Privatization of National Defense is the Best Way to Improve Society

An article I authored for PolicyMic:

In this series of PolicyMic articles (part 1part 2 here), I am laying out my argument for the privatization of national defense. Because the thesis of privitazing national defense would be that its benefits would not be separable between parties — and free-loaders could potentially enjoy the benefits of national defense without paying for it — my argument has been met with considerable opposition.

However, I have demonstrated that if national defense were indeed privatized, the risk of a foreign invasion would be less than if national defense remains in the hands of the state. Obviously this is a subjective opinion with which many people disagree. What cannot be argued against is that, in the absence of a foreign invasion, the human condition for society would be drastically improved due to the more efficient allocation of resources under a private defense model.

In this article, I want to address the total privatization of all security and court services.  Such a society might be deemed “anarcho-capitalist” or “voluntarist” in nature. The state would not exist at all under such a system. In effect, people would chose the “state” they want to be a “citizen” of by voluntarily paying “taxes” to whatever private rights enforcement agency they subscribe to.

This animated illustration of a speech by economist David Friedman makes the case far more eloquently than I can in a relatively brief period of time:

Friedman addresses many of the common criticisms of such a system and explains why a voluntary market for law and security produces the most optimal results for society. Friedman goes on to expound on these ideas in the video, The Market for Law – David Friedman

Friedman makes a great case, demonstrating why the political method of law creation leaves consumers with almost no effective means of obtaining the types of legal changes that they would like to see the most, while the voluntary method gives individuals a great deal of choice and power to obtain the type of legal system that they would like to live under.

What we can take away from these ideas is that it is not necessary for coercively imposed taxation to exist in order to have law and order within a society. This idea opens up a line of thinking that our collective consciousness may not have previously even considered as a possibility.

Freedom means being free from coercion. Freedom means being free to live your life without interference. Freedom means the ability to use and retain the fruits of your own labor as you see fit, as long as you aren’t violating someone else’s property or freedoms in the process. This begs the question, how can a state claim to keep us “free” when its existence is the very antithesis of freedom?

Additional information on this subject:

A Private Law Society (video), by Hans-Hermann Hoppe

The Market for Security (video), by Robert P. Murphy

The Rothbardian Theory of Taxes (video), by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

The Story of Your Enslavement (video), by Stefan Molyneux

The Machinery of Freedom (eBook), by David Friedman

Chaos Theory (eBook), by Robert Murphy

  • Julius F

    i would say the biggest misconception in that forum is the idea that society needs both a public police force and a national defense to provide security.  private defense agencies that protect property and persons from unlawful domestic people would serve the everyday “police function.” and in the event of invasion, they would be mobilized to repel and expel foreign powers. they would also be supplemented by volunteers who do not want their standard of living to plummet under a state. there is no reason to have two entirely separate entities, except that the state uses the national defense force for imperialist goals overseas, while the public police is used enforce senseless laws concocted by special interests.

    another thing that needs to be more carefully explained is the inefficiency of the public courts system, how it existed privately before the state co-opted it, and how it would continue to exist in the absence of coercion. it seems this is the wall that seems to separate the minarchists from ancaps. it needs to be thoroughly explained why the “justice system” fails under government.

    though it is strange that one needs to explain this to those who otherwise understand free market economics and why government monopoly of goods and services is a bad thing. for whatever reason, they somehow ignore this and then believe government monopoly becomes necessary in regards to the most important good and service in a free society – law and security.