Should We Privatize the Courts, Military, and Police?
The difference between a minarchist and an anarcho-capitalist is that a minarchist believes the government should control the court system and military, while ancaps believes they should be privatized. This, of course, is a simplified definition, but an accurate one.
For some, there is no question about whether or not there should be a government to handle these industries. Most would probably think it obvious that courts, police, and national defense should be handled by government, so that each citizen, regardless of personal financial situation, can expect equal justice should they be wronged. It’s not an unreasonable idea that some small tax be collected from citizens to fund a public system for protecting the Liberty all would otherwise enjoy in a minarchist society.
For example, if the United States ever adopted a minarchist government, local communities and states could form their own courts and police departments, and leave the federal government to handle the military and nothing else. Each state would essentially function as its own country, united in defense of one another. With local/state taxes as low as possible to fund only the courts and police, and maybe a federal tax to be collected from the states for the military, everyone would be able to keep 85-90% of their income. There would be no need for taxes on consumption, property, estates, or any other current source of taxation. The economy would surely benefit from the greater economic freedom everyone would enjoy. Senseless regulations would be gone, and the government would finally be out of the way of businesses.
However, what if we privatized the courts, police departments, and military as well? This would completely eliminate the need for government of any kind, and result in an anarcho-capitalist society. This is a little harder to sell, and I sometimes struggle with the idea myself. The problem I have is this: if law is private, and the enforcement of law is also private, and courts compete with one another, how does any court claim to have the power to render judgment on someone who violates the natural law? What stops one court from sentencing me, but I refuse to accept their sentence? Furthermore, if a private police force, which is essentially just a security firm, attempts to arrest me on my property or on property protected by a separate security firm, what legal right do they have to do that? Unless they have an agreement with the firm that protects the property I’m on?
National defense is the one thing I think would be fairly easy to handle in an anarchist society. Different mercenary outfits would certainly be able to handle any attack on Ancapistan. And, having no gun control at all, almost everyone would be armed in some way. Militias and private citizens would be able to fight and defend their property and their neighbors. It would take someone either very brave or very stupid to attack an armed United States.
Come to think of it, the same could be said for a minarchist America. We could eliminate a government-controlled military and replace it with private defenders. Citizens would be able to fight to defend their property, and their communities. Voluntary cooperation would benefit everyone, without having to worry about constant wars in other countries or hundreds of military bases all over the world. Our national defense would actually defend us, instead of the military acting as the world’s police force. Everyone would benefit from more freedom.
I usually call myself an anarcho-capitalist at heart, but a minarchist in mind. I have not yet come to a satisfactory conclusion in regards to the privatization of courts and police, and I think that’s where most minarchists and libertarians draw the line as well. I only hope that anarchists and minarchists can work together to fight back against big government. The Liberty Movement is alive and well, and I am very hopeful for the future.
For more on the topic, click here.