Libertarianism and the Bully Problem

From: D
Sent: Saturday, November 03, 2018 10:08 AM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Libertarianism and the bully problem

I read lewrockwell.com religiously and am a big fan.  I totally buy in to libertarianism as philosophy and the advantages that come with it.

I have to ask a huge question that has always bothered me and I have never read a decent write up of it – I call it the ‘bully problem’ for lack of a better term.  It seems libertarians fail because they are not a gang.  Whether that be a Somali war lord, a bunch of teenagers, the US govt, Nazis, communists, or whatever collection of aggressive violence perps (let’s call them AVPs), the AVPs win because their purpose for existence, like a cuckoo bird, it to take over other systems.  You might say they won at the free market of coercion – the winning gang is literally the best at what they do, which is to force themselves on others.  AVP-ism as a system is not good for economics or social interactions, but it conveniently sits on top of any other workable system and slowly smothers it.

How does the libertarian deal with that?  Hazlitt’s ‘Time Runs Backwards’ seems overly simplistic and not convincing. Once you say something like ‘we need a night watchman state to provide a framework…’ it seems like you’ve already lost, because the framework eventually gets co-opted by AVPs.  Maybe not right away, but certainly after 200 years.

Or maybe the reward is in the struggle?  Perhaps you have some reading suggestions?

Sorry, meant to keep this shorter… thank you so much for your time. D

Dear D:

I don’t think libertarians fail because we are not a gang. If you define gang as people using initiatory violence, we logically cannot be a gang, and still be libertarians. I think the reason we fail is because we have not convinced enough people we are correct. Why not? Aren’t many of us eloquent? Yes, most of us are. Isn’t libertarianism the one true political economic philosophy? Yes, again. So, why haven’t we convinced enough people we are correct? I think it stems from biology. Most people are hard wired in favor of statism. We libertarians are weirdo mutants. I have a paper coming out on this (it is now in the revise and resubmit state):

Levendis, John, Walter E. Block and Robert B. Eckhardt.  Forthcoming. “Evolutionary psychology, economic freedom, trade and benevolence.” Review of Economic Perspectives – Národohospodářský obzor

When it appears in print, I intend to publicize it. I think it is one of the best papers I’ve ever written.

Best regards,

Walter

Also, here is a bibliography on anarchism. I get from this that we do not need a “gang”, or a counter bully, to stop bullying. The free market can take care of this, as it can take care of all human challenges. Perfectly? No. We’re on the wrong side of the Garden of Eden for that. But free market anarchism, anarcho-capitalism, is the best shot we have for justice and prosperity.

Anderson and Hill, 1979; Benson, 1989, 1990; Block, 2007, 2010, 2011; Caplan, Undated; Casey, 2010; Childs, 1970; DiLorenzo, 2010; Durden, 2018; Gregory, 2011; Guillory & Tinsley, 2009; Hasnas, 1995; Heinrich, 2010; Higgs, 2009, 2012, 2017; Hoppe, 2008, 2011; Huebert, 2010; King, 2010; Kinsella, 2009; Long, 2004; McConkey, 2013; Molyneux, 2008, undated; Murphy, 2005; Oppenheimer, 1926; Paul, 2008; Rockwell, 2013, 2016; Rothbard, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1998; Spooner, 1870; Stringham, 2007, 2015; Tannehill, 1984; Tinsley, 1998-1999; Wenzel, 2013; Woods, 2014.

Anderson, Terry and Hill, P.J. 1979. “An American Experiment in Anarcho-Capitalism: The Not So Wild, Wild West,” Journal of Libertarian Studies, 3: 9-29; http://mises.org/journals/jls/3_1/3_1_2.pdf

Benson, Bruce L. 1989. Enforcement of Private Property Rights in Primitive Societies: Law Without Government,” The Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. IX, No. 1, Winter, pp. 1-26; http://mises.org/journals/jls/9_1/9_1_1.pdf

Benson, Bruce L. 1990. “Customary Law with Private Means of Resolving Disputes and Dispensing Justice: A Description of a Modern System of Law and Order without State Coercion.” The Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. IX, No. 2,” pp. 25-42; http://mises.org/journals/jls/9_2/9_2_2.pdf

Block, Walter E. 2007. “Anarchism and Minarchism; No Rapprochement Possible: Reply to Tibor Machan,” Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 21, No. 1, Spring, pp. 91-99; http://www.mises.org/journals/jls/21_1/21_1_5.pdf

Block, Walter E. 2011. “Governmental inevitability: reply to Holcombe.” Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 22; pp. 667-688; http://mises.org/journals/jls/22_1/22_1_34.pdf

Block, Walter E. and Michael Fleischer. 2010. “How Would An Anarchist Society Handle Child Abuse?” October 13; https://www.lewrockwell.com/block/block167.html

Casey, Doug. 2010. “Doug Casey on Anarchy.” March 31; http://www.caseyresearch.com/cwc/doug-casey-anarchy

Caplan, Bryan. Undated. “Anarchist Theory FAQ, or, Instead of a FAQ, by a Man Too Busy to Write One.” http://econfaculty.gmu.edu/bcaplan/anarfaq.htm

Childs, Roy. 1970. “An Open Letter to Ayn Rand’ https://www.lewrockwell.com/1970/01/roy-a-childs-jr/objectivism-and-the-state-an-open-letter-to-ayn-rand/;https://archive.org/stream/ChildsOpenLetter/Childs%20Open%20Letter_djvu.txt.

DiLorenzo, Thomas J. 2010. “The Culture of Violence in the American West: Myth versus Reality.” The Independent Review, v. 15, n. 2, Fall 2010, pp. 227–239; http://www.independent.org/pdf/tir/tir_15_02_4_dilorenzo.pdf

Durden, Tyler. 2018. “Is Anarcho-Capitalism Possible?” March 25; https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-03-24/anarcho-capitalism-possible

Gregory, Anthony. 2011. “Abolish the Police.” May 26; https://www.lewrockwell.com/gregory/gregory213.html

Guillory, Gil & Patrick Tinsley. 2009. “The Role of Subscription-Based Patrol and Restitution in the Future of Liberty,” Libertarian Papers 1, 12; http://libertarianpapers.org/2009/12-the-role-of-subscription-based-patrol-and-restitution-in-the-future-of-liberty/

Hasnas, John. 1995. The myth of the rule of law.” Wisconsin Law Review 199;

http://faculty.msb.edu/hasnasj/GTWebSite/MythWeb.htm

Heinrich, David J. 2010. “Justice for All Without the State.” The Libertarian Standard. May 6; http://www.libertarianstandard.com/articles/david-j-heinrich/justice-for-all-without-the-state/

Higgs, Robert. 2009. “Why We Couldn’t Abolish Slavery Then and Can’t Abolish Government Now.” August 20; https://www.lewrockwell.com/higgs/higgs128.html

Higgs, Robert. 2012. “What is the point of my libertarian anarchism?” January 16;

https://archive.lewrockwell.com/higgs/higgs180.html

Higgs, Robert. 2017. “Is a National Government Necessary for National Defense?” March 23; http://www.targetliberty.com/2017/03/is-national-government-necessary-for.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TargetLiberty+%28Target+Liberty%29

Hoppe, Hans-Hermann. 2008. “Reflections on the Origin and the Stability of the State.” June 23; https://www.lewrockwell.com/hoppe/hoppe18.html

Hoppe, Hans-Hermann. 2011. “State or Private Law Society.” April 10;

https://www.lewrockwell.com/hoppe/hoppe26.1.html

Huebert, Jacob. 2010. Libertarianism Today. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger

King, Seth. 2010. “Daily Anarchist Interviews Walter E. Block,” September 9;

https://www.lewrockwell.com/block/block165.html

Kinsella, Stephan. 2009. “The Irrelevance of the Impossibility of Anarcho-Libertarianism.” August 20; http://www.stephankinsella.com/2009/08/20/the-irrelevance-of-the-impossibility-of-anarcho-libertarianism/

Long, Roderick. 2004. “Libertarian Anarchism: Responses to Ten Objections” https://www.lewrockwell.com/long/long11.html

McConkey, Michael. 2013. “Anarchy, Sovereignty, and the State of Exception: Schmitt’s Challenge.” The Independent Review, v. 17, n. 3, Winter, pp. 415–428. http://www.independent.org/pdf/tir/tir_17_03_05_mcconkey.pdf

Molyneux, Stefan. 2008. “The Stateless Society: An Examination of Alternatives.”

http://www.mail-archive.com/libertarianenterprise@yahoogroups.com/msg02056.html

Molyneux, Stefan. Undated. “’Practical Anarchy.” http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/anarchist_archives/practicalanarchy.pdfhttp://cdn.media.freedomainradio.com/feed/books/PA/Practical_Anarchy_by_Stefan_Molyneux.mp3.

Murphy, Robert P. 2005.  “But Wouldn’t Warlords Take Over?” July 7; http://mises.org/story/1855http://mises.org/library/wouldnt-warlords-take-over

Oppenheimer, Franz. 1926. The State. New York: Vanguard Press

Paul, Ron.  2008. “On the Inner Contradictions of Limited Government.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7o4kiWpqoeg&feature=PlayList&p=9645F6A68683F679&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=4

Rockwell, Lew. 2013. “What Would We Do Without the State?” March 31;

https://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/134782.html

https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/what-would-we-do-without-the-state/

Rockwell, Lew. 2016. “The Trouble With Politics.” November 8;

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2016/11/lew-rockwell/fatal-flaw-politics/

Rothbard, Murray N. 1973. For a New Liberty, Macmillan, New York; http://mises.org/rothbard/newlibertywhole.asp

In the view of Rothbard (1973, emphasis added by present author): “For centuries, the State (or more strictly, individuals acting in their roles as ‘members of the government’) has cloaked its criminal activity in high-sounding rhetoric. For centuries the State has committed mass murder and called it ‘war’; then ennobled the mass slaughter that ‘war’ involves. For centuries the State has enslaved people into its armed battalions and called it ‘conscription’ in the ‘national service.’ For centuries the State has robbed people at bayonet point and called it ‘taxation.’ In fact, if you wish to know how libertarians regard the State and any of its acts, simply think of the State as a criminal band, and all of the libertarian attitudes will logically fall into place.”

Rothbard, Murray N. 1975. “Society Without a State.” The Libertarian Forum, volume 7.1, January; https://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard133.html

Rothbard, Murray N. 1977. “Do you hate the state?” The Libertarian Forum, Vol. 10, No. 7, July; https://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard75.html

“…there is no sign that David Friedman in any sense hates the existing American State or the State per se, hates it deep in his belly as a predatory gang of robbers, enslavers, and murderers. No, there is simply the cool conviction that anarchism would be the best of all possible worlds, but that our current set-up is pretty far up with it in desirability. For there is no sense in Friedman that the State – any State – is a predatory gang of criminals.”

“The radical cannot think in such terms, because the radical regards the State as our mortal enemy, which must be hacked away at wherever and whenever we can. To the radical libertarian, we must take any and every opportunity to chop away at the State, whether it’s to reduce or abolish a tax, a budget appropriation, or a regulatory power. And the radical libertarian is insatiable in this appetite until the State has been abolished, or – for minarchists – dwindled down to a tiny, laissez-faire role.”

Rothbard, Murray N. 1998 [1982]. The Ethics of Liberty, New York: New York University Press. http://www.mises.org/rothbard/ethics/ethics.asp

Paul, Ron. 2008. “On the Inner Contradictions of Limited Government.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7o4kiWpqoeg&feature=PlayList&p=9645F6A68683F679&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=4

Shaffer, Butler.

www.mises.org/books/wizards/pdf

Spooner, Lysander. 1966[1870]. No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority and A Letter to Thomas F. Bayard, Larkspur, Colorado: Rampart College; http://jim.com/treason.htm

Stringham, Edward, ed. 2007. Anarchy and the Law: The Political Economy of Choice, Somerset, NJ: Transaction Publishers.

Stringham, Edward. 2015. Private Governance: Creating Order in Economic and Social Life.  Oxford University Press

Tannehill, Morris and Linda Tannehill. [1970] 1984. The Market for Liberty, New York: Laissez Faire Books; https://www.lewrockwell.com/orig11/tannehill1.html

Tinsley, Patrick. 1998-1999. “With Liberty and Justice for All: A Case for Private Police,” Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 14, No. 1, Winter, pp. 95-100; http://www.mises.org/journals/jls/14_1/14_1_5.pdf

Wenzel, Robert. 2013. “Robert Ringer’s Strawman Anarchist.” February 2;

https://archive.lewrockwell.com/wenzel/wenzel211.html

Woods, Tom. 2014. “Four things the state is not.” July 29;

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/07/no_author/4-things-the-state-is-not/

private police: private army:

Gregory, 2011; Guillory, & Tinsley. 2009; Hoppe, 2011; Huebert, 2010; Murphy, 2005; Rothbard, 1973, 1975, 1998 [1982];  Stringham, 2007;  Tannehills[1970] 1984; Tinsley, 1998-1999Wiśniewski, 2014; Wollstein, 1969; Woolridge, 1970.

Gregory, Anthony. 2011. “Abolish the Police.” May 26; https://www.lewrockwell.com/gregory/gregory213.html

Guillory, Gil & Patrick Tinsley. 2009. “The Role of Subscription-Based Patrol and Restitution in the Future of Liberty,” Libertarian Papers 1, 12; http://libertarianpapers.org/2009/12-the-role-of-subscription-based-patrol-and-restitution-in-the-future-of-liberty/

Hoppe, Hans-Hermann. 2011. “State or Private Law Society.” April 10;

https://www.lewrockwell.com/hoppe/hoppe26.1.html

Huebert, Jacob. 2010. Libertarianism Today. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger

Murphy, Robert P. 2005.  “But Wouldn’t Warlords Take Over?” July 7; http://mises.org/story/1855http://mises.org/library/wouldnt-warlords-take-over

Rothbard, Murray N. 1973. For a New Liberty, Macmillan, New York; http://mises.org/rothbard/newlibertywhole.asp

Rothbard, Murray N. 1975. “Society Without a State.” The Libertarian Forum, volume 7.1, January; https://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard133.html

Rothbard, Murray N. 1998 [1982]. The Ethics of Liberty, New York: New York University Press. http://www.mises.org/rothbard/ethics/ethics.asp

Stringham, Edward, ed. 2007. Anarchy and the Law: The Political Economy of Choice, Somerset, NJ: Transaction Publishers.

Tannehill, Morris and Linda Tannehill. [1970] 1984. The Market for Liberty, New York: Laissez Faire Books; https://www.lewrockwell.com/orig11/tannehill1.html

Tinsley, Patrick. 1998-1999. “With Liberty and Justice for All: A Case for Private Police,” Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 14, No. 1, Winter, pp. 95-100; http://www.mises.org/journals/jls/14_1/14_1_5.pdf

Wiśniewski, Jakub Bożydar. 2014. “Defense as a private good in a competitive order” Review of Social and Economic Issues, Vol. 1, No. 1, Summer, pp. 2-35;

http://rsei.rau.ro/images/V1N1/Jakub%20Bozydar%20Wisniewski.pdf

Wollstein, Jarret B. 1969. Society Without Coercion. In Society Without Government. New York: Arno Press

Woolridge, William C. 1970. Uncle Sam the Monopoly Man, New Rochelle, N.Y.: Arlington House

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1:03 pm on March 29, 2019