Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Beyond Known Steps

Well, I told myself I wasn't going to write a response to David Grant's Analyzing Ancapistan at Social Matter because I wanted to move into a different direction.  But, here I am.  Why?  Partly because I believe Mr. Grant when he says he is genuinely interested in "a beautiful dialogue" and, most importantly from all else, I know once social and culture structures are identified and explored--once these are added to the anarchocapitalist framework-- then the flesh is on the bone and I have something quite different.

I wish to very briefly discuss some points of disagreement in Mr. Grant's article--brief because I've seen most of these before and because I wish to move to more fruitful material.


Abolish the state, then......, Profit ( profit, profit ).  It's easy to see that Mr. Grant's stay as an anarchocapitalist was brief...either by chronos or kairos.  Almost all new or shallow-tested anrchocapitalist tend to concentrate on profit. This is expected, this is the beginning...not the end. They tend to conflate profit with value. This almost always leads to trouble.  Remember all value is subjective.  Mr. Grant confuses the order a bit--for anarchocapitalists it is: ......, abolish the state or rather self-death of the state ( implosion ), value ( which includes profit ).  Deeply grounded Rothbardians understand that profit comes last, that profit is the least of all. Capitalism is about social cooperation, not greed.  Mr. Grant wishes to simplify the difficulty of removing the state but you cannot do this.  No serious anarchocapitalist would theorize the abolition of the state as a time-short easy task.  To simplify this step, even for the sake of conversation, is to give birth to superficiality and the genesis of unwise results.  Arriving at the abolition of the state involves traveling across vast distances in the human mind not merely enduring the passage of time. So the "......" is the most difficult, the most unknowable.  The application of Mises' praxeology and Hayek's Theory of Spontaneous Order leads anarchocapitalist to the ultimate conclusion: that the getting from here to the there part ( "...." ) is the single most difficult step.  So it is ridiculous to say that by magically removing the state so many of the remaining non-state institutions remain--this is exactly the point. In the absence of the state, no institution has a monopoly on aggressive action.

Mr. Grant then turns to the issue of human interaction by contract and convention, both within the community and outside the community. He uses the term "tacit consent" to indicate that somehow in private law covenant communities there will be individuals that remain in the community without explicit contract.  This is so wrong it's almost humorous,  "Tacit Consent" is simply the social contract theory renamed, Mr. Grant should read up on this as libertarians have long dealt this a death blow.  To the contrary, entering into and remaining within a covenant community would require agreement with a detailed and rigorously defined contract ( with exit clauses ) most probably published publicly for all to verify.  As for conflict between communities over scarce goods, there will always be a tendency to resolve the conflict peacefully for two reasons.  It is almost universally less resource-depleting to resolve conflicts peacefully than to use violence and surrounding, neighboring, and bordering communities will likely be highly vested to mediate the conflict in order to avoid wasting resources and disrupting peaceful commerce.  An added consideration--if two communities are in conflict over a scarce good it is highly probably that all bordering communities have mutual defense and resolution compacts with these communities and will pressure both to resolve the conflict peacefully.  I think Mr. Grant attempts in several places to push forward the notion that in an anarchocapitalistic world there will remain conflict and this somehow weakens our case. Nonsense! Human nature is imperfect so there will always be conflict, it is not the task of anarchocapitalism to remove the original stain from mankind.  Anarchocapitalism need only demonstrate that it can provide better answers in general. As a political and legal theory, I think it does.

Let's turn to Mr. Grant's thesis:
  "My argument, put simply, is that anarcho-capitalists should become neoreactionaries."

Well, using his own standards he fails this entirely. Throughout the article he demonstrates to anarchocapitalists that he has misunderstood and distorted anarchocapitalism and most importantly he uses his resources to critique our position and not persuade us with the benefits of his position.  Both are required and he failed at both.  In order to earnestly persuade your point to another person, in this case I should become a neoreactionary, it is necessary to demonstrate not simply the deficiency of my position but also the benefit of your position.  I have no doubt, from prior conversation, that Mr. Grant is well intended in his effort but good intentions are not enough.  Without a proper understand of the subject matter, good intentions are often destructive.  Mr. Grant seems to be saying throughout simply this: that his understanding of non-state institutions ( cathedral ) is more dangerous to the community than the state.  Yet, he does not offer any compelling reason, based on neoreactionary thought or any other for that matter, for an anarchocapitalist to "become" a neoreactionary--he only offers a distorted, poorly understood, and extremely shallow critique of anarchocapitalism.  This is not enough.

A study of natural law leads us to understand that the state accumulates ever increasing power--this distorts private exchange and also, because of human nature, attracts those who wish to use it for their own purposes. These two things cannot be undone by re-engineering the social structure found within the nation-state model. Human nature ( action ) will always prevail.

It is my suggestion that neoreactionaries who wish to engage anarchocapitalists for whatever purposes do so, but having a clear understanding of anarchocapitalism is essential for a beneficial dialogue.  I think there is hay to be made with some neoreactionaries on matters of social/cultural structure and economics ( while the sun shines ) but it is foolish and unproductive to do this in the dark of night.