Saturday, December 20, 2008

Objectivist Pipe Dreams, Part 1

One place where market/individualist anarchism is often debated is on Objectivist forums. Every time I read their objections, I get the feeling that none of them have ever read any actual anarchist writing. They parrot the "social contract" gibberish like gospel, apparently unaware that Spooner totally (and extensively) demolished all of that hokum over 100 years ago in No Treason. Here are some particularly big howlers from various Objectivist forums.

Starting at square one, a number of people live in the same geographic area - jurisdiction - and decide to secure their rights. They start a government and draw up a border. Anyone who enters that border must contractually agree to respect the laws and government of that nation. This violates nobody's rights. The government-creation-contract would also stipulate that nobody may enter into other contracts with other protection agencies (governments) without renouncing this contract and moving out of that geographic area (i.e. renounce citizenship and emigrate). Again, no rights are violated.

Of course, if Objectivists would read anything by Spooner or Rothbard, they would quickly learn there's no such thing as a government that was actually created this way. As Rothbard put it, "the historical evidence cuts precisely the other way: for every State where the facts are available originated by a process of violence, conquest, and exploitation."

But suppose a “government” was magically created in this way? The only way in which it could be maintained would be if every property owner agreed and refused to deal with anyone who wanted a different protection agency. It would only take a single dissenting property owner or newcomer for this “government” to collapse. Since this “government” would not be able to outlaw competing protection agencies, it would not even be a government.

If a pro-capitalist enforcement agency prevented an anti-capitalist agency from operating, it would be acting as a legal monopolist or, in other words, a government.

Umm…no. The point is that the victims would be free to choose from any agency to punish the anti-capitalist agency, instead of a single monopoly (government).

What in so-called 'market anarchy' would stop there being agencies that monopolize aggressive violence, or practice such violence systematically?

ROFL! Does the author really not see the hysterical irony in this question!?

These guys crack me up.

More howlers to come in future posts..


Rorshak (1313) said...

Ugh. Debating Objectivists on anarchism.

I've had one good debate like that where the Objectivist was amiable and remained on topic. But every one devolves into them saying some silly nonsense about how I'm an irrational subjectivist. One even made some weird comment about how anarchists are potential baby-killers. That was a very lulzy exchange.

Cork said...

Yes, I've noticed that most of them use ad hominem attacks or strawman arguments, and have never read any anarchist literature.

For instance, they'll go, "How will this crazy thing work when different agencies have different laws?" Of course, if they had ever read anything by Rothbard, they would know that he advocates a single legal code.

Or, their favorite trick: "one agency will get powerful and enslave everyone! What then?" Well, then I guess we have a minarchist/Objectivist regime that will have to be overthrown. LOL

David Z said...

Well put Cork, very concise!