I have taken a long time to examine critically the claims on a statist FAQ. In this entry I want to briefly examine another such FAQ, this time openly anti-libertarian, the "Non-Libertarian FAQ". I will not examine most of the FAQ, since many of these points are corollaries or address specifically American arguments. But I want to look at how Mike Huben defends standard statist lies like the "social contract" or taxation.
(NOTE : if you want to read a longer and more detailed rebuttal of this FAQ, see Some Responses to Mike Huben's A Non-Libertarian FAQ, by anarchist economist David Friedman)
The foremost defenders of our freedoms and rights, which libertarians prefer you overlook, are our governments. National defense, police, courts, registries of deeds, public defenders, (...), etc. all are government efforts that work towards defending freedoms and rights.
Actually, most libertarians would agree with what he's saying here, so I'm not sure what his point is. As the anarchist kind of libertarian, my position is quite otherwise. I see absolutely no reason to accept the ridiculous claim that government has our best interests in mind. True, government does protect our basic rights through the police and the courts, but only because it would lose credibility were it to stop doing so.
Even the police and the courts, like any other government system, still serve a purely utilitarian function : to serve the interests of the ruling class. Only the rich and powerful get "justice".
There are several explicit means by which people make the social contract with government. The commonest is when your parents choose your residency and/or citizenship after your birth. In that case, your parents or guardians are contracting for you, exercising their power of custody. No further explicit action is required on your part to continue the agreement, and you may end it at any time by departing and renouncing your citizenship.
Take [libertarians] to a restaurant and see if they think it ethical to walk out without paying because they didn't sign anything. (...) The restaurant gets to set the price and the method of contract so that even your presence creates a debt. What is a libertarian going to do about that?
Here we have the standard statist rationalization of trying to associate governments with peaceful enterprises like restaurants. As far as I know, I was not born into a restaurant, and restaurants do not extort half of my income by force !
The fact is that being controlled by one's parents into residing in this or that territory does not a contract make. To recycle Huben's stupid example, if I kidnap someone and force them to eat at a certain restaurant, that person is not under the obligation of paying. He or she did not get there of their own free will.
Renouncing one's citizenship is not the equivalent of the end of a contract. Unless you leave for the high seas or the Arctic circle, you're not going to be able to live without government. So to associate the two is delusional.
The key difference is who owns what. The Mafia doesn't own anything to contract about. The landowner owns the land (in a limited sense.) And the (...) government owns rights to govern its territory.
This is once again a very silly rationalization. The government has no legitimate claim on any territory. It grabs territory by force, just like gangs fight each other over territory. There is no "right" in the "might" of government.
[T]here are no working examples of libertarian cities, states, or nations.
Actually, that is a bald-faced lie. The standard example that libertarians give is Hong Kong pre-Chinese repossession. Examples of orderly and stable anarchies in history include medieval Iceland and medieval Ireland, the Papuans, Labrador pre-1730, and pre-Alfred Anglo-Saxon England.
(...) "Might makes ability to make something", Right or Wrong. You can't even try for Right until you have Might to back it up in the real world. That's the reason that some real governments have survived and all utopian governments that have tried to abolish force have failed.
Even though this primitive FAQ seems to have no philosophy in it, this is a good indication of Huben's moral rationale for supporting coercion and violence. He believes that morality is enforced by the gun. How incongruous is that ? How can any knowledge, which can only be attained by free minds and free individuals, be imposed by the force of arms ? Whoever has such might, will inevitably desire to mold society for his own ends, not in the name of any truth. This is the basic fallacy of statism.
Like most other non-pacifistic belief systems, libertarians want to initiate force for what they identify as their interests and call it righteous retaliation, and use the big lie technique to define everything else as evil "initiation of force". They support the initial force that has already taken place in the formation of the system of property, and wish to continue to use force to perpetuate it and make it more rigid.
I am a libertarian (in the general sense that I want less government - zero, to be more precise) and I do not "support the initial force that has already taken place in the formation of the system of property". I also do not wish to "use force to perpetuate it". Rights of property are extensions of one's right of action. So how can such rights entail force ? When is force needed ? Blank.
Slaveholders use force against their slaves in order to keep them from having wealth and become independent. Free people do not need to use force to respect each other's freedom and property (some people, of course, will use force in any context).
As I told creationists who wondered why I bothered, it's interesting to me to study unusual beliefs for the same reason it's interesting for doctors to study pathologies. You don't have to catch a disease to be able to understand it, fight it, or vaccinate against it.
Wow. I didn't know the desire to stop the exploitation of the masses by ruling classes was a disease that needed vaccination. No one told the people who wrote the Magna Carta, I guess.
What do I think of Mike Huben after this ? I'm afraid I have to copy him on that one. I think he is no different than a Creationist. He shares the passion of the irrational fanatic, and he also shares their corruption of rationality and their willful ignorance of the facts. You can post on his blog if you want to tell him exactly what you think of his silly dictatorial belief system.