Saturday, July 7, 2012

An Old Friend

I have commented in the past regarding my relationship with The Daily Bell and my favorable view of the site and many of the regular feed-backers.  One of the more enjoyable encounters was with Lila Rajiva, who for a time regularly maintained community at the site. 

That’s enough set-up for the following comment, which I posted at her site:


It is nice to see you again.  I saw your comments at EPJ and followed the links.

As to this post, this is certainly the elephant in the room for an-caps.  It is an even larger elephant in the room for those advocating some form of "government" as that term is commonly used.

While critics of an-cap society can point largely to "what-if" questions and the inability of an-caps to give absolute certainty in response, critics of investing final monopoly power of force in an entity have hundreds of millions of victims to point to as evidence of the folly of this faith.  Al Capone never caused the harm of an FDR or a Stalin.  And an FDR or a Stalin could never have done the harm they did absent a centralized apparatus available as the means. (And I do not suggest that those who criticize certain shortcomings in an-cap thought automatically are advocating for the next Stalin; I only suggest that criminals can do exceedingly more harm when a monopoly of legalized force and final arbiter status is available to them.)

I have no final summary - brighter minds than mine (including Rothbard) have failed to answer these questions.  However, regularly calling into question faith in the state as an effective (or least bad) means of ordering society is one step in the most needed change - an educated and enlightened population on matters of organizing society.  Without this, no form of ordering society is safe from predators looking to take advantage of the cracks in the system (and every system will have its cracks).  With an educated population, I will take the an-cap option – the predators can do far less harm!

My subsequent comment:

"Even in the matter of financial speculation - there is never a real self-questioning of fundamental problems and issues, just some reiteration of talking points and ideology."

As much as I promote the an-cap view, I find myself at a loss - for an example - specifically on this issue of financial crimes.

I would love for there to be private solutions for things such as the fraud (if actions were as reported) of liborgate.  Most of these private solutions have been stripped due to government action.  So the only means of some form of justice is through state action.  I won't cry if beneficiaries of state interventions (many in the banking industry) get knifed by their own benefactors.

But to worsen the situation, the real manipulations come directly from the state - again, liborgate will only serve to distract from the real interest rate manipulations of central banks.

Anyway, I find it hard to remain pure in thought (impossible to do so in deed, though many an-cap proponents go apoplectic about this) - and I often cannot even articulate what "pure" means in any case....

Take care.


  1. Hi Bionic,

    Thanks for your kind words. I do want to say I think I didn't make myself very clear. I don't reject anarcho-capitalism as a model, and a preferable model on some counts.
    I reject the idea, however, that simply reiteration of "no government" or "government bad" constitutes development of a way to get from empire to freedom from government...

    Human beings need to reach a certain level of independence, desire for freedom and ability to live as self-governing individuals - i.e. in a way that is not criminal.

    At times, this might nean that some parts of government intervene to curtail the criminal actions of the ostensibly private sector. This doesn't mean I support more regulations, but that I think we need to stop thinking in dead-end binaries...and anarcho-capitalism as it is articulated by some people is just that.

    When I start hearing intelligence, complex, concrete responses that show a sense of awareness of the problems in the system as it is, then I will pay attention to it.

    As it is, I am looking elsewhere, say to Asian or Indian libertarian traditions and not to the West any more.

    Thinking today is too riddled with propaganda and marketing. It is simply ideology and partisandship and hero worship.

    Thanks again for the interaction.
    I learned a great deal from the chat at The Daily Bell and I think they are starting it up again, with some restrictions.

    I don't know if I will revisit, but you might like to..

    1. "Human beings need to reach a certain level of independence, desire for freedom and ability to live as self-governing individuals - i.e. in a way that is not criminal."

      I think this is the key - it comes from education, on which the state has held a stranglehold, but that is breaking with the internet.

      "Thinking today is too riddled with propaganda and marketing. It is simply ideology and partisandship and hero worship."

      I think the focus could be on simply bursting the bubbles of faith in the state. As I mentioned, the failures and crimes of state actors are significantly larger than any private harms ever done or dreamed of.

      I also learned a great deal at the Daily Bell. I don't know if I will "sign up" the way they are suggesting. The conversation devolved quite a bit there, and I am afraid some of the main contributors to that change will certainly sign up. I am not sure I want to join a list only to find my same frustrations renewed.

      I was hoping to watch some of the dialogue for a time before deciding, but now understand that I cannot even see the dialogue without signing up. Oh well.

      And I fixed the link, thanks.