maanantaina, kesäkuuta 19, 2006

Brian Giovannini: Explanation of Anarcho-Capitalism

Lyhyt, helppolukuinen, kansantajuinen, rautalangasta väännetty kuvaus anarkokapitalismista eli valtion korvaamisesta yksityisillä vartiointiliikkeillä jne. Vastaa lyhyesti Robert Bidinotton artikkeliin The Contradiction In Anarchism.


After having seen the anarcho-capitalist viewpoint repeatedly besmirched on humanities.philosophy.objectivism, I have decided to elucidate what I believe to be the proper stance of a moral anarcho-capitalist.

I have read Bidinotto's "refutation" of anarcho-capitalism and I must admit, I am less than impressed. I believe he is missing an essential of anarcho-capitalism-that a-c does not entail many "agencies of force" each claiming supremacy over the *plenum*, but instead many agencies of force each claiming supremacy over the *property of its subscribers*. Which is what we have in effect today. (Of course, none of the competing agencies of force do not choose pure capitalism as their standard, but some come pretty close.)

In fact, each and every person reading this newsgroup has the perfect legal right to secede from the United States. We don't call it secession, though. We call it moving to another country and becoming a citizen of that nation. Yes, our current anarchic competing agencies of force go by such prosaic names as France, Portugal, and Burundi. And those agencies also reserve the right to determine who they will allow to subscribe to their protective services. The whole process is called emigration/immigration and in a truly anarcho-capitalist system, it would happen when both the provider and subscriber believed they had value to gain from each other.

The odd thing, though, is that in our current system, if someone believes his agency of force is not a rights-upholder, if he instead believes it is a rights violator, if he believes that his African dictatorship is not providing him with the best atmosphere available to create and produce, he must *relinquish his property* in order to secede. His home, his farm, his copper mines...he can't take them with him, and so he must abandon them.

How would things be different under anarcho-capitalism? Let's take an example of Jack, who lives on a small patch of land in British Columbia on the U.S. border. Jack loves the works of Ayn Rand, and as a writer has composed several quality works of his own. He lives on a beautiful estate which he had built with the proceeds from his first best-selling novel. It has rolling lawns, and the house is superbly constructed. Everything is going great for Jack until Canada decides to raise its subscriber fee (taxes). Jack knows that in the States, subscriber fees are much lower and the quality of service is higher. The police drive cars instead of riding on horses. So he decides he no longer wishes to be a citizen of Canada, but instead, a citizen of the United States.

Jack writes to the New Subscriber Department of the U.S. Agency of Force and they reply with a warm letter saying that they would love to have a productive person like Jack as a citizen...The question is, does Jack's property belong to Jack or is he just leasing it from the Canadian government? If Jack owns his property then it should be no problem for him to just declare that his property is now under the dominion of the United States...Jack should be able to take his property with him as he legally secedes from Canada.

If instead the property belongs to Canada and Jack is merely a tenant, he merely has *limited* property rights (and consequentially, limited individual rights as per Rand's argument concerning the necessary connection between property rights and individual rights). I cannot yet see how, by changing the agency of force protecting his land, Jack would have violated the individual rights of any other person anywhere.

Jack should also have the option to secede and declare his property under the dominion of his own agency of force. In this case, he would agree to abide by the laws of Canada when he ventured onto Canadian soil, and others would agree to abide by his laws when venturing onto his soil. Would this be an evil arrangement? When we visit Italy, we agree to their laws. When Italians visit the United States, they agree to abide by ours. This is a reciprocal agreement which violates no one's rights-after all nobody is coerced into visiting either country.

In the above example, Jack's land was conveniently contiguous to the United States. However this need not be a precursor. I've heard rumors that the United States is more than willing to protect its citizens in Alaska...Perhaps it would protect citizens elsewhere-maybe a higher fee for a more remote area.

So would anarcho-capitalism devolve into bands of aggressive thugs wandering around wreaking havoc? Not likely. Crazy rights-violating goons exist today, and their breed is unlikely to die out. However, I choose to believe that overall, men prefer to live in a society where they can live peacefully while creating and sustaining themselves. Bidinotto points us to "Bosnia, Somalia, Beirut, Northern Ireland, South Africa" as examples of what anarcho-capitalism would lead us to. I say it is exactly the opposite. The reason that these people are fighting amongst themselves is that they *are being denied the right to choose their agency*--Serbs are being forced to subscribe to the same agency as Croats, different Somali tribes must share a single agency, etc. You will note that the reason Serbs and Croats were/are fighting in Bosnia is that they each want their own government. They are fighting *for* separate governments, not *because* of them. Their fighting is the result of their being subjected to an arbitrary comprehensive government that doesn't appeal to any of them.

Would they still be fighting if each Serb and Croat were permitted the choice of which government to subscribe his land? I doubt it. They would probably return to their jobs and continue to create and produce.

Some might claim that despite different nations, we do have a single government-the U.N. *Shrug* Wouldn't it be nice to be able to secede from *that* statist parody of a government?

Others argue that if you have a well developed constitution-bound Objectivist minarchy, there would never be any reason for you to secede. I claim that the world is not static-technology and knowledge are always progressing and that it is natural for a government to progress with said technology and knowledge. If the Objectivist government has lawmakers then they have the potential to create laws *I* disapprove of-no matter how wonderful the constitution. And I should have the right, at any time, to switch to the government I find most liberty-oriented. I should not be coerced into keeping what I perceive to be an inferior government. Objectively, there is always one best government out there. Objectively, it need not be the same government today as it was yesterday.

Anarcho-capitalism preserves a basic right of man--the right to secede from a government he considers abusive. This is a choice that the *individual* should be allowed to make. A government that prevents its clients from unsubscribing is unlikely to be the bastion of freedom it proclaims itself. The Soviet Union had such a rule-and built walls with armed guards to enforce it.

Objectivist minarchists would have you believe otherwise. They spread stories of the gloom and doom that will arise unless you agree to allow them to decide for you which government is best. There is no trial period. They say, "Join us and you can never secede." I say, "Join them and you will never be free." Since when has more freedom been a bad thing?

--Brian Keith Giovannini

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