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Friday, July 17, 2009

[LongThread] anarchy vs. minarchy - burden of proof

Thomas Knapp wrote:
When and if any one of the world's states can get their annual murder-by-government rates down into, say, the six-figure range, we can talk about shifting the burden of proof to the anarchists. Until then, it stays with the supporters of the existence of the state
America murders 1,000,000 people a year?  And Switzerland does too?  LOL

Even without Tom's bizarre math errors above, it's simply self-disqualifying for a serious political thinker to assert that, for any modern polity considering whether to discard the institution of the state, the burden of historical proof is not on those proposing to do so.  But just in case anyone has doubts:

What Empirical Evidence Supports Anarchism?

And again: A History of Violence by Steven Pinker

Roderick Long wrote:
RL)  The empirical/historical evidence is that when one compares stateless and state-ridden societies at comparable levels of economic and social development, the stateless societies tend to be significantly more peaceful and more prosperous.  See, for example:  (RL

The only data points of functioning alleged anarchies that I see cited there are the familiar toy ones: medieval Iceland, Celtic Ireland, the "not so wild west", etc.   Not a single one of them had to deal with any of the 17 issues I list above that a modern state has to confront.

Yes, Pinker compares state oranges with anarchic apples, but that's because anarchy isn't even in the game when it comes to dealing with the problems of a modern society.  It's simply question-begging to assume that a stateless America would just be America-sans-bureaucrats instead of a continent-wide foam of Pinker-Hobbesian micro-societies (perhaps sprinkled with a few primitive Friedman-Iceland-style communes).

Yes, you can assert with no argument that states and peace are mere correlates, but you have zero data points for any theory that states are just post-hoc fleas latching onto a pre-existing large and prosperous stateless society.  That's never happened, anywhere, anytime. (However, I guarantee it would indeed quickly happen if there ever arose an anarchy that wasn't free-riding on the interlocking peace-keeping framework of peaceful surrounding states.)

P.S. Every time a deontological anarcholibertarian makes an empirical or consequentialist argument, doesn't that undermine his deontological argument?  It's sort of like the defense lawyer who argues: "my client wasn't even in town when the victim was shot, and besides, the gun my client fired at him was a different caliber than the bullet found in his head."  If the former argument was up to the job, the latter wouldn't be needed.