Steve G.

A Modest Libertarian Proposal: For Secessionists, Separatists, Radical Anarchists, Anti-Government Absolutists, Conservative Neo-Republicans, Randian Objectivists, Tea-Baggers, “Me, First & Last” Social Darwinists, and Conspiracy Theorists

In Corruption, Democracy, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, literature, Personal Responsibility, Politics on November 30, 2009 at 12:57 pm

I did a LOT of driving this last week-end, a LOT. This gave me a great deal of time to think and process recent experiences. One conclusion that I did arrive at is that if a group of people gather together for a common cause (other than masturbation) and then spend their day in a mutual masturbation circle jerk, they will have accomplished nothing.

On Saturday, I went to a libertarian gathering which seemed to be more about libertarians telling themselves how successful they have been at furthering their cause even if they haven’t been able to actually get anyone elected to a significant office. There were no strategies or concrete ideas for getting anyone elected or for spreading the libertarian idea to a wider audience. While I met some good people, I found that the main value for me to have made the trip was in observing and listening to the others there. What I did not hear were any words which spoke of libertarianism as being about anything except “me”. One speaker even lived up to the cliché view of what current libertarians are when she spoke about reading Ayn Rand and realizing that caring about others or helping to make the world a better place has no value.

On Sunday, I drove to my old home town to help some friends do some work on a house. This house has been a special place for a long time. In 1972, a group of college friends found a place to live in off-campus. During the 70s, it was pretty much a commune for the local science fiction group. For probably 15 years it was home to a rotating group but the house was always there for us. For most of the last 20 years, it has been the permanent home to a few of the gang but the house has remained a constant in the lives of many. I moved away and moved on with my life but 17 years later I came back and the group still gathered at the house on regular annual times. I have never lived there or even spent a night there but, when the message went out that there would be a work day on the house, I was there. I gained nothing, at least in objectivist terms, by helping out but it was a small gesture of thanks for what the house and the people who have lived there have meant to me.

The stark contrast between how the two days were spent was startling. A second conclusion I arrived at is that I think that there is more to be gained by working together to build a better world around us than there is from seeing the world as a place where it is ok for the strong to prey on the weak. The week-end reinforced what libertarianism meant to me when I was first attracted to the movement.

Thirty years ago, I had the profound honor of hearing a man named Ed Clark speak at Texas A&M University, courtesy of the Memorial Student Center’s Political Forum committee. Rudder Theater was full that night. There were many there who were, like me at age 20, preparing to vote in our first Presidential election (and for me, my first government election as I briefly lived in the United Kingdom in 1978 – 79). This man was the candidate for a new political party, and was that Party’s first candidate to be on the ballot in all 50 states. The Libertarian movement and idea was getting some national attention because of how “radical” and fresh it was. They had a vision of a limited government which would combine the best facets of conservative fiscal policies with progressive social policies. In a radio interview, Clark described libertarianism as “low-tax liberalism”. Hearing him speak in person was a remarkable experience for me. Not only were his ideas progressive and forward-thinking, they were inclusive and logical.

To this day, I still call myself an Ed Clark libertarian. Unfortunately, the Party pushed Ed Clark and his liberal / moderate wing out during their 1984 convention. If you ask people today what a libertarian is, most of what you will hear are descriptions of a radical, conservative, neo-Republican lunatic fringe group. In 1980, it looked like the Libertarian Party might, one day, have a legitimate influence on American government. Coming up on 2010, it looks like we have crawled beyond the fringe to create our own unique brand of American political lunacy, on a par with the Anti-Masonic “Know Nothing” Party of the 1800s. With this in mind, I want to make a modest proposal to all of those who hate government, despise paying any taxes, want to “be off of the grid” and want to be left completely alone by every government.

We will GIVE you a 5,000 square-mile plot of land in Alaska. Not enough? How about 10,000 square miles? We will set aside that land and will legally declare it to be independent of the United States of America or of any other nation of the world. It will be free land on which you can settle and create your own society with a complete absence of government. You will not be subject to any law or be a part of America in any way… no taxes, no military service, and no government interference of any kind. We will also shoulder the costs to relocate anyone who wants to leave the United States to participate in this experiment. This will be a one-way, one-time ticket. We will take all of you to the border of your new homeland and let you enter it freely and of you own volition. Further, we will assume all of your debts, (up to, say, $25,000). If your debts are greater than that, so what? You will be moving to a place where you will be free from debt collectors. What will your credit score matter up there? We will arrange for the sale of your American property, both to free you from the burden and to help pay for the costs which The United States will incur on your behalf so that you will not be beholden to any other person or nation. In short, we will do everything necessary to help you sever all ties between you and the United States. We will give you what you are asking for in its entirety. You can be completely free from any and all government control or responsibility. By doing this for you, however, there would be a lot of changes that you would need to be aware of.

Remember, infrastructure is created by governments. There will no roads, electricity, water, sanitation, waste removal, hospitals, medical care, medicines, schools, postal service, police or fire departments, judiciary, defense, phones, internet or any other public “improvements” other than what you will be able to create for yourselves. In your new haven, there will be no government, no law, no order, and no society which you do not create for yourself.

We understand that you don’t like anything that is “tainted” by being provided to the general public, and / or bought or created through the use of “Federal Reserve Notes” (and yes, this week-end I heard someone talking about their new business and saying that they would not accept “Federal Reserve Notes”). So you will not be allowed to take any United States currency with you because you will not, of course, need it. You will not be allowed to incur any additional debt through credit so, in preparation for your move, you will be limited to dealing on a cash only basis. If you want to convert it all to gold or silver or gumdrops, you can, but remember, you will have to carry everything you will take in with you. I assume your economy would be based on the barter system. I will be curious, though, about what you will be able to barter with to get AT&T to provide you with communications capabilities, as one example.

Your American citizenship will be permanently revoked, as will those of any of your families, dependents, and friends who join you. As such, you can never again vote in any American election. You can never again enter the United States without proper documentation and / or visas. If you try, you will be subject to being arrested and deported back to your homeland, the same as any other illegal alien, you know, like Mexicans. You will never again receive any government payments, benefits, healthcare (federal or military) or assistance which would “force” you to possess any documentation, utilize our immoral currency or rely in any way on the government which you hate so much. This means that you will never receive any social security payments, Medicare, retirement funds, insurance payments, not even the annual payout made to citizens of Alaska because, of course, you will be citizens of your own non-nation. Oh, and about that land, you will each be able to possess as much of it as you can take and hold onto. You will have the absolute freedom to make your land your own BUT you will not, of course, be given any actual legal title to the land because to give you such title would require a legal and judicial system… and you wouldn’t want that either, would you, because they are also creations of government.

While I suppose that we could allow you to take in a suitcase of your own clothes (whatever you can carry), to fully honor your John Galt desires, we would not allow you to take any tools or other products created by our industrial mass production system. You see, we would want to respect your wishes to not allowing you to be burdened with anything so ignoble as having been purchased with “Federal Reserve Notes”. Maybe we could provide some of you with forges but how you would carry them into your new nation without tools or carts made by tools that you have made for yourself, I don’t know. Even if I had the answer to that, though, you wouldn’t want to know it because you want be pure, untainted and left entirely to your own devices. Each of you, after all, is John Galt.

Of course, you would be completely landlocked by the United States but that, again, would only be out of respect for your demands for complete independence and your wishes to have no “foreign entanglements”. We would thus ensure that you would be free of the temptation and taint of dealing with other nations or, even worse, with the United Nations. No, you will be completely and entirely free. You will be given your own country and cut off from any influence, hindrance, or assistance from anyone outside of your own borders. Imagine if “Escape from New York” was about turning Manhattan into a self-contained country instead of a prison… but without all of the inconvenient reminders of civilization and development like buildings and roads.

We will give you all of it. All you would have to do is give up everything else… oh, and allow those of us who do not believe as you do, those of us who do not share your vision of an anarchist “Heaven on Earth”, free to carry on our ridiculous desire to actually improve the society that we are part of. You will all agree to leave us alone in this immoral world which we believe can be improved. We leave you alone and you leave us alone… for ever (or until you all die off). Do we have a deal?

Now, for those of us who are left when the dust of the mass migration settles, let’s work together to figure out how to make the government we do have better. Let us create a fair and equitable tax system. Let us work on the problem of creating a society which benefits all of the people. Remember, political and philosophical extremes create unworkable absolutes. Some of us believe that the only way to make the system better is by working within it. We can have less government, lower taxes, and a beneficial society. All we have to do is be willing to work for it.

I, for one, will not abandon my fellow Man. My desire for a limited government does not mean that I reject the idea and value of government altogether. I believe in government and I believe that it can be improved, that it can be designed to function effectively. Remember, we get the government that we deserve. In a free society government is the creation and responsibility of a free people. If our government does not work properly, it is our fault for not caring enough to figure out how to make it better. It is also our responsibility to make government work for the people it serves, not be served by the people who work under its system. I am willing to stay here and do what I am capable of doing to make it better for EVERYONE… even those who don’t believe as I do. How many of you out there will help me? Can we work together to create a practical, rational and realistic idea of libertarianism and, from there, a practical, rational and realistic idea of libertarian anarchy which can be “sold” to those outside of our movements? I think that we can and I, for one, am ready to start trying.

Rhys M. Blavier

Romayor, Texas

Truth, Justice and Honor… but, above all, Honor” 

© Copyright 2009 by Rhys M. Blavier

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  1. Rhys, you are nurturing a number of glaring contradictions. Time for a little housecleaning…

    “I gained nothing, at least in objectivist terms, by helping out but it was a small gesture of thanks for what the house and the people who have lived there have meant to me.”

    The Objectivist ethics calls for a code of values for assessing alternatives as contributing to or detracting to a life consistent with one’s fundamental nature as a human being. The goal of a successful human life is then achieved by choosing in each case the higher value over any lower value measured per that standard. That is the real meaning of being “selfish” and the meaning of “rational egoism.” “Altruism” then would be any act of choosing to forsake a higher value for a lower one in spite of it detracting from a human life, and doing it solely out of some unchosen duty or obligation.

    Thus love and admiration are selfish acts. They are the reward you give to those who exhibit the same values in their lives that you cherish. Similarly, you lie to us when you say you gained nothing from helping out with the work on that house. You gained an opportunity to repay a debt. Your felt duty to help was chosen. Your contribution was voluntary. The central social principle of Objectivism is that all human interrelationships shall be voluntarily entered into. And you owe all Objectivists an apology for your petty slander.

    ——————–

    “Remember, political and philosophical extremes create unworkable absolutes.”

    Philosophy is the science that defines in principle what the fundamental nature of existence is. Politics is the science that defines in principle the proper relationships among men in a society based on the nature of man as philosophy defines it. Now each and every definition and principle in these processes will either accurately define the nature of man and existence and derive the proper principles or they won’t. That is, they will be either right or they will be wrong. So every political and philosophical idea man can conjure from his experience of reality is inherently extreme — it is either right or wrong. It is a flaming self-contradiction to make a statement like yours above that implies that an absolutely correct idea about the nature of the universe is automatically an “unworkable” idea.

    ———————-

    “Let us create a fair and equitable tax system.”

    Here, you reject the Objectivist ethical mandate that all human interrelationships shall be voluntary in favor of a system of coercion of your fellow man by random gangs of floating majorities to redistribute earned wealth among others who have not earned it. “Fair and equitable” coercion is as contradictory as one can be. It is only fair to the degree that those who participate agree to the process. It is not fair to those who do not want either to pay nor to benefit.

    Ironically, it is only the latter who deserve the benefits. Since taxation of any kind is a form of theft, then all advocates and supporters are accomplices to criminal behavior. Since accomplices to a crime may not be allowed to profit from the booty, no one who advocates taxation has any moral claim to it. Only those who oppose taxation in principle deserve to receive some of the proceeds of taxation, for they are not accomplices and are due restitution for taxes taken from them throughout their life.

    ————————

    “…a practical, rational and realistic idea of libertarian anarchy which can be “sold” to those outside of our movements?”

    As snakeoil was sold to the unwitting …

    Man survives by applying his reason to his actions in the service of his life. That process is, however, not automated. Man can and must choose that reason and those actions. But the capacity to choose is the capacity to err as well; and since all men are fallible, no man may claim the right to make those choices for another.

    Therefore a primary precondition of human life is individual autonomy. Since force is the only enemy of autonomy, then the only role for a proper government is to remove force that would interfere with it from the society. Anarchy denies the validity of such an institution and condones the unrestricted exercise of force for defensive purposes. Such arbitrary use of force constitutes a violation of individual autonomy, however, even if it is being exercised for a moral purpose. Over half the value of freedom from force or the fear of it is in the justifiable expectation of it in one’s everyday life.

  2. Michael,

    I have been ignoring your reply because you strike me as being pretty much a moron. I do want to say to you, however, that, I reject ALL aspects of objectivism. You speak as if it is all the word of god and the only error is in not following it. Of course, that is not surprising from someone who thinks that philosophy and politics are “sciences”. There are only “glaring contradictions” in what I wrote IF someone, like you, does start with the assumption that objectivism is a a given and provable truth, which it is not. Again, anyone who sees philosophy as a science must be passed by and left to themselves as you would a crack addict in a New York alleyway.

    Sincerely,
    Rhys M. Blavier… NOT an objectivist.

  3. Michael,

    Opps, I didn’t say the last sentence the way that I intended, but I can’t edit it so, let me give the correct sentence that I meant to end my reply with:

    “Again, anyone who sees philosophy as a science must be passed by and left to themselves as you would a crack addict playing with himself in a New York alleyway.”

    I apologize for the error.

    Sincerely,
    Rhys M. Blavier… STILL not an objectivist.

  4. Michael,

    The tone which I used in my previous responses is not the one I try to use. To put things in a calm and non-hyperbolic way, let me say that (to me, at least), listening to people “defend” objectivism is pretty much the same as listening to people “defend” scientology. Defenders / supporters of both begin with the basic assumption that the person that they are speaking to dimply doesn’t know enough about or “understand” their cult and that the very fact that the person being talked to hasn’t embrassed their cult is the only evidence needed to “proof” that the person being lectured to or recruited doesn’t know or understand the subject. Thus, their arguments are founded on an assumption that THEY know the “truth” and, as their “truth” is irrefutable, they have no need to establish WHY their “truths” are correct.

    I do know and understand about both Objectivism and Scientology and I soundly reject the assumptions of their followers that the truth of the subject can only be known and understood by those who embrase the cult(s) and are, themselves, “true believers”.

    While what Objectivism advocates for its believers to be themselves might be admirable, it is a very cruel “philosophy” because of what it believers expect OTHER people to be.

    Sincerely,

    Rhys M. Blavier

  5. MichaelM writes, “Anarchy denies the validity of such an institution and condones the unrestricted exercise of force for defensive purposes.”

    This is false. Rothbard makes it clear in his The Ethics of Liberty that punishment for acts of aggression must be limited by the principle of proportionality.

    __________

    Mr. Blavier,

    “We will GIVE you a 5,000 square-mile plot of land in Alaska.”

    By “we,” I presume you mean the state. I must then ask, how did the state come to acquire this land? By definition, the state must have acquired it illegitimately. And, as such, I absolutely must reject the idea of the state “giving” anyone any land.

    If the state decides to surrender into the state of nature land that it claims to “own,” this is of course perfectly fine. But then, in order for someone to legitimately acquire and own any square foot of this unowned land, she must homestead it; that is, she must mix her labour with the soil, to borrow a phrase from John Locke.

    The problem with the state “giving” someone land is that it has the power to grant large tracks of land (which it has not itself legitimately acquired), thereby purpetuating the problems of statism.

    I highly encourage you to check out volume one of Rothbard’s Conceived in Liberty. Given your interest in early America, I think you’ll greatly enjoy the history of this book.

    “It will be free land on which you can settle and create your own society with a complete absence of government.”

    To be more precise, it would be a complete absence of statism. There are plenty of anarchists who will say they favour self-government, and others who will say that the voluntary organisations that will displace the state can constitute a “government.”

    Then there’s Auberon Herbert, who said anarchists did not understand themselves precisely because there would always be government. He advocated what he called the “Voluntary State,” which in fact is not a state at all (as I define a state) since it would not tax, would not regulate, and would not prevent private protection agencies from competing on a level legal status with itself. His “Voluntary State,” in effect, was nothing more than a voluntary protection agency. Although Herbert refused to call himself an anarchist, the American anarchist Benjamin R. Tucker nevertheless considered Herbert an anarchist.

    “You will not be subject to any law or be a part of America in any way… no taxes, no military service, and no government interference of any kind.”

    I mean no disrespect, Mr. Blavier, but from this comment, I don’t think you understand anarchism. Not only can law exist in an anarchy, law must exist in an anarchy.

    Many people mistakenly believe that anarchy is lawlessness. It is not. While anarchy means without rulers, it’s anomie that means without law. In fact, I would argue that these two concepts are diametrically opposed to one another, for anarchy is not a system that simply allows for the lack a ruler, it’s a system that requires the absence of a ruler (and this requirement is therefore a law, a rule). If a ruler (i.e., any aggressor, even the common thief) pops on the scene, then anarchy ceases to exist in the local area of the aggression. Only when the aggressor has been made to pay restitution to his victim can we say that anarchy, or rulerlessness, has been restored.

    Since a prohibition on aggression (a.k.a. rulership, a.k.a. coercive hierarchy) is required in an anarchy (and since this prohibition on aggression is upheld by natural law, which is always and everywhere superior to man-made “law”), it only stands to reason that lawlessness is incompatible with anarchy.

    While taxes would not exist in an anarchy, both voluntary contributions and user-fees can and most likely will. (See my piece, Alternatives to Taxation.)

    And as for military service, I see no reason why one would not be permitted to form a militia (or ten) in a stateless society.

    “We will also shoulder the costs to relocate anyone who wants to leave the United States to participate in this experiment.”

    I would refuse to accept. How could any self-respecting anarchist accept this sort of hand-out from a criminal gang? The government acquires all of “its” wealth through expropriation from the productive classes; therefore, if I were to accept money from the state, I would be complicit in theft. I despise theft, and would not be able to look at myself in the mirror if I were to accept it. I like being able to look at myself in the mirror. :)

    “Further, we will assume all of your debts, (up to, say, $25,000).”

    The state has no right to assume someone’s debts, regardless of whether said someone is or is not an anarchist. It has no right to even offer such an assumption (except in regards to those debts one owes directly to the state itself).

    Would I even have a choice in this matter, or would the state assume my debts without my consent? If I can turn this evil “offer” down, I will. I would like to pay off my own debts before I die, and without having to resort to “aid” from criminal aggressors (such as the state).

    “If your debts are greater than that, so what? You will be moving to a place where you will be free from debt collectors.”

    I mean no offense, but you are woefully ignorant about anarchism. Of course there would be debt-collection in an anarchy. Again, please take no offense to that. It’s not my intent to offend, but rather to point out that this is a complete and utter strawman.

    Please read The Market for Liberty by Linda & Morris Tannehill. If you only ever read one book that I suggest, make it this one. Of course, you probably won’t agree with every aspect of it—even I don’t. But it will give a general idea of what libertarian anarchists believe.

    (I think it’s weakest section is Chapter II. Chapter II was highly influenced by Objectivism, an ideology with which I have certain epistemological differences, among other things. (This isn’t to say Objectivism is worthless, of course. I think the philosophy has some good merit, but it has its weaknesses, too.))

    “What will your credit score matter up there?”

    Just as much as it matters anywhere else. :)

    “We will arrange for the sale of your American property, both to free you from the burden and to help pay for the costs which The United States will incur on your behalf so that you will not be beholden to any other person or nation.”

    Obviously, any true anarchist would turn down this “assistance,” just as she would also turn down the state’s “assistance” in financing the travel.

    But I have to think, since the state is a criminal band that has no legitimate ownership over my body or my justly-acquired property, why can’t the state simply declare whatever property I happen to own (at the time you start this) to be no longer under the control of the state apparatus? This would save me from the hassle of having to sell whatever property I happen to own (at the time you start this).

    “We will give you what you are asking for in its entirety.”

    Entirety? So the U.S. and all the other states of the world will disarm themselves? :)

    “You can be completely free from any and all government control or responsibility.”

    Any and all? In order for me to be free from any and all statist control, I must be permitted to not be forced to sell off my justly-acquired property without my consent. If the state is forcing me to choose between anarchy (my birthright) and my justly-acquired property (my acquired right), then I’m not free from “any and all government control.”

    “Remember, infrastructure is created by governments.”

    Huh? Is this a joke?

    Even Hazlitt, who was not an anarchist at all, recognised that state-created infrastructure was necessarily inferior to market-created infrastucture, for, if no other reason, the fact that the state has to use compulsion in order to build what it builds necessarily indicates that it is acting contrary to the economic demand of the people. After all, if there is demand for X, the market will provide X. If the only way to create X is to get the state to create it, then there clearly is not enough economic demand for X in order for the construction of X to be an economically wise endeavour.

    The state is not the only institution that can create infrastructure, and as Hazlitt’s lesson indicates, society would be far better off if the state refrained entirely from the production of infrastructure, leaving it instead up to the market.

    Check out Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson. If I could suggest only two books…

    “There will [be] no roads”

    Totally false.

    Not only are there such things as roads constructed by private companies, but they are far, far better than government-managed roads.

    John Stossel and Drew Carey agree with me completely:

    (There’s also a book by Walter Block on the subject of private roads and bridges, although I have not yet read it.)

    “There will [be] no…electricity”

    Of course there would be electricity. You don’t think that private firms would simply, arbitrarily decide that it is not in their interest to provide a commodity for which there is obviously so much demand, do you? I mean, think of the profits to be made! Obviously the market would provide electricity to consumers.

    “There will [be] no…water”

    You’re joking, right? This post is some sort of joke, right? I mean, you can’t be serious, can you?

    No, there’s no way this is serious.

    “There will [be] no…sanitation”

    Will there be demand for sanitation? If yes, then the market can provide it.

    “There will [be] no…waste removal”

    Will there be demand for waste removal? If yes, then the market can provide it.

    “There will [be] no…hospitals”

    Hospitals are not an invention of the state.

    “There will [be] no…medical care”

    No medical care? Really?

    The market provides far better medical care than the state ever has.

    Again, Stossel:
    http://alexpeak.com/art/films/siawbiia/

    “There will [be] no…medicines”

    Obviously you’re being facetious. It just dawned on me, the title of your post includes the title of a satirical essay by Jonathan Swift. So, you know that you’re not providing an accurate reflection of anarchism. I think the British have a word for that: cheeky. :)

    With that said, I really have no clue any anyone would think only states can provide medicines, why anyone would fail to believe the market can also provide medicine (and at far better costs).

    “There will [be] no…schools”

    Oh, come on! :)

    This is becoming very obviously facetious. :)

    Schools are not an invention of the state, and further the quality of education has actually significantly dropped over the past century, thanks to the government meddling in education.

    “There will [be] no…postal service”

    Of course, private mail services are more efficient than the USPS.

    You might find this interesting.

    The libertarian abolitionist Lysander Spooner was the first person to set up a private mail company in the U.S. He charged far less than the state was charging, and still turned a profit. So what did the state do? It sued him. He successfully defended himself, but in the process went broke. Thus, when the government say a cheaper, more efficient competitor, what did it do? It forced the efficient competitor out of the market.

    If the USPS would simply get rid of its state-enforced monopoly on first-class mail, private companies like Western Union and FedEx would be able to offer better prices to customers. The USPS is completely pointless.

    “There will [be] no…police or fire departments”

    Both of which can be and have been provided by the market. In fact, Benjamin Franklin established the first fire company in America!

    Read Franklin’s autobiography for more on that. :)

    “There will [be] no…judiciary”

    Private arbitration is better than government-monopoly courts.

    And, did you know that Maritime Law was originally established entirely by private courts? Back in the day, there were no established laws on the high seas. So, whenever disputes arose on the high seas, the parties in dispute would have the dispute settled by a private arbiter. And thus the Maritime Law was established as common law without the aid of the state at all. It was only after the tradition of Maritime Law was well-established that states began to codify it into statutory law.

    “There will [be] no…defence”

    (1) As the case of Ancient Ireland indicates, a society without a seat of centralised authority (a seat which can easily be seized by an invading force) is in a far better position to defend itself than a society with a seat of centralised authority.

    (2) There would be no prohibition on the forming of private militias in an anarchy.

    (3) As the Tannehills suggest in their The Market for Liberty, private insurance plans would probably be the most effective form of natural defence. (This position is echoed in Bergland’s Libertarianism in One Lesson.)

    “There will [be] no…phones”

    Where there is demand, the market will supply.

    “There will [be] no…internet”

    Where there is demand, the market will supply.

    “We understand that you don’t like anything that is ‘tainted‘ by being…bought or created through the use of ‘Federal Reserve Notes‘”

    I again don’t know who this “we” is, but “we” has received some extremely inaccurate information here. While libertarians do oppose the existence of central banking, I have never heard any libertarian, not even any anarchist, say they don’t like “anything…bought [with] or created with the [exchange] of” any fiat currency.

    “you will not be allowed to take any United States currency with you”

    If I thought this were serious, I’d reply as follows:

    “What? Are you seriously going to advocate anti-propertarian authoritarianism? I do not intend to offend you in asking that, but seriously, you have to admit that anyone who says he will use aggression against another person simply because that person wishes to take her justly-acquired pieces of paper with her when she travels is, quite literally, an anti-propertarian authoritarian.”

    But, of course, I’m going to assume you were not serious when you wrote that, that you’re not actually an anti-propertarian authoritarian, and that you’re purposefully saying things that you know are absurd.

    In any event, if it weren’t for the fact that you cannot possibly be serious, I would here add: “I guess this authoritarian prescription helps to disprove your claim that I will ‘be completely free from any and all government control.'”

    “You will not be allowed to incur any additional debt through credit so, in preparation for your move, you will be limited to dealing on a cash only basis.”

    Once again, I’m sure you’re not being serious, for only an authoritarian regime would prohibit people from doing business with one another in a manner that allows one to incur a debt to the other.

    Obviously in an anarchy, there would likely be debt, and there would likely be debt payment. Obviously, credit card companies would still exist even if the whole would became an anarchy, and obviously, said companies would still be interested in turning a profit. So, obviously, you cannot be serious when you suggest that anyone should be prohibited from incurring additional debt. :)

    In any event, if it weren’t for the fact that you cannot possibly be serious, I would here add: “I guess this authoritarian prescription helps to disprove your claim that I will ‘be completely free from any and all government control.'”

    “If you want to convert it all to gold or silver or gumdrops, you can, but remember, you will have to carry everything you will take in with you.”

    Again, it’s obvious that you cannot be serious, because only an authoritarian would prevent someone from doing business in country A with bank-notes backed up by silver housed in a warehouse in country B, and since I’m sure you’re not an authoritarian, I’m also sure you would not advocate the sort of absurdity you pretend here to advocate.

    In any event, if it weren’t for the fact that you cannot possibly be serious, I would here add: “I guess this authoritarian prescription helps to disprove your claim that I will ‘be completely free from any and all government control.'”

    “I assume your economy would be based on the barter system.”

    In a sense, one could say that every economy is based on the barter system, either on direct barter (e.g., exchanging a pencil for a pen) or indirect barter (using some medium of exchange.

    Here’s a quote from page 17 of The Market for Liberty:

    “Money is used because it makes trading easier and increases the number and type of trades possible. If you wanted to get rid of a motorcycle and to get in exchange a six months supply of groceries, three pairs of pants, several records, and a night on the town with your girlfriend, you’d find it pretty hard without the use of money as a medium of exchange. By using money, you can sell that motorcycle to anyone who will buy it and use the cash to buy whatever you want. Because the use of money makes it no longer necessary for the buyer to have an assortment of the exact goods the seller wants, many more and better trades can be made, thus increasing the satisfaction of everyone.

    “Money also acts as the means of calculating the relative worth of various goods and services. Without money, it would be impossible to know how many phonographs a car was worth, or how many loaves of bread should be exchanged for the service of having a tooth pulled. Without a standard medium of exchange to calculate with, the market couldn’t exist.”

    Also, here’s an article that explains how money would arise spontaneously on the free market:
    http://www.perbylund.com/the_library_bartertradenotcapitalism.htm

    Also check out the works of Carl Menger. I think he was the first modern thinker to tackle the question of from where media of exchange come.

    “I will be curious, though, about what you will be able to barter with to get AT&T to provide you with communications capabilities, as one example.”

    One word: money.

    Now a definition for that word: a generally accepted medium of exchange. :)

    Economists deal with two kinds of value: use value and exchange value. I’d recommend taking a class on Money and Banking. I audited one last semester at Towson University with a wonderful professor named Howard Baetjer, and I must say, it was extremely informative. A great textbook used in that class was The Theory of Monetary Institutions by Lawrence H. White. It’ll tell you what one needs to know about free banking.

    “You can never again enter the United States without proper documentation and / or visas.”

    It’s obvious that you are kidding on two grounds:

    (A) This proposal is obviously authoritarian, and I do not believe you are actually an authoritarian; thus, I do not believe you would ever actually advocate this.

    (B) As someone who claims to care about the Constitution, you would never support such an unconstitutional control over the U.S. borders.

    After all, Art. I, Sect. 8 mentions naturalisation and tellingly fails to also mention immigration or emigration. If the Founders had actually intended for the federal government to have any control over the borders, they would have mentioned immigration on the same line, or at least in the same section, as they mention naturalisation. The fact that they obviously chose to not include a power over immigration in the U.S. Constitution is, thus, inescapably clear. In fact, they didn’t even discuss immigration at the Philadelphia Convention. This just demonstrates how iron-tight their consensus was against the central planning of human migration.

    “If you try, you will be subject to being arrested and deported back to your homeland, the same as any other illegal alien, you know, like Mexicans.”

    Constitutionally speaking, there is no such thing as an illegal alien. But, I’m sure you realise this. I’m sure you also realise how absolutely detrimental to the American economy it is for the government to centrally plan human migration.

    “You will never again receive any government payments, benefits, healthcare (federal or military) or assistance which would ‘force’ you to possess any documentation,…or rely in any way on the government which you hate so much. This means that you will never receive any social security payments, Medicare, retirement funds, insurance payments, not even the annual payout made to citizens of Alaska because, of course, you will be citizens of your own non-nation.”

    In the first sentence, the word “assistance” should be in quotes. Government welfare is not assistance, but rather a means to trick the poor into thinking they are better off with government than without, even though it is the state apparatus that primarily creates the conditions of poverty in the first place.

    One would still be able to receive private retirement funds and private insurance payments even in an anarchy, of course, but I’m figuring that this is just as obvious to you as it is to me.

    I’m figuring you also realise that I don’t expect to get a dime back from the social security system anyway. That money is effectively down the drain, as far as I’m concerned.

    We should definitely do away with right-wing programmes like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and the like.

    “you will not, of course, be given any actual legal title to the land”

    It’s still obvious that this is a complete gag, because obviously deeds and land titles would exist in an anarchy, and obviously the only way to prevent the existence of deeds and land-titles is for some government to impose anti-propertarian authoritarianism on the people. It’s obvious that whatever would exist in the highly-statist 5,000-square mile plot, it wouldn’t be anarchy. It’s obvious that this would be just another big government system.

    “a legal and judicial system… and you wouldn’t want that either, would you, because they are also creations of government.”

    Obviously, the state doesn’t create a legal system, it suppresses it by imposing its own edicts, edicts contrary to natural law, edicts contrary to the legal system that would exist in an anarchy.

    “While I suppose that we could allow you to take in a suitcase of your own clothes (whatever you can carry), to fully honor your John Galt desires, we would not allow you to take any tools or other products created by our industrial mass production system.”

    Again, this is obviously authoritarian, obviously right-wing, obviously anti-propertarian, and obviously anti-anarchical.

    Obviously, you don’t really support this sort of thing. Obviously, you’re smart enough to know that restrictions on property rights are authoritarian, that restrictions on property rights have nothing to do with the promotion of anarchism, and that in a true anarchy, property rights would be respected. Obviously, you’re smart enough to realise that anyone who would actually support forcing someone to give up all of her belongings (save a suitcase) stands in defiance and opposition to the prescripts of natural law, and as such is nothing less than a criminal piece of scum. This I am comfortable saying because, obviously, you don’t actually advocate this. After all, only some nutty anti-libertarian would advocate any of the authoritarian restrictions on property rights you exemplified in this thread.

    If I thought there were even a change that you were actually serious, I would hold my tongue so as to not offend you, but since it’s obvious beyond even a shadow of a doubt that none of this is serious, I feel confident enough to say this without even a shred of fear that you will have even one iota of a cause to feel offended.

    I mean, I know that you seriously do support minarchism. I know you seriously are not an anarchist (yet). But, at the same time, I know there is no possible way you actually misunderstand anarchism this thoroughly. Therefore, it’s obvious that you are deliberately pretending to be even more opposed to anarchism than you are in real life. And insofar as that’s the case, it’s obvious this is a joke.

    In any event, if it weren’t for the fact that you cannot possibly be serious, I would here add: “I guess this authoritarian prescription helps to disprove your claim that I will ‘be completely free from any and all government control.'”

    “Even if I had the answer to that, though, you wouldn’t want to know it because you want be pure, untainted and left entirely to your own devices. Each of you, after all, is John Galt.”

    More evidence that this is a joke, and that you know it has nothing to do with true anarchism. :)

    After all, if it weren’t a joke, then this would be nothing more than an obvious strawman fallacy. But because it is a joke, it gives you the opportunity to demonstrate just how shallow strawman fallacies are without having actually engaged in one. :)

    “Imagine if ‘Escape from New York‘ was about turning Manhattan into a self-contained country instead of a prison… but without all of the inconvenient reminders of civilization and development like buildings and roads.”

    And, of course you realise that Escape from New York depicted a city in a state of anomie, which is the opposite of anarchy.

    “We will give you all of it. All you would have to do is give up everything else… oh, and allow those of us who do not believe as you do, those of us who do not share your vision of an anarchist ‘Heaven on Earth‘, free to carry on our ridiculous desire to actually improve the society that we are part of.”

    Of course you’re still joking, but since this inadvertantly brings up a serious point, I think I should make a point very clear.

    I have never been opposed to a group of people creating a political system in order to try to achieve their social goals (even though I think it is a purely utopian idea that a political system could ever achieve virtuous social goals). I’ve never been opposed to this, except that I have one condition:

    100% of the people living in said political system must agree to being a part of it. If the political system does things that would violates natural law, but 100% of the people within said political system consent to participation, then it’s not actually violating anyone’s natural, inalienable, innate, individual, negative, human rights.

    But, if even one person wishes to be free from the political system’s violations of natural law, then natural law requires that the political system refrain from violating the natural rights of the person who does not wish for her natural rights to be violated.

    Natural law is a real thing, and it mandates that no person or group of persons has the legitimate authority to infringe upon the person or justly-acquired property of anyone else.

    (Property can be justly-acquired in one of three ways: through homesteading some unowned thing, through receiving the thing from a previous just-owner via trade, and through receiving the thing from a previous just-owner in the form of a gift. Any other means of acquiring “property” is naturally in violation of natural law, and thus any means of acquiring “property” other than these three ways is naturally criminal. And if there is one thing with which I refuse to put up, it’s crime. People have natural rights regardless of what some criminal gang says on the matter, even if said criminal gang calls itself “the state.”)

    So, to recap, natural law is the most important thing in existence, and anyone who defies it is a criminal and deserves to be treated as such. If the political system violates the rights of even one person, then it is nothing more than a criminal gang, and should be treated as such. But as long as 100% of the people being controlled by the political system in question consent to being controlled by said political system, then it’s not actually violating anybody’s rights, and as such is not acting in a criminal manner.

    If people actually want to go off and form a political system, I’m fine with that, so long as 100% of the people it controls are voluntary members. Obviously, therefore, they have no right whatsoever to force someone to join who does not wish to join. If John Doe wishes to abide by no other laws but the natural laws, this is his natural, inalienable right. And any attempt whatsoever by the political system to punish Doe (with aggression) for his choice to not participate is, of course, a violation of natural law.

    Thus, if the political system tries to force a man who, like Doe, hasn’t initiated force or fraud against anyone, then it is nothing more than a criminal gang, and should be treated as such.

    For example, if the political system tries to force peaceful Doe to surrender ownership of his home, or any other belonging Doe may justly have, then the political system is nothing more than a criminal gang, and should be treated as such.

    If the political system threatens peaceful Doe’s life, or threatens the lives or safety of Doe’s friends or family, then the political system is nothing more than a criminal gang, and should be treated as such.

    For example, if the political system tries to force peaceful Doe to move elsewhere, then the political system is nothing more than a criminal gang, and should be treated as such.

    Now, let’s turn the tables, and say that, up until this point, the political system has been very careful to not violate anyone’s natural rights. My anarchist sensibilities would say, “Great! There is nothing unethical or illegal about this organisation.” Let’s also say Doe stops being peaceful. Let’s say he murders Smith, and let’s say Smith happens to be a member of the aforementioned political system. What would the anarchist say here?

    The anarchist would say that the political system would be perfectly justified in going after the criminal Doe. Why? Not because of any “laws” passed within the political system. Obviously, those “laws” don’t apply to Doe. The reason the aforementioned political system would be perfectly justified in going after the murderer Doe is that Doe violated natural law when he murdered Smith.

    So, to recap, neither Doe nor the political system has any authority to initiate force or fraud against the person or justly-acquired property of anyone else. The political system has no authority to use even a modicum of force against Doe unless Doe violates natural law; and Doe does not have any authority to use even a modicum of force against any other person on Earth unless said person violates natural law.

    Let’s say Jones attacks Doe. Let’s also say that Jones lives under the aforementioned political system, and that up until now, the aforementioed political system has not violated anybody’s natural rights. Because Jones has attacked Doe, Jones has violated natural law, and violated the natural rights of Doe; thus, Doe is perfectly justified in using equal and opposing force against Jones. Since Jones is the aggressor and since Doe is not, if the political system wishes to involve itself in this matter, then it ought to target Jones; after all, Jones is the only one who has initiated force in this scenario. If it goes after Doe because Doe used self-defence (something Doe had every right to do), then the political system has suddenly become an aggressor and a criminal, and should be treated as such.

    To re-cap once again, clearly, I have no problem with people forming political systems in order to try to address social goals (even though I believe that it is naively utopian to believe that that approach will actually succeed in addressing said social goals), but only, only if 100% of the people forming and participating in the said political system consent to being under its rule.

    Further, I hold that the political system has no authority whatsoever to violate the natural, inalienable, innate human rights of those who do not wish to participate, and thus, it has no authority to steal from non-participants, to rape non-participants, to destroy or also the justly-acquired property of non-participants without the consent of said non-participants, to murder non-participants, or to force non-participants to move elsewhere. Any attempt on the part of the political system to do any of these things to peaceful nonp-participants constitutes a violation of rights, constitutes aggression, and constitutes naturally criminal activity.

    If the people who wish to participate in a voluntary political system, that’s fine, but they may not aggress against non-participants, which is just another way of saying they may not violate the natural rights of non-participants. So, what happens if 100% of the people who do want to participate in the political system also happen to want to only live around others who are participating in the selfsame political system? Do they have a right to force non-participants to leave then?

    No, of course not, for that would still be a violation of natural law, regardless of how large the majority faction is. Thus, if 100% of the people who do want to participate in the political system also happen to want to only live around others who are participating in the selfsame political system, then it is their responsibility to leave society and to go off and form their voluntary political system. If they do not wish to move, then they either must choose to form their voluntary political system without moving (which means that they’ll have to deal with non-participants) or they much choose to not form their voluntary political system at all. Either of those choices would be legitimate, for neither of those choices violates anyone’s natural rights. But, again, if they force non-participants to move—either by aggressing against or by threatening to aggress against the persons, friends, families, or justly-acquired property of said non-participants—then they are violating natural law, which makes them nothing more than criminals.

    Do you think this is a fair assessment? I think it is. After all, natural rights are the most important thing in the world. Without them, what would be the point of even discussing political issues at all?

    I’m tired, I hope that makes sense. Apologies if it does not.

    Best regards,
    Alex Peak

  6. Alex,

    Let me try to make two points in answer to you. First, man is, by his very nature, a gregarious creature who needs the company of other humans for his emotional and psychological wealfare as well as for his own safety. This does not, of course, mean that every individual wants or needs the company of others, or that there are not degrees of that need but that does not mean that the broader statement is untrue. As creatures who come together there is a need for a “social contract”. In communities in which the strong prey on the weak, that contract might be “do what you are ordered to do”. As a supposedly civilized community, the contract is to come together to PREVENT the ability of the strong to prey on the weak.

    The second point is that I have heard too many objectivists, supremacists, separitists, the far-right Christian conservatives and all of the others who I have learned to view with outright suspicion of their true motivations. Every argument I have ever heard made by those I made myself oppose is based on the assumption that “I/we are right without the possibility of error”. I, on the other hand, work on the assumption that “I may be wrong”. As such, if I am going to err, I am going to err on the side of what is better for society as a whole rather than what would be of the greatest benefit for me, personally. Rather than opperating on the presumption that it is acceptible to work to destroy our society in order for it to conform with the desires of those among us who can be classified as “anti-social” for their sheer desire to be unnacoutable to their societies in any and all cases. I can admire what objectivists supposedly want to achieve in their own personal development, but that does not entitle them to condemn others for NOT meeting or even agreeing with those standards. Expecting others to abide by standards and expectaions of others is simply another form ot tyranny.

    Being surrounded by people I don’t know causes me physical pain and emotional stress. I now live with as little actual contact with people as possible. None-the-less, my personal welfare is less important than making sacrifices to benefit others in society as well as future generations yet unborn. My whole desire to serve my state and my nation by trying to work with others to create a better and less oppresive society is in compleate violation of my own personal comfort. Wanting to work for a better society is part of how I err on the side of what benefits others rather than to try to manipulate society and government to best be what gives me the greatest benefit.

    Now, in addition to those points, a question I have long wanted an answer to is this, “How can people who publically profess their personal beliefs that government, ANY government is, in and of itself, evil simply by existing, demand any protection of their rights by The Constitution since The Constitution itself is a document which creates a government?” If self-proclaimed anarchists want NO government what-so-ever, then its makes them hypocrits to even want anyone to abide by The Constitution. Anyone who wants America to abide by the provisions of The Constitution, or who use The Constitution as their argument that their natural rights are protected CANNOT, by definition, be an anarchist. Holding aloft a document which creates a government cannot be reconciled with a belief that there is NO government which can be justified. I never again want to hear anyone who calls themselves an anarchist say that The Constitution protects their natural rights. I would like to see any anarchist who is involved in the public debate or who wants any role in government to exhibit the moral clarity and intellectual honesty to acknowledge that they are hypocrits who are willing to use an “instrument of evil” to their own benefit. Nothing good can come from bad.

    Sincerely,

    Rhys M. Blavier

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