Eddie Pensier writes:
John Humphreys of the Australian Libertarian Society starts a whopper of an argument on the ALS’ Facebook page:
There is an apparent contradiction at the heart of objectivism. Ayn Rand said that she opposed the initiation of coercion/violence, but she also rejected anarchism and insisted on having a government… which is defined as an institution that has a geographical monopoly over the initiation of violence/coercion.
That doesn’t add up. Either objectivists accept a government and then they accept the initiation of some violence/coercion. Or they don’t want a government and are anarchists. Those options are mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive… there is no other option.
Given the vehemence of Rand’s opposition to anarchy, I had previously thought that objectivists accepted government and that they were confused about the whole coercion thing. But in a debate this evening it seemed that my objectivist sparing partner was inadvertently advocating for anarchy… but with the assumption that in anarchy, enough people would voluntarily give money to a security provider that would protect everybody. The idea is that this benevolent non-profit donor-funded security provider would be called “government”, despite not initiating violence or coercion.
If this is accurate, then there are two consequences. First, semantics notwithstanding, a benevolent non-profit donor-funded security provider is totally consistent with anarchy, and so such a position is really just another type of hyphenated anarchy with a particular vision of how a free society might function. Second, it seems to me that the above approach to security provision is very reliant on the benevolence of one organisation and the people who will donate to that organisation… which means it is actually less stable than the system suggested by other market anarchists.
What do you say objectivists… are you secret anarchists living in denial, or are you people who oppose coercion all the time except for when you don’t?
Do you agree with Humphreys’ point or do you, um, object?