Well No ‘Proper’ Statesman…

The ‘No Proper Statesman‘ is a fallacy akin to the ‘No true Scotsman‘.  It is an ad hoc attempt to retain an unreasoned assertion.  When faced with a counterexample to a universal claim (“States do not violate individuals’ rights”), rather than denying the counterexample or rejecting the original claim, the user instead modifies the original assertion to exclude the specific case or others like it by rhetoric, without reference to any specific objective rule (“no proper State would do such a thing”; i.e., a State that violates an individual’s rights or in any way fails to protect those rights is not a proper State, and thus any criticism of that State or of any States violating rights at all is not a valid criticism of a proper State).
The ‘No Proper Statesman’ is commonly encountered whenever agents of a coercive State apparatus are falsely equated to consensual agents of third-party self-defense, rather than the monopoly over the definition and use of force within a given territory which they are.  An example is paraphrased below:
Person A: “The State is a parasitic institution which thrives on violence and robbery. The State violates private property merely by existing.”
Person B: “No.  The State is nothing more than an individual’s agent of self-defense. The agent of the individual’s self-defense is not a parasite. Every attack you’ve made against the State was an attack against self-defense.”
Person A: If that’s all the State is, and that’s all that it does, why will agents of said state come take my property and lock me in a cage if I refuse to pay taxes to it because I would rather defend myself or have some other such agency defend my property instead?”
Person B: Ah yes, no proper State would commit such a violation.  The U.S. government (and by extension virtually every other existing government) simply isn’t a proper State.  That’s the problem.  Your beef is with the U.S. government in particular, not the State in general.”
Rather than accept the validity of Person A’s initial criticism, Person B instead opts to define actual, real life monopoly States out of existence by incorporating necessary conditions that no actual State meets or could possibly meet into the definition of a proper State.  And you can be sure that Person B will then defend their conception of the mythical (or, ‘proper’) State with the same fervor that the medieval Scholastics debated how many angels could dance on the head of a pin, despite draining the argument of all practical value and intellectual consequence. For a more thorough explanation of this point see the Ancapedia entry entitled “Violence and the Monopoly State: Why There Can Be No Separation”

See Also:

Ancapedia: “Violence and the Monopoly State: Why There Can Be No Separation”
  • This fallacy relies on another one, of switching definitions, which is akin to a reverse-straw-man fallacy (which itself is a form of non sequitur fallacy): X is great according to definition A, therefore X is great according to definition B.

    – definition of state/government as freely competing security agency (e.g. Molinari)
    – usual definition of state/government as monopoly on coercion (Weber https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monopoly_on_violence )

    Good questions to ask the proponents of “proper” state are then:
    – if 100% of past and current entities being called states do not fit the definition, is it really a good one?
    – if current states are not proper states, then how do you define them? And do you actually treat them according to this definition, that is, deny them all authority?

    PS: kudos on Ancapedia, I’m the owner of Liberpedia http://en.liberpedia.org/Main_Page