Libertarian Anarchy in a University Classroom

While discussing the Supreme Court arguments regarding gay marriage in my American Constitutional History class, I got an unexpected 2 -3 minutes to talk about free market anarchy in a classroom full of “liberal” college students, and one Professor. It has been clarified to the best of my memory; it took place only an hour ago. I have paraphrased a bit to make it easier to read.


“Adam: The reason this entire question is so convoluted in a “legal” sense is because the government usurped the power to discriminate against single individuals by providing tax incentives to “married” couples. The “institution of marriage” should be returned to the Churches, and if you can find a Church to marry you to who or whatever, then you have every right to do so.

American Constitutional History Professor: In France for instance marriages are not recognized by the State unless they are “civil” marriages. Adam is referring to the rather unique separation of Church law from “civil” law that we are supposed to have in America. But the question arises regarding ownership of property and inheritance that must be addressed differently between married couples under the law.

Adam: Don’t all individuals have the same “rights”? Wouldn’t traditional property rights and voluntary contract enforcement settle the “questions” without government interference?

Professor: I don’t mean this pejoratively, but what Adam is arguing from, is an Anarchist point of view. I would argue that Anarchists presuppose a level of human cooperation that is not based in reality.

Adam: Exactly, but not from the Spanish Revolution type of Anarchists, the libertarian type of anarchist. We do not presuppose anything, but we understand that there is a market for defense, a market for law, and a market for arbitration that lacks the coercive, illegitimate nature of government. We simply want to introduce market competition to the laws that “govern” us.

Professor: Well, I don’t know if I would agree with that, but Okay. Time to go, see you all next week.”

I think it went surprisingly well and there were actually quite a few heads nodding. I had been speaking in support of marriage equality for the majority of the class period, so most of the “Liberals” were on my side. It wasn’t until the end of the class that I suggested the government not be involved at all. I can’t imagine I changed anyone’s mind, but maybe someone will do some research.

The professor has actually been surprisingly receptive to some of our ideas throughout the semester. Despite his comments above he has actually shown some interest. Immediately after class today I e-mailed him the YouTube video “Machinery of Freedom: Illustrated Summary” by David Friedman. If any of you have an interest in the market for law, defense, and arbitration I highly recommend it.

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