Michael Rozeff recently had a blog post at LRC that dealt with libertarianism and panarchism. The title of his post was “You Can’t Be A Libertarian and Not Support Personal Secession”.
I generally agree with most of what he says except for his definition of libertarian. I recently wrote a post where I stated that I don’t personally think you have to abide by the non-aggression principle (NAP) in order to qualify as a libertarian. That just isn’t part of my litmus test. It isn’t part of my definition.
I pointed out that anyone who isn’t an anarchist or panarchist is really violating the NAP. Therefore, people such as Ron Paul and Gary North should not be considered libertarians if being a libertarian requires that you follow the NAP. I don’t take the definition of libertarian that far. I need a term to distinguish between Ron Paul and Nancy Pelosi. I can’t just call Ron Paul a statist for believing in a minimal and tiny state.
So I disagree with Rozeff on the title of his post, but that is just a difference of definitions. I do agree with most of what he says in his post aside from this point.
I think a lot of anarcho-capitalists make a mistake in not pointing out that it doesn’t have to be their way or the highway. Unfortunately, there are probably some anarcho-capitalists who actually think that it does have to be their way. They do not want any state and they believe that everyone else should live in the same world.
To be consistent and effective in your arguments, you have to allow other people to do what they want. If some people want Obamacare, then they should be able to have it. The main point that you have to make is that nobody should be forced to live under it if they don’t want to. Everyone should be allowed to opt out.
If some people want to live under a religious dictator, then they should be allowed to do so, as long as they are not infringing on others. If some people want a government that provides Social Security, then they should be able to do so, as long as they don’t force anyone else to participate. If some people want a government that taxes income at 50%, they should be allowed to have it.
You do have to draw a line with some issues. I do not approve of people who want a government that runs an empire all over the world if that empire is being established using the initiation of force. In a world of panarchy, you can choose your own government, but your government can’t infringe on those outside of that government who are doing you no harm.
I hope the message of panarchy gets out to more libertarians. For anyone who says they are an advocate of the non-aggression principle, then to be consistent, they should be an advocate of panarchy.