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The new libertarianism: anti-capitalist and socialist; or: I prefer Hazlitt’s “Cooperatism”

In Kevin Carson’s Socialism: A Perfectly Good Word Rehabilitated, we are informed that the true libertarian is anti-capitalist and socialist. Well, at least Hoppe’s magisterial treatise A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism still has a suitable title–if you just switch the terms. (Incidentally, the image at right is a postcard I bought in 1990 in Berlin, right after the Wall fell. The post-Wall Germans were under the impression that socialism was a bad thing.)

But words have meanings. Socialism means centralized control of the means of production–or, in Hoppe’s more essentialist generalization where he defines socialism as “an institutionalized interference with or aggression against private property and private property claims”, A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism, p. 2; also see pp. 12–which is clearly incompatible with libertarian principles, by both standard- and left-libertarian lights. If we ignore semantics, even “communism” could work–after all, we are for community, no? But words have meanings and fighting over semantics is futile. Hell, we’ve even lost “liberal,” though there is some hope we can regain that (I recall Objectivist David Kelley once in a speech said, if the leftists are done with the term liberal, can they please give it back?). But “socialism”? Too late. If we were picking a new term, I might choose Hazlitt’s tentatively proffered term “Cooperatism” (Foundations of Morality, p. xii), but I think libertarianism, or anarcho-libertarianism, works just fine. It’s not the term that is the problem: it’s what it stands for. (As Rand said when asked: “Why do you use the word ‘selfishness’ to denote virtuous qualities of character, when that word antagonizes so many people to whom it does not mean the things that you mean?”” Her answer, as mine, was: “To those who ask it, my answer is: “For the reason that makes you afraid of it.””)

(As for “capitalism”–it is not at all incompatible with libertarianism, though it may not be the best descriptive or definitional term; but it basically describes a system in which the means of production are privately owned; this is indeed compatible with libertarianism, and an essential element of any libertarian society–and it is not “vulgar” to recognize this.)

[Cross-posted at LRC]

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{ 57 comments… add one }

  • Javier R. April 24, 2010, 1:53 pm

    Great piece! I said the same thing to David Theroux. He is a member of “Libertarians against Capitalism” and I told him of my concerns that this group is attracting the wrong crowd. While they may be harping on the meaning of the word they are at the same time attracting those who see the issue as being much deeper then word usage and who are truly anti- “capital”. There is someone who posted a favorable comment on Theroux’s Facebook wall that proved my point. This person’s made it clear that he had no use for capitalism as we anarcho rothbardians understand it, not just the word.

  • Agnapostate May 6, 2010, 10:41 pm

    These is an assortment of assertions, not arguments. Apart from the fact that the hierarchical nature of capitalism is simply in flat etymological contradiction with the term anarchism, and the related fact that the word libertarian was popularized in a political sense by anarchists (real anarchists, meaning socialists, not Rothbardian frauds), socialism is the public ownership of the means of production, which is at odds with the state capitalism of Leninist regimes.

    You’re too well-read (and have dealt with Francois too much, unfortunately), not to be familiar with the literature on this, Stephan.

    • Stephan Kinsella May 10, 2010, 7:06 am

      Agnawhatever [I should call you guys YAN: yet another nym]: You were dishonest here: I didn’t pitch a hissy fit at all. You are welcome to comment here. I simply don’t take you guys seriously. How is that pitching a hissy fit?

      • Agnapostate May 10, 2010, 3:29 pm

        Hmmm…it’s occurred to me that you shouldn’t be able to trackback referrals from there, but whatever. Now, didn’t you tell me to “go away”? You didn’t delete my comments; I’ll give you that.

      • Agnapostate May 10, 2010, 3:31 pm

        Incidentally, there’s obviously a link, and therefore obviously an ability for people who want to see what happened to come here and see for themselves. You’ll see who consensus supports.

    • Rottenfruit January 31, 2013, 8:31 pm

      You are the tr00 anarchist!

      Teh properteez!

  • Javier R. May 7, 2010, 1:21 am

    Leninist regimes always carried out there “state capitalism” in the name of public ownership. How do you suppose that this “public ownership” you laud so much be realized? It would require the coercive powers of the state to bring about such distribution and suppresion of distinct classes. This was Rothbard’s critique of pseudo anarchism of the leftist socialists. Frankly he was right. This idea of public ownership is the banner that Leninist regimes flew under. Your attempt to make a distinction fails to understand that “public ownership” is the warm moist breeding ground from which “state captialsim” (more appropriately “corporate cronyism”) grows from comfortably. So while folks like Bankunin did criticize Marx’s “dictatorship of the proletariat” he did so without a real grounding to do so. He provided the seeds for such dictatorship. As for this notion of hierarchy being bad. History has shown that egalitarianistic revolutions have produced some of the most hierarchical structures ever and murderous regimes ever. This was the utter intellectual failure of the early socialist “anarchists”. They spoke of the abscence of the state but their philosophy cried out and demanded for such regimes like Bolshevik Russisa, Maosist China and Cuba. True individualists will always denounce “public ownership” for the danger it is.

    • Anthony B. April 12, 2013, 10:02 pm

      So what are you saying? That public ownership like private ownership can only exist if there is a state to enforce or legitimize that ownership? That we are doomed to have a state regardless of who owns the basic means of production and distribution? If that is the case, then it seems pointless to argue about any of this.

  • Agnapostate May 7, 2010, 1:35 pm

    That Rothbard, the leader of the fraudulent, misnamed, and oxymoronic “anarcho”-capitalists, was audacious and idiotic enough to declare real anarchists illegitimate is something that has never ceased to amuse/amaze me. I’ve also always gotten the same feeling when reading Rothbard’s criticisms of anarchism (after he declare himself a non-anarchist, though he was not intelligent enough to declare himself a non-libertarian also), since I’ve been perplexed by his presumption that his claims will simply be swallowed without challenge. He can repeat the most absurd lies in his characterization of the Spanish anarchists without citation of external sources, as a marginally more respectable Bryan Caplan can, for instance.

    It’s somewhat irrelevant. Legitimate anarchism has beaten “anarchist” capitalism to pieces with no response: http://anarchism.pageabode.com/afaq/secFcon.html

    But you do make me laugh. Does the fact that the Communist Party of China refers to the country as a “people’s republic” make it so? I think not, so why would you be so gullible as to swallow authoritarian regimes’ claims of socialism?

  • Agnapostate May 7, 2010, 1:57 pm

    Accusing him of “recantation” would be an insinuation that he belonged to the ranks of anarchism to begin with, so no, I wouldn’t claim that. His paleo shift did cause his fundamental two-bit statism to become more apparent, of course: http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/ir/Ch5.html

    But I’m referring to his mid-50’s declaration of non-anarchism: http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard167.html

    Anarchist analysis of one of the rare accurate claims that Rothbard made throughout his lifetime here: http://anarchism.pageabode.com/afaq/rothbard-we-must-therefore-conclude-that-we-are-not-anarchists

    • Stephan Kinsella May 7, 2010, 1:59 pm

      of course he was an anarchist. that article didn’t declare non-anarchism. what are you jabbering about. You leftists are incredible. Literally.

      • Agnapostate May 7, 2010, 2:05 pm

        Seriously?

        “We must therefore conclude that we are not anarchists, and that those who call us anarchists are not on firm etymological ground, and are being completely unhistorical.”

        That does nothing for you? For once, Rothbard’s statement makes sense to me. It’s simply a matter of standard etymological conflict between anarchism and the hierarchies of the capitalist labor market. The term “anarchy” does of course literally mean “no ruler/authority” or “without rulers/authority” (derived from the Greek ??-?????), which effectively means that anarchism is an ideology of opposition to hierarchical governance, as “hierarchy” is derived from the Greek term ????????.

        Now, ????? and ????? are parallel terms, so by its very nature, any ideology that has as its end the preservation of archy (namely hierarchy), as a normal condition is opposed to anarchism.

  • Javier R. May 7, 2010, 2:07 pm

    What never ceases to amaze me is that you think because no one has bothered to look at your site that no one has dealt with similar arguments. You seem to be an excellent smear artist more than a writer. The article you refer to about Rothabrd not being an anarchist is misleading at the least. If you read the piece you know that he offers a critique of “anarchist” socialism that the site you link to, I am convinced, failed miserably to answer. He was acknowldeging that others used the term in a way not consistent with his own and was saying he was not THAT kind of “anarchist”. He was also criticizing libertarians who do not take a consistent approach to the state as he does.

    YES I most certainly conside Maoist China and Bolshevik Russia to be PERFECT outgrowths of socialist thinking. I think history testitfies that the only gullible people are folks like yourself who have swallowed hook line and sinke this clownish notion that socialism is not responsible for those regimes. Socialism is the womb which comrade Lenin was born from . As I pointed out “anarchists” socialists may talk a tough talk about opposing the state but in the end you have no mechanism of bringing this about w/o the force of violence eventualy by the state. You may think you can in the fantasy that you all live in but once again history has shown in the name of egalitarianism revolutionary violence is god.

    Class distinctions are a very good thing. True individualism entails inequality. Authentic anarchism is not simply opposed to the coercive powers of the state but is for the full individual freedom to use and own his resources and labor privately. This has always been superior to the dangers and evils of socialism.

    • Agnapostate May 7, 2010, 2:20 pm

      Your posts are riddled with unsupported assertions rather than argumentative commentary. Why don’t you support your statement, and explain to us how Leninism approximates the public ownership and management of the means of production, considering the divergence between the interests of dictatorial state regimes and the general population?

      Leninism is properly called state capitalism, since as with market capitalism, there is a small authoritarian elite controlling resources that influence the lives and conditions of many more.

      Why is it that there are practical examples of real anarchism existing and being suppressed by hostile Leninists (a bit odd, if they’re all the same), while “anarchist” capitalism is a utopian textbook fantasy generally advocated by “socially retarded adolescent white guys”?

  • Javier R May 7, 2010, 2:13 pm

    I see that more posts have been made since I was writing my second post. Stephan you are absolutley right, this character is misquoting Rothabrd as I pointed out in my second post. Rothbardd was clearly referring to the fake anarchism. His point was that there are too many of the fakes around that the name anarchism could be confused with them so he was simply saying no Im not one of them.

    Rothabrd never went paleo. never. You seem to believe because he associated with some who were that means he was himself. That is the kind or “reasoning “we have some to expect from socialists.

    • Agnapostate May 7, 2010, 2:25 pm

      Ah, of course, that courageous Rothbard was overturning what was then between 110 to 120 years of the existence of anarchism as a declared social philosophy to declare his little academic wet dream “real” anarchism. Too bad that article is in flat contradiction with that sentiment.

      We’re in partial agreement on Rothbard, though. I do believe he never “went” paleo: he was a two-bit statist from the beginning, whatever sort of disingenuous rhetoric he attempted to cloak himself with. According to Brian Doherty:

      “The ‘paleolibertarian turn’ was not out of the blue for Rothbard. Even when singing the praises of the 1960s student movement, he always pledged fealty to old bourgeois cultural values. He loved pre-big band New Orleans jazz and old-fashioned narrative movies with heroes or broad comedies. He’d regularly rag libertarians’ concern with what he saw as faddish nonsense like humanistic psychology and science fiction visions of the future. In his history of economic thought, and elsewhere, he praised Christianity as the bedrock of almost all that was valuable in the Western philosophic tradition. While other libertarians talked of ‘living liberty’ (a phrase Rothbard detested) through daring experiments in unique and sometimes bizarre social arrangements, Rothbard declared even in the early 1970s that ‘the Christian ethic is…a Rock of Ages, and it is at least incumbent on an individual to think long and hard before he abandons that Rock lest he sink into the quagmire of the capricious and bizarre.”

  • Javier R May 7, 2010, 2:14 pm

    Thanks for the greek lessons but the etymology of the word is old to us. Try to keep up.

    • Agnapostate May 7, 2010, 2:26 pm

      Old and still repeatedly ignored! Capitalism requires hierarchy, which is in flat contradiction with anarchy. Try to keep up yourself!

      • Stephan Kinsella May 7, 2010, 2:31 pm

        Agnonumnuts, the left is evil. Socialism is evil. They are statist and murderous. We have no use for you or your crankish economics or mystical Marxist bullshit. Go away.

        • Agnapostate May 7, 2010, 2:38 pm

          Apologies, I thought you were actually well-read on Carson and that literature. After this interaction, I’m convinced that you’ve hired a team of chimpanzee ghostwriters.

  • Javier R May 7, 2010, 3:08 pm

    I find that you seem to have problems with reading comprehension so let me help you out here. First off the only statist are yourselves. You talk a tought talk but once again and you havent answered me. How do you propose to create such la la land of a classless society? The reason why Lenin opposed “anarchists” was because Comrade Lenin was far along the path that “anarchist” socialists like yourself will eventually have to follow. This was the criticism of non “anarchist’ socialists at the likes of you. You need the state to carry out your poison of classless egalitarianism. In other words the difference between you and Lenin was only of degrees not substance. He believed rightly in the need for the state to carry out your ideas and you wrongly think you can do so w/o it.

    No Im beginning to worry about you on a personal level so let me try to help you out. You quote some passage from a milqtoast libertarian like Caplan to the effect that Rothbard liked rock music, jazz, and praised Christianity as evidence he as statist? Something’s wrong with your mind set and thats what is worrying me now. Someone who can come to this conclusion is not altogether there. Where does Caplan describe Rothabrd as a statist in that lengthy quote? I am really beginning to worry about you.

    I dont understand why should I offer a reason why there is no contradiction between hierarchy and capitalism and anarchy.I never offered an argument against the idea of hierarchy because I am not opposed to it. Even in your cheap greek lesson you admit that anarchism “literally” means w/o rulers. So you have to import a whole lexical meaning to include a classless society.
    I agree with Rothabrd when you dont take him out of context like you do. He was pointing out that yes the early history of anarchism meant was used to refer to as he correctly points out the “irrational collectivist” mentality that you seem to be immersed in. However his larger point was this “The vagueness of the term itself is such that the libertarian system would be considered anarchist by some people and archist by others”. Sure if someone doesnt want to use the word anarchist fine. I do because my point and others is that capitalism (not corporate cronyism) but pure laissez fare capitailsm is a perfect antidote to the state. You on the other hand need to bow your knee before the sacred state eventually despite all your bravado. Sound and fury signifying nothing.

    Nice try

    • Agnapostate May 9, 2010, 2:01 pm

      Your responses continue to be characterized by baseless assertions rather than actual argument, which I suppose is to be expected from a statist. Legitimate anarchism has a record of historical existence; your pseudo-anarchism is a thing of the textbook and the Internet debate among socially retarded adolescent white guys.

      Anarchism is a literal etymological opposition to ARCHY. HierARCHY, in case you haven’t noticed, involves ARCHY, which is therefore in contradiction with ANARCHY. The hierarchy of the capitalist labor market is simply openly incompatible with anarchism. The “debate” has been about the nature of “rulership,” but when we return to Greek, we see that capitalism entails the exact sort of “rulership” that the English term does not fully convey. This is admitted by proponents of “anarchist” capitalism.

      The quote is from Doherty and not Caplan, and is an observation of the fact that his paleoconservative inclinations were always there, even when he was allying himself with the New Left. It’s simply that he allowed his neo-fascist colors to become brightest in the last period of his life.

      The term “libertarian” was popularized as a political reference by anarchists in self-description; it has been misappropriated by U.S. propertarians, who have no interest in the preservation of liberty, since they support the authoritarianism of capitalism even when it was spawned by statism, since “free markets” have never existed.

  • Javier R May 7, 2010, 3:25 pm

    Apparently my chimpanzee is smarter than you. Carson was not on your side. He merely uses the word capitalism differently from me but has the same substantial understanding. He understands capitalism to mean state intervention and subsidies, which I also oppose. If he wants to use “free markets” instead of “capitalism” fine but he is not totally on your side as you would think. Carson has some theories about private property and the acquisition of it that I may differ with but for you to offer him as though he sides with you is bozo the clown comical. I would argue he is much closer to me on some issues, than he is to you. He has been sympatheitc to austrian captialists in his writings. Thats if you actually read him. Carson offered an excellent critique of IP that our gracious host Mr Kinsella has also offered even referring to Stephan in his writings . My monkey has read Carson…you havent.

    At what point did you bring him up in any of the posts that I had to demonstrate an understanding of him?

    My chimpanzee 1 Agnapostate 0

    • Agnapostate May 9, 2010, 2:21 pm

      I was referring to Kinsella’s understanding of Carson and the related literature, not yours, though I don’t doubt that your own is just as shabby. The difference between “free market” capitalism and real capitalism is that the latter has actually existed, whereas the former is a utopian fantasy that has never existed outside of the textbook. I’d be a cheerleader of its merits along with you if I thought there was some possibility of its existence and beneficial function, but there is not.

      Carson’s point, which I’d long observed myself before I ever heard of him, is that so-called “libertarians” defend the distribution of income, wealth, and property in the actually existing capitalist economy with the inappropriate application of free market rhetoric, thus making them guilty of “vulgar libertarianism” for ignoring the fact that primitive accumulation of capital involved violations of the NAP.

      Austrian capitalists? As far as I can tell, the primary proponents of Austrian ideology are the aforementioned socially retarded adolescent white guys, as well as professionals like Kinsella and a few academics. There aren’t many capitalists among them, though I’m sure plenty of capitalists would be happy to exploit the vulgar libertarians’ demands for abolition of progressive taxation.

      But Austrian ideology is irrelevant. It’s extremely marginal, even for a heterodox school, and has contributed virtually nothing to modern economics, since the only important/influential Austrian thinker was Hayek, and he was not a doctrinaire Misesian. There are some aspects of Austrian ideology that one can appreciate; the focus on political economy rather than mathematics that economics should be based on, the general nature of heterodox challenges to mainstream thought, etc., but nothing that’s not really provided better by the Marxists or institutionalists.

      • Stephan Kinsella May 9, 2010, 3:30 pm

        “so-called “libertarians” defend the distribution of income, wealth, and property in the actually existing capitalist economy with the inappropriate application of free market rhetoric, thus making them guilty of “vulgar libertarianism” for ignoring the fact that primitive accumulation of capital involved violations of the NAP”

        complete nonsense. We are aware that there are injustices back in the origins of title. This is just the way of the world. The civilized approach is to favor the current private possessor-as-owner of property unless and until someone else can show a better actual claim to it. If they can, they should get it. What more can you ask for?

        • Agnapostate May 9, 2010, 10:50 pm

          I’m not sure what there is in your defense of statist primitive accumulation as “the way of the world” that cannot be offered as a more general defense of statism, since it’s merely a clichéd assertion, rather than an actual argument. By and large, productive resources are not “owned” by their possessors; they are owned by oligopolistic capitalists that do not actively mix their labor with those resources or else sustain their development in any material way. While there are certainly inherent inequalities between people, they are not so pervasive as to naturally lead to an extremely disproportionate allocation of property as exists currently. That is the child of feudalism and statist transitory measures such as the enclosure movement, which was aggravated during capitalism’s period of industrialization. I’m not convinced that you’ve actually read the second half of Mutualist Political Economy if you’re unfamiliar with that trend, and I know better than to ask if you’ve read Capital’s sections on primitive accumulation.

      • Javier May 9, 2010, 4:27 pm

        Then point out where Im wrong with what I said about Carson! I already told you that he is much much closer ot me than you on crucial issues. I differ with him on certain issues. Even if you were directing this at Kinsella you still dont know what you are talking about. I challenge you directly!

        “aforementioned socially retarded adolescent white guys, as well as professionals like Kinsella and a few academics” Wow Im so floored by your mastery of the english language. “white guys”? Why bring in a person’s race or skin color? Is the Johnny Cochran method where you want to go with this? At this point it seems that you are running out of things to say.

        Austrians are irrelevant? If you ideology is the standard then that is the biggest compliment you have given to the Austrians. There are plenty of capitalists as I define it and as Carson would.

        • Agnapostate May 9, 2010, 10:49 pm

          He and I are both anarchists (and both libertarians and both socialists by extension). You are none of those things. Even though I suspect that he is more likely than I am to incorporate certain “anarcho”-capitalists into the fold, he is in the minority on that stance, since the majority of anarchists reject “anarchist” capitalism as an outright, absurd fraud.

          I’m emphasizing the fact that the majority of propertarians are, as I said, socially retarded adolescent white guys, a description I picked up from Will Wilkerson. Ergo, they have more familiarity with World of Warcraft and Star Trek conventions than they do with the real world. If you feel the pressures of racial oppression constricting you as a result of that observation, feel free to contact Stormfront; they’re fighting the evil destruction of poor oppressed white people.

          Are there any capitalists whatsoever that are major advocates of Austrian ideology in its entirety? I can certainly see how they would profit from selective appropriation of its policy recommendations, but most capitalists are interested in the sustenance of corporate welfare. Very few among you are capitalists; you’re primarily composed of students and a few professionals and academics. Kinsella may look like Tony Soprano, but I don’t see him operating a large scale capitalist business enterprise.

      • Javier R May 9, 2010, 4:40 pm

        “but nothing that’s not really provided better by the Marxists or institutionalists” Marxists, oh wonderful, we have seen what your Marxist paradises have been like. No thanks

        “The difference between “free market” capitalism and real capitalism is that the latter has actually existed, whereas the former is a utopian fantasy that has never existed outside of the textbook”

        Yes the latter has existed in small experiments like Robert Owens society. How did any society that attempted to bring about your nightmare to a consistent application turn out? Mine has yet to be realized because our modern age has been the age of the state.

        Once again how would you go about realizing such egalitarian society without the state? The only diffrence between you and Comrade Lenin was he wasnt an idealist.

        • Agnapostate May 9, 2010, 10:44 pm

          Marxism, while generally not my cup of tea, has provided remarkable insights into the workings of the capitalist economy, and influences even neoclassical perspectives in the field of labor economics as a result. Institutionalism, when and where it is distinct from the Marxist perspective, has also provided valuable contributions, whereas the Austrian school is entirely absent from labor economics, since they lack a coherent theory of the firm.

          Even aside from the fact that Robert Owen sought to develop socialist collectives, economic systems cannot be reduced to individual agents, which is why I don’t look to labor cooperatives as an example of “socialism in practice.” Simply accept that “free market” capitalism has never existed, and is effectively a contradiction in terms, since a legitimate free market economy requires socialism.

          Anarchism, unlike your audacious fraud, has existed primarily in the context of insurrectionary uprisings, in southeastern Ukraine during the Russian Revolution, in large parts of Spain during the civil war, and arguably in the Zapatista municipalities and regions in the Mexican state of Chiapas. We also see the principles of self-management that anarchism involves in place in the Israeli kibbutzim, the more properly Marxist economy of Yugoslavia, and in successful labor cooperatives around the world, from the factory reclamation movement of Argentina to the plywood cooperatives of the Pacific Northwest, though those are not actually anarchist phenomena.

          The difference between me and Comrade Lenin is that he was a statist, and I am an anarchist. He has far more commonalities with your ilk in your support of hierarchical authoritarianism.

          • Javier R. May 10, 2010, 12:07 am

            While I did say I would give you the last word. I didnt really say when I would.

            All I will say is that for you to put forth the Israeli Kibbutz as an example tells me that you are not very intelligent which I already knew. The kibbutz have been a experiment in utter failure. They have been operating under free market forces for some time now precisly because they could not sustain growth under your dangerous ideology. They are some of the most wealthiest profit making communities around. They gave up there very silly common property beliefs for a solid free market view where people own their own property.

            “The contemporary kibbutz doesn’t provide answers for life needs, and most important in my eyes, people’s aspirations,” says Mr. Rogalin. “The kibbutz creates too much friction. The secretariat dictates too many things to members. And people want more freedom to take responsibility for their lives.” http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0301/p01s04-wome.html?page=1

            As for Yugoslavia they had sporadic growth here and there but eventually cracked up in the 70’s. The economy was so great that most Yugaslovians migrated to West Germany. They were a net importer of grain despite being a heavily agragrian nation. Ukraine? Thats why they must have called the famine under Stalin the Holodomor. But then again you will probably scream “oh that wasnt socialsim”
            The zapatistas have been equally failures.

            Marxism is not yor cup of tea?, its your bottle of vodka!

            “Even aside from the fact that Robert Owen sought to develop socialist collectives, economic systems cannot be reduced to individual agents, which is why I don’t look to labor cooperatives as an example of “socialism in practice.”

            I disagree, labor coops have all the features you are looking for, so called “self management” of workers. YOU may disagree w/ it but others of your ilk do.

            Talk about irrelevance, your internatinal brotherhood of workers has been a failure since the first international.
            I already admitted that true free markets as I would describe it have neverexisted so where does all this “exploitation ” you speak of come from?

            All little kids espouse evil ideologies like yours. Thats ok, you’ll learn. And when you do you will laugh and cry about it. Right now though you are not very intelligent even if I was on your side of the debate I would say that.

            Now you can have the last word but when you do could you also please explain why folks are accusing you of this http://www.conflictingviews.com/website-forum/user-support-resources/agnapostate-banned-pedophile-3973.html
            I

  • James May 7, 2010, 4:27 pm

    *sigh* this old debate…

    Anarchism was historically mutualist and Proudhon used some fiery words to describe communism, therefore collectivism and communism can’t call themselves anarchists? I don’t think so. Yet for some reason capitalists can’t call themselves anarchists because…historically anarchists were against capitalism. This of course begs a load of questions about how we define “capitalism” because every side of the debate defines it differently. See Gary Chartier http://c4ss.org/content/1738

    Next we have to consider the anomaly that is individualist anarchism because it’s quite clear they don’t easily fit with a lot of social anarchist beliefs yet they too are included as anarchists (the Most-Tucker debate happily forgotten in the name of opportunism). Why is this and what are the differences between an individualist anarchist and the dreaded anarcho-capitalist? I’m not denying there are differences, especially in points emphasised, but are they really substantial enough for one to be excluded and not the other?
    Se Roderick Long http://aaeblog.com/2007/04/01/against-anarchist-apartheid/

    At the same time when anarcho-capitalists try to argue anarcho-socialism isn’t real anarchism they are making an incredible claim. The anarchism being attacked has existed in some form for over a century. That doesn’t make it the most consistant or desirable but it can’t be assumed out of existence. After all that word was defined by them and it doesn’t make a lot of sense to use it if it really is that inconsistant with ancap beliefs. Also they may well be right (I certainly think they are) that a broader conception of rulership does imply a commitment to more than non-aggression. Where they seem to error is to think this contradicts a strong commitment to the NAP therefore ruling out ancaps.
    See William Gillis’ take on the article above by Long for example http://williamgillis.blogspot.com/2007/04/calling-all-haters-of-anarcho.html

    Why can’t we agree to simply call each other “inconsistant anarchists”, continue clarifying our ideas and end the petty “your not a real anarchist!!!!” “debate”? Seriously it reminds me of cliques in school.

    • Stephan Kinsella May 7, 2010, 4:52 pm

      It’s not about cliques. We are first and foremost libertarians: we believe in individual (property) rights, and oppose aggression, which means invasion of property rights. We oppose both private crime, and institutionalized aggression. We are anarchists because we are libertarians. We oppose the state because we recognize that the state commits aggression against private property rights. That is why we are sometimes called anarcho-libertarians or similar terms.

      Anyone who is a so-called “anarchist” but who does not endorse libertarian property rights is simply not a libertarian. You may oppose the state, and call yourself an anarchist, but if you still oppose libertarian property rights, you are still advocating some form of aggression, either private or institutionalized, which real libertarians oppose. This is why it’s important. It’s not who’s more anarchist-than-thou. It’s simply that for us libertarians, what matters is: are you a libertarian or not. Certain LL’s and other leftists have done all they can to muddy this very simple issue. They are (understandably) largely ignored by most non-prefix libertarians, but on occasion someone notices their bizarre pronouncements and calls them on it.

      • James May 7, 2010, 6:01 pm

        I was commenting on the ancap/ansoc debate that agnapostate is rehashing. THAT may as well be about cliques. According to many ansocs an anarcho-libertarian like you or I is not really an anarchist because we support private property/usury/employment. It’s also common to see ansocs criticised for not supporting private property/usury/employment and declared non-anarchists. I think it’s all hopeless, sectarian, a-historical nonsense on both sides.

        I agree with your description of libertarianism and I also agree that while ansocs are genuine anarchists their views on property are mistaken and un-libertarian. I don’t know which LLs you’re refering to but I don’t any that don’t support individual property rights. I know some with different interpretations of what is legitimate property but that’s it.

        • Stephan Kinsella May 7, 2010, 6:40 pm

          The LL’s I know do support property rights. But some of them are muddying the issues by switching back and forth between semantical and then substantive issues, by constantly beating the drums about “capitalism.” It’s getting a bit tiresome.

          • Agnapostate May 9, 2010, 2:34 pm

            Socialism strengthens property rights by protecting the rights of workers to receive the full product of their labor, as opposed to capitalism, which entails the extraction of surplus value from those workers. Outside of the labor market, socialism removes the oligopolistic control of productive resources that capitalism has amassed, enabling the ownership of resources that affect the daily lives of persons by those persons themselves.

      • Agnapostate May 9, 2010, 2:41 pm

        Any sort of “libertarianism” that supports the authoritarianism of capitalism is simply an audacious and absurd fraud. Libertarianism emerged as a political term for European anarchism, which was powerfully socialist. That the term has been misappropriated and stolen does not change the fact that it is not etymologically inconsistent with the ideology that it is understood as describing. You are neither anarchists nor libertarians.

        You aren’t even classical liberals, as you sometimes claim, because that was both more egalitarian than popularly understood and promoted in a period of agrarian individualism. Your “vulgar libertarian” (really “vulgar propertarian”) defenses of modern corporate capitalism (with the profound interdependent oligopoly that industrialization produced), with that rhetoric are quite divergent from that.

        I’m somewhat hesitant to even call you propertarians; it’s not as though you actually support property rights.

    • Javie R. May 7, 2010, 6:51 pm

      I seee where you are coming from but these old debates sometimes need to be rehashed once in awhile.

      “It’s simply that for us libertarians, what matters is: are you a libertarian or not”. I agree wholeheartedly.

      I would rather just use the label libertarian. My only point is that we have the much better claim to “anarchism” then the socs do even if we came afterwords. However, I would say thats already implied in the word libertarian. I also never denied the historic relation to the socs.

      As Murray said “True anarchism will be capitalism, and true capitalism will be anarchism”. Or whatever word you want to use to express a truly laissez fair absolutley no state intrusion into the free markets in whatever way system.

      • Agnapostate May 9, 2010, 2:43 pm

        Apologies, but that claim is moronic. You have absolutely no claim to the term anarchism for all the reasons that have been mentioned, and none to the term libertarianism, because of its origin as a parallel term to anarchism.

        “Or whatever word you want to use to express a truly laissez fair absolutley no state intrusion into the free markets in whatever way system.”

        Does “nonexistent” work for you? Or as a more appropriate term in this context, “incoherent spelling and grammar”?

    • Agnapostate May 9, 2010, 2:31 pm

      Even the admission that anarchists’ rejection of fraudulence is somehow a “tendency debate” grants “anarcho”-capitalists a veneer of legitimacy that they do not and will not ever have, akin to declaring that there should be a “scientific debate” between evolution and intelligent design. Capitalist hierarchy is simply etymologically at odds with “anarchy.”

      Proudhon was critical of Marxism and pre-Marxist socialist movements that he considered authoritarian; he could not be critical of anarchist collectivism or communism because those movements emerged after his death, the latter emerging even after Bakunin’s death. I’m quite aware of the diverging definitions of “capitalism,” which is why I distinguish the “vulgar libertarians” from the seemingly more consistent Roderick Long and Co. It’s simply that the merits of “capitalism” are praised by some “libertarians,” with defenses of its failings becoming No True Scotsman fallacies.

      “Oh, but that wasn’t REAL capitalism. THAT was corporatism. Oh, by the way, aren’t you socialists silly for claiming that the USSR might not have had a socialist economy?”

      As for the individualist anarchists, they were market socialists, which is why Carson describes his market socialism as both “mutualist” and “individualist.” There’s a section of the FAQ dedicated to rebutting the assertions of Rothbard and others that they somehow were the twentieth century ancestors of those legitimate anarchists: http://anarchism.pageabode.com/afaq/secGcon.html

      • Javier May 9, 2010, 5:12 pm

        It seems that the more important argument between you and me is not over the word “Anarchism” but over what you and I believe about the most important issue about property rights its acquistion. I believe we have the stronger claim but leaving that aside for the moment, you eventually want a nightmare utopia of a classless society. You have never responded how this comes about. Eventualy if society forces by violence the equal distrubution of proerty it has started on its path to being a state. Thats where authentic socialists have always ended up. You world has never existed in any other form successfully. By successful I mean the nightmare world we have seen it exist in.

        “Oh, but that wasn’t REAL capitalism. THAT was corporatism. Oh, by the way, aren’t you socialists silly for claiming that the USSR might not have had a socialist economy?”

        Well it wasnt and even you admit it so why bring it up? As for socialism, I never said that there are differences bewtween you and Bolsehvik Russia. All I said it was one of degrees not substance. I stand by it absolutley! Your nightmare, live with it.

        Your claim of the “no true sotman fallacy” could also be argued against your view of socialism. “Well the USSR wasnt really socialsitic because….” You fill it in. I dont accept that this fallacy has been commited by my side but if you want to go there you are just as guilty if not more so.

        As much as this pains me, Im going to let you have the last word only because ths is Mr Kinsella’s site and he is probably tired of hearing your worn out arguments. It was great to argue with you and see the nightmare is alive and well.

        I promise you though that with every fiber in my mind and body I will oppose you and your scary ilk. I will oppose the pure evil that is equality of property and of outcome and ownership in wealth. Its the womb from which every bloody tryanny is sprung from. Even if you oppose the state, its knocking on the door of your ideology waiting to come in one way or the other. There are few more dangerous ideas out there than yours. I take that back… there are no more dangerous ideas out there.

        • Agnapostate May 9, 2010, 10:42 pm

          Socialism doesn’t promote equality; it simply implements equity, recognizing the falsity of the standard account of the inverse relationship between equity and efficiency, and utilizes the greater efficiency of workers’ ownership and management, and the liberty of public citizens’ self-management of productive resources that affect their daily lives and affairs. Socialism cannot promote equality, because of the different abilities, talents, and needs of different human beings that are inherent and not subject to change.

          Unfortunately for you, no, I am not guilty of the fallacy, since I never claimed that the USSR and other Leninist states practiced or even partially approximated socialism. On the contrary, since the control of authoritarian state regimes over the economy impeded any possibility of the collective ownership and management of the means of production, they were properly called state capitalist, more closely approximating the hierarchical authoritarianism of the capitalist economy than any socialist program. Anarchists, supporters of socialism and opponents of authoritarianism that they are, opposed Bolshevism from its inception, denunciations of its nature stemming from Kropotkin to Voline to Goldman to Berkman.

          Conversely, many Austro-propertarians simultaneously credit “capitalism” for the merits that have been produced in the last several decades, while insisting that “corporatism” is responsible for the inevitable ravages of the business cycle that capitalism will forever continue to endure. This is beyond mere vulgar libertarianism; this is laughable inconsistency.

          I’m not particularly interested in what you support or oppose. The whining of nerds on the Internet has no bearing on the struggles that the working class faces on a day-to-day basis and an international level.

      • James May 20, 2010, 6:03 am

        Yes, i’m well aware that proudhon was around before anarcho-collectivism, communism (individualism too, sort of), i’m just pointing out the weakness of an appeal to history. For better or worse he did support markets and some form of private property, something absent from many later anarchists, yet we wouldn’t be dumb enough to say no one but the mutualists are real anarchists. Furthermore many of his followers were critical of these later movements which should give us some insight into what his opinion would have been (do you know about the Tucker-Most debate?)

        You claim to be aware of the difficulties of defining capitalism yet your entire argument rests upon your definition of it. As if anarcho-capitalism isn’t based around property rights but rather hierarchies. You offer a non-responsive “the individualists were socialists” but nothing about the specific features this distinction is based on (again, there are differing definitions) and this is what’s being challenged.

        Like Long pointed out it’s communists who make the distinction between legitimate and illegitimate market anarchists, not the individualists themselves. In fact many have offered qualified approval of certain anarcho-“capitalists” or their predeccessors.

        • Agnapostate June 9, 2010, 3:33 am

          Individualists and mutualists are market socialists. Conversely, collectivists and communists are decentralized-planning socialists, which forms the division between individualist and social anarchism. This does not change the fact that anarchism is fundamentally anti-capitalist and pro-socialist at its core because of the need to abolish hierarchies, which the authoritarianism of the capitalist labor market is in flat contradiction with.

          “Anarcho”-capitalism isn’t based around anything, inasmuch as it’s a nonexistent

          If that’s what Long’s said, I sympathize with him for not offering actual counter-arguments to the social anarchist critics who draw differentiations between legitimate market anarchism and pseudo-market anarchism. I don’t believe Carson himself is under the impression that Kinsella, Block, or Reisman are “anarchists,” though he might concede the title to Rothbard himself.

          • HeckMo October 30, 2013, 8:56 pm

            I think I finally get it! So “hierarchy” (which is at least economically efficient; ever heard of the division of labor?) is a form of “ruling” but “planning” (which does not and can not work; ever heard of the calculation debate?) isn’t? What a joke!

    • Chris George May 10, 2010, 12:44 pm

      Thanks James for pointing this out.

  • Agnapostate May 10, 2010, 3:41 pm

    Wait, what? I didn’t post any commentary on the little exchange between me and Kinsella and Javier on Reddit; I posted a little comment on RevLeft to a thread already dedicated to “fighting ‘anarcho’-capitalist propaganda.”

    So, that was either re-posted with my username or shared the way Digg and StumbleUpon stuff is or indexed; I don’t know how Reddit works. I would not even have seen that if a link hadn’t been posted here.

  • Javier May 11, 2010, 10:38 am

    For some reason my last comment to agnapostate is “Still awaitng moderation” and cant be seen.

  • Javier May 11, 2010, 11:06 am

    Im sorry but now the last post of several days ago is gone so Ill try to rewrite it verbatim. I hope you let this get posted Mr K. I will defintiley let this be my last post Ive spent too much time on this bozo the clown.

    Agana,

    I know I said I would give you the last word but I never said when.

    For you to put for the the examples you do is once again another reason why are not smart nor serious. The Isaeli Kibbutz where I have visited are supreme failures and have abandoned you ideology for free market private property ownership. They have abandoned many common property ideas for private ownership. In other words they are entering the real world and are quite wealthy because of rejecting your garbage

    “The contemporary kibbutz doesn’t provide answers for life needs, and most important in my eyes, people’s aspirations,” says Mr. Rogalin. “The kibbutz creates too much friction. The secretariat dictates too many things to members. And people want more freedom to take responsibility for their lives.” Well said.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0301/p01s04-wome.html?page=1

    As for the Ukraine. You are insane. This must have been why they called their great economic prosperity the Holodomor right? It was a economic nightmare. Let me guess, this wasnt socialism right?

    Yugoslavia’s economy even under self managment socialism was so great that many migrated to W. Germany which is why unemployment stas were low and they were net importers of agricultural food despite having 29% of its workers in agriculture.

    The Zapatistas are succesful if being impoverished is your idea of success.

    Marxism is not yor cup of tea? Its your bottle of Vodka.

    Now you can have the last word. But when you do can you tell us why folks are saying this about you? Is this part of your evil quest for equality?

    http://www.conflictingviews.com/website-forum/user-support-resources/agnapostate-banned-pedophile-3973.html

  • Javier R. May 11, 2010, 11:12 am

    Im sorry but now the last post of several days ago is gone so Ill try to rewrite it verbatim. I hope you let this get posted Mr K. I will defintiley let this be my last post Ive spent too much time on this bozo the clown.

    Agana,

    I know I said I would give you the last word but I never said when.

    For you to put for the the examples you do is once again another reason why are not smart nor serious. The Isaeli Kibbutz where I have visited are supreme failures and have abandoned you ideology for free market private property ownership. They have abandoned many common property ideas for private ownership. In other words they are entering the real world and are quite wealthy because of rejecting your garbage

    “The contemporary kibbutz doesn’t provide answers for life needs, and most important in my eyes, people’s aspirations,” says Mr. Rogalin. “The kibbutz creates too much friction. The secretariat dictates too many things to members. And people want more freedom to take responsibility for their lives.” Well said.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0301/p01s04-wome.html?page=1

    As for the Ukraine. You are insane. This must have been why they called their great economic prosperity the Holodomor right? It was a economic nightmare. Let me guess, this wasnt socialism right?

    Yugoslavia’s economy even under self managment socialism was so great that many migrated to W. Germany which is why unemployment stas were low and they were net importers of agricultural food despite having 29% of its workers in agriculture.

    The Zapatistas are succesful if being impoverished is your idea of success.

    Marxism is not yor cup of tea? Its your bottle of Vodka.

  • Javier R May 11, 2010, 11:15 am

    My original last post was not published I guess because the second link triggered a filter. Basically agnapasta has some views of adolensce that seem to be just as evil as his political ones.

  • Agnapostate May 18, 2010, 11:28 pm

    I would have recommended getting your “last word” in earlier. It would have been far less unpleasant and embarrassing for you than this is going to be. I doubt you’ve visited any kibbutzim, but I’m not interested in your anecdotal experiences even if you have. They have not adopted “free market private property ownership” because THERE ARE NO FREE MARKETS in Israel or anywhere else. Why do you rightists switch back and forth from claiming that capitalism cannot be blamed for its cyclical failures because it’s not characterized by free markets to claiming that free markets provide prosperity and wealth? Beyond that, as they’re not an example of anarchism, I’m not interested in discussing them as much more than an instance of workers’ ownership and management.

    Unfortunately for you, your comment on Ukraine was even less coherent than your ranting about the kibbutzim, since the Holodomor occurred after Stalin’s efforts while the collectivization in the southeast occurred during the civil war. Try again.

    As to Yugoslavia, cite empirical research that supports your claims. I myself refer to Vanek’s Influence of the “Self-Management System on the Development of the Yugoslav Economy,” which states that:

    “Only very little precise information is available concerning the state of the Yugoslav economy preceding World War II. However, even from the little there is, it can be concluded that Yugoslavia as a whole was among the poorest countries of Europe in the prewar years and very little headway, if any, was made between the two wars towards changing this situation. In retrospect, the backwardness of Yugoslavia of those years will become apparent from the fact that in 1960, when the country could compare only with comparatively poorer industrialized countries with three to four hundred dollars of per capita income, industrial production was about five times higher than in 1939; in agriculture, on the other hand, the number of tractors rose about thirteen times and consumption of artificial fertilizers almost forty times in the same period.”

    Zapatista Chiapas is impoverished because it’s an Indian state composed of people fighting the apartheid regime of a white national government in Mexico. The libertarian movement there formed BECAUSE OF the rightist economic policies of that government that caused its poverty, which is why the EZLN went public the day that NAFTA went into effect. Unless you can cite peer reviewed empirical research that illustrates a causative link between Zapatista economic policies and slow growth or poorer conditions, that is?

    As for your link, “libertarian” who opposes civil rights and liberties for a major subset of the population, what does a link to an ASSERTION of another (that was quickly addressed by me) mean, exactly? Are you aware that the author of that thread is a man named Victor Aguilar who regularly posts on propertarian forums and message boards with nonsense about his “axiomatic economics” and is despised and banned as a troll on effectively all of them? Do you want to make something of what he mentioned? Please, elaborate and I’ll be happy to see what we can do.

    Why do you statists pretend to be anarchists?

  • Juan Fernando Carpio May 19, 2010, 12:00 am

    Agnapostate:

    Why wouldn’t Chiapas be poor? They don’t have capital goods, savings and investments that lead to the former, or institutions that enable the whole cycle.

    You are slightly wrong if you think that Mexico City’s policies or “racism” is behind the Chiapaneco’s mentality. In clear contrast with you, I am a Latin American, and I lived in Mexico (in the Yucatán area, mind you) that knows that with or without Washington DC, Friedman, Krugman, Hayek or Mary frigging Poppins have any impact on the institutions/ideas or lack thereof that keep most primitive zones in the world…well…primitive. What’s next? Blaming the Hicks-Keynes synthesis for poverty in the Amazon tribes?

    You’re confusing Austrian/libertarian/free-market POSITIVE analysis of how markets and peaceful cooperation increase living standards wherever they are not too hampered to flourish, with the Keynesian/Interventionist/Statist NORMATIVE policies and their effects. When we blame the Fed for the current crisis yet admire Walmart for cost-reducing achievements, we’re pointing out two separate yet true at the same time, matters.

    So when you ask “Unless you can cite peer reviewed empirical research that illustrates a causative link between Zapatista economic policies and slow growth or poorer conditions, that is?” you lack any imagination, since even if the world was nuked and Chiapas was free of Zapatistas, Reaganistas and whatnot, it would still be poor because capitalism comes not only from collective independence from other collectives but from a philosophy of individual (property) rights that enables everything else to ocurr.

    • Agnapostate June 9, 2010, 3:29 am

      Chiapas is an undeveloped region because the indigenous people of that state are confined more to less prosperous agrarian lifestyles that force migration patterns when trade agreements between the upper classes of the U.S. and Mexico undercut those lifestyles, and prompt flight to urban areas, followed by migration to the United States. That’s why the EZLN declared their public existence and insurrection the day that NAFTA went into effect. The same is true of the Zapotec and Mixtec corn farmers of Oaxaca. What impact do you think neoliberalism has on these regions? I see the inhibitions to the development of infant industries, in contrast to the nature of U.S. development through protectionist tariffs and quotas (read some Ha-Joon Chang).

      I’m not a Latin American, but my mother is, and as a Guatemalan, her phenotype is Mayan. So you might delude the standard U.S. citizen, who mistakenly believes that Latin Americans are one race of “Latinos,” but I’m aware of the racial hierarchies in Latin American countries. And I can see that you don’t exactly look like an Indian.

      Austro-propertarian ideology has marginal relevance, even for a heterodox school, as I’ve said. As a heterodox school of thought, Austrians are able to produce predictions of crises, since heterodox economics is based around predictions of the failure of actually existing capitalism. However, Marxian crisis theory provides apter insights into the most recent bust phase. Attacking the Fed with “free market” rhetoric yet praising the oligopolistic dominance of Wal-Mart is just more evidence of ridiculous inconsistency, and nothing more.

      Your utopian “free-market” capitalism has never existed and never will. What you have is the state-managed capitalism that has characterized the entire history of capitalism’s existence, and Austro-propertarians are prone to attributing successes to “capitalism,” only to swiftly insist that it has never existed on the low end of the business cycle.

  • Thomas Watts January 31, 2013, 9:16 pm

    Most self-labeled anarchists I run into who also call themselves socialist, do not mean state ownership, they mean worker ownership, something like the older term syndicalism, or in more modern usage, “cooperatives.”

    I tell them they’re begging to be misunderstood using the term “socialism” in that way, but generally, they don’t seem to listen.

  • Max Stirner October 30, 2013, 7:46 pm

    The puple-haired Anarcho-hippies are out in force over this way. The suggestion that ANY modus vivendi could be existentially without “archy” suggests fetal alcohol syndrome on the part of the speaker. Greek lessons aside, am I to believe anarchists would be opposed to community “autarky” for example? Further, is this feminized phobia of “hierarchy” to be extended to meet every single moment of social reality? Can one person never be smarter, older, more charming, etc. than another? Can his peers not extend to him more respect, trust, cooperation etc. than to his less-gifted neighbors?

    Perhaps this speaks to a central truth which anybody not superstitiously fixated on etymology would understand: “hierarchy” is a meaningless descriptor. There is no logically consistent critique of “hierarchy” precisely because what the term seeks to capture are not discrete social phenomena. Rather, “hierarchy” pervades every single human relationship. Trying to fight “hierarchy” in the abstract is a simpleton’s errand with much in common with the war on drugs.

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