|Jim, the problems with the current government are real, but it seems to me that you're missing the point of most of the debaters. If you understood the point, you'd see how your statements appear only as a distraction. It may be convincing to other anarchists who also don't get the point, but it is utterly unconvincing to us because it is essentially irrelevant to the argument.|
In the case of posts 85 and 86, I described why the distinction between these two services is not arbitrary, and how the use of force as a service fundamentally differs from other services. Your response ignored the entire distinction and the basis for the distinction. You tried to shift the focus back to the problems of minarchy, specifically the problem of possible corruption. But you've ignored the implications of the argument. You missed the whole point.
Looking at the argument again, we recognize certain needs or requirements. First, we have rights and we need to protect those. Second, an initiation of force against others in a society is a real threat to our own rights. We can't simply let people commit any crime that ends in murder and throw up our hands saying "well, they didn't initiate force against me.....yet". Third, we're not omniscient with universally accepted views of what is an isn't an initiation of force. Together, it means that when someone uses force against another, we need a way to determine if that use of force was appropriate or not.
And more importantly, we need some mechanism/process to decide as a group. That's because if we all come to radically different conclusions and act on them, the lack of agreement will create more violence. If A is mugging B in a parking lot and shoots B, C may witness this and kill A. D may come in thinking C murdered A, and kill C. Etc., etc. Time isn't what prevents this. The facts may not be obvious and known to all parties. Instead, we create a process where the facts are investigated, analyzed, and a judgment is made. We have a need for this process. The cost of not having it is a perpetual fear that some other party will come in with insufficient knowledge and retaliate. We have the need to use retaliatory force, and so we have a need for significant assurance that we won't be retaliated against for using the retaliatory force. While there will always be criminals who initiate force, we need a mechanism to make sure that law-abiding citizens aren't pitted against one another as well.
One could try to rebut some of the requirements for this argument. Some have tried to suggest that we can only retaliate if force is used against us directly, for instance. They're wrong, but at least they're trying. Without a rebuttal, the question should be how does this argument apply to anarchism?
The first thing to note is that in the anarchy ideal, we have protection agencies that defend their clients. Who do they protect them from? Generally, they have to protect them from people who aren't clients of the protection agency. It should be obvious they can't simply restrict their use of retaliatory force to clients. Not only would it leave their clients completely vulnerable to outsiders, but as soon as a client ended up initiating force against another client, they could simply "opt out" from punishment by leaving the agency. So for the agency to provide any actual service, it must be able to use retaliatory force against non-members.
That creates two problems, one more obvious than the other. First, the "criminal" may be a paying member of another agency. This is the obvious problem, as suddenly for this agency to use retaliatory force, they must either get permission from the other agency, or they must wage war.
The second problem goes back to the original argument. To protect their own citizens, they can't simply allow criminals (or criminal agencies) to run around initiating force against anyone. They can't simply remain neutral, saying "it's not my problem", as war breaks out around them. As the potential threats increase, their ability to protect their clients diminishes. This is true if the two protection agencies disagree and wage war. It's true if a protection agency initiates force against a third party. And it's true if the protection agency coerces its own members.
They need a way of determining which uses of force are appropriate, and which are not. They need to know when their use of force will be viewed as legitimate by others, and when it will be viewed as an initiation of force with a violent response.
Some anarchists are pacifists, so they think retaliatory force is merely optional. This allows them to ignore these conflict of opinion. If there is ever disagreement about the appropriateness of a use of force, the parties involved can simply not use force in that case. But if you view retaliatory force as a necessity, if you view an initiation of force as something you can't simply ignore because it is an attack on the rights of the individual and a threat to every other, these differences of opinion can and will become serious problems.
Once the anarchists figure out a way of dealing with these issues, they stop being anarchists. Once they admit there must be a process to determine what is and isn't an appropriate use of force, they are arguing for a de facto government.
This is the issue, and the argument against anarchy. That's why it is a complete distraction to argue that a minarchy can become corrupt over time. It ignores the fundamental issue with anarchy. It doesn't address the problem, it just tries to change the subject. And on top of that, it doesn't apply the same reasoning to anarchy. Can protection agencies be corrupted? Yes. Can whatever process they have to determine what is appropriate or inappropriate be corrupted? Yes. If there is not widespread agreement among the populace that the initiation of force is wrong, will the anarchic system also have bad "laws"? Yes.
You can't just ignore the issue or sidestep it. If the only practical way for an anarchy to work is to form a de facto government to decide which uses of force are appropriate or not, it means that anarchy as a theory is completely broken.