Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Anarcho-capitalism vs Civilization


When I lived in Afghanistan for a year, going from village to village, it was like I had been transported back into time. Way back into time. It was like living in the Old Testament.

Part of our efforts in Afghanistan involved trying to help the Afghan people set up a very basic government..."minarchism" so to speak. The challenge is that Afghanistan is a tribal society. They do not have a national identity...they have a tribal identity. They do not bear allegiance to a flag that symbolizes the entire nation. Their motto is not e pluribus unum. Here in America we think of ourselves first as Americans then second as African Americans, Middle Easterners, Asians, Mexicans, Caucasians...or...Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Atheists...or...liberals, conservatives, libertarians, anarcho-capitalists...or...

If the Afghan tribes had all worked together...would they have been able to repel the countless invasions that occurred throughout their history? If you've read the Bible...how many times were the tribes of Israel conquered by more civilized nations? Same thing with the native Americans.

Clearly we all started out in tribal societies...but some managed to become "civilized" while others have not. Having studied development theory...I can tell you with absolute certainty that we do not know why some tribes develop while others do not. There are plenty of theories but they are all just that...theories.

What would happen if, via anarcho-capitalism, we got rid of our national identity? If we did not think of ourselves as "Americans"...then what would we think of ourselves as? Obviously our secondary identity would become our primary identity. There would be no allegiance to a flag and there would be no e pluribus unum.

But...there would be property rights! Right? Is that enough though?

I'm willing to entertain the possibility that anarcho-capitalism just might work. Yet...I'm also willing to entertain the possibility that it really wouldn't work.

The beauty of pragmatarianism is that I do not have to assume I know what I do not. As Socrates said, "...it seems that I am wiser than he is to this small extent, that I do not think I know what I do not know."

Rothbard drooled over a button that he could push to entirely destroy the state in one fell swoop. If the state is entirely unnecessary though...then each part of the state is also entirely unnecessary. Why not just allow each and every taxpayer to use their own, individual, hard-earned taxes to indicate which parts of the state are entirely unnecessary? If consumers do not purchase unnecessary private goods...then why would they "purchase" unnecessary public goods?

Why not become a devil's advocate for public goods?

17 comments:

  1. Socrates saying is good - do not claim to know what cannot be known.

    And thus, holding to such a truth, the State is a lie.

    It exists by extension the belief that I know more about you and your desires then you yourself. The "I know what is best for you" drives many into politics.

    The State is wholly unnecessary.

    It's whole existence is a consequence of violence.

    Men upon individual men have repealed the initiation of violence as a means.

    We have de-legitimized the initiation of violence by individuals upon individuals - with NO exceptions. Civilization is our consequence.

    It appears merely such a small step to declare the same upon all our institutions.

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  2. Black Flag...if you agree that you can't truly know what is best for somebody...then how can you truly know whether the state isn't the best for me? If 99.9% of Americans believe a state is truly best for them...should we get rid of the state for the .1% of Americans that don't truly don't need the state?

    Think about a classroom. If 99% of the students are struggling with a subject...should we move on to the next subject in order to satisfy the learning needs of the 1%?

    How does you telling me that the state isn't necessary for you change my own views on whether the state is necessary for me?

    You're not addressing my strategy for allowing each and every taxpayer to use their taxes to indicate which parts of the state are truly necessary for them.

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  3. Xerographics

    "If you agree that you can't truly know what is best for somebody...then how can you truly know whether the state isn't the best for me?"

    The State - as Basitat wrote - is a great fiction of men seeking to live off the efforts of other men, and doing so by doing violence.

    Thus, if you hold that the State "benefits you" - means you gain such benefit from the forceful taking from someone else.

    For the State to exist to benefit you, it MUST destroy benefits of others.

    Now, if you happen to convince another men to accept the destruction of his own benefit so to provide you that gain, I would say you are a brilliant demagogue.

    But equally, you would not need the State at all!

    You've accomplished such convincing by your own powerful rhetoric independent of the evil of violence.

    But what of the men that remain unconvinced?

    All State action is a "less than zero" sum game - a losing game that eventually unwinds into a collapse of social order.

    The State does not convince by rhetoric nor by reason. It acts by violence - it is nothing but force, mindless force.

    Where violence rules, reason is abandoned.

    "If 99.9% of Americans believe a state is truly best for them...should we get rid of the state for the .1% of Americans that don't truly don't need the state?"

    Yes, if the existence of that State imposes upon the 0.1%.

    If, however, you manage somehow to create a system that does exclude the 0.1% then how you wish to brutalize yourself would not be my concern.

    But the State does not allow such exclusions, because once such exclusions are offered, all rational men would abandon the State, leaving only the impoverished and irrational to run the State.

    With no one from which the parasites can feed, the parasites will die. The parasites will never willingly allow their victims to abandon the parasites - thus, the use of violence.


    Why would a nation state kill and destroy people wishing to seek independence from it? There is no rational reason - except to prevent losing the host of victims of the parasites of the original nation state. Little else otherwise makes any sense at all.

    Why do empires continue to grow? So to seize more and more hosts upon which to feed itself, as the current victims within its own territories become bled to death.

    "Think about a classroom. If 99% of the students are struggling with a subject...should we move on to the next subject in order to satisfy the learning needs of the 1%?"

    A classroom is not a State.

    Its root premise is wholly different with no possibility of similarity with the State, thus comparison between the two will be fraught with serious error.

    A classroom is not predicated on violence - no one threatens the 1% behind with death should they not achieve some arbitrary standard of the 99%.

    The rest of the class has no claim upon the 1% for which it finds it necessary to "wait". The 99% and the 1% can absolutely co-exist in the same class.

    None of these conditions are true with the State.

    "How does you telling me that the state isn't necessary for you change my own views on whether the state is necessary for me?"

    I do not measure your arguments as valid or invalid by comparison to mine.

    Truly, my judgement of my own correctness holds no merit upon you.

    The measure I hold upon your arguments correctness solely based on the consistency of your own arguments against your own principles.

    If they hold to be consistent, I have no argument to say you are wrong - but plenty of arguments to hold you "right".

    Equally, if they are inconsistent, I have all the argument necessary to say you are wrong.

    "You're not addressing my strategy for allowing each and every taxpayer to use their taxes to indicate which parts of the state are truly necessary for them."

    ....and if I find no part of the State so necessary, what becomes of me?

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  4. Black Flag...you've redundantly clarified why you believe that the state is unnecessary. Do you honestly believe that I haven't heard these arguments before?

    Nobody cares why YOU find the state unnecessary. Do you know how I know? Because people have been making your same exact arguments for the past 200 years. You fit Einstein's definition of insanity...doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different outcome each time. You keep making the same arguments and the state continues to grow.

    By telling people that the state is EVIL you're in no way making an effort to understand why they believe that it is a NECESSARY evil.

    Xerographica: You're not addressing my strategy for allowing each and every taxpayer to use their taxes to indicate which parts of the state are truly necessary for them.

    Black Flag: ...and if I find no part of the State so necessary, what becomes of me?

    Do you see the problem here? If you want to change others it can't be about you...it has to be about them. You have to first identify why OTHERS believe the state is necessary...THEN you can tailor your arguments to match the reality of their needs.

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  5. Xerographics" Do you honestly believe that I haven't heard these arguments before?"

    Do you really believe I haven't heard every single fallacy of the necessity of government before?

    Free clue:
    None exists. There is no necessity of government.


    "Nobody cares why YOU find the state unnecessary. "

    And I do not care what other people believe.

    All I care is that you do not impose YOUR beliefs upon me.

    Sadly, in the end, you will find yourself completely unable to do so....

    "Do you know how I know? Because people have been making your same exact arguments for the past 200 years."

    Because people will not see the truth does not make the truth a lie.

    Because people repeat a lie does not make it a truth.



    "You fit Einstein's definition of insanity...doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different outcome each time."

    I believe that applies to you, sir.

    You believe you can keep fiddling and tuning evil so that its outcomes are not evil.

    Your ilk have been trying for over 5,000 years with precisely the same outcome ... evil.

    How about you think about a different way?


    "By telling people that the state is EVIL you're in no way making an effort to understand why they believe that it is a NECESSARY evil."

    You start with your conclusion as if it was the premise- thus, your error.


    Start here:
    Evil is never necessary.

    Now see what happens....




    "Do you see the problem here?"

    I have no problem as long as you do not impose.

    The moment you believe you can impose, I have a problem.

    "If you want to change others"

    Ah, your fallacy.

    You believe I want to change others.

    That is what politicians, and Progressives want - to change others into a vision of your own making - which will justify those to use the most evil and horrific means because the goal -change- is so "necessary".

    I have no desire.
    I have no desire for you to be anything but who you want to be.

    "it has to be about them."

    I do not know about them nor their desires nor their wants. We already agreed with Socrates on this, remember?

    Thus, my only truthful action is non-imposition -leave them alone so they can seek their own path.

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  6. Of course you want to change others...you want them to stop "stealing" your money. The problem is that you have no interest in understanding why they are stealing your money. Therefore, they will continue to steal your money...you will continue to protest...and they will continue not to care.

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  7. Xerographica

    The truth is not a medicine that needs a coating of sugar before it is accepted.

    It stands on its own.

    "God" cares not one wit if you see the truth or not.

    You can be a great pious man and walk off a cliff and you will meet the same crushing end as a great evil mass murderer. God doesn't care about your piety - he only measures your reason.

    Here is a story that underlines my position:

    From Samuel:

    But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord.

    And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.

    Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do.”

    Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king.

    He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will do:

    He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots.

    Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots.

    He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers.

    He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants.

    He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants.

    Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use.

    He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves.

    When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

    But the people refused to listen to Samuel.

    “No!” they said. “We want a king over us.

    Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”


    When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the Lord.

    The Lord answered, “Listen to them and give them a king.”


    ------------------

    I offer a position of principle and Universal truth. The consequence of this combination creates a system that I place under the spotlight of reason to justify.

    If men, by their own desires, do not wish to adhere to such reason, then the consequences that they reap will be delivered to them good and hard.

    And so be it.

    If mankind cannot hold himself to reason, then he will succumb to the horrors of self-inflicted hell on Earth.

    Men rejected "God" before - and he gave them what they asked for, until mankind weeps in terror. But "God" will not hear these men.

    Therefore, it is completely up to men -individual men- to seek their own truth and deliver themselves from evil.

    God did not do it for men, and no man can do this for other men.

    I have no doubt that such men who search for truth will find themselves standing beside me. I do not need to seek them.

    And I absolutely do not seek anyone else either. Those that refuse to hear reason will be crushed by the consequences of their own irrational beliefs.

    Certainly I may suffer their evil - but I will resist it the best I can.

    But I cannot convince irrational men to behave reasonably. Men have to reach that state on their own.

    And any attempt by me or others like me to distort, dilute or sugar the message of truth makes it a lie, and makes us deceivers and manipulators - they very people and action that we are ourselves fighting against.

    The posts and comments I make are not to convince you or anyone else of my rightness.

    It is to provide a small light in the deep darkness to those few that already seek the truth, to give them hope that there are others out there like them, working hard to the truth, and that their actions are not futile.

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  8. So you agree with Socrates...but you offer "Universal truth"?

    So you're not trying to influence people's behavior...unless they happen to believe as you do? In that case you want to influence them to continue to influence people like you?

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  9. Xerographica

    I was drawn to this statement:

    "...and the State continues to grow...."

    Yep it sure does, until it completely implodes.

    The State's growth is its own doom - its actions undermine its own survival.

    As it grows, it moves from an annoyance into an imposition, into a thief and into a murderer.

    When violence is the rule, the murderer beats the thief.

    When murder is the rule, the orgy of slaughter collapses social order. The end.

    No State has ever -willing- ceased itself.

    Once enacted, the State grows until it consumes itself.

    It is futile to try to prevent this - you will be overrun. The State lies, and as long as the people belief lies over reason, the State grows.

    Men will hold on to beautiful lies before they believe the plain truth.

    The real goal: are you ready for something different when the State fails?

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  10. "So you agree with Socrates...but you offer "Universal truth"?"

    Yes, because such things exist - or do you not believe in Universal Truths at all even in the face of reality?

    "So you're not trying to influence people's behavior...unless they happen to believe as you do?"

    I have no influence, period - no matter how you believe.

    You either adhere to reason ... or you do not. There is no middle ground here.

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  11. When a honest man confronts his mistake, he has but only two paths:

    - to accept his mistake and correct it
    or
    - cease being an honest man.

    When a reasoning man confronts an irrational belief, he has only two paths:
    - to discard his irrational belief and clasp onto reason
    or
    - cease being a reasoning man.

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  12. Did you completely miss Buddha's point about the blind men and the elephant? You really don't understand that each blind man in the story believed that he had access to universal truth?

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  13. PS:
    Kent is right, you are a "thinking" man.

    Haven't read all your posts yet - so whether you are a "reasoning" man too....yet unknown to me... but so far, I'm quite hopeful!

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  14. I am totally unconcerned about Buddha and his belief that truth is merely in the eye of a beholder.

    As a scientist, I KNOW Universal Truth.

    Remember Socrates, my new friend.

    You know what you do not know.

    AND

    You know what you know.


    Do not fall into some nihilist trap.

    Universal truth surrounds you.

    Be not the fish that cannot see the water in which you swim.

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    Replies
    1. Rejecting the idea of science as universal truth isn't nihilism. It's smart.
      Science is just a part of our culture, just as Christianity or Buddhism are a part of culture. They can be "right" or "wrong" about some things but the adjective "universal" probably should be dropped. Positivism doesn't seem to hold much ground, after all it is hard to stand when you're convinced that "science" is the only thing to stand on.

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  15. Quick thought on your anarcho-capitalism vs civilization: I think you’re taking a bit of what might be called an ethnocentrist view of civilization. Alliegence to a tribe or religion rather than nation is in no way inferior to what you call “civilization” which is just about the most subjective term on the market. I agree with David Graeber in that sometimes we make this “us and them” distinction between “civilized” and “non-civilized”. Why would allegience to extended kinship relations, tempered with self-ownership and propert rights, be an undesireable thing. Compared to nationalism, it rocks.
    I actually think of myself as a human being first, a Rick (my family) second, Cathagnostic (agnostic who supports the Catholic church for social justice and social solidarity) third, and a whole bunch of things after that. I’d say “American” (which to me is someone who who was born on either of the American continents) is pretty low. Involuntary member of the tax farm known as America might be up there, but that title would be gone in an ancap society.

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    Replies
    1. Not quite...I put "civilization" in quotes for the same reason that you do. If you read my post on the devil's advocate for public goods you'll see that I argue that we are never "civilized"...rather...we are always in the process of becoming "civilized".

      That being said...we never ever see people "vote with their feet" by joining the various tribal societies that still remain. I immensely appreciated and valued the experience of having lived in Afghanistan for a year...but I wouldn't wish a tribal existence on even my worst enemies. Well...I do kinda wish Nancy Grace would live in a tribal society for at least a few years.

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