Wednesday, October 15, 2008

American Anarchism - Introduction

I have been wanting to write something like this for a while. Because I want to explore some things for myself, I decided to write this whole thing, from my cell phone, onto a blog on the internet. Not really a incredible and exciting new idea, I admit, its been done. But the idea behind it is for my own enjoyment, nothing more. I will get back to that idea more later one. First, let me lay out some of the themes I want to adress.

I want to look at lots of ideas from the past and not so distant past, and then try to explain where I see us (anarchists), today. I am pretty scatter brained and that is one of the reasons I want to do this online, in a forum were people can try and keep me on track. See, this is a journey of discovery for me, and it is a journey that I hope to take with other people. I want feedback, negative or positive. Feedback will be a part of what I discuss as I write. Hopefully that will help keep me focus on the task at hand, which I should get back too now.

1. American Anarchism. What do I think that is; where do I see it as a movement; a critque of techniques used or ignored to advance the cause.

I think the best way to look at American Anarchism is to look at the different schools of thought. I will attempt to explain why I think American Anarchism is a distinct beast. I will look at the tactics of action that we see, politcal and social, and see what is going right and what could be better.

2. What is the State and Statism. How do we fight or embrace it? Is it neccesary for the state to wither away to live in an anarchist society?

My belief is that anarchism is about social relationships. I want to explore our place in the body politic. I want to discuss direct and indirect action.

3. Visions. I want to explore different visions on a theoretical basis, hopefully touching on many questions and disagreements.

Those are the three parts of what I want to write on. Each issue that comes up, I want to just let fly on that sublect. There are things I will dicuss that I didn't lay out specifically above, usually because I think they are so intregal that there is no way to seperate them from the other sections. Things like, property and homesteading, the (truly) free market, common property and how to deal with it, social justice and self defense. All these things will be present thoughout my writings because my whole premise on American Anarchism rests on them. But don't jump to any conclusions just yet.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Pushing The Button

(Orginally posted at Mises)

Button, Button, Who's Got the Button

Everyone has probably seen the commercials for the office supply company were all the person has to do is push the "easy" button and all their problems are solved. Every time I see that commercial I think about what Rothbard said in "Toward a Theory of Strategy of Liberty". He is talking about the classic liberal, Leonard Read who, after World War II was advocating the immediate end to price controls. In a speaking engagement he said, "If there were a button on this rostrum, the pressing of which would release all wage-and-price controls instantaneously I would put my finger on it and push!" Now that sounds like an easy choice to make. And maybe on an issue by issue basis, people could easily say if they would push a button to do away with something. But how many people are totally committed to freedom?

To quote Rothbard in that same piece, "The libertarian, then, should be a person who would push a button, if it existed, for the instantaneous abolition of all invasions of liberty — not something, by the way, that any utilitarian would ever be likely to do." I see this hesitancy to "push the button" in the minarchist vs. anarchist debates. Personally I am tired to death of the debate, but it is a lingering question that will not go away. Roderick Long has already addressed the ten most common objections to libertarian anarchy and they are a great starting point for investigating the possibilities. But there is still reluctance on the part of some to "push the button". Since we know what the objections are, I was wondering what the motivation behind those objections could be.  

Our Father Who Art in DC

The first one I can come up with is the belief that people are basically "bad" and need a higher power to guide their interactions. This is an old belief and seems to be totally engrained to religious schools of thought. More often than not the people that tend to make this argument are religious, so I don't find it that strange that they would feel a higher authority is needed to guide human interactions. What I do find strange is that these same people (if they are of the minarchist camp) find the "leftist" devotion to the state to be a form of religion and atheism to be a religious devotion to secular humanism. All the while arguing that a higher power, this in the form of the state, is necessary to keep people from being "bad".

Interestingly enough, there are plenty of Christian Anarchists and anarchists that practice other religions as well. I remember having a conversation with a Christian friend of mine and discussing Christian Anarchism. He is not a minarchist or a libertarian, but he was dumbfounded at how anyone could be both a Christian and an anarchist. To him they were mutually exclusive. I am not an expert on the subject so I pointed him in the direction of some research material on the subject. A few days later get got back with me. He said he could understand the standpoint, and in a perfect world he would agree with it, but he still disagreed with the idea that you could be a Christian and not support government, at the very least that you wouldn't make yourself into subjection to the government. This is by no means the only time I have had this conversation with Christians.

So, again, I am not surprised when I see this ingrained belief carried into the realm of politics. The belief in people being "bad" by nature is hard to overcome from this standpoint. It calls into question a complete belief system that many hold onto for dear life. I don't blame them for their beliefs. They feel there is a higher greater good than even the "collectivists" argue for and that adherence to that is the only true salvation. It is hard to blame someone for their core beliefs.

The Emperor Wears No Clothes

The next belief is that "might makes right" which is another one that is hard to overcome. The group that takes this approach is often the same group that praises the foreign policy of Ronald Reagan. The have no problem with foreign intervention as long as it is in the best interest of the US. They buy into the "myth of self defense" even in the face of contrary evidence. They have what seems to be an overwhelming belief that every country in the world wants to invade the US and would do so as soon as the government ceased to be. An interesting argument they put up for this is the "invasion" by immigrants from other countries. To me, that is quite a leap. The idea that people will invade us without a government is an interesting one to say the least.

Right now we annually spend more than the next 24 countries combined on our military. Adding the growing cost of actions in the Middle East to the mix and the budget is staggering to say the least. We have bases in over 100 foreign countries, we GIVE weapons to different despotic regimes, we engage in clandestine operations all over the world, we place economic sanctions on a number of countries, all in the name of providing security for our country. All these actions are OFFENSIVE, not DEFENSIVE in nature. So the idea that we have enemies around the world is not hard to swallow. But are they the enemy of "the people" or of "the state"? This brings us to the first problem with this group.

There must be a difference between what a government does and can do, and what the people can do. Thomas Paine said, " Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins ... Society is in every state a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one." This seems to be a lesson forgotten by many. We tend to base our beliefs on a certain society on the actions of their government. In Iran a looney tune religious fanatic has the bully pulpit. He spits venom at Israel on a continual basis, at the US on a continual basis, pretty much just about anyone in the world might be on his shitlist at any given time. Does that mean that is the general consensus of the people of Iran? What leads us to believe that they are any different than we are? Truthfully, there is no reason to think that any larger numbers of the Iranian people support their president than the numbers that support the US president. But that doesn't sell the fear that is needed to keep the imperial war machine oiled. People tend to be people no matter where you go in the world. By virtue of birth within the imaginary lines that are the borders of the US we are not endowed with a secret knowledge on how to live life better than the rest of the world. Iran tops the list of likely candidates to "invade" the US if there was no government, but what do they have to gain? What do any of the possible candidates have to gain?

First and foremost, without a government, those countries would be free to pursue business with US companies that up until this time they might have been barred from trading with. China makes a ton of money off the US already, what purpose could an invasion serve them? Cuba, don't make me laugh. Cuban soldiers on US soil would be more likely to buy a house and settle down. Russia? What Russia. Hugo Chavez, who can't even get enough support in his own country to stage a revolution going to come here, among the most armed people in the world, and try to pull it here. I don't think so. The people that fall into this category have fully bought into the idea that somewhere out there, someone is just around the corner waiting to enslave them. They are right in a way, but the thing they are missing is that the corner they are right around is in Washington DC.

The only purpose our military superpower status has is to maintain American firepower all over the world. Unfortunately it has backfired and no amount spending is going to change that. We haven't been able to use that force to maintain our financial standing in the world. We haven't been able to use that force to stop terrorists from hijacking planes with box cutters. And we won't be able to, sometime in the future, repeal an imaginary invasion. Its time to quit calling these people whatever it is they want to be called this week and call them what they are, imperialists. And just like every other empire, eventually theirs will fall too.

One point that I will barely touch on, but an objection I hear often, is that a citizen militia couldn't repel an invading army. First, I would have to see some concrete evidence that someone somewhere WANTS to invade the US. Than, I would want an explanation on how a superior force, one that is larger than the next 24 countries in the world, has such a hard time in places were a guerilla force is offering resistance. I want to know what makes people think that anyone in the world would sit around and allow another country to invade us. Once you pass those questions, I will discuss how a citizen militia can defend us.

The Button Theory

The reality of the situation is that there is no "easy" button that could instantaneously abolition anything, much less invasions of our liberty. But if there was such a button, I would push it in a heartbeat. I don't have any fears or qualms about freedom and liberty. I also don't have blinders on to the fact that there would indeed be problems to work out. I lack no faith, however, in believing that those problems could and would be solved by what have proven to be some of the most industrious people in the world.

I believe what Jefferson said when he said, "The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." Putting faith in the government to shrink its own size, to return liberties it has stolen, to return to a minarchist wet dream are pretty unrealistic. Anarchists are constantly being called "utopian dreamers", that anarchy is unachievable. I say, not only is it not achievable, it is inevitable. No empire lasts forever. Eventually under its own weight, even this one will fall. When that collapse comes there are liable to be many types of societies built among the remnants, and that is just fine. Some of us are trying to work out the kinks in one that will be based on freedom and liberty, free from the force of a coercive state. Some of us are working towards ways to hasten that arrival, because we don't have a button we can push to do it now, but we are not giving up on wanting it NOW. If you do find the easy button that will transform the leviathan to a mouse, let me know.

I used to be of the opinion that minarchist and anarchists could work together to achieve a certain acceptable amount of government. However, that would make anarchists minarchists instead. The goal and the strategies for getting to that goal are different. I looked around the libertarian movement and found that I felt like I was on the outside of a right wing conspiracy to overthrow the collectivist empirical government that is in place in the US. I have no intention or desire to replace the current government with one of my own making, so that struggle is not for me. If that places me outside of the political libertarian movement, if those ideas I hold dear, freedom from government and liberty for all, if those are too radical, than just call me a Free Market Radical from now on. It is more apt anyway.

Yes I'm Still Alive; OR; It's Easy To Be An Anarchist Online

(Originally posted on MySpace)

Yes, I am still alive. Sorry folks (you know who you are, lol). But I am not online much anymore, for lots of reasons, the main one being that the only internet service I get now is on my Sidekick. Yes, I am posting this blog from my cell phone. Ain't technology grand (I just hope the spell check works). Anyway, what has brought me out of hibernation?
The main thing is that I am in a good bit of pain and can't sleep. Happens more and more frequently nowdays. Pretty soon they will be fusing my spine in a few places and maybe that will help some. Maybe.
But another thing that has me up are some conversations I have had recently. See, it is pretty easy to be an Anarchist online, but in the real world most people don't understand the concept at all. You constantly get questions like, "Do you discipline your children?"; "Do you live in society?"; "Do you deserve too have rights?"; "If your house was on fire, would you call the fire department?". And the silly questions just go on and on like that. Some of them are an attempt to create a strawman, most come from a total misunderstanding of what Anarchism really is.
The best way to deal with most of them is to ask the questioner what they think Anarchy is. Then you can tell them what it isn't.
And who can blame people for not understanding it when it comes in so many shades of black. Lots of the confusion comes from the Anarchists themselves. Lots of people consider themselves anarchists who have no better grasp of the concept than the questioners. From the small government "libertarians" who buy into the concept that some day they can shrink the government into nothingness, to the Marxists that claim to see a difference between government and a central "planning commitee", the confusion of what and who they are radiates and pollutes the crystal clear pool of Anarchism.
First and foremost, Anarchism isn't political. It is about social relationships, not about our relationships to governments. If you want to take anarchism into the political arena you have already missed the boat, and the point. Yes, we deny the right of any government to infringe on our freedom and our rights. Those rights don't come from any government, we are born with them and develop them as we age and get (hopefully) a little wiser. Life is a learning process and as we learn we create a new reality for ourselves. I know my reality changes and has changed a lot since my chikdhood. And it continues to change on a daily basis.
Another problem is the semantics of the conversation. Brainpolice has a great piece on this problem. When I say "free market", what I think of and what many others think of couldn't be further apart. I think of individuals trading amongst themselves, free from any third party interference. Some (maybe most) people think of businesses being free from government regulation. They see no problem with investors in a corportation, who have no interaction with the consumer, being a part of a free market. But investors are still third party interference in a transaction between the consumer and the producer. They have a say, no matter how small, in the way the producer handles business. And of course the semantics of "free market" are just an ice chip from the glacier of misunderstanding.
Some people think that a meeting of anarchists, based on a set time or schedule, is an oxymoron. But any voluntary structures are not contradictory to anarchism. It is those mandatory or compulsory structures that we oppose. Those hiearchial structures maintained by the use or threatened use of force against those unwilling or unable to conform. In the US this will often bring up the question of rights, the bill of rights, the declaration of independence and the constitution. I don't know if George Bush ever really said of the constitution (as has been attributed to him), "Its just a goddamn piece of paper!", but if he did say it, he had a point. It isn't a magical mandella that protects us from evil. It doesn't even protect us from government overstepping its bounds as seems to have been the idea behind it. When it was written, it was a known fact that it wasn't written for everyone. It was never intended as a means of attaching people to a certain government and certainly not against their will. Jefferson fully expected it to be totally done away with within a generation and a new "contract" negotiated within that time. The reason they made it so difficult to amend or change was to keep anyone from usurping power from the people it was intended to shield. But I dare you to find the part of the constitution that says it can't be done away with entirely. The founders were building the framework for a republic, not a nation. They weren't (for the most part) nationalists, but republicans. And not in the modern sense of the word either. Sorry righties.
They knew that rights didn't come from the government, but that certain privledges could be granted to a government body by the people. They argued about a bill of right for years before they actually added it to the constitution and they made sure to add that the list of rights they made were not the only ones enjoyed by the people first, and the states next. The original idea was to decentralize as much power as possible, which is why the balance of power was supposed to start with the people, then proceed to the areas these people made up (the states), and finally, at the bottom of the list was the federal government. Of course this was all done away with the first Republican tyrant. And sorry again righties, but this time I do mean it in the modern sense of the term. That is why I chuckle everytime I hear a Republican rant about states rights. But, all of this is kind of off topic. I do however want to make two more observations on this before I move on.
One; The declaration of independence was widely denounced as an Anarchist manifesto upon its introduction. It was after all abolishing the legit government of the time and no new government in place to replace it. Jefferson had the charge of anarchist plague him his entire life and political career because of it.
Two; Rights are not granted in the constitution. They are inherent in the shear act of existence. There are certain privledges granted by the constitution, along with certain prohibitions. Neither of those things equal a right though. And, more importantly, the document was only intended for those who wished to be bound by it and who voted to ratify it. I am fairly confident none of those people are still around (although I have heard tales of a zombie Washington and a vampire Franklin). I have never personally voted to ratify it, never even been asked to vote on it at all. If, as many claim, we have a government of, for and by the people, you would think that "the people", myself included, would be asked to vote on this document as a framework for our voluntary union. But of course, participation isn't voluntary. It is compulsary. This again, compulsary participation is the enemy of the Anarchist, but more importantly, it is the enemy of freedom.
So from the AnCap who holds onto the idea of a "nation" to the AnCom that wants forced participation in communism to the individualist who believes in the use of the ballot to enact their will on others to the brick thrower who doesn't respect the fruit of anothers labor, Anarchism is bastardized and miscategorized and misrepresented. No wonder people are confused.
Now to answer a few of those silly questions. Yes, I discipline my children, even though some who have met them would disagree. Yes I live in society. My unwritten obligation to the society I live in is to not violate those natural rights of my fellow man (next time I will touch on this area more). No laws can guarantee that anyone will do that. In the US we have more people in or who have been in prison than most other countries. The numbers are closer to what we see in dictatorships than what we would think to see in a "free" society. Many of these are in or have been in prison, not for violating anyone elses rights, but for actions deemed detremental to the "state". Yes, I deserve rights and so does every other human on earth. But if you think these come from a piece of paper then you must believe they can be taken away by the holder of that paper and are so fragile that they can be taken away by a single match. And speaking of matches, would I call the fire department if my house was on fire? Probably not. Not because of some moral question, but because I want a new house, lol.
Reading back over this, I can see spellcheck doesn't work. Hope you can decipher it anyway.

Social Contract My Ass

(Originally posted at Mises)

I hear people talking about a social contract all the time. Usually in the context of some authoritarian action by the government, instituted many times by the “will” of the majority (this is really a misnomer in itself, since the majority doesn’t participate in the process). I have referred to this previously as “the common good”, but the idea is really one in the same.

I want to point out, right off the bat, that when I refer to a social contract in this piece, I am discussing the idea of a perpetual social contract. There is nothing inherently wrong with a social contract provided it passes a few simple tests. First, there must be a way (without giving up anything you have acquired) to get out of the contract. Second, it can not be enforced through force against the unwilling. Third, each person involved in the contract must consent to all areas of the contract. Failure to meet at least these three simple tests would render ANY contract null and void.


The actions that are being called a social contract don’t even really qualify as such. Jean-Jacques Rousseau first published his theory on the social contract, “The Social Contract, or Principles of Political Right ”, in 1762. The idea was that a perfect society would operate on the “general will” of the people. He suggests that the way to achieve this is for the people to gather together and come to a consensus on the actions the government could take. Without this consensus from the people, any action taken by the government would be illegitimate. The sovereignty of the individual was still paramount, the representatives couldn’t even participate in the decision making process.

Three main points to Rousseau’s theory were;

THE Sovereign, having no force other than the legislative power, acts only by means of the laws; and the laws being solely the authentic acts of the general will, the Sovereign cannot act save when the people is assembled.

Every law the people have not ratified in person is null and void — is, in fact, not a law.

The legislative power belongs to the people, and can belong to it alone.

Rousseau, like any intelligent person, knew that it was illogical for a person to volunteer to be a slave. So his vision of a social contract also stated that a person could leave the contract at anytime and be free from the confines of it. He broke the social contract down into two groups; the sovereign (the people) and the government. Another interesting point to Rousseau’s social contract is that the larger the sovereign, the larger the government. The larger the government the more power it would be able to wield. When the government begins to force compliance to this social contract on anyone unwillingly, it has obviously become, not a social contract, but an authoritarian power grab.

John Locke

In Locke’s second treatise on government, “ An Essay Concerning the True Original Extent and End of Civil Government ”, he equates a social contract with the laws of nature. In their natural state, man enjoys complete freedom, but there are some confines to what they can and can’t do. He states that people have a natural right to “life, health, liberty, or possessions". Any person that commits aggression against those natural rights is entering into an act of war. Locke’s belief was that a state of war was likely to continue, because each act in a state of war was is an act of aggression on the others natural rights. Whereas a state of nature is absolute freedom, based on morals and not politics, Locke felt that to protect those natural rights it was acceptable for people to enter (again, voluntarily) into a social contract to provide that protect. They could form civil governments, giving up their personal and individual sovereignty, to a body with the authority to punish those who transgress against others.

The important thing to consider with both of these theories of a social contract, the individual enters into them of their own free will and can leave them at anytime they see fit.


There is a great quote by Mikhail Bakunin, in “ The Immorality of the State ”…

A tacit contract! That is to say, a wordless, and consequently a thoughtless and will-less contract: a revolting nonsense! An absurd fiction, and what is more, a wicked fiction! An unworthy hoax! For it assumes that while I was in a state of not being able to will, to think, to speak, I bound myself and all my descendants-only by virtue of having let myself be victimized without raising any protest - into perpetual slavery.
The acceptance of a social contract implies that the state or the originators of the social contract had a superior set of ethics or morals and that their “consensus” was based on an unchanging universal truth. Obviously this isn’t true or even desirable. When we look at the changes in our society, we can see that our forefathers couldn’t see the future. The leaps in technology, manufacturing, the evolution of the market, the accumulation of government power, the blurring of class lines, none of these things were or could have been foreseen. Any social contract based on their circumstances, with their world view, would only be applicable for as long as each of the participants involved wished to participate and nothing in their society was subject to change.

When Bakunin wrote about being victimized into perpetual slavery, he was referring to being bound to a set of rules that you have no choice but to be bound too. The way the government ensures that the “sovereign” people are bound to this contract is through the use of force and the enforced monopoly on the land within its borders. Any contract that you can not opt out of is not only immoral and invalid, but it is nothing more than a form of slavery. Taxation to enforce that slavery is nothing but theft.

The Adulterated Social Contract

The founding fathers, particularly Jefferson, were heavily influenced by Locke. The idea of a social contract was attractive to a group of people that wanted to ensure the maximum freedom for themselves. They wrote up a contract (the constitution) that stated how it would work. When they had finished their work, someone asked Franklin what they had done, his famous response, “A Republic, if you can keep it”, has been widely quoted and often commented on. But the point of the comment shouldn’t be lost. A Republic is a form of government where the supreme power rests in the hands of the power. That part is easy to understand, but the second part, “if you can keep it”, is something we should examine. My belief is that Franklin knew that, minus the informed consent of the people, the Republic was non-existent.

Between the time Franklin uttered that phrase and the civil war, many people decided to opt out of that social contract. Sometimes they negotiated further terms, sometimes they just moved on, but participation was always voluntary and force was not used for the sole purpose of holding them in subjection to that contract. Of course, the great tyrant came along and changed that. Lincoln, contrary to the legitimate powers granted the government, took upon himself the task of destroying the voluntary aspect of the social contract. He set about centralizing all government power to the federal arena and set in motion the destruction of the Republic.

The Bastar-d Children
Today the idea of a social contract that holds the “Union” together is one of the most widespread misconceptions. Most people don’t understand what the concept of a social contract entails. Above all else, it is a voluntary situation. Being able to vote is not the same thing as being able to withdraw. If you can’t withdraw or abstain from a situation, it is not voluntary. Sometimes you will hear people saying, “If you don’t like it, leave it.” Great concept except that it violates the right of the people to their possessions. And there is a balance due. Since Lincoln violated the contract, all laws and taxes that have been forced on the people must be repaid. But that is a topic for another blog.

A Short Note…
I could have included a brief on Hobbes and it probably would have been appropriate to do so, but I didn’t feel like it. I find his belief that natural law equals disorder and violence to be unsavory.

I also could have (and probably should have) touched on Lysander Spooner and “ No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority. ” I highly recommend that work to anyone.

Quit Saying Public PLEASE!!!

(Originally posted on my MySpace site)

It is interesting how much power is in that one little word, "Public". From where I am sitting, it is the word used to commit all kinds of atrocities in the US. The idea that there is some kind of collective greater good that can be imposed on people against their will is implied in the word. Private property is subjected to the whims of special interest group's because of that word. Education and discipline are taken from the hands of the parents because of that word. A feeling of subjugation is implied in that word. What I want to do is take a closer look at "public".

Public Schools

The idea sounds good on the face of it. But what it really means is "funded by everyone". They really aren't public. You can't go down to you local elementary school in your bathrobe and go check out a book from the library. If you don't have kids in the school you may get to vote for school board members, but you have little to no say in anything else that has to do with the system. Even if you do have kids in the school system you have very little say. This is the local level, the place were you should be able to exert the greatest control. But instead we see schools that run from the top of government down. And we get government results out of our school systems. We spend the second highest amount on education in the world, but rank consistently low on all scales that measure education.

We continually hear about how the "public" doesn't get involved with education. How they need more money, more teachers, more everything, but truthfully, your input is not really all that welcome. We hear about our school system failing and our future falling further and further into doubt. The answer? More money, more teachers, more schools. If you have pile of crap in your front yard, does it make it less of a problem if you pile more crap onto it? That just doesn't make sense to me.

There are some good and interesting programs around that are making a difference and doing things that seem to offer a ray of hope for education in this country, but they are not coming from the government and they never will. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation comes straight to mind. They have been able to go into some places were drop out rates are high, reading and comprehension are low and a myriad of other problems are evident in the system and to turn it all around. And, they end up doing it for less than the government spends.

We spend an average of about $7000 a year per student in the US. Private school tuition averages about $3500 a year. And just look at test scores and overall student performance between "public" schools and private schools and you wonder why we don't just send all the kids to private schools, save about half the money and get better results. I know I wonder why.

Well, really, I don't wonder why. The school system is run by the government. It is really set up less to educate students than it is to turn out "good citizens" who are used to bowing to government authority figures. The schools are more concerned with instilling what students will accept over what they know. One of these days I am going to write more on this issue, but for now lets move on.

Public Funds

When people talk about public funds or public funding, they are usually referring to a pool of resources gathered at the expense of tax payers. Lots of people pay taxes against their will and don't agree with the programs they go to sponsor. That is the first three strikes against public funds and I haven't even gotten into the concept of them yet. Of course, unless it is against citizens, the government has no idea that after three strikes your out.

So what about this pool of appropriated resources? Is it really public? That should be easy to find out. When is the last time you paid your bar tab with them? Never has happened has it?

Funds taken from the people are not public. Quite the contrary, they are more private than your own bank account. When you get taxed, the money is no longer yours. The goods or services the money goes to are not yours either. The people that pay for goods and services are the owners of those goods and services. When you buy goods or services, they become yours to use of and dispense of as you wish. The money you used to pay for those things was yours and you can logically claim a right of ownership over not only the funds, but the property you acquire with those funds.

This is not how public funds work. From a local perspective you can influence more control over were those funds go and how much goes to what project, but the further up the chain you go, the further away from the funds you get. And when you get all the way to the top you hit another obstacle. Just because you voted or were involved in saying where those funds would go and how much would be spent on the local level, the federal level imposes all kinds of restrictions on what you can do with them. Really, it is quite a racket the federal government has been able to pull off. First, they take your money. They promise or guarantee certain things in return. Then they take part of that money and keep it for themselves. Then they give a portion of the remaining money back and tell you how you can spend it. Its nothing more than a scam, plain and simple. Advocates of states rights, though they are booed down by the left as wanting to bring back slavery, are really upholding a higher standard of accountability to the government. The US government isn't supposed to work from the top down, but from the bottom up.

Public Roads

I am going to go camping on Sixth Street. I will just put my tent up right in the center of the street. No one should care, they are public roads. Then I am going to start me a little campfire, make smores and sing Kumbaya. Ok, I am not really going to do that. It isn't allowed. But maybe I will just sell the street in front of my house to someone else. Then they can own a larger part of the public roads. They will have a controlling interest in the road system, because they will own more of the public roads than anyone else. What? I can't do that either? I thought I was part owner, that they were public and I am part of the public that paid for them. I must be crazy.

At least I have a say so over where they put the roads, that's something, right. Oh wait, I don't even get to say that. As a matter of fact, if the government decides they are going to put a road through my front yard, they will do that. If they decide they are going to put a sidewalk next to that road through my yard, they will do that too.

I like the idea and use of toll roads. Pretty soon, you won't be able to come to Texas without paying for the roads you are using. To me that makes a lot of sense and I can't believe anyone in the government went along with it. I am going to talk more about roads on a later date too, stay tuned.


I think it is imperative that we take the word PUBLIC and remove it from use anytime we are talking about government. Let's call these things what they are, Government Schools, Government Funds and Government Roads. And lets continue that and apply it to everything that we have been thought to believe is public. Public lands aren't really public lands, they are government lands. Public airwaves aren't really public, they are government airwaves. Public buildings aren't really public, they are government buildings. If we took the use of the word public out and replaced it with government, people would see how all intrusive the government has become. Of course, some people would champion that. Some people can't seem to get enough government. They want it everywhere; even in the bedroom (unless they are having gay sex with underage kids, but that is another story). The left wants to work "for the greater good" and take my money to help out a very small portion of the population. The right wants to "protect my safety" by killing people I have no problem with and keeping people out of the country that I really like a lot. How about this, I will keep my money and if I see someone in need, I will help them out. Or better yet, I will give money to charities that help them out. And if I see someone with an AK47 trying to blow up my house, I will keep myself safe. I don't need to give the government a portion of my money, so they can give me back less, to do things that I am perfectly capable of doing myself without them.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Round Peg, Square Hole

I know that the saying is about trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, but hopefully by the end of this you'll figure out why I titled it the way I did.

There are always people that like to engage the anarchist by telling us that an anarchist society can't exist for (insert reason here). Most times this is done from a complete lack of understanding about what anarchism really is. Sometimes it is done in the form of a strawman based on that misunderstanding. And the knee jerk reaction of so many anarchists doesn't improve the situation at all. What the person performing the attack is looking for is an example of a NATION based on a political model of anarchism and what the knee jerk anarchist does is provide them with theories of what such a society might look like. Depending on the focus of the anarchist, this vision might take on many different forms. But the entire argument is based on a false assumption that it is possible to apply a political system to anarchism, which it is not.

Anarchism is about freedom from those very political systems that the statist is trying to get us to apply anarchy too. Anarchy is about having no rulers, this is something that both camps seem to agree on. But it isn't about any type of political relationship. Anarchy is about personal, individual relationships. There is no "system" of anarchy that can or would be setup to run a nation (including libertarianism). We are talking about "no rulers" and specifically no government control in personal social relationships. There will probably always be governments, but wheter they exist or not has absoluetly to bearing on an anarchist "society". It would be much easier to develop these personal relationships that escape being interfered with a third party if that third party didn't exist, but it isn't neccesary that the third party not exist for an anarchist society to thrive.

The statist is unable to grasp the concept of society outside of the political arena. More often than not their definition of society will include some politically powered government inside of artificial borders created by that same government. But a society is, not just for the purpose of anarchy, any group of people that interact with a specific purpose in mind. There are fraternal societies, religious societies, military societies, secret societies, etc., all existing within those political borders now. They all operate with their own sets of rules, their own membership reqiurements, their own guiding principles. And while the statist is perfectly willing to accept these societies, even when they don't understand them, for some reason an anarchist society is held to a different standard.

To me the reason for this is pretty simple. The nature of anarchism is a society "without rulers" and since the statist is unable to truly understand this concept, they feel that an anarchist society is a pipe dream. Consider this, most people are unaware of how to provide for their basic neccesities without the states involvement. Ask them where their last meal came from. The proud "libertarian" may say that they purchased the food for that meal with their own money, that they earned themselves, from the local grocery store. But every part of that statement is dependant on the government. There is no such thing as "their own money" since the currency they used is actually property of the government they serve. In order to work, they are required to have government issued identification that says who they are and tracks the wages that they earn. Their local grocery store purchased those groceries from a supplier that is regulated by government controls. The food is delievered to the store over roads that are owned by the government. And at last, when they give the government vouchers to the cashier, they give another portion of their wages to the government in the form of taxes. So it is no wonder that the typical statist has a hard time understanding how an anarchist society can exist with all that government interference in even the "simple" process of meeting their basic human needs.

But, as I have already stated, an anarchist society is about personal, individual relationships. It isn't about providing another version of that same process, even though what they want when they get us into these "debates" is an example of that exact same thing, minus the government. The bad news is that there is no way to mimic that system without an all encompassing third party, that no matter what political tweaks you make to the system will continue to be government. Anarchism doesn't wish to mimic that system, and anarchists couldn't mimic that system even if we wanted too. Not while still remaining true to our principles. Of course, this is the same reason we will not see a "minarchist" style government either. As long as "we the people" make up the government, the only option is for government to expand at a faster rate than "we the people". The people who advocate a smaller government are really the ones with the pipedream. The nature of government is to never give up ground. The nature of a government run by "we the people" is to constantly expand to meet the wants and desires of the people who make it up.

But anarchist societies can and do exist within this "nation". The entire idea is to build social relationships outside of "government rule". Relationships that provide those basic neccesities, like food,clothing and shelter, without an outside "ruler" dictating the forms those relationships can take. When asked about a strategy for anarchy, that SHOULD be our answer. Developing social relationships based on the ideals of anarchism. Fostering new alliances that meet our needs and keeping them free of as much government influence as possible, until the time comes when the can directly and openly compete with Leviathan.

So if you want examples of anarchistic societies, just look around. They are there. We seem them in practice everyday. Its just that the statist is usually unable to see any further than their own misery and enslavement. Freedom and liberty take real actions by the individual. Some (maybe most) people aren't willing to put in the work it takes to be an anarchist. They can't even figure out how to feed themselves without the government.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

About Racism

The is yet another discussion going on at Mises about controlling immigration, which always devolves into one group saying they have the right to discriminate against people based on their race.

I agree that people can not be forced to associate with anyone they don't wish to, when it comes to their private property. I also agree that groups of these people can choose to "band together" in a certain area to exclude persons of another race from settling there, on any of their private property. I think that any community that chose to do that would suffer from their decision to do so, but they certainly have the right to do that.

There are really two arguments involved in the pro-racism camp. The first has to do with the loss of cultural identity, which is just another way of complaining about race mixing. They like to reference Hoppe on this point and his "tribalism" approach to immigration. However they fail to point out the inconsistencies with this argument, which Hoppe himself avoids by saying that the state should, "act as if they were a private property owner" and that we should look at the argument in this light. Without stating the obvious, that the state is not a legitimate private property owner, lets go ahead with this line of reasoning for the sake of argument.

Lets say that all borders are privately owned land and the owner has the right to exclude anyone they want from tresspassing on that property. First, anyone that could get to someone elses property, someone that actually does believe in a free market and wants that diversity, the person owning the "borders" could have no say so over who that property owner could associate or do business with. Second, lets pretend there are no such things as helicopters and the only way to get to the free market owners property was to cross the property at these "borders". Surely any act that deprived the free market owner the right of association, the right to do business with whomever they choose, can be seen as nothing less than an act of either force or coercion against the free market owner. Any violation of the NAP warrants a reaction by those who are trying to participate in the free market. I think their argument falls apart at this point. Another area to look at is the validity of any contract. For it to be valid, there must be a way to exit the contract.

Say I wanted to be a part of this collectivist, protectionist society. Five years later some Martians offer me a million dollars for my property. I have the right to exercise the escape clause from the orginal exclusionary contract and I have the right to dispose of my property in anyway I see fit. There can not be a valid contract that holds me or my property to the terms of the contract forever. So there is no way to insure that an insular, racist community would stay that way forever. Even if there was a clause that said the racists got first shot at the property in question, there can not be a clause that forces me to accept their offer without violating either the NAP or libertarian principles in general.

The second argument in the pro-racism camp revolves around Rothbards argument that it is neccesary to limit immigration because non-libertarians may move in and change the "political landscape" to something decidedly non-libertarian. This view MUST have a political system in place that accepts that government intervention into the free market is acceptable. Which is exactly what we have now. This is, of course, a non-libertarian position and I can only attribute it to Rothbards conversion late in life from a staunch libertarian to a paleo-conservative that still considered himself the "guru" of libertarianism.

The libertarian and free market view is that anyone may associate or disassociate themselves from anyone that they chose. They may not use force or coercion against anyone else. Both of the above arguments require either force or coercion to be used against persons with differing views.