by Neville Kennard, veteran preaching and practising capitalist

There seems to be much resistance from the think tank industry to debate their classical liberal views and ideas with anarchocapitalists — the minarchist vs anarchist debate.

Why would this be?

There seems to be intense antipathy between these very similar but also very different camps and viewpoints.

The classical liberal minarchists believe in minimum government: government, they believe, is needed and is economic to look after the “essential” government services of police, courts and defence. The classical liberals are very utilitarian in their position, looking at what works, what has seemed to work in the past, and what would work in the future. Classical liberals accept a certain amount of tax as a necessity.

The anarchocapitalists, on the other hand, believe that any coercion or force or fraud is a violation of self-ownership and the right of people to own their own lives and the ethically acquired property of their lives. They believe that any tax, any regulation, any coercion of an individual is a violation of that person’s natural self-ownership and right to live freely as he or she chooses.

Colloquially called the minarchists, the classical liberals are frequently (in America) advocates of “Back to the Constitution” and are sometimes labelled by anarchocapitalists as Constitution worshippers. The anarchocapitalists like to point out that Constitution re-interpretation is inevitable, especially with the State running the courts.

Minarchists include national defence as a necessary role for their very small government. Anarchists argue that to tax people to defend them violates their self-ownership and they can very nicely defend themselves, thank you.

And so it goes …

But why not debate?

As it now stands the classical liberals in their think tanks debate with social democrats of various hues about “How much Government?” The classical liberals point out the damage done by all the interventions and regulations and taxes, and they do a pretty good job in this, trying to keep the never-ending call for more government programs at least a little restrained. But if they, the classical liberals, were to debate with the anarchocapitalists it would drag the debate away from “the centre” towards the extreme libertarian end of the political/economic/ethical spectrum, and away from the authoritarian end where the social democrats sit.

A benefit to the think tanks and classical liberals in debating with anarchocapitalists is that they can distance themselves from the anarchocapitalist “free radicals” and appear solid and sensible. The classical liberals can come out of it with their reputations as down-to-earth realists enhanced.

The interventionists in all their various colours and hues and shades would be left out of this one. Robust debate about no government or small government would be controversial and provocative. I think the classical liberals would win such debates as the constituency, the society is not anywhere near ready to contemplate a no government / anarchocapitalist idea of the way they might live.

So if the classical liberlas, the minarchists, are likely to be the winners, why would they not want to debate and to welcome speakers and papers and books and debates on the subject?

Why would they be defensive and closed to such ideas? They have nothing to lose. Or do they?

Are the classical liberal think tanks wary of offending their supporters with way-out ideas and discussion that may upset them and their financial support?

Would it be like a Christian Minister debating with an atheist in front of his congregation, where the minister sees that he has nothing to gain and fair bit to lose?

Of course if the Minister was sure of his grounds he would embrace such a debate as it would cement and increase his support and his financial contributions. But if he thought the congregation might be swayed away from their beliefs and desert him, of course he would decline such a debate.

Are the classical liberals, therefore, very unsure of their grounds and their arguments and fearful of losing the support and financial contributions of their congregation?

For the sake of the cause of less government, be it minarchist or anarchist, this debate should rage. The popular press would have a field day rubbishing the anarchocapitalists and supporting the classical liberals. That the classical liberals would win is a no-brainer. And it would help their cause. Frequent robust, diverse discussion and debate on the many aspects of this question would invigorate the classical liberals and would enable them to point out the reasonableness, the moderation, the sense and familiarity of having a government, albeit a small one, as against the outlandish, risky, chaotic unproven idea of no government.

I wish the think tanks with their classical liberal positions would reply and respond to my views as to the benefits to them of such classical liberal vs anarchocapitalist debates. Are they too scared? They have the talent, the scholars, the finance … Perhaps they don’t have the guts.

(in order of appearance on
  1. Welcome from Neville Kennard
  2. Think Tanks Don't Work
  3. "Market Failure": Just what the government ordered!
  4. The Tragedy of the Tax Pool Commons
  5. Corporate Welfare
  6. Citizenship for Sale?
  7. I Don't Vote
  8. Voting: Right or Privilege?
  9. Stockholm Syndrome and our Love-Hate Relationship with Government
  10. Civil Disobedience: The Rules of Engagement
  11. Should Respect for Law Extend to Bad Laws?
  12. Jaywalking as a Demonstration of Individuality
  13. Government Likes War
  14. Collusion is Our Right
  15. Why Not the Drug Olympics?
  16. Unconventional Wisdom
  17. Tiger Farming: An Alternative to Extinction
  18. Looking Backwards: Mont Pelerin Society Conference, Sydney, 2010
  19. Tax Avoidance is a Patriotic Duty
  20. Kennard Writes to IPA Review Editor
  21. Genocide by Welfare: A Tragedy from the Aboriginal Welfare Industry
  22. Separating Sport and State
  23. Your Home is Not an Investment
  24. Dick Smith, Celebrity Philanthropist
  25. A Libertarian's New Year's Resolution
  26. Extend Politicians' Holidays to Create Prosperity
  27. Entrepreneurs are Disruptive, and Bureaucrats Hate It
  28. What is a good Australian?
  29. Governments Like Employment But Hate Employers
  30. The Market Failure Industry
  31. Neville Kennard: The Tax Avoidance Imperative
  32. Wot if ...?
  33. The Tribal Chief and the Witch Doctor
  34. The Tannehills
  35. Democracy versus Property Rights and Prosperity
  36. Government Doesn't Work, and That's the Way They Like It
  37. Minarchy vs Anarchy
  38. Euthanasia and Self-Ownership
  39. The Right Policies to Fix a Depression
  40. Is Howard Our Best PM?
  41. Tax Producers vs Tax Consumers
  42. Where There's a Queue, There's a Business Opportunity
  43. Authoritarian Freedom
  44. Why Classical Liberals Should Debate Anarchocapitalists
  45. The Tyranny of the Majority
  46. If you could choose to whom you paid your tax
  47. Business Should Exploit Boat People
  48. The Immorality of Trade Unions
  49. "America" vs "The United States"
  50. Sweet Anarchy
  51. The Illusion of "Job Creation"
  52. Gold Is Money
  53. Guilty Capitalists
  54. Bureauphobia
  55. Prosperity vs Growth
  56. Capitalism vs Democracy
  57. More people = More fun
  58. Self-Ownership - the very idea!
  59. Government will murder Neville Kennard if he doesn't back away
  60. The Australian Dollar Has Been Cowardly and Criminally Devalued, Harming the Poor Particularly
  61. Is Taxation Theft and Government a Tax Cheat?
  62. My Journey to Anarchy:
    From political and economic agnostic to anarchocapitalist
  63. Government Needs Bad Guys –
    that's why they like wars
  64. What Is Obscene?
  65. Traffic Economics
  66. Wayne Swan stands on the shoulders of other intellectual pygmies
  67. Neville Kennard Obituary
  68. Neville Kennard in 1979 proposes new alliances to end penalty rates
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(in order of appearance on
  1. The Minarchist Case for Anarchism
  2. Minarchy vs Anarchy
  3. Why Classical Liberals Should Debate Anarchocapitalists
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