Daniel Rothschild arranged for and moderated a debate between me and Objectivist/classical liberal (or whatever he is) Jan Helfeld. I lost my temper with the guy because I refused to let him do what I’ve seen him do to others—take the moral highground (which, as someone defending the state against me, a real libertarian, I was not going to let him do) and use his boring/bludgeoning “socratic” debate technique to try to boringly wear people down. I refused to give in to either, which resulted in the funny mess that you can see here.

Of course, Helfeld never seriously tried to justify aggression or the state. He read from a prepared script, like a parakeet. And one of his arguments hinted at the idea that the state does commit aggression but that it is worth it because it prevents more serious aggression that would occur under a condition of anarchy; though he never made this argument explicitly. The other one suggested by him is that if Stephan Kinsella might in some conceivable emergency commit trespass to steal food, that means that aggression is not objectionable as a general matter, i.e. the state is justified in stealing $3trillion a year from US taxpayers because a starving Stephan Kinsella could conceivably be willing to break into a cabin in the woods to steal a can of beans. Again, Helfeld does not want to make this argument so explicitly because then it would rightly subject him to ridicule.

My opening statement was originally lost due to technical issues and deleted by Helfeld, but James Cox somehow saved it and spliced it in with take two.

KOL123 | Debate with Jan Helfeld on Anarchy vs. Limited Government

Kinsella on Liberty Podcast, Episode 123.

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