|In a free society, the free market is the only entity that
can be trusted to ensure resistution by force initators.
Think of it this way:
In a free society in which individuals self-govern guided by the Non-Aggression
Principle, there would be no laws, courts, legal precedent, or other associated
There would simply be individuals who had initiated force and their victims.
Freed of such "crimes" that do not initiate force (such as the sale or use
of guns and drugs, prostitution, failure to pay taxes), the number of instances
in which force is initiated becomes very, very small.
A huge percentage of force initiations would no doubt be accidental. For
example, an individual might accidentally initiate force by losing control
of their car and colliding with another individual's car. In such circumstances,
the force initiator is morally bound to provide restitution for damages --
and would do so peacefully, either directly or via insurance.
However, there might be a small number of individuals who initiate force
by design, so let's examine your garden-variety mugger, rapist, or murderer.
In a free society, individuals are not limited by the type of weapon that
they may choose for personal defense. Therefore, there is a high statistical
liklihood that any given individual will be armed with deadly weapons, either
worn openly or concealed.
(As a side note, I imagine that openly-worn weapons would be an extremely
effective deterrant against the initiation of force. Why attack an individual
you know is armed?)
Since the Zero Aggression Principle only requires that an individual not
initiate force, a victim is within their moral right to respond to
such an initiaion in any way they see fit.
In a free society, the majority of would-be muggers, rapists, and murderers
will not survive their first attempt. They will be killed or injured at the
hands of their would-be victim.
Also, as noted in John Lott seminal work on the subject,
Guns, Less Crime, there is a significant decrease in the level of
violent crime when individuals are not disallowed the use of weapons for
personal protection. The reason for this is simple:
The average mugger, rapist, and murderer depends on a population without
the ability to defend itself. Where there becomes a high statistical liklihood
of death or injury, the mugger, rapist, or murderer chooses not to even
attempt their crime.
(It is, as a side-issue, the same reason the Federal Government is partly
accountable for the events of Bloody Tuesday [September 11]. Had it not created
airplanes filled with disarmed potential victims, would-be terrorists probably
wouldn't have tried to take those aircraft. Or if they had, they would
not have been successful due to all the armed passengers.)
So, in a free society, very few muggers, rapists, and murderers will even
exist because the potential cost is too high.
However, of that small percentage that does try, a many of them will not
live to try again.
Of the tiny number that successfully initiates force, what will be
required of them is restitution for damage. Even murderers will be morally
bound to pay restitution rather than incarceration.
Since there would be no government courts or police, the onus falls to the
individual to handle their own affairs. This being the case, an individual
might contract with a private security firm to locate and detain a force
Such action would be taken with the knowledge that any individual detained
who was not the force initiator would have force initiated against
them -- and so would therefore be due restitution from the firm that detained
him. This applies equally to any individual a security firm might question
in the course of locating a force initiator.
For example, suppose such a firm questioned the force initiator's best friend
as to his whereabouts. Any questioning that initiates force -- such as strong-arm
tactics, beatings, or detaining the individual until he "talks" -- would
require significant restitution from the security firm.
Once located and detained, the force initiator and victim would contract
with a private judge or adjudicator. This individual would be contractually
responsible for determining if a force initiation had, in fact, taken place;
whether the detention of the force initiator was necessary and appropriate
given circumstances; and what restitution was necessary by the force initiator.
The restitution phase would likely entail some kind of negotiation, for which
both the victim and initiator would probably retain representatives.
Failure by the initiator to either contract with a judge or provide the
negotiated restitution would carry its own punishment.
Consider: in a free society, no individual is required to do business with
any other -- and this includes individuals who sell food, water, electricity,
Also consider that in a free society, there is no crime -- only force initiation.
Without government-established crimes that do not involve initiation of force,
the number of individuals we might think of as "criminals" is very small.
And remember, we know from current statistics that an armed populace is a
deterrant against such individuals.
Therefore, in a free society, unrepentant force initiators will be an
Since they are such a minority, it is possible to practice the free market
version of "excommunication."
Back to our example, imagine that a force initiator fails to provide the
negotiated restitution. The victim is free to take pictures of such an individual
and release them to news media, the Internet, or anywhere else they may see
In a society with such low instances of force initiation, even a check-bouncer
will recieve an enormous amount of publicity.
Once this individual's identity has achieved the notoriety of, say, Jean-Benet
Ramsey, he will shortly find that most individuals will refuse to do business
with him. It is, after all, clearly not in my interest to support an individual
who would initiate force against you. Who knows if he might not initiate
force against me, some day?
An unrepentant force initiator will shortly find himself unable to trade
for basic necessities such as food, clothing, and shelter.
He will, in short order, begin to provide restitution. If he does not, he
will either die or lead a miserable existence -- thus providing further incentive
to would-be force initiators to restrain their impulses.
There will also be instances in a free society when an individual cannot
make appropriate restitution (such as a murderer), and the victim is unwilling
to allow the force initiator to be left to the market. In such circumstances
-- bereft of government regulation to interfere with the natural process
-- the victim might choose to call the force initiator to a duel.