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Author Topic: Refute-a-Quote 5  (Read 3856 times)
Mr.Mister
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« on: October 26, 2014, 03:47:39 AM »

Good job keeping the ball rolling, everyone. I seriously appreciate all the comments people have been giving refute-a-quote and I sincerely hope that THIS monstrous quote doesn't give you writer's block.

Sorry, everyone...I HAD to raise the difficulty because of how high you guys set the bar for yourselves.

Here's the thing though; in order to make it easier, I'm requesting that you AT LEAST refute only the parts where he attacks anarcho capitalism, not the parts where he defends anarcho communism

If you wish, you may tackle his pro ancom sentiments as we'll, though it's not necessary for progressing to refute a quote 6. Also, DON'T MAKE LIES ABOUT ANARCHO COMMUNISM! It will greatly damage your credibility!

Good Luck! I think this will be the hardest one!

"The collective is not some mysterious ghost that would hover over you, making laws and stealing posessions; it is you and I and every other member of the community. If we are working under direct consensus democracy, the community could never, let's say, demolish your house without your consent. Furthermore, it is important to make a distinction between private property and private posessions; posessions are things whose purpose is personal use (e.g. your house, your car, your toothbrush), and these would not ever be taken from you. It is the things which you cannot justify as being for personal use (e.g. entire acres of land, school buildings, factories) that would be collectivised and, by extension, democratised. Another reason that we reject your idea of "justly acquired private property" is that we believe there can be no just owner; there is no justification for the ownership of things that aren't made for personal use. But let's say you would find yourself homeless in an anarcho-communist society, for whatever reason. How do you think that situation would be dealt with? Well, since our core principle is "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need", we, the community, would work together and build a house for you."
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Mr.Mister
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« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2014, 11:46:48 AM »

Hmmm....maybe someone will answer quicker if I make this the most recent post
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macsnafu
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« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2014, 01:40:57 PM »

Hmmm....maybe someone will answer quicker if I make this the most recent post

You have no patience!  I can't be online 24/7, I had to sleep, and then I had things to do this morning.  And considering how slow this forum has apparently been lately, anyone else who might respond to these may not pop in for several days. 
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macsnafu
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« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2014, 02:46:07 PM »

Here's the thing though; in order to make it easier, I'm requesting that you AT LEAST refute only the parts where he attacks anarcho capitalism, not the parts where he defends anarcho communism

If you wish, you may tackle his pro ancom sentiments as we'll, though it's not necessary for progressing to refute a quote 6. Also, DON'T MAKE LIES ABOUT ANARCHO COMMUNISM! It will greatly damage your credibility!

Good Luck! I think this will be the hardest one!

"The collective is not some mysterious ghost that would hover over you, making laws and stealing posessions; it is you and I and every other member of the community. If we are working under direct consensus democracy, the community could never, let's say, demolish your house without your consent. Furthermore, it is important to make a distinction between private property and private posessions; posessions are things whose purpose is personal use (e.g. your house, your car, your toothbrush), and these would not ever be taken from you. It is the things which you cannot justify as being for personal use (e.g. entire acres of land, school buildings, factories) that would be collectivised and, by extension, democratised. Another reason that we reject your idea of "justly acquired private property" is that we believe there can be no just owner; there is no justification for the ownership of things that aren't made for personal use. But let's say you would find yourself homeless in an anarcho-communist society, for whatever reason. How do you think that situation would be dealt with? Well, since our core principle is "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need", we, the community, would work together and build a house for you."

There is very little here where he is actually attacking anarcho-capitalism.  The idea of "justly-acquired private property" is held by most people of various political stripes, not just ancaps.

I certainly understand that left-anarchists make a distinction between private property and private possessions, but I think this a necessarily arbitrary distinction and one that ultimately makes little sense when you consider the economy and how goods and services are produced and distributed.

Obviously, your toothbrush makes sense as a personal possession, but what if you have half a dozen toothbrushes?  Would only one of them be considered a possession while the rest are considered property?  And a car--sure you use the car, but is it then unjustified to have two cars, since you can only drive one at a time?  How about having a car and a truck, because you only need the truck when you're moving furniture or other large items?  

And exactly what is unjust if you buy or build a factory?  Its personal use would be as a source of income.  Or a school building?  Or more significantly, an apartment building?  One person could never personally use all the apartments of an apartment building, but who would build factories, schools, or apartment buildings if they couldn't be privately owned?  Ownership is not only clearly justified as being the product of one's efforts and labor, it is also part of the incentives of the market process for producing things that *other* people will use, instead the person producing it.  Divison of labor is an invaluable way of increasing productivity.  To take private ownership of these types of things away is to not only reduce the incentives for producing them, but to reduce the overall productivity of society, forcing individuals to produce more things for themselves, and ultimately creating a sort of medieval primitivism, as how many people are qualified to build houses, refrigerators, televisions, computers, clothes, etc, even if we assumed that the resources and tools were available to them?

Okay, moving on.  "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need".  A very nice sentiment, indeed, but again, one based on vague definitions and arbitrary distinctions.   For example, how do you measure someone's ability and decide how much that person *ought* to produce? What if they're lazy, or otherwise hide the full extent of their abilities so they don't have to work so hard?  And aren't abilities variable?  One can become more able through training and experience, but why struggle to increase one's abilities if it means you have to produce more to be given away to others?  So once again, the incentive structure is heavily modified.

And there are few words as contentious and vague as "need".  For example, while people need to eat food to live, do you "need" steak when you can live on ground hamburger?  Do you even need ground hamburger when you can live on beans and rice (gives you all the necessary proteins)?  Never mind fresh fruits and vegetables--those are obviously luxuries!  Many of the basics we enjoy today are not really "needs", but they make life easier, more comfortable, and more enjoyable: automobiles, electricity, computers, stereos, air conditioning, televisions, refrigerators, telephones, books, indoor plumbing and bathrooms,etc.  So how do they justify what a person "needs" as opposed to what one merely wants?

So on the one side, we have the problem of providing incentives for producing things, and on the other side, we have the problem distributing such things as are produced.  A market economy already solves both problems, and seems much more justified, objective, and fair than relying upon subjective value judgements and a political process, even if that process is a "direct consensus democracy".

And let's talk about this direct consensus democracy.  They've obviously decided that a simple democracy or a representative democracy isn't good enough.  But is even direct democracy with consensus good enough? Why merely "consensus"?  If it's not quite unanimous, then can we say that someone isn't being wronged by the decision?  Even if you require unanimous consent, there are various problems.  For one, how often will everyone agree to something by unanimous consent?  And how well-informed can everyone be on *all* the issues they would vote upon?  These seem like onerous requirements for the process to work well.

More importantly, why should we engage in political decision-making at all?  Isn't that requiring everyone to agree upon a one-size-fits-all plan or policy on various issues? A much more *democratic* solution is the ancap idea of polycentric common or customary legal systems, which automatically incorporate the majority opinions and views into the legal process, without needing to call votes or having onerous requirements for the process to work. And while private organizations can have their own procedures and vote on things if they want to, individuals are free to opt out of such organizations and their decisions by leaving the organization if they disagree, or not having to join up with the organization in the first place if they aren't interested in the plans or goals of the organization.

As should be obvious to anyone, people have a variety of need and desires, and everyone tends to have slight different needs and desires.  Indeed, human desires could even be called infinite--who doesn't want more of whatever they think is good?  A market economy not only solves the problem of incentives and distribution, it also forces people to prioritize their needs and desires, and focus on obtaining their greatest needs and desires while letting the lesser ones go until such time as they can attain the means to obtain them.  In short, it forces humans to recognize and accept the reality of scarce resources, and plan accordingly, regardless of how great or even impossible our subjective desires are.  Political decision-making of any kind never really requires accepting the reality of scarce resources, and difficult or even impossible plans may be approved by a vote, without people realizing how difficult or impossible they really are.

A market economy allows for the satisfaction of a greater variety of needs and desires, recognizing the uniqueness of individuals, through such things as niche marketing.  More people can be satisfied without requiring everyone to have exactly the same stuff as everybody else. Not everyone wants an iPhone!

Sorry to make this one so long, but yes, it was rather difficult to cover all the points raised in this one.  
« Last Edit: October 26, 2014, 02:51:32 PM by macsnafu » Logged

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Mr.Mister
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« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2014, 04:23:55 PM »

That was the FIRST time I've EVER seen direct consensus so critically analyzed. Well done!

I'm terribly sorry for my impatience, macsanfu. It's just that I get really excited over what answers I could possibly get. I love doing refute-a-quote. It feels like an intellectual journey to me.
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macsnafu
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« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2014, 05:00:01 PM »

That was the FIRST time I've EVER seen direct consensus so critically analyzed. Well done!

You might like Robert Paul Wolff's book In Defense of Anarchism.  In spite of its title, it's not really a defense of anarchism.  Instead, it critically explores the various forms of democracy.  The author merely turns to anarchism as the only viable choice for a just society.

It's not too expensive to buy, but it is also available online at:

http://www.ditext.com/wolff/anarchy.html



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"I love mankind.  It's people I can't stand!"
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