Hobbes vs. Panarchism

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Here’s a very good and succinct rebuttal in a Hobbesian vein to my blog on panarchism. It is written by Al Blue:

“Only someone who has never lived in a country with no church-state separation could write such nonsense. Replacing the current nation-state with a thousand warring anarchist tribes hardly seems like an improvement. If the government could be severely limited to protecting individual rights that would be enough. A market in the use of force is not desirable.”

How much evidence does one require before concluding that a monopoly territorial government cannot be “severely limited to protecting individual rights”? This minarchist dream is a fantasy. It hasn’t happened in America, and it has been given a fair trial here. That dream terminated with the Civil War. How huge do wars such as the two world wars have to be before concluding that territorially monopolistic nation-states produce more and greater wars than would governments by subscription? How many books of theory does Professor Hoppe have to generate before winning the argument that markets for protection services and security will be far more progressive than territorial monopolists on violence?

There are firm believers in many thousands of religions, but they are of no moment to each other, as long as they leave one another to their beliefs, and they are more likely to do that when they have a government to their liking than when they are all forced to submit to a single territorially monopolistic government. When any panarchistic group launches a physical attack on another, it bears all the costs. This reduces the likelihood of a “thousand warring tribes”. Even when tribes were common on this earth, they did not launch attacks routinely. They had their reasons and their superstitions, but paying the price for war constrained them.  Under the territorial state, we have more and worse wars because the state can literally extract every resource from everyone, including their bodies and lives. A small group that controls the state can make a war and impose the costs on the population at large.

A virtuous cycle can occur under panarchism. Wars are costly, but making,  imitating, adopting, expanding and implementing progressive developments such as discoveries are all facilitated in a panarchistic world. A person can shift from one government to another, or live under no government at all. A person can search for greater happiness. It will be less costly for people to innovate, observe what they regard as successful innovations, and then adopt them. Societies and governments that fail to make people happy compared to others will lose subscribers (or customers). This is the kind of cycle that can reduce the likelihood of warfare.

10:04 am on June 4, 2013
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