Reddit Reddit reviews The Problem of Political Authority: An Examination of the Right to Coerce and the Duty to Obey

We found 60 Reddit comments about The Problem of Political Authority: An Examination of the Right to Coerce and the Duty to Obey. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

Political Philosophy
Politics & Social Sciences
The Problem of Political Authority: An Examination of the Right to Coerce and the Duty to Obey
Palgrave MacMillan
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60 Reddit comments about The Problem of Political Authority: An Examination of the Right to Coerce and the Duty to Obey:

u/SuperNinKenDo · 27 pointsr/DebateFascism

Further Reading

Michael Huermer - 'The Problem of Political Authority':

[Hard Copy]

Henry Hazlitt - 'Economics in One Lesson':

[Audiobook]:[PDF]:[Hard Copy]

David Friedman - 'The Machinery of Freedom'"

[Illustrated Summary]:[Audiobook]:[PDF]:[Hard Copy]

Ludwig von Mises - 'Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth':


MisesWiki - Economic Calculation Problem:


Murray N. Rothbard - 'For a New Liberty':

[Audiobook]:[HTML]:[PDF]:[Hard Copy]

Murray N. Rothbard - 'The Ethics of Liberty':

[Audiobook]:[HTML]:[PDF]:[Hard Copy]

Frédéric Bastiat - 'The Law':

[Audiobook]:[HTML]:[PDF]:[Hard Copy]

Ludwig von Mises - 'Human Action':

[Audiobook]:[HTML]:[PDF:[ePub]:[Hard Copy]

Murray N. Rothbard - 'Man Economy and State, with Power, and Markets':

[Audiobook][HTML]:[PDF]:[ePub]:[Hard Copy]

u/AncileBanish · 24 pointsr/Anarcho_Capitalism

If you're willing to devote some serious time, Man, Economy and State is the most complete explanation that exists of the economics behind ancap ideas. It's also like 1100 pages or something so it might be more of a commitment than you're willing to make just for opposition research.

If you want to get into the philosophy behind the ideas, The Ethics of Liberty is probably the best thing you'll find. It attempts to give a step-by-step logical "proof" of libertarian philosophy.

The Problem of Political Authority is also an excellent book that takes nearly universally accepted moral premises and uses them to come to ancap conclusions in a thoroughly logical manner. I'd say if you're actually at all open to having your mind changed, it's the one most likely to do it.

If you just want a brief taste, The Law is extremely short (you can read it in an hour or two) and contains many of the important fundamental ideas. It was written like 200 years ago so doesn't really qualify as ancap, but it has the advantage of being easily digestible and also being (and I can't stress this enough) beautifully written. It's an absolute joy to read. You can also easily find it online with a simple Google search.

I know you asked for one book and I gave you four, but the four serve different purposes so pick one according to what it is you're specifically looking for.

u/wordboyhere · 16 pointsr/philosophy

Huemer actually does an interesting examination of political authority in his latest book. You can watch a talk he does about it here

Essentially there are five principles implicit in political authority (page 17) 1. Generality 2. Particularity 3. Content-Independence 4. Comprehensiveness 5. Supremacy. Throughout the work he challenges the ideas of political legitimacy and political obligations.

He does a good job dissecting the social contract and in particular pointing out the failure of the assumptions present in its implicit variant: passive consent, consent through acceptance of benefits, consent through presence, and consent through participating, by examining similar moral situations that would lead us to reject such statements. He also shows how social contracts tend to violate the principles of a valid contract. There's difficulty in opting out, failure in recognizing explicit dissent, unconditional imposition, and absence of mutual obligation.

As you can see he does much more in the book(challenging hypothetical
social contracts, Rawl's veil of ignorance, consequentialism, etc.). I haven't finished reading it yet but I found the chapter on the psychology of authority to be the most interesting so far. He looks at some case studies(Milgram, Stanford Prison Experiment) and examines our cognitive biases(status quo biases, Stockholm Syndrome), as well as the aesthetics of governmental institutions to understand why so many people believe in political legitimacy and obligation.

If anything, it seems the reason so many people held odd assumptions about absence of political power, is that they worry about threats to their life(security, defense, law, safety, etc.) But given the number of threats present by political authority, as well as the general lack of obligation on the part of authorities to help their citizens(see Warren v. District of Columbia, there have been many other cases like this), and moral illegitimacy present in most laws, the alternative seems to be clearly better than the present. Anarchy seems to be much more favorable and it's not at all clear if states really are protecting us from chaos or some sort of danger, or if they are just increasing it themselves.

u/ludwigvonmises · 15 pointsr/Anarcho_Capitalism

Huemer's book on the subject - The Problem of Political Authority - is probably the best book on anarcho-capitalism in the last 15 years. Cannot be recommended enough.

u/Capt_Roger_Murdock · 12 pointsr/funny

Yes and no. They effectively have "special powers" because most people believe that they have special powers and act accordingly. And that's because most people still believe in the superstition called "authority."

u/Hailanathema · 11 pointsr/slatestarcodex

I'm unsure if this is necessarily a culture war topic but I'll put it here just to be safe.

So recently I've been reading a lot of anarchist literature, philosophical and regular and the positions invoked therein seem pretty compelling to me. In particular, the idea that there's some kind of ethical obligation to obey laws seems obviously false (this is philosophical anarchism). Whether the law forbids something that may be morally obligatory, requires something morally repugnant, or just forbids things that are morally permissible it seems like morality trumps the law every time. I don't expect this to be a groundbreaking insight to the community here. My impression is most people here are utilitarians and it seems like it'd be pretty easy to construct scenarios where violating the law is the right thing to do. I don't deny that people may have prudential reasons for wanting to obey the law, only that there are no compelling ethical reasons.

This seems like a weird place to be. We have this whole apparatus of the state issuing commands and injunctions to its citizenry, but no compelling reason why we ought obey these commands or injunctions, compared to doing what seems morally acceptable to us. A lot of the time the state's commands and what we think of as morally right coincide (ex, murder, theft, etc.) but the reason it's wrong to kill/steal/etc. is because of the ethical compulsion, not because of the state command.

From here it's a short jump (maybe a longer one for utilitarians) to anarchism more generally. I don't intend to go as far as Robert Paul Wolff does and insist justification of the state is a priori impossible, but rather all current attempts at justification are unconvincing (unless you're a utilitarian). On this topic I have Michael Huemer's The Problem of Political Authority which, to my understanding, is a very comprehensive summary of various theories of government justification and their problems. A less rigorous take, but perhaps a more topical one, is Lysander Spooner's No Treason which is extremely short and can be read for free at that link. No Treason was written in the context of the American Civil War where Spooner argues that, although slavery is awful and Spooner himself was an abolitionist, the Union was unjustified in forcing the south to remain in the Union. Neither of these will probably be convincing to utilitarians, whose justification for the state is more direct, but maybe they'll help people understand how anarchists/non-utilitarians think.

u/PeaceRequiresAnarchy · 11 pointsr/Anarcho_Capitalism

Hey, great comment. I'm an anarchist, but I think your replies to the OP are legitimate.

If you were to ask me what parallels I see between theists' beliefs and most people's (statists') political views I would point to peoples' belief in political authority--"the hypothesized moral property in virtue of which governments may coerce people in certain ways not permitted to anyone else, and in virtue of which citizens must obey governments in situations in which they would not be obligated to obey anyone else" (Section 1.2: The Concept of Authority: A First Pass).

Basically, nearly everyone believes that governments have a special moral status above everyone else. If they gave up this belief, most peoples' political views would immediately change, roughly to minarchist libertarianism. (Going to anarchist libertarianism usually requires changing peoples' economic beliefs as well, since most believe that life without the state would be nasty, brutish, and short.)

I believe that the belief in political authority is analogous to most religious peoples' belief in god or an afterlife.

As atheists it is clear to you and I that there is no rationality behind peoples' belief in god and heaven. You may have tried challenging their beliefs before, to see if they will give them up. If you have, you will know that some people are willing to respond to your arguments. The fallacies in their responses are clear to you, but somehow they remain blind to them, even if they are otherwise-intelligent people. My friend in high school was like this. He was top of our class and adamantly religious. When I asked him whether or not there were dinosaurs on Noah's Ark I could see his mind wriggle, but he never said, "Yeah, you're right; there is something wrong with my beliefs." It's a fascinating phenomenon. How can so many very smart people hold onto these superstitions?

We have answers. For example, in the lecture Why We Believe in Gods atheist Andy Thomson explains peoples' belief in gods by pointing to various psychological factors that affect us. The better one understands these factors, the clearer it becomes that even if there isn't a god it shouldn't be surprising if many people still believe one exists.

Anarchist libertarian philosophy professor Michael Huemer, who authored the definition of "political authority" I gave above, has given a lecture analogous to "Why We Believe in Gods." He called it "The Psychology of Authority," after the sixth chapter of his book on the same topic, but it could also be titled Why We Believe in Political Authority.

When I first watched the lecture I was amazed by the fact that he managed to explain how nearly everyone could believe that it's okay for governments to do a large range of things which no one thinks it's okay for anyone else to do even if (as I believe and as Huemer argues in his book) there aren't actually any good reasons to grant governments this special moral status.

To reiterate, the (alleged-from-your-perspective) fact that peoples' belief in political authority is mistaken seems as clear to me as the fact that peoples' belief in gods and heaven are unfounded seems to you. Many atheists are passionate about their atheism because it is obvious to them that they are correct and they can't get over the fact that so many other people are wrong. It's the same for me in regards to political authority.

One last thing: You may point out that morality is not a science. The existence of god is a factual matter, but morality is just subjective. I'd agree--I'm a moral nihilist technically. But, I also don't like it when people commit mass murder and I wouldn't want people to use nihilism as an excuse for committing it. The same is true for lesser crimes, such as kidnapping, assault, theft, etc. I also think there is a sense in which the shift in values in societies as they gave up slavery can be regarded as "progress" rather than an arbitrary change in opinion. If you agree, then you may agree that your political views may be "wrong" in a sense, and that if your view on political authority changed it would not necessarily be an arbitrary change, but would possibly be "progress". Your new attitudes towards the actions of governments may be "better" rather than merely different.

If you are interested in attempting to see the world from the perspective of a political atheist, I encourage you to watch Professor Michael Huemer's lecture to first open your mind to the possibility that despite your intelligence, your intuition that it okay for the government to engage in all of the activities that you currently support it engaging in (short of protection of property rights--so police, courts and national defense, limited to this function) may be the result of various psychological biases. This wouldn't show that governments lack political authority, but it would make it seem more reasonable to believe that you might be wrong that they possess it, and you may thus be more willing to take the time to read the necessarily-lengthy argument against it found in the first half of Prof. Huemer's book. The first chapter, which is available online, describes political authority more clearly and outlines the form of the argument against it found in the book. I recommend reading it to see if you think the The Problem of Political Authority: An Examination of the Right to Coerce and the Duty to Obey would have a chance of changing your view.

EDIT: Grammar.

u/HoppeanHaymaker · 7 pointsr/Anarcho_Capitalism
u/tkms · 6 pointsr/Firearms

I have a fantastic book for you! Unfortunately it only comes through an academic publisher, so the price is high... but it's an amazing read.

u/Phanes7 · 6 pointsr/CapitalismVSocialism

If I was going to provide someone with a list of books that best expressed my current thinking on the Political Economy these would be my top ones:

  1. The Law - While over a century old this books stands as the perfect intro to the ideas of Classical Liberalism. When you understand the core message of this book you understand why people oppose so many aspects of government action.
  2. Seeing Like A State - The idea that society can be rebuilt from the top down is well demolished in this dense but important read. The concept of Legibility was a game changer for my brain.
  3. Stubborn Attachments - This books presents a compelling philosophical argument for the importance of economic growth. It's hard to overstate how important getting the balance of economic growth vs other considerations actually is.
  4. The Breakdown of Nations - A classic text on why the trend toward "bigger" isn't a good thing. While various nits can be picked with this book I think its general thesis is holding up well in our increasingly bifurcated age.
  5. The Joy of Freedom - Lots of books, many objectively better, could have gone here but this book was my personal pivot point which sent me away from Socialism and towards capitalism. This introduction to "Libertarian Capitalism" is a bit dated now but it was powerful.

    There are, of course many more books that could go on this list. But the above list is a good sampling of my personal philosophy of political economy. It is not meant as a list of books to change your mind but simply as a list of books that are descriptive of my current belief that we should be orientated towards high (sustainable) economic growth & more decentralization.

    Some honorable mentions:

    As a self proclaimed "Libertarian Crunchy Con" I have to add The Quest for Community & Crunchy Cons

    The book The Fourth Economy fundamentally changed my professional direction in life.

    Anti-Fragile was another book full of mind blowing ideas and shifted my approach to many things.

    The End of Jobs is a great combination of The Fourth Economy & Anti-Fragile (among other concepts) into a more real-world useful set of ideas.

    Markets Not Capitalism is a powerful reminder that it is not Capitalism per se that is important but the transformational power of markets that need be unleashed.

    You will note that I left out pure economic books, this was on purpose. There are tons of good intro to econ type books and any non-trained economist should read a bunch from a bunch of different perspectives. With that said I am currently working my way through the book Choice and if it stays as good as it has started that will probably get added to my core list.

    So many more I could I list like The Left, The Right, & The State or The Problem of Political Authority and on it goes...
    I am still looking for a "manifesto" of sorts for the broad movement towards decentralization (I have a few possibilities on my 'to read list') so if you know of any that might fit that description let me know.
u/riplox · 6 pointsr/Libertarian

Don't forget the excellent book from Michael Huemer: The Problem of Political Authority.

Ebook download for free here: Download

u/SDBP · 6 pointsr/Anarcho_Capitalism

I'd start by questioning the notion of political authority. There is a range of activities which the state does that we'd condemn a private agent or entity if they did those things. So the question is: what accounts of this authority are there, and do they actually justify our holding governments to different ethical standards as non-governmental entities? (These accounts will typically be appeals to things like social contracts and democracy.) The anarcho-capitalist answer is oftentimes: these accounts fail to justify political authority.

This alone doesn't get you to anarcho-capitalism. You'll need a couple more things. Firstly, you'll need some sort of account of how an anarcho-capitalist society will provide the services or features that seem necessary for any acceptably functioning society. These are typically things like settling disputes (courts?), including tricky disputes regarding certain kinds of externalities, rights protection (police? military?), and, if you are so inclined, perhaps some kind of social justice. Secondly, since anarcho-capitalism is capitalistic, then one will probably need some sort of defense of private property rights as well. (If you already accept private property, then this might not be necessary. But those who are suspicious of it will probably want some sort of account of it, probably for similar reasons that we desire an account of political authority from the state.)

If each of these notions hold up (1 - political authority doesn't exist; 2 - private institutions can provide the services and features required for an acceptably decent society; 3 - private property is just), then you have a pretty good general case for anarcho-capitalism.

As for suggested reading regarding each of these points...

  • The Problem of Political Authority, by Michael Huemer. This one attempts to debunk political authority and provides a rough account of how an anarcho-capitalist society might provide for things like dispute resolution and the defense of individual rights.
  • The Machinery of Freedom, by David Friedman. While this provides an account of private property, I think the real virtue of this book is its ability to showcase capitalistic solutions to what we typically consider the domain of government action. (Again, things like providing law -- resolving disputes --, providing defense, education, etc.)
  • Anarchy, State, and Utopia, by Robert Nozick. While Nozick is no anarchist, he is a libertarian, and he developed an account of property entitlement that has been fairly influential, called The Entitlement Theory. While I'm not a strict adherent of this theory, it does seem to capture and explain a very wide variety of basic ethical intuitions regarding property rights.

    On the other hand, a good argument against anarcho-capitalism will probably hit on the negations of these points. It will attempt to establish political authority, or show anarcho-capitalist solutions to be highly impractical and improbable, or debunk private property, or something of this sort. Hopefully that helps lay out a sort of structure with which to analyze anarcho-capitalism with.
u/Chris_Pacia · 5 pointsr/Anarcho_Capitalism

@ninja Definitely read Michael Huemer, The Problem of Political Authority. It is one of the best books you will ever read.

> how a free market could actually work, how justice could be dealt in a stateless society etc.

The entire second half of the book describes a stateless society with probably 10x more clarity than you will find anywhere else.

> that address common objections like who will build the roads

I've made my little contribution to this here:

u/ButYouDisagree · 5 pointsr/askphilosophy

You should check out Michael Huemer. He argues against democratic governments having legitimate political authority, and also argues for limiting the scope of democratic decisionmaking.
See e.g. In Praise of Passitivity, The Problem of Political Authority.

u/DenPratt · 5 pointsr/AnCap101

I want to add to any list:

  • Michael Huemer’s The Problem of Political Authority: An Examination of the Right to Coerce and the Duty to Obey

    The fundamental question of political philosophy is, “How do rulers get the authority to initiate violence against us citizens (via laws and regulations)?”

    This has been answered in various ways over the century, usually by philosophers who had very much to fear from their rulers (e.g., loss of prestige, loss of funding, loss of employment, loss of freedom, loss of life) should their rulers be displeased with their answer. Thus their answers usually glorified their bosses and explained why we peons must obey them.

    Michael Hummer has far less to lose and thus he much more rigorously examines the justifications that philosophers have given over time as to why we should believe that rulers have different ethics from us, ethics that no other human would be permitted (e.g., the right to kill, the right to steal), and why we have an obligation to obey them, an obligation that can be enforced by severest of penalties.

    The results are eye- and mind-opening.
u/repmack · 5 pointsr/Anarcho_Capitalism

>previously minarchism

Don't leave us!!!!!!!!

Huemer's problem of political authority.

David Friedman's Machinery of Freedom

Murray Rothbard's For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto.

I've read Machinery and For a New Liberty. I'm half way through Huemer's book. I finished part I which is seems to be the most important part.

>WTF is Austrian economics

Don't feel the need to relate to Austrian economics. Personally I'm skeptical of Austrian methodology. Being a non Austrian is a minority view here, but I wish more people took it. Bryan Caplan wrote an essay why he isn't an Austrian.

u/WilliamKiely · 4 pointsr/Anarcho_Capitalism

Note: I'm not recommending that people donate to this, but am just sharing it because it's relevant.

Criticism of Rose's arguments:

Honestly I'd be somewhat embarrassed to ask a professor I knew to debate Larken on this due to the fact that I think Larken's arguments against political authority are rather weak / lacking in philosophical rigor. (Note: Huemer does much better at this.) I wouldn't expect Larken's arguments to change any professors minds and not because I think the professors are irrational, but rather because the arguments simply aren't good enough.

Larken's arguments against political authority wouldn't have convinced me before I was a libertarian. Before I finally accepted the view that governments shouldn't be granted political authority I spent hundreds of hours coming up with dozens of arguments to the contrary--far more than the handful that Huemer considers and rejects in the first half of The Problem of Political Authority.

And I was right to consider these arguments for political authority. I don't think that one should just go from (1) observing that they hold conflicting moral intuitions and political intuitions and (2) the moral intuitions seem stronger to (3) rejecting the political intuitions. Rather, one should consider all of the reasons why governments really should be given that special moral status, and should only conclude that they shouldn't be granted the special moral status if none of those reasons seems satisfactory.

As Huemer writes in Ch 1 section 1.6 A Comment on Methodolgy:

> Those who begin with an intuition that some states possess authority may be brought to give up that intuition if it turns out, as I aim to show, that the belief in political authority is incompatible with common sense moral beliefs. There are three reasons for preferring to adhere to common sense morality rather than common sense political philosophy: first, as I have suggested, common sense political philosophy is more controversial than common sense morality. Second, even those who accept orthodox political views are usually more strongly convinced of common sense morality than they are of common sense political philosophy. Third, even those who intuitively accept authority may at the same time have the sense that this authority is puzzling–that some explanation is required for why some people should have this special moral status–in a way that it is not puzzling, for example, that it should be wrong to attack others without provocation. The failure to find any satisfactory account of political authority may therefore lead one to give up the belief in authority, rather than to give up common sense moral beliefs.

When it was first pointed at to me by a friend in 2010 that taxation is like extortion, imprisonment for victimless crimes is like kidnapping, etc, my reaction was that there must be some good explanation for this. I came up with dozens of plausible explanations and it took a while for me to reject them.

I don't think it took me more than five minutes to reject lines of argument like "the citizens delegated the right to Taxpayer Bob's money to the government, therefore it's not extortion for the government to demand that he give them money." If Larken had made his traditional one-line arguments against political authority to me before I became a libertarian, he'd thus be attacking a straw-man.

The intellectual challenge is not (as Larken says) to recognize that if individuals own their money then there is no process by which a collective of others can gain the right to take that person's money from them against their will. This is a straw man. Very few people actually believe that the government has the right to tax because other people delegated them this right. Very few people say this, and most of those who do say this don't even actually believe it. Instead, what's motivating them to say it is that they have an intuition that the governments should be able to do most of what they do--that they have political authority.

The real challenge that held me back for weeks or months before I finally rejected political authority is to figure out if there is some good reason for governments to be granted the special moral status that is political authority. It wasn't an obvious no. There are lots of psychological factors motivating me to think the answer was yes. It took dozens of hours over the course of several weeks at least before I concluded that none of my explanations (for why government should have this special moral status) were satisfactory.

u/etherael · 4 pointsr/CryptoAnarchy

> Is a starving man not coerced to steal food? Is a homeless man not coerced to take shelter?

It's like you're not even vaguely familiar with the ideas you put forward, and you don't know they've been a subject of ridicule for so long that people wrote [satirical comics about them years ago.] (

What's next, who will build the roads?

Because you require something for your survival does not mean that somebody else is coercing you, nature is the coercive agent, and the trials of nature are levied upon everyone, giving you no right to coerce others in order to meet your needs as a special snowflake uniquely so coerced by nature.

> Is a poor man not coerced to sell his labor for the profits of a rich man?

No, he is not. He could conduct his own profit yielding enterprise and engage in free trade with his fellow man in order to meet his needs. If another offers him an opportunity which in contrast to the prior is his best option, that is the opposite of a reason to chastise that other, they should be commended for increasing the opportunities available to the man beyond what he would otherwise have had.

If he is useless to nature, and useless to his fellow man, there is only one way to secure his well being; become a thief, either small scale as the traditional bandit, or writ large as the aspirant to political authority and statehood.

The role is the same, the disguise is the only variance. One steals with a gun and risks his own life, the other steals with a pen and a suit and risks the lives of millions of fools he has conned to act as thieves on his behalf.

> Does capitalist law enforcenforcement not coerce, with its constant threat of violence, kidnapping, and caging?

All law enforcement in modern statist societies is backed by political force. Police forces are financed by taxes levied by entities wielding political force. You continue to ascribe the innate sins of political authority to the actor which by nature eschews its use, and beg for the source of those sins to save you from their ravages.

You may as well cry for a tiger to save you from a vicious lamb.

Wake up, you can do better than this. If you have any hope at all of standing a chance in an argument with an anarchocapitalist, you should at least read [The problem of political authority] ( by Michael Huemer, at the moment you simply come across as severely ill informed and utterly out of touch with the basic terrain of the debate.

u/psycho_trope_ic · 4 pointsr/Anarcho_Capitalism

Well, for starters I think we should discuss what it means to enforce justice. In whose eyes is justice determined? How is it that one comes to be a party to 'justice being served' on either side of the coin?

State justice systems are, as you indicated, built on something like the Rawlsian Leviathan whereby someone believes themselves aggrieved and transfers what would in prior systems have been their right of vengeance to the Leviathan to pursue. This is a method of breaking the cycle of revenge generated by handling this personally. It might also make the outcome more even-handed because the investigating and enforcing parties are presumed to be less personally invested in the outcome. These are good features of the system. They do not require that the Leviathan-entity be a monopoly (and in fact it is not a monopoly now unless you consider the US system to be the monopoly being enforced everywhere else to varying degrees of success).

There are a rather large number of books and articles on this subject, as libertarian dispute resolution is probably the most fleshed out portion of libertarian thinking. I would recommend The problem of Political Authority and For A New Liberty as good starting places which will allow you to self-guide to further sources.

What AnCaps are advocating for is that the services of the Leviathan can be provided by firms interacting through a market. In some ways this is what exists. A primary difference in what we want from what is available is that we think you ought to be free to choose the firm you go to. Now we (many of us) are advocating for a system based on restitution rather than the 'transferred right-of-vengence.'

So, since we are not advocating for any states, we are not advocating for anything like legislative law really but rather contractual terms and agreements negotiated either through something like an insurance company (the DROs mentioned elsewhere) or through communities of legal agreement, or probably any number of other methods we have not even dreamt of yet.

u/bitbutter · 4 pointsr/atheism

> I can't even mention Somolia without fervent denials about how it in anyway equates to volunteerism but how is the vacuum in a failed state going to be filled any better by the vacuum left by a dismantled state?

Voluntaryists don't want failed states. They want (in my experience, and reflecting my own preference too) to build the institutions of a stateless society before the state (as an institution generally) fails, allowing the state to safely whither away with a minimum of turmoil rather than catastrophically collapse.

> Could someone explain a working stateless society for me?

Not in a reddit comment. It's a big topic. There are a few good books on the subject. But you can get a decent start by focusing on law and defense. These are (imo) the problems with the least obvious solutions, relative to the status quo.

Illustrated summary of the machinery of freedom:

The Problem of Political Authority:

u/Scrivver · 4 pointsr/GoldandBlack

Michael Huemer, the philosopher who wrote the fantastic The Problem of Political Authority, is a vegan (or at least ethical vegetarian). He had a back and forth discussion with Bryan Caplan published to Econlib about it. He also wrote an easy-to-read book on the subject. He takes morality very seriously, and is incredibly consistent about it. If veganism and voluntarism were incompatible, I doubt he would subscribe to both.

u/bearCatBird · 3 pointsr/Anarcho_Capitalism

Michael Huemer pretty thoroughly dismantles the case for Social Contract Theory in his book The Problem with Political Authority

u/auryn0151 · 3 pointsr/politics

>Because society is a social contract.

You really need to read this book.

u/kitten888 · 3 pointsr/Anarcho_Capitalism

Democracy is tyranny of the majority

The minority can be denied all their rights including the right to life. For example, young men are minority, they are conscripted to military slavery and sent to war.

Quality of decision

A voter understands that the chance his vote will decide the outcome is negligible. He has no incentive to learn much about politics and make a good decision. The voting for him is sort of entertainment. He is more interested in sexual scandals involving politicians.

Ancap critics of democracy is in the book The Problem of Political Authority by Michael Huemer.

u/[deleted] · 3 pointsr/Anarcho_Capitalism

Huemer's great. The Problem of Political Authority is the most convincing case for anarcho-capitalism I'm aware of.

Amazing how he starts from such commonly held assumptions and reaches radical conclusions. It's also nice that he's exceedingly charitable when dealing with opposing arguments.

u/the_curious_task · 3 pointsr/PoliticalDiscussion


Murray Rothbard. Samples: Anatomy of the State, The Ethics of Liberty

Hans-Hermann Hoppe. Samples: State or Private Law Society?, Marxist and Austrian Class Analysis

Michael Huemer. Sample: The Problem of Political Authority

u/Waltonruler5 · 2 pointsr/GoldandBlack

Without a doubt The Problem of Political Authority. It's explains things so clearly and convincingly, you'll wonder how you ever tried explaining libertarianism another way.

u/Blacking · 2 pointsr/Anarchy101

I'd highly recommend you to read The Problem of Political Authority by Michael Huemer.

It's well written and based off a lot of analogies and metaphors to prove the certain legitimacy of the existence of a central government in a society in an unbiased way.


u/DrunkHacker · 2 pointsr/askphilosophy

I won't claim to agree with Michael Huemer, but his book The Problem of Political Authority is a modern look into the origins of political authority and covers the social contract.

u/kwanijml · 2 pointsr/TMBR

Very insightful comment, thank you. I don't find a lot I can disagree with certainly softens, at least, the level to which I think hypocrisy is likely taking place.

As an aside, and just because you delved in to the whole collective vs. individual rights thing, you might be interested to explore what I call the intuitionist moral philosophy of political legitimacy. I believe that it successfully finds hybrid of deontological and consequentialist positions, and it is what I largely adhere to in my personal moral code as it regards rights and political authority.

I only know of it in book form The Problem of Political Authority , so assuming you're not going to buy it, I can suggest this decent review, and also access to the first chapter

u/Slyer · 2 pointsr/Anarcho_Capitalism

Your very first comment you spouted off a bunch of different unsubstantiated points like dogma. What were you trying to achieve there? The whole thing needed some focus.

You're not going to break their belief in the legitimacy of government in a single paragraph, pick a point, an angle of attack and stick to it.

As for countering the social contract theory, pick up Michael Huemer's book. It does a great job of breaking down the arguments.

u/bames53 · 2 pointsr/Anarcho_Capitalism

> So most an-caps would agree that the societies would be run with natural rights as the rule of the land, how though does one prove that humans even have rights?

Not all an-caps derive their beliefs from natural rights, and there are different understandings of the term 'natural rights.' In any case, here are what I think are some good resources:

u/anon338 · 2 pointsr/Anarcho_Capitalism

Awesome, let me hook you up:

Murray N. Rothbard's Ethics of Liberty, the indepth treatise on liberty in a society without the State. And the audiobook.

Chaos Theory by Robert P. Murphy (Audio). Shorter work on the principles of liberty and expands on the economic aspects.

Anarcho-capitalism Primer videos playlist. There are about 4 or 5 shorter than 10 minutes for you to chill. And there are the in-depth, one-hour lectures for when you are in between the books.

Rothbard's For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto. Rothbard poured a lifetime of research and all his intellectual energy to makes an overwhelming case on most matters of social concerns to explain society without the Nation-state (Audiobook).

The Machinery of Freedom by David Friedman (e-book) and (audiobook). Friedman uses economics and utilitarian concerns to discuss how society would improve with liberty and without the State.

The Market for Liberty by Morris and Linda Tannehill (audiobook.) Excellent and very argumentative, with many interesting illustrations and discussions on several topics of society and economics.

Huemer's Problem of Political Authority. It is a work on political and moral philosophy, with some treatment of psychology.

Leeson's Anarchy Unbound. Peter Leeson is a legal scholar and his work documents historical and contemporary legal practices and teachings and how they apply to a society of liberty.

Christopher Chase Rachels' A Spontaneous Order. Inspired by the work of Hans-Hermann Hoppe on argumentation ethics as an ultimate foundation for liberty. First five chapters available as audio.

For a more complete list see Anarcho-Capitalism: An Annotated Bibliography by Hans-Hermann Hoppe.

When you read one of them, I suggest for you to write up a short post on your favourite subjects. It is a great way way to have productive discussions. Don't forget to tag me ( /u/anon338 ) so that I can enjoy it also.

u/Dr-No- · 1 pointr/Libertarian

This is a good empirical look at how anarcho-capitalism could work.

Huemer fully admits that getting there is problematic because it doesn't lever with human instincts and our natural tendencies. He proposes thousands of years of social engineering to get us there...good luck with that.

u/Washbag · 1 pointr/Anarcho_Capitalism

I also recommend looking up Michael Huemer on Youtube. You could also buy his book

although it is a bit pricey (but totally worth it).

u/allaboutthebernankes · 1 pointr/Anarcho_Capitalism

Have you read (or are you generally aware of) Huemer's Problem of Political Authority? If not, I'd recommend giving it a read. If so, what did you think of it?

u/sam_jacksons_dingus · 1 pointr/TwoXChromosomes

Some academics think that sounds pretty good. They are called anarcho-capitalists. There aren't very many of them, and some of them are very bad thinkers. But some are very good thinkers, and have ideas worth considering. Here are my two favorites:

  • The Machinery of Freedom, by David Friedman (You might be interested in chapter's like "Police, Courts, and Laws -- on the Market" and others relevant to the specific goods mentioned in your post.)
  • The Problem of Political Authority, by Michael Huemer (This is more of an ethical case against coercing people to pay for many of the goods you are concerned about.)

    In my own opinion, many public goods probably would be underproduced. But underproduced doesn't mean completely absent, and I think many of the functions you are worried about can be produced to some extent on the market (in some cases, probably with great success. Others, perhaps not.)
u/Not_Pictured · 1 pointr/changemyview

> The state can do lots of things that we don't allow individuals to do.

Of course they can. It's called being a monopoly.

u/glowplugmech · 1 pointr/Anarcho_Capitalism

"Nobody should be given the right to initiate violence against others without repercussions."

For clarity then, you believe that some people should have the right to initiate violence against others with zero repercussions?

>My definition of property doesn't matter. All that matters is that IF it is different than the AnCap one that AnCap will feel completely justified in taking what I think is mine and then possibly killing me when I try to take it back.

For anyone who is just getting started with the ideas of polycentric law and property rights I highly reccomend these two books.

>I'm not sure why you're linking to extraordinary rendition. Canada has never used it.

The Canadian Military and Special Forces have murdered countless people without trial. The Canadian justice system has imprisoned countless people for victimless crimes. And you trust these people to not use their written power to extract you from a foreign country?

>It makes me feel as though you're making things up. Mind substantiating all of that.

To be clear, you don't believe that the Canadian Government has the right to Extraordinary Rendition of Canadian Citizens? That is your position?

>What a completely terrible argument. Wow. Even if I were, why would I think AnCap is a good idea. Greed is one of the worst human characteristics. Greed + unrestricted capitalism + 'justice' = BAD

For anyone who is new to economics I would highly reccomend this book. Sowell is not an AnCap but he is a genius that has an unmatched perspective on history, and economics.

>Sometimes it does and sometimes it does not. Are you suggesting that Capitalism doesn't sometimes lead to a consolidation of wealth/power in the few who then subjugate the many?

Of course I am suggesting that. All of the wealth consolidation happens after Nation States get involved in Capitalism. It even has a name.

>More like "When in Rome..."

If you keep insulting people on the sub then of course you are going to get a negative response. Maybe we should get a fresh start then? Stop insulting people and see what happens.

>Grow up.

It is apparent to myself and everyone else on this sub that you have not read the basics of the basics of AnCap literature. If you really want to stir things up then get some books under your belt and come back with arguments that are unique and thought provoking. The arguments you have put forth are tired and old. They have been posted a million times and refuted a million and one.

Imagine if Thomas Jefferson gave up because someone told him to grow up? You would be paying 80% of your income in taxes to some King who would be murdering and caging even MORE people than your current government does.

u/t3nk3n · 1 pointr/AskLibertarians

Probably not. But you also have a positive obligation to do most things that liberal democratic states tell you to do.

u/CaptainMegaJuice · 1 pointr/JoeRogan

Well then, go read The Problem of Political Authority by Michael Huemer and The Machinery of Freedom by David Freidman.

Books won't downvote you, I promise.

u/wonder_er · 1 pointr/Anarcho_Capitalism

This is the best argument I've read in support of taxation that acts as if the average an-cap isn't a lunatic.

Thank you for writing this up! You're raising the bar of discussion around here.

Since you wrote up on the idea of political authority, I wonder if you've read The Problem of Political Authority by Michael Huemer.

I cannot summarize the whole thing here (the reviews on Amazon do it better) but I feel like he does a good line of reasoning on the topic, and it was this book that made me (reluctantly) give up the notion that a certain amount of government was required.

And I do mean "reluctantly". I'm already used to keeping my political views to myself, because even without being an an-cap, I am pretty fringe in my political views. This just pushed me even fringier.

(He specifically addresses Kant's arguments in support of political authority. It's really good reading!)

Thank you, again, for this awesome comment. You deserve far more than the six points upvotes you have right now.

u/3goist · 1 pointr/news
u/LeeHyori · 1 pointr/todayilearned

Or you could just accept it :D! Kidding. You should critically evaluate everything (as you are doing).

I tried to make it fairly simple and intuitive, but I also have deeper philosophical reasons for holding these beliefs. In any case, the book garnering the most attention in professional political philosophy right now is The Problem of Political Authority by professor Michael Huemer.

You should buy it, or I can help subsidize you to buy it. Or, you could always pirate it :P But that lays out the argument in an incredibly cogent way. It is a real piece of scholarship, and it's an easy read. I know skeptical graduate students who are very impressed by the book. I think you will be too.

u/SwampDrainer · 1 pointr/Libertarian
u/haroldp · 1 pointr/Libertarian

Are you unfamiliar with the arguments of anarcho-capitalists on this topic? Have you read The Machinery of Freedom? Or The Problem of Political Authority? I'm not saying I agree with them altogether, but this seems like a rather shallow criticism.

u/DeismAccountant · 1 pointr/Naruto

My comment was an attempt to answer your question, but I admit I didn't make that part very clear. Of course you can't just rely on people's goodness, because people are neither inherently good or evil. They follow incentives, and in a society where people move on from rulers, there would be natural incentives for people to try and get along even if they didn't like each other, as These guys explain as their solution.

Power and authority positions, on the other hand, are inherently defined by being able to do harm and damage to one group for the benefit of another without the threat of consequence, as this video explains. This is the kind of action that the Cycle of Hatred is based upon, and is why any real discussion of peace must question the structures of power that are involved. In contrast, a action of trade that happens between two people only occurs if both people see it as benefiting them, so the things and rules that occur are only what people agree on.

People have written whole novels about these concepts, and there are a lot to choose from, like this one, but feel free to look around.

u/australianaustrian · -1 pointsr/SubredditDrama

This may surprise you but anarchists have arguments against standard social contract theory and believe it is invalid. The first 3 chapters of this book make a decent case against social contract theory (sorry I can't find the chapters online):

u/RPrevolution · -2 pointsr/news

For those curious about the root causes of government corruption and the solution, I recommend The Problem of Political Authority

u/sentientbeings · -3 pointsr/AskMen

Anarcho-capitalism. Read:

u/jahouse · -4 pointsr/Anarchism

For introductory purposes, it's best to read surveys of the literature and tradition, simply because there are many anarchist schools of thought and people often direct you to read books from the school to which they are sympathetic.

I recommend starting off with [Peter Kropotkin's 1909 essay for Encyclopedia Britannica on Anarchism] (

Next, I'd recommend [Men Against the State] (, a historical overview of the American Anarchist traditions, which were a kind of anarchist melting pot but admittedly skewed individualist (you could probably find a free pdf of this quickly).

These books should provide good introductions to various schools. After that, just pick up the books in whatever school suits your fancy and enjoy.

My biased recommendations are Wolff's In Defense of Anarchism and Huemer's The Problem of Political Authority. They are both works done by conteporary academic philosophers but written simply and without jargon.

edit: It would be wonderful if whoever downvoted my comment could explain why.