So far I have not questioned the principles themselves. If they are themselves either internally incoherent or completely unrealistic, then we must conclude that minarchism is not only self-contradictory but incoherent as well.
Premise 1 states that the government must be limited, either by checks and balances or by an exterior standard such as a constitution. But, as the American Experiment has proven, neither of these mechanisms has been successful in stemming the tide of State expansion. Checks and balances are not enough to successfully distract the members of the ruling class from their convergent interests, since, checks or not, they are still all part of the same ruling entity. An exterior standard alone is also not sufficient to stop State expansion. A piece of paper is only somewhat obeyed as long as its legitimacy remains: the more misinterpreted and controversial it becomes, the least protection it affords against State expansion.
I already detailed the problem with premise 2, in regards to the lack of accountability for the actions of the monopoly that supposedly ensures order in society.
Premise 3 is the most direct contradiction of all. How can something be both necessary (presumably, for an important good) and be evil? How can coercion produce cooperation? If it is necessary for some important good, then it must be good as well. If it is evil, then it must be rejected regardless of pragmatic considerations.
Premise 4 is just plain nonsensical. Governments are not, and cannot, be based on consent. It is mathematically impossible to maintain a government over a territory of any considerable size without imposing some non-consensual rules. Furthermore, no government has ever been founded on consent. All governments are based on the necessity for victorious warring factions to organize the taking of tribute from conquered factions, to make organized theft less risky and more profitable. All other governments derived from those have come to existence through ruling class conflicts or colonial politics. In short, consent of the vast majority of people is nowhere involved in the process of government-creation.
I have extensively discussed the basic premises of minarchy. But its most fundamental problem of all is it complete lack of understanding of how things work. It is very easy for a Christian to say “well, God did it,” but it’s another thing entirely to explain how such a magical process would work. Likewise, it is very easy for the minarchist to simply say, “and government would remain limited,” but how this could possibly happen is complete fantasy. Who says government, says a ruling class. And when there is a ruling class, the interests of the people composing it naturally tend towards expanding the one entity that gives them power. This is not rocket science, merely Class Theory 101.
They believe that the government exists to protect individual rights. I have always found such a notion absurd and mind-boggling. How can anyone or anything protect rights? We all have rights inherently, by virtue of being social agents, and we all express them naturally. The only thing any exterior determinism can do is affect or stop the expression of our rights, and that is what criminals, including the State, do. To say that the State proctects rights is as silly as saying that the State protects the fact that one and one make two, or that whatever goes up must go down, or the “sanctity of marriage.” Hey… wait a second!
Ron Paul illustrates this problem very well. When he stands up in a debate and claims that the role of government is to protect us, everyone find him absurd and preposterous. Everyone except Ron Paul knows what government is really for: to steal, defraud, kill, and accumulate power. Everyone knows what political debates or discussions are for: to settle in what way government should steal, defraud, kill and accumulate power, and who will help it do that. They may not phrase it that way, obviously, but that is all it reduces to.
I believe that the historic origin of the minarchist delusion lies in the failure of realizing that the existence of sovereign territory itself is just as unjustified as non-consensual government. The American Revolution was based on the belief that the British Empire was not legitimate, but it also based on the belief in the states and borders that were fixed by their enemy in the first place.
This opened the door to the sovereign argument, which led to the creation of an unlimited government, through the “US Constitution,” so order could be maintained in the “United States,” and then of the War of Northern Aggression, which was also predicated on the federal government as our sovereign. In a fixed and vast territory-based system, the individual becomes irrelevant and eclipsed by power plays within vast territories. In such a system, democracy is merely the concrete manifestation of this alienation of the individual in favor of the kind of mass resolve you need to generate the agreements on social reform the State desires.
Minarchists like to say that there’s not much difference between them and us Anarchists. That may be true in terms of general policies, of live and let live, but it is certainly not true on the moral standpoint. Like all other statists, minarchists believe in coercion, but they believe that coercion can be contained. Unlike them, we are not delusional or naive.
Don’t look, but the minarchist emperor has no clothes.