Nikhil Rao has posted his second rebuttal today.
Once again I have no objection, and neither do I intend to object, to his scientific work. What I mainly object to, is his butchering of market anarchist theory. He especially fails to grasp that the simple problems he raises can easily be turned against his belief in the state with more effect. In my previous entry, I explained why consumer demand stands against the possibility of the disintegration of an anarchic system. He replies that not enough people value freedom to make this true:
But do people in general really believe that freedom is that important a value? The past 100 years would seem to indicate otherwise as we’ve seen the rise of the welfare state in every country around the world. I can count on my fingers the number of people I met during my year in London who actually held freedom in high regard.
Here once again he falls into another statist trap: this time, of associating the behaviour of human beings under a state, with that of human beings in general. Of course people cheer the rise of the welfare state. They assume that the state is a permanent fixture, and thus seek to utilize as much of its power as possible to perpetuate their values against those of other people. Social warfare, after all, is the state of any society in a democratic system. And people mistakenly assume that the welfare state is good for their own security. Given this, their behaviour is not surprising at all.
People do value comfort- the comfort to live as they desire, and not have to answer to anyone else. That is the main drive of social warfare in a democracy, and the main drive of peace in an anarchy. There is nothing comfortable in warfare of any kind, or at least, I would like to know one person who thinks war is a comfortable state. Surely not! So how can people in an anarchy value the kind of war that Nikhil is predicting?
The question becomes, rather, how Nikhil expects his ideal state to make self-interest concurrent with natural rights- a point which he has not addressed at all. Market anarchy has been proven to work, again and again. Statism has never worked, and cannot possibly work due to the incentive system inherent to a monopoly of power. How can people not desire to exploit a monopoly of power, is the impossible issue that Nikhil must address.
When I was a minarchist, I racked my brain for years trying to find an answer. I shouldn't have bothered, when the answer was already right in front of me. Perhaps Nikhil will come to that same conclusion one day.
Even more absurdly, he asks:
In fact, the history of middle ages Europe is a perfect example of the failure of the an-cap system. As more and more men chose safety and comfort over freedom, rulers’ power grew more and more in scope. Once upon a time ‘Kings’ were petty little things, ruling over small parcels of land of little consequence. But as time went on, kingdoms grew to the size of entire countries, and in time a Holy Roman Emperor would be crowned.
Is Nikhil seriously contending that Middle Ages Europe was a market anarchy? If so, I would like to see his proof.
We do know that some isolated regions of Europe were anarchies- such as Iceland and Ireland- and they were more peaceful and respectful of rights than their monarchic equivalents. I'm afraid that Nikhil's argument blows up in his face on this one.
Nikhil says that my statement that natural monopolies do not occur is too superficial, and that the basic power structure always remains. What basic power structure? The desire to dominate? Sure. The desire to dominate is always there. But unless it can be given expression, it must be sublimated. If Nikhil can show me how a monopoly can arise in a market anarchy, he can talk about the problems of monopolizing systems. Otherwise, he should return his objection against the monopoly that he himself proposes to establish by the force of arms- his ideal minarchy.
His final point:
So once again I argue that anarcho-capitalism is an invadable system. If every member of an an-cap society valued classical rights, then yes, such a system would work. Now show me such a population. And show me how they’d respond to the invasion by not only power-mongers, but those who value not liberty but comfort.
Is not much better. I never stated that anarchy requires for all its members to value natural rights to "work" (insofar as "working" in an anarchy means that everyone is free to live the way they want). An anarchy can exist where 99% of people do not desire to be free, and they are free to assemble themselves in hierarchies as much as they want- but as long as some people do desire to be free, those people will be able to assemble and live their freedom relatively fully.
Given this fact, there is no point in invoking hypothetical "invasions". There is no such thing as an "invasion", for there is nothing to "invade". There is no "country" or "state" to take over. Another group of people who want to assemble together in a hierarchy is merely that- another group of people who want to live their lives differently. Can Nikhil tell us what is being invaded?
Would a society where 99% of people reject rights be free? Not really. But a minarchy in that same society would make people even less free. So once again his point should be returned to himself.
I especially like how he ends by repeating an outright call to violence:
Beyond that, we must occasionally push for a direct curtailment of liberty in order to protect that which remains.
Nikhil keeps making veiled threats of coercion against anyone who disagrees with his ideal system. Unlike Nikhil, I have no wish to force those people to live the way I want. I am not a violent or utopian person. I simply wish for all to be free to live the way they want.
Apparently, this principle is very hard to understand.