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.