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April 22, 2014, 08:12:14 AM
 #1

So after a thread last week descended into a rant and counter-rant about anarchism, I thought it might be useful to outline some thinking. You never know, maybe I can even recruit some new Bitcoiners to anarchism Smiley

Anarchists tend to be independent thinkers, so naturally, it's hard to get two anarchists to agree on what anarchism is. But if you take all the different flavours, and try to find the commonality, it boils down to this:

Anarchism is the belief that authoritarian relationships should be self justifying.

There are a whole lot of whys and wherefores too, but that's the nub of it. If I'm walking down the street with my daughter and she tries to step off the kerb in to traffic, I'm going to grab her arm and pull her back - that's an authoritarian relationship, and in that instance it's pretty easy to justify. But it gets very difficult very quickly to make those justifications for other authoritarian relationships, like for instance, the relationship between the state and the citizen.

The political scientist Max Weber described a state as a political entity which maintains a monopoly on the right to resort to violence in a particular geography, a geography delineated by what we call borders (man made lines drawn on maps). It is this entity that I reject. There is no innate reason for me to accept this entity, it is a value judgement.

Why don't you just leave?

Sure, I could leave, but go where, and why? Should I really consent to being driven out of my home by a political entity maintaining this monopoly on violence? If you view the state as inherently unjust, resistance is a perfectly legitimate response. I advocate non-aggression as a general principle. I also advocate peaceful resistance and a policy of non-cooperation. I would certainly like to hear arguments against this as an approach.

But you use state-provided X, Y and Z

Yes, I do. I absolutely do.

I try to keep my interaction with the state to a minimum, and I refuse to fund the state more than absolutely necessary. I stopped funding the state through income tax after the illegal invasion of Iraq in March of 2003. I have private health care. I have 6 young children and use private schools exclusively.

But each and every day, I use state-provided infrastructure, even if it is just the roads. I have no problem with this. If the state is going to insist on spatial ubiquity, on omnipresence, then so be it. I will be neither corralled nor inhibited. Land which rightly belongs to the people belongs to the people, even if the state decides to build roads on it.

The state shapes our environment, interacting with it and drawing utility from it is inevitable. If the state were to lay claim to the air we breathe, I could hardly stop breathing on principal.

Who would build the Xs, the Ys and the Zs

The most common first counter to an anarchist's vision is "who would build the roads?"

This is to be expected, since statists (which account for 99+% of people) have spent no time imagining life without the state. The doctrinal systems are set up to drill into us this dependency from day 1, and undoing this conditioning is not a trivial process.

Nation states are a 19th century European invention, one exported to disastrous effect across the world. We had roads before them, we will have roads after them.

Mechanisms of control

The state has many mechanisms at its disposal to keep its tax farm working smoothly. The main tool is that of dependency.

For example, if the state takes away the ability of its tax cows (citizens) to protect themselves, they inevitably grow dependent on the state for protection.

And the mechanism of control that will resonate most with people here: money. The state controls money and the associated monetary systems. It can take your money without your consent. It can force monetary institutions to report your activities, it can decrease the value of your wealth ad nauseum.

The answer we already know - Bitcoin.

The path

I don't advocate wearing a hoodie and spray painting anarchist symbols on things. I don't advocate violent resistance. Perhaps most importantly, I recognise that we are NOT likely to see a mass, popular overthrow of the state based system any time soon.

What I advocate, is a private revolution. A quiet, peaceful act of non-cooperation. For me, this means structuring my affairs such that I do not fund the state. It means storing my wealth in Bitcoins. It means using cryptography. It means using the tools of the state-based system against the system itself. It means advocating for the rights of the individual over the rights of the state.

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April 22, 2014, 09:11:56 AM
 #2

Mostly agree and I'll raise you another rant because it's been a while for me. Smiley Think it's generally reasonable to quit with the melodramatics and just live life how you want and by your own virtues. LEOs do actually appreciate honesty, and at least in the rural nowhere I am, are reasonably inclined to exercise discretion when enforcing laws. Even if they disagree with the particular felony or misdemeanor, they may still be willing to tolerate it because they can understand it. They're not supposed to be unthinking hall monitors who faff about, telling people to stop holding hands and running in empty hallways. The real issue is in places where prosecutors and police have been dumbed down ("roboticized") and will enforce any law on the books simply because they're on the books, with no understanding that they've traditionally been expected to exercise discretion. As such, when a prosecutor seeks to go after someone when nobody's been harmed, they're personally responsible for the immorality, because not only do they have a choice, but they're expected to exercise discretion - and maybe this is just mostly a French-US concept.

A guilty verdict, de facto, has many parts, starting with the responding LEO, moving up the chain to the sheriff, possibly to some larger police agent, then to the prosecutor, then to the judge, and finally to the jury (possibly with even more courts after that). Traditionally, it really is NOT their job to enforce every law every time they see a violation, and it's not "corruption" when they don't enforce the law; they're called thoughts, and some people happen to produce thoughts which don't always favor the mish-mash ideology represented in the nearly 200,000-page US CFR, which is basically just an enormous volume of activities enforcers are permitted (but not required) to prosecute. All of these enforcers all pass what are effectively a guilty verdict made up of a subjective (or "Randian objective") assessment of morality and an objective assessment on whether or not it happened, which creates an enormous chain of checks and balances. An innocent verdict relies on at least one person in that chain tolerating your action, realizing they're bureaucrats, and willing to exercise discretion in your favor; it does not necessarily mean they don't think you committed a crime. Such an act comes from an outlook rooted in moral pluralism, individuality, and chaos, which I think may be dying out in the US (maybe from schools focusing on giving children robot skills rather than human skills), so it's especially concerning to see people blaming someone found guilty of victimless crimes when they complain about being imprisoned, like "oh, well if you weren't so stupid, you wouldn't have smoked marijuana in a state which hasn't legalized about it. You have no right to complain about it. Go change the laws." Really, laws are just one particularly lagging cog in a bigger machine which is expected to be robust and dynamic.

Anyway -- I've gone way off-topic, so I'll just end with suggesting we maybe should be adding a condition to "non-cooperation" - that you don't need to be dead-weighting or shouting at police officers when they arrive at a scene where you've committed a crime because they aren't (supposed to be) some type of robotic government auto-turret which bleep-bloops around town enforcing jay-walking and possession charges. It's discretionary on the part of the person being stopped, too, though, so police offices really need keep their reputation in mind (and many, if not most, of them do), because once you lose it, like the entire police force of New Mexico has, the whole system breaks down and, suddenly, "crime" starts spiraling because police have become impersonal robot monsters (who've clearly lost that "justification of authority") who'll gun you down for loitering, so of course citizens are going to start exercising their own discretion and acting dishonestly to save themselves and families in those areas which is when good police start exercising their discretion against you. I could go on about this for hours, though...

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April 22, 2014, 10:23:43 AM
 #3

...maybe should be adding a condition to "non-cooperation" - that you don't need to be dead-weighting or shouting at police officers when they arrive at a scene where you've committed a crime because they aren't (supposed to be) some type of robotic government auto-turret which bleep-bloops around town enforcing jay-walking and possession charges.

My problem with LEO's/Bobbies/Coppers/etc is multifaceted.

  • If I surveyed the population of mathematicians, I would find a disproportionately high number of people who were attracted to difficult intellectual problems.
  • If I surveyed the population of nurses, I would find a disproportionately high number of people who were attracted to caring for their fellow humans.
  • If I surveyed the population of garderners, I would find a disproportionately high number of people who wanted to work outside.

So naturally, if a job brings with it power and authority, it will naturally attract dramatically more applications from people who want power and authority. This naturally leads me to view LEOs with suspicion. We've all seen the videos of LEOs in the US brutally beating people (usually black people) who were offering no resistance. Power and authority.

I'm usually quite quiet and considered when talking to people, but police can get me riled. There have been occasions where an encounter with police in the UK spiralled pretty quickly. I was assaulted last year by police in London whilst being suspected of no crime. After disembarking from a commuter train (First Class, obviously Smiley) a policeman asked what was in my bag. His exact words were "excuse me Sir, can I ask what's in your bag". My response was "You can certainly ask". I did not interrupt my stride pattern and continued towards The Tube.

Now, the policeman grabbed my arm, which perhaps wasn't the smartest thing he'd done all day. My blood instantly boiled and I wheeled round, forcibly removing his hand. It must have looked a bit of a contradiction, although I'm 6ft4, I'm also a bespectacled, well dressed physicist and software engineer. But at that moment, every cell in my body wanted to knock this idiot flat, which wouldn't have been the smartest thing I'd done all day, especially since the state automaton who had assaulted me was quickly joined by 3 armed officers.

I was asked for my name and address, I refused to give it. The automaton told me I was required to give it, by law. I asked which law, he cited one of the laws in the UK which gives the police their powers. I pointed out that the law he cited required me to give my name and address if and only if I was arrested. I asked if he was arresting me. He said he would arrest me if I refused to give my name and address. I pointed out that this would lead to an interesting discussion between my solicitor and his custody sergeant.

This continued for a short while before a more senior policeman with a cooler head intervened, and to cut a long story short I was allowed to go on my way.

Anyway, I digress.

In the UK, the police are institutionally corrupt, institutionally dishonest, and institutionally racist. And receive significant support from the public. Sigh. To me, they are just another arm of the state, designed to keep the tax cows respecting their guardians and protectors.


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April 22, 2014, 03:25:17 PM
 #4

Nation states are a 19th century European invention, one exported to disastrous effect across the world. We had roads before them, we will have roads after them.
You mean paved roads that connect towns?
Like the roads that were build by the roman empire?

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April 22, 2014, 03:49:52 PM
 #5

Bitcoin is a huge step for real world anarchism. We don't need corrupt banking system. Bitcoin gives us a chance not to rely on governmental instruments and we all can see p2p is the future. We don't have borders. We will be free when all governments downfall.
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April 22, 2014, 07:48:35 PM
 #6

Bitcoin social-anarchist* reporting for revolutionary duty, SIR.

*or anarcho-socialist, or "libertarian socialist" (take your pick)

A quiet, peaceful act of non-cooperation. For me, this means structuring my affairs such that I do not fund the state. It means storing my wealth in Bitcoins. It means using cryptography. It means using the tools of the state-based system against the system itself. It means advocating for the rights of the individual over the rights of the state.
You and I will get along well.

Related: Sunset of the State

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April 22, 2014, 07:51:12 PM
 #7

Bitcoin social-anarchist* reporting for revolutionary duty, SIR.

*or anarcho-socialist, or "libertarian socialist" (take your pick)

What's the separating quality between this and other forms of anarchism?

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April 22, 2014, 07:55:37 PM
 #8

What's the separating quality between this and other forms of anarchism?
There is a myth that many/most anarchists believe in an "every man for himself" non-society. I add "social" to my political self-description to convey that I believe human beings should take care of each other.

We are, as primates, neuro-biologically wired for compassion.

"Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you've got about a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies —
God damn it, you've got to be kind."
-Kurt Vonnegut

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April 22, 2014, 08:02:06 PM
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What's the separating quality between this and other forms of anarchism?
There is a myth that many/most anarchists believe in an "every man for himself" non-society. I add "social" to my political self-description to convey that I believe human beings should take care of each other.

We are, as primates, neuro-biologically wired for compassion.

I agree with you here; the common misconception about anarchism is that there can be no order and it's essentially Fallout 3 IRL Tongue  However, the reason I ask you, is that the term "socialist" is usually associated with various economic practices such as public ownership and such.  Are you in agreement with those?

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April 22, 2014, 08:13:04 PM
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Are you in agreement with those?
Property is theft, and "ownership" of land is madness. From my perspective, pretty much our entire culture is insane.

The Earth does not belong to us, we belong to the Earth.

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April 22, 2014, 08:24:00 PM
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Are you in agreement with those?
Property is theft, and "ownership" of land is madness. From my perspective, pretty much our entire culture is insane.

The Earth does not belong to us, we belong to the Earth.

All property, or just land?

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April 23, 2014, 03:40:55 AM
 #12

All property, or just land?
Land and "human resources" (AKA wage-slaves) as well. I'm with Russell Brand on this one, massive redistribution of wealth, end the corporation as a concept. Rewrite of the constitution.



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April 23, 2014, 06:10:35 AM
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All property, or just land?
Land and "human resources" (AKA wage-slaves) as well. I'm with Russell Brand on this one, massive redistribution of wealth, end the corporation as a concept. Rewrite of the constitution.




If an individual wanted to work for a wage, would he still count as a slave?  It would seem the most innate property we own is ourselves and our time i.e. how we determine the usage of our bodies, so wage slavery sounds like an oxymoron at first glance; it must be assumed that there is a coercive element forcing people to work at a job, but I don't believe businesses directly influence individuals to work for them; rather, government plays the key role in stopping individuals from deciding they will not work for a wage which becomes a non-issue within anarchism.

I'm also uncertain about the rules of land; let's say a man owns a farm on a piece of public land (assuming all land is public here), but another man wants to build a park where the farm is.  Since the land is public, the public decides whether the farm or the park will be there.  This means, if the park is decided upon, the farmer must pack his things and do something else.  This necessitates a violation of the man's person and time, which is similar to the concept of wage slavery wherein the individual does not have control over his person or time.  How might this problem be resolved in a consistent fashion within the socialist system, so as to limit or stop this slavery to the majority?

How would the redistribution of wealth occur in the anarchist society?  I imagine the cronies who profit from the government being there will no longer have a monopoly over anything and thus will not be able to enforce unfavorable conditions upon other businesses, thereby allowing the wage slave greater opportunity to be his own man.  Also, I would think most anarchists see a constitution as unnecessary; if it were rewritten, who would enforce it?  We could say we the people would enforce it but then, without a central coercive element to do so, it would be awfully difficult to orchestrate; it seems it would be more efficient instead to agree not to violate each other's property i.e. bodies and time, than to define a central set of guidelines to follow which anyone can break from and define their own; I think most would agree at least to the aforementioned rule without the need for enforcement, as the enforcer necessitates it violate this rule itself, i.e. minarchism.

Sorry if I'm being annoying Tongue  I don't interact with very many liberty-minded socialists and I'm interested in the PoV differences between this, capitalism and communism.

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April 23, 2014, 09:34:48 AM
 #14

You mean paved roads that connect towns?
Like the roads that were build by the roman empire?

I'm no expert on road building or civil engineering in general. I am, however, fairly certain that technology has moved on somewhat.

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April 23, 2014, 09:41:55 AM
 #15

There is a myth that many/most anarchists believe in an "every man for himself" non-society. I add "social" to my political self-description to convey that I believe human beings should take care of each other.

I'd love to live in a truly anarchistic society, with communities, and communities of communities. My currently philosophy is organic and fluid, and will respond to change.

While I am committed to change and want to work towards a better future, I also have to live in the present. Are you familiar with Albert Jay Nock's concept of The Remnant? That pretty much summarises the disparate, tiny minority of anarchists in the world, at least in my view.

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April 23, 2014, 02:15:03 PM
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Are you familiar with Albert Jay Nock's concept of The Remnant? That pretty much summarises the disparate, tiny minority of anarchists in the world, at least in my view.
I'm not, but I'll google it when I get home from wage-slavery, errr work.

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April 23, 2014, 02:34:57 PM
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Who would build the Xs, the Ys and the Zs

The most common first counter to an anarchist's vision is "who would build the roads?"

This is to be expected, since statists (which account for 99+% of people) have spent no time imagining life without the state. The doctrinal systems are set up to drill into us this dependency from day 1, and undoing this conditioning is not a trivial process.

Nation states are a 19th century European invention, one exported to disastrous effect across the world. We had roads before them, we will have roads after them.

Any many of them were built by the state.
In the UK, you can still see the legacy of the network of roads built by the Roman army almost two thousand years ago.
And your idea of nation states being a 19th century invention seems a bit odd to people living in nations that have existed a lot longer than that.
The first post-medieval state-legislated road program in the UK dates to the mid 16th century: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highways_Act_1555

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April 23, 2014, 02:47:07 PM
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Any many of them were built by the state.

Many things have been done by the state. It doesn't mean it requires a state in order to come about. Can you really not conceive of roads being built by anything other than a state?

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April 23, 2014, 02:56:36 PM
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Any many of them were built by the state.

Many things have been done by the state. It doesn't mean it requires a state in order to come about. Can you really not conceive of roads being built by anything other than a state?

On anything other than the most local scale, they would only ever be built by large companies as profit-generators, charging a toll for access.
Then you would end up having to pay lots of different tolls for parts of the same journey, which would be very inefficient and annoying.
So either the companies would end up merging, or form a cartel, which one doesn't really matter, to have one unified toll system.
They would use force to prevent non-payers using their roads.
Rather than paying per use, they would instead charge an annual fee to anyone who ever wanted to use the roads.
And the end result is that you have a single effective monopoly taxing you to maintain the roads.
How different is that from a government?

The single most obvious question that anarchists never address is that if this is such an obviously better way of doing things, where are the examples?
Where are the successful modern-day anarchistic societies, that have all the technological and engineering improvements that 'normal' societies have, but without a central body ruling ultimately by the use or threat of force?

Oh, and doing a little more digging, state finacing of roads in the UK goes back further than 1555.

Quote
Pavage was a medieval toll for the maintenance or improvement of a road or street in England. The king by letters patent granted the right to collect it to an individual, or the corporation of a town, or to the "bailiffs and good men" of a neighbouring village.

Pavage grants can be divided into two classes:

Urban grants to enable the streets of a town (or its market place) to be paved. These represent the majority of grants.
Rural grants to enable a particular road to be repaired. These grants were mostly made in the 14th century, and largely for the great roads radiating from London, which were presumably those carrying the heaviest traffic.
The first grant was in 1249 for the Yorkshire town of Beverley, where the pavage was associated with the cult of St John of Beverley, and was ultimately made permanent. Another early one was for Shrewsbury in 1266 for paving the new market place, removed from the churchard of St Alkmund and St Juliana.

So for almost 800 years we've found that roads couldn't been maintained without state taxation.

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April 23, 2014, 03:17:12 PM
 #20

On anything other than the most local scale, they would only ever be built by large companies as profit-generators, charging a toll for access.

Private roads are certainly an option. By no means the only one. Think about how the planning of towns and cities might have evolved differently without a state enforced infrastructure to connect them.

They would use force to prevent non-payers using their roads.

Really? You can think of no other way?

And the end result is that you have a single effective monopoly taxing you to maintain the roads.
How different is that from a government?

Paying to use a road should be optional. I don't have to use it, do I?

The single most obvious question that anarchists never address is that if this is such an obviously better way of doing things, where are the examples?

Ask an anthropologist, there are examples, but they are pushed to the periphery by...the state.

Where are the successful modern-day anarchistic societies, that have all the technological and engineering improvements that 'normal' societies have, but without a central body ruling ultimately by the use or threat of force?

States have pushed out the alternatives, because they can. And for another reason, a more troubling reason, one that comes through in your posts. I mentioned Nock earlier in the thread, let me quote a passage for you:

Quote
According to my observations, mankind are among the most easily tamable and domesticable of all creatures in the animal world. They are readily reducible to submission, so readily conditionable (to coin a word) as to exhibit an almost incredibly enduring patience under restraint and oppression of the most flagrant character. So far are they from displaying any overweening love of freedom that they show a singular contentment with a condition of servitorship, often showing a curious canine pride in it, and again often simply unaware that they are existing in that condition.(Memoirs of the Superfluous Man)

You conclude...

So for almost 800 years we've found that roads couldn't been maintained without state taxation.

No we haven't. For almost 800 years, we have found that extracting money on threat of violence is the most efficient way to fund any endeavour of the ruling elites. That you would trade your freedom for some smooth tarmac and a shiny iPod says more about you than it does about alternatives to extracting money on threat of violence.


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