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Author Topic: QS2:RAQ1:AFAQ  (Read 3289 times)
Mr.Mister
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« on: October 28, 2014, 07:27:40 PM »

Title stands for "Quote Source 2, Refute-a-Quote 1, Anarchist FAQ".

This one should be rather difficult, but it's a critically important theme to tackle.

You know what to do: Refute the Quote!

Good Luck!

"Are anarcho capitalists anarchists?"

"In a word, no. While "anarcho"-capitalists obviously try to associate themselves with the anarchist tradition by using the word "anarcho" or by calling themselves "anarchists" their ideas are distinctly at odds with those associated with anarchism. As a result, any claims that their ideas are anarchist or that they are part of the anarchist tradition or movement are false.

"Anarcho"-capitalists claim to be anarchists because they say that they oppose government. As noted in the last section, they use a dictionary definition of anarchism. However, this fails to appreciate that anarchism is a political theory. As dictionaries are rarely politically sophisticated things, this means that they fail to recognise that anarchism is more than just opposition to government, it is also marked a opposition to capitalism (i.e. exploitation and private property). Thus, opposition to government is a necessary but not sufficient condition for being an anarchist -- you also need to be opposed to exploitation and capitalist private property. As "anarcho"-capitalists do not consider interest, rent and profits (i.e. capitalism) to be exploitative nor oppose capitalist property rights, they are not anarchists."
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macsnafu
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« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2014, 09:16:07 PM »

"Are anarcho capitalists anarchists?"

"In a word, no. While "anarcho"-capitalists obviously try to associate themselves with the anarchist tradition by using the word "anarcho" or by calling themselves "anarchists" their ideas are distinctly at odds with those associated with anarchism. As a result, any claims that their ideas are anarchist or that they are part of the anarchist tradition or movement are false.

"Anarcho"-capitalists claim to be anarchists because they say that they oppose government. As noted in the last section, they use a dictionary definition of anarchism. However, this fails to appreciate that anarchism is a political theory. As dictionaries are rarely politically sophisticated things, this means that they fail to recognise that anarchism is more than just opposition to government, it is also marked a opposition to capitalism (i.e. exploitation and private property). Thus, opposition to government is a necessary but not sufficient condition for being an anarchist -- you also need to be opposed to exploitation and capitalist private property. As "anarcho"-capitalists do not consider interest, rent and profits (i.e. capitalism) to be exploitative nor oppose capitalist property rights, they are not anarchists."

Meh.  This is really more of a semantic issue than a political issue, but I'm game.  

The funny thing about dictionary definitions is the dictionary writers don't make up words and definitions--they find words in use in society and how they're used and list that in the dictionary.  Language itself is rather anarchic, with people adapting and changing words to fit their usage and meanings.  But people don't generally understand you if you're not using the same words and meanings that they're using, so the more commonly (democratically?) accepted words and definitions are generally what end up in the dictionary.  If most people think that anarchists are primarily opposed to government, that's not the fault of ancaps.  

Furthermore, given the fragmented variations among left-anarchists, before ancaps came on the scene, anarcho-communists, anarcho-socialists, syndicalists, mutualists, etc., it's hardly surprising that anything more than "anti-government" didn't leave a strong impression on the general public.  

On the other side, while anarcho-capitalism is a fairly new development in political philosophy, it didn't spring from nowhere, but from the tradition of libertarianism, which itself was an offshoot of classical liberalism, and thus goes back a few centuries.  

The classical liberal tradition in general held that individual rights do matter, and in recognition of that governments should be limited to prevent government violations of individual rights and furthermore should be limited to the protection of individual rights.  

The libertarians built on this with the addition of non-aggression principle, providing a bright line for rights and rights-violations, and a stronger understanding of liberty.  As early as 1913, the dictionary definition for "libertarian" was: One who upholds the principle of liberty, especially individual liberty of thought and action.  This is how Webster's New International Dictionary defined it at that time.  Charles T. Sprading came out with a book in 1913 entitled Liberty and the Great Libertarians, and included the writings of various libertarian-oriented authors in it, even if they weren't what we would consider full-blown libertarians.  While libertarians at that time weren't the unified movement that they became later, it goes to show the history and tradition of libertarianism involved.  

Anarcho-capitalism came about because some people took the libertarian non-aggression principle to its full logical conclusion, realized that governments (or should I say states) cannot exist without violating individual rights, and rightly concluded that we are better off without governments, thus fusing libertarianism with the popular view of anarchism.  

I, for example, was initially inspired more by Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman than by Tucker and Kropotkin, but with more reading and thought eventually came to the ancap position.  My discovery of Ludwig von Mises especially cemented to me the importance of economics and the market economy along with the fundamental problem with governments, so while I can respect the sincerity of most left-anarchists, I cannot respect their lack of economic understanding.  

Some ancaps object to the word anarcho-capitalist, and while some simply call themselves anarchist, others go by terms like market anarchists or agorists.  The terms themselves aren't as important as the ideas behind them, and any term is fine as long people know what we're talking about when we use it.  

Left-anarchists are flogging a dead horse and fighting an uphill battle by trying claim exclusive use of the term "anarchist".  But who knows?  Maybe the meaning of anarchist will have shifted to some other definition in a hundred years or so, and maybe ancaps of that time will be trying to claim that the new anarchists aren't the One True Anarchists (One True Scotsman fallacy)?

« Last Edit: October 28, 2014, 11:12:35 PM by macsnafu » Logged

"I love mankind.  It's people I can't stand!"
Mr.Mister
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True Capitalism is a Hellish road to Heaven


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« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2014, 09:46:12 PM »

A brilliant analysis that makes the hypocrisy of it all practically glow in the dark...

Well done, Macsnafu!
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