Friday, February 25, 2005

Anarchists and Libertarians

I asked Tony Flood how he saw the distinction between anarchists and libertarians. Here is what he said:

Some As, not all, are Ls; some Ls, not all, are As.

An anarchist finds no moral justification for a State. From that fact alone, however, we cannot predict his view of the right of private acquisition of scarce resources. That is, we cannot tell whether he is an anarchocapitalist (e.g., Murray Rothbard) or an anarchocommunist (e.g., Murray Bookchin).

The libertarian champions the right of private acquisition of scarce resources. He might not, however deduce anarchism from that right. He might believe that free markets can provide all socially necessary functions that the State now monopolizes better (i.e., more cheaply and at higher quality) and ought to (that State monopolization is intrinsically rights-violating); or he might make an exception for police and defense services just so that property rights may be best defended. That is, he might be a "minarchist" libertarian.