Minarchist states and basic necessities

November 15, 2008 – 11:06 am by John

What are the most basic necessities of life, of survival? I'd say food, water, and shelter. In our modern world, a fourth good one to add to the list would be medicine. I think it's fair to say that without these four and certainly without the first three being available and affordable to almost everyone in society, there is no society to speak of. We'd be hunter-gatherers again. Or some sort of violent, dystopian society with neither Statist nor customary nor any other type of law.

Therefore, when minarchists and other inconsistent, delusional, unrealistic hypocrites speak of having "the government provide the basic needs of society like police, courts, national defense [and sometimes the roads], and letting the free market take care of the rest, since it is the most efficient system," I get a little twitch in my neck and I want to hurt somebody. Like the minarchists.

These thoughts were prompted by a comment to David Z.'s recent post about social contracts and voluntary taxation and other nonsense, Taxation really is theft! His friend Zach S. left a comment that included this paragraph, which I really disagree with:

I believe Brad G and I spoke about this and his idea would be for the government to run the most basic of needs: fire department, police department, military, etc.

I left a comment saying, basically, that those types of things are not the most basic needs; food, water, shelter, and medical care are. Fire departments, defense from outside attackers, and criminal investigation/prosecution/punishment systems are very important in any remotely large society, but they are secondary needs. People have to be living healthily before they even consider those things relevant.

Therefore, if minarchists think the free market is both more just and more efficient at providing the four basic needs to humans, then why in the world does it completely fail, to the point of justifying a monopolistic state, at providing secondary needs like those mentioned? No one except severely misinformed and biased Statists want the government to have anything to do with provision of the four basic needs of (modern) human survival, so why do minarchists say food and housing should be produced and traded freely, secondary needs like police and fire departments should be completely involuntary, but then everything else should be freely traded, too? Is there something special about secondary human needs that doesn't apply to anything else? Is there something special and intrinsic about monopolistic states that allows them to provide four or five specific things perfectly justly (i.e., non-aggressively) and efficiently, but not anything else? Is there any principle behind that whatsoever?

I don't know Zach S. or Brad G., but I know they would probably fit my criteria of "broadly libertarian" or "semi-libertarian." I know it would take a long, long time and a lot of government-reducing reforms before we found a single one to disagree about (other than maybe the order in which to eliminate government activities). (I also know that isn't the road to agorism, but we'd both prefer much less government in the meantime if we could get it.) So I know minarchists like them are my philosophical allies and I'm not trying to harass or browbeat them into growing into anarchists. I'm just trying to make my point forcefully because it is an important point that deserves to be made forcefully.

I know this subject could have warranted a much longer, more detailed, more philosophical treatment, but I just wanted to reproduce and expand upon my comment to David Z.'s post.

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  1. 2 Responses to “Minarchist states and basic necessities”

  2. Ha! I see that parasitic demon-lawyer Gerry Spence would disagree with me. At the annual conference of the Consumer Attorneys of California, he said the following:

    We are the most important people in America.... I want to ask you which would be more important: If all of the doctors in the country somehow disappeared or all the trial lawyers in America somehow disappeared? We can live without medical care, but we cannot live without justice.

    Seems his indoctrination has led him to conflate our court system with justice.

    By John on Nov 15, 2008

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