The Object of Minarchism
I am not a minarchist, nor an anarcho-capitalist. Personally, my ideology remains unchosen. All statements and remarks within the defining section are commented in the perspective of a minarchist. All statements and remarks within the critique section are commented in the perspective of a non/anti-minarchist.
The degree to the government’s role in a citizen’s day-to-day life is an ongoing debate. A primary basis of many individuals’ decision making process during a voting cycle often comes down to the question of, “which party will increase or decrease the intervention of the government?”
min(imal) + -archy (government) + -ism (system)
A night-watchman state (a minarchy) is a political philosophy that argues for the existence of the state but to the most minimal degree (in which it will actively and effectively protect natural rights). A minarchy attempts to achieve the smallest amount of government existence in order to maintain social order and prevent the chaos of anarchy.
The philosophy of minarchists, similar to many other capitalist ideologies, believe the individual needs protection from NAP violation, breach of contract, fraud, and other malicious crimes. A small government achieves this necessity. Under a night-watchman state, generally, only the police, court system, and military exist but the state can also include the fire departments, prison system, and other common government agencies/institutions.
In an ideal society, no form of government would exist. Citizens would uphold objective morals and only rational, honest aggression would be observable. Sadly, the idea of anarchy remains only an ideal which minarchism offers a compromise (whether this compromise is logical or not).
The compromised government would rely on pure voluntarism. An individual would have a choice among a variety of ways to fund. The variety may include voluntary taxes, monthly donations, or a lottery system in which the government offers a prize for a small percentage of profit.
Reasoning and Logic
Hierarchy is a natural and animalistic desire among humans. The pursuit of achieving leadership remains to be constant within the actions of rational beings. This particular fact dissolves the idea of any form of anarchy. In an anarcho-capitalist world, society will eventually have to endure some type of ruler. The type of ruler is not certain as it may be a corporation funded by corrupt riches, or it may be a judicial court system that is manipulated in protecting the rights of a cultist group, or it may even be a mob looking to slowly overtake the country. While societal defense remains an option, de facto states will continue to achieve power, whether it is on a national scale or only a more trivial, communal scale.
Anarchism holds the belief that a government is automatically an unjust ruler that always and will always rely on a variable amount of force. Minarchists believe that a typical government does not inherently fail in the aspect of not having to rely on force. However, that is not to say that a government is not essentially a positive influence on the world. Simply, the people of a minarchy achieve a state ruled by practical, functional, and reliable values.
The practical, functional, and reliable state provides a better source of protection of individual rights due to the anarchist-dependency on consistent equality and fairness. Ultimately, anarcho-capitalism is a democracy ruled not by vote, but rather by money and corruption.
Critiques of Minarchy
- The Constitution Argument: a minarchy depends on the government obeying the constitution. However, who controls the constitution? If the government controls the constitution then it allows the government ultimate access to unlimited power. It is in the states best interest to further expand itself in order to achieve more funding, increased power, and more.
- Is a voluntary government sustainable? The government will be forced to provide several forms of protection and institutions. Will citizens continue to fund this? A voluntary tax system may not last forever which will entice the government to take forceful action (like the governments of the modern age and throughout history). Individuals may realize the absence of demand for government, primarily because private companies achieve and put out better goods and services.
- The government in a minarchy is used as a form of “protection” whether its over fraud, contracts, etc. Wouldn't this make the state a private firm? Anarcho-capitalism is built on the fundamental idea of private firms and companies, thus minarchism is only an argument for the necessity of anarchy within a capitalist society.
- A minarchist government depends on utopian values. The night-watchman state must be founded and led by politicians of selfless and intellectual drive.
- A minarchy is purely a temporary state that will inevitably lead to a bigger, more aggressive government. Due to human drive to obtain power and the history of governments, a minarchy will only turn authoritarian. An example of this would be the United States, essentially. In 1776, the United States of America may have been classified a minarchy, however, soon after establishing the nation, America became corrupt and powerful.
Some of these critiques may be valid, others may not be valid. Many individuals would be able to argue against these. Nonetheless, it is important to understand specific ideological skepticism.
Sources and Work Cited
- Rand, Ayn, Nathaniel Branden, and Ilona. The Virtue of Selfishness. 1964. Print.