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Is government necessary?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/12/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 962 times Debate No: 69720
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (9)
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I am Anarcho capitalist, looking to debate a statist, be you liberal, conservative or whatever. Pro may begin immediately. Best of luck.


The government is necessary as without it there would be no rules, and no control. You could get mugged on the street and no one would do anything about it. Your house could be robed, your money stolen and your wife/sister killed. You wouldn't be able to do anything, as it wouldn't be punishable, as there are no laws. Do you really want that?
Debate Round No. 1


I would first like to thank pro for accepting this debate.
You have done what I sincerely hoped you would not. Rather than state arguments, you have resorted to emotionalism , scare stories and straw men arguments. "Do you really want that?" referring to being robbed and having my family killed. Now i'm in the position of having to defend myself by stating that no, I do not in fact want my family to be killed. What a silly suggestion. And rather than make constructed logical arguments against my position,you make statements like "without government, you could get mugged on the street and know one would do anything about it." How did you come to this conclusion? You also say that without government there would be no rules. Rules are the principles regulating conduct in a given situation. There are rules in chess for example. You don't need a government for that. In fact, I would argue that government only gets in the way of producing good rules, because for one thing the government has no incentive to provide a valuable service, because they have guaranteed funding through taxes. Plus they have no competition in the provision of law and policing, so there isn't a chance that competitors will drive them out of the market.
Now, let's get into the meat of the issue.
What, fundamentally, is government? In my view, government is a group of people with a geographical monopoly of force. Now this comes in different forms. In some cases, there is one un elected supreme ruler, and if the public doesn't like him, too bad, he's here to stay. In other systems, the people, every four or so years get to chose another leader. But these two things are more similar than they are different, two sides of the same tyrannical coin. There still exists a ruling class, one that can tax at will, and can make themselves the sole provider of certain services, be they roads, police, law courts, healthcare in certain areas etc. Nobody else can do that. I can't say to you " hey, we're gonna build a road, pay up!" and point a gun at you and threaten you with violence. But when instead of me pointing the gun it's the irs, and it's every april, that somehow is seen as good. Morality doesn't simply go out the window when it's on a larger scale, and you call it taxes, and the social contract, and government ect. If this still isn't clear, then just replace the word government with cartel.

But how will the roads be provided? How would disputes be resolved? How can we provide education? Well, the honest and most important answer is that i have no idea. I don't know how services will be provided 50 years from now, 100 years from now. Anybody that claims to know is either lying or has massive delusions of grandeur. Nobody knows. However, there are some ideas of how it could be. I recommend checking out David friedman's book "the machinery of freedom" for a more detailed perspective. I will now address the two most common problems brought up when talking about a stateless society: Roads/transportation and police/law enforcement.
Firstly, I will address the issue of roads. Although it is one of the most common arguments brought up by statists, roads are actually very simple. Is it not rather silly to suggest that the same species that went to the moon, discovered the higgs boson and harnessed electricity can't figure out how to build roads without pointing guns? I don't think government invented asphalt. But regardless: how could roads be built in a stateless society?
Well firstly, think about who has incentive to build roads. One obvious example is car companies. Cars wouldn't be much good without roads to drive them on. So, car companies could either be directly involved in the building of roads, or could hire specific road building and maintaining companies to construct them, and this could be payed for through car payments and other forms of payment. Another group with an incentive to build roads are store's, businesses etc. Thus, they could pay for the construction of roads. Roads could also be payed for through tolls, or communities could simply get together and build them. Also, there would likely be more taxis, trains, buses and whatnot. And in a few years, we'll have carrier drones, which I look forward to.

Now, the other common objection is the issue of police/law enforcement. Now in the system which I am imagining is a system where the job of protection and rights enforcement is delegated various firms and arbitration agencies. Like insurance, customers would pay a yearly/monthly/whateverly bill to their company. Now, an obvious problem arises, which is what happens if one day i find that my computer has been stolen. I look at my surveillance camera, and it appears that someone who looks exactly like jim norton has stole my computer. I call my security agency, and they call jim to tell him to give my computer back. He says he didn't steal it. My company says that if he doesn't return it, they'll send over big strong guys to retrieve my computer. But jim has a security agency as well. What happens? Do the organizations Go to war? The fact is, economically speaking that is a horrendous idea. So, the companies have every reason to resolve this peacefully. They could decide on an arbitration agency,which has a reputation for being fair which will review the case and give a decision. An advantage of this system is that companies will actually have to provide a good service in order to get customers.
I was going to say more, but I will relent the rest of this round. I'm looking forward to your questions, criticisms points etc.


You have provided some interesting arguments, my dear contestant. As I do not agree with many of them, I will do my best to explain why.

Firstly, you mentioned that there is no incentive for the government to do anything, as it already receives funding from taxes payed by us. I would like to remind you that the government uses the taxes on the country, and not on itself. The government does have an incentive to do well, at least a democratic one, as they could be kicked out of their place in, depending on the country, from 3 to 6 years.

Secondly, you mentioned the "one elected supreme ruler" that controls everything, but also as much more similarities than differences compared to the "democratic ruler". I disagree there, as the supreme ruler has control over the three branches of the balanced government, which are the legislature, an executive, and a judiciary powers. In a democratic society, the powers are kept separate and so the state is assured that the ruling will be fair, as if one of the branches becomes corrupt, the others will remain fair and just. In the case of a supreme ruler, however that may be, everything is controlled by one person, and, as they normally do, they become corrupt and the country is destroyed.

Thirdly and finally, you mentioned how the security measured would be set up. You said that the security measures would be controlled by some agencies. And, when I read it, I asked myself, how is this different from a mafia? Isn't it awfully similar? I have some strong dudes (which I have payed for, in a fashion similar to taxes), you have some strong dudes, and if this isn't resolved peacefully, we fight, with fists, knifes or even guns.

After my criticism points, I would like to present some points of my own:
Firstly, I would like to talk about education. You said companies would provide education, as it would serve their interests, but in which companies' interest is it to provide education. Education does not present a profit or something useful toward the companies, so they wouldn't be interested in it, leaving us with a culture of uneducated people. To put an example in the modern day world of this, I would use the rail tracks in the London subway. The rail tracks are left to the discretion of the companies, but as it represents no profit, the companies do not want to do it and the rail tracks are left in very poor conditions. The same would happen with the education, I fear and as a uneducated society we would not be able to advance technologically, and we would be stuck in our present technology and not being able to go forward, as is portrayed in Isaac Asimov's book "The Foundation". In there, as there is virtually no government in the outer edges of their reign, making the technological advance non-existent and those who can manipulate the machines converted into deities by people who know nothing of it.

Secondly, I would like to remind you that the government creates thousands of jobs that otherwise wouldn't exist, for example, Foreign Relations (or however you say it in English, sorry for not knowing, but my first Language is not English). These jobs would not exist, as without government, the need for these jobs would disappear, and with it thousands of people's salaries and wellbeing, as they have prepared in University for this job and know not how to do anything else. For these people it would be very difficult to change their profession and their families would be left with one person less being able to work and gain money. This would pose a problem for many families as their lives rest on the income of both people, not only one of them.

I will leave it there for now, as I am unable to post more, for which I am terribly sorry, but personal problems have arisen and I must attend them immediately. Thank you for starting this debate in which I am having loads of fun against a worthy opponent.
Debate Round No. 2


Disclaimer: Your English is excellent, I wouldn't have known it wasn't your first language if you hadn't told me.Just out of curiosity, what is your first language.

Now, on to the debate. I did not say that here is no incentive for the government to do anything, I meant that there is an incentive for government to do the bare minimum. For example, the government is in charge of police and the justice system. And to an extent, it works. The police capture and put in prison some bad people. Murderer's, rapists, etc. But they also incarcerate a large number of non-violent offenders, there is a huge bureaucracy, many violent people get off early on plea bargains, they often go to the wrong house during raids, then there's the drug war, a lot of corruption, and these godawful trials that take years, often longer than the sentence itself. In other words, it's far from the ideal system.
But because they're funded through taxes, they can keep doing the bare minimum. In a free market, the companies that figure out the best way to deal with crime, and more importantly prevent crime will be the most successful.

And this whole notion that we can kick them out in 2-8 years to be replaced with their evil twin. George bush was not a popular president. He had the Iraq war, the patriot act, and many other programs that as a whole the people disapproved of. And yet he got elected twice. Politicians do things that people dislike, and they either get re elected or they're successor continues on with the same programs. Obama ran on a platform against the patriot act and instead expanded it.
Secondly, you talk about the division of power within democratic government. Judges in the judicial branch are appointed by the president and confirmed by the senate. In other words, the other branches of government. They are different branches of the same government. And this has not stopped things such as the Iraq war and the patriot act. Now all that being said, It's certainly preferable to a dictatorship, which is why I would rather live in my country of Canada than north Korea. But the underlying principle behind both of them are very similar at a fundamental level, which is that a certain group of people have the right to rule and dominate others.

In addressing the issue of security, you posed the question of how are private security firms different from the mafia? Well to answer this question I will pose a rhetorical one: what is the difference between Microsoft and the mafia? The mafia is a gang of thugs , largely a product of prohibition who are willing to break people legs, steal, and kill them and their family members, and use any means necessary to get their way. Not exactly a free market, seeing that they only exist because of prohibition. Microsoft on the other hand, creates a product and trades with you for money. They want your 100 dollars more than they're new phone, and you want their new phone more than your 100 dollars, so you trade and both parties are better off. Trade is win win. Now what do the mafia and the government have in common? They use force rather than trade. Trade is win lose, or sometimes even lose lose. Now with the security companies that I am imagining, what is the product/service being provided, and what is the transaction? I pay them money, and in exchange they protect me and my property. But wouldn't violence be breaking out everywhere among security agencies? Well think about if they did. Investors and shareholders would jump ship, customers would cancel their subscriptions, employees would quit, the electric company providing them with electricity would stop providing them with electricity, as would the water companies, and the company would lose a lot of money. Why? Because violence is expensive. And without the government and the federal reserve printing money constantly the costs would directly be imposed on those committing the aggression.
Now education is a very important issue. But there are several solutions. Firstly, if you own say a stock brokerage firm, a pharmaceutical company, or basically any line of work that requires more than low skill work. You want employees with critical thinking skills, ability to solve problems, to be innovative. Would it not be a worthy investment to help in the funding of an education system that would help develop a child's mind, and build on their problem solving abilities? Everybody understands that education is important, and that doesn't simply vanish in the absence of government.
You bring up the point that " Education does not present a profit or something useful toward the companies, so they wouldn't be interested in it," Why do you say that? People value education to the point where they would be willing to pay for it. So people would set up companies designed to educate children, and in exchange parents would pay a fee. With competition, prices would go down and quality would go up. And plus there would still be charity for those who still could not afford to pay.
The final point that you brought up was that the government creates jobs. In a sense, this is true. But the money used to create those jobs come from somewhere. It comes from the private sector, money that could have also been used to create jobs. . The government takes their money, and uses it for it's own purpose. Now yes, many people do work for the government and are dependent. But what I am calling for is a transition period, and I don't really know what that looks like, but the fact that people have jobs with the government doesn't justify the fact that the money was stolen through taxation.
That is all i have for now, i'm looking forward to next round.


My first language is Spanish, and thank you for saying that my English is good.

To start off my rebuttal, I would like to remind you, that George Bush was re-elected democratically, as the majority of the people wanted him back. This is why USA and many other countries are a democracy, so the will of the majority is carried out. This means that if the majority of people want the same person going back up as the president, that will happen. Bush's "bad government" was portrayed by several newspaper, than instead of focusing on the positive aspects of Bush's presidency, decided to focus on the bad ones. Bush, for example, started the No Child Left Behind Act. This act helped children give the best of themselves in school, which boosted the USA's academic and physical results and some how went unnoticed.

Secondly, I would like to point out that in many countries, such as in Germany, the trade is controlled by the government, as they follow different types of government, and many people choose one with which a large part of the government is designed to control the markets both in and out of the country. And, I would like to expand that with a point of my own: how are the investors of Wall Street better than the government. They drove a worldwide depression, while they were saying that the economy was fine and that there was no risk of anything going wrong. Many people trusted the banks, investors and the AIG, but many banks were selling CDOs and at the same time betting that they were going to lose, so when they were going to crash, they would receive their money. That same thing happened with the rating agency. Millions of CDOs that were rated AAA (triple A means that it is almost impossible to fail ) were rated by three different agencies and were considered pure rubbish. These are the people who are going to be the most powerful, and they are corrupt to the core. You told that some governments stole money through taxation. These people have stolen money from the whole USA using their poor knowledge on economics and it drove to a global depression, affecting from USA to Singapore. If you want more information, watch the film "Inside Job", it will enlighten you to the true nature of the boards of directors.

Now with my main points:

Firstly, I will bring back a point from the second round, that I have been thinking about, which is that the car companies would pay to build the roads. The problem with that is that the price of the cars would increase, as the companies have to pay for a road that originally they wouldn't have to pay for. The companies would therefore raise the price of the cars to compensate for the roads that otherwise, with a government they wouldn't have to pay for. This would mean that the cars would be less accessible to common people with less money and the people that work away from home and don't earn so much money could not drive to work and therefore be fired.

Secondly, companies would no longer be controlled. Many companies would manage to have the monopoly over a certain sector of the market, being able to raise the prices for something vital, such as water or electricity, and no one would be able to do anything about it, as they would have grown so powerful that they would crush any small recently created companies, so the same company could keep on raising the prices and no one would stop them. However, with a government this things are controlled and kept stable, and so nothing becomes to over-priced and non-affordable towards medium-lower class people.

Finally, I have to say that humans are very selfish. We always look out for ourselves and our families. People with power would use it to gain more power, and leave other people behind. This means we would get a unstable society and the rich would have all the power and would rule over the poor. We would have a worldwide Rio de Janeiro society, and that would be extremely bad for the 95% of the population that would not have money and would have fight for food.

This have been my main points and I am looking forward for yours. :)
Debate Round No. 3


While it is true that the majority of the people who voted in both the 2000 and 2004 elections voted for George bush, these were some of the closest elections in history. So evidently there was a lot of disagreement. But even aside from that, since when does the majority saying something make it good and just? If the majority of the people thought that black people should be lynched or that Jews should be thrown in ghettos in Warsaw, it doesn't make it right, because nobody, majority or not should be allowed to force their will on anybody. Just because someone decides that they want bush, or Obama, or Vladimir Putin To rule over them doesn't give them the right to force that on me. If I decide to do heroin, it doesn't follow that everyone else has to. And you talk about how no child left behind was a success... I really don't know what to say to that. At least based on what I've seen, test scores have either remained flat or decreased. Even most people Who initially supported the bill now admit its a failure. I'll provide sources at the end.

In 2008, the American financial industry was actually quite a highly regulated industry, in fact the most regulated sector in the states. So firstly, it was a highly regulated industry so not exactly a free market situation. Then you had the federal reserve create the housing bubble, which didn't help things. Then there was the failure of Fannie may and Freddie Mac. And yes, for the most part people were surprised at this( with the exception of the Austrian school of economics). The credit rating ageNcies were also not a free market situation, being that the government Picked only three of said agencies. They created a monopoly, So the companies faced no market backlash. And it
should be obvious being the position I'm arguing, but the bailouts were wrong, and those banks should've been allowed to fail.
The issue that you bring up in relation to the credit rating agencies is the issue of the free market and monopolies. Here it is important to define exactly what you mean by monopoly. If you mean that say one company is the main provider of electricity in a free market, there is nothing wrong with that. They aren't initiating force against anyone. Nobody has to buy their product. They're selling a good, and people are voluntarily purchasing it I don't see the problem. However, there is also the violent monopoly, aka government. The government, through licensing and regulation, and tax breaks to certain companies create involuntary monopolies by restricting competition. In a free market, you make money by providing a good or service, and trading it with others. The more people trade with you, the more money you make. So if apple makes a lot of money, it's a sign that people like apple's products. If they start to charge more for the products than its worth to the customers, than they will start to look to other companies, which would charge less so to get more customers. People often think that in a free market, there is nothing to stop companies from charging say 200 dollars a gallon for gas, but If they did that they would be undercut by competition, thus they have to keep prices reasonable.

Now I didn't say that car companies funding roads would necessarily be the way roads are provided, I'm saying it is one of many possibilities. I don't know exactly who will build the roads, or even if we'll have roads, maybe we'll find other means. Companies exist to make money, not to provide people with cars. It isn't their duty to provide every citizen with a car.

Finally, you say that people are selfish. Now I'm not going to argue what my view is on self iNterest at this point ( I am an objectivist when it comes to ethics), but using selfish in the common sense of the word, if people are selfish greedy cruel bastards, then shouldn't the last thing on your mind be electing them to public office?


I am sorry this argument came so late, but I was very busy this week. D:

Firstly I would like to focus on the fact that you did not understand the fact of what I meant by monopoly and the fact that would suppose to the prices and product. If, as you said, an electrical company is not the "main provider of electricity" but the only provider of electricity, as the company had grown so powerful it could do destructive pricing (which means lowering the price of a certain product, in this case electricity, until smaller companies go into bankrupt as the cannot pay their employees and the bigger company either annexes them at that moment or leaves them to rot) to smaller companies, which would remove them from the map and so, as the only provider of electricity, there was only one choice, and so the company could raise the price as much as they wanted and no one would be able to do anything about it and so not many people would be able to use electricity, or the company would raise the price to the realm of maximum profit, which would cut the electricity (in this case) from at least 15% of the population (notice I said at least).

Secondly I would like to say that the factors that caused the crisis in 2008 were the CDOs. This was a completely unregulated economy, as it was incredibly risky and the government would not allow such a thing to go unregulated, unless there was a court and, as independent branches they are, the judiciary powers went against the executive powers and the market for CDOs went completely unregulated. You also mentioned that "The credit rating ageNcies were also not a free market situation, being that the government Picked only three of said agencies. They created a monopoly, So the companies faced no market backlash.". You are wrong there. The government did not pick them. Companies working for the government did. This is a fundamental difference, as not all of this decisions get passed to the actual government. I would also like to see the actual certification of Yaron Brook saying that he is certified and able enough to make these statements and be sure that he is right. The film I mentioned in my earlier argument for round 3, "Inside Job", shows actual professors and even people with doctorates in economics speaking. In this Youtube video, all the information I know about the guy speaking is that his name is Yaron Brook and that he has a channel in Youtube with slightly more than 10,000 subscribers. On the topic of reliable sources, I was taught in school that anything ending in ".com", ".es" or "" is not considered a reliable website, and therefore not valid for referencing. The websites that can be referenced are ".org"s, ".gov"s or anything related to a universities. This is because There are many so called "experts" on the internet which have no actual proof of what they are saying. Also you mentioned that the rating created a monopoly, and so faced no market backlash. This was exactly my point, that companies would create monopolies and so face no backlash in case something goes wrong.

I had some points left, but I fear I will not be able to use them as I have no more time for this round and I don't find it fair to tell them during the final round when you cannot rebut them. :'(
Debate Round No. 4


I am also short on time due to school and other factors. I don't really have time to refute everything that you have said. Maybe we can do this another time. I would like to thank you for a great debate, and best of luck in all your others.


Thank you for this great first debate and I also wish you good luck in the rest of your debates. It has been fantastic debating with such a formidable opponent and I have had a really good time.
Debate Round No. 5
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by JJGB 1 year ago
I am sorry that I wasn't able to post my full argument but I am approaching exams and I just don't have that much time. D:
Posted by roark555 1 year ago
@debate_power the difference is the government has a monopoly on the provision of such services. And the debater should be a statist because... I'm an anarchist.... Debating anarchy, anarcho capitalism specifically. Wouldn't make much sense to debate a fellow anarchist on the necessity of a state now would it?
Posted by debate_power 1 year ago
Why does the contender have to be a statist?
Posted by debate_power 1 year ago
How can an anarcho-capitalist argue against government from the perspective of an anarcho-capitalist? Aren't arbitration agencies governments in their own right?
Posted by Kvasir 1 year ago

Add a proper definition of necessary as well and I would most likely accept. However, nothing is directly necessary, except for basic laws of physics. All humans could die, in which case a government would not be necessary. In order to maintain a what we call civilized society a government is necessary.
Posted by RavenDebater 1 year ago
Provide a definition of "governemt" and I'll consiter
Posted by roark555 1 year ago
Huh. I wonder if he'll post his argument.
Posted by Leo.Messi 1 year ago
government is neccesary. Even when people govern themselves it is still a government...
But mabye in a perfect utopian world with integrity, no crime etc. etc., it may need no government...
Posted by Tminusfour20 1 year ago
When A country reaches a certain population size I don't see how it's possible to properly govern a country and keep it's citizens happy without a formal government of elected leaders.
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