Questions for the Anarcho-Capitalists Answered
By: Shane Radliff
August 2nd, 2016
I was browsing Reddit a couple of days ago, and found this post by some user asking perfectly valid questions for those who believe in this peaceful philosophy. Let me first say that I appreciate this individual actually asking, rather than just jumping to conclusions, as others have been known to do whenever a topic inevitably leads to anarchism.
So, for the remainder of this article, I will provide my answers to his six questions.
Note: I have corrected the grammatical and spelling errors in the questions for ease of reading.
1) “How would an anarcho-capitalist society handle an Ebola outbreak similar to what occurred a few years ago?”
A: It’s first worth mentioning the fear-mongering by the media and government when it comes to supposed “outbreaks.” The media profits financially, and the government profits by increased power. Although Ebola was touted as something detrimental to Americans, it is reported that only nine contracted the illness and only two of nine died; no other cases have been diagnosed since 2014.
Now, let’s say there really was a dangerous illness spreading throughout AnCapistan. In AnCapistan, everything would be privately owned, and therefore, would fall under the purview of the property owner. Simply put, the owner would not let people who have contracted this illness onto his property, and businesses could deny service to protect themselves and their customers. Exercising your right of association through ostracism, even the right to refuse service, is a completely peaceful way to enforce property rights, thereby deterring and repelling the evils of the world.
Let’s propose another hypothetical—let’s say an owner denied an individual who contracted said illness access to his property, yet the individual trespassed anyways. Since this illness could have detrimental effects to the owner, it would likely be a violation of the non-aggression principle, and the owner could retaliate proportionally—in other words, self-defense might come into play.
2) “The non-aggression principle works well between one on one individual interactions, but what about an adult sexually assaulting an under 10 child or children in general, especially if the adult has trained the child to consent to such treatment from the stages of mental infancy? Should not other outside parties intercede, though this would violate the NAP? Though, this is troubling according to the NAP, because the third party has not been aggressed upon.”
A: This is one discussion I have withheld from for obvious reasons, primarily due to the intellectual dishonesty exhibited by statists whose advocacy for Leviathan has failed to deter and repel child molesters, but I’ll give it a shot.
Personally, I am not a fan of the government’s arbitrary age requirements, whether it be for the purchase of alcohol, marijuana, or the age of consent (even in the context of child labor laws). That said, this has been quite divisive within anarchist circles, especially considering Ian Bernard’s controversial position regarding the threshold of consent by way of age.
It’s worth noting that we are all individuals, and some of us mature faster than others. Rather than through psychology or observation, there is really no way to tell if an individual is mature enough to, say, drink, brawl in a club, street race, or reproduce and raise a child.
That said, regardless of whether there is a law prohibiting it or not, vices are, generally speaking, looked down upon in modern American culture, and I would expect at least most people to come to the defense of the child whose liberty is genuinely being infringed upon by a molester/rapist.
Now, are adult sexual acts with children a violation of the non-aggression principle (NAP)? From the example provided, I would say yes. Reason being, if there is “consent,” I would posit that the individual would have to be aware of the proposition, understand the ramifications, and also be of right mind. Generally speaking, if a child is not mature enough to contract his labor for wages, then I certainly know that he is no position to say “yes” to any sexual acts because he is mentally incompetent.
In the example, the child has been “brainwashed,” per se, and isn’t making the conscious decision himself, and so it could further be argued that the adult has violated the self-ownership of the child through fraud, which itself is a violation of the NAP.
3) “Why flame minarchist’s when they are anarchists’ closest philosophical cousins? Furthermore, An-Caps believe that individuals can delegate authority to others via contract, so would not a constitutional contract such as Liberland’s be keeping within An-Cap philosophy, even though it’s a minarchist approach?”
A: Simply put, minarchists still advocate for limited theft and coercion; in other words, they just want to make the State a soft, cuddly teddy bear, while anarchists want to do away with it as a whole, simply because unlike those starry-eyed advocates of “minimal” government, anarchists are in fact the hard-nosed realists. In regards to Liberland, yes, that does align with voluntaryism, because it was voluntarily contracted into. Most An-Caps are more than happy to let adherents to any political ideology setup whatever system they want, as long as we are not forced to be a part of it.
4) “Some anarchists don’t vote or participate in government in general, but would not pragmatism dictate at least filling in government positions as a place holder occupying space and not doing anything abusive to liberty as opposed to letting someone fill that space that would be abusive to liberty? Alternative tactics could be to challenge everything to a trial in regard to traffic tickets and such, to clog and crash the system.”
“…the anti-concept of pursuing libertarian ends through statist means, especially political parties.”[Emphasis added]
In other words, ends-means consistency; that is, keeping your means in harmony with your ends; simply put, integrity matters. An anarchist running for office is akin to an atheist becoming a part of the clergy—it just doesn’t make sense, and if argumentation ethics were applied to this “appeal to pragmatism,” then this fallacious argument would find itself dialogically estopped.
Lastly, there is no empirical evidence to show that politics has ever brought about more freedom; rather, there is ample evidence to the contrary. Participating in politics raises opportunity costs, when an individual could create the freedom they desire, right now, without asking for permission; of course, that has now been codified in what has become The Freedom Umbrella of Direct Action.
5) “Could An-Caps initiate at a local level tactics like, such as this, in addition to walking away from the system?”
A: Sure they could. Whistleblowing is a form of direct action. Although, if an An-Cap was conducting some similar activity, the emphasis should be placed on abolishing the public official’s position, NOT simply to replace them with someone cuddlier.
6) “If questions challenging to a political philosophy are thrown into down-vote hell without at least providing comments refuting the question, answering the question, or commenting to the questions in general, how is such response distinguishable from some fundamentalist religions?”
A: I’m sure this has happened, so I empathize with you if you have encountered this already. Regardless of whatever ideology or philosophical position one holds, the individual in question should be able to defend their position and provide explanations on why and how they came to their conclusions. They should also be able to respond to questions challenging their ideology, if intellectual honesty is to matter at all within civil discourse.
More broadly, anarchism has been called a cult before, but that is simply not true. Most of the anarchists I know are more than happy to debate and there is also much disagreement on philosophical positions and strategy – consider, for example, the wide range of positions regarding copyright (intellectual property), abortion, and even argumentation ethics.
In summation, it is entirely different from “some fundamentalist religions,” and it is certainly not a cult. The mere evidence that there is discord between the reformists (LP adherents) and “purists,” such as myself, proves that libertarianism is far from being a lockstep recipe for anything. Attempting to “order” libertarians to do anything is much like herding cats, which is why any methodology that eschews leaderless resistance for voting, petitioning, protesting, etc. seems rather suspect to me, for it is almost as if they don’t actually want to secure their liberties, and thus, to always have a reason to bitch about the evils of the world they live in.
Now I ask you, who’s being idealistic now?
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