Classical liberals have long debated whether they should support a minimal state or no state at all. Unfortunately that debate is usually framed as an all or nothing proposition. Either you believe that “a minimal state is everywhere and always necessary” or that a “state everywhere and always does more harm than good.” This polarization is a mistake. Everyone, at least sometimes, is an anarchist.
The real issue is found in an area economists call “comparative institutions.” That is, in a specific time and place, how well would anarchy work and how does that compare to how well an actual obtainable state would work? ..
.. it is my hope that classical-liberal minarchists will drop the label and realize that in many current situations, in other parts of the globe, they may prefer anarchy to any obtainable state. Furthermore, as classical liberals who are interested in a free and prosperous society, we should recognize that further study of anarchism is a valuable endeavor because it can inform where each of us believes we should draw the line in preferring no state at all to ones we live under. In short, all classical liberals should be interested in the study of the “A word.”