On Kent's "Hooligan Libertarian" Blog I was asked..."Do you have a justification for government?". I'm guessing that the person who asked the question is an anarcho-capitalist so that's how I'll approach it.
The founder of anarcho-capitalism, Murray Rothbard, really hated the state. He said if there was a button that would completely destroy all of government in an instant...then he would push that button until his thumb blistered. If, after pushing that button, it turned out that a state was necessary…then what? Do we just hit ctrl + z?
To his credit, Rothbard didn’t just hate the state because he hated paying taxes. He wrote numerous books with detailed explanations how the free-market could provide all public goods better than the state. Were his explanations any good? Liberal academics didn’t think so…they were considerably more threatened by the limited government ideas of Robert Nozick.
If the free-market can provide all public goods better than the government can, then is government justified? It’s a Catch 22 though because the only way we can truly know if government is redundant is by getting rid of government. Most would agree this approach is too risky…and since we live in a democracy…we have to take the majority’s opinion into consideration.
Rather than one button that would destroy government in one fell swoop…what if all tax payers had a button that when pushed would deprive redundant government organizations of their tax dollars? This is the pragmatarian approach.
If a government organization is redundant…but none of your taxes fund its existence…is there any reason to hate that government organization?
I’d say that at least 99.9% of people think at least one government organization is absolutely necessary. For you .1% of people that think otherwise…the solution is simply to work together to provide free-market alternatives to that one government organization.
The more say people have how their taxes are spent the more justified a government is. The American Revolution occurred because people were being taxed without representation.
The current government is only partially justified because people only have a very imperfect say with regards to how their taxes are spent. They lose their say if the person they vote for is not elected and there's no guarantee that a representative will accurately represent the interests of the people who voted for them.
Incidentally, in contrast to the anarcho-capitalist perspective of hating the state...Reason magazine shared five reasons why libertarians should love the state. My favorite is number #4..."Government bashing alienates those you want to reach"...
Incessant government-bashing may make you feel good, but alienates most everybody who knows and loves a police officer, firefighter, teacher, social worker, anyone who has ever collected an unemployment check, and anyone who saw NASA put a man on the moon.