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“While some men are born small and some achieve smallness, it is clear enough that Adam Smith has had much smallness thrust upon him.”
  - Amartya Sen, Harvard economist and Nobel laureate

   Economists may be the most misquoted and misrepresented historical figures.

  The vast majority of critics of Keynesian economics don't seem to be aware that today's markets and economic policies are contrary to John Maynard Keynes' designs.
   Probably not one political pundit in a thousand could tell you the difference between Stalinism and Marxism, despite the vast ideological gulf between them.

  Possibly the most misrepresented of all economists is Adam Smith.

  Free-market fundamentalists are not much different from religious fundamentalists, in that neither know much about the "book" that they take as gospel.
   I have yet to encounter a religious fundamentalist that has ever heard of the Council of Nicaea, and I have yet to encounter a free-market fundamentalists online that has read the entire An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Both are guilty of worshiping an idea based on little information and a black/white view of the world.

  Only 8 pages into Wealth of Nations do we find Smith's pin factory (shortly before he describes the "playful" joy of a young boy working in a factory between a piston and a boiler). Early in the book Smith describes general ideas about how economies work.
  It isn't until far later in the book that he casts warnings about capitalist economies in the real world.

  Most free-market fundamentalists call themselves libertarians, and are largely unaware that libertarianism was/is based in radical left-wing ideology (primarily anarchism).
   Only through general ignorance has Adam Smith and libertarianism been hijacked by the extreme right wing.

  Without further adieu, let's look at what Adam Smith actually said.

More than just an Invisible Hand

But what all the violence of the feudal institutions could never have effected, the silent and insensible operation of foreign commerce and manufactures gradually brought about. These gradually furnished the great proprietors with something for which they could exchange the whole surplus produce of their lands, and which they could consume themselves without sharing it either with tenants or retainers. All for ourselves and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind. As soon, therefore, as they could find a method of consuming the whole value of their rents themselves, they had no disposition to share them with any other persons.
 This quote isn't from some Marxist manifesto. It's from Book 3 of The Wealth of Nations. Smith is denoucing the rentier economy, which in those days was represented by large landowners. Today it is represented by owners of financial debt instruments.
To widen the market and to narrow the competition, is always the interest of the dealers…The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from this order, ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and ought never to be adopted till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention. It comes from an order of men, whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it.
 This doesn't sound like a man who trusts capitalists, does it? This doesn't sound like the hero of laissez-faire. Smith is talking about capitalists that use our government to write legislation, a common practice today in Washington.
 His employers constitute the third order, that of those who live by profit. It is the stock that is employed for the sake of profit, which puts into motion the greater part of the useful labour of every society. The plans and projects of the employers of stock regulate and direct all the most important operations of labour, and profit is the end proposed by all those plans and projects. But the rate of profit does not, like rent and wages, rise with the prosperity, and fall with the declension of the society. On the contrary, it is naturally low in rich, and high in poor countries, and it is always highest in the countries which are going fastest to ruin.
 There you have it: Adam Smith points out that profits and wages don't go hand in hand, and when not shared leads to destruction. What's more, he points out the obvious - that wealth inequality is a bad thing.
 What improves the circumstances of the greater part can never be regarded as an inconveniency to the whole. No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable.
And yet Smith goes even one step beyond this.
The interest of the dealers, however, in any particular branch of trade or manufactures, is always in some respects different from, and even opposite to, that of the public.
 And so the Apostle of the Invisible Hand just proclaims that the interests of the merchant class are often contrary to the interests of the public good.
 To widen the market and to narrow the competition, is always the interest of the dealers. To widen the market may frequently be agreeable enough to the interest of the public; but to narrow the competition must always be against it, and can serve only to enable the dealers, by raising their profits above what they naturally would be, to levy, for their own benefit, an absurd tax upon the rest of their fellow-citizens.
 That's pretty simple and obvious and totally contrary to the belief that the market is self-regulating. In fact, Smith was quite clear that capitalists were naturally incline to create monopolies, to the detriment of the markets and consumers in general.
 People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.
 Libertarians and pro-market capitalists are consistent in their denial that monopolies can work in a "free market". In other words, they prefer to deny centuries of evidence and countless examples, while blaming everything on governments.
 The subjects of every state ought to contribute towards the support of the government, as nearly as possible, in proportion to their respective abilities...
 And thus Adam Smith supports progressive taxation.

Libertarians and Anarchists

  Libertarianism in America is different from libertarianism in the rest of the world.
In America it is a mix of gun-rights activists, anti-tax'ers, and Social Darwinist who believe that "you get what you deserve".
   For instance, American libertarians generally believe that if you work hard you will succeed, and if you don't work hard then you will fail and deserve to fail. Simple enough, right?
   However, if you run into bad luck and something happens to you, American libertarians will also be the first to tell you the truism of "life isn't fair".

   The problem with American libertarianism is that "life isn't fair" directly conflicts with "you get what you deserve".
   When American libertarians mash these two incompatible ideas together and it resembles "I'm looking out for #1, so f*ck you."
   This isn't a political philosophy, it's a personal one.

  The American libertarian idea of freedom is basically based around "the freedom not to be bothered by anyone". Or as Mikhail Bakunin said: "the revolt of the individual against all divine, collective, and individual authority."
  That is what I would call a "negative freedom".
  A "positive freedom" would be as Bakunin said: "the fullest development of all the faculties and powers of every human being, by education, by scientific training, and by material prosperity."

  Notice how one freedom is a reaction against the present, while the other is a hopeful vision of the future.
   The other thing worth noting is how the positive freedom can only be accomplished within a society, while the negative freedom is all about the individual.
   Peter Kroptopkin, in his book The Conquest of Bread writes:

The development of individualism during the last three centuries is explained by the efforts of the individual to protect himself from the tyranny of capital and of the state. For a time he imagined, and those who expressed his thought for him declared, that he could free himself entirely from the state and from society. "By means of money," he said, "I can buy all that I need."
   But the individual was on the wrong track, and modern history has taught him to recognize that without the help of all, he can do nothing, although his strongboxes are full of gold.
 It's increadible to read a book from 130 years ago by an early libertarian that describes exactly what so many libertarians today think and why they are doomed to fail.

  But what can you expect from a group that believes that property rights is the most important right of all? (as I have been told by libertarians)
   American libertarians are for freedom for capital above all else, and thus they aspire to be the ones exploiting others.

   American libertarianism is the sad and morally bankrupt side of what started out as a very positive and rich, left-wing philosophy that was full of hope and promise for the future.
   Hopefully, one day, libertarians will rediscover their roots.

"Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defence of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all."
   - Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations
 The most interesting thing about this quote is that this idea is one of the primary pillars of thought behind anarchism.
   First of all, forget anarcho-punk. While these kids put out some great music, their idea of anarchy was little more than youth rebellion.
  Anarchism, on the other hand, was a fully developed political philosophy that dominated left-wing thought through much of the 19th Century.

Short history of Anarchism

   At the heart of any concept of Anarchism is anti-state. As Adam Smith described above, the State is historically used as a cudgel by the wealthy and powerful against the poor and weak.
   This idea is not new, it developed with the writings of John Locke and  Thomas Paine, but it never really became a philosophy until the French Revolution with the writing of William Godwin.
   Interestingly, Godwin was hated and slandered by the conservative press of the time.

   Peter Kropotkin, an libertarian-communist of the 19th Century, wrote that Godwin when  "speaking of property, he stated that the rights of every one ‘to every substance capable of contributing to the benefit of a human being’ must be regulated by justice alone: the substance must go ‘to him who most wants it’. His conclusion was communism."

   The actual term "libertarian", while sometimes used before, can be considered coined by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, the greatest mind of the Anarchist movement. Starting in 1857, it was the anarchists that brought the concept of "libertarianism" into modern political thought.
  You might better recognize Prouhon for two of his famous phrases: "Property is theft" and "Anarchy is order".

   Anarchists generally favor workers' associations or co-operatives, as well as individual worker/peasant possession, over private ownership. Most anarchists originally believe that revolution of society could be achieved peacefully, and this is primarily why Proudhon and Karl Marx had a falling out.
  Leading anarchist Mikhail Bakunin opposed Marxism, correctly predicting that if a marxist party came to power it would create a dictatorship "all the more dangerous because it appears as a sham expression of the people's will."

  It's an almost totally ignored fact that the greatest resistance to the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia wasn't from conservatives and capitalists, but from socialists and anarchists.

   There are many flavors of anarchists, and there are many flavors of libertarian, although America only has one - basically anarcho-capitalism.
   It seems amazing, given our experience with libertarians today, that their world views could be so diverse at one time

  All around the world, but not in the United States, libertarians generally associated themselves with left-wing movements until the 1970's.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (139+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jim P, TomP, LaFeminista, Gooserock, Mary Mike, importer, kharma, Words In Action, quarkstomper, millwood, rat racer, J V Calin, No Exit, PoliticallyNonEuclidean, bewild, Norm in Chicago, Thinking Fella, sagesource, Shockwave, LibrErica, icemilkcoffee, Sandino, richardvjohnson, MKinTN, bobswern, lunachickie, bfitzinAR, KJG52, DeminNewJ, DerAmi, Chi, run around, Gowrie Gal, ArthurPoet, Darwinian Detrius, atdnext, aaraujo, CroneWit, shaharazade, Themistoclea, johnel, newinfluence, wader, Chitown Kev, i saw an old tree today, jbob, gooderservice, Catte Nappe, owlbear1, johanus, sfbob, fiercefilms, sulthernao, 1BQ, Homer177, Captain C, Syoho, jobu, jeffrey789, anodnhajo, basquebob, Mikey, hubcap, Joieau, indyada, kevinpdx, FarWestGirl, achronon, Sinan, AoT, JVolvo, YucatanMan, JBL55, TealTerror, triv33, LynChi, Lily O Lady, TheOrchid, Johnny Q, mitumba, camlbacker, AllanTBG, Old Sailor, renbear, political mutt, Nellebracht, side pocket, No one gets out alive, Jarrayy, kenwards, Drocedus, OllieGarkey, StrayCat, Choisie, opinionated, ricklewsive, Ignacio Magaloni, Haningchadus14, Buckeye Nut Schell, blackjackal, JesseCW, Involuntary Exile, cpresley, bara, Ice Blue, marleycat, Sun Tzu, Cassiodorus, WB Reeves, rapala, dradams, The Wizard, reginahny, Matt Z, rbird, StillAmused, FG, tardis10, Geenius at Wrok, slowbutsure, DeadHead, EdSF, Justus, meg, tacet, Larsstephens, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, Alumbrados, TheMomCat, Executive Odor, unclejohn, chmood, Brit, GeorgeXVIII, Liberal Thinking, BYw, splashy, Dustin Mineau, Darth Stateworker

    None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

    by gjohnsit on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:55:15 AM PDT

  •  it does sound like (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LaFeminista, duhban, Lefty Coaster
    This doesn't sound like a man who trusts capitalists, does it? This doesn't sound like the hero of laissez-faire.
    the hero of laissez-faire. That's because it opposes "The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce"

    Increasing laws and regulations is the opposite of laissez-faire.

    •  You're missing the point (37+ / 0-)

      He was talking about laws and regulations that are written by the capitalists (i.e. "the dealers").
        I happen to agree with him. Those proposals shouldn't be trusted.

      None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

      by gjohnsit on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:23:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It doesn't matter who (5+ / 0-)

        writes them. They are ALL contrary to the principle of laissez-faire.

        I agree with him too.

        Obviously the interests of those who sell (who want a high price) will differ from those who buy (who want a low price).

        regulations that narrow the competition (requiring taxis to have an expensive liscense, with a limit on the # liscenses) drive up prices.

        regulations that keep prices artifically low (rent control) drive down supply.

        •  to be laissez-faire. (6+ / 0-)

          does not mean to be blindly trusting of capitalists.  

          Check principle #4 (from wikipedia entry on laissez-faire)

          Fundamentals of laissez-faire[edit]

          As a system of thought, laissez-faire rests on the following axioms:
          1. The individual is the basic unit in society.
          2. The individual has a natural right to freedom.
          3. The physical order of nature is a harmonious and self-regulating system.
          4. Corporations are creatures of the State and therefore must be watched closely by the citizenry due to their propensity to disrupt the Smithian spontaneous order.

          •  Someone didn't get the memo (24+ / 0-)

            because every libertarian and capitalist of every stripe I've ever talked to considers corporations to be part of the private sector, not creatures of the state.

            None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

            by gjohnsit on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:47:28 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  i presume this means (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Buckeye Nut Schell

              that they exist based upon rules set up by the state. LLC, S-Corp, C-Corp.

              Obviously in that sense they are creatures of the state. Explained thusly i don't think people would disagree.

              People may tend to think of them operating in the private sector and simply not considering what's going on below the hood. Never much thought about it myself till 5 minutes ago.

               

            •  Nope, corporations are socialist entities (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              wader, Don midwest, sfbob, JVolvo

              The very first corporations were entities of a Royal Crown.  Modern corporations are all State entities, they are all incorporated with a State.  Why are all the credit card companies in Delaware?  Because the STATE of Delaware gives them the best terms of operation.

              Corporations are inherently socialist entities that combine the wealth production of a large group of individuals for a collective purpose.  They are created by the State and are regulated by the State.

              That is the nature of the LLC, that the people at the top aren't the sole owners, and not solely responsible.

              To be private sector only, you're thinking of just a basic COMPANY.  Where the CEO is the sole owner, no stock, no LLC.  If the Company goes bankrupt, the CEO is bankrupt.  No golden parachutes in a Company.  But there are in Corporations.

              •  I'll fix that for you. (12+ / 0-)
                They are created by the State and are regulated by the State in an abstract sort of way as long as you remember that the rich buy the State's legislators in reality, as every observer of political history can tell you.
                In the world outside of technical formalistic cant, the one where power resides, where real people of various natures from honest to corrupt reside, Corporations tell States what to do and what laws to write every day.

                 


                Real fixes, outside the coffin fixes, ain't ever pragmatic says Political Conventional Wisdoom.

                by Jim P on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:52:30 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  We have a different definition of socialism (8+ / 0-)
                Corporations are inherently socialist entities that combine the wealth production of a large group of individuals for a collective purpose.  They are created by the State and are regulated by the State.
                 You seem to be using the term "socialism" in a non-economic way.
                  Even if you are right, it would be ironic because the most fervent free-market capitalists are often members of corporations.

                None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

                by gjohnsit on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 10:00:54 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Mabye I meant fudalist (0+ / 0-)

                  Corporations are certainly collectivist.  Everyone works together for a common purpose, a common goal.  Corporations are NOT "every man for himself".  Workers are expected to do the job assigned to them, and those at the top set the goals.  Individual freedom is a concept corporations have a hard time dealing with.

                  But corporations do not run internally based on capitalism, where individuals are paid based on the wealth they personally create.  If they were, the assembly line workers who actually make the products would be the most highly paid, while the CEOs who do very little real work would be paid the least.  In a corporation, wealth is redistributed in support of the overall "collectivist", or what I would call socialist goals of the corporation.

                  A corporation says it can't pay a line worker a million dollars because it has to spend that money on engineering, management, rent, marketing.

                  In government, that taking of wealth is called taxes, and when governments do it, it's called socialism yes?

                  •  Feudalism is closer (5+ / 0-)

                    But it's still not quite right.

                    Corporations are legal entities with a number of stakeholders, but most of them don't really count.  You have the shareholders, who own the corporation, directors, who speak for the shareholders, and officers, who actually run the business.

                    Employees, vendors, and customers are attached, but they're not really a part of the corporation.  They interact with the corporation.  Workers exchange labor for salary, and the fruits of that labor are generally directed to the shareholders.

                    Theoretically, this is a free exchange between labor and management based on whatever capitalist principles you like.  Corporations don't have the literal coercive powers of governments for taxes (though in inequitable economies, they might as well have).  But you generally don't have a wealth transfer, you just have free exchanges.  Workers who don't like it are "free" to quit (again, the limits of this freedom are based on the fairness of the outside economy)

                    An unincorporated company isn't really that different, though, it's just that the first three groups are combined into one person.  And an awful lot of exploitative labor conditions happens away from corporate formalities.  

                    But yeah, you do see a system where multiple individuals share collective goals.  But there's no pretense of equality, or collective good for all stakeholders.  Aristocracy is probably a better analogy.  

                    Or just let corporations be themselves.  They are an inescapable element of capitalism.  

              •  Your concept of corporations and other statutory (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                gjohnsit

                business organizations is inadequate.  There is nothing socialist about a large corporation, enabled by the state to own or lease large amounts of petroleum, and then have the taxpayers subsidize the operation, especially as the operation is profitable without subsidy.

                Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

                by StrayCat on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 12:38:46 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Public corporations are vaguely socialistic (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  gjohnsit, WB Reeves

                  only to the extent that they are "publicly" owned and the profits, in theory, are shared by the owners. But that's a real stretch.

                  If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                  by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 01:05:11 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Corporations are not public ally owned, but are (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    AoT

                    privately owned by a large number of people.  Closely held corporations are owned by a few and also privately held.  We ought to distinguish between the use of "public" as in held or operated by the government (assuming that the government is a democratic one)' and "public" as available to a wide variety of individuals at the same price, or as used in "out in public".

                    Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

                    by StrayCat on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 08:03:54 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  My favorite Adam Smith quotes (12+ / 0-)
              The subjects of every state ought to contribute towards the support of the government, as nearly as possible, in proportion to their respective abilities, that is, in proportion to the revenue which they respectively enjoy under the protection of the state.  - Adam Smith
              It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expence, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.  - Adam Smith

              "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

              by Lefty Coaster on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:59:10 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Which simply proves Laissez-faire to be worthless (16+ / 0-)

          as an ideology. An easy enough idea to prove in many other ways.

          But the glibertarian insistence that all regulation is bad is one of the easiest to disprove. Here's one: Would you rather your cardiac surgeon be regulated or not? Would you rather he be required to use sanitary methods, be board certified, have years of experience? Or would it be better to allow anyone who wants to to hang out a shingle and claim to be a cardiac surgeon? And it's not just cardiac surgeons. How about food regulation? Would you rather your meat be produced in a place that doesn't preclude large amounts of feces in your food or not? It's puerile to pretend that a "free market" will regulate this kind of behavior except to find it acceptable that a certain number of people being sickened and dying is a way to discover who makes safe food. As long as it's not me who dies, who cares, right?

          Sure, it's worth debating the "fair" cost of a taxi medallion, but to suggest that the only function of such medallions is to inflate prices is ridiculous. The medallion also requires the taxi service to carry insurance, keep track of and report the whereabouts of their cabs, presumes a rather minimum level of competence of the drivers, etc. Or would you rather discover that the car that picked you up at the airport doesn't carry instance after your driver slams into a tree car at speed, after getting lost because he has no idea where he is, leaving you crippled and bleeding in the back seat? Oh yeah and let's assume that he never reported his picku-up, destination, or time and so no one knows where he might be when he does't report back in. And he's dead with no assets or family, so you have no way to recover any liability. If you live. Oh, but I'm sure any "rational" libertarian would always carefully vet the various cabs at the airport, determine their safety records, competence and insurance carriers, hold a quick auction to determine the best and fairest price (because no cabbie in a laissez-faire world, would ever promise you a "fair" price and then drive you to an abandoned industrial wharf, miles from your destination, and demand a huge fee to drive you to someplace safe, right? Nahhh!) No all it would take is a few hours of intense internet research, vigorous haggling, a huge helping of trust and off you go, home in just a few hours. Or you can have regulated taxi services that post bonds and have an interest in not losing their livelihood. Your laissez-faire choice, I guess. Oh yeah, and I do remember the one time I used a gypsy cab to get home from the airport, only to have my driver get into a high-speed pissing match with some guy he thought cut him off and then came to a complete stop in the middle of an active three lane highway, so he could get out of the car and shake his fist at the guy as he drove past at 75 miles an hour. Yeah, I'm Sooo glad he wasn't regulated in any way.

          Glibertarians live in a fantasy world

          •  medallions (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            StrayCat
            Sure, it's worth debating the "fair" cost of a taxi medallion, but to suggest that the only function of such medallions is to inflate prices is ridiculous.
            i don't think i said it was the only function. But it surely is one function.

            http://www.nytimes.com/...

            While the auction on Thursday focused on pairs of “corporate medallions,” for cabs that do not have to be driven by their owners, individual medallions have also attracted ballooning sums. Today, the average market price is more than $1 million. In November 2008, it was less than $550,000.
            which means that the average person has no chance to afford one. And that million paid has to be repaid by the fares paid by the customer.

            Issue 100X as many medallions (or as many as are requested) and th price for them will collapse. More cabs on the streets means more competition and lower cost to the consumer.

            •  Well, as I wrote (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              johanus, JVolvo, tardis10

              the cost of the medallions can be debated. But do we REALLY want to see five times as many cabs on the streets of New York? Or even twice as many? It's hard enough to navigate the streets now with all the cabs.

              Actually, a better solution might be to get rid of cabs altogether and establish a kind of electric "city car" system by which people pop a credit card into a vendor and grab a small, electric smart car wherever they happen to be and drive it to their destination and drop it off. Have a few driver's services for the drunks and keep all other cars out of the city altogether. Increase the number of busses and subways, find a way to deliver bulk goods that doesn't rely on smelly giant lorries and you might even have a livable city again.

              But it would all take planning and cost and could never be done by the "market."

              •  don't matter to me (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                hmi

                as i don't live there.

                But do we REALLY want to see five times as many cabs on the streets of New York? Or even twice as many? It's hard enough to navigate the streets now with all the cabs.
                But the people who live there might want that if it meant more cabs when you need one and lower prices when you're riding. It's the consumer of cabs who is poorly served by the enforced scarcity.

                It is the supplier of the service who is kept out of a paying job. If cab fares were cheap enough, maye people would have fewer cars there.

                All i know is that the regulation means that there is unmet demand.

                •  Exactly. A common "libertarian" response: (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Johnny Q, Old Sailor, tardis10
                  don't matter to me as i don't live there. ~ hodor2
                  Most of us here Do Care about how things work for Others.  Equality and Fairness; Community and General Welfare and shit.

                  "But I do apologize, JVolvo, for you are arbiter of all that can and cannot be discussed and I bow down to your supremacy when it comes to what can be written on this website." WinSmith 1/22/2014 - "OK" JVolvo 1/23/2014 (sorry, Clive)

                  by JVolvo on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:18:00 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Obviously you've never been to New York (0+ / 0-)

                  There is little scarcity. In fact barring certain realities, like it's hard to get a cab for black people, a known issue that will almost certainly not be addressed just by putting twice as many cabs on the streets, cabs are already rather over-abundant. And make traffic in New York appalling. Increasing their number even by half would hardly cause prices to drop and would increase traffic congestion significantly.

                  And this addresses yet another problem of libertarianism: Perpetually obsessed with "laissez-faire" "solutions" focused only on issues of cost and scarcity, they fail to address wider issues like traffic congestion, pollution, racism, etc. More cabs is almost certainly NOT the answer to New York's transportation problems.

                  But, as has been often observed, when the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem starts to look like a nail.

              •  Of course it would not end up being that many. (0+ / 0-)

                The demand would thin that out fast, and service might actually become a part of that transportation mode.

                Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

                by StrayCat on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 12:44:58 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  And since demand is elastic (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  StrayCat

                  Your comment shows a serious naiveté. As "demand" increases, more cabs with trained drivers, bonds, insurance, dispatchers, mechanics, garaging, etc. will not magically appear, just as, when demand decreases, all those extra cabs will not magically disappear, but will still require garaging somewhere, or scrapping, and will see their drivers, mechanics, and dispatchers thrown out of work, along with the associated disruption of that.

                  Large-scale infrastructure does not respond to "demand" the way that the demand for, say, counterfeit concert tee shirts does.

                  Infrastructure is broadly non-elastic and responds only slowly to changes in demand. People's lives are only partially so dynamic. Everyone needs food and water every day, and needs shelter and sanitation, security and stability. Demands that are not easily met merely by simplistic  "supply and demand" scenarios. That's why cities and even small towns need planning and regulation and appropriately-scaled, non-elastic infrastructure.

                  And that's why, in the real world, the glib libertarianism of the safe and cozy college dorm room or naive GOP congressional staff lounge just doesn't work.

                  •  However, automobiles are not infrastructure, and (0+ / 0-)

                    are fungible as to use.  Demand can be elastic or in elastic over time depending on the supply at any point.  Or put another way, elasticity is a variable notion, and in elasticity is one end of the scale.

                    Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

                    by StrayCat on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 07:57:58 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Individual cars may not be an infrastructure (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      AoT

                      but a fleet of them is. A single car sitting unused by the side of the road may be an eyesore after a while, but three hundred of them are a toxic waste dump.

                      Even when not in use that fleet needs to either be maintained at someone's expense, or broken up and their potential to do harm eliminated again, at someone's expense. Which then removes the elasticity from the system in that a new fleet will be needed when demand, again, increases.

                      And again, libertarian obsession with individual scenarios (me! me! me!) and cavalier dismissal of large-scale problems, issues, and solutions shows that their ideology is not serious or useful.

                      Like conservatism's inability to even exist without the stability and security established by liberalism, libertarianism cannot exist without the work of planners, regulators, and a functional organized government.

            •  At a certain point (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              StrayCat, JesseCW

              there would be so many cabs on the streets that no driver would be able to afford to continue operating.

              Back when I was a New York cabbie in the 1970's (please note: I did not own a medallion; I worked for a garage that owned the medallions and was paid a salary), a medallion sold for about the average cost of a home in a middle class neighborhood, or maybe a bit above that. It appears that nowadays the cost of a medallion is about that of an entry-level Manhattan condo.

              •  if there was too much supply (0+ / 0-)

                then yes, prices would go down and some (not all taxis) would be driven out of business. As supply goes down, prices would stabilze round some equilibrium point. It'd be cheaper than it is today.

                that invisible hand again.

                •  Prices would not go down for one simple reason (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Old Sailor, JesseCW, tardis10

                  Taxi fares are kept uniform; they are established by a commission, not by the owners of the cabs.

                  I suppose that perhaps during the Great Depression the cost of a cab ride in NYC went down; I doubt it has happened since then.

                  •  The barriers to entry into the taxi business and (0+ / 0-)

                    the prices being fixed are part of the same thing.  Regulate against price gouging, and set standards for safety, and let the taxi drivers compete on service, courtesy, directness and comfort, as well as price.

                    Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

                    by StrayCat on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 12:48:10 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  That's fine (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      StrayCat

                      Service, courtesy, directness and comfort are certainly worthy goals. However, in general cab drivers don't rely on repeat business; in my four years as a driver I may have had one repeat customer. So those virtues are to be embraced from the standpoint of professionalism rather than as marketing tools.

                      The average person hailing a cab doesn't really know and likely does not care who's going to respond to the raised hand until someone actually does. It's not worth the effort of rejecting one driver with the hope of getting a "better" one on the second try. At certain times of the day--times when cabs are most in demand--any cab is better than no cab and the only desire is to get where one is going as quickly as one can.

          •  Laissez-faire economic models (12+ / 0-)

            require the consumer to have perfect knowledge, and thus to always make the informed decision.
               Libertarians always underestimate the immense amounts of personal research people would be required to perform for their economic systems to work.

            None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

            by gjohnsit on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:51:45 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Had a fun convo with an Ayn Rand devotee on this (12+ / 0-)

            In 2010 Tom Bowden of the "Ayn Rand Institute" wrote this comical piece on the BP oil spill.
            http://ari.aynrand.org/...

            Comical because he couldn't even get the reference straight.  In Atlas Shrugged, Kip Chalmers is a politician who causes a massive train crash and tunnel collapse by ordering "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead".  But it wasn't Obama who ordered BP to cut corners and drill a shoddy well, that was all on BP.  I won that debate hands down Tom had to admit.

            But back to your point.  I started talking to him about Galt's Valley, which was really Midas Mulligan the banker's valley because he owned all of it.  So after the collapse of all civilization, there they all are, safe and sound in their little valley.  And Ellas Wyatt is happily fracking away in the same valley for oil.

            So I asked Tom Bowden, what Midas Mulligan would say to Wyatt, if one day they found that all their ground water was poisoned.  If they couldn't grow food, if they all had to leave the valley, with nothing but wasteland all around them.  What would Mulligan say to Wyatt for destroying HIS valley.  Would Mulligan accept a simple "Oopsie!" as an excuse?  What is the compensation for destroying the last piece of civilization?

            And you know what?  That coward Tom Bowden never responded.  He didn't even have the courage to admit that he had no answer, because none of them do.   You have to back them into a corner before they'll admit they're wrong.

        •  Drives up price lowers overall cost, i.e. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          WB Reeves

          societal costs.  Miminimizing societal costs is the object of good public policy. In your example, licensing taxis lowers societal costs even while increasing prices as it enhances public safety and lowers the societal costs which result from unsafe taxis,taxi drivers and accidents. So cab fare may be more the all in costs of cab fare and societal costs related to taxis is, ideally, minimized. We could have unlicensed cabs and cab drivers and a lot more accidents and othe rproblems but a balance needs to be maintained betwen regulation and market. Achieving the correct balance, theoretically, is what a particpatory democracy should seek.

          The capitalist inspired/promoted regs Smith was talking about are those which seek to maintain or promote monopoloy or increase the proponents' market share or profits with little if any regard to minimizing societal costs. Included would be complete lack of regulation, or proposals to deregulate, where producers are free to socialize a significant portion of their production costs.

  •  Excellent work. (23+ / 0-)

    Just when I start to get fed up with posts here, I read two excellent ones this morning,  Yours and Lenny Franks.  Both engender thought.  

    This belongs on the rec list, but alas.  ...

    You have a sense of political theory.  I enjoyed reading the quotes old anarchists of the 19th century.  

    I've read pieces of the Bakunin/Marx dialogues and thought both saw real problems with the other's political theories.  

    You're of course right about US libertarians.  

    Anarchism is an important strain of left thought.  The problem of socialism in creating a massive state needs the critique of anarchism.  The Port Huron Statement and  trends of the New Left in the 60s tried to weave thoughts form both, in my view.  The Old Left of the 30s (and USSR) endorsed exploitation by the state.  Remember Emma Goldman's critique on Leninism after she was deported to the USSR.  

    After Emma Goldman's deportation in 1919 from the United States, she arrived in Soviet Russia hoping she "would find a new-born country, with its people wholly consecrated to the great task of revolutionary reconstruction." Goldman soon realized that her view of the Revolution was not shared by the Bolshevik leadership. In this "new" Russia, anarchists and other activists were denied free speech, and their organizing efforts landed them in jail. In a meeting with Lenin, arranged by her friend Angelica Balabanova, a trusted advisor of Lenin, Goldman protested their treatment. Disillusioned and convinced that Lenin had betrayed the ideals of the Revolution, after fifteen months Goldman left Soviet Russia.
    Excerpt from My Disillusionment in Russia by Emma Goldman, 1923

    Anyway, rambling, but great post!

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:14:16 AM PDT

    •  I didn't expect this post to get so long (21+ / 0-)

      But once I started writing it I realized that I had many ideas concerning this topic.

        As for anarchism, these is so much rich history and wide ranging ideas to explore. It's totally different from the right-wing (which tends to only look backwards) and politics of today.
        We really are only hurting ourselves by ignoring this history.

      None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

      by gjohnsit on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:20:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree wholeheartedly. (8+ / 0-)

        "Anarchism" got a bad name from propaganda of the deed in the early 20th century and the red scares of 1919, but there is much to learn form it.  I've read about worker cooperatives in Spain (read it 14 years ago), where anarcho-syndicalist principles are being applied.  But even if one does not go fully down that road (I'm more socialist), ignoring anarchist thought is just stupid.  There is much to learn from it.

        I'm still hoping for a new, New Left that learns from our history and fits the capitalism of our times.  There are some Greenish trends, but I have not kept up with them.          

        Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

        by TomP on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:25:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I mostly agree (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TomP, k9disc

          though I will point out that Anarchism continues to suffer because in it's most extreme forms it advocates the complete dissolution of the State. Something which few people would ever agree with.

          I think you'll get your new left. Really I  think we are already seeing it as new democrats are elected to Congress.

          Der Weg ist das Ziel

          by duhban on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:03:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Anarchism replaces the state (8+ / 0-)

            with participatory communities and worker councils, which form a network of federations, ranging from local to international in scale. Federations, with recallable and mandated delegates (nor representatives, since they are mandated from below) would replace the state.

            I have little time now, but perhaps more later.

            "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

            by ZhenRen on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:54:57 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  that's more socialism than anarchy (0+ / 0-)

              and even that's just the theory. It's never worked on anything larger than the small communal level and even there it has been prone to abuse and misuse.

              Der Weg ist das Ziel

              by duhban on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 10:03:01 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  We've had this discussioin before (9+ / 0-)

                and you continue to make up your own "facts".

                No one familiar with anarchism would make this statement, no matter how opposed to anarchism:

                that's more socialism than anarchy
                This reveals a profound ignorance on the topic. Anarchism is anti-capitalist, and social-anarchism, by far the most widely followed form, has always been socialist. In fact, Marx took some of his ideas from Proudhon. Bakunin was clearly socialist, and Kropotkin was communist.

                For anyone interested, I wrote this in a comment I made a couple of days ago. (I post this more for others than Dubhan, who refuses to reasonably acknowledge anything other than what he makes up in his head)

                Socialism (2+ / 0-)

                in the 19th century came in two major variants:

                1) Anarchism, which is anti-hierarchy, and anti state,  organizing horizontally based on free association, with the basic unit of society being participatory communities and worker-councils, all based on direct democracy and/or consensus, which form federations on local, regional, national and international scale. Delegates are elected to form the federations which are mandated and recallable from bottom up. This is a highly democratic form of socialism that emphasizes democracy and liberty, valuing individuality within a collective framework, with no central authority. Anarchists believe that central authority (even when "democratically" elected) never willingly gives up power, and gravitates to becoming self-serving of its own body, leaning more and more elitist and is a form of state capitalism. People elected to such a body become co-opted by their peers, whom they end up serving as a privileged group.

                2) Marxism, which proposed a top down form of socialism, with a central government, using parliamentary political system, but also advocating "dictatorship of the proletariat" placing the proletariat in charge using Communist Party hierarchies to control every level of society, from the basic community to the highest levels of government. Marx theorized that the central authority of the state would "wither away" by itself as new generations of people outgrew the need for the state, upon which true communism (basically the same as anarcho-communism) would prevail.

                Few know that Marx had been influenced by the works of Proudhon, an anarchist, but Marx left out the anti-authoritarianism of Proudhon, adopting a top down form of central government. Bakunin, a well known anarchist theorist and organizer with whom Marx was a contemporary, warned that the authoritarian form of socialism advocated by Marx would lead to an authoritarian state that would not "wither away" on its own, but which would become highly dictatorial and lacking in democratic freedoms, a prediction proven correct by Marxist-Leninism.

                Anarchists do not accept that socialism without local autonomy and free association based on the equal voice of each participant is true socialism.

                Bakunin and Marx famously had a falling out, with Marx maneuvering the First International (association of socialist workers) to expel Bakunin from that body (ironically using the very kind of top-down authority to which Bakunin objected). The two groups have been split ever since.

                Chomsky, an anarchist, explains this very briefly in this video:

                I'm working at the moment, so I can't engage much.

                "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

                by ZhenRen on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 10:41:49 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Zing! (6+ / 0-)
                  (I post this more for others than Dubhan, who refuses to reasonably acknowledge anything other than what he makes up in his head)
                  I would humbly add:
                  ...in comment strings of 5-20 posts that march illogically to the right margin.
                  heh

                  "But I do apologize, JVolvo, for you are arbiter of all that can and cannot be discussed and I bow down to your supremacy when it comes to what can be written on this website." WinSmith 1/22/2014 - "OK" JVolvo 1/23/2014 (sorry, Clive)

                  by JVolvo on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:27:15 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  we have had this discussion before (0+ / 0-)

                  and as such I don't feel like repeating it. I know your opinion on the matter. I happen to disagree.

                  Der Weg ist das Ziel

                  by duhban on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 01:47:33 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The history (3+ / 0-)

                    is based on facts, not opinion.

                    "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

                    by ZhenRen on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 03:08:36 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  and we're talking philosophy not history (0+ / 0-)

                      which is all opinion

                      Der Weg ist das Ziel

                      by duhban on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 03:09:30 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Both, actually (4+ / 0-)

                        But the history is based on fact, and even the socioeconomic theory is based on the writings of the theorists. You can disagree all you want with the theory, but you can't dispute the fact that Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin, and others, expressed the theory as they did.

                        That is historical fact, not opinion.

                        "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

                        by ZhenRen on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 03:13:16 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  We both agree the theory was presented (0+ / 0-)

                          I just happen to think it a horrible theory and it's certainly not the only theory that has been put forth under the category of 'anarchism' or 'socialism'.  

                          And that is where we get to opinion. Yours diverges from mine (or if you prefer yours diverges from mine). That's all there is to this simply a difference of opinion.

                          Der Weg ist das Ziel

                          by duhban on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 03:52:17 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  What you said was (3+ / 0-)
                            that's more socialism than anarchy
                            You can disagree with how wellit would work, but pretending like socialism and anarchism are somehow completely separate is flat wrong. What he described was anarchism and a form of socialism.

                            If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                            by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 04:16:42 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  that is more socialism than anarchy (0+ / 0-)

                            and everything I have said is constant with that statement. Further that's a strawman I never said that socialism and anarchism are completely separate. The very quote you are trying to use on me should easily show you that.

                            Der Weg ist das Ziel

                            by duhban on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 04:39:18 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You've misudnerstood the terms (3+ / 0-)

                            Some use a shorthand to describe libertarian socialists as "anarchists" and statist socialists as merely "socialist" as a convenient way to differentiate between the two forms, but this is simply out of convenience.

                            Anarchists are as socialist as the statist variant, and in fact, anarchists would claim the non-statist form is more socialist.

                            I noticed upthread someone used this shorthand way of describing this. I think it was TomP, who said he was more "socialist" than "anarchist". But this is simply a convenient way of communicating the difference, without having to spell it out each time.

                            "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

                            by ZhenRen on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 04:45:36 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You clearly don't know the history (2+ / 0-)

                            of socialism and anarchism if you think the two are separate. I'm sorry, you just don't. I've read extensively in both and have a background in both philosophy and political science and you are wrong on this. The two philosophies are deeply related.

                            If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                            by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 04:52:22 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Oh I know the history (0+ / 0-)

                            you are just repeating the same straw man. I challenge you to find where exactly I said they are separate.

                            Der Weg ist das Ziel

                            by duhban on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 06:00:49 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  The only way it can be more one thing than (1+ / 0-)

                            the other is if those are two different things.

                            If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                            by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 06:18:00 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  huh? (0+ / 0-)

                            Der Weg ist das Ziel

                            by duhban on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 06:18:52 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  If you don't understand that then (2+ / 0-)

                            there's no way to have a discussion.

                            Anarchism is not separate from socialism. It has variations that are not socialism, but it is historically tied to socialism. You speak as if it's something distinct, it is not.

                            What's your definition of anarchism?

                            If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                            by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 06:20:46 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  no I simply didn't understand your comment (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            AoT

                            Again I demand you show exactly where I said that anarchism and socialism are completely separate things please.

                            Der Weg ist das Ziel

                            by duhban on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 06:32:18 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Fair enough, sorry for (2+ / 0-)

                            the combativeness.

                            My point is that anarchism and socialism are not two separate things, and as such you can't say that some system is "more socialist than anarchist" because to say that necessitates that being socialist and anarchist are two separate things. Maybe you meant that it's more social democracy than anarchism, which are two distinct things? But you can't mix two things unless those things are initially separate. That was my point.

                            If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                            by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 06:44:07 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  okay fair enough (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            AoT

                            And I agree that they are not precisely separate things. To me  they are like venn diagrams. Socialism is one thing and Anarchism is another. They intersect to an extent and certainly share a history but they are also distinct concepts.

                            Does that make sense?

                            As to the rest, it is all good. You are passionate on this topic and I understand that. You know what I enjoy most though about our discussions? While both of us can be hard headed and passionate we both also keep trying to communicate. I am genuinely consistently impressed with your ability to try and see things from another point of view.

                            Der Weg ist das Ziel

                            by duhban on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:46:39 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Since Proudhon invented the term anarchism in 1840 (4+ / 0-)

                            his views, as well as successors like Bakunin and Kropotkin (who developed the concept), represent the mainstream, most widely held consensus of anarchist theory as espoused by actual anarchists, espeically social anarchists. Among anarchists, certain concepts are unifying among the variants, such as anti-authoritarianism, horizontal social structure, anti-state, and anti wage-labor, the abolition of private property used in production among social anarchists. If you knew more about this, the unifying elements of commonality would be more obvious.

                            "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

                            by ZhenRen on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 04:21:13 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  we have had this discussion before (0+ / 0-)

                            you know for a fact that I do not agree with your argument that definitions should exist in some timeless vacuum.

                            Der Weg ist das Ziel

                            by duhban on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 04:40:48 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  And your definitions are made up by people who (2+ / 0-)

                            are not anarchists. You make up your own definitions.

                            You don't offer a definition of anarchism other than a terribly basic dictionary definition.

                            If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                            by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 06:19:15 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  History of philosophy, not just history (3+ / 0-)

                        or philosophy.

                        And you're wrong about this. Socialism and Anarchism are tied at the hip.

                        If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                        by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 04:15:11 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

              •  Anarchism is a branch of socialism (2+ / 0-)

                Don't get confused by right-wing propaganda. Socialism != Big Government, just like conservatism != small government.

                  Actually anarchism has worked on large scales, such as the Paris Commune and in various communities in Spain during the Spanish civil war (as a few examples).
                   The problem is that the fascists immediately moved in and massacred these people because they dared to try to live without the ruling class.

                None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

                by gjohnsit on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 01:42:33 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  The Spainish communities are debatable (0+ / 0-)

                  as as far as I know they were never larger than 500,000 people. The Paris Commune is interesting though as that's the first I've ever heard of it. Having looked into it it is impossible to say what would have happened. It is true it managed to exist for a couple of months but that's hardly proof of long term stability.

                  As to anarchism and socialism, it's just not that simple or clear. There's a number of definitions and variations that make it all but impossible to create a clear definition. I have discussed this extensively with ZhenRen and sufficient to say I remain unconvinced that anarchism has much of anything to do with socialism. At least not socialism in its current incarnation.

                  To me anarchism will always be defined first and foremost by the desire for the dissolution of the State. Maybe that's unfair to some but I think it hard to argue that that is the central tenet of anarchism. I think that that is the polar opposite of socialism which to date has required the government (and not necessary 'big government') to insure certain levels of protections and rights to the people.

                  Der Weg ist das Ziel

                  by duhban on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 01:55:43 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Re: (3+ / 0-)
                    To me anarchism will always be defined first and foremost by the desire for the dissolution of the State. Maybe that's unfair to some but I think it hard to argue that that is the central tenet of anarchism.
                     You are correct without a doubt. It's the central tenet of anarchism.
                    I think that that is the polar opposite of socialism which to date has required the government (and not necessary 'big government') to insure certain levels of protections and rights to the people.
                     That's because today's socialism is what Karl Marx rightly described as "bourgeoisie socialism". It's a socialism without any of the revolutionary aspects. A socialism designed to soften the hard edges of capitalism without disturbing the status quo.

                       There are many different flavors of socialism, and a lot of great ideas that got left behind because the capitalist status quo won't tolerate dissent (especially in economics).

                      We may never know if anarchism will work on a large scale because the rules of this world have never and will never tolerate the experiment. They have and always will crush it with incredible brutality.
                       Only when capitalism finally fails (and that's not a controversial statement, because everything has an end) will we have a chance to see.

                    None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

                    by gjohnsit on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 02:11:36 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Anarchism will never be viable (0+ / 0-)

                      simply because of human nature. People always will be around that try to take advantage of the situation and put others down. That's simply ingrained in human nature. Look at the failure of the Paris Commune and the division that occurred as to whether military or civil reform should be pursued.

                      Capitalism will indeed eventually fail but socialism will never be viable until scarcity of resources is addressed. I look forward to that day but I do not see it coming any time soon.

                      Der Weg ist das Ziel

                      by duhban on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 02:33:41 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  Anarchist spain (5+ / 0-)

                    involved 3 to 8 millian participants. It included the most industrialized sections of Spain, as well as agrarian areas. Major industry was collectivized.

                    As to anarchism being a part of socialism, that's been established since Proudhon and Bakunin. Both were activists. This is a well known part of history, and it isn't debatable from a historical perspective. Bakunin was a member of the First International. His writings exist to establish his views. I could go on and on... you're acting like a denialist of history.  

                    Even Marx conceded that true socialism would be stateless (an idea he got from Proudhon), but that the state would "wither away" on its own.

                    Other examples of anarchism exist such as the Makhnovists in the Ukraine in 1919 (suppressed violently by the Bolsheviks). And one doesn't need a central state to have socialism, in fact quite the opposite, one needs simply self-management by the people.

                    Dubhan, rather than come up with things out of your head, you really should spend some time reading. Even people who disagree with anarchist theory don't dispute the basic facts I've presented.

                    "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

                    by ZhenRen on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 03:38:25 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  my understanding is that while that is true (0+ / 0-)

                      those 3 to 8 million participants never engaged in any recognizable form of government in large units. I'm a little swamped so I can not verify that but that is my understanding.

                      As to socialism yes some theorists have tried to put anarchism and socialism together. As I have told you before I reject their arguments as unconvincing and insufficient. I am not going to go over why again as I simply do not have the time that would require.

                      And ZhenRen, just because you don't like my opinion doesn't mean it's not grounded in the same basic facts. That's the interesting thing about political theory and philosophy. People get different takes on the same historical events.

                      Der Weg ist das Ziel

                      by duhban on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 03:56:57 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  You're wrong (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        AoT, CenPhx

                        In fact, anarchist social organization involves far more participation of people than central government, since meetings based on direct democracy principles, held in the workplace, are attended by the workers themselves. This is why it is called participatory communities, and self-management, rather than "government". It is over course a form of government, but it is self-government. So no, there was wide participation. You haven't read sufficiently. I can give you a reading list of books on the Spanish anarchist collectives if you would like.

                        As to "putting anarchism and socialism together", you fail to realize that Proudhon had conceived of them together from the outset, and he was far more widely read during his time, and had written four books by the time Marx got around to writing his first. No one "tried to put them together", they already were. And in fact, anarchism arose thousands of years before this under various cultures, including the Chinese.

                        And no, you can't make up your own facts. Opinions yes, but history is history. You've never understood the difference.

                        "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

                        by ZhenRen on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 04:30:28 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  That sounds like you trying to dance around (0+ / 0-)

                          calling those activities a 'government' because that wouldn't be anarchistic would it?

                          And that really as you well know is my major problem with anarchism. Anarchists want it both ways they want government to go away and yet they seem to reflexively recognize that that is not possible (or more cynically not popular) and there's talk about 'direct democracy' (never mind this is a form of government) and 'participatory communities' (which is just another way of saying town or village) while ignoring that these actions directly contradict the central tenet of anarchism.

                          Since you fail to realize that let's remind you of the etymological roots of 'anarchy'.

                          The word anarchy comes from the ancient Greek ἀναρχία, anarchia, from ἀν an, "not, without" + ἀρχός arkhos, "ruler", meaning "absence of a ruler", "without rulers") (source)

                          I've read Proudhon (well not all his books to be truthful but more than enough), I've read Marx and more than a few other philosophers. I find anarchy to be a deeply flawed philosophy with systematic and inherent contradictions.  On one hand an anarchist is supposed to object to any form of obligatory rule but at the same time   it recognizes that humanity requires said rule. It tries to thread the needle it has created by assuming that people will just magically get along if you 'free' them. People don't work that way and we might not ever work that way. Maybe that's because humanity has a lot of maturing to do, maybe it's because humanity is inherently possessed of a dual nature. On one hand the saint and on the other the sinner.

                          You are welcome to have the opinion that anarchism is the superior philosophy but please stop conflating said opinion with undeniable fact. They are simply not the same thing.

                          And no, you can't make up your own facts. Opinions yes, but history is history. You've never understood the difference.
                          This is twice at least you've made this claim. Either back it up in specifics or retract it and apologize. I have done my best to try and keep this a friendly intellectual debate but I have had more than enough of being called a liar on this site.

                          Der Weg ist das Ziel

                          by duhban on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 04:58:09 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  No, I'm not dancing around the terms (2+ / 0-)

                            I simply recognize the issue of semantics and tried to elevate the discussion a bit beyond the terms to the real ideas behind them, since you are having some difficulty with them.

                            An = without, and archo = authority, or rulers. Thus, it is the absence of authority and rulers. This does not mean the absence of organization, or the absence of self-management. Anarchists tend to steer clear of the word government since it confuses people, due to the common understanding of government being a central ruling authority. If you think of government as simply self-management, then yes, anarchists do "govern" themselves, but they do it without creating central authority and a top-down vertical hierarchy.

                            Please try to think outside of the labels, and get to the concepts themselves.

                            "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

                            by ZhenRen on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 05:06:27 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  it's not semantics ZhenRen (0+ / 0-)

                            it's the proper use of terms and your refuse to use them.

                            Since you presented no proof I'll accept that as you admitting you have nothing.

                            Der Weg ist das Ziel

                            by duhban on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 05:21:49 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Oh my... (3+ / 0-)

                            This is useless, as usual.

                            "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

                            by ZhenRen on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 05:23:24 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  words need to have meaning ZhenRen (0+ / 0-)

                            otherwise we're just hitting random keys on a keyboard. You don't have to agree with my definition of government any more than I do with yours. However as both are opinions they are equally valid.

                            Der Weg ist das Ziel

                            by duhban on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 05:44:07 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Where do you get your meanings for these words? (2+ / 0-)

                            Because from my experience you're making them up.

                            However as both are opinions they are equally valid.
                            Do you really believe that? I don't.

                            If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                            by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 06:33:18 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  everyone defines their own terms (0+ / 0-)

                            most of the time that falls back on 'common definitions' and really you shouldn't throw stones given how often you have presented straw man, tried to distort my arguments or just pretended they do not exist.

                            What I really believe is you and ZhenRen want to be right bad enough that that fact is clouding your objectivity on the matter.

                            Der Weg ist das Ziel

                            by duhban on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:17:06 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  So what definition are you working from (3+ / 0-)

                            and where did you get it from?

                            I've asked you to define capitalism before and you consistently refuse to. How do you define anarchism and where do you get that definition from?

                            If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                            by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:47:16 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I don't remember you asking me on captialism (0+ / 0-)

                            My sincere apologies for missing that.

                            I have a small mountain of end of shift things to do and several side projects to take care of. If it is alright with you I will respond in detail with definitions for both in about 2 hours.

                            Der Weg ist das Ziel

                            by duhban on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:58:44 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  The question about capitalism was a while ago (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            duhban, CenPhx

                            I really shouldn't have brought it up except I remembered it as another case where we were frustrated with each other about definitions. Or I was frustrated with you about definitions ;)

                            But I am interested in your definition of anarchism.

                            If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                            by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:29:01 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  fair enough (0+ / 0-)

                            I truly try and engage in meaningful dialogue though sometimes I become frustrated in general and in specific (case in point the other commenter that just came and interjected himself unasked for and needlessly). That said you've more than earned my trust and while yes you do frustrate me at times I have absolutely no doubt that you engage honestly and with good intent.

                            As for defining of terms, in general I strive for simplicity. As such for a general definition of anarchism I would go with the simplest definition.

                            Anarchism is opposition to the State, to authority of any sort. Anarchism holds the state to be unnecessary and undesirable or outright harmful.

                            I would note that there is possibly more to anarchism then that but that gets into some specifics and I'd like to keep my definition as general as possible.

                            Der Weg ist das Ziel

                            by duhban on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:32:31 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  asdf... (0+ / 0-)

                            http://helpdesk.dailykos.com/discussions/problems/41839-dracheduhban-the-case-against-him/page/1?to=%2Fdiscussions%2Fproblems%2F41839-dracheduhban-the-case-against-him

                            by Clive all hat no horse Rodeo on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:53:44 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  please go away, we're having a serious discussion (0+ / 0-)

                            Der Weg ist das Ziel

                            by duhban on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:56:27 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  LOL! Serious? All I can see is you refusing to (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            CenPhx

                            accept facts and instead making up shit and declaring it an equal opinion.

                            You aren't in this for anything but the trolling.

                            http://helpdesk.dailykos.com/discussions/problems/41839-dracheduhban-the-case-against-him/page/1?to=%2Fdiscussions%2Fproblems%2F41839-dracheduhban-the-case-against-him

                            by Clive all hat no horse Rodeo on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:58:37 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  Given that anarcism is against government (2+ / 0-)

                        Doesn't your first sentence confirm that it was anarchist rather than conflict with that assessment?

                        my understanding is that while that is true (0+ / 0-)
                        those 3 to 8 million participants never engaged in any recognizable form of government in large units.
                        Also:
                        As to socialism yes some theorists have tried to put anarchism and socialism together.
                        As someone who has a degree in political science and philosophy I can guarantee that socialism and anarchism are intimately related from their mutual births. Anarchism is often a form of socialism, although not exclusively.

                        If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                        by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 04:39:56 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  yes it does (0+ / 0-)

                          which is one of my main points.

                          The argument is frankly 2 fold. On one hand my own personal outlook is highly skeptical about the ability for any large group of people (which for the sake of defining my terms I mean >500,000 people) coexisting under a 'voluntary' government. I simply doubt such an arrangement has any long term stability.

                          But even if that is possible that would still seem to violate the most central tenet of anarchism. Now I do understand that most anarchists would argue that because it is 'voluntary' it's not exactly any form of rulership but that simply is impossible to hold up. In a true anarchistic 'government' anything would  go. People could speed, kill, rape, maim, cheat, steal etc etc without consequence. Any such government would quickly collapse on itself and turn into pure chaos.

                          Der Weg ist das Ziel

                          by duhban on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 05:02:39 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Actually not at all: (1+ / 0-)
                            In a true anarchistic 'government' anything would  go. People could speed, kill, rape, maim, cheat, steal etc etc without consequence. Any such government would quickly collapse on itself and turn into pure chaos.
                            This is an old canard.

                            Anarchist mean no authority. A person who attempts to coerce another through violence is attempting to impose authority. Anarchist society would not simply sit back and allow people to do this, and they would use self-defense.  But they don't need a central authority to deal with these kinds of acts. Communities and neighborhoods would devise ways to handle these situations. Again, anarchism doesn't means chaos, it means absence of authority. Organizing socially is not the same as imposing authority when it is egalitarian.

                            "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

                            by ZhenRen on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 05:13:57 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  correx- "anarchism means no authority" (1+ / 0-)

                            "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

                            by ZhenRen on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 05:15:48 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I've asked you this before ZhenRen (0+ / 0-)

                            let's see if you have a response this time.

                            Just taking one of the simplest offense of speeding just how would you 'defend' yourself from that? In current society there is an implied acknowledgement that the police have the right to pull me over for breaking the rate of speed set by our representatives. And further they have the right to enforce that ban though primarily monetary means (tickets). Though really if I wanted to make a right ass of myself they can go even further by arresting me and removing me from the general population for some set of time.

                            None of that holds up in a so called anarchistic government. The police pull me over? Fuck them they have no authority over me, they can't tell me what to do.

                            And that doesn't even get into much more serious matters like murder and rape. Unless you are going to suggest everyone should walk around armed? Because we've already seen I think what an object failure that has been.

                            Der Weg ist das Ziel

                            by duhban on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 05:43:02 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  And how do you defend yourself from speeding now? (2+ / 0-)

                            Cars are the number one killer of children under twelve in the US. Claiming that the solution is the state is simply ignoring the actual question.

                            What's your solution to people speeding?

                            If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                            by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 06:27:04 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I don't have to present a 'solution' (0+ / 0-)

                            because under the current system there is a solution. We could argue it's not perfect but that's not germane to the discussion. I asked for those advocating anarchy how they would deal with the inherent contradictions that arise from what they advocate.

                            Do you have an answer?

                            Der Weg ist das Ziel

                            by duhban on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 06:36:20 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  If there's a solution then why is rape and murder (2+ / 0-)

                            still a problem?

                            That doesn't sound like any kind of solution to me.

                            If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                            by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 06:39:16 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  don't be obtuse (0+ / 0-)

                            Der Weg ist das Ziel

                            by duhban on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:12:15 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Obtuse? (2+ / 0-)

                            Then what do you mean by solution? Because it sure as hell seems like there's no solution to rape in our country.

                            If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                            by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:45:59 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  let's try this again from the begining (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            AoT

                            Under the current system people are dissuaded from doing things dangerous to the community at general by the police. Now we can argue about the specifics but that is the general purpose of the police. Thus for specific offenses like say speeding (which many might claim is a meaningless and victimless crime) the police enforce it though a series of escalating responses starting with fines. This only works though because the community at large recognizes the authority granted unto the police by the community.

                            This is clearly not viable in a true anarchistic state because authority does not exist. Thus how do you deal with crime in general? I'll concede that for some common denominator  like the major crimes (murder, rape, stealing) you might get everyone on board but eventually someone is going to object. And that doesn't even touch on crimes like speeding  where in people can and would argue the specifics. The assumption of anarchy seems to be a lot of hand waving and that people would 'just do it'. I have a hard time taking that seriously as even with the full authority of the police crimes still are committed. Which means people damn well know there could be consequences and yet choose to act. What do you think will happen when the only consequences are self imposed?

                            Der Weg ist das Ziel

                            by duhban on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:54:41 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  So let's simplify that a little more. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            duhban

                            Under the current system some people are dissuaded from doing specific things because the government threatens to use and uses various forms of force if they catch people doing said things. In theory the things the government dissuades people from doing hurt the community, but that's not necessarily true.

                            What makes this "The State" is that there is one specific organization in a given area that claims to have the right to do this. That claim specifically is the right to use force, which may be violence or not, let's leave that issue aside for now, without having to answer to a higher power for said use of power. That means that under the State I can use force in various ways, up to and including killing people, but the State has the final say on whether I suffer consequences for that use of force.

                            The State exists because it can enforce it's will on the people who exist in said state. In some cases this is because the people under the State recognize the State as being a legitimate authority, in some cases people are merely afraid of what the State can do to them. Normally there's a mix of the two, with more "free" countries generally being those which are recognized as being legitimate as opposed to having the people under them fear each other.

                            As a practical example, the US is generally considered to be more free than China because the people in the US agree with the method that the State uses to determine how to use force and there is a method for making it clear that the people do so to some extent. As opposed to situations such as that in China where everyone in the country could totally agree with what the government is doing and we would have no way to know that.

                            Can we agree to these points? I'd like to establish a common point to start from before we get into the more nitty gritty.

                            Also, I think that the traffic example is the worst one because in terms of practical safety getting rid of the signs and the cops actually means that things will be safer. Which I'd love to ascribe to less government being better, but I don't think that you can universalize from traffic law to general government.

                            If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                            by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:08:25 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  ....... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            AoT

                            I am not entirely sure I'd agree with the one organization part. You might feel this is semantics but even in law enforcement there are often several organizations with the jurisdiction to act at any one time. In a way I would prefer it if there was truly one organization with the jurisdiction to act. The example that springs to my mind is state police and local police.

                            But perhaps more critically I definitely disagree about the not having to answer answer for the use of force. For example let's take your typical police department (and this is based on actual first hand knowledge), let's say something happens during a shift. Maybe it's a citizen compliant maybe it's a shoot out  but during a shift your average every day patrol man/woman exercises the duty of their office. First whatever it is gets reported to their sergeant then depending on what happens it gets reported to the lieutenant. Now generally speaking getting the lieutenant involved is a fairly big deal but that's not the end of the chain. It frankly depending on the size of the department and exactly what happened could go all the way up the chain to the chief of police. At each stage that patrol officer is likely to have to justify his/her actions. And truthfully that's a simplification because often Internal Affairs gets involved and that's a whole other level of accounting.

                            That whole chain still is a simplification because then things could get political. After all generally speaking the chief of police is an elected position (either directly or indirectly). Thus if the public is dissatisfied enough that one event could result in a new chief of police.

                            So no I am sorry but I reject the notion that police act without regard for consequences. If anything every action the police make is made knowing it is going to be scrutinized in minutea after the fact.

                            This fact is really why the US is in fact much freer than China or Russia or any other quasi dictatorship.

                            I do agree that we need to find some common points. Can we agree that a hallmark of a State is some sort of police force to enforce laws? And that any anarchistic system would definitely not have this law keeping force?

                            Der Weg ist das Ziel

                            by duhban on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:51:36 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  In terms of a single organization (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            duhban

                            There is a single organization that justifies and legitimizes all the other organizations. A police department does not simply exist on its own, it is created and it is "licensed", or what ever term the use is, by higher authorities and those higher authorities are legitimized by higher authorities still, up to the top which is the federal government. The police do face consequences for what they do at times, but those consequences come from the state, not from the populace. When the populace takes matters into its own hands to deliver consequences that's nearly always considered illegitimate by a majority of people barring extreme circumstances.

                            Similarly, there are a lot of situations where I can use force without fear of consequences. To defend myself from harm is one. I can kill someone without consequence given the right situation. The point is that the State determines those situations and determines when there are consequences or not.

                            But the broader point there is that the authority of the state is derived from the top down. When a police officer is punished for something he did while on duty he is being punished because he went outside his authority, he stopped being a part of the State in a way because the State exists where the authority to use force exists. The State is made up of individuals but those individuals are not necessarily the state.

                            This fact is really why the US is in fact much freer than China or Russia or any other quasi dictatorship.
                            Part of it, for sure. I was trying to get at that in my previous post about feedback from people, etc.
                            I do agree that we need to find some common points. Can we agree that a hallmark of a State is some sort of police force to enforce laws? And that any anarchistic system would definitely not have this law keeping force?
                            Yes on both. There would be no group in an anarchist society that had special dispensation to use force more than anyone else in society. How much use of  force and in which situations people can use force would vary between different anarchies though. So in theory you could have an anarchy where everyone was the police more or less, but I don't know anyone who advocates for that except anti-state libertarians.

                            In regards to your addendum, my point was that traffic laws are not the best example in terms of police because the most effective way to make the streets safe is how they are designed, not by having police enforcing laws and having lots of stop signs and such. This has been a recent discovery in urban planning. Of course, I think cars are horrible and we should just be rid of them altogether.

                            If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                            by AoT on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 09:05:18 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  ..... (0+ / 0-)
                            There is a single organization that justifies and legitimizes all the other organizations. A police department does not simply exist on its own, it is created and it is "licensed", or what ever term the use is, by higher authorities and those higher authorities are legitimized by higher authorities still, up to the top which is the federal government. The police do face consequences for what they do at times, but those consequences come from the state, not from the populace. When the populace takes matters into its own hands to deliver consequences that's nearly always considered illegitimate by a majority of people barring extreme circumstances.
                            While technically true in a way these is not exactly how it works. Local police are generally speaking empowered by the city they work in. That city pays their salaries and controls who the chief of police is either though mayoral appointment or direct elections. Thus I have to disagree at the local level the average citizen has a great deal of say on what the police do. You do have a point about federal police as they are in fact appointed much higher up. At the same time though most people people really don't deal with federal authorities. So while I do concede you are right to an extent I am not sure really how important it is.
                            Similarly, there are a lot of situations where I can use force without fear of consequences. To defend myself from harm is one. I can kill someone without consequence given the right situation. The point is that the State determines those situations and determines when there are consequences or not.
                            True but you must always justify your actions by proving imminent deadly harm or genuinely perceived deadly harm. Failing to do that would create consequences.
                            But the broader point there is that the authority of the state is derived from the top down. When a police officer is punished for something he did while on duty he is being punished because he went outside his authority, he stopped being a part of the State in a way because the State exists where the authority to use force exists. The State is made up of individuals but those individuals are not necessarily the state.
                            We agree here.
                            Yes on both. There would be no group in an anarchist society that had special dispensation to use force more than anyone else in society. How much use of  force and in which situations people can use force would vary between different anarchies though. So in theory you could have an anarchy where everyone was the police more or less, but I don't know anyone who advocates for that except anti-state libertarians.
                            Wouldn't any one advocating anarchy be advocating that though? Because if we agree that the central tenet of anarchy is a rejection of enforced authority then how is that not anything but everyone being the police?

                            More over given that you yourself just  said that even if people could agree on in a certain area there is no guarantee that would hold else where. This would be a nightmare. It would be completely chaotic and impossible to know which 'rules' you are supposed to be following and which you are not.

                            In regards to your addendum, my point was that traffic laws are not the best example in terms of police because the most effective way to make the streets safe is how they are designed, not by having police enforcing laws and having lots of stop signs and such. This has been a recent discovery in urban planning. Of course, I think cars are horrible and we should just be rid of them altogether.
                            I see your point however speeding is not really something you can address though planning. Nor is drunk driving, driving on drugs, tail gating, road rage etc etc. And this is really just a small point in the larger one. I don't disagree about cars really. I wish we had better mass transient options.

                            Der Weg ist das Ziel

                            by duhban on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 09:47:37 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  addendum (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            AoT

                            I also want to say I disagree about the traffic laws. I think they are a great example because it is one of those 'minor' laws that actually is a huge safety isssue. It's one of those laws that most people love to ignore while being ignorant of the logical and sensible reasons they exist. It's exactly those types of laws that would suffer the most in an anarchistic system. Almost every one can agree that murder and rape and stealing si bad but speeding? Running red lights? There's always someone absolutely sure that those things are only for lesser mortals.

                            Der Weg ist das Ziel

                            by duhban on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:54:23 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Also (0+ / 0-)
                            Unless you are going to suggest everyone should walk around armed? Because we've already seen I think what an object failure that has been.,/blockquote>

                            Your solution is that the right people walk around armed. The difference isn't exactly huge.

                            If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                            by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 06:27:54 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  actually it's quite noticable (0+ / 0-)

                            though at the same time you're conflating the status quo for my preference. A free piece of advice, that's quite wrong.

                            Der Weg ist das Ziel

                            by duhban on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 06:37:18 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You've already stated that the status qua (1+ / 0-)

                            is a solution, if not your preferred solution. Your preference is beside the point, you claim that we currently have a solution, even though that solution doesn't actually solve the problem.

                            If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                            by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 06:40:46 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  this is a straw man (0+ / 0-)

                            much like how you have repeatedly claimed I have said things I have not in fact said.

                            You are implicitly arguing for an anarchistic state by your comments. Such a 'state' would have inherent contradictions and inconsistencies. How do you address them? Right now it seems like you would just prefer to pretend they do not exist and hope no one notices how much and badly you are ducking the question. However that is not an answer, if anything it's indicative of a lack of an answer.

                            Der Weg ist das Ziel

                            by duhban on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:14:32 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Let me quote you (1+ / 0-)
                            I don't have to present a 'solution' (0+ / 0-)
                            because under the current system there is a solution
                            So, you aren't saying what you actually said? Because right there you said that the status quo, or "current system" if you prefer, offers solutions. Now you contradict yourself.
                            You are implicitly arguing for an anarchistic state by your comments. Such a 'state' would have inherent contradictions and inconsistencies.
                            Let's say an anarchist system, because it makes it less confusing when there's also "The State" which anarchism is against.

                            So do you stand by those words? Or do you think that we don't currently have people walking around armed? You've presented that as a solution, your quibble is how many and which people walk around armed, not whether people walk around armed. I'm not presenting any straw man argument, I'm pointing out what you actually support. Unless you've suddenly stopped supporting the police.

                            If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                            by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:51:46 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  let's condense this, see my most recent reply (0+ / 0-)

                            Der Weg ist das Ziel

                            by duhban on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:55:14 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I realize you think (1+ / 0-)

                            no one before you has asked these questions, despite the fact that people have been thinking of these issues for thousands of years.

                            I received 4 speeding tickets in the last 3 years, and had my license suspended for 30 days. It had nothing to do with safety, because I moved to an area where there was a heavy concentration of cops, and there were deliberate speed traps. They could have been out giving tickets to real speeders, but they chose to hide near the police station, on a road that looked commercial (35 MPH) but actually was classed as residential (25 MPH) and they handed out tickets like candy on Halloween.

                            It wasn't about safety, but about money for the city. Meanwhile, people sped like crazy just a few blocks away. Easy for the cops, easy for the city, but completely corrupt. That's your legal system. People will stop committing crime when the incentive is removed. Stop valuing diamonds and gold, and people will stop stealing these objects. Give people good jobs, abolish private property used in production, give each person a voice, and 90% of crimes are removed. Stress goes down, people are more relaxed, crime goes down since most crime involves property. In capitalist society, despite harsh "deterrents" crime is quite high due to a large part from capitalist policy. Remove the authoritarian/propertarian approach, and crime will actually go down on its own. For a more involved discussion, read the information at the link.  

                            http://www.infoshop.org/...

                            "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

                            by ZhenRen on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 01:07:52 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I'm curious (0+ / 0-)

                            If these were all on the same road why didn't you alter your behaviour after the first 2? I've dealt with my share of cops having to meet a quota too and this has resulted in tickets for me too. However I learned from those experiences and really your argument is exactly my point.  You think people will stop speeding just because you make it illegal while removing all the processes to insure that responsible sober adults are on the road? You obviously did not and  what happens if someone is 'in a hurrry' and goes tearing though a school zone at 50 mph? Don't tell me that won't happen at some point because we both know it will.

                            There will always be those that fall prey to greed and envy regardless of whether there is material incentive or not. This probably is a fundamental difference between us. You seem to think that all those things are a feature of our current system. I know I think they are an inherent aspect of our nature, one we spend our lives struggling against and with.

                            And you're central claim that we just 'get rid of valuing things' that's a nice simple thing to do and yet the reality is exactly the opposite. It's such a fundamental sea change that it has been impossible to achieve and the times it's been tried have generally been an object failure.

                            Der Weg ist das Ziel

                            by duhban on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 09:15:00 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  The tickets weren't all on the same road. (1+ / 0-)

                            My city is notorious for this practice, and what happened to me is really quite bizarre. I've never had tickets for most of my driving life.

                            As to schools, that's easy: Put them in quite neighborhoods with speed bumps.

                            As to our system and systemic problems, look at the data: we have a lot of crime, much higher incarceration rates, and crime has been linked to poverty in studies. Statistics show that most crime by far involves property, theft, fraud, all which would plummet if needs were being met.

                            And, it seems apparent you, of course, didn't bother to read the link.

                            Duhban, you're really not worth the effort.

                            "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

                            by ZhenRen on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 09:47:50 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  again (0+ / 0-)

                            if your city is notorious for this why don't you drive more cautiously? Trust me I drive though a small town on my way to work that has a reputation for being right assholes on traffic laws. It's well known that they supplant their income though tickets. As such I drive lower than the actual speed limit, I give myself plenty of room behind a car, I make absolutely sure to not even possibly roll a stop sign etc etc. In short I mind my behaviour knowing that that town has absolutely no intention of doing anything other than right me a ticket.

                            Does it piss me off? Yeah but I've also dealt with cops in the same area that are not like that.

                            And your 'solution' is to put speed bumps in that neighborhood? I'm sure people will love that. So instead of acknowleding that we need some authority for a reasonable reaction you want to overreact and force people to crawl though the neighborhoods at 5-10 mph?

                            Any examination of our US prison data is skewed heavily by the stupid war on drugs. Compare the US to pretty much any EU nation and this is readily apparent. You're cherry picking your data.

                            I read your link, I disagreed with it and still disagree with it. I've tried to be polite but given that you continue to insult me let me be blunt. It's a load of crap covered in magical pixy dust infused wishful thinking. Even if you could remove monetary significance on items people will still desire items for various reasons. This doesn't even get into things like traffic laws where in people routinely think that they are far too important  to be bothered by them or dealing with psychopaths and sadists who will commit crimes until they are stopped. But we're supposed to just pretend that's contract theory and captialism fault? We are supposed to pretend these things were not present in previous systems?

                            Sorry I am not buying that and all your insults do not change that.

                            Der Weg ist das Ziel

                            by duhban on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 10:02:30 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Dubhan (1+ / 0-)

                            You can't be this thick headed. I DID drive more cautiously. It was a highly deceptive application of "law". In one of the tickets, the officer actually wrote on the ticket a location which was in a different place on the road, where the speed limit was different. The judge had no interest in my explanations. It was completely unfair. So what you're suggesting is I drive 10 miles under the speed limit so as to protect myself from corruption. That's a highly authoritarian point of view.

                            As to the speed bumps, people don't mind them at all. The solution Portland and Oregon uses (I'm not in Portland but in an adjacent suburb) are these bumps, widely distributed in many but not all neighborhoods. It actually works very well. And they are designed rather large, but also smooth, so they're really not bad. I would usually hate such a solution, but in this case, I don't. So, more of these are in the vicinity of schools, and it works well.

                            As to crime and statistics, I recently searched these, and found that most crime relates to property issues, and furthermore, most drugs should simply be legalized, since before they were made illegal (early 20th century) the addiction/abuse rates were about the same, or even lower, than they are with the drug laws.

                            You're the one who's cherry picking. Have you read the article with suggests non-authoritarian methods of dealing with criminals, which I linked to? No? This is a complex topic, and blathering about it here isn't going to solve the issue unless people are sincere in discussing it. You're not sincere in my experience. I'm barely applying myself in debate with you, if you haven't noticed. I could pile data into these comments, give you quotes, really nail you with concentrated logic and rebuttals, but it isn't worth my time, because you don't really give consideration to anything people tell you.

                            Go read the link which I supplied earlier, if you really want to understand better the anarchist approach to crime. I'm not going to spoon feed you. You aren't an honest participant in this discussion. I'm being as polite as I can, and this isn't worth my time.

                            "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

                            by ZhenRen on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 11:34:12 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  ... (0+ / 0-)
                            You can't be this thick headed. I DID drive more cautiously. It was a highly deceptive application of "law". In one of the tickets, the officer actually wrote on the ticket a location which was in a different place on the road, where the speed limit was different. The judge had no interest in my explanations. It was completely unfair. So what you're suggesting is I drive 10 miles under the speed limit so as to protect myself from corruption. That's a highly authoritarian point of view.
                            :chuckles: No a highly authoritarian view point on it would be the officers are completely right and you are completely wrong. I don't care who is right or wrong. Mine is simply practical and pragmatic. The matter isn't going to change, it's your word vs the officer's. As such yes I would drive 10 under the speed limit just to avoid that. Or if it is as really as bad as you claim I would simply avoid that area.
                            As to the speed bumps, people don't mind them at all. The solution Portland and Oregon uses (I'm not in Portland but in an adjacent suburb) are these bumps, widely distributed in many but not all neighborhoods. It actually works very well. And they are designed rather large, but also smooth, so they're really not bad. I would usually hate such a solution, but in this case, I don't. So, more of these are in the vicinity of schools, and it works well.
                            Effectiveness has nothing to do with the issue of it being an overreaction. If would also be effective to just not allow any cars at all but I don't see you suggesting that.
                            As to crime and statistics, I recently searched these, and found that most crime relates to property issues, and furthermore, most drugs should simply be legalized, since before they were made illegal (early 20th century) the addiction/abuse rates were about the same, or even lower, than they are with the drug laws.
                            I am not sure who you think you are arguing with drug laws about. I rather hope it is not me.
                            You're the one who's cherry picking. Have you read the article with suggests non-authoritarian methods of dealing with criminals, which I linked to? No? This is a complex topic, and blathering about it here isn't going to solve the issue unless people are sincere in discussing it. You're not sincere in my experience. I'm barely applying myself in debate with you, if you haven't noticed. I could pile data into these comments, give you quotes, really nail you with concentrated logic and rebuttals, but it isn't worth my time, because you don't really give consideration to anything people tell you.
                            One of us is using only 1 nation to justify their data. The hint is it's not me. I've read about so called 'non authoritarian' methods of dealing with criminals. Mostly it's incredibly naive and incredibly useless.

                            I have to say it's ironically hilarious to see you on one hand claiming complexity and on the other hand acting like all criminals need are some nice words spoken to them. Or that 1 set of data is sufficient.

                            I am very sincere ZhenRen I simply do not agree with your opinion. That's all and one day maybe you'll accept that. I think the methods being brought forth are unrealistic and naive. I think the principles being discussed have less chance of working than a snowball in hell. And I base that on actual real world experience and history. You can theorize all you want but it's meaningless in my opinion without it being implementable.

                            And if you repeatedly insulting me and questioning my sincerity are you being polite you really need to go back to school. Because that word you keep using? It really doesn't mean what you think it means.

                             

                            Der Weg ist das Ziel

                            by duhban on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 02:28:28 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I think from now on (0+ / 0-)

                            I will refer to you as.... :chuckles:

                            "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

                            by ZhenRen on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 04:14:31 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  exceedingly childish on your part (0+ / 0-)

                            but if that's how you want to behave up to you.

                            Der Weg ist das Ziel

                            by duhban on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 04:18:16 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Okay (1+ / 0-)

                            I will go back to my practice of avoiding this particular user.

                            "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

                            by ZhenRen on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 05:50:19 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Do people not rape and kill now? (1+ / 0-)

                            I mean, I don't know if you've noticed, but we aren't really doing a whole lot about rape right now. People with power do those things now, they just legitimate them with the government.

                            If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                            by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 06:16:43 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  So your point was that there was anarchism (1+ / 0-)

                            on a broad scale in Spain? Because I thought you were arguing the opposite.

                            If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                            by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 06:34:06 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                •  Socialism does not equal big government (3+ / 0-)

                  if by big government you mean the central state authority. In fact, anarchists argue just the opposite: state authority, even as it claims to represent the working class, tends to become insular and separate from the working class due to its vertical structure. The representatives form an elite echelon which ends up serving itself, as a ruling class, while speaking as if acting in the interests of the working class. This occurs even in "socialist" states. Bakunin warned of this in the 1860s, and was proven correct by the example of the USSR.

                  These ideas predate Marx. Marxists do not own these ideas.

                  For true socialism to exist, management must be directly in the hands of the working class, rather than through the proxy of a minority of elites in control of central authority. When the State controls the assets (as if on behalf of the people), it becomes the ruling class, the employer, the boss. Wage labor continues, simply passing from the capitalist private boss to the "socialist" state boss. Anarchists rightly call this state capitalism. Workers often fair no better, and have little autonomy and self-management of production.

                  Thus, big government destroys real socialism. On the other hand, federations of communities based on a horizontal and bottom-up flow of authority can replace big government.

                  "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

                  by ZhenRen on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 04:04:09 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  Also Rosa Luxemburg.... (14+ / 0-)
      The remedy discovered by Lenin and Trotsky, the abolition of democracy, is worse than the evil it is supposed to cure, for it shuts off the lifespring from which can come the cure for all the inadequacies of social institutions.

      "They bash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn, Gulag Archipelago volume 3)

      by sagesource on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:14:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, Rosa. Good quote. Murdered in 1919, (7+ / 0-)

        I believe by the Social Democrats in Germany.

        Wikipedia's take on her:

        She considered the 1919 Spartacist uprising a blunder,[2] but supported it after Liebknecht ordered it without her knowledge. When the revolt was crushed by the social democratic government and the Freikorps (World War I veterans who banded together into right-wing paramilitary groups), Luxemburg, Liebknecht and some of their supporters were captured and murdered. Luxemburg was shot and her body thrown in the Landwehr Canal in Berlin.
        Due to her pointed criticism of both the Marxist-Leninist and more moderate social democrat schools of socialism, Luxemburg has had a somewhat ambiguous reception among scholars and theorists of the political left.[3] Nonetheless, some Marxists came to regard Luxemburg and Liebknecht as martyrs: According to the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, commemoration of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht continues to play an important role among the German political left.[4]
        wikipedia

        Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

        by TomP on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:38:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for this very educational post. (21+ / 0-)
    People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.
    So Smith was a CT nut, eh? Any reasonable person knows that the wealthy and powerful are congenitally unable to make plans for the next day, let alone the next year, decade, or even five decades.

    When they meet the topic is usually which wine goes best with which food, and they play board games, and gossip.

    And a little known fact about American Libertarians: when they have a child, after six weeks, they leave that child alone in the desert with a $10 bill and a flagon of water, and let them work it out on their own.

    Levity aside, your post is very clear and informative. And I do know from first-hand, how shocked fundamentalists are to discover that the reason there even is a Bible is that Constantine offered 50 gold pieces per copy for the the Church's most sacred scriptures. Then the hierarchy quickly cobbled together their 'official book.' One of the consequences of that being the large minority which had held other texts sacred, having been handed down in their community for generations, reluctant to repudiate them, were declared heretics and then murdered.


    Real fixes, outside the coffin fixes, ain't ever pragmatic says Political Conventional Wisdoom.

    by Jim P on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:15:15 AM PDT

  •  One of the first anachist slogans (11+ / 0-)

    Bread, work or lead around 1871 in Paris

    "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

    by LaFeminista on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:17:48 AM PDT

    •  early anarchism (15+ / 0-)

      One of the primary reasons that marxism triumphed over anarchism is because of examples like the Paris Commune.
         The anarchists that dominated the commune were largely peaceful and didn't want to start a fight. Because of that they were ruthlessly slaughtered by the fascists.

        Marxism basically used that example (and others) to say that we must be as ruthless as the capitalists if we are to win.

      None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

      by gjohnsit on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:26:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And there was the rub and it opened up a (10+ / 0-)

        whole can of authoritarian beans.

        "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

        by LaFeminista on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:29:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You might be... (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JVolvo, Johnny Q, gjohnsit, dradams

          ...into an insoluble dilemma here. People who are largely peaceful and don't want to start fights are in danger of being physically repressed, but how are people who are largely aggressive and eager to start fights able to avoid authoritarianism?

          "They bash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn, Gulag Archipelago volume 3)

          by sagesource on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:21:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm not sure that such people (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JVolvo

            would be much worried about avoiding authoritarianism, as long as they got to be the authorities. Which will give you pretty much any dictator ever known other than perhaps some very few who'd rather have not been put in that position. Even those it seems, however, quickly adapt to their circumstances since not to do so would result in a much-shortened lifespan.

        •  Exactly right (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gjohnsit, YucatanMan, JVolvo

          But anarchists do defend a revolution against attempts to reassert capitalism and central authority. See upthread.

          "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

          by ZhenRen on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:47:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  This is off the mark (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gjohnsit, k9disc, AoT, JVolvo

        It's pretty stale Marxist propaganda. Anarchists would absolutely defend a revolution. But they don't defend it by resorting to authoritarianism against the people. But as to counterrevolutionary forces, anarchists would consider that to be self defense. Much has been misconstrued about this.

        My time is short, more several hours later perhaps.

        "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

        by ZhenRen on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:46:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Although the Paris Commune was heavily (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT

          influenced by Proudhon's works which were popular at the time (Proudhon being French), and while its true many of the rebels were anarchists, it doesn't mean that anarchists were a majority within the commune. Anarchist influence was evident in many of the provisions adopted. But anarchists had criticisms as well. In brief, while the communards rejected the authority of the state outside the walls of the commune, it implemented a municipal government within the commune which was functioning more and more authoritatively as time went on, and this bogged down the functioning of the commune, according to anarchist critics. Anarchists present in Paris ignored the floundering of the council, and fought back against the French troops when they invaded. Many of the rebels were killed. Anarchists simply think the rebels didn't go far enough in implementing real socialism, and despite the strong anarchist presence and influence, it wasn't exactly anarchic in all forms of organization.

          There is an ongoing debate between Marxists and anarchists about various points of contention between the two, which began between Marx and Proudhon (when Proudhon didn't accede to Marx's several entreaties to meet with him), as well as Marx and Bakunin. In this debate, there has been quite a bit of misinformation and badly constructed arguments bandied about, much of it taken as fact, without considering both sides.

          As to anarchists defending a revolution, here's a part of a discussion of this in the Anarchist Faq:

          Do anarchists reject defending a revolution?

          According to many Marxists anarchists either reject the idea of defending a revolution or think that it is not necessary. The Trotskyists of Workers’ Power present a typical Marxist account of what they consider as anarchist ideas on this subject:

             

          “the anarchist conclusion is not to build any sort of state in the first place — not even a democratic workers’ state. But how could we stop the capitalists trying to get their property back, something they will definitely try and do?

          “Should the people organise to stop the capitalists raising private armies and resisting the will of the majority? If the answer is yes, then that organisation — whatever you prefer to call it — is a state: an apparatus designed to enable one class to rule over another.

            “The anarchists are rejecting something which is necessary if we are to beat the capitalists and have a chance of developing a classless society.” [“What’s wrong with anarchism?”, pp. 12–13, World Revolution: Prague S26 2000, p. 13]

          It would be simple to quote Malatesta from 1891 on this issue and leave it at that. As he put some seem to suppose
          “that anarchists, in the name of their principles, would wish to see that strange freedom respected which violates and destroys the freedom and life of others. They seem almost to believe that after having brought down government and private property we would allow both to be quietly built up again, because of respect for the freedom of those who might feel the need to be rulers and property owners. A truly curious way of interpreting our ideas.” [Anarchy, pp. 42–3]
          Pretty much common sense, so you would think! Sadly, this appears to not be the case. As such, we have to explain anarchist ideas on the defence of a revolution and why this necessity need not imply a state and, if it did, then it signifies the end of the revolution.

          Alexander Berkman concurred. In his classic introduction to anarchism, he devoted a whole chapter to the issue which he helpfully entitled “Defense of the Revolution”. He noted that it was

          “your duty, as an Anarchist, to protect your liberty, to resist coercion and compulsion ... the social revolution ... will defend itself against invasion from any quarter ... The armed workers and peasants are the only effective defence of the revolution. By means of their unions and syndicates they must always be on guard against counter-revolutionary attack.” [What is Anarchism?, pp. 231–2]
          Emma Goldman clearly and unambiguously stated that she had
          “always insisted that an armed attack on the Revolution must be met with armed force”
          and that
          “an armed counter-revolutionary and fascist attack can be met in no way except by an armed defence.” [Vision on Fire, p. 222 and p. 217]
          Kropotkin, likewise, took it as a given that
          “a society in which the workers would have a dominant voice” would require a revolution to create and “each time that such a period of accelerated evolution and reconstruction on a grand scale begins, civil war is liable to break out on a small or large scale.”
          The question was
          “how to attain the greatest results with the most limited amount of civil war, the smallest number of victims, and a minimum of mutual embitterment.”
          To achieve this there was
          “only one means; namely, that the oppressed part of society should obtain the clearest possible conception of what they intend to achieve, and how, and that they should be imbued with the enthusiasm which is necessary for that achievement.”
          Thus,
          “there are periods in human development when a conflict is unavoidable, and civil war breaks out quite independently of the will of particular individuals.” [Memiors of a Revolutionist, pp. 270–1] http://theanarchistlibrary.org/...

          "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

          by ZhenRen on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 06:57:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Great and informative read. Thanks! (10+ / 0-)

    If debugging is the process of removing bugs, then programming must be the process of putting them in.

    by kharma on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:25:37 AM PDT

  •  That caricature of Libertarianism (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Norm in Chicago, Sparhawk, hmi, AoT

    as a school of philosophy would earn you a D+, at best, in PHIL101.

    You wrote all that and included such weighty citations as "(as I have been told by libertarians)" and yet failed to mention defining attributes such as self-sovereignty, voluntary association, social contracts, non-aggression, anti-paternalism, natural states or Locke's "inalienable rights".

    The use of Libertarianism as a rebuttal of Utilitarianism.  The stretch to extend Kantian Maxims into State-Citizen relationships.  No mention of Robert Nozick whatsoever, even in his counter-argument to Rawlsianistic Justice?

    This sounds like Libertarianism as it would be described in a 3-minute segment on CNN.

    I guess its easier to dismiss in that way.

     

    Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

    by Wisper on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:25:49 AM PDT

    •  I was considering the disciples (12+ / 0-)

      of libertarianism. Not its priests.

        Seriously, do you consider someone who would say "the only right that matters is property rights" to be considering Rawlsianistic Justice and the musings of John Locke?

        Maybe I've written about a caricature of libertarianism, but that's only because your followers have allowed themselves to become that caricature.
        You libertarians have a much larger problem to consider than your critics. The question is: will libertarians ever face that problem?

      None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

      by gjohnsit on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:53:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I am not a libertarian but I do study philosophy. (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sparhawk, DeminNewJ, hmi, AoT, FG

        I do think Libertarianism provides a compelling denouncement of cold-hearted Utilitarianism.

        Libertarianism is based on "Life, Liberty and Property".  This is short-handed into simply "property" in most writings as the things that are intrinsically and inalienably owned by the "self".

        Are people distorting it out of selfishness or for overt political gain?  Of course! ...who could object to that?

        Bur rather then write off an entire legitimate school of thought or an entire segment of people as kooks, why not look at the things we have in common?  Libertarians oppose any legislated morality as an infringement of natural liberty so they are our natural allies in things like marriage equality, drug law reform, pro-choice measures, church and state issues, etc.

        They view the individual's right to their own life in a way that puts us on the same side of specific things like military conscription and death with dignity and on the larger issue of a military-dominant foreign policy.

        And some of their property views are not out of bounds such as the opposition to eminent domain expansions, the personal infringement of communal assets and others.

        On the tax issues, and perhaps the gun control debate, clearly we are at opposite ends of the spectrum but even then, as large as those issues legitimately are, what is there to gain by just straw-manning an entire school of thought in an effort to marginalize it?

        Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

        by Wisper on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:04:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think it would behoove you and help all of us (0+ / 0-)

          if you would lay out the philosophical basis of libertarianism rather than just denounce the version given in the diary. Most people don't understand how libertarianism has contributed to liberalism and it would be great to educate people on that.

          I would love to see a discussion of libertarianism and Mill and his integration of libertarianism and utilitarianism and how that formed the basis for liberalism. Most people don't understand that they are actually utilitarians.

          If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

          by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:05:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, Nozick is hardly a useful example (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gjohnsit, johanus, JVolvo, Johnny Q, Old Sailor

      He would have the poor sell their kidneys to prevent the indignity of rich people having to pay taxes.

      The problem with both capitalist and libertarian fantasy is that "the market" corrects over time, sometimes it takes years and years. But people have to eat every day, and need a roof over their head every day, and clothes on their backs, and heat, and social stability, none of which are reliably supplied by a free market which rapidly gets captured by the capitalist plutocrats and requires effort and sacrifice to be wrest from their grasp.

      Libertarians seem to think they can declare the principles of their creed and everyone will start to behave properly. It's MAGIC!

      And very silly.

      •  What argument is that? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hmi

        about the poor selling kidneys to benefit the rich?  That doesn't sound like an argument he would make.

        I'd agree that he would most likely support the legal trafficking of organs (if perhaps he has not already overtly done so, I confess I have not read everything the man had written) but I can't see him doing so as a way to benefit anyone but the two contracted parties in the exchange.

        I also think he'd have something to say about the potential element of coercion involved in such a market, but again, I've not read the man fully.

        Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

        by Wisper on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 10:15:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I give you a D- for your tact. (6+ / 0-)

      You've thrown two D+ and C- "grades" on diaries I've read in the last couple of days that were fantastic.

      This piece was about anarchism, not Libertarianism.

      What was described in the piece was a caricature, but it was an apt caricature of modern libertarians, IMO.

      I would be very interested in reading a piece of yours on Libertarianism - that shit you rattled off looked like greek to me - and I clearly could benefit from some proper libertarian understanding.

      Hopefully if you do that nobody gives you a D+ for omitting the full story on anarchists.

      Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

      by k9disc on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 10:53:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Me? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        k9disc, AoT

        I can not remember making any reference to "grades" in any comment I've made any time recently.  I did so here only as part and parcel to the PHIL101 college course metaphor.

        And I'm not sure how to interpret the idea of "apt caricature" to an argument.  The diarist accurately exaggerated certain traits of the subject while oversimplifying others?

        I certainly get that the subject was more pointed at self-described American political libertarians then the true ethical philosophy, as hinted at in a response from the diarist, but when you title the diary "LIBERTARIANISM" and then go on to cite Bakunin and Kroptopkin I find it odd to hide behind some "I wasn't really talking about libertarianism".

        Perhaps we should have a series of philosophical ethics so people can actually discuss the ideas rather then attacking the people they don't like.  

        I did once say at some point back in the 2012 election season that this site is incapable of having a meaningful discussion of Ayn Rand.  

        She does make an impressive stab at reinterpreting Descartes model that thinking is what defines existence and by leaving behind the Cartesian skepticism involving evil geniuses and dream states and instead focusing on the existence of a rational living creature rather then physical existence, she solves the Kierkegaard rebuttal to the Cogito and moves the argument into a more modern setting...  a very very impressive feat.  But she can't complete it.  The model is an attempt to NOT hinge so heavily on Descartes' solipsism but instead relate it to a society yet that is precisely where it breaks down.
        ...I wish I had time to do a diary series.  Im lucky when I have time to write a single thing, much less commit to a meaningful series.  ...might be interesting though.

        Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

        by Wisper on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:39:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Bakunin and Kroptopkin were libertarians (6+ / 0-)

          not in the current US political sense, but in the original sense of the word, before the right coopted it, as it's attempting to do now with Anarchism by coining the term anarcho-capitalism.

          The primary problem with discussing libertarianism, which you as a philosopher probably well know, is that there are at least three strains that are wildly different, and the popular political strain has jettisoned virtually everything that someone like Nozick would think is important about libertarianism.

          If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

          by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:44:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I'm sorry, I just saw the D+ comment with regard (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT, gjohnsit

          to grading the diary a few days ago. My apologies for falsely attributing it to you.

          The teeth in that comment were obviously not warranted.

          I would like to see a diary on that libertarian philosophy though.

          Peace~

          Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

          by k9disc on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:49:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Dunno, If We're Going to Hold Today's US Anarchsts (4+ / 0-)

    and conservatives to 19th century standards then we have to hold the Democratic Party to Jim Crow.

    Evolution happens; the thing is what it is today.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:26:49 AM PDT

    •  I guess so (7+ / 0-)

      but there is still no excuse for leaving behind perfectly good ideas.

      None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

      by gjohnsit on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:44:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is wrong (7+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sfbob, k9disc, AoT, gjohnsit, JVolvo, dradams, tardis10

      Much misinformation in the comments about anarchism. I have no time at the moment, unfortunately.

      Libertarianism did not "evolve" into the right wing version, rather, the right wing simply co-opted the term (and Rothbard admits it).

      Libertarian, as a term, is still in wide usage outside of the US (and within the US among anarchists) to mean the original version.

      True libertarians call the right wing version propertarianism. Anarchists are firmly anti-capitalists historically and still are. They would abolish wage labor, and abolish private property used in production.

      It is essentially true socialism.

      Here's something I wrote in a recent comment:

       And libertarianism (0+ / 0-)

      in the US is better described as propertarianism.

      Some people confuse American libertarianism with anarchism (aka, libertarian socialism or communism).

      Libertarian socialism is anarchism, which dates back to 1840 with Proudhon as a term. It has absolutely nothing to do with "libertarianism" as used in the US. In most of the world, the term libertarian means something nearly opposite to the term in the US.

      Anarchists are anti-capitalist, and always have been. Read up on Bakunin, Kropotkin, and the anarchist movement. It isn't a fusion of Paulites and communism, it is simply true communism, in which authority is based in the local participatory community horizontally with no hierarchy.

      American right wingers have tried to co-opt the term to mean no government interference in markets and capital. Anarchists sarcastically call this propertarianism. Anarchism which predates this American usage of the term by almost 150 years does not allow private property in the means of production, eliminates wage-labor, and is based on worker democratic self-management of the workplace.

      American "libertarianism" is a walking contradiction. It opposes "government" but is fine with corporate governance and domination of the working class, with wage slavery, exploitation, economic inequality and disparity. It simply wants corporate, private government, not government by the people. It would likely have private police, private armies, private courts (arbitration agreements already use this approach), with a small central government pretty much owned by the capitalist class. It wants private government, but it is still government.

      Here's something similar I wrote about Paulites:
      Pretty hard to resemble Paul (4+ / 0-)

      when you oppose private property. That's something you would have in common with Paul, isn't it? A strong belief in capitalism?

      No, if someone supports Ron Paul they aren't far left by any reasonable measure. Any capitalist is far, far, closure to Paul and Rand than a real leftist. You and Paul would join hands together in a primal scream to oppose the left if we ever got our way.

      Paul is a walking contradiction. He opposes "government" but is fine with corporate governance and domination of the working class, with wage slavery, exploitation, economic inequality and disparity. He simply wants corporate, private government, not government by the people. Ron would likely have private police, private armies, private courts (arbitration agreements already use this approach), with a small central government pretty much owned by the capitalist class.

      Ron wants private government, but its still government.

      "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

      by ZhenRen on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:40:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good comment (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JVolvo

        I've read a different version of libertarian history, but that doesn't mean what I've read is correct. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if your history is more real.

        None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

        by gjohnsit on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:16:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Ron Paul has recently started to call himself (9+ / 0-)

        an Anarcho-Capitalist, like so many libertarians who are yearning for any sliver of respectability and legitimacy. Anarchist is the new hot political flavor and as such there are a load of people across the spectrum who are claiming it.

        Really what ancaps(anarcho-capitalists) are completely ignorant of is that every sort of capitalism is deeply reliant on government and always has been. They ignore the historical reality. There can be no protection of property rights without government. Likewise, there is no market without government. Capitalism, from the ground up is a creation of government. Always has been and always will be.

        If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

        by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:31:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Really? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Old Sailor
          Anarchist is the new hot political flavor and as such there are a load of people across the spectrum who are claiming it.
           I have a hard time picturing that. Do the libertarians know the ideological minefield they are wading into if they start voicing their association with left-wing anarchism?
            Their heads just might explode.

          None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

          by gjohnsit on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:37:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Some of them do (5+ / 0-)

            It's what they did in the fifties when they coopted the term libertarian, so it isn't exactly new territory. Of course, they have so little knowledge of the historical realities of capitalism, and refuse to acknowledge them when they are pointed out, so there's little chance of their heads exploding. Mostly I've seen them drift over into real anarchism instead. Or just remain ignorant of reality.

            If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

            by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:45:47 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Well, it depends (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gjohnsit, JVolvo

      Democrats have thoroughly repudiated Jim Crow, while the Republicans still want to pretend that they are the ideological sons of Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt. Not to mention their propensity for rewriting history in ways that would make the editors of Pravda blush.

      And anarchists really need to deal with that whole bomb throwing thing before they can be taken seriously.

      •  The problem with political labels (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        k9disc, gjohnsit, JVolvo, duhban

        is that pretty much anyone is free to adopt them, regardless of their actual intentions.

        I suspected the "bomb-throwing" problem would surface sooner or later and it's good that you've mentioned it. I have to wonder whether the bomb-throwers were really anarchists at all, rather than merely nihilists.

        Back in my youth, during the 60's, it began to occur to me that while there were those who viewed peaceful demonstration as a means of making a point, a certain proportion of individuals used demonstrations as excuses to engage in violence essentially for no other reason than it apparently was how they got their jollies.

      •  There have been far more violent attacks (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gjohnsit, JVolvo, JesseCW, ZhenRen

        by people associated with the main stream parties than by any anarchists. There were five or six serious attacks by anarchists, even suspected, in the history of our country, all of them more than a century ago. If that doesn't distance anarchists from bomb throwing I don't know what will.

        If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

        by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:17:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Dishonest labels (for socio-political advantage) (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT, gjohnsit

          die hard   :o(

          "But I do apologize, JVolvo, for you are arbiter of all that can and cannot be discussed and I bow down to your supremacy when it comes to what can be written on this website." WinSmith 1/22/2014 - "OK" JVolvo 1/23/2014 (sorry, Clive)

          by JVolvo on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:34:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  interesting but I think you're a little off (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wisper, gjohnsit, KJG52, emelyn

    on Smith.

    Smith was never for unregulated capitalism true but neither was Smith a libertarian (of any type).

    Is this a continuing series?

    Der Weg ist das Ziel

    by duhban on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:56:45 AM PDT

  •  Capitalists that use government to write laws (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit, sfbob, k9disc, YucatanMan, JVolvo

    That's also what a large part of Atlas Shrugged is about.  Another book that most people have strong opinions about without ever having read it.

    Another is intellectual property theft by corporations.  If you had an invention that you knew was worth millions, and you knew your company would just say "That's great buddy, here's a $50 "bonus", we'll take it from here", would you tell them about your idea, or quit and go it alone?
    Hint:  They're called start-ups.

    Corporations really aren't to be trusted.  Life would be so much simpler sometimes if we could all just agree on the 80% common ground we share across the political spectrum.

    •  Hmm... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sparhawk, JesseCW

      If you're working under contract conditions that give the rights to all your work to your employer, then the employer is to be trusted if they take advantage of those rights. It's not nice and it's not fair, but it's what they said they'd do, and what you signed on to. You make yourself ridiculous if you insist it's a betrayal of trust by the employer.

      "They bash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn, Gulag Archipelago volume 3)

      by sagesource on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:27:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, you have a point there (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gjohnsit, sfbob, YucatanMan, JVolvo

        You are correct, we can always trust the corporation to take all the money.  But that wasn't the kind of trust I was talking about.

        When I hired in as a naïve 22 year old I trusted that the pension agreement I signed onto would be honored.  I won't ever make that mistake again.

        •  I heard a financial planner on local radio tell a (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Norm in Chicago, AoT

          caller to take the lump sum pension option (caller also had a separate military service-based income stream) since current or future management of pension-providing private company had little reason to honor pension over current liabilities if company got in financial trouble or bought out.

          We've seen this a lot in recent decade (think of US steel companies/airlines/manufacturers collapsing or being bought out) yet it was the first time I'd heard it stated so plainly

          "Don't count on your private pension long-term."
          for the general public re retirement planning.

          Yikes!  Grandpa's pension + gold watch + medical benefits have joined the buggy whip.

          :o(

          "But I do apologize, JVolvo, for you are arbiter of all that can and cannot be discussed and I bow down to your supremacy when it comes to what can be written on this website." WinSmith 1/22/2014 - "OK" JVolvo 1/23/2014 (sorry, Clive)

          by JVolvo on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:44:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Hmmm, sounds like Godwin… (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit

    The other one…

    People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.
    This sounds amazingly like a corrollary to Godwin's Law regarding internet conversations and their inevitable regression to a reference to Hitler. Or maybe Godwin is a corrollary to Smith…

    Here's an interview with Mike Godwin regarding his
    famous postulate.

    LRod—UID 238035
    ZJX, ORD, ZAU retired
    My ATC site
    My Norm's Tools site

    by exatc on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:08:11 AM PDT

  •  I find libertarian fundamentalists... (9+ / 0-)

    ...to be as dangerous as Marxists.  Specially those influenced by Ayn Rand. Their ideology leads to absolute oligarchy.

    I believe in pragmatism.  And I propose something increasingly labeled "progressive capitalism". Some things are better left of to a regulated market (computer industry, small business, entertainment, health care providing) others are better handled by government (public education, prisons, health care administration i.e. single payer, defense).

    I dabbled with libertarianism 20 years ago and I admit I met many nice libertarians who just didn't take the ideology to its logical consequences.  In addition I find myself agreeing with libertarians on several issues; prison population, non-interventionism, defense spending, money out of politics, mass surveillance. And, contrary to what many think here, IMO we can coordinate some political action with them as was the case with the possible intervention in Syria.

    Rand Paul's support for the oil industry and such things as drilling everywhere and fracking goes against what many libertarians think about environmental protection.  This is one of the issues that may bring division in their ranks.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:19:38 AM PDT

    •  Ayn Rand was not a libertarian (12+ / 0-)

      Which is ironic because libertarians generally love Ayn Rand.

        She hated libertarianism and considered it a threat to freedom.

        Just one more thing that today's libertarians are ignorant of.

      None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

      by gjohnsit on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:29:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Why do you find Marxists dangerous? (6+ / 0-)

      perhaps you consider Marxists to be Marxist-Leninists, but there is a difference.

      Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

      by TomP on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:41:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I had serious (armed confrontation) issues... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gjohnsit, TomP, Old Sailor, duhban

        ...with Marxists back in the 60s (one day over a beer I will tell you the story).  I understand that just as there are many types of libertarians there are also many types of Marxists.  And many of them evolve and change their minds.  The dictarorship of the proletariat may sound good on paper but it leads to dystopia.  The same applies IMO to the "invisible hand of the market".  It sounds workable on paper but it leads to absolutist dystopias.  I understand, thanks to this and other diaries, that it was not all Adam Smiths said.  I also understand that Marx also said other things that were more useful.  His diagnostic of capitalism as it existed in his time (and perhaps today in America) was correct.  His prescription wasn't.

        Perhaps I also need to be educated on the spectrum of Marxism.

        Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

        by Shockwave on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 10:07:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  So because some Marxists advocate for (4+ / 0-)

          authoritarian solutions all Marxists are dangerous?

          Plenty of capitalists advocate for authoritarian solutions.

          Perhaps I also need to be educated on the spectrum of Marxism.
          Anarchism and anti-authoritarian socialism, related but not the same, are both in direct opposition to the currents of Marxism that you have a problem with.

          If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

          by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:20:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  As I said, I am a pragmatist (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AoT, duhban

            What works works.  I am certainly not for authoritarianism and I have an deep anarchist streak in my character.  I have a long and proven rebelliousness against authoritarianism. I have not heard about anti-authoritarian socialism until now.  Any examples?

            Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

            by Shockwave on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:32:52 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  What works for what? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JesseCW

              When people say "what works" it sounds great, but there's no real content. Because fascism works in many senses. So did Leninism and so does capitalism. Sure, there are some pretty big down sides to all of those, but the "work" in some sense or another.

              So what do you think a socio-politico-economic system should "work" for? Because that in many cases is the root of disagreement in these conversations.

              If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

              by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:40:04 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Mussolini made the trains run on time (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                AoT, duhban

                This was a big thing in Italy back then.  Then again, I've taken trains in Italy and they seemed to do the same.  Many Italians still thank him for that.

                What a socio-political-economic system should work for is to allow people to pursue happiness and have the same opportunities in life.

                Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

                by Shockwave on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:53:37 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  "pursue happiness" and (0+ / 0-)

                  "have the same opportunities in life."

                  Again, these are two pretty useless metrics. What does it actually mean in practical terms to let people pursue happiness? There are obvious conflicts between people's happiness. And opportunities for what? These are at their base political buzzwords. Even when it was put in the Declaration "pursuit of happiness" didn't mean much. Most people I know can't even figure out what happiness is, much less pursue it. And since happiness is a mental state rather than a situation in the world the most pragmatic way to achieve the most happiness would being forcing everyone to take happy drugs. But I doubt you would advocate for that.

                  If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                  by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:58:32 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Not really, they are noy useless metrics (0+ / 0-)

                    I can think of many ways to measure happiness and and equality of opportunity.  Certainly happiness is subjective.  So are love and hate.  The semantics of happiness probably evolves over time but you can ask people and they will give you on a scale of 1 to 10 their opinion of whether they are happy in life or not. Drugs have different effect on different people.  Some alcohol makes me happy while it destroys the life of others.  But I do know when to consume it to elevate my mood.  Prohibition is something that I'm against.

                    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

                    by Shockwave on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 12:11:57 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Also, what is the reason for these being the goals (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Shockwave

                  That's one of the key things that we use a political philosophy to determine. The pursuit of happiness is generally a goal of utilitarianism.

                  If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                  by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 12:02:20 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Call me utilitarian if you wish,... (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    AoT, duhban

                    ...you asked my opinion and I believe many would agree with it.

                    What metrics do you propose?

                    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

                    by Shockwave on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 12:13:13 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  My point wasn't that you are wrong (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Shockwave, JesseCW

                      It's that you can't simply say "I'm a pragmatist" and be done with it. There's nothing wrong with being a utilitarian, most people are, but I get frustrated when people confuse tactics with goals, and that's what calling yourself a pragmatist does.

                      If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                      by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 12:24:17 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

        •  Marx's writings (8+ / 0-)
           His diagnostic of capitalism as it existed in his time (and perhaps today in America) was correct.  His prescription wasn't.
           Contrary to the general perception of Marx, he wasn't much on predicting the future. In fact, he was never even specific about the details of communism he had in mind.
            Marx spent most of his time analyzing and criticizing capitalism.

            Was Marx always right? Nope. He got several things wrong about capitalism (I think the biggest thing he got wrong was to under appreciate the financial sector and its ability to expand credit).
             But that's not how we measure science. Every scientist gets something wrong. Often they get lots of things wrong. The only thing that matters in science is what they get right!
            No one cares of Newton got suckered into the South Sea Bubble, but they would never forgive Marx if he had been suckered in the same way.

          None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

          by gjohnsit on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:26:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Perhaps also the ability of (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Shockwave, duhban

            the working class to wrest reforms from capitalists, although the tendency of the last thirty years in the west calls some of that into question.    

            Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

            by TomP on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:31:40 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Marx started out with hubris -- (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            gjohnsit, Shockwave

            -- which you can read in the Manifesto, which seems to predict imminent revolution -- and then switched back to a more cautious approach later in life.  One important act Marx performed later in life in following this more cautious approach (in 1872) was to get the International to relocate its headquarters to New York City (thus pretty much killing it off).  The older Karl Marx did not think a revolution was imminent.

            As for specifics about communism, that category was covered well by the (1847) work of Marx's friend Friedrich Engels, Principles of Communism, which advocates a democratic revolution with the following agenda:

            Democracy would be wholly valueless to the proletariat if it were not immediately used as a means for putting through measures directed against private property and ensuring the livelihood of the proletariat. The main measures, emerging as the necessary result of existing relations, are the following:

            (i) Limitation of private property through progressive taxation, heavy inheritance taxes, abolition of inheritance through collateral lines (brothers, nephews, etc.) forced loans, etc.

            (ii) Gradual expropriation of landowners, industrialists, railroad magnates and shipowners, partly through competition by state industry, partly directly through compensation in the form of bonds.

            (iii) Confiscation of the possessions of all emigrants and rebels against the majority of the people.

            (iv) Organization of labor or employment of proletarians on publicly owned land, in factories and workshops, with competition among the workers being abolished and with the factory owners, in so far as they still exist, being obliged to pay the same high wages as those paid by the state.

            (v) An equal obligation on all members of society to work until such time as private property has been completely abolished. Formation of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.

            (vi) Centralization of money and credit in the hands of the state through a national bank with state capital, and the suppression of all private banks and bankers.

            (vii) Increase in the number of national factories, workshops, railroads, ships; bringing new lands into cultivation and improvement of land already under cultivation – all in proportion to the growth of the capital and labor force at the disposal of the nation.

            (viii) Education of all children, from the moment they can leave their mother’s care, in national establishments at national cost. Education and production together.

            (ix) Construction, on public lands, of great palaces as communal dwellings for associated groups of citizens engaged in both industry and agriculture and combining in their way of life the advantages of urban and rural conditions while avoiding the one-sidedness and drawbacks of each.

            (x) Destruction of all unhealthy and jerry-built dwellings in urban districts.

            (xi) Equal inheritance rights for children born in and out of wedlock.

            (xii) Concentration of all means of transportation in the hands of the nation.

            Seems pretty specific to me.  This is of course from Marx/ Engels' period of hubris immediately preceding the revolutions of 1848.

            "Assume man to be man and his relationship to the world to be a human one: then you can exchange love only for love, trust for trust" -- Karl Marx

            by Cassiodorus on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 04:22:57 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I might also add -- (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              gjohnsit, AoT, Shockwave

              that both Karl Marx and the anarchists agreed upon a template for the revolution, and that was the Paris Commune of 1871.  Francis Wheen tells the story of how Marx would have liked to support the Paris Commune, which happened during his lifetime, but was sick in bed the entire time and so unable to do so.

              "Assume man to be man and his relationship to the world to be a human one: then you can exchange love only for love, trust for trust" -- Karl Marx

              by Cassiodorus on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 04:43:19 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Not a big deal. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Shockwave, gjohnsit, duhban

          Marx had useful and not so useful ideas.  The dictatorship of the proletariat, at least as implemented by Lenin, was not a good one.  

          The critique of capitalism still has power.  The early Marx also is different from the version Lenin and Stalin pushed on the world.  

          You're right.  Some Marxists can be real assholes, just like some everyone can be.

          Remember Pope Francis statement:

          "Marxist Ideology Is Wrong, But I Know Many Marxist Who Are Good People."

          Like most ideas, Marxism can be an analytical tool for some projects.  It's best not to treat it as religion, though.  

          Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

          by TomP on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:30:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  If you stick with them, and they are good people, (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gjohnsit, Shockwave, Johnny Q, JVolvo

      they always crumble. It's not logical - it doesn't work.

      "Life isn't Fair."
      "Yup, that's what laws are for."

      GJ, your juxtaposition of "Life isn't Fair" and "You get what you deserve" is a great point to pressure here when talking to them about this stuff.

      Fantastic piece.

      Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

      by k9disc on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:08:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Facebook is good for some things: quick, clear (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shockwave, Old Sailor, gjohnsit, tacet

      visual memes:

      Libertarian Intersection

      (although that pic has actual paved surfaces and traffic signs so it isn't completely accurate)

      :o)

      "But I do apologize, JVolvo, for you are arbiter of all that can and cannot be discussed and I bow down to your supremacy when it comes to what can be written on this website." WinSmith 1/22/2014 - "OK" JVolvo 1/23/2014 (sorry, Clive)

      by JVolvo on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:50:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  LOL! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JVolvo, gjohnsit

        Very illustrative.  

        Traffic is something that is difficult. I have driven (and gotten tickets, another story) in 5  continents.  The most orderly traffic was in Sweden and Switzerland.  The worst in Italy and Argentina.  China was a whole other story but it must have changed since 20 years ago. There is a cultural component to traffic.

        Here in Los Angeles, not a libertarian Mecca, it needs a lot of help.

        Then again, I get the point, a purely libertarian traffic system could only exist in a hidden Ayn Rand utopia in the Rocky Mountains.  

        Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

        by Shockwave on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 12:05:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Ironically, that's probably the worst example (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Shockwave, JesseCW

        http://www.theatlanticcities.com/...

        Research has found that removing traffic signs and signals ends up making the streets safer. Generally speaking.

        If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

        by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 12:08:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Adam Smith also said... (9+ / 0-)

    Labour was the first price, the original purchase - money that was paid for all things. It was not by gold or by silver, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased.

    It is not by augmenting the capital of the country, but by rendering a greater part of that capital active and productive than would otherwise be so, that the most judicious operations of banking can increase the industry of the country.

    The real and effectual discipline which is exercised over a workman is that of his customers. It is the fear of losing their employment which restrains his frauds and corrects his negligence.

    Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production; and the interest of the producer ought to be attended to, only so far as it may be necessary for promoting that of the consumer.

    “Sin lies only in hurting other people unnecessarily. All other "sins" are invented nonsense. (Hurting yourself is not sinful -- just stupid.)” ― Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

    by midgebaker on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:24:47 AM PDT

  •  Thank you for these Adam Smith quotes... (8+ / 0-)

    especially these two:

       The interest of the dealers, however, in any particular branch of trade or manufactures, is always in some respects different from, and even opposite to, that of the public.
    ~ Adam Smith ~
    And so the Apostle of the Invisible Hand just proclaims that the interests of the merchant class are often contrary to the interests of the public good.
        To widen the market and to narrow the competition, is always the interest of the dealers. To widen the market may frequently be agreeable enough to the interest of the public; but to narrow the competition must always be against it, and can serve only to enable the dealers, by raising their profits above what they naturally would be, to levy, for their own benefit, an absurd tax upon the rest of their fellow-citizens.
    ~ Adam Smith ~
    I am gonna be using these...

    * * * DONATE/VOLUNTEER: Marianne Williamson for CA-33 * * * #CampaignFinanceReform is the lynchpin of our democracy. #AIKIDOPROVERBMoveSoonerNotFaster ~

    by ArthurPoet on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:36:30 AM PDT

  •  Ignorance is the life's blood of fundamentalism (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    johanus, k9disc, gjohnsit, LynChi, JVolvo

    whether it is religious fundamentalism or economic fundamentalism. The hucksters pull the quotes they like from the "scriptures" without context or reference to the whole work and use it to pump up the congregation, a practice as old as humanity. Unfortunately the appeal to self interest and self righteousness, is always very strong in humans because it is based on emotion and self, two things everyone, no matter their intellect, have.

    I appreciate the work that went into this diary, unfortunately, I believe that those who hold the views you are arguing against are impervious to reason. They have their answers, the facts be damned.

    "Intelligence is quickness in seeing things as they are..." George Santayana

    by KJG52 on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 10:00:49 AM PDT

  •  Tipped and recced (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sfbob, gjohnsit, JVolvo

    Love this.

    Smith was a far more profound and moral philosopher than those that follow him give him credit for...I have always thought that Smith's biggest fault, really, was some naivete about human nature (although he was far from stupid even in this regard).

  •  virtual tippenwreck for later reading / nm (0+ / 0-)

    “Vote for the party closest to you, but work for the movement you love.” ~ Thom Hartmann 6/12/13

    by ozsea1 on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 10:05:50 AM PDT

  •  the twist is that Smith was a classical liberal (0+ / 0-)

    Most of the people on the Left today are what Europeans call social democrats or democratic socialists of one form or another.  We don't believe in free markets any more than the plutocrats do because while orthodox Marxism may be dead and buried, his premises (as opposed to his conclusions) largely survive in leftist economic thought.

    Adam Smith writes against people and institutions who use power (legal, financial, etc.) to promote their own economic interests.  But the assumption that 18th century intellectuals invariably made was not that a countervailing power should be erected - unions, regulatory/welfare state, The People, ethical/spiritual transformation, etc. - but that the first power should be dismantled.  It's textbook Rousseau: men are by nature good and left to their own devices they will do what is good for themselves and others while always and everywhere "power" exists to compel men to harm themselves and others.

    Modern libertarians claim to be the heirs to the 18th Century classical liberals.  These are people who started on the political left in their opposition to monarchy, aristocratic privilege, established churches, guilds, royal monopolies, etc.  But as the 19th and 20th centuries unfolded and society and economics changed, they found themselves on the right because of their belief that rule of law, equality before the law, secularism, and free markets were sufficient for a free and just society when anybody can see that they're no longer enough.

    Likewise, Adam Smith by himself is a hopelessly naive man out of time whose prescriptions are totally inadequate to bringing peace, justice, and prosperity to a world where the classical liberals like himself have already won, where private power and its callousness and narcissism has grown to rival that of the old aristocrats, and more often than not the all-powerful state is the agent of capital.

    Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

    by Visceral on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 10:41:36 AM PDT

  •   Economist Michal Kalecki (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    k9disc, gjohnsit

    "Indeed, under a regime of permanent full employment, the 'sack' would
    cease to play its role as a 'disciplinary measure. The social position
    of the boss would be undermined, and the self-assurance and
    class-consciousness of the working class would grow. Strikes for wage
    increases and improvements in conditions of work would create political
    tension. It is true that profits would be higher under a regime of full
    employment than they are on the average under laissez-faire,
    and even the rise in wage rates resulting from the stronger bargaining
    power of the workers is less likely to reduce profits than to increase
    prices, and thus adversely affects only the rentier interests. But
    'discipline in the factories' and 'political stability' are more
    appreciated than profits by business leaders. Their class instinct
    tells them that lasting full employment is unsound from their point of
    view, and that unemployment is an integral part of the 'normal'
    capitalist system."
    "The fundamentals of capitalist ethics require that 'you shall earn your
    bread in sweat' -- unless you happen to have private means (wealth)."

    http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/...

    You Don't Happen To Make It. You Make It Happen !

    by jeffrey789 on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 10:50:31 AM PDT

    •  continued (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gjohnsit, JesseCW

      As Kalecki said the wealthy do not like full employment. Low interest rates for
      their financial games are second order. Low inflation is first order.
      That means overly tight monetary, not accommodative policy. See the
      confusion....
      Kalecki:
      "Under a laissez-faire system the level of employment depends to a great extent on the so-called state of confidence. This gives the capitalists a powerful indirect control over government policy:
      Everything which may shake the state of confidence must be
      carefully avoided because it would cause an economic crisis. But once
      the government learns the trick of increasing employment by its own
      purchases, this powerful controlling device loses its effectiveness.
      Hence budget deficits necessary to carry out government intervention
      must be regarded as perilous. The social function of the doctrine of
      'sound finance' is to make the level of employment dependent on the
      state of confidence."

      You Don't Happen To Make It. You Make It Happen !

      by jeffrey789 on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 10:54:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for a substantive diary and resulting (3+ / 0-)

    substantive discussion.

  •  Touché. Well stated. eom (2+ / 0-)

    None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free. -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    by achronon on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:01:37 AM PDT

  •  It's always nice when Adam Smith ... (2+ / 0-)

    ... is quoted in his entirety.

    Thank you for providing not only quotes but sources!

  •  Hayek, too (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit, AoT

    Would it surprise you to hear that Hayek was a dirty commie by the standards of today’s libertarian right?

    See his stance on the (wide) legitimate extent of law and of (substantial) legitimate regulation and public ownership, most notably in cities.

    If you solicit Hayek quotations in this vein, I think you’ll find material for a companion diary that would do some head-exploding.

    (And yes, Hayek’s macroeconomics was wrong, he feared slippery slopes too much, etc.)

    •  Here’s an indication (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gjohnsit, AoT

      of the kinds of quotes one could find, lifted from a commentary (pdf):

      Hayek does not favour passive government, but rather one that seeks many benefits for the community. While he shares the ‘strong presumption against government’s actively participating in economic efforts,’ he nonetheless states that the ‘old formulae of laissez faire or non-intervention do not provide us with an adequate criterion for distinguishing between what is and what is not admissible in a free system’ (221, 231; cf. 257–8). As he explains, ‘it is the character rather than the volume of government activity that is important.’ In economic matters, for example, an active government that assists the spontaneous forces of the market is preferable to a less active one that does the wrong things. In this regard he sees himself as following the best of the classical liberals, such as Adam Smith (220–22).
  •  I proudly fly the flag of the Fulor in my office. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit

    Sadly, few have ever asked what it is.


    The Fail will continue until actual torches and pitchforks are set in motion. - Pangolin@kunstler.com

    by No one gets out alive on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 12:11:24 PM PDT

  •  Excellent Work! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT, gjohnsit

    I've been digging through Wealth Of Nations to find quotes like these to write my own version of this diary.

    You did a better job than I could have, as mine was filled with tangents and bloviation, while yours is succinct, intelligent, and unimpeachably accurate.  

    Well done, Gjhonsit, well done!

    An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

    by OllieGarkey on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 12:32:39 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for the Diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit, tardis10

    I would only object that Libertarians, at least as evidenced through the Paul/Paul wing of that movement, diverges from this:

    The American libertarian idea of freedom is basically based around "the freedom not to be bothered by anyone". Or as Mikhail Bakunin said: "the revolt of the individual against all divine, collective, and individual authority."
    I think it's weaker than that.  Maybe they'll pay lipservice to it, but their real agenda seems to be limited almost exclusively to a freedom from bother by the federal government, or at least, government entities in general.

    But for the most part, they seem very eager in protecting whichever private-sector bothering exists in the world.  They support - almost worship - the power of bosses to bother their employees, or men to bother their wives, or parents to bother their children.  In all three cases, this goes from beyond free contract to literal violence.

    Maybe this is all under the aegis of "government should not interfere in anything."  But there rarely seems to be any evidence of a philosophical commitment to freedom outside of a very limited scope.  Libertarians spend much more time piously opposing civil rights legislation, say, than criticizing the oppressors that they seek to let off the legal hook.

    •  Political libertarians, especially the one's with (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gjohnsit, JesseCW

      any sort of power are wildly divergent from any libertarian philosophy. I don't know that there's much to say about their political "philosophy" other than that it is only applied when useful to gain more power. It's more propaganda than philosophy.

      If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

      by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 01:40:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There is one decent side to libertarianism (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT

        The side that I embrace, because the politicians with the "D" after their name have sold out, is that side relating to ending the drug war.

        The people from both major parties have spend over one trillion dollars on The War Against Some Drugs, over the last 20 years. All we have to show for those monies  is the SWAT team and door-busting police and military and the rest of the police state.

        Even not participating in the drug culture won't save you from havng a SWAT team show up at 4Am and shoving a concussion grenade into yr living room, shooting your dogs, and knocking your grandma and  toddlers to the floor, as the SWAT teams are notorious for arriving at the wrong address.

    •  That's my experience too (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JesseCW, The Wizard, Old Sailor, tardis10

      Wisper replied above that my description of libertarians was a caricature, and he's right to an extent.
        But its only because actual libertarians today, not the ones in books, have made a caricature of themselves.

        When you run into self-described American libertarians they are almost always Republican voters or non-voters, not voters for the Libertarian Party.
         They are almost always angry and cruel, displaying an unshakable faith in themselves while thinking nothing but the worst of others.
         But the most striking characteristic is their obsession in their personal property. They believe everyone else wants their stuff.

      None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

      by gjohnsit on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 02:01:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Recommended (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit, tardis10

    Some notes:

    1) Adam Smith championed the small shop-owners against the mercantilist Establishment of his time.  His main virtue for today, as I read it, is that he came before the marginalists took over America's economics departments and declared the society of money to be an innate part of human nature.

    2) Bakunin believed in an elite too, and Godwin became a conservative in his old age.

    3) It appears as if the "ultra-conservatism" of today's intellectual pundits is a product of a circle-the-wagons mentality defending the capitalist system against its impending self-destruction.  

    "Assume man to be man and his relationship to the world to be a human one: then you can exchange love only for love, trust for trust" -- Karl Marx

    by Cassiodorus on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 04:10:40 PM PDT

    •  Actually, I disagree on Bakunin (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gjohnsit

      He didn't believe in an elite as a vanguard or central authority. That's been misrepresented in the Marxist/anarchist debate.

      "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

      by ZhenRen on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 04:34:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  In that regard -- (0+ / 0-)

        you may wish to attempt an edit of the Wikipedia page on Mikhail Bakunin:

        He conceived the plan of forming a secret organization of revolutionaries to carry on propaganda work and prepare for direct action. He recruited Italians, Frenchmen, Scandinavians, and Slavs into the International Brotherhood, also called the Alliance of Revolutionary Socialists.

        By July 1866 Bakunin was informing Herzen and Ogarev about the fruits of his work over the previous two years. His secret society then had members in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, England, France, Spain, and Italy, as well as Polish and Russian members.

        Also:
        Bakunin’s well-known predilection for the establishment of tightly organized secret hierarchical organizations, for which he worked out elaborate statutes in the style of the Freemasons and the Carbonari, can be attributed partly to his romantic temperament and partly to the fact that all revolutionary and progressive groups were forced to operate secretly. Bakunin’s secret organizations were actually quite informal fraternities of loosely organized individuals and groups connected by personal contact and correspondence, as preferred by his closest associates who considered his schemes for elaborate, centralized secret societies incompatible with libertarian principles.
        Bakunin in his own defense:
        "Thus the sole aim of a secret society must be, not the creation of an artificial power outside the people, but the rousing, uniting and organizing of the spontaneous power of the people; therefore, the only possibile, the only real revolutionary army is not outside the people, it is the people itself.
        There's a contradiction here.  A secret society must necessarily be an elite -- but then if the (secretly) declared purpose of said elite is to oppose elitism...

        "Assume man to be man and his relationship to the world to be a human one: then you can exchange love only for love, trust for trust" -- Karl Marx

        by Cassiodorus on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 05:41:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, you're mostly quoting not Bakunin (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT

          but rather, conclusions about Bakunin written by others, and leaving out context.

          Anarchists aren't against anarchists having influence, and its all about whether that influence is applied through power and authority. This is different than vanguardism and party hierarchy.

          Most anarchist today would not use this terminology, but this long examination of Marxist claims by the Anarcghist Faq pretty much destroys this assertion by Marxists. It's long, and the entire piece should be read.

          Here's some excerpts, with the beginning paragraphs and the ending summery first:

          Doesn't Bakunin's "Invisible Dictatorship" prove that anarchists are secret authoritarians?

          No. While Bakunin did use the term "invisible dictatorship", it does not prove that Bakunin or anarchists are secret authoritarians. The claim otherwise, often made by Leninists and other Marxists, expresses a distinct, even wilful, misunderstanding of Bakunin's ideas on the role revolutionaries should play in popular movements.

          Marxists quote Bakunin's terms "invisible dictatorship" and "collective dictatorship" out of context, using it to "prove" that anarchists are secret authoritarians, seeking dictatorship over the masses. More widely, the question of Bakunin and his "invisible dictatorship" finds its way into sympathetic accounts of anarchist ideas. For example, Peter Marshall writes that it is "not difficult to conclude that Bakunin's invisible dictatorship would be even more tyrannical than a . . . Marxist one" and that it expressed a "profound authoritarian and dissimulating streak in his life and work." [Demanding the Impossible, p. 287] So, the question of setting the record straight about this aspect of Bakunin's theory is of more importance than just correcting a few Leninists. In addition, to do so will help clarify the concept of "leadership of ideas" we discussed in the last section. For both these reasons, this section, while initially appearing somewhat redundant and of interest only to academics, is of a far wider interest.

          Anarchists have two responses to claims that Bakunin (and, by implication, all anarchists) seek an "invisible" dictatorship and so are not true libertarians. Firstly, and this is the point we will concentrate upon in this section, Bakunin's expression is taken out of context and when placed within context it takes on a radically different meaning than that implied by critics of anarchism. Secondly, even if the expression means what the critics claim it does, it does not refute anarchism as a political theory. This is because anarchists are not Bakuninists (or Proudhonists or Kropotkinites or any other person-ist). We recognise other anarchists for what they are, human beings who said lots of important and useful things but, like any other human being, made mistakes and often do not live up to all of their ideas. For anarchists, it is a question of extracting the useful parts from their works and rejecting the useless (as well as the downright nonsense!). Just because Bakunin said something, it does not make it right! This common-sense approach to politics seems to be lost on Marxists. Indeed, if we take the logic of these Marxists to its conclusion, we must reject everything Rousseau wrote (he was sexist), Marx and Engels (their comments against Slavs spring to mind, along with numerous other racist comments) and so on. But, of course, this never happens to non-anarchist thinkers when Marxists write their articles and books.

          And after a lengthy, detailed, and thorough examination of the context in which Bakunin made his remarks, the conclusion.
          In summary, any apparent contradiction between the "public" and "private" Bakunin disappears once we place his comments into context within both the letters he wrote and his overall political theory. As Brian Morris argues, those who argue that Bakunin was in favour of despotism only come to "these conclusions by an incredible distortion of the substance of what Bakunin was trying to convey in his letters to Richard and Nechaev" and "[o]nly the most jaundiced scholar, or one blinded by extreme antipathy towards Bakunin or anarchism, could interpret these words as indicating that Bakunin conception of a secret society implied a revolutionary dictatorship in the Jacobin sense, still less a 'despotism'" [Bakunin: The Philosophy of Freedom, p. 144 and p. 149]
          Another excerpt:
          However, to return to our main argument, that of the importance of context. Significantly, whenever Bakunin uses the term "invisible" or "collective" dictatorship he also explicitly states his opposition to government power and in particular the idea that anarchists should seize it. For example, a Leninist quotes the following passage from "a Bakuninist document" to show "the dictatorial ambitions of Bakunin" and that the "principle of anti-democracy was to leave Bakunin unchallenged at the apex of power": "It is necessary that in the midst of popular anarchy, which will constitute the very life and energy of the revolution, unity of thought and revolutionary action should find an organ. This organ must be the secret and world-wide association of the international brethren." [Derek Howl, "The legacy of Hal Draper", pp. 137-49, International Socialist, no. 52, p. 147]

          However, in the sentence immediately before those quoted, Bakunin stated that "[t]his organisation rules out any idea of dictatorship and custodial control." Strange that this part of the document was not quoted! Nor is Bakunin quoted when he wrote, in the same document, that "[w]e are the natural enemies of those revolutionaries -- future dictators, regimentors and custodians of revolution -- who . . . [want] to create new revolutionary States just as centralist and despotic as those we already know." Not mentioned either is Bakunin's opinion that the "revolution everywhere must be created by the people, and supreme control must always belong to the people organised into a free federation of agricultural and industrial associations . . . organised from the bottom upwards by means of revolutionary delegations . . . [who] will set out to administer public services, not to rule over peoples." [Michael Bakunin: Selected Writings, p. 172, p. 169 and p. 172] Selective quoting is only convincing to those ignorant of the subject.

          Similarly, when we look at the situations where Bakunin uses the terms "invisible" or "collective" dictatorship (usually in letters to comrades) we find the same thing -- the explicit denial in these same letters that Bakunin thought the revolutionary association should take governmental power. For example, in a letter to Albert Richard (a fellow member of the "Alliance of Social Democracy") Bakunin stated that "[t]here is only one power and one dictatorship whose organisation is salutary and feasible: it is that collective, invisible dictatorship of those who are allied in the name of our principle." He then immediately adds that "this dictatorship will be all the more salutary and effective for not being dressed up in any official power or extrinsic character." Earlier in the letter he argued that anarchists must be "like invisible pilots in the thick of the popular tempest. . . steer[ing] it [the revolution] not by any open power but by the collective dictatorship of all the allies -- a dictatorship without insignia, titles or official rights, and all the stronger for having none of the paraphernalia of power." Explicitly opposing "Committees of Public Safety and official, overt dictatorship" he explains his idea of a revolution based on "workers hav[ing] joined into associations . . . armed and organised by streets and quartiers, the federative commune." [Op. Cit., p. 181, p. 180 and p. 179] Hardly what would be expected from a would-be dictator. As Sam Dolgoff suggested:

              "an organisation exercising no overt authority, without a state, without official status, without the machinery of institutionalised power to enforce its policies, cannot be defined as a dictatorship . . . Moreover, if it is borne in mind that this passage is part of a letter repudiating in the strongest terms the State and the authoritarian statism of the 'Robespierres, the Dantons, and the Saint-Justs of the revolution,' it is reasonable to conclude that Bakunin used the word 'dictatorship' to denote preponderant influence or guidance exercised largely by example . . . In line with this conclusion, Bakunin used the words 'invisible' and 'collective' to denote the underground movement exerting this influence in an organised manner." [Bakunin on Anarchism, p. 182]

          This analysis is confirmed by other passages from Bakunin's letters. In a letter to the Nihilist Sergi Nechaev (within which Bakunin indicates exactly how far apart politically they were -- which is important as, from Marx onwards, many of Bakunin's opponents quote Nechaev's pamphlets as if they were "Bakuninist," when in fact they were not) we find him arguing that:

              "These [revolutionary] groups would not seek anything for themselves, neither privilege nor honour nor power . . . [but] would be in a position to direct popular movements . . . and lead the people towards the most complete realisation of the social-economic ideal and the organisation of the fullest popular freedom. This is what I call the collective dictatorship of a secret organisation.

              "The dictatorship . . . does not reward any of the members that comprise the groups, or the groups themselves, with any profit or honour or official power. It does not threaten the freedom of the people, because, lacking any official character, it does not take the place of State control over the people, and because its whole aim . . . consists of the fullest realisation of the liberty of the people.

              "This sort of dictatorship is not in the least contrary to the free development and the self-development of the people, nor its organisation from the bottom upward . . . for it influences the people exclusively through the natural, personal influence of its members, who have not the slightest power, . . . and . . . try . . . to direct the spontaneous revolutionary movement of the people towards . . . the organisation of popular liberty . . . This secret dictatorship would in the first place, and at the present time, carry out a broadly based popular propaganda . . . and by the power of this propaganda and also by organisation among the people themselves join together separate popular forces into a mighty strength capable of demolishing the State." [Michael Bakunin: Selected Writings, pp. 193-4]

          The key aspect of this is the notion of "natural" influence. In a letter to a Spanish member of the Alliance we find Bakunin arguing that it "will promote the Revolution only through the natural but never official influence of all members of the Alliance." [Bakunin on Anarchism, p. 387] This term was also used in his public writings, with Bakunin arguing that the "very freedom of every individual results from th[e] great number of material, intellectual, and moral influences which every individual around him and which society . . . continually exercise on him" and that "everything alive . . . intervene[s] . . . in the life of others . . . [so] we hardly wish to abolish the effect of any individual's or any group of individuals' natural influence upon the masses." [The Basic Bakunin, p. 140 and p. 141]

          "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

          by ZhenRen on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:44:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  None of which addresses the points I made. (0+ / 0-)

            Take your time.

            "Assume man to be man and his relationship to the world to be a human one: then you can exchange love only for love, trust for trust" -- Karl Marx

            by Cassiodorus on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:53:09 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Read the faq by clicking on the link (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AoT

              I know you can read.

              It's excellent, and it is too lengthy to put in a post. My initial reply scratches the surface. It directly answers your point.

              "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

              by ZhenRen on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:55:04 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  The link I gave seems to be broken (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AoT

              I'll try again. This is a thorough answer to your assertion (which has been commonly made by Marxists against Bakunin in the ongoing debate):

              http://www.infoshop.org/...

              And as the FAQ states: Unlike Marxists who name themselves after Marx, anarchists are not Bakuninists. Bakunin doesn't dictate our thoughts. We don't worship the theorists who are part of our tradition, and thus we don't name ourselves after them.

              But nevertheless, if the whole of Bakunin's statements are studied, as the FAQ accomplishes, Bakunin doesn't mean what Marxists, who tend to not have studied anarchism to sufficient degree to understand, assert.

              "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

              by ZhenRen on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:15:14 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Okay, rested now (0+ / 0-)

                I was fatigued yesterday due to extreme sleep deprivation.

                If one reads the linked discussion of this topic of Bakunin, one will find example after example of clarifying comments Bakunin made, in connection with his idea of a "secret, invisible dictatorship" which would have a "natural" influence on the working class. These clarifications have been ignored by Marxist critics who want to construe Bakunin's idea to be authoritarian. The quotes are so numerous its easier to direct readers to that article, rather than try to post them all here, but essentially Bakunin explained clearly that these "invisible" activists were to have no authority or power over others, nor would these associations have any hierarchy. He used terms that most anarchists would avoid today, but his intended meaning was obviously, as explained by Bakunin, not authoritarian or hierarchical.

                He simply had a plan for anarchists to have an influence on the workers, to counter the influence of authority and capitalism. He wanted it to be an indirect, rather non-forceful approach, simply an organization which would try to be involved and to influence.

                I think Bakunin was devising a plan to move the population to revolution, which was a common sentiment of his time, since people thought revolution was imminent.  And rather than use obvious, direct force, he wanted to use a more subtle, less domineering way to direct people to collectivize.

                I think an honest read of Bakunin's comments bear this out. In most instances, in the same letters where these comments were made he also reiterates the opposition to authoritarianism, to central states, and asserts the need for equality, liberty, and bottom-up self-management of community and worker councils.

                And the assertion that these groups would be hierarchical is ridiculous. I see no evidence of that. It's a shame that people would want to distort Bakunin's words this way.

                Here's a small sampling:

                 "These [revolutionary] groups would not seek anything for themselves, neither privilege nor honour nor power . . . [but] would be in a position to direct popular movements . . . and lead the people towards the most complete realisation of the social-economic ideal and the organisation of the fullest popular freedom. This is what I call the collective dictatorship of a secret organisation.
                   "The dictatorship . . . does not reward any of the members that comprise the groups, or the groups themselves, with any profit or honour or official power. It does not threaten the freedom of the people, because, lacking any official character, it does not take the place of State control over the people, and because its whole aim . . . consists of the fullest realisation of the liberty of the people.

                 

                   "This sort of dictatorship is not in the least contrary to the free development and the self-development of the people, nor its organisation from the bottom upward . . . for it influences the people exclusively through the natural, personal influence of its members, who have not the slightest power, . . . and . . . try . . . to direct the spontaneous revolutionary movement of the people towards . . . the organisation of popular liberty . . . This secret dictatorship would in the first place, and at the present time, carry out a broadly based popular propaganda . . . and by the power of this propaganda and also by organisation among the people themselves join together separate popular forces into a mighty strength capable of demolishing the State." [Michael Bakunin: Selected Writings, pp. 193-4]
                Here's an excerpt from the FAQ:
                Similarly, when we look at the situations where Bakunin uses the terms "invisible" or "collective" dictatorship (usually in letters to comrades) we find the same thing -- the explicit denial in these same letters that Bakunin thought the revolutionary association should take governmental power. For example, in a letter to Albert Richard (a fellow member of the "Alliance of Social Democracy") Bakunin stated that "[t]here is only one power and one dictatorship whose organisation is salutary and feasible: it is that collective, invisible dictatorship of those who are allied in the name of our principle." He then immediately adds that "this dictatorship will be all the more salutary and effective for not being dressed up in any official power or extrinsic character." Earlier in the letter he argued that anarchists must be "like invisible pilots in the thick of the popular tempest. . . steer[ing] it [the revolution] not by any open power but by the collective dictatorship of all the allies -- a dictatorship without insignia, titles or official rights, and all the stronger for having none of the paraphernalia of power." Explicitly opposing "Committees of Public Safety and official, overt dictatorship" he explains his idea of a revolution based on "workers hav[ing] joined into associations . . . armed and organised by streets and quartiers, the federative commune." [Op. Cit., p. 181, p. 180 and p. 179] Hardly what would be expected from a would-be dictator. As Sam Dolgoff suggested:

                   

                "an organisation exercising no overt authority, without a state, without official status, without the machinery of institutionalised power to enforce its policies, cannot be defined as a dictatorship . . . Moreover, if it is borne in mind that this passage is part of a letter repudiating in the strongest terms the State and the authoritarian statism of the 'Robespierres, the Dantons, and the Saint-Justs of the revolution,' it is reasonable to conclude that Bakunin used the word 'dictatorship' to denote preponderant influence or guidance exercised largely by example . . . In line with this conclusion, Bakunin used the words 'invisible' and 'collective' to denote the underground movement exerting this influence in an organised manner." [Bakunin on Anarchism, p. 182]

                "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

                by ZhenRen on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 12:17:14 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Your quote from Bakunin himself (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ZhenRen

          contradicts the other quotes.

          A secret society must necessarily be an elite
          No true. To be elite is to be better than and above. To be secret is to be unknown. The two are not coterminous. If they were then secretly organizing a union would be an elitist activity. We have an idea of what a secret society is based on the Masons and other groups that organized to create a capitalism democracy that is elitist, but a secret society in no way has to be elitist.

          If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

          by AoT on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:15:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Just noticed your comment (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AoT

            They were secret to protect themselves from persecution. If it were known they were organizing as a revolutionary association, they could be arrested. Bakunin himself spent time in prison. This entire accusation is ridiculous.

            Moving on to the second issue, the question of why Bakunin favoured secret organisation. At the time many states where despotic monarchies, with little or no civil rights. As he argued, "nothing but a secret society would want to take this [arousing a revolution] on, for the interests of the government and of the government classes would be bitterly opposed to it." [Michael Bakunin: Selected Writings, p. 188] For survival, Bakunin considered secrecy an essential. As Juan Gomez Casas noted: "In view of the difficulties of that period, Bakunin believed that secret groups of convinced and absolutely trustworthy men were safer and more effective. They would be able to place themselves at the head of developments at critical moments, but only to inspire and to clarify the issues." [Op. Cit., p. 22] Even Marxists, faced with dictatorial states, have organised in secret and as George R. Esenwein points out, the "claim that Bakunin's organisation scheme was not the product of a 'hard-headed realism' cannot be supported in the light of the experiences of the Spanish Alliancists. It is beyond doubt that their adherence to Bakunin's program greatly contributed to the FRE's [Spanish section of the First International] ability to flourish during the early part of the 1870s and to survive the harsh circumstances of repression in the period 1874-1881." [Op. Cit., p. 224f] So Bakunin's personal experiences in Tsarist Russia and other illiberal states shaped his ideas on how revolutionaries should organise (and let us not forget that he had been imprisoned in the Peter and Paul prison for his activities).
            http://www.infoshop.org/...

            This has been long accused by Marxists to counter the charge that their statist approach, the vanguardism, the Communist party dominance, all advocated by Marx, is authoritarian. Its basically stating "you're authoritarian too!"

            Except that anarchist egalitarian, bottom-up anti-authoritarian philosophy, expressed in its organizations, including those created by Bakunin, are not structured top-down with a self-serving elite (pretending to represent the working class) at the top.

            Its sad to say that this really is a complete, willful misread of what Bakunin meant, and deliberately taken out of context.

            "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

            by ZhenRen on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 06:23:13 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I was exhausted yesterday (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AoT

            and I don't feel I answered this well, which is why I've made some more replies, and at this point I feel I've way overplayed all of this. ;)

            "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

            by ZhenRen on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 06:25:16 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Re: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cassiodorus
       It appears as if the "ultra-conservatism" of today's intellectual pundits is a product of a circle-the-wagons mentality defending the capitalist system against its impending self-destruction.
       I've been playing with Marx's crisis theory recently. I've found that it, and several other classical economists traced all economic crisis in capitalism to over-production.
         Look around today? Is there anything that isn't in over-production except for good-paying jobs?

        I think the global bailouts of 2008 eliminated the "purging" moment of capitalism, thus meaning the over-production continues and gets worse.

        So what's next? I'm looking for deflation. Not deflation in things like food and housing (housing can't fall or it will be game over). But deflation in anything that is manufactured.
        As Europe and China experience a Japan-style deflation, it will gradually spread to the rest of the world. The pin might be Crimea/Russia.

        Keep an eye on China. They are the key, and their credit bubble is enormous.

        I've also been reading about the corruption of the field of economics by the powerful. There is no hope that any solutions will be coming from them.

      None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

      by gjohnsit on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 04:58:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Libertarianism", (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit, tardis10

    like "Conservatism", has become a favorite party disguise worn by knuckledragging, reactionary dullards who understand neither and have nothing coherent to offer.

    
    

    Take Rand Paul... please.

    Try to catch him between poses.

  •  Adam Smith's 'Cannons of Taxation' (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit, tardis10, duhban, AoT

    are another one that the conservative/libertarians don't want people to actually read and understand.  The "Reader's Digest" version is: Tax the hell out of monopoly power and big landowners and leave everybody else alone.   The rich in American wouldn't like a program based on Smith's taxation advice.  

    The Long War is not on Iraq, Afghanistan, or Iran. It is on the American people.

    by Geonomist on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 04:16:41 PM PDT

    •  Got a link? (0+ / 0-)

      I'd like to read that.

      None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

      by gjohnsit on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 04:48:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Adam Smith's first opus (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    duhban

    The Theory of Moral Sentiments is even less read by US fauxbertarians. But I like to quote it to them anyway. In a helpful way,of course ;)

    How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortune of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it except the pleasure of seeing it. Adam Smith

    "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

    by tardis10 on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 05:39:38 PM PDT

  •  A Great Read (0+ / 0-)

    That's an excellent exposition. Thanks!

  •  Parsing Smith and Putting him into the 18th Centur (0+ / 0-)

    This short essay provides a valuable missing link to the deconstruction of Rand Paul's faux libertarianism.  One tiny pedantic point - Smith wrote in the latter half of the 18th century - circa 230 years ago - not 130.  Otherwise, his thought would have little or no impact on Proudhon and his followers.  This was simply a typographic error that might have confused some readers.

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