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Hoppean Anarcho-Capitalism in Slate


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Timothy Noah's Would You Privatize Defense?The case for socialized medicine, Part 1, in the March 6, 2007 Slate unwittingly shows the danger of minarchism and the idea of public goods. Once you accept the notion that the state is legitimate and there are some public goods, then the door is open to argue that more and more domains of private life should be considered public goods and thus handled by the state. In short, any sort of state-advocacy, including minarchy, is a recipe for socialism.

Noah tries to argue this by mocking the idea of private defense. To do so, he paints a surprisingly anarcho-capitalist-looking picture of such a society—"Instead of the publicly funded Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines, the country would be defended by private militias funded mainly by insurance companies". Shades of Hans-Hermann Hoppe!

Of course, he gets many details wrong, and he paints this picture to mock it, as a means of showing how absurd it is that medical care is privately provided—he wants them both socialized. If he had only read a bit more Hoppe when trying to imagine private defense, he'd have found it a bit harder to mock it.

Stephan Kinsella is an attorney in Houston, director of the Center for the Study of Innovative Freedom, and editor of Libertarian Papers.

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