Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Anarcho-capitalism and Pragmatarianism

Anarcho-capitalists can be divided into two groups...consequentialist and deontological.  The consequentialist anarcho-capitalists believe that the private sector can do everything better than the government.  For example, anarcho-capitalists like David Friedman and Peter Boettke make economic arguments for eliminating the government.  Perhaps they might say that their favorite political philosopher was Adam Smith.

Deontological anarcho-capitalists...more commonly known as "natural rights" anarcho-capitalists...make moral arguments for eliminating the government.  For example, the "taxes are theft" argument is an argument that "natural rights" anarcho-capitalists would make.  They'll also frequently use words like "aggression" and "violence" and "rape"...and "hate".  If "natural rights" anarcho-capitalists had to choose one of their favorite political philosophers chances are really good that they'd choose Murray Rothbard...Do You Hate the State?

Personally, I've never heard a consequentialist anarcho-capitalist make the "taxes are theft" argument...but plenty of deontological anarcho-capitalists have no problem making consequentialist arguments.  In theory though...a "natural rights" anarcho-capitalist should support abolishing the government no matter what the consequences would be.  Just like a consequentialist anarcho-capitalist should support a little government if it can be proven that the consequences are better than abolishing government.

When it comes to pragmatarianism...so far, all the "natural rights" anarcho-capitalists that I've proposed the idea to have vociferously rejected it.  On the other hand, only two consequentialist anarcho-capitalists have had anything to say about it.  James E. Miller seemed open to the idea while David Friedman did not see the value....
I don't think that letting taxpayers allocate their taxes among options provided by the government solves the fundamental problems of government. - David Friedman
Unfortunately, that's all he said.  He never substantiated his claim...and the suspense is killing me.  Well...not quite...but I would really love to hear his critique.  Some thing with Peter Boettke!  Any other consequentialists...anarcho-capitalist or otherwise...are certainly welcome to share their critique of pragmatarianism as well.

In the meantime...I'll try and figure out what's going on with all these "natural rights" anarcho-capitalists.  For example, when I posted my libertarian pudding image on the Ron Paul Forums...one of the anarcho-capitalists who wrote this critique of pragmatarianism...modified my image in a way that made his opinion on pragmatarianism quite clear.

Here was my response...
Anarcho-Capitalist, if the government is truly shit...then wouldn't allowing taxpayers to directly allocate their taxes help them understand that the government is shit? Most of the people I talk to fanatically believe that the government is not shit. They believe that the government helps flush shit down the toilet.  
Both sides of the debate can't be 100% correct. What I don't understand is...if you're so dogmatically certain that your perspective absolutely reflects reality...then why wouldn't you tirelessly promote allowing taxpayers to see exactly how their own, individual, hard-earned taxes are being spent? What else could more effectively open their eyes? You say that their money is just being flushed down the toilet yet you don't want them to open their eyes. It just doesn't follow. 
The other side believes that you're nuts...and you believe that they're nuts...so why not just empower 150 million self-interested, utility maximizing, purposefully acting, psychic profit seeking taxpayers to use their hard-earned taxes to prove which side is truly nuts? What are you afraid of? The more you fight against pragmatarianism the less credible your position becomes.
With that in mind, here's the illustration that I came up with.  Feel free to disseminate it and modify it




















Here's a snippet of what I had written earlier over on the libertarian forum...Taxes Are Not the Problem...
The goal of pragmatarianism is to highlight the folly of committees determining funding. You can think whatever you want about taxes and still agree with the fundamental premise of pragmatarianism. Anarcho-capitalists, minarchists and libertarians can argue for days about whether taxes are truly necessary...but they should all be able to support the key premise of pragmatarianism: it's a myth to believe that a committee can determine the optimal level of funding for an organization. If you believe that a committee can determine the optimal level of funding for any organization...then that is the same thing as believing in socialism.

Pragmatarianism is something that we should all be able to support.


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