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A new theory of limited government

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This is from a new paper written by John Hasnas, Associate Professor at Georgetown University. It starts from a basic premise that if one argues that the market cannot provide rights-protection through police, laws courts, and military services, it does not necessarily logically follow that the state must then fully provide these services itself. He therefore undertakes to re-frame the usual argument for limited government (limited to rights-protection only, that is, police, courts, and military, aka, a minimal state, one that would be in line with the Objectivist conception of a proper government) and anarcho-capitalism (or market-based competing protection services) into a sort of "middle-ground" type of government, which he calls a "remedial state."

The goal is basically to see who is right through experience. If the anarcho-capitalists are right, that the market can provide protection without devolving into subjective enforcements, gang-warfare, and/or outright tyranny, then the remedial state will literally have nothing to do and simply "wither away" so to speak. If the limited government supporters are correct, then the remedial state will be active, thus ultimately proving the need for a government that itself supplies police, courts, and law (the remedial state already has a monopoly on the military forces), which can then be enacted with a majority vote of representatives at the constitutional congress, or what have you.

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

Your critiques?

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A government that maintains the superiority of force necessary to ensure that its courts' decisions can be enforced on the so-called "market-based providers of force" cannot ever wither away. The proposed "remedial state" would be indistinguishable from the "minimal state".

Also, when an economist proposes that economists run the government that is itself a power grab in the tradition of Plato's philospher-king.

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A government that maintains the superiority of force necessary to ensure that its courts' decisions can be enforced on the so-called "market-based providers of force" cannot ever wither away. The proposed "remedial state" would be indistinguishable from the "minimal state".

Also, when an economist proposes that economists run the government that is itself a power grab in the tradition of Plato's philospher-king.

I've essentially beleived, for some time now, that police and the courts are few things that ought to be managed by the state--so long as the citizens are able to secure the restraint of the police and courts in certain areas from violating liberty. There must be a way to protect, in my opinion, the interests of the society without breaching the rights of individuals. The US Constitution seems to have been the best guide to determine what the police and courts can and cannot do, even if it has been ignored by Leftists. This is actually where my conservativism becomes a little libertarian, but I don't think it ever comes close to Objectivist. Nor do I think I would favor market competition in the area of law (unless someone could make a very good argument that this does not lead toward anarachism, and would still maintain the rule of law stability.) However, I would definitey favor market competition in health care, education, and all other areas beyond the legal. Again, this my conservativism at work. I believe that the one area which must have stability rather than competition is law/law enforcement.

Edited by James Madison Fanboy
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Nor do I think I would favor market competition in the area of law (unless someone could make a very good argument that this does not lead toward anarachism, and would still maintain the rule of law stability.)
Just to be clear, Objectivism too does not advocate competition in this arena. The economist mentioned in the OP is putting forth anarchism as an ideal, but suggesting a method of making a transition in a way that he hopes will address fears of things devolving into gang warfare. He's suggesting that the state as we know it today should back off slowly if the competitive law enforcement seems to work. That's not what Objectivism would recommend.
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Just to be clear, Objectivism too does not advocate competition in this arena. The economist mentioned in the OP is putting forth anarchism as an ideal, but suggesting a method of making a transition in a way that he hopes will address fears of things devolving into gang warfare. He's suggesting that the state as we know it today should back off slowly if the competitive law enforcement seems to work. That's not what Objectivism would recommend.

Than you for the clarification. I'm glad to hear this.

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