As mentioned earlier today, the state has finally shuttered the online “black” market hidden service known as Silk Road. In so doing the state has also helped escalate violent crime. How? By shuttering one of the most effective ways of reducing violent crime: a hidden service that allowed individuals to buy illicit substances without physical interaction.
Due to its illegal nature the drug market is ripe with violence. The more virtuous tend to avoid manufacturing, selling, or buy verboten drugs because they would rather not get on the wrong side of the state. This leaves individuals who, for the most part, have few quarrels with using violence. Since the more violent make up a bulk of the manufacturers and sellers of verboten drugs prospective buyers end up having to deal with nefarious individuals.
Silk Road offered protection for manufacturers, buyers, and sellers. By maintaining each person’s anonymity, Silk Road allowed otherwise scared manufacturers and sellers to enter the market. With the veil of anonymity in place the threat of state violence is reduced. Furthermore, since manufacturers and sellers don’t know who each other are they cannot use violence in an attempt to establish a monopoly. Buyers, also enjoying the layer of anonymity between themselves and their suppliers, didn’t have to physically go to pick up the drugs, which reduced their potential exposure to both state and seller violence. By raising a barrier between the identities of manufacturers, buys, sellers, and the state Silk Road stood a good chance of making the illegal drug market a much safer place.
By shutting Silk Road down the state actually helped violence proliferate. This is why I never take the claim that the state is necessary to protect the people. Everything it does seems to revolve around increasing the amount of violence in our society.