The first of three commentaries for the Molinari Society’s authors-meet-critics session at the December APA is now online: this one by Nicole Hassoun of Carnegie-Mellon, author of “Why Libertarians Should Be Welfare Liberals.”
The other two commentators are Jennifer McKitrick (vice-president of the Molinari Institute and author of “Liberty, Gender, and the Family”) and Christopher Morris (author of An Essay on the Modern State).
The books under discussion are Crispin Sartwell’s Against the State: An Introduction to Anarchist Political Theory and the anthology I co-edited with Tibor Machan, Anarchism/Minarchism: Is a Government Part of a Free Country?
I really enjoyed reading her commentary, even if I disagree with the implications that she wishes to draw from her argument. I haven’t read the more fully developed argument in the Word document, but I suppose I’ll get to it eventually.
I wasn’t particularly convinced by her essay, though it’s entirely possible I glided over something within that would set me straight.
If states are necessary for creating the conditions that allow for meaningful consent, does this not (a) beg the question, and (b) apply a kind of “false consciousness” argument for those that explicitly say they don’t consent? Now she writes, and I agree, that for children and (perhaps) others, a sign of consent or not should not be taken at face value, but everyone else?
Still, allowing for everyone else – not children, those in comas, etc. – to opt out with their express lack of consent, would be devastating to statism and a victory for anarchy. (But this would also undermine the state’s ability to create the conditions for real consent!)
But then again she said something about this not applying to anarchists…
Here’s the quick preview I sent her of what my comments are likely to be:
I suspect the chief objection to (4) will be that an institution cannot satisfy a precondition for its legitimacy by working to bring about that condition, since a precondition is by definition something that must already be satisfied before the institution can legitimately do anything at all. And the chief objection to (7) will be, not just that markets can provide welfare as well as governments, but that they can do it better — that, as monopolies, states are necessarily subject to irremediable incentival and informational perversities (and for praxeologists, at least, the informational perversities are conceptual rather than merely empirical), so that that a successful welfare anarchy is possible while a successful welfare state isn’t.
“Still, allowing for everyone else – not children, those in comas, etc. – to opt out with their express lack of consent, would be devastating to statism and a victory for anarchy. (But this would also undermine the state’s ability to create the conditions for real consent!)”
I’m actually curious, and perhaps Dr. Long can answer or point me toward an answer on this.
How exactly does anarchism deal with the problem of children, or the mentally handicapped, or any person or group of persons unable to give informed consent?
Here’s my take on children’s rights.
My first objection to the summary argument was that of causality like Roderick points out, but upon reading the beginning of the longer paper I found an earlier objection.
I think her definition of legitimacy is flawed in such a way that it makes it far easier for her to come to the conclusions that she does. Rather than use the non-aggression principle as the measure of legitimate interpersonal behavior (I’m holding the institution of the state as a collection of individuals) she begins with: “To be legitimate, a state must only exercise coercive force over an individual to protect that individual’s liberty.” She begins with an action, rather than an inaction. I also see no attempt to actually define liberty, but perhaps I missed something.