My job as a lawyer is to advise and represent individuals and legal entities in matters that concern the state. I may never speak to the state or its agents while providing legal services, and the services may simply amount to defining the legal relationship between two private actors. But everything in my job is done with an eye towards the possibility that the state will involve itself in the client’s affairs. Usually the potential involvement is that some other party will use the courts to resolve a dispute, and potentially use a court’s writ to command the state to do violence against another. Although there is a great deal about this system that I do not agree with, I believe that if someone is going to have to do violence against another then this is the best method.
Invariably there will be disputes between people. I work primarily with fellow libertarians as well as a few anarchists (I like my job). But they still disagree. If my coworkers and their families and all the other liberty lovers in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex were so fortunate as to be able to form our own society outside of the writ of the federal government of the United States or that of the State of Texas, we would not be transformed into fully cooperative angels. People would still lie to one another, promises would still be broken, marriages dissolved, and people harmed. In a totally free society, people would develop institutions that would resolve disputes and parties to agreements would agree to submit their disputes to dispute resolution systems and that some private institution would be permitted to use violence to enforce the decision of that system. This already occurs to a great extent today through various alternative dispute resolution systems, except that the state is still the ultimate dispenser of justice.
But there will also be instances where people will do wrong against one another without giving their consent to have a dispute resolved by a particular tribunal. Take for example car accidents. Who decides who is at fault? And more importantly, who is going to make the negligent party pay for the costs of repair? Even if the party in the right is correct that the other party was negligent and ought to pay, does that belief itself entitle them to use violence to enforce their right to be made whole? Are they permitted to hire a private actor to extort or forcibly take their property from them? This immediately poses problems.
I say all this because as I become more and more involved in the movement for liberty I meet more and more self-described anarchists and capital anarchists. While I believe that those views are worthwhile in the concepts they express, I do not think the concrete policy goals they envision are in any way realistic. The goals are noble in that they seek maximum liberty, but they are dangerous in that they risk discrediting the movement as being made up of radicals or idealists incapable of actually accomplishing meaningful change. I sincerely hope someone will correct me if I have expressed a misunderstanding of one of the goals of anarchists. I am always willing to learn more about those views. But I question the wisdom of expressing such views so forcefully and in every public context.