How would a state's army be paid in libertarian state?

Would there be at least some taxes to pay for this?

  • 1
    Depends on the exact strain of libertarianism
    – user4012
    Feb 1, 2014 at 11:51
  • More specifically: minarchists? anacho-libertarians? etc...
    – user4012
    Feb 1, 2014 at 12:34
  • @DVK well, I'd like to know about every type :3 Feb 1, 2014 at 13:29
  • 1
    The answer varies significantly between them.
    – user4012
    Feb 2, 2014 at 13:44
  • @DVK anarcho-libertarian Feb 2, 2014 at 15:41

2 Answers 2


In anarcho-capitalism there is no state, so... there is no state's army. There are private security agencies. They protect people, organisations and regions, who pay them. So imagine hostile army comes. Security agency sends them a list of protected people, regions etc. and tell "if you attack any of them we will fight. Otherwise we will leave you alone".

Of course protecting each single person might be ineffective. So it also might work differently - people create an organisation, which will pay for protecting their city or region. City (region, country, district) might have also an owner. He might let people live there if they obey his law. This law would include taxes and the owner would pay with them for protection.

In libertarian states the army (or security agency) would be paid with taxes (if we accept taxes for some purposes) or voluntary fee (if not). Ayn Rand would also accept public lottery as a source of money for state ;)

  • 4
    "City (region, country, district) might have also an owner. He might let people live there if they obey his law. This law would include taxes and the owner would pay with them for protection." - this is feudalism/monarchy
    – Anixx
    Feb 2, 2014 at 23:33
  • 2
    @Anixx - Nope. feudalism/monarchy isn't VOLUNTARY. This is 100% the same as the CEO of the company you work for hiring a security firm to protect the building you work in.
    – user4012
    Feb 3, 2014 at 3:10
  • 1
    Unrelatedly, it's not a bad answer, but could be significantly improved with references.
    – user4012
    Feb 3, 2014 at 3:11
  • Well, I guess I'll accept it then Feb 3, 2014 at 6:42
  • @DVK actually this pretty much mirrors the definition of State itself...
    – o0'.
    Feb 10, 2014 at 21:00

In a libertarian state - if you aren't some kind of full-blown anarchist ideology - the funding might come from various sources for some type of volunteer militia. Despite what many believe, there is a kind of state known as a nightwatchman state that is accepted by some left wing and right wing libertarians. It was described by historian Charles Townshend in his 2000 book The Oxford History of Modern War that was peer-reviewed by Oxford, Anarchy, State, and Utopia written by libertarian Robert Nozick to say that it represents a morally justified state that can have a political system which represents individual rights, & other works; but the term was coined by German socialist Ferdinand Lassalle in an 1862 speech in Berlin. Basically, a nightwatchman state says that any system by which a state or community is controlled or regulated that meets the three criteria established by John Locke for a proper government (law and order, protection of property rights, and enforcement of contracts) counts as a state. With this definition, a simple clan or neighborhood watch, or group of people forming a citizen’s arrest group would count as a government as long as it protects the public against the many people who lack empathy and compassion or simply don’t want to follow the rules (who will always exist because many mental disorders associated with a lack of empathy like Antisocial Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder may - in certain cases - be caused by genetics or a combination of genes) , those who would misuse private/public property, and guarantee that contracts are enforced instead of ignored by those who just don’t want to follow through. We have seen nightwatchman states implemented by the Syndicalists in Spain and the people who lived in the 'Wild West' as forms of libertarian nightwatchman states where a designated volunteer militia was put in charge of protection of the community. In Spain, the militia was given resources by the community and a series of labor unions. In the case of Wild West, many of them were paid for by private interests, the community in agree upon donations, or volunteered with benefits given to them similar to those given to volunteer firemen.

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