In this edition of Mondays with Murray, we look at another clip of Rothbard from the very same event in 1989 where he discussed the candidacy of Ron Paul, posted in last week’s edition. Rothbard is asked a question about the “viability” of privatizing the judicial system. He responds by pointing out that it’s “being done right now” and begins to discuss how private parallel legal systems began to pop up in Los Angeles in response to an over clogged court system. Living in Los Angeles and having encountered the court system in the past (just a traffic violation – don’t worry, dad!), I can certainly attest to this.
Rothbard goes on to point out all the benefits of private judicial services: it’s faster, more efficient, and also allows for specialization in courts. Under the current system there is one monolithic court system that judges all types of cases in all sorts of different industries. Under private judicial systems people or companies with disputes can take their case to an expert in their field, as opposed to a politically appointed judge who may be an expert in nothing more than kissing up to the right people.
I find it interesting how many often wax philosophically about private law, but fail to point out that it is more than just a theory. Private law exists around us day in and day out, whether it’s companies settling disputes through private arbitration or even the rules systems that exist within say, Major League Baseball where professional umpires serve as the “judges” of all rules within the context of each game.
And the best part of a private legal system? It is fully compliant with the non-aggression principle in that it does not require the entity known as the “State” to first forcefully extract money from those it claims to “serve. This is the reason I have further pursued the ideas of private law in my series on anarcho-capitalism. I hope you’ll check it out if you haven’t already.
Murray Rothbard was always incredibly consistent in his philosophy, always coming back to the non-aggression principle and property rights. Libertarians can learn a lot from this, and we hope you’ll continue to check back right here every Monday for some tidbits of libertarian wisdom from Murray.