A Case Against AnCap & Libertarianism

To State or not to State, that is the Libertarian question.  According to Anarcho-Capitalism and Libertarianism, Humanity can be divided along the lines of who ideally project a society with government and who doesn’t – in other words, those who are willing to initiate force to compel ideological compliance from others and those who are opposed to such a thing. On the surface this makes the question of Statism clear and simple – I’ll demonstrate that few things, not least people, are ever this simple and that the AnCap and Libertarian position relies too heavily on this simplification.

Before I begin you should understand my ideological position, which as a pragmatic thinker I am quite loose on. I favour a mix of National Socialism with the ancient system of Law and Economics known collectively as The Brehon Law of Ireland. Two seemingly contradicting ideologies with the former being Statist and the latter being Stateless. In the course of my argument I’ll demonstrate how one can lead into the other.

I thoroughly enjoy the YouTube content of thinkers like “That Guy T” and “Love, Life, and Anarchy” for their critical analysis of contemporary and past social movements, as well as works of fiction. They are intellectual giants in comparison to the Radical Left, Regressive establishment, and other Statists they confront. However, when it comes to negotiating the best model for society they limit themselves to two fronts, which can be phrased as “I don’t want to and your ideology has to initiate violence to make me” and assurances that x, y, or z bad thing won’t happen in their stateless society. Through this lens they are intellectual midgets who simply repeat these positions until their opposition has to admit to wanting a state that uses violence to maintain it’s version of social order, which they then confront as “wrong.” In the face of this declaration their opposition is rarely philosophically trained to spot their skipped premise and then question it – firstly, is the initiation of force by a state fundamentally wrong, and secondly, is it possible to create a society where the initiation of force is absent? The philosophical discourse never gets to that point and on the event that the answer to these questions is “no”, the conversation can’t evolve into a practical negotiation over when the initiation of force is legitimate and how that’s to be mediated. It’s an infantile ideological protest that simply repeats “No, you can’t make me” until the opposition gets frustrated or eventually says something stupid, which can be latched onto by the Anarchist to repeat the cycle of argumentation, bringing it back around to “No, you can’t make me. That’s voilence.”

This process of civil disobedience is completely legitimate when attempting to withdraw your consent from a State that is oppressive and bloodthirsty, but only when you yourself have a preferred philosophy or system you wish to replace it with. Anarcho-Capitalists and Libertarians don’t, despite their continued claims to have one. Their thought process can be boiled down to “The free market will regulate society exclusively and by definition cannot lead to another hierarchical state.” An unspoken assurance that we will be freer without a state and that powerful organizations are inherently better than the State “because, profits.” We who live in the real world know that these propositions are absurd. We know that charter schools in the U.S. are becoming military-style factories churning out blue collar workers and fodder for the PRIVATE prison industrial complex. We know that Monsanto, a 115 year old corporation, is nearing a monopoly on the West’s food supply. Anarcho-Capitalists will tell you that these corporate interests couldn’t have gained that monopoly without the aid of the state – a patently false argument, as any corporation with the intent of gaining a monopoly can do so, whether or not a state exists. They would argue that, by manipulating the state they can enforce compliance from individuals, other corporations, and institutions – and they’re correct. But power is power, and a strong enough corporation can threaten smaller orgs with a withdrawal of business or sabotage and attack, with or without an over-arching state present.

Take for example early 1900’s United States up to the present day. The Federal government, a largely undemocratic and brutal regime, fails to meet the needs of it’s vast population in terms of vice and protection from crime. Immigrant groups such as the Italians, Irish, Jews, and then later Chinese and Russians, fill this void. They form hierarchical structures and an underground economy, providing the people with relative safety and their vices (gambling, alcohol, and sex etc). The degree to which collusion existed between the state and these microstates in the early days is up for debate, but after this culture ceased being a conspiracy theory and became accepted reality, the federal government and these microstates absorbed each other – just as the corporations and federal government simultaneously absorbed each other. Again, power is power. It doesn’t care what it calls itself and it doesn’t care if there is an over-arching state to use as it’s proxy, because it will create one anyhow. An Anarcho-Capitalist might mistake this for an argument for Anarcho-Communism – the ideology  that advocates the destruction of all hierarchical structures such as private ownership, money, and the state – but I’m not an idealist. I’m a pragmatist outlining the natural inclination for the few to build upon their wealth, expand it, and ultimately become a state if not kept in check by an over-arching social force.

Time for a thought experiment

Anarchy has finally dawned on Humanity. Vast areas of land formally in control of the state are now free to be moved onto by groups of Communists, Libertarians, experimental societies, and roving gangs alike. I, as an Anarcho-Capitalist and former urban developer, foresaw the coming collapse of the state and have accumulated precious metals and other resources. I contract architects, engineers, planners, and labourers to build a village from scratch or salvage abandoned housing developments. I now operate my own business of housing people and construction. Most of my tenants work outside for other private organizations, but for practical reasons I house my employees first and perhaps give them a small rent rebate. My ownship of this new or refurbished housing development and the outskirts land is contested by some who argue that land ownership can’t be decided by a “first come, first served” basis, but I argue that I have generated value on that land by developing it and rent must be paid in order to enjoy that value. Because of an unstable local food market I hire agriculturists to farm the outskirts of the development and open a supermarket. My in-residence employee base grows. Or, perhaps a few of my residents set up their own farming project, and they sell their produce to my supermarket.. either way, having a strategically-placed and big enough supermarket will be on my priority list, seen as I’m a capitalist who is always considering where to next invest in order to guard my wealth. I allow residents to run businesses from their homes or rent commercial buildings I had constructed, but seen as I’m an Anarchist, I don’t ask for a flat tax or business tax.  The money from rent, my supermarket, and whatever other municipal services I provide are plenty enough to keep my family comfortable and my business expanding. But all is not well. Without the hypnotising effect of a state and national police force to keep troublemakers in line, the world outside my development is dangerous and eventually threatens our internal security as more people become aware of our existence and the resources we keep. Traders are ambushed and raided travelling between cities and villages, criminals come in numbers to steal from my residents and businesses, and Anarcho-Communists come to disrupt my capitalist ventures – spray painting their logos everywhere, sabotaging my factories, and appealing to my lower-class residents with ideations of communal ownership. What I have created and the security of my people is now at risk. Not only do we face risks from outside, but 2 militia groups have been formed by my residents in response. They may obey and enforce the contract each resident signed in regards to reasonable behaviour within the development and reasonable treatment of each other, but let’s be practical here. Power is power.  It’s axiomatic to Human nature that physical power can eventually be used to enforce will if it’s strong enough. What if the militia doesn’t agree with the terms of our rental contract or employment at my business? What if they intimidate fellow residents? What if Anarcho-Communists and Socialists infiltrate the militia and eventually overthrow my business? With the growing threat of lawlessness outside and in, a growing militia is a necessity. In order to safeguard against a powerful militia takeover, I establish my own to compete with the other two. Because of my purchasing and employing power, I can outfit my militia with a stylish uniform, protective vests, and automatic weapons. I and my managers keep a close eye on the ranks to assure corruption and cronyism doesn’t take place – I hate corruption. I want to live in a fair society of opportunity. Nobody likes to live under a dictatorship and abusive authorities, if given the choice. But is that really up to me? After this point, or probably even a few steps before this point, my desire to build a free capitalist society while also following my own personal ends could be subverted by a number of democratic and thuggish factors.

Even if I do maintain law and order and a functioning economy despite the naturally-occurring differences of opinion in my settlement, my people will naturally rely on me. If they find they disagree with me, I could just ask them to leave and go live their lives how they wish to elsewhere. But what if there is no elsewhere? What if all available land is somehow occupied by equally disagreeable people? What if it’s Mad Max out there? How will one person, 2 people, or 20 people possibly amass the various resources they require to make a fresh start? In this scenario I was a good and just man. I was a philanthropic capitalist who gave opportunity and security to others. In the process of dealing with competition I felt the need to increase my hegemony which brought me to the point of becoming a dictator despite all my best intentions. An Anarcho-Capitalist would argue with me that this is just a story – a vast abstraction into a future that may not even happen. Yet I have done a better job of exploring this subject than they have since nobody from their camp has given any thought to a world beyond “No, you can’t make me. You’re initiating violence” without getting lost in 30 hours of obscure ramblings a lá Stephan Molyneux. A feeble and hellishly complex explanation of how every single industry and institution can exist in an Anarcho-Capitalist society without dragging us into another dark age. These explanations are full of guidelines, stipulations, and naive hopes the entire world will follow each one. The promise is to not only build a society free of oppression, but a society that will continue to be free of oppression unto the end of history, all with the help of abstract concepts that may well be thrown out the window in exchange for profit or security.

Don’t get me wrong, wanting to end the brutal monopoly of Statism is a noble cause. I’m just not convinced that any real thought has been given as to the nature of power and authority in the Human experience. No thought has been given to the only truly Stateless societies to have ever existed, like those of ancient Ireland and the lesser-developed Americas. What lay at the foundation of these stateless societies was identity. The Irish were something, the natives of America were something. As individuals they recognised their collective nature, as one people with one character. Their laws, economics, language, clothes, songs, dances, weapons, and other cultural artefacts came as one whole package – not as elements to be switched out, one for another, or just omitted if you didn’t like them. It was this identity that came with an almost supernaturally distinct understanding of right from wrong. The basis of their decisions wasn’t money, it was fairness and non-aggression – the Anarcho-Capitalist dream. The system of law, which varied only slightly from place to place, encouraged a hierarchy of wealth and privilege not enforced by a State, but taken for granted by all as the best possible way of organising society. Hard workers, great leaders and holy people, as well as the noble and kind, matriculated through the ranks to be great examples of what a person can be.  Conflicts amoung families and individuals existed, but within certain parameters guided by the principal of fairness. There’s no reason we can’t someday return to such a social state, but it won’t be achieved by a free market blindly trampling through the world, polluting the environment and taking advantage of people. It will be brought back through a process of Socialism.

…. waiting for Anarcho-Capitalists to calm down.

A process to National Socialism. A political program surrounded by misconceptions due to it’s first implementation preceding WWII. Each implementation of it will be different depending on the needs of the nation – thus the name – but two factors always remain in place: it’s Nationalist and it’s Socialist. It’s very saddening to see that most people, including self-described National Socialists themselves, have a misunderstanding of the political program, so I will clear this up now by defining it’s two constituent words:

National – Indicating a focus on the nation and national identity of the people. Their border security, their culture, and their long-term survival. This is apposed to International Socialism/Marxism, which advocates for the dissolution of all borders and distinct identities of peoples.

Socialism – While having one of his infantile arguments with an Australian politician by the name of Felicity Sharpe – a self-described Social Nationalist (as if switching the two words around makes you not a Nazi) – both Love, Life, and Anarchy and Miss Sharpe incorrectly defined Socialism. He asked what the definition of Socialism is, then answered his own question for her with “the means of production in control of the workers”, to which Felicity Sharpe agreed.  Felicity agreed because, in fact, she is a Marxist and not a National Socialist. Socialism can mean “the means of production in control of the workers”, but isn’t the exclusive definition. Socialism, collectively defined by all the different movements who’ve used that word, simply means “Social Program.” Miss Sharpe’s endgame of her Socialist program is to bring about a state of Communism – which is achieved by a dictatorship of the proletariat (the socialist government) gradually transferring control of Capitalist enterprise to local democratic worker unions. On the other hand, you have the social program of National Socialism, exemplified by the NSDAP. It involved a mixture of free capitalist enterprise and government control of larger and more vital industries. The endgame of the program wasn’t to bring about a Communist paradise, but to rehabilitate a completely broken Germany which was stricken by unemployment, poverty, and mental illness after a world war unfairly blamed on them – a program that was to completely rejuvenate Germany in a period of 3 years – which it did.

Everyone from the Classical Liberal to the Anarcho-Capitalist will protest that “any socialism is bad, no matter for what reason.” What National Socialism has going for it, however, is honesty. Marxist Socialism claims to be egalitarian, peaceful, and for the people – yet it is brutal and has always devolved into mass murdering dictatorships. Liberal Democracy claims to be… well… Democracy.. but almost always devolves into crony capitalism. At least with National Socialism what you see is what you get – fully nationalised central bank, partially nationalised industry leading to 100% employment, an end to international influences poisoning the minds of the people, and the detention of political dissidents. It wasn’t pretending to be anything other than that – and it achieved it’s 3 year plan. Germany, with only Japan and 2 Arab nations defying British occupation, held the whole of Europe, America, and their allies at bay for 14 years.

The purpose of this history lesson is to demonstrate what really changes the world we live in.  It’s not exclusively a question of what social and economic policies are in place over the nation,  but ideological engagement and the culture of the people themselves. The German people, for better or worse, were united by a common vision that their people could be great again despite the loss of life and infrastructure of WWI and the indignities they suffered via the Treaty of Versailles, which demanded monetary reparations and stole resources rich areas of land, giving them to France, Poland, and Belgium. Armed with the ancient symbol of not only Germany, but peoples around the world, Hitler and his party promised them a renaissance of the old Germanic ways, coupled with the power and potential of the modern age.  Hitler and the party cared for their people immensely, and the people loved them in return. By comparison to the bloodshed of WWI and the Humanitarian fallout of Weimar Germany, the political oppression seemed liberating by comparison – a small price to pay for a secure future. This is a dynamic and historical context that’s lost on us today, whether we’re Classical Liberals, Fascists, or Anarchists. We have comfortable lives. The standard of living for our poorest is still higher than the Middle Class of 100 years ago. All the wars are abroad instead of at our front door. The majority of us have never had to defend ourselves. The social safety net is all-encompassing. We’re soft of body and soft of mind and spirit. We stand up top of Maslo’s Hierarchy of Needs, surveying the wilderness, foolishly thinking we can do away with the system that put us there in the first place. We’re madmen who dream of 100% complete freedom, shunning the delicate social system that protects us from true independence and adversity.

In summation, I can respect Anarcho-Capitalists and Libertarians for reminding us that the 20th and 21st Centuries are littered with mobs of genocidal Communists stealing private property and putting people to death for daring to own a business… but that’s as far as their usefulness goes. They tell a beautiful story of a paradise, but are frightfully ignorant of what that might actually look like and how to get there. They shriek that only a completely unmolested free market can properly regulate an economy, can’t point to any real life examples of such a thing happening, and then ignore Germany’s Three Year Miracle. They haven’t a clue.

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