As I pointed out in my reply to part 1, Brook and Watkins have a curious conception of what constitutes "objective control" over retaliatory force. Objectivity is something that is available to any rational mind that chooses to focus on the problem at hand; objectivity in laws, legal procedures, etc. is not something that is unilaterally "defined" exclusively by a particular authority. The latter principle constitutes *subjective* control over the use of force, not objective control.

What I can add in response to part 2 is that it is precisely such subjective control over force by a territorial monopolist that leads to a "might makes right" principle, not the principle acknowledged by most ancaps that objectivity induces rational actors to make voluntary arrangements for mutually respecting and mutually defending each other's rights. It is telling that an ethical subjectivist like David Friedman was chosen as the representative of ancap thought, not an ancap like Murray Rothbard who, like Rand, derived individual rights and legal principles deducible from such rights from the facts of human nature and not from the results of a public auction.

What objective control actually entails is a willingness to persuade other rational minds that a proposed use of force can be justified as retaliation against an aggressor and that other methods for resolving the dispute (like payment of compensation to the victim) have been rejected by the aggressor (i.e. the aggressor has become an outlaw). The "proper" state of the Objectivists, on the other hand, claims authority to order the destruction of those it labels as aggressors without having to justify itself to anyone else; and it also claims the authority to prevent others from retaliating against outlaws even if objective evidence of their outlawry is known to all.

In what sense is it ever "proper" to prevent a fully justified retaliation by others, or to use force oneself without justifying it as retaliation? Only the vastly superior firepower of a state--i.e. its might--enables the state's rulers to spurn and thwart the rational judgement of others in imposing what it claims to be right on what it claims to be its territory (which of course can be disputed by other states, further favoring might over reason as the control over the use of force).

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“Let’s go further and fantasize that we have a society with a freedom-loving culture that tries to implement libertarian anarchism.”

Then we are told some of the various ways that conflict will allegedly increase. But under the given assumption there would be greater voluntary segregation into distinct property areas by any antagonistic groups. And there would be competing private policing of those areas, which would thereby be far more efficient than state policing. So, to suppose that this would increase conflict is to “fantasize” (as it is to suppose that a “rights-protecting government” could do a better job). (That said, the normal desire to protect children is strong enough to prevent any paedophile areas from being tolerated.)

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Pretty good essay in my view. I really wanted to be ancap when I was younger and read Rothbard and Friedman and all the rest. I just never found it convincing for all the reasons stated here.

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As I wrote in response to your first post on this theme, "Libertarian Anarchist" is an oxymoron. The way you're using the phrase suggests that one could be an Anarchist or, more extremely, a Libertarian Anarchist. But Libertarianism is what we used to call Classical Conservatism, and it's not anarchist at all - period.

Libertarianism - Classical Conservatism - is constantly and vigorously attacked from all sides, presumably because it threatens the less sensible, natural, humane ideologies. The left recently spent at least a decade trying to paint libertarianism as a plot by the Kochs to ruin everything (just because they could); and now calls it "neo-liberalism" in a transparent attempt to associate it with neo-naziism, which would be funny if people didn't fall for it. Meanwhile the right has long painted libertarianism as libertinism - which is quite another thing again - and now there's this new trend of suggesting that libertarianism is a strong form of anarchism. Anything to not actually have to explain opposition to it.

You can do better. Step 1 would be to describe libertarianism - classical liberalism - in a way that would pass a political Turing test. Strong-form anarchism ain't it.

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Both sides in this argument are completely right about the flaws of the other side, and, not only that, but obviously so to almost any outside observer.

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What an interesting read! I agree with much of what was said, but disagree with most of the conclusions. The closest we came to full agreement is “In mixed economies… this is just a description of anarchy.”

Under government rule we still live with the problems of anarchy, but we also live under the problems of government. For example, people continue to steal property from each other on a daily basis despite laws prohibiting such activity, and the government also steals 40% of my income. Also, I own and carry a gun every day because I cannot depend on a government agent to actually be there when I need to be defended, and I have to live under the threat of annihilation in nuclear war. A threat which I am quite certain would never exist without government.

I believe agorists answer the right questions and have the right answers to the problems of government. The right question to every problem is “what should I do?” Allow me to elaborate:

Does my vote make the government better or worse? No, my vote has zero impact on the quality of government I might live under. Does voting make me a better or worse person? Voting makes me a worse person by wasting my time/energy and giving me a commitment bias when evaluating the quality of government I experience. Trump voters usually make excuses for bad results of the Trump administration, rather than taking responsibility for their actions which led to the bad results. The same is true for Biden voters.

Do my taxed dollars make the government better or worse? No, the government will not be noticeably better or worse if I pay taxes. Does paying taxes make my life better or worse? Worse because I have less money to pursue my own goals after paying taxes. Additionally I feel bad for paying taxes which fund programs that hurt innocent people.

These are just a few important reasons why I am anti-state.

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The argument is too theoretical: when States were cities, Aristotle did walk away from Stagyra and walked to Athens. The problem is when military and fiscal power follow you everywhere. This happened in Ptolemaic Egypt with people walking through the desert to escape taxes, and happens now for Americans with the federal government. https://polsci.substack.com/p/economic-consequences-of-organized

Communities and cities are able to guarantee the security and property rights of their members. If the possibility to defect is made easier, you get better competition between providers of security.

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Does this actually reply to Caplan in any way? They seem to address some other opponent.

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I’ve read Rand, Mises , rothbard, Hayek, Acton, toucqville, etc., over five decades.

Role of political authority . . . interesting.

Recently come across two books that have added insight on this subject . . .

One - Rodney Stark “How the West Won: The Neglected Story of the Triumph of Modernity.’’ He explains that the development of the medieval monastic movements, I.e. Cistercian, Benedictines, etc., were precoursers of modern political , market systems. The outworking of the relationship with the king, the church and their own internal leaders was complex.

Two - Gert Melville “The World of Medieval Monasticism’’. Much detail on the centuries long adaptations of religious devotees creating their own communities, their own international organizations throughout Europe.

Focusing on the problems of freedom of individual conscience and political - religious control is revealing.

The difference between the Franciscan and Dominican system shows how initial ideas created different systems centuries later.

This was essential for developing a western civilization. Not usually acknowledged or understood. What’s unknown can’t be used for insight.



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My argument against Anarcho-Capitalism.

Anarcho-Capitalism is not a free-market system according to the very

definition of free-market used to justify it (i.e. NAP).

The reason why defense companies under Anarcho-capitalism would exist

is the credible threat of being robbed, killed, mugged, etc. This threat will

move people to insure themselves against aggression. However, a market

that exists due to the credible threat of physical violence is not a free one.


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"Consider: In their anarchic fantasy, do the competing defense agencies all view one another as legitimate and do they all accept some single legal code and overarching framework for how and by whom decisions to wield retaliatory force will be made in cases of disagreement? If so, then these agencies jointly constitute one complex institution with a monopoly on force—one government. If they don’t, then there’s no difference at all between what anarchists are proposing and neighborhoods dominated by gangs competing with one another and with the government."

It should be noted that this applies to the Medieval Iceland example. If one even briefly goes and interrogates the sources given for this "Private market system" one finds overarching legal codes, institutions with unilateral powers, a "loose" but still non negotiable set of rules for social conduct. And a breakdown heavily influenced by considerable amounts vengeance feuds that ultimately result in the biggest and richest with significant unilateral powers over a geographical area. Even on the smaller level of what they call "godar" it is still an area where despite the chieftains role being a "market commodity" it still has non negotiable exsclusive rules of social conduct.

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The Objectivist arguments above remind me of the socialists who claim that socialist failure and evil is a result of it not being "proper" socialism and that the current proponents will "get it right". Given that all states including those relying on democracy eventually evolve into tyranny (Tytler's thesis), are Objectivists not similar to conservatives in that they are both essentially compromised libertarians. Objectivists at least know the "proper roll" of government but in the gargantuan task of achieving one, wouldn't there be sufficient knowledge and awareness of such that the elimination of the state be seamless.

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