Anarcho-Capitalism Vindicated?

I constantly read history, and so I keep finding examples of situations for which I did not know there were any cases.

Here is one:

In a relatively self-contained piece of the earth's surface, law and order had been provided by the noble class. But that noble class began to lose its power and withdraw its services. Faced with a power vacuum, did the local populace simply let anarchy of the bad sort (social chaos) ensue? No, they spontaneously formed private defense agencies. Sometimes these defense agencies fought each other, but on the whole, they realized it would be better if they formed a network of organizations that would cooperate. By and large these inter-agency agreements did work, and individual agencies largely (not always!) refrained from fighting each other.

Does this vindicate the anarcho-capitalism vision? You decide: The land in question was Sicily in the wake of feudalism's demise in the early nineteenth century, and the network of private defense agencies came to be known as the Mafia.


  1. That's one of my standard examples too. Whenever I mention it though the ancaps get testy.

  2. You guys can think it's a crushing argument against an-cap, but you really need to stop acting like it's a fresh new insight.

    1. "Crushing argument"?

      I don't think that It is an argument Of any sort Whatsoever! (Please excuse Siri's weird sense of when to Capitalize Words.) It is an historical example.

      And I don't think your come back in the mises article works: Where is your evidence that a bunch of people forming a mutual protection agency was illegal in the kingdom of the two Sicilies? Even if it was, the whole point is that there was no law enforcement on the island! Given that fact, Why is it relevant whether the agencies were legal or illegal?

  3. "Fresh new argument"? I pretend no such thing, it's an obvious historical example. That you have missed its importance in the past is no reason why I should miss its importance today. It's like our debate over Passover and the Last Supper: that the problem has been known for centuries doesn't make it irrelevant. Logic does not expire.


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