The Logical Anarchy Today Show Episode 210 – Personal Property vs Private Property


Logical Anarchy Today – Logical Anarchy Today Episode 210 – Personal Property vs Private Property

Well, I’m back! Or atleast I’m attempting a comeback. On this episode, I try and detail, through rambling, the Left Libertarian Position on personal and private property and how it is an arbitrary distinction used in sophistry.

An Anarcho-Socialist Explains Personal and Private Property

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How to Become a Left Libertarian

This is republished from We the Individuals with permission.

Hello, comrade. Are you a millenial? Are you a former or current democrat that is fed up with the two primary parties?  Did you recently attend an International Students for Liberty Conference? Are you looking for something new and edgy? Did you study sociology, gender studies, Marxist theory, or post-modernism and little to no economics in college? Do buzzwords like “exploitation”, “domination”, “solidarity” invoke emotion for you? Do words have no meaning to you? Are you looking for a special group who identifies with your interests to join? Well look no further! Here at the Alliance of the Libertarian Left (ALL) we are always on the lookout for new recruits. Below is a quick guide on how to become a left libertarian. If you feel that you can accomplish these things then maybe being a left libertarian is for you!

1. Be unemployed or have a very bad part-time job. Preferably the former. As a matter of fact, it probably helps to have very poor hygiene and dress like a thrift store greeter. The more of a “victim” you are, the more of a hero you become.

  • 1a. All of your own failures, shortcomings, etc, that were the fault of no one else but your own, be sure to blame on some fictional entity such as “society” or “patriarchy”. If that is unsuccessful, blaming “capitalism” always works.

2. Don’t study economics. If someone tries to discuss economics with you, make sure you try and smuggle in the labor theory of value or another leftist concept somehow. You’re not so much doing economic analysis as justifying your ideology.

3. Be sure to use “capitalism” as a pejorative. If possible, appeal to authority and invoke a few dead leftists from the 19th century who did the same. The way leftists use the word is obviously the only appropriate way. The idea is to convey emotion versus using it in a way that can be analyzed economically. Basically, “anything bad with anything” is how it needs to feel to others.

  • 3a. Whenever you can, attempt to appeal to authority or tradition. Why advocate ideas on their merit when you can be stuck in the pre-marginal revolution 19th century trying to make points that are barely relevant (i.e., “Lol libertarianism is traditionally left, have you even heard of Proudhon?”) because some dead socialist said something at one point in time?
  • 3b. While condemning “capitalism” because of its historical baggage, it is important to be inconsistent and not also condemn other terms such as “anarchism”, “socialism”, “libertarian”, “free market”, and numerous other terms that have their own similar historical baggage and aversions. We don’t want to give away our our actual contempt for accumulation of capital.

4. Use obscure, cryptic, and connotative terms such as “social justice”, “exploitation”, “subordination”, “solidarity”, etc, and equivocate when you can.If your listener/reader is in tune with these terms, it feels more or less the same to them as it does to you, and you get to enjoy conflicting or contradictory usages because they all just know what you mean. The idea is to couch everything you say in ambiguous terms and then refuse to define those terms so that you can write huge volumes of stuff without actually uttering a real proposition that can be assessed on its own merits – every criticism is an automatic strawman (“You just don’t understand left-libertarianism, mannnnnn”).

  • 4a. If still unsuccessful, link to an article or book that is biblical in length.
  • 4b. Get friends to help dog pile.
  • Repeat (4), (4a),and (4b). They will hopefully give up by then. Victory.

5. Read Center for a Stateless Society (C4SS) regularly and read C4SS only. If you must read something not on C4SS, be certain it is C4SS-approved material. Be sure not to do any due diligence and have open dialogue with any non left-libertarians regarding what you read for further analysis, either. It actually only takes a cursory glance of the site to become an expert in economics and libertarianism; ask any left-libertarian, especially the younger generation who skimmed a Hayek article once. Try to avoid individuals who have spent years studying the material whose positions conflict with yours; they are all “right libertarians”, “vulgar libertarians”, and probably racist, too.

  • 5a. It helps your status if you spend all your time bashing actual libertarians that have contributed and done anything or take what they say out of context, particularly on instances where they disagree. Heck, just ask another left libertarian who has followed these steps. Gotta stick with the narrative.
  • 5b. Charles W. Johnson, Roderick Long, and Kevin Carson are never wrong. Because they are right on a good number of things, it is set in stone that they are correct on everything possible even when they are terribly wrong on something, which they never are, because [see first sentence].

6. Use mottes and baileys constantly. Use terms that mean one thing when you are recruiting (“‘Anti-capitalism’ just means you are against existing ‘capitalism’ and favor freed markets”) and totally does not thereafter (no mention of property norms such as occupancy and use, anti-hierarchy, etc). So now that they’ve agreed to the first part, you can smuggle in other leftist ideas.

7. Along with motte and bailey, use special pleading. It helps to use unbacked declarative statements such as, “capitalism causes horrible income inequality”, or specify that voluntary exchanges on the free market are actually a zero-sum game rather than mutually beneficial. Never explain or feel that you have to defend these statements. If the opposition makes similar empty claims, require an unfair standard of evidence that you do not need to supply yourself. If they provide further argumentation, just dismiss it with more empty and unbacked claims. Remember, you don’t ever have to prove anything; they do.

8. Even hierarchies absent the state are bad. Because we all know true economic and social spontaneity won’t ever result in hierarchical orders as some people decide they’d like to hire others, and others decide they’d prefer to work for others, as they each pursue different goals. Hierarchies and bosses push people around, and libertarians should be against pushing people around. Because people aren’t equally “pushed around” in proprietorships, partnerships, and patron-owned firms — indeed, in all forms of social cooperation. Or something. The state is evil. The state is a hierarchy. Therefore, hierarchies are evil.

  • 8a. Assert that flat firms are more efficient than hierarchies and that absent the state flat firms will flourish because of (2) and (2a), but dismiss criticisms that our preferred networks of decentralized contractors, cottage production, cooperatives, and the like all suffer from various information, incentive, and coordination problems, because that’s just “vulgar libertarian” rhetoric. We must compare real-world hierarchies against some hypothetical ideal, find them lacking, and conclude that our own favorite methods of organizing are better because left-libertarianism (see also: (2), (2a), (5), (5a), (8), (8a)).

9. Make sure to conflate the doctrine of libertarianism with your entire identity. A philosophy which once dealt with the proper role of force in society will now be blended and combined with every other disparate belief you hold. If you as a person favor an equality of outcome, then that’s a part of being libertarian. If you as a person are for feminism, then feminism must be a libertarian position. If you as a person favor a libertine lifestyle, then libertinism must be a libertarian position. If you as a person believe racism is a systemic part of modern social structures, then opposing that is clearly a part of libertarianism. Of course the more you add to the definition of libertarianism the more it doesn’t exclude anyone… what are you, some sort of bigot? Make sure to exclusively participate in circles where everyone already agrees on those things. When you run into a libertarian who doesn’t, he will stick out like a sore thumb, empowering you to dismiss him easily with an air of condescension and appeal to what is obviously basic libertarian principle. Remember, if any libertarian says that they care about other issues outside the proper role of force in society — but not as a libertarian qua libertarian — they really don’t care and are probably not really libertarians at all.

  • 9a. If they disagree, they are automatically “right libertarian”, “social conservative” (see: fascist), or racist. Also, take care to point out the alt-right Nazi takeover of the libertarian movement—keep in mind that no claim is too hysterical when discussing this important topic. If there is further dissent or honest disagreement, be sure to utilize kafkatrapping or suggest they don’t understand because of their “privilege”.
  • 9b. In-group virtue signalling is an important characteristic. All other libertarians are bad, but you must put yourself in the shoes of the most unfortunate, even if they don’t ask for your help or if you never meet. It’s about you, not them.
  • 9c. While non-left-libertarians can agree that certain things such as misogyny or bigotry are vile, it is important not to empower those who experience these acts where the acts no longer have a negative impact. Once they are empowered, they’ll no longer need you.

10. You are a leftist first, and a libertarian second. What that means, for starters, is leftism (including but not limited to left-libertarianism) andcollectivist rhetoric go together like peas and carrots. Second, things like private property are a convention but not necessarily sacrosanct, particularly when it conflicts with your ideological sensibilities, in which case they need to be deprived. The problem isn’t that there are those who are oppressed, the problem is that there are those who aren’t. We are far more interested in abolishing prosperity than poverty; depriving those with “too much” isn’t necessarily a means to an end — helping those with less is an excuse to harm those with more. The underdogs are in inherent conflict with those in society who are on top. Just look at who we hate: bosses, people with money, white men etc., anybody with more than average agency. And who do we love and/or identify with? Basically anybody claiming victimhood, anybody who lacks agency. A defining attribute to the libertarian left is egalitarianism, since, in the short run that involves those on the bottom on their way up, and those on the top on their way down merging in the direction of equality, yet that can be dropped in the long run since those on top will be gone.

With rigorous application to these steps, one day you might be able to write for C4SS, or even become a C4SS “Senior Fellow.” It’s not too hard. Just abide by all of the steps outlined above, especially (1) and (1a), and you’ve got it. Make sure you buy an ALL button so you can non-conform like the rest of us, and do your best to visit our tables in the janitor’s closet (it’s all our Gofundme can usually afford to raise) at conferences or your local shelter and you’re well on your way!


The Inherent Contradictions of the Anti-Private Property Perspective

Private property is something I think every individual who reads this blog and supports this podcast is a fan of. It is part of the backbone of modern western civilization and a concept that cannot be divorced from “freedom” and “liberty”. Without the ability to control scarce resources, you have no “freedom”. Yet, there are those (particularly on the left) that despise the concept of private property (even though they may take advantage of it every day). These anti-private property (and anti-capitalist by extension) advocates are simply incorrect. “In spite of its many followers, the whole public goods theory is faulty, flashy reasoning, riddled with internal inconsistencies, non sequiturs, appealing to and playing on popular prejudices and assumed beliefs, but with no scientific merit whatsoever.” 1 These critiques about the anti-private property perspective are easy to defend and will be done so in the paragraphs to come. I will be using a conversation with someone who aligns with a more left anarchist or left libertarian perspective to demonstrate the very real and apparent logical contradictions that come about when one tries to advocate for freedom and at the same time, cheer for the erosion of property rights. The conversation opened with the following question regarding property and property rights.

“How do you deal with a person who is just plain evil and wants to burn the forest you gather your mushrooms from and hunt in?”

This kind of dispute over property is the gold standard of “philosophical conundrums” that many enemies of private property think they can trap the Anarcho-Capitalist in. Unfortunately for them, dispute resolutions over scarce resources is one of the pragmatic reasons the Anarcho-Capitalist advocates for private property and a free market in the first place. The response to such a question should be to ask another question in return. We need more information to answer this problem so we need to ask “who has the better claim on the forest?” Hans-Herman Hoppe says the following regarding this clash over resources, “I want to do X with a given good G and you want to do simultaneously Y with the very same good. Because it is impossible for you and me to do simultaneously X and Y with G, you and I must clash.” 2 What the anti-private property advocate fails to understand is that abolishing private property does not abolish scarcity. This failure to deal with this very real fact of existence means clashes over scarce resources without private property are only going to be exasperated, not mitigated. The Lockean homestead principle, or first user idea, is really the only way to understand who has a better claim to this forest. Who homesteaded it first? The hunter/mushroom gatherer or the person that wants to burn it down? Why is the first user ideal? Ethically, it makes the most sense.

A person that finds a previously unclaimed plot of land, as an example, and transforms it by clearing trees, building a house, or planting crops, clearly has a better moral claim to that plot of land than any individual that would arrive after this homestead operation has been established. In fact, most people would recognize that any individual that would arrive after this homestead has been established and demanded resources from the homestead owner, would be nothing more than a bandit and thief attempting to take what is not rightfully theirs. There is also a pragmatic reason for supporting property ownership and a first user. If we had to wait until the 9th or 12th user arrived before any legitimate economic action could be done with the resources, then we have many people standing around waiting for that 9th or 12th person. 3 This is inefficient and impractical and would greatly contribute to a lowering in the standard of living and would probably cause unnecessary starvation and death.

Of course, as is the case when talking to most people who do not understand the importance of private property and instead seek to subvert it, this request for clarification on who was the first user is either scoffed at or ignored. This conversation I had was no exception to this. This person responded with the following comment:

“You can’t own nature. And what it naturally produces should be ‘socialized’, meaning treated as thing belonging to all mankind. I mean the stuff that is actually produced by nature or exists without human intervention.”

As the previous arguments I have presented have shown, you can indeed own nature for pragmatic and ethical reasons. This is a claim I hear almost every time I encounter a left libertarian or left anarchist; this idea that individuals have no inherent right to own “nature” since they do not “make” nature. Instead, since no individual “created” nature, nature should belong to everyone. This sounds nice but in reality does nothing to solve the problem of scarcity inherent in our environment, as Hans-Herman Hoppe points out above. Even this individual sees that scarcity is a problem by asking their original question regarding someone who wants to remove the forest and someone that wants to hunt and gather in it. Both are mutually exclusive ends because the resource in question, the forest, is a scarce resource. How does making nature a “thing belonging to all mankind” answer their own question they proposed to me in the first place regarding the forest? The answer is that it does not. This only serves to highlight the implicit biases of left libertarians and left anarchists. This bias is made abundantly clear when they care very little, or simply do not see, how their own “solutions” do nothing to solve the problem (or in this case, make it worse).

On top of this inability to solve the problems they propose as “problematic” for Anarcho-Capitalists, this claim that nature should belong to all is also logically inconsistent. Typical for collectivists, they argue that these resources should belong to the collective, all of mankind, or society. The problem is that these collectives are abstractions. This indeed means “the prime errors in social theory is to treat ‘society’ as if if were an actually existing entity.” 4 Society is merely an abstraction. In reality, society is just a collection of individuals interacting. As soon as this group of individuals disperse, society disappears as well. This is the basis for much of the Austrian School of Economics that posits individuals as the source of all action, not collectives. Rothbard comments on this idea of nature and the individual by saying the following:

“For, as we have seen, no producer really ‘creates’ matter; he takes nature-given matter and transforms it by his labor energy in accordance with his ideas and vision. But this is precisely what the pioneer–the “homesteader”–does when he brings previously unused land into his own private ownership. Just as the man who makes steel out of iron ore transforms that ore out of his know-how and with his energy, and just as the man who takes the iron out of the ground does the same, so does the homesteader who clears, fences, cultivates, or builds upon the land. The homesteader too, has transformed the character of the nature-given soil by his labor and his personality. The homesteader is just as legitimately the owner of the property as the sculptor or the manufacturer; he is just as much a ‘producer’ as the others.

Furthermore, if the original land is nature- or God-given then so are the people’s talents, health, and beauty. And just as all these attributes are given to specific individuals and not to ‘society’, so then are land and natural resources. All of these resources are given to individuals and not to ‘society,’ which is an abstraction that does not actually exist. There is no existing entity called ‘society’; there are only interacting individuals.” 5

Let us also take this idea of nature being owned by everyone in a socialist manner to its logical conclusion. The world population in 2015 was 7,324,782,225 people. 6 If we take this concept of “nature is owned by all of mankind” to its logical conclusion, then someone in India is just as much a quotal owner of an acre of land in the United States as the person that may live on that acre of land. In fact, that acre of land would have to be divided up into 7,324,782,225 equal shares (with decreasing a portion even from this to account for population growth). Say someone wishes to plant crops on this one acre of unclaimed land and homestead it. Ethically, they are then not entitled to engage in this economic action without the consent of the 7,324,782,224 other humans on earth. We are talking about principles, as ridiculous as this sounds, and this is the logical conclusion of this principle that “nature belongs to all of mankind”. This principle has created “a world in which no man is free to take any action whatever without prior approval or indeed command by everyone else in society.” 7 The kicker is that the person that made this particular claim in the conversation called themselves an “anarchist”. But taking this anti-private property perspective to its logical conclusion clearly shows that it is indeed statist and quite possibly a terribly oppressive and tyrannical form of statism.

Moving on, this person made another assertion that is typically made against Anarcho-Capitalists by “anarchists” of a collectivist persuasion.

“Once you claim something other than your possessions to be your property, you in effect claim to be a mini-state ready to use force to make others comply with your rules.”

A claim like this, to me, is a very good example of sophistry. On the surface, it seems like a legitimate claim or observation about the strict view on property rights that Anarcho-Capitalists hold. Essentially, it’s claim that Anarcho-Capitalism is an extreme form of “minarchism” with each landowner acting as “dictator” on his property. It only seems like a legitimate observation if you don’t care about context and definitions (most left libertarians and left anarchists in fact do not care about those things). David Hume says the following regarding the origins of the State:

“Almost all the governments which exist at present, or of which there remains any record in story, have been founded originally either on usurpation or conquest or both, without any pretense of a fair consent or voluntary subjection of the people. When an artful and bold man is placed at the head of an army or faction, it is often easy for him, by employing sometimes violence, sometimes false pretenses, to establish his dominion over a people a hundred times more numerous than his partisans.” 8

This is drastically different than the legitimate ways an Anarcho-Capitalist claims property and resources can be obtained and claimed. In fact, the Anarcho-Capitalist is thoroughly against “usurpation and conquest” since such actions are coercive and violate property rights. Seeing as how property rights are central to Anarcho-Capitalism and the Non-Aggression Principle, it is intellectually dishonest to conflate a homesteader defending his property from bandits with bandits “defending” their stolen goods. It is like saying that the kind of force a rapist uses is the exact same kind of force his victim is using to defend themselves. Clearly, such an equivocation is absurd and false. It is why such “arguments” against the force used by legitimate property owners in defense of their property is sophistry and intellectually dishonest.

Not only that, but trying to slander or discredit Anarcho-Capitalism by equating it to “extreme minarchism” or minimal statism is laughable coming from collectivist “anarchists” with an ideology that very clearly ends with a deplorable state.

“The spurious logic of the dialectic is not open to the left-wing anarchists, who wish to abolish the State and capitalism simultaneously. The nearest those anarchists have come to resolving the problem has been to uphold syndicalism as the ideal. In syndicalism, each group of workers and peasants is supposed to own its means of production in common, and plan for itself, while cooperating with other collectives and communes. Logical analysis of these schemes would readily show that the whole program is nonsense. Either of two things would occur: one central agency would plan for and direct the various subgroups, or the collectives themselves would be really autonomous. But the crucial question is whether these agencies would be empowered to use force to put their decisions into effect. All of the left-wing anarchists have agreed that force is necessary against recalcitrants. But then the first possibility means nothing more nor less than Communism, while the second leads to a real chaos of diverse and clashing Communisms, that would probably lead finally to some central Communism after a period of social war. Thus, left-wing anarchism must in practice signify either regular Communism or a true chaos of communistic syndics. In both cases, the actual result must be that the State is reestablished under another name. It is the tragic irony of left-wing anarchism that, despite the hopes of its supporters, it is not really anarchism at all. It is either Communism or chaos.” 9

So when the Anarcho-Capitalist view on property is taken to its logical conclusion, it is abundantly clear no contradictions are in place that subvert its original position of freedom, liberty, self-ownership, free markets, and anti-statism. Any attempts to profess liberty, freedom, and self-ownership without private property falls flat and fails miserably. Such positions invariably end up being statist and contradict the goal of freedom.

Notes:

  1. Hoppe, H. (1993). The economics and ethics of private property: Studies in political economy and philosophy. Boston, MA: Kluwer Academic.

  2. Hoppe, H. (2014). From Aristocracy to Monarchy to Democracy. Auburn, AL: Mises Institute.
  3. Woods, T. (2015, October 08). Ep. 507 Anarcho-Capitalism or Anarcho-Socialism? Why We Should Embrace Property Rights. Retrieved from http://tomwoods.com/podcast/ep-507-anarcho-capitalism-or-anarcho-socialism-why-we-should-embrace-property-rights/
  4. Rothbard, M. N. (1973). For a New Liberty. New York, NY: Macmillan.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Population of the entire world, yearly, 1950 – 2100. (n.d.). Retrieved September 29, 2016, from http://www.geohive.com/earth/his_history3.aspx
  7. Rothbard, M. N. (1973). For a New Liberty. New York, NY: Macmillan.
  8. Hume, D. (1752). Popular Basis of Political Authority: David Hume, Of the Original Contract. Retrieved from http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/print_documents/v1ch2s4.html
  9. Rothbard, M. N. (2008, January 4). Are Libertarians “Anarchists”? Retrieved from https://mises.org/library/are-libertarians-anarchists

Logical Anarchy Today Episode 146 – More Left Anarchist Nonsense


Logical Anarchy Today – Logical Anarchy Today Episode 146 – More Left Anarchist Nonsense

Episode 15 of our live show about mutualism has brought many ancoms out of the wood work to challenge us. I feel like I end up repeating myself but I wanted to share some further problems I have with Anarcho-Syndicalists. They accuse Voluntaryists of not being true “anarchists” because they do not adhere to the same collectivists ideology as them yet call themselves “anarchists” anyways. This “argument” ignores the real and valid critiques anarcho-capitalists bring up regarding “left anarchism”. Today’s episode further clarifies these issues.

Logical Anarchy Podcast LIVE Episode 15 – Mutualism Vs Anarcho-Capitalism

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The Logical Anarchy Podcast LIVE Episode 32 – Gun Control, Clinton and Other Stuff Too


The Logical Anarchy Podcast – Gun Control, Clinton and Other Stuff Too

Today’s Episode is another kind of free-for-all kind of deal. We will cover gun control and the shooting in Orlando. Clinton and who wiki leaks says they have sensitive info that can make Hillary’s email scandal worse and more. It’s going to be a good one.

 

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Find us on Stitcher!

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