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A Conversation Between Voluntaryists: Responsible Voting?

One of the best things about voluntaryism is you never know who is a voluntaryist. Kentucky is a big-government, culturally-conservative state, where I was born and raised in. Then I found out I have a like-minded neighbor. Among the radical libertarians who have made the Bluegrass state their home is Kilgore Forelle. Over breakfast we came up with a voluntaryist thesis which we turned into this dialogue here on EVC. continue reading

Bridging Sanctity of Marriage and Marriage Equality

Marriage is often defined as the “legal union of a man and woman as husband and wife, and in some jurisdictions, between two persons of the same sex, usually entailing legal obligations of each person to the other…A similar union of more than two people.” ( Throughout U.S. history until the the turn of the twentieth century, the marriage license was not mandated for people to be married. U.S. federal laws regarding marriage, which were illegal, up until then were just about tax purposes and waging a war against Mormons and blacks. The government then started issuing marriage license mandates as an attempt to prevent blacks and whites from marrying each other. Interracial marriage was seen as disgusting, thus using junk science arguments, faux religious arguments, and archaic social norm ones. Not unlike the arguments against same-sex marriage, plural marriage, and incestuous marriage (i.e., marriages between legally-consenting adults). The U.S. Constitution, for whatever it is worth, does not delegate any marital responsibility to the federal government. Not even in the Fourteenth Amendment. Any federal law regarding marriage is therefor illegal and the federal government is being lawless. State governments, where their state constitutions allow government involvement in marriage, tend to abuse this power. The typical arguments are religious, even though no religious text advocates the government issuing marriage licenses. Not to mention religious texts talk about, positively and negatively depending on context, different forms of marriage, not just the “traditional” views of marriage. For example, many of God’s prophets were polygamist. Another example, the famous Leviticus verse is often misinterpreted, for nefarious purposes. The word “abomination” did not mean “evil” back then. With this context, as well as the context of the book itself, it is easy to know gay acts are not frowned upon. Religious people often forget to read the texts as they were written, not how they can be interpreted today (this common practice flies in the face of the Bible being “the Word of God” argument). Family values is often a phrase thrown around to oppose all other forms of marriage. The arguments are weak, given history is filled with voluntary, functional polygamy. Plural marriage, even in the Bible, was used for survival, as well as love. Lest it be forgotten, many people choose to be single, are asexual, and even promiscuous being straight and monogamous. It’s not logical to conclude only gays and polygamists can be immoral, marriage-wise. Without a religious source, a federal allowance, and history being on the side of opponents of other forms of marriage besides man and woman, it is obvious they have lost this debate both spiritually and sociobiologically. If marriage is sacred, then the sanctity of marriage can only be respected if it only involves the legally-consenting adult partners being married. May it be a man and woman, two men, two women, multiple partners, or what have you. By getting government involved, one is violating the sanctity of marriage. If equality is the goal of the other side, then... continue reading

Wage and Employment without the State

Anti-capitalists and anti-socialists make the same charge against each other: “your economic system wouldn’t exist without the state.” What do they base this charge on? Historic evidence of state capitalism and state socialism. All the popular charges against either economic system is rooted in the statist varieties, not the inherent economic qualities; given, neither system as we know them today has existed in a stateless society. Private property, which is a whole different conversation, anti-socialists charge require the state to back up claims. The problem is the free market already backs up claims in many situations that are respected without a state – that’s why contracts exist. They argue capitalists wouldn’t be able to force workers and consumers otherwise. No force is required if people voluntarily choose to work for or do business with a company. Just like no force is used if people voluntarily choose to start a co-op. First, let’s address renting a place to dwell (may it be an apartment, house, or otherwise). Anti-capitalists argue without the state, capitalists wouldn’t be able to collect rent. In the premise where landlords fail to provide legitimacy to owning the dwelling in question, tenants would then have to pay for the expenses directly – such as water, electricity, and other services. Not to mention maintenance on the dwelling itself. Of houses, the residents could easily hire people for those services. But in complexes, such as apartments, the plumbing system, wiring, etc. thereof would have to be owned collectively. The residents would have to come up with a system to: first, make decisions, and second, to maintain the building. But then, after this one step that residents of houses wouldn’t have to fool with, they still have to pay for the expenses. Second, speaking of payments, let’s address wage labor. Karl Marx defined wages, in his pamphlet Wage Labour and Capital, as “the amount of money which the capitalist pays for a certain period of work or for a certain amount of work.” Capitalists understand and embrace this definition; furthermore, Marx acknowledges wage labor exists so the worker can earn a living. Wage labor, or wage slavery as some anti-capitalists call it with glee, is the process where a capitalist hires a worker for his labor in exchange for compensation, usually monetary. The anti-capitalist argument is that a worker mixes his labor to finish the job he was hired to do and thus shares ownership in the final product. This argument forgets that without the capital (land, buildings, tools, wages themselves, etc.) the worker wouldn’t be able to labor. The socialist belief is that without a state, workers would own their labor and what they produce. This belief is sound, but anti-capitalists assume this is mutually exclusive. In the economic system of capitalism, co-ops could be formed (and without government regulations, it would be a common, affordable choice), where workers would pool their resources and obtain the capital to do so. Since slavery is both illegal and immoral, they can’t force... continue reading

Land Ownership under Anarchism

A continuation of my open letter to anarcho-socialists. Land, as defined in economic science, is all natural resources to which supply is inherently fixed. All economic systems, such as capitalism and socialism, require land, since all capital goods are made from land. Alongside capital and labor, land is one of the factors of production man utilizes. Land ownership is one area socialists oppose capitalists on. The former believes land ought to be collectively owned, while the latter believes it ought to be individually owned. Socialists argue capital accumulation stunts production, could lead to hoarding natural resources, and violates the natural law. Stunts production. Some socialists, like Karl Marx in his Das Kapital (1867), argue that individualist land ownership would lead to several counter-productive factors. Like investing in capital instead of labor (though these two are often invested in), surpluses become profits of the owners instead of “trickling down” to laborers (this is often because of a statist environment, not capitalist; as this is seen in state socialism), and the acquisition of capital occurs through violence. The latter point is only true in authoritarian systems, not inherently capitalist. Hoarding natural resources. According to John Locke’s labor theory of property (a.k.a., the Lockean proviso), private property is anything that an individual has mixed his labors in. Such as land, only if the individual is actively using the land. Thomas Paine wrote in Agrarian Justice (1797) that  man “did not make the earth. It is the value of the improvements only, and not the earth itself, that is individual property.” In other words, neither a capitalist or a socialist can hoard resources, they must use them. Without a central bank or government offering land-owners special protections, bailouts and subsidies, redistribution of wealth, and regulations that stifle competition, a land-owner would have to cultivate his land or face losing wealth. Not to mention the market theory of reputation where a bad name would hurt you among the free market. Without a state, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to hoard resources. Violates the natural law. Locke wrote in the Second Treatise of Government (1689) that, “the chief matter of property being now not the fruits of the earth, and the beasts that subsist on it, but the earth itself; as that which takes in and carries with it all the rest; I think it is plain, that property in that too is acquired as the former.” He goes on to define property in the capitalist vein, “s much land as a man tills, plants, improves, cultivates, and can use the product of, so much is his property.” Capitalism defines property as the fruits of man’s own labors. If uncultivated land isn’t of man’s labors, then said land is inherently common property. But when one cultivates it for homesteading, grazing, etc., it is private property. But it’s only private in that it’s being utilized. If the law is to protect life, liberty, and property; then the law must seek security and justice from theft... continue reading