Reply To: Small government.


mmafan – I’m in the same boat as you, though I recognize the problems with any state, including a limited, minarchist state (I pretty much agree with everything Tom Woods says in this video). However I haven’t been persuaded by, for example, Bob Murphy’s arguments to the effect that a stateless society could defend itself from predatory states (some time I’ll post my reasons for disagreeing), among other reasons.

As for economists who agree with your (mmafan) position, Mises himself was one, as was Hayek (I recommend most of Hayek’s writings, which first attracted me to all this years ago, even while accepting that yes, there are problems with it, especially from the Rothbardian-Hoppean PoV). Most non-Austro-libertarians support a minarchist state (Austrian economics does not logically compel statelessness, but if one follows its arguments the way, say, Rothbard did, then one can legitimately conclude that a stateless society would be the best society*); Milton Friedman for example was a sort of minarchist. Ayn Rand and nearly all Objectivists are minarchists. Robert Nozick, who was not an economist but whose thinking was heavily influenced by Murray Rothbard (for all that most Rothbardians don’t think much of Nozick’s ASU), was a minarchist.

I’m a minarchist but I align myself with the Austro-Libertarians because 1) I think Austrian Economics is much better than other economic theories and 2) I would prefer to live in a world where Austro-Libertarian anarcho-capitalism was possible. That is, I want them to be correct. I just do not think they are quite correct. But in the meantime, I’d much rather work towards their goals than those of other movements I could think of.

*I myself agree with Jefferson that a government is a necessary evil; not for economic reasons, or many of the reasons usually given. But I do also agree with Randall Holcombe’s argument here, though I would be remiss in not noting Walter Block’s article attempting to rebut Holcombe).