Arnold Williams (notebuyer) wrote,
Arnold Williams

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On the Limits of Doing Without the Government

Here's the shortest post on realism with regard to government I've seen. I particularly like this point, in reference to the post below:

1. Is your ultimate political goal the abolishment of the State or is it similar to minarchism's "night watchman state"?

Tha abolishment of the State is a Utopian pipe dream. Nowhere, at any point in the history of human civilization can you point to a functioning anarchist society at anything above the small tribal/hunter-gatherer level. If you want to see what an anarchistic state looks like, Somalia provides a salutary example.

Until the day that all men become angels, an anarchistic society will devolve—in fairly short order—into a society where the strongest rule, and the weak suck it. As long as there are humans who long to hold power over others, and as long as they can acquire the force to compel others to bend to their will, a state will be required to secure the rights of the people.

That state should be as small as possible, but Anarchists are just as foolish as the communists were if they think that the state will melt away when "Libertarian Man" appears.

So, the real struggle, it seems to me, is to minimize the state to the maximum extent possible. You need someone to talk to the foregners, after all, and failing that, someone to kill them. You need someone to enforce the rule of law and the impartial administration of justice. You need someone to organize activities that we can't conveniently do as individuals. Beyond that, the sphere of legitimate state authority should be severely circumscribed. As Thomas Jefferson wrote, the role of the state is to prevent men from injuring one another, and to leave them otherwise free to their own pursuits.

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