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Anarchism (Specific Critique)

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CapitalistSwine
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I know that there are other threads regarding Anarchism/"Anarcho-Capitalism" but they all tend to focus on specific things and I haven't really been able to get a good grasp of said argument in retaliation of these two articles without requiring me to go through tons of pages of conversation. I was curious what the general Objectivist refutations/criticisms are of these two articles? I greatly appreciate the assistance with this. I by no means am an anarchist of any form but I have trouble putting my thoughts into words on this subject.

http://www.lewrockwell.com/kinsella/kinsella15.html

http://www.lewrockwell.com/shaffer/shaffer60.html

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Accordingly, anyone who is not an anarchist must maintain either: (a) aggression is justified; or (B) states (in particular, minimal states) do not necessarily employ aggression.

This is the flawed premise that ignores the distinction between the initiation of force (aggression) and defensive/retaliatory force (i.e. not aggression) based on pre-standing objective rules and laws.

The late Robert LeFevre made one such effort to transcend the popular meaning of the word when he declared that "an anarchist is anyone who believes in less government than you do." But an even better understanding of the concept can be derived from the Greek origins of the word (anarkhos) which meant "without a ruler." It is this definition of the word that members of the political power structure (i.e., your "rulers") do not want you to consider.

If his definition of anarchy stops at "without a ruler" then there's no real conflict with Objectivism. If he extends it to "without laws" and "without law enforcement", then that is the divergence.

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1. The statement "states are unjustified" has undeniable logical implications. One of them is that none of the functions of states are justified. Since one of the functions of the state is to provide objective justice, he is saying that justice, as we know it, is not justified. I disagree. In fact, without objective justice, there is no civilization. In other words there is no moral society. The very claim that he is arguing for morality, while others are arguing for utility, is proven absurd.

2. He defines aggression as initiation of force against innocent victims, and he claims that any state would necessarily employ such force, even minimalist states. He's clearly unfamiliar with Ayn Rand's definition of individual rights, and her description of a state which is limited to protecting them. Such a state, by definition, would not initiate force.

3. He doesn't offer any solutions, he freely admits to not believing anarchy is possible, yet he rejects the institution of government on moral grounds. That has a logical implication as well, it means that his idea of morality, whatever it is, is necessarily impossible to practice. An impossible morality is absolutely useless, and any man who would waste his life promoting it is devoid of purpose.

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1. The statement "states are unjustified" has undeniable logical implications. One of them is that none of the functions of states are justified. Since one of the functions of the state is to provide objective justice, he is saying that justice, as we know it, is not justified. I disagree. In fact, without objective justice, there is no civilization. In other words there is no moral society. The very claim that he is arguing for morality, while others are arguing for utility, is proven absurd.

2. He defines aggression as initiation of force against innocent victims, and he claims that any state would necessarily employ such force, even minimalist states. He's clearly unfamiliar with Ayn Rand's definition of individual rights, and her description of a state which is limited to protecting them. Such a state, by definition, would not initiate force.

I agree that that would be absurd, but as a recovering anarchocapitalist, I can say that isn't necessarily the case for anarchy. In Jarret B. Wollstein's "Society Without Coercion," which is better than those articles previously posted imo, the argument isn't necessarily that there should be no law, no state functions, or justice, but most anarchocapitalists of the Rothbardian tradition agree that objective law is necessary for a moral society:

There is simply no obligation on the part of the individual to obey laws simply because the laws exist. If the individual's rights are violated by laws, he is morally justified in regarding the unjust laws as a criminal invasion of his privacy and in retaliating accordingly.

There is, however, one type of law which is morally binding on all men — objective law. An objective law is one which is based on the objective facts of reality and on principles derived from those facts. In general, objective social laws are those which prohibit the initiation of force and protect the rights of men. Laws against theft, rape, embezzlement, arson, larceny, assault, fraud, and murder are examples of objective social laws.

The issue they have is that that as long as objective laws are being enforced, the state has no moral right to prevent market-based competition for the enforement of those objective laws, thus ceasing to become a state:

In short, the state has no moral right to prevent competitive agencies of retaliatory force from existing. In a free society, men are at liberty to form those agencies of retaliatory force which they wish to form in order to protect their rights. The form, number, and relationship between such agencies in any given geographical area can be variable. There may be one or many such agencies in any given area, and they may be functionally distinct or operationally integrated. What their form and number will be is for the free market to decide, which means it is for the voluntary judgment of each individual who participates in the market to decide. If the state intervenes, if it tells men that they cannot form such agencies under penalty of fine, imprisonment, or death, then the state is violating the rights of men to associate freely, and has in fact assumed the status of a coercive monopoly.

In a truly free society there would then be nothing to prevent the formation of competing agencies of retaliatory force, nor would there be anything to fear from them so long as they operated on the basis of objective law.

http://mises.org/daily/4078

While I don't necessarily disagree that people in a given geographical area can decide to use a different police agency to enforce objective laws, I don't think the desired result is anarchism in the subjectivist sense, rather just a form of confederation or secession, as long as force is not initiated against the original government.

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In short, the state has no moral right to prevent competitive agencies of retaliatory force from existing. In a free society, men are at liberty to form those agencies of retaliatory force which they wish to form in order to protect their rights. The form, number, and relationship between such agencies in any given geographical area can be variable. There may be one or many such agencies in any given area, and they may be functionally distinct or operationally integrated. What their form and number will be is for the free market to decide, which means it is for the voluntary judgment of each individual who participates in the market to decide.

Two questions then:

1.) Who decides who is right where there is a conflict and whether or not it is legitimate to exercise retaliatory force? Who is the final arbiter? Biggest guns win in that case?

2.) What happens when the free market, through reason, logic and best practices creates a monopoly of retaliatory force and calls it "government"? (Does Mr. Rand get an official apology?)

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The issue they have is that that as long as objective laws are being enforced, the state has no moral right to prevent market-based competition

According to the only morality that makes any sense to me, it ain't immoral to prevent competing firms from providing what they see as objective law enforcement. In fact, according to the only Epistemology that makes sense to me, disagreements among fully rational individuals are common, so it would be impossible for that system to work.

As soon as someone posts something about this supposed Ethics that is a coherent part of a rational Philosophy, and explains why it forbids an individual who lives by such moral code to prevent competition in law enforcement, I'll respond in more detail. Until then, you have no moral right to mention guys named Murray, or anything they have to say. My never to be described but often used as a logical premise morality forbids it.

Edited by Jake_Ellison
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Two questions then:

1.) Who decides who is right where there is a conflict and whether or not it is legitimate to exercise retaliatory force? Who is the final arbiter? Biggest guns win in that case?

It's a fair question, but it doesn't apply exclusively to a condition of anarchy. Suppose a citizen of the Republic of A has a conflict with a citizen of the Republic of B. Is the final arbiter Government A or Government B (or the Supreme Court of the United Federation of Planets)?

2.) What happens when the free market, through reason, logic and best practices creates a monopoly of retaliatory force and calls it "government"? (Does Mr. Rand get an official apology?)

As Ayn Rand and others have pointed out, the only monopoly worth worrying about is a coercive monopoly:

The necessary precondition of a coercive monopoly is closed entry—the barring of all competing producers from a given field. This can be accomplished only by an act of government intervention, in the form of special regulations, subsidies, or franchises. Without government assistance, it is impossible for a would-be monopolist to set and maintain his prices and production policies independent of the rest of the economy. For if he attempted to set his prices and production at a level that would yield profits to new entrants significantly above those available in other fields, competitors would be sure to invade his industry.
http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/monopoly.html

The "barring of all competing producers" is what individualist anarchists say is the contradiction in laissez faire government.

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My experiences from every little situation with micro-anarchism (lack of rules in a social setting) have taught me that in the abscence of authority, it's always the peaceful who suffer.

Ever thought it odd how male lions only exist to fight male lions. The females make babies (okay, with a little male help) and do all the hunting. They also protect the pride from other predators.

Humans survive by reason. Only one power in the world can live off of an individual's reason beyond that individual - human brutishness. Unlike the lion prides, human minds may go on strike. The looters require the victims' consent, the continued use of their productivity, to prosper. The male lions may take over other prides, and the females will keep doing what they always do.

Anarchy is incredibly dysfunctional in this context. Value - as measured by human productiveness - is not equivalent to the balance of power. When protection and force become the possession and product of the individual, productiveness is no longer the measure of value. Power, force, cunning, fear, conquest, these become measurements, and distorts the value of productiveness.

Economic productivity is not a social product. Civil order is. Libertarianism - liberty for liberty's sake - would find a contradiction in this. They would say: why does a individual man have a right to his productive effort, but not to the use of force? An Objectivist would understand that there is no contradiction. Man has a right to what is objectively his; by his standard of value, life, man has a right to the product of his reason. Man has zero right to use force other than in compliance with, in protection of, this first standard. He turns over, gives up, his ability to use force indiscriminately to society. The government, the receiving organ of society, then decides upon a common standard for the use of force. This includes a system of justice and punishment. This is no contradiciton or sacrifice. Man gives up his indiscriminate use of force in order to obtain the indiscriminate use of his mind.

Anyone who wants to define anarchy as anything other than giving each individual the right to use force indiscriminately is a liar. I'm pretty sure by their standard, the schism of 1088 (or whenever), was an act of 'anarchy'.

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  • 1 month later...
According to the only morality that makes any sense to me, it ain't immoral to prevent competing firms from providing what they see as objective law enforcement. In fact, according to the only Epistemology that makes sense to me, disagreements among fully rational individuals are common, so it would be impossible for that system to work.

1. It makes sense that there can be one Objective legal philosophy. That is not what is in question. Most Anarcho-Capitalists believe that individualism should be upheld as the law of the land. What is at stake is the WHO and HOW not the WHAT.

What I mean by this is that a singular state can only establish one set of applications and procedures for law enforcement to practice objective law. It isn't like there is some stone tablet out there showing us how to apply the specifics of objective law. This means that as a society everyone has to deal with the one shot that the government has thought about law in a correct context.

In addition to this, the prevention of secession implies a coercive monopoly, which is a danger to the efficacy of the government. What incentive does it have to use the best philosophies of law, the best procedures, the best officers and judges if people are not allowed to choose another government?

No one is arguing that people should be able to secede from the right to life and property, what is being argued is that people should be able to secede from the various formulations of how protection should be organized, how law investigations should be conducted and such .

2. How in the world do you get from "disagreements are common among fully rational people" to "so it would be impossible for that system to work"?

Until then, you have no moral right to mention guys named Murray, or anything they have to say. My never to be described but often used as a logical premise morality forbids it.

3. The second sentence doesn't even make sense, and what in the world do you mean by "no moral right to mention...". Are you saying on this board we aren't allowed to talk about him? That is fine if those are the current rules, but if not please explain how you are not making a mockery of the words "moral" or "right".

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According to the only morality that makes any sense to me, it ain't immoral to prevent competing firms from providing what they see as objective law enforcement.

If you wish to sufficiently acknowledge and rebut anarcho-capitalism, you must begin by recognizing that not all varieties would support competing firms deciding on what principles of justice are correct. Many would say that anyone (defense agencies, individual people, etc) can properly shut down and punish firms which base their operations on incorrect, subjective principles of justice. Only firms which recognize the proper objective principles of justice operate without violating anyone's rights, and thus only these firms are themselves proper.

The argument is, rather, that within this group of firms which all agree on the objective principles of justice, there will be disagreements about the proper legal and criminal procedures to secure the agreed-upon principles of justice. Even among people who agree on the principles of justice, there is room for disagreement on whether statutes of limitations are a good idea, whether a certain crime merits jail time or a fine, etc. It is over this that many anarcho-capitalists envision firms competing. To properly confront these arguments, it is this position which one must attack.

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The argument is, rather, that within this group of firms which all agree on the objective principles of justice, there will be disagreements about the proper legal and criminal procedures to secure the agreed-upon principles of justice.

Why would they all agree on the principles of justice?

And what if a person who adheres to one set of rules (say one that says the punishment for theft is a slap on one's touchy, by a pretty dominatrix) steals from a person who adheres to the set of rules by which the punishment is two slaps on the touchy, by the firm but fair hand of a rough gentleman. Does the first guy get one slap from the woman, or two slaps from the man? And who decides which?

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Why would they all agree on the principles of justice?

And what if a person who adheres to one set of rules (say one that says the punishment for theft is a slap on one's touchy, by a pretty dominatrix) steals from a person who adheres to the set of rules by which the punishment is two slaps on the touchy, by the firm but fair hand of a rough gentleman. Does the first guy get one slap from the woman, or two slaps from the man? And who decides which?

The same reason people aren't rebelling against the current system. Ideas drive history. In order for any system to emerge people have to believe in it. Property rights are necessary for this system.

I doubt corporal punishment would be used, but lets just say that it would.

The companies would have to come to an agreement about the punishment. In fact I would suspect that they would already have a standard set of laws that they adhere to when that sort of thing happens. I don't see them making money any other way.

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The same reason people aren't rebelling against the current system. Ideas drive history. In order for any system to emerge people have to believe in it. Property rights are necessary for this system.

I doubt corporal punishment would be used, but lets just say that it would.

The companies would have to come to an agreement about the punishment. In fact I would suspect that they would already have a standard set of laws that they adhere to when that sort of thing happens. I don't see them making money any other way.

So the actual laws are whatever a group of companies can agree to?

P.S. I don't understand why you find the possibility of corporal punishment so incredible. I assure you, the only way I intend to voluntarily subject myself to punishment, is if that punishment is a light spanking by a hot blonde. I'll even start my own company if that's what it takes.

Edited by Jake_Ellison
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So the actual laws are whatever a group of companies can agree to?

P.S. I don't understand why you find the possibility of corporal punishment so incredible. I assure you, the only way I intend to voluntarily subject myself to punishment, is if that punishment is a light spanking by a hot blonde. I'll even start my own company if that's what it takes.

What a group of companies and their consumers can agree too, yes.

The main thoughts about punishment in a "Anarchist" society go something like this "someone either pays restitution or they get ostracized from society, meaning no bank accounts, no access to roads, ect."

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What a group of companies and their consumers can agree too, yes.

The main thoughts about punishment in a "Anarchist" society go something like this "someone either pays restitution or they get ostracized from society, meaning no bank accounts, no access to roads, ect."

Well, I just explained that I started my own company, which punishes theft with light spanking by a blonde, and I am inflexible on that position. IS my company illegitimate, and who gets to decide that?

Or is my company legitimate, and I get to steal and get spanked for the rest of my life?

Edited by Jake_Ellison
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Well, I just explained that I started my own company, which punishes theft with light spanking by a blonde, and I am inflexible on that position. IS my company illegitimate, and who gets to decide that?

Or is my company legitimate, and I get to steal and get spanked for the rest of my life?

It is not legitimate to violate the rights of others. You can say you have your own company that will handle your own punishment, but other Companies will stop talking to you if this isn't handled to satisfaction, and arrange for you to be ostracized unless you pay appropriate restitution.

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It is not legitimate to violate the rights of others. You can say you have your own company that will handle your own punishment, but other Companies will stop talking to you if this isn't handled to satisfaction, and arrange for you to be ostracized unless you pay appropriate restitution.

Arrange how?

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Arrange how?

Well, if I were the owner of a law enforcement agency, I would talk to an independent firm that would keep track of a contract rating. Sort of like a credit score.

This score shows if you actually obey a contract, keep good on you deals and all of that. The highest ratings show you are an honest person, the middle might indicate a bad past, or that you messed up and failed to fulfill some work. The lowest ratings would indicate fraudulence.

That deals with what I would say is civil court matters. If you want to deal with someone you look up these ratings with various firms and see what there reputation is like.

With criminal matters, a Law Enforcement Agency might give discounts to all of the banks, utilities, and health services. In exchange, a proven criminal who doesn't give restitution the banks, utilities, and health services around the nation basically blacklist this guy. Existing without water, electricity, doctors, financial services, the internet would be extremely difficult and miserable. The list of services could be expanded to all of the private property of subscribers if that isn't harsh enough .

This isn't a punishment given to people who choose to show up to court though. People who show up to court can be reintegrated into society eventually. They may have to go to a hard labor camp, do rehabilitation, and pay restitution and fines though. Only the most evil of criminals would have in their interests to not go to court, but then they would be made explicit enemies of society.

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Well, if I were the owner of a law enforcement agency, I would talk to an independent firm that would keep track of a contract rating. Sort of like a credit score.

This score shows if you actually obey a contract, keep good on you deals and all of that. The highest ratings show you are an honest person, the middle might indicate a bad past, or that you messed up and failed to fulfill some work. The lowest ratings would indicate fraudulence.

That deals with what I would say is civil court matters. If you want to deal with someone you look up these ratings with various firms and see what there reputation is like.

I would use aliases. When I move into a new town, I'll say I'm Jerry. I steal a bunch of stuff, leave, and then call myself Jimmy while I'm living the high life. How exactly will anyone stop me from doing that?

In fact, forget that. Do you know how many Jake Ellison's there are in the World? How are you gonna accomplish identifying me specifically to every shop, hotel and restaurant in the World, even if I go by my real name?

Edited by Jake_Ellison
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I would use aliases. When I move into a new town, I'll say I'm Jerry. I steal a bunch of stuff, leave, and then call myself Jimmy while I'm living the high life. How exactly will anyone stop me from doing that?

In fact, forget that. Do you know how many Jake Ellison's there are in the World? How are you gonna accomplish identifying me specifically to every shop, hotel and restaurant in the World, even if I go by my real name?

Isn't this similar to arguments made by every opponent of capitalism? What is stopping you from doing that right now?

Since the solution isn't clear cut to you right now, then a solution can't exist? Don't forget we are talking about the future! Oooohh Ahhhh!

Some possible examples of solutions:

Computer chips embedded in our bodies.

Fingerprint scanners

ID's (like we use today)

Iris scanners

facial recognition software

etc.

Edited by TuesdaysThursdays
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Isn't this similar to arguments made by every opponent of capitalism?

I don't know. If it is, I have an answer for it.

What is stopping you from doing that right now?

The Police and the threat of jail time.

Computer chips embedded in our bodies.

Fingerprint scanners

ID's (like we use today)

Iris scanners

facial recognition software

etc.

How are you gonna collect my fingerprints, get me to carry an ID, embed a chip in me? (the facial recognition and iris scanner tech that would be needed to solve the problem does not exist, and "magic" is not an acceptable answer)

Edited by Jake_Ellison
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I don't know. If it is, I have an answer for it.

The Police and the threat of jail time.

How are you gonna collect my fingerprints, get me to carry an ID, embed a chip in me? (the facial recognition and iris scanner tech that would be needed to solve the problem does not exist, and "magic" is not an acceptable answer)

So you are arguing that the police of a government are capable of tracking you down, arresting you, and proving you committed these crimes, but a private detective agency would be completely befuddled.

As far as collecting prints/id etc. If your scenario becomes the problem you think it would become, businesses would simply require some form of ID if you want to be served. Implants would be voluntary of course. (noncriminal types may like the expediency it could bring. etc)

Edited by TuesdaysThursdays
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