Tag Archive | anarcho-communism

Liberty Today, 8-28-17

Unmarked Police Cars

The Libertarian Party of Tate County (of which I am the Chair) voted by two-thirds majority Saturday evening to strongly condemn the usage of unmarked police cars in Tate County, because they’ve been appearing in great numbers in the last few weeks. Our reasoning for this is simple: they create dangerous situations. As recently as July, 2017, a woman was pulled over by an unmarked patrol car, and then was raped and brutalized. Of course, we soon learned that this person was not a law enforcement officer, and was actually just someone who purchased a Halloween costume and a blue light from, perhaps, Alibaba.

Let there be no doubt of this: if LEO did not occasionally use unmarked police vehicles, then any person who saw blue lights in their rearview mirror emanating from an unmarked police vehicle would immediately know that the person attempting to pull them over is an imposter. It is because of this ambiguity, that the person might be a cop, that people are reluctant to continue driving. Besides which, we have all seen countless videos of people who specifically called 911 to verify the person behind them was a LEO in an unmarked car, only to be brutalized by the officers once the car was verified as legitimate, and accused of “resisting arrest” and “attempting escape.”

The use of unmarked squad cars is the clearest possible evidence we could ever hope to receive that Law Enforcement Agencies do not care about “serving and protecting,” and that they are instead motivated by revenue from moving violations. The only benefit to using unmarked cars is to catch drivers acting more naturally–where they are more likely to speed, less likely to use turn signals, more likely to run red lights and stop signs, and so on. However bad we might think these behaviors are, we cannot deny that women are being raped because LEO would rather ticket more of these people who run red lights thinking there is no cop around than they would rather prevent rape.

To combat this, various agencies have released statements and guides, but these fall short–it is rather like telling someone to get a bucket for the blood being spilled when you stab them, instead of simply ceasing to stab them. It’s like handing a smoker a cough drop instead of suggesting that they quit smoking. Besides which, LEO are increasingly likely to discard all of these decades of advice about “waiting to pull over until you are in a clearly publicly visible place” and are likely to treat such people as “attempting to flee the scene.”

It’s an absolute disgrace that any agency that exists to “serve and protect” would create a situation where a woman driving alone at night would not be absolutely certain that the person attempting to pull her over is a Law Enforcement Officer, and terrified that, if she does not immediately pull over, she will be brutalized. In fact, there is a high chance that, even if the patrol car is with law enforcement, she will be raped anyway while police dig inside of her vagina for drugs. The situation between We the People and Law Enforcement in this nation has never been so strained and so precipitously on the edge of disaster, with outright war likely just around the corner, and it is solely up to Law Enforcement to regain community trust.

It is true that such behaviors have not spread to Tate County, and it is also true that Tate County was one of the first places in the nation to require that its officers wear body cams (for which Mississippi and Tate County received no credit, of course), but not ten miles to the north of us is DeSoto County, where the Southaven Police Department recently invaded a man’s home and executed him without a warrant and without any cause. This must be nipped in the bud now, before this has the chance to spread to Tate County. Again, we could lead the nation in officer accountability by having our Sheriff’s Department either sell their unmarked vehicles, or pay to have them repainted.

Toward this end, we are doing a few things. First, we are drafting a letter to the local paper to gauge public response. Secondly, we will be collecting petition signatures demanding the Sheriff’s Office immediately cease all usage of such vehicles, and immediately begin ticketing and arresting any persons attempting to enforce any and all traffic or moving violations in an unmarked police vehicle. Thirdly, we will be going before the city councils, aldermen, etc. to attempt to get legislation passed criminalizing any police work executed in unmarked vehicles, and requiring that any evidence obtained from the use of such vehicles be discarded and destroyed, just as is the case for evidence obtained by warrantless searches.

We are coming down as hard as we can on unmarked police vehicles, because we actually care about police accountability, and we demand that our Law Enforcement Officers take steps to actually make the community safer, not more dangerous.

Libertarian Socialists

Once upon a time, I wrote something to the effect of “libertarian socialism is nonsense.” I don’t remember how I phrased it. I made this statement based on my understanding of what “libertarian” means and my understanding of what “socialism” means. Having now discussed it with some libertarian socialists, I fully stand by my statement: as the words are most commonly used, “libertarian socialism” is an oxymoron.

In fact, reading the ideology makes two things clear. First, when they say “libertarian,” what they actually mean is “anarcho.” Secondly, when they say “socialism,” what they actually mean is “communism.” I discussed this with Matt Kuehnel, and he repeatedly stated that “libertarian socialism” isn’t a problem because “anarchism is the logical completion of libertarianism.” I don’t disagree, and I’ve said it myself, but the fact remains that “libertarian” does not equate to “anarchist.” There are minarchists, and there are classical liberals who do call themselves “libertarian.” I’ve argued extensively that the NAP, fully applied, yields anarchism, but that doesn’t give me the right to redefine “libertarian” to mean “anarchist,” which I’ve pointed out in the past by saying I wouldn’t support an anarchist who ran for the Libertarian Party as an anarchist.

He pointed out, rightly, that I call myself an “anarcho-capitalist,” even though I don’t mean “capitalist” in the sense that almost everyone else means it. That’s true. I’m also fully cognizant of that, and spend much of my time on Quora trying to show people that what we have in the United States is a more lenient form of socialism, not capitalism. It’s why I described the best argument “for” anarcho-capitalism as being “an explanation of what anarcho-capitalism is.” This is because most people think “anarchy” means “chaos,” and that “capitalism” is the mess of socialist government policies we have today. Because of this, they think anarcho-capitalism must mean some weird amalgam of these two things–rule by corporate elites, or something to that effect.

This is why many people who happen to share the same general ideology that I do instead call themselves “free market anarchists” or something like that–because the word “capitalism” is heavily tainted, was conceived disparagingly by Karl Marx in Das Kapital, and isn’t taken to mean “capitalism” as we of the Austrian persuasion mean it. It’s also part of the reason why, when push comes to shove, I call myself a Nietzschean Anarchist far more often than I do an “anarcho-capitalist.” People always ask me what I mean by “Nietzschen Anarchist,” while fewer people ask me what is meant by “anarcho-capitalist.”

Even the definitions that Marx and Engels used, though, cited “socialism” as a middleground between capitalism and communism. Marxism prescribes socialism as the eye of the storm through which society must pass to break free of the bourgeois and restore ownership and equality to the workers in a communist society–a communist society that is, in fact, anarchic in nature. Communism is anarchic; anarchy is not communistic (much to the dismay of Anarcho-Communists). Speaking as someone who is routinely a Most Viewed Writer in Anarchism and Anarcho-Capitalism on the closest thing we have to a market-based system of peer review, Socialism is when the state seizes all capital and uses it for the benefit of the workers, while Communism is when the workers seize the capital directly and eliminate the state as the middleman.

As I’ve pointed out before, Socialism and Communism both would be better called “Consumptionism,” because they restrict private ownership of all goods to only consumption goods, whereas Capitalism is called “Capitalism” because it allows the private ownership of all goods, including capital goods. There is, of course, a recognized and critical difference between a consumption good and a capital good. This reality is recognized by capitalists, communists, and socialists alike. After all, the toothpaste manufacturing facility, as a capital good, may be privately or communally owned, but no one on any side of this discussion would agree that a tube of toothpaste must be communally owned.

I’ve even gotten socialists to agree with my statement that fascism and socialism are identical. They rebuffed that the “difference” is the intent of the rulers, and that in socialism the rulers act in the best interests of the working class, but they ultimately were forced to admit that it is identical in behavior and appearance to fascism. In fact, they are two flavors of the same ice cream.

So I don’t take issue with Libertarian Socialists any longer. However, they’re anarcho-communists, which is exactly what their own ideology describes. They just don’t call themselves Anarcho-Communists. That’s fine–they can call themselves anything they want, and redefine things in whatever way they want. But they can’t blame other people for not knowing that they’re using their own special definitions, you know? I can’t (and don’t) blame people for not knowing what capitalism is when I describe myself as an anarcho-capitalist. In fact, probably a third of my answers on Quora briefly spend time pointing out that “capitalism,” as used by anarcho-capitalists, bears no relation to what most people think of as “capitalism.”

Rent is Theft?

This is popping up a lot lately, so Matt Kuehnel and I are going to debate “rent is theft” in September (the date is TBA). I’ve proposed that we do this one 2v2 standard team format, to shake things up a bit. I think that would be more fun, anyway. I’d forgotten how much I love formal debates. I mean, I was just in one three days ago, and I’m already itching to do another. It has been nearly a decade since I did one, so I was rusty, but I think it will be alright. This was also going to be last night’s segment of Libertarian Drama of the Week on “Call to Freedom” with Will Coley and Thom Gray (I’m kinda like a permanent guest at this point), but we had technical difficulties and had to call the show early.

And that’s what is presently going on.

Mistakes AnComs Make: Rulers & Leaders

“Anarchy” is derived from the Greek an arkhos, which translates literally to “without rulers.” It follows, then, that we have our universal definition of anarchy: a state in which there are no rulers, and our definition of anarchist: someone who advocates that there should not be rulers.

Then we have something that is completely unrelated–the point of divergence between anarcho-communists and anarcho-capitalists. It is a statement of fact that this thing is not related to anarchy, and this “thing” is hierarchy, which derives from hierarkhes, which means “sacred ruler.” Anarchy, then, means “without a sacred ruler,” because “sacred” is a type of ruler, and anarchy means “without rulers” of any and all types–sacred or mundane. In this classical, etymological sense, yes–anarchy does mean “without hierarchy.”

But what does hierarchy actually mean today? Briefly, we turn to Google for the definition:

a system or organization in which people or groups are ranked one above the other according to status or authority.

Not a mention of rulers or anything sacred.

It’s a matter of record that the meaning of “hierarchy” has changed considerably over time–clearly, and no one can dispute this assertion. This is a word game that the Anarcho-Communists pull, as follows:

  • “Anarchy” means without rulers.
  • “Anarchy” means without hierarchy [sacred rulers].
  • “Anarchy” means without hierarchy [a system in which people or groups are ranked…]

We can tell with no more than a glance that “sacred rulers” and “a system in which people or groups are ranked” are not even kinda the same thing. For example, in a lot of ways the colleague I’ve mentioned several times is my boss, and I am subordinate to him; in our two-tier hierarchy, he is above me. He is not, however, sacred nor a ruler. He is not my ruler because I am free to disobey and disassociate from him at any time I would like, and that is not the case with rulers, least of all sacred ones.

It’s a word game that the AnComs are playing, by saying that anarchy means not having “this word,” knowing that “this word” has a new, modern meaning that has absolutely nothing to do with its ancient meaning–and they know they are correct when they reference its ancient meaning. The Anarcho-Capitalist would gladly agree–anarchy most certainly does mean “without sacred rulers.”

Does anarchy mean “without a system in which people or groups are ranked”?

To the Anarcho-Communist, the answer is “Yes.”

To the Anarcho-Capitalist, the answer is “No.”

No True Scotsman

This post is motivated by the claim I hear ad nauseum that AnCaps aren’t true anarchists. This is nonsense. We established the definitions clearly above. Their etymological origins are in full accord with their modern meanings–notwithstanding statist propaganda that has attempted to redefine “anarchy” to mean “lack of a central authority or civil war.” Anarchy means today exactly what it did when the Greeks combined an with arkhos: without rulers. So anyone who advocates the ideology that there should not be rulers is an anarchist.

It’s a two-sided game, and I am more than willing to stop playing it if the AnComs will stop playing it. If you guys stop saying that we aren’t true anarchists, we’ll stop saying that you aren’t true anarchists. This is most definitely an argument that we can make.

For example, the anarcho-communist would not allow me to voluntarily subordinate myself to my colleague. In so doing, the anarcho-communist has granted themselves authority over me, and I must obey them. They are, in every sense, attempting to be my ruler–attempting to decree what I can and cannot do, rather than what I should and should not do. There is nothing anarchistic about this, as they are making themselves rulers. Far from eliminating rulers, anarcho-communism attempts to turn an idea into the ruler–the idea of equality across the board, whether people like it or not, and the anarcho-communists become the footsoldiers of the state to enforce that ruler’s decrees.

See, I don’t have to rely upon word games to say that AnComs aren’t real communists. They do. They have to perform a literary sleight of hand, by saying that anarchy means “without hierarchy” while using the classical, original definition, and pretending that this applies to the modern, unrelated definition. If you argue for them to explain what is meant by hierarchy, you will ultimately beat them back until they confess that what they want is not a society without rulers but a society where everyone is a ruler as long as they bow to this idea and attempt to enforce it.

Person A to Person B: “I hereby voluntarily agree to work for you and to do as you say.”

AnCom: “No, you can’t do that. You have to be equals.”

Person A: “Says who?”

AnCom: “Says me. Everyone has to be equal.”

Person A: “But you have the authority to tell me what I can and can’t do?”

AnCom: “Yes.”

Person A: “Then everyone isn’t equal, are they? You are my ruler.”

AnCom: “It’s for the greater good. Everyone must be equal.”

Person A: “Except they aren’t. You’re at least my ruler.”

AnCom: “It’s for the greater good of equality. You can’t be allowed to subordinate yourself to someone.”

Person A: “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me!”

Ah, what the hell.

In the anarcho-communist society, entering into a voluntarily subordinate agreement becomes an act of revolution.

It’s a blackhole of contradiction and oxymorons that, in order to ensure that there are no rulers, everyone must become a ruler and rule over everyone who doesn’t agree ideologically–which we see play out precisely in the above conversation. It’s impossible to force people to be equal without setting yourself up as a ruler over them, and why is that? Because the use of force, violence, and coercion are what mark a state, and the state is the ruling caste. Anarcho-Communism does not abolish the state. It widens it.

Leaders & Rulers

The problem is the inability to see that there is a difference between choosing to be subordinate to someone, and being forced to be subordinate to someone. In the above conversation–which, I daresay, few AnComs could actually dispute as being a realistic interpretation of the ideology–in order to stop someone from choosing to be subordinate to someone, they are forced to be subordinate to someone–under the auspices that it is unacceptable to be subordinate to someone. We can see the doublethink and cognitive dissonance in action, can’t we? We know the AnCom is shaking his or her head and mumbling, “No, no… That’s different. That’s not the same.”

And they’re right–but not for the right reasons. They’re right that it is not the same to choose to be subordinate to someone and to be forced to be subordinate. It is the critical difference between a ruler and a leader. A leader is someone to whom we choose to defer–either because of their expertise, knowledge, strength, wisdom, intelligence, or whatever. A ruler is someone to whom we must defer–because of their use of force, violence, and coercion.

It is the difference between following and obeying.

It is the difference between choice and force.

It is the difference between advice and mandate.

It is the difference between suggestion and requirement.

The AnCom, by extension, sees no difference between the above dichotomies, yet there is a world of difference. For example, I have suggested repeatedly that people who read my stuff should use Firefox, Ghostery, NoScript, and Adblock Plus. I have never mandated that these things are required. Of course I haven’t! I have no authority or power to make any mandates or demands. This is the difference; this is where the distinction lies. That some people choose to follow what I write, and on some occasions to even acquiesce to my ideas and adopt them, gives me no authority over them or power over them whatsoever. They can disavow me and disassociate from me at any time. I am not their ruler*.

If I attempt to enter into a voluntary agreement with someone else, and you tell me that I can’t, then how do I not have a ruler? In fact, I’m quite far from being an arkhos, aren’t I? I have a ruler: you. The ruler is the one who mandates that I cannot enter into this voluntarily agreement; the ruler is the one who requires that I not enter into this voluntary agreement.

* To be fair, I would also say that I am not their leader, either. Except, perhaps, in the case of a few examples–two in particular, those same two to whom I posted videos a while back. But let’s not get into that.