THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 607, February 13, 2011
Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise
The feud between minarchists and anarchists has come to an end. Most of them just don't realize it yet.
In that article he examines the logical justification for the "minimal state" and finds it wanting, particularly with the point that the state must provide services that the market cannot. This is not actually the most minimal state. There is another possible more-minimal state, which he refers to as a "remedial state". Even accepting the argument that there are needed services that the market cannot provide, does not imply that a state must provide them, but only that the state must ensure the market can do the job, by remedying such defects that the market may have, preventing it from efficiently providing these services.
After thoroughly examining the logical supports for the state, he then gives an example of a plausible "remedial state" created for the United States. This example is easy to understand, due in large part to its familiarity in a lot of respects.
The only possible fly in the ointment that I can see, is this notion that under certain circumstances, "the remedial state will do nothing." People do seem to prefer to justify their existence by doing something, rather than nothingeven when nothing is called for. I don't know if there is a way around this problem. Hasnas' example provides "checks and balances" against it, but who knows how effective those would be. Still, the idea does appear to provide a way around the usual impasse, and to severely reduce the empire-building behaviors, the rent-seeking and corruption implicit in the government provision of services.
Maybe it is time for minarchists and anarchists to stop whacking each other, and join together in working to create a "remedial state"that is, if we really want to test our beliefs in the forge of the real world, rather than sheltering them from it. After all, sometimes argument is just for the sake of argument, and not for coming to any actual useful conclusions or for directing our actions.