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I reserve the right to be wrong.

What would make Libertarianism's internal divisions clear? Perhaps a simple exposition of degrees of Libertarianism is in order. The degree to which different Libertarians reject elite monopoly power - whether it's a system built for a small fixed caste (oligarchy) or for the rich (plutocracy) - is important to recognise correctly so as to know what it is that people actually want the world to be like.

First, a definition of terms.

State - Metaphysical entity that is governed by an elite/government who are appointed either by themselves, the population at large or by sortition. Responsible for agreeing to and abiding by international treaties.

Courts - Arbiters in deciding which parties in a disagreement are right on a case by case basis.

Supreme Court - Arbiter in cases involving the body of laws itself.

Policing - Legally-empowered enforcers of laws.

Defence - Peeps with guns of various sizes for discouraging armed incursions by other nations' defence forces.

Welfare - Redistribution of money to help people pay for things they otherwise couldn't.

Licensing - Granting of legal right to engage in an activity. Those who do a thing without a license are breaking the law and can be punished in some way for it. Examples include driving a car or practising medicine.

Development Interventionism - Redistribution to infrastructure projects by government.

Taxation - Compulsory payment of money to government, descended from the tributary relationships between vassals and masters in ages past.

So, with our criteria defined, what do various stripes of political thought make of these several state activities.


Liberalism and socialism scraping for supremacy, both on the inside of the government at all times. Policies will express arbitrary mixtures of inspiration from both Liberalism and Socialism.

Yes to the State.
Yes to the State Courts monopoly.
Yes to the State Policing monopoly.
Yes to the State Defence monopoly.
Yes to State Welfare.
Yes to State Licensing.
Yes to Development Interventionism.
Yes to taxation to fund the above.


Not really my idea of Libertarianism at all.

Yes to the State.
Yes to the State Courts monopoly.
Yes to the State Policing monopoly.
Yes to the State Defence monopoly.
Maybe State Welfare.
Maybe State Licensing.
Yes to taxation to fund the above.


Yes to the State.
Yes to the State Courts monopoly.
Yes to the State Policing monopoly.
Yes to the State Defence monopoly.
Maybe State Welfare.
Maybe State Licensing.
No taxation.


Yes to the State.
Yes to State Supreme Court.
No State Courts monopoly.
No State Policing monopoly.
No State Defence monopoly.
No State Welfare.
No State Licensing.
No taxation.


No State.

It is beyond the scope of this blog post - or the author's knowledge - to look into the philosophical justifications for each of the positions taken above. Anarcho-capitalism is perhaps the most philosophically consistent of the lot, but that's not where I lie.

I am for now one rung above, a minarcho-capitalist, determined to see competition weed out bad governance, but nevertheless desirous of two state institutions to remain, but that's another story.

On the next Ecomony Blogtime; Mr Matt demonstrates how un-libertarian it is to permit others to be un-libertarian!

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