Minarchism is a Political Fallacy

By Austin Anderholt | USA

Virtually all Libertarians shares a few basic principles: Taxation is theft, and the free market is always more efficient than government collectivism. However, it can get awkward when people ask “What about the military? What about the roads?” No one wants to be seen as some edgy anarchist with unrealistic ideals for how a society should run. So when faced with these questions, many libertarians have come up with a simple solution. “I’m a minarchist.” They say. “That just means I believe in some government for things like courts, police, and military, but with strong limitations.” Sounds great, right? When libertarians label themselves as “minarchists”, they get the best of both worlds! You can be a government-hating capitalist, and yet not seen as some like you’re a crazy radical, right? Wrong. Minarchism is essentially a political fallacy, here’s why:

There’s an old political comic, entitled “Minarchist doctor”. It shows a doctor talking to his patient. He says something like “There I’ve removed 80% of the tumor! You’re all safe!” This is a great analogy to minarchism because it shows the backwardness and irony of the ideology itself. Minarchism is a priori a very libertarian ideology. Minarchists a priori believe the government is inefficient. However, minarchism advocates not only for some government functions to still exist (despite their objective disdain for the government), but they entrust the few most important transactions in society (law, police, military) into a forced monopoly which they don’t agree with. One simply cannot have values that disagree with their value criterion. This is like if a capitalist used their values of the free market to advocate for socialism. It’s contradictory.

Anarcho-Capitalists, despite not wanting a government, still believe in property rights and laws. Just because they do not want you to live by their personal morals does not mean they do not have personal morals. For example, perhaps an individual in an anarcho-capitalist society might not allow a specific person onto their private property for whatever reason they like. This specific person, however, may still go onto the private property of whoever does consent for them to do so. In statist societies, this is different. Lawmakers may legislate their personal morals into laws that everyone must follow. For example, they could theoretically make flat marriage illegal, or gun ownership illegal, simply based on their personal ideas that those practices are bad. Minarchists are no exception. Legislators may force their personal values on you in huge factors of life, such as the aforementioned police, law, and military. Unlike in an anarcho-capitalist society, people in theoretical minarchists societies can (through taxation) force you to pay for whatever military, law, or police, that they personally deem acceptable. This is yet another contradiction in the fallacy that is minarchism. Minarchism states that “The government should never force you to submit to its lawmakers’ morals unless those morals are the ones that we say are justifiably legislated upon.” It is yet another contradiction in the basic premises of minarchism.

In conclusion, minarchism is just one big political contradiction. One simply cannot claim that government is dysfunctional in comparison to the free market, and then call for the government to regulate and control the very most sacred parts of life. A truly free society lacks tyranny in all parts. A truly free society does not force, steal, or hurt you in any way.

1 thought on “Minarchism is a Political Fallacy”

  1. Thanks for the article.

    You’re actually arguing on a misconception. Most newbies confuse the libertarian terminology for ‘small-government’ with ‘minarchism’ (mini-archism), a term revived but not invented by Sam Konklin into common usage. The first is a libertarianizing community over a small area, like Jefferson’s wards. The second is actually traditional anarchist communes. ‘Anarcho-capitalism’ is a term for ‘privatization’ which is the preferred term, and is more of a process. None of these is particularly Libertarian unless at least informal L/libertarians are fairly involved. (All assume a degree of anarcho-communism and movement towards non-punitive solutions and natural rights). If not they’re called ‘libertarian-oriented.’ If you have a lot of localism. direct democracy, etc. like Florida and 16% libertarian voters, it’s called ‘libertarian-direction,’ which is the goal of the US Libertarian Party (they used to refer to that on their website: offer the public ‘ libertarian-direction candidates’). Plus they’re all supposed to work together as options, not be hostile choices.

    Finally, formal Libertarians use the term ‘government’ to mean rules for the officials/military. They don’t confuse it with law. The Libertarian approach as a whole presents a ‘voluntary state’ where ‘government’ may exist as a convenience and there’re many local federal zones with variant lifestyles including pure Libertarian zones or eco-homes. Basically the object is voluntary associations for science, trade etc. moving to libertarian-oriented democracy to the 30 UN Rights to US Bill of Rights, libertarian-direction federalism with many lifestyle zone choices down to the cities in those (recently 2017 Florida is the preferred model and has replaced Switzerland), and in those Libertarian eco-home to cities as defined by the Libertarian International and as demand warrants. The Libertarians, anarchists, Liberals, libertarian Communists all got together in Salamanca, Spain in conferences in 1964-66 (I was there, probably one of the last few) that laid out this 3-point approach and revoked all past forms. The US Libertarian Party used to circulate sheets where all this was explained but stopped.

    The Libertarian International/Liberal League (LIO) has been using those definitions together since 1905 at least. They’ve grew out of the libertarian or franklin towns in the UK and Spain and have been around formally since the 1500’s and were used as models for the first ‘franklin’ town democracies on what is now US soil (again, what Jefferson called wards in a loose Empire of Liberty) so I doubt the curators are changing their minds on this soon. LIO began growing and authorizing liberal-libertarian/oriented and libertarian-direction parties since 1969, from a few hundred to the millions in every country today, to overthrow or reform the communists and spread the Salamanca 3-point process, dissolving armies from within (so much for the purported libertarian ‘military problem’).

    The far-left is always trying to misuse and appropriate the libertarian ‘inside baseball’ terms, especially on e.g. Wikipedia, to confuse people, so don’t feel bad.


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