“Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time; the need for mankind to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Mankind must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.”—Martin Luther King Jr. (via dagestaniprincess)
“Political freedom means the absence of coercion of a man by his fellow men. The fundamental threat to freedom is power to coerce, be it in the hands of a monarch, a dictator, an oligarchy, or a momentary majority.”—Milton Friedman (via catharsisdiaries)
“These aren’t merely cases of some people having more stuff than you do. They’re cases in which some people are systematically empowered to dictate the terms on which other people live, work, and trade. And we generally take it for granted. But it’s not obvious that things have to be that way.”—Roderick T. Long, How Inequality Shapes Our Lives (via c4ss)
“The militarization of American police forces is a nationwide trend, one that has been carried out in concert with the rest of the warfare state. Radley Balko writes that, “A number of federal policies have driven the trend, including offering domestic police departments military training, allowing training with military organizations, using “troops-to-cops” programs and offering surplus military equipment and weaponry to domestic police departments for free or at major discounts.” For years now, the war abroad has been coming home, with police acting less as “peace officers” and more as soldiers.”—Nathan Goodman, End War at Home, End War Abroad (via c4ss)
“As a genuine free market libertarian, I want labor to receive the full value of its product, without paying tribute to big landlords and usurers or the holders of artificial “property” rights like patents, copyrights and licenses. I want the prices of goods and services to be driven by competition down to the real cost of supplying them, without state-enforced artificial scarcities to enclose technical progress as a source of rents. I want the average work week to reflect the time actually required to produce our standard of living, without the monkey of rentiers and subsidized waste on our backs.”—Kevin Carson, Social Democracy as High-Overhead “Socialism” (via c4ss)
In a dog-eat-dog world, people still cooperate, collaborate, and help each other out. Our species’ urge to work together has remained an evolutionary paradox, seemingly at odds with Darwinian theory—until now.
…The prisoner’s dilemma focuses on the choice between cooperation and selfishness. Superficially it seems quite simple: You and another person have been caught by the police on suspicion of criminal activity and are being held in separate cells. The prosecutor visits each of you separately and offers a deal. If you confess and incriminate your accomplice while he or she remains silent, you will be convicted of a lesser crime, serving just one year in prison while your accomplice serves four. In the parlance of the game, you have “defected” from your friendship.
If you and your accomplice both refuse the deal and stay true to each other—remaining “cooperators” in the game’s lingo—you will both be convicted of a lesser crime and serve two-year sentences, since the police do not have enough evidence to convict either one of you of the more serious crime. If you both testify against each other—that is, if you mutually defect—then the police will convict both of you for the serious crime but give you only three years, since you provided some evidence.
Clearly, the best choice for you as an individual is to defect. You get only one year in prison if you rat on your accomplice and he doesn’t rat on you. Even if you both rat on each other, the penalty is three years, not the maximum sentence. It is only the sucker who doesn’t defect while his accomplice does who spends four years in the slammer, the maximum sentence. On the other hand, both prisoners are worse off when they turn on each other than they would be if they both kept silent.
Nowak was fascinated by the prisoner’s dilemma because it provides a mathematical way to study human behavior and, more broadly, the evolutionary costs and benefits of cooperation. Each round of the game generates numbers (the number of years in prison can be considered points), there can be different results based upon different strategies, and all of this can be turned into calculations. With the prisoner’s dilemma, Sigmund said, one could use math to examine the thorniest conundrum of our social lives: how to weigh personal gain against the common good.
For the rest of the alpine weekend and all the way back to Vienna, Nowak talked to Sigmund about the game. He visited him the following day at his office at the Institute for Mathematics in Vienna, which shared a building with a seminary, the priests on the first floor and the mathematicians on the second. “It was total tranquility,” says Nowak, a Roman Catholic who holds fast to his faith. “In biochemistry, we were always breaking things, and there were bad smells. But here there were just empty corridors with someone occasionally walking by, deep in thought. I was amazed that someone could make a living just by thinking.”
In 1987 Nowak decided to do doctoral work with Sigmund on the mathematics of evolution. Their focus was the prisoner’s dilemma and its endless iterations, now parsed with computers and math.
Others had already studied cooperation using the prisoner’s dilemma, notably political scientist Robert Axelrod, who held virtual tournaments in the 1970s. Scientists around the world sent Axelrod strategies for the “prisoners”—instructions for when they would cooperate and when they would defect—to wield in round after computerized round. Each round, the strategies received points; the shorter the prison term, the higher the score.
Over the course of hundreds of computerized rounds, the winning strategy was one called Tit for Tat: Whatever you did in the last round of the game, I will do to you in this round. This strategy relies on direct reciprocity and abounds in the real world, especially in communities where creatures have a history with one another. For instance, Neighbor Jones is more likely to change a flat tire for Neighbor Newell if Newell helped fix Jones’s broken lawn mower last week. It holds true in the animal world as well: A vampire bat is more likely to share a blood meal with others in the cave if those others shared a blood meal with it the last time it failed to find prey…Read More
There is, however, another and contrasting type of interpersonal relation: the use of aggressive violence by one man against another. What such aggressive violence means is that one man invades the property of another without the victim’s consent. The invasion may be against a man’s property in his person (as in the case of bodily assault), or against his property in tangible goods (as in robbery or trespass). In either case, the aggressor imposes his will over the natural property of another—he deprives the other man of his freedom of action and of the full exercise of his natural self-ownership.
Let us set aside for a moment the corollary but more complex case of tangible property, and concentrate on the question of a man’s ownership rights to his own body. Here there are two alternatives: either we may lay down a rule that each man should be permitted (i.e., have the right to) the full ownership of his own body, or we may rule that he may not have such complete ownership. If he does, then we have the libertarian natural law for a free society as treated above. But if he does not, if each man is not entitled to full and 100 percent self-ownership, then what does this imply? It implies either one of two conditions: (1) the “communist” one of Universal and Equal Other-ownership, or (2) Partial Ownership of One Group by Another—a system of rule by one class over another. These are the only logical alternatives to a state of 100 percent self-ownership for all.
Let us consider alternative (2); here, one person or group of persons, G, are entitled to own not only themselves but also the remainder of society, R. But, apart from many other problems and difficulties with this kind of system, we cannot here have a universal or natural-law ethic for the human race. We can only have a partial and arbitrary ethic, similar to the view that Hohenzollerns are by nature entitled to rule over non-Hohenzollerns. Indeed, the ethic which states that Class G is entitled to rule over Class R implies that the latter, R, are subhuman beings who do not have a right to participate as full humans in the rights of self-ownership enjoyed by G—but this of course violates the initial assumption that we are carving out an ethic for human beings as such.
What then of alternative (I)? This is the view that, considering individuals A, B, C …, no man is entitled to 100percent ownership of his own person. Instead, an equal part of the ownership of A’s body should be vested in B, C …, and the same should hold true for each of the others. This view, at least, does have the merit of being a universal rule, applying to every person in the society, but it suffers from numerous other difficulties.
In the first place, in practice, if there are more than a very few people in the society, this alternative must break down and reduce to Alternative (2), partial rule by some over others. For it is physically impossible for everyone to keep continual tabs on everyone else, and thereby to exercise his equal share of partial ownership over every other man. In practice, then, this concept of universal and equal other-ownership is Utopian and impossible, and supervision and therefore ownership of others necessarily becomes a specialized activity of a ruling class. Hence, no society which does not have full self-ownership for everyone can enjoy a universal ethic. For this reason alone, 100percent self-ownership for every man is the only viable political ethic for mankind.
But suppose for the sake of argument that this Utopia could be sustained. What then? In the first place, it is surely absurd to hold that no man is entitled to own himself, and yet to hold that each of these very men is entitled to own a part of all other men! But more than that, would our Utopia be desirable? Can we picture a world in which no man is free to take any action whatsoever without prior approval by everyoneelse in society? Clearly no man would be able to do anything, and the human race would quickly perish. But if a world of zero or near-zero self-ownership spells death for the human race, then any steps in that direction also contravene the law of what is best for man and his life on earth. And, as we saw above, any ethic where one group is given full ownership of another violates the most elemental rule for any ethic: that it apply to every man. No partial ethics are any better, though they may seem superficially more plausible, than the theory of all- power-to-the-Hohenzollerns.
In contrast, the society of absolute self-ownership for all rests on the primordial fact of natural self-ownership by every man, and on the fact that each man may only live and prosper as he exercises his natural freedom of choice, adopts values, learns how to achieve them, etc. By virtue of being a man, he must use his mind to adopt ends and means; if someone aggresses against him to change his freely-selected course, this violates his nature; it violates the way he must function. In short, an aggressor interposes violence to thwart the natural course of a man’s freely adopted ideas and values, and to thwart his actions based upon such values…Read More.
… The minimum wage increases aggregate purchasing power among the working class at large, and helps secure employers a reliable pool of labor power on a sustainable basis. The welfare state keeps unemployment, hunger and homelessness from reaching politically destabilizing levels that — without the state cleaning up the capitalists’ mess at taxpayer expense — might result in capitalism being torn down from below. Universal healthcare, whether on the British or Canadian model, externalizes labor costs on the taxpayer which would otherwise be (and are, in countries like the U.S.) borne by employers who provide health insurance as a benefit.
Any time you hear soccer mom rhetoric about “our working families,” or self-congratulatory platitudes to the effect that “Democrats care,” look behind the voice and take a look at what the hands are actually doing. In a freed market — without the state to do the capitalists’ bidding — corporate capitalism would wither like a garden slug with salt on its back. The state works for the capitalists, not for you.
… If individuals were left free to compete and organize, there’s no telling how many would enter the field of banking, or how many different schematics they would develop for that end. As John Beverley Robinson observed, banking is, after all, a “simple and safe business.”
With the capitalist banking apparatus as it is, crises like that of 2008, will not abate at least not for very long intervals. Capital and credit concentration gives way to complacency in business, to waste, to destitution for the people whose work hours drive industry forward even in spite of its unstable footing on which the economic system stands. That system works for the capitalists—is their great swindle—but only to the extent that it remains at all and doesn’t end up completely in ruins. Why those who defend some version of “free banking” should defend the tax—because that’s really what it is—of interest is utterly beyond my comprehension, but what it means is that it’s all the more important for libertarians to continue in the tradition of William B. Greene and Benjamin R. Tucker.
“If you would not confront your neighbor and demand his money at the point of a gun to solve every new problem that may appear in your life, you should not allow the government to do it for you.”—William E. Simon (via haereticum)
“Why the laborers might lack individual or collective property in their means of production, or be unable through cooperative effort to mobilize their own “labor fund” in the production interval, Bohm-Bawerk did not say. Why the capitalists happened to be in possession of so much superfluous wealth, he likewise did no speculate. That the bulk of a nation’s productive resources should be concentrated in the hands of a few people, rather than those of the laboring majority, is by no means a self-evident necessity. Bohm-Bawerk himself accepted it as altogether unremarkable. For the cause of such an odd situation, therefore, we will have to look elsewhere than his work. The answer lies not in economic theory, but in history. The existing distribution of property among economic classes, about which Bohm-Bawerk was so coy, is the historic outcome of State Violence.”—Kevin Carson, Studies in Mutualist Political Economy
“[Maurice] Dobb did not make an adequate distinction between the scarcity of present versus future labor that exists naturally as a result of the human preference for present consumption versus postponement; and the artificial scarcity created by a certain class’ monopoly of access to the means of production. But even assuming a market economy based on present consumption to accumulate its own capital, time-preference is simply an added form of disutility of present labor, as opposed to future labor. It is just another factor in the “higgling of the market,” by which labor’s product is allocated among laborers. In an economy of distributive property ownership, as would have existed had the free market been allowed to develop without large-scale robbery, time-preference would affect only laborer’s calculations of their own present consumption versus their own future consumption. All consumption, present or future, would be beyond question the result of labor. It is only in a capitalist (i.e., statist) economy that a propertied class, with superfluous wealth far beyond its ability to consume, can keep itself in idleness by lending the means of subsistence to producers in return for a claim on future output.”—Kevin Carson, Studies in Mutualist Political Economy
“Government is as unreal, as intangible, as unapproachable as God. Try it, if you don’t believe it. Seek through the legislative halls of America and find, if you can, the Government. In the end you will be doomed to confer with the agent, as before.”—Voltairine de Cleyre (via becauseithinktoomuch)
One of the crucial factors that permits governments to do the monstrous things they habitually do is the sense of legitimacy on the part of the stupefied public. The average citizen may not like — may even strongly object to — the policies and exactions of his government. But he has been imbued with the idea — carefully indoctrinated by centuries of governmental propaganda — that the government is his legitimate sovereign, and that it would be wicked or mad to refuse to obey its dictates. It is this sense of legitimacy that the State’s intellectuals have fostered over the ages, aided and abetted by all the trappings of legitimacy: flags, rituals, ceremonies, awards, constitutions, etc.
A bandit gang — even if all the police forces conspired together into one vast gang — could never command such legitimacy. The public would consider them purely bandits; their extortions and tributes would never be considered legitimate though onerous “taxes,” to be paid automatically.
The public would quickly resist these illegitimate demands and the bandits would be resisted and overthrown. Once the public had tasted the joys, prosperity, freedom, and efficiency of a libertarian, State-less society, it would be almost impossible for a State to fasten itself upon them once again. Once freedom has been fully enjoyed, it is no easy task to force people to give it up.
Conservatives like to talk about personal responsibility. By that they mean taking responsibility for your own well being and perhaps that of your family and community. But if you are not within the circle, what that comes down to is “fend for yourself.”
Liberals talk about taking responsibility for the less fortunate. By that they mean donating time or money to organizations (that employ other liberals) and letting them help people in need. But that creates dependency and doesn’t question the privilege underlying their altruism.
Anarchism, as a system based on cooperation, addresses the weaknesses in both liberal and conservative philosophies. …
Can a Tumblr socialist please explain to me what “Property is theft” means? I really can’t seem to wrap my mind around the concept.
It stems from Proudhon’s work. Just read that.
I’ve read into it, but I still don’t understand it. Even…
Proudhon made distinctions between ‘property’ and ‘possessions’. ‘Property’ was gained usuriously. For Proudhon, ‘property’ was capital, or the fruits of another’s labor gained through force. ‘Possessions’, in contrast, were the natural fruits of one’s labor.
Also of note, ‘Socialism’, for Proudhon, was voluntary association and should be distinguished from the ‘state-socialism’ that we often speak of today.
Oh, and I don’t consider myself a socialist. I like the term ‘free market anarcho-mutualist.’
“The distinction between the state, or “public” sector, and the “private” sector economy, is universal in commentary and policy analysis. But in the case of the corporate economy, it’s almost meaningless. First of all, the large corporation cannot be called “private property” in any meaningful sense. And second, the relationship between the corporate economy and the state resembles nothing so much as an interlocking directorate.”—Kevin Carson, “Public” vs. “Private” Sector (via c4ss)
I share this fascinating essay for several reasons. As someone who is irreligious, I nevertheless recognize the need for the liberty movement to build coalitions across boundaries, religious and otherwise. Every great movement in history was able to penetrate social divisions with a simplistic core message that was intelligible and applicable to people of varying backgrounds, classes, cultures, vernaculars, languages, beliefs, education levels, etc. Those of us who are working to reduce the power of the state recognize the sizable atheist community within our movement and the understandable connection that some make between self-ownership and the rejection of all authority, earthly and divine alike. However, the atheist community needs to be willing to put aside their irreligious sentiments if by doing so increases the audience of the liberty message. In the end, what do atheist libertarians/anarchists care most about, beliefs about the afterlife or ethical and political values? My point is that the Christian religion, while considered superfluous to many, contains many overtly peaceful and anti-authoritarian themes that can be used to “convert” Christians to our cause. We can’t get caught up belittling things that might be useful tools in adding to our numbers while improving the world. This essay is one person’s attempt at highlighting the many libertarian and anarchist themes in the narrative of Jesus and of the early Christian church as recorded in the New Testament. I encourage all freedom-lovers to give this a read and to forward to their fellow Christian statists.
“You are not responsible for the programming you picked up in childhood. However, as an adult, you are one hundred percent responsible for fixing it.”—Ken Keyes Jr. (via headandstomachaches)
That’s why we’re not JUST pigeons and why B.F. Skinner was wrong. We can transcend our behavioral models and change. In this transcendence, we cease being reactionary mindless animals, and take our first steps toward being human. The State, however, disincentives the effort and in so doing separates us from our humanity.
“No country on earth should tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders. So we are fully supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself from missiles landing on people’s homes and workplaces and potentially killing civilians.”—
President Barack Obama, November 18, 2012
Every time you read it, the irony gets a little sharper.
“Separate an individual from society, and give him an island or a continent to possess, and he cannot acquire personal property. He cannot be rich. So inseparably are the means connected with the end, in all cases, that where the former do not exist the latter cannot be obtained. All accumulation, therefore, of personal property, beyond what a man’s own hands produce, is derived to him by living in society; and he owes on every principle of justice, of gratitude, and of civilization, a part of that accumulation back again to society from whence the whole came. This is putting the matter on a general principle, and perhaps it is best to do so; for if we examine the case minutely it will be found that the accumulation of personal property is, in many instances, the effect of paying too little for the labor that produced it; the consequence of which is that the working hand perishes in old age, and the employer abounds in affluence.”—Thomas Paine, Agrarian Justice (via laughing-rabbit)
Well, well, well…whad’ya know…Thomas Paine was a mutualist and labor value kinda guy.
“The fact that, in the case of child sacrifice, the father kills the child directly, while in the case of war, both sides have an arrangement to kill each other’s children makes little difference. In the case of war, those who are responsible for it know what is going to happen, yet the power of the idols is greater than the power of love for their children.”—Erich Fromm (via atidd)
“I’ve told the kids in the ghettos that violence won’t solve their problems, but then they ask me, and rightly so; “Why does the government use massive doses of violence to bring about the change it wants in the world?” After this I knew that I could no longer speak against the violence in the ghettos without also speaking against the violence of my government”—Martin Luther King Jr. (via loveinfamine)
liberalism believes a muslim woman’s biggest oppressor is her hijab and not military intervention, drone strikes, institutionalized sexism/misogyny, capitalism, imperialism, u.n. enforced sanctions, etc.