Nomarchy

2004-01-13

I've been following somewhat a recent debate between Roderick Long and Robert Bidinotto on voluntary society vs. limited government (I say "somewhat" because I'm so busy that I don't have time to linger over such long posts, let alone to write them!). Basically all the arguments and counter-arguments come down to the Open Letter to Ayn Rand written by Roy Childs in the late 1960s (ably updated in essays such as this one by Bryan Caplan). The limited-government argument says that only government can ensure the objectivity of law; the voluntary-society argument says that objectivity is impossible when there is a coercive monopoly in legal matters. Both minarchists and anarchists desire objective law, but they disagree on the best means for obtaining it. (I see this more as a scientific or experimental issue than as a philosophical issue: we need to try it and see; unfortunately, the American experiment in limited governmenthas not turned out so well, since the powers of the American government are nearly unlimited now.) Perhaps the focus on anarchy vs. minarchy is misguided, since the adherents of both positions claim to be in favor of the rule of law -- or, to mint a word, nomarchy.


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