Is Anarchism Socialist or Capitalist?

A new defense of libertarian anarchism makes the case that the philosophy belongs on the left.

Anarchy and Legal Order: Law and Politics for a Stateless Society, by Gary Chartier, Cambridge University Press, 416 pages, $115

If a just society is one rooted in peaceful, voluntary cooperation, and the state aggressively precludes and preempts this kind of cooperation, then the just society must be a stateless society. Philosopher and legal scholar Gary Chartier presents this argument on the first page of Anarchy and Legal Order, and the remainder is largely a defense of that bold claim. 

In 2011, Chartier published The Conscience of an Anarchist. It was not an academic work, but rather a call to “envisioning a new kind of society and beginning to construct it.” Conscience suffered from the two large stumbling blocks that plague most anarchist manifestos: 1) most people aren’t quite sure what anarchism is, and 2) a not insubstantial percentage of political theory is devoted to justifying the state. And since most people associate anarchism with violent madmen, the justification of the state is usually the given. 

The new book, then, is a rigorous, well-argued academic treatment giving a comprehensive, scholarly defense of the idea that the state is not only unnecessary for a just social order but actively interferes with its development. Academic books suffer from their own stumbling blocks, including the sad fact that many people will avoid them on the assumption that they will be obscure or hard to follow. But Chartier’s book is neither. His arguments are laid out with such elegance and precision that any intelligent lay reader should be able to understand them. For most people, the only real challenge will be to their presuppositions and long-held beliefs about the nature of government.

Chartier begins with a list of basic moral principles, such as fairness, respect, and recognition. He argues that from these concepts it logically follows that we have good reason to “avoid aggression against people’s bodies and just possessory interests,” referring to this as the “nonaggression maxim.” Not only is it morally wrong for individuals to aggress against others, he writes, but it’s wrong for groups of people to do it, too. Since the state’s actions are inherently aggressive, these moral principles will inevitably be violated.

Most people will agree with Chartier that aggression is wrong. But many will think that the state is either (a) not inherently aggressive, because its actions embody the will of the people, or (b) justified in its use of aggression, because without the state, peaceful and voluntary cooperation would be impossible. Chartier dispenses with the former objection in short order, and devotes several chapters to the latter.

It’s not enough to observe that peaceful, voluntary cooperation is possible without the state. Chartier goes the next step by positing that the state is actively inimical to such cooperation. Besides its reliance on aggression, the state uses power to favor groups over one another, making people more likely to regard each other in adversarial ways. If one group is the beneficiary of special privileges, this not only makes life difficult for others, but creates incentives for antagonistic, zero-sum thinking. Chartier’s point is that in order to have a society of peaceful, voluntary cooperation, we need to eliminate all forms of aggression—and that the leading source of that aggression is the state.

There are many non-state forms of aggression, of course. Chartier devotes another chapter to explaining how stateless societies would respond to non-state aggression. He shows that there is no contradiction in opposing the state and supporting a system of legal rules. There is indeed ample precedent for the “polycentric” legal order he advocates; see, for example, Bruce Benson’s The Enterprise of Law or Randy Barnett’s The Structure of Liberty, which Chartier cites and discusses.

While some legal system is a necessary component of social living, Chartier writes, it’s a mistake to assume that only the state can provide it, or indeed that there should be only one system. A stateless society will have mechanisms for resolving conflicts and rectifying injury that do not depend on relentless government aggression. (Similarly, Chartier argues that the voluntary society will be one in which wealth inequalities will in fact be mitigated, but not by aggressive confiscation.)

It is perhaps a mark of the progress of libertarian ideas that there are now understood to be several different kinds of libertarianism. While some people associate the philosophy with conservative thought, there is also a segment that identifies itself with “the left.” (And, to be sure, there are those who steadfastly reject the left/right dichotomy, insisting that classical liberalism cannot be neatly classified on the modern political spectrum.)

Chartier is unabashedly a left-libertarian, arguing that his conception of a stateless society is distinctly leftist, anti-capitalist, and socialist. He is aware that much hangs on such terminology, and he spends a chapter exploring the distinctions.

Some of this positioning flows from hostility toward relationships based on subordination, which he views as morally wrong. While deleting the state would eliminate many such relationships, he argues, there survive many other subordination-enabling pathologies, from racism to sexism to corporate hierarchy. To overcome these non-governmental problems, Chartier favors smaller, participatory firms where the “boss” figure is minimized or avoided altogether. Concern for the well-being of the worker qua worker, or about the subordinate role of women in a patriarchal society, makes his position distinctly leftist, he argues.

Chartier also claims that opposing war is leftist, on grounds that “opposition to aggressive war is a defining leftist commitment.” The obvious rebuttal to which is that plenty of conservative thinkers have opposed war, too, and that many warlike states have been founded on and committed to leftist politics. Were not Lenin and Mao men of the left?

But these counter-examples can be taken as demonstrating the moral superiority and greater logical consistency of anarchist leftism over statist leftism. “Many of those associated with the Left might go on to hold particular positions…quite inconsistent with those I have defended here,” he writes. Traditions can be understood by their common goals rather than by the means for realizing them.

A related discussion follows from “anti-capitalism.” Isn’t capitalism a system wherein people are free to make voluntary exchanges of their private property? How could an anarchist oppose that? Chartier in fact doesn’t. But he observes, correctly, that there are several distinct senses of the word “capitalism,” most of which are inconsistent with the voluntary social order he advocates. For example, the word “capitalism” can also refer to the quasi-free economy we live in now, which is famously riddled with market distortions caused by state interference and political cronyism. Anarchists (and indeed libertarians generally) should certainly oppose that. “Capitalism” can also refer specifically to domination of the many by a small number of people—capitalists—who control resources.

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  • Proprietist||

    Yay anarchy thread.

  • ||

    I don't know. Anarchy versus minarchy makes a yay thread.

    Voluntary anarchy versus extortionist anarchy? Well, let's see.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    been a whole what, 24 hours since the last one?

  • Proprietist||

    They know their audience. They can just run anarchy, beer, Ann Coulter, Paul Krugman, cop-murder, foreign policy, abortion and gay marriage threads every day and their page views will be off the charts.

  • grey||

    In Reason's defense, if you are former Red Team, then some of these articles are insightful (not as insightful as the blog that follows IMHO).

    Question, if you had a person that's read Bastiat, Ayn Rand, Goldwater, digested a significant amount of American revolutionary history, read too many modern 'conservative' authors they are too embarrassed to mention by name, but has blind spots when it comes to the history of totalitarianism (communism/fascism/monarchy), with either an unbiased analysis or libertarian lens, what reading would you recommend to fill some of those blind spots?

    The subject book may be good, but I'm skeptical.

  • John||

    How exactly can you be for a system that is both "stateless" and anti capitalist? Unless you can magically transform everyone into the new Soviet Man, there is no way you can prevent people from becoming a capitalist without putting the boot of government on their face.

    To overcome these non-governmental problems, Chartier favors smaller, participatory firms where the “boss” figure is minimized or avoided altogether. Concern for the well-being of the worker qua worker, or about the subordinate role of women in a patriarchal society, makes his position distinctly leftist, he argues.

    And you will stop people from voluntarily entering into such relationships how?

  • tarran||

    A vast sea of Hutterite communes, John, a vast sea...

  • John||

    Nothing Utopian or sinister about that vision of the future.

  • JWatts||

    Nothing Utopian or sinister about that vision of the future. Certainly you won't think so...after the re-education camps.

  • grey||

    I've always thought of capitalism as simply free trade, the moment you freely trade the extra corn you grew for a couple of chickens I think of someone as being involved in capitalism. I think I'm missing something.

    Perhaps I'd have to read the book, when I go to Google.

    Noun - "An economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit."

    Do you have to get a profit to be involved in capitalism, isn't loss also a part of capitalism at times?

    Also 'and political system', asserts that capitalism (to me simply free trade) can't exist without the political system. I suppose I've been using capitalism and free trade synonymously, where capitalism requires the components of government and profit. The definition itself seems curiously illogical to me, since trade itself will always have loss and one can trade without a political system or across political systems which don't profess to have capitalism.

  • grey||

    This is new to me, maybe I've been reading over the distinctions in the past - something that made complete sense is now suddenly gone Bizarro.

  • rickl7069||

    Capitalism does NOT have losses, people only enter into trades that profit them. Just because someone lost money does not mean that they didn't profit, maybe the trade made them feel good about themselves, or maybe it kept someone important from being mad at them. Either way, somehow the person was getting something out of the trade they desired more than the cost or they wouldn't have traded.

  • StackOfCoins||

    People can make trades that are not objectively good for them, but subjectively good as you argue. People can also enter into trades without enough knowledge, and thus incur a loss. Or, if they're stupid, they can incur a loss knowingly, for some reason unknown to others but them. But in general, capitalism does increase the wealth of a society over time. It's foolish to assume there are no losers in the system.

  • Rhino||

    stupid? no way. I've done jobs i knew i would lose on because the customer was good and i wanted to keep him happy so i could, potentially, get more business from them in the future.

  • Rhino||

    Not really true. The company i work for has lost money on many jobs since i've worked there. Usually to our own mis-quoting or mis-management of resources. additional costs of rework, etc. I wouldn't say we weren't involved in capitalism just because we didn't happen to turn a profit on that job.

  • Bill||

    Even free market has a negative connotation to many. I prefer some phrase the idiots can't object to like "people power" or "grassroots".

  • Proprietist||

    Because most people will naturally come together to build voluntary replacements for state functions. Yes, a few people are undoubtedly going to want to go live as hermits out in the woods, but the rest of us might be interested in communitarian solutions for security, environmental protection, poverty, healthcare and education.

  • John||

    Yes, a few people are undoubtedly going to want to go live as hermits out in the woods, but the rest of us might be interested in communitarian solutions for security, environmental protection, poverty, healthcare and education.

    Which is another way of saying they will form governments. And as much as I dislike the government I have, a fucking commune would like a hundred times worse. At lest the government doesn't generally know who I am or care about me. A commune would always know who I am. Anyone who thinks living in some small commune would be in any way pleasant has never lived in a small town. Fuck that.

  • $park¥||

    Anyone who thinks living in some small commune would be in any way pleasant has never lived in a small town. Fuck that.

    Obviously a city boy who can't imagine that not everyone wants to be a city boy. Quick tip John, not everyone wants to live like you want to live.

  • John||

    Screw you. I have lived in plenty of small towns. And the biggest draw back is the lack anonymity. But that is bearable because even though they know you, they don't make the rules. In a commune they would. You really want your small town neighbors making the rules for you? Fuck that.

  • $park¥||

    You really want your small town neighbors making the rules for you? Fuck that.

    I get it, you don't like it. You could never live like that. Fine. Not everyone is like you.

  • wwhorton||

    I live in a small town, and, yeah, people mostly know other locals. But that includes the mayor and people on the city council. So, yes, the people who "make the rules" so to speak ARE people that you know. In the same way, one of our neighbors is a city cop; we hang out pretty often with one of the people in charge of enforcing the rules on us. It's not a commune, you're right, but the key difference is that in a commune, or any kind of corporation or agreement or set of mores that would exist in the absence of government, membership is optional.

    Here's an analogy. The international system is anarchic; there is no "world government." However, there is still order. There are international norms and mores, there are agreements, customs, etc., that countries abide by. Membership in various associations is voluntary, and the cost is that members abide by the rules. But, there's no mechanism for enforcement, and there's no authority.

    So, scale that down to the personal level, and you have something that would look a lot like anarcho-capitalism. You can call it a commune if you want, but it's really just people living their lives and reaching consensus (explicit and otherwise) about what rules they want to follow.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    "The international system is anarchic; there is no "world government." However, there is still order. There are international norms and mores, there are agreements, customs, etc., "

    Not since Bush.

  • dinkster||

    Careful guys, John is essentially Tony Team Red

  • Rabban||

    That's pretty unfair to John. He does not blindly reject any and all reason and constantly argue in bad faith, as Tony does. He might be team red, but thinking that a team red light is the same as team blue dark like the abyss is just wrong.

  • Rhino||

    You already see replacements for govt functions popping up. For example, my mother in law works for a company that does testing on new drugs to make sure they're safe. That's also what the FDA does, but her company has the profit motive, as well as their reputation to protect and they don't have the force of law to prop them up.

    I don't think it would be too hard to believe that any service the government provides couldn't also be provided by the free market.

  • Paul.||

    How exactly can you be for a system that is both "stateless" and anti capitalist?

    I'm going to read the article here in a bit, but when I was but a wee impressionable lad, I had a group of "anarchist" friends who were all decidedly of the left brand (yes, as you can guess, they were strong statists when their guy was in charge), but their notion was that if you destroyed the state, and capitalism, everyone would naturally come together in a loose-knit democratic system of mutual aid.

    Think the occupy movement when everyone was doing those hand waves to determine who would speak next. Yes, that's how they envisioned society to work.

    And of course, everyone would just be on board because everyone would be on board.

    There was a lot of circular logic that never seemed to take into account that someone, somewhere would have a different idea.

  • John||

    Yeah, the mutual defense unicorn is common among anarchists. The end state of Marxism was a stateless Utopia. Anarchists are just communists who are too stupid to understand what is necessary to achieve their Utopia.

  • Paul.||

    Don't get me wrong, I think both ideas are valid. That's the point. If the state actually evaporated away, people could form that kind of enclave if they wanted. And it wouldn't be for me to say they can't.

    But they'd discover they'd have all the problems of division of labor (a really big central tenet of the socialist-anarchist philosophy) that you could easily predict.

    If one defines "capitalism" as, I craft a product or produce a service that someone is willing to compensate me for and no institution inserts itself into that transaction, then I believe that anarchism is ultimately "capitalistic".

    If it's what my old friends from the 80s thought, then it's a crushing totalitarianism with a bunch of people in charge who refuse to call themselves "the state".

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    Remember that "capitalism" is a term first used by Marx.

  • dinkster||

    Anarchists are just communists

    wrong

  • Killazontherun||

    He has no idea of the function of the entrepreneur in society. That was the fatal flaw in Lang's critique of Von Mises calculation problem. He assumed that an entrepreneur was merely a manager. If someone was given that roll in a socialist organization to act independently but with official sanction the calculation (of price) problem could be overcome by the designated entrepreneurs making the price determination. That is not what an entrepreneur does. When one is successful it is because he sees the opportunity of lower order product being useful for higher order purposes. The management of men is a second order consideration at best.

    His scheme would fail like every other socialist endeavor that doesn't have a fuckton of confiscated resources to sustain it.

  • JWatts||

    The management of men is a second order consideration at best.

    Indeed, most good entrepreneurs I've known were bad managers. But you can easily hire managers for that.

  • Kent||

    Modern capitalism = corporatism. Here lies the problem. I shopped using the term when defending "libertarianism" or market anarchy years ago and refer to free markets which is accurate whereas capitalism is not.

  • John||

    I am agnostic as to whether an anarchist society would be one without bosses and large corporations, but Chartier’s larger point is a valid one: If “capitalism” chiefly denotes special privilege and political manipulation of the market, embracing the word would be a poor sales tactic.

    Will man somehow stop being a social animal? Are you against pooling of risk and labor? Are you against specialization? If not, then I would say you better believe that bosses and large corporations will exist. And more importantly, you better hope they exist or you are going to be awfully poor.

  • R C Dean||

    If “capitalism” chiefly denotes special privilege and political manipulation of the market, embracing the word would be a poor sales tactic.

    Somebody else who can't distinguish between capitalism and crony capitalism.

  • KPres||

    It's because you keep saying "crony capitalism", and people are stupid so they make the association YOU implied. Why don't you just call it cronyism? Cronyism in socialist countries looks identical so why the distinction?

  • entropy||

    You're right. The whole fucking thing is all R C Dean's fault.

    Let's cut off his ears and deport him to Argentina.

  • fish_remote||

    Let's cut off his ears and deport him to Argentina.

    That's cruel!

    Argentina? Really?!

  • gaoxiaen||

    Hot chicks but he would have to wear long hair.

  • SKR||

    how about fascism or corporatism?

  • Rhino||

    i think he just sees the propaganda. He understands that many people are brought up to believe these false views of what capitalism is, so if you mention capitalism, they will not understand your meaning and won't connect your logic because they will be looking at it from a different definition.

    He would say he's just trying to avoid the confusion with changing definition or words but he uses the opposite logic to say he's socialist that he uses to say he's not capitalist so he's probably just a leftist at heart.

  • Rhino||

    i think he just sees the propaganda. He understands that many people are brought up to believe these false views of what capitalism is, so if you mention capitalism, they will not understand your meaning and won't connect your logic because they will be looking at it from a different definition.

    He would say he's just trying to avoid the confusion with changing definition or words but he uses the opposite logic to say he's socialist that he uses to say he's not capitalist so he's probably just a leftist at heart.

  • tarran||

    It's important to realize that there are two distinct concepts being called 'capitalism'

    Free markety capitalism, where people amass wealth and capital goods through trade and production,

    Rent seeking capitalism, where people amass wealth and capital goods via forced trade/rents.

  • John||

    That really isn't important at all. Rent seeking happens in any system. It is the a fundamental feature of any system from the smallest town to the largest government. It even happens in private organizations. Even in anarcho capitalist Utopia, there will still be people who rip other people off and manipulate social structures to their advantage because that is just how people are.

  • gaoxiaen||

    That's a Second Amendment issue.

  • dinkster||

  • robc||

    The latter isnt capitalism at all.

  • KPres||

    Capitalism is private control of the means of production. Forced trade/rents contradicts the definition of "private control", so how is that a type of capitalism?

    "Free-market" capitalism is the only type of capitalism. Everything else is drifting toward Socialism.

  • tarran||

    Dude, I was being descriptive vs. normative.

    Given that Marx popularized the word 'Capitalism' to argue that all owners of the means of production were rent-seeking bastards, you will no more reclaim the word Capitalism than Randall will take back "Porch Monkey".

  • KPres||

    Screw that. Words have definition. Just because Marx bastardized his own term doesn't mean I have to accept that.

  • $park¥||

    So you're going to insist on using the meaning of a word that everyone else understands to mean something else? Good luck with that.

  • gaoxiaen||

    See: Liberalism (Classical).

  • entropy||

    How can he bastardize his own term? He created it to mean an economic system that privledges rent seeking.

    Wouldn't the people co-opting it to make it mean a good thing be the ones bastardizing it?

  • dinkster||

    Marx didn't create the term, William Makepeace Thackeray did. So he is perfectly capable of bastardizing it.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    Corporations are creatures of the state. Their essential characteristic is that of limited liability. Corporations can NOT exist w/o the state. You probably mean "large organizations".

  • Outside the Box||

    but that's not how Chartier means "corporations" in this context... He really means "large organization", or specifically, for-profit large organizations.

    I've read Chartier enough to know that his opposition to such large corporations is not something he advocates "not allowing" in some rule/law sense. It's really more of a "thick" issue: once we move to a freed society, he predicts that smaller organizations would be more the norm than they are now, and he has "aesthetic" reasons for preferring that. It's both a prediction and a desire, but not a fundamental part of the philosophy.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Rather corporations are creatures of Law, and the cannot exist without a system of Law. You can have a state without Law, but Law without a state is difficult and without Law rights tend to go unprotected.

  • sarcasmic||

    Looks like he's more of a communist than anything else. Let's all be happy and cooperate and share and hold hands and stuff! Yay!

    What is that gang of men doing? Hey! That's not nice! You can't just take that! Ow! Ow! Stop it! *bang* *thud*

  • John||

    Look, the time you spent growing those tomatoes on the balcony of your commune apartment could have been spent on community garden. You stole from the entire community when you did that. So just shut up and dig that trench with the rest of the Zekes.

  • entropy||

    What is that gang of men doing?

    Governing.

    This is why we can't have nice stuff anarchy.

  • Outside the Box||

    I think we are aiming at the wrong thing here: "governing" is not what we as libertarians should be against. Every organization has "governance". What matters is the *means* for that governance: it is when violence is initiated as a means for governance (or for any other reason) that we as libertarians should be speaking up.

  • Rhino||

    You got it! The biggest problem is that people associate a different code of ethics or morality to the government than they do to other people. They are people just like you and me. They should be held to the same ethical standard.

    I cannot take money from people on threat of gunshot, but IRS agent Joe Shmoe can do it for me.

    I cannot threaten to shoot someone if they buy a 20 oz Pepsi (as if i'd want to), but Officer Bob of the NYPD can?

    The moral double standard is the real problem.

  • Bardas Phocas||

    It will totally work in one of those 'Post Scarcity Worlds' I read about in sci-fi.

    Otherwise, he's just a filthy commie trying out the anarchy schtick for a laugh.

  • some guy||

    Ah yes, 'post scarcity worlds'. Talk about a moving target. 'Post-scarcity' just means 'stagnated'.

  • entropy||

    Post-scarcity means when you wish upon a star, it won't matter who you are. Anything your heart desires will come to you.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Kind of like "Forbidden Planet"?

  • grey||

    Forbidden Planet would eliminate scarcity, but then you get energy monsters killing people thanks to the weakly evolved human brain.

    Imagine the thought monster the likes of Roseie O'donnell could bring into existence?

    Even with scarcity gone, libtards would still want to tell someone else how to live.

  • Calitaxian||

    What a stupid question...

  • entropy||

    There are no stupid questions. Only stupid questioners.

  • JWatts||

    And what do stupid questioners ask?

  • grey||

    They ask, "And what do stupid questioners ask?"

  • JWatts||

    Yep, that's what I figured.

  • Proprietist||

    the word “capitalism” can also refer to the quasi-free economy we live in now, which is famously riddled with market distortions caused by state interference and political cronyism. Anarchists (and indeed libertarians generally) should certainly oppose that. “Capitalism” can also refer specifically to domination of the many by a small number of people—capitalists—who control resources.

    It can also mean an economic system that artificially prioritizes capital over labor or responsibility. This is why I don't call myself a capitalist. The terminology is irreversibly mangled. As Adam Smith never used the word, I'd rather not as well and be forced to answer for all its evils.

    Communitarianism and free market commerce can exist side by side in a minimal state society without contradiction. Health and food cooperatives, credit unions and worker-owned businesses are rational free market/non-state solutions to problems currently and needlessly relying on government.

  • entropy||

    We need a better word for freemarketism.

  • John||

    How about just "freedom"? If you are free, you can form whatever you like. Most of this shit seems like the writings of people who just can't get over their lefty urge to hate on corporations. If we are free, we are free to form corporations just as much as we are free to form communes.

  • $park¥||

    Freedom encompasses a lot more than that, which is why it's a bad word choice for this concept.

  • R C Dean||

    As a political move, the fact that it encompasses more than economics is a plus. Somebody attacks your property rights or association rights, asking them why they hate freedom brings all the baggage down on their head. As it should.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    I agree with RC Dean. "Freemarketism" or "capitalism" or whatever else you want to call it is simply individual freedom applied to the realm of economic activity. No matter how much those who wish to limit freedom play word games (e.g. capitalism defined both as the elevation of capital over the interests of others and governmental non-intervention in economic affairs), freedom will still mean freedom.

  • $park¥||

    Sorry, who is it that's playing word games again?

  • Outside the Box||

    freedom from what?

    The initiation of violence... in which case instead of saying "freedom!", we should instead more precisely focus on the elimination of the initiation of violence as something that is considered legitimate, either by individuals or some group calling itself "the state".

  • John||

    What is so special about "worker owned businesses" or cooperatives? I suppose there is nothing wrong with them. But I fail to see how they are any better than ordinary corporations. No organization principle in history has produced more wealth than the western corporate model. Nothing produces wealth like risk spreading and specialization.

  • tarran||

    I think the people who idolize them have problems dealing with authority. 'If the workers are the ultimate bosses, the managers can't abuse them' is what they seem to argue.

    Of course, it's BS. The workers are no different than other stockholders. You will have some guys becoming the influential stock holders, and the managers are going to run the company to placate those individual guys, and if that placation requires shouting at underlings, the underlings will be shouted at.

  • John||

    And if the boss is abusing you, leave. I think a lot of people who buy into this nonsense have never actually worked outside of academia. Corporations are not evil. They are great. Millions of people get to live decent lives and have paying jobs thanks to them. I hardly think some guy pulling in a good wage working for a multinational is being abused or would think you were doing him a favor by destroying his employer.

  • UCrawford||

    Got to agree there, sort of. Most of the criticisms I hear about corporations range from "They don't pay a their janitors as much as their CEOs" to "They victimize poor people by selling them inexpensive products" to "Small mom and pop businesses are the greatest business model ever and it's unfair that Wal-Mart comes in and does better because they're more profitable."

    Simply put, most criticisms I hear of corporations tend to be emotionally based (meaning stupid) and revolve around things that are generally unimportant to the average consumer. Corporations can be beneficial or destructive based on their outputs, but most people who criticize them don't seem to care about that stuff...they get caught up in the superficialities.

  • sarcasmic||

    What is so special about "worker owned businesses" or cooperatives?

    They feel good. Businesses owned by rich people feel icky.

    It's all about feelings.

  • gaoxiaen||

    That could be economically rational. Some people prefer less money and working their own hours when the alternative is Donald Trump or Leona Helmsley ruling your existence.

  • Tak Kak||

    They're a niche and only a niche.

  • Proprietist||

    "Ordinary corporations" are creations of the state. And I see nothing wrong with either model, but I do believe the worker-owned model is superior as they have more incentive to both succeed and be responsible.

  • Virginian||

    Yeah, GM is doing great with that worker owned model.

  • ||

    Wasn't that the UAL model prior to the last bankruptcy, as well?

  • Proprietist||

    Nice straw man, since it's predominantly state-owned and state-directed at this point.

  • Virginian||

    Uh, I thought the UAW held most of the equity? I mean, if I'm wrong, I'm wrong, but that's what I thought was the case.

  • Proprietist||

    I think the union trust owns 17.5% and I think the reason is because the company pushed the retiree healthcare provision to the union. Also note that the "union" owning 17.5% is not the same thing as the "workers" owning 17.5%.

  • Virginian||

    Wait, unions don't represent workers now?

  • Proprietist||

    Unions represent the workers, but how does that mean that the stock is owned directly by the individual workers? They probably have some say over that share through the union, but that doesn't make GM "worker owned" even as much so as, say, Facebook.

  • Virginian||

    Got you. Well, employees of the company are free to purchase stock in said company, just like everyone else.

  • John||

    I do believe the worker-owned model is superior as they have more incentive to both succeed and be responsible.

    What possible evidence is there of that? If worker owned corporations were the better model, it would seem they would be the most commonly occurring model. But they are not. And further, why does management beholden to themselves or to stock holders have any less motivation to succeed? And what does responsible even mean beyond some lefty concept of "doing what we like".

  • robc||

    Most small businesses are worker owned.

    And they far outnumber big corporations.

  • John||

    No. They are proprietorships. As soon as they get big enough to start hiring employees, they are no longer worker owned.

  • Proprietist||

    That depends. Many corporations (see: Facebook) paid their workers significantly in stock options. They were not the "sole" owners but they had a stake in profitable corporate outcomes.

  • R C Dean||

    Just because workers own a minority interest in a business doesn't make it worker-owned.

  • KPres||

    And what happens over time, when they sell their shares so they can buy something else, even thought they still work at Facebook. Is that still "worker-owned"?

  • Proprietist||

    I never said it was, but ownership of stock for workers is intended to create a stake in the business's success, which is my point. A business owned solely by the workers would have even more of a stake. The problem is that usually the workers don't have the capital to fund the operations or the start-up. And the concept of workers seizing capital from owners by force is abhorrent theft in most cases.

  • entropy||

    If they like their job and want to keep it, they already have a stake in the outcome.

  • sarcasmic||

    A corporation is simply a bunch of people pooling their resources towards a common goal.
    Collectivists despise corporations because they abhor the idea of people cooperating without a gun at the back of their head.

  • John||

    ^^THIS^^ Only a lefty retard would have a problem with Boss worker relationships and think the world would be better without them.

  • Proprietist||

    That's a big oversimplification of the definition of "corporation." That's more accurately the definition of an "enterprise."

    I abhor corporations because they have the legal capacity to basically force third party victims to pay for their excess damages.

  • sarcasmic||

    I abhor corporations because they have the legal capacity to basically force third party victims to pay for their excess damages.

    ?

  • John||

    I abhor corporations because they have the legal capacity to basically force third party victims to pay for their excess damages.

    Do tell. Are people forced to buy stock in corporations? If your problem is the corporate val, then okay lets live in a world where no one can pool risk and is personally liable for any debts. Good luck with that.

    It is not like people who loan money to corporations don't understand what they are doing. I am not seeing any victims here.

  • Proprietist||

    Wow, you're off in the weeds when I'm clearly talking about damages for corporate actions and lack of responsibility for the owners. Say a corporation, instead of investing in an expensive disposal system that will hurt their bottom line, dumps their chemical waste in the river and gives the downriver town widespread cancer. The victims sue the corporation. If the case is compelling the stockholders sell. Without funding, the corporation goes bankrupt. Who pays for their damages?

  • John||

    What if I go out and do the same thing Proprietist? I have no assets that could cover that. the people would be screwed. Sometimes life is like that.

  • Proprietist||

    You would go to jail.

  • John||

    I would go to jail if I did that working for a corporation too. The corporate val doesn't get you out of criminal liability.

  • Proprietist||

    You would go to jail and likely have many of your personal assets not used in your action seized to repay victims. And I've already said primary responsibility should fall on the guilty party.

  • ||

    The corporate val doesn't get you out of criminal liability.

    I've explained that to Proprietist at least 9,000 times on these boards. He. Does. Not. Get. It. Or more accurately, he refuses to acknowledge it because it really, really fucks up his narrative. Like, to the point of reducing it to a steaming pile of shit.

  • Proprietist||

    Uh, I'm NOT TALKING ABOUT CRIMINAL LIABILITY. I don't think passive stockholders should go to jail for their business's actions, only the responsible party. I do think passive stockholders should be CIVILLY liable and should pay for damages before victims should.

    You've fallaciously and disingenuously made all kinds of accusations and distortions of my beliefs when I have been more than clear about them. I refuse to acknowledge your straw man version of my arguments.

  • Proprietist||

    ...should be civilly liable in a rational sequence of liability falling behind the responsible parties, the executives and the Board of Directors but before the stage of unprotected liability that will be socialized onto victims and society...

  • robc||

    No you wouldnt.

    Its possible (in many ways) to damage someone for huge amounts without committing a crime. If I win a billion dollar civil suit against you, you wont have to pay me all $1 billion and you wont have to go to jail.

  • KPres||

    "You would go to jail."

    You do know that corporate executives are criminally liable, don't you?*

    *Well, apparently not under Obama.

  • Proprietist||

    They can be criminally liable depending on their personal culpability. We've actually gotten off topic, since my original point is about who pays for civil damages. Capitalists believe that victims should pay out of their personal pocket before the owners of the business that victimized them should. That's where I disagree.

    The reason current stockholders aren't more involved in their business's operations and why investor's insurance doesn't exist is because the state has distorted the natural responsibility.

  • entropy||

    That's a symptom of what you're advocating.

    Those large corporations are publically owned. When you have 500+ owners, as you would have in a worker owned corp, no one is ever responsible for anything.

    It's a tragedy of the commons.

  • gaoxiaen||

    No victims? Who paid for the bailouts and Wall Street bonuses?

  • robc||

    Yawn.

    We have proved over and over and over to you that there are plenty of ways to arrange the exact same thing without the corporate structure.

  • Proprietist||

    Actually, you haven't proven it to me. Contracting a billion dollar liability to an assetless homeless dude for three 40s and $50 will be easily dismissed by any remotely objective jury. Just because something is contracted doesn't make it inherently valid.

  • ||

    Just because something is contracted doesn't make it inherently valid.

    Even ancaps have long since acknowledged that a non-state version of the corporate structure would exist in a stateless society. And actually, private contracts form the back bone of all stateless transactions. That you would have mobs overturn contracts because they don't like what they perfectly demonstrates the absurdity of your Marxian socialist-anarchist utopia.

  • ||

    *don't like what they say

  • Proprietist||

    I'm not Marxian, socialist or anarchist, bro.

    I support free market exchange (which will involve both competition and cooperatism) and a very limited government. I just oppose state-invented moral hazards and won't acknowledge that non-contractual victims of corporate actions should be more liable than contractual owners.

  • Proprietist||

    And technically, you're the socialist, because you expect society to socialize the excess liabilities of distorted markets. You want the state to say that owner liabilities are limited not by the size of the liability but by the size of existing assets.

  • dinkster||

    Proprietist is 100% correct. Socialized losses and asset protection via government have shit to do with free market trade.

  • Outside the Box||

    Have you read Kinsella on "free market corporations?" He shows how something pretty close to corporations can exist in a completely freed society purely through voluntary contracts. I find the construction persuasive: they *can* exist.

    The real question is how likely is it that they would exist given no government distortions? I tend to agree to some extent at least with the LLs that we'd likely see a smaller average "corporation" and thus more of them... If nothing else, without the distortions of government, the calculation problem besets organizations as they get larger: without an internal price mechanism, it gets harder and harder for people in a large corporation to efficiently allocate resources, and this inefficiency effectively limits the size of the organization.

  • Proprietist||

    The posts I have read by Kinsella generally seem deeply confused about left-libertarian philosophy (perhaps because we're not all exactly on the same page and in lockstep philosophically nor do we have a single authoritative "leader" or publication).

    He agreed that the state should not be involved in corporate charters or limited liability and agreed that in a free market liability could be limited via insurance mitigation for liabilities, which is exactly what I have been saying. In a free market, no passive investor should ever be liable because every rational competitive business would want to buy enough insurance to protect them from any chance of liability. Passive stockholders would only be liable as a last resort if the business they own does not fully internalize their liability burden.

    And that point still misses our perspective. He continues to argue from the perspective of the passive investor (who as I've said, is also a victim if forced to pay liability damages but could hopefully claim damages via internal contract or insurance), whereas left-libertarians argue from the perspective of the third-party victims who had no contract or choice in the matter and must make due with the burning scraps regardless of whether that covers their costs.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    "A corporation is simply a bunch of people pooling their resources towards a common goal."

    That is NOT what a corporation is. A corporation is an artificial person or legal entity created by or under the authority of the laws of a state, ordinarily consisting of an association of numerous individuals, who subsit as a body politic under a special denomination, which is regarded in law as having a personality and existence distinct from that of its several members, vested with the capacity of perpetual succession and limited liability at law.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    Proprietist is correct. It is the limited liability that requires the state intervention.

  • Outside the Box||

    I suggest reading Kinsella on this topic, at least in part because I can't remember it all. I remember very specifically that he talks at length about the aspect of "legal liability" applying to *stockholders*. My synopsis is that many who talk about "limited liability" with respect to state corporations are referring specifically to stockholders: their argument being that the stockholders are "owners" and thus should be held personally liable for anything the corporation does. Kinsella argues however that casting stockholders as "owners" is inaccurate: they are instead investors, people who have lent money to the corporation. We do not hold banks liable for the actions of people to whom they have lent money. A stockholder cannot, for example, take a company car out for a spin or sleep in the factory. They don't "own" the company in any way remotely close to libertarian "ownership". He then goes on to construct a series of contracts between the various people in the corporation that would largely reproduce a corporation.

    In essence, if a bunch of people agree contractually to pool risk, liability, profits, etc., that is a perfectly valid free market contract. Contracts with investors such as stockholders can and almost certainly would be written so that the stockholders don't have liability for the actions of people acting on behalf of the corporation: no one would *buy* that stock, they'd buy the stock in companies that protected them from liability.

  • KPres||

    "I suppose there is nothing wrong with them."

    Uh, how do you organize disparate resources without a hierarchy? Somebody has to say "Hey, you take this thing and do that with it." Somebody has to maintain a vision of the larger picture. Now you might have something you tag the label "worker owned" on, but ultimately, it'll either be controlled by some person or by the invisible hand. Take your pick. I know which one I'd prefer.

  • John||

    You can be worker owned and still have a hierarchy. But yes, you have to have a hierarchy or you will never get anything done.

    Chartier is a fucking moron. I can't believe Reason is giving him a positive write up.

  • KPres||

    This is why I can't be an anarchist, even though I want to. Hell, my wife and I had to establish a "hierarchy" just to decide where we're going to eat. We take turns. On her night, I'm the bootlicker and she's the authority and vice versa. An organization of just two people with similar interests and strong incentives to cooperation can't accomplish the simple task of deciding on a restaurant without "leaders". Yet they want society "organized" this way? Ugh. The question has always been "how is the leadership structured and (most importantly) what are their incentives", not "should there be leaders at all". Consumer sovereignty is the only way to redirect the human ego in a socially beneficial direction.

  • $park¥||

    An organization of just two people with similar interests and strong incentives to cooperation can't accomplish the simple task of deciding on a restaurant without "leaders".

    Because someone is forcing you to eat the same thing?

  • Outside the Box||

    what you describe has nothing to do with anarchy vs minarchy. "Leader" is just a role, a specialization, and no, Chartier et al do not say that that specialization will not or should not exist in a freed society.

    The important question about "leaders" isn't whether they exist or "how the leadership is structured", but: what actions does the leader take? If a leader leads by contract, or by inspiration, or by example, etc, it's libertarian and not statist; the second a leader initiates *violence*, you no longer have anarchy.

    Governance and leaders etc are a red herring. What matter is *means*. What differentiates a libertarian society from a non-libertarian society is the initiation of violence.

    Since a state is defined by the initiation of violence, no state can be libertarian.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Just remember, a company that is 95% owned by its executive management team is an employee owned business.

  • JWatts||

    What is so special about "worker owned businesses"

    Well I generally call them partnerships, I have no idea why Lefties wouldn't also.

  • R C Dean||

    I think capitalism is pretty much a natural and inevitable consequence of free markets, which produce surpluses, which the owners can and will apply to economic projects which, because they fund them and due to their ownership of teh necessary resources, will own and control. Rinse and repeat.

    Not sure how you separate "artifically prioritizing" capital from ownership and property rights.

  • sarcasmic||

    Dude, it's not fair that capitalists prioritize capital over labor. Workers need to be given their fair share. Profit is theft. It's stealing from the workers. Just ask Elizabeth Warren. She knows. Minimum wage would be $22/hr if the profiteering capitalists weren't stealing from their workers.

  • Proprietist||

    I think the idea of state-limited liability is integral to capitalism, resulting in socialization of excess risk. The state itself has prioritized capital, profits and growth over full responsibility for corporate actions. I'm not saying any of those three should be prioritized less than responsibility, but that both sides need to be equally balanced, and liability risk should be tempered through insurance instead of through corporate charter.

  • R C Dean||

    I think the idea of state-limited liability is integral to capitalism, resulting in socialization of excess risk.

    Its not, really; you can have capitalism without corporations. Corporations themselves don't have limited liability; their shareholders do.

    Limited liability for corporate shareholders is justifiable on the basis of the idea that you shouldn't be liable for things you can't control, and as a shareholder you don't have control over what the employees and other agents of the corporation do.

    If you want to tie liability to providing funds, you've just shut down most sources of business financing, including bonds, loans, etc.

  • Marshall Gill||

    If you want to tie liability to providing funds, you've just shut down most sources of business financing, including bonds, loans, etc.

    I think most proponents of this consider this a feature, not a bug.

  • Proprietist||

    Shareholders shouldn't be primarily responsible for business actions - they should be the fourth resort following 1.) the person directly responsible for the action, 2.) the executives 3.) the Board of Directors.

    Liability is tied to ownership, and every business has incentive to understand who owns it or not. A lender does not own any share of the business, just the asset they loaned the business. An owner gets a percentage cut when the business is sold. If a business is structured without formal owners as a scheme to escape liability, I'd argue anyone could claim its unowned property.

  • robc||

    I'd argue anyone could claim its unowned property.

    Tell that to any charitable org or, say, my church.

    Who owns it? There are no formal owners.

  • R C Dean||

    Shareholders have zero real control over the actions of the agents and employees who directly caused the damage. I have a hard time with imposing liability on somebody who can't affect what happened.

    Shareholders are at risk for their investment, so its not like they have no exposure at all. If the corporation itself is paying damages, that means the shareholders are taking an indirect hit.

    To me, the amount a shareholder has at risk strikes me as being about right for the amount of control they have.

  • Proprietist||

    Again, you are arguing from the state-distorted system as it IS today. Shareholders don't exercise their control because they don't have to. They aren't responsible for anything the business does and have no compelling interest to care about, say, who they elect to the board of Directors or fully understanding the impact of stockholder initiatives. They say "go off an make me the most profits by whatever means necessary."

    And again, they would be fourth in line for liability, and most investors will purchase dirt cheap investor's liability insurance to CYA in the event that their corporation gets off its leash and causes widespread damage.

  • R C Dean||

    Shareholders don't exercise their control because they don't have to.

    Well, actually, its because the corporate charter (a form of contract) limits their ability to control.

    And, as a practical matter, a corporation of any size that vested all management authority in its shareholders acting as a group would fail.

  • Proprietist||

    I'd assume if state-limited liability and state bankruptcy laws went away tomorrow, businesses would naturally desire to re-evaluate their charters. And I'm not saying stockholders would have primary control, just that they would actually have financial interest to get more involved to the degree they can. Or, their insurance rates will be force the corporation to better check itself to avoid any chance of stockholder liability.

  • R C Dean||

    Liability is tied to ownership,

    And shareholders have at risk the assets that they contributed to the enterprise. So, in the absence of real control, or what you might call
    "responsibility" for what happens, why should they be exposed to more liability?

  • R C Dean||

    What we're really arguing about here is who should bear the risk of the residual unfunded loss/damages.

    The person who suffered the loss, or people who have already lost what they contributed to the organization that caused the loss but, as passive investors, had no ability to control the actions that led to the loss?

  • Proprietist||

    Yes, and I would argue that the passive stockholders held liable are "victims" too. But because they had the capacity to mitigate their liability via contract (unlike a potential third-party victim) and could be incentivized to do so if the state didn't distort the market.

  • R C Dean||

    How can a shareholder mitigate personal liability for actions the corporation undertakes? By buying insurance? Why can't the victim do the same?

    Businesses that are capitalized by large groups of people are going to necessarily have "passive" investors. Imposing personal liability on passive investors starts you down a road where liability isn't tied to responsibility for wrongdoing, but is imposed collectively. Collective punishment isn't very libertarian, in my view.

    There's always a risk there just won't be enough assets to cover damages that we suffer; that's a risk we all bear just by being alive. Mitigating that risk by imposing liability on people with no control/responsibility for our loss doesn't strike me as an attractive solution.

    The sole "responsibility" a shareholder has is their provision of funds. That's why holding them liable opens the door to holding bondholders and lenders personally liabile.

    I wouldn't hang too much on "ownership" v. debt, either. In a corporate finance setting, you get into form over substance and the distinction between ownership and debt gets very fuzzy, indeed, what with convertible bonds, debt covenants, and the like.

  • Proprietist||

    "How can a shareholder mitigate personal liability for actions the corporation undertakes? By buying insurance? Why can't the victim do the same?"

    Because the victim might not know they need insurance? If they aren't a contractual party to a corporation, why should they insure against that corporation's actions?

    "Collective punishment isn't very libertarian, in my view."

    Limited liability capitalism incentivizes collective punishment on the victims of private aggression or fraud, thus is unlibertarian. It's also a statist market distortion. It baffles me that libertarians would claim contractual parties should be less liable for the actions of their organization's actions than outside parties.

  • ||

    Limited liability capitalism incentivizes collective punishment on the victims of private aggression or fraud

    Generally the liability for aggression and fraud is limited to, you know, the actual person or persons who committed the aggression or fraud. There's this whole part of American law called "torts" that deals with that issue. Allowing a riverfront property owner to take away my house, freeze my bank accounts, and have the state put me in jail because the COO and Executive VP of the corporation in which I am a financial investor, both of whom let's say I voted against at the last board meeting, knowingly authorized the front line employees to dump hydrochloric acid in the river is every bit as collective and statist as the opposite.

  • Proprietist||

    Saying liability for a corporation's actions should be limited only to the executors of the action is like saying the trigger finger is the only part of the body responsible for murder.

    Limited liability inherently incentivizes corporations strictly to maximize profits, and as a result to concern themselves with responsibility only to the extent that profits won't be maximized. I have no problem with profits, but I have a problem with the moral hazard this state incentivization creates. Stockholders want to own the business and its profits but don't want to own any of the risk involved with accumulating them. The state helps them do this artificially. That's capitalism.

    A free market would remove the moral hazards and stockholders would internally divide liability via contract and buy insurance to protect their personal assets from any residual liability from their businesses so their home/bank accounts/etc. wouldn't be seized.

  • R C Dean||

    Limited liability inherently incentivizes corporations strictly to maximize profits, and as a result to concern themselves with responsibility only to the extent that profits won't be maximized.

    No, it doesn't. Corporations are fully liable for the damages they cause, and believe me tend to be risk averse as a result. There is no "limited liability" for corporations, only for shareholders.

  • Proprietist||

    They tend to be risk-averse only because liability risk can damage their bottom line, which is all passive stockholders care about. If stockholders also cared about liability risk, only the most foolish corporations wouldn't be exceedingly risk-averse, as investors would not invest otherwise and insurance rates would hurt the bottom line and/or the value of investment.

  • R C Dean||

    Limited liability capitalism incentivizes collective punishment on the victims of private aggression or fraud,

    I think you're abusing the language to say someone who can't collect the full amount of their judgment from a corporation has been "punished" by the corporation.

    It's also a statist market distortion.

    I think you'd get to the same result (limited liability for passive shareholders) by saying people aren't responsible for things they don't do and can't control.

  • Proprietist||

    No, the victims are being "punished" by the law that artificially sets liability limits based upon the present value of internally designated assets, which is of zero relationship to the actual cost of the liability burden and inconsequential to the debts of their victims.

  • Proprietist||

    The point you keep missing that perhaps I'm not making clearly enough is that current liabilities exist without relation to current assets. 100% of liability will always be assumed, whether by contract or not, and someone will pay for it, voluntarily or involuntarily. I want to minimize involuntary, non-contractual shifting of liability. The only way to do that is by increasing the liability burden of those who have the contractual ability to mitigate their voluntary ownership decisions.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    +1

    "Corporate" charters could agree that all liability ends at the B of Ds and that the organization will by shareholder insurance for the shareholders. Should be pretty cheap.

  • Dr. Frankenstein||

    Even in some sort of customary law system you would still have limited liability. The contracts about who could sue over what would be more explicit but they would exist. All limited liability does is restrict what property can be sued. I can take value from the company in which you own stock. I can't take value from personal property such as a bank account or a from another company you own via your stock holdings.

  • ||

    BINGO!

  • Proprietist||

    The scenario I always use is that of car insurance. Driving can result in costly wrecks, thus rational people buy insurance. If the law said that I am only responsible for paying victims of the wreck I caused up to the value of my damaged car, who would rationally buy liability insurance?

    If a corporation theoretically commits the worst violation of rights in corporate history and gets abandoned by stockholders cashing out or cutting losses, the remaining shell is all that exists to pay off both the victims and their lenders. The state took the owners' personal assets off the table, so someone (victims and/or taxpayers) will now pay the consequences.

  • R C Dean||

    The difference is that you are driving the car, and hence are responsible for the accident.

    If you loan your car to somebody, and they get in an accident, should you be fully, personally responsible for the damages?

  • Proprietist||

    If you loaned your car to a six-year old or a cocaine-addled fool with seven DWI convictions, yes you should be secondarily liable.

  • KPres||

    "I think the idea of state-limited liability is integral to capitalism, resulting in socialization of excess risk."

    For the one-millionth time, limited-liability doesn't result is socialization unless it involves a 3rd-party (which is rare). The vast majority of the time, the risk falls on creditors who entered into the relationship voluntarily and knowingly. Given that we're talking about these rare events, why don't you make the distinction?

    Also I wonder, do you have a problem with bankruptcy protection? You never seem to mention that in these conversations.

  • Proprietist||

    You never seem to mention that in these conversations.

    Wow, actually I mention that in EVERY one of these conversations. And yes, I think it's a state market distortion and that bad faith lenders have committed criminal fraud.

  • Proprietist||

    bad faith lenders borrowers

  • robc||

    But, in most cases, they arent borrowing in bad faith.

  • KPres||

    Well, I'll give you this: The fact that you bring up limited liability means you're miles beyond most of the anti-corporation screechers. Most of them are just ascetics that hate money. Still, given that there are all those hordes of screechers out there, I think it's important to make all these distinctions clear, rather than give their limited IQ's a rationalization to distort.

  • Proprietist||

    I think the screechers understand there's a problem but are too stupid to see the root cause of it or understand the economic principles. They support statism and regulation as a solution to tame the outcomes of the moral hazards instead of addressing the moral hazards themselves. I'm not talking about virulent anti-market Marxists, but average Lefties who are ok with market exchange but want corporations to stop doing bad things or growing beyond the capacity to control themselves.

    I think libertarians who are pro-state-limited-liability and bankruptcy are making special exceptions to their principles where the state protects things they like, like investing or borrowing with minimal risk.

  • ||

    I think libertarians who are pro-state-limited-liability and bankruptcy are making special exceptions to their principles where the state protects things they like

    You mean like when you said earlier that private limited liability contracts, if they should be introduced in your Marxian anarcho-topia, should be overturned by the proletariat juries in any given private court because those private contracts are, like, totally bad and stuff and don't deserve the same protection as other contracts?

  • Proprietist||

    Again, I'm not a Marxian or an anarchist or a utopian. I'm a pragmatic libertarian miniarchist who hates state created moral hazards and fully supports property and market exchange. I support the existence of a legal system to fight private or state violations of individual rights. I don't know where you construed that I didn't support any state or free markets.

  • Outside the Box||

    Bummer, I like most of what you've written here, but unfortunately, if you're a minarchist, I think you too are "making special exceptions to their principles where the state protects things they like"... It's worth going back and rechecking your support of the state given the nice handle you seem to have on things conceptually. I think you'll find in the end that you cannot support the notion of the state.

  • R C Dean||

    I think libertarians who are pro-state-limited-liability and bankruptcy are making special exceptions to their principles

    How is saying that people shouldn't be fully, personally liable for things they did not do and cannot control a compromise to principles of personal responsibility?

  • Proprietist||

    But they CAN control their liabilities via contract or insurance (or not seeking ownership in the first place), unlike third party victims who might not know the liabilities could even exist. Owners are responsible for their property. The corporation is the property of the stockholder owners, hence they bear some burden even if it is the burden of last resort (when they are not active managers of the property).

    Why should government determine that liability burdens are based on the existing value of assets instead of the actual cost of the liability?

  • R C Dean||

    Why should government determine that liability burdens are based on the existing value of assets instead of the actual cost of the liability?

    Sometimes, you just don't have a claim on enough assets to cover your losses. It happens. That doesn't justify sending a bill to someone who wasn't culpable.

    Why should government hold somebody liable for something they did not do and could not control?

    As a practical matter, you are going to have passive investors in large corporations. They cannot be directly involved in management, or the corporation will fail. They will not have visibility or command and control over the corporations operations at any detailed level. The corporate charter will reflect these facts by giving them very limited governance rights in exchange for their investment. By operation of principles of personal responsibility, the shareholders will have limited liability.

    So far, I fail to see any state distortion of a market or violation of anyone's rights, and you can get to pretty much where we are today. Now, we have corporation statutes that formalize all this, but formalizing an arrangement that is not a distortion and doesn't violate rights does not transform that arrangement into one that distorts and violates.

  • Proprietist||

    Again, I want to minimize involuntary, non-contractual shifting of liability costs onto third parties. You support minimizing liability costs for contractual, voluntary owners who have the opportunity to mitigate their burden through insurance or contract.

    The liability burden has to be placed somewhere, so why should it be placed first on the person who holds zero ownership, has no contract and possibly could not have known of even the existence of the company before damages occured?

    And why do you continue to assume current market investment premises would exist in a world without limited liability or that the market would not work to accomodate liability mitigation through insurance?

  • Proprietist||

    "formalizing an arrangement that is not a distortion and doesn't violate rights does not transform that arrangement into one that distorts and violates"

    The "formalized arrangement" is between the state and the corporation that the state will never grant victims of corporate actions the non-designated assets of the corporate owners. In what way does this legal limit on third party claims have to do with internal voluntary assignment of liability?

  • KPres||

    "It can also mean an economic system that artificially prioritizes capital over labor or responsibility."

    Capital is just resources employed in the production of final goods and services. Your body is capital, and your labor is production. I refuse to adopt false dichotomies just so that my commie friends will like me.

  • R C Dean||

    A stateless society will have mechanisms for resolving conflicts and rectifying injury that do not depend on relentless government aggression.

    This is where I think the anarchist project runs aground. Without a final arbiter of disputes, they will be resolved by violence. That violence will be clan/tribe/corporation on clan/tribe/corporation, which historically has not turned out well. The final arbiter will need to be able to resort to violence if necessary, hence the state. Societies that do not develop a final arbiter have been mired at the clan/tribe level of development, with endemic violence. Caveat: I haven't made a deep study of this, but this is sure how it looks to me.

    (Similarly, Chartier argues that the voluntary society will be one in which wealth inequalities will in fact be mitigated, but not by aggressive confiscation.)

    Dream on. People with ability and desire to accumulate "too much" will do so, and parting them from it will require either aggression or a fundamental change in human nature. New Soviet Man ain't coming, so your choices are either (a) aggressive confiscation or (b) "too much" inequality.

  • RG||

    This

  • robc||

    I would argue it even one step further, the clan/tribe has a government structure to it, so it still isnt anarchy.

    Anarchy doesnt exist. Full Stop.

  • sarcasmic||

    Anarchy cannot exist because there will always be someone with the last word in violence.

  • ||

    /thread

  • np||

    Not if it's like the concept of phyles or more sophisticated versions of the old Icelandic or Celtic system i.e. dynamic clans or tribes, where people are free to choose different clans and "chieftans" needed to seek out clients. You would have voluntarily formed governance, but not states.

    I mean, you could say that each household, each business, each property owner, each coorporation is a "clan". That doesn't make them states

  • Outlaw||

    I think your post illustrates the point that government is pretty much an inevitability (unfortunately) if you get more than a few people together.

  • MJGreen||

    Who is the final arbiter on the world stage?

  • Ghetto Slovak Goatherder||

    Bingo.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    Utopia is not an option. Not all disputes will be resolved, violence will only be used when its benefits outweigh its costs, and there are ways to make violence very, very costly. Anarchy will be better, not perfect.

    I'd like to see your evidence on societies that do not develop final arbiters. You should check out Somalia pre-1960, and Iceland, middle ages.

    BTW, until you have made a deep study of this, you are almost certainly talking out of your ass.

  • Outside the Box||

    ^^ Yep ^^

    It's as if there's no understanding of basic human action... Two well established, profitable protection agencies are not going to gun each other day in a bloody war because one has arrested another for smoking pot. It makes no sense praxeologically.

  • Outside the Box||

    Wow, still trotting out Rand's 40-year old argument about the need for a "final arbiter of disputes"? There is a whole host of good libertarian anarchist scholarship that has demolished this notion... Bruce Benson's "The Enterprise of Law" is a fun book with lots of historical references and numbers etc, for example.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Anarchy, as celebrated by the majority of people who wear the "a in a circle", is neither; it is narcissism. It is entirely about feeling morally superior, or rebellious, or trendy. At least Socialists have a plan. It won't work, and if they would engage their brains for a nanosecond they would KNOW it won't work, but they have some ideas about how to keep the most brutal and psychotic from taking over.

  • np||

    The funny thing is, *archy, as in any system of government we have now has already shown not to work. Every state is or has become tyrannical in some way. So by your own logic, in which we've already shown it not to work, we should at least try to have stateless society.

    An ancap or stateless society is not utopia, far from it. At the very least, any aggressor would always have opposition. With the state having a legal monopoly on violence, and all of its agents having one sole employer, who are you going to turn to? Can you choose a competing police force to protect you against the cops? And even if the state agents (at any level) disagreed with policy--who are they going to turn to, with one sole employer?

  • sarcasmic||

    Try your stateless society. See what happens. I'll tell you what will happen. A group of men will decide that they can use violence to get what they want, because it is easier to plunder than to produce, and because human nature is to take the easy way. People will have to band together to fight them off. Before you know it, there will exist a group of men with the last word in violence, and they will use this to steal. But they'll call it taxation.

    A stateless society is impossible. It goes against human nature.

  • some guy||

    And any state would work just fine if all men were good, honest, hard-working individuals. This is also the condition required for any state to work.

    We're doomed to a cycle of failed states.

  • R C Dean||

    We're doomed to a cycle of failed states.

    Probably. The recent history of the US certainly casts doubt on the idea that a minarchy is stable long-term, and won't be replaced at some point by the traditional metastasizing Total State.

  • sarcasmic||

    Government is a one-way ratchet because there is no incentive to get rid of bad legislation. Bad legislation is just an excuse to write more bad legislation.

    I still think that the Heinleinian bicameral legislature might work.

    It consists of two houses. One passes laws, while the other repeals them.

    This way you have people whose election depends upon what they will undo. They have an incentive to repeal shitty legislation. Without such an incentive, government will only grow.

  • Outlaw||

    There need to be term limits too.

    The limit for the repealers is a normal term limit. Say, two to four years.

    The limit for the lawmakers is two years, plus they have to commit suicide when their term is finished.

  • Gunblitz66||

    ^THIS^ The last part cracked me up, but still. I've always felt that our judicial system should have had this distinction forced on them. Nothing they say should matter except they get to say when the legislature is being naughty

  • Outlaw||

    The anarchists are quite right in pointing out that the state is evil and immoral, though.

    A necessary or inevitable evil, but evil nonetheless.

  • sarcasmic||

    More inevitable than necessary.

  • MJGreen||

    because it is easier to plunder than to produce

    Always? So you are currently plundering your neighbor instead of producing?

  • sarcasmic||

    No. The government does it for me.

  • MJGreen||

    So you don't produce, then?

    You don't plunder your neighbor because, regardless of morality, you know there are forces that make plunder a dangerous game. The neighbor might defend himself, the neighbor's friend may step in and take on defense, a private organization might go after you (eg neighborhood watch), or the state might catch and jail you. Why are we to taken it as obvious that, without the state, varied and formidable forces would not check each other's power and create a fairly stable order?

  • sarcasmic||

    The varied and formidable powers would compete with each other over who has the monopoly on violence, because that monopoly is a license to steal (tax).

    The winner becomes the state.

  • sarcasmic||

    Rather than "monopoly" I should have said "last word."

  • MJGreen||

    Which is why we have a global state?

  • sarcasmic||

    Now you're just being intentionally obtuse.

  • Tony||

    So why do you bitch about the aggressiveness of the state so much? If something is inevitable, isn't it completely unproductive to whine about it in lieu of figuring out how to make it as fair and peaceful as possible?

  • sarcasmic||

    The state, simply put, is violence and coercion. That's it.
    So the question becomes, when talking about a function of government, does this justify violence and coercion?
    Repelling invaders? Yes.
    Providing means of resolving disputes without violence? Yes.
    Cowboy poetry? Hmmm. No.

  • Tony||

    You mean the only legitimate functions of the state are those that entail actual violence and coercion, as in actually shooting people or imprisoning them. All the stuff that merely takes taxing and spending, off the table!

  • sarcasmic||

    You got it! Hooray for Tony!

  • ||

    Yes.

    The ONLY legitimate function of government is to protect the rights of the individual.

  • Tony||

    The individual has a right to healthcare.

  • sarcasmic||

    The individual has a right to healthcare.

    So the individual has a right to use violence and coercion to get healthcare?

    I can see the individual having the right to use violence and coercion to repel invaders or protect their property, but to compel a doctor to perform health care related services?

    You live in a strange world Tony.

  • Outside the Box||

    heh, Tony is actually correct: the only consistent position is anarchy. He has pointed out the flaw in minarchist thinking.

  • Mickey Rat||

    And since anarchy is an asymptotic point on the scale, agreement with Tony also implies that if you are going to be a statist there can be no limits on what the can do.

  • ||

    Oh bullshit.

    Maximization of liberty is the goal, however.

    Anarchism cannot work as there will always be bad guy who wants to steal your shit. Be they Joe the con-man or the rogue nation with tanks and jets. There must be an entity with the last word in force to protect rights...IOW government.

    Liberty and security/government are diametrically opposed so you limit government to the absolute minimum to provide security, allowing liberty to exist in a maximized state.

    How?

    You start with the NAP. It maximizes freedom for all. Two tenets follow:

    1. A person may do as they wish, PROVIDED in doing so they do not infringe upon the rights of others. (Maximize liberty)

    2. The ONLY legitimate role of government is to protect the rights of the individual. (Minimize that which opposes liberty yet provides security)

    If liberty is your goal, that, my friend, is the only moral way to have and keep it.

  • ||

    That was for OtB and our immoral statist asshole Tony.

  • entropy||

    You mean like murder?

    It's inevitable, so let's try to make it as fair and peaceful as possible.

  • Tony||

    Sort of. Do we not try to do that, by laws against murder and such, instead of fruitlessly wishing it away?

  • sarcasmic||

    Er, um, is punishing murder justify coercion and violence? Yes. Thus it is a justifiable function of the state.

  • Tony||

    I say things that require no violence whatsoever, except the occasional minor fine or prison term, such as taxing and spending on socialized healthcare, are justifiable. And I will use the same argument you're using to justify it: because I say so.

  • sarcasmic||

    No. I justify it by the 'non-aggression principle.'
    I have the morality of a human being.

    You justify it with 'might makes right.'
    You have the morality of an animal.

  • ||

    Tony:

    And I will use the same argument you're using to justify it: because I say so.

    Ok, so your positions are no better than libertarians, and libertarians are no worse than yours.

    What a compelling rebuke of libertarianism.

  • Tony||

    They're better because they consider the well-being of humans.

  • ||

    Tony:

    They're better because they consider the well-being of humans.

    Oh, libertarians consider the well-being of humans. That's blatantly false.

  • Outside the Box||

    Prison is a barbaric act, an initiation of violence exactly akin to kidnapping and imprisonment. There is no such thing as a "minor" barbaric act.

  • np||

    Oh I certainly expect groups of men or just plain ol' marauders. But they won't be starting off with nor will they have the ability to obtain the last word in violence, since there is no existing instrument (the state) for them to do so.

    Real criminality also creates economic disincentives that worsen for the criminals as they start forming more enemies and have less access to goods they need.

    I'll give you the once time or condition they do succeed is when their opposition or people give up, when people stop resisting and everyone resigns to giving into force does a state form.

    But really, since you've already admitted to its cyclic nature, a stateless society is not "impossible" since all states form out of statelessness to begin with, no matter how short a time. The key is in keeping that stateless state.

    America was stateless for a period after all.

  • Outside the Box||

    A society of people who hold the value that the initiation of violence is never legitimate cannot, by definition, form a state.

    The problem is that we as libertarians have focused on *property* and thus "aggression" rather than on initiation of *violence* (which I mean as acts taken directly against a human and do not include property violations). In essence, libertarianism makes no distinction between my body and a rock that I claim as my own: it sees them both simply as "property". Our bodies are much, much more than just "property", and a legal and moral system that recognizes that is much more robust to the possible return of a state.

  • Virginian||

    One of the major issues the Left has is their conflation of market forces with things like racial prejudice. In the South, the first mass transit was private sector, and it was integrated, not segregated. So the government forced them to segregate, or drove them out of business with anti competitive laws in order to run public, segregated mass transit. Then decades later, when the political winds had changed, they integrated the mass transit that they had segregated in the first place. And the statists and morons rejoiced, for the loving government had given back what they had taken away in the first place.

  • KPres||

    Congratulations, Reason, you've managed to make Ann Coulter sound right about libertarians. That's a hell of an accomplishment.

  • robc||

    ???

    There is no group think on this issue. The minarchist vs ancap war shall continue forever and ever. Or until the ancaps realize they are wrong.

  • RG||

    I think he means the navel gazing part.

  • $park¥||

    Or until the ancaps realize they are wrong.

    Way to chum the waters.

  • np||

    You believe in secession, right? So why can't one secede down to the individual level? Why place some arbitrary limit?

    Texas secedes from the Union. Dallas Secedes from Texas. A suburb secedes from Dallas. A block secedes from the suburb. A house secedes from the block.

  • robc||

    I am King of my house.

  • some guy||

    Your local law enforcement would beg to differ.

  • Dr. Frankenstein||

    All hail the king on the corner lot on Elm St.

  • $park¥||

    Do you force your family to live with you?

  • robc||

    Im single, its a pretty small kingdom.

  • R C Dean||

    So, you're claiming to be master of your domain?

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    I'm out!

    *slaps down $50*

  • Proprietist||

    I believe in the right for secession all the way down to the individual level. But I don't believe that I have the right to ever leave my property again if I do.

  • Ghetto Slovak Goatherder||

    You can dig through your basement, through the unclaimed property of Sub-Earth, and pop out in the vast swathes of empty wilderness where you can form your own Lordship over the animals and plants.

  • Proprietist||

    Make sure you understand how deep the mineral rights of sub-Earth go for every plot of land you burrow beneath, or else you are trespassing and thus evil.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    nooooo, mineral rights must be homesteaded as well.

  • Outside the Box||

    Who is the authority on "property", and why do they get to tell you unilaterally that other land is not "yours"?

  • Proprietist||

    I'm not an anarchist and I fully support property rights (even if they are at times contradictory.) That said, if I seceded, how could I denounce the right of the country I seceded from to impose border security around my property or invades my land and claims it from me if I "invade" theirs or make a claim on property I don't own?

  • Outside the Box||

    "I'm not an anarchist " You should be... I think you will be eventually. ;-) I was a minarchist for 20 years and made the arguments against anarchy that you are making until the number of contortions I had to do to support that became unbearable.

    "property rights " These are really loaded terms, but let me see if I can shortcut a bunch of stuff: why do you think that the securing and defense of property rights must be done via a monopoly? The logic of anarchy is the same as the logic of minarchy, except it does not make special exceptions for things like "property" and defense.

    "how could I denounce the right of the country I seceded from " Why do you even need to acknowledge that it is "their country"? On whose authority?

    Naturally, if they claim the right to be the final arbiter of property, they have set themselves up as the defacto owner of all of that property; but you are skipping the fact that they make that claim unilaterally and backed only by their willingness to initiate violence to defend their claim. But the initiation of violence is illegitimate to a libertarian, and so their claim to be the final authority on property is also illegitimate.

    If you decide to walk off your property, you are not committing a violent act. You are in no way attacking another human being. To respond to a non-violent act with violence is to *initiate* violence, which is not considered legitimate by libertarians.

  • Proprietist||

    I argue anarchism is a pointless and non-existent concept. As long as there is coercion (and there always will be), there will be government, formal or informal - be it Stalin's USSR or the crazy dude with a knife to my neck.

    Technically today's government is not a monopoly - there are other entities that fulfill many similar functions, like private security agencies. The fact that the government is the most powerful and coercive mafia is only because we haven't or can't build a more powerful one to fight its coercive ability. My subordination only exists because I lack enough resources to seriously challenge the ability of the State to attack me. This is the same dilemma that could exist in a technical anarchy.

    I support a state monopoly on coercion ONLY against private parties who initiate force in violation of the rights of others. If the state grows beyond that into an extra-coercive realm, I will oppose and fight it. I support consistent rule of law because the only alternative is might makes right, where my ability to seek justice or defend myself from incorrect or malicious liability is whether my defense agency is stronger than the other person's agency. Minimization of total coercion makes the minimal coercion of a state justifiable to me.

  • Ron||

    I don't have to read past the first sentence. The answer is in a utopian world where no one ever tries to screw anybody over then a stateless society would be capitalistic and philanthropic to the indigent. Welcome to Heaven.

  • albo||

    Some peoplw won't be happy until we're all equally busy digging for filth in an anarcho-syndicalist commune were we take turns to act as a sort of executive officer for the week and internal decisions are decided by the group through up or down twinkles.

  • ||

    I'm not old.

  • albo||

    Before I joined the board of our local ambulance company, they were set up as a non-profit corporation on the lines of a fire company. All the EMTs were members, and they'd vote for their chief, believe it or not.

    That lasted about 6 years and a vote by the supervisors to decertify them before I and a few other outside folks came on the board, hired a chief answerable only to the board, and straightened things out. 10 years later, we've doubled revenue, raised quality, raised salaries, etc.

    You need bosses sometimes.

  • Outside the Box||

    "Managing" is just one of many divisions of labor. It will ebb and flow in a freed society as market forces dictate.

  • MJGreen||

    I'd love to read this book, but it's so scholarly that the publisher expects me to pay $100 for it. Hopefully Chartier or someone else will circulate a PDF of it or something.

  • Raven Nation||

    ^This^

    "For most people, the only real challenge will be..." paying the $115 price tag.

  • ||

    Most of those proceeds go towards securing the private copyright enforceable at the communal court house where everyone determines your case by holding up placards with up or down arrows.

  • ||

    "While some legal system is a necessary component of social living, Chartier writes, it’s a mistake to assume that only the state can provide it, or indeed that there should be only one system. A stateless society will have mechanisms for resolving conflicts and rectifying injury that do not depend on relentless government aggression. (Similarly, Chartier argues that the voluntary society will be one in which wealth inequalities will in fact be mitigated, but not by aggressive confiscation.)"

    Let us redefine the state and call it not the state. Huh?

    Wealth inequalities will be mitigated but not by aggressive confiscation?
    I havent read his work, but this article is full of generalities that make me think chartier has a vision uncannily like Marx's post Soviet one where the state has become unnecessary. You know, the stateless condition that is asymptotically approached by ever increasing government but never actually reached?

    My grandson is 1-1/2 now and his mom is complaining that he and his classmates in daycare are beginning to hit and bully each other. She is having a hell of a time managing them. ( She is the 'teacher' in his class...she works there).

  • ||

    Watching him grow and develop has me marvelling at how the animal and rational are immediately apparent in people. I was too busy to see it in my own when they were growing, but now that I am a little removed from the every day grind it is very clear to me. Human nature will never allow for any kind of bullshit utopia. Chartier needs to leave the writing alone until he comes down off of the acid.

  • Outlaw||

    You and me baby ain't nothing but mammals.

  • MJGreen||

    Let us redefine the state and call it not the state.

    Well... why not? If it's redefined - if there is something about it that is different than the state as most understand it - why can't you call it something other than the state?

    Centering the debate on the existence of "the state" usually does more harm than good. As with the capitalism vs socialism discussion that Chartier often focuses on, it's more about semantics and definitions than the actual differences being asserted. Which means people mostly talk past each other.

  • Outside the Box||

    No offense, but you really need to read the work. Your questions are valid but are directly and clearly answered.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Chartier is unabashedly a left-libertarian, arguing that his conception of a stateless society is distinctly leftist and anti-capitalist.

    This tells me as much as I need to know about him. In other words, he's an idiot.

  • Proprietist||

    So you're going with dismissal by insult then?

  • Tony||

    Chartier’s point is that in order to have a society of peaceful, voluntary cooperation, we need to eliminate all forms of aggression

    A Sisyphean task if there ever was one. All utopian visions of society require that people not behave as people naturally do, at all times and in all cases, whether we're talking anarchism or total communism. I haven't read the book, but if the argument is that people will be less aggressive because the state isn't there putting them into groups, that is highly unpersuasive. People put themselves into groups. Zero-sum relationships exist regardless. Aggression exists naturally. Taking away the state will not take away scarcity, hence, competition and warfare. The only things known to mitigate that are systems that efficiently and equitably distribute resources, i.e., markets tempered by states.

  • sarcasmic||

    Except for the last three words, that post isn't that bad.

  • Paul.||

    I haven't read the book, but if the argument is that people will be less aggressive because the state isn't there putting them into groups, that is highly unpersuasive. People put themselves into groups. Zero-sum relationships exist regardless. Aggression exists naturally.

    And on this, Tony, you and I agree.

    My ex-wife was a clinical social worker, and early on in her career ran into hard-leftist types who believed that in the absence of the evil influences of modern paternalistic society, people were naturally passive, and violence was taught in.

    She (and I) believed the opposite. Violence was innate, and had to be taught out.

    Where we will always disagree, is how to achieve a more just and equitable society. For another thread...

  • Tony||

    I wouldn't say people are naturally violent or passive. I'd say we're the product of a Darwinian process and we tend to behave as we need to given our environment, assuming we aren't incapable of coping with that environment and we just die. Experiments have shown perfectly normal people turning psychotically callous given the right conditions. People tend to be more passive when their bellies are full and there is no incentive to risk their livelihood through violence.

    It does seem certain, though, that a society in which the trappings of the modern state are taken away will be much more violent, since inequalities will go untempered, risks will be greater, and hence violence will be more often incentivized.

  • Paul.||

    I wouldn't say people are naturally violent or passive.

    If we say that two infants who haven't yet learned to speak, barring any obvious exposure to violence, confront a disagreement over a toy by whacking eachother with the toy or throwing their binky at the other one, then I think it's pretty safe to say that violence is innate.

    Human beings, absent being taught things like self-control, conflict resolution and the like, will ultimately resort to the most immediate form of conflict resolution: inflict pain upon your adversary until he stops doing whatever he's doing to annoy you.

    Experiments have shown perfectly normal people turning psychotically callous given the right conditions. People tend to be more passive when their bellies are full and there is no incentive to risk their livelihood through violence.

    That doesn't change the idea that people are naturally violent creatures.

    And I need to take care to not suggest that this is a net negative. We're naturally violent creatures for a reason. At some point, in most people's lives, they're going to be confronted with some form of violence and your innate capability for violence is why your gene pool has survived for 60 million years.

    It's how that violence is applied and tempered that defines a civilized society.

  • ||

    If we say that two infants who haven't yet learned to speak, barring any obvious exposure to violence, confront a disagreement over a toy by whacking eachother with the toy or throwing their binky at the other one, then I think it's pretty safe to say that violence is innate.

    Is this what always happens?

  • JWatts||

    In my experience, Yes.

    It's not the first thing that happens. At first one is surprised by the others actions. The second time one cries at the others actions. By the third time there is pushing and shoving. The father of a two year old pair of twins.

    They are just starting to learn (after much prodding) the basics of negotiation.

  • ||

    Are your children only around each other? Do they encounter other children?

  • JWatts||

    Yes, pretty consistently.

  • ||

    "The only things known to mitigate that are systems that efficiently and equitably distribute resources.."

    *Hissing through teeth*

    So close! You almost had it!

  • Tony||

    This is even getting to how we get from here to there. I know antigovernment types don't like to talk about that. But apart from the impossible task of getting everyone to agree to discard the state (without any coercion), how do you smooth over the existing power relationships, especially the ones that resulted from state favors and such? I can't imagine a scenario of just getting to an anarchist society that doesn't require as much or more coercion than the most brutal attempts at imposing systems on people.

  • sarcasmic||

    This post on the other hand is pure derp.

  • np||

    Fighting back, defending against, or at least evading an aggressor isn't coercion.

    The question is not one of ethics which you imply. Are you saying nullifying, repealing, defying or evading laws (99+% of which are of the malum prohibitum type) to allow people to be more free is "imposing" something on people?

  • sarcasmic||

    For liberty to be imposed upon society, those who get away with initiating violence must be stopped. They can only be stopped with force. Thus, to impose liberty upon society, force must be used.

    Libertarian are tyrants!

  • Tony||

    You're defining freedom in a very narrow way, as all libertarians do. To a 90-year-old in a wheelchair, freedom is not the absence of state coercion, it's the presence of social security and medicare.

    You're saying you know what system is most free and you're going to make people live under it whether they vote for it or express any desire for it at all. If that's not your idea, then what? Keep voting on the issue till everyone comes around?

  • sarcasmic||

    Does taking care of a 90-year-old in a wheelchair justify violence and coercion?

    I say no.

    Of course in your world if government doesn't take care of him, no one will. But I don't live in your world. I live in a world where families and private charities take care of each other. Is it perfect? No. But neither is government, and it doesn't involve violence and coercion.

  • Tony||

    Does taking care of your property justify violence and coercion? You say yes! Using collective force to defend your tchotchkes--legitimate. Using it to keep an old person from starving to death--evil.

    Do I have libertarianism about right?

  • sarcasmic||

    You will only help someone if you are coerced into doing so. Otherwise you'd steal the clothes off their back and let them starve to death.

    Do I have Tony about right?

  • ||

    You will only help someone if you are coerced into doing so. Otherwise you'd steal the clothes off their back and let them starve to death.

    Do I have Tony about right?

    Close, but then you have to add:
    "Democracy is the will of the people, and people want the system to take care of the old and the poor."

    You only have Tony exactly right when you're completely contradicting yourself, from one sentence to the next.

  • Tony||

    Why do I have to help you defend your property and life?

  • ||

    Tony:

    Why do I have to help you defend your property and life?

    Because the state requires it, and its force determines everyone's rights and obligations.

    /Tony

  • R C Dean||

    Using collective force to defend your tchotchkesrights, including property rights--legitimate. Using it to keep an old person from starving to death by violating rights, including property rights--evil.

    I would say so, yes.

  • sarcasmic||

    But taxation used to protect your property rights is in itself a violation of property rights.

    That justifies tax dollars to be used for any purpose anyone can dream up.

    /Tony

  • Gunblitz66||

    The difference is you're taking what's mine by force and you have no right.

  • R C Dean||

    To a 90-year-old in a wheelchair, freedom is not the absence of state coercion,

    Well, it is.
    it's the presence of social security and medicare.

    They are confusing freedom with cash. By this logic, I am not free as long as there are things I want that I cannot afford.

  • Paul.||

    Confusing freedom with privileges.

    They upped my shower time from two minutes to three minutes. I'M FREEEEEEEEE!

  • Gunblitz66||

    Like

  • sarcasmic||

    Also, you confuse freedom and liberty.

    Liberty is an absence of coercion.

    Liberty means I can smoke a cigarette at the bar, and if you don't like it you can leave.

    Freedom to breathe smoke free air means I am coerced into smoking outdoors for your benefit.

    Libertarians value liberty over freedom when freedom conflicts with liberty.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Liberty means I can smoke a cigarette at the bar, and if you don't like it you can leave.

    What if it's my bar?

  • sarcasmic||

    Then it's your property. Your choice.

    You can cater to the snobby "I must be free from cigarette smoke" crowd if you want. I wouldn't. Fucking douche bag scum can suck donkey dick. But it's your choice.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Then it's your property. Your choice.

    So then we already have a case where my freedom is valued over your liberty. I'm free to use coercion to make you leave my "property".

  • sarcasmic||

    Which is totally different than you and Tony using the coercive power of the state to force me to tell my smoking customers to go outside.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Excuse me, where have I ever suggested that I support anti-smoking laws?

  • sarcasmic||

    Excuse me, where have I ever suggested that I support anti-smoking laws?

    http://dictionary.reference.co.....pothetical

  • R C Dean||

    Of course, that's what it means to have private property at all. If anyone can walk up and take it (or use it or do what they want with or on it), and you have no right to stop them, then you really don't have property.

  • np||

    This is one of those flaws in English that gets me a bit pedantic, but I don't like making semantic distinction because "free" is simply german for the latin "libre". It's like making a distinction between aqua vs water, or transformation vs metamorphosis (latin vs greek)

    I know what you mean, but that's where the qualifiers of positive vs negative liberty or rights comes in.

    Unfortunately people have already twisted freedom into a positive rights concept--see Tony--and I've seen the same with liberty, usually under the guise "liberty is not license!" to try to prohibit what they consider licentious activity. Licentious has same root as "license".. hence the need for licenses to do things even with liberty, according to these proponents.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    My view is that freedom comes in two types: liberty (freedom from coercion) and license (freedom from consequence). While it's possible to have a society that allows for neither type of freedom, it's not possible for a society to maximize both because beyond a certain point they become complementary. It's only possible to increase one by reducing the other.

    Most of the big political debates in our country ultimately come down to arguments over the proper trade off between the too.

  • sarcasmic||

    "Freedom from consequence" is force, because it doesn't make the consequences go away. It forces them onto other people.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Hence the "It's only possible to increase one by reducing the other".

  • sarcasmic||

    Which is why libertarianism is totally at odds with progressivism.

    Libertarians value liberty in the sense you should not have to ask permission or take orders as long as you do not interfere with the life, liberty and property of others.

    Progressives value freedom in the sense that as long as you take orders and ask permission from authority you will be free from the consequences of your actions.

    They are fundamentally opposite of each other.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Hence "Most of the big political debates in our country ultimately come down to arguments over the proper trade off between the too".

  • sarcasmic||

    Conservatives aren't that much different than progressives. They still want to control people.

    Most of the big political debate is not over liberty vs control, it's over what will be controlled and by how much.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Excuse me, do you intend to keep explaining parts of my own comment back to me under some apparent delusion that I'm incapable of understanding my own writing?

  • sarcasmic||

    Maybe I don't understand your writing. By "trade off between the two" you seem to imply that it goes both ways.
    I never see debate about giving up control for more liberty. Only of what liberties will be stolen and how much.

  • Outside the Box||

    I have never found "Freedom" or "liberty" to be concepts sufficient for defining a social system.

    Violence - or in particular, rejecting the notion that the initiation of violence is ever legitimate - is devoid of the abstractions and the questions of "positive or negative" that so many other formulations of libertarianism suffer from.

  • ||

    Tony:

    To a 90-year-old in a wheelchair, freedom is not the absence of state coercion...

    Not exactly. It's the absence of any coercion.

    It's the presence of social security and medicare.

    This implies that a 90-year-old in a wheel chair being taken care of without social security and medicare, has no freedom. Is this correct?

    You're saying you know what system is most free and you're going to make people live under it whether they vote for it or express any desire for it at all. If that's not your idea, then what?

    Just having an idea of what system is most free does not imply that one wants to go forcing people to live under it whether they want to or not. And, to the extent that it's self-defense, it's not aggression, which is totally consistent with the principles involved.

    You keep trying to force libertarians into aggression to cook up some grand contradiction. It falls apart given the slightest scrutiny. Give it up.

  • ||

    But apart from the impossible task of getting everyone to agree to discard the state (without any coercion)

    It's not really impossible. If everyone wants to discard the state, except one person, does the state still exist and function? Of course not. This implies that it is not necessary to get everyone to agree to discard the state.

  • ||

    I was just going to say the thread needed some Tony to spice it up.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I'm not old.

    But you've got shit all over you.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    That's how we know that you're not a king.

  • ThatSkepticGuy||

    It was an asinine and wrong argument when Marx and Engels first suppositioned that statist totalitarianism was REALLY a stateless, classless utopia, and it's been made even more of a stupid fucking argument by everything that's happened on a political level in the past 150 years.

    Slavery is not Freedom, Freedom is not Slavery.

  • ThatSkepticGuy||

    "Chartier is unabashedly a left-libertarian, arguing that his conception of a stateless society is distinctly leftist, anti-capitalist, and socialist."

    The he supports central planning, and he supports having some degree of police or government goon squad who goes around using force to disrupt those people in a minarchist/anarchist society who would choose to engage in trade with one another. Because that's all Capitalism is.

    Meaning he is not a Libertarian, he is not an Anarchist, he's just another socialist control freak piece of shit who wants you to think he's has the best interests of your liberty and autonomy in mind as he tightens the chokechain around your neck. Fuck 'im.

  • Tak Kak||

    Does Gary actually support that? I don't think so.

  • MJGreen||

    State Socialism and Anarchism by Benjamin Tucker

    That will help you understand where Chartier is coming from. If you don't have the time or interest, at least check out the bit about "two socialisms" at the end of the essay.

  • Tak Kak||

    MJ, keep following Ben's life and you'll see what I'm talking about. He abandoned the term.

    Later going even further:

    "Capitalism is at least tolerable, which cannot be said of Socialism or Communism"

  • MJGreen||

    That's fine, but I'm talking more about the substance of what Chartier is arguing and the intellectual history, not so much the word. On that debate, I agree with Chartier and Sheldon Richman that 'socialism' is a nice word for libertarianism, given its focus on civil society and certain strands of socialist history, but I definitely agree with Aeon here that, if capitalism is supposedly a lost word, socialism is even more lost.

    I personally use laissez-faire as much as I can, but that's because it describes my general attitude towards everything.

  • Tak Kak||

    Then I'm confused, as most of the substance I actually agree with (minus the anti-hierchary, worker solidarity, mutual bank hooey)

  • Outside the Box||

    I really think you ought to read him more. You're ascribing to him things that are inaccurate.

  • DWC||

    We, people, constantly get bogged down in these definitional debates which invariably lead only to more confusion. This is often a deliberate tactic to obfuscate and prevent common understanding. There's coercion and there's not coercion. That is the only true "political" debate to be had. You either believe that people have the right to coerce other people or you don't. You know, that libertarian principle of non-aggression is confusing to many people who think it specifically has to do with violence, which it may ultimately do, but most people can not follow the logic all the way to its bottom.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Whether or not people have the right to coerce is irrelevant. There are people out there who WILL coerce, whether they have the right to or not. The question is what do we do about it? The anarachists answer is that we do nothing and the problem will magically solve itself.

  • JWatts||

    The anarachists answer is that we do nothing and the problem will magically solve itself.

    And this is a fatal flaw in anarchism.

    It's just a different version of a Utopia based upon the common "if only humans didn't act like humans" meme that Leftists are always droning on about.

    That's stage one Leftism. At stage two they start talking about "if only the right people were in charge, they could make humans not act like humans". At that point the tangent is set and it's a steady spiral down.

  • Tak Kak||

    Luckily, that isn't the anarchist answer. Those who coerce can be treated just as they treat others, maybe worse, who knows. The point is simply that there isn't a monopoly on who may do so.

  • ||

    JWatts:

    At stage two they start talking about "if only the right people were in charge, they could make humans not act like humans". At that point the tangent is set and it's a steady spiral down.

    If you're not an anarchist, does this not describe your philosophy? Most people who endorse limited government assume that the proper role of government is to control people, such as preventing/punishing murder, rape, and theft, etc. Since coercion and aggression have been assigned to "human nature", doesn't this imply that limited government is about the right people being in charge, making humans not act like humans?

    Because, after all, once get communists in power (i.e., the wrong people) that limited government goes straight to hell.

  • JWatts||

    At stage two they start talking about "if only the right people were in charge, they could make humans not act like humans"....If you're not an anarchist, does this not describe your philosophy?

    No, not at all.

    A) I don't believe in the 'right people', at least not for any length of time.

    B) I don't believe you can drastically change human behavior.

    It is what it is and we deal with it on those terms as best we can. I think the best approach is a strong, small government. A government that sets standards and enforces basic rights and is deferential to lower levels of governments.

  • ||

    It is what it is and we deal with it on those terms as best we can. I think the best approach is a strong, small government. A government that sets standards and enforces basic rights and is deferential to lower levels of governments.

    Right, but, once certain people start voting and certain people start getting power, how small and limited does that government stay? Look at what happened to the United States. It went from the most limited government to the largest government in history.

    I think the US is a great demonstration that your ideas of limited government hinge on having the right people in charge. Otherwise, state power expands. And, given the aggressive and coercive nature that's assigned to human beings, this is exactly what we would expect from people with power (even if it starts out limited).

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    Aaaaaaand, while govt is small, everyone gets really, really wealthy, and getting ones hands on the reigns of power becomes reeeeealy attractive, and .....

  • JWatts||

    I think the US is a great demonstration that your ideas of limited government hinge on having the right people in charge.

    Yes, ergo, I don't believe 'in the 'right people', at least not for any length of time'.

    As a practical matter, from the current status quo, I'd like to see a US government that was growing in the direction of a somewhat smaller military and a somewhat smaller welfare state. With an emphasis on devolving power to the states and balancing it's budgets.

  • ||

    JWatts:

    Yes, ergo, I don't believe 'in the 'right people', at least not for any length of time'.

    OK. Does this imply that the inevitability of the wrong people is the "fatal flaw" of limited government, just as it is for anarchy?

  • JWatts||

    OK. Does this imply that the inevitability of the wrong people is the "fatal flaw" of limited government, just as it is for anarchy?

    No, that's one of the benefits of both small government and anarchy. In those forms of governance having the "wrong people" take over, which is inevitable, will minimize the harm.

    A powerful government with the "wrong people" in charge is a terrible thing. I favor small government because it's benign.

  • ||

    The anarachists answer is that we do nothing and the problem will magically solve itself.

    And, just as DWC says, non-aggression is confused with pacifism, and we assume that it just hasn't occurred to anarchists that self-defense may be necessary against people who use aggression.

    Sigh.

  • Outside the Box||

    This is the fatal flaw in your understanding of anarchism.

    I suppose I should understand this having been a minarchist myself for 20 years, but it still surprises me when a libertarian makes this kind of statement. The irony is that you are turning around the nonlibertarian's criticism of your own minarchist libertarianism on anarchists, and it's just as wrong in both cases.

    "The question is who will build the roads? The answer is that the minarchist does nothing and hopes the problem will magically solve itself." It's exactly the same as your logic that someone absent the state, private provision of defense, justice, legislation, arbitration will not fill the same void that private provision of roads supposedly fills in a minarchist society.

    It's the same logic that you are already using.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    He argues that from these concepts it logically follows that we have good reason to “avoid aggression against people’s bodies and just possessory interests,” referring to this as the “nonaggression maxim.”

    This is just a reverse naturalism: everyone should be non-aggresive, there for if we set up an anarchy, everyone will be non-aggresive.

    The problem with anarchy is that it's not a stable equilibrium. If it were we'd be an anarchy right now. At some point in our evolutionary development, there were no governments. Why is that not still the case?

  • MJGreen||

    Historical accident. Changing technology. Changing ideology (or, perhaps, its genesis). Any number of reasons. It proves nothing. Anarchy might be stable under some circumstances, unstable in others. It may be strong enough to survive a shift in circumstances at a certain time and place, or it may be too weak. The English Civil War was not predestined by the intrinsic structure of monarchism, nor was the growth of liberty following it anything but a very happy accident.

  • An0nB0t||

    This. It's no coincidence that the presence of Republican forms of government ebbs and flows throughout history; it's also no coincidence that the advent of the printing press and modern firearm gave birth to the boom in democratic republics that we've seen since the Enlightenment.

    For those of us who believe that a free society is the most moral one, the single best hope for that future is improved flow of information and the technology needed to disperse it. The Internet and all its technological scions are just what the libertarian/voluntaryist doctor ordered.

  • ||

    This is just a reverse naturalism: everyone should be non-aggresive, there for if we set up an anarchy, everyone will be non-aggresive.

    No, I think he's saying that everyone should be non-aggressive, so we should be non-aggressive.

    The fact that we won't all agree to be non-aggressive has, in fact, crossed people's minds.

    At some point in our evolutionary development, there were no governments. Why is that not still the case?

    At some point in our evolutionary development, there were no churches. Therefore, religion is necessary for stable equilibrium. If not, we'd have no religion right now.

    At some point in our evolutionary development, there was no McDonalds. Why is that not still the case? Therefore, McDonald's is necessary for a stable equilibrium.

  • Outside the Box||

    Because we did not have knowledge of what was required to maintain anarchism: a commitment to never considering the initiation of violence legitimate.

    It's really not that difficult a meme to spread. Most people are naturally against the initiation of violence. It is an easier meme to spread than that of "property".

  • Brandybuck||

    it’s a mistake to assume that only the state can provide it, or indeed that there should be only one system.


    That last bit is going to rub some AnCaps the wrong way. After all their favorite books are those that go into excruciating detail about how the AnCap legal system will work.

    You WILL contract with a legal defense firm, and that legal defense firm WILL have agreements with all other legal defense firma, and that legal defense firm WILL be fundamentally identical to all other legal defense firms, and those legal defense firms WILL NOT allow collectivist social orders!

  • An0nB0t||

    Ancaps are just proposing a set of reasonable solutions to the ROADZ!-ish objections that statists tend to raise. These aren't normative solutions, but prospective ones; the market will determine how best to meet those needs in the creative and ultimately unpredictable way that it always has if we can first cultivate the spirit of liberty needed to establish a free society.

    The point is that there are already reasonable solutions, not that those of Friedman et al are the only way to implement them.

  • Outside the Box||

    Thank you. Those aren't normative; they are predictive. Friedman et al don't know what will happen, they are only trying to illustrate what they think will happen or to create an existence proof for a system that could work without the state.

    Bruce Benson made similar predictions in the first edition of his book, and then in the second edition mea culpa'd and said that he felt uncomfortable predicting what form a private market in those services would take.

    FWIW, I'm writing a novel in which I create a libertarian-anarchic society and I create some illustration of how things might work in that society... and my construction is much less focused on the Friedmanish model (my society is not AnCap, because it is based on the the NIVP (Non Initiation of Violence Principle) which does not make "property" part of its definition and instead lets property itself be a market phenomenon).

  • Tak Kak||

    Tucker also stopped using the s-word due to it's increasingly different meaning. It's a shame Gary cannot. The egalitarian anit-"bossism" nonsense is another shame, but clearly much less important.

  • Tak Kak||

    “envisioning a new kind of society and beginning to construct it.”

    Call me a raging conservative here but these sort of invented "imagine" societies turn to hell. Societies don't come from a vision (good ones, that is) they occur spontaneously.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Society isn't an accident; it evolved into its present state for a reason, even if we don't understand what that reason is. And why that doesn't mean we should oppose change merely for the sake of opposing change, it does suggest we should be careful about how we go about changing it.

    In particular, successful changes tend to be incremental rather than revolutionary.

    To quote G. K. Chesterton, "never tear down a fence unless you know why it was put up to begin with".

  • Tak Kak||

    Right, hence we should be wary about envisioning some broad society with very meticulous values (i.e. anit-hierchary, bosses, inequality, etc...)

  • ||

    Society isn't an accident; it evolved into its present state for a reason, even if we don't understand what that reason is.

    This is just special pleading for the status quo: Change needs justification, but the status quo doesn't, because of evolution. Therefore, we don't need to understand the status quo.

    In particular, successful changes tend to be incremental rather than revolutionary.

    What does this mean? If you mean that successful changes are more frequently incremental than revolutionary, then, yes, that is true. However, that's because incremental changes are typically more frequent than revolutionary changes. Therefore, it is also true that changes with negative results tend to be incremental rather than revolutionary. So what?

  • buybuydandavis||

    "how stateless societies would respond to non-state aggression."

    How do they deal with state aggression?

  • GregMax||

    Mental . . . masturbation.
    Societies don't exist because labels exist, labels are a way of making imperfect generalizations about systems and systems dynamics.
    To base a whole book on an idea that relies on labels to represent social interaction over time is playing with yourself in public.

  • Gunblitz66||

    hmmm, Wouldn't it be fun to set up an island where we could allow all people who wanted anarchy to go and have their own little experiment? I would love to see that as "reality TV" Just need an island now...which unsuspecting neighbor country can we beat over the head?

  • agga||

    I'm someone who started his political existence, i.e. late teens and early twenties, reading kropotkin and proudhon, admiring chomsky, etc etc, helping with a pirate radio station and hanging out with earth firsters; but over time i decided that anarchism as such - on top of being totally unrealizable - is just too opposed to industrial civilization, high technology, city building and progress, which I had to finally admit are all things that I really, really like.

    So now, being in my early thirties, I guess I am now much closer to being a libertarian; I've totally given up any pretense of being "anti-capitalist". BUT, I still *feel* like i'm on the left, so i don't have a very comfortable political existence. I like the idea of people forming local cooperatives, away from state regulation and control, but now I get that the only way people can have these sorts of things is under a libertarian system. I like that some people are trying to scout out a middle place for us exiles..

    (also, to defend China [which I have to thank, in large part, for awakening my love and admiration of free markets and capitalism]: I don't like the characterization of Mao as 'warlike'; brutal maybe, but the PRC has been in a basically defensive posture for it's whole existence..)

  • Proprietist||

    Left-libertarians are politically homeless, widely misunderstood and harshly derided, primarily via fallacies. I think there's a correct middle ground between the impractical mutualism of Proudhon and right-wing Objectivist/capitalist libertarianism. I guess that's pretty much straight up classical liberalism in the Paine/Smith tradition - distrusting of both government and private aggressors and supportive of undistorted markets minimizing force and fraud, where people can organize themselves as they wish (collectively, individually or most likely some combination of the two).

  • JWatts||

    , but the PRC has been in a basically defensive posture for it's whole existence.

    The Nationalist's would probably disagree, but the PRC killed most of them and drove the rest into exile.

  • Outside the Box||

    I think left libertarianism/mutualism/volunaryism are your political home. Check out c4ss.org

  • function13||

    Fantastic article. I have to say, this is one of the many recent articles or podcasts I've enjoyed that painted socialism in a libertarian light that I'm fairly comfortable with.

  • Gladstone||

    ,iChartier also claims that opposing war is leftist, on grounds that “opposition to aggressive war is a defining leftist commitment.”

    Must have forgotten the French Revolution.

  • JWatts||

    And the Soviet Union Revolution, North Vietnam, North Korea and most of the 20th century.

  • Gladstone||

    Those wars were self defense, duh.

  • JWatts||

    Or no True Scotsman.

    a) True Leftist governments aren't aggressive.
    b) Communist governments were aggressive.
    c) Therefore, communist governments weren't true Leftist governments.

  • Proprietist||

    Speaking of fallacies, how about that Illicit Minor?

    a.) Communists are left-wing.
    b.) Communists were evil statist tyrants.
    c.) Therefore all left-wingers are evil statist tyrants.

  • Gladstone||

    More like
    a.) Jacobins were left-wing.
    b.) Jacobins were evil warmongering statist tyrants.
    c.) Therefore evil warmongering statist tyrants have always been among the left.

    You can do the same with the Right.

  • JWatts||

    Yes, but no one is claiming that 'all left-wingers are evil statist tyrants', so your post is, in essence, a strawman argument.

    However, the claim was made that “opposition to aggressive war is a defining leftist commitment.”.

  • Proprietist||

    And Stalinism or Jacobism is defining of the modern Left? Speaking of straw men...

  • Gladstone||

    You seriously don't think the modern Left owes a lot to the Jacobins? They certainly resemble them more than Bastiat.

  • Gladstone||

    I agree that is silly that Richman and Cartier want to rehabilitate "socialism" and condemn "capitalism" when the former hasn't been used in the way they want for about 100 years. What is it with left-libertarians and their obessession with some mythical Victorian-era past? Talk about reactionary!

    Also a closer look at the French Revolution will show that the Left has always been filled with Statist warmongers. So I'm not sure why they still cling to the left-right spectrum.

  • Proprietist||

    Guilt by association still doesn't correlate left-libertarianism with state socialist totalitarianism. They are distinct philosophies with opposing means. Left-libertarians are libertarians who don't think freedom and equality are contradictory concepts.

  • Gladstone||

    The whole term "left-libertarian" is explicitly about positioning oneself on the left.

    This leads to the obvious question as to what being "leftist" means. Since the original Left included state socialist totalitarianism then libertarians cannot be the Original Left.

    For example the statement "opposition to aggressive war is a defining leftist commitment" is rather dubious considering that the French Left started war in 1792. And these were the original leftwingers.

    Also it is especially dubious to argue that libertarians should ally with the left today based on where Bastiat sat in 1848.

  • Proprietist||

    Again, the term "left-libertarian" is for one who values both freedom and equality, believes that these are not mutually exclusive concepts and feels the state is contrary to both.

    The "original leftwingers" were classical liberals like Adam Smith and Thomas Paine who saw how poverty was created by monarchism and feudalism and believed that free markets would increase economic mobility for the poor and improve conditions for workers.

    But even the old socialist Left included anarchists like Proudhon and Bakunin who were deeply critical of the authoritarian and statist tendencies of Marxism.

  • Gladstone||

    The "original leftwingers" were classical liberals like Adam Smith and Thomas Paine who saw how poverty was created by monarchism and feudalism and believed that free markets would increase economic mobility for the poor and improve conditions for workers.

    More games with definitions I see. The terms left and right originally refered to the seating arrangements of the Third Estate during the French Revolution. This is historical fact. Nothing to do with classical liberalism. Though they were considered leftist in their day they sat with the Jacobins and the enrages who hated free markets.

    Also the left/right spectrum didn't refer to actual ideologies until about the 1870s and didn't start refering to American ideologies until around the New Deal era.

    That said Paine was a member of the National Convention and was associated with the Girondins so I suppose he was one of the original leftwingers. Unlike Robespierre he was consistently against the death penalty. The Girondins by the way for the ones who declared war on Austria in 1792 causing 23 years of war. I'm not sure what Paine thought about these wars though.

    What are your thoughts on Paine's support for social programs funded by progressive income taxes by the way?

  • Proprietist||

    If we're sheerly talking in terms of the French Revolution, as you seem to want to do, is not the right wing descendants of the monarchist Ancien Regime? The "Left" was a broad and incoherent group of anti-monarchists that factionalized and killed each other off. Some in that group were also classical liberals and proto-libertarians.

    Paine certainly wasn't right on everything. I generally agree with this land tax and citizen's dividend in Agrarian Justice and disagree with his progressive income tax proposal (although I do think income taxes, if they must exist, should be progressive.)

  • Gladstone||

    I bring up the French Revolution because that is where the terms Right and Left originated. It was not coined to refer to the supporters or opponents of Adam Smith as you implied.

    Since you refer to an era before the terms left and right entered the American (let alone British) political lexicon this distinction I think is important. The French Left and Right of the 1840s aren't all that comparable to the politics of the US of the 1840s let alone today.

    It's pretty important to point how nebulous the terms right and left have always been very meaningless.

  • Mickey Rat||

    "Left-libertarians are libertarians who don't think freedom and equality are contradictory concepts."

    Freedom and equality under law are not contradictory. Freedom and equality of outcome is contradictory. If it is the latter than you have defined left-libertarians as believing something that is fundamentally false.

  • Proprietist||

    I'm not under the delusion that total equality of outcome can ever or should ever be attained, but we can be certain the state welfarism, the elite-biased regulatory capitalism, gov't price inflation and political dependence certainly move the poor in the wrong direction. Equality of opportunity should lead to more equality of outcomes.

  • Kurbster||

    Nothing in the definition of anarchism defines it as being on any side of the political spectrum...it simply means a society without rulers. You don't need rulers to redistribute wealth on the left, or ensure a taxless society on the right.

  • Outside the Box||

    I think defining anarchism as "a society without rulers" is dangerous conceptually, as evidenced by the fact that Chartier etc get hung up on completely voluntary relationships like "managers"... "Ruler" isn't quite the right concept, since a manager can be seen as a "ruler" if one squints right.

    The operative concept is the initiation of violence. This clearly differentiates a "manager" from any of the brand of "rulers" that I think are meant to be implied in your definition: tyrants, oppressors, mafia bosses, states, slavers, kidnappers, conquerors, etc., are very different in type from inspirational leaders, though leaders, influential journalists, CEOs, etc (all of the latter in a non-state context of course). I'm not saying we should *like* all of the latter grouping equally (or at all: it's really a personal taste), but at the end of the heinous acts that people have perpetrated against each other is the initiation of violence. Find a society in which the people do not ever consider the initiation of violence legitimate, and you will find one devoid of most of the worst things that humans have done to each other.

  • Barrett70||

    up to I saw the draft of $7893, I did not believe that...my... neighbour could realey making money in their spare time from there labtop.. there sisters roommate haz done this for under six months and just now paid the dept on there house and bought a new Ford. we looked here, http://www.wow92.com

  • 0x90||

    Power is control over surplus production. Production is a function of human minds and bodies. There is no profit to be had in ruling a society which produces, or which surrenders, no surplus. A society which does, though, can and will be ruled. This is the essential basis of authoritarian governance, a societal feature which must exist, whatever label it is given, and whatever specific form it takes, wherever surplus production is surrendered by its producers.

    The question of anarchy, then, concerns not theory, but the evolution of societal thought. At all times throughout history, peoples have cast off the shackles of their oppression, only to buckle themselves into a new set, albeit of a superficially-different brand. The question is: does society evolve? Does it learn? Does it slowly realize that systematical attempts to mitigate the fears inherent to an uncertain future necessarily produce the very conditions which ensure the realization of those, and worse, fears?

    I do not claim to know. But if in a thousand years it finally learns this lesson, what you will see is the last revolution, and the knowing entry of a more mature society into a future in which people refuse to engage in the magical thinking that teaches uncertainty can be banished through the delegation of individual power.

  • lendapatricia||

    like Mike implied I cannot believe that any body able to make $4486 in one month on the internet. did you read this web site
    http://JUMP30.COM

  • Mickey Rat||

    " Chartier’s point is that in order to have a society of peaceful, voluntary cooperation, we need to eliminate all forms of aggression—and that the leading source of that aggression is the state."

    Way to immanentize the eschaton Chartier. The most concentrated source of aggression is the state, but eliminating the state will not eliminate aggression and will limit the ability to meet other sources of aggression.

    "...it’s a mistake to assume that only the state can provide it, or indeed that there should be only one system."

    There goes equal treatment under law, unless the systems of law do not overlap their jurisdictions, either physical or in scope.

  • christacampbell147||

    before I looked at the receipt of $6587, I have faith that...my... sister could realey making money in their spare time on-line.. there dads buddy started doing this less than eighteen months and a short time ago took care of the loans on their place and bought a brand new audi. we looked here, http://www.fly38.com

  • susan321||

    up to I saw the check 4 $5133, I did not believe that my neighbour was actually taking home money part time on their laptop.. there mums best friend haz done this 4 less than thirteen months and recently paid for the depts on there place and got a brand new Ford. read more at,
    http://JUMP30.COM

  • AAnderson||

    "Isn’t capitalism a system wherein people are free to make voluntary exchanges of their private property?"
    ---It is only "free" in the sense that you are generally still living under a system based on the selling of your labor to make ends meet. Sure, there are some who find ways to live a fairly anarchist lifestyle--however with the advent of instrumental rationality, most of those living under the system cannot afford (no pun intended) to live a less instrumental life. Until we have a system that is no longer based on the amount of labor produced within a given amount of time, no one will truly be "free." Of course this is only my opinion. Do I think it could be achieved? Probably not.

  • Chadwick||

    my neighbor's aunt makes $87 every hour on the computer. She has been without work for eight months but last month her pay was $13473 just working on the computer for a few hours. Go to this web site and read more http://www.wow92.com

  • bajwa||

    My last pay check was $9500 operating twelve hours every week on-line. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months currently and he or she works concerning twenty hours every week. i can not believe however simple it absolutely was once i attempted it out. this is often what I do, www.hdcash1.com

  • strassnerjordan||

    If you think Don`s story is impossible..., a month-back my daughter in law basically easily made $7007 putting in 10 hours a week in their apartment and the're roomate's ex-wife`s neighbour did this for 4 months and got a cheque for more than $7007 in their spare time on their labtop. follow the guidelines on this web-site, http://www.fly38.com

  • margaretsusen||

    my friend's mother makes $65/hour on the computer. She has been out of a job for eight months but last month her pay was $15949 just working on the computer for a few hours. Go to this web site and read more http://googlejobs.com.qr.net/kgzE

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