The Third Perspective

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Anarchist vs. Minarchist

Posted by Ratman on May 9, 2013 at 9:00 PM

Here, we are again, watching figureheads of the liberty movement take stands. Well, one takes a stand one attacks the other, receives backlash and continues his tirade. I say that because Adam Kokesh and Austin Petersen each have a following. We can quibble over numbers to see who wins but that is pointless as well. Petersen is the Editor at The Libertarian Republic which is a Libertarian news and opinion site. Petersen, as you may have guessed from the word republic, is more of a minarchist.

For those of you who don’t know, a minarchist is defined as a person who wants the least amount of government possible. They tend to want government to do things like police, fire, courts and things of that nature. There are differences of opinion even on that. This is what makes libertarianism great. We have a wide spectrum of people who all share a common central idea of wanting government out of people’s lives and leave the rest up to discussion.

Kokesh has been running his Adam vs. The Man show even after having gone off the air of Russia Today. Russia Today is a news program out of Russia that is state controlled. Kokesh’s show, as are his opinions, has become very anti-government.

So, why are minarchy and anarchy such points of contention? Well, fear of a completely ungoverned world is one thing. Many attacks against people have been thrown around on this issue. Is that fear unfounded? In some ways fears are founded but in some ways the fears are irrational. This may sound wishy-washy but, upon analysis of the issue and discussion, you realize both sides have equally valid points. Anarcho-capitalists tend to reject all notions of force and coercion inherent in the existence of government whereas minarchists think that it is justifiable in the case of protecting people from harm, protecting their liberties, etc. Anarchists tend to have a purist mentality but they don’t have a monopoly on it. All libertarians seem to show some reluctance to letting new people into the movement that claim the title. This has been seen with the backlash over Glenn Beck’s claim of being a libertarian. Both anarchists and minarchists screamed about that one but that’s not how you grow a movement. Welcoming differences of opinion with open arms and discussing it seems to be the best part of libertarianism but, at the same time, the purists want none of it.

So, after the long intro more or less explaining the two sides, we now get to the meat of the issue. What is the problem if these two were to go at it in a public forum to discuss the issues? In a word: nothing. There would be nothing wrong with a real discussion. Even discussing Adam’s plans over his “armed march on D.C.” would be acceptable. The problem as I see it is libertarians attacking each other but not discussing the real issues. Let’s talk about both sides of this discussion. Austin has a serious problem with breaking the law. Makes sense as he is clearly a minarchist and has some respect for the rule of law. Adam on the other hand wants to make a statement using the time honored tradition of civil disobedience. The idea that Adam and his fellow protesters are going to march on the District of Columbia with rifles slung across their backs may seem a little much but it does drive the point home with a peaceful protest. Who is more trustworthy with their weapons? Government or a peaceful group marching through town who want nothing more than the right to defend themselves? Sounds fairly ok but at the same time anything can happen. You really never know what could happen in a situation like that so there is the possibility that things could go badly. I think it is mildly ironic that Austin’s fears are in some way explained by Alex Jones, a conspiracy theorist in charge of, when he says that he fears that agents of the government will incite something and cause there to be a firefight of some sort further justifying government taking away weapons. Now, Austin doesn’t believe that it will be government. He believes that some of the “peaceful protesters” will do something crazy. He even quotes the one person that I saw on Facebook who said something about a revolution to make his point. That is rather one sided reporting Mr. Petersen. You should be ashamed. But maybe he did see more of this and it is cause to fear what could occur. But some are claiming that this should not be done especially in the wake of the Boston attack. This seems weird to me. Much like libertarians who attacked civil libertarians for expressing their distaste and disgust for the Boston and Watertown lockdown in the wake of that attack. That yielded nothing and those who attacked people for speaking out against it were not doing anyone a service with their statements. Many displays of civil disobedience have turned ugly because of the actions of a few nutty individuals. Should they never happen? Even Austin would have to back down from that point. Adam publically speaks of the plan to, if told to disperse, place the weapons on the ground and accept being arrested. That would handle that. While I disagree with the tactic, I respect his commitment to the liberty movement.

The protest might do well to take something from Students for Concealed Carry on Campus who hosts an “Empty Holster Protest” every year to bring awareness to the fact that students are denied their right to self-defense. I could easily suggest that this would be a safer and better idea. I am not going to organize one in D.C. Maybe in California sometime. This is something that could easily be discussed without mocking people. This is occurring on both sides of this issue and has been happening for a long time.

Austin’s public disapproval of the “Armed March on D.C.” protesters has taken a worse turn. He has created an event where he plans to march with others on the day prior (on July 3) to Adam’s protest armed with toys guys. We have gone from a difference of opinion to a mockery of the whole debate. Who is doing a greater disservice to liberty? I would venture to guess that Austin is. While there is a chance that Adam’s protest will turn bad, it is simply a chance. Austin on the other hand has made a mockery not only of the gun debate but made the whole movement look childish. How will libertarians be taken seriously as a movement if figureheads such as Austin take such childish actions over disagreements in tactics? It is childish and needs to stop. Each Austin and Adam have their followings and are doing great services to liberty on their own but we could all stop and think before we act. Childish actions get us nowhere and discredit the entire movement.


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