A Condensed Version of: For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto by Murray N. Rothbard
Compiled and Edited by Dr. Jimmy T. (Gunny) LaBaume
The Public Sector, III: Outlaw Protectors
Objectors to the purely libertarian society raise the possibility of police, judges and courts being biased and making their decisions in favor of wealthy clients or of one or more of them becoming outlaws. Granted, we cannot assume that a free society will also bring with it a magically transformed Libertarian Man. But, given any particular degree of man’s “goodness” or “badness,” such a society will certainly be the most moral, efficient, secure and the least criminal.
First consider the crooked judge who might favor his own wealthy client. In the first place, this would be highly unlikely due to the fact that the livelihood of the judge would depend on his reputation, his “brand name” so to speak—without which he would no longer have customers.
Contrast this free market corrective mechanism to today’s government courts. Judges are appointed or elected for long terms—sometimes life. They are awarded a monopoly of decision-making in their area. Consequently it is almost impossible to do anything about corrupt decisions. This power continues unchecked year after year while their salaries continue to be paid by coercion of the hapless taxpayer.
Furthermore, most business firms in the free market do not earn their keep from wealthy customers. They earn it from the mass market. The same would hold for any private court system. Contrast this with the present where judges, like all politicians, are beholden to wealthy contributors to their political parties.
It is claimed that America has a system of “checks and balances” so that power cannot unduly accumulate in one set of hands. But that is a myth. The system is largely a fraud. Each one of the “checks” (branches of government) is itself a coercive monopoly and all are part of the same government. At best, there are only two, often colluding, parties and both are very close in ideology. Furthermore, the day-to-day business of government is conducted by a bureaucracy that cannot be displaced by the voters. Contrast this situation to the real checks and balances provided by the free-market. The competition of other grocery chains is what keeps A&P honest. In the same way, the possibility of customers cutting off their business is what would keep free-market judges honest.
The same type of analysis applies to a private police force. It is possible that a renegade force might set up a “protection racket” to shake down its customers. If that should happen, not only would it loose customers, other police forces could (and probably would) band together to quell the aggressors. Contrast this with the State. If gangsters capture the State’s coercive apparatus (and consequently its weapons), there is not much that can be done short of revolution.
After all the State is nothing but organized banditry anyway. It commits theft on a gigantic scale and calls it taxation, mass murder and calls it war and mass enslavement and calls it conscription. It is impossible to envision a private police force that could get away with a tiny fraction of these crimes.
Another consideration is the sense of government legitimacy held by the stupefied public that has been indoctrinated by centuries of propaganda. A propaganda fostered by the State’s intellectuals and aided by the trappings of legitimacy—flags, rituals, ceremonies, awards, constitutions, etc. No gang of bandits— even one composed of all the private police forces conspiring together—could ever command such legitimacy. The public would quickly recognize them as bandits and they would be overthrown.
But suppose that despite all these built in, free market controls, the State managed to reestablish itself. All that would mean is that we would simply have a State again. We would be no worse off than we already are now and “at least the world will have had a glorious holiday.”
To be continued
The Essence of Liberty Volume I: Liberty and History chronicles the rise and fall of the noble experiment with constitutionally limited government. It features the ideas and opinions of some of the world’s foremost contemporary constitutional scholars. This is history that you were not taught at the mandatory government propaganda camps otherwise known as “public schools.” You will gain a clear understanding of how America’s decline and decay is really nothing new and how it began almost immediately with the constitution. Available in both paperback and Kindle versions.
You might be interested in the other two volumes of this three volume set: The Essence of Liberty Volume II: The Economics of Liberty and The Essence of Liberty Volume III: Liberty: A Universal Political Ethic.