Archive for the 'ideology' Category

Freed-Market Advocates Should Oppose Capitalism and Socialism

I have been watching some videos from the Center for a Stateless Society (C4SS) done by Gary Chariter for their Stateless University. Professor Chartier’s arguments are extremely compelling, and presented in a very logical fashion. He says that we should discard the term capitalism because in most modern contexts it is affiliated with government corporate partnership and a hierarchical structure where capitalists impose their authority on others. He then favors terms like freed-markets and market anarchism. I think that is on the right track, our tradition of individualist anarchism does have a lot of common with left and I think we would be smart to seek more allies there.

However, he then argues that we should attempt to reclaim the term socialism for our movement (in the second part of the video). I think he desires to do this because a lot of the historical figures in the anarchist tradition have favored this term (Benjamin Tucker for one). I can understand the appeal of reclaiming the term, but I don’t really see how the situation is much different from the term capitalism. In modern context socialism’s main definition involves the states control and regulation over the means of production (State-Socialism). So while I think he is well intended to desire some socialist ends like peace, equality, and solidarity with the poor and working class, it does not seem to me like reclaiming the term socialism is the way to do it.

In the following video Roderick Long (also a left-libertarian anarchist) discusses how he thinks capitalism and socialism are anti-concepts following the definition of Ayn Rand. I do tend to think that we should not use either term to describe our ideas because both mean things in modern contexts that we really do not want to associate with (basically both involve some connection with the state apparatus).

Despite this criticism I really have been enjoying Prof. Chartier’s video series. He is an excellent speaker and I think is going to become a more central figure in the movement. Jeff Riggenbach did a great podcast discussing some of Professor Chartier’s contributions. The book he edited “Markets not Capitalism” can be found online here. It is a collection of essays from some of the greatest left-libertarian thinkers throughout history, including Karl Hess (one of my personal favorites).

Ideological Spectrum

A few days ago I wrote on the anarchist ideological spectrum. I have made a graph with a traditional right-left paradigm and placed several thinkers on the chart. Some were very difficult to place as is the case with such a restrictive medium. I am fully happy to change some of the locations of people or certain aspects of the chart should people bring errors to my attention. Hopefully this will spark some great debate in the comments!

I would consider anybody in the bottom two thirds to be pretty good, and I would probably affiliate myself with the box on the bottom left. Let me know what you think! Also while your at it why not answer our left vs right poll?

Again, I am sure there will be some criticism that dividing ourselves into left and right anarchist libertarians is probably a bad strategy because we should be trying to build in numbers. While I agree with the sentiment I don’t agree fully with the premise. The differences between the left and right anarchists are I think more minor than Rothbard’s analysis of anarcho-communism (Chapter 12 in this book) would seem to indicate. Both support voluntary interaction! So in a voluntary society I think people would try to respect the ways in which others want to live so long as they were doing so peaceably.

Look at how close the average joe’s are to the crazy people! Us anarchists sure have come a long way. Anyways, please tell me where I am going wrong! It was hard to place people like Stefan Molyneux, Doug Casey, and David Friedman. So suggestions welcome.

Poll: Where are you on the ideological spectrum

This poll is in conjunction with today’s post on the anarchist ideological spectrum. As the article mentions though you may disapprove of using the traditional spectrum to describe the anarchist position, if that is the case just mark none.

The Anarchist Specturm

In the anarchist community there are several different “flavors” of anarchism discussed. Though it seems like some have seemingly irreconcilable differences, for instance the varying views on property rights by anarcho-communists and anarcho-capitalists. Generally it seems most of the differences are not so much differences in substance, but differences in approach. It was pointed out well by Karl Hess that there really is only one kind of anarchist and he is a voluntarist, one broadly opposed to the use of the coercive means.

There is something to be said here for the traditional right-left paradigm as it applies to anarchism. Broadly I would categorize those who use as their main justification for anarchism equality, self-sufficiency, peace, or respect for diversity on the left. I would then categorize those who favor anarchism as the most economically efficient system, or that most respectful of property rights and the non-aggression principle on the right. One of the best ways to see the distinction is to attempt to categorize the thinking of certain people.

Some might justly argue that we shouldn’t be trying to divide ourselves further. That talking about differences we have as anarchists, even if they are only in approach and not in result, does more harm than good. They might be right! However, there is a strong counterpoint, that being a strengthening of our arguments by debating with each other. Personally, I started out on the right side of the anarchist spectrum, but have come to have a great appreciation for the arguments and methodologies of leftward anarchists (Karl Hess, SEK III etc.), and I probably prefer that style now.

I have heard it said by Stefan Molyneux and others that anarcho-capitalism would allow for anarcho-communism, while the reverse would not work. I think that in a truly voluntary society people would enter into the kind of arrangements that are suitable for them. If a group finds more satisfaction or productivity in a commune they would of course be allowed to form one, if still others found it more useful to have and enforce universal property rights that would also be allowed. I think that great diversity of anarchy is something that we should celebrate rather than bicker over. Also broadly I think any conflict between these two different styles of voluntary association would be attempted to be resolved in as peaceful a manner as possible, adhering to some form of the non-aggression principle.

Here is my sampling of where I place certain anarchists in the ideological spectrum:




There are many individuals and groups who remain uncatagorized above, but I think I have given a descent sampling across the community. Of course there are some specific elements of the thinking of certain people which falls in one category while another part falls on the opposite side, so it is hard to really come up with an accurate picture. I would love to work toward getting together resource pages on this site for the great thinkers above, and many others.

An essay by Murray Rothbard interesting look at the political spectrum especially how it relates to libertarian and anarchist thought. Roderick Long has given some presentations attempting to look at Rothbard’s paradigm in a more modern context.

I do think that it will be the easiest to reach the non-academic left, which as evidenced by the Occupy Wall Street movement, is very concerned with government granted privilege to business. A convincing argument could be developed that in order for the OWS protesters to be consistent in their ideology they would have to oppose state action more broadly.



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