Sunday, February 19, 2006

Why Anarchy is Leftist

I have recieved some well thought out comments on my liberty posting so i shall continue to evovle the definition.

Although it has been acknowledged that liberty is not anarchy the assertion that anarchy is collectivist—statist ideology is being challenged. So I shall explain the logic. What makes anarchy a leftwing ideology is that as it necessarily leads to tribalism. Tribalism is form of governance where the individual’s rights are subordinated to the group’s desires, needs ands wants—legitimate or not. Under a tribal existence men have no moral right to exist for themselves which makes it contradictory the creed of liberty.

Easy enough to say but why does anarchy necessarily mean tribal governance. Because the individual has no way to protect his interests (his property and family) without the backing of a group which leads to him to being dependent on some sort of group affiliation to secure protection from other potential rouge groups. I define anarchy as a lawless state. The individual is inevitably coerced into seeking group protection for the purpose of survival.

Under anarchism the individual has no recourse against potential violence done against him which compels him to join a group. A free state is based on the banning of compulsion and force and a lawless state guarantees the prevalence of both. Without group association the individual must be on constant guard against potential intruders. In no way is this type of citizen free to pursue his values in a rational way as he is dependent on the mercy of thugs for his existence rather than his own production.

One commenter makes the common example of ideal Native American anarchism. But for me Indigenous North America is a perfect example of how a lawless society necessarily leads to a tribal existence. How easy was it for the laymen Aztec to protest the practice of human sacrifice? To protest immoral arbitrary coercion? He would surely be killed or expelled. A native expelled from his tribe lived a dangerous life. He was vulnerable to attacks from any marauding group or tribe he encountered. His was a life that had little in common with liberty as it was entirely dedicated to rudimentary survival.

A tribal society is ruled by the group dynamic which overrides the interests of the individual. The group always holds the power of force or expulsion over the individual and while ensuring obedience tribalism this coercion has the negative connotation of stagnating free expression and the competition of ideas thus ensuring group misery and limited freedom.
Another example used was Russia which also demonstrates the inevitable consequences of a lawless society. Russia is controlled and ruled by the arbitrary whims of various competing Cartels and crime syndicates which are run by strong arming brutes that depend on force—something illegal in capitalism— for results. Lack of law doesn’t mean the citizen is free and in fact means the exact opposite.

"Ask a native about being arrested on 'private' land that is still debated territory. Anybody who doesn't think laws can be arbitrary simply hasn't had the misfortune to be on the other side of the stick."

Defn. of Arbitrary—something that can be neither proven or disproven. For example an arbitrary claim is "if people shared more then there would be world peace." Although ridiculous a statement like this can be either proven or disproven with the application of either logic or evidence. Contrary to arbitrary laws—which have no connection to reality—Objective law can be conceptually proven—although I am not attempting to do that here. The serf ordered to be burned for heresy cannot appeal to logic for his defense because the king is owner of the definition "heresy" While in a free state the compelled serf may appeal to the tenet of free expression and the state is powerless to persecute regardless of their personal interests or definition of heresy.

Objective law can be understood and agreed upon according to its governing principles. For instance in a free society it is arbitrary to persecute the use and sale of marijuana while on the other hand in a free society that protects property rights it is objectively moral to penalize theft. Objective law ensures the freedom to pursue liberty.


At 6:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That anarchy leads to ANYTHING is completely unsubstanciated. There are simply no examples we have available. Those closest to it were destroyed from without, while others exist within country frameworks.

Take a commune for example, although it doesn't necessarily adhere to anarchic forms. People came together out of common interests, there were no 'rules' at all. People did what they wanted, when they disliked what occurred around them, they left. They certainly never turned into 'tribes' or anything else.

Many charities exist in similar ways, there are no 'rules' there are simply shared ideals. People do what needs to be done, if the group operates in any way objectionable to them, they leave-nobody comes and hunts them down, that's just silly.

Clearly there is a misunderstanding if the argument about anarchy points to the Aztecs. They were a religous monarchy, the king was also the chief holy man, this is about the furthest thing from anarchy as is possible.

The human sacrifice is interesting for other reasons, though. For example, the US is about the second most democratic country in the world (that can be argued if somebody wants, my point is it is relatively 'free'). There, people can vote for capital punishment, and it some states they have it. There, people, some of them mentally deficient, some children, and even some who may very well have been innocent, have been executed. In other words, their life was sacrificed for a larger purpose, namely, to set an example to prevent crime. So clearly these people could not get 'outside' their judicial system any more than somebody living under a monarchy and appeal for anything else. Here it is the open and free society that has among the harshest penalties.

As far as 'objective laws', there really is no such thing. Those who proclaim them the most are those who do NOT live in free societies. Religous groups, such as taliban, or ideologues, such as Stalin, proclaimed laws to be objective according to it's governing principles. Nobody calls them free.

The Russia example is simply too complex and the discussion here is far too flippant to be any real account of what is going on. Suffice to say that Enron, Worldcom, and others were corporations very close to the white house, in fact wrote legislation and those companies operated as illegally as any russian company. Many claim Haliburton is as well, but since it so close to the administration they simply can't do anything about it.

However, the serf example is interesting, since most monarchs throughout history allowed quite a bit of venting. A monarch didn't care if a serf made fun of them, in fact many hired satirists to make fun of them publicly. However, free speech is allowed by EVERY government-so long as it's speech they like. You are right that a serf has nothing to appeal to outside of the monarchy if he starts shouting about taking down the government. But try talking revolution in Canada and see how long before the government takes notice-only about as long as it takes ANYONE to notice (no government cares what you say in private)

At 6:19 PM, Blogger angryroughneck said...

I did not say "anarchy leads to anything" I said it leads to tribalism and rule of the strong.

I completely support free associations whether they be communal social arrangements or coorporations pursuing profit.

But to say in free associations "there are no 'rules' there are simply shared ideals." is wrong. You say as an example there are no rules in a charity. this is dead wrong. There are many rules... you need to make records of where money comes from and where it goes, you cannot simply steal from the donations box to meet your own financial needs.

And further to the point these rules do not prevent the charitiy's liberty. they are objective laws that do not inhibit the charity from operating in whatever it way it wants to rather these rules prevent the corrupt individual from exploiting the charity.

And yes all dictators claim that there laws are objective and just. But that does not make it so. You use moral equivialce to equate all laws which is wrong. I am a free discerning thinker able to differtiate between good and bad and thus I am able to create an objective law vs an arbitrary one.
IE the right to own property is an objective law, since man is dependent on production--food and shelter-- for survival it is just he has the right to what he produces.

You say Enron and Worldcom a gov buddies just like the catrels in Russia. Didn't Enron and worldcom go baknrupt and the owners and managers were punished with imprisonment. This is not privilage.

In fact this is the rule of law at work, demonstrating equality. All men shall be equal before the court of law.

At 10:34 PM, Blogger P. M. Jaworski said...

Hey Angry: You got an invite to the Windsor Liberty Seminar earlier, and now you get one for the Liberty Summer Seminar in Orono, Ontario from me. Do come.

You have a very good understanding of Objectivism. I used to consider myself one. I don't anymore.

On to the argument: You seem to think that the state of nature is nasty, brutish, and short. That we would be constantly battling one another if not for some bigger thug with more guns to keep us in check. I disagree. But I'm not sure this is what you mean, so perhaps you can say a bit more about this.

I also disagree about the non-existence of laws without a state. Laws can be written or unwritten, formal or informal, good or bad. We can have unspoken, unwritten, but understood laws for our interaction, with no state in sight. These laws can be "objective" and non-arbitrary. Indeed, to reach a social equilibrium, they would have to be. But you seem to think that no such equilibrium would be reached. Why not?

We might distinguish between anarchism in theory and practice. You attack anarchism in practice, arguing that it would (empirically) lead to tribalism. I don't see how this follows, and I guess I take issue with Hobbes on this score (and Ayn Rand as well). I see no reason to think that we would be in need of these particular tribal defence systems against outsiders. Even if we did, I see no reason to think that we would be "at the mercy" of these tribes. We may have relations based on reciprocity between us, with some taking up the policing function, in exchange for something else.

At any rate, even if in practice anarchy would lead to tribalism, that says nothing about the theory. The theory might (wrongly, if we grant your assumption about it "necessarily" leading to tribalism) suggest that no tribe will need construction. In theory, an anarchist might say that without the state, we'd get along just fine, exchanging things with our neighbours, keeping the fruits of our labour, and so on, without the sort of bad outcomes you allude to.

Just because the *practice* may lead to leftist tribalism does not mean that the *theory* is leftist. Which is my point. There is an individualist anarchist / anarcho-capitalist tradition out there that is not leftist (collectivist/statist) in any way whatsoever.

Suppose we set up an Objectivist government. Suppose that, after one year, everyone joins tribes and we do battle against one another, even though the government tries desperately (and in vain) to stop it. This surely would not make Objectivism a leftist philosophy, even if it led to it in practice.


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