Anarcho-capitalism and minarchism

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Anarcho-capitalism and minarchism are two distinct strains of libertarianism.[1][2][3][4] Although anarcho-capitalists and minarchists agree on most political issues, they are sometimes hostile towards each other, particularly because most adherents of both philosophies support the non-aggression principle and see the opposing philosophy as misrepresenting its political implications. Minarchists believe that it is the responsibility of the state to enforce NAP, while anarcho-capitalists see the state as a violation of NAP, and believe that all valuable services - including law and defense - are best provided in the marketplace.

Philosophical disagreements

Anarcho-capitalism advocates abolishing the state. Minarchism has been variously defined by sources. In the strictest sense, it is the political philosophy which maintains that the state is necessary and that its only legitimate function is the protection of individuals from aggression, theft, breach of contract, and fraud, and the only legitimate governmental institutions are the military, police, and courts. In the broadest sense, it also includes fire departments, prisons, the executive, and legislatures as legitimate government functions.[5][6][7] Minarchist states are called night-watchman states.

Minarchists generally justify the state on the grounds that it is the logical consequence of adhering to the non-aggression principle. Some minarchists argue that anarchism is immoral because it implies that the non-aggression principle is optional. They argue that this is because the creation and enforcement of laws under anarchism is open to competition.[8] Others argue that competing defense or dispute resolution organizations lack a "court of final appeals" or "single arbitration network."[9][10] Another common justification is that private defense and court firms would tend to represent the interests of those who pay them enough.[11] Anarcho-capitalists generally argue that the state violates the non-aggression principle by its nature because governments use force against those who have not stolen private property, vandalized private property, assaulted anyone, or committed fraud.[12][13] Many also argue that monopolies tend to be corrupt and inefficient.

Anarcho-capitalists generally argue that private defense and court agencies would have to have a good reputation in order to stay in business. Furthermore, Linda & Morris Tannehill argue that no coercive monopoly of force can arise on a truly free market and that a government's citizenry can’t desert them in favor of a competent protection and defense agency.[14]


Libertarian philosopher Moshe Kroy argues that the disagreement between anarcho-capitalists who adhere to Murray Rothbard's view of human consciousness and the nature of values and minarchists who adhere to Ayn Rand's view of human consciousness and the nature of values over whether or not the state is moral is not due to a disagreement over the correct interpretation of a mutually held ethical stance. He argues that the disagreement between these two groups is instead the result of their disagreement over the nature of human consciousness and that each group is making the correct interpretation of their differing premises. These two groups are therefore not making any errors with respect to deducing the correct interpretation of any ethical stance because they do not hold the same ethical stance.[15]

History of debate

The debate over which philosophy is preferable has been most notably debated by anarchists Murray Rothbard, David Friedman, Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Walter Block, Bryan Caplan, and Roderick Long, and minarchists Ludwig von Mises, Ayn Rand, Tibor Machan, and Robert Nozick.[16][17][18]

The U.S. Libertarian Party sought to be a "big tent" party when it was founded by welcoming both factions into its midst. The 1974 Libertarian National Convention adopted the Dallas Accord, which made the platform of the Libertarian Party purposefully ambiguous on the desirability of the state's existence. This involved using such phrases as "where governments exist, they must not violate the rights of any individual" in the statement of principles. In 2006, delegates to a national convention added the following language to the section on "Crime and Justice": "Government exists to protect the rights of every individual including life, liberty and property." This led some to conclude that anarchists were no longer welcome in the party.[19][20]

See also


  1. Stringham, Edward (2007). Anarchy and the Law. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers. p. 504. ISBN 0-7658-0330-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Christensen, Karen (2003). Encyclopedia of Community. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications. p. 859. ISBN 0-7619-2598-8.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Heywood, Andrew (2000). Key Concepts in Politics. New York: Macmillan. p. 63. ISBN 0-312-23381-7.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Gregory, Anthory.The Minarchist's Dilemma. Strike The Root. 10 May 2004.
  8. Template:Cite book=The Ayn Rand Lexicon
  9. Template:Cite journal=Economics and Philosophy
  10. Template:Cite book=The Ayn Rand Lexicon
  11. Holcombe, Randall G. "Government: Unnecessary but Inevitable".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Long, Roderick, Market Anarchism as Constitutionalism, Molinari Institute.
  13. Plauché, Geoffrey Allan (2006). On the Social Contract and the Persistence of Anarchy, American Political Science Association, (Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University).
  14. Linda & Morris Tannehill. The Market for Liberty, p. 81.
  15. Kroy, Moshe Political Freedom and Its Roots in Metaphysics
  16. "Anarcho-Capitalism". Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Archived from the original on 11 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Long, Roderick T. (2008). "Market Anarchism as Constitutionalism" (PDF). In Long and Tibor Machan. Anarchism/Minarchism: Is a Government Part of a Free Country?. Aldershot: Ashgate. ISBN 0-7546-6066-4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Nozick, Robert (1974). Anarchy, State, and Utopia. New York: Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-09720-0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Antman, Less. "The Dallas Accord Is Dead". May 12, 2008.
  20. Knapp, Thomas, "Time for a new Dallas Accord?", Rational Review.

External links