Is the death of minarchism near? Well, I guess that depends on how one defines minarchism. The range of definitions for minarchism could include government intervention in only one government program or it could include hundreds or even thousands of government programs. I suppose this is the principled argument: that any government interference in society is minarchism. Indeed, it's statism! No, let's get to the truth: it's socialism! Ooo, that evil word that shall not be recited out loud - sort of like saying Beetlejuice three times (if you are reading this out loud stop after saying socialism only once - oops, ok no more).
But why is minarchism the same as statism? Why is it even close to socialism? Are they not completely different sides of the "government intervention spectrum"? (Did I just contribute something to the political field?). If socialism is the government ownership of production and the economy, then how is this minarchism? If I own stock in a company, do I completely own the company? Or do I simply hold stock in the amount provided in the stock certificate?
So, in other words, if government was only in charge of the country's national defense and the court system would we call this socialism? Or would we call it minarchism? Well, does the government (in this scenario) have the ownership of production and the economy? I suppose you could argue they have some ownership - a completely arbitrary number of 5% of GDP comes to mind. But the government doesn't have complete ownership over the economy in this scenario - not even close. This doesn't seem to be socialism, though I suppose it could be called statism (if that means ANY support of government intervention at all). But it seems to me that the better name to call this limited spending would be minarchism.
So is the death of minarchism near? Well, of course not; we are nowhere near its downfall. Local, state, and federal governments have spent over $6 trillion dollars this year. Current GDP government spending is over 40%, contrasted with only 7% in the early 20th Century. And, mind you, this is government spending in nearly every aspect of the economy: NSA, CIA, DOD, DOE, FDA, ATF, DHS (let me save some writing space by inserting this link to a list of all the federal agencies). And this $6 trillion number is higher than last year, and higher than the year before that, and higher than the year before that, and so on and so on. Yet, we are to believe that the end of minarchism draws near?
Yes. Libertarians, through the beauty of the internet, are able to join together. To speak as one voice (interestingly enough, one could argue, a sort of anti-libertarian ideal). Yet, similar to Libertarians decades ago (and even beyond that), we remain a minority (though to be fair we are all minorities).
But the State remains. Socialism, not minarchism, remains. Indeed, minarchism would be a celebration! Anarchists and voluntaryists would have a much easier job in advocating their "radical" positions. You mean the lack of government intervention in regulating pollution leads to less pollution? Well, shoot; couldn't the same be said for the lack of government intervention in defense and courts? Yes?! Ok. Minarchism is now officially dead. Everyone can rejoice and sing halleluiah!
But, again, we are nowhere close to minarchism or the celebration of individual freedom. The death of the state (assuming it can in fact die - I mean, can the universe die?) is a long ways away. Let's look at the polls:
54% approve of U.S. airstrikes in Iraq.
14% support Palestinians against Israel.
44% approve of Obama's job performance.
And the polls aren't the best indication of the support of the government; after all, we are in the midst of a depression and in the middle (or fallout) of multiple wars in the Middle East. Much like the support of the government declined after Vietnam, it will likely (at least based on history) increase sometime in the future (public trust fell from 80% in 1966 to about 25% in 1981, only to increase to over 50% after 9/11).
50% may seem low, but a government doesn't need much support. It only needs a small group of people to come to the voting polls to support the party of government. But alas! Government has more than just a small number of voters who turnout every few years; in fact, they have over a hundred million supporters!
But yeah, the death of minarchism draws near. Libertarians are winning! Just look at my residential state of Florida (Libertarian Governor candidate is polling at 9%). See, the optimism is real! People really do believe in freedom! Oh, I thought the article said 90%. Damn. That sucks.
Now, I'm not saying minarchism can't die; I'm just saying it's improbable. Sort of like me winning the Powerball lottery or becoming the world's most successful underwear model (well, I suppose these two things likely have a higher probability rate - however unfortunate for the world).
I suppose I'm really getting at the Libertarian debate of minarchism VS anarchism. Why take the giant leap towards complete anarchism? Why not just settle on minarchism and garner more support? (though even that may not happen).
Oh, those damn principles! But, aren't you an anarchist? So, how do you survive when the state is all around us? How do you do anything? I mean, regardless of the efficiency or success of government intervention, the roads are government, most products are regulated by government, imports and exports are controlled by government, the supply of money is controlled by government (though Bitcoin and similar cryptocurrencies are promising), the borders are defended by the government, and so on and so on. Plus, I'm sure you pay taxes. Right? You do? So you support the state? Oh, you statist! You must be a socialist cloaked in anarchist clothing!
So, principles aren't what's holding you back (assuming, of course, that one exception to a principle breaks the very foundation of the principle). I suppose I'm just trying to answer how we get more people to support the ideas of liberty. Is arguing that any support of government - even at 1% - is an evil to be hated and despised really the way to get people to advocate freedom? Well, is it working? Or are we pushing people away from seeing the "truth" as we see it?
Whatever. All I'm saying is minarchism is not dead. I suppose I could have just ended it at after that...