These Kids Today, No Respect For the Law I Tell Ya By Roderick on April 23, 2007 4 Watch the Auburn University Libertarians (including some of my students) protesting on Tax Day. Anarchy
Taxes are the dues we pay for living in a civilized society. Government is how the people does collectively what it cannot do (or cannot do as well) individually, and it must be paid for.
It is arguable that Government is doing things that it should not; it is arguable that our taxes are too high, or the tax system is structured unjustly. I agree with all three propositions; however, reasonable people may disagree as to the extent of those problems.
Nevertheless, the total abolition of government and taxes would result in the breakdown of civil society and a return to life in a state of nature which (as a clever old Brit observed many years ago) is nasty, poor, brutish, and short.
“Government is how the people does collectively what it cannot do (or cannot do as well) individually, and it must be paid for.”
What about all the other non-governmental ways we do things collectively? What is the difference between government and these, other than they don’t demand payment for “services” whether we want them or not and threaten to lock us up if we don’t pay; and they don’t attack us or competitors should we choose to get those services from others they haven’t licensed? Anarchists are not opposed to people doing things collectively. they are opposed to governments. Please recognise the distinction.
“Nevertheless, the total abolition of government and taxes would result in the breakdown of civil society and a return to life in a state of nature which (as a clever old Brit observed many years ago) is nasty, poor, brutish, and short.”
Why? Surely life would only be nasty, brutish and short if we could not trust others to respect our person and property. However, we don’t even have to reject Hobbesian premises to know that we don’t need a government for that – in situations with an good chance of an unknown number of repeated interactions, reciprocal co-operation is the rational choice forself interested people, because what comes around goes around.
On top of this, where reputation is necessary to help make a living, self-interest leads people to do things that preserve a good reputation.
And lastly, we have the threat of enforcement and punishment. We can and do have police without government, courts without government, and laws without government.
I recommend Ed Stringham’s anthology Anarchy and the Law for a collection of arguments both theoretical and historical for the non-necessity of the state and the non-Hobbesian nature of anarchy.