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Ep. 36 Even An-Caps Sometimes Give the State Too Much Credit

Bob goes solo to point out a common fallacy among even self-described anarcho-capitalists, when they blame a social problem on “too little government.” For example, in standard arguments over drug prohibition, sometimes libertarians will argue, “A drug dealer can’t call the cops if he gets robbed, so this leads to more violence in the industry.” Bob explains what’s wrong with this way of thinking.
Mentioned in the Episode and Other Links of Interest:

The audio production for this episode was provided by Podsworth Media.

About the author, Robert

Christian and economist, Research Assistant Professor with the Free Market Institute at Texas Tech, Senior Fellow with the Mises Institute, and co-host with Tom Woods of the podcast "Contra Krugman."


  1. […] am I going to do with you […]

  2. Tel on 05/29/2019 at 11:31 AM

    Interesting episode that goes to the heart of the debate about whether government serves a purpose, and what that purpose might be.

    Let’s take a closer look at Venezuela … the story is more nuanced than Bob outlines and in some ways much worse. It’s true that normal people in Venezuela cannot own guns, but certain people do have guns. Chavez carefully selected those who had an ideology similar to his own and helped them tool up thus creating the “Collectivo” gangs … while at the same time he disarmed the people who were likely to disagree with him. This whole project was quasi-legal in as much as if you go strictly by the book what they do is quite illegal, but at the same time the government ensures that selective enforcement of the law gives cover to their supporters.

    These “Collectivo” gangs provide the low level muscle to ensure the government remains the same, and on the one hand they thwart ambitions of the USA to impose regime change, but they also make it impossible for any local movement to protest or organize. Some people call this arrangement “Anarcho-tyrany”.

    This leads us to a conclusion that is difficult for many Libertarians to accept, but culture matters, and organization matters because once some group have become strong, they can systematically keep you weak by force of arms. Thus, whatever else happens … you will be doing it their way from then onwards. Leftists have an instinctive understanding of the power of the mob and gaining control of the apparatus that allows them to put their ideological enemies at a disadvantage. Libertarians tend to spend their lives yabbering about “rights” and then losing those rights to people who actually don’t give a toss what the Libertarians think.

  3. Isaac on 06/04/2019 at 3:43 AM

    Hi Bob,

    I wish you took a little stronger position on abortion. I am an uncompromising and consistently anti-state an-cap. I also openly and outwardly oppose abortion, as it is simply murder. I do not quite get why you are unwilling to outwardly take a stance. Not only because taking a stance against it is the right thing to do, but because I am curious about your view on how abortion would be handled in an anarchist society.

    That said, I have come to greatly respect you as a libertarian economist and thinker, and you have been instrumental in my formative development into a Christian anarcho-capitalist (always was a Christian, but I used to be a typical pro-government conservative). I greatly appreciate your effort in creating this show (believe it or not, I started listening to this show before Tom Woods’!). Even as I started identifying as an anarchist, I had trouble with Romans 13, having been taught the typical modern right-wing evangelical “God-created-government-and-it-was-good” view my entire life. Your interview with Norman Horn was helpful in putting that tired objection to rest, and that along with other resources helped point me toward a more comprehensive view of the Bible’s theology of the State.

    So, in short, thanks for spending the time to make this happen. Your discussions do positively impact other Christian libertarians! This was yet another great episode and I look forward to those to come!

    No King But Christ,

    • Robert Murphy on 06/07/2019 at 4:27 PM

      Hi Isaac,

      I am against abortion for the same reasons you are. However, people assume so much when you say that, and I didn’t want this particular episode to get sidetracked into an abortion debate, since that wasn’t its purpose. E.g. if people ask me about Catholic vs. Protestant, I will often defer, not because it’s unimportant, but just because that’s such a big thing and I don’t want to be flippant about it.

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