My previous entry has inspired quite a few comments from Mr. Kinsella. Amazing comments, in my earth-bound opinion. They might be more understandable for those who live in the Platonic Astral Plane.
"If anarchy was indeed workable, then I would favor it."
Here we go again. Talk about what is "workable." An anarchist is someone who believes aggression is unjust and the state commits it. Period. It does not mean they think anarchy is "workable" (whatever that means).
I didn't say I was an anarchist; I said that I am a libertarian, only who loves liberty and dislikes aggression. I once was an anarchist, but determined that the non-anarchists are probably right: that anarchy would likely lead to something worse than the current state.
Mr. Kinsella states that one shouldn't care whether anarchy is workable or not. On the Lew Rockwell blog he states that workability should not interfere with normative discussions. By doing so he reminds me of the able-bodied young homeless in Asheville who have decided upon the normative goal of maximum leisure. Then, they complain when those of us who work for a living don't contribute to their unworkable philosophy.
Here is my normative assertion as a libertarian: aggression is bad.
The a priorists would argue that this assertion leads to the corollary that the state ought not exist becase the state performs aggression. The logic runs:
aggression is bad; the state aggresses; therefore, the state is bad.
Here is a conflicting corollary:
aggression is bad; battling warlords agress; therefore anarchy is bad.
There is aggression whether the state exists or not. To determine what the good is in this real world requires mixing the normative with the scientific. Do battling warlords aggress more or less than a modern welfare state?
Then we have this whopper:
This talk further demonstrates my contention that empiricists tend to shun theory, rationalism, apriorism, and deduction and to adopt the positivist view of science that is in conflict with Austrian praxeology, which is an essential economic underpinning of genuinely "scientific" economic understanding.
Sorry, if it doesn't pass the test of experiment, it isn't theory, it's hypothesis. The point of view you express is the diametrical opposite of science; it is regression back to the thinking of universities in the Middle Ages.
A priori reasoning from very basic truths can work up to a point. But if the definitions and the axioms have even the slightest deviation from reality, the conclusions drift further from reality the more steps you take from your axioms. I wish more natural rights libertarians would study fuzzy logic...
Back on the Lew Rockwell blog he says:
I am not a sacrificial beast whose life is to be spent in a futile attempt to marginally benefit others. Have we libertarians turned into altruists? Do it if you want; but exhortations like this imply we libertarians have a duty to be activists. We do not. Our only libertarian duty is to avoid endorsing or employing aggression.
Why do I have this duty? Why should I never endorse an action that employing aggression even it results in a substantial net reduction in aggression? Why should I have a duty to advocate something that would not work? This statement strikes me as borderline religious. Is he implying that the Creator will be angered if I don't agree with a priori anarchism?
Why do I have a duty to watch the nation I grew up in devolve into tyranny? Why can I not do something about it?
If you wish to be an intellectual and not an activist, fine. I have no problem with that. My problem is with those who call themselves libertarian and get in the way of those of us who are actually trying to increase liberty -- and then have the gall to be self-righteous.
In all this discussion I reiterate that my gripe is not with those who desire anarchy per se. My gripe is with those who contend that a libertarian must be an anarchist.
Admittedly, I do have some contempt for those who invoke proof by wishful thinking in their calls for anarchy.
On the other hand, I have great respect for people like David Friedman who written deeply and intelligently on the subject. I highly recommend The Machinery of Freedom to anyone, even though I now question the conclusion that there are fewer externality problems with zero government than small government.
And I might even support a venture to set up a stateless society on an island somewhere -- assuming that venture had a reasonable chance of success.
But I am not about to support doing such an experiment on a giant scale such as calling for the abolition of the United States of America! Undertaking such a dangerous project based upon "theory, rationalism, apriorism, and deduction" is the political equivalent of driving a nuclear waste tanker truck while stinking drunk.