Sunday, January 17, 2010

Why I am still an anarchist.

I am still an anarchist. There is an ethical dimension and a practical dimension to that and they are related. There's no reason to believe that the government is a net benefit in your life once you understand that big business and poverty are both a product of government. If someone can convince me that large-scale malfeasance can exist without government, well, that's really the only avenue of attack you'll get to convince me that statism is justified. (one thing to think about is this: functionally, what's the difference between a mafia and a government?... not idealistically or ideologically, but functionally, how do they differ in the mechanics of how they move matter and energy around? Now combine that with a belief that generally, everyone does what they perceive is in their own interest, and the powerful even more so...)
Statism is also unsustainable, and becomes more and more unsustainable the more powerful technology and productive capacity grows. The anarcho-primitivists have it entirely backwards. Under primitive conditions, a state can be all-powerful, with very little deception required. The potential damage done is outweighed vastly by the potential for wealth that is still untapped. In such a condition, anarchy is nearly impossible because micro-states/warlords can control the population (e.g. Somalia).
But in a society where everything is globally interconnected and vast material power can potentially be generated, concentration of power can be disastrous if anything goes wrong... In such a world, the state relies more and more on deception and less and less on raw force because the people have much more material power at their disposal.

Now, where I differ from a standard issue "ancap" or plumbline Rothbardian, is that I understand that *within* the context of a state, not every removal of a law or government shrinkage is a good thing. To come up with a silly, but explanatory example:
The government passes Law A stating that everyone has to spend 5 hours a week volunteering as a government laborer of some sort.
Then they pass Law B stating that poor people will get paid 10 dollars per hour for those 5 hours a week, to be paid out of taxes.
Repealing Law B does not make our society freer or better at all. In fact, quite the opposite.

But neither of those conditions should exist in the first place. Which, in a quite oversimplified way, is why I am an anarchist.

The police are ineffective without the vast network of unpaid informants that do most of their work for them. The law is toothless if people begin to ignore it.
My advice, as an anarchist, is simply this: Let your conscience be your guide. Don't obey the law because it is "the law" unless you are afraid of getting caught. If you want to smoke pot, smoke pot.
If you want to make a deal with someone, try to make that deal even if it breaks some obscure regulation. Ignore the legality of an action except as a potential hazard to yourself. Do whatever you feel is right and you can get away with.
The more and more people understand this, the larger the sphere of "what you can get away with" grows. Prosperity returns to the people despite the best efforts of the large corporations and banks... millions of "unemployed" people really have jobs, and millions more aren't even on the radar.
What will finally, in my opinion, break the back of the state is when DIY manufacturing becomes commonplace. Especially when these means come to the third world. All of a sudden, the "reserve army" of the unemployed lining up at the sweatshops will shrink... prices for corporate-made products will begin to rise, the financial chickens will come home to roost... corporate profits will shrink as they compete with micro-fabricators ... there will be a massive attempt at monetary deflation, which will induce vast savings by those who have excess capital... this savings will flow back into the economy and compete with debt-based investment...
The Great Flood. Everything will be cheap, except labor. No one will join the army when you can make twice that much working for a small basement workshop putting out sneakers... The former warlords and overlords of the third world will have nothing to offer their cannon fodder and so will find the barrels of the weapons turned in their direction.


Anonymous said...

Haha, funny. :) The day you stop using Internet and stop buying things, I may onces again become an anarchist.

Ineffabelle said...

Back under the bridge, you.

Andre said...

I like this, I've always gone by a "do what you want" ethos.
This quite closely equates to my beliefs, but not fully. ;)

Anonymous said...

I too was enamored with DIY, microfabrication, and open source technology for a long time.

I still like it out of pure technophilia, but now realize that it cannot and will not improve real wages under the context of the Land Monopoly.

The Law of Rent proves this to be true.

Granted, the land monopoly isn't 100% complete, but it is pretty damn close.

Ineffabelle said...

Ahh in that rent will rise to absorb all available surplus value? It's certainly possible.
The Money Monopoly doesn't help either, and in fact is likely the thing keeping the Land Monopoly functioning.
But if people generally ignore the state, the land and money monopolies lose their teeth, really. You (meaning the absentee landlord) can't patrol all of it yourself, and you can't pay anyone enough to keep them from taking over your land, once the holding grows large enough.
I like Henry George, and I think he was definitely way ahead of his time in a lot of ways, but the Single Tax won't work because any entity powerful enough to enact it, is powerful enough that they will be (on the side of) the monopolists, and in fact will be a subset of the monopolists.

Anonymous said...

There are multiple ways to attack the Land Monopoly, but it must be attacked.

Not only is it the "robber who takes all that is left," but it is at the root of the Boom and Bust cycle.

Failure to understand this is why both socialist and "free market" ideologies typically fail to live up to their promises.

Even on the radical end of the free market crowd, I don't see enough who acknowledge this.

Carson is one of the few who seems to understand, though even he gets too focused on the petty robbers and neglects the one who takes all that is left.

josh said...


An anarchist is against all rulers and hierarchy, they primarily reject authority.

Capitalism is a hierarchy. And one that is fundamentally terrible.

By this criteria, you are not an anarchist, just a right winger.

Also, capitalism needs the state to exist, genius. The abolishment of the state would be highly, highly destructive to capital.

Stop slandering our wod, ideology, history and tradition by associating it with the likes of racists, hyperindividualists, haters of equality, and reactionary buttheads.

Ineffabelle said...

"Also, capitalism needs the state to exist, genius. The abolishment of the state would be highly, highly destructive to capital."
Which just proves I'm not a capitalist, fool. I think there's some misunderstanding of terms, but oh boy, this argument is played out everywhere.