What’s an AnCap?
AnCap is shorthand for anarcho-capitalist, with "anarcho" referring to anarchism ("without State") and "capitalist" referring to the preferred economic theory of free market capitalism. Here we will explain the basic view of anarcho-capitalism and why it is the most consistent position of individual liberty and economic freedom.
In his seminal work, For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto, the late Murray Rothbard, affectionately considered the father of modern libertarianism, provides us the following:
The libertarian creed rests upon one central axiom: that no man or group of men may aggress against the person or property of anyone else. This may be called the nonagression axiom.' 'Aggression' is defined as the initiation of the use or threat of physical violence against the person of property of anyone else. Aggression is therefore synonymous with invasion (pg. 1).
Demonstrating how this axiom, or central principle, is immediately connected to economic theory, Rothbard asserts:
...since the libertarian also opposes invasion of the rights of private property, this also means that he just as emphatically opposes government interference with property rights or with the free-market economy through controls, regulations, subsidies, or prohibitions. For if every individual has the right to his own property without having to suffer aggressive depredation, then he also has the right to give away his property (bequest and inheritance) and to exchange it for the property of others (free contract and the free market economy) without interference. The libertarian favors the right to unrestricted private property and free exchange; hence, a system of 'laissez-faire capitalism' (pg. 2).
It should be easy to recognize the natural relationship between political philosophy and economic theory. If an individual has exclusive rights to his private property, and other individuals are prohibited to aggress, or violate, his private property, then he also has the exclusive right to exchange his private property for another consenting individual's private property, without the intervention of a third party. From here, we can begin to understand the problems, indeed, the immorality, of systems like socialism, which exist and thrive on the control of private property and the intervention of economic exchange between consenting individuals.
Libertarianism, therefore, consistently taken to its logical conclusion, is also anarchist. Such is the conclusion of Stephen Kinsella, Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Limerick, Ireland, who concludes in his essay What Libertarianism Is:
...because the state necessarily commits aggression, the consistent libertarian, in opposing aggression, is also an anarchist (pg. 18).
At this point, we hope the reader might not be so averse to the term anarchism/anarchist. There's obviously a risk in using the term given the baggage it carries and commonly perceived relationship to "lawlessness," but the objective reader will recognize we do not consider "lawlessness" to be ethical, neither do we consider it consistent with libertarianism. We certainly reject such from a biblical standpoint. Our usage of the term here, as is with modern libertarianism's usage, is simply to characterize our opposition to State intervention. We do, however, uphold "the law," insomuch as the law accords with natural rights and not invented rights (i.e., the entitlement rights of socialism).
Ultimately, these natural rights are those rights referenced in the Declaration of Independence as "inalienable rights." These rights, endowed by our Creator (the God of the Bible), are fundementally property rights. They are that which accords with God's law prohibitions against stealing and murder and everything in between concerning the violation of another image-bearer-of-God's property rights (as endowed by God Himself).
The anarcho-libertarian, or anarcho-capitalist, then, considers all men accountable to the same standard. Whether it's the non-Christian "AnCap" whose axiom, or presupposition, may be in Lockean natural law, or the Christian AnCap who grounds natural law in God's revelation (both natural and special revelation), we agree that all men are held to the same standard. This necessarily encompasses non-governing individuals and governing individuals. Neither has the right to violate the property rights of another individual or group of individuals, as this would be a violation of natural law.
Much more can be said, and that's what we intend to do here at The Xian AnCap. We hope our efforts will prove fruitful as you seek to understand the principles of liberty.