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Author Topic: Official Conversion Thread  (Read 4337 times)
Rothbardian
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« on: January 08, 2012, 07:46:49 PM »

Ok, this is the official conversion thread. You can post here if you want to post arguments you've used on people or are seeking advice to answer questions of the unconvinced.

So I have been working to convert Minarchists over at my favourite forum, Libertarian's Forum. Grin A lot of us there are AnCaps too, so it works fairly well as a conversion program, though there are stubborn folks of course. Anyway, I convinced a guy there that the military should be privatized. I then asked him where he stood on the Anarcho-Capitalist question. To which he replied:

Quote from: Conservatarian
Every time I end up being convinced pro-AnCap-wise, someone else comes in and gives a viable reason (to me) as to why it wouldn't work.

To which I replied with what I think is a pretty good introduction to our political philosophy:

Quote from: Me
Ah, I see, there are a few telling things in your phraseology here.

Anarcho-Capitalists absolutely do not make the claim that an AnCap society will "work," per se. There could be a hypothetical society where 30% of the populace are murderers. Anarcho-Capitalists do not make the argument that this society without government would work, so to speak. Rather, the argument is that the society would be better off without institutionalizing aggression, i.e., forming a State. The society still won't be good, but it will be relatively better. This is why people have often misunderstood our stance on Somalia. There is no argument that the lack of central government makes Somalia a utopia. Rather, we argue Somalia is relatively better off without a central government. This is an easily misinterpreted stance, so it is imperative for me to clarify upon this point. A society with or without a State could "work." But that's not the reasoning behind our side.  AnCap is not a utopian philosophy.

Another frequently alleged claim that we do not make is that an AnCap society would have any sort of permanence. No. There is no everlasting hope once the ideal Libertarian society has been established. Another State could arise (whether this is easy or difficult would depend upon the populace). This is the same as saying that big government could easily arise from minarchism. It's absolutely true. No minarchist in their right mind could deny this. Minarchism led to what the U.S. is now! The U.S. is not a minarchist government, at any rate; anyone who argues that a minarchist society could prevent the formation of a big government is lying. AnCaps would, however, make the claim that a given AnCap society versus a given minarchist society, all other things being the same, would not form a big government as quickly. (Since in the AnCap case there would not be a State already established to work with).  

Best put, Anarcho-Capitalism is the philosophy of non-aggression as opposed to criminality. It is unfortunate this point is not emphasized more. The dichotomy of public vs. private is true; we do support entirely privatizing the means of production. But that's a result of our anti-criminal stance. AnCaps are fundamentally against three things in the political sphere, which the State commits in the given geographical area which it claims: (1) taxation, which is theft; (2) a coercive monopoly on defence services; (3) any subsidiary socialism, such as public health care. Furthermore, we are (4) against any "private" acts of aggression, so to speak. Murder doesn't become legitimate, to the Anarcho-Capitalist, simply because it is on your private property. (It is often alleged that we support private aggression, hence why I bring this point up). Let's elaborate upon some of the above points:

  • Point (1) can be difficult to understand, at first. How can one claim taxation is theft? Well, to express the simple answer I'm sure you understand, taxation is theft because of what is threatened if I don't pay taxes. If I don't pay taxes I will (a) get further threats, (b) get possibly locked in jail, and (c) even be possibly shot and killed, if I am extremely disobedient. Keep in mind that Anarcho-Capitalists see overt threats to commit aggression as essentially the same as the aggression itself. An overt threat to steal is basically the same as theft itself, and constitutes an equivalent degree of force.  
  • For point (2), let us imagine a desert island. Let's say that you, me, and ten other people are there. To make this a clearer metaphor, let's say we all have a gun. Well, let's say me and five people want to monopolize on the defence services. We tell you, (d) "you cannot freely compete to be the police here, and should give us your guns; we (and those chosen by us) are the police." This would be, in effect, a monopoly on the police services, one of the three main defence services. Subsidiary prohibitions would be (e) a restriction on starting your own courts and (f) a restriction on providing military services. The minarchist effectively argues for points (d), (e), and (f). He argues that you should involuntarily hand over your guns to these crazy bastards, who will allegedly do a better job than you. This is the reason why Anarcho-Capitalists are strongly for vigilante justice and private, freely competing defence services, without arbitrary restriction to a State elite.
  • An interesting albeit technical point. Minarchists are minimal socialists. They can desire either/or points (1) or (2). An example of a minarchist who did not support taxation, but did support a coercive monopoly on defence services (2), is Ayn Rand. And, of course, there are many minarchists - as you know - who support both (1) and (2). I've never heard of a minarchist who only supports (1), but it's possible, I suppose. We should note that the only distinguishing factor between minarchists and other socialists is point (3). And, in the final analysis, taxation and control of defence services is as arbitrary as that for food, health care, roads, etc.
To summarize, AnCaps are against assault, theft, and slavery. If you are against all three of these, you're necessarily pro-AnCap.

I was pretty happy with his subsequent reply, as he now seems to be far more convinced, and hopefully will throw off the shackles of minarchism once and for all:

Quote from: Conservatarian
Geez, you go all out, don't you? Thanks, this should help quite a bit.

He now lists himself as an Anarcho-Capitalist in his signature, so this seems to be a success.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2012, 07:54:19 PM by Rothbardian » Logged

Rothbardian
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« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2012, 07:49:30 PM »

Oh, and anyone who wants to use my material is of course more than welcome to do so.
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Seth King
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« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2012, 12:10:04 AM »

Keep up the good work, troll!  Grin
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When are you moving to New Hampshire?
Rothbardian
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« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2012, 12:30:54 AM »

Relevant:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qx15Z9OSilY" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qx15Z9OSilY</a>

Yeah, there was one point where we were basically all minarchist, but me and my fellow anarchist pals who converted have largely turned the forum around via trolling. (My username is "Ex-Minarchist" there since I used to be "Minarchist"). I'd say it's maybe 1:1 anarchist to minarchist ratio now? Or maybe more like 2:3 or a little worse, if I'm not being optimistic.

But it's one of the major libertarian strongholds on the web, so I'm happy with what I've helped achieve there. I'm also sure I've probably alienated a few minarchists, haha.
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Syock
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« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2012, 09:46:26 AM »

Quote
Anarcho-Capitalists absolutely do not make the claim that an AnCap society will "work," per se.

Am I missing some hidden meaning to the word "work" here?
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Rothbardian
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« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2012, 11:18:40 AM »

My point was that if you have a society full of murderers, anarcho-capitalism will be nearly as dysfunctional (i.e. not "work") as statism. Both won't work, but the AnCaps will be better off to some degree; we know that much for certain.

Sorry, might just be a wording issue. I hope you see my point though. There is too much focus on whether an AnCap society can "work," when a statist society can hypothetically "work" too: particularly minarchist states can "work" fairly well. The really important claim is that Minarchism is better off than Fascism; and that Anarcho-Capitalism is better off than Minarchism. 
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