Eating Rotten Fish
by Ethan Glover, Sat, Oct 19, 2013 - (Edited) Sat, Nov 25, 2017
In his first article "Anarcho-Capitalism: The Road Less Traveled to Serfdom" Donald Hank tried to make the argument that freedom is like slavery. I responded to that article and tried to clear up a few issues. It seems his argument has gone from, "If we get rid of government, government will take over." to "If we get rid of government, government will take over." With this change, I must change my answers as a way to further explain how this philosophy works. The new article is, "Anarcho-Capitalism: Fresh Fish or Yesterday's Catch?". Donald claims in his introduction that if you break one link in a philosophy the whole thing falls apart. He's off to another great start with a blatantly false statement and something not worth responding to. This is a unique style of writing I have never come across before. Nevertheless, it is what it is, so I suppose I should just move on. Donald Hank is eating rotten fish, and I feel I should warn him.
Communism. Therefore Government.
The bulk of this article is chalked full of personal stories that are being used in an attempt to create authority. It reminds me of a particularly embarrassing debate between SCG (StormCloudsGathering) and Stefan Molyneux in which SCG wanted to use specific situations as a way to create a situation in which he knew more. Stefan could not respond with anything except, "I haven't been there. I wouldn't know, let's get back to the topic at hand." This strategy is really only a creation of false authority. That of course ignores the fact that communism, even anarcho-communism, has nothing to do with anarcho-capitalism. It took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that these two things are separate and unique systems of society. I learned that by talking to communists themselves, not by making assumptions and creating arguments where none exist. This is what Donald Hank continues to fail to do. He is not making any effort to learn from anarcho-capitalists themselves, or at least he doesn't show any signs of doing so. If he would take up his concerns with them and simply ask, he may be surprised to find some great answers. That's how I moved from liberal to conservative to libertarian to anarcho-capitalist. Now that I am here, I am more grounded, and my philosophy is more stable than any of the other alternatives that I have tried defending.
I agree that anarcho-communism could inevitably lead to government. By rejecting the idea of both scarcity and value while simultaneously touting the labor theory of value, you can only lead yourself into a crashed system in need of central planning. A certain level of hierarchy and authority is needed within society. This is what communists reject and when they reject it outright they leave themselves 100% open to those who use that system as a way to overthrow thrones to gain power for themselves. Anarcho-capitalism aims to create competition and an infinite amount of checks and balances. It depends quite simply on voluntary trade and free interactions. It allows people to make decisions for themselves and to protect themselves in ways that they see fit. Which includes paying security companies which are, “checked and balanced” by other security companies. Communists, as they have told me, believe that crime wouldn't exist in their world because scarcity wouldn't exist. Again, this is not an assumption I am making, it is what they told me directly. I continue to wait for full responses to my three part series, Anarcho-Communism Criticism that goes over all of this. The articles show the clear and undeniable differences between anarcho-capitalism and anarcho-communism. The former is a system of sustainability, freedom and security. The latter is a fun thought experiment that ended long ago. Again, Donald needs to understand these systems before he is able to talk about them. That is accomplished by asking, not by making blatantly wrong statements. (They get really bad further on.) I don't mean this out of disrespect or to be mean. Donald is embarrassing himself. It's like listening to an Alex Jones fan talk about the big twelve banks and the new world order.
Putting An End to Force, Not Choice
Moving on Donald gets into politics and how anarcho-capitalists supposedly aim to dissolve the state. I'm an anarcho-capitalist. I talk to anarcho-capitalists on a regular basis. I ask them questions about how they would solve particular issues when I can't figure it out. I help them answer questions. We have a very large and active community. If you were to ask them, “How do you destroy the State?” You would get something like this, “The state destroys itself, how do you gain your freedom?” Anarcho-capitalists are very much opposed to any and all political action. This is one of the things that makes them unique within the “political spectrum”. They do not pretend to be doing the right thing while trying to force their system on others. If a group of people want government, fine. Write up a contract, promise tax payments, set up a system of punishments, etc.. Anarcho-capitalists only want the option for themselves to opt out. Ultimately they would like to see others choose that, but in the end it is their choice. If we decide to try and “convert” people, which is of far less importance to us than to libertarians, it is a matter of helping people see a better side. If, in the end, they hear all the logical arguments and decide against, fine that is their adult decision. Yet, when someone votes for someone that will send me to jail for a non-violent crime, that voter is aggressing against me. I would never do the same to them. There is no political mechanism that puts an end to the state. The state is the reason “political mechanisms” exist in the first place. The goal is not to destroy the state for others but instead to remove yourself from the state as much as possible, help to starve it and move others to do so, and allow it to collapse in on itself. This is a multi-generational project and anarcho-capitalists do not have delusions of instant gratification.
From missing that AnCaps don't believe in political action, Donald makes the move into Ron Paul. Now, I do a lot of these responses. I haven't had this site long, and I'm still learning how to approach these things. Yet, this is still a very surprising new one to me. In his earlier article, Donald Hank claimed he was a libertarian, but he does not seem to have the ability to see the difference between it and anarcho-capitalism. OK, to be fair anarcho-capitalism is a subset of libertarianism. However, in modern terms I think it is more “colloquial” to mean (L)ibertarian when saying libertarian. As in libertarian politics, not libertarian philosophy. That all being said, Ron Paul is a clear representative of libertarian politics. Many anarcho-capitalists have mixed feelings about Ron Paul because, despite being a government employee, he had always acted as a kind of a “Ron Swanson”, by only taking action when it meant trying to shrink government. Yes, he has introduced many people to the Mises Institute and Murray Rothbard. That's a great thing, and I personally appreciate him for it. I've forgiven him for “past crimes”, others have not. His son Rand Paul, on the other hand. Boy, what a mistake to bring him up. No self respecting anarcho-capitalist or libertarian sides with that fool. I have a constantly updated page called “Don't Trust Rand Paul”. [Page Deleted] Rand Paul is a neocon warmongering Republican that does not deserve an ounce of respect. He is a politician on the level of a Republican. He has openly and directly insulted libertarians. He talks about creating war and to this day constantly tries to incite religious wars. The fact that Donald attributes Rand to anarcho-capitalism is sad and inexcusable. The fact that he attributes Ron's name is a slightly understandable mishap. When it comes to libertarian politics, it is indeed a black hole of mostly dogmatic votes. I agree that millions have been wasted on Tea Party and Libertarian candidates (to include the actual Libertarian Party) which is ironically never mentioned. But my Libertarianism Criticism may still be worth a read.
The point is, anarcho-capitalism doesn't need to succeed in Washington. It doesn't aim to, it doesn't want to. It aims and wants to succeed on small levels, one step at a time. From voluntarism to agorism to free society projects; we are making good progress. Working on the national stage is a waste of time. Occupy Wall Street tried to do their marches and activism and make about a billion demands trying to represent it's various members all at once. The result was a mess.
Anarcho-capitalism aims to provide the individual the support they need to work for their own freedom within their own communities and families. Yes, it does aim for the eventual removal of government altogether, but that is not possible with the force it currently presents. If Donald were to ask anarcho-capitalists, “What can you or what are you doing right now?” he would find many simple and known answers from people who know exactly what they're doing. The three most common answers would be living the non-aggression principle and being the example, peaceful parenting, and agorism. Of course, Donald doesn't seem to be interested in asking, only judging. Anarcho-capitalists want people to have the ability to live their lives in the way they see fit, no matter what that means. There is nothing wrong with planned and contractual communities. Communism, socialism and statism can exist within an anarcho-capitalist society on a voluntary level. Anarcho-capitalism will never strive for political power. It will never gain “political inertia”. That concept is for the libertarians.
Ask and Ye Shall Receive
I'd like to issue a challenge to Donald Hank. I would like for him to visit the Anarcho-Capitalism reddit and issue a few questions to AnCaps. Something like I did with my 15 Questions to anarcho-communists. Try and learn a little about what we're about. At the same time, I'd ask anarcho-capitalists to be totally respectful and not give the man any homework. Instead, just politely explain things. When I do this with others, I like to take a page from Stefan Molyneux's book and just come from a place of curiosity and no assumptions. This site is all about answering questions and fostering debate. I try not to create my own answers when criticizing others, I go directly to the source. I can do this because I am confident enough and brave enough in the sound and logical foundations of my philosophy. It has never led me astray like my various other ideologies.
Anarcho-capitalists don't claim to be more knowledgeable, but they do have a certain aura of confidence. I understand how this can come off as arrogant over the internet. AnCaps respect other peoples wants and decisions. When I am told by a Libertarian that Ted Cruz is an honest man and worth a vote, I can only think, “Yeah, but what about the people who disagree?” I get why people want a big government with lots of safety nets. They can try and create those systems, but they shouldn't force it on me. When those systems collapse without proper voluntary support, I just hope that they look at free society solutions and learn to adopt what's proven to work rather than putting in cheat codes only to find that they are ponzi schemes.
Donald, you do need to establish a basic understanding of this philosophy before you are taken seriously. I've told my story of how I was once one of those Alex Jones fans. I tried to tell other people what I had learned from him and got laughed at as a crazy conspiracy theorist. What I was saying was right, just highly exaggerated and crazy. It wasn't until I moved away from that style of “learning” and towards places like the Mises Institute that I've learned to look at things with a proper perspective. Your criticisms have not even touched the surface of anarcho-capitalism. Douglas Adams once said, “The knack [in flying] lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.” Like a satellite speeding across the sky and looking from afar, you seem to have that down pat. But if you want to blow a strike to the philosophy, you've got to slow down, take a step back and make an effort to learn. As of now, you're a passing glint. Experience our world of theory before you judge it. Join us for a discussion. Otherwise, what you are doing is speaking about fresh fish and chewing on rotten fish that has long been left behind.