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From Minarchism to Anarchism in Ten Easy Steps: A Guide for Constitutionalists

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Sage Posted: Tue, Jun 2 2009 5:41 PM

What do you think of a ten-part resource designed to convert minarchists into anarchists? It would be nice to have a link to a resources page to throw out whenever a new minarchist comes along, instead of digging the horse out of the ground and beating it to death yet one more time.

Here's my preliminary idea:

From Minarchism to Anarchism in Ten Easy Steps

A Guide for Constitutionalists

  1. The Public Sector, III: Police, Law, and the Courts - Murray Rothbard
  2. Police, Courts, and Laws – on the Market - David Friedman
  3. The Private Production of Defense - Hans Hoppe
  4. The Production of Security - Gustave de Molinari
  5. Chaos Theory - Robert Murphy
  6. No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority - Lysander Spooner
  7. Fallacies of the Public Goods Theory and the Production of Security - Hans Hoppe
  8. Market Anarchism As Constitutionalism - Roderick Long
  9. Do We Ever Really Get Out of Anarchy? - Alfred Cuzán
  10. Libertarian Anarchism: Responses to Ten Objections - Roderick Long (Audio)

 

Do you have any comments? Any articles you think should be added? Should the order be changed?

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This.

But good idea, and nice selection of articles. I'll think of some more if I can, but the Hasnas article is a must if you ask me. Perhaps one of Hoppe's articles comparing monarchy to democracy (On Monarchy, Democracy and the Idea of a Natural Order) might be useful for delegitimizing the latter. Long's "The Nature of Law" may also be quite good.

Maybe Osterfeld's Internal Inconsistencies in Arguments for Government and Anthony de Jasay has some good arguments against the minimal state. Perhaps some empirical work such as that of Leeson might be useful.

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Sage replied on Tue, Jun 2 2009 5:56 PM

Yeah, the Hasnas one might be especially effective on Constitutionalists. I think the Friedman article is dispensable, since it basically covers the same stuff as Rothbard's.

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GilesStratton:
the Hasnas article is a must if you ask me.

Agreed.

I think what is missing in most of our educational endeavours is that we try to tell people things instead of answering their questions.

I don't know if you folks are all a lot smarter than me (possible) but most people can't start reading Rothbard when they have barely read at all since high school.

Things really need to be broken down into very small, very simple ideas as an introduction or companion to the authoritative texts.

Too often, we resort to authority because we presume amongst ourselves that we know the sources, so that isn't too bad.  But with people completely oblivious to these perspectives, those appeals need to be made with a lot of care IMO.

Something I do when testing my sales spiels IRL, is to get someone who barely know how to use a computer, and have them look at my web page, and see if they can figure out how to click through and place an order.  If they can't get it, I can't be sure more advanced users will either.

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I think another big mistake we make is to assume that we should be going after people with established ideologies.  I think if the material is clear and simple enough for people who have no political ideology, then it should be able to communicate simple truths to people with more developed stances.

A good testing ground for any minarchist material however would be the RPF.  Collaborate with Conza and Krazy Kaju.  They are both active over there.  They might be able to help you market test and refine your approach.

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
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I edited my post above, in case you miss it. I think you need to get a good mix in there, arguments concerning economics, political philosophy, ethics and perhaps even sociology. That said 10 may not be enough, so economics and political philosophy might have to suffice.

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Eric replied on Tue, Jun 2 2009 6:09 PM

Im fairly new and I enjoyed and was able to understand "Economics in One Lesson" I know everyone recommends it but it cannot be recommended enough imo. I have suggested anyoen interested in this kind of stuff to read it.

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liberty student:
A good testing ground for any minarchist material however would be the RPF.  Collaborate with Conza and Krazy Kaju.  They are both active over there.  They might be able to help you market test and refine your approach.

That's not such a bad idea, it'll be worthwhile making sure the list is complete first though. But I agree that the marketing might be useful. But even amongst minarchists there are a lot of different views, so it might be worthwhile having one list for most constitutionalists and another life for most LP types.

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Sage replied on Tue, Jun 2 2009 6:25 PM

liberty student:
I think what is missing in most of our educational endeavours is that we try to tell people things instead of answering their questions.

I don't know if you folks are all a lot smarter than me (possible) but most people can't start reading Rothbard when they have barely read at all since high school.

Well, I think if someone is a Constitutionalist and is interested in arguing against anarchism, it's a given they're at least reading something, e.g. Rand, Milton Friedman.

In my view, it's important to emphasize that it is nothing special when someone becomes a minarchist and thinks "anarchy could never work." That's nothing new. We've all been there, and we've all come out as anarchists. There's nothing magical about becoming an anarchist; you just read these articles, abandon your statist fallacies, and there you are.

liberty student:
I think another big mistake we make is to assume that we should be going after people with established ideologies.

Our strategy doesn't have to be confined exclusively to converting from one ideology. This list is aimed at minarchists. We could (and should) also have lists aimed at the uncommitted, leftists, etc. Minarchists are pretty easy because they already understand basic economics.

GilesStratton:
That said 10 may not be enough

The list shouldn't be too long. And ten is a good number; as George Carlin put it, "ten sounds official, ten sounds important!"

We could always add a "Further Reading" section.

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Sage:
The list shouldn't be too long. And ten is a good number; as George Carlin put it, "ten sounds official, ten sounds important!"

Come to think of it, you're correct. I think there should be some sort of progression, the list should begin with why minarchism doesn't/ can't/ won't/ hasn't worked (and perhaps why it'd be undesirable if it did). Followed by why we should advocate anarchism and how it would work (and perhaps how it has in the past), and then answers to any objections.

By the way, if anybody would be interest I'd also be willing to help compile lists aimed at other groups.

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Sage:
Minarchists are pretty easy because they already understand basic economics.

Have you spent any time on the C4L, Infowars or RPF?  That's where the libertarian minarchists are.  These people are not really into "doing the knowledge".  A lot of it is worship of the Constitution, and Ron Paul as a modern day Founding Father.

Sage:
There's nothing magical about becoming an anarchist; you just read these articles, abandon your statist fallacies, and there you are.

If it was that easy.  Just read the articles, abandon the fallacies, ... Profit!  lol

I admire your energy, even if I think the strategy presumes too much about your target audience.

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Also, check this out: http://mises.org/Community/forums/t/948.aspx

One of the best posts on these forums that I've seen.

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I would suggest perhaps putting No Treason by Lysander Spooner first because you want to cause them to question their very base of political theory, namely the Constitution. Very excellent list thought. Kudos for thinking of this.

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Sage replied on Tue, Jun 2 2009 6:58 PM

liberty student:
Have you spent any time on the C4L, Infowars or RPF?  That's where the libertarian minarchists are.  These people are not really into "doing the knowledge".  A lot of it is worship of the Constitution, and Ron Paul as a modern day Founding Father.

No, but my brother does. I imagine posting this on DP would be like throwing a firecracker into a bee's nest.

liberty student:
If it was that easy.  Just read the articles, abandon the fallacies, ... Profit!  lol

I admire your energy, even if I think the strategy presumes too much about your target audience.

Haha. You're probably right. But that was my experience, although it's likely atypical. Having an extensive FAQ would no doubt be helpful.

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liberty student:
Have you spent any time on the C4L, Infowars or RPF?  That's where the libertarian minarchists are.  These people are not really into "doing the knowledge".  A lot of it is worship of the Constitution, and Ron Paul as a modern day Founding Father.

Hero-worship/hagiography along with the Constitution is nothing new

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Sage,


Do you mind if I post this in the Ron Paul forums? Or have you already taken to the task?

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Something that needs to emphasized is really the utter impossibility of limited government remaining limited. (Hoppe's peice for example) That is what caused me to finally join the ancap cause, not any established idealogy.  

LS I say again, you're being too harsh on the Infowars types. I was apart of that crowd for a long time, despite knowing of Rothbard from Chroincles magazine.

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Sage replied on Tue, Jun 2 2009 7:21 PM

I'm planning on making this into a full article, with intro, conclusion, short summaries, and a "Further Reading" section. I want this to be the short-version minarchist debunker. Rest assured, the minarchists will see this in the near future.Wink

But if you want to post it now, I don't think it matters.

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sicsempertyrannis:
(Hoppe's peice for example) That is what caused me to finally join the ancap cause, not any established idealogy.  

Yeah, that piece helped me a great deal too. I think I might try to compile one that might appeal to conservatives, any suggestions?

I can think of Feser's Hayek on Tradition and his other piece for the JLS. Hoppe's got some good works on this subject and Mr Tucker and Mr Rockwell's piece on Mises as a cultural conservative.

Sage, let me know when the final list is done, I want to see what it looks like. I'll look for some more articles to go in the further reading section and if you need any other help let me know.

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Sage:

I'm planning on making this into a full article, with intro, conclusion, short summaries, and a "Further Reading" section. I want this to be the short-version minarchist debunker. Rest assured, the minarchists will see this in the near future.Wink

But if you want to post it now, I don't think it matters.

Don't want to steal your thunder. The Lysander Spooner work is what made me change from Libertarian to An-Cap

 

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GilesStratton:

sicsempertyrannis:
(Hoppe's peice for example) That is what caused me to finally join the ancap cause, not any established idealogy.  

Yeah, that piece helped me a great deal too. I think I might try to compile one that might appeal to conservatives, any suggestions?

I can think of Feser's Hayek on Tradition and his other piece for the JLS. Hoppe's got some good works on this subject and Mr Tucker and Mr Rockwell's piece on Mises as a cultural conservative.

Hoppe's peice is the only one I can think of that laid it all out with examples.   One thing that I think offends some potential converts is simply attacking earlier limited government/minarchist movements.  Alot of these movements meant well but they all end in failure, and that is something that needs to be brought home.  If limited government worked, there wouldnt be nearly as many ancaps now.

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Sage replied on Tue, Jun 2 2009 8:01 PM

GilesStratton:

sicsempertyrannis:
(Hoppe's peice for example) That is what caused me to finally join the ancap cause, not any established idealogy.  

Yeah, that piece helped me a great deal too.

Are you referring to "The Private Production of Defense" or "Fallacies of Public Goods Theory"?

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Sage:

GilesStratton:

sicsempertyrannis:
(Hoppe's peice for example) That is what caused me to finally join the ancap cause, not any established idealogy.  

Yeah, that piece helped me a great deal too.

Are you referring to "The Private Production of Defense" or "Fallacies of Public Goods Theory"?

Neither. "On the impossibility of limited government"

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sicsempertyrannis:

 

Neither. "On the impossibility of limited government"

Link.

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DD5 replied on Tue, Jun 2 2009 10:37 PM

How is it that you need so much economics, philosophical, and political science education (on your own personal time) to get from state worshiper to anarcho-capitalist?

It seems that to become a socialist, you almost have to do nothing.  Most socialist have no real education in free markets or libertarian philosophy, nor do they fully understand their own philosophy.   while the anarcho-capitalist can literally lecture about socialism.

 

 

 

 

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Eric replied on Tue, Jun 2 2009 10:44 PM

DD5:

How is it that you need so much economics, philosophical, and political science education (on your own personal time) to get from state worshiper to anarcho-capitalist?

It seems that to become a socialist, you almost have to do nothing.  Most socialist have no real education in free markets or libertarian philosophy, nor do they fully understand their own philosophy.   while the anarcho-capitalist can literally lecture about socialism.

 

 

 

 

 

I do find that weird, why do anarchists have to justify themselves, statists should have to justify their belief on why they believe a state is nessacary.

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In Defense of Rational Anarchism by George H. Smith

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Bookmarking... I have reading to do....

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Stranger:

sicsempertyrannis:

 

Neither. "On the impossibility of limited government"

Link.

My most influential pieces, but the one that finally pushed me from Minarchist to Anarchist was the one about Law that Giles first linked to.

This Hoppe piece was another one.  There was an MP3 with a Rothbard lecture that flipped me around on a whole bunch of things, I wish I could remember which one it was.

But that brings me to another thought.  Sage, maybe you should consider a top 10 articles, video and audio.  Ha!  Now you can cheat and list 30.

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Conza88 replied on Tue, Jun 2 2009 11:56 PM

Just some of my observations. There are two types of minarchists;

  1. Those who are open minded & susceptible to anarcho-capitalism, they have just never read or been shown how it could work, or that it has in the past.  
  2. Those who worship the Constitution and State propaganda surrounding it. They have fallen for the "Hobbesian fear" and "We the people" are the government.

Possible ways to address these:

  1. If they have a sense of moral righteousness, rhetoric helps i.e Spooner and Rothbard. If they are a utilitarian (shame), David Friedman would be best.

Establish what the State actually is. An anti-social institution. Gang of thieves writ large. Political Elite. Class analysis: Rulers vs. Ruled. Taxation is theft. Government is the mafia. Social contract theory fails. Market can work everywhere. How can an institution purport to protect something, it must violate to exist?

        2. The Enemy of the State by Albert Jay Nock. (Constitution was a coup d'etat). And obviously Lysander Spooners work. No treason - Constitution of No Authority. Objectivists should read "Market for Liberty" by Morris Tannehill and Linda Tannehill.

Establish "We" (the people) are not the Government. "We" are the victims, not the oppressors. Minarchists always blame the people and themselves, "we didn't hold them accountable [insert quote about eternal vigilence]". Yet how it is possible to stay vigilant when the victims (taxpayers) have lives and productive work to do, whilst the unproductive parasitic politicans cater to special interests and work full time to rob the populace?

  • Ask why not support the Articles of Confederation? It limits Government far more than the Constitution does.
  • If a state has to exist, a Monarchy is > than a democracy or Republic. Democracy the God that Failed by Hans Hermann-Hoppe. (Interview - audio)
  • In regards to the Hobbesian fear, point out what makes civilization possible. The division of labor and property rights.
    • Economy, Society, History by Herman Hans-Hoppe.
      1. The Nature of Man and the Human Condition: Language, Property, and Production
      2. The Spread of Humans Around the World: The Extension and Intensification of the Division of Labor
      6. The Production of Law and Order: Natural Order, Feudalism, and Federalism
  • Introduction to Natural Law by Murray N. Rothbard

Here is a nice fictional story, that illustrates many of the above points:  A Fable for Our Times by Murray N. Rothbard. The following crystalizes it. The Anatomy of the State by Murray N. Rothbard

What the State Is Not
What the State Is
How the State Preserves Itself
How the State Transcends Its Limits
What the State Fears
How States Relate to One Another
History as a Race Between State Power and Social Power

Possibly ask them what books they have read on the subject? Ask for intellectual honesty. (Anarcho-Capitalism: An Annotated Bibliography by Hans-Hermann Hoppe) A nice quote might help:

"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance. That principle is contempt prior to investigation." ~ Herbert Spencer

Possible Objections:

The State evolved - See. (Robert Nozick and the Immaculate Conception of the State by Murray N. Rothbard)

Dictatorships will rise up out of anarchy - See. (Stateless Dictatorships video) 

Ron Paul is for self-government when compared to the Constitution. He's an anarcho-capitalist. Proof.
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sicsempertyrannis:
Neither. "On the impossibility of limited government"

Very interesting piece SST....

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sicsempertyrannis:
LS I say again, you're being too harsh on the Infowars types.

Dude, I just decided this week to stop listening to Infowars daily!

But you gotta admit, there are a lot of bubbas who call up and they are so far from being libertarian, I mean today, Webster Tarpley, sheesh!

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liberty student:
sicsempertyrannis:
LS I say again, you're being too harsh on the Infowars types.

I have to agree with you there, besides the randomness of external interaction, the dramatic nature overall is detrimental to credibility...

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atrickpay replied on Wed, Jun 3 2009 10:38 AM

Conza: great  ideas in your post there.  Regarding Nock's book 'Our Enemy, the State', I'm just looking at it on Mises...he talks about the Consti. vs. the Articles. That sounds like great stuff. I gotta read that. That's an angle I really  like pushing with RPers.

ps. Haven't seen you on the DP in awhile.  Feel free to stop by once in a while! I'm still spreading the message of liberty to all the archists on there! Our numbers are growing...

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liberty student:
There was an MP3 with a Rothbard lecture that flipped me around on a whole bunch of things, I wish I could remember which one it was.

Give me some words used or some topics discussed. Anything and I can tell you what it is.

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LTV.  He explains how if someone makes something in seclusion and it takes him a long time but it is already mass produced, obviously this disproves the LTV.

That's from  memory so it could be fuzzy.  I have a lousy memory for facts, great memory for understanding (if that makes any sense).

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Ah right his example of the man in seclusion that thinks he is the first to build a tv but realizes that he is like ten years behind. He makes multiple references to that throughout his podcasts.

Try:

Demand and supply, Consumer goods, prices and exchange

http://mises.org/multimedia/mp3/rothbard/R1-16m.mp3

OR

Capital, Interest, Profit

http://mises.org/multimedia/mp3/rothbard/R5-16m.mp3

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liberty student:

GilesStratton:
the Hasnas article is a must if you ask me.

Agreed.

I think what is missing in most of our educational endeavours is that we try to tell people things instead of answering their questions.

 

Just finished the Hasnas article, what a great read, extremely interesting, thanks for posting that.

 

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http://mises.org/journals/jls/1_1/1_1_6.pdf

That is a great Rothbard article criticizing  the idea that the state arises from spontaneous order. 

 

I know I'm going to get flamed for this, but. . .

But why should we waste our time converting minarchists?  All that accomplishes is it creates infighting among liberty-minded groups.  There really is no need to convert minarchists to ancaps.  The state is already so huge that there is really no need to discuss the issue in a political setting until the state is reined in enough.  It's, of course, excellent to advance the ideas of anarcho-capitalism in academic settings, but in political settings, it just alienates people.  The state is so big right now that minarchists and ancaps are both working in essentially the same direction, so there is no need to waste time converting them. 

 

Honestly, I would rather have 1000 Constitutionalists working for the cause of liberty than 100 Ancaps.  Both groups have to fight the exact same battle in the present day to get what they want.  Actually, I think "vulgar" ancaps hurt the liberty movement by alienating outsiders to more moderate libertarian ideas that allow radical ideas to grow on them. 

 

I take the approach as an academic Anarcho-Capitalist and a political Constitutionalist.  I know that politically, I can get a lot more people sold on libertarian ideas by taking a more moderate stance than going all out anarchist on them.   I've been much more successful with this method than with shouting for the abolition of the state. If progress is to be made, I think this approach has to be taken.  I have a leadership position in the Libertarian Party, and I've experienced time and again when ancaps with good intentions drive people away, but more moderate members get a lot done.  I'm a firm believer in the fact that you can keep your purist libertarian principles, but you can also sell them in a more easily swallowable package.

 

In short, be an ancap, but save it for academic discussion.

 

Where I come from, the women don't glow, but the men definitely plunder. 

 

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revolutionist:

Honestly, I would rather have 1000 Constitutionalists working for the cause of liberty than 100 Ancaps.  Both groups have to fight the exact same battle in the present day to get what they want.  Actually, I think "vulgar" ancaps hurt the liberty movement by alienating outsiders to more moderate libertarian ideas that allow radical ideas to grow on them. 

 

The point of contention is how we achieve liberty and where its stopping point is. I think Constitutionalists are ridiculously dependent on a document that has been proven to hold no meaning on the very institution that both interprets its power and is suppose to be limited by it. The logical conclusion of libertarian minded ideas is anarcho-capitalism, but it's no sweat off my ass if the Libertarian Party is bothered by radicalism. It is not like the Libertarian Party is going to be winning any giant elections anytime soon nor is it suddenly going to start gradually reducing the size of government. It is a feel good party, nothing more. Just go to the Libertarian Party website where they gleefully talk about how our military could be subsidized by 100 billion dollars instead of 250, how immigrants should be forced to pay fines and back taxes, as if people are happy to pay taxes and small government will just stay stagnant.

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