Author Archive

What Is Anarcho-Capitalism? A Concise Explanation.

The term “anarcho-capitalism” is unfortunate, in my opinion, as it is a contraction of 2 very contentious words which have come to mean all sorts of different things. I’ll do my best to explain what we actually mean when we talk about ancap.

  • anarcho-capitalists believe that self ownership is of primary concern…
  • that the right to control the fruits of our labor, or that which we are voluntarily given (inherited, traded, contracted, etc.) is the natural extension of this right to self ownership…
  • that the right to freely and voluntarily enter into contracts with others is another natural extension of the concept of self ownership…
  • that force is only justified in defense against an aggressor, be it upon a person, or upon their justly-acquired property (e.g. vandalism). We call this the non-aggression principle…
  • the “anarchism” in “anrcho-capitalism” is defined as the belief that the state is undesirable, and/or immoral, and/or unnecessary…
  • “the state” is defined as a coercive or aggressive monopoly…
  • “aggression” is defined as the initiation of the use of force, theft, or fraud, or threat thereof…
  • “capitalism” is defined as a market of voluntary exchange, free from aggression, from the state or otherwise (which is quite different than what is colloquially termed as “capitalism”, such as state/corporate cronyism, corporate welfare, and many other forms of aggression in the market)…
  • anarcho-capitalists believe that the free market is capable of providing protective and judicial services, in a vastly more just and efficient manner than the state…

So, to sum it up, we believe in self-ownership, property rights, and that all interactions between adult persons should be voluntary.

Bastiat Says It Best

In this rapidly changing modern world, it’s often easy to feel like your problems are unique, and unlike those of people who lived hundreds of years ago. That’s why I was so struck recently when I came across this quote by Frédéric Bastiat:

“Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.”

Bastiat, The Law

If I didn’t know better, I never would have guessed that this quote was first published in 1850. You’d think after all this time the level of common debate would have advanced passed this. You’d think that the average modern socialist would at least understand the absolute basics of the libertarian position.


Surfers Understand Natural Property Rights

Another great video by

Professor Tom W. Bell of Chapman University School of Law explains how surfers almost universally observe a “natural law” propertarian ethic. A surfer who “homesteads”, or “mixes his labor” with (i.e.: begins surfing on) the wave first, has demonstrated a natural right to exclusive ownership of the wave for the duration of the break. Surfers who do not respect the property rights of other surfers are ostracized, or even retaliated against (justifiably in the minds of other surfers, so long as the retaliation is within reasonable proportion to the severity of the offense).

What’s the difference between a “big L” and a “small l” libertarian?

February 18, 2011 Leave a comment

In my experience, a common source of confusion arises when discussing political issues with a self-identifying libertarian.  That is: an incomplete (or total lack) of understanding of the difference between “big L” and “small l” libertarianism.

For instance: some “small l”s are completely opposed to voting in political elections, which can lead to questions like “then how do you expect your party to ever get elected?”.  Herein lies the confusion.

A libertarian is one who advocates for the maximization of individual liberty, and/or advocates for the minimization (if not total abolition) of government, and/or follows the non-aggression principle.

A Libertarian is a member of the Libertarian Party, a political party based on libertarian principles.

Members of the Libertarian party are a subset of the libertarian community, who believe that the goals of limited (or abolished) government can be achieved through the political process.  Here it is in ven diagram form:

big L small l ven diagram

All Libertarians are libertarians, but not all libertarians are Libertarians.

So, libertarians who are opposed to voting can only be described as “small l” libertarians.  Ron Paul can generally be described as a “small l” libertarian, even though he is an elected member of the Republican party.  However, in 1988, when he ran for president on the Libertarian Party ticket, he could have been described as a “big L” Libertarian.

There are, unfortunately, cases of “Big L” Libertarians whose credentials as “small l” libertarians are questionable, but for the purposes of simplification (and my own sanity), we’ll try to ignore these individuals.

For more information on the Libertarian Party, visit

For more information on libertarianism in general (big L and small), take a dive into the bottomless pit of articles over at

Categories: big L, libertarianism

The Non-Aggression Principle

February 15, 2011 1 comment

The Non-Aggression Principle:

The non-aggression principle (also called the non-aggression axiom, or the anti-coercion or zero aggression principle or non-initiation of force) is an ethical stance which asserts that “aggression” is inherently illegitimate. “Aggression” is defined as the “initiation” of physical force against persons or property, the threat of such, or fraud upon persons or their property. In contrast to pacifism, the non-aggression principle does not preclude violent self-defense. The principle is a deontological (or rule-based) ethical stance.

(source: wikipedia)

Categories: libertarianism, NAP