If someone asks me my political persuasion, I generally say I am libertarian. Of course, being a libertarian can mean different things to different people. Being libertarian means that you are pro-liberty. For some, this means being a minarchist, which means they want limited government that protects against force and fraud and enforces contracts. There are anarchists too, who believe in no government. There are also people who call themselves libertarians, but who go way beyond the minarchist in terms of wanting government. They may want smaller government, but that is not saying much in today’s world.
If we lived in a society that the minarchists want, we would be exponentially better off. We would have a free market, with the government involved in only a few things like the court system, policing, and military defense. The closer we can get to that point, the better off we are.
Anarchists, or anarcho-capitalists so as not to confuse them, believe in a society of liberty, with the complete absence of government. While I think this is a good ideal, I think it is hard to sell people on. Most people want government, even if it isn’t often good for them.
This is where panarchy comes in. Michael Rozeff has written extensively on the subject. It basically means that you should be free to choose your own government, regardless of where you live. This should be clear in America. There are red people (Republicans), blue people (Democrats), and others. We all live with each other. We interact with each other and do business together. We may even live together in the same house. Yet there is this major disagreement hanging over everyone’s heads.
We should be free to choose our own government. I would take it a step further and say that people should be free to choose no government at all, so long as they are not infringing upon anyone else.
I am not sure how many anarcho-capitalists would agree with this. I like the principled stand that anarchists take. Most use a strong moral argument. They use the non-aggression axiom. They do not believe in the initiation of force for political or social purposes (I stole most of that from the LP pledge).
There is an interesting interview/ conversation between Peter Schiff and Stefan Molyneux. It is funny because Schiff, as he says at the beginning, is forced to take the position of defending government. While both of these guys are really bright, I found them not being on the same page a few times during their discussion. Schiff was talking about the government not outlawing private security firms, but he seemed to miss the point that people are forced to pay for the government “security”.
Schiff says he wouldn’t put people in jail for not paying taxes (as what happened to his father). But how could this be a tax then? If you aren’t going to threaten to put people in jail, then it would have to be a voluntary donation. You can fine a person for not paying taxes, you can order them to court, or do a number of other things, but if you aren’t willing to go and arrest the person, then all of the those actions are meaningless. It is only the threat of force that makes something a tax.
In the discussion, I like when Molyneux said that if you want to get rid of slavery, you don’t argue for less slavery. You argue for no slavery at all. You win the argument by presenting the moral case.
I have seen different people convinced of liberty in different ways. But I believe we need to use the moral argument often. Libertarians hold the moral high ground. It is those people who promote war and government welfare who want to use violence. We must point out that virtually every government action involves the use of force or the threat of force.
As I have said before, I would have nothing against Obamacare if it didn’t force others to participate. If a bunch of Obama supporters want to get together and have their own socialized healthcare plan, that is fine with me, as long as you don’t use the threat of violence against others who don’t want to participate. The same goes for all other government programs. You can have your own government, or whatever you want to call it, so long as you are not forcing others to join you.
If someone is advocating a particular government program, you don’t even have to debate them on the merits of it. You can simply ask if they will permit you to disagree without using violence against you. If they agree, then point out that you should not be forced to participate then. If that is the case, then the law they are advocating should only be voluntary. You, or anyone else, should not be forced to participate in it or pay for it.
Use the moral argument. It will frustrate people, but if something clicks inside their head, they will view things a different way.