Daily Bell: You are a libertarian. Are you an anarcho-capitalist?
Judge Napolitano: Well, it depends how you define those terms. I am a Randian, as in Ayn Rand, on economics. I am a Rothbardian, as in Murray Rothbard, on most philosophical principals, specifically the morality of government in our lives. Some of the younger producers who worked with me on the late, lamented, now-missed "Freedom Watch" used to say that I was an anarcho-capitalist. I don't know what the term means, but I am always the most libertarian person in the room. (Laughing)
Daily Bell: Follow-up: Why does the state need to be in charge of law? Why can't people pursue justice privately?
Judge Napolitano: Because as a token of all this, government doesn't share power. It would take a government of Ron Paul's, Rand Paul's and your humble correspondent here to shrink the government radically and to repose into the hands of individuals the ability to address injustice on their own. It truly goes back to the Middle Ages when people transferred to the government the right to punish.
Think about it. If my house is broken into and they steal my favorite book, what business is that of the government? Well, the government has decided that they have the right to prosecute and punish but in a different world, I would have insured and have insurers' authority to pursue the thief, and it wouldn't cost my neighbors any money to bring about justice. But we live in a world where the right to punish exists only in the hands of the government because it was perceived as fairer and more convenient at the time it was transferred. It's not fairer or more convenient today; it's politically subjective today. The greatest lawbreaker is the government itself so how could we possibly rely on the government to give us justice?
Daily Bell: What is justice?
Judge Napolitano: Depending on each individual, justice is different in different cases. Justice is certainly not the government taking property from us against our will. I mean justice is a series of voluntary transactions which, when interfered with, are made whole again on the basis of fairness and principals of morality. I can give you thousands of examples of injustice; most prosecutions are unjust because they tax the general populace for what is essentially a private dispute.
This is basically the system we have today and it is the system that we accept because we have come to the perverse belief in government, which can't deliver the mail, which can't run the school system, can't manage roads without potholes in them but somehow it can keep us safe and keep us prosperous. It can't. It is the perverse reliance upon government's delivered goods and services that has proven for hundreds of years, or at least 120 years, that it cannot deliver. The continued refusal to examine the proper role of government in our society that has brought us to where we are today and to the point where we can see change in people's thinking, for the government to be shrunk.