Look, anarcho-capitalism sounds like fun. Was there ever a more “all-in” sounding economic philosophy? It’s half punk rock ethos, half free market jazz. Call the house band the Sachs Pistols. (Goldman Sachs, that is.) But then Goldman is in with the federal government (hell, Goldman practically is the government) so that’s not quite right, though they sure fit the capitalist part of the bill. Besides, Goldman Sachs would adjust to anarchy just fine: an anarchist is as easy to buy as a congressman. But does anarcho-capitalism have legs, or does it make itself impossible? In classic Rothbardian anarcho-capitalism, there would be the implementation of a mutually agreed-upon libertarian “legal code which would be generally accepted, and which the courts would pledge themselves to follow.” Shit, that sounds like law, not anarchy. (BTW, while we’re on Rothbard, could someone please do a study on the prevalence of bow ties among libertarian anarchists in the academy? Is it about reluctance to conform? A deep desire to ignore any trend, sartorial or egalitarian? Is it a boast about finger dexterity?)
Alas, even anarcho-capitalism begets a system. Luckily there’s Lew Rockwell, who since 1999 has been pushing the buttons of the status quo at lewrockwell.com. It’s a freethinker’s paradise constructed “to help carry on the anti-war, anti-state, pro-market work of Murray N. Rothbard.” The anti-war part is something almost everybody can agree on: even the people who drop bombs claim they do it because they don’t want war. The pro-market thing? Generally well-loved, but sort of lost some luster around 2008. Anti-state? Therein lies the trouble for many. Whatever their complaints, most people get a lot of benefits from the state. It’s by comparison to places where the state is in chaos that this stands out best. (Where there is no state there is no freedom.) But then look what the state goes and does! Just when you want to appreciate the relative law and order it supplies–cool stuff like national parks, roads that work, Pell Grants, safety nets (there but for the grace of God go…), the NSA goes and spies on you. See, says Lew Rockwell. And then the president wants to drop bombs. See, says Lew Rockwell again, and in chime his often eloquent band of co-conspirators. Yes, LewRockwell.com is a very lively, engaging place to spend some time. But as Lew would be the first to tell you: never believe everything you read.