This is Mises’s view:
“The intellectual and moral faculties of man can thrive only where people associate with one another peacefully. Peace is the origin of all human things, not—as the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus said—war. But as human nature is, peace can be established and preserved only by a power fit and ready to crush all peacebreakers.Mises’s utililitarian ethics is very clear here, although, in a rhetorical flourish, he even quotes St Paul (Romans 13.1–7) at the end (“for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgement”).
Government or state is the social apparatus of coercion and compulsion. Its purpose is to make the world safe for peaceful human cooperation by protecting society against attacks on the part of foreign aggressors or domestic gangsters. The characteristic mark of a government is that it has, within a definite part of the earth’s surface, the exclusive power and right to resort to violence.
Within the orbit of Western civilization the power and the functions of government are limited. Many hundreds, even thousands of years of bitter conflicts resulted in a state of affairs that granted to the individual citizens effective rights and freedom, not mere freedoms. In the market economy the individuals are free from government intervention as long as they do not offend against the duly promulgated laws of the land. The government interferes only to protect decent law-abiding people against violent or fraudulent attacks.
There are people who call government an evil, although a necessary evil. However, what is needed in order to attain a definite end must not be called an evil in the moral connotation of the term. It is a means, but not an evil. Government may even be called the most beneficial of all earthly institutions as without it no peaceful human cooperation, no civilization, and no moral life would be possible. In this sense the apostle declared that ‘the powers that be are ordained of God.’” (Mises 2007: 57).
We can see how far even Mises was from anarcho-capitalism, and if there is any doubt let Mises speak for himself:
“There is a school of thought which teaches that social cooperation of men could be achieved without compulsion or coercion. Anarchism believes that a social order could be established in which all men would recognize the advantages to be derived from cooperation and be prepared to do voluntarily everything which the maintenance of society requires and to renounce voluntarily all actions detrimental to society. But the anarchists overlook two facts. There are people whose mental abilities are so limited that they cannot grasp the full benefits that society brings to them. And there are people whose flesh is so weak that they cannot resist the temptation of striving for selfish advantage through actions detrimental to society. An anarchistic society would be exposed to the mercy of every individual. We may grant that every sane adult is endowed with the faculty of realizing the good of social coöperation and of acting accordingly. However, it is beyond doubt that there are infants, the aged, and the insane. We may agree that he who acts antisocially should be considered mentally sick and in need of cure. But as long as not all are cured, and as long as there are infants and the senile, some provision must be taken lest they destroy society.In all fairness, Mises is very probably thinking of left-wing anarchism here, but that does not really matter: his view of the “illusions of the anarchists” is clear.
Liberalism differs radically from anarchism. It has nothing in common with the absurd illusions of the anarchists. We must emphasize this point because etatists sometimes try to discover a similarity. Liberalism is not so foolish as to aim at the abolition of the state. Liberals fully recognize that no social coöperation and no civilization could exist without some amount of compulsion and coercion. It is the task of government to protect the social system against the attacks of those who plan actions detrimental to its maintenance and operation. (Mises 2010 : 48).
Mises, L. von. 2007. Economic Freedom and Interventionism: An Anthology of Articles and Essays (ed. B. B. Greaves), Liberty Fund, Indianapolis, Ind.
Mises, L. von. 2010 . Omnipotent Government: The Rise of the Total State and Total War, Yale University Press, New Haven.