wouldn't be allowed to jail a company of firemen for deciding on a whim to let a burning building collapse on a classroom.

if the anarchist said 'no contract remains valid once a person no longer wants to submit it,' then you can send contracts out the window and suffer the consequences to commerce. theft of services would be allowed, and no one would ever pay for anything except an hour or day of labor.

anarchism is humpty dumpty, only that it was never actually put together. just a bunch of scattered nonsense.

well said bill

I guess I was presuming that we were working around a narrower definition here at the very least.

I'm not so sure about your conclusion that to deny a person's voluntary agreement all the way up to slavery means to deny free contracts are valid. This would only hold if you have no prior principles or imperatives that hold place in society. I'm thinking here of the Kantian Categorical Imperative. Because we don't have a specific definition of anarchism, how can we infer that there are no first principles so to speak of which say some prior actions must hold accountable to?

i agree that

if freedom to contract is not considered paramount, or necessary, then anarchism would have a very different definition than i would have thought. but if it does hold voluntary exchange and contract to be immutable, it would have to accept a person's right to freely contract to a term of service co-extensive with his life, and any other terms and conditions he agreed to. to not permit this contract would be to sacrifice the entire concept of freedom to contract. it would be replaced by the limited freedom to contract, or the freedom to contract to some thing, but not all. so, in essence, not an actual state of full freedom to contract.

I think that

even if an anarchist holds that freedom of contract is paramount to their philosophy, they could still hold that there are moral/ ethical principles which are of greater importance. Any limitations that may be imposed on the conditions of contracts, doesn't necessarily mean they are living in a state of contradiction. I mean what's forbidding an anarchist from adopting an ethical theory prior to their political one? After all, anarchism is just a political philosophy, right?

i'm addressing

anarchism as an ethical imperative here; claims that voluntarism is good, right, ethical, moral; Rothbard, Hoppe, the NAP, etc.

The small branch of consequentialists might argue that a little it of slavery doesn't undermine the overall benefits of the system.

They might argue that freedom to contract is subordinate to some higher goal that is of greater importance. They wouldn't really be anarchists though, since, by definition, they'd be supporting the abridgement of rights via force.

So your saying by

definition, that to be an anarchist you must hold the principles of anarchism to be absolute. I think that would make it impossible to truly consider yourself of the term. It appears to me that you may be painting anarchism as a false dichotomy by reducing it too such terms. I understand that freedom to contract is perhaps the biggest principle underlying the anarchist philosophy, as well as rejecting compulsory force against another individual, but I don't see why it can't have it's limitations.

Take for example self-defense, isn't this a case where an anarchist would be justified in initiating in the use of force against another even though it's against the doctrine? It doesn't necessarily mean they aren't an Anarchist any more because they themselves have initiated in the use of force against another. We could only consider them this if the term 'anarchism' must hold too absolute principles of the philosophy.

I'm not sure that there could ever be a political philosophy without some contradictions or exceptions in some regard, there are just to many variables in the world to believe that all the underlying principles must be held to some objective/absolute standard.

self defense is not initiating force

in the context of the 'non initiation of force' or non aggression principle. in this context, initiation means using force against someone before they ever used it against you. the opposite, using force in response to force, is not considered initiation in this context, even though you are 'initiating' force in another sense of the term. namely, initiating the action of force from a state of physical rest. very important to use unequivocal, well defined meanings for terms.

if self defense really was initiation of force, then the principle would say 'non-initiation of force, except in self defense,' rather than "non initiation of force" -- which already permits self defense within its definition, since it is reaction rather than initiation.

wolfe's picture

For some reason...

That is a common misconception on "self-defense" and the NAP.

We are not pacifists. We believe very much in retaliatory force, just not initiation.

Self-defense is 100% consistent with the NAP, and that includes delegated self-defense. i.e. Protecting a child from an aggressor.

The Philosophy Of Liberty -
http://www.thephilosophyofliberty.com/

that does not follow

because i did not say they were mutually exclusive.

if we equivocate with meanings, then anarchists can support government. but if you use univocal definitions, and define an anarchist as being against government, then they are mutually exclusive. this is how it is on standard definitions.

i said that you must be 1) in favor of government, 2) in favor of no government [using univocal definitions, not equivocating as anarchists do], or 3) have no opinion.

i don't know of any logical fourth possibility. there may be an endless host of illogical possibilities. you could be a turnip, for instance.

Truthfully niether is

Truthfully niether is achievable at this time. We all need to come to that realization. We will win this country back through baby steps and yes it's a fight, and we will lose ground at times also so it may take awhile.

We are still at big government vs smaller government. The argument for anarchical society will take place at the point minarchists are running this country, after we have achieved, 'righteous government.'

As we are both striving to reduce government size at this time, it's very dumb for us to fight over these issues now, and does nothing but divide us.

Was it dumb...

...for radical abolitionists to passionately argue against chattel slavery, before it was feasible to swing the larger morality to be in sync with them?

Is it dumb to talk now about ending central banking, when that is not likely to occur anytime soon either?

Is it dumb to talk about peace, when that is not likely to occur anytime soon?

If theft, kidnapping and killing by people under the name of the State is something immoral, is it not sensible that someone whose heart is for Liberty would be interested in discerning just how far back we can push those abuses?

Personally, I hope I would have been a radical abolitionist back in the 19th century; not just focused on what was 'practical' for the time.

When I hear people getting all annoyed and bothered about others thinking outside of their box, and telling them something can't be done, I want to check it out for myself, not just be cowed under peer pressure and the tossing around of the 'utopian' label.

People say politicians

are liars and in the very same breath say liberty is not achievable at this time and in the very same breath say the idea of liberty must be spread and in the very same breath say candidates must water down the message or politically compromise it so it has wider appeal in order to win elections. In other words spread an inaccurate message. In other words be deceptive. In other words lie fib. Insanity to be sure.

I think it is actually achievable. I would be willing to wager once libertarians produced a private nuke for self defense and declared independence from states that it would no longer be a laughing matter.