Friday, June 2, 2006

Using "the poor" as a moral totem

After I expressed my opposition to Net Socialism:

http://uberkuh.com/node/623

Hehe, it's interesting that while Francois claims to be an anarchist I can predict his opinions on issues solely by asking myself "What would benefit the rich the most?"

He would like the government to be abolished so that the ruling power would exclusively be wealthy corporations who wouldn't have to worry about the possibility of the people getting some influence in their own lives.


And here we have one of the most widespread and ridiculous moral arguments in favour of the existence of the state - in fact, three related arguments.

1. Without the state, "the rich" would take over.
2. We need the state because the state protects "the poor" against "the rich".
3. In a market anarchy, we would be ruled by giant corporations.

The first argument is ridiculously easy to disprove : most successful politicians were professionals or businessmen of one kind or another. "The rich" have already taken over. And those who are not politicians have the loudest voice in the democratic system, and they get to exert domination indirectly through the law, while suffering no consequence to themselves. The state can pass corporatist laws, create corporate monopolies and trusts all it wants, and people like the one quoted above don't complain - in fact, they see this as a great achievement. But heavens forbid that we have codes of law that are actually accountable to the people!

In a democracy, the poor do not have a voice, apart from a rudimentary sense of decency from the masses. The people who have the loudest voices are those who can support the state - through ideas (demagogues, artists, politico-scientists, pseudo-intellectuals) and through money. Democracy maintains a gigantic ruling class of exploiters. CEOs of big companies are right up there with them, and "the poor" are part of the group that always loses - no matter what is decided. No matter what is decided, we, the "common people", those who are not in the ruling class, ALWAYS LOSE (and if you are in the ruling class, why the fuck are you reading this blog?). There are so few exceptions to this rule that it might as well be written in gold.

This brings another issue to mind. This guy believes that, if left to their own devices, people would trade with big megacorps instead of smaller corporations to get their services. And obviously he thinks that is a very bad thing. If that's true, then why does he expect it to happen anyway? Either he is the only moral person on Earth, which is rather laughable, or other people can make the conscious decision of trading with "the rich" - because they offer better services, because their prices are lower, or for whatever reason - and his whining is pointless.

The second kind of argument is even more ridiculous. I say it is ridiculous because anyone with any moral feeling at all can see that this cannot be the case at all. Someone who threatens others at the point of a gun, with no provocation whatsoever, has no intention of helping people. He is a criminal, who refuses to use reason when dealing with others and thus uses the power trip of the gun to get his will done. The same is true for the ruling class - be it a politician in his ivory tower voting more freedom away, or a cop working the streets looking for hookers and drug dealers. They are all morally corrupt, and have no real intention of helping anyone, except incidentally, when throwing money at a problem can get them more votes.

But apart from this fundamental issue, there is also the problem that states, in fact, do not help the poor. No measure has ever been established that could help the problem of poverty. From foreign aid programs that fatten dictators' wallets, to welfare systems that prevent savings and keep people entrapped, to minimum wage laws that keep the unemployed in poverty, states uniformly attack, first and foremost, the least fortunate.

The third argument is more subtle, but can be broken down to its basic meaning. What it boils down to is, who gets to dictate how you live your life? You, or someone else? In a market anarchy, the answer is "me". If I have the freedom to trade with anyone I want, including refusing to trade, how can a corporation "rule" me? The idea that corporations in a free market are my rulers is a complete ignorance of what a free market is. In a free market, I am free to trade with anyone I desire, big or small. If there is a demand for smaller agencies, then these agencies will be profitable. If people really preferred mom and pop stores over Wal-Mart, then they would survive. But they simply cannot trade enough value to the individual to be accepted.

Only states can force me to accept their rule, because states, as monopolies of force, are not accountable to anyone except their leaders' own basic sense of decency. But one person cannot rule over me, and not even corporations - which are after all just a group of people united by cooperation - because we acknowledge in a free society that such people are criminals, and must be dealt accordingly. Thus, corporatism has no place in a market anarchy. If a "corporation" tries to use violence to crush its competition or force people to buy its products, the people coerced will seek justice against the responsible individuals.

The root cause of these errors is the belief that power is a constant in human relations, and that we are simply arguing over who gets to hold that power. This is a statist mode of reasoning, made to marginalize all criticism of the state as a human construct. They desperately want you totake the state as a given, because their legitimacy depends on it, and without legitimacy - without the important-sounding names and the uniforms and the rituals - it is quite easy to realize that they are nothing more than a parasitical gang of thugs. And class warfare is just a smokescreen designed to hide that fact. Right or left, liberal or conservative - their leaders all partake of the benefits of the monopoly of force.

As long as there is a ruling class, as long as there is a concentration of power that exists for powerful people to exploit, there will be class warfare and social warfare. People like the anonymous coward quoted above think that politicians, financed by big corporations and activist organizations, who can raise as much money and manpower as they want, even send people to be killed in foreign countries, with little impunity (as long as they can build a propaganda campaign the months before), are somehow interested in the well-being of people who can contribute absolutely nothing to their success, apart from a captive audience.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the definition of a "sucker".

15 comments:

Libertarian Jason said...

Applause!

This has to be one of the best essays I've read in a while! I may link to it from my own blog....

Delta said...

Just go check out the actual post if you want to get a real sense of what the discussion was about.

Francois Tremblay said...

"Just go check out the actual post if you want to get a real sense of what the discussion was about."

I'm surprised you want MORE people to see what a fool you are. But hey, whatever makes you horny.

Adi said...

Excellent article. What's the link to the original piece of mysticism?

Aaron Kinney said...

Nice analysis of the fact that the statist thinks that there will ALWAYS be a power center and that their argument is reduced to who GETS to control that power.

The statist says:

Market Anarchy is bad because the corporations will take power and coerce everyone. Therefore, we need a state to take power and coerce everyone.

Francois Tremblay said...

The link is just above the quote. But here it is again:
http://uberkuh.com/node/623

Francois Tremblay said...

Incidentally, there is a great article on Mises today on the stupidity of so-called "anarcho-communism" (as if people would just voluntarily give up all their rights):
http://www.mises.org/story/2197

Drunken Tune said...

It's fairly obvious that the corrupt state is a weak patsy for the wealthy to anyone not in a coma. I enjoyed reading your in-depth essay, however, I do have two questions:

[1] You said that "...states, in fact, do not help the poor. No measure has ever been established that could help the problem of poverty. From foreign aid programs that fatten dictators' wallets, to welfare systems that prevent savings and keep people entrapped, to minimum wage laws that keep the unemployed in poverty, states uniformly attack, first and foremost, the least fortunate," yet I recall that the government routinely takes action against monopolies such as De Beers, Enron and Microsoft, stopping inane prices and degradation to the economy. Without the state, monopolies would be in fertile soil. When goods are owned by one, and only one company, we're in a good deal of trouble. Wouldn't the quality of life for the average citizen be worse off than it is now?

[2] What rights would we have without a government? It sounds like any crime is permissible without any laws. If I was to beat the living stuffing out of you, take your wallet and run away, what could you do to stop me? As Eric Schlosser deftly says, “Despite the best of libertarian intentions, giving unchecked freedom to one group usually means denying it to another.” Who could you turn to? We all can't take the law into our own hands. Better yet, with no laws in place, what if we decided to traffic in slaves? It’s a perfect commodity to trade in.

It seems to me that your theory, while very intelligent and enjoyable, is in reality far from reasonable. Just as the anachro-communist, you seem happy giving up our rights so that we can be "free." As you note, "as if people would just voluntarily give up all their rights." Absolutely! Remember: never be a slave to logic and reason.

Francois Tremblay said...

"yet I recall that the government routinely takes action against monopolies such as De Beers, Enron and Microsoft, stopping inane prices and degradation to the economy. Without the state, monopolies would be in fertile soil."

None of these were monopolies. Enron was around 30% market share. Microsoft is around 85% in personal OSes. So what the fuck are you talking about? The only way you can have a monopoly is when the state is involved. The state itself is the biggest, most costly and most murderous monopoly of all.


"[2] What rights would we have without a government? It sounds like any crime is permissible without any laws."

Apparently you don't understand the market anarchy concept. Crime would not be "permissible" - there would be companies capturing criminals and dealing with them. It would be done by the security markets, not by a monopoly of force - which, as you know yourself, is a very, very bad thing.

I would encourage you to get off your ignorant arrogance and read more on the topic at:
www.simplyanarchy.com

Michael Badnarik said...

Truly inspiring.

I feel just like going out and kicking a homeless man in the crotch for being an eyesore.

Drunken Tune said...

I have no issue with your essay, francois. It was an interesting read, and I do agree with your fundamental ideals on the subject - yet you never answered any of my questions, only choosing a sentence to tear apart and then insulting me.

I'm in your camp too, just trying to stretch your mind a little. I still want to know if we can trade in slaves. I want to know if our lives would be any better, or if this would just benefit a select few. I want to know that if my house is burning down, I have to have a contract with one of the firehouse companies to have them put the fire out.

As a old-fashioned conservative on these issues, I want to know what will happen as much as possible, not make brash decisions that could topple the value of the dollar, make the rich richer, poor poorer, and degrade life for everyone. Being cautious, I want to follow the evidence meticulously, not blindly follow dogma. I want to know that those who would hold power would be accountable. I want your predictions and opinions on the subject, even though I do agree with you a good deal of the time. I certainly don't want to be called arrogant and ignorant.

Francois Tremblay said...

"I have no issue with your essay, francois. It was an interesting read, and I do agree with your fundamental ideals on the subject - yet you never answered any of my questions, only choosing a sentence to tear apart and then insulting me."

I did not insult you. I'm really glad that you liked my entry, but you are obviously way over your head both on the facts and on the theory. So that's why I recommend that you get rid of some of the ignorance first.

This is not anarchy101 class, I am not going to teach you everything starting from basic morality going to public goods theory - that would just be a waste of time for me. If you come on Skype and we can talk vocally, I wouldn't mind that much, but I don't like writing.

Drunken Tune said...

I see it as an insult to tell me to "get off your ignorant arrogance," whatever that may have implied. Perhaps I shouldn’t have taken it to heart, but I was offended. Yet, when did I imply arrogance? Ignorant of what? I have read enough on the subjects at hand to have a full understanding, or at least enough to have piqued my interest. I am merely bringing up details that need to be answered, and I'd like to hear your solutions to problems that could occur. Do not patronize me.

”If you come on Skype and we can talk vocally, I wouldn't mind that much, but I don't like writing.” Thank you for the offer, but I must decline. Perhaps some other time, but I’m not comfortable speaking over Skype – especially when our conversation could devolve into heated argument. I’d rather, if you don’t mind, have a chance to mull ideas over before responding, not blurting out something I may regret later.

I do consider myself a rabid libertarian in theory, yet what you are attempting is akin to playing a game of darts where you shut your eyes, spin around a few times, then pray that when you release the handful of darts, they'd actually hit the mark. You have to admit that what you’re proposing could easily go in a vastly wrong direction. Even if one dart was to hit the bull’s-eye, there's also a big chance that somebody's going to get their eye poked out. In theory, your plan is perfect, yet in reality, libertarianism still has some issues that must be resolved.

Francois Tremblay said...

I'm sorry, but I see no reason for you to be offended. We'll just have to accept that we don't see eye to eye on this.

Andrew Greve said...

"I still want to know if we can trade in slaves."

I certinaly wouldn't purchase the services of a DRO which permitted the slave trade.