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Gianthogweed
Jun 3, 2004


I got into a philosophical argument with a bunch of voluntarist anarchists on Stefan Molyneux's forum (I'm Drakus79).

http://board.freedomainradio.com/fo...spx?PageIndex=1

For those who don't know, Stefan Molyneux is a Canadian author who advocates that society move towards a voluntarist anarchy. His views have always seemed extreme to me, even as someone who leans libertarian, but I did find his approach to arguing his points to be interesting, to say the least.

He believes that a purely voluntarist anarchy is achievable, based on the non-aggression principle and the proper raising of children. A society founded on the law that one should never initiate force. Laws can be enforced by competing and privately owned Dispute Resolution Organizations (DROs). As I was reading his stuff, I failed to see how these DROs wouldn't grow to become governments themselves. Since they are allowed to use force in Self Defense to enforce their rules (a concept that is highly subjective). Wanting to see what sort of solutions they had to this problem, I began posting on their message boards. I brought up Alan Moore's view of anarchy to help bolster my argument.

http://news.infoshop.org/article.ph...moore-interview

Alan Moore posted:

It furthermore occurred to me that, basically, anarchy is in fact the only political position that is actually possible. I believe that all other political states are in fact variations or outgrowths of a basic state of anarchy; after all, when you mention the idea of anarchy to most people they will tell you what a bad idea it is because the biggest gang would just take over. Which is pretty much how I see contemporary society. We live in a badly developed anarchist situation in which the biggest gang has taken over and have declared that it is not an anarchist situation—that it is a capitalist or a communist situation. But I tend to think that anarchy is the most natural form of politics for a human being to actually practice. All it means, the word, is no leaders. An-archon. No leaders.

It's safe to say I didn't convince anyone, despite trying to be as logical as possible. I think they are too set in their ideology and will never admit to being wrong no matter how rational the challenge, but I'm not ready to give up yet. I figured, since this discussion board is considerably more left leaning, you could offer a different perspective on this philosophical idea. Am I wrong in assuming that self defense is not a subjective concept?

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Fragrag
Aug 3, 2007
The Worst Admin Ever bashes You in the head with his banhammer. It is smashed into the body, an unrecognizable mass! You have been struck down.

My ex's brother was pretty deep into this stuff, influencing my ex a bit as well. We got in a fair number of arguments, which is partly why we're not together anymore but that's rather E/N.

From what I understood, they're laissez faire on issues, condemning any use of force at all. For example, one of the last arguments I had with the brother was concerning the concept of minimum wage. He was adamantly against it
No matter which way the argument veered, from the consequences of the absence of a minimum wage or what the employee can do to get paid well, he always ended up with this argument: The use of force is incorrect, ergo minimum wage is incorrect because it involves the government forcing the employer to pay a certain amount.

One of my biggest beefs is that they seem to do their thinking in a vacuum. Reading quickly through the thread, they tell you to either read this Molyneux book or listen to this episode of his podcast.

On a different note, this quote from one of the posts kinda jumped out:

quote:

And on a personal note, there are some people who are lost causes. Don't waste your time with them. You are not their info slave.
I'm pretty this is what happened to me with my ex's brother. After a while, he just stopped associating with me.

duck monster
Dec 15, 2004



Fragrag posted:

My ex's brother was pretty deep into this stuff, influencing my ex a bit as well. We got in a fair number of arguments, which is partly why we're not together anymore but that's rather E/N.

From what I understood, they're laissez faire on issues, condemning any use of force at all. For example, one of the last arguments I had with the brother was concerning the concept of minimum wage. He was adamantly against it
No matter which way the argument veered, from the consequences of the absence of a minimum wage or what the employee can do to get paid well, he always ended up with this argument: The use of force is incorrect, ergo minimum wage is incorrect because it involves the government forcing the employer to pay a certain amount.

One of my biggest beefs is that they seem to do their thinking in a vacuum. Reading quickly through the thread, they tell you to either read this Molyneux book or listen to this episode of his podcast.

On a different note, this quote from one of the posts kinda jumped out:

I'm pretty this is what happened to me with my ex's brother. After a while, he just stopped associating with me.

An anarchist who doesnt believe in the minimum wage is a human contradiction.

The general anarchist solution to bad pay is to sieze the factory for the workers, or go on strike.

Remember boys and girls, the natural enemy of the anarchist is the capitalist. There is no such thing as an anti-boss boss.

e: That forum is bonkers. How about before we continue discussing anarchism, we clear up a major misconception. There is no such thing as "anarcho-capitalism" by definition. There are people who call themselves, but its an internally contradictory term. Anarchists are opposed to master-slave relationships, both by the state, and by the corporation. Basically, anarchism tends to be a stateless form of socialism although there are grey areas around Mutualism and some post-left manifestations like primitivism. Whatever strand , all anarchists agree that ancaps are by definition not anarchists.

Heres a more academic treatment of it: http://www.infoshop.org/AnarchistFAQSectionF1

Donkwich
Feb 28, 2011



Are they also fans of Samuel Edward Konkin III and agorist philosophy by any chance?

Helsing
Aug 23, 2003

THUNDERDOME LOSER

The voluntarist solution to criminal justice is to have "dispute resolution organizations" that are completely voluntary. Their solution to preventing the problem of blood feuds is to deny that they are all that likely to happen, and then to point out that since no system can prevent them 100% what's the point of trying? Their argument against oligopolies or monopolies naturally forming is that these things are probably only possible with a government. When asked why they think societies have formed governments in the past, they sniff and claim 'society' is just a group of people and they had no right to form the government in the first place.

I'm honestly not sure why you would bother engaging with these people. This is quite literally a political religion and not a political program. None of the solutions make any sense and they are literally pitched at a New Agey "change minds and you'll change the woooorld maaaaan" level of reasoning.

shots shots shots
Sep 6, 2011

by Y Kant Ozma Post


duck monster posted:

An anarchist who doesnt believe in the minimum wage is a human contradiction.

The general anarchist solution to bad pay is to sieze the factory for the workers, or go on strike.

The anarchist strategy would seem to fall apart pretty quickly in an outsourcing era where factories/production is decoupled from management severely. Nowadays, management can just pick the next OEM factory down the line to do production if one factory demands higher prices, be it labor price increases, or a greedy capitalist owner who wants more money.

Helsing
Aug 23, 2003

THUNDERDOME LOSER

shots shots shots posted:

The anarchist strategy would seem to fall apart pretty quickly

Here, I shortened this for you and cut out all the unnecessary qualifiers.

Luigi's Discount Porn Bin
Jul 19, 2000

Put your face into the glue... FOR SCIENCE!

Gianthogweed posted:

He believes that a purely voluntarist anarchy is achievable, based on the non-aggression principle and the proper raising of children. A society founded on the law that one should never initiate force. Laws can be enforced by competing and privately owned Dispute Resolution Organizations (DROs). As I was reading his stuff, I failed to see how these DROs wouldn't grow to become governments themselves. Since they are allowed to use force in Self Defense to enforce their rules (a concept that is highly subjective). Wanting to see what sort of solutions they had to this problem, I began posting on their message boards. I brought up Alan Moore's view of anarchy to help bolster my argument.
This sounds exactly like the "GLOs" of Journey into a Libertarian Future.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011...the-vision.html

Fragrag
Aug 3, 2007
The Worst Admin Ever bashes You in the head with his banhammer. It is smashed into the body, an unrecognizable mass! You have been struck down.

duck monster posted:

An anarchist who doesnt believe in the minimum wage is a human contradiction.

The general anarchist solution to bad pay is to sieze the factory for the workers, or go on strike.


Oddly enough, one of the solutions he pitched was that the workers should start their own factory.

Helsing posted:

I'm honestly not sure why you would bother engaging with these people. This is quite literally a political religion and not a political program. None of the solutions make any sense and they are literally pitched at a New Agey "change minds and you'll change the woooorld maaaaan" level of reasoning.

A political religion is pretty much an accurate description. I was really shocked when I was ostracised by the brother because I refused to agree with him. He wouldn't even talk to me about any other subjects like games or so. It's just scarily cult-like.

SedanChair
Jun 1, 2003

KEEP BUYING AVS FOR ME UNTIL YOU'VE SPENT WHAT BUSH DID ON PEPFAR


It would save a lot of time if we called ideas like this galtism instead of anarchism. "Voluntarism" is code for "I don't like the government but I want to keep all of my stuff and live exactly as I do now."

PrBacterio
Jul 19, 2000


Oh dear me, are we having an anarcho-capitalism thread again? And here I was hoping we had managed to leave that little piece of nonsense behind us at last ...

Fragrag posted:

My ex's brother was pretty deep into this stuff, influencing my ex a bit as well. We got in a fair number of arguments, which is partly why we're not together anymore but that's rather E/N.

From what I understood, they're laissez faire on issues, condemning any use of force at all. For example, one of the last arguments I had with the brother was concerning the concept of minimum wage. He was adamantly against it. No matter which way the argument veered, from the consequences of the absence of a minimum wage or what the employee can do to get paid well, he always ended up with this argument: The use of force is incorrect, ergo minimum wage is incorrect because it involves the government forcing the employer to pay a certain amount.
Yeah, this is a common theme when debating self-styled anarcho-capitalists and other breeds of "big-L libertarians". The basic mistake you've made here is working within his assumptions and letting him get away with framing of the argument about what constitues "initiation of force" in the first place. A cogent line of counter-argument would be to ask him why, for example, enforcement of taxation by the government counts as "initiation of force" while enforcement, by the same means of force, of other types of debt does not. Then you can get right down to the question of enforcement of property and what kinds of property and debt we do and should accept as proper and justified, which is the actual question that's in dispute here, but which he used his neat framing of the issue to make it implicit and thereby, invisible but assuming your silent agreement.

Helsing
Aug 23, 2003

THUNDERDOME LOSER

PrBacterio posted:

Oh dear me, are we having an anarcho-capitalism thread again? And here I was hoping we had managed to leave that little piece of nonsense behind us at last ...

Yeah, this is a common theme when debating self-styled anarcho-capitalists and other breeds of "big-L libertarians". The basic mistake you've made here is working within his assumptions and letting him get away with framing of the argument about what constitues "initiation of force" in the first place. A cogent line of counter-argument would be to ask him why, for example, enforcement of taxation by the government counts as "initiation of force" while enforcement, by the same means of force, of other types of debt does not. Then you can get right down to the question of enforcement of property and what kinds of property and debt we do and should accept as proper and justified, which is the actual question that's in dispute here, but which he used his neat framing of the issue to make it implicit and thereby, invisible but assuming your silent agreement.

Part of the axiomatic theology of voluntarism is that only governments can be coercive. Any private entity that acts coercively must somehow have been aided by government because in a truly natural setting where no government existed it just wouldn't be possible to oppress people.

This cannot be emphasized enough: this is not a political ideology, it is a cultish religion. The only time it even makes sense to engage these ideas at face value is on the rare occasions that there is a public audience who isn't already drinking the cool-aid.

A common attack on voluntarism is to ask "who would build the roads?" since roads are a prominent example of expensive infrastructure that provide an obvious public good. You know what the common voluntarist refrain is? I mean this is something I've actually seen them bring up before anyone even mentioned infrastructure. Their answer is to quote "Back to the Future": "Where we're going, we don't need roads!"

That plus some magical thinking about how the market just costlessly steps in to efficiently provide anything there is a demand for is the solution to every single voluntarist dilemma, though there are few dilemma's since the followers of this cult don't spend any time critically analysing what kind of world they would build.

Despite what some may think people like politics. Political theories are deeply attractive. They provide a sense of inclusion and they present a system for understanding all these disparate events that go on in the world around you. They give you a kind of psychological ownership over the universe: seemingly random events suddenly obey a kind of hidden order. That is both deeply comforting and deeply gratifying. Its even more gratifying if you have some dumb friends who will listen to you when you ramble on about your newly discovered belief system.

The particular attraction of voluntarism is that compared to other ideologies it has a remarkably low "buy in". You don't need to learn any history of master any complex theories. You accept some incredibly simple formulas that psychologically resemble a belief in magic more than they resemble a more conventional political belief system.

Voluntarism fills a void in the lives of people who want a political ideology but who for whatever reason don't have the energy or intellect for it. In this way its kinda equivalent to the way that 'The Secret' provides people with a faux-religion that serves many of the same psychological purposes but which doesn't require as much thought or effort or sacrifice.

(Of course this is broadly true of modern internet-liberatarianism to varying degrees)

Edit - Not sure how I missed this, but this line is loving awesome:

quote:

And on a personal note, there are some people who are lost causes. Don't waste your time with them. You are not their info slave.

That is pretty much 'voluntarism.txt' right there.

PrBacterio
Jul 19, 2000


Helsing posted:

Part of the axiomatic theology of voluntarism is that only governments can be coercive. Any private entity that acts coercively must somehow have been aided by government because in a truly natural setting where no government existed it just wouldn't be possible to oppress people.
Which is precisely why I gave the advice in my post to steer the argument in a direction so as to force them to make this distinction explicit, because usually when arguing with anarcho-capitalists and their ilk, they're not going to be upfront and honest about it, instead they're going to be relying on keeping these assumptions of theirs unspoken and just presuming your tacit agreement. Once you've got them down to admitting that their definition of "voluntary" includes contracts made under threat of starvation, you've made the contrast between reality and their iodelogy obvious. Oh and it should go without saying, in most cases, when arguing with one of these people, it's not for their sake because you're never going to reason them out of a position they didn't reason themselves in to, as the saying goes; you're doing it for the benefit of any third persons that might be present, so they don't get tricked into buying their line.

Adar
Jul 27, 2001

William "J." Fillmaff in training

Just keep quoting murrayrothbard.txt. In a one on one, RL discussion this usually works.

quote:


But when are we to say that this parental trustee jurisdiction over children shall come to an end? Surely any particular age (21,18, or whatever) can only be completely arbitrary. The clue to the solution of this thorny question lies in the parental property rights in their home. For the child has his full rights of self-ownership when he demonstrates that he has them in nature—in short, when he leaves or “runs away” from home. Regardless of his age, we must grant to every child the absolute right to runaway and to find new foster parents who will voluntarily adopt him, or to try to exist on his own. Parents may try to persuade the runaway child to return, but it is totally impermissible enslavement and an aggression upon his right of self-ownership for them to use force to compel him to return. The absolute right to run away is the child’s ultimate expression of his right of self-ownership, regardless of age.

Now if a parent may own his child (within the framework of non-aggression and runaway-freedom), then he may also transfer that ownership to someone else. He may give the child out for adoption, or he may sell the rights to the child in a voluntary contract. In short, we must face the fact that the purely free society will have a flourishing free market in children. Superficially, this sounds monstrous and inhuman. But closer thought will reveal the superior humanism of such a market. For we must realize that there is a market for children now, but that since the government prohibits sale of children at a price, the parents may now only give their children away to a licensed adoption agency free of charge.[12] This means that we now indeed have a child-market, but that the government enforces a maximum price control of zero, and restricts the market to a few privileged and therefore monopolistic agencies. The result has been a typical market where the price of the commodity is held by government far below the free-market price: an enormous “shortage” of the good. The demand for babies and children is usually far greater than the supply, and hence we see daily tragedies of adults denied the joys of adopting children by prying and tyrannical adoption agencies. In fact, we find a large unsatisfied demand by adults and couples for children, along with a large number of surplus and unwanted babies neglected or maltreated by their parents. Allowing a free market in children would eliminate this imbalance, and would allow for an allocation of babies and children away from parents who dislike or do not care for their children, and toward foster parents who deeply desire such children. Everyone involved: the natural parents, the children, and the foster parents purchasing the children, would be better off in this sort of society.[13]

In the libertarian society, then, the mother would have the absolute right to her own body and therefore to perform an abortion; and would have the trustee-ownership of her children, an ownership limited only by the illegality of aggressing against their persons and by their absolute right to run away or to leave home at any time. Parents would be able to sell their trustee-rights in children to anyone who wished to buy them at any mutually agreed price.

The present state of juvenile law in the United States, it might be pointed out, is in many ways nearly the reverse of our desired libertarian model. In the current situation, both the rights of parents and children are systematically violated by the State.[14]

This is the founding father of voluntarism.txt.

acephalousuniverse
Nov 3, 2012


Fragrag posted:

Oddly enough, one of the solutions he pitched was that the workers should start their own factory.

Someone else in another thread was confusing these things too, so I'd like to point out here that there is a very major difference between "workers seizing the factory they work at and taking over management themselves" and "workers going off to start their own factory." The most obvious difference is the fact that the latter is completely impossible since no group of factory workers is going to be able to just wander off and have enough capital to just buy means of production while also surviving in the time it takes to get the facility started. That's just bootstrapping fantasy; the actual solution is for the workers to just take what's theirs in the first place anyway.

I used to argue with a guy like this on facebook periodically, and I just constantly asked him "what if I just opt out of every single Law Company and then can just do what I want? because if I opt out and they can still enforce laws on me, isn't that exactly what a non-voluntary government is in the first place?" and he would just link a two and a half hour youtube video make with that website that has two little 3D model guys talking to each other in robot voices, or alternatively huge years-old reddit discussions where he argues with people about the same things, and would get super mad if I just asked him to just answer the question succinctly.

Muscle Tracer
Feb 23, 2007



Is there a (relatively) succinct document that sums up what "voluntarism" is about?

I haven't heard of this religion political ideology before, and I'm immediately having problems with the distinctions between "voluntary" and "coercive," and "corporation" and "government." It seems to me that any transaction where one side has leverage over the other is coercive, and any body that subjects its members to rules is a government, so I'm looking for something slightly more cogent than that forum to set me straight as far as their viewpoint.

e: I'm looking through that text Adar linked, and boy is this stuff ~*~ logical ~*~ by which I mean there's a grammatical error in literally the first sentence.

humannature
Apr 28, 2010

I was a vegan Hibernian Warden, but I gave that up to join the flesh-eating Chaotic Socialist Space Republic.

Adar posted:

Rothbard nonsense.

This is one of the things that got me questioning the crazy libertarian belief system I had gotten myself into. Hearing about a free market in children was enough to break some of the spell and get me to do some good hard self-reflection.

As crazy as ol' Rothbard was, even he could laugh at Rand: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIk5C2qsRH8

McDowell
Aug 1, 2008

Surely, Caligula was my greatest role

Plenty of edgy 'anarchists' think money and trade is the ultimate arbiter of authority and power and if we 'abolish government' somehow this will mean a perfect power balanced society.

They are literally shilling for Multinational NeoFeudalism and the end of Enlightenment ideas about democracy, the social contract, and popular sovereignty.

Anything hinting of Anarcho-Capitalism is remarkably scary; in that it is a Young Adult branding of Koch Brothers Corporate Aristocracy.

Helsing
Aug 23, 2003

THUNDERDOME LOSER

The wikipedia entry on Voluntarysim is clearly written by supporters and it pretty much sums up the intellectual bankruptcy.

For instance, they give a chart of people supposedly advocating the 'non-aggresion principle' and then go on to cite, among others, Jesus, Epicurus, Herbet Spencer and John Stewart Mill. Apparently this diverse collection of thinkers, as well as Rand and Rothbard, are all examples of voluntaryists. It really makes you wonder if any of them have ever actually read Mill or Spencer (just kidding, its obvious they haven't).

The actual movement, once you remove the clumsy and superficial attempts to connect their New Age mysticism with a long line of older thinkers who certainly don't share their beliefs, seems to be almost entirely based around a single newsletter and a couple websites:

Wikipedia posted:

The Voluntaryist newsletter

The Voluntaryist newsletter, which began publication in late 1982, is one of the longest-lived libertarian publications in the world. Edited and published by Carl Watner since 1986, the most significant articles from the first 100 issues were anthologized in book-length form and published as Carl Watner, ed. (1999). I Must Speak Out: The Best of The Voluntaryist, 1982–1999. San Francisco: Fox & Wilkes.. Another voluntaryist anthology made a case for non-voting: Carl Watner with Wendy McElroy, ed. (2001). Dissenting Electorate: Those Who Refuse to Vote and the Legitimacy of Their Opposition. Jefferson: McFarland and Company. The masthead of The Voluntaryist, perhaps, best epitomizes the voluntaryist outlook: "If one takes care of the means, the end will take care of itself." This statement penned by Mahatma Gandhi urges that the world can only be changed one person at a time, and then, only if that person wills it, making it appealing to many voluntaryists. The only thing that the individual can do, voluntaryists hold, "is present society with 'one improved unit'." Albert Jay Nock expressed this point as follows: "[A]ges of experience testify that the only way society can be improved is by the individualist method …, that is, the method of each 'one' doing his very best to improve 'one.'" Voluntaryists believe that this is the quiet, peaceful, patient way of changing society because it concentrates on bettering the character of men and women as individuals. The voluntaryist hope is that as the individual units change, the improvement of society will take care of itself. In other words, "if one take care of the means, the end will take care of itself."[25]

You want another example of an extremely recent and intellectual shallow movement that claims to have a sweeping historical mandate ("the secret teachings of Buddha and Jesus!") and which reduces everything in life to a single axiomatic principle? The Secret. There's more relationship between Voluntaryism and The Secret than there is between voluntaryism and any political ideology or philosophy.

BrandorKP
Jan 21, 2006

Can you and I even have a conversation about anything. I'm entirely serious. I'm obsessed with a universals. You very often argue as if universal don't exist and totally and completely miss the point of any type of conversation about them.

I run into these people occasionally when I have to got into rail yards. Some of them hitch rides on container trains coming and out of Savannah. Just before Thanksgiving my in laws got caught between a group of them and a far left poli sci PHD student in front of a natural foods cafe / coffee shop. It was kind of funny to see the moment each group figured out what the others were.

Helsing posted:

Part of the axiomatic theology of voluntarism is that only governments can be coercive. Any private entity that acts coercively must somehow have been aided by government because in a truly natural setting where no government existed it just wouldn't be possible to oppress people.

It is theological, it's government as the root of sin often expressed in it's own version of asceticism. It's like classical cynicism in many ways.

Muscle Tracer
Feb 23, 2007



So, from what I've seen, would I be correct in boiling this down to a combination of "but I don't WANT to follow your rules!" and/or a total abolition of modern property rights? Because that's the only way I can see the "I do not voluntarily subject myself to your rules" and "I voluntarily live on the land which you own and use the things you produce, including roads and sewers."

Helsing
Aug 23, 2003

THUNDERDOME LOSER

No, its less coherent than that. Its basically for people who want anarcho-capitalism but prefer to draw more heavily on the rhetoric of European anarchism than the usual cowboy and deep south oriented garden variety libertarianism.

As I said above I don't think you should leave out the fact that a 'philosophy' like voluntaryism gives people a framework for understanding the world and their place within it. This is, I suspect, an important part of the philosophy's appeal. Its aimed at people who you might say as psychically dispossessed, i.e. they have no coherent framework for interpreting the world but would like to have one. Voluntaryism is a very simple but all encompassing frame for interpreting things and feeling like you've reached an opinion on them without doing the actual hard mental work that this process normally entails. Also notice the heavy emphasis on changing yourself or changing the minds of one or two other people: its very much cut from the clothe of post 1970 New Age movements that want to feel good about trying to save the world without actually, you know, putting any actual effort into world-saving activities. "We're changing miiiinds maaaaaan."

Its filling various psychological, emotional and intellectual gaps that have been generated by our post-industrial economy and post-modern social values.

Samizdata
May 14, 2007

My lips are sealed.

And my eyes are nearsighted.

And astigmatic.

The main problem I have found with anarchy of any kind is the difficulty in picking out a club house, not to mention forum software...

Bubonic Plagiarist
Sep 10, 2009


I was a voluntarist part of my freshman year of college, I think because I was frustrated by a lot of the things I saw going on in the world and wanted there to be some fundamental, logical solution to all of them. Voluntarism claims to be that solution: just do away with coercion and everything else falls into place. Questions about the poor, etc., get brushed away because "there won't really be any poor in a voluntarist system, and if there are, private charity can handle it."

This essay sums up a lot of the reasons I had for giving it up, mostly how hard it is to define "coercion" in a way that doesn't make you sound like a monster.

Schizotek
Nov 8, 2011

It's all for nothing if you don't have freedom.

Helsing posted:

The wikipedia entry on Voluntarysim is clearly written by supporters and it pretty much sums up the intellectual bankruptcy.

For instance, they give a chart of people supposedly advocating the 'non-aggresion principle' and then go on to cite, among others, Jesus, Epicurus, Herbet Spencer and John Stewart Mill. Apparently this diverse collection of thinkers, as well as Rand and Rothbard, are all examples of voluntaryists. It really makes you wonder if any of them have ever actually read Mill or Spencer (just kidding, its obvious they haven't).

The actual movement, once you remove the clumsy and superficial attempts to connect their New Age mysticism with a long line of older thinkers who certainly don't share their beliefs, seems to be almost entirely based around a single newsletter and a couple websites:


You want another example of an extremely recent and intellectual shallow movement that claims to have a sweeping historical mandate ("the secret teachings of Buddha and Jesus!") and which reduces everything in life to a single axiomatic principle? The Secret. There's more relationship between Voluntaryism and The Secret than there is between voluntaryism and any political ideology or philosophy.

Wikipedia seems to be more and more controlled by crazy people. On the opposite end of the spectrum of the "voluntarism" people: "Gift economics". They claim bartering never existed and that before money every single society just gave each other gifts with no expectation of getting anything in return. Also: ancient societies were post-scarcity environments and lack of food/housing/medicine is a myth brought about by capitalism. Or something.

These idiots have gained enough influence to start adding their bullshit to legitimate articles.

the2ndgenesis
Mar 18, 2009

You, McNulty, are a gaping asshole. We both know this.


It makes me sick to my stomach that edgy libertarians have co-opted the term "anarchism," an idea for which real people actually fought and died in recent history. Thousands of CNT soldiers would be rolling in their graves if they could hear the likes of Rothbard, Block and Hoppe calling their ghastly ideology "anarchism."

"Anarcho"-capitalism is a strange animal. I've heard apologists insist that the "free society" would ~naturallly~ minimize social injustice and oppression through the transcendent omnipotence of God the free market, but at the same time you have theorists like Hans-Hermann Hoppe unironically describing it as a dystopian hellscape for anyone who isn't part of the wealthy hegemonic class. Who's right, then?

Hans-Hermann Hoppe posted:

A member of the human race who is completely incapable of understanding the higher productivity of labor performed under a division of labor based on private property is not properly speaking a person… but falls instead into the same moral category as an animal – of either the harmless sort (to be domesticated and employed as a producer or consumer good, or to be enjoyed as a “free good”) or the wild and dangerous one (to be fought as a pest).

On the other hand, there are members of the human species who are capable of understanding the [value of the division of labor] but… who knowingly act wrongly… [B]esides having to be tamed or even physically defeated [they] must also be punished… to make them understand the nature of their wrongdoings and hopefully teach them a lesson for the future. [173]

I really do wonder whether Mises had any idea what kind of Pandora's Box he was opening when he founded the Austrian School.

Helsing
Aug 23, 2003

THUNDERDOME LOSER

The important thing to emphasize about Hans-Hermann Hoppe is that he's a distinguished fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute and generally well regarded in libertarian circles. You can find archives of his stuff on the major websites like Lewrockwell and his books are often sold at Libertarian gatherings.

So the movement that supposedly celebrates freedom and liberty above all else is actively championing and celebrating a guy who says that the libertarian future will be based on treating all non-libertarians as literal subhumans. In fact Hoppe is one of the only major libertarian authors I'm aware of who has actually spent any substantial amount of time articulating a specific vision of what a Libertarian future would look like (beyond the really vague platitudes about everyone being freer that is).

So as tempting as it may be to assume Hoppe is a marginal figure in this movement, he's actually pretty significant.

EDIT - Here's a representative sample of his ideas:

quote:

Daily Bell: Are you denying, then, that we need the state to defend us?

Dr. Hans-Hermann Hoppe: Indeed. The state does not defend us; rather, the state aggresses against us and it uses our confiscated property to defend itself. The standard definition of the state is this: the state is an agency characterized by two unique, logically connected features. First, the state is an agency that exercises a territorial monopoly of ultimate decision-making. That is, the state is the ultimate arbiter and judge in every case of conflict, including conflicts involving itself and its agents. There is no appeal above and beyond the state. Second, the state is an agency that exercises a territorial monopoly of taxation. That is, it is an agency that can unilaterally fix the price that its subjects must pay for the state's service as ultimate judge. Based on this institutional set-up you can safely predict the consequences. First, instead of preventing and resolving conflict, a monopolist of ultimate decision-making will cause and provoke conflict in order to settle it to its own advantage. That is, the state does not recognize and protect existing law, but it perverts law through legislation. Contradiction number one: the state is a law-breaking law protector. Second, instead of defending and protecting anyone or anything, a monopolist of taxation will invariably strive to maximize his expenditures on protection and at the same time minimize the actual production of protection. The more money the state can spend and the less it must work for this money, the better off it is. Contradiction number two: the state is an expropriating property protector.

Daily Bell: Are there any good laws and regulations?

Dr. Hans-Hermann Hoppe: Yes. There are a few, simple good laws that almost everyone intuitively recognizes and acknowledges and that can also be demonstrated to be "true" and "good" laws. First: If there were no interpersonal conflicts and we all lived in perfect harmony there would be no need for any law or norm. It is the purpose of laws or norms to help avoid otherwise unavoidable conflict. Only laws that achieve this can be called good laws. A law that generates conflict rather than help avoid it is contrary to the purpose of laws, i.e., bad, dysfunctional or perverted law.

Second: Conflicts are possible only if and insofar as goods are scarce. People clash, because they want to use one and the same good in different, incompatible ways. Either I win and get my way or you win and get your way. We cannot both be "winners." In the case of scarce goods, then, we need rules or laws helping us decide between rival, conflicting claims. In contrast, goods that are "free," i.e., goods that exist in superabundance, that are inexhaustible or infinitely re-producible, are not and cannot be a source of conflict. Whenever I use a non-scarce good it does not in the slightest diminish the supply of this good available to you. I can do with it what I want and you can do with it what you want at the same time. There is no loser. We are both winners; and hence, as far as non-scarce goods are concerned, there is never any need for laws.

Third: All conflict concerning scarce goods, then, can be avoided if only every good is privately owned, i.e., exclusively controlled by one specified individual(s) rather than another, and it is always clear which thing is owned, and by whom, and which is not. And in order to avoid all possible conflict from the beginning of mankind on, it is only necessary to have a rule regulating the first, original appropriation of previously un-owned, nature-given goods as private property. In sum then, there are essentially three "good laws" that assure conflict-free interaction or "eternal peace:" a) he who first appropriates something previously on-owned is its exclusive owner (as the first appropriator he cannot have come into conflict with anyone else as everyone else appeared on the scene only later); b) he who produces something with his body and homesteaded goods is owner of his product, provided he does not thereby damage the physical integrity of others' property; and c) he who acquires something from a previous or earlier owner by means of voluntary exchange, i.e., an exchange that is deemed mutually beneficial, is its owner.

Daily Bell: How, then, does one define freedom? As the absence of state coercion?

Dr. Hans-Hermann Hoppe: A society is free, if every person is recognized as the exclusive owner of his own (scarce) physical body, if everyone is free to appropriate or "homestead" previously un-owned things as private property, if everyone is free to use his body and his homesteaded goods to produce whatever he wants to produce (without thereby damaging the physical integrity of other peoples' property), and if everyone is free to contract with others regarding their respective properties in any way deemed mutually beneficial. Any interference with this constitutes an act of aggression, and a society is un-free to the extent of such aggressions.

Look everyone, these three simple steps will literally *SOLVE EVERY CONFLICT IN HUMAN HISTORY EVER*

McDowell
Aug 1, 2008

Surely, Caligula was my greatest role

A Kenyan Libertarian on Twitter: Most consumers want to the pay the lowest price for their purchases yet get 'upset' when these items are made in sweat-shops!

me: Contradictions...in capitalism?!?

Tweet: No. It's about the consumers... They want cheap yet complain how the cheap comes about!

me: The definition of a contradiction. Consumers want better stuff for less $$$ but this undercuts their wages and overall QoL

This has been a big problem since the 90's, it's a fatal flaw in neoliberal consumer global society - we always want more for less.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyDBsMi7WE8

We'll spend more but you'll pay less tax!

Muscle Tracer
Feb 23, 2007



Helsing posted:

EDIT - Here's a representative sample of his ideas:

quote:

And in order to avoid all possible conflict from the beginning of mankind on, it is only necessary to have a rule regulating the first, original appropriation of previously un-owned, nature-given goods as private property [...] he who acquires something from a previous or earlier owner by means of voluntary exchange, i.e., an exchange that is deemed mutually beneficial, is its owner.

Look everyone, these three simple steps will literally *SOLVE EVERY CONFLICT IN HUMAN HISTORY EVER*

Hahaha, the alternative formulation of all this is so straightforward and idiotic that I'm amazed anyone has any respect for this guy. That formulation being, "If only we all agreed on who owns what, and never disagreed, then we wouldn't have violence!"

How do we find the solution when two people both claim to be the first appropriator of something, eh? Or when I murder you to take the fact that you're the first appropriator out of the question?

Hieronymous Alloy
Jan 30, 2009


Why?! Why?! Why must you refuse to accept that Dr. Hieronymous Alloy's Genetically Enhanced Cream Corn Is Superior to the Leading Brand on the Market ?!!!


the2ndgenesis posted:

It makes me sick to my stomach that edgy libertarians have co-opted the term "anarchism," an idea for which real people actually fought and died in recent history. Thousands of CNT soldiers would be rolling in their graves if they could hear the likes of Rothbard, Block and Hoppe calling their ghastly ideology "anarchism."

Serious question, though, from honest ignorance: what's the difference, in end result, between "anarcho capitalism" and straight up anarchism?

I mean, sure on the one hand you have a system of property and the other you don't, but neither has an exactly stellar long-term track record historically speaking; you're looking at a the Icelandic commonwealth on one side and a few very short-term movements on the other, all of which inevitably collapsed into more ordered states with systems of laws and government.

Maybe I just don't know enough about "left anarchism" to frame my question properly.

Helsing
Aug 23, 2003

THUNDERDOME LOSER

The global economy since the 1990s has been massively dependent on world's two largest single economies, American and China, completely ignoring all the policies that other countries are supposed to follow. The reason South Korea or Germany has been so successful in finding exports for their products is largely because the United States has acted as a consumer of last resort for the global economy by taking advantage of its control over the US dollar.

Neoliberalism, with its emphasis on a competitive export sector and a lean state, depends at the global level on having its primary champion the US play by totally different rules.

Helsing
Aug 23, 2003

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Muscle Tracer posted:


Hahaha, the alternative formulation of all this is so straightforward and idiotic that I'm amazed anyone has any respect for this guy. That formulation being, "If only we all agreed on who owns what, and never disagreed, then we wouldn't have violence!"

How do we find the solution when two people both claim to be the first appropriator of something, eh? Or when I murder you to take the fact that you're the first appropriator out of the question?

Part of this comes from the fact that Hoppe basically won't articulate his full position except to a sympathetic audience. In this interview he simply claims that there would never been any conflicts. If you read his book then he's very explicit about the fact that his libertarian paradise is predicated on treating non-libertarians as subhuman. Also he advocates having privately funded security organizations field their own armies and police forces to deal with conflicts.

So its magical thinking tempered with dishonesty. Deep down he's perfectly aware there would still be conflicts, but in his ideal world rather than having to call the police he can literally send his private goons to have a trespasser shot and tossed into a nearby gully or roadside ditch.

Adar
Jul 27, 2001

William "J." Fillmaff in training

Hieronymous Alloy posted:

Serious question, though, from honest ignorance: what's the difference, in end result, between "anarcho capitalism" and straight up anarchism?

I mean, sure on the one hand you have a system of property and the other you don't, but neither has an exactly stellar long-term track record historically speaking; you're looking at a the Icelandic commonwealth on one side and a few very short-term movements on the other, all of which inevitably collapsed into more ordered states with systems of laws and government.

Maybe I just don't know enough about "left anarchism" to frame my question properly.

As far as I can tell, ancapland is a dystopian hellhole RPG setting where flourishing free markets in children are commonplace and encouraged (but the eight year olds traded in those markets are always free to run away (although, if they do, the contract their parents signed with the slave trader probably prohibits them from feeding them)). The CNT had plenty of issues, but that wasn't one of them.

Most of the critiques of socialism center around its large scale unsustainability and/or tendency to creep into (or sprint towards) authoritarianism over time, but there's no question you can have an organization of thousands of unrelated people that is socialist and at least somewhat stable. Ancapland wouldn't make it past five.

Enjoy
Apr 18, 2009


Hieronymous Alloy posted:

Serious question, though, from honest ignorance: what's the difference, in end result, between "anarcho capitalism" and straight up anarchism?

Well neither system can actually exist in practice owing to the nature of the state as apparatus for oppression of one class by another: the capitalist state could only be disbanded if the workers had enough organisation and power to overthrow it, which pretty much requires a state, as we saw in the Ukraine and Spain, where the anarchists quickly abandoned anarchism and began taxing, conscripting and imposing their policies on territory they controlled. I don't know what kind of bizarre world we'd have to live in for an-caps to have a chance at going Galt but it would just as likely be averted by unions and criminals filling the power void.

Anyway, the really interesting difference between the two is who benefits when the ideology becomes more influential. Left wing anarchism benefits the working class by creating a more unified opposition in the workplace etc.
Austro-libertarianism benefits big corporations since the only real way to implement the an-cap policy prescriptions is to lower taxes (giving the rich more money), remove industry regulations (allowing the rich to exploit their workers more effectively) and privatise or remove social welfare programmes (giving employers more power by making workers fear the prospect of unemployment more). This is why people like the Koch brothers give donations to things like Mises.org and Reason.com, even though Austro-libertarians will tell you they oppose the government protection people like the Kochs received to get where they are.

Metal Pink Babble
Mar 31, 2012

rare and not quite solid.

The nature of the movement defies an arbitrary consensual structure, the compulsory institution, or the rigidity of constricting time-based obligation. Your proposition is more akin to naive millionaires who think controlling the weather is a sustainable idea. Here's some Hakim Bey:

T.A.Z. posted:

Art Sabotage
ART SABOTAGE STRIVES TO be perfectly exemplary but at the same time retain an element of opacity--not propaganda but aesthetic shock--apallingly direct yet also subtly angled-- action-as-metaphor.

Art Sabotage is the dark side of Poetic Terrorism--creation- through-destruction--but it cannot serve any Party, nor any nihilism, nor even art itself. Just as the banishment of illusion enhances awareness, so the demolition of aesthetic blight sweetens the air of the world of discourse, of the Other. Art Sabotage serves only consciousness, attentiveness, awakeness.

A-S goes beyond paranoia, beyond deconstruction--the ultimate criticism--physical attack on offensive art-- aesthetic jihad. The slightest taint of petty ego-icity or even of personal taste spoils its purity & vitiates its force. A-S can never seek power--only release it.

Individual artworks (even the worst) are largely irrelevant- -A-S seeks to damage institutions which use art to diminish consciousness & profit by delusion. This or that poet or painter cannot be condemned for lack of vision--but malign Ideas can be assaulted through the artifacts they generate. MUZAK is designed to hypnotize & control--its machinery can be smashed.

Public book burnings--why should rednecks & Customs officials monopolize this weapon? Novels about children possessed by demons; the New York Times bestseller list; feminist tracts against pornography; schoolbooks (especially Social Studies, Civics, Health); piles of New York Post , Village Voice & other supermarket papers; choice gleanings of Xtian publishers; a few Harlequin Romances--a festive atmosphere, wine-bottles & joints passed around on a clear autumn afternoon.

To throw money away at the Stock Exchange was pretty decent Poetic Terrorism--but to destroy the money would have been good Art Sabotage. To seize TV transmission & broadcast a few pirated minutes of incendiary Chaote art would constitute a feat of PT--but simply to blow up the transmission tower would be perfectly adequate Art Sabotage. If certain galleries & museums deserve an occasional brick through their windows--not destruction, but a jolt to complacency--then what about BANKS? Galleries turn beauty into a commodity but banks transmute Imagination into feces and debt. Wouldn't the world gain a degree of beauty with each bank that could be made to tremble...or fall? But how? Art Sabotage should probably stay away from politics (it's so boring)--but not from banks.

Don't picket--vandalize. Don't protest--deface. When ugliness, poor design & stupid waste are forced upon you, turn Luddite, throw your shoe in the works, retaliate. Smash the symbols of the Empire in the name of nothing but the heart's longing for grace.

sad salad tosser
Nov 15, 2012

In dewy damps my limbs were chilled; My blood with gentle horrors thrilled; My feeble pulse forgot to play; I fainted, sunk, and died away


Ah, the non-aggression principle. Please do not conflate it with non-violence, because it is not. You see, the NAP says that one should never instigate violence against a person or their property, but that it is all-right to defend oneself. The problem? Mainly, the “violence against property” bit. For if I'm a poor worker, and me and my fellow workers decide to get together and go on strike for better pay, why that is violence against the capitalist's property, because we are hurting his profits! And since the NAP gives us no guide-lines for what amount of violence is acceptable in self defence, our capitalist wouldn't really be going against the NAP principles if he got a private army to open fire on us...


duck monster posted:

An anarchist who doesnt believe in the minimum wage is a human contradiction.

Not really. Lots of leftist anarchists disagree on the minimum wage, some arguing that it's just a concession from the state to appease the masses, one that ultimately prevents a revolution from taking place. Now I don't agree with that at all, I'm just saying that it's far from that simple.


But to even call these guys “anarchists” is ridiculous. Anarchists oppose the state, yes, but there is more to being an anarchist than merely opposition to the state. The state represents merely one form of coercive hierarchy, and an anarchist would oppose all such hierarchies, including those inherent in capitalism and market relation themselves.




Enjoy posted:

... as we saw in the Ukraine and Spain, where the anarchists quickly abandoned anarchism and began taxing, conscripting and imposing their policies on territory they controlled.


While that does indeed contradict some forms of anarchism, it:
1) Does not contradict all forms, or all related (or "anarchist-ish") philosophies. Bookchin's libertarian municipalism, for example, wouldn't really have a problem with taxes, laws or conscription, as long as the decisions to do those things where arrived at through voting in directly-democratic assemblies. (I think...)
2) Deals with an situation of war, which complicates things quite a bit, to say the least. You can't really say a theory didn't work out in practice if the people trying to implement it where being shot at...
3) Is an example of a failure of implementation, if anything. Like Larry Niven said, “No technique works if it isn't used” (also, “Not responsible for advice not taken”). In this case, we ought to be asking why implementation failed, and if and how that can be avoided in the future.

Uglycat
Dec 4, 2000


Voluntarism does have a noteworthy and unique advantage over most competing systems:
It doesn't rely on the belief in some 'Social Contract.'

Which is a myth. A myth our present world is built upon.

Voluntarism is not the synthesis of libertarianism and anarcho-socialism, but it is (vaguely) a point of consensus.

In libertarianism, they then re-introduce the myth of the social contract (discretely) as the idea of 'land ownership.'

In anarcho-socialism, well... that's a very misunderstood beast. I don't know what the theories on it say, but I know my share of groups I'd describe as a 'commune', and I know the processes they use (largely anabaptist influenced people; mennonites and quakers). They taught us how to run our General Assembly at #OccupySouthBend. It works for them, and they're interested in contributing their innovations to the pursuit of a sustainable global economy and an end to poverty and pluralism and peace and...

Generally, I like those people and think their voices should be amplified in the larger conversation.

Pope Guilty
Nov 6, 2006

The human animal is a beautiful and terrible creature, capable of limitless compassion and unfathomable cruelty.

Consensus is horrible poo poo that allows strong-willed, vocal assholes to run roughshod over shy, less strong-willed people. It's a system where being an overbearing rear end in a top hat who is unwilling to compromise lets you pretty much run the show by badgering everybody else into going along with you and refusing to agree to anything anybody else wants. If you're not incredibly, even unrealistically careful about who you allow into a consensus-dominated group, that group will either accomplish nothing or collapse into poo poo. It works as much as it does for the religious communities who invented it because if you're not aligned with the group's wants and desires, you're not a member of the community. In organizations with open or unselective membership? gently caress no, get a copy of Robert's Rules of Order and a gavel.

Sakarja
Oct 19, 2003

"Our masters have not heard the people's voice for generations and it is much, much louder than they care to remember."

Capitalism is the problem. Anarchism is the answer. Join an anarchist union today!

sad salad tosser posted:

While that does indeed contradict some forms of anarchism, it:
1) Does not contradict all forms, or all related (or "anarchist-ish") philosophies. Bookchin's libertarian municipalism, for example, wouldn't really have a problem with taxes, laws or conscription, as long as the decisions to do those things where arrived at through voting in directly-democratic assemblies. (I think...)
2) Deals with an situation of war, which complicates things quite a bit, to say the least. You can't really say a theory didn't work out in practice if the people trying to implement it where being shot at...
3) Is an example of a failure of implementation, if anything. Like Larry Niven said, “No technique works if it isn't used” (also, “Not responsible for advice not taken”). In this case, we ought to be asking why implementation failed, and if and how that can be avoided in the future.

1) But that would be the majority imposing their will on the minority, unless there's consensus. And if there actually was a consensus, there would be no need for things like taxes or conscription in the first place. In reality, those policies were born of necessity and justified by some pretty hilarious doublespeak. Like in the Paris Commune, where it was announced that conscription was abolished and that every citizen capable of bearing arms was to be a member of the National Guard. Or in Ukraine, where “voluntary mobilization” meant that you could volunteer before you were conscripted.

Left-anarchism might not be as obviously impossible to implement or as cartoonishly evil as the libertarianism of Rand, Rothbard and Hoppe. But if left-anarchist societies can only survive in the face of crisis by betraying their core principles (and don’t manage to survive even then, as in the case of “actually existing anarchism”), then what's the point?

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Pope Guilty
Nov 6, 2006

The human animal is a beautiful and terrible creature, capable of limitless compassion and unfathomable cruelty.

Left anarchism generally isn't obsessed with "coercion"; that's really a focus of individualist "anarchism" and anarcho-capitalism.

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