“Small” Government and “Minimal” States: Road to Authoritarianism

What separates anarchists, left-libertarians from right-wing libertarians are many ideological and practical disagreements. But perhaps the most serious divide is in the dilemma¬†of how far enough to do away with the political state. Anarchists and left libertarians would say: abolish it. The right-wing, liberals, and conservatives, the political majority of the United States, would allow the State, a “necessary evil” to protect the individuals (we see here clear direct traces of Enlightenment thinkers).

Yet, with a “lean” government, this logic would still lead to a police state. Ideally in a right-wing, anarcho-capitalist utopia (forget about the paradox and contradictions there), with full fettered capitalism and markets that reign in society, the state would rule less, though in its place would rule corporations and individuals, high of holding sections of the economy. Not only that, but a minimal state would simply be one that provides for the defense and enforcer of contracts between economic subjects. The state here is clearly the one marked by simply a shuffling a power. The bureaucracy does not exist, they would say. It does – the only difference is that sections of it are privatized. In reality, there is no simplification of politics.

That the state’s only focus is being the protector and enforcer is thus again reassigning it the roles that anarchism is actually against. Anarcho-capitalists‘ dream cannot be realized for this reason, where laissez faire capitalism appears without a ‘state’, unless they mean one that is privatized. As Murray Bookchin once said, these philosophies are less about liberty and more about property, and should be called “propietarians“. Personally I think it fits, and I will do so from now on.

Police states are actually very ‘lean’, efficient and small. Their sole purpose is to police and discipline their subjects. The neoliberal agenda is thus one that, while gutting social services, proposes the enlargement of the enforcement class – and expanding or privatizing the defense function of the state. The Iraq War was perhaps one of the most adept at that. By the state employing only a fraction of the population, complete control over its subjects is achieved. Partial existence of the state is thus either efficiently directed (modern and outright police state), or inefficient (welfare state of a Scandinavian model). These enforcement agencies and structures, as so far a state goes, have no accountablity of the public, and their monopolization of violence is evident through policies like police militarization (too many a time when its virtually impossible to identify a simply police officer from a military soldier).

A dystopia characterization is the movie Elysium for example. Its not a great movie, and its political intricacies are sort of confusing (I suppose the world itself is one huge working class?). Yet, the government is not present at all in the world, except for a robot police force that is made by the people themselves. Obviously, there are no welfare programs, so people are on their own. The lean government exists only to protect the business class (we assume?), and that’s that.

Anarcho-capitalists do a disservice by claiming a philosophy that advocates for the elimination of domination in every form, they obviously don’t. The right-wing claim that the police state is a necessary evil is an inherent contradiction by allowing this domination to exist. It is an evil that should not exist, and this can be solved by dissolving the political state completely.


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