Tag: minarchism

The 7 Most Important Schools of Libertarian Thought

Jack Parkos | United States

When people think of libertarians, they often tend to think “fiscally conservative and socially liberal” or “a Republican who likes weed”. However, neither of these statements are fully true. The libertarian philosophy actually goes very deep; in fact, there are several factions of different libertarian schools of thought. The libertarian ideology is far more intellectually diverse than American conservatives and liberals. Below are some of the different major schools of libertarian thought. Though many more exist, these seven best capture the wide array of beliefs.

Classical Liberalism

Classical liberalism is one of the earliest schools of libertarian thought. Originating in the philosophy of John Locke, classical liberalism holds that all men are born with inalienable rights to life, liberty, and property and that the sole purpose of government is to protect those rights. The Declaration of Independence is an echo of classical liberal thought, as many of America’s Founding Father’s were classical liberals. Generally, they place emphasis on natural law, republicanism, and skepticism; many classical liberals are firm believers in the U.S. Constitution.

Key classical liberal figures include:

  • John Locke
  • Thomas Paine
  • Many of America’s Founding Fathers, including Thomas Jefferson and George Washington

Anarcho-capitalism

Anarcho-capitalists base their philosophy on the moral principle called the “Non-aggression Principle” (NAP). The basis of the NAP is that people do not have the right to initiate force against others. On the contrary, the only acceptable use of force is in self-defense. They also believe that the mere existence of the state violates the NAP, as it acquires all its income through coercive means (taxation). Thus, they believe that no government should exist. Instead, they believe that voluntary communities and private entities should fill the government’s role.

Key anarcho-capitalist figures include:

  • Murray Rothbard
  • Hans Hermann Hoppe
  • David Friedman

Minarchism

Minarchism basically falls in between anarcho-capitalism and classical liberalism. It holds many similar beliefs to anarcho-capitalism but criticizes the idea of a lack of government. Minarchists believe that the free market can cover almost all government programs. However, they maintain that a minimalist government is necessary for the protection of rights. Minarchists typically believe, with some variation, that government should be limited to a “Night-watchman State” consisting of police, military, and courts. Robert Nozick, author of “Anarchy, State, and Utopia” argued that out of anarcho-capitalism, minarchism would naturally arise, as monopolized private police and courts would form a “state” of sorts.

Key minarchists include:

  • Robert Nozick
  • Friedrich Hayek
  • Ludvig Von Mises

Objectivism

Objectivism is a philosophy that author Ayn Rand outlines in her books “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead”. To begin with, objectivism is an extreme Laissez-faire capitalist belief with huge emphasis on individualism. Rand believed that man was best off serving his own self interest and should not need to help out the needy. In addition, it describes the pursuit of one’s own happiness as life’s most important goal. Accordingly, she, like many objectivists, rejected selflessness and altruism as an inefficient direction of resources.

Key figures in the Objectivist movement include:

  • Ayn Rand
  • Leonard Peikoff

Bleeding Heart Libertarianism

Bleeding Heart Libertarians can be considered more “moderate” libertarians. In some cases, they are associated with the libertarian left. The official site for bleeding heart libertarians says they believe in “free markets and social justice“. Bleeding Heart Libertarians tend to believe in social equality and egalitarianism. They often still believe in social safety nets and a welfare state, and fall on the progressive side on social issues.

Arguably, the most famous bleeding heart libertarian is Gary Johnson. Much of the moderate side of the Libertarian Party also falls under this category.

Libertarian Socialism

Libertarian socialism is a form of left libertarianism. Typically, it is a form of Marxist theory that believes in social liberties and limited to no government. However, they also support a voluntary sharing of resources in a communal way. They also tend to oppose the power of strong corporations and hierarchies. Libertarian socialists often believe capitalism to be a tyrannical force and compare the “economic” elite to the state. As a result, they believe in ending authoritarianism and bringing in systems of direct democracy (sometimes unanimous) that distribute wealth more evenly.

This mode of thought draws much criticism from most other branches of libertarianism. Conversely, many libertarian socialists firmly believe themselves to be the only true libertarians. This partly dates back to the origin of anarchism and libertarianism in 19th-century Europe as a term to describe the left.

Key libertarian socialists include:

  • Emma Goldman
  • Peter Kropotkin
  • Noam Chomsky

Paleolibertarianism

Paleolibertarians believe that while the state should be limited or abolished, society should still hold culturally conservative views. Paleolibertarians are thus very supportive of Western and American culture and are concerned about threats to it.

The paleolibertarian movement began in the 1990’s as a coalition of paleolibertarians and paleoconservatives that Rothbard (above) and paleoconservative presidential candidate Pat Buchanan formed. Basically, the goal was to stop interventionism, globalism, and social democracy.

Paleolibertarians usually oppose mass immigration and foreign wars. Many more radical paleolibertarians may consider themselves “Hoppeans”, following the anarcho-capitalist philosophy of Hans Hermann Hoppe.

Key paleolibertarians include:

  • Murray Rothbard
  • Lew Rockwell
  • Hans Hermann Hoppe
  • Ron Paul
  • Tom Woods

The movement, of course, is even more diverse than this. Countless versions of libertarian thought exist within it, and it would take ages to explain them all. Without a doubt, the area of thought is rich with diversity and variation. No two libertarians are alike, but all have one thing in common: a desire to live free.


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The Minarchism Vs Anarchism Debate: Solved

By Manuel Martin | United States

Most libertarians agree: society should either lean towards minarchism or anarchism. However, there is much dispute about which of these two is preferable. Before reaching either, though, a broad cultural shift must occur so that people may become progressive enough to sustain either system.

For the most part, politics is downstream of culture. This means that a region’s culture will decide what type of politicians and policies are present. In general, politicians react to the people, as they care about getting elected. Though there are always exceptions, many will morph into whatever chameleon necessary to secure election. Of course, the government also has a reciprocal influence on culture. However, the reverse, more often than not, is true. Politics reacts to culture more than vice versa, and a number of examples suggest this.

The Mexican Homicide Problem

Mexico, first of all, has laws against murder. They also have gun laws that would make a straw banner’s dreams come true. To buy a gun in Mexico, one has to obtain a license, a process which requires a background check. That background check looks at criminal history, mental history, physical health, and any past drug addictions. One must then provide a birth certificate, a letter confirming employment, proof of a clean criminal record from the attorney general’s office in the applicant’s home state, a utility bill with current address, a copy of a government-issued ID and a federal social security number. On top of all of that, Mexico has one legal gun store in the entire country. For every hundred Mexican residents, there are 15 guns. But in the United States, there are at least 88 guns per hundred residents.

Despite Mexico having one-sixth as many guns, more restrictive gun laws, one gun store and identical laws making murder illegal, Mexico as a culture has a homicide rate that is 5 times that of the United States. Same laws, fewer guns, yet five times as many murders. The government doesn’t account for this difference: culture does.

Culture, Not Law, Determines Murder

Here’s another example. Guatemala has just 13.2 guns per 100 residents, yet has an average of 386 murders per million residents. The USA is at 42 murders per million. Same laws, one-sixth the guns, but nine times as many murders. Rather than a corrupt government, murder rates are a result of a corrupt culture. When people vote for and tolerate corrupt governments, an equally bad culture is nearly inevitable.

In many Middle Eastern countries, Sharia law is the guiding philosophy of the law. The people’s adherence and submission to Sharia is simply a part of the culture. Thus, politicians seeking elected office must earn the culture’s approval and campaign on the promise of blending the culture with the law. In many Indian states, it’s illegal to slaughter cows. Why is this? In India, 80% of the population is Hindu, and the religion teaches that cows are sacred. As a result, politicians cater to the people and outlaw the slaughter of cows.

Culture and Law

A people in any given region tend to formalize their customs and values by way of political law. Some cultures are highly obedient to authority figures and willingly tolerate corrupt political behaviors.

America’s culture, for example, has always advocated strict adherence to the “rule of law.” While I believe we should adhere to the “rule of human respect,” as respecting the individual should always come before respecting the law, American values are mostly rooted in equality. American culture believes that adherence to the law will keep everyone equal and accountable. In fact, many believe that the “rule of law” will highlight and expose corrupt individuals. Due to this belief existing, politicians capitalize on it to highlight their opponents’ corrupt behaviors.

The Paradigm Shift to Minarchism

Clearly, politics is downstream of culture. How much, then, would America’s culture have to change for the people to embrace minarchism? For the sake of simplicity, I will define minarchism as follows: The government only provides national defense and local and regional law courts.

 For such a system to ever take root and bloom, American morals and values must drastically shift. Today’s people currently depend on the plunder of others for everything from roads to healthcare. Peaceful admiration of minarchism is far from the American norm.

The American people need to learn the injustice of attempting to secure personal gain by voting for a politician to steal the resources of others. Minarchism requires a societal realization that voting for an agent of plunder (politician) or hiring an agent to plunder the resources of others are identical actions. They are equally destructive to a culture trying to maximize human harmony and prosperity.

Minarchist Culture

A minarchist culture would need to progress their understanding of human respect. As such, they would reject the use of coercive power to manage the habits of others. Then, they would transition to one which uses persuasion to influence the habits of others.

Americans would have to evolve and embrace persuasion over coercion in all aspects of life. In a minarchist society, the government will be a reactionary force, only touching you when you violate the freedom and property of others. This, of course, is beyond the minimal taxation to fund courts and defense. But the fact is, our culture is not yet there. We need to love and trust humanity with a level of respect that does not exist. Though libertarians are trying to plant this in society, it is a slow process.

We would need to realize that the private sector can indeed make roads, bridges, schools, dams. Moreover, consumer organizations like Yelp are most efficient regulators than Washington bureaucrats. Where coercion used to be the norm, persuasion must fill in. This includes all aspects of life that currently use coercion: police, education, certification, roads, and many more areas.

Minarchism can never occur without a cultural shift towards trade over tariffs, property rights over political borders, common law over political law, customer-driven education over politically monopolized education, persuasion over coercion, consumer regulation over political regulation, and trust over suspicion. People must become self-sufficient and wise. Freedom comes with blessings and responsibilities, where political action breeds traps and division. But, the former can only work when the people are aware of its power.

A Natural Transition to Anarchism

A culture with values strong enough to transition to minarchism will not stop there. A people progressive and principled enough to elect politicians who actually follow through with surrendering their celebrity would never keep those politicians in power. If society is honorable enough to shut down the 7 trillion dollar government scam, it will do so entirely.

A society which trusts the freedom of others will not stop at minarchism. They will, instead, realize that minarchism is a false ideology, and nothing more than a stepping stone. Peace and justice cannot arise from the mass political injustice necessary for minarchism.

So minarchists, welcome to anarchism. Our cultures share the same values.  Now let’s work together to make your minarchist state a reality. Once the people and culture are ready for minarchism, we can swiftly abolish what’s left of the state and move to a voluntary society.


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Minarchy and the Defense of Society

By Nate Galt | United States

Minarchy is the true protection of the inalienable rights granted to the populace. If the state ceased to exist tomorrow and an anarchist society stood in its place, there is a high possibility that two groups would be formed- the collectivists and non-collectivists. The collectivists would live in communes and would live off of their own work, similar to Kropotkin’s ideal visualization of anarcho-communism. The other group would try to live life as they did before. This society could potentially last, however; corporations could have their own military, police force, and justice system. This would be much worse than if these services were held in the public’s hands. 

There will always be some semblance of power in the real world. Ever since the dawn of time, hierarchies have dominated the social structure of the human race. Abolishing the state is possible, but a new authority will take its spot in the hierarchy. In an anarchic society, this could be the man with the most followers or money. This, in turn, would lead to an oligarchic or monarchic de facto state. The only thing that would differentiate this state from a dictatorship would be that it calls itself a corporation. Minarchy would keep liberty at a maximum and governance at a minimum while preventing any sort of takeover by private armies. A minarchic society would minimize the government to its basic functions while still protecting the public. 

Furthermore, it would support a much fairer justice system. A privatized system is not the true administration of proper justice. We need to reform the justice system and to move it forward, not push it back by means of privatization. This system would have an unfair bias against the poor and the interests of rivals. Those who cannot pay would fare much worse than those who could afford to do so. Therefore, the best system of administering fair justice should be in the hands of the public. It would make everyone equal in the eyes of the law, regardless of gender, race, or socio-economic status. 

Minarchy also prevents people from being sold like goods on the open market. In an anarcho-capitalistic society, the only way to help prevent the sale of living people without using force is a boycott.  A supporter of anarcho-capitalism might reply that the N.A.P., or Non-Aggression Principle, allows someone to step in to defend a person if their rights are infringed. However, the N.A.P. has no limits or extent to which someone could retaliate. I do not want to live in a society where someone who does minor damage to a home could be shot. 

I believe in the prevention of child slavery and other such vile acts. In a minarchic society, there are laws enforced by a public law enforcement agency which stops them from happening. This agency will be watched by the eye of the people and all their actions will be a public matter.

In all, I firmly believe that the concept of minarchy is the best way to preserve individual rights. The state will be shrunk to its minimal functions while still protecting the public from certain crimes. It prevents a complete takeover by corporations by having a certain set of laws in place. However, it does so while maximizing individual liberty. 


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Government Should be Contained to Minarchy

By Nate Galt | United States

The federal government has dramatically overstepped its already lenient boundaries granted to it by the Constitution of the United States of America. It has consistently wasted the stolen money of hardworking Americans on its wars six thousand miles from home. It has not invested properly in helping its own people but instead has put a lot of money in killing foreigners who pose no danger to the security and stability of our nation. It has conducted reprehensible drone strikes, killing civilians and children without killing anyone who has just a sliver of a chance of attempting to harm this country. One might view these souls as “collateral damage,” but if their own lives were to be viewed as an object or as merely “collateral damage,” they would protest.

There are more efficient ways to combat terrorism than to just conduct random drone strikes and not feel any shame because the victim’s name was Mohammed. War hawks consistently back these wasteful conflicts. They believe that it is the fault of Middle Eastern countries for being too close to the military bases that the Americans put an ocean away from their home. Through coercion and the thought of going to prison, the government has taken money from people who would not fire missiles themselves and from those who are strongly opposed to war and has used it to advance their own interests. 

In a society, there will always be some semblance of power. Therefore, there ought to be a state to prevent violent crimes and protect the country. I do see a lot of irony in this statement, but this will not be ironic if we shrink the state to become minarchic. Minarchy prevents corporations from controlling government and thus controlling the people. It lowers taxes to just the basic functions of government and stops thirty percent of Americans’ money being stolen.

If consent makes a transaction not robbery and if consent makes sex not rape, then what makes taxation not theft?

Minarchy also prevents the federal government from stripping away rights that Americans are granted by the Constitution. Some people on the left wing want to repeal the Second Amendment while some on the right wing want to repeal the Fourth. The left and the right wing belong to the same bird-those that wish to gradually install an Orwellian state. Many do not think they would back this, but by slowly voting away the rights to self-defense, bodily autonomy, or the protection against warrantless search and seizure, they help this nightmare become a reality.

People say we have freedom, but they will be in grave peril. All of the Constitution ought to be recognized as a document which protects the liberties and rights that we prize and will fight to the death to maintain. Washington has no right to take any of these away and has no business declaring a certain few of them obsolete or suspendable. This will become a reality if we will keep blindly obeying everything that we are told and assuming that every government measure taken is for the better.

Jefferson wanted everyone to fight for their own rights and to be armed in case the government overreaches its bounds by means of surveillance or unconstitutional behavior. Obedience and blindly trusting government isn’t American. Fighting for rights is certainly a value that the Founding Fathers had. That is a quintessential American value. 


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Government Could Be Funded Without Taxation

By Jack Parkos | United States

The libertarian ideology is made up of various factions and ideologies, a major one being Minarchy. Minarchists advocate for a small state whose sole purpose is to protect natural rights, including our right to life, liberty, and property. This state would only provide basic functions of government: courts, police, military to protect from crimes such as theft, breach of contract, or aggression.

A common issue brought up with a Minarchist state is of how it should be funded. As libertarians, we are opposed to income tax, capital gains tax, property tax etc. But we also believe in a small state to protect rights. So there appears to be a conflict in funding the state and keeping our principles. However, there are many solutions.

In the early days of the United States, the government was funded through lottery revenue.  The first of these lotteries was held during the Colonial area in Boston Massachusetts in 1745. The revenue from the lotteries was used to build bridges, fix roads, and fund other projects. This would be an efficient way to fund a Night-Watchman state.

Just like in Colonial America, a government lottery would be completely voluntary to participate in. People would purchase lottery tickets from the government and put money into a pool. Then, the winner would be drawn and would keep a certain amount of the prize money, and the rest would go towards funding the state. The amount going to the state may vary, but this would be an efficient way to fund. The lotteries would run similarly to raffles at fundraisers. Skeptics of a lottery system may counter that the government would not be able to function with these means of funding. But it must be remembered that this is a nightwatchman state with a small budget, requiring less revenue.

Fundraising, in general, could be a good way to fund the state. Many parents participate in fundraisers for things like kid’s sports teams, and it would make sense  they would do these to fund police or courts. If a service is good enough, people will be willing to pay for it. Perhaps the people or the government could do silent auctions on items and raise money like they do now. These could be run by the people and have the government funded via a donation or the government itself could run an auction.

Another way the government could function is fining people who commit crimes. Of course, a minarchist would never advocate a fine for a victimless crime, but rather for actual crimes; theft, breach of contract, assault etc. Let’s say, for example, someone damages another man’s property and is found guilty in court. In addition to paying for the damages, he may also pay a small fee to cover court costs. Some may scoff at this idea thinking of it as enforced taxation. But it must be remembered that this is the guilty party paying. This person chose to commit a crime that harmed another party knowing the consequences, this being one of them.

This is a system already used. Instead of abolishing fines, we have them only be put in place for actual offenses. So a person would not be fined or even punished for using drugs, but if they broke a contract or harmed someone and is found guilty by a jury, the guilty party would have to cover court costs. This system would be a great way of keeping courts running, ensuring justice, and protecting rights.

The minimal state will require funding, but this funding does not have to be taken from your income. There are plenty of ways to fund a basic government that do not require such a system. In the past civilizations have had systems similar to these. It worked well to fund a small, more localized government in early America. If we can shrink the government and reduce budgets, there is no reason it would not work today.


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