Thursday, December 15, 2005

My View of Warlordism, Seconded

UPDATED 12/18/05

Arnold Kling writes:

The conventional view [of anarchy], which I share, is that peaceful anarchy is insufficiently stable. It gives way to warlordism. Warlordism means a situation in which there is no rule of law. A warlord rules by rewarding his friends and punishing his enemies.

In my view, it only takes one warlord to break up a peaceful anarchy. Once one warlord becomes successful, then it is easy for a second warlord to recruit followers, because people either envy or fear the followers of the first warlord. This process continues until everyone is driven to follow warlords.

To break a warlord equilibrium, you need government. That is the Hobbesian solution--a Leviathan that is capable of suppressing the "war of all against all."

Government is flawed, . . . [but] I would not want to risk a descent into warlordism.

I ended a post on the same subject with this thought:
A wasteful, accountable, American state is certainly preferable to an efficient, private, defense agency in possession of the same military might. Hitler and Stalin, in effect, ran private defense agencies, and look where that landed the Germans and Russians. Talk about subjugation.
UPDATE: The quotation from Arnold Kling is taken from a series of exchanges between he and his co-blogger Bryan Caplan. There are two more entries in the series, here (Caplan) and here (Kling). Worth reading. Kling has the better of it, in my view.

Other related posts:

Defense, Anarcho-Capitalist Style (09/26/04)
Fundamentalist Libertarians, Anarcho-Capitalists, and Self-Defense (04/22/05)
The Legitimacy of the Constitution (05/09/05)
Another Thought about Anarchy (05/10/05)
Anarcho-Capitalism vs. the State (05/26/05)
Rights and the State (06/13/05)