Antilibertarian antistatism

The tag line of the present blog has been changed. It was: “Lack of marketing skills leads to agoraphobia, which leads to anagorism.” Now it says “antilibertarian antistatism.” The previous slogan was introspective and a little self-deprecating. It served a purpose, and now another purpose is to be served. “Antilibertarian antistatism” is an attempt to propagate a meme in the “mindfuck” category, in the spirit of the “free-market anticapitalist” slogan of the left-styled libertarians. In their case, the gimmick behind the apparent paradox is their understanding of what anticapitalist (and by extension, capitalist) means. As Charles Johnson informs us:

The reasons I do have, have to do with the specific communicative purpose that I explained in the article. It’s not because people think of bad things when they hear the word “capitalism,” it’s because making a sharp terminological distinction between (1) market forms, on the one hand, and (2) capitalist patterns of ownership and control, on the other, helps me to achieve a specific communicative goal when I am talking with people about economics. The goal, as I describe in the article, is to highlight a particular causal claim about economic outcomes (the claim that freed markets would naturally produce the kinds of outcomes I described under the headings of “the wage-labor system” and “profit-dominated society”), and to raise some questions about what the basis for that causal claim is, and about whether or not that causal claim is actually true. If using the word “capitalism” synonymously with “free markets” or “private enterprise” tends to block that conversation or obscure that underlying Capitalist Causal Hypothesis, then that is a good reason not to use the word “capitalism” that way. If distinguishing the word “capitalism” from “free markets” or “private enterprise,” and using it instead to refer to something else that I want to question or to condemn (such as the wage-labor system, or profit-dominated society), helps to get that conversation started, and helps to bring out the underlying Capitalist Causal Hypothesis, then that is as good a reason as any to use the word “capitalism” in that way instead.

The problem I have with this, of course, is that it doesn’t put enough distance between left-styled libertarians and those principled libertarians who, as a matter of principle, define capitalism (and libertarianism) as “nobody’s holding a gun to your head.” My own use of the term “antilibertarian” is to say that I’m anti “framing of liberty in terms of coercion.” I’m anti this because I think this is a gross oversimplification of how the world actually works, because I think it has become a game which only capitalists (in both senses) can win. In that sense I stand opposite the left libertarians on the Capitalist Causal Hypothesis. If anything I agree with the “anarcho”-capitalists on one thing (if only one thing), and that is the idea that the non-aggression principle, and specifically the decidedly (and aggressively!) narrow definition of aggression to be synonymous with coercion, is a reliable recipe for social darwinism.

To paraphrase:

If using the word “libertarian” synonymously with “antiauthoritarian” or “civil libertarian” tends to block the conversation about causality, then that is a good reason not to use the word “libertarian” that way. If distinguishing the word “libertarianism” from “antiauthoritarian” or “civil libertarian,” and using instead to refer to something else that I want to question or to condemn (such as the non-agression system, or subsidy-free society), helps to get that conversation started, and helps to bring out the underlying Capitalist Causal Hypothesis, then that is a good enough reason for me to use the word “libertarian” in that way instead.

It is clear to me that non-aggression directly implies non-entitlement, which directly implies a society with economic casualties. I see no way out of this mess without achieving post-scarcity in some meaningful sense. The idea of social ends by libertarian means is suspect to me, as the call for libertarian (or market) means implies the existence of an allocation problem which must be solved, as well as a faith, which I do not share, that markets are uniquely qualified to perform that “calculation”. If allocation (and by extension, scarcity) is a major problem, then social ends are not to be achieved in my lifetime. If my life is to be used (by me) as part of the solution, then the means I wish to pursue is efficiency in individual (personal) production and consumption, not in interpersonal allocation. Production relevant to need rather than demand (in whose equations wants backed up by cash are weighted more heavily than needs in general), and the study of cheap living.

As for the inclusion of the word “antistatism” in the slogan “antilibertarian antistatism:” A more succinct description of my worldview would be “antilibertarian antiauthoritarianism,” as I’m in more enthusiastic solidarity with those who self-identify as antiauthoritarians than those who self-identify as antistatists, and also because I don’t believe for a minute that the state has an effective (i.e., de facto) monopoly on authority, or political power for that matter. Also, there is the intent to mindfuck the mentality that non-libertarianism (in the NAP sense) implies statism. I refuse to be dismissed as just another suck-up statist just because I see the NAP as a rhetorical trap designed to rule out every expression of idealism.

About n8chz

पृथ्वी की उच्च किराया जिले में उद्यमिता कौशल अभाव
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8 Responses to Antilibertarian antistatism

  1. Another alternative to anti-statism that I’ve been considering is “apatharchy.” As in, not really caring who claims to have power, or if an organization claims to be a state, so long as in reality they’re not mucking with anyone’s liberty — in both the negative and positive sense.

    • n8chz says:

      This apothecary of which you speak is akin to something I’ve been saying for ages; that de facto questions matter, while de jure ones do not.

  2. Carl says:

    Be more concise! What is this meandering waffle?

  3. Maybe it’s anti-voluntaryism.

  4. Lindsay says:

    I liked your old tagline because it so perfectly described my own trajectory regarding markets. And “antilibertarian antistatism” is a bit opaque to me, but this explanation helps a lot with that.

    I definitely see what you’re saying about the “gun to the head” framing of power: someone has power over you if and only if they can point a gun at you and order you to do something (or order someone else to do same). This confused my understanding of what coercion was for longer than it should have.

    Also, what does NAP stand for?

  5. Pingback: Chaotic good, high fructose corn syrup and large organizations | In defense of anagorism

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