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The Fatal Error Of Anarcho-Capitalism

Having taken a break from the libertarian internets, no sooner have I properly come back to the fray than I’ve inadvertently, well, deliberately in fact, found myself once more debating the difference between minarchy and anarcho-capitalist approaches with the fine bunch of chaps at the UK Libertarian Forums. And feeling a little sense of deja vu, since an extensive and exhausting argument about just the same thing over at Samizdata was one of the things that made me want to take a break from things.

For anyone reading this who isn’t entirely au fait with the glorious philosophical differences within libertarian “thought”, minarchy and anarcho-capitalism are the two basic ideological approaches; a minarchist wants a state, but a small, tightly restricted one with very few responsibilities. Anarcho-capitalists think that’s ideologically cowardly, and the only logical position is to abolish the state altogether. They then propose that a voluntary system of law enforcement, courts etc either will arise or should arise (these are two quite different things but it’s not often clear which is being suggested) in the anarchy. Anarchists tend to accuse minarchists of being crypto-statists, or confused, or too cowardly to let go of nanny’s apron strings. Minarchists tend to accuse anarchists of being utopians or hopeless extremists. And ne’er the twain shall meet; which isn’t so different to any other political movement in fact, just as on the left you have purist communists and social democrats, or there are hardline tories and “wets”.

Minarchist arguments against anarchism tend towards a few themes; either that the anarcho-capitalist system will not arise, or if it does it will collapse into something else, or it’s internally logically inconsistent. But I’ve spent a lot of time discussing this thing off and on, and always with the niggling feeling that I’ve not made the right arguments because I’ve been missing something, and just yesterday I think I figured out what that thing is. As a general rule, as it goes, I always feel that one error we all often fall into is not getting the right answer because we aren’t asking the right question, even though we think we are. And I think that’s the case here.

So, let’s declare a starting point. Why are we libertarians? The straight answer here is that- as portrayed by the name of our movement- we prefer liberty. And what is liberty? It is freedom from coercion. A libertarian thinks it is nobody else’s business, least of all that of the State, if he wishes to buy a beer at 3am, or watch Zombie Flesh Mauler Island on his home TV and so on. He resents government inspectors poking around in his rubbish bin. He wants to be left alone to do as he wishes, so long as he does not infringe on somebody else’s liberty. In other words, we have the basic libertarian “non-aggression principle”; that you may do what you wish so long as you do not aggress against somebody else; and the same for everybody else. So the basic libertarian question is, or at least should be, what kind of society will give us all the most liberty? So to state that clearly again, the libertarian is seeking to answer the question-

What type of society will embody that principle that no man may initiate force against another?

Now when we look at the world we live in, we see immediately that it is the State that takes our liberty away by initiating force against us. It is the state which passes the laws which bind us, which expropriates our property via taxes, which “regulates” business for selfish ends, which imposes a police force to oppress us, and which declares wars and conscripts us into armies to fight them. And we say to other people when explaining liberty (and I myself often make this type of point), “the private sector can only try to sell you things. It can’t force you to buy goods and services you don’t want like the State can. It cannot force you into an army like the State can. It cannot take your property and your liberty and incarcerate you or kill you like the State can”. In other words, in our society, the State is synonymous with coercion. Ergo to reduce coercion, you must reduce the state. And ergo, the anarcho-capitalist says, it is only logical that you can reduce coercion to zero by reducing the State to zero. What other logical strategy is there? But at this point we must note something important that we have just accepted without (so far) discussion- that is, that in our current society, the State claims a monopoly on force. It is the only structure we inititates force, because it uses its own force to prevent anyone else doing so. It thus deliberately makes itself the only suppressor of liberty.

Now for a moment, let’s digress into the anarcho-capitalist system as presented (and we will for the rest of this article presume that it is viable; i.e that it will arise, and will be stable. Both are questionable assumptions, but we will accept them). One of the problems I’ve had discussing this with anarcho-capitalists is that there are many formulations- about as many as there are anarcho-capitalists in fact- and they tend to slide slyly from one to another in mid discussion, and trying to pin down what they’re specifically advocating at any moment is like trying to wrestle Proteus. So let’s look at the main ideas.

The anarcho-capitalist system is based on abolishing the perceived need for State law (the most basic function of the State from a minarchist point of view) and showing that it can be provided by private individuals and organisations. There seem to be two main methodologies which are not apparently compatible but somehow often exist simultaneously in an-cap theory. The first of these is propertarian. In this methodology, property owners make the laws. When you walk onto their land, you are assumed to be accepting a contract to obey their laws. So for instance, you go to a pub, and the landlady owns the land, and there is a list of laws on the wall as you walk in. And it might say “He who barfs in the urinals shall be hanged by the neck until dead” and by walking in, you’ve accepted that, so if you barf in the bogs it’s curtains for you.

The second formulation attaches laws to individuals. It is, er, individualitarian or something. In this formulation, people purchase legal services, including the laws they themselves live under, from third party providers; there are free market courts, and free market “private defence agencies”, which are private police forces. So in this system I might choose to buy a set of laws similar to mediaeval canon law, and you might choose to live under something concocted from the elven system described in The Silmarillion, or under Sharia law, or the Law of the Sea, arrr. Now there appear to be all sorts of problems with this, when some interaction is considered lawful by one individual but not another, and whether I can carry my law into that pub, when that already has its own laws, but we won’t get into all that here because it’s not the point of the article. We’re going to be very kind and presume that somehow this system cobbles together and works (defining the word “works” here as, “doesn’t fail entirely”); the normally proposed an-cap “glue” that makes it work is yet more third party courts who arbitrate between the other courts, and courts that arbitrate between those courts, in a dizzying legalistic spiral. (As an aside, whenever I read Rothbard talking about this kind of thing, I find myself visualising a society in which everybody spends their whole time trundling from court to court, with occasional breaks for food and sleep; it’s a very American lawyered-up kind of vision for society).

But it’s at this point that, if we stand back, we realise that the anarcho-capitalists have played a sly trick on us (and, perhaps, on themselves too). We started off asking what society would provide the least coercion. We then noted that the power to coerce is a monopoly of the State. So, by confining the State, we confine coercion. The more we confine the State, the less coercion there is; it is as if coercive power is some violent beast, and we put it in a cage of constitutional limitations. But the anarcho-capitalist isn’t asking that question any more. They are now asking the question-

How can the private sector provide what the State previously provided?

And the product that the State was providing was coercion itself! We started off asking how to rid ourselves, as much as possible, of the whole panoply of arbitrary laws, and courts and police to enforce those arbitrary laws and so on, and the answer the anarcho-capitalist has come back with is, “don’t worry, under my system there will be arbitrary laws and courts and police in abundance!” Our quest for liberty has entirely disappeared, replaced with the search for how to restrict liberty in the absence of a state!

It is as if some group of radical feminists were to say, “what can we do about wife beating?” and then they say, “only men beat wives” and then say, “so let’s kill all the men”. Well, that’s extreme, but it’s a rational course. But then the anarcho-capitalist sits in the corner writing a complex system of how beating of women can still be provided in the absence of men, by a system of beating agencies and so on, in order to prove that the effects of men can exist in the absence of men. We’re off the rails entirely.

So here’s the thing. If we want those things we like to call “natural” rights protected, we need some laws- against those standard things muder, assault, theft, rape and fraud. But we wanted to ensure that there weren’t loads more laws against buying beer at some time of day, or playing cricket on sunday morning, or other trifling nonsense. But the anarcho-capitalist system is actually predicated on our post-statist society being able to produce laws of any kind. If it is correct, it actually just proves that anarchy will not be liberty- in fact, as one of my an-cap debating pals said, it’ll just provide whatever laws are on the market and (and he didn’t say this, but it naturally follows) if there’s no law against rape but there is a law against smoking dope in your property area, or from your private law provider, or somebody else’s or whatever well, tough titties.

The anarcho-capitalist idea started as an attempt to prove that everything the State currently does can be done privately. But it misses the point that everything outside of law is non-coercive, whereas law is inherently coercive. The private sector can provide healthcare, or “utilities”, or banking, or whatever. No problem. But law is, by its nature, coercion. We want coercion in some areas (murder, rape, theft etc) but we want to restrain it from leaking into all those other areas it has leaked into, which is why the minarchist seeks to restrain the coercion beast in a cage. The anarcho-capitalist sets out to prove- and succeeds (in his own mind at least)- that the private sector will provide any number of coercion beasts, roaming free and preying on the public at large.

So, the State is currently our only enemy precisely because it is the monopolist. Take away the monopoly and replace it with anarcho-capitalism, and, literally, everybody else- for everyone is now free to be a coercion beast- becomes the enemy. Anarcho-capitalism may be a viable system. It may even exist one day, somewhere. But it turns out that it is not a libertarian system at all. It does not answer our initial question regarding liberty and, crucially, it doesn’t even try to. It is simply a proof that all the bad things that are currently done only by the State- in particular the curtailment of liberty- will exist even when the State is eradicated.

And thus strangely, we have found that, rather than anarcho-capitalism being the natural goal of libertarianism, it is actually opposed to libertarianism. It seems we must choose between one and the other.

***

Afore I go, one possible objection I can pre-empt is that some formulations of anarcho-capitalism appeal to “voluntary law”. This tends to be a bit of a slogan, but when asked for specifics, it is suggested that there will be a law without coercion. I’m not sure how widespread this meme is in the an-cap community, but certainly some seem to appeal to it when it suits their argument. Under this idea, nobody is ever arrested, or forced to go to court, and so on. This seems a trifle implausible. The answer given as to why anybody would ever bother going to court is that they would do so to “clear their name”. This doesn’t seem to be much of an inducement to guilty people to attend court. There’s not much point trying to clear your name if they’ve already found the six teenage girls buried under your patio. The secondary inducement then is that anyone not playing ball with the private courts would be publicly identified and then the rest of society will shun them, and refuse to trade with them, and they will starve to death.

This doesn’t seem very plausible to me either, for several reasons. Firstly, what gives the court the right to ruin a non-convicted man’s life by publicly identifying him? Oh wait, that doesn’t matter, because nobody has any rights any more. The bigger question is whether Mr Patel in my local shop can memorise millions of mugshots in order to make sure he doesn’t sell a known criminal a crate of alcopops and a pack of Rich Tea, or what would prevent anyone in a society of billions of souls, without identity documents of any kind, from simply growing a lush moustache, assuming a new name, and starting over. The last point of course is whether society en masse will boycott the criminals anyway. Al Capone was known to be a mobster and the Krays were known to be mobsters long before being convicted of anything but didn’t suffer much in the way of shunning. Indeed, so far as history tells, being a known gangster was at least in decades past about the best way to pull a third-rate starlet and become a society figure.

So anyway, the prior argument is based on anarcho-capitalist law agencies arresting people, and forcibly trying and punishing them, on the basis that politely asking Mad Axeman Frankie MacPsycho to turn up and face the music like a man has only a remote chance of being greeted with anything other than ridicule.

44 Comments

  1. mike says:

    Perhaps I am seeing this through back to front 3D glasses, but to me it seems neither minarchism or anarchism guarantee liberty over time. The minarchist position – a la the founding of the U.S. – risks devolving into a tyrannical state over time, whereas the anarchist position allows the risk that the market allows for the multiplication of predatory PDAs (but what that number will be is anyone’s guess).

    Quite apart from both of these positions however are several no less important matters – culture, ethics and historical traditions. Example: in Chinese culture, there is not the same tradition of “speaking truth to power” that there is in the west which we can trace back to the Greeks and their “parrhesia”. Although there is a tradition of criticism, it typically relies on non-confrontational, indirect forms that tend to inhibit or slow down the filtering of knowledge from the lower reaches of an organization to its higher command structure*. For this reason, I don’t think very highly of the chances of containing a centralized Chinese state with constitutional forms, unless or until the culture begins to shift significantly.

    *The implications extend not only to an organization’s competence to its’ purpose, but also to the common ethical strains on which a political structure can be built. In democratic Taiwan, for example, legislators often resort to fisticuffs and even swallowing one another’s draft bills partly because they don’t have any traditions of handling direct confrontation (comparable to the west) to draw upon.

  2. NickM says:

    Good post Ian,

    I think it’s a problem with any form of polycentric law = it leads to utter chaos. It’s why I thought Rowan Williams was barking mad when he wittered on about sharia.

    In general I think A-Cs are whacky and almost obsessive about ideological purity in a way that free-wheeling types like me find a little disturbing.

    Interesting, Mike. Those East Asian parliaments do get a bit feisty.

  3. John B says:

    To me it seems: In human affairs nothing is perfect. One can tend in directions but not establish absolutes.
    Thus the Thatcher years were good in that they tended towards individual initiative and freedom from coercion, but they did not even begin to get anywhere near to the way things “should” be, and so can be sneered at from many directions.
    The “Thatcher years” is also a far from perfect way of looking at it. Freddie Laker, the guy that cracked the airline monopolies, pre-dated Thatcher.
    One can establish the ideal but only tend towards it? Conversely one can observe that sharia would seem to tend towards wacking heads off in a very 7th Century manner.
    It starts off with getting to grips with one’s own controllist, bossy urges, I guess.

  4. Thanks for quoting me, Ian:

    “If it is correct, it actually just proves that anarchy will not be liberty- in fact, as one of my an-cap debating pals said, it’ll just provide whatever laws are on the market and (and he didn’t say this, but it naturally follows) if there’s no law against rape but there is a law against smoking dope in your property area, or from your private law provider, or somebody else’s or whatever well, tough titties”

    However, you missed out what I said immediately after this: We can expect no better from your “minimal state”: The laws you will get under the minimal state are the laws we can expect a minimal state to provide; “if there’s no law against rape but there is a law against smoking dope in your property area, or from your private law provider, or somebody else’s or whatever well, tough titties.”

    In the meantime, the very existence of your minimal state would be in violation of the principles you want enshrined in law. I have yet to see you answer the question of on what grounds a state that is empowered to do nothing but protect people’s right under (however you view) libertarian principle, can be justified in preventing anybody else from doing likewise that has not first obtained its permission. If protecting rights under (however you view) libertarian principle doesn’t violate people’s rights, then preventing people from protecting or enforcing rights falls outside the purview of just such a state. But if the state doesn’t prevent this, then you end up with free entry for anybody in the UK, or from outside, to declare themselves a state and start protecting or enforcing the rights (as you see them) under libertarian principle (as you view it) of anybody willing to become a “citizen,” and the system would be no different from anarcho-capitalism.

  5. mike says:

    “I think it’s a problem with any form of polycentric law = it leads to utter chaos. It’s why I thought Rowan Williams was barking mad when he wittered on about sharia.”

    Weird. First, RW is barking mad because it was sharia law he was talking about allowing – you know, stoning women for alleged adultery and so on – not because he was proposing a system of polycentric law per se. Second, it seems obvious to me that the question of whether a particular manifestation of polycentric law would lead to “chaos” is an empirical one, because how the various sets of laws would take shape and how many there would be would have quite a lot to do with all that messy stuff about culture, ethics, history, traditions, psychology and so on.

    “In general I think A-Cs are whacky and almost obsessive about ideological purity in a way that free-wheeling types like me find a little disturbing.”

    Yeah but come on Nick, a similar thing happens to mathematicians (and other specialists) – people who can’t do anything beyond simple arithmetic tend to think they’re either extremely tedious or mad or both, which is why good mathematics teachers tend to swear a lot and talk about lager, fags and/or gay hobbit porn to compensate… ;-)

  6. Antisthenes says:

    We can measure the consequences of the total loss of individual liberty to an authoritarian state because we have seen it in communism and fascism. However as far as I know there has never been a condition where a society become anarchic from choice. When anarchy has been forced upon a society the result in the beginning has been very unpleasant but has eventually evolved into a society that willingly embrace some form of state control. The more state control the more prosperous that society becomes but at some point state control reaches a point of diminishing returns. When you reach that point some parts of society will claim that more control is needed and others less always the more controllers win the day and the end result is a return to anarchy and so the whole cycle starts all over again. Sometimes it takes centuries and sometime only decades

    My point is that the argument is worthless as humans do what humans do and make bad decisions because they are made for the wrong reasons and in the end everyone gets what they want anyway and nobody likes what they wished for.

  7. NickM says:

    mike,
    I agree with you wrt sharia being beastly but my principle is still important. Look, if muslims want to sort out family or inheritance or contracts or whatever their own way then fine. As long as all parties agree that this is the basis. But what if they don’t agree. Then some sort of external enforcement is needed.

    Example. Muslim woman wants a divorce from Muslim hubby. He says fine we’ll do it the shariah way. What if she doesn’tt want that? What if she’s actually lost her faith or converted to another? It’s a right mess and Islamic jurisprudence tends towards the idea that apostates ought to be killed anyway.

    This of course brings-up another issue with polycentric law – people are obviously going to chose a legal framework to maximise their own advantage and that will change over time according to circumstances.

  8. Ian B says:

    Richard-

    I have yet to see you answer the question of on what grounds a state that is empowered to do nothing but protect people’s right under (however you view) libertarian principle, can be justified in preventing anybody else from doing likewise that has not first obtained its permission.

    You have already answered that question today in your own Blog Post! We already have private enforcement, ranging from security firms to store detectives to citizen’s arrest. The key point, as your own blog makes clear, is that all enforcers (including state ones) are themselves bound by the hegemonic law system. You are entitled to enforce the law yourself- of course you are – but you are not entitled to write the law yourself or inflict your own arbitrary punishments, and the limitations on private law enforcement are parts of the rights system imposed hegemonically.

    Firstly, you are allowed as a private person to make rules, but not laws. You can only arrest somebody if they have broken the law. If they’ve broken one of your private rules, but not a law, all you can do is eject them from your property or refuse them admittance (sorry mate, no trainers allowed). You aren’t allowed to declare an arbitrary punishment and inflict it on somebody who has broken your rules. If they break the *law* on the other hand, you can hold them and hand them over to the state for punishment. As things stand right now.

    In a minarchy, you might take that further. You might entirely privatise policing. You might entirely privatise the courts. You might entirely privatise punishment. But those privatised services would still have to follow the law, and respect whatever rights for the arrested persons are enshrined in it; e.g. the right to a certain standard of trial, legal representation, protection from violence, torture, forced confessions, certain standards of evidence, application of only punishments specified by law etc. That is, a thief might be arrested by a citizen, held in a private remand centre, tried in a private court and imprisoned in a private prison. But all those private services have to follow standards set down in the law, and can’t for instance arbitrarily decide to cut the guy’s hands off to teach him a lesson, because the law does not specify that as a legal punishment.

    Under an-cap, none of those standards exist. As Jock pointed out over in the forums, Rothbard himself falls into the same trap of anarchist carte blanche magically getting universal standards ex nihilo. Under minarchy, everyone is bound by legal standards, including law enforcers. So we might write the rules of our minarchist society to allow most or all of enforcement to be done privately. What it doesn’t allow is private law. Anyone enforcing the law has to follow that law. There is a fundamental difference between the law itself, and the enforcement of it.

  9. Ian B,

    “You have already answered that question today in your own Blog Post! We already have private enforcement, ranging from security firms to store detectives to citizen’s arrest.”

    Afraid not, but thanks for checking out my blog – I really should update it! No, I did not “answer the question” there, since my blog post was about private police firms that are [i]licensed by the state[/i], and thus have to first obtain its permission to operate. My question, meanwhile, asked “on what grounds a state that is empowered to do nothing but protect people’s right under (however you view) libertarian principle, can be justified in preventing anybody else from doing likewise [b]that has not first obtained its permission[/b].”

    You could construe what you are proposing as a type of licensing authority, perhaps, wherein anybody who wants to go into rights enforcing business has to apply for a license, the condition of who’s provision would include a commitment only to use force according to your meta-rules. Then the license could be withdrawn and the firm suppressed if it used violence outside of the bounds of the meta-rules. However, you would still face the questions of (a) on what grounds this licensing authority could prohibit the operation of a security firm that did not have a license, but did not use force outside the bounds of the meta-rules. And (b) does the licensing authority exclusively hold the right to suppress firms that act outside the meta-rules, or can anybody do it? And is their a license that firms can withdraw from the licensing authority?

    “Firstly, you are allowed as a private person to make rules, but not laws.”

    Hmmmm. I wonder how you would answer a problem I posed to John Hospers in my paper. Page 35, last paragraph, to the end of paragraph 2, page 36.

    “In a minarchy, you might take that further. You might entirely privatise policing. You might entirely privatise the courts. You might entirely privatise punishment. But those privatised services would still have to follow the law, and respect whatever rights for the arrested persons are enshrined in it; e.g. the right to a certain standard of trial, legal representation, protection from violence, torture, forced confessions, certain standards of evidence, application of only punishments specified by law etc. That is, a thief might be arrested by a citizen, held in a private remand centre, tried in a private court and imprisoned in a private prison. But all those private services have to follow standards set down in the law, and can’t for instance arbitrarily decide to cut the guy’s hands off to teach him a lesson, because the law does not specify that as a legal punishment.

    Under an-cap, none of those standards exist.”

    On the contrary, I cannot tell the difference between what you describe here and libertarian anarchism.

    “As Jock pointed out over in the forums, Rothbard himself falls into the same trap of anarchist carte blanche magically getting universal standards ex nihilo.”

    True, Rothbard simply assumes that the universal standards would come about, as you say, [i]ex nihilo[/i]. However, I posted the quotes to show that at least one leading anarchist did not envision anarchy as necessarily being a system within which anybody could enforce any rule they wanted, but were bound by a single, universal legal code. You have not been attacking the likelihood of this universally binding legal code coming about; you have been assuming that as a matter of conceptual necessity it is absent – that anarcho-capitalism necessarily entails it is absent, not that anarcho-capitalism will likely lead to its absence.

    “Under minarchy, everyone is bound by legal standards, including law enforcers.”

    Really? Why? Under present systems people in the state apparatus have sovereign immunity.

    Moreover, “under anarchy, everyone is bound by legal standards, including law enforcers.” The absence of a monopoly on force means that if a person he is a victim of a crime, then he can hire a protection agency to go and take the suspected perp to court, or punish him, even if the suspect is law enforcer for another agency.

  10. Ian B says:

    Nothing I wrote should be construed as a “state licensing scheme” because I did not suggest that. For instance, there is no state licensing scheme for citizens arrests. It is simply stating that any private “police” who themselves break the law in carrying out their business are themselves subject to that law.

    We must remember that without the fictional legal personality awarded to “companies” by the State, any business would be just a group of individuals who choose to e.g. rent an office and put a sign over the door saying “Awesome Law Enforcement”. Those individuals might contract out as security personnel to some other individual. They would be entitled to make citizens arrests (all arrests would be “citizens arrests” remember, no distinction), but not entitled to beat somebody they catch to death with a hammer; which would be an act of murder, as with any other individual.

  11. OK, but I still do not see how what you are describing is any different from anarcho-capitalism. If anybody can go into business selling protection under the law to people willing to pay for it, if anybody can go into business offering resolution of disputes at law for anybody willing to pay for it, within a given geographic area, then that is precisely what, for instance, Rothbard was proposing in For a New Liberty. I don’t see how the fact that anybody attempting to enforce “laws” that do not match what you call the law will be punished changes that – Rothbard, or Roy Childs, etc. all propose precisely that too.

  12. Ian B says:

    Richard, the difference to my mind is that there’s a hegemonic, single law code bound in place by a constitution, and hegemonic enforcement of that code. The day to day enforcement of that law can to some arbitrary degree be in the private sphere, but the law itself isn’t. It is the preserve of the State, whose sole purpose is its maintenance.

    Rothbard it seems to me is tyring to have his cake and eat it; by at once abolishing the state and then just assuming that statelike legal code hegemony will remain, sort of floating around in the aether. He can certainly suggest that libertarian legal eagles can writes some libertarian legal framework, but so can anyone else in the society, and there is no strategy within An-Cap to require the private courts and PDAs to prefer one legal framework over another.

  13. Pa Annoyed says:

    Excellent post!

    Two points. Libertarianism doesn’t mean no coercion – just the minimum of coercion required to ensure everybody else keeps their liberties too. So obviously a system that aims for zero coercion isn’t necessarily the goal. Second point – the question seems to me to be how you keep whatever system you end up with adhering to libertarian standards. Is it easier to do this with a single entity – a state – or a marketplace of entities?

    While I myself don’t see how you can get multiple legal systems to work together harmoniously – they tend to require a degree of absoluteness to work – I don’t really care about the details. If they can come up with some system that stays on the libertarian straight and narrow, it shouldn’t affect me. But suppose a majority of these private legislations decide to seize power over their subjects? An individual cannot stop them. A few groups cannot stop them. And we know from the present example of nation states that the free are often unwilling to pay their own blood and money to support the liberty of others if it doesn’t affect them directly. Warlordism is definitely a feasible and an in-a-sense stable political system. So the question is, is it easier to bring general Warlordism back to a liberal society as a member of one gang, or to bring a dictatorial nation state back to liberty as one of its citizens?

    So far as I know, the historical route has always been anarchy-warlordism-feudalism-state-liberalism – you get to a more liberal society via states, it’s not so easy to jump there directly from warlords. But maybe someone knows of some counterexamples?

    Although in a sense I don’t think it matters either way. Society is a fractal – it’s ethos as a whole is a reflection of its individual parts. So if all the people were libertarian, then society would be too, however you organised it. If the people are inclined towards totalitarianism, then so will society be. It makes no difference in the long run, whichever way you organise it.

  14. [...] analysis over at CountingCats, of a problem which has been bugging me for some years: how to ensure Order becoming the inevitable [...]

  15. Ian,

    “Richard, the difference to my mind is that there’s a hegemonic, single law code bound in place by a constitution, and hegemonic enforcement of that code.”

    Which is not adjudicated or enforced by any “state.” Or, rather, it could be, since, apparently, your “state” would not even prevent other nation-states from enforcing the law in Britain. It would actually be pretty hard to point to a single institution, under your system, and call it “the British State,” since no organisation would have any more claim to be such than any other, and all enforce the law against others in Britain, and all can provide adjudication under that law.

    “The day to day enforcement of that law can to some arbitrary degree be in the private sphere, but the law itself isn’t. It is the preserve of the State, whose sole purpose is its maintenance.”

    What does that mean?

    “Rothbard it seems to me is tyring to have his cake and eat it; by at once abolishing the state and then just assuming that statelike legal code hegemony will remain, sort of floating around in the aether.”

    I’m not sure how a legal code can be “statelike.” Rothbard thinks there should be a single, uniform legal code. The only way that could be “statelike” is if the state and the law are the same things, in which case the notion of constraining the government with the law doesn’t make much sense, or saying that the government should not be above the law doesn’t make sense. Law and government are conceptually distinct.

    [quote]He can certainly suggest that libertarian legal eagles can writes some libertarian legal framework, but so can anyone else in the society, and there is no strategy within An-Cap to require the private courts and PDAs to prefer one legal framework over another.”[/quote]

    Well, that’s not strictly true, is it: People can force the courts and the agencies to adopt it.

  16. Oops, got html confused between blog commentary and forum commentary!

  17. mike says:

    Nick – at the end of the day, it would depend on people like you and me; the market. If we were willing to do (or pay for) whatever was necessary to get that woman out of her little Islamic enclave then she’d have a hope, and if not then to be honest I don’t see how we could have much hope for ourselves. I don’t want to live in a society which tolerates the application of Islamic law (and neither do you, but this is already on the cards in the UK).

    I was pointing to the importance of a broadly shared set of ethical premises, history and traditions quite irrespective of whether our libertarian nirvana was a minarchy or an anarchy in form. Those things will always be alien to Islam. Liberty is not an automatic function of structural form – whether minarchy or anarchy – absent a population selfish enough to realize that their individual interests are not served by tolerating the intolerable.

  18. Agalloch says:

    I’m sorry, could you please show some intellectual Rigour for just a second.

    Let’s ignore this drivel, that is the equivelant of saying doctors should be shot for trying to provide new medicine because you don’t know how to create that medicine. We can even ignore the madness of you being a Minarchist, when you have absolutely no idea what the free market is. Could we just get the the meat of it. There’s no need for long winded arguments about details that show a lack of basic humility.

    You’ve missed the most important statements of the article, the last ones. Why don’t you add them and stop pretending you’re talking about something you are not.

    “… therefore, it is ok to give an unlimitable power to a small group of naturally power hungry people to rape and murder whoever they like. I believe, as a Minarchist that my goals should be reached by the blood of men and the tears of tortured women”.

    Come on, don’t pretend that’s not what you are saying, write it coward.

  19. FrancisT says:

    Excellent thought provoking post. It seems to me a someone who comes from a somewhat mathematical background you have nailed the fundamental logical inconsistency in An Cap (and indeed in other forms of anarchy).

    An-cap is like communism in that it can only work in conditions where humans are idealized. In the case of an(cap) perfect rational machines with perfect knowledge of everyone else. In the case of communism that no one is a freeloader. In the real world neither of these conditions apply as humans are a mixture of smart, thick, lazy, dilligent, selfish, altruistic etc. Hence systems that require people to not be the mixture are destined to failure if they ever get tried by more than a handful of true believers.

    This is an example where (IMHO) the proverb that “perfect is an enemy of good enough” is true and where good enough is what is required. Minarchy, by being less dogmatic, is more likely to be practical on a large scale.

  20. NickM says:

    “I was pointing to the importance of a broadly shared set of ethical premises, history and traditions quite irrespective of whether our libertarian nirvana was a minarchy or an anarchy in form. Those things will always be alien to Islam.”

    And alien to lots of other people as well. When I talk about justice I mean seeing the scrote who nicked my laptop getting jugged. His Guardian reading brief might though get him off talking about his terrible childhood and how it was only due to class oppression in the first place that I had the laptop and Hoody Q Scrotebag didn’t. That’s social justice. Think on it. The opening of Plato’s Republic is a discussion on the nature of justice and it is one we have not absolutely resolved that one still or if we have not everyone is going along with it. And it’s all because we don’t all treat the same basic concepts the same way.

    Kuhn had a lot to say on that in “Structure of Scientific Revolutions” and opined that the failure in the – for want of a better phrase – human sciences – to actually get anywhere was due to them resolutely fairly to agree basic terms for debate. If you bought a bright shiny new Merc I’d say congrats mate, bet you put in the hours to get that! A socialist would harp on though that the cam shafts were greased with the blood of the oppressed.

    In Kuhnian parlance those two paradigms are incommensurable. Where people go wrong with Kuhn (and he didn’t help by being a convoluted thinker) is to think that means those two paradigms have nothing to chose between them. In short kuhn’s relativism is over-played. If you just stick to his idea that some world-views are so incompatible as to render any debate meaningless then you can make a sort of progress by realising you ain’t getting anywhere and if needs must and the devil vomits in your kettle send for the B-52s!

    More concretely – how much more heat than light would be generated by say Peter Tatchell discussing gay marriage with an ayatollah?

    (I mean the concept of it, I don’t mean a proposal although… That would be better than Match of The Day…)

    The older I’ve got the more I’ve realised that there are at least two types of disagreement. Ones that are in principle arguable and those that aren’t. When I recently stuck the boot into Richard Dawkins I was thinking along those lines.

  21. Jock says:

    Ah, now see, that’ll teach me to bury my head in writing a long response without returning here to see the discussion! Incidentally, I haven’t yet got to dealing with your main point about whether or not it would be more liberal or not, so there’s no real reason to respond unless thee’s something glaring.

    However, having done much revision of sources and arguments I think there is a difference between our positions that affects, greatly, the debate, and that is the nature of “law” itself.

    Hoppe makes the distinction that for the anarchist theory, including Rothbard notwithstanding what’s said above, there is “the idea of eternal and immutable law that must be discovered” whereas when you add a state, of whatever size, that “will disappear and be replaced by the idea of law as legislation – as flexible state-made law”.

    The process of free market arbitration is that of discovering that “eternal and immutable law” and all Hoppe, Rothbard and others are doing is not setting down “what must be” (ex-nihilo as you put it) *before* such a system can work, but what they believe, from deduction, such a system *will discover*, because, as Hoppe says elsewhere, they are not mere “conventions” as legislated “state law” is and to which alternatives can (and do) exist, but they are “norms” to which no alternative can exist ultimately for the avoidance and/or resolution of human conflict.

    Introduce any form of a state and you introduce legislators rather than discoverers. And legislators will always act according to the various interests who put them in power, because they can, with their monopoly. Discoverers in a free market cannot arbitrarily change that “eternal and immutable law” as states can their legislated law, they can only hone better and better ways of applying and interpreting it in different sorts of cases.

  22. NickM says:

    Jock,
    That is tending towards mysticism.

  23. Jock says:

    I am sure there are people who would equate praxeology with mysticism!

  24. CountingCats says:

    Ian,

    First off, knew you couldn’t stay away. Good stuff.

    I had been through this in my mind, although not to the extent and detail you have, and had accepted long ago that an cap was unsustainable. True anarchy will lead to dominance by the strongest, gangs and then warlordism. There needs to be a minimal state in order to enforce one of the states primary responsibilities, to whit – ensuring maximum liberty commensurate with society not falling apart.

    What that level of liberty is, and how to achieve it, is the matter of discussion.

  25. NickM says:

    ‘The process of free market arbitration is that of discovering that “eternal and immutable law”’

    Eternal and immutable! The market is what works here and now. It’s an ad-hocracy that doesn’t converge on some hidden truth. What is the worth of an item? It’s entirely circumstantial. If you need a posidrive then a set of flat-head screw-drivers even if crafted by Faberge himself is useless.

  26. Jock says:

    No, look all they are saying is that there are a couple of very simple norms without which humanity wouldn’t last terribly long and which are, effectively, the only “laws” you need. Beyond that, how those laws apply to each situation is what the market will discover (i.e. create precedent). So why do you need legislators who will necessarily introduce interest driven state-law.

  27. mike says:

    “And alien to lots of other people as well.”

    Well… call me a monkey’s uncle, but that’s also gonna be a problem for the minarchists when they call their constitutional convention. People will disagree with you and Ian and some of those people will be outright Hamiltons (or worse).

    “And it’s all because we don’t all treat the same basic concepts the same way.”

    Yes – there are epistemological differences at work behind the different views on justice. It really wasn’t necessary to invoke Kuhn, the point was simple enough. By the way, haven’t you read Rand’s ITOE? She was a minarchist too, you know.

    I’m with Jock on his norms and the market discovering how to implement them; Roderick Long is good on this.

    Jock: IanB will be along sooner or later to tell you he’d have the legislature abolished in his minarchy.

  28. Ian B says:

    Mike (and Jock) there are many various alternatives to having a legislature as-we-know-it- that is some cadre of professional “representatives” writing laws willy-nilly, but that would require a separate post and thread I think :)#

    Well… call me a monkey’s uncle, but that’s also gonna be a problem for the minarchists when they call their constitutional convention. People will disagree with you and Ian and some of those people will be outright Hamiltons (or worse).

    To me the key point here is that the “minarchists” would be offering a specific programme to persuade others (who may or may not be persuaded); for instance a specific legal code, whereas the anarchists can never offer more than “well, we abolish everything, and, some shit happens which we hope will be better than what we have currently”. That is, if there were various movements offering different constitutional settlements (statists, libertarians, anarchists etc) the anarcho-whatevers; anarcho-capitalists, anarcho-communists, anarcho-syndicalist, whatever, will all be in the same party; the only thing they can actually promise is the anarchic starting point. The various qualifiers (capitalist, communist) are simple labels for speculations regarding what will happen next, based on their personal beliefs in the consequences of human action.

    If you ask a minarchist, “Will murder be illegal?” she can answer, “yes”. If you ask an anarcho-capitalist the same question, she can only answer that she expects that such a law will be “discovered”. That’s why in the post I made the point that anarcho-capitalism isn’t áctually libertarianism at all. It has thrown away the basic tenet of liberty- the famous Non-Agression Axiom- because of a confusion that the very definition of libertarianism is being anti-State, in the same way that some feminists think the very definition of feminism is being anti-men. Reducing the power of the State is a mechanism for achieving liberty, in the same way that reducing the power of men is a mechanism for achieving women’s rights. Once you confuse the mechanism with the goal, an error occurs.

  29. RAB says:

    Good to see you all having fun exercising the little grey cells on the finer points of Libertarian theory, great stuff, but academic to the level of pointless, wouldn’t you agree?
    Neither the micro or the anarcho are going to be the prevailing wisdom in our lifetimes.Far from it I fear.

    Like I said in the thread below, I didn’t know a thing about Libertarianism until I bumped into it via Samizdata.
    I didn’t know what I was. I certainly knew what I wasn’t. I wasn’t a Socialist and I wasn’t a traditionalist Conservative. I kinda thought I might be an old fashioned live and let live Liberal.
    I had always wanted a smaller state that did what it could do better, rather than one that thinks it can do everything, but always ends up making things worse.
    I wanted the Laws to be massively reduced back to what was the essence of British Common Law. Where everything was allowed unless expressly forbidden.
    Where we have an army to protect us, a Judiciary to uphold the laws we deem essential and a police force that works to enforce just that.
    Everything else can be left to markets to sort out. But as we know over the last 200 years or more, the traffic has all been in the other direction. Bigger and bigger state taking more and more of your money and making all of your decisions for you. For your own good of course!
    We humans have always been collectivist cooperative animals, even when we were hunter gatherers, but we have always been elitist too. First the stong over the weak, the warlords and the chieftains, emperors and kings, but gradually and very slowly the ordinary folk got to have a say via democracy. That say is still pretty small and enfeebled and getting weaker. For now we are ruled by elites of so called experts that we do not know how to challenge or dislodge.
    And our so called Democracy has become such a rigged sham by our self electing Elites that we are left with the current situation, whoever you vote for nothing will substantially change. THEY have decided and that is it and all about it.
    It is all very depressing and I dont know what the fuck we can do about it.
    I am a realist and a pragmatist. I look out the window and see what is, not what I would like to be. God knows we have all tried to explain Libertarianism to friends and neighbours havent we? And been met with quizzical smiles of incomprehension.
    They still cant see past the old left and right politics, even when you try to explain that there is no left and right anymore, it is all centerist and Statist.
    They still believe, those poor sods who say they will vote labour or Tory because they have always done, in the old stereotypes. Labour for the poor, Tories for the rich. It seems hardwired into them. How do we get them to wake up, lose the scales from their eyes and see the truth? I’m fucked if I know, but I will keep on trying till I die.
    Perry Has a clip of Paxo and Nigel Farage up on SI at the moment. Now I have heard some bad things about Nigel, and I am very leery of some of the flakey policies UKIP have come up with lately, but if someone would implement even some of the stuff he advocates in there (bonfire of the quangos, 2 million usless Public sector workers axed, out of Europe etc etc, I would be more than pleased that at least we were heading in the right direction. Some hope though eh?
    Like I said I am a realist, we Libertarians arn’t even Moses, we are a Noahs distance away from entering our Promised Land, but we just have to keep plugging away.
    Ace post Ian.

  30. Ian,

    “If you ask a minarchist, “Will murder be illegal?” she can answer, “yes”.”

    On what grounds? How does she know that the minarchist state will create law against murder?

    “That’s why in the post I made the point that anarcho-capitalism isn’t áctually libertarianism at all.”

    And I agree – anarcho-capitalism is a possible means of creating, adjudicating, and enforcing laws. Whether it is libertarian or not depends on whether or not it supplies libertarian laws.

    “It has thrown away the basic tenet of liberty- the famous Non-Agression Axiom- because of a confusion that the very definition of libertarianism is being anti-State, in the same way that some feminists think the very definition of feminism is being anti-men.”

    On what grounds do you claim this? I can’t see any basis for it. Have you seen any libertarian anarchists claim that they would support an anarchist society in which the laws allow, or institutionalise, the initiation of force? What you are saying here is basically no different from saying that because a minimal state may produce laws that allow or institutionalise the initiation of force, minimal state have “thrown away the basic tenet of liberty- the famous Non-Agression Axiom.”

  31. Ian,

    “To me the key point here is that the “minarchists” would be offering a specific programme to persuade others (who may or may not be persuaded); for instance a specific legal code, whereas the anarchists can never offer more than “well, we abolish everything, and, some shit happens which we hope will be better than what we have currently””

    Not really. Again, this sounds like a straw man. The anarchist says, “well, if you want people to be bound by this legal code you want, you can pay somebody to force people to comply with it – but, remember, they may also pay somebody to protect them against this enforcement. Conflict between these two parties would be expensive, but you can avoid paying for these costs if you choose somebody that has arbitration agreements with people those others may have hired… but, remember, if you want your legal code enforced against others, and want to avoid the costs of having the people you hire beat those others into submission, you will have to get them to agree to an arbitration firm that uses rules similar to your preferred legal rules to resolve the disputes.

    Of course, as a libertarian, I have no aversion to saying that people can and should be forced to conform to a legal code enshrining libertarian principle whether they “consent” to it or not (I don’t think that theft ceases to be an injustice simply because thieves have not agreed to laws against theft).

  32. Ian B says:

    On what grounds? How does she know that the minarchist state will create law against murder?

    Er, because it’s explicitly part of the libertarian/minarchist programme to do so Richard.

  33. “Er, because it’s explicitly part of the libertarian/minarchist programme to do so Richard.”

    That sounds a bit utopian. Public Choice theorists laugh at that sort of thinking when it is applied to things like welfare – they scoff at the people that would say “ah, but when we set up our state education system it really will provide equal education opportunities for all.” As David Friedman said, that sort of thinking is a bit like saying “when I set up my free market, it will produce equal wages.” As he said, their are laws that determine the outcome of ,arket processes regardless of what we want those outcomes to be, and there are similar laws that determine the outcome of political processes. Governments will produce the outcomes that governments produce, which may or may not be the outcomes you like.

  34. NickM says:

    “Well… call me a monkey’s uncle, but that’s also gonna be a problem for the minarchists when they call their constitutional convention. People will disagree with you and Ian and some of those people will be outright Hamiltons (or worse).”

    Of course it would have to be thrashed out. It’s been done before you know! But what is important is that some sort of framework is erected.

    Ah, c’mon guys… Let’s think about football. Now we may not all agree the offside rule is the right rule for the game and we can sit in the boozer chatting about it ’till the cows come home but on the pitch that law has to apply to all teams equally otherwise you don’t have a game. Expecting the rules to magically evolve out of 22 (why 22?) blokes kicking lumps out of each other is bonkers. Of course football started like that but it only really took off and became a massive global pastime when some folks set-up the FA and codified rules for it.

    If libertarianism is a small pond then it’s A-C fringe is the very edge that is drying-up with the fish flapping about in the mud. I’m sorry folks but such rarified hyphenated political belief systems are for navel gazers and have nowt to do with the real world. A-Cs puh-leese explain how you could even begin to sell any of this high-falutin’ nonsense to the man on the Clapham Omnibus who cares more for Murray Mints than Murray Rothbard.

    “On what grounds? How does she know that the minarchist state will create law against murder?”

    It’s statements like that. I mean for fuck’s sake people. If you have to justify making murder illegal… It’s presented axiomatically in the bloody legal code of Hammurabi…

  35. Ian B says:

    Richard, setting up a law against murder is not promising a market outcome. There have been laws against murder since prehistory. You’re just being silly now.

  36. NickM

    “If libertarianism is a small pond then it’s A-C fringe is the very edge that is drying-up with the fish flapping about in the mud. I’m sorry folks but such rarified hyphenated political belief systems are for navel gazers and have nowt to do with the real world. A-Cs puh-leese explain how you could even begin to sell any of this high-falutin’ nonsense to the man on the Clapham Omnibus who cares more for Murray Mints than Murray Rothbard.”

    I probably wouldn’t try to sell anarcho-capitalism to the man on the street. I probably wouldn’t even try to sell him a minimal state as small as what IanB is calling for (which, as I have said, doesn’t seem much different from what anarcho-capitalists want). I would try to sell them a state that was a little bit smaller than now.

    “It’s statements like that. I mean for fuck’s sake people. If you have to justify making murder illegal… It’s presented axiomatically in the bloody legal code of Hammurabi…”

    Could you go back and read my question, because it did not mention anything about justifying making murder illegal.

  37. IanB,

    “Richard, setting up a law against murder is not promising a market outcome.”

    I didn’t say that it was “promising a market outcome,” I said that it was promising a government outcome. You are trying to second guess the laws that your minimal state will supply. It will supply the laws that it supplies. If those laws are libertarian, good for you and us (except that the state itself would then be illegal). But you have no guarantees that they will be, anymore than anarchists have any guarantees that there will be more demand for libertarian law (and protection against non-libertarian law) than for non-libertarian law (and protection against libertarian law) without a state.

    “There have been laws against murder since prehistory. You’re just being silly now.”

    Well, “murder” is a type on unlawful killing. Actions that would now be treated as manslaughter or death by negligence were also legal in legal times (have too many kids? Take one out to the hills and leave it there).

    It should also be noted that there is no piece of legislation that prohibits any offense called murder. I would also point out that these “prehistoric” times you mention were times in which laws were polycentric, with private courts, and privately enforced.

  38. Ian B says:

    Richard, minarchist libertarians don’t just stop at “we’ll have a small government”. It is always “we will have a small government that does X and Y and Z but not other stuff. You make a lot of good points in debates and discussions, but this isn’t one of them, I think.

  39. mike says:

    “To me the key point here is that the “minarchists” would be offering a specific programme to persuade others (who may or may not be persuaded); for instance a specific legal code, whereas the anarchists can never offer more than “well, we abolish everything, and, some shit happens which we hope will be better than what we have currently”.

    Yes I think that’s obviously true Ian – but which takes me back to the point I originally made and my “preference” for AC (to the extent that “preference” is meaningful here). But the route is scenic:

    a) The minarchist position has, to my mind, an advantage over the anarchist position from a strictly constructive point of view. That is to say, if we begin with the question – however abstract, and setting aside RAB’s point that is all armchair general stuff for a moment – “what is to be done?” then a constitutional minarchy can be conceived in more or less clear terms, sort of what we have now but without all the obvious bullshit, which we then list for subtraction via constitutional limits. The anarchist position, opens up whole new realms of possibility which even a simple attempt to list in anything but the most general terms is practically impossible. So I think on this score, minarchism appeals very strongly over anarchism to a constructive mindset which feels compelled to ask the question “what is to be done?” from an archimedean vantage point, and from this point of view I think Ian probably has the best of the debate.

    b) But RAB’s point is a fair one and as PA said a few comments back “society is a fractal”, which points us again to culture, psychology, history: Hayek’s unforeseen consequences and the emergent nature not only of market order but of other things – particularly military consequences (think WW2, Japan, the Enola Gay). So although this debate is interesting, I’m not going to get carried away in attaching what could very well be too much weight to it. The history and often unpredicted consequences of warfare – to take just one example – is the elephant in the room here is it not?

    c) Both minarchist and anarchist positions broadly agree on libertarian values (life, liberty, property) and the application of these values to action through principles up to a point. So I say – with RAB – that this (spreading these ideas throughout the broader culture) is where the real action is and will continue to be for the forseeable future, for better or worse. With that in mind, I look at the pathetic defence which the Republican party has made over the years of the values expressed in the Declaration of Independence and I think to myself “bollocks to that”. Integrity to principle sans pragmatic compromise is my weapon of choice when I get into political scraps – hence my “preference” for the ideological “purity” of the anarchist position. I try not to get into constructivist arguments with democrats, but try to circumscribe the debate to application of values to action through correct principle.

    Oh, that and the fact that, as Popper stressed, there are limits to what we can know about human events (again my point about history, traditions, warfare etc) such that large scale prediction is a bit of a mug’s game.

  40. steves says:

    excelent post, I may be repeating other posts and if so apologies, I can see an An Cap society being created, but it will not be a mixed bag of laws. Surely over time people will tend to congregate to areas where the law they prefer exists, if you do not want to live under sharia law, the easy way will be to move – not attempt to live under the constant threat.

    This will develop into areas of similar law,even if competing private firms supply the laws, it just makes life easier. People will select the laws they want, and especially if spontaneously grown the laws will be similar so competing firms will offer essentially the same set of laws and will tend to diminish in number. Again leading to a state like condition, and the development of common law.

    The two big question marks left beside the state like developments are

    What happens if like the Mafia a large coercive company is the outcome of the above

    What about the free rider question – what laws apply to the people who will not or cannot pay?

  41. Ian,

    “Richard, minarchist libertarians don’t just stop at “we’ll have a small government”. It is always “we will have a small government that does X and Y and Z but not other stuff. You make a lot of good points in debates and discussions, but this isn’t one of them, I think.”

    Well, that does presume that you will get a government that does what you want rather than what governments do. I think you can say “we [i]want to[/i] have a small government that does X Y and Z but not other stuff,” but saying “we will…” sounds much like anarchists saying “we will have a universal law enshrining nothing but libertarian values.” You and I both want nothing but libertarian law to be enforced, including against those that would enforce non-libertarian law against us, but it seems disingenuous to say that we anarchists wrongly say that something would happen when we mean that it should happen, and then to go and do the same thing yourself!

    Still, to others commenting here: This anarchist-minarchist stuff is purely academic and pretty moot point at the moment. Ian and I agree on just about everything else, and we are so far from any position of abolishing the state or sticking with with the smallest possible that this debate provides nothing but intellectual stimulation.

  42. [...] The Anarcho-Capitalist/Libertarian debate seems to be doing the rounds again, if this article by Ian B at Counting Cats (thanks to The Devil, my Rss still doesn’t seem to want to pick up Counting Cats) and to some [...]

  43. [...] Counting Cats – The Fatal Error of Anarcho – Capitalism. [...]

  44. [...] by Ian B, of Counting Cats in Zanzibar. Ian B’s participation in this debate developed into this blog post on Counting Cats in Zanzibar. Anyway, Chris Mounsey, leader of the Libertarian Party UK, of which I [...]

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