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A Pox On All Their Houses

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Aggregated Anti-aggression

Kevin Carson made a really wonderful post, which sums up a lot. Much of it from other sources, but that's how we humans do this thing. Some quotes I like:
Time to wake up, time to grow up. We’re not children. We do not need to ask permission to live like sane, reasonable, thoughtful, compassionate human beings. We do not need to beg or bow or kneel. We do not need to look to government or to experts or to the rich and famous. Whatever we need, we can get it ourselves. Whatever we want to stop -- we can stop it ourselves. Whatever must be done, we can do it ourselves. We do not need them; we need each other. "
- Joe Carpenter
Our beliefs in equality, etc.. are not shared by them; they are the ruling class, and keenly aware of it. They are, I suspect, exactly like Jane Austen's gentry - sensitive to their standing among their own, but without guilt or compassion at all for the vast majority of the planet's population; everyone not at their level is weather, workhouse, rubbish and landscape.
- Col. Chabert
Well, what I think they are keenly aware of, and what the wisest amoing us have known, and what they are always trying to suppress, more than anything else is:
They need us. We do not need them.

Where Orwell went wrong in 1984 was in fearing that the masses would not inherit the earth. The truth is, in the long run, the Party must fail. This is the good news of Hayek and Mises.
The masses will outlast the classes, if nothing else. But we can help ourselves along, by making each other a bit more aware of the situation, while we still can.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Stuff and Things

So on Freeman, I read about MDM's response on Upaya, to a blog post on Liberty and Power by Gus DiZerega. (all of these are worth reading, and are necessary background for my post below. In fact this is an expansion of my comment in freeman's blog.)

Mr. DiZerega makes a criticism of "Anarcho-Capitalism", and is sort of taken at face value, then argued around... (personally, it almost seemed as though people were treating him with kid gloves)

To some extent though, I think almost everyone involved in this debate is being very nitpicky about making this distinction between "the market" and ... other things (notable exception being Stephan Kinsella, not someone I usually agree with much). I guess one way that I would put it is that "there's no such thing as 'the market'".
My first gut-level response to Mr. DiZerega's Disney example is that, in a free society, something like Disney wouldn't exist to do that.
To be more technical, in a "homesteading" society, anyone who wanted to buy up large tracts of land would have to buy them from the local community itself, so if none of them wanted to sell that land, the would-be 'developer' wouldn't get it. These 'holdout' cases happen so frequently even in our corrupted system of property that there is an "eminent domain" controversy. Without eminent domain and with stronger property definitions, those sort of undesirable development projects just can't happen, unless large numbers of local inhabitants are willing to let them, in which case, where's the beef?
I think a lot of these criticisms of free-market anarchism underestimate the effect that our current monetary/credit system has in facilitating large-scale economic behavior.
IMO, a free society couldn't sustain large monolithic organizations, but spontaneous networks would develop when people needed/wanted to work together on larger projects, and then dissolve when no longer necessary/desirable.

I also disagree strongly with his caricature of anarcho-capitalism. Market anarchism is not a political philosophy cobbled out of bundles of contradictory beliefs, in order to promote the interests of a certain class. Most others are. This may be why he describes it in such a way, from certain conclusions that some market anarchists come to, instead of the essential framework of its definition.

I quote:
" As an ethical system, anarcho-capitalism depends on the following assumptions, all of which are wrong:
1. The market is a neutral means for facilitating voluntary exchange, and so simply reflects the values of those entering into voluntary transactions.
2. People's values are adequately reflected in the exchanges they make within a market order.
3. Some non-controversial theory of property rights is possible that is able to make all possible voluntary exchanges into either market exchanges or simple verbal agreements (science, marriage, etc.)"

My immediate response to that is:
1. My above post covers that a bit. What is this market you speak of, Kemosabe?
2. Impossible that it can be otherwise, in a FREE market. In a "market order"?? well, that can be used to describe a lot of things... Certainly all of my values are not currently expressed in my voluntary transactions, but that's because a bunch of thugs are distorting my options.
3. Anarcho-capitalism doesn't rely on this assumption at all. (or the other two for that matter, but there are stronger criticisms for the other two)
In fact, property will be defined by the people as they go along, as they desire to. The difference is that no one definition will be forced on anyone who rejects it.
The other part of the statement is also not necessary. As long as a transaction is UNANIMOUSLY voluntary, it really doesn't matter one bit what it "looks like", which seems to be what Mr. DiZerega is spending a lot of time arguing about...