(Original post)

A Reintroduction 
So this conversation started with a few posts being responded to at this post. BP then made a response here.

This is my attempt to make some concluding responses to BP. I do not intent to make another response as it’s not only pretty time consuming but I understand BP’s position well enough and am willing to move past it and see where I can go from here.BP can make another response if he wants but I’d like to let him know that I won’t be responding either way and so he’ll have the last word if such is the case.

I’ve decided to post it here so I contribute another blog post here and so my responses are more spread out than just on my own blog, though I suppose I’ll be reposting this at my blog as well anyways.I begin here…

The Response 

“I get the impression that this is meant to counter a perceived complaint about “pluralism”. But I haven’t argued that the Alliance of the Libertarian Left is too diverse.”

Actually it wasn’t, it was just to point out that there are a lot of differing opinions in the left-libertarian movement and that any attempt to generalize as was pointed out in the comments of your blog may not go well.

“The sense in which I have criticized “pluralism” in the ALL (and more broadly as market anarchists tend to wield the term) is that it almost always seems to be illusory in that it’s on free-market-libertarian terms, or on the other hand that it represents a kind of intellectual incoherency in which people try to let everyone have their cake and eat it too as a conflict-avoidance mechanism without grasping the deep reasons behind the conflict.”

I’m unsure how true this is. For myself I certainly don’t think there’s no room to build bridges or alliances between market and social anarchists. In fact I’d argue that market anarchists can find more in common with social anarchists at times than those who would be referred to as right-libertarians. Class struggle, disparities in economic and social power, etc. are all things we as anarchists should be interested in. Going from and past the NAP into other ideas about social, economic and political relations past the public realm and into the private realm as Charles Johnson and others have suggested with thick libertarianism and so on.

So I think to a certain extent left-libertarians are and have been doing these things. Perhaps not to the extent that’s necessary and if that’s the case then it’s something that needs to be worked on. There are real areas of contention between social and market anarchists and again, I’m unsure if most left-libertarians don’t see that or recognize it but speaking for myself I understand it coming from a personal level and my own experience.

“It often seems like the only sense in which market anarchists can “reconcile” themselves with social anarchists is by not understanding their positions and offering a fig leaf to something more watered down that doesn’t contradict their own position.”

Well for one thing, market anarchists and others of the libertarian-left aren’t just going to abandon their principals just because social-anarchists have different ones. This is another problem and disagreement BP and I have. I don’t think left-libertarians need to engage in massive appeals to social-anarchists and adopt their positions just to be considered “left”. I think what’s needed to be considered left is a class analysis, a thicker analysis of authority and power relations, including but not limited to, economic and social disparities in power.

I also think things like class and hierarchy itself should be criticized, cultural norms should be looked at with a critical eye and possibly (like the rest of the things I’ve listed) be revised based on how much damage it can, could or even does to a truly freed society.

Now to what extent to left-libertarians recognize all of these things? As with most movements it seems to me to be with varying degrees. Some left-libertarians recognize that a disparity in wealth, social power, privilege, property and the mere existence of wage labor and hierarchy is dangerous towards society because of the preexisting state conditions that could arise out of them. Some market anarchists (and I haven’t discussed this with too many left-wing varities just the right ones, aka an-caps) just push it away and say “the market will work it out”. And this reveals a bit of holy faith in the “one true maret place” that I don’t appreciate rhetorically or
substantially.

Rhetorically this just makes it sound like the market place is something somehow separate from normal human relations which I think we both agree is false. The market place is simply an arena of particular social relations in which subjectively valued products come together to be traded form some sort of currency. If you have a better term I’d like to hear it since I’m not convinced that’s as good as it could be. At any rate the market place can obviously be free or unfree as it is right now for the most part. So obviously the social relations that happen within the market place with or without government can be good or bad. I’m unsure what left-libertarians recognize this but I don’t think it’d be a stretch for any of them to accept it already or once you made the argument either.

“To be clear about this, it is not a troll post in the sense of me being insincere in what I stated. It is a troll post only in the sense that I deliberately use a provocative tone and personalize things.”

Thanks for clarifying.

“The point expressed here has to do with just how much of an online echo chamber it is. ”

But how does this only apply to left-libertarians? I’ve seen BP do this before and he does this to libertarianism in general. He likes to criticize certain parts of it that, while legitimate, he seems to make a big deal out of when every other movement seems to have similar problems as well. I understand the negative effects of an echo chamber and I for one don’t favor it. Sometimes it’s best to have similar views and see if they’re in place and others you need different views to get a new perspective. There’s no one method of obtaining truth through discussion and debate but I agree echo chambers generally are not a good idea.

But again, why does this only apply to left-libertarians? Sometimes it seems right-libertarians can do the same thing and the same thing for social-anarchsits as well, so why specifically the left-libertarians?

“It’s a criticism of the sociology of the movement, as something largely isolated from meaningful dialogue with the rest of the philosophical and political community.”

That’s funny because C4SS largely has been published all over the world in different publications (Counter-Punch and Forbes just to name a few of the big ones) and has engaged in many different discussions on the Freemanonline, Facebook, at talks, at debates and so on. So I don’t see left-libertarians within themselves too much, I think it’s more of a problem that they haven’t come out enough because the majority of the people they sometimes hang out seem to have knee-jerk leftism and “mah propertai!” syndrome. It’s a dangerous idea and I admit that’s why myself and others might like it to begin with. But I think it’s also a lot more substantial than that.

The idea that you can synthesize things like individualist and social-anarchism to me sounds like a wonderful idea. I don’t think that mutualism is necessarily such a fusion and Shawn P. Wilbur has argued that if it was this simple it wouldn’t be much of a philosophy which I agree with.

“To someone on the outside, it’s likely to be seen as psychobabble, especially when its members deliberately play with language in the attempt to be provocative and eclectic.”

Well again, why just left-libertarians? In the anarchist movement and libertarian movement in general those who are unfamiliar with the dialect, terms, popular figures and scriptures it would seem mysterious to anyone at first. Indeed, this is what Professor Roderick Long’s draft essay was all about to begin with, the mysteriousness of libertarianism *in general* to other people outside the movement.

For us as anarchists statists sometimes seem so bizarre and to have their own weird culture, set of norms and ideas we can’t get involved in, etc. So again…if you’re going to call a duck a duck then why not call everyone else the same?

And look, I’m not excusing the echo chamber or the “psychobabble” you’re talking about here. It’s true that sometimes the language can be confusing for people outside it but this isn’t a very interesting conclusion or accusation since that’d just about apply to anyone trying to get into a new movement. Now if what you’re positing that it’s particularly bad in the left-libertarian movement that’s another thing. But really it’s just going back to individualist anarchism that Tucker and others favored and tried to use socialism, etc. It’s supposed to be contra Mises, Rand, Rothbard and others who claimed capitalism is and was a good thing. It may be confusing but there might also be a sense in which confusion is always necessary in certain scenarios before a better sense of clarity can be reached. Such may be the case here sometimes.

“The sense in which I call it a semantic cluster-fuck has to do with how certain terms are appropriated from other political ideologies while being radically altered into their content and just how obsessed some left-libertarians can be about the use of certain words.”

Well I for one am not obsessive about “capitalism” or “socalism” but usually it seems to me that people only get like that in publications for the public or just to put a new spin on a tired old debate. But yes, this is one problem with left-libertarians we’ll agree more than we disagree. Because, in the end, I get tired of these stupid terminological debates that have gone on for so long. I don’t care about what capitalism or socialism means, if I have to use the words I’ll try to be clear about them and using the insights from Gary Chartier and Charles Johnson have said about capitalsim and Ken McCloud said about socialism (“…what we always mean by socialism wasn’t something you forced on people, it was people organizing themselves as they pleased into co-ops, collectives, communes, unions…”) I think it’s roughly clear was we may mean by things like voluntary socialism.

But on the other hand sometimes leaving out the adjectives is sometimes the best route and this where my anarchism without adjectives comes into play. I follow in the tradition of Voltairine de Cleyre and Karl Hess on the grounds that firstly you are an anarchist and this means opposing coercively imposed leaders (rulership) and defining the imposition of rulership within more than just the context of using physical violence. This is where things like thickness in cultural and social relations as well as economic, etc. comes into play for me.

“In my view, what we’re dealing with here is an error in which people try to construe what is Murray Rothbard briefly opportunistically exploiting the political climate of the times in the name of recruiting people to his ideology as if it was the formation of an actual synthesis position.”

Just because Rothbard was exploiting an opportunity to build a coalition doesn’t mean left-libertarians are doing the same. Nor does it mean we’re following what Rothbard did or having the same objectives he did. Konkin and Hess showed that by becoming more and more radical (especially insofar as Hess is concerned with allying himself with the Black Panters, etc.)

“The main issue that attracted Rothbard about the New Left was their anti-war sentiment. But Rothbard fled from the New Left like they were the plague the moment it became clear to him that they weren’t useful for his overall purposes.”

Well left-libertarians list a lot more than just that for why we should ally with the left. Their opposition to corporations, their ideas on sexism, racism, economic disparity and opposition to domination on multiple levels, etc. are all useful things. Also, historically the left

“On the other side of the aisle, Murray Bookchin abandoned his earlier tolerance toward the libertarian right and developed his infamous critique of “lifestyle anarchism”, which is partly a critique of American individualist libertarianism. The “coalition” didn’t last.”

So what? Just because the coalition didn’t last then between libertarians and the left doesn’t mean it’s forevermore doomed to failure. We can analyze for instance, why it failed (Rothbard being shallow for one) and hopefully improve on that. Plus the point is to broadly recognize that libertarianism needs to be more developed and conscious of things like power relations and develop their ideas more complexly. We also recognize that originally people like Bastiat and Proudhon were on the left and not right of the French Assembly. The power of tradition, monarchy, feudalism, monoply, power and privilege was on the right. I think this is still the case today.

“There are a few points to make here. From what I see, the elements of the earlier anarchist tradition that the ALL refers to are dominantly American and individualist elements. You don’t particularly see ALL intellectuals referring to people like Bakunin, Kropotkin, or Malatesta.”

Well I’m unsure about Kropotkin. I generally hear (and I recently heard Gary Chartier reference Kropotkin’s work on mutual aid as wonderful on thinking liberty) good things about mutual aid and those ideas in general from left-libertarians. Bakunin also has some praise here and there but I admit there could be more besides “Against Authority”. And Maltesta I don’t usually here about even from the few social-anarchist friends I have on Facebook, so from my limited experience it doesn’t seem to be limited to left-libertarians.

“One could hold up references to Proudhon as an example, but it often seems like Proudhon is being grossly misinterpreted or appropriated through the lens of a more contemporary market-libertarian framework, making him a French version of Benjamin Tucker. The closest person I know of who can claim to be an expert on Proudhon is Shawn Wilbur, and he has expressed disagreement with much of how Proudhon has often been read by many ALL associates. Indeed, Wilbur seems quite disappointed with what many people are saying “mutualism” is these days.”

I can’t comment too much on Proudhon here and I’d be remiss to try to counter claims about Proudhon made by Shawn but then I’ve hardly seen claims about Proudhon being some sort of market anarchist either.

“I brought this up because it is one of the most clear-cut examples of ALL members disingenuously using semantics to try to erode substantive distinctions between political positions. As far as people ceasing to refer to themselves as anarcho-capitalists, this is quite a common maneuver that I myself engaged in at a much earlier stage. The initial motivation for doing this is often to simply avoid the stigma attached to the word capitalism while keeping one’s position the same.

However, I imagine that what Brad Spangler would cite as his “substantive” reason for not calling himself a capitalist is the largely semantic-based basis upon which many ALL associates call themselves “anti-capitalist”, I.E. by associating capitalism with statism and then concluding that they are anti-capitalists as an extension of their anti-statism. This is precisely what I’ve criticized as not substantive enough.”

This misses the point that capitalism is not just tied to the state but also the wage system and a society majorly based on things like profit. These are both things Charles mentioned and things I’ve seen left-libertarians such as Brad Spangler criticize.

“The reason I consider it wide-spread even within the ALL is that if you look at the bulk of material produced by its main intellectuals, the focus is always on blaming state intervention and for the most part nothing more beyond this is said.”

Well the focus of that is mostly based on the fact that the state is probably the most visible use of suppression of individual liberty. When I’ve read the main literature (and I’ve probably done it a few times over to boot) the state supresses individuals in multiple, layered out ways seems pretty clear to me. So even if they’re only mentioning things past the state (and I agree that’s a problem if it’s happening) then it’s to establish a basis of the most clear examples. Charles Johnson I think has done the best work by far and to my knowledge of trying to move past just looking at the state but I agree it should be (and I think it can) improved on. I’ve tried to point
out several times that while the state IS our enemy it’s not the ONLY one

“The Center for a Stateless Society is practically founded on producing articles that argue this same point over and over, and it’s also the same automatic response to concerns that many libertarians who don’t even associate with the ALL will often give.”

You also have to keep in mind that C4SS while being the media center for a lot of left-libertarian ideas is also trying to be published around the world (and it has as I believe I pointed out before). Thus I think, again, for the sake of simplicity and shortness you have to go to the biggest and more clear cut case for the anarchist and people in general. Reviewing things like sexism, classism, racism, etc. are more intricate than a clear cut of government intervention in people’s life. Also consider that C4SS does a lot of commentary on contemporary issues and they often do the same thing. So it’s a sort of ironic vicious circle of sorts.

I do agree that more should be done though.

“When it comes to the whole thick libertarian thing, I have the impression that this is mostly used to focus on “social issues”. Notice that Nick himself mentions racism, sexism, and patriarchy, but nothing is said about economic oppression. What I see is a lot of people giving lip service to the notion of “interlocking systems of oppression”, but then when the discourse about economic questions gets going, everything always comes back to “the state did it”. There does not seem to be awareness of economic hierarchy as a problem in and of itself or how power can operate outside the context of state intervention.”

I think this is particularly unfair. For one thing I’m gonna pull out my first excuse (which is particularly lame) that I was writing this early in the morning. Second I also think it’s particularly unfair that just because I list the first few examples that come to my head doesn’t mean I wouldn’t agree with you or list them if I had thought of. It’s true racism, sexism, etc. first come to my head often times but that doesn’t mean I don’t accept other things, which is precisely why I said “etc.”. Finally, I’ve already pointed out how people like Professor Long, and Kevin Carson should be mentioned as well for speaking lowly at best of most forms of hierarchy, especially the contemporary ones that exist.

“My reasoning is that certain ingrained notions of private property are a significant part of what capitalism is based on, which is why the classical anarchists were skeptics about property.”

Well again, some left-libertarians don’t support absentee ownership such as mutualists, geoists, voluntary socialists and individuals who are agorists and other left-wing market anarchists are probably skeptical of it to some extent. I doubt this is good enough for you, but I figure it’s also worth pointing out that I see left-libertarians are usually seeing a much more diverse array of property (and non-property based rghts) existing in a truly freed market so I think it balances out well enough for my liking.

“By “robust” I basically mean broad and deep. I happen to think that a robust conception of personal freedom inherently comes into conflict with at least the kind of property that American, individualist libertarians tend to support and that in realistic consequentialist terms such property systems enable authoritarianism even if a “left-libertarian” in good faith thinks that they lead to egalitarian results. ”

I’m unsure that left-libertarians believe that they’ll uniformly lead to more egalitarian results or that they seek other results. It really seems you’re being more critical of agorists, left-Rothbardians and left-wing market anarchists such as the ones of C4SS are not left enough and should at least get more into mutualism and voluntary socialism or social-anarchism, libertarian-socialism, etc. And I agree on some aspects really that some ideas need to be dropped so that left-libertarians can become more consistent in their positions whill still holding on to different methods, ideas and in short not being dogmatically fundamentalist about the market place and property rights like right-libertarians can be.

“The bulk of Austrian economists, from my observations, use it for capitalist apologetics. A good look through the material produced at Mises.org makes this quite clear. Now, I understand that people in the ALL may call this “vulgar libertarianism”, being of the mind that Austrian economics does not support the conclusions that the Misoids think it does. But the fact of the matter is that Austrian economics, perhaps with the exception of a few conclusions that happen to be correct (and are ironically shared by Marxists), is a dogmatic system of thought that does not work as a very accurate tool to describe social phenomena. And more often than not, the function of sticking to belief in what Austrians consider “economic laws” is as an automatic denial of the reality of economic power.”

Well again, I plead ignorance on this whole thing here. You’d need to talk to someone more well versed in Austrian Economics to get a better argument here.

“The question is if they sufficiently really recognize this, especially to the extent that they espouse economic reductionism. Market economics and “methodological individualism” (as something more than a valid rejection of the reification of society and social groups) is quite often wielded in a way that simply ignores the social context in which phenomena takes place in order to apply a presupposed “law” to explain it. Man is reduced to an egoistic economic utility calculator. There is a strong focus in much of economics on the subjective as opposed to the intersubjective. To the extent that ALL associates espouse much of the same economic ideology as anarcho-capitalists, the critique applies to them too.”

Sure…as much as they espouse it. But for myself I’ve hardly ever heard them espouse certain strong-iron laws that somehow gurantee man’s freedom and some seem to be highly skeptical of some uses of methodological individualism to begin with. I agree all of those things are ridiculous but I’ve just never seen it happen, which of course doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen or exist just that I don’t recall it happening and it just seems bizarre and out of character for what left-libertarians should be saying, which is certainly not things like this.

“Firstly, not to be mean-spirited, but it starts to become really clear at this point that Nick hasn’t sufficiently looked into this stuff, and that this kind of relativism about property is often an easy way out of having to thinking deeply about it and come to a clear position.”

Oh man you’ve got me! I haven’t boned up on my “studies in property” volumes 1-20! I’ll just go in my corner and not contribute to the conversation at all because I’ve clearly got better things to do…

Ok, all of that stupid stuff aside, yes, I’m not as well read on some of these things as I should be. If you’ve got suggestions for things to me to read you’re more than welcome to do so instead of just accusing me of pure ignorance.I have stated quite a few times I’m not the man for the job to do this…just the man willing to do it.

It doesn’t mean I’ll know everything that there is to know or that I’m even qualified, it just means I’m dumb enough to try anyways. Whether I succeed or not is really largely irrelevant to me because success to me in these discussions doesn’t mean convincing you it means bettering myself.

Now I wasn’t using that to “get out of a clear position” I was, instead, using it so I could get across the idea that many different conceptions of what property is and is not can compete with each other because I don’t think I have the knowledge to exact one system of property rights on other people and say it’s the right one for them in any situation. I’m not in favor of one size fits all systems, whether it comes to property or anything else. Also, anarchism is largely an experimental and evolving system of relations and I think this means that no property rights system will be implemented on the whole.

“Nick doesn’t really say anything here that addresses why or why not occupancy and use is a quantitative position on an abandonment continuum. He jumps to the more general question of co-existing property systems, while I’m objecting to necessarily framing everything in terms of a property system and the trivialization of the notion of occupancy and use to neo-lockeanism with a personal preference for shorter abandonment time-scales.”

Alright, fair enough. That was my mistake and I apologize for that.

“Since Nick isn’t quite talking about the same thing that I was, I’ll reserve my objections to this characterization of occupancy and use. Rather, I’ll focus on the relativism, or more accurately, localist conventionalism. The problem I have with this is that it seems obvious that different positions on property have radically different levels of compatibility with person freedom and radically different implications for people’s lives in general. So it seems like if we really are concerned with personal freedom and people living the best possible lives, it doesn’t make sense to be have an indifferent attitude toward norms and structures that effect people.”

Agreed, but then I explicitly stated that this sort of evolving relatvism is, through the way it develops will ensure that people recognize what works and what does not. For instance if a system of use and occupancy works better for bigger areas and collective ownership as well as cooperative ownership works better for areas that are called “public” now while private property works best on small areas of land then people will keep engaging in those relations with each other. If they don’t work like that people are free to get out of those associations and vote with their feet about which system of human relatinos they prefer.
That’s one of the big ideas from anarchism from the start. It doesn’t mean people are indifferent to what’s going on. It means people don’t need to necessarily get violent about it. People can get out of the situation, educate people about what they think works best, form new asssociations, blacklist people who have wronged them and so forth.”I also don’t think it’s true that whatever “emerges” is whatever is best or better. If we want to make an analogy to evolution, it definitely does not work that way.”

Well, this was an embarrassing slip on my part I’ll readily admit. Alex is right here to point out that just because it emerges doesn’t mean it’s inherently good. I think this just means though that people need to be actively involved in the process to ensure it doesn’t turn out the wrong way. Is there some sort of guaranteed method? I for one don’t think so but if Alex has any suggestions or ideas I’d welcome hearing them.

“When it comes to some of the nitty gritty details, Shawn Wilbur can say a lot more about this than I can. In either case, my point is that there are a whole lot of people (especially people with a history as an-caps) crawling around the internet calling themselves mutualists who have either not read Proudhon or do not understand him very well, and that the crux of what they understand mutualism to be tends to be watered down to be pretty similar to standard free market libertarianism. If mutualism is just free market libertarianism with a personal preference for co-ops, or a propertarian position with a stricter abandonment convention than the one held by anarcho-capitalists, then it isn’t that substantive or distinct of a position. Fortunately, we have people like Shawn Wilbur around to establish that this isn’t the case.”

Not much to disagree with here, though I question how true all of this is I largely have not read big mutualist work with the exception of some of the pamphlets Shawn has released and the translations of Proudhon’s work in a few cases.

“Yet a significant aspect of the Tuckerite-Carsonian position is precisely to avoid explicitly taking a normative stance on various questions and claim that the natural tendency of a free market is to diminish economic woes. The context in which those woes are supposed to be addressed is one in which good consequences simply emerge as a market phenomenon, which seems to be implicitly based on an equilibrium model. I’m then lead to wonder if one would take a more proactive, normative stance if it ended up being the case that things don’t turn out as they’ve been predicted after the fall of a state, or if everything that is considered a negative feature of capitalism would be accepted in the name of “the free market””

Hmm…well I don’t agree with this position but “leaving it up to the market place” means leaving it up to a certain set of human relations correct? So I think it’s wrong off the bat because we shouldn’t just rely on one set of human relations. I mean, even if the market place does it best, so what? That doesn’t exclude a gift economy, barter network or other things not giving useful insights into what we can do in a truly freed market and what works and what doesn’t. I don’t agree that “nothing outside the market place, everything within it, nothing against it”.

“More specifically, I highlighted the fact that Richman holds to a premise commonly held by anarcho-capitalists and free market libertarians, which adds to the case for doubting that such “left libertarians” can meaningfully distinguish themselves from that ideology. I was also taking note of the fact that on the rare occasion these days that someone like Shawn Wilbur does try to enter into dialogue with the main intellectuals of the ALL about certain things, he is mostly met with silence. This is meant to underscore that it has become a bubble.”

I see, well I’ve seen tons of debate about that on the FLL so I’m not sure if that’s the exception to the rule or what but that seems to underscore your opinion. But you’re right in a way too, I don’t understand why Sheldon wouldn’t give a better response than he did.

“The point is that the very nature of “the double inequality of value” as it is presented by Austrian economists is an a priori denial of the possibility of economic exploitation, because it defines all parties as inherently benefiting or “profiting” from market phenomena. And in discussions about various things, I’ve seen it (and “the subjective theory of value” more generally) brought up mostly by anarcho-capitalists as a counter to claims of exploitation.”

I’m suspicious of a-priori clams in general because they seem to diminish choices of what reality actually constitutes in an unecesary way. But I question if Sheldon uses it in such a way that apologizes for exploitation. Does he use it like the an-caps do? I oppose such a thing in any event.

“Yes, people’s notion of a “true free market” always has more to it ideologically than “whatever occurs in the absence of state intervention”. Indeed, I went on to say precisely that when I brought up Murray Rothbard in the next paragraph, because typically “a true free market” is conceptualized in the context of a property rights system that is part of a whole political theory. In either case, the fact remains that state intervention is the only thing that most associates of the ALL point to in order to explain capitalism, and this is what I’m taking issue with.”

I get that you take issue with it and I apologize if I’ve not addressed it enough as much as I should be. In any case I think there’s more to the rise of capitalism than just the state. Carson talks about the subsidy of history, the stealing of property from the peasants by the ruling class and the other laws that influenced why their land was stolen. I know a lot of this is more state-intervention but it also seems to have implications past that for just general land stealing and ideas on property that I think some left-libertarians can and probably have for all I know brought up. The point is that these basic general points can be brought to a new level if people actually recognize that more is going on than just the state.

“You know what’s funny? What I did was choose to give some examples because I’ve been accused before of making general statements about the anarcho-capitalist and libertarian movement without exemplifying what I’m talking about. Then when I actually do give examples, all of which comes from the leading intellectuals of the ALL, I’m accused of cherry-picking. Excuse me while I laugh out loud!”

It really does seem that way to me Alex. It seems like you can’t do much more than pick a few positions that lack as much substance as you’d like and then widely apply it across the left-libertarian movement as a whole. I don’t know what you have to do to get your points made as right to you as they are to me, but whatever you’re doing now and whatever you want to call it is not as convincing as you’d like it to be for me for the most part.

“From the fact that Roderick Long quite correctly denies that political authority is justified a priori, it does not follow that his position does not have authoritarian consequences or is not compatible with authoritarianism.”

Sure, but what I was saying is that I find it *less likely* not that it guarantees much of anything. I think this goes for left-libertarians in general.

“What matters is what people do in fact put forward as justification, and the Rothbardian framework that Roderick relies on does justify political authority on the basis of property rights.”

Well I agree that’s something that should be discussed to see if it’s legitimate or not.

“I’ve extensively argued before that it is logically consistent with Rothbard’s premises to justify an institution that functions exactly like a state on the grounds that its territory was achieved through homesteading or trade.”

I’m curious then, how would you be able to do this? Can you elaborate? How would one be able to homestead that much land and get people to be taxed and so on?

“Furthermore, if we want to talk specifically about Roderick Long’s position on land, to my knowledge he makes no distinctions about land property and doesn’t adhere to an occupancy and use position that would significantly question absentee landlordism.”

Alright, well again I’m pleading ignorance on the topic of landlordism and absentee ownership and that’s not to excuse Roderick Long’s position but just to acknowledge your statement here as potentially valid.

“I’d have to start at square one with the problems with the neo-lockean position. I’ve argued about this elsewhere ad nauseum and a portion of my objections are on other posts at this blog. For now, I’ll simply say that there are problems with considering transgressions against external property as being the equivalent of initiating force against a person (this is a case of taking “property as an extension of the self” quite literally), and that the narrative of property originating from “labor mixing” isn’t particularly applicable to a modern industrial society and isn’t historically accurate as a description of the accumulation of property.”

Well then the question is how we make it more accurate if this is the case. Your problems make me think of the problem some social-anarchists have with the claims of current property rights and how they originally belonged to the Natives and I’d ask them the same question: What can we do about this? How is this a meaningful idea apart form the fact that it’s historically accurate?

There’s only so much you can do with accurate historical actions and if there’s not much to at all with what you can do with them then I can’t see much of a practical use for them. But insofar as such a narriate of “homsteading” etc. I don’t buy it either. A lot of the land (probably most of it even?) came from colonialism, slavery and other harms not homsteading.”It isn’t an arbitrary appeal to tradition, especially because it applies just as much today as it did in the past.”

So a NO U response followed by a “it applies here too”? Color me unimpressed with this particular response.

“I’m underscoring the fact strong private property rights of the sort that Rothbard favored is a basic foundation of capitalism, and this is why opponents of capitalism are property skeptics. The fact that classical anarchism is anti-capitalist is not important simply because that’s what the tradition is. There are good reasons why that is the tradition. And if we do want to talk about history, it formed partly as a reaction to the rise of liberalism in the 19th century. This isn’t something that can just be ignored.”

Sure, I agree history can’t be ignored and it really should be expanded upon more. I also think ant-capitalism isn’t all there is to “traditional anarchism” (again you still haven’t defined this so that makes my response a bit shorter than it would have otherwise) and you’d agree so left-libertarians should keep that in mind as well.

“What left-libertarians think or intend is irrelevant. One can not want hierarchy or think it is necessary, but that doesn’t mean that one’s ideas and principles aren’t compatible with hierarchy. One can be against something and build a grand theory opposing it that actually enables or supports it when applied to the real world, because one’s theory is bad. When left-libertarians take Rothbardian, propertarian ideas and attach good intentions to them, that doesn’t change their nature.”

Alright, fair enough. I guess then we’d need to go into the details of Rothbard’s ideas and then see who it applies to. If you don’t want to that’s fine since I’m sure you and many others have written about it, but know that that’s where I stand on this particular part.

“Charles Johnson’s article in question reiterates the narrative that capitalism is to be explained by state intervention, and goes no further. I looked at the comments section, and the thrust of what he had to say in response to critical posters was to talk about how state intervention is responsible for what they decry and to to get into the empirical evidence of this. What isn’t there to see?”

Well do you ever think that these are just examples that can just be extrapolated on if you asked them to? If he doesn’t in the article then it could either be within the context of what subject or article he’s posting, etc. And the response he gave was mostly fuled by talk *about* the state that was already being made to begin with.

“It’s funny that Nick made the error of not putting the word “not” before “perfect”. I’ll put that aside.”

Dammit! But I agree that’s a funny mistake that I missed in my tired half-assed editing at around 3 AM.

“Bracketing for the moment the more general problems with propertarianism, it isn’t that some of you still have some sense of property rights that means you’re not “left enough”. It’s that many of you adhere to doctrines that are just about as absolutist and strong as one can get in favor of property rights, while attaching egalitarian intentions to them. Behind the slogans (“building the new society within the shell of the old”) is bad theory with dangerous consequences.”

Ah, I think I see your criticism now: Too much holding on to Rothbard and not enough divergence for your liking,is that fair enough? Or perhaps just propertarian absolutism in general? Either way I’m only seeing the former and not the latter and don’t see the two as equivalant. Then again I haven’t read nearly as much Rothbard as they have so I can’t sympathize much or really elaborate why they feel they do.

“My point is that their theories do not sufficiently account for the factors that I bring up, even if they explicitly put forward the intention to do so, and indeed the content of their theories contradict those intentions. It’s all well and good to say that one wants a world devoid of authoritarianism and without capitalism, but there is tension within one’s ideology if one wants to join that with theories derived from capitalism and norms that justify authority.”

Then again, we need to question these norms and theories and see if we can get farther along and more radically consistent, I for one am with you on such an idealogical journey/transformation.

“In truth, it is Nick Ford who largely comes off as someone who has not looked very deeply into the material on these matters.”

Perhaps not as well as other people have, but I’m willing to learn and if that means doing this then I’m fine with that.

“He often speaks from a position of unfamiliarity with the points of contention that are being talked about and responds with naivety when people are critical.”

I’m not naive about the things you speak of. I’ve seen some of it, but I deny it happens to the extent you say it does in a lot of the cases.

“He defends figures while simultaneously admitting to not being sure what their positions are, and bases some ofhis views on 2nd hand opinions about thinkers that he has not read yet.”

Sure, speculation and generalization (which is still generally a bitch but only generally of course) are with me sometimes, I won’t deny that. But for the most part I HAVE read these authors to a pretty good degree in my own mind.

“I don’t think that Nick Ford is stupid, but he certainly does not seem properly equipped to form a strong opposition to what I’m presenting.”

Perhaps, but I’m dumb enough to try I guess. 😛

“Honestly, at various points it doesn’t seem like he has a strong sense of what his own position is.”

Such is the life of being a young, confused person I suppose.

“If my wit has in some way wounded him over the course of this post, this is the unfortunate price to pay for stepping into the ring this extensively.”

Nah, don’t flatter yourself.

“I wish him luck on his ideological journey.”

I’d say the same to you but then I hardly ever know where you stand. 😉