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Libertarianism and Anarchy: The Simple Facts

"For hundreds of years, political groups have used language to maneuver around each other. One group, claiming the mantle of 'ideological purity,' would become fed up with what they viewed as inconsistency or inaccuracy of the ideas of the main group and split away from it. However, they would continue to call themselves by the same name of the original group in order to preserve their credibility.

This kind of philosophical warfare creates confusion, often intentionally. Classical liberalism of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, based on small government and individualism, was gradually perverted into the modern, collectivist, government-obsessed liberalism we hear about today. The fracturing of the original socialist movement into dozens of groups illustrate the point just as well: you have Marxists, communists, Trotskyists, Chomskyites, Lenninists, Stalinists, Maoists, social democrats, liberal socialists, 'libertarian' socialists, (misled) anarchists and anarcho-syndicalists, eco-/ethical-/religious-/regional-socialists, national socialists and blah-blah-blah socialists all claiming to be... well, true socialists. It's maddening.

Currently, there is a lot of debate going on in the libertarian and anarchist circles. You have classical liberals, constitutionalists, paleolibertarians, minarchists, anarchists, libertarian anarchists, anarcho-capitalists, left-libertarians, bleeding-heart libertarians, and socialist-libertarians, among others, all claiming to be true libertarians. Likewise; communists, anarcho-communists, anarcho-syndicalists, libertarian anarchists, anarcho-capitalists, voluntaryists, and mutualists all claim to be true anarchists . . ."

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You can drop all of those names imo

There is only one thing we need to be or adhere to.


Doesn't matter who calls themselves what, if they don't adhere consistently to NAP, then they are unacceptable.

If people want to form voluntary associates around trade, or build communal farms and coops that is totally ok as long as they adhere to NAP. I am not arrogant enough to say what will work or not. But I know anything to do with force and violence upon others in the long run never works and is a step backwards.

As long as everyone is adhering to NAP, everything else will work itself out.

Good piece. Quibble.

You write:

Despite what the “thick libertarians” claim, real libertarianism has nothing to do with combating racism, poverty, economic inequality, sexism, or any egalitarian crap

Emphasis added.

I think this is wrong. You could say instead of "nothing to do", "not strictly concerned with" but since anarchy will largely solve all of these problems, as much as they can possibly be solved, I think you can't say libertarianism has "nothing to do" with those problems.

I am concerned with those issues. The reason I don't call myself a thick libertarian is simply due to the fact I have enough economic understanding to know that violating the NAP is in fact what allows those institutions to exist as much as they do.

Tactically, why not take credit for opposing them?

It's not required that you care about anything but the NAP. But it would be strange not to, given that it is in fact the optimal solution to all problems of social injustice.

(I'm sure you understand why this is so, but if anyone else is not clear, please ask and I will elaborate.)

A quibble with your quibble.

Libertarians/anarchists do not necessarily oppose racism, sexism, etc. Opposition to such prejudices is not part of the definition of libertarianism or anarchism, and it is certainly possible for people who are prejudiced against blacks or Jews, for example, to be anarchists or libertarians.

It's the initiation of force that anarchists and libertarians morally condemn -- not personal prejudices. I happen to be prejudiced against people who work for government. I don't run around burning their houses or otherwise doing them harm, but I generally regard any misfortunes they suffer as well-deserved. So you gonna drum me out of the anarchist club?

See, just about everybody has some prejudices, as a result of our individual upbringing, education, values and experiences. In an anarchist society where the initiation of force is regarded as evil, the social effects of prejudice are minimized. In statist societies where people can vote to institutionalize and legalize their prejudices, the effects of prejudice are multiplied.

To claim that being a libertarian or anarchist means opposing prejudice is entirely wrong. Being free means you are free to have whatever prejudices you damn well please -- you're just not free to initiate force against the folks you hate. (Actually you're free to do ANYTHING -- but you'll face serious consequences and costs, if you do.)

Recommended reading: The Most Dangerous Superstition, http://www.amazon.com/Most-Dangerous-Superstition-Larken-Ros...


To claim that being a libertarian or anarchist means opposing prejudice is entirely wrong

And I do not make this claim, but being an anarchist certainly does mean that at least incidentally if your philosophy becomes dominant, the effect will be the reduction of prejudice (as the term is commonly conflated to mean 'bigotry') will be reduced to the minimal it is possible to do so.

Anarchists may not oppose war either, but the end of war is exactly where the logic leads.

But I do morally condemn bigotry. More strongly, I do not shy away from that condemnation. But I do not think this amounts to a justification to use force against the bigot.

Not even remotely.

In fact if it's possible to reform the bigot whatsoever, it has to be my moral or logical suasion. A mere law will just be used to perpetuate the bigotry. IE affirmative action perpetuates bigotry and creates new bigotry. Before affirmative action you would be a bigot (and stupid) to think a black doctor was inferior. They had higher hurdles to face. Now you would be a fool not to suspect any particular black doctor isn't inferior. They had lower hurdles to face.

The laws in fact replace illogical bigotry, with entirely logical prejudice. The market protection of certain races ensures they will be more likely to provide inferior service. This reinforces the natural bigot, and creates more bigotry.

You, sir, ARE a bigot!

By your own admission, you are prejudiced against bigots. Pray explain how your prejudice is any more praiseworthy than someone else's prejudice against some race, sexual orientation or religion? And what about people who are prejudiced against people who are prejudiced against people who are prejudiced against bigots? Kinda gives you a headache, doesn't it?

Fortunately, among anarchists, all of us prejudiced folks mostly get along fine, as long as nobody feels entitled to start shooting.

Recommended reading: The Most Dangerous Superstition, http://www.amazon.com/Most-Dangerous-Superstition-Larken-Ros...

Perhaps I am a bigot

Please define your term and then I promise to admit if it applies.

If it means "a person who strongly and unfairly dislikes other people" then I certainly deny this because I only dislike people who behave unjustly.

If they behave unjustly in a non-violent manner then I think a greater unjustness is done in acting violently toward them. But that doesn't mean the alpha and omega of justice only concerns violence.

In all events I don't have any problem with proper prejudice, because proper prejudice is in actuality postjudice. If a black person gets beat the crap out of by a white person it may be prejudice for them to be suspicious of the next white person they meet in the same context, but it's not immoral or wrong to choose not to associate. What is wrong would be to act violently against them based on association.

Regardless I don't claim my dislike of bigots is praiseworthy. I will have to think on this though. It may be a valid claim.

What I do say is the NAP is merely the beginning of virtue. It is not the end of it. It is the foundation, and I think, sufficient for a moral society. Any theory which suggests violation of the NAP can have good results is incorrect. I can't see ever coming to substantive disagreement with anyone who doesn't violate the NAP. I think a society which doesn't justify violations of the NAP will be the most moral society possible.

That doesn't mean we have to truncate our morality at the NAP, though of course you are free to do so.

Summary: If bigotry is unjustly disliking other people I do not confess. I am absolutely a 'bigot' to anyone who believes in the validity of using political power to enforce compliance. But that is not unjust. If bigotry is disliking a person for unjustly disliking another person, I do confess. But how is that inappropriate? Is not social persuasion the correct antidote for non violent error?

Relax, fellow bigot.

On one level, I was just messing with you. Any human being with values is going to be "prejudiced" against people with different values. Be bigoted against bigots, as you please. :)

On another level, there's a serious point to noting that anarchism does not prescribe ANY values except respect for the NAP. It's a big tent, open to all races, creeds, sexual orientations, and religions. It's even open to those you consider to be bigots, perverts, a-holes and wiseguys (C'est moi!). Anarchism is not a means to the end of abolishing prejudice; it's a means to enabling people with many different prejudices to get along with one another peaceably, if not amicably.

Recommended reading: The Most Dangerous Superstition, http://www.amazon.com/Most-Dangerous-Superstition-Larken-Ros...

Thanks and +1 to both of you

Thanks and +1 to both of you (dabooda and Faithkills) for reading and commenting.

I would have to say that dabooda summed it up pretty well for me. In my opinion, the problem is not prejudice or discrimination. The problem is initiating force against people specifically because of their sex/orientation/skin color/etc. The NAP is specifically concerned with the proper and improper use of force. While I do agree that the NAP also happens to be the best form of protection against those kinds of "social injustices," I'm hesitant to say that the NAP/libertarianism is necessarily against them.

I will, however, add a line that mentions that strict adherence to the NAP also happens to be the best way to deal with prejudice and other "social injustices."

Simple Facts and Plain Arguments
A common sense take on politics and current events.


I should have been less parsimonious

with the praise. The piece is excellent. I have a bad habit of focusing on the negative.

Indeed unjust violence is the problem. I just think it's also important to point out solving that problem, whether intentionally (for me) or unintentionally (perhaps for you) solves any other problem of 'structural violence' inasmuch as solution is possible at all.

I can't comment at the blog because I don't have any...

of those types of accounts.

However, I would like to reply to the fellow that asked:

If you can't use force how can you enforce private property?

What do you do when a family member owes you money and cannot pay? Do you use force against them? Then, what is the argument for using force in an analogous situation where the other is not a member of your family or close friends?

I responded to him, but I'll

I responded to him, but I'll open up Anonymous comments as well. I only turned them off because I was getting a really unhealthy amount of link-spam.

Simple Facts and Plain Arguments
A common sense take on politics and current events.


No worries

Enjoyed the article.

Thanks for taking the time to

Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!

Simple Facts and Plain Arguments
A common sense take on politics and current events.