By Walter E. Block and Frank J. Tipler
January 29, 2024


Javier Milei, a libertarian anarcho-capitalist, has just been elected President of Argentina.

What is that all about? What kind of political economic philosophy is libertarian anarcho-capitalism? The non-cognoscenti may need a road map. Let us break this down into three parts.

First libertarianism. What is that? It is a theory of just law. One foundation is the Non-Aggression Principle (NAP): it would be a crime to initiate violence against anyone or his property. Thus, justified aspects of the law would prohibit murder, rape, theft, arson, kidnapping, fraud, etc. But we need a theory of justice in property to determine whether or not a forced transfer of goods is justified or not. It is if the act is one of returning stolen property, otherwise it is illicit. How, then, to determine justice in property rights? We start off with the primordial basic premise that we all own ourselves; we are self-owners. Then, when we mix our labor with the land, homestead it a la John Locke, we become its rightful owners. Property titles are just, also, if they are predicated upon any voluntary interaction. John clears some virgin land and grows corn on it. Peter domesticates a cow and obtains milk. Then they barter. John now owns the milk even though he did not produce it, ditto for Peter and the corn. But they can each trace their ownership to homesteading and agreed upon contract. Other licit transfers would include buying, selling, gambling, gift-giving, investing, lending, borrowing, etc.

There are several levels of libertarianism based on the degree of adherence to these two principles. At the lowest level is the classical liberalism of such figures as Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, and James Buchanan. They favor free enterprise, to be sure, but they also allow for all sorts of government intervention into the economy. For example, involving support for the Fed (instead of free enterprise money), school vouchers (instead of full educational privatization), a small amount of welfare (e.g., the negative income tax), anti-trust regulation, etc. A closer observance of the NAP would be the constitutionalism of Ron Paul, who would very strictly interpret this document. But, since in addition to armies, police, and courts, it allows for governmental highways, streets, and a post office, it is not as lean and mean as the minimal government libertarianism of advocates such as Ayn Rand and Robert Nozick, who only allow for the first three aforementioned functions.

Libertarianism is unique. It is neither of the right nor of the left. Followers of this view would, even more so than the left, legalize prostitution, pornography, gambling, and drugs (all of them); even more so than the right would support laissez-faire capitalism and free association.

Second, anarchism. Do such folk as Murray N. Rothbard and Javier Milei support riotous living, wildness in the streets, wokism, bomb-throwing, and other such acts usually associated with this viewpoint? Of course not. That would be left-wing anarchism, and the perspective we are now discussing has nothing in common with hippies of that sort. Rather, anarchism is justified on the ground that governments violate, and necessarily so, the NAP. They demand taxes from their citizens and residents, but the people have agreed to no such arrangements. All contracts, to be legitimate, should be unanimously agreed upon, for example, the one between John and Peter mentioned above. There never was a state that was formed on a unanimous basis; always, instead, they were based on mere majorities. But this is a clear and present violation of the NAP and of the private property rights of the minority.

Third, capitalism. One function of this characteristic is to distinguish this viewpoint from that of left-wing or socialist anarchism, advocates of which oppose money, profits, employment, hierarchies, etc. Adam Smith, no anarchist, had it right with his “invisible hand.” The idea is to privatize everything, with no exception. If it moves, privatize it; if it doesn’t move, privatize that too. Since everything either moves or does not move, privatize everything. This would certainly include not only money, education, welfare (charity), and post offices but also armies, courts, police, highways, and bodies of water.

Is there no tension, not to say a logical contradiction, between a libertarian anarcho-capitalist being an employee of the government, let alone the head of this organization? No. Members of this group are entirely justified in using government streets and state libraries, working for public universities, and enjoying public parks. Ron Paul was, for many years, a US congressman. Javier Milei is now the president (elect) of Argentina. This can be justified on the grounds of self-defense. The government is an illicit institution, a criminal organization, and thus is in no position to object to such infiltration on any ground of rights violation.





Walter Block is mentioned here as a prominent anarcho-capitalist:
Milei, Javier. 2023. “An interview with Javier Milei.”











This originally appeared on UncoverDC.com and was reprinted with the author’s permission.

Copyright © Walter E. Block, UncoverDC.com


https://www.lewrockwell.com/2024/01/...ho-capitalist/