Libertarians in general and libertarian anarchists in particular are constantly bumping up against people who object to removing the government from its involvement in this, that, and the other area of economic and social life. The objectors urge that but for the government’s undertaking to do X, that X would never have been done. Often we can answer such objections easily by pointing out that at some time in history X (where X is, for example, road construction and maintenance; education of children; provision of law and order; investment in new scientific and technological knowledge; and so forth) was in fact done privately or that, even though X has never been done privately in the past, it might be done privately in the future in ways we can describe in at least a general way.
Yet, if we libertarians are honest, we must admit that private individuals left alone by the government almost certainly would not have brought forth many of the outputs that governments have produced—for example, super-powerful nuclear weapons and thousands of delivery vehicles capable of wreaking wholesale death and destruction on an unimaginable scale; poison gases and the means to employ them in large-scale battles; an enormous number of prisons in which millions of people---many of whom have violated no one’s just rights---are warehoused to gratify the greed of crony capitalists and slake the thirst of puritanical zealots for tormenting their fellows; vast legions of spies and informants dedicated to invading the privacy of every living human being; and so forth. Let’s face it, fellow libertarians, for certain tasks, only government can get the job done.