Thursday, January 21, 2010

Why I am an Anarchist.

Why I am an Anarchist.

By Harry Felker

I have met more resistance for being an open anarchist, in criticism and denial of the validity of such a possibility, than for anything else in my life. I have questioned why, and met the same tired arguments, battled them with reason and common sense and for the life of me I cannot wrap my mind around how people do not get it. My lovely wife explains to me that freedom is a state of being, and if one is not of that particular state then there really is no point in arguing with them. The more I interact with these people the more I am tending to agree with her, to let them go about their merry way, being house slaves, and let them pay the consequences for such accordingly. The false logic some people cling to in the face of reason that troubles me the most, is that they rely on an assertion to silence the thought of freedom in their mind.

People are Evil…

This argument really gets me, just right between the eyes, they vary in subject but they are all the same, people are so evil that we need (some group of people) to perform said function: and the only way to make sure that they get the right people, we have to be a collective and go through some choosing process, this choosing process is how we pick the few good people from the sea of bad ones. This argument is used to justify monopoly court and police, government in general and a myriad of other tyrannies too numerous to mention, but at the end of the day, it is still as logically ridiculous.

If we are to assume that all the world’s people are evil, how are we to ensure that the people we choose are the good ones, how do we know they do not lie to get in a position of power and then have their way with us? Look at the last president of the US, he was elected on a platform of no nation building, and what did he do once he had the opportunity to justify it? But if we examine history, this is not a singular case, but rather the norm, it seems that choosing by popular vote yields poor results at best. Maybe this bleak outlook that people are evil is not so much so as it is people who crave power over other people that are evil?

If we are to assume that all the world’s people are evil, why are we still here? Surely, if you are of one political persuasion, the Soviet Union should have in a fit of evil; nuked the US, came in a red dawn scenario or some other nonsensical plot? If you are of the other should not the evil capitalists during the Reagan or other like administrations done it to them? On the local level, one would think if this argument were true, with the increase in police and law that crime would drop, but the opposite has actually happened. Yet again, history shows us that regardless of the opinion that evil people are abound in the world, there is very little evidence to prove this opinion true, at best there are few evil people in the world, most likely few good as well and the vast majority are a sea of sheep following the charismatic shepherd around, giving little thought as to why they do as they do.

I am beginning to believe that the argument that people want to convey with this tactic is in truth, very real, that people in general are sheep, and do not think about what and, more importantly, why they are doing as they are told, they are just going through the motions until they shuffle from the mortal coil. Without the group in control of them, these people will not act, they will not know what to do and in large part will die, as any animal that has lost all sense of survival. So the argument then becomes, for the sake of others, those that are not sheep ought to be their slaves, pay for the system that allows them survival. Basically, what people making this argument are saying is if one is able to live independent of the system the sheep need, one ought to be part of it, that is, sacrifice autonomy for nothing. In reality, “people are evil” is an argument for slavery, meaning the sheep that require enslavement to a state do not want to be alone in slavery, it is them looking to share their misery with their betters.

Someone Will Always be in Control

This argument can be said to be truth in a context, I agree that someone will always be in control, even as an anarchist. There is a primary difference though in the context of the argument and what I mean, that is, whom is in control of what. The argument put to me is really that there will always be a slave master, and if you are not the master, be a good slave and do as you are told, this is not my stance. My thoughts are the individual is either in control, or he chooses slavery, there is always someone in control, and you have the freedom to choose.

This argument really boils down to the right of ownership of the self, do you own you or does someone else? Posed to me is that people will choose an authority to control them, maybe not consciously to enslave themselves, but rather to enslave others (refer to previous argument), and as such, everyone ought to participate. This is basically the self-defense argument for government that does not prove its authority just, it only proves the government is a coercive device that if you are not a part of you are the victim of. What they are failing to logically put together is that they are explaining why any Statism is wrong, that it is inherently slavery and it does not stand as the best option.

I believe that people ought to be in control of themselves, that their day to day life is their business and not some authority’s, that when they enter the market they decide what they want, what they offer and what values they place on these things. This is someone being in control, it is just, simply because it is the individual being in control of his possessions, be it his body, or his property. What people who use this argument are really saying is that humans cannot control themselves and need an authority, which leads us to the next argument.

Civilization requires Government

This is nothing more than the most heinously fallacious argument that can be imagined; it is basically stating that the human condition is so depraved that without someone to force them to be civil, they will destroy one another. Not only is this showing the world that the person making the argument is basically equating everyone to savage beasts that cannot wait to victimize his fellow man, but also completely disregards the reality of how government came about. Civil society did not derive from government, rather government is a product of uncivilized people trying to control a civil society, civility cannot be forced, it comes from free interaction in trade. If one owns his property and wants something someone else has, he may interact with this other person in a number of ways. He can trade property the other wants in exchange, offer services for this desired property or he can take it, only one of these is uncivilized, what the person who accepts this argument says is that individuals will opt for the only uncivilized choice. The claim is that it is easier, that it is no loss and that it is effective, none of this is true. It is not easier, at no loss or effective because of retaliation, if you trade for something you are not investing time, energy and resources to dissuade or react to retaliation. Not to mention that it is not effective because you do not know for certain that you will succeed, so the investment made to do the act of taking over trading may produce no results. But with all of this logic stacked against this argument, people insist that the choice will be to be uncivilized.

Civil society was derived from interaction between humans, in absence of any authority, by simply choosing to trade over take, if this never happened we would never have had any society to begin with. Claiming that government produced civil society is not only wrong, but also quite dumb, it is like saying that one man was civil among a group of savages and he forced them to be civil. How this makes sense is beyond me, the reality is that people civilized naturally, by finding that trade was preferable to taking, it is effective, it requires only the work to acquire the desired property and the individual makes the subjective decision on the value he is willing to trade for the property. Then came government, when uncivilized people decided that if given authority they could take with less risk. They gathered other uncivilized people and forced government on civilized people, through coercion of civilized people was government born, not the other way around. Evidence of this is seen all throughout history, as governments cast tyranny after tyranny on civilized people time and time again; every war, every genocide, are all products of government. As a matter of fact government cannot help itself but show what it really is all it takes is time.

Monopolies and Cartels and Trusts, Oh my!

If there was ever the biggest lie we have been taught in schools it is that there have been big business interests that completely dominated the market when the market was “freer” in the United States. The real economic history has been revised to make laissez faire seem as if the rich will take all control and enslave the people, when quite frankly the opposite occurred in reality. The myth that the Sherman Act was used prior to Theodore Roosevelt to protect the people from these big business interests is propaganda to the tune of what the Soviet citizens were inundated with about America and Capitalists alike. The truth is far less convincing that the free market produces predatory monopolies, and in fact, the predatory monopolies could not have existed without the assistance of the government to secure.

Every industry it was tried in, in the less regulated market, the monopoly, cartel or trust, at gaining monopolistic status, that is 60% or better, and they had gone about cutting production and raising prices, the opposite of what we were taught happened, time and time again. There was no mighty tycoon crushing the masses, withholding a standard of living from people because of their intolerable greed, when the monopoly set up was achieved, and the production cut and price raise was applied, people freely entered into the market against the monopoly. In fact, most monopoly corporations, without state intervention, failed because of this truth, the free market will always tend towards the true market value. If ones firm wishes to artificially inflate the market value for his commodity, he will be out competed by new firms in a free market, that is, one that allows for free entry into it. The only thing that allows a monopoly to remain after it has formed is the government, through tariffs, licensing, regulations and such. The government, through willful action or ignorance, is the sole reason monopolies persist, and that the government education system teaches the opposite is telling that it is more willful and less ignorance.

In short, the government mandate riddled, regulated market is the predatory market that fosters monopolies and causes untold suffering on the general population, this is the opposite of what the government would like you to know to be the truth, but the real truth prevails.

The Question of Liberty

It is said that the “proper role” of government is to protect the rights of the citizens, it is a nice story, but the reality of the situation is quite the opposite. Even the founders of the US Constitution believed in majority that the government is not the protector of the rights of the people. The basic language of the Declaration of Independence suggests, but not demands, that a government would be formed to replace the original government, which would be disposed of, and so on if the replacement turned out to be another tyranny. In fact, Jefferson, in the Declaration, in his use of language basically claims that treason is not a crime, but rather the right of the individual to break ties with a tyranny that has become oppressive, inherently tied to the right of secession. This is one of the reasons why Jefferson said there should be a rebellion every 20 years:

God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part, which is wrong, will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty.

~Thomas Jefferson

A wise man once said:

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

~Benjamin Franklin

The trade off for any security is always liberty, I would even hazard to say the personal security that one would have in absence of government would be paid by some liberty in a sense. The difference being of course that when I actively secure my home, the liberty I trade is the liberty to do things that do not involve my security. For example, if I contract a service from others, the resources used to pay for those services are not at my liberty to dispense in other projects, or if I chose to provide for my own defense alone, the time and effort cannot be used elsewhere while employed on my security. When one uses government to take this role, history proves the Franklin quote true, what liberties have we relinquished to the government already for minor security bonuses? Financial liberty has been attacked to pay for foreign wars, a bloated military and interventionist policies. Privacy has been destroyed in National Security interests, not to mention Speech, Press, Religion, Petition, Property, and Due Process. Using the argument that the US has not had a terror attack on our soil in the past X years is made of rice paper, rather than being attacked here we are sending people to the middle east, basically saying those who fight in this war do not count as they are subject to a world of car bombs and ambush attacks. Most often the people applauding the lives of our soldiers are inadvertently saying they are worth less than the average citizen as they are pushed into mandatory suicide.

The blatant lie of the concept of rights protector is so obvious it boggles the mind that the masses believe it is true, simply because they have no coherent understanding of what liberty actually is. Orwell’s statement in 1984 “Freedom is Slavery” is quite honestly the only way someone can rationalize the idea that the government protects their rights, it is as oxymoronic as the Orwellian quote. When one looks at the reality of what government does, all law is a rights violation on behalf of the state on its population even laws that would exist without the state are inherently a rights violation because the state has no authority to make any laws dictating the behavior of individuals. Laws that dictate what an individual does with their own body, property or what an individual can own as property, can only be seen as rights violations, it implies that the individual’s body and property is in part automatically under the control of the state. So the idea that the state protects rights falls apart once the state passes a law that gives itself access to the individual’s private property, one could go on with the reasoning that private property does not exist within a government controlled area.

Tell Me What the Free Market Anarchist Society Will Be Like….

It is amazing how people really do not understand what a free market is, we have a regulated market in the United States, it always has been the case, the Constitution allows for it at the hands of Congress. No one can tell you what a free market anything will be like, it is not like what we have today, that is the best I, or anyone else that understands the free market philosophy, can tell you. I can give predictions on likely possibilities, but it is impossible to predict real free market results, as they are based on individual actions, and as such are based on the choices of individuals, which are wholly subjective.

Let us start with the daunting task of a potential prediction in the field of the market itself, right at its heart, money. Free market money is one of the taboo topics of statists mainly because when you control the money in creation and use, you control the people. Free market money would mean basically that the media of exchange would be created privately, this could be in any form, paper, metallic coin, etc, and the value would be chiefly maintained by the producers of such. The reason I default to a money system and not barter is because the money system has portability and storage benefits that are highly efficient. It is the profit motive that stabilizes the money, which a private creator produces, because if his money is unstable, people will opt to not use it, remember I am talking about an anarchist society, so there is no government to coerce the people to use it. Also in the free market scenario there is the availability to compete in this business so it cannot be assumed that there will be a monopoly dominating money creation.

In dealing with a medium of exchange, that is, money, most people have the argument that you cannot have money without the government, that there must be some authority to regulate it. This fallacious notion comes from a thought that the government has a role in the economy of an overseer of sorts, that without the “master” the slaves will run amok is more realistic to the representation of this argument. The economic position of government is to be a consumer, not a regulator, not a producer but only a consumer, it consumes goods and in the usual case it undermines the market by allocation (legal theft) rather than purchase. The market is controlled by people that produce goods and services and those that consume these goods and services by purchase, a common mugger helps the economy as much as the government can in this respect. The only visible end of the government in the market is coercion, seizure of assets through taxation (or you are imprisoned), regulation (or you are fined/imprisoned) and/or manipulation of the money supply (based on a false authority). So why is the production of a medium of exchange supposed to be different, why would we assume that money is where the government is honest, when it is dishonest everywhere else, why is it that we assume that government can defy economic science and have a neutral or positive effect on the economy? Furthermore, placing the medium of exchange in the hands of a private enterprise means that there is a vested interest in sustaining a stable value to the currency, that is, retaining the utility of their product. Hayek proposes in A Free Market Monetary System:

I think it is entirely possible for private enterprise to issue a token money which the public will learn to expect to preserve its value, provided both the issuer and the public understand that the demand for this money will depend on the issuer being forced to keep its value constant; because if he did not do so, the people would at once cease to use his money and shift to some other kind.

I have to agree with Hayek, the private business has more at stake to retain a stable value of the currency it issues than a government does, historically we have seen the manipulation of money with no alternative have drastic effects on the people of a given nation, any of the hyperinflation incidents of the 20th century can tell us that.

Classically people default to police and courts as another reason we need government, but I really do not see how one requires the other, in a free market scenario, police would most likely be made possible by private business, as well as court. Again the profit motive would protect the consumer, since the consumer is not required to subscribe to a particular service, each will look to provide the best service for the least cost. One may attack this scenario as slighted to the rich, but in reality, more purchase power is in the hands of all but the rich. Asset ownership is what makes the wealthy actually wealthy, this is not liquid asset, but rather other property, and as such is not useful for immediate usage.

Another popular attack is that they would make war between themselves, and again this is destroyed by profit motive. It shows that the price of violence is a concept completely alien to many people that argue against the free market. If you consider the price needed to pay a free individual to risk his life, the costs in benefits if he does die, resources allocated to ensure victory and dissuade retaliation as compared to a protection company that would not choose such Viking-like measures, the market logic presents itself. Paying a business that defaults to making “war” over peaceably solving issues will cost more, and as such will not be attractive to most subscribers, this is not to say these businesses will not exist, but will not be the norm, and more than not will not be successful in retaining clientele or employees. As Murray Rothbard suggests in For a New Liberty: A Libertarian Manifesto:

To assume that police would continually clash and battle with each other is absurd, for it ignores the devastating effect that this chaotic "anarchy" would have on the business of all the police companies. To put it bluntly, such wars and conflicts would be bad — very bad — for business. Therefore, on the free market, the police agencies would all see to it that there would be no clashes between them, and that all conflicts of opinion would be ironed out in private courts, decided by private judges or arbitrators.

I am not too sure that violent protection agencies would survive long, possibly at all, on reconsideration, because the ones willing to pay the fees have to have in the back of their heads the consequences of others potentially out bidding them. Not to mention that if such were the standard accepted practice, those that could afford the service would not for long, impoverished because they cannot force others to pay for a violent group of thugs through taxation.

And then there is the other troubling thought about police protection, that it is a commodity the government provides to all equally. As Murray Rothbard poses in For a New Liberty: A Libertarian Manifesto:

In the first place, there is a common fallacy, held even by most advocates of laissez-faire, that the government must supply "police protection," as if police protection were a single, absolute entity, a fixed quantity of something which the government supplies to all. But in actual fact there is no absolute commodity called "police protection" any more than there is an absolute single commodity called "food" or "shelter." It is true that everyone pays taxes for a seemingly fixed quantity of protection, but this is a myth.

The train of thought behind the need for police protection, or a military for that matter, justifies the State to provide food and shelter to all for paying taxes as well, as these are “needed”, much in the way people stand on police protection. How does one on the “right” disambiguate police from the entitlement mentality they associate checks, food and shelter, one would think, if we boil away all the jargon, are they not the same? The myth about the difference in what is known as welfare in the United States and police protection is simply that, a myth, if you justify the State in taking taxes for police protection you justify the State doing the same for all “Welfare” programs.

In Conclusion

Philosophically and economically the state is unjustifiable, so the only alternative is anarchism, which is, existence without the state. There is no reason for the existence of the state aside from the usefulness of the state to those that would steal from others in the populace, it is fundamentally an organization meant to minimize the threat of punishment for theft. Civilized people do not require a state to keep other civilized people from violating their rights, rather uncivilized unsuccessful people need a state to be predatory on other people in order to mitigate the costs of their failures. No one can rationally argue that the state is beneficial to anyone without first violating the rights of others, and the claim that this is the price of liberty is not only erroneous, but a malicious lie propagated by the state. Nothing can defend the position of the state without first admitting that the defender is in fact a beneficiary of the state and the root cause of the defense is in fact the desire to benefit off the backs of other people.

The state does not and cannot defend individual liberty, which if experience does not make it obvious, the historical reality of law making (specifically in the US) viewed through epistemic examination amply proves. Law making, inherently, even when the law is relatively just, is a rights violation simply because it is surrendering to non-consented authority. For one to epistemologically justify the state, which could only be done by an individual consenting to every action the state takes, still only justifies it on an individual basis. This combined with majority prevailing on each vote, to elect representatives and to pass laws, creates an atmosphere where unanimous consent is impossible. If, in the US, we are to adhere to the philosophical basis of the American Revolution, since consent is impossible to prove on a mass scale, any government derived will be non-consented and therefore unjust. So on a philosophical basis, only autonomy (Self Government) is just simply because it is the only way to have unanimous consent.

The state is not economically beneficial, rather it is disadvantageous, it violates market logic, and not only in its existence, but also in every action it takes. It acts as a monopolist does: it creates false scarcity, it dictates price and it is a predatory market presence. It uses the aforementioned unjust authority in order to maintain its monopoly status in the economy, and as history shows us, unjust authority is the only maintainer of its monopoly status. The insanity continues when the state’s actions cumulate to foster private monopolies, this is how they reinforce their own monopoly status over the economy, basically, by causing a problem and then promoting more economic control as the solution.

In short there is no durable benefit on the individual basis that the government provides, in the long run, there is no benefit at all, in contrast to the free market. The free market and the capitalist system of ownership, existing in a society of autonomous individuals are the only reasonable path to durable benefit, in short and long term. When one examines the prospect of individual liberty, capitalist ownership is how it is realized in reality, and the same holds true for economic prosperity and the free market. As our inherent right to own ourselves, which is to not be slaves, is present only in capitalism, the free market is the only way to interact in capitalism and the only way for a free market to exist is in absence of government, anarchy is the only option remaining.

I am an anarchist because the right to our lives, liberty and property are paramount, and only realized in an anarchic capitalist setting.