Posts Tagged 'stateless society'

Confusing a Society with its Country

I was recently reminded while commenting on a blog post on The Dollar Vigilante, that I had thought of an interesting hypothesis on how people confuse the name of a country with the name of that society. It seems to me that the linking of the name of a society to the name of the state that that society is in is one way in which the state gets ingrained in peoples minds. The reply on that comment I made expressed some confusion over what one would call an anarchist society given that it really wouldn’t be a country per se.

Society is made up of the voluntary interactions between people that bring benefit to both parties. These interactions over some sufficiently large scale build something up called a society. In all (with maybe the exception of Somalia) modern societies a group of people got together and formed what we know as a state, the government of that society, which dominates and suppresses the people of that society while attempting to appear benevolent. Then the name that people give the country, state or government is also the name they give to the society that is being dominated by that state, I think as a convenience of geography.

Boarders are artificial constructs! I remember arguing with my high school government teacher constantly about why it was that given I had never consented to be ruled under the constitution that I had to pay for people in Idaho’s interstate highways but not the roads of people in Quebec who were actually closer to me. His response was something along the lines of, well we live in a society that you came into being a part of at some point, if you don’t like it leave. I find that notion to be appalling. Simply because one does not wish to be extorted by a monopoly government that they did not consent to, they are told leaving is the only option to escape oppression. Certainly, I agree that leaving could be beneficial (especially given the current state of the US) however, why should one be prevented from declaring their small plot of land as an independent society and living off their land, accept nothing receive nothing from the US government.

I find the logical arguments of Lysander Spooner in No Treason especially appealing when examining these questions over whether or not a government actually has any authority over people. He demonstrates definitively that “under general principles of law and reason” the state is not something people all voluntarily agreed to enter into.

I am reminded of a couple of great songs that speak to these points. The first, is a song by Rush, whose songwriter is a libertarian. The second is a John Lennon song, while I would say Lennon’s anti-authoritarian views were incompatible with the way he desired societies run, the song still speaks to the point of anti-statism and  imagining a better society.

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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).


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