The Will to Be Free

The practical superiority of markets over governments has become readily apparent. Only the most dogmatic of state apologists continue to deny this obvious fact—at least with respect to the production of many goods and services. Free-market economists and libertarians go much further, of course. They affirm the market’s superiority in nearly all realms. Yet only a handful of anarchocapitalists, most notably Murray Rothbard, have dared claim that a free market could also do a better job of providing protection from foreign states.1 National defense is generally considered the most essential of all government services. This widely conceded exception to the efficacy of markets seems to have irrefutable empirical confirmation. If private defense is better than government defense, why has government kept winning over the centuries? Indeed, the state’s military prowess has more than seemingly precluded the modern emergence of any anarchocapitalist society. At one time, as far as we know, all humankind lived in stateless bands of hunter-gatherers and had done so since the emergence of modern man some fifty thousand years ago. But beginning around 11,000 B.C., a gradual transition to..
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