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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. Read the full thing

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.” (http://www.thefreedictionary.com) 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... Read the full thing

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... Read the full thing

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... Read the full thing

An Open Letter to Anarcho-Socialists

Socialism is an economic system based on the collectivist ownership (e.g., co-ops, worker-management, the people as a whole, etc.) of the means of production (i.e., capital). Anarcho-socialism (a.k.a., social anarchism) is likewise, except ownership is voluntary, without a state. Different schools of thought make up this ansoc philosophy; such as anarcho-collectivism, anarcho-communism, anarcho-syndicalism, mutualism, libertarian socialism, left-libertarianism, and social ecology. Rivaling with capitalism, a socialist economy is based on the principle of production for use (as opposed to for profit, seen in capitalism), the labor theory of value (as opposed to the subjective theory, also in capitalism), and an attempt at egalitarianism (as opposed to individualism, often found in capitalism). This rivalry was born in the early 1800’s in the wake of the French Revolution and the first industrial revolution, when states around the world were at odds with the people and state capitalism was unchecked. In response to a magistrate’s question about what is socialism, inquiring about the Revolution of 1848, the father of philosophical anarchism Pierre-Joseph Proudhon said that it is “very aspiration towards the amelioration of society.” The founder of anarcho-socialism Mikhail Bakunin, while in a Russian prison in 1851, wrote that his anarchist variety was “the confirmation of political equality by economic equality. This is not the removal of natural individual differences, but equality in the social rights of every individual from birth.” The overarching revolutions throughout Europe during the mid-nineteenth century were waged by the people against their governments. Revolting over the dissatisfaction with political leadership, lack of democratic means of change, and feudal treatment of the working classes. The Enlightenment movement had a lasting impact on Europe, thus the springs exacerbated during this time. Technological advances, ironically, spread political awareness, via the press, and it awakened reformers of all stripes, including socialists. However, as classical liberal economist Frederic Bastiat observed in his essay, “the Law” (1850), socialists started using political discourse to impose reform, rather than voluntarily. Many socialists, especially of the stateless variety, opposed Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels; for they sought to impose income taxes, confiscation of property of who they labeled undesirable, a central bank, and a strong central government. (Ansocs who are Marxists have some reconciling to do) As the ansoc intellectuals have said, state socialist countries, including communist ones, never went stateless like promised. In the book Natural Law (1882), practicing anarchist Lysander Spooner wrote, “o man can rightfully be required to join, or support, an association whose protection he does not desire.” This was two decades after his anti-statist, capitalist company was forcefully shut down by the United States government. A few years later, Spooner’s colleague, Benjamin Tucker (who translated into English many of Proudhon’s and Bakunin’s works), wrote in his 1888 book State Socialism and Anarchism, “just as it has been said that there is no half-way house between Rome and Reason, so it may be said that there is no half-way house between State Socialism and Anarchism.” He also called out Marx, specifically, in it. Peter... Read the full thing