It is heartening to see a comment equating anarcho-capitalism with the model of the early Middle Ages – while not a perfect example, the Middle Ages were a time of significant decentralization. Sadly, Mr. Hultberg’s interpretation of the Middle Ages is terribly flawed; unfortunately, these are not the only flaws in Mr. Hultberg’s thinking.
Anarchy, as anarcho-capitalists use the term, does not mean an absence of governance. There will always governance – by the individual, by the family, by peers, by the community, by the church, and by the market. This was very much in force during much of the Middle Ages.
Such an anarchic condition does not require a state as we know of it today. And it does not result in chaos. To the extent one requires a concrete example, the Middle Ages demonstrate this reality quite effectively – contrary to Mr. Hultberg’s assertions.
NH: The linking of society's moral guardians to the coercive arm of the state during the Middle Ages created enough evil and cruelty that we should be cured forever of such a temptation.
BM: First of all, much of the Middle Ages did not have a “state” as we commonly understand the term today. Second, to the extent the moral guardians applied coercion: this occurred to any great extent only beginning late in this period, perhaps beginning at the end of the thirteenth century. At least one author points to the Condemnation of 1277 as the turning point; a separation of reason and faith.
NH: The Anglo-Saxon experiment of "voluntary courts of law, armies, and police" led to a warlord society in which all people were raised to be combatants, everyone lived behind castle walls and moats, women were not able to travel openly on the roads for fear of being attacked, ruthless outlaws roamed the countryside impervious to the "voluntary courts," commerce and trade were minimal and sparse, tribal customs were arbitrary, equal rights were nowhere.
BM: The Middle Ages saw a drastic reduction in slavery, a flowering of intellectual and technological progress, women holding equal status in many occupations, etc. These should not be so casually dismissed by someone who clearly has not read the history. And based on this comment, Mr. Hultberg has not read the history.
I find the rest of his statements to embody muddled thinking – the kind that results in the advocacy of the Federal Reserve to inflate at 4% per year. Mr. Hultberg, like many “conservatives,” points to the founding fathers as the wisest of political men: “we must start with the fruits of their labor.”
The results of this view have been demonstrated in full force over the last 225 years: the lack of philosophical consistency, which Mr. Hultberg advocates, equals pragmatic compromise. Mr. Hultberg, it seems, believes his book will explain why the last 225 years didn’t happen.
Beyond this, I will not post further detailed comments here, as I do not want to clog DB’s thread.
The following I did not post at DB: