Minarchists believe in a minimal state, with the state limited to a small, well-defined, core set of functions. Most minarchists believe in limited constitutional government, though this is not an absolute requirement for minarchy. Many minarchists extol the virtues of the US Constitution, and view the early years of the US government under the Constitution as the golden age of minarchy.
Anarchists believe that the state is unnecessary, and people can meet all their needs through voluntary association, cooperation, and trade. This includes all functions normally associated with the state, to include law enforcement, judicial rulings, and common defense. Anarchists view limited constitutional government as a flawed system, which will always grow from limited to unlimited power, and without authority.
The differences between minarchists and anarchists are usually portrayed as insurmountable by both sides, with anarchists denouncing minarchists as outright statists, and minarchists disparaging anarchists as utopian daydreamers. This is unfortunate, in that both have the same stated goal of dismantling the leviathan state and restoring individual freedom. While they do disagree about the best method to destroy leviathan and bring back liberty, and the best form of the final solution for doing so, both are striving for individual rights and freedom.
I have jokingly noted that the difference between a minarchist and an anarchist is that a minarchist is an anarchist who believes the state is a necessary evil, and should be kept to a minimum, but doesn’t know what that minimum is, while an anarchist is a minarchist who knows the state is an unnecessary evil, and the perfect minimum size of the state is zero. While most minarchists fail to see the humor in this, there is at least a grain of truth in this statement that minarchists and anarchists are not that far separated in many of their core beliefs.
Both advocate dismantling the current state leviathan and returning government to the people. Both are against victimless crimes; acknowledge that the state illegally interferes in the personal affairs of individuals; that most laws need to be repealed. Both want the illicit taxing power of the state repealed; are against dishonest confiscation of money and property by the state; that individual rights trump imaginary state’s rights. It is reasonable to conclude that minarchists and anarchists as groups share almost identical ideals, and only differ in the best method of implementation of these principles.