“The land monopoly… consists in the enforcement by government of land titles which do not rest upon personal occupancy and cultivation… the individual should no longer be protected by their fellows in anything but personal occupation and cultivation of land.”
-Benjamin R. Tucker, “State Socialism and Anarchism”
Ironically, the non-aggression principle as understood by much of the libertarian right can in practice be used to justify a whole lot of aggression. With regards to this subject Murray Rothbard stated that “no man or group of men may aggress against the person or property of anyone else.” On paper that might sound very similar to Tucker’s stance against invasion and coercion, but in practice it couldn’t be further away. To understand why we have to define some basic conceptions of property, the state, and anarchism. What do these words mean in practice? Let’s find out.
If property is anything, it’s the ability of one person to use violence, of either the lethal or non-lethal variety to prevent another person from using a thing oneself is using. I rely on my car for daily transportation, if someone were to attempt to deprive me of it, few, aside from the most squeamish pacifists would deny that I have the right to defend it against the incursions of a thief. Surely, the level of violence I should employ is debatable. Is defending the car worth breaking bones, inflicting lacerations, or even death itself upon the aggressor? Most would likely agree that the level of violence I employ should probably correspond in proportion to the level of violence the thief is willing to use in order to dispossess me of my car. But few people will argue it’s unethical to employ violence against someone who is trying to dispossess me of a thing I need for survival. We would then likely conclude that some amount of background violence in society is acceptable.
If the state is anything, it’s an exclusive clique that has the ability to enforce its own will over a given territory and by extension over the individuals living within that territory. The violence of the state exists whether or not you consent to it, and that combination of violence and elitism is precisely what defines the state. The state in other words is a monopoly on violence that is held over a population in a given territory by an exclusive clique.
And finally, if anarchism is anything it is the opposition to that monopoly on violence called the state, it is the opposition to authority. As Proudhon said in The General Idea of the Revolution in the Nineteenth Century: “The fundamental, decisive idea of this Revolution is it not this: NO MORE AUTHORITY.” It then follows that to rid ourselves of the authority of the state, we must rid ourselves of the monopoly on violence. And to rid ourselves of the monopoly of violence we must necessarily limit the violence of property to the absolute minimum so that the state does not arise again.