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If Not Anarchism, What? A Third Way

Anarchism is a crackpot ideology. Anarchist philosophy was born holding hands with socialism, its roots in a spiritual rebellion against capitalism and the state.

The capitalistic anarchism springs from even less healthy soil than socialist anarchism. At least the instincts that rebelled against the excesses of industrial capitalism were basically healthy and sound, even if they adopted crackpot ideas about practical politics and economy theory.

The capitalist-anarchism is even worse in its embrace of rule by financial power, seeing its power-brokers as heroes of liberty rather than inane criminals they are. They adopt just as impractical ideas about human nature, political interaction and economics, but in order to run toward unlimited economic power, not away from it.

The idea of multinational corporations as ideal, taking over the role of government, openly, not bashfully, buying out the courts and the military, the police, the jails, and keeping the show going in private hands... what instincts could consider that an ideal?

And what fools could imagine it a practical, stable order?

A voluntary, self-regulating constellation of firms, banks, independent commercial power centers, their power rooted in concentrated property, with theoretically subordinate armed forces, vying for wealth and control outside any public law; producing law in a two-way interchange, in the manner of treaties; without any recourse to binding, disinterested, public external justice.

To hold something so unnatural together would require an essentially religious devotion, imbued with a zeal as strong as early Islam or Christianity, in a belief in non-violence, in the sanctity of Rights and inviolable property, held ascetically by all engaged in economic and political power. Everyone in a position of power able to abuse the rights and property of others would have to voluntarily refrain from doing so and resign the desire.

Even that would fall apart and go to factions and subside into the general tide of human nature after a short period, even if it could get kicked off. And what a bizarre spiritual movement it would be, rooted in materialism, money and individualistic consumption!

Pure democracy might be the antithesis of property and economic liberty, and a horror worse than its opposite. But the opposite - unlimited economic power - with the elimination of any political redress against economic power, property, is almost as bad. Some would say worse, that really depends on your personal bias.

I would much prefer a mixture of the two holding each other in check, and more than that, would welcome a third center of power in the balance, like that provided historically by Church, or by a stable political class of 'statesmen' not engaged in democratic politics, but with some permanent status and influence.

Some third body not tied to political factions or to economic interests to carry on a tradition and teaching in virtue, a political ethic, a civic identity, a way of life.

Some body or institution devoted to principles higher than money or political power, commerce or career politics.

An institution to provide the balast and anchoring for a healthy education in character and morality and identity, not connected to either private economic interest or the state. A body that could actually carry on and seed moral principles, even if it were merely NAP or some basic liberty ethic.

With those competing sorts of institutions you can achieve a balance that permits actual liberty to exist for centuries. If you destroy all of those institutions but one, liberty disappears. An imperfect real liberty is better than a perfect pipedream.

2.

The return of a third class into the balance between economic and political power would be most welcome and appropriate, and historically realistic. It is real, it is proven. Until modern times this third power always existed and countered excesses and abuse from either side, held off tyranny when possible.

It always stood outside and aloof from merely economic or secular political power considerations.

Unlimited political power in the hands of demagogues, disregarding individual property, is one extreme. Unlimited economic power, enforced with goons and a police state, disregarding the right of persons separate from property, is another extreme.

Balanced against each other, they are an unstable brew like what presently exists in America. They could tip into open conflict and violence, with one side gaining the concentrated power.

What is lacking, what is missing?

What were the Founding fathers? They were a type of a class, maybe not the most perfect example in history, separate from either pure economic interests or pure political demagogues.

A semi-stable, semi-permanent class, a body that was an anchor and source of stability to the political order of the time, and a source of a sound civic education to the people. A referee and rallying point for the people to draw strength when up against dangerous concentrations of private power.

Their ideas, their sense of civic virtue aligned with their identity, and their great stores of political wisdom and knowledge of history enabled them to provide center of gravity to economic and political power.

The Roman republican class was a similar institution. The Church in European history is another example.

An institution not rooted in purely private interests of class, power or property, and able to balance the other two impulses, and ameliorate the harm of excessive economic and political power.

That is the proper answer to the dangerous conditions developing now, the diminution of distributed economic and social resources, the growing wealth disparity and the ripening potential of economic conflict that could break out into violence at any time, and which could see one side or the other come to a complete tyranny.

A third way, a third power, a third institution. Way of the Future.

Bill3



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there already exists a fourth way

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_Way

“The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants.” — Albert Camus

Hey Diamond Dog!

Long time! Read the post, don't concern yourself with votes.

"A third center of power"?

You said it yourself...

"Even that would fall apart and go to factions and subside into the general tide of human nature after a short period, even if it could get kicked off."

You can't denounce a bilateral ruling class by arguing the pitfalls of human nature as above, and then espouse the virtues of a trilateral ruling class, by conveniently ignoring human nature. Your logic must be consistent throughout.

Also, use of ad hominem's are never a good idea while trying to make a persuasive argument, especially when you attack the character of your target audience right out of the gate.

If men are good, you don't need government; if men are evil or ambivalent, you don't dare have one.

I think the more competing

I think the more competing power centers, beyond raw political power and economic power, the more likely individual liberty, the more distribution of resources and less concentration. In this context, I don't mean power as physical force, just influence in society. Having multi-polar sources of influence, at least some disinterested in secular power or economic gain, and which have a long time horizon and broad popular support, would be a huge improvement from the interplay of mere short term democratic power and corporately organized economic power, working together to loot a befuddled public or 'market.'

Secondly, anarchists aren't my audience, they're my foil, the butt of the joke.

You just made the case for anarchism

If liberty is "more likely" with increased distribution of power/influence (whatever term you choose) than why not take it to its logical conclusion, and distribute that power/influence down to the individual? That's anarchism.

But I'm sure you're going to have a problem with that, even though that's what you said. So let me get this straight...

Societies consisting a bilateral ruling class or no ruling class are bad. Why? Human nature. However, a trilateral ruling class is optimal (i.e. "most welcome and appropriate, and historically realistic") even though individual liberty is increased along with power distribution. And somehow the faults of human nature are mitigated or non-existent within a trilateral ruling class scenario.

I see the joke now. Good one!

If men are good, you don't need government; if men are evil or ambivalent, you don't dare have one.

While I am partial to the

While I am partial to the number three, and wouldn't deny that for a moment, it is not imperative that the institutional balance be three, or four, or even seven.

What is essential is that one of those institutions be of the character I set out in the OP, serving to educate at least a kernel of the population to cherish liberty, distrust power, and act as an obstacle to tyranny. Many classes have historically played that role, whether in the city states of the Renaissance, or the founding fathers, or the roman republic.

The comically absurd idea of every individual being an independent power source is worse than foolish, it's the exact opposite of every impulse of social animals, every requirement of mutual defense from violent groups, every experience of history, etc.

anarchists, minarchists, and I present the monarchist position

Bill3,
I think you are being nostalgic and simplistic. There has never been a class disinterested politically and economically. We always have an interest and that's quite alright. Our interest must be qualified, mitigated, resisted, when it begins to trample other's interests. And if force is necessary, group force, so be it.
Do not look to the church as a disinterested arbiter. We are interested both politically and economically in all sorts of mutually conflicting ways. But disinterested, we never have been. The founding fathers, likewise, vested interests.
But you bring up the problem that leads us straight to the answer of divine monarchy. Many of my liberty compatriots will read your story and smell the whiff of illuminati before they're done reading. A "class" of arbiters? This is precisely what the illuminati pawn themselves off as. But they are interested and seek for me to hand over my sovereignty, my crown as it were, to them. No way. Out of my cold dead hands.
Yet, you present some real dangers. Bare capitalism, though untried, needs law, needs a higher morality to reference. We need some arbiter between personal interests. The market can provide such an arbiter. But the market alone, will be bought you say. Therefore, less financially capable parties will not agree to such bought justice and will rather resort to arms. Arms, you say, may be overwhelmed, but at what cost? You cannot ramrod justice in the courts and by the sword without consequences to your regime. What consequences? Rebellion, revolution, people applying the same "justice" to the regime in power.
Therefore, the only way to have true staying power that justly and inevitably resists rebellion is to have just justice. True justice. Disinterested, as it were, arbitration. But wherein can we find such a judge, such an arbiter, such a king, with the power to make the rule, interpret the rule, and execute the rule? Not judge Dredd.
Only the king of kings. Only in the one who is worthy to open the scroll by his innocence, yay righteousness of life, the only, ever-living philosopher- king, Yeshua, Jesus.
The crazy news is that he is currently reigning. He is seated, enthroned in heaven, as we speak. So what we need is not a third class to judge. What we need is for the judge to come again. While we wait, he still gives justice, the wicked die. The just are ratified. Those made pure by a righteousness from God, are raised to life.
So, I share your concerns about anarcho-capitalism, but in the end I look almost exactly like one in my recommendations against the human state because I am a spiritual monarchist.

I basically agree with this,

I basically agree with this, up to the point of Jesus.
Jesus is only a provisional answer... it depends on whether he's real.
If he isn't real, then he's just a symbol, a rallying point, a weapon.
If he is real, that changes the whole equation. Most people engaged in this discussion come from a naturalistic viewpoint, and consider naturalism as a given.
Speaking from naturalism, the absence of any supernatural element, requires we face the facts of human nature squarely.
If we do so, we have to define human nature as best we can, and then understand how it interacts to determine whether or not liberty is the practical outcome.
If we just go by history and human nature as the basis for judgement, the conclusion is simple. It is only when there are institutions and power centers opposed to each other where liberty flourishes.
If Jesus wants to slide back in and lay down his own law, that is certainly his prerogative. But until he does so, we have to go by natural rules ascertained from experience and history.
I am with you in spirit and sympathy, but what you're proposing is a religious answer to a question that is being asked outside of the religious fold. If the religious answer is somehow true, it renders the whole other discussion futile.

I believe that simply

I believe that simply discussing the power of market institutions lacks meaning without specifics. So can market institutions exercise the power over people? Of course. But can government meaningfully regulate market power in a way that is preferable? I doubt it. I don't see government and market as a dichotomy but a symbiosis. You must have government to have a market. Implied in that is a protection of basic rights like property which act as a limit on market actors. Then, you must have the correct kind of government to avoid takeover of government by the market. I simply don't view the power of market over individuals to be a real solvable concern. What are we really talking about? Living wages? Monopoly pricing?

Also, you're really just talking about the Guardians from Plato's Republic.

Ventura 2012

Agree, except for the last

Agree, except for the last part. I read some Plato as a kid, grew up and stopped.

Anarchism will last about 2

Anarchism will last about 2 seconds before humans start forming gangs and applying force to get themselves a larger slice of the pie. When someone is oppressing you with a gang, what is the counter, to form your own gang? Your gang is benevolent though, right?

Somalia is absent a centralized government, and has a bunch of competing gangs. Don't take this as some sort of endorsement, I am just commenting on what is going to happen based on a pretty good understanding of human nature.

Post hoc ergo propter hoc

Questionable Cause Fallacy: specifically this is a Third cause fallacy.

Humans have always joined

Humans have always joined gangs to exert force for their own benefit. From large centralized government down to neighborhood gangs, to cliques within families.

If we could snap our finger and tomorrow all power structures were gone, could you explain to me how a power vacuum is maintained, and no gang would jump at the chance to fill it? How do you modify the nature of a lot of people, to seek power?

If that vacuum is filled by a benevolent organization of voluntary individuals, how is power not going to corrupt the organization? Can you site an example of large groups of people having lived in an anarchist society? If it has never happened, then wouldn't that make large groups not in tribes, unnatural to humans?

Thanks for clearing that

Thanks for clearing that up.

Advice: don't attempt to apply formal logical objections to comments not employing formal logic. Seth said that absent government, gangs grow in size to combat other gangs. He might have 500 reasons for believing this to be so. He never claimed it was a formally logical argument.

He offered Somalia as an anecdotal example of the point, which it certainly is. Your objection, whether logically valid or not, has no bearing whatsoever on Seth's points, which were not framed or offered in the formal logical structure you used.

Put down the logic 101 before you hurt yourself.

It seems like...

...there is no such thing as 'no government', only different sizes and scales of government.

Subdivide the entire world into private property, with no 'public' government or lands, and what do you have? You have a mini-monarch ruling over each bit of private property, setting the rules as the 'king of his castle' which apply to anyone who wants to visit or rent that property. Michael Nystrom is (or should be) the government of the Daily Paul; I am the government (or should be) of my home if I own it.

So is this Liberty? Depends -- on whether each mini-dictator or feudal lord is a benevolent dictator or a tyrant. By benevolent dictator, we mean someone who has the power to not obey morality and kindness and Love, but chooses to obey, out of self-regulation, or Love to others -- both those within the 'domestic' bounds of his fiefdom, and those neighbors outside.

So the stability of such a society all falls back on whether its members obey the highest natural laws there are: Love God (or higher source of Truth and Love/morality for you naturalists); Love thy neighbor as thyself.

So unless there is some feedback loop in that society to preserve and build-up a passion for obeying Love, perhaps through the faith institutions you mention or just through family devotion to it, then no amount of clamoring for political Liberty or property rights will be enough to keep the whole thing from decaying into non-Love: hatred, strife, envy, chaos, violence, etc.

Until there is an internal revolution within a multitude of people towards Love, enabled by the source of Love, then this whole discussion of size of government is ultimately futile.

Ha ha ha ha...

Actually, there's no such thing as government.

Government is the idea that political rituals can give legitimacy to actions which would otherwise be considered illigitimate. Take stealing, for example. Now if you rename it as "taxation" and say that "government" does it, then it becomes (magically) legitimate. That's the idea.

But it's a false idea. There is no such legitimacy. It's just stealing.

Now think about this: Without making evil actions magically legitimate, how could we have roads?

Without Santa Claus, how would we have Christmas?

Compare the two statements. Think about them. And you will conclude that, far from there being no such thing as "no government," there is no such thing as "government."

:)

No, actually I agree with you that the way the term 'government' is usually used, it's meaning some 'public' bureaucratic parasite which people use to steal, abuse, kill, while calling it something else.

My point is that even if you scrape that all away and have only private property, each of those properties is still governed by someone -- someone still sets the rules and is therefore the ruler over each little domain. So the people that own no such domain, but find they must be a guest or a renter on some else's property are under the government, or the rules established by the ruler -- the owner -- as they should be.

So now it shifts to the other question, of whether each mini-ruler chooses to obey Love or not -- and without that fabric of benevolence or Love, any vestige of peace and liberty will decay under non-Love, strife, etc.

Liberty depends on the self-regulation of Love as being the rules established by the rulers -- whether the domains be large or small.

Micah

I find both of your comments here to be quite insightful.

I think that everyone on here would understand that the government is supposed to be the main institution which facilitates societal integration, and is not a power unto itself. The real meaning has been perverted through it incrementally claiming authority which it isn't granted by definition, and this has altered public perception of "what it is".

I totally agree that the principles of love are the basis for any kind of harmonic structure ( or liberty ) between "dominant parties", no matter what the scale.

Freedom is a byproduct of acceptance - judge not.

Thanks :)

I guess I kind of run the risk of just sounding like a hippy-dippy New Ager or something by focusing on Love so much as the key; but I truly am convinced that it is the Source of all, and that it defines our journeys of becoming, our destinies.

I'm really beginning to appreciate the emphasis the Ancients placed on this -- not only Christ (Who I believe is Love incarnate) but also the various groups such as the Essenes, the Druids, the Magi, the Egyptians, the Pythagoreans who all were looking for the fulfillment of the god-man who would bring reconciliation to Love.

Anyway, regardless of all that, Love is the key for harmony (liberty), as you said. And I appreciate that a major part of the banner over the Daily Paul is 'Love'.

Anarcho-Capitalism

or market Anarchism has NEVER been tried in the modern world. Advocating for any system other than one where personal sovereignty, self-governance and self-ownership are paramount means you are supporting a system where you relinquish some amount of control over YOUR life to a third party which in essence is to say one does not own themselves. I will never again subscribe to any philosophy that does not prioritize the rights of the individual first. Ron Paul led most of us to Libertarianism, libertarianism has led many of you to Minarchism, and Minarchism has led some of us to Agorism/Anarcho-capitalism.

Your entire post is invalid because it operates under the premise that someone other than you is more qualified to run your life than you. Teaching our children a sound morale philosophy is more important than constructing a system of governance. Teaching them that something like the Non-Initiation Principle is morally valid will have a much greater impact on humanity than creating a different "better" system of power and control for a "semi-permanent class" to administer, as your post alludes to.

But it was tried and failed

But it was tried and failed in the ancient world. Saying that something has never been tried hardly supports the idea that it should be tried. It actually supports the opposite conclusion, if any.

Ventura 2012

Please

elaborate and cite your source where market anarchism (Anarcho-Capitalism) has ever been tried in recorded human history. Establish that as fact and I will retract my statement.....good luck.

anarchism has been tried in

anarchism has been tried in feudal europe, israel, ireland, and africa, among other places. why didn't anarcho-capitalism spring from that foundation of no government? Because anarcho-capitalism is an oxymoron. anarchy is tribal and anti-civilization. anarcho-capitalism is a fantasy that obviously has never existed because it cannot exist and never will.

Ventura 2012

So go try it. True communism

So go try it.

True communism also has never been tried, and there is no true Scotsman. You can go try those two, if you want, or just go in the corner and scratch. Just don't bother the rest of us.

Thank you for making this

Thank you for making this point, its so glaringly obvious.

Ventura 2012

...

Deflection, Red Herring, Ad Hominem. Better up your game if you want to tussle with me BILL3. I'm the new OG of Individual Liberty!

This was not me

This was my 20 year old brother. He hopped on my computer and thought he would "help" by posting for me while I was out last night....obviously not helpful. I apologize BILL3 not my words, just those of a means well over exuberant kid.

If you analyze the writing styles it should be pretty apparent that this does not match the idiosyncrasies of my writing.

Again I apologize.

Dude, you sound ridiculous.

Dude, you sound ridiculous. Throwing out lists of terms doesn't sound the least bit intelligent to anyone but yourself. Especially when you don't take the time to explain how your terms apply directly. Calling yourself the OG of individual liberty sounds like someone that would enjoy being a tyrant with their delusions of grandeur. I will give you the benefit of the doubt and just assume you were trying to be funny.

Pure anarcho-capitalism, pure communism, pure anything has never been tried. You would have to get millions of people to agree on something completely, and that cannot be done. Ever try to get a dozen coworkers to agree on something? So now millions/billions will agree?

So when all around you people are competing to acquire more power in this world, you believe that somehow we can get millions or billions of people to agree to not lust after power? Are you going to have a communist style purge?

When you acknowledge that you will never get enough people to voluntarily abolish all power structures, what does that leave you with? Organizing a violent group to take over everything? Then what, you are all going to disband once you are the dominant force over everyone else? You are going to pass on living in a mansion with playboy playmates blowing you, and go and grow carrots while living in a shack?

Wealth and power are awesome in this world. The only reason to not covet these things are because you are concerned about consequences in the after life.

Government or

collectivist rule of any kind is only successful if it operates under the premise that coercion is a morally valid principle. i.e. the threat or force or violence against those that do not comply is acceptable.

IT IS NOT!

If you believe it is then this conversation should end because we are so far apart I do not think any sort of middle ground can be found.

Be in a collectively ruled society if that is what YOU want, if YOUR "government" is completely based on voluntary association and does not validate the principles of coercion I'm cool with it. My point is people should be able to associate voluntarily if association is "required" or you will be punished the moral validity of your proposed government is invalid.

I don't think coercion is a

I don't think coercion is a good thing, and I don't like being ruled. That being said just because I think your ideology is never going to work in the real world, doesn't mean I love the way things are now. Do you understand it isn't one or the other?

Accusing me of loving tyranny does not answer any of the questions I asked you about how to practically bring about an anarchist society that is preferable to the society we have now.

Like I said before, if we snapped our fingers and did actually achieve an anarchist status quo tomorrow, do you expect that gangs will not begin to form in order to fill the power vacuum? Doing so because they can then rob the labor of others, rather than working hard. Governments are just gangs with official looking uniforms.

If you create a gang to put down any gang that tries to take everything over, don't you become a government?