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Monday, November 28, 2011

Open Areas, Crooked Canals

It was a drizzly night that I was ready to return home to New Hampshire for the Thanksgiving break. I spent the entire evening in Baltimore before I caught the bus back. My friend Ross was there. He had been in DC attending a talk by the Institute for Humane Studies (if you know what that organization is), and I had convinced him to travel up to Baltimore for the afternoon to hang out. Before, he was in Auburn, Alabama studying Greek philosophy with Roderick Long. We talked about philosophy, market anarchism, all of those things over Greek pizza. He asked me if I planned to go to Porcfest this year. I responded by saying I wasn't. When he asked me why, I told him I know how out-of-place I know I'd feel if I did go. He encouraged me to be more open and give these new people and their ideas a try. I told him I'd think about it.

I arrived back in "The Shire" the next morning after two three-hour long bus rides and a two hour stop in New York. Aside from the recent call-out of Obama at Manchester Central, nothing much happened in NH between now and the last time I was home. There really isn't much here at all.


Yesterday I went to Nashua with Nick and his friend Jack. Both of them are left-libertarians and agorists (Jack told us how he used to pal around with SEK3 back in the 70's) though Nick's views seem to be far more to the left and far more anti-capitalist. Downtown Nashua is no longer safe to walk around in at night, since it is a mini-police state, but we went down there that evening as it was the site of the Holiday Stroll. One thing which stood out for me was the number of political campaigners. The NH primary is a little over a month away, so it makes sense to see such people flooding the streets. Most noticeable was the group of Ron Paul campaigners with their little signs and balloons. As we walked past them, one of the campaigners reached out to me and asked me if I wanted more freedom, and if so would I vote for Ron Paul. I told him straight-up that I don't want anyone having power over me. As we hurried on by I could hear the kid still shouting all the little slogans at me. I don't feel I need to kiss the ass of a certain politician in order to prove that I love liberty and hate the state's wars, and I don't see why anyone else should have to either. Nick smiled, assuring me that I handled it the right way. He doesn't understand why so-called "anti-statists" resort to voting either. Needless to say, as we kept walking down Main St. we found a plethora of election 2012 pamphlets littered all over the road, mostly for Ron Paul but also some for Perry and Gingrich.

We ended up leaving the stroll and driving Nick down to one of Nashua's many shopping plazas for work. He told us he understands what shit the wage system is now that he's been working in it. Thankfully, the workplace bureaucracy in his workplace isn't nearly as harsh as it is elsewhere. He and Jack talked about the numerous left-libertarian projects they have in mind for later on. For one thing, Nick and his girlfriend are thinking about starting up some kind of cooperative in downtown Nashua as soon as they move to the city permanently and obtain the resources to do so.

After Nick left for work, Jack agreed to drive me back to my parents' place. All along the way I asked him about things we could be doing now to change the system and solve the social problems we see today, especially if our principle is to never use the state. He didn't really seem to know that much. He explained to me that the class system was completely justified, since there will always be a division of labor (meaning, the talented businesspeople will always have more wealth than the untalented people who scrub toilets and sweep the sidewalks) and as such there's no use in trying to "solve" the problem. Instead, he advocated things like the "Basket Brigades" in Manchester-Concord. Though I told him, it's all a band-aid. He didn't seem that receptive, "Things will always be that way." But in this I have to ask, what happens in this society when the toilet scrubbers decide they are sick of the class hierarchy and decide to rebel? Then what will the talented rich do? They'd have to bring the state back in some form to keep the lower classes in control, regardless. I mean, they would have the power to do so, and an incentive. It's a dead-end. Every time you have any kind of social class you will have statism. There's also the fact that if the market acts as a form of direct democracy where people "vote" with their dollars/gold/seashells/whatever then wouldn't you end up seeing the exact same phenomenon of the rich being able to dictate policy? We know that money exists now, class exists now. But that doesn't entail that it will always be that way. We can build a completely new system. If we accept the fact that human society has changed drastically in the past 5000 years, why do we not have an understanding that it can continue to change and evolve into something completely different in the years to come? It seems to me that the whole connotation behind the "there will always be rich and poor people" is one of reluctance to solve or even address the issue. And when it is addressed it's always done through a very oversimplified statement - "the state makes people poor" or "that's just how it will always be". But how can we achieve a stateless society if the class division exists, and thus the rich have the incentive to keep the violent monopoly? Again, it doesn't make any sense.

Maybe I should attend Porcfest this year and ask them these questions?

7 comments:

  1. I will do my darnedest to make it to PorcFest this year. I regret missing it the last few years. (Did you see any of the media reporting on the last one? It made me angry at myself for not going.)

    I would love to see you there. If I can go and enjoy myself as a self-described liberal, I think you'll be alright as an anarcho-socialist.

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  2. I saw the report on NPR. That was it though.


    FYI, "anarcho-socialist" is a redundancy.

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  3. "FYI, "anarcho-socialist" is a redundancy."

    No, it's an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms and principles, a synonym for "law abiding thief".

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  4. "Socialism" = workers' control of the means of production

    Sounds perfectly anarchistic to me.

    I'd also ask you why every anarchist prior to Rothbard's hijacking of the term were staunchly anti-capitalist. Even Spooner opposed the wage system. Maybe you should instead prove how anarchism is at all compatible with capitalism (a system of hierarchy and domination)?

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  5. '"Socialism" = workers' control of the means of production'

    That's the rhetoric. Sounds good if you have a rather limited intellectual capacity and an even more limited historical knowledge.

    It's not true though. Socialism = mass theft and rule by force. That's the reality, but bluntly stated even an ignorant idiot will be repulsed, so you must dress it up a little with some rhetoric.

    "I'd also ask you why every anarchist prior to Rothbard's hijacking of the term were staunchly anti-capitalist. "

    They, as most people always have been, were stupid and foolish and insane. For every person who can think there are ten thousand or more who can only ape others.

    "Maybe you should instead prove how anarchism is at all compatible with capitalism (a system of hierarchy and domination)?"

    Anarchy is the lack of an involuntary hierarchy. As such voluntary hierachies are still quite possible, and entirely necessary.

    Why do you pursue a system without hierarchy? Why are you so afraid of domination? Is the abuses of the past and present? No, I think it is because you know that in any system of law and liberty you would be pretty far down in the hierarchy, and so you wish to destroy your superiors out of jealousy and hatred. Since you aren't a natural born sociopath, you of course have to pretend that this is for a higher purpose...but really, you only want to steal houses because you can't produce anything of sufficient value to pay for a house and you hate that so many others are of such greater value than yourself...isn't that right?

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  6. "Socialism = mass theft and rule by force. That's the reality, but bluntly stated even an ignorant idiot will be repulsed, so you must dress it up a little with some rhetoric."

    Worker cooperatives like Stonyfield (before they were sold out to Dannon) are examples of socialism. Credit unions, to an extent, are examples of socialism. I would argue that New Hampshire's "free market success" can be attributed much more to market socialism/mutualism than capitalism.

    It is your definition of "theft" which is rhetorical. Am I to believe that someone has committed "theft" when they've taken back what someone sole from them? Oh, but you say, workers signed those contracts voluntarily, and therefore have no right to complain about being exploited. Yeah, so if I voluntarily agree to sign off all my assets to a conman, then I have no right to get my assets back because that asshole never put a gun to my head and forced me to sign, right?

    "Anarchy is the lack of an involuntary hierarchy. As such voluntary hierachies are still quite possible, and entirely necessary."

    Don't you realize what a philosophical pandora's box you're opening when you keep bringing up the voluntary-involuntary dichotomy and insist on reducing everything in life/society/metaphysics/ethics to it?

    The ironic part is, while proponents of "voluntaryism" (like yourself) contend that the philosophy is supposed to embody the epitome of liberty, all it really succeeds in doing is reducing liberty down to a commodity to be bought and sold. No wonder so many anarcho-communists, collectivists, and other market abolitionists bring up the intense commodification of our society in their critiques of market-based societies/systems.

    "Why do you pursue a system without hierarchy? Why are you so afraid of domination? Is the abuses of the past and present? No, I think it is because you know that in any system of law and liberty you would be pretty far down in the hierarchy, and so you wish to destroy your superiors out of jealousy and hatred."

    I'm against hierarchy and domination because they ultimately destroy liberty and personal freedom and fuck over our society quite a lot. If anything, hierarchy is the enemy of individualism. The only thing is, most pro-capitalist libertarians hardly ever apply the same standard to capitalist bosses, landlords, usurers, etc. that they do to the state, and if they do they always (once again) cover it up under the cloak of "voluntary". Pathetic.

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  7. Also, unlike a lot of propertarians, I don't view liberty as a means to an end (whether that be getting rich, owning as much shit as you can, being "left alone", or having power over others so as long as those whom you dominate agree to it) but rather as an ends to itself.

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