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Why the Free Market Can and Should Take Over the Legal System

Like so many other political and social ideologies, anarcho-capitalism is nothing if not malleable.

Currently, those who believe in anarcho-capitalism often forget this rule and, as a result, generally restrict this philosophy’s application to non-vital services the public needs. I.e. those who believe that the government should allow a free market and businesses to spawn do not necessarily believe that they should allow this in sectors like policing, firefighting, and the court system.

As such, the purpose of this article is to prove that the lattermost sector of society can, indeed, work well if it is completely privatized.

This will first be done by showing that private court systems are more, just as they would allow people from both opposing sides in court to seek exactly the type of justice that they want.

In order to understand the validity of this, we must understand that the law is, as Stefan Molyneux once said, an “opinion with a gun.” What few people understand (including many libertarians) is that the law does not and should not act this way; people who wish to settle an issue should be able to do so without calling in mercenaries fueled with tax dollars, for true justice would call for the common agreement between the two opposing parties. More specifically, both parties would agree to meet in court without the force issued by police or government.

A private court system would work well, because all those who want justice will kneel before it willingly and not simply because the government goons were called in. Let us say, for example, that I am a businessman being sued for damages concerning one of my customers. In this case, the business shall be called Henry’s Restaurant, and one of my customers has found a bug in their food. Not only would the victim want to see an expert third party for reparations but I, too, would want to settle this dispute.

My incentive for dealing with this situation is the maintenance of my reputation: If I did not deal with the dispute with a renowned third party mediator (within my discretion, of course) the reputation of both me and my business in the community would fall almost as fast as my profit would.

This shows that privatized court systems within a recognized, sovereign state are effective in dealing with private issues, because the above has effectively proven that both the defendant and the complainant have incentives to actively pursue justice — justice that they would happily seek on their own.

Now, at this point, many may think that this type of system would work terribly for more serious, felonious cases. They may wonder, “If I murdered someone, why would I let the victim’s family take me to court for a punishment when I could simply refuse to attend without consequence?”

What the reader must understand is that I would still want to seek an independent third party because the alternative would be a hideous form of vigilante justice.

Even if I didn’t fear vigilante justice, almost everyone, no matter how sinister the crime, believes that they are right (that’s also the main reason as to why they show up in non-privatized ordinary courts).

Since so many alleged criminals would still itch for the opportunity to show why they are right, the adversarial system would stay intact and, as a result, the court decisions along with law and order will be maintained just as much as the liberty that sustains them.

This alludes to the fact that government is not necessary in our lives, because it not only shows that both opposing parties have incentives to pursue the courts on their own will, but also that these incentives are far greater than the government’s monopoly on violence that they can use at any time to enforce their “opinions” with guns.

The many disincentives that people can find on their own are far more effective than the disincentive of possible police violence.

Furthermore, this also gives people choice in their application of the law. For example, in this society, two Jews would be able to solve their disputes with a Rabbi as a third party, and two people with two completely different philosophies will easily turn to a mediator that believes in neither of them. The citizen’s ability to seek different applications in the law means that privatized court systems can give us all more options outside of a government that will harm us for not using theirs.

I wish to conclude by saying that the institution of government is the single largest criminal faction to have ever existed. For no privatized court (or even mafia) has justified the killing of 6 million Jews, nor have they, in recent years, starved millions of their own to death in the fog of leftist obstinacy like the many socialist governments that have, and currently still plague this world.

Criminal factions in most societies cannot judge other criminal factions, so why then, do we, even as advocates for liberty, insist that the biggest one be allowed to do so?

Source consulted: “The Possibility of Private Law.” Mises Institute, 08 Mar. 2005. Web. 12 Nov. 2016.

* Christopher X. Henry I am a high school student aspiring to be a lawyer, writer, and politician. I have taken up writing as a hobby and, as a result, have a collection of essays and articles (many with libertarian leanings) that I would be willing to share with this website.

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  • Diggity
    November 17, 2016

    I like the effort, but no. The argument completely falls apart when you claim that a combination of vigilante justice and the morality of the criminal are the glue to hold the system together. Perhaps there is a way for a private criminal justice system to work, but I have never seen an argument that holds up to scrutiny. To me, there is no difference between a government and a private company with guns, just as there is no real difference between a government and a corporation other than that the government has guns.

    Either way, perhaps the real solution is justice that is meted out by the government that is local as possible while being independent of larger jurisdictions.

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