The Kind of Anarchism I Believe in, and What’s Wrong with Noam Chomsky

May 29th, 2013   Submitted by Davi Barker

NoamAn article by Noam Chomsky appeared on Alternet yesterday titled “The Kind of Anarchism I Believe in, and What’s Wrong with Libertarians.” I read with baited breath. See, I used to be what you might call a “vulgar Chomskyite,” meaning I was an enthusiast, but had a crude unsophisticated understanding of what he was talking about. Then, years ago, I had the privilege of hearing him speak at UC Berkeley. That’s when I realized that despite all his erudite pontification, I could not make heads or tails of what principles he actually advocated. I suddenly suspected that I had been taken in by well footnoted rhetorical candy with no nutritional value whatsoever. So, I devoured this new article eager for him to pay off the promise in the headline, but was ultimately disappointed.

Noam Chomsky is one of a small number of high profile self-described anarchists, specifically an anarcho-syndicalist, or so-called “libertarian socialist.”

Anarcho-syndicalism is another one of these strange candies I’ve never been able to wrap my head around. Adherents describe it as a strategy whereby worker’s unions seize control and replace State capitalism with a “democratically self-managed society” composed mainly of local committees. As far as I can tell they differ from Marxists only in that they reject the temporary “dictatorship of the proletariat,” preferring direct action because they recognize that the State is inherently corrupt. So, perhaps of all the left-anarchist schools they deserve the prefix “anarcho” most of all.

It always comes down to private property. I respect it, and they don’t. They believe the State protects it, and I believe the State violates it. I’ve been told private property is itself a State because it requires force to defend it. Apparently unfamiliar with the distinction between aggressive force and defensive force, they usually backpedal when I point out that survival requires force in the face of a murderer, and abstinence requires force in the hands of a rapist. But surely, an intellectual of Chomsky’s caliber can rectify my confusion.

Here’s how he describes anarchism:

“Anarchism is… a tendency that is suspicious and skeptical of domination, authority, and hierarchy… It asks whether those systems are justified. It assumes that the burden of proof for anyone in a position of power and authority lies on them… If they can’t justify that authority and power and control, which is the usual case, then the authority ought to be dismantled and replaced by something more free and just.”

I cut out a lot of fluff, and that is the closest thing to a definition he offers. No clear principle. No philosophical underpinnings. Just a human tendency, like instinct, to question authority. Noble if it’s true, but hardly a concise definition. Maybe there’s some clarity in his description of anarcho-syndicalism:

“Anarcho-syndicalism is a particular variety of anarchism which was concerned primarily with control over work, over the work place, over production… Working people ought to control their own work, its conditions… They should be associated with one another in free associations… Democracy of that kind should be the foundational elements of a more general free society.”

That’s it. When Chomsky promises to give us “the kind of anarchism I believe in” that’s what he gives us: question authority and a worker’s democracy. So, it seems he ought to question the authority of democracy, if he’s going to be consistent. Direct democracy may not be a system of hierarchy, but it’s certainly a system of domination. Conspicuously absent from Chomsky’s definitions is any mention of violence. He’s phenomenal at identifying the ill effects of aggression in US foreign policy, but turn the magnifying glass on domestic policy and suddenly the aggression is invisible to him.

What of libertarianism? Chomsky promised to tell us “what’s wrong with libertarians.” Let’s see shall we. He writes:

“Well what’s called libertarian in the United States, which is a special U. S. phenomenon, it doesn’t really exist anywhere else — a little bit in England.”

He’s playing word games now. That’s simply not true. Ludwig von Mises was Austrian. Frederic Bastiat was French. The Instituto Ludwig von Mises Brasil is in, you guessed it, Brasil. I personally know active free market libertarians in Germany, Japan, Honduras, Chile, Egypt, Qatar, and Canada. I’m sure our readers could name a dozen more. Ironically, Chomsky wants those who reject physical property to possess intellectual property of the term libertarian.

Here’s his actual substantive critique:

“(Libertarianism) permits a very high level of authority and domination but in the hands of private power: so private power should be unleashed to do whatever it likes… That kind of libertarianism, in my view, in the current world, is just a call for some of the worst kinds of tyranny, namely unaccountable private tyranny.”

That’s it. Barely more than a tweet. Go and read his entire article, and that’s the only payoff we get of the headline. According to Chomsky, libertarianism is private power, and private tyranny. No explanation, and none of that lovely skepticism we went on about before.

The anarchy I believe in is characterized by a single guiding principle. The use or threat of aggressive force is always illegitimate. Everything beyond that is purely speculation. Do you think libertarians care whether or not a union of workers open a factory and run it by committee? Not in the slightest. In fact, I’d make popcorn and pay to watch a reality TV show based on it, just as a proof of concept. Although if I paid them they might think they were exploiting me. Libertarianism doesn’t permit domination by unaccountable private tyranny, because the workers are always free to go and work in the anarcho-syndicalist’s factory.

Before the syndicalists say that forcing workers to leave the job is economic violence, consider that Chomsky just said workplaces should be free associations. If either party in a free association wants to disassociate that’s not violence against the other party. If it is then refusing to open your own democratic factory is also economic violence. You are forcing the persecuted labor class to work in the capitalist’s factories by refusing to open your own. You can’t tell me for one second there aren’t enough syndicalists to pool your resources and open a Che Guevara t-shirt factory. Chomsky probably makes enough in book sales and speakers fees alone. So get to work. Prove us wrong.

Chomsky makes no attempt to define his terms. He just throws around words like “subordination” and “slavery.” He writes, “It’s better to be able to make your own decisions than to have someone else make decisions and force you to observe them” with no recognition whatsoever that that’s exactly what democracy is. But then he jumps the shark:

“How can we best proceed in that direction? One way, incidentally, is through use of the State.”

No Noam, it’s not “incidentally” it’s “contradictory.” The one saving grace syndicalists had over Marxists was they understood that using the State was untenable as a temporary solution to societal ills. Chomsky favors the State because it is “under public influence and control” which is exactly the deception syndicalists and advocates of direct action were supposed to have seen through. He continues:

“Anarchists would like to see the State eliminated, but… it provides devices to constrain the much more dangerous forces of private power. Rules for safety and health in the workplace for example. Or insuring  that people have decent health care… they can come about through the use of the State system under limited democratic control… I think those are fine things to do.”

The most consistent market libertarians are ready to turn the switch and disarm the State tomorrow, because we believe in emergent order. The best protections for our health, security and dignity can be achieved by peaceful means, and it is the State that thwarts those means. Why then doesn’t Chomsky have the courage of his convictions, to trust that the systems he advocates can emerge without force?

This is anarcho-syndicalism’s champion? Chomsky is not an anarchist. He is a reluctant Statist. He doesn’t even satisfy his own whitewashed definition of anarchy as a tendency to question authority and domination. He doesn’t question the authority and domination of the State programs he favors. No skepticism. No free association. Chomsky needs the State’s authority and hierarchy to dominate those who believe in private property.

If the burden of justification rests on the one who dominates, where is his?

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150 Responses to “The Kind of Anarchism I Believe in, and What’s Wrong with Noam Chomsky”

  1. KnorssmanNo Gravatar says:

    where can i meet these Japanese free market libertarians? this seems like something cool to do

  2. Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

    To all fellow anarcho-capitalists:

    Notice how Davi destroys Chomsky for legitimizing the use of the State’s power to achieve their goals? Doesn’t Chomsky look like a hypocrite?

    Let that be a lesson. Don’t vote. It only weakens our position.

    Could you image 100% of the voting population are anarchists, 50% syndicalists and 50% capitalists, and all of them using the State to duke it out?

    We should be doing battle in the agora. When you participate in the State, you strengthen the State, even if unintentionally.

    • Davi BarkerNo Gravatar says:

      Can you imagine AnCaps saying,

      “Anarchists would like to see the State eliminated, but it provides services to constrain more dangerous private crime. Police to prosecute rape and murder for example. Or investigating theft to return stolen property. These can come about through the State system under Constitutionally limited rule of law.”

      It’s absurd.

      • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

        “…but it (the state) provides services…”

        The net result of all services provided is to “service” us good and hard. What would we do without the few positive services? We would find the market provides all, better, cheaper, and without a monopoly of power. No monopoly, no foul. It’s the rejection of force, i.e., the embrace of reason as the only moral way to live that separates barbarians from civilized humans. A person need not actually use violence to be a barbarian. The pen is mightier than the sword, i.e., intellectuals have greater influence than those who command obedience by threat of force. Therefore, rulers conspire with intellectuals to justify governance.

        • Davi BarkerNo Gravatar says:

          “The pen is mightier than the sword, i.e., intellectuals have greater influence than those who command obedience by threat of force.”

          Nice. I have heard these two things a thousand times, but never in relation to each other. Great point.

          • GordonNo Gravatar says:

            Ayn Rand, ‘For the New Intellectual.’ I don’t have the essay on me to track down the exact page, but she makes this point.

    • Bob RobertsonNo Gravatar says:

      I vote only as another opportunity to say “No”.

      If the ballot is such that I cannot say “No”, it remains blank.

      Registering to vote also puts me on the rolls to be called for Jury Duty. Nullify!

      • Matt TanousNo Gravatar says:

        I registered to vote (and did not) so I could refuse jury duty. Last I checked, compulsory labor was only constitutional as a response to crime – and registering to vote is not a crime. Conscription can go bite my ass.

        • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

          I would gladly be a juror to stop injustice. I would probably be the only one to vote “not guilty” on victimless crimes, and thereby stop the jury from committing a crime.

          • JonNo Gravatar says:

            I did exactly that about a year ago now when I finally became a voluntaryist. I voted no on almost every charge and every case (it was a grand jury) the statists in the room HATED me and I seemed to be the only voice of reason. when they asked me why I didnt vote for things like weapons possession or drugs I asked if they thought someone should go to jail for having plant material in their pocket, and most of them said no, BUT the reason they ultimately voted to put people in cages was because a stupid piece of paper that some politician wrote down said it was against the law. THAT IS THE POWER OF THE STATE!!!! make the slaves believe the masters whip is legitimate.

      • HReardenNo Gravatar says:

        Perhaps that is true were you live but in some states if you have a drivers license you can be called for jury duty.

      • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

        The problem with that logic is that the anarcho-syndicalists only vote to say “yes.”

  3. I’m not an anarchist, but I really enjoyed this. Chomsky is a huge disappointment. I read his books expecting to be challenged, and instead it was barely any better than the vague internet “communists” who just generally whine about business while making excuses for left-statism.

  4. “well footnoted rhetorical candy with no nutritional value whatsoever.” 🙂

  5. “The anarchy I believe in is characterized by a single guiding principle. The use or threat of aggressive force is always illegitimate. Everything beyond that is purely speculation. Do you think libertarians care whether or not a union of workers open a factory and run it by committee? Not in the slightest.”

    What libertarians are we talking about here exactly? Because if we’re talking vulgar libertarians, then they care very much about it. In fact, considering the distribution of wealth, and the bankster regime, a union of workers isn’t likely to open a factory, because they wouldn’t have enough funds. What is more likely to happen, is they would overtake an existing factory belonging to somebody else. What say you, then?

    • StarchildNo Gravatar says:

      I realize that to someone of a hard left bent it is much more emotionally satisfying for workers to simply seize the factory from the “evil capitalists” than to acquire it honestly. But a libertarian society would likely present the workers with innumerable options for gaining possession of a factory without the use of aggression, if such possession was that important to them*. For instance:

      • Pool their money with other workers and buy the factory
      • Buy the factory on an installment plan
      • Buy rights to use the factory on a time-share basis
      • Buy shares in the factory, and gradually keep buying shares until they have 51%
      • Lease the factory, giving them de facto ownership for a period of years while they work there
      • Borrow money, perhaps via lots of microloans, and buy the factory
      • Build their own factory, perhaps in cooperation with other workers who have needed specialized skills to accomplish this

      *Owning a factory, after all, means having to worry about a number of other things that were previously left up to the lazy, idle capitalists, including:

      • Maintaining the equipment in the factory against wear and tear, and replacing broken equipment
      • Maintaining the factory building itself against things like vandalism
      • Maintaining the grounds (gardening, etc.)
      • Securing the factory against theft, perhaps determining what type of alarm system to purchase, etc.
      • Paying the water, power, and (these days) Internet bills for the factory
      • Determining which types of insurance to take out on the factory (fire, flood, earthquake, liability, etc.) and maintaining those insurance policies
      • Paying land rent on the land occupied by the factory (in a geolibertarian society)
      • Dealing with any lawsuits incurred as owners of the factory
      • Community relations

    • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

      That’s called theft and libertarians are against it. The takeover cannot be justified by “the distribution of wealth and the banker regime”, i.e., theft is the rule and I’m playing by the rules. Just because the populace are civil personally but support a barbaric system is no justification for being barbaric. How can you be a libertarian and use a law to steal? It may be legal, normal, and considered moral by non-libertarians, but a libertarian would be a hypocrite. Can you advocate non aggression and aggress? I can’t.

    • Davi BarkerNo Gravatar says:

      “a union of workers isn’t likely to open a factory, because they wouldn’t have enough funds.”

      Unions have enough money to pay staff, to lobby, to rent offices, to fund campaigns, to print signs, and buttons, and t-shirts… why is it they can’t open a factory exactly? I don’t see why 1,000 workers can pay their union dues, but 1,000 workers can’t pool their resources and buy the means of production.

      • Laszlo ZapacikNo Gravatar says:

        So you’re saying 1,000 workers’ union dues is enough to open a factory for 1,000 workers?

        • StarchildNo Gravatar says:

          Laszlo Zapacik asks, “So you’re saying 1,000 workers’ union dues is enough to open a factory for 1,000 workers?”

          It should be enough to leverage ownership or de facto ownership of a factory via one of the means I noted above.

          If this is something the workers really want, then the resources available for the project would not be limited to the money they are forced to pay in union dues. They could kick in larger amounts of their pay, borrow money from friends and relatives, start a crowdfunding effort on a site like Kickstarter, hold garage sales and bake sales and so on, organize a raffle, etc.

          • AnonimousNo Gravatar says:

            Smash the glass, quit giving the banksters their cut of your labors.
            They create ‘wealth’ from nothing, make it real in your mind with bits of paper, a well controled information system, and expect you to die clutching the very IOU’s they used to enlsave you.
            When the productive give to each other we don’t enable the children of billionaires, their flunkies, and their thugs, to escape the tyrany of labor.

            • DragonsRightWingNo Gravatar says:

              “Smash the glass” … Hmmm – sounds like the Broken Window Fallacy at work 😉

              • AnonymousNo Gravatar says:

                What holds you back from going to the store, getting what you need, and walking out without using federal reserve notes?

                It’s the glass that has been created to hold back the sheeple.

                When the 99% figure out that we don’t need to pay anything except our daily contribution of labor to the pile we will no longer be controlled by illusions used to dupe those too ignorant to understand fiat currencies.

                So, yeah, smash the glass.

        • Henry BowmanNo Gravatar says:

          Factories are so 19th-century. The biggest company in the world was started in two hippies’ garage on yard-sale money. McDonald’s, Carl’s Jr., and several other mega-chains started as lone burger shacks. The neat thing about capital is that you can actually create it.

  6. Second issue, the use of force is not always illegitimate in an anarchy. It isn’t in self-defense, for instance. But in self-defense of what personal rights? This is why Julian Sanchez wrote something like this: e-salvaged-isnt-even-principle

    “The NAP is no help deciding the questions you’re attempting to answer at this level, because as Zwolinski notes, it’s parasitic on theories of property and coercion that reside at this same level of abstraction. You can’t resolve a philosophical debate between a classical liberal and a socialist by appealing to the NAP, because each can claim their view is consistent with that principle given their theories of property.”

    • MAMNo Gravatar says:

      Positive rights are bat shit insane.

    • KyleNo Gravatar says:

      Marcel said “Second issue, the use of force is not always illegitimate in an anarchy. It isn’t in self-defense, for instance.”

      That’s correct. Davi doesn’t say “the use of force is always illegitimate” though. Davi actually says: “The use or threat of aggressive force is always illegitimate”

      “aggressive force” is a subset of force that does not include self-defense.

      • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

        Well said, Kyle. Clear and concise.

        As for “each can claim their view is consistent with that principle given their theories of property.”

        We have to back up and challenge their “theories of property”. Any so-called property right view that allows for theft is contradictory. That should not surprise anyone who has debated a socialist, or classical liberal. Obviously, you are new to libertarianism. I suggest: “The Virtue of Selfishness” or “Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal”.

        • KyleNo Gravatar says:

          Interesting thoughts, thank you for sharing them. You said that it is obvious that I am new to libertarianism. What has lead you to this conclusion?

          • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

            I posted for you, then Marcel D. as indicated by my quoting him and addressing that quote. My remark about being a new libertarian was for Marcel. Now that I think about it, he is probably not a libertarian at all.

        • RanDominoNo Gravatar says:

          “Any so-called property right view that allows for theft is contradictory.”
          Jesus fucking christ. This is the dumbest thing I have ever read on the Internet. You are actually responding to a proposed system of property by citing a principle of a DIFFERENT system of property and then calling it contradictory. Amazing. I am amazed. I’d say that I hope you have some shame, but I’ve seen enough of your ilk to know that you won’t.

  7. lolNo Gravatar says:

    nitpick much? ffs, you attack him for his choice of words…omg, you make me lolz. I don’t agree with Noam on everything either, but dude, you’re incoherent.

  8. KenNo Gravatar says:

    If you are genuine about wanting to understand Chomsky, or other anarcho-syndicalists, you need to read the original sources. The book that lit my lightbulb and moved me away from anarcho-capitalism was “What is Property?” by Proudhon.

    There’s a difference between what you call “private property” and what Chomsky means when he says “private property” and this misunderstanding has forged a chasm between the capitalists and anti-capitalists (and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn there was intent behind the misunderstanding).

    • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

      You do bring up a good point in that the “left” and the “right” often understand the same words differently. So, it’s a bit difficult to have an honest discussion when we’re interpreting words from our own dictionaries.

      • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

        I have seen two people who hold the same views have a angry confrontation because of sloppy linguistics.

        One of the most important lessons I learned from Ayn Rand was her habit of defining words to avoid confusion. I remember her opening remarks at Ford Hall Forum in 1977: “I will begin by defining by terms, so you will know what I am talking about.”

    • Laszlo ZapacikNo Gravatar says:

      There is a degree of difference of definition, but there is a fundamental divide on the issue of property.

      • MAMNo Gravatar says:

        The core of the divide is over positive vs negative rights.

        • Laszlo ZapacikNo Gravatar says:


          Personally I think the whole positive and negative rights idea is flawed anyway.

          • MAMNo Gravatar says:

            The left believes in positive rights which leads them to think that property is coercive along with a whole slew of other issues stemming from the fact that positive rights are bat shit insane.

            • Laszlo ZapacikNo Gravatar says:

              ‘The left believes in positive rights which leads them to think that property is coercive’

              Those positive rights that the left supposedly believe in being what?

              • MAMNo Gravatar says:

                Among other things that people have a right to be provided for.

                • DaFilosFurNo Gravatar says:

                  The positive rights issue is a bit bat-shit insane. The whole concept is the idea that there are positive liberties and negative. To put them both shortly; Negative is to be free from x, while positive is to be free to x.
                  So the argument goes that the Negatives are things like theft, where you are free from being stolen from someone else. Honestly it can easily be surmised by the NAP as the purest idea of Negative liberties.
                  Positive liberties, on the other hand, are things like the freedom to act. This particular one justifies many of the left-wing ideas that match with many Libertine ideas when we look at drugs and speech. However the left takes it a bit further to the point of suggesting that violating Negative liberties to achieve Positive Liberties are justified for some arbitrary reason that has never been presented effectively. Thus they can justify something like Welfare by saying that they are empowering the needy with the right to act by taking someone else’s property. This means they generally justify any violation of NAP so long as they can make a Positive liberty excuse. I know it doesn’t make much sense, and that is why it is generally referred to as bat-shit crazy.

                • RanDominoNo Gravatar says:

                  Perhaps the reason you are confused is that we say that as long as capitalism is forced upon us, the least we can do is whatever is immediately necessary to prevent mass starvation and homelessness. Maybe when revolution is back on the table, we can talk about more principled stands that may help delegitimize the State even though the immediate result may be suffering. We can prefiguratively create solutions to these problems that don’t rely on the state, but right now we’re way too weak for those to be much more than proofs-of-concept, and people have to eat *today*.

    • Davi BarkerNo Gravatar says:

      I’ve read enough to understand that some AnComs make a distinction between “property” and “possession” and I’ve read about… 50 pages give or take, from various sources trying to make heads or tails of what that means, and where the line is, but that has never brought me any close to agreeing with them.

      What drives me crazy is that AnComs deny and rebut the propertarian’s theories of property, and they put forward all their own theories of commons, but then they make this exception for “possessions,” which is completely alien to their schema and completely consistent with ours, and then for no reason I can discern, they switch principles at some subjective and arbitrary line where “exploitation” happens.

      So, I can “possess” a saw, and chop wood to “possess” wood. Then I can use wood to build and “possess” a building. And I can live in the building and imagine that it’s mine. But if I then use that building as a foundry to manufacture saws, and trade those saws to my neighbors for wood, I’m exploiting them… even though they are perfectly happy with the trade. So, at some point my “possession” magically becomes “property” and it’s no longer mine. I’m then expected to solicit my neighbors to vote on how many saws I produce in my foundry. And to vote on how much wood they chop with my saws. It’s absurd.

      • DaFilosFurNo Gravatar says:

        From what I gather on reading in both fields I think I see the median between the two and where there is a final break.
        I look at it from the John Locke sense of things on property, and, correct me if I am wrong on interpretation, man combines their labor with nature to produce something. That product is theirs and all the concepts of property rights apply to them on the issue. From that basis, there is a ‘common’ property rights concept behind libertine ideology, but it is limited to virgin property that has been untapped by human interaction.
        When going into Marxism, from what I can gather, is that they take this concept, and apply it to the community of goods *after* the product has been taken from nature, and is instead produced by community-owned capital goods. However the Marxists still remain very murky as to how much of the product of the worker’s labor is really their labor and thus their product. This line between the communally owned product and the individually owned is never defined in any concrete sense and is usually backed by just a verse of rhetoric. This ideal doesn’t stem from anything rational, as you had described already, but this is where I see the similarity from that.

        These are more of the highlighted issues that I have identified between the 2 concepts and how they are similar in some ways, but make absolutely no sense in other ways.

      • RanDominoNo Gravatar says:

        The reason the relationship is exploitative is that the “trade” carries a threat: If you don’t give me that wood, I won’t give you these saws.
        Presumably, there was a prior economic and social context in which your saws were not needed. But you damn capitalists always take everything in isolation. Did something happen to the neighbors’ previous source of saws? If there was a disaster, then, yes, you’re exploiting their temporary misfortune. Maybe you secretly hired some thugs to burn down their own foundry and intimidate their other saw suppliers so they would be forced to trade with you. Why not? Historically, that’s how modern capitalism was established.

    • Live mikeNo Gravatar says:

      S I can’t understand Chomsky by reading Chomsky? Then why is he presented as someone i should read? Chomsky is a de facto state apologist and it’s a blatant lie to call him anarchist. He knows for a fact that the current corporate concentration of power is due to government help. He brings up himself the fact that almost all the most dominant firms were helped, and many of them saved from extinction by the State. Yet he assumes without the state they would be more powerful rather than extinct.

  9. MikeyNo Gravatar says:

    Always fun to read the rantings of self-righteous libertarians who believe their simplistic theories to be profound.

    • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

      Mikey: Spoken like a true subjectivist. No one will ever accuse you of being “profound” or “self-rightous”.

      Have you considered what you call “simplistic” is simple logic? And your antagonism to those theories is frustration in that you cannot refute them?

      Is attacking the person an emotionally satisfying substitute? I’ll bet you loved it when old Spock said to young Spock: “Forget logic. Do what you feel is right.”

  10. PeterNo Gravatar says:

    Yo Chomsky. Better open your eyes to what’s going on in countries world wide. Libertarians are everywhere not just the US including me-I’m Canadian. Just saying.

  11. Matt NorthNo Gravatar says:

    I’ve seen that article all over the place. I’m surprised it’s getting as much play in libertarian circles as it is, given that it is based, nearly from word one, on a fundamental misunderstanding.

    When Sanchez says, “[the NAP] is meant to serve as a kind of master principle from which other more concrete rules may be derived,” he’s totally wrong. No serious libertarian uses the NAP in this way. It’s precisely the other way around — the NAP is itself derived from a sort of three-legged ethical, logical, and praxeological stool.

    The logical and praxeological legs can’t really be argued (they can be denied, but there’s no point in engaging denials that violate logic or constraints of reality). So the only room for controversy is the ethical.

    But the ethical leg of the stool is simply that human beings are of a single class. Sure – you can define your political philosophy to arbitrarily assign whatever rights you think are ‘right’ (so to speak), but once those rights violate private property rights you necessarily slip into an ethic that divides people into two classes — those that have the privilege of taking, and those that must submit to the taking. Yes, a socialist might actually embrace a class-based ethic, and they unquestionably do in practice, but if you ask them they always assert the opposite.

    Coming from a different angle: Can the socialist argue that his political philosophy is correct, and libertarian not, if the libertarian allows for the socialist? How? Under the libertarian system anyone would be free to join a socialist commune if they like. How could one seriously argue that the two are in conflict, if one allows the other? The only way is if the socialist argues that the socialist commune under the libertarian system would be required to allow members to voluntarily leave and no longer participate in the socialist system. Is that really the argument the socialist wants to make? That the socialist definition of “rights” necessarily implies that all people must be forced under threat of violence to participate in the socialist system? Of course that’s exactly what socialism does in practice, but do socialists ever explicitly make that argument? Not usually. And if so, once again, how do they do it without devolving into a class-based ethic?

    So, yes, you can define “rights” to include anything under the sun, and the NAP would therefore become useless. But to do so carries other serious ethical, logical, and/or praxeological pitfalls.

    (in the above I use “libertarian” as synonymous with “anarchocapitalist”)

    • Matt NorthNo Gravatar says:

      This was supposed to be a reply to Marcel Dubios @ 8:16am

      • StarchildNo Gravatar says:

        Matt – I’d like to hear you elucidate further about why you feel the Non Aggression Principle cannot be used as a central, guiding principle from which to derive other rules, but rather is (you say) based on a foundation of ethics, logic, and praxeology, of which only the ethical component can be argued.

        This all sounds potentially interesting, but you skim over it too quickly, and without really going into the detail necessary for people to readily understand or debate your point of view.

        • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

          Starchild: Read “The Virtue of Selfishness” and “For the New Intellectual” to obtain an arsenal of basic arguments defending reason and individualism. Rand was the intellectual inspiration for the founding of the Libertarian Party even though she badmouthed them, but not for the correct reasons. She should have denounced them as confused politically, but she didn’t because she supported the idea of a govt. protector also. Ironically, she wrote an essay, “Who Will Protect Us From Our Protectors?” in which she laid out the problem with giving away power and then trying to limit it. She had no answer. We do: Don’t give up your power. Don’t create an authoritarian society. If you don’t create a little monster, you don’t have to worry about it growing into a big monster, like the USSA.

          • StarchildNo Gravatar says:

            Thanks Don, but I’ve read Rand and am aware of arguments for reason and individualism. I was specifically interested in the claims made by Matt North in his previous message in this thread.

  12. Bob RobertsonNo Gravatar says:

    I had a great time in the comments to his article. Bob_Robert, that’s me.

  13. MarkyNo Gravatar says:

    wow this is so ignorant, he basically admits he doesn’t know anything about anarchism. Libertarianism is primarily a US phenomenon, that simply true, but I’m sure the ego is satisfied by being pedantic, of course you can find the odd libertarian outside of the USA. Continental Philosophy primarily originates and exists on the European mainland, doesn’t mean you can’t find British Continental Philosophers.

    i haven’t understood anything I’ve read, so i’ll just say it’s a load of shit

    • Bob RobertsonNo Gravatar says:

      Did you see the comments? So many people who think Chomsky was being so very Important and Scholarly!

    • StarchildNo Gravatar says:

      Libertarianism is a universal philosophy not tied to any particular country. It may have been developed primarily in the United States — that “melting pot” of the world’s cultures — in the same way modern leftism has its roots in Europe, but as other comments in this thread reflect, libertarians are increasingly represented worldwide. Libertarian-oriented free market think tanks can be found in countries from Peru to Sweden to Italy to Venezuela to Turkey.

      • AnonimousNo Gravatar says:

        The ideas, as well as the struggle, is as old as good and evil.

        The evil always seek the posistions of power in order to further their goals.
        Whereas the good hardly ever see them coming.

    • Michael PriceNo Gravatar says:

      The “odd” libertarian? Right, the Austrian School is called that because they met at an Austrian-style cafe.

  14. MarkyNo Gravatar says:

    The libtard fetish with the NAP is beyond funny, it’s a near meaningless principle and has been shown to do so numerous times, it is certainly no basis to a political philosophy. The NAP is so content-less as a concept that it can support two directly opposed positions at the same time. For anarchists the NAP can be used to destroy private property, as private property is aggression. For right-‘libertarians’ they use the principle to defend private property from aggression (they ignore ‘our’ definition of private property and its historical creation/enforcement).

    I really suggest you people read the Anarchist FAQ to both avoid straw manning and to understand the anarchists historical opposition to private property, until then you will continue to be a joke.

    • MAMNo Gravatar says:

      Private property is only coercive in the context where sitting on your ass is violent. In other words the notion is ban shit insane.

      History isn’t an argument for anything. History is coloured by the bias of the individual writing it.

    • Davi BarkerNo Gravatar says:

      I’ve read the Anarchist FAQ twice now. Still trying to make any sense of it whatsoever before I respond. I wish AnComs could write manifestos without dropping in all the fnords. Some of us are more interested in the linguistic meaning of words than their emotional content.

    • KyleNo Gravatar says:

      Either the initiation of force is always legitimate, sometimes legitimate, or never legitimate. You’ve excluded the case where it is never legitimate. That is the essence of the non-aggression principle.

      In what cases do you support violence being initiated against me?

      • Bob RobertsonNo Gravatar says:

        The closest to an honest answer to that question that I have ever gotten is that they want to reserve the ability to legitimately coerce for when it’s “really important”.

    • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

      Marky said: “(they ignore ‘our’ definition of private property and its historical creation/enforcement).”

      Bullshit! They expose it as contradictory. And you “ignore” their argument for psychological reasons. Beliefs tied to strong emotions are very painful to challenge. One may feel as if his worth is destroyed if he is wrong. Or he may feel he cannot love his parents or be loved by them because they taught him the belief is sacred (unquestionable). This is often true of religious and political beliefs learned from parents.

      As for respecting your belief because of its “historical creation/enforcement”, slavery was the historical creation/enforcement practice for most of human history. Try using an approach based in logic instead of tradition.

    • anaxagorasNo Gravatar says:

      @Marky 30 1325 MAY 2013

      A near meaningless principle (as you describe) that many people the world over consciously or unconsciously practice throughout a 24 hour cycle, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. And I wager most of these many people would act in accordance with NAP regardless whether laws restrained specific acts of aggression or not. So, I disagree that NAP is “content-less.”

  15. EXCELLENT piece, Davi! 🙂

  16. HReardenNo Gravatar says:

    The terms “libertarian socialism” and “anarcho-syndicalism” are oxymorons sort of like muslim anarchist is.

  17. SondreNo Gravatar says:

    Great post.

    I find Noam Chomskys claim absurd, that libertarianism is a U.S thing only. As a Norwegian anarcho-capitalist and agorist I have never met a single non-free market libertarian. And in Norway and most of Europe(excluding the UK) liberal and libertarian means different degrees of classical liberalism. He just wants it to seem like he has a substantial amount of supporters.

    • KenNo Gravatar says:

      You’re all wasting your time rehashing the ongoing argument that is described in the last two paragraphs before the table of contents here:

      I thought this debate was interesting when you were picking apart the substantive ideas of “property” and “NAP” etc. Who really cares whether American Libertarianism has spread globally or not?

  18. Laszlo ZapacikNo Gravatar says:

    As an anarcho-syndicalist/communist/mutualist (I take bits from all three) myself, I agree that there is plenty wrong with Chomsky and it centres on two main issues:

    1. His desire to be an ‘everyman’ of the left brings out a lot of contradictory and daft views.
    2. His nature to compromise. I mean, even Marxists and other far-leftists that think voting is OK wouldn’t advocate voting for Obama ffs!

    But that said:

    “Apparently unfamiliar with the distinction between aggressive force and defensive force, they usually backpedal when I point out that survival requires force in the face of a murderer, and abstinence requires force in the hands of a rapist.”

    You can aggress against people, but not objects. Under the state, the state has a monopoly of force over a land area. Under the propertarian system you propose, the landowner will have a monopoly of force over a land area. What’s the difference? What makes the former ‘aggressive’ and the latter ‘defensive’?

    “As far as I can tell they differ from Marxists only in that they reject the temporary “dictatorship of the proletariat,” preferring direct action because they recognize that the State is inherently corrupt.”

    I read an interpretation of the differences between Marxist communists and anarchist communists a while back that I think it a pretty good summary (though there are a couple of problems with it): while both oppose the state and capitalism, the anarchists think the former causes the latter, whereas the Marxists think the latter (well, class society in general, not just capitalism) causes the former.

    “Under the libertarian system anyone would be free to join a socialist commune if they like.”

    This is a bit like a anarcho-syndicalist or -communist saying under their system, you’d be free to exchange and trade for money in market-economic relationships if you like. In both cases, while you are free to do the thing proposed:

    1. It’s not expected that people actually would do it.
    2. It’s ignoring the issue which is the actual divide – property.

    From the socialist perspective, a system with private property would have to be forced on them. From the propertarian perspective, a system with an absence of private property would have to be forced on them. That’s the contradiction between the sides and there isn’t really a way round it (well, with some socialists there’s the issue of the market economy, but that’s still a lesser issue for various reasons).

    • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

      The state originally stole the land it claims dominion over, therefore its legitimacy and authority are null and void.

      That being said, I’m one of the few market-anarchists who don’t really believe there is such a thing as property, only claims. The only things one owns are what they can defend and keep. I’ve grown tired of sniveling over right and wrong and am personally more interested in self-empowerment and reclamation.

      • KyleNo Gravatar says:

        A woman is taken against her will by a stronger man. He locks her in a cage and does not permit her to leave. Does the women lose her claim on her body to the man, or does she retain the claim despite her circumstances?

        • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

          She can claim it all she wants. But her claim is moot.

          • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

            It would be like me claiming that I own all the gold in the world. If I can fool myself into thinking that I actually do own all the gold in the world, great. But I’m not fooling anybody else.

            • KyleNo Gravatar says:

              That’s interesting. So if I understand you correctly, you are saying that this woman’s claim to her body is equivalent to you claiming you own all the gold in the world? You’re saying that there’s absolutely no difference between these claims?

              • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

                If she’s locked in a cage against her will and cannot escape, yes. Her claiming that she owns her body is as nonsensical as me claiming I own all the world’s gold.

          • KyleNo Gravatar says:

            What do you mean by her claim is moot?

            Do you believe that the man has a valid and justified claim over her body now?

            • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

              Nope. I’m not ascribing any moral judgment. I’m merely observing the situation for what it is, not what it should be.

              • KyleNo Gravatar says:

                If you’re only making observations, then on what basis can you say your claim to the world’s supply of goal is equivalent to her claim on her body?

                • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

                  I don’t understand your question. I’m merely making an observation.

                  • KyleNo Gravatar says:

                    Are you saying that her claim is moot, and your claim is moot, therefore they are both moot and equivalent?

                    • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

                      It seems Seth does not recognize “would” or “should” only “is”. By his logic, no moral judgement is relevant. Morality is a useless abstract concept. Only what is, exists, not what ought to be. By his philosophy we have no guide to action and any speculation on the “best” actions are a waste of time.

                      I consider a moral code as essential for survival, i.e., no dichotomy exists between moral and practical. One can arrive at a decision using a moral precept or a utilitarian precept, but if they conflict then you have made a mistake. You need to back up “check you premises”.

                    • KyleNo Gravatar says:

                      Don, I think you’ve done an excellent job summarizing what Seth appears to be saying. I share similar sentiments regarding morality and pragmatism.

      • KenNo Gravatar says:

        “I’m one of the few market-anarchists who don’t really believe there is such a thing as property, only claims.”

        I think there are more like you than you think… many, if not most, of the ancaps I know personally, have an opinion about property like yours, which is very close to Proudhon’s distinction between property and possession.

        Private Property, as espoused by a system that invents imaginary persons to protect their wealth, is not an organic concept, so most people (I believe) tend to think of their current personal possessions when they hear people proclaim anti-propertarian ideas, and they understandable resist (unfortunately, drawing them further into the lies of capitalism).

      • KyleNo Gravatar says:

        Can you explain what you mean by self-empowerment and reclamation?

        • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

          Well, a lot of us anarchists like to go around saying things like “I own my body” or “I own this house.” But in reality we do not. If we are still constantly vulnerable to property taxes and threat of kidnapping then at best we merely have possession of our bodies or houses. And that possession is totally dependent upon the whims of the state.

          I’m not really concerned about moral arguments like right and wrong. Because once a person reaches anarcho-capitalism, we’ve already got the rights and wrong figured out, for the most part. Then the challenge becomes reclaiming our bodies and our justly acquired property. Because my attitude is that it’s not really yours if you cannot defend it. So, let’s focus our energies on figuring out how to empower the individual instead of whining about what’s right and wrong.

          • KyleNo Gravatar says:

            Thanks for that explanation. I think I understand what you’re saying now.

          • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

            If everyone were fully “empowered” (starting out equal?) such as in a ship wreck or plane crash on a deserted island, the question of how to exercise that power would still be important. For example, if I acquired food by my labor and did not wish to share, would the food be my property? What would be the consequences of forcing me to give up my food, some or all, it makes no difference? The answer is known. It has been tried over and over for centuries in many cultures, and situations. Voluntary self sacrifice does not promote life either. And don’t bring up the so-called “sacrifice” of parents for children. No sacrifice exists if the children are valued more than what is given up.

            The individual must decide, not the group, or someone who claims to represent the group. No group representation can exist. That is a collectivist lie invented to trick individuals into being victims. The only sense in which the group health is preserved is where the individual sovereignty is preserved. This is not intuitive, i.e., it is a difficult concept to conceive. It has been referred to as “the invisible hand”. In economics we call such a system: Capitalism, i.e., economic freedom. But economic freedom cannot exist where personal freedom (civil liberty) is denied. The two are tied together and cannot be separated without destroying both.

      • Laszlo ZapacikNo Gravatar says:

        Virtually everything was at some point stolen. By extension all property must therefore be null and void.

        Also, how the situation came about doesn’t really make a difference to the situation. The state controls land, that’s all that really affects us. If it had acquired all its land by some ‘honest’ method we’d still be in the same situation.

        • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

          Agreed. That’s why I tell people that worry about some private landlord tyranny. If you treat people poorly they will fight back. If we lived in a world run by private landlord tyrannies I wouldn’t care how they acquired the land. Rebel anyways.

          That’s why I tell people there is no property, only claims. If I feel your claim is legitimate, I will respect it. If I do not feel it is legitimate, I will not resepect it. Which possessions are acquired legitimately is totally subjective to every individual.

        • StarchildNo Gravatar says:

          Martin writes, “Property requires a state to defend it.”

          In what sense is that true, Martin? It seems to me that anyone who is capable of defending property can mount a defense of it. A locked and secured safe can defend a stack of money, a swarm of angry bees can defend a hive, a dog can defend a bone, etc.

          Martin: “Chomsky often bugs me too. My libertarianism has root similar to his…”

          Me: I would not categorize Chomsky’s beliefs as libertarianism. This conversation is taking place as a result of an article he wrote *attacking* libertarians.

          Martin: “I don’t call myself an ‘anarchist’, because I do want a few, very few, human rights respected universally, and I can’t expect these rights respected universally without a state. Maybe I can’t expect them respected with a state either in really, but as a theoretical matter, expecting any standard to be enforced universally assumes a universal monopoly of force, so I can’t consistently advocate universal respect for particular rights while pretending generally to oppose a state.”

          Me: I likewise want to see some human rights respected universally, but would rather see many, many small, voluntary governments, as opposed to “a state” (world government). While I see anarchy as the theoretical ideal, in practice I’m afraid that at present levels of human enlightenment (or lack thereof) it would create too much of a power vacuum which would swiftly be filled by new de jure or de facto governments.

          A world of weak “placeholder” governments with powers strictly limited by law, culture, and checks and balances seems to me like a better strategy for minimizing the risk of institutional aggression arising. I would hope that all these micro-states would respect basic human rights, but so long as people were free to choose which state they wished to affiliate with, as a theoretical matter nobody would be subject to oppression to which they had not effectively consented.

          Martin: “So for example, if you want the exclusive use of a parcel of land, with hereditary title to the land in perpetuity and a right to earn rents without personally laboring on the land, then you need to find other people with similar values and organize a community in which land may be held this way. ”

          Me: Other than the fact that “exclusive use” is typically abridged by some degree of government interference, isn’t this basically what exists in most parts of the world today?

          What specific changes would you like to see made in the world in order to realize your ideal society with regard to how property is treated?

          • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

            “voluntary government” is an oxymoron. Govt. is force, not consent. The only sense in which choice plays a part is where one “choses” not to chose, i.e., one choses to let others defend him and make all choices about how to do that. For example, the U.S. is supposed to be a democracy, i.e., big choices are made by the majority. But when the 2008 financial crisis came the choice to bail out one of the two groups responsible, the banks, the govt. (their co-cospiritor) did so against the will of 99% of the populace. Democracy was ignored for the benefit of the rulers. And the ruled ignored the robbery. Rand called this: “the sanction of the victim”. It goes on all over the world. Most hate their govt. but will not abandon the idea of govt. Abandoning govt. means accepting self responsibility, self governance. That requires a psychologically mature person who has self confidence and self esteem. These people are rare.

            The view that workers only need capital to buy their factory and live happily ever after is naive. I have seen what happens when management is lacking. The worker may turn out a great product and the business still fails. Since the skill needed to manage is elusive, it is rare, and not appreciated by most, especially other workers. Notice I said “other workers”, i.e., management is work. A manager is a worker. But the work done is not physical, but mental.

            • DaFilosFurNo Gravatar says:

              I would disagree with you on that notion enough just to mention that he is saying government by consent of the governed. In the very literal strict sense. People that literally volunteer to give up some specific rights to the government to be used to protect other rights of theirs (choosing to pay for protection, or paying a DRO for managing your disputes would be examples of government by consent or voluntary government). In fact, making a contract in any form would be a voluntary government because it is 2+ parties voluntarily choosing to agree to a code that they define.

              • absoluterightsNo Gravatar says:

                Word play:
                As you have worked out, having an agreement that “governs” certain behavior is not the same thing as being ruled by a government because:
                1) You can submit yourself to be ruled but you cannot submit me to ruled- And a government rules all.
                2) The right to rule based on consent would be extinguished the moment that consent was withdrawn. Government rules one regardless of consent.
                3) Government claims the ability to harm with legal impunity- without this power there is no power to govern.

                The right government exercises when it enacts laws for interfering in undelegatable issues is more akin to the right of conquest, where it’s rules stand supreme because it has the superior violence making machine.

      • AnonymousNo Gravatar says:

        A Tuckerite detected.

    • marlowNo Gravatar says:

      Murray Rothbard, father of modern day anarcho-capaitalism, in his article, Are Libertarians ‘Anarchists’?, writes;

      The principal feature of anarchist communism is that it attacks private property just as vigorously as it attacks the State. Capitalism is considered as much of a tyranny, “in the economic realm,” as the State in the political realm. The left-wing anarchist hates capitalism and private property with perhaps even more fervor than does the socialist or Communist. Like the Marxists, the left-wing anarchist is convinced that the capitalists exploit and dominate the workers, and also that the landlords invariably are exploiting peasants. The economic views of the anarchists present them with a crucial dilemma, the pons asinorum of left-wing anarchy: how can capitalism and private property be abolished, while the State is abolished at the same time? The socialists proclaim the glory of the State, and the use of the State to abolish private property – for them the dilemma does not exist. The orthodox Marxist Communist, who pays lip service to the ideal of left-wing anarchy, resolves the dilemma by use of the Hegelian dialectic: that mysterious process by which something is converted into its opposite. The Marxists would enlarge the State to the maximum and abolish capitalism, and then sit back confidently to wait upon the State’s “withering away.”

      The spurious logic of the dialectic is not open to the left-wing anarchists, who wish to abolish the State and capitalism simultaneously. The nearest those anarchists have come to resolving the problem has been to uphold syndicalism as the ideal. In syndicalism, each group of workers and peasants is supposed to own its means of production in common, and plan for itself, while cooperating with other collectives and communes. Logical analysis of these schemes would readily show that the whole program is nonsense. Either of two things would occur: one central agency would plan for and direct the various subgroups, or the collectives themselves would be really autonomous. But the crucial question is whether these agencies would be empowered to use force to put their decisions into effect. All of the left-wing anarchists have agreed that force is necessary against recalcitrants. But then the first possibility means nothing more nor less than Communism, while the second leads to a real chaos of diverse and clashing Communisms, that would probably lead finally to some central Communism after a period of social war. Thus, left-wing anarchism must in practice signify either regular Communism or a true chaos of communistic syndics. In both cases, the actual result must be that the State is reestablished under another name. It is the tragic irony of left-wing anarchism that, despite the hopes of its supporters, it is not really anarchism at all. It is either Communism or chaos.

      • Laszlo ZapacikNo Gravatar says:

        Crucial line is here:

        ‘that would probably lead finally to some central Communism after a period of social war.’

        He gives no explanation as to why there would be such a ‘social war’.

        • marlowNo Gravatar says:

          Indeed, he does not. However, given that in Syndicalism we see “the railways to the railwaymen, the mines to the miners, the factories to the factory hands” wherein each worker receives a share in his respective mine or factory, social friction will arise that may lead to the “social war” Rothbard warns of. Mises details the friction causing aspects of Syndicalism in his Socialism, pp 270-275. If workers were forbidden to alienate their shares, income inequality would emerge as some industries grew and others declined. The result is Rothbard’s “social war”. The losers would seek changes in the allocation of shares/resources that would be resisted by those in the growth industries. If alienation of shares were to be allowed, Syndicalism’s attempt to abolish inequality would be thwarted since a new inequality will shortly arise as some will squander their shares will others will acquire shares from their co-workers. Repeated redistributions to equalize income would result in social failure as it rewarded uneconomic behaviour of the lazy and spendthrifts while punishing the industrious and thrifty. This too, may lead to “social war”. And if no repeated redistributions were to be applied, Syndicalism will have effectively allowed the reemergence of the property arrangements of Capitalism in the means of production, thus terminating Syndicalism.

    • Davi BarkerNo Gravatar says:


      First, I really appreciate having an anarcho-syndicalist response with some real substance. I actually think Chomsky does a real disservice to syndicalists by not just calling himself a socialist. From what I can discern syndicalists are left-anarchists agorists, meaning they put their principles in action instead of playing the State’s game as Chomsky is doing. I really respect that.

      “The state has a monopoly of force over a land area. Under the propertarian system you propose, the landowner will have a monopoly of force over a land area. What’s the difference?”

      That’s a great question. I like Seth’s answer, that State land is stolen and owned land is justly acquired. But I see how that might be unsatisfying, and I think there’s more than that. A landowner enjoys final say over how land is used, tomatoes or copper mines, smoking or nonsmoking, etc. They do not possess the monopoly of force that a State does.

      A State may unilaterally aggress against it’s victims and it’s victims have no recourse to any outside agency. So, for example, a State may decree that leaving their territory requires an exit tax. A landowner has no such right. A State may target a resident for extrajudicial execution or imprisonment. A landowner has no such right. In the various models of arbitration that most propertarians advocate the reach or an individual’s natural rights extend to them even on someone else’s land.

      That’s just my first reaction. I’ve got to think more on this one.

      “This is a bit like a anarcho-syndicalist or -communist saying under their system, you’d be free to exchange and trade for money in market-economic relationships if you like.”

      That would be enough for me to coexist with them. But as far as I can tell they don’t say that. AnCaps regularly say that communism, socialism, primitivism, mutualism and the like may, and likely would be practiced on a voluntary basis in a libertarian world. I haven’t heard an AnCom say that capitalism, free market commerce, agorism and the like may be practiced on a voluntary basis in a communist world. On the contrary they usually tell me it must be fought.

      I actually fully expect that people will actually do this. I want them to. I want them to give it 100% of their best effort, and I want them to be free to succeed or fail by their own merits. I expect them to fail, because my theory suggests they will, but I would be equally pleased if they succeeded, because that’s how we test theories.

      • StarchildNo Gravatar says:


        I agree that Laszlo’s question (“The state has a monopoly of force over a land area. Under the propertarian system you propose, the landowner will have a monopoly of force over a land area. What’s the difference?”) is a very good one.

        From a Rothbardian point of view in which land ownership is based on the homesteading principle this is indeed a challenge, but I think the geolibertarian approach I have come to favor offers a solution which allows landowners to exercise exclusive rights over their land within a framework less objectionable to those with concerns about the wealth/power of landowners in society.

        For those who may be unfamiliar, this concept is based on the ideas of thinkers like Henry George and John Locke, and rests on the notion that resources like land, air and surface water rightly belong in a different category from property produced or developed by humans.

        According to geolibertarian thinking, each person born into the world is equally entitled to the use of such natural and readily usable resources.

        Here’s my conception of how such an approach might work in practice with regard to land, if a political jurisdiction such as for instance the city of San Francisco where I live were to adopt it:

        (1) The total market value of all the land in the jurisdiction would be calculated to arrive at a sum of money.

        (2) From that sum, the total market value of all the human-created improvements on these lands (buildings, roads, landscaping, etc.) would be subtracted to reach a new figure reflecting the total market value of all the land in the jurisdiction in its natural state.

        (3) This figure would be divided by the number of eligible residents in the jurisdiction (see final sentence in point #5) to reach a per person share of land value (say, hypothetically, $50,000, although that number could be way off).

        (4) Anyone owning land in the jurisdiction with a market value of more than $50,000, not counting the value of any improvements on that land, would be assessed land rent payable on a quarterly basis, derived from a percentage of the amount by which the value of his or her holdings exceeded the per person share.

        (5) These rent payments would go into a fund to be divided proportionately among anyone living in the jurisdiction who owned land therein with a market value of less than $50,000 in its unimproved state, or no land at all, with each recipient would receive a check each quarter. Amounts of these checks would be based on a formula awarding all payees for that period an equal number of cents on the dollar for each dollar by which the value of their land holdings fell short of the $50,000 per person share of land value, with all money in the fund at the end of each quarter divided up and paid out in this manner. To discourage carpetbagging, a person would be required to reside in the jurisdiction for 3 years prior to being entitled to receive any land rent payments.

        (6) Land rent payments would be voluntary, but land owners who did not pay or fell behind on their payments would not be entitled to any government protections of the property rights to their land, so that anyone could legally squat on it, trespass, etc., until such time as the land rent owed was paid up. Unpaid land rent balances would transfer over to new owners if the land was sold.

        (7) Custody and distribution of the money paid in land rents, as well as setting the percentage of unimproved land value at which rents would be assessed, assessing land values and certifying residency and the number of residents would be handled by a board composed of members selected at random from the community, each serving for a non-renewable term of one year. Members of this board would be ineligible to receive any land rent payments themselves while serving, and could decline to serve if selected. The board would also set the market value of each piece of property, based on their research into current real estate values, thereby determining the amount of land rents owed for that property. Individual board members would be required to abstain in voting on the value of any properties owned by themselves, their friends, acquaintances, or persons/entities with whom they had any investments or business connections. The board would be strictly prohibited from directing *any* money toward *any* purpose other than that described in point #5 above. Under no conditions would government be permitted to access any of these funds or use them for any other purpose.

        (8) Any landowner disagreeing with the board’s assessment of the market value of one of his/her unimproved land holdings would be free to ignore the board’s appraisal and substitute his or her own appraisal of the value of the land in question as the base number from which land rent owed would be calculated, on the condition that if anyone offered to buy the property for that amount of money, the landowner would be legally obligated to sell them the land at that price or else forfeit government protection of his/her property rights to the land as described in point #6 above until the original assessed amount was paid plus a penalty of 10% (to discourage rejecting fair assessments simply for personal gain).

        * * *

        People would, as now, be free to buy and own as much or as little land as they chose and could afford. But the land rent system would create an effective “safety net” for the landless indigent, with the advantages over current social “safety nets” that it would not involve government aggression, and would rest on a stronger philosophical justification.

        An additional argument for this geolibertarian model is as follows: Imagine that technology created a way for people to own air, by tagging individual air molecules, so that in short order all the air in the world was owned, as virtually all the land in the world is owned now, and people would only be allowed to legally breathe if they owned air themselves, paid for the rights to the air they breathed, or were granted the right to breathe for free by an air owner, similar to how people must now generally either own land, pay rent, or live at the courtesy of some government or independent landowner.

        This would be more like the model of land ownership that currently exists, but would it be an improvement on the current system? I don’t believe it would.

        The current model for air use is more like the geolibertarian model of land use: Everyone is essentially granted an “equal share” of the air for breathing purposes, personal smoking, etc., but if someone wants to use a significantly greater share of the air for some larger purpose, such as by owning a factory that emits pollution, he or she is generally expected to compensate society in some manner for this usage.

    • StarchildNo Gravatar says:

      Laszlo Zapacik writes,

      ““Under the libertarian system anyone would be free to join a socialist commune if they like.”

      This is a bit like a anarcho-syndicalist or -communist saying under their system, you’d be free to exchange and trade for money in market-economic relationships if you like. In both cases, while you are free to do the thing proposed:

      1. It’s not expected that people actually would do it.
      2. It’s ignoring the issue which is the actual divide – property.”


      In my experience, anarcho-syndicalists don’t want people to use money or own property beyond immediate personal possessions in their society, but are usually rather vague on exactly how such behavior would be eliminated without violence or the threat of violence against those wishing to do such things.

      From what I have seen, libertarians by contrast generally do assume that some people in a fully libertarian society would choose to live communistically, form worker-owned cooperatives, etc., and tend to have no problem with such arrangements so long as people are not forced to join them, or to remain in them against their will.

      It seems to me therefore that the real divide between libertarians and anarcho-syndicalists is not property — libertarians believe it’s okay to hold property communally in a voluntary association, or to not own property, and some libertarians even feel that natural, non-human-produced resources such as land should be shared equally (web search “geolibertarian”) — but rather the initiation of force.

      I would be interested in hearing a good, clear argument for the (Proudhonian?) concept that *property itself* constitutes force, but I’m rather skeptical that a persuasive case can be made for such a theory outside of very unusual circumstances.

      Say for instance Jane builds a second house (on land which she owns or for which she is paying land rent — see “geolibertarian”) which she does not live in herself, and creates rules by which others can use the house if and only if they either pay the rent she asks or agree to use it strictly in accordance with the particular dictates of her lifestyle or religion. How does her ownership of that building constitute force?

  19. Martin BrockNo Gravatar says:

    Property requires a state to defend it. Survival requires force in the face of a murderer, and abstinence requires force in the hands of a rapist, and states promising to defend people from murderers and rapists are persuasive for this reason, even though they can’t effectively keep the promise.

    Chomsky often bugs me too. My libertarianism has root similar to his, but far from defending the state as he does, I argue that no state should defend the monopolies that Chomsky calls “private”. If states enforcing particular systems of “property” are the problem, then a state enforcing no particular system of property seems a better solution than a state enforcing either Rothbard’s or Chomsky’s particular system.

    I don’t call myself an “anarchist”, because I do want a few, very few, human rights respected universally, and I can’t expect these rights respected universally without a state. Maybe I can’t expect them respected with a state either in really, but as a theoretical matter, expecting any standard to be enforced universally assumes a universal monopoly of force, so I can’t consistently advocate universal respect for particular rights while pretending generally to oppose a state.

    But the rights we typically call “property” are not among the rights that I want enforced universally. I don’t want these rights violated universally either. I only want them respected voluntarily in communities that people join precisely because they want particular rights respected. This idea is like “anarcho-syndicalism”, and I accepted this label in the past. but I now prefer “intentional community”.

    So for example, if you want the exclusive use of a parcel of land, with hereditary title to the land in perpetuity and a right to earn rents without personally laboring on the land, then you need to find other people with similar values and organize a community in which land may be held this way. You may not unilaterally declare that you own a parcel of land this way, because your neighbors’ respect for your declaration must be voluntary.

    Similarly, if you want land held only for use, with no hereditary title or absentee landlords earning monopoly rents, then you must also find other people with similar values willing to organize a community around this standard.

    Intentional community neither requires nor rules out either of these standards. It only requires that a community’s members consent to a community’s standards, every member not simply a majority. A member who does not consent must be meaningfully free to leave and seek another community respecting standards more consistent with his preferences.

    So essentially the only rights I want a state to enforce are rights to life and liberty, not particular rights to possession or use of natural resources or division of the fruits of labor or anything else. People form intentional communities, and these communities may require members to respect other rights, including Rothbardian property rights if that’s what the members want, but the only universal rights are rights not to be killed or held involuntarily by any community.

    • Bob RobertsonNo Gravatar says:

      Is your iPhone “property”? If not, then why can’t I use it if it’s sitting on a table and you’re not using it? Are you saying you can be an absentee landlord of an iPhone?

      • Martin BrockNo Gravatar says:

        If I choose to live in a community like Twin Oaks, I might share an iPhone with other members of the community. If I choose to live in another community where people value individual ownership more, I might have an iPhone that others may not use, and I might be entitled to rent it you if choose to live in the same community. That’s my choice and yours.

    • mpower69No Gravatar says:

      Mr Brock,

      IMO, you cannot separate life, liberty & private property. You can’t leave private property out, to be determined by various & sundry intentional communities. Such a construct would not work on a micro or macro level. On IC respects PP, another does not. One IC challenges another IC’s PP… where’s the resolution? Biggest gun wins?

      Private property rights are part-and-parcel with life & liberty… they either exist together, or none exists at all. Just my two cents… I otherwise agree with the gist of your comment…

  20. AnonymousNo Gravatar says:

    I would suspect anyone with his level of success as a plant, that his anarchism doesn’t bring full understanding in the minds of his readers is a clue,…

  21. mpower69No Gravatar says:

    “Chomsky is not an anarchist. He is a reluctant Statist.”

    Very well said.

    Chomsky uses the term ‘corporate power’ for ‘private power’, but NEVER offers a pragmatic solution/idea to fill the gap left behind by the absence of private property in his utopia… apparently “workers” would vote on stuff, or something.

    It seems Noam is fine with massive state/collective authority simply (esp. HIS flavor of benevolent central authority) because it is not ‘private’ authority (liberty?), which is inherently evil in his world.

    I find it interesting and encouraging that young people today are gravitating towards Rand, not Chomsky. It would seem the ‘lesser of two evils’ rationale is failing to capture the next generation… so there is hope on the horizon.

  22. BlindDonkeyNo Gravatar says:

    Well said, Martin Brock.

    What I see articulated here, for the most part, is not insight into where Chomsky has faltered in his thinking– rather a group of well-read leftists attempting to take an pedantically authoritative position on what anarchy is and isn’t. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    “Look everybody, I’m smarter than old man Chomsky.”

    Fuck Ayn Rand. Her hypocrisy is legendary: retly-took-government-money-and-health-care

  23. Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

    BlindDonkey: You live up to your name, or should I say, down to it?

    No one’s life or reasoned arguments are refuted by the observation that they were not perfect embodiments. Anti-intellectual, dishonest refutations are as old as discourse. This one is called: Argument Ad Hominem.

  24. Neil LandersNo Gravatar says:

    This article is based a lot of straw man arguments and some basic misunderstandings.

    Chomsky has written extensively about anarchism and libertarian philosophy since his first published work (on political topics), American Power and the New Mandarins.

    It is quite unfair to look at a single, popular article and then take Chomsky to task for not providing documentation or extended definition and philosophical context.

    That is called a straw man argument.

    In his published work, Chomsky provides extensive philosophical context, documentation, and definition. See for example his preface to Daniel Guerin’s book on Anarchism; or his article in the book Towards a New Cold War.

    Your article (above) is largely just a rant, since you fail to back up your assertions. Chomsky is a reluctant Statist? He fails to question authority or supply meaningful skepticism? Have you actually read his work? I think anyone who actually read Chomsky’s published work on the subject would not be in a position to make such claims. Almost all of the positions you attribute to Chomsky have nothing to do with his actual positions. In fact, Chomsky is one of the most consistent social philosophers on precisely these points that I’ve seen. In his published work, he discusses Bakunin, Kropotkin, the Spanish Civil War, Marx, Lenin, Rosa Luxemburg, Bertrand Russell, Rudolf Rocker, and others in the Left tradition at significant length and with often with careful, detailed arguments. You may disagree with his positions, but the claim that he fails to supply definitions, sources, or to argue his positions at length is simply false. If you do disagree with his positions, you should first represent them truthfully, rather than just make up something, and then refute the position with your own arguments, rather than mere accusation.

  25. Christian JimenezNo Gravatar says:

    There are lots of problems with the arguments presented by you AND Chomsky. But let me say first I’d go much further and label Chomsky a Nazi and a fascist. However, this doesn’t affect the argument since he concedes – repeatedly – on the need to be pragmatic – at least in the short term. Needless to say this destroys a lot of the ethical value of his own positions. But that’s a separate issue from anarchism versus libertarianism.

    And here you stack the deck by not mentioning – or not knowing – about Hayek’s support for Pinochet or Mises support for fascism (look it up) or Ayn Rand justifying the genocide of the Indians!! Chomsky is attacking those forms of libertarianism. Granted, he could attack more sophisticated –
    Nozickian – versions but those have been dealt with rather effectively by
    Schweickart in his Against Capitalism. You’re on solid grounds that Chomsky is being selective in attacking only certain hierarchies. But, then, so are libertarians – if you can point me to any that have been consistent on this point I’d love to be proven wrong but many seem to make both authoritarian assumptions in theory and are authoritarians in practice – sorry to say.

  26. StarchildNo Gravatar says:

    Christian, you write that Chomsky “concedes – repeatedly… the need to be pragmatic – at least in the short term”. I would argue that this is also the case with Hayek supporting Pinochet, or Mises having something good to say about fascism. (According to ascism-in-1927-embarrassment.html he wrote: “It cannot be denied that Fascism and similar movements aiming at the establishment of dictatorships are full of the best intentions and that their intervention has, for the moment, saved European civilization. The merit that Fascism has thereby won for itself will live on eternally in history. But though its policy has brought salvation for the moment, it is not of the kind which could promise continued success. Fascism was an emergency makeshift. To view it as something more would be a fatal error.”)

    As with Hayek or Milton Friedman on Pinochet, I believe a fair analysis indicates that these libertarian figures saw fascism and its adherents as worthy only in contrast to the more extreme statism of communism, and not at all their ideal.

    Ayn Rand’s justifying genocide against American aboriginals is less defensible. Although she was usually a strong and insightful advocate of freedom, she tended to see the world in black and white, and her love affair with America probably blinded her to this major injustice in the country’s history.

    In any case though, none of these positions constitute libertarianism. Pinochet obviously was not the same cut of fascist as Hitler or Mussolini, and was relatively good on economic freedom (only by contemporary standards of course), but his regime did kill several thousand political dissidents, clearly an unjustifiable and un-libertarian act of aggression.

    Do you assert that there is something about the Non-Aggression Principle of libertarianism itself that in practice inevitably leads toward support of oppressive hierarchies? If so, do you see any remedy for this?

    • Christian JimenezNo Gravatar says:

      Two things are occurring. One is that people are relying – for the sake of brevity – on “Principled” Libertarian arguments. The problem is most of these PL arguments are based on NON-“Principled” Libertarian arguments (NPL). A lot of the comments seem to imply NPL is an unfortunate accident because Rand or Hayek failing to be consistent says nothing about the position.

      Notice the article itself and the responses don’t make that assumption. Either you embody a position or you don’t. Presumably, Chomsky’s failures to live up to his own standards mean something or they don’t. I think they do. And that applies across the board. You should also read Doherty’s big history on libertarianism and he shows in painful detail that most “libertarians” held authoritarian views.

      Notice the problem – CURRENT libertarians might be PL but the point I’m making is that NPL and PL people are often the same. One can hold a lot of PL and NPL views together. So libertarianism is no better than Chomsky’s “anarchism” in being selective. A better place to start is to ask why all these ideologists keep on violating their own standards. I’ve devoted a lot of research to this and to take a note from Chomsky the issue is trivially obvious. Since human nature isn’t homogenous any set of principles is never going to really capture much of it – so no ideology is going to answer all the problems put before it.

      But the real issue is between ideals and reality is not beyond a minimal need for adjustment. Unfortunately, I don’t think is likely either. Just to finish you’re simply wrong factually about “these libertarian figures saw fascism and its adherents as worthy ONLY in contrast to the more extreme statism of communism.” Hayek POSITIVELY liked Pinochet; he repeatedly attacked democracy in Constitution and argued for an outright “constitutional” dictatorship in his Liberty trilogy.

      The issue between these various people and their positions is not their “anti-fascism” but, in fact, their allegiance (at best) to a weaker form of fascism. Needless to say having a weaker form of Hitlerism than Hitlerism doesn’t say very much. And insofar as libertarians are human I’m afraid – some exceptional examples aside – the temptation to go fascist – as this discussion is showing – is just too strong. why bother with arguments when coercion and force are available?? I’m not endorsing Chomsky or Hitler but from the pragmatic perspective – that’s why it’s so popular – it is unfortunately easy to fall into this position. As Wittgenstein might put it – there is a moment one has to act and not argue and usually people’s acts aren’t going to conform to their principles for both good, principled reasons but also bad ones. Tis life.

      • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

        C.J.: Your observation that principles do not consistently translate into action and therefore cannot, thereby making principles not very helpful, is Plato’s metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics. It is a philosophical “catch 22”. You can advocate anything and if it does not work, you can say: “…human action isn’t homogenous…”. This is just another way of claiming we can never know what actions will work.

        Austrian economic theory is based on the opposite metaphysics, an Aristotelian axiom that reality is knowable because it has an unchanging nature. In economics the nature of man must be discovered to predict his actions. Mises does that in “Human Action”. And it works. (“Tis life.”)

        • Christian JimenezNo Gravatar says:

          You have to demonstrate economic theory is even possible. Rosenberg in a good book – Economics Mathematical Politics – shows it’s IMPOSSIBLE to assert economics could even be a science IN PRINCIPLE. Take Mises he has to appeal to first principles but from what I can tell he merely ASSERTS the assumptions that have to be proven. Anyone can make assertions. The issue is of comparative metaphysics.

          Physics has a lot of conceptual problems, too. But planes fly. Newton can be seen to less generalizable than Einstein and Einsteinless less generalizable than the current standard model and so on. But I have yet to find ANY evidence that economists can claim to know more than Plato or the guy down the street. The issue isn’t Platonic but – and I admit it – a no-frills metaphysics where either we can have an economics science or not. I think the answer is no. And that applies to ethics, too. All one can get is a lot of guessing and arguing.

          Maybe you mean it’s still better – at least for the sake of rational discussion – to ASSUME economics is a science. Maybe. But, honestly, who finds these issues interesting?? Only a select audience finds many controversies in economics interesting and those controversies are often the product of not having a science – no sharp boundaries or parameters to definitively label some views irrational or impossible. Maybe I am being too glum. But the facts so far bear out talking about economics and/or ethics is a chaotic business. If there are some sure principles to be find I’d love to know what books you’re referring to. But I have read a good deal of the Austrians including some works by N. Scott Arnold who makes the toughest arguments on their behalf. And I still don’t buy them.

          • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

            Ok, CJ, I can recommend three short books: “The Virtue of Selfishness”, “For the New Intellectual”, and “Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal”.

            Taking the axioms first is best. That would be starting with metaphysics – epistemology – ethics – politics, in that order. Rand starts with the axiom, A=A, in metaphysics and builds on it to arrive at her epistemology, which leads to her ethics, and finally her politics.

            But for a lay person, for whom philosophy is boring, perhaps starting with a subject that effects them everyday is best. Everyone uses money. It has a lot of emotion connected with it. It might be useful to begin with a question like: Did you know it’s possible for the govt. to steal your money without touching your wallet? Then you can explain how money is created.

            • Christian JimenezNo Gravatar says:

              I read all that stuff – and more. A lot of commentaries on Rand. And Rand falters, too, for the same reason. She appeals to “consciousness” but there is no EVIDENCE for consciousness so the argument is preemptively false – if one takes science seriously (I am agnostic on this point but Rosenberg is right that economists and libertarians can’t simultaneously hold their arguments as being rational AND assert consciousness exists).

              It’s fine to say Rand has a plausible system. So do I. So does Chomsky. And so on. All I’m bringing up – again and again – is the fact/value problem. Insofar as one has values one is mightily tempted to distort the facts. Since this problem of relativism is impossible to get over NO SYSTEM is ever going to be able to meet objections from an unfriendly side. But to be fair, one could make a pro-market argument – it just isn’t going to get very far. Anyone can agree markets do x and y and z efficiently.

              But success can’t be the right standard since Hitler succeeded in making Germany function, too. That’s the dilemma – can one, IN PRINCIPLE, differentiate the pragmatism of Hayek, Chomsky, Rand, or Hitler or Obama. I don’t think so. Pragmatism at this level means making some pretty problematic compromises – embracing Hitler, Mao, or today China’s brutal leadership. So the issue is less anarchy versus libertarianism but trying to formulate a PRINCIPLED version of these ideologies.

              To repeat myself: since neither can escape being compromised, attacking Chomsky doesn’t do very much since as he does rightly point out – anything that could be said about him (hypocrisy, lying, self-contradiction, etc.) is true of his opponents, too. So logically one is simply stuck making bad choices. I’d choose Chomsky over Rand any day. But I don’t like that decision and I’m uncomfortable defending. It’s merely making a comparative judgment.

              As for the money example – no that’s no good. Say I become rich and then find a method of NOT paying my taxes thanks to the state. Am I – from Rand’s perspective – retrieving something I lost earlier?? No, of course not. I’m buying into the system – to a certain degree. The creation of money and the creation of markets are different, in any case. Study Greece and Rome. Both had money – yet neither could be described as a “market economy”! This is a serious point. I can surely desire to make money and have no trouble rejecting markets since an alternate method is available – theft, fraud, sheer dumb luck, gambling, etc. etc.

              • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

                C.J.: If consciousness does not exist, we are not conscious. Who is challenging their existence? What are we?

                Descartes started with his thinking, to arrive at the belief that he must exist. But his thinking did not create his existence. His existence, or more specifically, one attribute of his existence (being human) allowed for the possibility of self awareness. One must chose to do the work of thinking. It is not automatic. We are self actuated.

                Rand’s primary value was her life/happiness. She proved the only way life is promoted is by using the mind to identify reality. It follows, lying would not be done consciously.

                How did you get from value to lying to relativism?

                You claim: “Hitler succeeded in making Germany function.” I disagree.

                Nations are not a consciousness. They are a collection of individual consciousnesses, sometimes working at counter purposes. Hitler represented the popular idea of individual sacrifice to a so-called higher reality of the group. So did Mao. So did Stalin. Mistaken belief, no matter how faithful the believers, results in destruction. None of these societies worked. Germany would have rebuilt into a healthy society, instead of a sick self destructive society, if it embraced the ideal of the Declaration of Independence: individual sovereignty. It worked here in a diluted form, know as the American Dream, or American Spirit better than any idea has ever worked anywhere. Because it was not explicitly accepted or understood, it was undermined by second rate intellectuals who were heavily supported by the enemies of individual sovereignty. History is exclusively dominated by enemies of freedom. An elite cannot successfully exploit free people. But if people can be conned/frightened out of their freedom, the victims will support their own exploitation. That is the present state of the world.

                When I use the term “market” I mean free market. It exists nowhere. What has existed in some eras is a mixed economy with minimal controls. It brought peace and prosperity but since economic freedom was NOT given credit it was lost to parasites who acquire wealth by force/fraud. Wealth acquired this way is highly destructive. Eventually it destroys the host. Again, the world economy’s destruction is an example. It is not intentional. The parasites would love to continue stealing forever, but no thieves have been able to keep their societies going indefinitely. But that is their dream. The latest form of that dream of eternal mass exploitation is world government. So collapse, rejuvenation, and collapse continue. The cycle can only be broken by a mass renouncing of self sacrifice to what the exploiters call “more lofty goals”. Nothing is more lofty than the individual’s right to exist, i.e., individual sovereignty.

    • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

      Are you kidding? How can the non-aggression principle (NAP) lead to aggression? In practice or theory? As for violent hierarchies, isn’t that the same question? Violence=aggression.

      When judging Rand you must consider her entire work. Taking statements made in a media interview or short article you may find a contradiction to her long well written books. She used speed. She used nicotine (cigarettes). She used alcohol. She was moody. People who have no vices can still be monsters. The opposite is true, namely people who have vices can be great thinkers.

  27. GordonNo Gravatar says:

    Very nicely written.

  28. davidNo Gravatar says:

    Unbelievable. The level of ignorance displayed here is really something to marvel. Anarcho-Capitalism or whatever clever euphamism you’re using to describe yourselves these days is an oxymoron. It’s a game of mental gymnastics where circles are squares.

    While the internet trolling Rothbardians are discussing their non-aggression principal and the beauty of markets, real anarchists across the globe are fighting back against austerity and fascists and building a better world.

    • BlindDonkeyNo Gravatar says:


      • AnonymouseNo Gravatar says:

        I’d like to see somebody from this page address the elephant in the room, I mean ya’ll do claim to be anarchists, albeit hyphenated.

        We don’t have to have money, we do have to have work. Kropotkin proved this in The Conquest of Bread 150 years ago. The workers filled the stores today and they will fill the stores tomorrow whether they get paid in dollars, gold or free passes to the store. With the added demand of an economy based on giving freely from your work and receiving from the work of others for free full employment will result.
        With a gift based economy we all live like billionaires by contributing our work from the ages of 20 to 50 and live in leisure the remainder of our lives.
        Want to get on a plane and go to Malaysia and learn to make big screen tvs? Then go. When you get there there will be people waiting to take you in, give you a place to live, food to eat, clothes to wear, everything you need in return for working in their production facilities. All this exists without money, with money we are all slaves of whoever manipulates the market in dollars, or gold, or whatever other scheme they’ll cook up to enslave us, again.

        Open your mind, stop accepting the programming that you will deny even exists, realize that you have not been given all the options in your ‘advanced’ education, and smash the glass!

        • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

          Please study the price mechanism.

        • StarchildNo Gravatar says:

          You say “The workers filled the stores today and they will fill the stores tomorrow whether they get paid in dollars, gold or free passes to the store… With a gift based economy we all live like billionaires by contributing our work from the ages of 20 to 50 and live in leisure the remainder of our lives.”

          Okay, here are a few questions I have…

          (1) What mechanism will guarantee quality? In other words, what will incentivize workers to do a good job, if they’ll be able to get free goods and services anywhere, regardless, just by proving they are employed?

          (2) If people are required to be employed in some productive capacity from age 20-50 in order to get all this free stuff, how WILL they prove this?

          (3) Some people will claim to have disabilities that prevent them from working. Some of them will be lying. How do you propose to address this problem?

          (4) If no proof of things like employment, age, or disability is required, what will stop able people of working age from “living like billionaires” (as you promise it) on the largess of society while not working, or working a few hours here or there when they feel like it but not enough to support their level of consumption?

          (5) There is a widespread preference for higher quality and more luxurious stuff. For instance it seems safe to say that of those who want to drive, the overwhelming majority will prefer to use a vehicle such as a Lamborghini, Rolls Royce, Mercedes, Porsche, etc., rather than a vehicle such as a Kia, Yugo, Lada, etc. The same will hold true for other types of goods. Yet production is generally set up to produce a relatively small percentage of high-end goods and lots of less expensive/less luxurious items. How do you propose to deal with this discrepancy?

          (6) If some of what society produces is of markedly better quality or markedly more luxurious than other products (and it’s very hard to see how this could not be the case even if you consciously strive for a “one-size-fits-all” model), how will you prevent people from hoarding the good stuff? How will you prevent corruption?

          (6) Some people will simply refuse to give away what they produce, making those items simply unavailable to anyone not willing/able to pay for them in some fashion. This will incentivize still more people to withhold at least some production from the gift economy in order to have the means to obtain those things they want that aren’t available for free. Without some central authority that has the power to force people to participate in the gift economy against their will (i.e. government), how will you resolve this problem?

          (7) How will you deal with prostitution? (As a sex worker myself, I have some personal interest and expertise in the question, and feel that it poses a special challenge for your proposed society.)

          • AnonymouseNo Gravatar says:

            1. Who are they proving it to?
            What level of misbehavior is the group willing to tolerate? What level of performance is the group willing to proclaim exceptional?
            2. It is better to carry a slacker than to enslave the productive. Need you look any farther than the current wage slavery scheme to prove this? Those least exploitive have the worst houses.
            3. See #2.
            4. Shame, and for the the shameless see #2.

            Would you like to be celebrated as the best thing since chocolate ice cream with the attendant perks of fame? Wouldn’t the world be a wonderful place when the superproductive are the rockstars? Those willing to live at the expense of their neighbors will soon be outed.

            5. Gonna be a line at the employment office for working at the Bugatti factory. Somebody with better math skills than mine can figure out the numbers needed to get your own while producing responsibly.
            Hoops will be created and destroyed as they are needed or superseded.
            6. If somebody wants to separate I wouldn’t advocate forcing him back into the system. If his shamelessness is brazen enough I doubt he will reproduce very much and soon his type will cease to exist in any problematic numbers. Have you seen many tramps lately?(they steal). Lot’s of homeless(necessary to keep the fiat currency system eating the bankrupt). Not many hobos left, either. They were better educated, a threat to the system. Think Woodie Guthrie and Waylon Jennings.
            7. I would advocate taking, yes, TAKING, your freedom where, and when, you feel the need to be free. I advocate taking it back because the otherside has certainly been using violence, and sophisticated mind control techniques, to force us into slavery. Protesting only feeds their psychosis and will get you jailed/silenced.
            If you are their best cop your freedom has already been lost.

            Seth, please look into why you feel the need to embrace the current paradigm.

  29. absoluterightsNo Gravatar says:

    “In fact, I’d make popcorn and pay to watch a reality TV show based on it… Although if I paid them they might think they were exploiting me”
    Hilarious. I literally laughed out loud. Maybe I found a new website.

  30. Chomsky’s support of a tax-funded government healthcare system mentioned in the interview is unlibertarian and unjustified by the standard of common sense morality.

    Chomsky accuses libertarians of supporting unjustified private power, but I’d maintain that it is he who is wrong to support the authority of the state:

  31. DavidNo Gravatar says:

    Chomsky claims to be a follower of Bakunin, among many others. Bakunin defined anarchism as “stateless communism”. But since Chomsky insists that the state must be retained as something irreplacably useful, he is not an anarchist at all. He is a state communist, just like Marx. Bakunin would repudiate Chomsky, as indeed would just about evrybody Chomsky claims as influences on his “thinking. HIs claim to be acting in the “tradition” of classical libertarianism is ridiculous. Classical libertarians were mainly intereseted in free trade. Later developments saw a split between those interested in free trade, and those who were more interested in social questions, but with both streams being totally committed to the rule of law in a democratic state.

    Communism and socialism on the other hand have their roots in fundamentalist religiouis thought, and political extremism – the very opposite of the classic liberal thougt, and enlightenment thinking that Chomsky tries to claim as his own. Chomsky is simply a pretender who will tell any lie to maintain that pretence.

    • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

      “…democratic state…” is an oxymoron. The state is rule by an elite. Rule by a majority is actually rule by an elite who claim to represent the majority or have as their goal the welfare of the majority. This last claim makes it possible to go against 99.9% and justify it as for the “common good” because the majority don’t know what is good for them.

      The “rule of law” is a tool of those who wish no opposition to their rule. It gets people to go along with bad law thinking that it’s better to have bad laws than no law, or that law in general will benefit more than not. But we don’t need law. We need justice. And govt. law is unjust.

      Social questions are addressed by free trade. We can’t have civil rights without economic rights. They have the same root.