A Circular Argument in Libertarian Reasoning?

by Gene Callahan

Although I have touched briefly on this topic at my (mostly) solo, non-serious blog, the volume of response I received there has prompted me to flesh out my argument and present it here, on the blog where I limit myself to my more sober postings.

The proximate cause of my addressing this topic was a post by Brian Doherty at Reason.com, where he wrote:

“States, after all, cannot function without first aggressing against someone, if only to get tax money to fund their activities.”

But the ultimate cause was my much longer-term conviction that such reasoning simply begs a central question that political theory is seeking to answer, namely, just when is coercion justified and when isn’t it? After all, every wavelength of the political spectrum considers some coercion to be OK, and some to be “aggression.” Continue reading