The Case Against Anarchism: Stanford Rape Case Shows Libertarians Why We Must Have Government

The Anarchist Position Does Not Adequately Address How Society Should Punish Heinous Crimes Like This 

By Lee Enochs

As a Libertarian graduate student, I traffic in the world of ideas  and engage others in the realm of political thought.

One of my favorite courses so far here at school was a class I took on political philosophy and public theology by a professor that seemed to be arguing  that government was not necessary in a given society.

One school of thought that I have found compelling pertains to Anarchism, that calls for the abolition of all government and the organization of society on a voluntary, cooperative basis without recourse to force or compulsion.

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The anarchist position sounds great to me until heinous crimes occur. I believe a minimal government should exist to protect its citizens from such things as violent crime, fraud and breach of contracts.

In Robert Nozick’s classic book “Anarchy, State and Utopia,” which eloquently defends the Libertarian position, he argues that a minimal state arises naturally from anarchy but the expansion of state power past the minimal state threshold is unjustifiable. 

The anarchist position does not adequately address how society should deal with violent crimes and assaults against its citizens.

Case in point, by now, many of us have heard something about the horrendous events that took place at Stanford University involving a former star collegiate athlete and his assault upon a 22- year old woman.

Specifically, I am referring to former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner heinous attack upon an unsuspecting young woman behind a dumpster on campus.

On January 18, 2015, Brock Turner, a star student athlete at Stanford, sexually attacked a 22-year-old woman, dragging her behind a campus dumpster and assaulting her . According to police, prosecutors, and a jury, she lacked the capacity to give legal consent.

Turner was caught in the act of his heinous crime by two brave guys on bicycles who rescued the young woman from further assault and physically restrained Turner until the police arrived. The two student bicyclists testified that they rushed to the scene of the crime and intervened because the woman appeared to be unconscious.

The bystanders restrained him until Brock Turner was apprehended by police and subsequently arrested on charges of rape. The victim remained unconscious and unresponsive for several more hours. The charges of rape were later dropped by the prosecution after results from a DNA testing.

In March 2016, Turner was convicted of three charges of felony sexual assault. The charges made him eligible for 14 years in prison. Prosecutors recommended six years in prison while probation officials recommended a “moderate” county jail sentence.

Recently, Judge Aaron Persky sentenced him to six months of jail and three years of probation. Turner’s six-month sentencing and Emily Doe’s impact statement requesting a longer sentence made national and international news.

This lenient sentencing has led to a campaign for the recall or resignation of Judge Persky.

I am shocked and outraged by both Brock Turner’s crimes and the lite sentencing rendered by Judge Persky.

As a Libertarian who is generally distrustful of government intervention of any kind, this sexual assault case at Stanford shows me, at least why we must have government to protect our citizens from assaults upon their persons.

I believe Brock Turner got off too lightly for his despicable crimes against this innocent young woman and the Judge should be recalled for his egregious leniency and gross miscarriage of justice.

While compelling, the anarchist position does not seem to adequately address how a collective group of individuals or a society should deal with violent crime and assaults such as what occurred at Stanford recently. 


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