Statist Fallacies

Abolition Is Impossible

Fallacy: We can't abolish the state. It's impossible! It's been here forever, and will be around forever (sometimes said maliciously, sometimes with more of a "necessary evil" attitude).

Response: Antislavery abolitionists probably met with the same arguments. In fact, Robert Higgs has put together a whole table of them in Why We Couldn't Abolish Slavery Then and Can't Abolish Government Now.

Historical Examples of Anarchy without Chaos.

Agree To Disagree

Fallacy: Long discussion pointing out that force against peaceful individuals is wrong, etc. with stastists defending such force (using some of the other fallacies in the list).

Statist: Well, I suppose we'll have to agree to disagree….

Response: Often the statist will conclude with both parties will "just have to agree to disagree" or similar after a drawn out debate where their defense of the state and harm against peaceful individuals has been found wanting.

The problem with this seemingly congenial note is that it assumes the discussion was a mere difference of opinion—as though those who oppose violence against peaceful people are on equal moral, economic, and logical footing as those who favor mass organized extortion and enslavement of millions. The existence of government, and more generically, all initiated violence and threats, is necessarily immoral; and there is no moral equivalence between doing such harm and refraining from it. Attempting to whitewash the discussion as if both were the same and thus both disputants were morally equivalent is dishonest.

If "agreeing to disagree" is your goal then that still means you must accept voluntaryism, because it alone allows for me to disagree with you without harm, whereas the government "solutions" of the statist gives me no say and are imposed by force.

If this reasoning were applied to battery, it would not be considered acceptable: "Oh, you don't want me to beat you? But I do want to beat you! I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree… while I beat you to death, of course." (DBR, based on comment by Benjamin Richards)

"It's just your/my opinion"

Oh god, I hate it. The same thing with "It's just my opinion!!!" Um, your opinion is wrong. You can't spout off copious amounts of bull and then claim it's your opinion like I'm not going to deconstruct all the idiocy you just vomited in my direction. —Joey Rodman

If it's "just your opinion", and you're not claiming it's right, wrong, or even useful, then why bother, as you already believe it's not a positive contribution to the discussion? No, you contributed it because you thought your addition was correct or useful, so stand behind it. And if you're not sure about something, ask questions; don't vapidly assert.

It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a ‘dismal science.’ But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance. —Rothbard

You don't have to know about everything; but if you don't know, don't claim to know. It makes you appear foolish; there's always someone that knows more about the topic than you. On the other hand, if I explained something from first principles, using logic and sound reasoning, then it is not "just my opinion"; it is fact, or theory, and if you believe an error has been made, it is incumbent on your to identify a fallacy (error in reasoning) rather than claim that the rational case that has been built is mere unsupported opinion.

Anarchists Are Traitors

Fallacy: "If you want to overthrow the government, you are a traitor and should be dealt with as such."

Response: A person cannot be a traitor to something to which they have sworn no allegiance. Since anarchists have no obligation to the state (or country, i.e., its government), and have made no promises to it, or, if they have in the past, they have elected to dissolve such contracts, they cannot be traitors to it—enemies of the state (T-shirt), yes, traitors, impossible by definition.

Anarchy Is Chaos

Fallacy: "Why do you voluntaryists want anarchy? Isn't that chaos?"

Response: "Anarchists did not try to carry out genocide against the Armenians in Turkey; they did not deliberately starve millions of Ukrainians; they did not create a system of death camps to kill Jews, gypsies, and Slavs in Europe; they did not fire-bomb scores of large German and Japanese cities and drop nuclear bombs on two of them; they did not carry out a Great Leap Forward that killed scores of millions of Chinese; they did not attempt to kill everybody with any appreciable education in Cambodia; they did not launch one aggressive war after another; they did not implement trade sanctions that killed perhaps 500,000 Iraqi children. In debates between anarchists and statists, the burden of proof clearly should rest on those who place their trust in the state. Anarchy's mayhem is wholly conjectural; the state's mayhem is undeniably, factually horrendous." —Robert Higgs

"Anarchy" has multiple meanings, one of which is "chaos". But the political sense in which voluntaryists, libertarians, and anarcho-capitalists (not the same but there's plenty of overlap) use "anarchy" hails to the original Greek roots: without rulers, that is, with no rulers imposed on individuals, no imposition on the natural right of self-ownership.

Further, a free society is not one without rules; but they come about through voluntary agreements—contracts—not the arbitrary fiat of coercive third parties. If I want to drive on your road, for instance, I might agree to drive on the right side, stop at red lights, etc.; to use a particular arbitration service if I do harm; and to carry a certain amount of insurance or bond. If I don't do these things, you don't have to let me drive on your road. Said road may have all the usual road signs (it is expected that a free society would draw on many of the former state's symbols, since they are familiar, and are probably the result of considerable taxpayer expense, gradually evolving to more efficient traffic flow over time).

Even today, private gun ranges, for example, have safety rules that the state doesn't mandate: they are just in the interest of the customers, and hence the owner (if he wants to have customers). Ranges known to be lax about safety get a reputation (like one in particular where I used to live), and lose custom, not to mention having to deal with the results of any actual unsafe acts. (DBR)

Related: Historical Examples of Anarchy without Chaos, ../RuleOfLaw, Words poorly used: Anarchy.

Anarchy Never Been Tried

Fallacy: Anarchy has never been tried successfully, so that proves that the state is necessary.

Response: Many statists demand that anarchists show a successfully anarchic society before they will even consider that life without a state is even possible, let alone desireable. There are two problems with this fallacy:

  1. The argument against statism isn't a consequentialist argument, but a moral argument. No one has the right to rule anyone else. It would be like arguing that a slavery-free society is impossible because there are no successful slavery-free societies.
  2. It is completely untrue that anarchy has never been tried and was never successful. To back up this claim, I refer you to Daniel Hawkins' excellent series, appropriately named Anarchy - Never Been Tried?

By definition the only "flourishing" that takes place in any country is from voluntary trade and production. Coercion (the tool of the state) does not create wealth, it just moves it around. Thus it follows the less coercion and this government you have to voluntary trade, the wealthier a society; and any "nation" that produces anything does so through "anarchic" actions.

Anti Trust

Fallacy: Without antitrust laws, we would all die.

Response: The Antitrust laws—an unenforceable, uncompliable, unjudicable mess of contradictions—have for decades kept American businessmen under a silent, growing reign of terror. Yet these laws were created and, to this day, are upheld by the “conservatives,” as a grim monument to their lack of political philosophy, of economic knowledge and of any concern with principles. Under the Antitrust laws, a man becomes a criminal from the moment he goes into business, no matter what he does. For instance,

  • if he charges prices which some bureaucrats judge as too high, he can be prosecuted for monopoly or for a successful “intent to monopolize”;
  • if he charges prices lower than those of his competitors, he can be prosecuted for “unfair competition” or “restraint of trade”;
  • and if he charges the same prices as his competitors, he can be prosecuted for “collusion” or “conspiracy.”
There is only one difference in the legal treatment accorded to a criminal or to a businessman: the criminal’s rights are protected much more securely and objectively than the businessman’s. (Ayn Rand lexicon)

Appeal To Monsanto

Fallacy: [Comment about biotech or other area where large corporations dominate]

Statist: [Person] is basically an uninformed apologist for big agro-business. I would not be surprised if he is pulling a salary from Monsanto or Cargill. … “To feed a growing population …” This is an argument used by corporations such as Monsanto.

Response: It’s my favorite new logical fallacy, the “Appeal to Monsanto”, the world’s largest producer of biotech agriculture seeds. This is the logic that compels many anti-GMO activists to reply to any argument in support of biotech crops with “So you love Monsanto?”

It’s so wonderful because it combines many other logical fallacies into one, and is thus a great time saver. For example:

  • It poisons the well (cloaks a viewpoint with negative weasel words) by associating the scary, evil word Monsanto.
  • It’s a non-sequitur (a logical association that does not follow). If (a) therefore (b). If (genes can be used to confer traits such as drought resistance) therefore (I love Monsanto).
  • It’s a straw man (misrepresenting what I said into something that’s easy to argue against). If I had actually said “I love Monsanto”, then plenty of rational arguments are available to show that’s a bad idea.
  • It’s an ad hominem attack on my argument (the argument is wrong because of who the person is that made it). Whatever I said about biotech must be wrong since “I love Monsanto”.
  • It’s a red herring (an irrelevancy to distract from the subject under discussion). Monsanto does not necessarily have anything to do with any given science-based discussion of the merits of what can and should be done with direct genetic manipulation.

(From "Argumentum ad Monsantium", Brian Dunning, Skepticblog)

It would also appear to be, in certain cases, a guilt by association fallacy: claiming something is helpful to feed a growing population "is an argument used by corporations such as Monsanto." There is also a larger class of companies and fallacies, e.g., if you are for privatizing defense then Haliburton and Blackwater get trotted out (slightly different since they are corporations with effectively one customer, the state, and they rely very much on state regulations and barriers to entry), or private prisons (which are, again, part of the state system and without being fed money and victims by the state, could not operate); Monsanto, too, depends on the state to defends its patents and enforce its ridiculous lawsuits. (DBR)

See Also: StatistFallacies/EnvironmentNotProtected.

Argument From Apocalypse

Fallacy: Of course, people do not say that we should not live in a free society because the roads might be imperfect. The endless argument against anarchism is the “Argument from Apocalypse.” (AFA) The AFA is not an argument at all, of course, but rather relies on rampant fear mongering, and an argument from intimidation. Basically, the argument goes something like this: “We’re all gonna DIEEEEEEE!” It would actually be nice if it were slightly more sophisticated than that, but the reality is that it is not.

Response: The basic argument is that if we accept proposition “X,” civilized society will collapse, children will die in the streets, the old will end up eating each other, and the world will dissolve into an endless and apocalyptic war of all against all.

This is not an argument at all, since it relies on fear and intimidation. Darwin faced exactly the same “objections” when he first published his theory of evolution. “If we accept that we are descended from apes, everybody will abandon morality, society will collapse, war of all against all etc etc etc.”

Abolitionists faced the same argument when suggesting that slavery should be abolished; atheists face the same silly objections when disproving the existence of God; philosophers have been put to death for suggesting that ethics should be based on something other than superstition; scientists are accused of the same evils whenever some new development threatens people’s existing prejudices – it is all the most rampant nonsense, which survives only because of its endless effectiveness.

The AFA remains effective because of a basic logical fallacy which has doubtless been around since the dawn of speech: “Belief ‘X’ would result in immorality or destruction, and so only a fool or an evil man would advocate ‘X’.”

Since very few people wish to appear either foolish or evil, they tend to back down in the face of this argument, or take the imprudent path – which I have trod many a time – of attempting to disprove the AFA.

“Anarchism results in evil!” cometh the cry – and anarchists around the world endlessly respond with: “No it won’t!” – thus losing the argument before it even begins. The only thing that is relevant in any intellectual argument is whether it is true or not. Refusing to examine the validity and consistency of a mathematical argument because you fear that accepting its conclusions will result in endless evil is simply surrendering to superstitious fear-mongering, and abandoning your rationality. Propositions cannot be evil – mathematics cannot be evil – statism cannot be evil – error cannot be evil – and the truth is not virtuous! A proposition cannot strangle a baby; an argument cannot rape a nun, and a theory of anarchism cannot turn people into shrunken-headed zombies in hot pursuit of Will Smith. A theory of anarchism can only be true or false, valid or invalid, logical or illogical.

If someone deploys the AFA, it proves nothing except that he has no good arguments, and that the proposition in front of him is emotionally unsettling in some way. In other words, all that the AFA proves is intellectual idiocy and emotional immaturity. It is the philosophical equivalent of arguing against the proposition that “ice cream contains milk,” by saying, “I once had a dream that an ice cream monster was trying to eat me!” It is the kind of non sequitur we would expect from a very young child, which would only indicate an utter incomprehension of the proposed statement.

People who are threatened by ideas should at least have the honesty to say, “I am threatened by this idea,” rather than pretend that the idea is somehow objectively threatening to the human race as a whole. If I am afraid of short men, I should be honest about my fears and say, “I am afraid of short men,” rather than vehemently argue that short men will somehow destroy the world! However, prejudice against anarchists – much like prejudice against atheists – is one of the last remaining acceptable bigotries in the world. We cannot judge any group negatively – except a group that relies on reason, evidence and nonviolence. Thus, it will not do us any good to run screaming from the idea of a stateless society, imagining all kinds of demonic horrors. If we allow fear-mongering to not only inform, but rather define and direct our thinking, then we are left without the ability to think at all, but instead must sit clutching the skirts of those who tell us tall and terrifying tales. We cannot judge the truth of an idea by our fears of its effect.

Arguments for or against the existence of gods are not validated by our fears of – or desires for – a godless universe. We cannot oppose a theory of gravity by saying that it is unpleasant to fall down stairs; neither can we oppose a new theory by demanding prior historical examples. The entire point of a new theory is that it is unprecedented; the first man to invent a jet aircraft could scarcely submit examples of jet aircraft flying in the past.

(From Stefan Molyneux's book Books/PracticalAnarchy; direct link.)

Capitalism Requires Government <

Christians Must Submit

Fallacy: "Did not Jesus recognize the role of state when he said 'Render unto Caesar…'? Just asking not defending." [No fallacy alleged in this particular, but it will be answered below.] "Romans 13 teaches that all governments are godly, good, and must be obeyed! The passage is speaking about the Roman government. The book is titled Romans. Written by Paul, a Roman citizen to the Christian church in Rome." (Latter part, Kermit Hauge)

Response: Regarding, "Render unto Caesar"; in full (Matthew 22:17-21):

17 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? 18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? 19 Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. 20 And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? 21 They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.

Jesus gave an answer to satisfy both parties, while pointing out that they owed Caesar nothing. If he had meant, "Give the thugs what they demand", he would have said so; the words existed. Even if he had said that, it would not have made tax collecting thugs moral. And it is extrapolation to assume "Caesar" means "any state"; although the same nothing is owed. Remember, Jesus's message was not (to the disappointment of many) political, but spiritual—the salvation of souls, not (yet) the millennial kingdom or even the driving out of the Roman occupiers.

Regarding Romans 13, the passage is speaking about a hypothetical authority that (1) is of God, and (2) is not a terror to good works. That eliminates any modern state right off the bat; they are the "evil" spoken of, and not any power ordained of God any more than the thug that breaks into a home and holds the family hostage is a "power ordained of God" because he has control (authority—same word as power in the passage) over them.

The passage is of course not speaking about the Roman government merely because Paul wrote a letter to the Romans. Paul was intimately familiar with the Roman government, and would not have called them "ministers of God for good". Jesus, his disciples, and Paul himself all disobeyed governments and religious authorities to preach the word, and to preserve their own lives. The idea of God disobeying himself is something called a "contradiction", and means that a premise is wrong: in this case, that the passage is saying that all earthly governments must be obeyed.

Since God hasn't established any of the existing states, they do not have authority—just force.

Continue the passage; see the references about "ministers for good", only the evil need fear, etc. It clearly doesn't fit any known state then or today; rather, the passage characterizes an ideal godly authority that can be called God's servant. If Paul were calling evil states good, he would be going against Isaiah's admonition, "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil", which, as a rabbi, he would have known well.

An ignorant reading requires people submit to home invaders to do whatever they want—theft, rape, assault, assault of others even—just because they have temporary power, and not resist, attempt to escape, etc. It's monstrous, yet there exist so-called Christians that would justify such things. (DBR)

Romans was written by Paul while on his way to Rome and prison. According to many Bible scholars and language experts, both believing and non believing, Romans 13 was a way to tell fellow Christians that the only Ruler they had was God and Him personified by the risen Christ. He knew he still had work to do once he got to Rome and couldn't come straight out and tell the Romans he was writing the epistle to, to rebel openly against Rome. Reread it, the version you are accepting as fact is the same reading of it that Hitler commanded church leaders to read to their congregations, with the exact same explanation. We as Christians are not to back a government or authority who kills for no reason.

The earliest Christians broke the law every time they met; that right there puts lie to Romans 13 telling us to roll over and obey the authorities. (Eileen Jerome)

Collective Will

Fallacy: It is asserted that "we all" create and enforce laws; that it is "the nation" or "society" that wills it, etc.

Response: A group of people is just that—a group of people. There is no such thing as "collective will." Only individuals take action. The government is nothing more than a collection of people who hold a self-appointed monopoly on force. A nation is nothing more than a group of people who live in a geographic area and have a group of thugs telling them what to do.

Defense Is Desire

Libertarian: "People have the right to discriminate on their own property, even racially."
Statist: "Why do you hate black people?"

I believe in the complete abolition of drug prohibition. That doesn't mean I'm giddy with delight over the prospect of people overdosing on heroin.
—George Geankoplis

The general error is that defending the right to do something is conflated with wanting to do it (or wanting to see it done). E.g., "A person has the right to discriminate based on race" becomes (after some mental gymnastics):

  • "You want to discriminate based on race" ->
  • "Anarchists want to discriminate based on race" ->
  • "Anarchists want to discriminate against black people" ->
  • "Anarchists hate black people"

However, defending a right is orthogonal to expressing a desire. Just because something may be done in a free society—that is, it does not violate the NonAggressionPrinciple—does not mean most or even many voluntaryists want to see it done. Racism, for instance, is mere collectivism: putting people into a group and judging them by a characteristic not relevant to what is being judged (see Ron Paul on racism).

Although discrimination (and other non-aggressive acts) may not morally be responded to with force, there are alternatives to discourage it, such as:

  • Speech (persuading people that their views are incorrect)
  • Public exposure (publishing proof of discrimination or support for it, provided customers/audience are not also racist/etc.)
  • Ostracism (refusing to associate or do business with such individuals)

Derping the extra mile

Someone recently "went the extra mile" on this fallacy. An article on legalizing child pornography mentions that filming the sexual assault of a child by observing it while wearing video glasses would make the observer guilty of child pornography (strict liability disregards intent, and is common in the US and Europe) was posted, and, unable to come up with a rational argument against it, accused two other participants in the discussion of proclivity to sexual molestation of children:

"I'm going to go out on a limb here, but I'm guessing that people keep a close eye on you guys when children are present." (Mitchel Lewis)

Also, I suppose, a teachable moment, although I won't say I'm not angry at the ignorant personal attack. Let's get this out in the open. Mitchel Lewis accused two individuals making reasoned and logical arguments of being sexual predators merely because he couldn't manage a reasoned response (although he tried a few other fallacies first).

However, this is a similar fallacy to that of accusing people of being racist because they say private owners should be allowed to discriminate—except it's one level worse: it's to say that saying defending observing a racist act in progress makes a person a racist.


The reverse of this is sometimes, but more rarely, seen; the pattern "if you want X, you must support forcing X on people". For example, "if you are philosophically opposed to the death penalty, you must want to violently eliminate it".


Statist: "A recent poll has 55% of the public supporting stricter gun control laws, with 44% opposed."

(Implication: the threat or initiation of violence against peaceful people is justified by numbers.)

Democracy? I want nothing to do with a system which operates on the premise that my rights don't exist simply because I am outnumbered.
—R. Lee Wrights

The threat or initiation of violence (violation of the NonAggressionPrinciple) does not suddenly become moral because you outnumber a group (even if you go through a rat's nest of "representatives" and claim you're a "republic" rather than a "democracy"). It does not become moral just because said majority hires people, dresses them in uniforms, and pays them (with stolen money) to initiate violence; special pleading is a fallacy, and evil actions do not become good because a gang calling itself "the state" demands them.

Deregulation Caused Housing Crisis

"The housing crisis was caused by the banks and their deregulated policies revolving around the subprime mortgage issue."
—(Michael Lambert)

Response: Tom Woods has written extensively on these issues, so let's just go directly to a few of his relevant articles:

  • No, the Free Market did not cause the Financial Crisis
  • "Deregulation Caused the Financial Crisis"
The crisis was contributed to by government policy to increase homeownership via such acts as the "Community Reinvestment Act" (although it was by no means [article overstates but has some facts] the primary nor sole cause).

Dont Force Anarchy On Me

Fallacy: "Don't force anarchy on me, bro!"


To advocate anarchism is not to advocate a system. It’s simply to maintain that aggression is unjust, and to recognize that the state commits aggression. If you oppose rape, that does not mean you have to show that “non-rape” or “a world without non-rape” is “workable.” You oppose rape and other private crimes because they are crimes. Likewise, if you recognize the state is criminal, you have to oppose it too.
—Stephan Kinsella

The concept of forcing self-ownership (voluntaryism) on someone is ridiculous. How do you force "leaving alone" or the NonAggressionPrinciple on someone? They aren't forced to pay for it; they aren't forced to work for you; the only time the voluntaryist condones non-consensual force is in self-defense.

The only people that should be worried about a free society are those that benefit from force or fraud; and not even all of them (for instance, people that have a genuine need for other people's help would still be helped by their fellow man; shysters and cheats would have to worry).

Environment Not Protected

"We need the government to protect the environment! Without government, big corporations will pollute the planet and waste resources!"

Government is antithetical to environmental stewardship. The only way to safeguard the environment is by recognizing property rights, and the right to sue for damages. It is government that bombards the planet with nuclear and conventional weapons, operates the most fuel-inefficient vehicles, and protects corporations from liability for their actions. Governments also distort the market's natural rationing mechanisms through price controls, subsidies, and irrational regulations.

In contrast, a market with a manipulation-free price structure provides a distributed grassroots information network to signal supply and demand accurately, to better allow people to understand the availability of goods and services, and to provide automatic incentives for conservation or for exploration for new resources.

Everyone Is Republican Or Democrat

"Maybe you should get your GOP congress to amend the constitution to say, 'General Welfare is not carte blanche to infringe rights.'" —(Jason Rivera)

"You do support Iran. You're either with us or you're against us, and you're clearly against us. You love Ackmajednazi. Admit it. Why do you hate freedom? Not responding to acts of war with overwhelming force is pacification. 'The modern liberal will invariably side with evil over good.' Most of you are neo-liberals and anarchists." —(Joseph Egan—a whole litany of false dilemmas!).

Response: Statists, at least in the US, like to divide the world into two groups: Republican-statists and Democrat-statists, supporters of the two major US political parties. (This is likely less common in countries without such an entrenched two-party system, although it is still possible that people will try to match you to a party rather than a philosophy.) Their "thinking" is that anyone that is not an adherent (cheerleader) for one party must cheer-lead for the other. It is, of course, a classic false dilemma fallacy, but beyond that worth a little more examination.

One reason statists like to divide people into one of those two neoconservative, "socialist-lite", crony "capitalist" parties is that it makes them feel better about themselves. Sure, their party opposes gay marriage, supports locking people up for smoking or possessing plant matter, supported bank bailouts, and likes to bomb brown people, but your party wants extortion-funded abortions, supports locking people up for smoking or possessing plant matter, supported bank bailouts, and likes to bomb brown people (or vice versa). So we're "equal": we just each want force applied for different personal preferences and it's just a tug-of-war to see who gets to hold the gun.

But enter the libertarian! He's against all initiation of violence (but isn't usually a pacifist), not just a few flavors of it. He doesn't want to hold the gun on others (except in self-defense); in fact, his rallying cry is "Put down the gun, and then we'll talk". They don't understand this. Now, the statist can't feel good about themselves as just someone that wants to use force against peaceful individuals for different reasons: they have to confront the idea of non-(initiation of)aggression.

For many, this causes what Rand called a "blank-out". They'll start lashing out randomly: "What about the roads?", etc. They'll try to pretend you're just a "conservative" or "liberal" despite all facts to the contrary. Some of them never get over this freak-out; the idea of anything beyond the two parties is beyond them. They find it hard to fathom that someone might have a consistent political philosophy rather than picking and choosing likes and dislikes based on their party's platform.

Exploitation <



Extremism <

"You're an extremist, a small minority; nobody agrees with your views!"

"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!"
—Barry Goldwater

Ignoring the ad populum fallacy, "extremist" is often used as if it was some sort of negative, and as if by asserting it the one asserting has won some sort of point or argument. But translate it to what they usually mean by it—that the person "attacked" is consistently principled—and it can be seen that it is no insult at all.

Force Happens

Statist: "Force is a fact of life."

Response: So is rape. That doesn't mean it should be accepted, encouraged and institutionalized.

Free Market Confusion

Fallacy: A state-regulated crony "capitalist" market is a "free market", and its failures are blamed thereupon. For example, the housing crisis or Wall Street bailouts are blamed on the "free market".


Do not confuse capitalism with "crony capitalism" or "corporatism", which is the (incestuous) marriage of government and business. A business with one or one primary customer, that customer being the state, is no more "private" than the state military; and the same goes for one whose existence or profits are protected by state violence (i.e., those that depend on IP laws, prisoners delivered to them by laws against victimless "crimes", state-enforced monopolies, and the like). Voluntaryists are in no wise supporters of such corporations, or, at least, not their privilege (a business providing trash pickup services is fine; one given an exclusive contract to operate in a city is not, because of the state's threat of harm to other competing businesses, and not due to the nature of their service, which is a useful one in isolation.).

Certainly state bailouts have nothing whatsoever to do with a free market—they represent taking money by force from people and giving it to banks that are in bed with government (remember the revolving door between lobbyists, government, and big corporations?) It's neither free nor market-oriented; it is entirely an involuntary process for the victims.

While "free market" by itself may not imply the NonAggressionPrinciple, it certainly implies that, duh, there is an actual market, and people are free to trade, which certainly rules out bailouts and any other plunder. However, you can be sure that when a voluntaryist is talking about a free market, one in a generally free society where the NonAggressionPrinciple is respected is being posited. This means (sorry statist) no "free market" in slaves, because of course it is aggression to kidnap someone and force them to labor for you, or appropriate their labor.

The "invisible hand" of the free market has been swatted aside by the iron fist of the state. Blaming the economic crisis on the free market makes as much sense as blaming 9/11 on unicorns. Reagan was no advocate of the free market aside from paying lip service to it on occasion.

Subsidies and bailouts are political plunder, not market exchange. Corporate charters are created by the state. Mega-corporations write regulations through their lobbyists to prevent new competing businesses from starting up while grandfathering most of their existing procedures. Government taxes are an exponential drain on the economy by adding to the cost of every link in the chains of economic exchanges. The Federal Reserve distorts the monetary system by setting interest rates at arbitrary levels that send the wrong signals for production, investment, and savings.

Greater Good

"Politicians/Laws/Regulations serve the greater good!" (or "public good")

Response: Since there is no such entity as “the public,” since the public is merely a number of individuals, the idea that “the public interest” supersedes private interests and rights, can have but one meaning: that the interests and rights of some individuals take precedence over the interests and rights of others.
—Ayn Rand, "The Pull Peddlars", Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal

Who determines what is good, and what scale to used to define what is greater or lesser? Groups are fictions, and only individuals exist. Claiming that harm to an individual benefits a group is obviously an outright fabrication. It is an attempt to justify harm to one individual in order to benefit another individual, and therefore an attempt to justify a criminal act.

There is no one greater good. There are individual wants (which may not necessarily be "good" for a person if fulfilled); there are as many "goods" as there are individuals involved in a matter. There may be some overlap. There is still no "greater good".

Extortion and other types of initiation of force remain wrong, no matter the fairy tales used to attempt to justify them. Nobody knows the "sum good of everyone", and it can't be calculated (it's analogous to calculating utilities). That's why "greater good" has always been used to justify someone's vision of a potential good for some and a definite harm to others.

Health Inspection

"I never worry about my milk being rancid in the US. Why is that? [Implication: because the state's health inspectors keep us from harm, and thus a state is needed.] … What is your solution to the problem?" —(Denise Hood Mollaesmail)

Response: This is really just a variant of ../WhoWillBuildTheRoads, but this response was put so well (by Michael Matalucci) that I grabbed it for this page:

Let's take a simple example. Suppose there were no health inspectors to make sure that restaurants were serving "safe" food and using safe handling practices. If you opened a restaurant and didn't practice safe food handling practices, and your customers became ill, how long do you think you would stay in business? It would be in your own best interest to make sure that your customers didn't get sick from your food.

But now, let's take it to the next level. Your restaurant has been open for a while, and you have gained an excellent reputation in the community for serving good, safe food, at a reasonable cost. But, you get sloppy. You start overlooking little things. Maybe you are so busy that you forgot to wipe down the board you just cut raw chicken on before you started cutting lettuce on it. Oops. Accidents happen. And when accidents happen, businesses get sued. Most, if not all businesses carry liability insurance in case there is an accident. The insurance company covers, with cash, any liabilities your business incurs. So therefore, it is in you insurance companies best interest that you practice safe food handling. In fact, they might send their own inspectors to your restaurant. If their inspectors make a mistake, they can be fired. This is in contrast to government inspectors who can't be fired, and a government that can't be sued (in most cases).

So, who do think would be more reliable? An unaccountable bureaucrat backed by an institution with no vested interest, or an employee that can be held accountable, who is backed by a company that has a direct vested interest?

When you look at it in this light, you will see that the government is merely doing the job that the insurance companies should be doing, and to make matters worse, it's at taxpayers expense (and as a nearly unaccountable monopoly: your one vote doesn't let you change anything of note in the bureaucracies; but as a consumer in a free market, your "vote" is absolute).

And, as a consumer, you have every right to demand to see proof of liability insurance coverage before making a purchase. Then you can make an informed choice.

Hermit Fallacy

"[L]ibertarians want you to have to spend every waking moment of your life worrying about the most minute details like when you flush, where does it go?" (Tom Girsch)

Some statists are under the impression that either libertarians will have to be completely self-sufficient on their own, handling every service personally, growing their own food, providing for their own defense, etc.

Response: Even today, private companies frequently provide utilities, although sometimes subsidized or with competition excluded by the state. And of course, today food is provided by private farmers, delivered by private trucks, and sold by private supermarkets, albeit with plenty of state taxes and interference.

It is not at all the case that a libertarian must be a hermit, although he can be if he wants to. A free society is about voluntary co-operation, not forced individualism. While you couldn't be forced to pay for any service, people will still want groceries, water, sewage, etc., and where there is (economic) demand, people will seek to provide demanded goods and services. Most people will prefer to continue to pay specialists to provide services more efficiently than they can themselves.

Hey You With The Guns <

Fallacy: A particularly ignorant meme has been going around (January 2013); the text of the image is:

"Hey you. With the guns."
"Your paranoid fantasies about a theoretical future fascist government takeover do not trump my rights to demand appropriate and reasonable public health policies to stop gun violence."
"Sincerely, The Rest of the American People."

Response: Hello yourself, with the ignorance!

"Paranoid"—wrong. Please take the time to learn some history: look up Japanese-American internment, Hitler's concentration camps, and Stalin and Mao's mass-murder campaigns, for instance.

"Theoretical future fascist government"—define fascist for me, please1? If you're really careful, you may come up with a definition that doesn't match what we have right now; but it will have the failing of having no bearing on reality.

It also doesn't take a fascist state to infringe rights. Consider all those locked up right now for victimless "crimes". So much for that. And then there's the home defense angle, and collectors, and hunters, and target shooters… whatever the reason a person owns a firearm, there is no right to infringe on said ownership or acquisition.

"my rights to demand"—demand away, intolerant one! Just don't threaten or initiate harm or support such action. Forcefully taking away property or interfering with voluntary trade is harm—and that includes adding fees or taxes, or supporting same.

"appropriate and reasonable public health policies to stop gun violence"—start by pushing for removing any and call concealed carry bans if you really care about public health. If you're just using a recent tragedy to infringe on individual rights, though, kindly piss off.

"Sincerely"—that's a funny way to spell "trollingly" or "I would like to threaten peaceful people".

"The Rest of the American People"—shockingly, even if there are a majority that would like to infringe on individual rights (and there are a huge number of gun owners and enthusiasts in the US), that still doesn't make it moral. There are also moral people without guns that would oppose initiating aggression against firearm owners: one does not need to own a firearm to be against infringement. So perhaps this diatribe should have been addressed "To All Moral People".

Have a nice day; do try to attempt reason in future. Please consider, for example, becoming a supporter of the NonAggressionPrinciple, a moral principle for living.

[1]Fascism is a very simple concept and a very simple idea. It's the idea that the state comes before the people. Rights come from the state. Jobs and employment come from the state. The state owns all property and licenses it to the public. The definition matches what we have right now to almost an overbearing degree. (D. Scones)

I Like Paying Taxes <

"I consider taxes a good deal: what I pay is worth what I get. (Implied: Most people do, and so taxes are voluntary.) Sometimes the Oliver Wendell Holmes quote, "I like to pay taxes. With them I buy civilization." is used.

Variant: "If your ideology promotes freedom, then why do you deny the choice of those who want a state? Is not my choice just as valid? Maybe I like being a pawn of the coercive state." (Michael Squires)

Response: Not quite, Mr Holmes. Taxes are the price we pay for not yet living in a civilized land. (Michael Matalucci)

Merely because you agree—and I suspect even you don't agree to every tax, all of the time—doesn't mean taxes are voluntary. It only takes one person at one time to disagree with one tax or regulation imposed on them to make them involuntary (just as one counterexample will invalidate a purported mathematical proof). And I definitely don't agree. TaxationIsExtortion.

You have a right to be a "pawn of [a] state", if you consent to it. You don't have a right to force others into it. Your choice for yourself is valid; it is not valid to make that choice for others. (So it wouldn't be a state in the conventional sense, since it could initiate no violence against those that don't consent; but it can treat you in the manner a state would, so to you it would be the same.)

A person can, if they wish, pay someone to be beaten up and robbed every day. We would regard this as foolish, but if it was shown they agreed to it (with sound mind and sans duress), it's a consensual relationship. Fine. What they may not rightly do is pay that person to beat up other people.

Part of the problem is the assumption baked into the question that a state has a legitimate right to force itself on people just because they live in its claimed territory, just as a mafia asserts the right to demand protection money from those in its claimed territory. (See Dr. Walter Block's article Secession, which will help with this false (and pernicious) assumption.)

I See No Gun

"You keep talking about taxation and regulation at gunpoint. I don't see any gun! When I pay my taxes, there's no gun to my head."

Response: The fact that most submit before the gun is drawn doesn't negate the existence of the gun.

Illegal Immigrants <

"Illegal immigrants are criminals! Their presence in this country is a crime. They are stealing our jobs, smuggling contraband, and using our tax dollars in government services!""

Response: "State" property is a fiction. Being on the "wrong" side of a state-declared "border" is not rational or moral justification for harming someone. Since the state rightly owns nothing, there is no crime in crossing a border without gang permission; the only people that need be consulted are the owners of the property a traveler crosses. If a farmer wants someone to work for him on his land, and they find a place to stay (bought, rented, or borrowed), it is nobody else's business. His job is a contract between two people. If a third party coerces people who create a non-coercive contract he does not like, he is committing a crime. The people making the agreement are not criminals. Likewise, people engaging in noncoercive trade in goods forbidden by the state are not committing any crime.

All government services are funded by extortion, and the last objection presumes the extortion-funded services are legitimate. Arguing that everyone should suffer equally is ignoring the criminal extortion. Arguing that some people should be excluded from services based on geography is playing the extortionist's game and justifying the crime.

Initiation vs Response (NAP vs pacifism) <

"[Voluntaryist] claims that private arbitration can replace all current [state] legal practices is wrong—there'd be no enforcement mechanisms for such arbitration!" (Daniel Punaniel)

Response: This is a plain misunderstanding of the NonAggressionPrinciple, perhaps made by latching onto the name rather than doing the most basic research (like clicking a link or searching Wikipedia) into it. The non-agression principle is not pacifism; it is a little more complex than the short name (that's why it's a title and not the principle itself). It condemns the non-consensual initiation of aggression against peaceful individuals, but not every act of violence. ("Violence", "force", and "coercion" are fairly neutral; "aggression" is less so, so that's another clue, too.)

While "non-aggression" is in the title, it does not mean "pacifist"; the principle allows for self-defense, and even retribution for harm done. Consider a boxing match—force, yes, but consensual. Consider self-defense against a home invasion—force, yes, but defensive, not initiatory. Consider force used to take back goods one party has in effect stolen (by accepting them via contract but not living up to their end of the deal)—force, yes, but defensive, to take back what was stolen.

Intellectual Property

"I have a right to lock you up because you copied something of mine!"

Response: "IP" requires asserting the right to do violence to someone for making a copy using their own materials on their own property. Clearly there is no such right.

Most real property is rivalrous, which is why taking it away is wrong: it stops the owner from benefiting from it. Since "IP" is non-rival, any attempt to defend it cannot start by pretending it is the same as real (physical) property. That would be to steal an unearned march. So it would be incorrect to use the term "theft" (or the more ridiculous "piracy") for "unapproved copying".

Similarly, attempts may be made to claim that this "unapproved copying" deprives an author of income. But that is an assertion backed by nothing; for it relies on the unproven fact that such copiers would otherwise pay, and on the belief that the author is entitled to certain compensation. But that isn't true. Consider, for example, a small shoe store, which makes a certain amount of daily profit; and then a larger store opens nearby, reducing this profit because people go to the large store, which offers more selection and better prices. The small shoe store owner has no right to violently close or destroy the larger store, even though by opening it caused his profits to drop.

Stephan Kinsella wrote the best treatise on IP: Books/AgainstIntellectualProperty.

Coining the term "piracy" for "unauthorized copying" was a master PR stroke. But it's "copying", not "piracy"; piracy requires hoisting the Jolly Roger, strapping on a peg-leg, and plundering and destroying ships at sea, waving a cutlass and carrying a brace of pistols.


Justify Peaceful Action

"A question for those of you who believe everyone should be allowed to own guns… Rationalize for me why someone who beats their spouse and/or kids should be allowed to legally own a gun, or anyone with a violent criminal history for that matter." (Stacie Blackwood)

Response: Examine this question: it throws out a few red herrings (history of violence) and then asks why (presently) peaceful people should not be threatened with harm when acting peacefully.

Well, exposing the question like that is almost to answer it. There is an important lesson to be learned; please try to learn it. The onus is not on those that engage in peaceful, voluntary behavior to justify why they should not be harmed when so engaged, but on those that want to harm said peaceful individuals (violating the NonAggressionPrinciple). Peaceful, non-aggressive action does not need to be justified to anyone.

There is also a nearby fallacy often made on the particular topic of firearm ownership which should be clearly debunked: it is asserted that in fact owning and carrying a firearm is not a peaceful act. Why? Because a gun owner might… yes—they try to justify harm on the basis of what someone might do, at a point when they are doing no harm and are not even a threat. Owning, carrying, trading, importing, or exporting firearms, in themselves, do no harm to anybody. And anybody with a fist "might" punch someone with it, yet it is not morally justified to break their fingers because they might use them to do harm.

Certainly a person that has done harm should make restitution and receive retribution, but that is orthogonal to whether it is moral to do further harm to them after that point because of, this time, peaceful actions. But if such harm is desired, the burden of making the argument in favor of threatening (banning someone from owning property, such as a firearm, involves a threat of harm) or harming a peaceful individual lies with the one advocating said harm.

Libertopia <

"So you're going to go on record stating that in Voluntaryist Utopia, everything that is currently provided to the citizenry by the state would continue to be available to everyone in at least an equally hassle-free manner?"

The term "Libertopia" is similarly used to imply that libertarians expect that everything will be perfect (for some value of "perfect" defined by the complainant) in a free society.

"OMG, you want to abolish rape? You stupid utopian! OK, then tell me how guys are gonna get laid, huh? How's that gonna happen? Unless you can guarantee that every single guy everywhere is getting laid constantly in your system of 'non-rape', then you are a utopian and your system can't work!"

Longer version:

Lifeboat Scenario

"Your ideas fall apart in a disaster scenario, like when there aren't enough lifeboats on a sinking ship, or in an airplane disaster without enough parachutes, or the Donner Party choosing cannibalism to avoid starvation!"

Response: In each case, the issue is resolved with clear property rights and contracts. If you are sailing on a ship, you want to know their lifeboat and flotation device situation. If you are flying in an airplane, you should know the parachute policy. In a free society, someone providing a service is liable for any injury or death and is obligated to take reasonable precautions. As a consumer, it is your responsibility to assess risks and make your own cost/benefit analysis. In circumstances where such matters may be outside your control, resource distribution is the responsibility of the resource owner, or a case of homesteading when there is no owner.

In situation where the options are choosing to suffer either death or injury versus committing a crime, the party committing the crime acknowledges the crime, and must be willing to face the consequences upon a return to normalcy. Whether it is a matter of simple trespass, such as running through private property to avoid an attacker, or an extreme situation such as choosing cannibalism over starvation, the same rule holds true.

See also: Rothbard's The Ethics of Liberty, chapter 20, "Lifeboat Situations".

Limited Government <

"Sure, government excesses in taxation and regulation are bad, but I believe in limited government. If only we get the right people into power, everything will be great!"

Response: What government has ever stayed limited?

Statism is the utopian ideal that just the right amount of violence used by just the right people in just the right way can perfect society. (Keith Hamburger)

As Rothbard tells us,

    "The libertarian is also eminently realistic because he alone understands fully the nature of the State and its thrust for power. In contrast, it is the seemingly far more realistic conservative believer in “limited government” who is the truly impractical utopian. This conservative keeps repeating the litany that the central government should be severely limited by a constitution. Yet, at the same time that he rails against the corruption of the original Constitution and the widening of federal power since 1789, the conservative fails to draw the proper lesson from that degeneration. The idea of a strictly limited constitutional State was a noble experiment that failed, even under the most favorable and propitious circumstances. If it failed then, why should a similar experiment fare any better now? No, it is the conservative laissez-fairist, the man who puts all the guns and all the decision-making power into the hands of the central government and then says, “Limit yourself”; it is he who is truly the impractical utopian."

And of course, Lysander Spooner takes to task a particular example of supposed "limited government"—the US constitution—in Books/NoTreason, and concludes:

    "But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain — that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist."

An important question for minarchists is "Limited by what principle?" That, at least, is a start. Some minarchists have a vague idea of a list of things they want the state to do, and no idea why they "must" be done by the state. Others claim the state should do "Whatever individuals cannot do themselves", which, of course, is nothing; and they can sometimes be persuaded into voluntaryism when that is explained to them. So it is most important to glean from them a principle which will define what their "minimal" or "limited" state must do, and why. That's something reasonable people can work with, while vague ideas and notions are not.

Many seem eager to claim the label of libertarian. Many claim to want a live and let live society. But then there is that one bit of government intrusion that they’re not willing to give up.

  • I’m a libertarian, but we need government to control our borders!
  • I’m a libertarian, but we need government to protect us from foreign enemies!
  • I’m a libertarian, but government needs to provide a safety net!
  • I’m a libertarian, but _!
Everyone just has their little thing they want from government. To keep their little thing, they compromise on all the rest and we get an awful lot of buts and a really bloated and intrusive government. What’s your libertarian "but" that’s contributing to the growth of the cancer known as authoritarian government?" —Dale Everett, Anarchy in your Head

Love It Or Leave It

"If you don't like it, why don't you leave?" <

Response: The most thorough response is Walter Block's Books/Secession which explains that since freedom of association is an individual right, and individuals and their property came first, they have a right to withdraw their association and consent from the state while remaining on their own property and making whatever voluntary arrangements they wish.

The state is fiction—it does not exist. You cannot see borders on any unretouched satelite image. You cannot be "within" the state in the first place, so there is no state to leave.

The entire planet is divided up among rival states. There is no place available where one can be free from busybodies claiming ownership. Therefore, your argument is really just "submit or die." Why can't the people who claim to be the state leave us alone instead? That would be far simpler and far more sensible.

(The counter-question for statists:) If you love the government and the military so much, why not move to North Korea? You will be right at home.

Magic Contracts (social contract)

Fallacy: Statists assert that because you live somewhere (or have a birth certificate, or citizenship, or paid taxes at one point, have a driver's license, have driven on state-owned roads, etc.), you have agreed to an implicit, unwritten contract to follow the state's laws and pay whatever taxes they demand.

E.g., "Our government was here before you. You may not have signed up but your parents signed you up. It's called a birth certificate and it says you're a citizen of this country and with that title comes all the financial and legal obligations and responsibilities."

Response: A contract requires two parties; it is not a unilateral instrument. Furthermore, it requires a meeting of the minds (effectively, both parties understand what they're agreeing to), clear terms, actual agreement, and exchange of considerations (you don't need a contract to give a gift).

Old papers signed by the dead are not contracts binding on the living. You can't sign a contract for other people (without their explicit permission, e.g., power of attorney). To the assertion that a birth certificate is such a contract (agreement), I point out that one person may not sign a contract for another. A parent may act as guardian, and act on a child's behalf, but that still does not entitle them to make promises and enter into obligations for that person.

A constitution is nothing more than a piece of paper that people running government "agree" to abide by. It is not an agreement with the "citizens" (or should I say "subjects") of the government. It is a unilateral set of edicts.

An excellent illustration of this principle of the tyrant goes like this:

    A Wolf, meeting with a Lamb astray from the fold, resolved not to lay violent hands on him, but to find some plea to justify to the Lamb the Wolf's right to eat him.
    He thus addressed him: "Sirrah, last year you grossly insulted me."
    "Indeed," bleated the Lamb in a mournful tone of voice, "I was not then born."
    Then said the Wolf, "You feed in my pasture."
    "No, good sir," replied the Lamb, "I have not yet tasted grass."
    Again said the Wolf, "You drink of my well."
    "No," exclaimed the Lamb, "I never yet drank water, for as yet my mother's milk is both food and drink to me."
    Upon which the Wolf seized him and ate him up, saying, "Well! I won't remain supperless, even though you refute every one of my imputations."
    The tyrant will always find a pretext for his tyranny.
-The Wolf and the Lamb, Aesop's Fables

Might Makes Right <

Fallacy: There are variants of this one, but it comes down to "The state is right to tax you (etc.) because it can."

Response: Understand the difference between power and right. The state may have the power to infringe on individual rights; but it does not have the right to do it. Rights do not physically protect themselves. A chained slave has the right to liberty, but it is presently infringed by the one who claims to own him. If able, he has the right to attempt escape; if freed, he is not rightly property of his claimed owner, and has a perfect right to run away, or, if necessary to free himself, use force to defend his infringed rights so that he may again exercise his right to liberty.

Similarly, if a man's wallet is stolen, it is still his rightful property; but he does not have the power to control it (it is not in his possession). Since it is his property, he has the right to use necessary force to take it back from the thief.

Another expression of this error is something like: "But by all means, feel free to go tell parents about your stance on kiddy porn and tell me in wrong." (Mitchel Lewis)

(I expressed no stance at all, but he was assuming that I was for legalizing it, perhaps because I posted this article). Then the fallacy is, basically, "If people beat you up for your opinion, then your opinion is wrong."

For example, if I could travel back in time to slave owners in the south and told them, "Slavery is wrong", and they beat me up for it, then slavery would be right. Justifying violence with numbers is just ganging up on the weak and has been a pathetic justification for one atrocity after another—slavery, apartheid, genocide, misogyny. It’s a horribly flawed philosophy of might-makes-right.

"It is duress when we are told our rights are privileges and those rights then taken away under threat of punishment if we do not comply. For example, when you sign a government contract to obtain permission to travel, under threat of punishment if you do not sign, then the contract was signed under duress. That’s just one example. Truly free people need no permission to engage in activity that harms no one." —Dale Everett, Anarchy in your Head


Fallacy: Someone thinks "minarchist" is a useful or informative term.

Response: There isn't a single definition of "minarchist", nor is what any of them want "minimal" ("minarchy" = minimum rule = 0 = anarchy). Essentially the term just means statist or sometimes "someone who wants smaller government than now". It's very vague, because there's no principle behind it, just feels.


"So, there really is no good answer. America has always been a mix of democracy, capitalism and socialism… personally , I liked the blend, because I believe in moderation." (Clare King)


    "Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito." ("Do not give in to evil but proceed ever more boldly against it.")
    —motto of the Ludwig von Mises institute

    Urge immediate abolition as earnestly as we may, it will alas! be gradual abolition in the end. We have never said that slavery would be overthrown by a single blow; that it ought to be we shall always contend.
    —William Lloyd Garrison

There are areas in which compromise is good, and areas where it isn't. Freedom isn't one where one should compromise. Certainly, accept any gradual improvement (but not in exchange for a greater loss, or for harm to some); but the goal is a free society, not a less-evil state.

"Moderation" = I believe in some degree of initiation of violence against peaceful people. Keep some of the cancer. Some of the poison. Because I'm a "moderate". I'm not a racist, but I like to call some black people racist names. Because I'm a moderate. Clearly we don't accept moderation in these things. It is not a value in itself, but only in context—and it is great evil in the context of individual liberties.

"Urge immediate abolition as earnestly as we may, it will, alas! be gradual abolition in the end. We have never said that slavery would be overthrown by a single blow; that it ought to be, we shall always contend." (William Lloyd Garrison) He also pointed out that "Gradualism in theory is perpetuity in practice."

See also: Middle ground fallacy.


"In a free society, what stops corporations from becoming monopolies?"

Or (and this was part of a rational, reasonable discussion, and certainly not a fallacy itself, so I only include it here as an example of the question, especially as the first response was directly to it): "Just so I understand your position completely: Would you propose any sort of system to keep corporations in control, to limit monopolies and oligopolies? Or do you propose we only depend on the free market?" (Angela Roby)

Response: Depend on the market. Depend on the distributed power of individuals to respond to force with force, or even things that are not force or fraud per se but "unfair practice" (racial discrimination, various acts called "exploitation", misleading advertising) with ostracism, or simply not buying from such companies if alternatives exist.

There are a few sorts of monopolies: those established by force (e.g., a city gives a cable provider a monopoly and stops anyone from competing), or fraud, or other criminal acts, and those established peacefully.

To give a simple example of a peaceful monopoly, consider the first coffee shop that opens in a town. It's not shutting anyone out, and it is likely that there will be competition if their is demand, but for now, it's the only place to buy coffee, just because it was first. Clearly it's doing no harm. If it overcharges for coffee, people can leave town to buy it (it only has a limited regional monopoly), brew their own, or compete with it.

Qualifying what the monopoly is in is important, too. If there is also a tea shop (that only serves tea) in town, the coffee shop has a monopoly on coffee, but not "hot beverages"... and then if there's a soda fountain or grocery store, they share a market for "beverages" in general. At the most basic, everyone has an absolute monopoly in their own labor. It will usually be part of a class of labor ("basketball player", "barista", "lawyer"—or "criminal lawyer"—or "torts lawyer specializing in mechanical sock-sorting patent infringement claims") but the point stands. Microsoft was adjudged to have had a monopoly on "Windows", but not operating systems in general.

Another form of peaceful monopoly is just a company that is better at satisfying its customers—there are no artificial barriers to competing, but people try and they can't be as efficient, or their recipes aren't as well-liked, or their pay scale makes their employees surly, whatever.

And again, in line with the "first in town" is the "first inventor". I've used an example of autonomous (self-driving) vehicles in the past. If Joe starts a business selling converted Corollas, charging, say, $22000 ($5k over the base $17k price, which goes to the extra effort to install the computer driving mechanics, profit, research, etc.), then he has a monopoly as first seller. (Aside: no patents in a free society—there is no right to do harm to someone for copying your idea.)

Fred copies Joe's idea but uses an Aveo body which he can get for $15k and manages to reduce his costs to $4k, for a sale price of $19k. Joe cuts his overhead to $4k but is still at $21k; customers start flocking to Fred. Joe no longer has a monopoly on autonomous vehicles, but he does have one on autonomous Corollas.

Let's suppose that Joe makes a bundle on his business, and isn't investing much back into it; instead, he buys a private island and passes the business to his son, who's not so sharp. Meanwhile, Fred has employee profit-sharing plans (giving his employees incentive to work harder); he manages to cut his overhead to $3k; he invests in continuing research; and he adds Corollas and other body types to his lineup. Joe's former company goes out of business, and Fred's a monopoly now. But is it a license to print money? Heck no. Other people would be looking at competing, and if Fred doesn't stay on the ball—keeping customers happy—they'll swoop in and take his customers. Maybe automakers would decide they want to be in the business directly, even. People might sell vehicle conversion kits, which would also compete. Fred can't sit back and raise prices and expect to get anything he asks.

Of course, it's just a hypothetical story, but the point is that being the sole supplier, without the ability to force people to buy from you—or stop competition with patents or favorable (unfair) regulation and other artificial force-backed barriers—a monopoly is not necessarily a bad thing for customers.

(A theory exists called "predatory pricing" where companies lower prices so they're losing money to put competitors out of business, then raise them above the former price to make back the money. It has a number of flaws, one of which is, IIRC, is that it's never been observed in real life. I've heard of a chemical company that tried it—maybe in The Myth of the Robber Barons; the competition bought up their product at the low price and sold it in another market at a profit. The true "Robber Barons" were the ones that used the force of the state to guarantee them a market.)

When businesses are accused of being monopolies (frequently falsely, and never through violence), that's bad; but the state, a violently-maintained monopoly in all sorts of essential services, is held up by those same people as ultimate good. Choice is the answer; remove government as violently-maintained (and funded) monopoly; relegate it to the role of just another service provider among competing others, and there is a chance for true accountability and choice.

Natural Consequences

Fallacy: Rick Medlin: "If you break laws, you risk going to prison. If you cross the street, you risk getting hit by a car. Welcome to the grown-up world."

Response: The error here is the conflation of natural consequences with harm done by individuals by choice. If I cross the street, especially without looking for traffic, I may come to harm because someone is unable to avoid hitting me, or hits me accidentally due to his carelessness. This is not due to any conscious action on the part of the driver, it is a matter of physics. If I break an arbitrary law created by the government to punish a victimless "crime," enforcers for the state choose to do harm to me. This latter case is purely a matter of human choice and human action to initiate coercive force.

A related fallacy is that of blaming individuals for consequences that truly are natural, e.g., if someone starves to death, it is a natural consequence of not having enough to eat; and although unfortunate, most likely not a violation of the NonAggressionPrinciple. Nobody has acted to do harm to such a person; even though people might have been able to feed the person and did not (which might violate the Christian commandment, "Therefore to him that knows to do good, and does it not, to him it is sin.", James 4:17; but not everyone is a Christian), their inaction is not (1) an act at all, and (2) thus certainly not a harmful act.

Need Justifies Theft

"Fred wouldn't lend me his lawnmower, and I needed it to cut my lawn; I had no choice but to kill him and take the lawnmower."

"It is moral to steal food to survive."

Response: While it is understandable to most that a person that has truly exhausted his options (unable to find work where he is or move elsewhere to find it, etc.—certainly not the lawnmower example, which is not even "need") may steal, his need does not make it right.

The (political) morality (that is, the right to use force to oppose it) of the act of theft is not changed by the situation of the thief. The thief Justice the return of the stolen item and a payment in kind as retribution (i.e., twice what was taken). The owner of the good stolen may elect to forgive the thief, or at least forgo the retribution in exacting the same cost in return (just demanding to be made whole, i.e., the return of the item)—and only the owner. Third parties have no right to "forgive" on someone else's behalf. They can attempt to persuade the owner; they can even pay for the loss; but only the victim can choose to forgive and forgo.

Nirvana Fallacy

"Anarchy is bad because there will still be criminals" (generalization).

Response: There are criminals today; there is slavery and a sex trade even in "free" countries. When a free society (even a hypothetical one) is compared to a statist one, the comparison should be to what is (or, in the hypothetical, what is likely, which is arguable—and frequently argued). While we expect that a voluntaryist society will be better than a statist one in many ways, it does not fail merely because it falls short of someone's utopia.

In my limited experience, a meta-fallacy of all critiques of anarchy (and indeed, any aspect of individualism or "alternative") is inconsistent bar setting—of attempting to hold the alternative up to a standard the incumbent cannot meet.

To expand on DBR's point, there are laws in statist societies against murder, but that does not prevent people from murdering. In fact, since the people in the government are above their own laws, they are often paid to murder (war, for example, death sentences, botched raids, etc). State actors also regularly rob and extort from productive citizens, yet there are laws against "normal" people doing these same things. So the state is not only not a guarantee against harm to innocents, but actually engages in the very behavior the statist is worried about. The absense of government will therefore be preferable.

The difference is, in a free society, there is no organization like the state who regularly engages in slavery, theft, and murder, and not only gets away with it (because they are above their own law), but is also respected and expected to stop all of those actions in its subjects!

In other words, the state is no cure for those actions we find immoral. A free society is not a panacea where all problems between people are magically solved.

Related: Nirvana fallacy on Wikipedia.

No System Is Perfect

"Our government may not be the perfect system, but it's the best one there is."

"Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried." —Winston Churchill

Response: All we need to do is substitute the word "slavery" for "government" in the above fallacy to see how absurd it is. Slavery is wrong, so it is irrelevant that one type of slavery is better than another.

Then we get into the hair splitting that government isn't really slavery, since the subjects of the government have relative freedoms as compared with, say, black slaves on nineteenth century Southern plantations. But make no mistake about it: you and I are government property, and at any time the state can make our actions illegal and take our property, liberty and very lives away from us.

A great counter quote to the Churchill quote: "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!" —Benjamin Franklin

Not Resisting Is Consent

"You support [the state] though. You live in support of it. You certainly give it tacit assent, and indeed I know that you're not the type to defy taxation or fight a police officer[']s order. … You have 4 (3 really) choices[:] rebellion, expatriation, support, or hypocrisy." (Wayne Bereman)

"This is the 'if you don't take an assault rifle into a federal building you are not True Anarchist™' argument." —Jesse Gossett

The error of reasoning here (after the Magic Contracts fallacy) is equivalent to that of somebody who states that the raped endorses the rapist because she is involuntarily giving her "services" to him. As such, the list of "choices" amounts to a classic false dilemma. Although the woman has the choice to resist the rapist, she may not possess the strength or ability to do so: and in any case her rights are being violated. Similarly, we would recognize the error of a carjacker saying that his victim consents to the carjacking because the victim chose to drive on a particular road or that a mugging victim chose to be mugged for walking in a particular street (even if the street was near her house and she took it every day).

Government does not possess a valid claim over my life and property; I do. Thus while hypocrisy may be a choice for some, it is not a necessary one taken by those refusing to leave their own land (see: fallacy Love It Or Leave It); and to the list we therefore add remaining in one's own property where one may be extorted without either supporting or condoning the extortion. The error creating the false dilemma is that the statist doesnt understand the difference between a voluntary action and an involuntary action (or has a psychological need to deny that there is a difference).

Oppressed By Nature

Fallacy: Marten van Loon: "Starving people to death is also a form of force."

Response: If a person actually confined someone against their will and allowed them to starve that would be aggression against them; but the error is typically to blame the boogeyman at hand (capitalists, big business, voluntaryists) for someone not getting the resources they want or need and suffering from it.

However, it is not aggression to refuse to donate to someone, or even to refuse to contract with them on their terms, or to refuse to associate with them.

If someone comes to harm from not meeting biological needs, it is nonsensical to say "capitalism" or "big business" or whatever their chosen villain is "oppressed" them. If anything, "nature" oppressed them, but that makes little sense when brought out into the open.

Poor Won't Be Educated

"In a free society, where all schools are private, how will poor children be educated?"

Response: The best response I have seen from this is from Books/PracticalAnarchy, which begins by pointing out:

    The great lie of the statist society is that the ignorant are educated, when in fact they are made even more ignorant.
And then, the response examines whether or not a democracy with public education is reflective of the general (or majority) will or not, examines both cases, and finds a free society to be superior in either case.

    Whenever I talk about getting rid of public schools, the response inevitably comes back – automatically, it would seem, just like any other good propaganda – that it would be terrible, because poor children would not be educated. A person will raise this objection with an absolutely straight face, as if he is the only person in the world who cares about the education of poor children. I know that this is the result of pure indoctrination, because it is so illogical.

    If we accept the premise that very few people care about the education of the poor, then we should be utterly opposed to majority-rule democracy, for the obvious reason that if only a tiny minority of people care about the education of the poor, then there will never be enough of them to influence a democracy, and thus the poor will never be educated. However, those who approve of democracy and accept that democracy will provide the poor with education inevitably accept that a significant majority of people care enough about the poor to agitate for a political solution, and pay the taxes that fund public education.

    Thus, any democrat who cares about the poor automatically accepts the reality that a significant majority of people are both willing and able to help and fund the education of the poor. If people are willing to agitate for and pay the taxes to support a State-run solution to the problem of education, then the State solution is a mere reflection of their desires and willingness to sacrifice their own self-interest for the sake of educating the poor.

    If I pay for a cure for an ailment that I have, and I find out that that cure actually makes me worse, do I give up on trying to find a cure? Of course not. It was my desire to find a cure that drove me to the false solution in the first place – when I accept that that solution is false, I am then free to pursue another solution. (In fact, until I accept that my first “cure” actually makes me worse, I will continue to waste my time and resources.) The democratic “solution” to the problem of educating the poor is the existence of public schools – if we get rid of that solution, then the majority’s desire to help educate the poor will simply take on another form – and a far more effective form, that much is guaranteed.

    “Ah,” say the democrats, “but without being forced to pay for public schools, no one will surrender the money to voluntarily fund the education of poor children.”

    Well, this is only an admission that democracy is a complete and total lie – that public schools do not represent the will of the majority, but rather the whims of a violent minority. Thus votes do not matter at all, and are not counted, and do not influence public policy in the least, and thus we should get rid of this ridiculous overhead of democracy and get right back to a good old Platonic system of minority dictatorship.

    This proposal, of course, is greeted with outright horror, and protestations that democracy must be kept because it is the best system, because public policy does reflect the will of the majority.

    In which case we need have no fear that the poor will not be educated in a free society, since the majority of people very much want that to happen anyway. The same argument applies to a large number of other statist “solutions” to existing problems, including old-age pensions, unemployment insurance, health care for the impoverished, and other forms of welfare.

The answer to "Who will take care of X?" is always people that care about X. A free society just removes force from it.

Private Charity vs. the State

Like any business in a free society, private charity would be competitive. This is a good thing, because the competition is for efficiency and effectiveness. What does that mean for a charity?

  • Effectiveness: it does the job it claims to.
  • Efficiency: it does its job with low overhead.

The customers of a charity are its donors. They want to see results - that when they give money to feed the starving, they get fed, and there's not a bunch of administrative overhead that directs money away from the needy. If they don't see that, there'll be another charity willing to take their money. How to choose which charity to donate to? Check their past results.

The customers of a state program are, well, nobody. They're hardly accountable at all. Their overhead can be ridiculous and still they run. They don't have competition - there are private charities that do some of the same things, but they don't get extorted taxpayer money given to them.

Which system would you trust, if you had a choice? Which one do you think would be more effective and efficient?

Private Defense Is A State

"I mean sure you could call it something else, like a "Private Defence Agency" or whatever colourful euphemism you want but it's still basically a state." —Jon Hillstrom


A private defense agency (PDA), aka dispute resolution organization (DRO) works for its subscribers. They might patrol the neighborhood in cars like modern-day cops and private security guards, or heck, maybe just watch via satellite or drone camera and send in a chopper when they see a problem. Or they may only answer direct calls; it depends on how they set up their business, which (if they're smart) depends on customer demand.

Its employees have no special rights (nor do those of the state, in reality; see RightVsPower; but they are protected in the state's courts when they assert said "rights" to do harm, invade property, and extort people).

I.e., since its customers have no right to trespass and invade another person's property, or extort non-subscribers for money to pay it - neither do its employees! If they break down a door and shoot the dog - they are liable for both door and dog.

They only have rights delegated to them. E.g., part of the contract subscribers sign might include the subscriber delegating any right to retribution for harm to him to the agency, or allowing it to search his property with documented cause (possibly paying a fee if the alleged crime or, say, stolen item, is not found). Without such delegation, they don't have a right to enter anyone's property but their own. No "magic" badges or uniforms.

On the other hand, the state asserts and claims rights to initiate violence, and does it frequently. They extort and coerce peaceful people. They get involved in peaceful transactions where they aren't invited, either to steal a cut or prevent the transaction entirely. They hand out permission to pollute even when property owners don't want it and should be paid damages.

The fundamental differences, then, are that (1) a defense agency does not initiate violence, or, if it does (2) it is liable for it like anyone else and can't escape on some bullshit "sovereign immunity" nor does it get to be the judge of its own actions.

Property vs Possessions

Statist: "Sure, you can have your possessions, but our worker council will take anything away from you that we consider property."

Response: An artificial distinction between "property" and "possessions" is drawn by some kinds of statist; "property" is usually used for "means of production" and non-movable chattels, but it really depends just on what they envy and want to take away.

They may assert a right for, for instance, a tenant to steal the home being rented to him or workers to steal the factory they work in. Even though the owners of these properties have delayed gratification, saved their money, and invested that money in the properties—that is, the property is what they gained in exchange for their labor, just like a car or a bushel of apples, these kinds of statist will assert that their state has a right to award the property to the occupants.

Effectively, the idea is that if they envy something, it is "property" and the labor traded for it can be stolen; whereas, if they don't care about something, such as your toothbrush, it's a "possession" and you will be allowed to keep it.

Even more egregiously, some of these would-be thieves will call themselves anarchists, but will assert a right to take voluntarily and peacefully-acquired property by force.

Public Property

"Like any property owner, the state has a right to charge people whatever it wants for the use of "public" (state-owned) property."

Some even go as far as to say that either libertarians should not use this "public" property, or that if they use without paying the demanded rate (sometimes throwing out the red herring that "other people have paid into it"), they are stealing.


Public property is first a fraud, in that it is state-controlled and not publicly owned. If "the public" (everyone) owned the property, then everyone would control it; and control is a right of exclusion and use. A member of the public cannot build a house on so-called "public" property, nor sell it to someone else; hence the right term is state-controlled property.

Why not "state-owned"? The state has no property of its own. Everything it has it took by force, and while superior might does allow them to act in all ways as owner, they do not justly own anything. Everything claimed by the state is either stolen goods that should be returned, or unowned property that should be left for individuals or groups to claim via Homesteading.

As to the claim that libertarians shouldn't use said "public" property, we see that it is not public, but unowned, and anyone may legitimately use it; furthermore, libertarians are also extorted for taxes to pay for it, so their claim as as good as any other. As to the claim of stealing, the goods are stolen already, or, it's not possible to steal an unowned resource. The fact that other people have been extorted to pay for it is merely a Fallacies/RedHerring.


"How are we [society?] to decide what punishments are suitable [for crimes]?" (Danny Smith)

Response: Nobody has the innate authority to "punish" (punishment is arbitrary harm for arbitrary acts, including peaceful ones). Justice belongs to the victim, not "society" or any third party, who have no right to interfere except as agents acting on behalf of victim or criminal.

See Justice page for more details on rational determination of just response to harm.

Read Only Memory

Fallacy: Not so much a fallacy per se as a failure to read.

  • Monday: Statist X asks why voluntaryists want everyone to have to produce their own food.
  • Voluntaryist patiently explains that trade and specialization of labor can still exist in a free society.
  • Tuesday: Statist X asks why voluntaryists want everyone to have to produce their own food.
  • Wednesday: Statist X asks why voluntaryists want everyone to have to produce their own food.

Response: Disable the write lock and remember the answers to yesterday's questions asked or fallacies corrected.

Reduce Or Abolish

"You have talked about reducing government but then say that every government is a form of tyranny. You folks need to get your stories straight." (Rick Medlin)

Response: There is not a single abolitionist who would not grab a feasible method, or a gradual gain, if it came his way. The difference is that the abolitionist always holds high the banner of his ultimate goal, never hides his basic principles, and wishes to get to his goal as fast as humanly possible. Hence, while the abolitionist will accept a gradual step in the right direction if that is all that he can achieve, he always accepts it grudgingly, as merely a first step toward a goal which he always keeps blazingly clear. The abolitionist is a "button pusher" who would blister his thumb pushing a button that would abolish the State immediately, if such a button existed. But the abolitionist also knows that alas, such a button does not exist, and that he will take a bit of the loaf if necessary – while always preferring the whole loaf if he can achieve it. (Rothbard, Do You Hate the State?)

Regulation Protects Us

Fallacy: Without regulation from government, prices would rise, monopolies would take over, and the consumer would be harmed by unscrupulous businessmen. Regulation was called for by the people because greedy businessmen put profits before safety and caused great damage to people and the economy.

Response: Regulation is called for not "by the people[*]," but by and large by big industrial players for the sole purpose of raising the barrier of entry to the market to small players. Big business detests unfettered competition from smaller firms as a general rule.

We see this effect during the late 19th century, when Big Rail lobbied Congress to push through the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887, and subsequent legislation which had the effect of curtailing the rampant competition. Big players were upset because prices for shipping were falling dramatically, and this was threatening the stability of their organizations.

From Roy Childs's "Big Business and the Rise of American Statism":

    BRS.48 American industry as a whole was intensely competitive in the period from 1875 on. Many industries, including the railroads, had overexpanded and were facing a squeeze on profits. American history contains the myth that the railroads faced practically no competition at all during this period, that freight rates constantly rose, pinching every last penny out of the shippers, especially the farmers, and bleeding them to death. Historian Kolko shows that: Contrary to the common view, railroad freight rates, taken as a whole, declined almost contiuously over the period [from 1877 to 1916] and although consolidation of railroads proceeded apace, this phenomenon never affected the long-term decline of rates or the ultimately competitive nature of much of the industry. In their desire to establish stability and control over rates and competition, the railroads often resorted to voluntary, cooperative efforts. When these efforts failed, as they inevitably did, the railroad men turned to political solutions to [stabilize] their increasingly chaotic industry. They advocated measures designed to bring under control those railroads within their own ranks that refused to conform to voluntary compacts. ... [F]rom the beginning of the 20th century until at least the initiation of World War I, the railroad industry resorted primarily to political alternatives and gave up the abortive efforts to put its own house in order by relying on voluntary cooperation. ... Insofar as the railroad men did think about the larger theoretical implications of centralized federal regulation, they rejected ... the entire notion of laissez-faire [and] most railroad leaders increasingly relied on a Hamiltonian conception of the national government.

This was the start of the trend where larger players in other industries began turning to the government for political solutions to the "problem" of falling prices and "unchecked" competition. In the steel industry, oil industry, and the newly created telephone industry, the big players, fearing loss of their dominance in the market, begged the government to regulate their respective industries. The most extreme was the case for Bell Telephone, which lobbied successfully to have their competition completely put out of business using the force of government, and have themselves handed a complete, 100% monopoly on phone service in the US. Regulation, far from being the champion of small business and protector of the consumer, does the exact opposite of the currently accepted pro-regulation myth, and is a protectionist measure for big business. We can see this in the roots of regulation.

Another big problem with government regulation is that it turns the notion of American Jurisprudence on its head: the accused is presumed innocent until *proven* guilty beyond all reasonable doubt in a court of law. Regulation presumes that targeted businesses owners and operators are guilty until proven innocent. This flies in the face of our very legal system, and is detrimental to small businesses and individual proprieters.

[*] This can can never be proven to be true, because democratic decisions are not unanimous; therefore "the people" represent the majority, and the minority are forced to accept this new policy over the barrel of a gun. So we cannot say people choose government regulation even at the most generous reading.

Restaurant Analogy

Fallacy: Using the instance of a restaurant as an implicit contract implying that all implicit contracts are valid, even one-sided ones assumed by the state, without agreement of any sort.

Response: The restaurant example is void. It is clearly private property; private individuals that have obtained it voluntarily own the food you eat; its price is on the menu; and to walk out without paying is merely stealing, so it is obvious that the owner must be compensated in some fashion. On the other hand, the state owns nothing legitimately, so is owed no money for anything.

Do you even know how to make an analogy? Going in to a restaurant and requesting their services is an explicit acceptance that you will pay for those services. Your analogy might work if there was one restaurant that used violence to force all other restaurants out of business and then required me to eat there for dinner every night.

Rights Come From

"Rights come from society" (or "Rights are granted by the state").

"Rights are not tokens handed out by countries. You always have rights. The state has no more authority to hand out rights than a clown at the circus."
—Hugh Diedrichs

That's a great quote, but by itself it's only a counter-assertion, so let us continue to the argument. The claim is that rights come (or are granted by) either "society" or "the state". First, let's understand that the two assertions are the same: in a democracy the state is controlled by majoritan tyranny (see ../TheStateIsUs), and in other types of state, presumably the "society" version of the assertion would not be made. We can consider the case that it is meant that society actually means everyone, but that does not hold up to scrutiny: if I withdraw my consent for someone to be free, they do not become bound.

The fallacy implies that rights may either be withdrawn or not granted, leading to a reductio ad absurdum wherein it is implied that since the state promoted and supported slavery at various times and places in history, at those times the right to liberty was not granted to those slaves. That is, they had no right to liberty unless and until it was granted. A right is a legitimate claim on something (not the power to do something; right and power are often confused; see ../MightMakesRight). When it is correctly understood that rights are innate (see NaturalLaw), one can distinguish between a right to be free, which always exists, and the power to exercise that right, which does not always exist, as in the case of a slave. The right is infringed but not taken away.

Under the "rights from the state" theory, even if a slave has the opportunity to escape, or is freed by another person, they still do not have the right to be free unless the state decides to grant it; it is thus a moral wrong for them to escape their master.

It is not enough for some that their theory declares slavery right if majorities want it, however (sad though that is). But more fundamentally, an individual's claim to control their own body (self-ownership), and hence their production, liberty, and legitimately acquired property exists outside of the approval of others. Others may be able to restrict the ability of a person to exercise the right; but the legitimacy of the claim exists outside of approval or violent infringement.

Power is not right; one may have the power to harm someone, but not the right, or the right to harm someone, even (e.g., in self-defense), but not the power; or both or neither; they exist independently.

Rule Of Law<

"Without government, there would be chaos! We must have rule of law!"

Response: "Government: If you refuse to pay unjust taxes, your property will be confiscated. If you attempt to defend your property, you will be arrested. If you resist arrest, you will be clubbed. If you defend yourself against clubbing, you will be shot dead. These procedures are known as the Rule of Law."
—Edward Abbey

The problem is that the people are taught that when violence has been made “legal” and is committed by “authority,” it changes from immoral violence into righteous “law enforcement.” The fundamental premise upon which all “government” rests is the idea that what would be morally wrong for the average person to do can be morally right when done by agents of “authority,” implying that the standards of moral behavior which apply to human beings do not apply to agents of “government” (again, hinting that the thing called “government” is superhuman). Inherently righteous force, which most people generally agree is limited to defensive force, does not require any “law” or special “authority” to make it valid. The only thing that “law” and “government” are needed for is to attempt to legitimize immoral force And that is exactly what “government” adds, and the only thing it adds, to society: more inherently unjust violence. No one who understands this simple truth would ever claim that “government” is essential to human civilization. —Larken Rose, The Most Dangerous Superstition


"Libertarians are selfish: they won't let me decide how their money is spent."

Response: Not wanting to be extorted by the state or anyone else is hardly selfish. People avoid dark alleys and dangerous areas because they don't want to get mugged, and don't get accused of being selfish for not "contributing" to a robber's income. Rather, what is selfish is believing one has a claim to—deserves ownership of—another person's labor or goods.

In The Virtue of Selfishness, Ayn Rand writes about rational selfishness—"the values required for man's survival qua man" as a contrast to the "human sacrifice" demanded by statists, who desire the unearned, and demand sacrifices of others but do not make them. Instead, people ought to deal with one another voluntarily, as traders, without coercion or myths of false obligation (e.g., StatistFallacies/SocialContract).

Some statists have difficulty with the idea that in a free society, they would have to use persuasion rather than force to get people to give to their pet causes—some of which may be honestly benevolent, yet, nonetheless, the goodness of a cause does not create obligation nor justify force in its furtherance. In fact, bait and switch tactics are common here: while claims are made that the poor won't be educated or fed, typically people are generous in contributing to those actually in need (more so without the state's overhead and with competition for efficiency; see previous link), the concern tends to be more for less-necessary causes like bad art, owl preservation, or bailing out those that don't need it.

Serving <

"I served, so clearly I'm better than you are and all my arguments are right."

Response: The whole 1984 Newspeak aspect of calling working for the state as an indiscriminate hired killer while receiving stolen goods "serving" makes me laugh every time. No. To serve is to wait tables, or something useful along those lines.

Slavery <

"What would prevent the strong (wealthy and powerful) from enslaving the weak (the poor)?" (Snowdenn Brock)

(The fallacy is—as this very petitioner attempted to answer for himself—the assumed answer of "Nada. Nothing.")

Response: Hold on there, laddie. Nothing's preventing slavery in statism. But the most likely answer to what would prevent it in a free society is distributed power.

When only the state has the power, then slavery is easy; resistance is easy for the centralized slave power to destroy (although even then, things like the Underground Railroad have some success). When power is spread across the population, most of which is against or apathetic to slavery, but definitely don't want to help catch or pay for fugitive slaves, it becomes difficult if not impossible to maintain slaves.

State Slavery and the U.S. "Civil War" (Read first: RightVsPower.) The so-called "civil war" (so-called because it was not a struggle for power, but rather a war for independence) was fought to prevent the seceded states (new CSA nation—under their own rules, if you follow the statist religion) from exercising their rights to independence.

Note that slavery nowhere enters into it thus far as discussed. A state may rightly secede for any reason, slaves or not. Similarly, a person may rightly free slaves anywhere, on their own property or others. An invading army has the right to go somewhere and free slaves, but not to conquer territory and harm people that keep no slaves and aren't stopping them from freeing slaves.

This line of inquiry is further expounded in Dr. Block's paper Secession.

Social Contract

Everyone has agreed to The Social Contract™, which gives the state the right to control people "for the greater good" (or insert other excuse), taxing them and forcing them to follow laws.

Response: The "social contract" has the same problems as any magic contract; it is better referred to as "the state-imposed burden". It is not a contract (no definition, no agreement), but a burden (justifies arbitrary harm), and it is imposed by force, rather than being voluntary or to any degree "social".

If the argument is made that statism is moral and justifiable because of a "social contract", the implication is that the "social contract" is a valid form of contract. If "social contracts" are valid. Then any "social contracts" made by any persons must be valid. Remember, there is no special pleading for the state. Therefore, a business like Walmart, could simply ship $500.00 worth of groceries and other goods to your house every month without your consent, and proceed to bill you. If you disputed this, they could then tell you that if you didn't like it, you were free to move out of your neighborhood.

In accordance with social contract logic, I would simply create my own social contract with the government itself whereby I "tax" the government for the services I provide in the economy that they benefit from, in an amount that is equal to what they have "taxed" me. What would be the difference between these 2 social contracts? Nothing, except of course, that the state has far more violence with which to enforce their "social contract" then I do. That, of course, is the root of the matter. It's might makes right. Pay or you get shot.

Soldiers Protect Your Freedom

"You should be thankful for the military. They protect your freedom."


    "An expropriating property protector is a contradiction in terms." —Dbudlov Johnson

Soldiers lay their lives on the line? So what? So do Mafia hit men, but I don't see ticker-tape parades thrown in their honor.

The facts are these: the government steals and extorts tax money from the productive (any government does this) to fund their military, so they can commit mass murder. They run the schools, so they can brainwash people into believing that their soldiers are fighting for their "freedom."

Name one freedom the US military has given us since the start of the Iraq war. One that we've gained. I can think of several we have lost since then, so don't try to bullshit me. US government soldiers do not fight for my freedom—they fight for their paychecks and their bosses. Period.

Somalia <

"Why don't you go to the libertarian paradise of Somalia?"

Response: "Somalia" is almost the Godwin of anti-libertarian arguments. It indicates a poor understanding of, well, everything—libertarianism, anarchy, and Somalia.

Kevin Carson addresses most of the issues in Somalia—Is That Really All You Got?

The major problems with claims that Somalia is a "libertarian utopia" is that it's actually a failed third-world state. Government or no, it's not going to magically acquire the resources, education, and technology to become a first-world nation; and those of us in first-world nations like the technology that even a semi-free market can produce. Nor will its citizens necessarily be ready for freedom and individual responsibility; much like the fizzled "Arab spring", they may instead cry for a new (religious) dictator. Second, the fallout of a failed state doesn't mean a peaceful voluntaryist nation. In fact, new distributed states—warlords—sprang up quickly, hardly libertarian followers of the NonAggressionPrinciple. There is definitely variance across the nation, and apparently more freedom outside the larger cities (Mogadishu).

Somalia also does not protect property rights, which is what libertarians and right-anarchists demand of a society to be considered liberty-oriented to begin with.

State Is Society

"The state existed before I did and built this society I live in. The state has legitimacy. You do not." (Daniel Punaniel)

Other forms include just generally referencing "government" when "society" is meant, e.g., "The government creates a place we can all live and work together in."


    "The great non sequitur committed by defenders of the State, including classical Aristotelian and Thomist philosophers, is to leap from the necessity of society to the necessity of the State." —Murray Rothbard
    "All rational action is in the first place individual action. Only the individual thinks. Only the individual reasons. Only the individual acts." —Ludwig von Mises
    "Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and government by wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher. Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries by a government, which we might expect in a country without government, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer." —Thomas Paine

Ah, "legitimacy". The state has legitimacy because it says it does. So do I. Stalemate. It is question-begging to say that the state determines its own legitimacy. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? You eventually run smack into infinite regression: since the laws of a state are insufficient to legitimize the set of laws (and thus the state), you need a state (S2) outside that first state (S1) to pronounce those laws valid; except it is not valid, so we need S3, etc.; to Sinfinity.

You falsely confuse "society" with the state. They are different; the state does not build society, but people do, of their own initiative. The state frequently interferes, by coercing people on their own land, and extorting them, but it is not "society"; it is the disease that infects society. Society and government cannot be merged; one is voluntary, the other force.

    "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest." —Adam Smith

Voluntaryist "reliance on society" goes no further than voluntary trades (or gifts) and other voluntary interaction, creates no obligation, and does not justify violence against peaceful individuals.

State Not For Profit <

Fallacy: Government is good because it doesn't have to make a profit, but private enterprise is evil because it tries to make a profit.


    The idea that government is "not-for-profit" is a naively ludicrous one which can only be placed into the minds of government school zombies, but certainly not thinking individuals. Government profiteering comes from wasteful over-payments for violently-monopolized or even imaginary "services", building their own various agencies and institutions for the purposes of political influence, and selling favors—including permits, licenses, and other privileges [protection rackets]—for lucrative kickbacks from contracting friends. Governments define the very concepts of greed and corruption from the very moment they grant themselves special powers to finance their activities using the barrel of a gun. (Brooke Hoerr).
Taxes Are Use Fees

Fallacy: "Statists assert that taxes are just voluntary use fees, like any business charges.

Response: The idea of "use fees" would be more credible if they didn't extort a percentage of a person's income rather than charging by actual market value of used government-claimed (but not owned) resources/services. Of course, many of their "services" have zero or negative market value (e.g., DMV, harassing people for using or carrying drugs, licensure rackets) so they'd end up owing people money in such a case, until they cut back.

Suppose I were to mow your lawn and demand 10% of your income for it: clearly a ridiculous situation, but a parallel to the ridiculous situation of the state expecting people to pay vast sums of money for donated services. To be more accurate, though, I would have to hire a gang of toughs to stop anyone else from mowing lawns in the neighborhood.

    A.) The government itself admits that taxation is not voluntary.. "tax, a forced burden charge or exaction for the support of the government (51 Am jsp, tax sec 3)
    B.) The government itself claims that it is under no obligation to provide any service to you despite paying taxes: "(the federal government) ... is under no obligation to provide services. Even so elementary a service as maintaining law and order..." Bowers v. Devito - Supreme court decision
The State Did That

"If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen." —Barack Obama

(All technological and social advances are attributed to state intervention and state action.)

Response: Only individuals act. Only individuals choose. Business success is the result of providing a product or service other people believe is valuable to them. In that sense, other people are partly responsible for your success in business. Government, on the other hand, is a drain on business by imposing onerous regulations and taxes that increase the cost of doing business and makes it hard to provide products and services at a rate customers are willing to pay.

What is pernicious, though, in Obama's statement is not the words themselves but the (at least, perceived) implication that (1) other people that had nothing to do with something somehow had a part in it merely by being part of "society", i.e., by doing nothing, and (2) that this hypothetical part means that the creators are obligated to those non-contributory others.

Take, say, Ford's contribution of efficient assembly of automobiles, resulting in making the car available to the "common man". Yes, he contributed useful knowledge that others used; but no, that doesn't mean they owe him something, or that those that use it after his death owe his heirs, or random "society" merely because they used an idea that someone else had, or even if they used physical objects (e.g., communication networks) that someone else built, or provided services. Their obligation ends at paying the private owner for the services rendered.

It makes no sense, for reasons that should be obvious, to say the government invented anything. By definition, those that invent are not "the government"; the government is defined by mechanisms and excuses for harming peaceful individuals.

The government at best acted as an extorter or middleman and directed funds to a project. Even a blind pig finds an acorn now and then; but think of all the resources wasted looking for that occasional acorn!

See also:
The government is not necessary to protect the consumer: ../HealthInspection.
The government did not invent roads, and is not the only entity capable of building roads: ../WhoWillBuildTheRoads.
The government did not create the Internet: Gordon Crovitz: Who Really Invented the Internet?

The State Has Rights

Fallacy: People talk about "individual rights" and "group rights" all the time, but forget about the rights of the state that secure them.

Response: The state does not have "rights."

It is nothing more than a group of individuals who possess power over other individuals. The only legitimate powers in governance are those that have been explicitly delegated by an individual, and for the individual. Beyond that, powers can only exist if the people tolerate violations of individual rights.

If I cannot stand by the front door, 24/7, with a gun in the event where a criminal should break into my home, I can delegate that role contractually to a protection agency of my choice, and agree on terms with regard to crime prevention and law enforcement. If I cannot stand by my hose, 24/7, in the event that my home should catch fire, I can hire a fire insurance agency to assume that role as well.

These contracts do not grant police or fire agencies any power, or "rights," beyond what I already had and then have expressly given them; mainly, to provide needful services for hire, should I be in need of them. Likewise, their "state equivalents" do not possess the "right" to go beyond an explicit contract. Given that this contract is non-existent, the state cannot be said to have a "right" to provide these services at the public's expense, however basic they are.

A website called "Government Is Good" makes typical apologies for the state that defy common sense, such as: "We Americans enjoy an unprecedented bounty of rights and freedoms in our lives, not in spite of government, but in large part because of government." (source)

But this is ridiculous.

As I have just demonstrated, "government" is not necessarily impossible, absent of a coercive state. Contracts are legitimate, binding, and enforceable in the absence of an institution that asserts the monopoly privilege of forcing others to accept their services, no matter how inefficient, immoral, or tyrannical their means prove to be. No matter how basic the service in question is, the state does not have a "right" to thieve anyone of their earnings in order to provide them, any more than a robber, regardless of how charitable they profess to be with their ill-gotten gains.

The State Is Us

Fallacy: It's not "the state" that is taxing you and coercing you; in a democracy "the state is us", so we're doing it to ourselves.


    "Since outright slavery has been discredited, "democracy" is the only remaining rationale for state compulsion that most people will accept. Democracy has proved only that the best way to gain power over people is to assure the people that they are ruling themselves. Once they believe that, they make wonderfully submissive slaves."
    —Joseph Sobran
    "We must, therefore, emphasize that 'we' are not the government; the government is not 'us.' The government does not in any accurate sense 'represent' the majority of the people. But, even if it did, even if 70 percent of the people decided to murder the remaining 30 percent, this would still be murder and would not be voluntary suicide on the part of the slaughtered minority. No organicist metaphor, no irrelevant bromide that 'we are all part of one another,' must be permitted to obscure this basic fact."
    —Murray Rothbard
    "Also, if "we" are the government, then why would it be a sin to stop paying taxes? Am I required to pay myself?"
    —Gary Wingrove II

A good reductio ad absurdum for the false premise that "the state is us" is that since Hitler was elected, and Jewish people were part of the population that elected him, they weren't murdered in the concentration camps, but rather committed suicide, since they were the state.

More fundamentally, however, the fallacy rests on the false premise that ../VotingIsConsent and that infringement of individual rights (to life, liberty, and property) is justified if a majority wills it. But individual rights do not come from states or majorities, but are a property of individual self-ownership (see Voluntaryism).

Theft Is Compassion

"You are being extremely inappropriate and you are lacking in compassion." (Chris Read)

Response: Nobody said anything about turning away from suffering (that was purely an appeal to emotion and straw man fallacy). People do not have any right to anyone else's productivity. Remember that pointing out that someone has a right not to help, and not to be forced to help, does not mean that they will not help or don't want to help (see Defense Is Desire).

If you feel that someone else should be helped, you always have a right to reach into your own pockets and help, but not to reach into your neighbor's, or to rob him at gunpoint (TaxationIsExtortion).

Theft is not compassion. Giving your own time and money is (or at least may demonstrate) compassion.

Using State Services

"If you don't want to pay taxes, stop using services (such as roads and logistics), stop eating commercially grown food, don't accept disaster relief, and consider yourself on your own in case of burglary, fire, or medical emergencies." (Chris Read)

Response: This is a variation on the Public Property fallacy, but such a frequently-raised one that it deserves its own page.

Where to begin here? Well, the previous page covers much of it: the state owns nothing because legitimate ownership does not come through buying property with stolen money or by confiscating it at gunpoint.

The fact remains that people that would be free are still taxed: part of their productivity is taken by the state. Like any victim of theft, they have a right to get their money back. If they do this by receiving state services, this is neither wrong nor hypocritical. For example, it is often stated that Ayn Rand received social security, as if this is some great moral point or objection to her theories (this is an example of a legitimate objection). But it is likely she had far more taken from her than she ever got back, which still puts her on the positive side of the ledger.

Thus, a voluntaryist may use services provided by the state without hypocrisy or wrongdoing. It is just a case of an extortion victim managing to get back a few dollars of their own money.

Some will even defend receiving more than paid in as still moral, because taking resources from an enemy ("Our Enemy, the State") is legitimate. I'm not so sure about that, as the funds come from fellow victims—the state has no money of its own—but it's not likely the state was going to return the funds, either.

None of the items listed require a state (Who Will Build the Roads?), and most aren't even done by the state (so we don't know why the person listed them); but the state monopolizes provision of many services such as fire and police services (its "protection" services are rather more 99% harassment of peaceful people, to boot). The state does this by forcefully excluding competition: you cannot start a private police agency and sign up subscribers that can choose to pay for your service instead of the state's; people can't opt out of local school taxes as they should be able to; and if you start a protection agency, they will be threatened and violently attacked by the state if they do most of the things the state's police get away with: breaking into houses, accosting pedestrians, caging people for unapproved peaceful behavior.

In a free society, all services would be open to competition. (It is likely that for goodwill they would offer lower rates to the less able to pay, or charities would fill the gaps. Even if not, there is of course still no right to extort and coerce people!) If monopolies were to exist, they would exist because a company provided consistently superior service, and not because it had the largest gang of thugs around violently stopping competition. Compare how numerous grocery stores are, the great selection, and the friendliness of staff to the DMV or other state agencies without competition.

Counter: (Equally silly, but meant to be educational by pointing out the foolishness of the original fallacy.) If people love government so much, they should never drink water bottled at a profit, eat food grown on for-profit farms, breathe air filtered by private-sector filters, etc. (Cam Nedland)


"We should act so that utility is maximized."

Response: There are many problems with utilitarianism. First, measuring and comparing utilities is not actually possible (Mises)—it's all hypothetical. This makes it impossible to impose in practice; but as with most state justifications, it is used as excuse based on the ruler's decision of what people's utilities are. It is an amoral (hence frequently condoning immoral infringement of rights) philosophy than can justify even so far as robbing and murdering some so that utility across a population is increased; it does not respect NaturalLaw. (Refer also Rothbard's arguments in chapter 26 of The Ethics of Liberty.)

Not only are utilities not comparable nor measurable, they are also subjective. One person may calculate (or, rather, assert the belief) that the sum of utilities in killing all ethnic X (loss from all X, gain from all non-X) can be used to justify genocide. Another may deny it. A philosophy that asserts both A and not-A denies the law of non-contradiction (both A and not-A may not be true at the same time). And since utilities are not actually calculable, the calculator—the "measurer-and-decider-in-chief"—is not even actually determining utilities, but using utilitarianism as a smokescreen for their preferences. Having such a "measurer-and-decider-in-chief", of course, begs the question (of right actions) by smuggling in this decider without justification.

While past abuses do not invalidate utilitarianism, they do put another nail in a coffin that is already well-studded and deeply buried: tyrants of every stripe have used utilitarianism to justify their acts—a Master Race, Lebensraum, purification, and so forth.

Some may propose a variation on utilitarianism (for example, "no killing") to attempt to get around the horrors the philosophy justifies. However, this weakening is much like attempts to circumvent Gödel's incompleteness theorems by weakening the formal system in question: either you weaken it to be trivial (parallel: not powerful enough to justify the powers you assert the state must have), or it is still inconsistent (parallel: justifies genocide).

There is also, of course, the problem of justifying applying utilitarianism in the first place, i.e., why is it alright to harm some if others benefit?

Voting Is Consent

If you vote, you consent to everything the state does. If you don't, you can't complain!


    Since outright slavery has been discredited, "democracy" is the only remaining rationale for state compulsion that most people will accept. Democracy has proved only that the best way to gain power over people is to assure the people that they are ruling themselves. Once they believe that, they make wonderfully submissive slaves. —Joseph Sobran

Herbert Spencer destroys these fallacies: see

Related: ../MagicContracts

Wage Slavery

Statist: "OMG, wage slavery!"


The term "wage slavery" is an anti-concept, as Rand would put it. A job is a transaction between a buyer and a seller. If the transaction is made voluntarily—an agreement is made to exchange labor for a consideration, usually money called a "wage"—then it cannot possibly be slavery, because slavery is involuntary servitude.

What makes someone an anarchist is opposition to imposed rulers, not to chosen leaders. To forcefully interfere with someone's choice to follow someone else, for pay or not, is "archy"; you are forcefully (trying to) rule them.

As well, just because a person wants a billion dollars an hour and has to settle for ten doesn't negate the fact that their choice to "settle" for an offer that is actually available is voluntary. You have a right to persuade them not to take the deal; you have a right to pay them, from your own or donated funds, more to make up the perceived loss; but never the right to force the payer (employer) to pay more than agreed to (or to take a cut of the deal).

Sometimes, it is suggested that a person working somewhere is being "robbed" because they are not paid as much as some third party would like, or even as much as their product would eventually be sold for (labor theory of value fallacy). Such errors ignore the fact that the employee can only be there and work on the owner's property with his tools after an agreement to trade labor for money; otherwise, the worker is trespassing and, absent agreement, any work he did was freely donated.

Aggressing against property owners, damaging their property, or trespassing violates the NonAggressionPrinciple. On the other hand, wage labor and private property are voluntary arrangements and so cannot violate the NonAggressionPrinciple.

An error that is also made is that if an employer does not hire someone, or does not pay them enough to do X (including: survive, feed their family, buy a car, take vacations—sometimes this is encapsulated in the vague term "living wage", meaning, "wage I want to force you to pay them"), then they are aggressing. But to make a voluntary exchange and do no harm can never be aggression. Even if a person suffers harm from "nature"—starves or becomes sick due to insufficient resources—this cannot be blamed on some third party's non-action (and if it could, it would have to be blamed on all of them, a fact which also works as an effective reductio).

The employee profits by being paid with no cost except his time and labor. He had to save nothing, invest nothing, build nothing. In exchange for using someone else's building, tooling or other equipment, clientele, and suppliers, all he has to do is work and get paid. He exploits the "evil capitalist" at least as much as the "evil capitalist" exploits him. The worker can leave with at most a 2-week notice, and need not concern himself with finding someone to replace himself on the crew or otherwise attend to the business for one nanosecond longer than he wishes.

Other costs such as advertising, sales, marketing, quality control, plant costs, plant maintenance, electricity, state extortion, time value of money (as alluded to just above), and so forth must also be paid from the sale price, and are necessary to generate the sales and hence revenue that comes in.

Where Are The Stats

"I have yet to see you post one single statistic number or fact to base your [rational arguments] on!" (Lorie DeBehnke)


    "I won't argue ethics using statistics." —Kyle Bennett

The error here is that there are types of arguments that don't depend on statistics. For example, if one were to argue "more concealed carry licenses lead to less crime", one could point to John Lott's studies and statistics as evidence, but if one were to argue, say, "murder is wrong", there is no statistic that could help or hurt that point; it can be argued entirely without statistics. (From SelfOwnership, for example.)

The two types of arguments/facts are referred to as "a priori" and "a posteriori".

Who Will Build The Roads

Statist: "Without a government, who will build the roads?"


    "There is only one source of roads, and it does not share power. If you end the state, all the roads will turn back into turnips, and everyone will forget how to build them." —Charles Magney

Even today, the state doesn't build roads; it contracts it out to private companies. So we already know that private companies—or even individuals—can build roads.

Perhaps the intended question is, "Who will pay for the roads?" And the answer is, "Whoever uses them." It is likely that local roads will be JointlyOwned by people that live on a street, who will arrange maintenance; arterials, where there is more opportunity for competition, are more likely to be owned by businesses that will compete for drivers and will collect money via per-use fees (more likely transponders than toll booths—think modern technology!) or subscriptions.

See also:
Walter Block's book The Privatization of Roads and Highways
Kurt Tischer's blog post Roads
Thomas Mullen's article Anti-libertarian nonsense: Those government roads.

World Government

Fallacy: We should have national governments, but a world government would be wrong!

Response: Once one concedes that a single world government is not necessary, then where does one logically stop at the permissibility of separate states? If Canada and the United States can be separate nations without being denounced as being in a state of impermissible "anarchy," why may not the South secede from the United States? New York State from the Union? New York City from the state? Why may not Manhattan secede? Each neighborhood? Each block? Each house? Each person? But, of course, if each person may secede from government, we have virtually arrived at the purely free society, where defense is supplied along with all other services by the free market and where the invasive State has ceased to exist. (Rothbard)

Wouldn't Warlords Take Over

"If there was a free society without a state, wouldn't warlords take over?"


This is best answered by Robert P. Murphy's article, serendipitously named But Wouldn't Warlords Take Over?

In a little more detail, (1) with a state they already have, and you're paying tribute and obeying their edicts, and (2) distributed power is a great deterrent.

It must be realized that if there is one band with superior force, yeah, they're going to take over and possibly institute a state. "We must have a state to prevent the institution of a state" doesn't make much sense, however. Maybe "To prevent the institution of a worse state" but it's still just fear-mongering. The hope is that a free society will survive though education and distributed force—there are no prohibitions on building, importing, or trading arms—and be able to repel invasion from without and enslavement from within; but it is certainly possible it could fail… a guerrilla war might be fought to defeat the new tax-eaters; there are many possibilities

Civil "forfeiture":

This article about "forfeiture corridors" describes how drug dogs, whose alert is considered cause to search a vehicle or dwelling, are more likely to be alerting to a handler's cue than actual drugs, just so the police have an excuse to search vehicles and steal anything they find; and it can cost more than the stolen goods are worth to fight in court and get them back.

But oh, no, we must have the state or else gangs would rule the land, stopping travelers to rob them!

Real-world Evidence Contradicts the Statist Narrative:

"The people of Michoacan, fed up with the fear and subjugation of the cartels and the inaction of the government, have taken a page from the American Revolution, organizing citizen militias that have now driven cartels from the region almost entirely. These militias have decided to no longer rely upon government intervention and have taken independent action outside of the forced authoritarian structure."

Of course, the Mexican government has retaliated against the citizens for "taking the law into their own hands," which is politi-speak for "you cannot compete with us!"


You Have A Duty To Vote

"You have a duty to vote!"
"If you don't vote, you have no right to complain!"
"If you don't vote, your silence is supporting the incumbent!"

Response: George Carlin answers these fallacies quite well here.

Alternatively, "Either your vote is effective, in which case it will be imposed upon others through the initiation of violence, or it is not effective, in which case it is a meaningless waste of time." ~ Riley Yielding

Consider the options you face when you vote: If you are in the majority, you are imposing your candidate upon the minority, and you are forcing those who disagree with you to accept your preferences, which will be enforced at gunpoint. When you are trying to choose the lesser of two evils, you are still choosing evil, and knowingly voting for evil is immoral. There can be no duty imposed upon you by another party in a free society. If someone can impose a duty upon you without your consent, you are a slave.

You Know You'll Be Taxed

"Property in this country comes with the condition of taxation." (Implied: because you know you will be taxed when you do something like buying property, it is right / you consent.)

Response: Doesn't work. "Walking with a short skirt on this street comes with the condition of rape." Try again. Just because one knows that aggression is likely does not make the aggression right.

So if someone buys property in a high crime area, they deserve to have their door kicked in by robbers and be stabbed to death in their bed… Gotcha! "Opening a business in this part of town comes with the condition of paying the Mafia its protection money." It's still the same "reasoning."