Friday, August 29, 2008

Why "Gradualism" and "Pragmatism" Are Completely Worthless

Last night on Glenn Beck's program (don't worry, I only watched the YouTube--no way in hell I'm giving that putz higher ratings), Bob Barr, the "Libertarian" Party's candidate for dictator ("President") more or less declared war on the entire world. See here and here. He did so in the name guessed it!..."pragmatism." "Evil doers" abroad will feel our wrath, said Barr.

What is an "evil doer?" Anyone who doesn't enjoy being gang raped by the US, Israel, or Georgia? Sometimes I wonder why I even bother...

Barr has often spoken of himself as a realist. Wayne Allyn Root, the "Libertarian" Party's candidate for Vice Dictator, has also spoken positively of realism and gradualism. Both have condemned "extremism."

What does "gradualism" amount to in practice? Begging on your knees like a fucking pathetic baby to implement tiny, pitiful, meaningless changes that will quickly be reversed (assuming that they are even put into place, which they won't be).

"Gradualism" simply doesn't achieve jack shit. Never has, never will. Can you imagine how successful the American revolutionaries would have been if they had called for a "gradualist" program of reducing the Crown's power by .001% per year? It's such a freaking pathetic joke that it's hysterical--especially to the ruling classes. "Sure, we'll cut your taxes by .01% per year! Oops, looks like we just raised them through the roof again. Maybe next year, chump." It's like dangling a lollipop in front of a kid, then moving it away when they try to grab it. Funny stuff! For the ruling class, it's just plain cute.

"We can't just get rid of half the government tomorrow!" cries the hysterical Beck (I'm paraphrasing). Well, just when the fuck can we get rid of it!? Should it be there or not? If not, then why the hell shouldn't we just get rid of it?

Imagine getting a headache (you probably already have one if you're a regular reader of this blog). You say to yourself, "I have an ibuprofen pill right here. My head hurts. When I take the pill, the pain will be gone. But I can't just get rid of the headache, just like that! That would be unrealistic! I had better just keep the headache."

That would be extremely stupid. But apparently, that is how Beck gets rid of his headaches. Anything else would be too "drastic" or "radical."

Gradualism is also worthless because nobody is motivated to work for small, measly changes that are ended in the blink of an eye. Again, would the American revolutionaries have been willing to fight and die for a microscopic decrease in taxes?

There is nothing more unrealistic than "realism" and "gradualism." Until libertarians learn to stop pussyfooting around, we'll never get anywhere. Really guys, it's a joke. What will all the gradualism and reformism get Barr and the "Libertarian" party? A lost election, and an even more thuggish usurper ("president") than the last gaining power. A real success, that "gradualism" is. Let's hear it for gradualism and realism! Woot!

Monday, August 25, 2008

A leftist in a libertarian's body?

My blog posts so far have been pretty straightforward ramblings against things I do/don't like, with a lot of standard libertarian gunk. Now I'll finally get a little more personal.

As strange as this might sound..the more I think about it, the more I think I'm a leftist in a libertarian's body. Although my political views are not leftist, it would probably make more sense if they were.

Confused yet? Allow me to explain.

First of all, I am very strongly right-brained (which is somewhat unusual for my sex and political orientation). I am very much into anything involving art or 'creativity,' and pretty damn dismal at anything involving numbers or graphs. I am also (this is surprising, even to me) pretty emotional and have difficulty expressing intense feelings without 'breaking down.'

OK--I admit it, I love Whole Foods, and enjoy a lot of organic stuff, especially foreign and exotic beverages. I'm not religious or into guns.

I love foreign and controversial films, but can't stand sports--playing or watching them. I'm not into video games or computer games either. I think "cars" and a number of other masculine fascinations are pretty boring. I live in a far left-wing city.

I could go on and on...there is plenty I was going to write that I can't even remember here. The point is, I meet the profile of a leftist in quite a few ways, but am not one (at least not on economics).

Not sure why I had to make a post about it...just kind of off, huh? I noticed all of this not too long ago and have been pondering it lately for some reason. What does it all mean, dammit!?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Authoritarianism of Socialism

Fundamentally, there are only two ways of coordinating the economic activities of millions. One is central direction involving the use of coercion - the technique of the army and of the modern totalitarian state. The other is voluntary cooperation of individuals - the technique of the marketplace.
-Milton Friedman

The Socialist Community is a great authoritarian association in which orders are issued and obeyed. This is what is implied by the words "planned economy" and the "abolition of the anarchy of production." The inner structure of a socialist community is best understood if we compare it with the inner structure of an army. Many socialists indeed prefer to speak of the "army of labour." As in an army, so under Socialism, everything depends on the orders of the supreme authority.
-Ludwig von Mises

After reading these quotes, it should not come as a surprise that Hitler was a socialist. Fascism and neoconservatism also have socialist roots.

There has never been a single example of a large (or even moderate) scale, working socialist society anywhere. Ever. A question for anti-capitalists: if socialism were really possible and truly better than capitalism, don't you think someone, somewhere would have been able to get it to work some place on the planet by now? Why do markets and businesses exist everywhere, while socialism exists nowhere?

Ah, I forgot. It does exist. In Zimbabwe, Cuba, Noth Korea, Venezuela and other totalitarian hell holes. Why, then, don't you guys move there instead of just sitting in your boxers, posting on (before mommy and daddy get home)?

For the same reason, I suspect, that Nazis don't volunteer to go to the gas chambers.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

But How Will We Survive Without Any Regulation or Social Safety Net?

Market anarchists take freedom to the furthest possible extreme, to the point where most people are frightened of it. Prostitution, assisted suicide, polygamy, all guns and all drugs would be legal (yes, including meth). There would be zero taxes, zero regulations, and zero restrictions on trade. The only rule of the road would be to live and let live: do whatever you want as long as you don't commit acts of aggression against others or their property.

How would we survive without any kind of safety net? An article by the BAD Brigade gives the obvious answer:

Long before the welfare state came into existence, fraternal societies existed in the united states which provided both formal and informal mutual aid in the form of life insurance, health insurance, survivors benefits, old age housing, and other social services. And these societies, such as the Masons, the True Reformers, and the Ladies of the Maccabees, consisted largely of poor working people who banded together voluntary to take care of themselves and their fellow members. These groups, of course, were in addition to the family and churches which were primary providers of reciprocal assistance before the government began providing social security and other benefits.

Similar voluntary associations and social networks could again provide the bulk of assistance for needy individuals in an anarchist society. There would, however, need to be different provisions made for those who were permanently unable to work or take care of themselves. But, just like vast numbers of americans, despite heavy taxation to support government benefits, also contribute voluntarily to private charities, individuals in a stateless world would also contribute to private organizations dedicated to the care of those unable to care for themselves.

At Strike-the-Root, Chris Awuku pictures what he calls NSWOs:

In a stateless society, an individual or family facing financial difficulty or hardship could approach a voluntary group to seek assistance. In this instance, let us call voluntary groups Neighbourhood Social Welfare Organisations or "NSWO’s” for short. Once a person has approached the NSWO for support, a number of options could occur. The NSWO could offer temporary loans or grants to people as a means of providing poorer people with a steady income. It may also donate food, basic household items and other things which are necessities to most. An NSWO could also offer funds for business start-ups.

As mentioned earlier, a free market would grant poorer people the opportunity to enter business and create wealth for themselves. After all, help often does come to those who help themselves. Essentially, NSWOs would offer all of the services which are today administered by the state. Of course, the fundamental difference is that such organisations would be funded on a voluntary basis. Naturally, no governmental force would be required in order to finance the maintenance of an NSWO in the stateless society.

Rothbard recommended the "highly successful private welfare program" of the Mormon Church.

It is also worth reading Richard Garner's Is Charity Enough?

In addition, I think many of the people who are ambivalent about gutting the social "safety net" forget that they (usually) have families and large family tree, the members of which would not have to pay a dime in taxes. Do you really think they're going to let you starve?

As for regulation...

It would still exist, only it would be done by private individuals and associations. I think private agencies would and should regulate products and companies on things like environmental friendliness, labor & accounting practices, product safety, etc, and give stamps of approval on their products and such. There are companies that do stuff like this right now, and there would be a higher demand for them if no government regulations existed.

The idea that only government can protect us from fraud is a myth.

There would, of course, still be some degree of poverty, unsafe products, and fraud. And all of these things currently exist under our current gi-normous regulatory industrial complex.

But will we survive, in the end?? Yes.

Real free trade would be risky in ways that a government supervised economy would not be. There would be no state-run welfare system, no labor laws, no laws against pollution and the wanton slaughter of wildlife. But that does not mean individuals and the natural environment would be set adrift to fend for themselves. People are more than capable of forming voluntary organizations to provide for hard times, assist each other with creating jobs, facilitate direct commerce between producers, and campaign for a more humane treatment of non-human beings. People free to trade with each other would also be free to look at the ways they live and work and come up with ways to do both that are more humane and ecologically sound than those that currently exist. They have done this all through history and do it now, alongside the institutions of the warfare/welfare state.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

"Anarcho"-communism: Tyranny With a Smiley Face

A writer for the Libertarian Alliance explains why he chose to abandon "anarcho"-communism:

My former goal of a stateless communist
society became repellent to me. Jealous of
preserving my individuality I had no wish to
have my ego dissolved into the
amorphousness of an egalitarian herd.
Communism would render me powerless
before the economic collectivity. The
common ownership of the means of
production would confront me with the
choice: integrate or perish. Any group, or
federation of groups, can be as powerful as
any State if it monopolises in any given area
the possibilities of action and realisation. The
result would be social totalitarianism, even if
it were done in the name of "anarchism". In
practice stateless communism would vest all
executive power in the hands of mass
assemblies or elected delegates. Either way it
would be expressed de facto government of
the individual by the majority. What power
could I exercise for example if I were stuck
at the base of the pyramid of workers'
councils proposed as the administrative
structure for industries in the communist

Rothbard on leftist "anarchism":

The nearest those anarchists have come to resolving the problem has been to uphold syndicalism as the ideal. In syndicalism, each group of workers and peasants is supposed to own its means of production in common, and plan for itself, while cooperating with other collectives and communes. Logical analysis of these schemes would readily show that the whole program is nonsense. Either of two things would occur: one central agency would plan for and direct the various subgroups, or the collectives themselves would be really autonomous. But the crucial question is whether these agencies would be empowered to use force to put their decisions into effect. All of the left-wing anarchists have agreed that force is necessary against recalcitrants. But then the first possibility means nothing more nor less than Communism, while the second leads to a real chaos of diverse and clashing Communisms, that would probably lead finally to some central Communism after a period of social war. Thus, left-wing anarchism must in practice signify either regular Communism or a true chaos of communistic syndics. In both cases, the actual result must be that the State is reestablished under another name. It is the tragic irony of left-wing anarchism that, despite the hopes of its supporters, it is not really anarchism at all. It is either Communism or chaos.

Also recommended:

The Anarcho-Statists of Spain
The Coercive Anarchism of Noam Chomsky
The Fallacy of 'Libertarian Socialism'
The Death Wish of the Anarcho-communists

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Why I Am Not a Mutualist

Mutualism, particularly its Tuckerite branch, has fascinated me since my discovery of it several years ago. Why is it so fascinating to me? Because it is widely regarded by scholars as a leftist branch of free-market libertarianism. It’s genuinely left-wing…but it’s still free market libertarianism/anarchism. Who the hell doesn’t want to jump on that bandwagon? Where do I sign up?

Unfortunately, the more I looked into and thought about it, the more I began to realize why Rothbard created anarcho-capitalism in the first place. Mutualism is a confusing, dated, convoluted mess of a political philosophy with very dubious positions on economics. (I'm not going to spend much time on the labor theory of value, since it has been done elsewhere.)

“Syndical Syndrom:” Rothbard’s Critique of Mutualism

Most market anarchists are familiar with Rothbard’s critique of some Mutualist ideas in The Spooner-Tucker Doctrine: An Economist’s View. Less are aware of his critique in Syndical Syndrom, which in my opinion is a far better article. Excerpt:

In free-market capitalism, there have never been
any restrictions on workers banding together in producers'
coops to own their own capital equipment. And yet, in the
free economy, producers' coops have been notorious by
their non-existence, or rapid failure in competition with
'capitalist" firms. The reason is that, unknown to the
economically ignorant syndicalists, the capitalists perform
an extremely important service to the workers, as a
result of which most people prefer to be hired by capitalists
rather than be self or cooperatively employed. The
two basic functions are those of the "capitalist" per se
and those of the "entrepreneur". As a capitalist, the employer
saves money from his possible consumption, and
invests the money in paying workers their income in advance
of sale of product. In an automobile factory, the
capitalist pays workers their weekly wages now; in a producers'
cooperative factory, the workers would have to go
without income for months or years, until their product is
finally sold to the consumers. The capitalist earning of
"interest" for this advance payment is precisely equivalent
to the creditor who earns interest by lending someone
money now while being repaid at some point in the future.
In both cases, "interest" is earned as payment for savings
and time preference for income now rather than waiting
for the future.

The second service performed by the employer is to
assume the significant risks of entrepreneurship. A producers'
cooperative firm invests resources in a product,
and then hopes to sell that product to the consumers at a
net profit. But suppose that the efficiency and the foresight
of the workers is minimal; suppose, in short, that
they produce an Edsel that fails to sell? If they do, their
income is negative rather than positive, and they lose
capital assets which they can scarcely afford. In the
capitalist economy, the employer assumes these capital
risks, and only he therefore is subject to monetary losses
if his product is inefficiently produced or if he cannot achieve
satisfactory sales.

Most workers are unwilling or unable to assume these
risks of entrepreneurship, and therefore they greet the
employer's willingness to do so, as well as to pay them
in advance of sales, with sighs of relief. Or would if they
understood the process. We can confidently predict that
if Yugoslavia ever allows full-scale capitalist employment
(as it does now for small-scale enterprise) that its
producers' coops will rapidly give way to orthodox "capitalist"
modes of production - to the benefit of all concerned.

These are striking blows, IMO, to the mutualist position on rent, interest, and profit. How exactly are people going to survive when they have to wait YEARS to get paid? How many people have the money to invest in, say, a new airline, even if they wanted to? Without profit, I don't even see how modern retailers or wholesalers could exist. The mutualist answer to this argument has been mostly unimpressive. Kevin Carson's response:

Time preference is not a constant. It is skewed much more to the present for a laborer without independent access to the means of production, or to subsistence or security. Even the vulgar political economists recognized that the degree of poverty among the laboring classes determined their level of wages, and hence the level of profit.

Ok, fair enough, so state intervention and social standing are obviously going to impact one's time preference to some extent. But does anyone seriously believe that interest and profit are going to fall to zero!? Or that everyone is going to happily wait for months or years to get paid?

Even modern anti-capitalist individualist anarchists are a
little queasy about these positions:

Benjamin Tucker, a 19th Century individualist anarchist, and perhaps the most famous individualist anarchist of all, at one point, thought that not only ownership of land, but also all rent, business profits, and interest were wrong, and their victims should never be compelled to pay any of these, unless it was their choosing. He even thought that workers, renters, and lendees, who had once voluntarily agreed to respect these capitalist institutions, should later be able to go back and seek compensation for the wrongs done to them.

Today, with more developed economic theory, this doesn't seem to make so much sense -- if you prohibit all rent, profit, and interest, what will most likely happen is nobody will rent, lend, or make capital investments, and the poor will simply not be able to obtain housing, money, or physical capital to work with.

Another critique of the Mutualist position echoes Rothbard:

In a given anarcho-socialist business, production is owned entirely by those who worked upon the capital (for they own the capital,) and is presumably sold in some form of market.

Given that no one would give capital to an anarcho-socialist business for free, and given that no one can invest in an anarcho-socialist business for they can gain no return, therefore to gain employment workers must be forced to contribute capital. Which means that workers without capital are in an irresolvable situation, for they can neither gain employment nor capital, unless some charitable person were to grant them capital for free. A loan of capital to the worker is out of the question, for consider; the creditor purchases capital upon which the worker is employed, the creditor takes some of the production in return, which is no different from capitalist investment!, and this holds true even if the loan is issued by their future co-workers.

All workers must invest capital, and their remuneration must be commensurate with the amount that they invest; for any other would be grossly unfair. Workers however do different types of work, for different durations, requiring different skills. remuneration must also be commensurate with the type of work they do. Given that the remuneration, or ownership of production if you like, is dependent upon the level of investment and of work, both of which vary, why not allow people to invest and do no work, as per capitalism? And this brings to light the false distinction, for anarcho-socialism contains the capitalist element of capitalism, just that investors must work on their capital, which seems to me -- utterly stupid. Any level set by law which determines whether an individual investor is really ‘a worker’ or ‘an evil capitalist’ will be an arbitrary ratio between the level of investment and the level of work contributed. Now, the judgment by members of a business as whether to employ an additional co-worker will depend not only on the skills of the particular worker, the amount of remuneration relative to their contributed work that they desire and the business can afford, but also the amount of capital which this particular worker can and wishes to contribute. Given that this is specific to the worker, and given that each business will have different needs for capital, there will be no market-price for any type of labor, and so no reliable guide.

By forbidding all investment where the capitalist does not also work on the capital, businesses can only gain investment by employing more people, and individuals cannot invest unless they work, which means they also cannot distribute risk in their investments.

Unlike in the capitalist system, workers must work without pay until the product is sold.
The results of an anarcho-socialist system are inevitable; substantially reduced investment, increased poverty.

Assume though that an anarcho-socialist system were viable, and that one day a former worker decides to invest his/her earnings, except that he/she does not wish to work upon capital. Consider though that he/she offers employment to someone working elsewhere in a similar line of work for an anarcho-socialist business, and that the offer includes; immediate pay, no requirement of investment and therefore no risk, and a higher wage, and that the product is sold at a lower price to consumers. This would be forbidden. Yet... what is so wrong about it that it requires legislation?

To be fair, I don't believe Kevin Carson or other Mutualists would "forbid" this. Yet, this just leads to the next part of my critique:

Mutualism and Wage Labor: The Contradiction That Just Won't Go Away

Confusingly, many Mutualists support/supported wage labor, despite their opposition to profit. Huh!? That's right.

As Tucker put it,

...the minute you remove privilege, the class that now enjoy it will be forced to sell their labor, and then, when there will be nothing but labor with which to buy labor, the distinction between wage-payers and wage-receivers will be wiped out, and every man will be a laborer exchanging with fellow-laborers. Not to abolish wages, but to make every man dependent upon wages and secure to every man his whole wages is the aim of Anarchistic Socialism.

He also believed that...

When interest, rent, and profit disappear under the influence of free money, free land, and free trade, it will make no difference whether men work for themselves, or are employed, or employ others. In any case they can get nothing but that wage for their labor which free competition determines. Therefore they need not become their own employers.

Your average reader (whether a follower of Rothbard or Kropotkin or Marx) is now confused shitless. How, exactly, are you going to have wage labor without profit? Why in the world would you bother paying someone wages if you aren't hoping to see a return? It would defeat the entire point. A number of mutualists themselves (at least some on message boards and blogs) seem to think this is a contradiction.

The answer is even more confusing. Tucker wanted
wages to absorb profits. In other words, he wanted wages to rise to the laborer's "full product." Don't worry, I don't understand it either.

Nobody in the real world is going to put that much effort and risk into a project, just to let some schmuck off the street get the profits. Again, that would defeat the entire point of hiring someone.

If there is an answer to this contradiction, I haven't heard it.

"Occupancy and Use"? Maybe in the 19th Century.

Mutualists believe private property in land should be run on an "occupancy and use" basis. The problems with this are enormous.

If we followed this "occupancy and use" thing consistently, we would no longer have hotels, college dorms, or even parking spaces. Life would become extremely inconvenient. All companies that expanded beyond one building would not be able to operate. How a highway road would operate without being owned by someone is anyone's guess. And god help you if you want to go on a vacation (or not own a home).

D. Burton (again) is also skeptical of how well this would
work today.

..individualist anarchists have traditionally opposed the unlimited ownership of land, especially absentee ownership, for the purpose of passively collecting rent. In the 19th Century, the main idea was some kind of squatter sovereignty, in which individuals only had a right to land while they were using it. Any unused land was free for someone else to claim. That made a lot of sense in the frontier-type situation of 19th Century America. Today, there is a lot more complex and innovative though to deal with space constraints and environmental issues.

Out With The Old, In With The New

Most individualist anarchists today disagree with mutualism, but still find much to admire in it. I will admit that I greatly enjoy reading what Kevin Carson has to say, and that Tucker is one of my favorite anarchists. I may not always agree with their views, but I still find mutualism and old-school individualist anarchism to be quite fascinating.

To conclude, I'm going to cut and paste what I said in an earlier post:

Rothbardian anarcho-capitalism, influenced by Lysander Spooner and Benjamin Tucker, retains most of their spirit but omits their silly ideas and errors (such as the labor theory of value, which nobody believes in anymore). In my opinion, it is simply a modernized form of market anarchism with the crap cut out. Does that put it outside of historical/classical anarchism a bit? Yes. Who cares?

Monday, August 18, 2008

More Hysterical Denunciation From the Left; I Love It!

Peter Marshall's whiny tirade against anarcho-capitalism is a real hoot. Typical of most drivel that comes from the left, he does little else than allow his emotions and imagination to run wild.

In the utopias of the anarcho-capitalists, there is little reason to believe that the rich and powerful will not continue to exploit and oppress the powerless and poor as they do at present.

How awful!

Indeed, the anarcho-capitalists deny the very existence of collective interests and responsibilities.

Oh, my! Someone had better set up a dictatorship to stop these wild-eyed egoists!

In their drive for self-interest, they have no conception of the general good or public interest.

Those monsters! Have they no shame?

The rest is just hilarious. One can almost picture the teary-eyed milquetoast banging on his computer with childish rage, perhaps looking at the Che poster on his wall for guidance.

Anarcho-capitalists are against the State simply because they are capitalists first and foremost. Their critique of the State ultimately rests on a liberal interpretation of liberty as the inviolable rights toand of private property. They are not concerned with the social consequences of capitalism for the weak, powerless and ignorant. Their claim that all would benefit from a free exchange in the market is by no means certain; any unfettered market system would most likely sponsor areversion to an unequal society with defence associations perpetuating exploitation and privilege. If anything, anarcho-capitalism is merely a free-for-all in which only the rich and cunning would benefit. It is tailor-made for 'rugged individualists' who do not care about the damage to others or to the environment which they leave in their wake. The forces of the market cannot provide genuine conditions for freedom anymore than the powers of the State. The victims of both are equally enslaved, alienated and oppressed.

"Won't somebody PLEASE think of the children!?"

As such, anarcho-capitalism overlooks the egalitarian implications of traditional individualist anarchists like Spooner and Tucker. In fact, few anarchists would accept 'anarcho-capitalists' into the anarchist camp since they do not share a concern for economic equality and social justice. Their self-interested, calculating market men would be incapable of practising voluntary co-operation and mutual aid. Anarcho-capitalists, even if they do reject the State, might therefore best be called right-wing libertarians rather than anarchists.

Evil, evil, eeevil! Every last one of them.

Chomsky said so.

A Critique of “Left-Libertarianism”

It seems that an increasing number of market anarchists out there are calling themselves “left-libertarians.” Their commentary can be found in the so-called Blogosphere of the Libertarian Left, and information on why they have chosen this label can be found on the Alliance of the Libertarian Left website. In this post, I hope to counter and refute some of their common arguments for this label.

Before I begin, I need to give my own interpretation of the left-right spectrum. Obviously, there is a lot of grey area, meaning that plenty of people are going to ask me, “But what about [insert person/ideology that doesn’t fit well]?” I will do my best anyway.

The “left” has generally stood for egalitarianism, collectivism, and democracy.

The “right” has generally stood for individualism, free markets, and private property.

Yes, there are other attributes that usually go along with both sides, but these are the core ones. Fascism and Mutualism both muddy the waters a bit, but they are the exceptions to the rule. And obviously, it goes without saying that politicians of both the left and right don’t actually believe in any of the principles I’ve connected with their side. But this is about as good a definition of the left-right spectrum as one can come up with. So let’s get on with the arguments from the “left-libertarians.”

Market anarchism is historically left-wing, because of classical individualist anarchism. Therefore, we should consider ourselves left-wing as well.

What made the classical individualist anarchists “left-wing?” Their belief in the labor theory of value and the Marxist exploitation theory. They held that profits are theft from the workers, rent is theft from the tenants and so on. This is the only thing that made individualist anarchism “left-wing.” That being said, it is a lesser known “leftist” philosophy: a rarity, and a bit of a political enigma. (How the hell can you buy into the socialist exploitation theory but still endorse the free market?)

Modern market anarchists--anarcho-capitalists--don’t believe profit, interest, or rent are exploitative. In other words, modern market anarchists reject the only belief that made classical individualist anarchists (just barely) left-wing. Many, if not most, radical leftists do/would not accept individualist anarchists as “leftists.”

We should call ourselves “left-libertarians” to show our leftist stands on cultural issues.

While the left and right are usually affiliated with different stands on culture, I do not think cultural preferences are enough to determine where someone lies on the political spectrum. I consider economics to be the single most important factor, as do most people. A racist, misogynistic, ultra-patriotic socialist is still a left-winger (e.g., Proudhon). A pro-choice, pro-gay, secular conservative is still a right-winger (e.g., Andrew Sullivan).

We should call ourselves “left-libertarians” to show we are open to an “alliance” with the left.

Creating an alliance with the left is a godawful idea. Why? For several reasons:

1) They believe that private property should be abolished. Is it not pretty stupid to create an alliance with folks who are dead-set against the foundation of your political philosophy? Rothbard found this one out the hard way.

2) All leftists, especially the leftist anarchists, support drastically expanding the state’s power and stomping on the free market, in the name of “social justice.” In fact, it barely even makes sense that I made a whole new point for this, since it flows logically from point #1.

3) Like it or not, most libertarians are converted from the political right. How do I know? Common sense and personal experience. Lefties are a bunch of brain-dead, hysterical thugs who will never give up their futile class-war, free-everything bullshit.

We should call ourselves “left-libertarians” to show that we oppose the current system, including its unjust property titles.

Sure, we oppose the current system--as do Nazis, Leninists, etc.--and its many unjust property titles. Here we will assume, for the sake of argument, that it is humanly possible to rectify every unjust property title (in reality, it isn’t).

“Left-libertarians” tend to assume that once the unjust property titles are smoked out, the result will be large-scale redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor. They overlook the fact that much of the wealth would in fact be taken from the poor and given to the rich (Which group is always having its wealth constantly redistributed to the other, by the state? In every country?).

In some cases, the poor would get more wealth, and in others, the rich would get more wealth. Wealth would be shifted around, but it would not necessarily result in a more egalitarian society.

This is all really a semantic dispute. Left-wing anarchists secretly support the free market and private property. Sure, they may demand the abolition of the free market and private property. But that is only because they define the free market as an un-free market and private property as statist property.

Honestly, this has to be the single most retarded argument made by “left-libertarians.” Left-wing anarchists define private property in the exact same way that market anarchists do. They also define the free market the exact same way that market anarchists do. Nobody with even a basic, slapdash knowledge of their literature, FAQs, or history would say otherwise. This is most definitely not some tiny debate over “semantics.”

Mutualists are not the same as anarcho-capitalists either. They oppose interest, rent, and profit. Again, this is not a “semantic dispute.” It is a difference in ideology, and a gigantic one.

Don’t use the word “capitalism.” It just causes confusion!

The only “confusion” being created is by “left-libertarians.” Capitalism is consistently defined as private ownership of the means of production in a free market (or some variation of that). And yes, that is exactly what left-anarchists are railing against when they rail against “capitalism.” They aren’t talking about state-capitalism, you idiots. Get over it.


If anarcho-capitalism is anywhere on the political spectrum, it's the Old Right (or libertarian Right).

Left-libertarianism is a bunch of crap. The name doesn’t even make sense, because “left-libertarian” is a synonym for “libertarian socialist.” I get the feeling that they just want to be “hip” or something.

In conclusion, the whole thing is silly.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Natural Rights Explained

There seems to be a lot of confusion about the concept of “natural rights,” not only among the anarcho-left, but also among some radical libertarians. Natural rights are claimed to be some kind of mystical, inherent code that just kind of magically exists out of thin air.

Murray Rothbard denied that natural rights are based on mysticism, however.

Natural law theory rests on the insight that we live in a
world of more than one—in fact, a vast number—of entities, and that each
entity has distinct and specific properties, a distinct “nature,” which can be
investigated by man’s reason, by his sense perception and mental faculties...

…the nature of man is such that each individual person
must, in order to act, choose his own ends and employ his own means in
order to attain them. Possessing no automatic instincts, each man must
learn about himself and the world, use his mind to select values, learn
about cause and effect, and act purposively to maintain himself and
advance his life. Since men can think, feel, evaluate, and act only as
individuals, it becomes vitally necessary for each man’s survival and
prosperity that he be free to learn, choose, develop his faculties, and act
upon his knowledge and values. This is the necessary path of human
nature; to interfere with and cripple this process by using violence goes
profoundly against what is necessary by man’s nature for his life and
prosperity. Violent interference with a man’s learning and choices is
therefore profoundly “antihuman”; it violates the natural law of man’s
needs. (For a New Liberty, p.27)

Ayn Rand had a similar perspective:

The source of man’s rights is not divine law or congressional law, but the law of identity. A is A—and Man is Man. Rights are conditions of existence required by man’s nature for his proper survival. If man is to live on earth, it is right for him to use his mind, it is right to act on his own free judgment, it is right to work for his values and to keep the product of his work. If life on earth is his purpose, he has a right to live as a rational being: nature forbids him the irrational. Any group, any gang, any nation that attempts to negate man’s rights, is wrong, which means: is evil, which means: is anti-life.
(For the New Intellectual, p.182)

Thus, for every individual, a right is the moral sanction of a positive—of his freedom to act on his own judgment, for his own goals, by his own voluntary, uncoerced choice. As to his neighbors, his rights impose no obligations on them except of a negative kind: to abstain from violating his rights.
The right to life is the source of all rights—and the right to property is their only implementation. Without property rights, no other rights are possible. Since man has to sustain his life by his own effort, the man who has no right to the product of his effort has no means to sustain his life. The man who produces while others dispose of his product, is a slave.
(The Virtue of Selfishness, p.93)

As David Gordon has explained, natural-rights libertarianism can be boiled down to a very simple principle: that slavery is wrong. (Also see Wendy McElroy's take on the subject, here.)

When prodded, the idiots who claim that rights and morality don’t exist always—ALWAYS-- end up caving in. The second they concede that rape or murder is wrong, their claim goes out the window.

In other words, they are mostly attention whores trying to sound 'intellectual.' Francois Tremblay considers them trolls. And they are.

Natural rights are the best foundation for market anarchism. As Rothbard pointed out,

Not only had natural law and natural rights given way throughout society to the arbitrary rule of utilitarian calculation or nihilistic whim; but the same degenerative process had occurred among libertarians and anarchists as well. Spooner knew that the foundation for individual rights and liberty was tinsel if all values and ethics were arbitrary and subjective.

Yet, even in his own anarchist movement Spooner was the last of the Old Guard believers in natural rights; his successors in the individualist-anarchist movement, led by Benjamin R. Tucker, all proclaimed arbitrary whim and might-makes-right as the foundation of libertarian moral theory. And yet, Spooner knew that this was no foundation at all; for the State is far mightier than any individual, and if the individual cannot use a theory of justice as his armor against State oppression, then he has no solid base from which to roll back and defeat it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

"How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Become an Anarcho-capitalist"

Chris Cooper explains.


Anarchy is freedom, including the freedom not to be a socialist
or live like one. It’s the freedom not to participate in communal
activities or to share communal goals. It’s the freedom to
strike private deals with other individuals for personal enrichment.
It’s freedom not only from the rule of the state but also
from that of the village, the commune or the production syndicate.

Old-school individualist anarchist Ken Knudson drew similar conclusions:

Now most anarchists when they attack capitalism strike it where it is strongest: in its advocacy of freedom. And how paradoxical that is. Here we have the anarchists, champions of freedom PAR EXCELLENCE, complaining about freedom! How ridiculous, it seems to me, to find anarchists attacking Mr. Heath for withdrawing government subsidies from museums and children's milk programmes. When anarchists start screaming for free museums, free milk, free subways, free medical care, free education, etc., etc., they only show their ignorance of what freedom really is.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

George H. Smith on the market anarchism of Benjamin Tucker

This older post on a libertarian Yahoo! Group is a must-read:

Also make sure to read Richard Garner’s excellent Response To The Anarchist FAQ.

Finished? Good. Because now it's time for my two cents.

Rothbardian anarcho-capitalism, influenced by Lysander Spooner and Benjamin Tucker, retains most of their spirit but omits their silly ideas and errors (such as the labor theory of value, which nobody believes in anymore). In my opinion, it is simply a modernized form of market anarchism with the crap cut out. Does that put it outside of historical/classical anarchism a bit? Yes. Who cares?

Tucker is one of my all-time favorite anarchists. His article Relation of the State to the Individual is one of the best introductions to anarchism out there. And it's one that Rothbardian market anarchists will find little to disagree with--except for his crackpot ideas about "usury," which are thankfully kept to a minimum this time around.

Tucker FTW!

Will Obama be America's Mugabe?

Back in 2006, Obama apparently accused George W. Bush of being...ha!...a market anarchist.

“The reason they don’t believe that government has a role in solving national problems is because they think government is the problem,” Obama said to approximately 1,500 people at the Kansas Democratic Party Washington Days convention. Obama, a Democrat from Illinois, said Bush’s political philosophy consists of giving tax breaks and encouraging “everyone to go buy your own health care, your own retirement and security, your own child care, your own schools, your own private security forces, your own roads, your own levees.“It’s called the ownership society. In our past there has been another name for it; it’s called social Darwinism. Every man or woman for him or herself,” he said.

G.W. a market anarchist? I wish! Somehow I doubt he's going to pick up a book by Benjamin Tucker any time soon. In fact, I doubt he's going to pick up a book, period.

Notice the disdain Obama has for any semblance of personal responsibility or individualism. He holds that nobody should ever have to pay for his own health care, retirement, children, education, transportation, or mistakes. Ever. Everything should be free. Nobody should ever have to lift a finger to do anything. Uncle Barack will see to it that the laws of reality and economics are quickly done away with.

It should be noted that Robert Mugabe, the socialist dictator of Zimbabwe, has followed Barack Obama's platform to the letter. Equality and price controls for all! No more "ownership society." No more "social darwinism."

The result? Inflation is at over 1 million percent. Unemployment is at 85%. Poverty is through the roof. The people of the country eat rats to survive, when they aren't waiting in bread lines. Civil liberties have been eviscerated (Mugabe shares Obama's views on wiretapping).

Welcome to Barack Obama's vision for America.

Unbelievably, it gets worse. This shit-head is now calling to boost national service programs. He wants to make high school and college students "serve" their nation. He also wants to expand the US military. Why not? It's just one more way to drain the private sector.

Americans don't realize it, but they are cheering on the American equivalent of Mugabe. If Obama supporters had any brains, they would just offer to switch citizenship with those living in Zimbabwe, where Obama's policies have already been put into practice.

But even if we shouldn't copy Zimbabwe, readers might ask, shouldn't we at least copy collectivist Europe? No, we shouldn't.

America should not even copy America, for that matter. The fascist crony capitalism we see in this morally bankrupt country has nothing to do with a real free market.

Obama, of course, would have you believe that it is a 100% free market, and that we need another Mugabe (ie, him) to put an end to it. Just listen to the words of his wife:

"Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed."

Does that sound like fascism to you? It certainly does to me.

Vote Obama if you want to Mugabize the USA.

Welcome to Corktageous

Welcome! Come one, come all! Well, except for statists.

This is a blog meant for fans of individualist/market anarchism. What on Earth does that mean? For a sound introduction, try starting with:

Anarcho-capitalism explained
Individualist Anarchism: A 21st Century Introduction
The Anarcho-capitalist FAQ

In this blog I will basically criticize whoever and whatever I feel like, often in a scathing fashion. I will rip on collectivists, minarchists, politicians, right-wingers, religion, and plenty of other things.

Stay tuned, bitches!