He still doesn't make much of a compelling case. Like most leftists, he is big on criticism but not so big on solutions. However, the act of criticizing something is pointless without offering actual alternatives. Francois never really discusses what the alternatives would be to the hierarchies he loathes, so we will discuss them here.
He starts off on the right track:
Government is the most acknowledged and the most demonstrative hierarchy. With pomp and circumstance, we elect presidents, prime minister, or crown kings, but we know that most of the power is vested in gigantic bureaucracies and agencies fighting a tug-of-war for resources and laws. The ordinary citizen-subject, who is subject to whoever wins, is the inferior. The aim of governments is the monopolization of a greater and greater amount of political power.
So far, so good. But as Walter Block has pointed out, the hierarchy of the state is different from the hierarchy of other institutions.
Libertarians oppose the initiation of coercion or the threat thereof, not hierarchy. Yes, all groups that violate the non-aggression axiom of libertarians are hierarchical. Governments, gangs, rapists, impose their will, by force, on their victims. They give orders. And yes, in all hierarchies, people at the top of the food chain give orders to those below them. But the difference, and this is crucial, is that the recipients of orders in the latter case have agreed to accept them, but this does not at all apply in the former case.
When the rapist orders the victim to carry out his commands, this is illegitimate hierarchy. When the conductor orders the cellist to do so, this is an aspect of legitimate hierarchy.
Bah! Time to overthrow the conductor and seize the means of production (that baton belongs us all, dammit)!
Ok, time to get serious again. What happens when you condemn all hierarchy, instead of just coercive hierarchy? Answer: batshit insanity. We can see this when we take a good look at what the alternatives would be to the hierarchical institutions Francois wants done away with.
We'll start with Francois' dismissal of capitalism.
Capitalism is the less acknowledged but just as important (if not more important) hierarchy. Here there is a clear distinction between the exploitative class of corporate managers and investors on the one hand, and their employee-subjects on the other hand, and also with the group of consumers (who are victims of the by-products of the activities of production). The aim of the capitalist hierarchies, generally big corporations, is profit.
So what is the alternative to capitalism? In the comment section, Kent McMaginal asks the question:
How could a large company (not a “corporation”) function if there is no one “in charge”?
I would never start a company and hire anyone if I couldn’t insist upon them doing the work they were hired to do. Or if they could decide they owned the company just because they worked there. That would pretty much limit companies to one person each.
So the first alternative is a luddite, primitivist economy--presumably with some form of state apparatus to ensure that it remains an impoverished hell-hole.
The only other alternative is communism, where a dictator (or "anarcho"-communist council, which is the same thing) would plan the economy at gun point. This is about as hierarchical as things get.
These are the alternatives to the "hierarchy" of capitalism. Any takers? I didn't think so.
Of course, I dispute the whole "capitalism is hierarchical control" argument in the first place. A poster at ASC explained this better than I can:
EVERYONE is self employed. Everyone who does something for which they receive monetary compensation is self-employed. Self-employed means offering your services to clients willing to pay, and getting a fee based on mutual agreement. When a "self-employed" plumber fixes your toilet for a fee, that act is fundamentally the same as when a "wage slave" offers his skills to a "boss" for a fee, aka a wage. He "bills" the boss an amount referred to as the wage. Put most succinctly: the rich have clients, the poor have bosses. It's the same damn thing.
Barry Loberfield also discusses this in his article, The Coercive Anarchism of Noam Chomsky.
Let's move on to the other hierarchies Francois opposes.
Religions and cults are another major category of hierarchies. Although they are of course different, I classify them in the same group because their aims (primarily, thought control) and structures (authorities which are deemed “closer to God” or otherwise more holy) are generally similar.
As big of an atheist as I am, the solution to this is pretty simple: don't go to church!
Now, if Francois truly believes that hierarchy is immoral, he must believe it is morally justified to coercively prohibit these hierarchical institutions from forming. So I challenge him to:
1) Demand the compulsory abolition of churches (along with all the other hierarchies he opposes), and
2) Explain how this will be done without some form of hierarchical authority.
Ok, so Francois is apparently against parenting. What is the alternative, then?
Are children going to be raised by wolves? I assume that would also be "hierarchy," so Francois would oppose that too.
Should parents drop their newborns off in a random place to let them fend for themselves, instead of raising them? Most would consider that to be child abuse. Child abuse is a big reason why some people oppose families, so that doesn't make much sense either.
Schools would also not exist in the Tremblayan order (not much would, after all).
What would this mean? We would have a society of uneducated idiots and morons. We would not have doctors, engineers, scientists, or anyone else necessary for civlization.
We would starve to death. Pointlessly.
Let's be clear...
None of this is meant to imply that hierarchy is always a good thing. Many hierarchical institutions violate liberty.
But once you start on a crusade against all hierarchy (instead of coercive hierarchy), you are naturally going to have to oppose everyone and everything. I touched on this in a previous post:
...without the use of threat or coercion, nobody really is being "ruled" or "dominated." If your "submission" to an authority figure is voluntary, then it ceases to be domination.
Should libertarians battle S&M sex games, along with the state? How about asshole football coaches (some of the most authoritarian people on the planet)? Should libertarians fight against teachers, parents, and sports referees? Should we lead the fight against online message board moderators?
Consider the alternatives, and the whole thing reduces to absurdity.