4 votes

The Tithe State - An anarchist defense of minarchy

I'm not going to pretend here that the state can be defended on deontological grounds. Notable minarchists, here and elsewhere, have not pretended to do so and I respect this. This is addressed to them, as well as some, whose motivations I respect, but who seem to remain mired in the concept of human temporal authority.

The concept is simple.

Political democracy (the vote) decides the amount of government.
Real democracy (the dollar) decides what it does.

You vote for the % of the tax.
You decide how it is spent on your tax bill.

Astute anarchists, and many minarchists, will immediately see the flaws attendant to this system. They should bear in mind that for all the flaws, they are fewer and less salient than the present system.

As a thought experiment however I think it is instructive. If people received a 1040 that said not only what they must pay, but what it must be paid for, how do we suspect that would work out?

Farm bill? Foreign aid? FDA? Dept of Ed?

I don't think these would stand. But maybe some others would. DoD probably would.

And if nothing on the menu appealed to them, they should be able to spend on whatever they wish. Supporting Micheal Jackson's cryogenic suspension or anti global warming efforts.

To minarchists: This would be closer to government by consent. People may not be perfectly allowed to decide how much government, but within a democratically decided amount, they could decide what the amount from them is spent for.

I'm not suggesting this as achievable, statists would never allow this to happen, any more than any other reduction of the state, but to honest minarchists, like Jan and Marc, would this be acceptable at least broadly?

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wolfe's picture

Here was my attempt to do something similar...

Basically to try to find a little common ground beyond the hyperbole. It was basically my attempt at a legal structure that would support the absolute elimination of the government as a natural consequence of its adoption, but give them the graduated process that they want.


The Philosophy Of Liberty -

a Fast-'Food' or Chinese Dim Sum Menu of Governance??



print it! ,D oh wait... they already do plenty of that... xD

Predictions in due Time...

"Let it not be said that no one cared, that no one objected once it's realized that our liberties and wealth are in jeopardy." - Dr. Ronald Ernest Paul

Cyril's picture

If we're to have government and laws

If we're to have government and laws, I think we should "just" return to the most primitive (read: the simplest) form of those, in their respective design intents.

That is :

1) to make explicit the intent to defend - ONLY (thru MINIMAL law)


2) to demonstratively render - ONLY (thru MINIMAL government)...

... justice, and justice - ONLY - MAXIMAL.

I especially like the common (1) & (2)'s attribute, btw, which makes it for a nice symmetry with its counterpart OBJECTIVE :

MINIMAL law with MINIMAL gov't -> MAXIMAL justice :)

(aka... the KISS principle, of course ;)

A thoroughly rendered justice, for any two parties (plaintiff(s) and defendant(s)) is the evidence that the people's rights are still

a) de-jure reckoned


b) de-facto protected

The only righteous notion of law, and of its enforcement, imo, should be about making the rendering of justice easier after many identified occurrences of fundamentally same cases, or sharing a lot of commonality, as the absence of (a little more general) law is eventually recognized as making them too cumbersome or costly to reanalyze all over again, with the only existing laws - so that an idea of new law is then suggested to resolve similar disputes a little faster (or cheaper) in the future.

That should be it and only it, imo.

I mean, in this conception, I cannot think of why laws would be growing in numbers as fast as they do today (as today's PERVERTED laws, which are all about MANAGEMENT by and for SPECIAL INTERESTS, and almost never about JUSTICE - quite the opposite...)

Returning to righteous laws - for the sake of justice and its rendering ONLY - would be a great SUPPRESSOR of incentives for lobbyists of any sort, and about anything.


And yes, I agree, though, that's going to put a heck of a lot of politicians, and other lawmakers, out of work and in need to find themselves a real job.

Sorry about that!

"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.


"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

Oh I know

And please don't take this as capitulating to minarchy. I'm certainly not doing that and continue to advocate for a free and moral society.

But I was wondering what minarchists would think, ie would they accept this. If they really believe in a minimal state, structurally this would certainly be minimal, and I think tend toward minimal.

Common criminal law would remain, because everyone wants not to be murdered.

But stuff like the drug war and corporate welfare? I don't think that would last more than a year or two. After a while I think they might not even try the most egregious power and cash grabs.

Sounds like a recipe

for a government by and for the elites.

Consider: (in 2011) the top 10% of earners paid 68% of the taxes.
The bottom 50% paid only 3% of the taxes.
And the top 1% paid 35% of all taxes.(Source.)

How do you think the top 10% will want their money spent? The top 1%?

Well probably NOT on the IRS, for damn sure. So far, so good. But probably not on free market reforms that would threaten their established positions, either.

Of course, government by and for the elites is pretty much what we have NOW, isn't it? Not sure how much difference this would make.

Recommended reading: The Most Dangerous Superstition, http://www.amazon.com/Most-Dangerous-Superstition-Larken-Ros...


I think it would likely end in the same empire and tyranny that the US already has.

But I think it would take a lot longer to get there.

And you're exactly right the top 1% certainly spend their 'share' on fascist policies (monopoly/war) and the bottom would want to spend on direct redistributive policies (welfare/war).

But there are two countervailing factors I think which would make it much less worse than what we have.

1) As soon as someone woke up to some policy being used against them they could stop funding it.

This is the problem we have today with 'unintended consequences'. The 1% get their laws passed, call it something like 'the help the poor and call apple pie America Pie Act' then eventually people figure out that it really is corporate welfare and biometric ID's. But it's too late. It never gets undone.

2) The middle class haven't enough concentrated to be a political block for fascism, but they have enough to be opposed to socialism.

At least up until recently the middle class has been the dupe/pawn in all the maneuvering. But they have enough wealth in aggregate to drastically change policy if they could by ceasing to fund policies they figure out are screwing them. Which in America are essentially all of them that have been passed since 1850.

Anyway though I don't think it would be as moral or prosperous as a free society, I think it would not nearly be as bad as what we have.