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I've written a follow-up essay on the logical outcome of anarcho-capitalism for those who are still interested.

Anarcho-Capitalism Means Open Market in Retaliatory Force

By Thomas M. Miovas, Jr.

01/10/2012

I’ve been giving more thought to the whole idea of anarcho-capitalism or as some put it competing governments, and I think more needs to be said about what it would actually mean in practice. I’m in basic agreement with Ayn Rand’s views on anarchy and competing governments, and she did say it cannot be concretize, not even approximately. She gave the example along the lines of Sam having one police force and sending them to Georgina’s house to arrest her for a crime, but she has a different police force and they claim Sam’s police agency has no jurisdiction with Georgina. Some anarcho-capitalists (which is really just plain ole anarchy, when you come right down to it) remarkably claim that such encounters could be worked out peaceably, but I really don’t see how. What if Sam’s police force and Georgina’s police force do not see eye to eye at all – they each have their own views of justice and their own laws they are trying to uphold. What’s to guarantee that things will go smoothly between them? Their jurisdictions don’t overlap, and there is no overriding law to make them come to court to work it out peaceably. I think it would lead to a gun pointed at each other stand-off, with no resolution in sight until one fires on the other.

The whole idea of anarcho-capitalism or a type of market justice system is flawed on the face of it anyhow, since even if one is talking about upholding individual rights according to the best market, we are really talking about an open market on the retaliatory use of force. In practice, this means that he who offers the most retaliatory force for the money will win out. After all, that is what capitalism means, that you get the most bang for your buck – however, this would be literally true for A-C. Imagine that George thinks that Sally did him an injustice, and he really wants to pay her back to the hilt. Why wouldn’t he simply pay a hit man to take care of business? It’s cheap, effective, by-passes delays like court hearings and witness interviews -- just pay your money and we will take care of your little problem! Now even if such a system was set up for mostly rational men in some distant future when reason is on the rise again and the rational men are concerned with real justice, rather than just a quick hit, it would still be cheaper to hire a hit man rather than paying for witness gathering and interviews and court proceedings, so certainly a significant portion of the society would opt for the quick fix (even if not a hit, some form of unsupervised quick justice at the behest of someone paying for the service). And this is exactly what has to be avoided and why we have the legal system we have today.

Retaliatory force cannot be left in the hands of he who pays the highest or lowest price for the service, as it would lead to force running amuck, as each person decides to pay back some injustice (minor or major) at the sole discretion of the payee and the service supplier. Contrary to the claims of the anarcho-capitalists, this would most certainly not lead to some objective form of justice and the retaliatory use of force. When one is dealing in force, one cannot permit it to be left in the hands of those paying for the service or rely on the rationality and justice orientation of the service provider. After all, on the open market, the best by an objective standard doesn’t always win out – what wins out is price and availability and usefulness to the end consumer ) by his standards, which may or may not be rational).

The free market works well for distributing and coming up with the best products and services – in the long run, because it is value oriented. Each person purchasing a product or service must judge the value of the goods, and decide to pay for it or not, given his value hierarchy. And if he gets a shoddy product, then he can re-assess the value to him and either not deal with that company or take what he can pay for and leave it at that. No one gets hurt in the process. However, when we are talking about the retaliatory use of force, we are precisely talking about intentionally paying to have someone get hurt, as a repayment for harm done. And if one gets a shoddy service, that means they won’t be so concerned with things like justice and getting the right target. And when one has that type of system operating, then one can clearly see that there would be a breakdown in society as each person pays back his injustices according to his own terms.

So, I am completely against the idea that issues such as justice and the retaliatory use of force should be open on the free market.

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I did not ignore it. I told you why it was illogical and incomprehensible. It is gibberish because it is incomprehensible, it is incomprehensible because the similarity does not exist, or the analog

Not presuming to speak for Mr. Miovas, but he said that one cannot rely on "men's rationality, or good-will, or good intentions to secure legal objectivity" (as you put it). Instead we need a governme

Yes, that doesn't change the point at all. He's saying that "we would have to rely on men's rationality, or good-will, or good intentions to secure legal objectivity" under market defense, and since h

No, it doesn't. History has shown that a proper government can secure individual rights, while anarchy cannot.

Which proper governments and which anarchies in history would you be referencing?

And there is no such thing as "a market" if one does not yet have a global agency for a geographical area that prevents the non-objective use of force.
Some of us are going to need more than just an assertion in order to qualify as an argument.

However, I am not going to engage with you further, because I have concluded that you are being evasive about what I and others (including Ayn Rand and Amber) have said about the logical results of anarcho-capitalism.

I've replied to all your arguments in this thread, and I'm satisfied with those counter-arguments as presented, most of which have gone unchallenged. Who is Amber and which arguments would you be referring to? Is there an argument you would like to analyze here that hasn't been already?
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I've written a follow-up essay on the logical outcome of anarcho-capitalism for those who are still interested.

In the first place, this attempt at a hypothetical or if-then scenario has already been responded to (we can call this the logical outcome of straw man premises.) So this constitutes more argument from repetition.

But a word on this method of approach. The problem with the hypothetical or if-then scenario of attack is that it is essentially a straw man and begging the question all rolled up in one. You set up the premises (the "if..." statement) that you want, which will yield you the conclusion (the "then..." statement) that you want, and thereby define yourself into victory. You contrast a proper government upholding the law with a system in which there is no law, anything seems to go, individuals or groups can act in accordance with rules they simply happen to take a fancy to. Unfortunately though, that establishes no link whatsoever to anything I'm postulating here. One of the premises you stipulate is that there will be no law code. That is the essence of this hypothetical scenario that you present, it boils down to: What if there is no law code and people point guns at each other in some kind of Mexican stand-off, and won't justify themselves? What then? Well, then, there will be no law code and and people will point guns at each other in some kind of Mexican stand-off, and won't justify themselves. That is tautological, you can stipulate anything you want to get whatever conclusion you want. But what link does that have to the kind of society I am postulating, where there is a uniform law code, and where it is illegal to commit murder and vigilantism, and where there is an incentive structure that punishes any violent conflict between security agencies? Such a link has not been established in your post.

Notice that statists use this kind of approach all the time. What happens on the free market if people have to rely on charity, and no one wants to give (or there won't be enough charity)? What happens on the free market if wages are driven so low people are starving? What happens on the free market if people are allowed to kick puppies and kill kittens? We will simply respond: That won't happen. It won't happen because that's not how wages function on the free market, because there will be people willing to take care of people they themselves value, and because there will be consequences for animal cruelty. It won't happen because the premises are assumed to be true by the creator of the if-then statement without argument, and because they serve as a straw man that has no relationship to the kind of society we are postulating. Therefore, such arguments should not be resorted to in this instance either because they are equally as invalid.

For the rest of your post, it largely represents argument from repetition. Any fair observer in this thread can see that you bring up points that I already addressed as the main substantial points of my posts. You complain "What’s to guarantee," this or that, You complain that there's nothing "to make them" do anything. But I specifically addressed these points about the impossibility of a "self-applying rule" under any system (as if government is some self-enforcing robot standing outside of the social order it serves, rather than its existence depending on ongoing cooperation from real human beings with free will) numerous times without response. Who then, is being evasive and completely ignoring the counter-arguments raised while continuing to assert without argument?

Now finally (but mentioned first in your post), you complain about lack of concretization. This is truly a bizarre argument. In the first place, because I have in fact concretized it in this thread numerous times. To concretize means to make real, specific, particular. But more substantially, how can you agree with Ayn Rand that it cannot be concretized, not even approximately, when that is exactly what you yourself just did with your hypothetical if-then scenario in the very next sentence? (The scenario turned out to be a straw man, but again, we are considering approximations as well.) If it cannot be concretized, then either your example has to be completely invalid by your own standards, or you have to admit that it can be concretized; you can't logically have it both ways.

Now, such a statement by Rand can be understandable, given that she wrote it in a time far before the wealth of scholarship on the issue existed that currently exists (and this may indicate that she had a less than thorough grasp on the topic), so we may understand such a statement, but we can't just as easily excuse someone who just blithely repeats what Rand said, while contradicting themselves in the very next sentence.

Edited by 2046
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2046:

Pardon me for jumping in in the middle here, but have you answered the fundamental contradiction involved in having a "market in force"? To wit:

Markets like minds do not and can not operate by force. "Freedom" means: free from force. When we speak of a free market we mean a market free of force. A "market in force" is not only a contradiction in terms but I believe it makes use of a stolen concept.

The only way to decide the issue is on principle:

- The only thing that can violate your Rights is force.

- Therefore, the only civilized interactions among men occur when no force is involved.

- The only proper function of government is to protect your Rights.

- It follows then that what government must do is outlaw the use of physical force.

- You don't outlaw the use of physical force by making it lawful for men to practice it.

You cannot uphold a principle by violating it.

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I wasn't going to reply to 2046, because I am quite tired of arguing with him, but since he thinks he caught me in a contradiction, I disagree. All I did in my essay on anarcho-capitalism was to draw up an implication, I can't say that I concretized it -- at least not the anarcho-capitalism some of you seem to favor. For example, if dealing with criminals is strictly a private matter depending on your associations and what not, how do you achieve a free and prosperous society? I can't see how it would work out (see my essay), so I just drew out the implications as I understand them. I still say it cannot be concretized, that you cannot work out a scenario whereby everyone would have their own private counter-force agency, and yet it won't break down into constant gang warfare. But I am not arguing on the A-C side, you are, so that is what you would have to do. And claiming there there would be laws applicable throughout the society without a government is just preposterous, you'd have to concretize that as well.

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I've been thinking more about how men would act if they were free, and would they run-amuck without some sort of government controling them? I think this presents a fundamental misunderstanding of my position. I am not saying that people would run-amuck in freedom. Quite the contrary, if force is eliminated from a society -- by being outlawed by a proper government -- then I think reason would go on the rise and people in general would be quite civil to each other. We've seen this happen in the early United States, and that legacy is still with us today. I mean, one can walk around the mall or the streets without being accosted (for the most part) and go about your busniess in peace.

But the big issue is what do you do about the criminals? Let's define a criminal philosophically as someone who initiates force to get what he wants -- he violates your individual rights to steal your money, or your car,or whatever personal products you have in your posession at home. He also doesn't leave you alone and continually harasses and stalks you. The criminal mind has no respect for private property at all, and believes he can go about taking what he wants by force. These are the types of people a proper government is designed to deal with, for if they are "left free" to do what they will, then you will soon have no recognized rights as the criminals will take over the society. A completely voluntary society is all good and well and what we are striving for, but the criminal cannot be dealt with by persuation, he must be dealt with by counter-force. How is the application of counter-force going to be kept in control if there is no government and no objective control over the application of counter force? and how does one achieve objective control of force if everyone is free to deal with the criminals as they see fit? That's the big question I raised in my anarcho-capitalsim rebittal.

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