Jakub Bozydar Wisniewski’s posts on facebook are often excellent. This example was good enough that I wanted to re-publish it here. The less-than-perfectly-pithy title is mine.

Those who believe that libertarian anarchy is bound to degenerate into warlord conflict over power vacuum make the error of thinking of libertarian anarchy as “statism without the state”, i.e., the situation where a territorial monopoly of violence disappears, but everything else, including the mentality that legitimizes and supports its existence, stays the same.

However, what practically every libertarian anarchist claims is that a successful, permanent withering away of territorial monopolies of violence and all the attendant, unnecessary evils can take place only if statism – the world view that condones or even praises their existence – is sufficiently eroded.

Think of “abolition without abolitionism” as a logically parallel scenario, where the toppling of old slave masters immediately gives rise to the appearance of new would-be slave masters, vying for control of newly liberated slaves. And think of how such a scenario differs from the one that we actually experienced in history – i.e., the one in which the widespread acceptance of abolitionism was recognized as a necessary condition of successful abolition.

In sum, while clearly recognizing the inherent instability of statism without the state (also known as “failed state”), libertarian anarchists are the only ones who do not fail to appreciate the fact that non-statism without the state is something qualitatively altogether different, especially in terms of stability.

Update

I just found that Jakub also published this on his blog under the title A Note on the Stability of Libertarian Anarchy