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Why Adultery is Rape and Robbery

Send him mail. “One Voluntaryist’s Perspective” is an original column appearing sporadically at Everything-Voluntary.com, by the founder and editor Skyler J. Collins. Archived columns can be found here. OVP-only RSS feed available here. In my experience, when voluntaryists talk about adultery, it’s usually classified as a type of contract violation. One party broke the marriage contract, or covenant, and whatever the contract says about what should happen to either party in the case of adultery is all that needs to happen (divorce, restitution, etc.). But is adultery merely the violation of the marriage contract? Or is it something far more insidious? Let’s see.Adultery Defined But first, the obligatory defining of my terms. For my analysis, adultery is a bit more than simply having an extra-marital affair. Rather, adultery is the prolonged attempt at having both an extra-marital affair and maintaining one’s marriage through lies and deceit. In other words, adultery is continuing the affair or affairs while at the same time hiding that fact from your spouse. Fraud Defined Fraud is typically lumped in with force as a violation of the libertarian “non-aggression principle,” and for good reason. Fraud occurs when one party fails to meet the conditions of trade but is able to fool the other party, at least for a time. For example, I propose to sell you my apple for $1. Your expectation is that its a good apple, as is customary. You may ask, and I may tell you that it is. I give you the apple, and you give me your dollar. We leave each other’s company and as you bite into the apple you quickly learn that it is a bad apple. You have been defrauded out of your dollar. Why is fraud an act of aggression? Because your consenting to my receiving your dollar was conditional to my giving you a good apple. If I fail to meet that condition, I have taken your dollar without your consent. I have robbed you of your property. And there it is, fraud is robbery, and robbery is aggression (uninvited property border crossing, ie. property trespass). Rape and Robbery And now we return to the contention at hand. When one commits adultery as defined above, they are taking from and “sharing the bed” of their spouse without meeting the necessary conditions to assure spousal consent. As the adulterous partner continues to take their spouses property, they are doing so without consent, and so committing robbery. Likewise, and arguably worse, as the adulterous partner continues to share the bed of their spouse, they are doing so without consent, and so committing rape. Yes, rape. Having sex with someone without their consent is the textbook definition of rape. It doesn’t need to be violent. Slipping someone a rufie and then having sex with them isn’t violent, but is still rightly considered rape. Adultery is no different. Both the roofied partner and the spouse seem like willing sexual partners, but had either been cognizant of what was really happening, they... continue reading

The Voluntaryist Vision

Send him mail. “One Voluntaryist’s Perspective” is an original column appearing sporadically at Everything-Voluntary.com, by the founder and editor Skyler J. Collins. Archived columns can be found here. OVP-only RSS feed available here. What does the voluntaryist see when his values and principles have been realized in larger society? What does the voluntaryist paradise look like? Here is my version of the voluntaryist vision, beginning in the home with the family.Home and Family Looking into the typical home of a voluntaryist paradise on weekday morning, one would see a baby suckling her mother’s breast as they lay next to each other in the same bed. Mother keeps baby next to her all night long, meeting her every need. Two other children asleep nearby, next to father, who’s now getting up to begin his day, quietly so as not to wake anyone else. Leaving the family to continue their slumber, not needing to wake anyone before they’re ready, he does his morning business and routine, preparing for a day of applying his skills and labor toward the creation of value for others, as well as for himself. One by one the children wake up peacefully, and decide what to do with their mornings. Perhaps they’ll play a little on the computer, or watch some morning cartoons, or offer to help mother with breakfast. Mother focuses on meeting everyone’s needs and when there’s conflict, she uses the arts of active listening and no-lose negotiation to see it through to resolution. She feels no inclination to ever raise her voice or get angry with those who are still learning to navigate the world, for she herself was never raised that way. Her parents, like her grandparents, understood the needs and capabilities of growing children, and always employed peaceful tools for conflict resolution. The children continue their day, week, month, year, finding new and interesting things to do, sometimes with an adult’s help, sometimes not. Learning is a matter of interest, and every day brings new ideas that spark new interests that may eventually transform into passions. Every child around is raised this way, through free inquiry and free play, either alone or with each other. There are no limits nor controls on the pursuits of children. Neighborhood Family bonds are strong due to the children being raised with compassion, connection, love, and reason, in peace, and so in your typical neighborhood you would find groups of extended families living in close proximity, probably in duplexes and four-plexes, owned by the families themselves, having either built them or bought them at some point in the past, and expanding likewise into the future. Since everyone knows each other intimately, no one ever locks their door, and rarely knocks before entering another’s house. Most resources are shared among close friends and family. Everyone is concerned with the well-being of everyone else, and so there’s no need to lock up resources due to the very unlikely possibility of an unknown thief sneaking by so many concerned and... continue reading

Might Makes Rights

Send him mail. “One Voluntaryist’s Perspective” is an original column appearing sporadically at Everything-Voluntary.com, by the founder and editor Skyler J. Collins. Archived columns can be found here. OVP-only RSS feed available here. All rights are property rights, so says libertarian philosopher Murray Rothbard. And property rights are the result of the use of either force or reason eventually leading to the emergence of customary law (norms and conventions), so says amateur voluntaryist philosopher me. In other words, might makes rights. Let me explain.Equivocation Now before you make an equivocation and accuse me of the Argumentum ad Baculum fallacy, read what I actually wrote. I did not write “might makes right” but rather “might makes rights.” I do not believe that idea “might makes right” as in “my gun justifies my taking your stuff.” Heavens no! I see no logical evidence that might could ever justify right. Of course, if by “right” we mean “correct” and we’re talking about how much might is needed to, say, split a boulder, then the more might the better. But I digress. Rights People claim rights for all sorts of things these days, as if rights are something tangible, something that “exists.” In “Evidence of Jurisdiction” I took the state to task for claiming the authority to enforce its laws but unable to provide any evidence for it. The same line of questioning to discredit the state’s supposed jurisdiction is also effective in discrediting anyone’s supposed property rights. At some point, the property rights-holder must appeal either to the state’s jurisdiction (his state-produced and -backed title) or to customary law. Appeal to Might Both the appeal to the state’s jurisdiction and the appeal to customary law is an appeal to might. Law, whether state-made or the result of the emergence of norms and conventions in a free society, is a form of might. What good is a law if its not enforced? That doesn’t mean that enforcement must always occur through the use of arms. The state always acts as if it does, but many customary laws are enforced through the use of ostracism, for example. Either way, enforcement must pack a punch, must be “mighty” if it is to be effective. Therefore, the only way to secure property rights is through the the use of might (of force or reason). Final Thoughts The more mighty among us are best able to secure their property rights, an obvious point. How many of us view the state as the mightiest group in society? Most, methinks. This is unfortunate, because the state is always a minority. What a con it’s pulled to convince everyone else that it is right to use its might to secure its property rights. And I mean “con” as both a scam and as a conquest. No, the state is not right to use its might to secure its property rights. The sooner we all understand and accept that, the sooner we can be rid of the state. Read more from “One... continue reading

Persuasion, Reason, and Markets

Send him mail. “One Voluntaryist’s Perspective” is an original column appearing sporadically at Everything-Voluntary.com, by the founder and editor Skyler J. Collins. Archived columns can be found here. OVP-only RSS feed available here. Those who desire to see the grip of statism released from our world, the abolition of coercive monopoly government, to be replaced by a peaceful and rulerless social and legal order, must decide for themselves how best to achieve it. Unless we are to be discovered as hypocrites, it is my opinion that we anarchists must embrace tools and strategies consistent with our ends, a peaceful and rulerless social and legal order. That is, we must embrace persuasion over force, reason over aggression, and free markets over control.Persuasion or Force Should we force others to accept our anarchism? I don’t see how that is even possible. First, anarchism is a philosophy, and like all philosophies, if it will be understood and appreciated, it must be discovered and accepted gradually and voluntarily. You can’t make others accept your ideas, no matter how good they are. All you can do is make them wish they had. If one is truly committed to the ideals of anarchism, then one does not go around acting like a ruler over the minds and actions of others. Rather, they find times peacefully to use the tool of persuasion. They probe into opposing views and find common ground, and then build toward anarchism from there, peacefully, persuasively, voluntarily. Reason or Aggression Any argument worth its salt shouldn’t need to be forced through aggressive actions. Those who embrace statism already claim the monopoly on the use of aggression to force others into their fold. Reason is my weapon of choice. I teach my children, my family, my friends, and anyone who cares to listen through the use of reason, not aggression. Admittedly, reason only goes so far. If someone is bent on using aggression toward others, then those who value their lives and property have every incentive to match force with force. At some point, that is the only reasonable thing to do. But it seems to me that this is only true for small time aggressors, not the state. The state always has bigger and better tools of aggression. And these tools are wielded by our fellow human beings, human beings that can adopt new ideas after hearing them in a peaceful, persuasive, and voluntary way. Free Markets or Control Many of the anarchist tradition are more focused on forcing their vision of the free society onto others than in appreciating the fact that the free society can only come about through the peaceful exchange of ideas and things. Free markets, rather than control, are a prerequisite to anarchy. People must be free to negotiate their claims on property, justice, laws, and rights if we are to claim the presence of a peaceful and rulerless social and legal order. Controlling these things via physical or social coercion does not a peaceful and rulerless society... continue reading

The Monopoly on Crime

Send him mail. “One Voluntaryist’s Perspective” is an original column appearing sporadically at Everything-Voluntary.com, by the founder and editor Skyler J. Collins. Archived columns can be found here. OVP-only RSS feed available here. The difference between the state and an owner of private property is often made fuzzy by anarchists of the collectivist tradition. They see those who claim private property beyond what they personally occupy and use as a form of statism, and on that ground incompatible with anarchism. I think the difference can be explained as the state claiming and enforcing a monopoly on the provision of law and order, and by extension, a monopoly on crime. Let me explain.Private Property In a free, anarchistic, voluntary society, property title isn’t assigned and maintained on the basis of state privilege, and so the costs of claiming and maintaining one’s property can’t be pushed onto unwilling others (taxpayers). This means that property, in order to be considered legitimate, must be defended by either force or reason, both of which inform the developing customs of a given society. And this defense is paid for by those who have an interest in keeping for themselves said property. The State Contrasting the concept of private property as explained above, the state is the institution (of people) in society that has managed, through the violent conquest of others, to claim the exclusive right to provide law and order within their supposed jurisdiction. Every state in history was born this way, and no state in history has ever managed to provide any actual evidence, besides it’s arsenal of weapons, that its jurisdiction applies to anyone. Therefore, every state, both in theory and in practice, is an institution of aggression. The Monopoly on Crime Because the state claims a monopoly on the provision of law and order, the state decides what and what does not constitute crime. In order to maintain its position, the state requires that its subjects provide for it the necessary funds, liberties, and lives. What would be called theft, trespass, and murder in a free society, the state calls taxation, regulation, and conscription. As the state decides what is and what is not crime, it follows that the state not only claims a monopoly on the provision of law and order, but it also claims a monopoly on the provision of crime. It uses this monopoly power to allow itself to commit just enough crime for its own maintenance, but forcefully prevents anyone else from attempting likewise. Final Thoughts The differences between the state and the owner of private property are obvious to any thinking individual. Property owners don’t monopolize the provisions of law, order, and crime, nor do they claim sovereign immunity over their subjects, of which they have none. While certain amounts of property for a single individual might seem unfair, it is up to them personally to bear the costs of maintaining it. If they can, good for them. If they can’t, then they’ll be forced by economic realities... continue reading

Monopoly and the Free Society

Send him mail. “One Voluntaryist’s Perspective” is an original column appearing sporadically at Everything-Voluntary.com, by the founder and editor Skyler J. Collins. Archived columns can be found here. OVP-only RSS feed available here. One of the criticisms that voluntaryists receive is that in a free society, what’s to stop someone from obtaining a monopoly on the provision of a good or service? If there’s no central anti-trust regulator, a business could use all sorts of tactics and schemes to secure for themselves a monopoly in the market. Is this a valid criticism? Not really.Monopoly I might as well start with the tautological argument. By definition, monopolies cannot occur without either a central authority limiting who may provide what good or service, or an explicit contract outlining who may provide what good or service between the parties involved. The latter is completely justified in my book, while the former is not. Of course, the former begs the question: what is the central authority if not itself an illicit monopoly? Should our fear of monopoly cause us to establish a monopoly, and on the most important and dangerous functions in society, law and order? That seems a bit inconsistent. Free Society If there’s one thing for certain, whenever a person begins producing value for consumers, others quickly imitate them and the industry becomes saturated with competing providers of said value. Like flies to shit, no person or business is safe from competition so long as there isn’t a central authority using their more powerful guns to limit who may provide what. Given the hypothetical of a free society, there is not central authority with more powerful guns. Getting to a free society is a much bigger challenge then keeping it, in my opinion. Read my booklet Toward a Free Society: A Short Guide on Building a Culture of Liberty for my view on getting to a free society. Once achieved, every good or service imaginable will have countless producers vying for market share. Outside of explicit contract, I’m quite skeptical that any person or business could ever obtain sole producer status for any significant period of time. There’s just too many cutthroats ready and willing to offer a better value, and that’s a wonderful thing. Final Thoughts Monopoly is a major concern of mine, particular the entity that monopolizes the provision of law and order, ie. the state. This monopoly secures every other potential monopoly. Abolish the state, and you abolish monopoly. Start by abolishing statist practices in your home, such as punitive, authoritarian parenting and schooling. Raising your kids as autonomous individuals builds the requisite culture of liberty to achieving the free society. Read more from “One Voluntaryist’s Perspective”: continue reading

Justice under Voluntaryism

Send him mail. “One Voluntaryist’s Perspective” is an original column appearing sporadically at Everything-Voluntary.com, by the founder and editor Skyler J. Collins. Archived columns can be found here. OVP-only RSS feed available here. People care about justice. Even criminals care about justice when they find themselves the victim. When people feel that they’ve been wronged, they desire to be made right, which can take the form of revenge, or getting even, or making their wrongdoer pay. What does justice look like under voluntaryism? Let’s have a look.What is Justice? What justice is depends on one’s theory of justice. In general, justice is just or fair behavior, meaning, behavior compatible with respect to the established rights and privileges of people. Justice is easily qualified as we look at various systems of rights and privileges and what not. When a person behaves incompatibly with respect to the established rights and privileges of those who are affected, his behavior is viewed as unjustified. The affected then feel wronged, and their universe goes off-kilter. They demand that their wrongdoer be put to justice, to undo the wrong that was committed. If the wrong is severe enough, they may not settle for anything less than their wrongdoer’s blood, the ultimately act of justice, or so it may be believed. Voluntaryism Voluntaryism is the philosophy centered on the voluntary principle, that all human relations should happen voluntarily, by mutual consent, or not at all. How does justice play into voluntaryism? Wrongdoers often don’t consent to the justice being sought by those they’ve wronged, so it would seem that justice is incompatible with voluntaryism. Or is it? The voluntary principle is like any other principle, useful for some things, but maybe not for others. Maybe if the wrong is severe enough, and the wrongdoer a continuing threat to the peace and safety of society, the voluntary principle gives way to the principles of life and security. But maybe not. Here are at least two ways that justice as defined above is compatible with voluntaryism. When people are committed to the voluntary principle, everything they do in relation to each other is preceded by a willful act of consent. Over time, norms and convention develop that everyone has naturally agreed to along the way. If these norms and conventions are violated, the violator, or wrongdoer using the above terminology, is fully aware and has already consented to the justice that will be sought from him, itself in accordance with the norms and conventions of his society. Such justice seems perfectly compatible with voluntaryism. The second way of reconciling justice with voluntaryism is through contract. Contracts, either implicit or explicit, are used for many different kinds of relations. Business dealings of all sorts – from commerce to housing to insurance – are handled via explicit contract. Implicit contracts develop out of the norms and conventions of society. When a contract is made, due consideration is given to the justice that will be sought if the contract is broken. Each... continue reading

Immigration and Voluntaryism

Send him mail. “One Voluntaryist’s Perspective” is an original column appearing sporadically at Everything-Voluntary.com, by the founder and editor Skyler J. Collins. Archived columns can be found here. OVP-only RSS feed available here. Many hold a passionate view on immigration, by which I mean the immigration of peoples across national borders. Not so much, if any, is their passion for in-nation immigration. What is the voluntaryist view on immigration, you ask? Let’s find out.The Voluntary Principle Voluntaryism is the philosophy centered around the voluntary principle, the belief, for various reasons, that all human relations should happen voluntarily, by mutual consent, or not at all. In practice, this looks like individuals approaching each other not with weapons drawn, but with weapons put away, and in the spirit of negotiation and trade. While each individual will consider his property as his own, he will afford the same consideration for everyone else. He will choose who may do what with that which he considers his, and will only resort to violence if he feels the he or his property is being threatened in some way. Everyone else will do likewise. Over the course of innumerable voluntary human interactions, norms and conventions will develop and evolve that will provide everyone with a clear set of rules to follow if they are to maintain peace and to build prosperity with one another. Enter the Foreigner Throughout the above social process, newcomers will arrive from closer or further away places. So long as they arrive in the spirit of negotiation and trade, without the desire to take what doesn’t belong to them, they are sure to be welcomed and made a valued member of society. If, however, they come in the spirit of entitlement and manipulation, they will sooner or later clash with the rules of their new society and either be forced to change or forced to leave. If enough representatives of a given people arrive in this society in the above incompatible spirit, and are subsequently forced out, it seems possible, maybe even likely, that a prejudice will develop toward such a people with identifiable traits, and they, even the peaceful ones, will find it much harder to assimilate with their new society. The responsibility will be theirs to change the prejudice if they are to have any future here. Free Immigration vs. Forced Integration Hans Hoppe, I believe, has best formulated the voluntaryist position on immigration. While a society such as the above will welcome those who come in the spirit of negotiation and trade, they will not welcome those whose reputation for entitlement and manipulation precedes them. While such a reputation might seem unfair for certain individuals, it is nevertheless reasonable and predictable that a society would develop prejudices against those who clash with their rules. Should laws be instituted by a central authority prohibiting the discrimination from trade or interaction with those who have found themselves the targets of certain prejudices? Would that be compatible with voluntaryism? Hardly. Rather, such laws... continue reading

An Attempt at a Universal Ethic VI: Answering Objections

Send him mail. “One Voluntaryist’s Perspective” is an original column appearing most Mondays at Everything-Voluntary.com, by the founder and editor Skyler J. Collins. Archived columns can be found here. OVP-only RSS feed available here. An Attempt at a Universal Ethic I: Introduction An Attempt at a Universal Ethic II: Subjective Identification An Attempt at a Universal Ethic III: Moral Outrage An Attempt at a Universal Ethic IV: Universality An Attempt at a Universal Ethic V: Integrating Alternatives This series has been a delight to think and write about. I admit that I was a bit apprehensive at the beginning to get into this, but having done so it has been a weight lifted from my shoulders. In this final part I answer twelve objections that I received and hope my responses are sufficient. This will likely be a topic to occupy my time in the future, and I welcome all interested thinkers to give me their input on any part of this series. We can only grow by considering the strengths and weaknesses of any argument. Let us proceed. Objection One Your definitions of morality and ethics aren’t consistent with what philosophers tend to think of them as. Typically, morality is just “what you ought to do” or “what is the good as such,” not necessarily how social relations ought to be maintained. This is problematic since you seem to equivocate between the ethical and the social without justification. My justification is given in the introduction to part one. This attempt at a universal ethic is an exercise in removing the obfuscation that has occurred over centuries by philosophers and religionists. No, I don’t expect my definitions of morality and ethics to be totally consistent with what these kinds of thinkers tend to think of them as, but nor are they totally different, as seen in part five. Further, my definitions are based on their etymological roots, again as given in part one. Objection Two “Ethical” and “moral” may be defined by others differently than your definition, and they may claim moral standing on a behavior on different grounds than whether it benefits or harms society between individuals. Indeed, philosophers and religionists may claim moral standing of a behavior on different grounds than I. For example, religionists may claim the moral standing of a behavior based on the grounds that God approves or disapproves of it. It becomes their challenge to prove that God even exists, and is not a figment of the imagination, but also, to show why moral standing should be determined on these grounds. Even so, I think this approach integrates well into my ethic. What is the result of people behaving ethically according to their shared belief of God’s will? The society between them is maintained or strengthen. And what is the result of people behaving unethically according to their shared belief of God’s will? The society between them is diminished or destroyed. This is always the result, even when one party who believes in God’s... continue reading

Property under Voluntaryism

“One Voluntaryist’s Perspective” is an original column appearing sporadically, by the founder and editor Skyler J. Collins. We live in a world of scarcity. There is a seemingly infinite amount of demand for a seemingly finite amount of resources. The same resource can’t be used at the same time by different users. If it could, then the concept of “property” would never have arisen. As it is, scarcity creates the possibility of conflict, and so people who value peaceful coexistence with one another will allocate resources in a conflict-reducing way. How would this process look under voluntaryism? Let’s see. Defense of Property As I wrote in “The Defense of Property,” despite whatever theory we subscribe to, property is that which can be defended by either force or reason. In a free society, there is no central allocator and protector of property and property title, ie. the state. Without the state, the costs of defending one’s property claim won’t be subsidized by unwilling taxpayers, but instead borne by property owners themselves. As such, what types of resource allocation norms are we likely to witness under voluntaryism? Occupancy and Use vs. Original Appropriation There are two primary competing theories of scarce resource allocation among voluntaryists (and anarchists). Each side argues that their theory is most ethical and likely to reduce conflict. On the left hand we have the occupancy and use theory of property, which, in short, says that only resources which are occupied and put to some use may be considered property and defended with force. On the right hand we have the original appropriation theory of property, which, in short, says that any resource which is put to some use initially (out of nature) may be considered property in perpetuity and defended with force. The difference between these two theories is that the left side only recognizes as property those resources that are currently being occupied and used by the owner. If the owner, within a reasonable amount of time, leaves his property, say to rent it out to someone, he has effectively abandoned it and the new occupier and user (renter) may claim ownership. To own something that one does not currently occupy and use is to be an absentee owner, an invalid concept on the left. Not so on the right. Owners may rent their property, whether it be a house, a factory, or capital equipment, and reap the profits of doing so. The only qualification the owner needs to meet is that he was first to appropriate the resource or trade for the resource in question. Voluntaryism Because there is no state in a free society to enforce a particular theory of property over everyone, people who value peaceful coexistance will recognize the various property theories and over time the property norms that emerge will have been based on a mixture of that which is defended by force and that which is defended by reason. Gun ownership will be widespread and so people will think twice before... continue reading