Thursday, October 21, 2010

Anarcho-Impracticalism

On to JacobSpinney's arguments, which were, again, just recitals of his previous arguments, save for a few original points. I think he's truly oblivious to the fact that he hasn't done my arguments much justice, meaning I can't exactly accuse him of intellectual dishonesty, especially since covering the substance of these lengthy blogs is an impossible task. Even the most well intentioned opponent would fail to contextually quote & refute all of this stuff through a limited video medium. So even though his flaky arguments don't really deserve another response, I'll offer one up anyway. I'll be focusing on all of the counterarguments he made in his "Problems with Anarchy?" series (1-6), which are all linked as replies to my videos on this subject. There are a few arguments which I already tackled in videos and in previous posts, but I will have to revisit them, with an even larger magnifying glass.

First off, I brought up my recollection of lawlessness during post-Communism Serbia in respects to employers refusing to pay their employees not because I wanted to pigeonhole every hypothetical construct of a Stateless society to that particular outcome (an outcome which happens to encompass varying degrees of chaos, no less), I brought up post-Communism Serbia strictly because of the ongoing mantra I keep hearing from Ancaps concerning the employee/employer dynamic. The point was to demonstrate, invoking real life scenarios I've witnessed first hand, that contrary to Ancaps' predictions, employers show no concern over upsetting their staff when mindful of the fact that they won't be faced with any real legal ramifications for doing so. Ancaps seem to be under the impression that workers ought not worry about dictatorship or harassment at the workplace because owners are constantly pissing themselves over the prospect of losing their workers. Because workers can just up and leave anytime they choose, and find another, gentler boss to work for. This amounts to a dream even in the current civilized system we have here in the West. In a wholly deregulated system, it will be a nightmare. The alternative benevolence they envision as a practical option for the worker, exists solely within the confines of their imagination. Meet new boss, same as the old boss...
unless of course the employee at hand is an extremely rare commodity in relation to his or her chosen field. This is mostly a negligible point though, given the fact that an overwhelming majority of workers are easily replaceable, which will continue to be the case in any Stateless Society, and even moreso in the future once technology overtakes more and more traditionally labor tailored positions.

He turned my contention about Governments not being intrinsically Totalitarian into me saying that Governments haven't steered towards Totalitarianism throughout history. I'll pardon that bit of oversight, because while many governments have turned Totalitarian and have grown throughout most of recorded history, so have they shrunk, without violent revolutions doing the shrinking. Some Governments, on the other hand, remain stagnant for long periods before doing any growing/shrinking. Point is, it was still Statism, just not Totalitarian regimes, so his whole "they're tied at the hip" argument goes out the window right there. That's not to say that governments have shrunk more often than they've grown. However this in no way proves that the very nature of governance has to be Totalitarian or even a Kleptocracy. At times, all a growing Government indicates is proof of an increasing demand by most voters for more services to be provided to them by the State, instead of the tried and failed market. Remember, growth of a Government doesn't necessarily have to coincide with a coming of Totalitarianism through restrictions of essential liberties. At times, governments grow in accordance to public demand for their growth. Other times, they grow when more money is poured into the military budget, inducing heightened Military activity which takes place outside the country, often under imperialistic motives. Unless this results in a draft, the freedoms of the citizens back home are not being taken away. Moreover, the US military and its disciples have been the most salient spreaders of market liberalization throughout the world. No Empire has ever come close to surpassing them in this category. I have a sneaking suspicion that many free-market purists, for all their condemnation of military force, still possess that special tingly feeling deep down when reflecting on how a great many populist revolutionary governments were overthrown by this force they purport to disavow. Why? Because what typically follows the US led overthrows, is the all-encompassing privatization of these Nations' natural resources. After all, the fact that these were populist, democratically-elected leaders who were overthrown by force, is an irrelevancy. The fact that the overwhelming majority of these citizens wanted their respective home land's natural resources to remain Nationalized, is too an irrelevancy. The sole relevancy, is the towing of the Propertarian ideology line. Every last Ancarcho-Capitalist who has dropped by to lecture me on what's right and what's wrong, has made it abundantly clear that majority opinion has no place shaping how any Nation is run. That privilege is reserved strictly for Ancaps' categorical imperatives and superior economic principles (which fundamentally reject analytical data). I'd wager that the only reason they routinely condemn any of these imperialistic agendas, is because their own tax dollars are being used to subsidize the missions. But I'm on yet another tangent. The point remains that Governments can and have grown without impeding on the freedoms of their citizens.

Old West: The fact that Americans have a higher chance of dying in 2010 than they did back in the Old West has nothing to do with the existence of the State. It has to do with a myriad of tremendous but hazardous technological advancements, ramped population increase resulting in a vastly higher amount of day to day human interaction under stressful post-agricultural conditions, multiculturalism, etc. But even if I were to dismiss all these factors, the argument still fails. Today, the overwhelming majority of people die of old age. They don't get killed by external factors, so the probability of getting killed has nothing to do with the overall quality of most people's lives. Back in the Old West, the overall quality of life was dismal, save for a few bandits and oil barons. It was only when the State, through democracy, led by a populist president, forced businesses to abide by occupational safety laws, minimum wage laws, 40 hour week laws, consumer protection laws, pollution laws, etc... that the quality of life for the majority increased by a respectable margin and made the "Mild" West look like the uncivilized dark age in American history that it is.

To shed light on his perceived difference of Home Owners Associations and Governments, he said that Governments always acquire their power by conquering. This is just not true. The formation of many Governments throughout history was a direct result of voluntary organization, often following a revolt. The individuals themselves, who already occupied the region prior to their revolt, opted to construct a State within what they deemed to be their land. They did this because they genuinely wanted to see a functioning State replace the previous one. As is the case with Governments, consenting to abide by HOAs' jurisdictions is applicable to those who are present during the formation of the HOA in question. Those who wish to occupy the land at a later date can only do so if they subject themselves to the rules already established by the individuals preceding them. Why is this acceptable? Because their predecessors planted a flag and called dibs on the land; an act Ancaps are quick to deem as unethical when attributed to individuals forming a State. Under HOAs, if a newcomer wishes to move in and ultimately decides that the jurisdiction of the community isn't his cup of tea, the community will not bend their rules so to accommodate what he sees as his unalienable individual rights. He will instead be told to love it or leave it. Not much different from what we have today. In addition to this, advocates of HOAs haven't bothered explaining what exactly prevents HOAs from entering into already established neighborhoods, other than acts of violence perpetrated by the very occupants whose land is being invaded. These acts of aggression would be justified by nothing other than the fact that the occupants of the targeted neighborhood planted a flag and called dibs on the land prior to the HOA invaders' arrival. Initiating force against the invading HOA members would be chalked up to "you snooze, you lose" rationale, just like it is presently with State owned land (public land) and any occupants thereof who no longer wish to abide by the rules already in tact. In other words: You say tomato, I say tomato.

Pollution: The solution? Get rid of Commons land. Let's see. Ted Turner already owns millions of acres of land. Is there any evidence suggesting that he's a better caretaker of that land than the Federal Government would have been? All evidence points to the contrary. Sue the perpetrators you say? Private land owners would have to get in line, whereas the Federal Government has a free ride in the court system. They have the supreme court in their back pocket, while a private owner engaged in a lawsuit would have to jump through hoops in order to merely get the case underway, let alone obtain a summary judgement motion. It takes months, sometimes even years to get a lawsuit going, especially if you're pro-say. Not to mention all the judges who routinely deny preliminary hearings from taking place via teleconference, resulting in the plaintiff having to travel halfway across the country in order to physically attend a 30 minute hearing. Landowners would likely come to the conclusion that the bullshit is simply not worth it, both time and money wise, and would drop the case once familiarizing themselves with the tediousness of the court system. If that doesn't do them in, there's always the pesky task of having to actually prove who polluted the privately owned land, which is going to be next to impossible without the support of the EPA.

The main reason public land gets polluted in the first place is because the regulations currently in tact are not properly enforced, or at all enforced. This can be fixed through honest implementation of accountability, while with the alternative anarcho-nonsensicalist solution, any notion of accountability is done away with as the privately run mafias can promptly attain thousands upon thousands of acres of land in the middle of nowhere, and just pollute the ever loving fuck out of it, without regard to the hazard inflicted on the environment. So on all levels, it's pure regress. Also, the idea that all land should be privatized to begin with, is beyond perverse. I'm thinking worst case scenario here, but the overwhelming majority of the population would be subject to confinement to their itty-bitty rent space. There would be no system in place to prevent this. All it takes is landlords who feel like putting up no trespassing signs all over any property from which they make no rent money off of. More on that later.

He once again tried to undo the Democracy/Market comparison. What can I say. See the first few paragraphs of the previous blog for a refutation of that. Here he accused me of gun pointing and all that, but in Part 6 which he made on Oct. 2nd, he finally acknowledged that I advocated for an opt out system. The problem is, he said I didn't make that known until my Sept. 30th video. This is partly why I refrained from continuing to make videos directed to Ancaps who pulled this type of bullshit. He viewed and replied to my Sept. 1st video, and to my blogs which followed and were linked to that video. Both in my video and in my blogs I argued, at length, for the virtue of opting out when possible. This was back in early September. It was no secret that I endorsed Participatory Democracy prior to my Sept. 30th video. In fact, go back to January of this year and you'll see me advocate the same in my videos on Taxation. Omitting these essential aspects leaves me with plenty of reason to conclude that they just don't care and only strive to portray any opposing viewpoint in as much of a one-dimensional light as possible. This is why I didn't remain overly courteous with them as time went on. I now retract the initial politeness I extended to them. Not that I think they care or anything, just saying.

He asked if I'm really arguing that a State run police department provides better service than the thugs hired by private insurance firms would. Yes I am. I discussed this earlier when I brought up Television. Same thing goes for radio, which has no State intervention and caters to demand and supply all the same. Despite those econ 101 soundbites, we see what anyone with any real taste in music thinks of modern day radio. Other examples include airline, transit, ferry, railway, and many other services which in many regions used to be provided by non-profit State monopolies, and have since been handed over to the profit-driven private sector. The result? Higher prices, quality of service declining and customer satisfaction dwindling. No one's denying the existence of examples pointing to the contrary where people are unsatisfied with gov't services. But when tallying up all the examples I've observed, the non-profit service provider wins out. Now, it's important to note that there are many layers to this and that each circumstance carries its own set of arbitrary permutations, all of which play a role in shaping each and every separate outcome. So while my conclusion is, to an extent, based on observable evidence which I may have come across while having been somewhat influenced by a pinch of confirmation bias, it was also guided by my personal experience where I couldn't just pick and choose when to turn away. I have worked for both the State and the private sector, under the same position and performing the same tasks. My experience with the private sector has been significantly worse, and I've seen first hand how the profit motive can hinder workers' ability to perform their tasks as efficiently as possible, thus failing to provide the utmost service. Under a profit-hungry system, cutting costs wherever feasible is paramount. For us in the private sector, this meant management not heeding our advice regarding more (costly) manpower being gravely necessary in order for the final product to be as efficient and durable as the advertising promises to the customers. More often than not, owners and upper management don't take the complaints of their workers as seriously as they ought to, writing them off as spoiled by comparing them to what workers had to put up with 100 years ago. Once accepting fallacious invisible hands and boycotts as the blatant pseudo solutions to this problem which they are, it becomes evident why non-profit alternatives, regardless of whether or not they're monopolies, are warranted. And yes the State can meet demand without having a monopoly on the market for the service in question. More on that later.

Additionally, State officials don't just charge "whatever they want" as he suggested they do. Here members of Parliament are constantly at each others' throats whenever the slightest increase is mentioned. They know they have voters to answer to, just like the owner knows he has consumers to answer to. The former is often more bulletproof, because it doesn't rely on word of mouth (the divine public knowledge fallacy). Just this past summer we had the "Harmonized Sales Tax" imposed on us here in BC, which caught everyone off guard as the BC Liberal Party made no mention of its implementation in the months leading up to the previous election in 2009. As a result of the public backlash he experienced in the wake of the HST implementation, Gordon Campbell has recently stepped down as the Premier of BC, and the HST is going to a province wide referendum in 2011. All registered voters will have the opportunity to vote on whether it stays or goes. Reflecting on this, we can see that even with the slightest increases on costs at the hands of the State, the voters are still capable of turning the tide. And yes, the HST was a slight increase. It's important to note the persistent misinformation people were bombarded with regarding the impact of the HST. 64% of the British Columbians surveyed believed that charges on their cell phone bills were going to increase because of the HST. 61% believed that the HST was applicable to purchases on adult clothing items becoming more pricey. 76% thought that basic groceries were going to be impacted by the HST. Overall, only about 20% of goods and services wound up being more expensive under the HST, with costs of a select few items like diapers actually having gone down. Point is, they can't charge you "whatever they want". They can't even pass a mickey mouse tax without suffering resignations, with referendums on the tax drawing near thanks to the public backlash at the hands of the taxpayers. They work for us. Well, at least up here they do.

The freeloading thing: He said that I am in one breath stressing the negatives of free-loading, and in the next I'm arguing "Well what about the free-loader's well being?". As in, I need to make up my mind. Another prime example of the one-dimensional pigeonholing that I mentioned earlier. It's not flip-flopping to recognize and point out two separate problems that exist while simultaneously at odds with each other, since both problems would be a byproduct of the replacement system I'm arguing against. The fact that I'm capable of recognizing that some freeloaders are inevitably going to be well-off opportunistic weasels who just want to milk a system at every possible opportunity they get, doesn't mean that I'm going to disregard the dirt poor free-loaders who are leeching off of someone else's service as a desperate last resort. So I don't need to pick a side. If this example involved his family members at the opposing ends of the spectrum, I'm fairly certain he wouldn't suggest that a side ought to be picked. There's no side here, there are only rational or irrational solutions following a case-by-case analysis of individual welfare applicants.

He accused me of having a wrong impression of the non-aggression principle, because I apparently didn't take into account that Anarchists are aware of the gray areas. Read the blog in which I list the lifeboat scenarios and you'll see that I made note of the fact that the hypothetical stateless community would indeed act in a manner resulting in the same restriction of individual liberty for the purposes of security as he mentioned they would. I firmly acknowledged their ability to recognize the gray areas. What I critiqued them for, was sweeping these non-aggression concessions under the rug when selling Anarchy to beginners, which is when it counts the most. They make it seem as though the principle is absolute, and explicitly assert that no majority would ever be allowed to restrict your liberty if only you helped the Anarchists get rid of the nasty State. They do this in order to set up a false dichotomy, with the idea that only the State permits arbitrary restriction of liberty for security, while in Anarchy you can have it both. My whole point was to stress how absolute notions of liberty cannot not exist under both Statism and Anarchy. I emphasized this because it is a truth which they simply don't advertise in most of their videos. He said he advertises a maximization of voluntarism and a minimization of coercion when it comes to the black and white scenarios. The problem is that even in a stateless society, what some individuals deem to be black and white, others will see as gray. I know I'd disagree with the majority of value judgments they make, as I have no reverence for the US Constitution and its proclamation of what unalienable rights are. I don't hold property rights as absolute and my Sept. 6th blog provides examples of a few of those value judgments. The notion that man has a natural right to property, is a product of magical thinking. So while it is illogical to dismiss all black and white areas on account of existing gray areas which are separate, it is not illogical to point out, using the lifeboat scenarios I used, that any notion of infallible property rights is a failure to acknowledge complexity. This ought to be stated boldly by any serious advocate of Anarchism. I am yet to see the majority of Anarchists admit it though, and therefore my scenarios remain applicable.

The animal rights issue I brought up, in relation to property rights, was brushed away with the freedom of association non-answer. Again, we see how ineffective freedom of association is currently as most people simply don't care about animals enough to limit demand. The meat industry is still raking it in and will no doubt continue to do so in the future. Then he said that government is exactly what causes the horrible treatment of animals because it subsidizes the meat industry. At present, I'm not familiar with the details of how exactly the Government contributes to this in America, or even just how much spin there is in the theory itself, but here in Canada as well as in every Country under the United Nations, there are strict laws in effect against factory farming and gestation crates (which are still legal in America, with the latter being illegal in only 7 States). So actual laws have been demonstrated to be more effective than some wishy washy freedom of association non-solution. Also, he said if the gov't were to no longer intervene in the meat industry, the cost of meat would rise which would naturally bring about less people purchasing meat products. This is another bait and switch. According to him, when demand for product A is to be seen as a virtue, then government intervention in the market results in higher costs for said product and is therefore bad, however when demand for product B is to be seen as a vice, then screw econ 101 and just say that government intervention is what keeps the costs low and results in more demand for the vice product, and is therefore also bad. Amazing duplicity.

Then he mockingly said "That's democracy in action, if you don't like it, go ahead and move". Which is not what I argued for, but is pretty much what Ancaps believe in when it comes to anyone who dislikes, say, a popular website. The solution is to boycott the website (move) and attempt convincing everyone else (consisting mostly of apathetic tweens) to do the same, instead of actually fixing the damn site which already has the traffic.

He said that overpopulation is an issue we need not concern ourselves with at present, because "thankfully we don't have overpopulation currently". I rest my case. He did go on to say that later on in the future, should overpopulation turn out to be a problem, with the charities and poor houses approaching capacity due to an abundance of orphans, those without means to support the children they bring into the world, who despite their lack of means still insist on having children, will either have to be fined or prosecuted for essentially initiating force against kids by bringing them into existence without being able to support them. If the parent resists, the community would have the legal right to sterilize the parent, or to ostracize the parent from their society. So it's another gray area, he says. Regardless, he still conceded that even under Anarchy, majorities would have the power to make decisions which would negatively impact individuals in the lower class who use their reproductive organs unwisely. I agree that majorities should have this power, but such majority power is the very antithesis of everything a freedom seeking individual is promised about Stateless societies. It's evident that individuals obsessed with their obliviously nebulous notions of freedom will complain that restriction of bodily autonomy is a fate much worse than some current tax system Statism has imposed on them. I can freely admit that there are countless scenarios in which freedom ought to be sacrificed for security/stability. Evidently, some Anarchists agree with me. The problem is, I have to dig really deep in order to obtain this admission from them. This strikes me as a case of them wanting to have their cake and eat it too. They must accept the non-existence of an objectively defined line outlining what our unalienable freedoms are. Such an absolute cannot exist, and can therefore also not be crossed. Most of their accusations of unethical limits on freedom at the hands of a State are subject to nuanced circumstance and a failure or refusal on their collective part to acknowledge that our actions are reciprocal.

Then he took my balanced "guy storing nuclear weapons on his private property for the purposes of decoration" scenario and proclaimed such an act to, in fact, be a direct initiation of force because to him it practically amounts to the subject holding a gun to his neighbor's head. This would be true if the subject kept his weapon on his person, much less kept it pointed in the direction of his neighbor. He missed the point in that the subject is genuinely uninterested in initiating force against anyone. The weapons are in the basement, out of sight. In Stateless societies, there will be individuals who wish to peacefully store their weapons - weapons which are often going to be more explosive than a firecracker - on their own property. Where would the 2nd amendment line be drawn? Guns? Bazookas? How would it be drawn? Democratically, I hope. But that's intrinsically subject to majority oppression, darn it. Can't have Oligarchy in a Stateless society either, so that's out the door too. Truly a pickle.

Furthermore, if you believe that all the weapons currently in existence worldwide would be destroyed once Anarchism is declared the new law of the land, you're quite the dreamer. If your stateless society hypothetical is not a global one, and is instead just a local one, the need for such weapons will still be a necessity for self-defense due to the continued existence of Statist Superpowers, or just nation states with high military budgets. The point is, even though storing bombs is not technically an initiation of force against anyone, but simply a matter of private property and potential self-defense, there is still a collective recognition to control what takes place on any given individual's private property. The more reasonable Anarchists will facepalm themselves when having to inevitably deal with other Anarchists who complain about this being Totalitarianism, just like I facepalm myself now having to explain why every State is not a Totalitarian one. Regardless, Spinney said that storing such weapons is an initiation of force because if the weapon is used, his life or property would be damaged. You cannot prove an is by posing an if. The fundamental difference between speculation and demonstrated reality cannot be overlooked. This is key. By his rationale, any perceived threat to an individual's well being, be it grounded in rational analysis or not, proves that the speculator is in fact having force initiated against him/her. I feel no need to further demonstrate why this is fallacious.

Now he gets into his "Anarchy proposes that the enforcers of laws be held to the same standard as every other human being". I agree with this sentiment, or at least with what I interpret it to entail. To me, this simply proposes that State officials ought to never be granted immunity of any sort. They must have their every professional move subject to constant analysis and scrutiny from the electorate. Basically, a day's work of every State law enforcer should be information available under public domain. To Spinney, the quoted statement means that the enforcer has no right to initiate force against anyone subject to majority>minority victimhood. In light of this, we've regressed right back to the overly indescribable layout which I'm once again left with no option but to dissect. If the enforcers cannot enforce laws through initiation of force, because a minority of individuals have deemed the laws in question to be a black and white violation of unalienable rights, then none of the above concessions of gray area exceptions mean anything. There will be individuals in Stateless societies who believe that it is their unalienable right to create and maintain bazookas on their private property. There is no escaping that. They will argue until they drop that in a truly free society, the enforcers would have zero right to apply force for the purposes of stripping the individual of his self-made property. The more reasonable of us can recognize that their absolute notions of what constitutes an unalienable right, arbitrarily defined as non-binding by the Stateless majority, should not override what is deemed to be precarious. So why does the same not apply under Statism? Because they say so? Keeping in mind everything I've unraveled here, "because we say so" is exactly why.

As for child support, he suggested that upon discovering their pregnancy, women could put together a contract outlining specifically what the father's role would be, financially and socially. As soon as the word contract is injected into this conversation by the Anarchist, the following is a fair and accurate description of a typical outcome: The father denies that he's the father, has never provided a DNA sample to the community in question, and continues to resist providing a sample. At this point men with guns, unabated, would be legally permitted to trespass on his property and make him provide a sample through threats of force, or acts of force if worse comes to worst. If the sample reveals him to be the father, but he still rejects or breaches this contract, he is deemed as the one who has initiated force. Here we see how the definition of force widens when convenient and tends to shrink when inconvenient. In any event, the solution posed would, once again, require a majority backing in order to be validated. If not a majority, then who? Who decides that these contracts should be given legal weight over an individual's livelihood under any given spot of land? Because Spinney said so? Because 60 other Ancaps on YT agree with him? We're talking about contracts validated by unelected private mafias who are in a position to put a stamp of approval on any given contract only because they had enough money at the right time to start a business. Authority would still rear its ugly head under Anarchy, the only difference is, their brand of Authority would be dependent not on the approval of the electorate, but on capital and unyielding nepotism. If State courts and State laws are replaced with arbitrary firms, why should any free individual accept their verdict? Because the invisible hand appoints a particular firm as the contemporary suitable replacement, until the next private gang comes along? When justice is bought from a for-profit business, there are no assurances that the verdicts will be fair and impartial. If the verdicts are enforced by private protection agencies, it would seem likely that a dominant protective agency offering the most powerful and comprehensive protection, would eventually emerge under free competition. A de facto territorial monopoly would be formed from the competition among protection agencies which would then constitute a proto-State. The only difference between the "ultraminimal" State of a dominant protection agency and a minimal State would be that its services would be available only to those who buy them. That's about it. Additionally, a father uninterested in the contract can easily flee town and never be found, if we're talking about Global Anarchy without mandatory IDs and with open boarders. If we're talking local Anarchy with mandatory IDs and without open boarders, then he'd have a harder time. However, mandatory IDs and a lack of open boarders sounds nothing like the kind of truly free Society advertised by most Ancaps.

He brought up the inefficiencies of the FDA, as sort of a tit for tat response to the argument I made about it. I already said in the video that the FDA is far from perfect. Most state run food regulatory agencies in other Nations are vastly more efficient than the FDA. My argument was simply that Americans should be allowed to strive for that result instead of throwing in the white towel and surrendering to the for-profit agency as the immediate de facto replacement. And if you don't want your tax dollars wasted on it, fine by me. Just know that in light of that, you'd be prohibited from purchasing all products scanned by the FDA, which would leave you in a pickle in today's world.

More on free-loading: He said that it is my own argument that is contingent on the poor freeloading off of the rich. How so? Because I argue for a system in which workers are paid for the value their work produces, without disregarding the real effect capital played? Ancaps always gripe about the ill-effects of "Corporatism" but then turn around and legitimize the money illegitimately acquired by the crooks who continue to make their living off of this same "Corporatism". It's a word game. They call it theft to tax individuals who they themselves deem to be thieves. What good is it to condemn the manner in which a "Corporatist" makes his money if you just end up relying on paper thin Corporatism =/= Capitalism disassociation rationale to distract from the double-standards you impose on the taxation argument. Take CEOs for instance. Salaries of CEOs and upper management have skyrocketed over the last 35 years by 600%. The workers, on the other hand, have seldomly seen anything even remotely approaching such rewards. Working class salaries have been frozen for the most part, despite the fact that increased worker productivity is what led to the prosperity of the Corporations, by and large. Now this is what I call theft. Theft of labor. Words never once uttered by a single Ancap I've come across. But that's the kind of freeloading I'm talking about, as it steals much more than any poorly run public welfare program does. So why obsess over public welfare so much? Because Rush Limbaugh does it? There are several taxation loopholes which allow the super rich to get their own brand of welfare. Call it Corporatism, call it whatever you wish, just stick to your story when the word "theft" crops up in relation to taxation.

He called "red herring" on the point I made about the inconsistency of an Ancap being opposed to involuntary inheritance of parental debt, while being all for an involuntary imposition of life at the hands of reckless parents. On what planet is this a red herring? Red herring is defined as a diversion intended to distract attention from the main issue of an argument. The main issue here is inheritance. I argued that if individuals are going to be financially awarded for being born to the right family, they should then also be financially plagued with inheriting debt should the parents fail to pay it off prior to their death. Nepotism 101. In his response, Spinney injected the virtue of voluntarism as a barrier to my consistency proposal. It was him who inserted the additional layer into the conversation. I merely scrutinized the inconsistency of the newly injected additional layer by applying it to yet another involuntary scenario, just like I did with inheritance of debt. If you are opposed to a child being imposed with debt solely because of the voluntarism factor, then it is perfectly reasonable for me to hold you to that principle in an effort to see you rationalize a child being imposed with an entire lifetime of poverty bound by the parents' financial circumstance, instead of just a bit of debt. If voluntarism is to be the holiest of grails here, it follows that imposing life on people who go on to repudiate it due to its endless cycle of baggage, is a serious violation of said voluntarism and is in need of addressing. We know for a fact that a percentage of humans plagued with life end up suicidal due to the dismal circumstances they fell into, all because the parent decided to roll the victim's dice. This minority percentage rises if the person is born into poverty. The lack of voluntarism here is gravely more important than a lack of voluntarism when it comes to inheriting trivial debt. So instead of dealing with this problem, he delved into standard talking points about how Capitalism leads to the reduction of poverty for everyone. It's no secret to any educated human being that it was progressive policies, the very kind of policies rigidly opposed by Capitalists and implemented by Progressives, which have led to the increased living standards over the last century. Any honest human being who is at all familiar with American history from 1930s until 1970s, and the expansion of the middle class during this time, is not going to reject this. If you disagree, just read up on it from an equitable source, then read up on the standard of living for the working class and the lower class prior to the labor strikes of the 30s. Do I really have to keep spelling out the diminished living standards that existed back when Capitalism was unabated? Child labor, 14 hour work days, no worker safety laws, etc. This is simply non-arguable, it's a matter of public record.

Then he ripped on Socialism by saying that the more you steal from the rich and give to the poor, the more it disincentives the rich to produce. But again, under the current system, it is the super rich who do most of the stealing, and Ancaps damn well know it, so much so that they refuse to call it Capitalism. So why would they call it theft when they know the money wasn't earned fairly to begin with? How can you steal that which has been stolen, thanks to Corporatism? Why legitimize the theft of Corporatists by saying they can be thieved from? When I see rich people fleeing from countries like Germany because of the oppressive gov't programs that are in effect there, then I may be inclined to swallow the disincentive dogma. If private charity was as effective as they claim, we would have seen poverty rates begin to diminish well before the implementation of Welfare programs worldwide, not after. Even America, which has one of the most inefficient Welfare systems in the world, saw poverty rates subside once its Welfare system was originally implemented. It's not ineffective, and it most certainly isn't counterproductive. Which is not to say that it shouldn't be more impervious to defrauding, especially in the States.

Back to the definition of Totalitarianism and its supposed innate tie to Statism: He brought up Hitler's Totalitarian regime in relation to Democracy. I promptly proceed to facepalm myself (my face is swollen from the repeated facepalms by this point, by the way). Anyway, Hitler never captured more than 37% of the national vote. Read The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer. Four candidates ran in the presidential election held in March of 1932: The incumbent, Field Marshall Paul Von Hindenburg, Mr. Hitler, and two minor candidates, Ernst Thaelmann and Theodore Duesterberg. The results were: 1. Hindenburg 49.6%. 2. Hitler 30.1%. 3. Thaelmann 13.2%. 4. Duesterberg 6.8%. Almost 70% of the electorate voted against Adolf, but Hindenburg did not obtain a majority vote, meaning they had to go with a runoff election pitting the top three vote getters. The results of the runoff: Hindenburg 53.0%. Hitler 36.8%. Thaelmann 10.2%. So while his vote total did rise by a small margin, he was still decisively rejected by the majority. Hindenberg appointed Franz von Papen as Chancellor of Germany on June 1st of that year. The Papen asshole was described as an “unexpected and ludicrous figure.” by Shirer. Papen immediately dissolved the national congress, known as the Reichstag, and ordered new elections, meaning this would be the 3rd legislative election in under five months. Hitler and his thugs were hell bent on doing away with the republic and establishing a dictatorship. They created chaos in the streets, initiating political violence and even killing people. Martial law was proclaimed in Berlin as a result of their antics. Hitler decisively lost the damn election, but was drawing larger crowds during the congressional election. A direct quote from Shirer: "In one day, July 27, he spoke to 60,000 persons in Brandenburg, to nearly as many in Potsdam, and that evening to 120,000 massed in the giant Grünewald Stadium in Berlin while outside an additional 100,000 heard his voice by loudspeaker". The July 1932 election produced a major victory for Hitler’s Party. They got 230 seats in the Reichstag, which made them Germany’s largest political party, but they still fell short of a majority in the 608-member body. In light of that victory, Hitler demanded that President Hindenburg appoint him chancellor, which would grant him in complete control of the State. Otto Von Meissner worked for Hindenburg, and later testified at Nuremberg, in his own words: "Hindenburg replied that because of the tense situation he could not in good conscience risk transferring the power of government to a new party such as the National Socialists, which did not command a majority and which was intolerant, noisy and undisciplined". Political deadlocks in the Reichstag brought along another election in November 1932. Nazis lost two million votes and 34 seats in that one. So even though the National Socialist Party was still the largest political party, it was obviously losing appeal among voters. In order to try and remedy the chaos and the deadlocks, Hindenburg fired Papen and appointed army general Kurt von Schleicher as the new German chancellor. Schleicher was unable to secure a majority coalition in the Reichstag and finally succumbed to tendering his resignation to Hindenburg, which was only 57 days after he was appointed. President Hindenburg appointed Hitler as chancellor of Germany in January of 1933. His party never captured more than a lousy 37% of the national vote, and even though they still held a minority of cabinet posts and fewer than 50% of seats in the Reichstag, Hitler and Nazi friends set out to to consolidate their power. With Hitler as chancellor, this ended up being a walk in the park. He reigned precisely because of the undemocratic tactics his Party employed. Intimidation, riots and politically motivated threats and ultimatums will exist until the day human nature ceases to exist. Bottom line: Citing Hitler doesn't prove how every State is Totalitarian, by any real definition of the word. It also doesn't prove how a Stateless Society is immune to the type of power lust and takeover at the hands of individuals who are as motivated as Hitler was, and who will no doubt endeavor to thrive under Anarchism.

He says that Judges maintain their position under a State because of their connections. Some do, and the current justice system in the States is undoubtedly hogwash. There is nothing to suggest that it cannot be fixed though. Start by crushing Judges' immunity clause and work your way from there. Under Anarchy, there is no reason to assume that Judges will no longer be appointed their position based on who they play golf with. The wisdom of crowds cannot aim high enough to even popularize a decent Television show. It's not going to give us honest, competent Judges. Also, if a Judge takes a bribe in a Stateless Society, the transaction is still not going to take place in the middle of the courtroom. The Judge's reputation will only be tarnished if he or she is dumb enough to get caught red handed, and we know that they're too calculating for that, Anarchy or not.

Inheritance again: He says it's about deductive reasoning, so the higher an inheritance tax, the less incentive people will have to make lots of money and be productive. He makes it seem as if I only used empirical evidence to try to debunk his claim, and not basic logic. That's not true. So I'll have to just reiterate the same argument again. Imagine being offered a high paying job which you find fulfilling. Name me one person who, rather than immediately accepting the offer, would instead contemplate the current inheritance tax rate, or to which lengths the rate may rise on the day of their death, before considering taking the offer. Nobody does this. Nobody would be willing to work for less, simply because their kid would not obtain everything after they die. It's the worst argument out of the bunch. Not everyone is that driven by nepotism. Not only do plenty of average people believe their kids should not be given a massive head start, but even a few of the super rich have gone on record stating that they will not be leaving their kids an inheritance. Warren Buffet comes to mind. Only dickless wonders are afraid of imposing any degree of fairness to the race their kids will participate in. It doesn't even remotely approach complete fairness, it's just a "let's not have some jackpot winners start 6 feet away from the finish line" sort of a lukewarm fairness. Then there's those of us who work hard without even yearning to have kids, let alone caring about what percentage of our money would be subject to taxation after we die. People are waking up to the fact that nepotism is no better than any other discriminatory ism, and should not be looked upon in high regard, or neutral regard, during discussions on policy-formation. Ironically, those who firmly believe that the majority of the population is as nepotistic as they are, are the very same people who make the most noise when it comes to philanthropy and how private charities are sufficient in taking care of the have-nots. Apparently individuals driven by nepotism are also drawn to caring about the well being of perfect strangers. There are so many contradictions in so many of their claims, I could write a novel on it. He claimed that unless I'm arguing for an inheritance tax of 100%, I'm being logically inconsistent because if the tax is not at 100%, inequality would still exist amongst kids. This is no different than saying if your average joe decides to no longer consume meat for ethical reasons, but still wishes to treat himself to a can of fish once in a blue moon, that he is being logically inconsistent as a result. No, he's not. He is simply reducing what he sees to be a negative to an extent he arbitrarily chose. Vegans also happen to step on sentient bugs because they aren't on the constant lookout for the damn things while walking. So what? Would anyone reading this be able keep a straight face while dismissing people's Veganism as inconsequential or disingenuous as a result of their failure to comply with Jainism's standards of non-harm towards all living beings? Of course not. Not every limitation has to be taken to an absolute level in order to be productive. I never argued for total equality. So why didn't I? Well, aside from not being a Communist, arguing for full equality would entail that I sanction the fuddling of internal driving forces such as genetics. It's an impossible and quite frankly repulsive task. So I instead draw a line in the sand somewhere and compromise in so far as the extremes are concerned. He said my comment about people not blowing all their money before they die, was irrelevant. It wouldn't seem irrelevant had he mentioned the specific point of his which I was directly replying to when I made that comment. But that's not how he rolls. He also brought up my point about how the standard of living was higher when we had a higher inheritance tax, and then accused me of the correlation =/= causation fallacy, despite the fact that I clearly mentioned this fallacy in the very paragraph he was responding to. I brought it up precisely to point out that there is no evidence of a higher inheritance tax resulting in a lower standard of living, and if anything, it may increase the standard of living, but it's not easily demonstrable, as I myself pointed out by mentioning the potential correlation issue. None of this explains how consolidation of wealth via perpetual inheritance is a non-issue.

He said Capitalists don't exploit workers, and to prove this he linked to an older video of his in which he outlines a hypothetical scenario where the Capitalist is, indeed, not exploiting the worker. The problem here is that the title of his video is "Capitalists do not exploit workers" when it should be "Not All Capitalists Exploit Workers". The video was made with the intention of showcasing how Capitalists in general don't exploit, but the fish/net dynamic he introduces does not even come close to mirroring the majority of "work or else" scenarios workers are faced with in real life, especially if we're going to include outsourcing. The workers who sacrifice to capital a mere one third of the productivity of their labor, ought to consider themselves lucky. In parts of the underdeveloped world, workers who go so far as to sacrifice to capital a whopping two thirds of the productivity of their labor, should still consider themselves lucky, because their living costs are typically much lower compared to the living costs of the Capitalist who has taken it upon himself to outsource the given factory job offshore. It's the 90% extraction of labor productivity, or any number approaching it, that leaves me in a state of discontentment when it comes to pure unregulated Capitalism. The video he pointed me to is valuable viewing material, if you're a Commie. I'd like to think that Spinney doesn't just assume that anyone who opposes the Laissez Faire model must also be a secret Commie, but I'm just not sure. Seriously, why would he find it necessary to link any non-Communist to a video of such basic proportions? I call it implied McCarthyism, only more polite than usual. He also linked me to another video of his which is supposed to prove that Monopolies would be fairy tales in Stateless Societies. By this stage, I was all Spinnied out, so I passed on that. It should be noted though that his proposition is absurd on its face, since we already can point to purely unregulated market systems on the internet, and cite companies like (you guessed it) Google in order to prove that a lack of regulation does not result in the "Monopolies are fairy tales" outcome often pimped by him and his merry chums. There is no reason to assume the "anything goes" environment of the internet would bring about different results if relegated to non-net markets (AT&T says high) and other vital infrastructure.

Finally, Part 6. So he's going over the Democracy/Free Market analogy again, while speaking in a tone suggesting that he's really worn out due to the redundancy of my arguments. Nicely done, but it doesn't refute anything I said previously and only serves to make his counterarguments appear as the redundant commentary at play.

"What if I'm in the minority and I hate the President" = "What if I'm in the minority and I hate Google".

Bullshit answer regarding the former: Don't try fixing things, just move the fuck away = Bullshit answer regarding latter: Don't try fixing anything, just boycott the company (IE: move the fuck away).

No fences around your country preventing you from leaving = No one forces you to use Google.

He says the feedback mechanism of the market is much more efficient than that of democracy because "you get to give your feedback every microsecond of every day under a market while in a democracy you only get to do it once every 4 or 2 years". Which would be true if it weren't for the frequent polling of voters and the population at large offering the perfect platform to voice approval or disapproval of the job done by the President and his/her administration. Currently, Obama's approval ratings are down. There's reason to believe that this has countered into his judgement concerning some of the policies he has folded on recently. Had it not been for the feedback mechanism of the polls, he may have operated differently, for all we know. Also, people don't give constant feedback when it comes to markets. While consumers are perfectly aware that companies like WalMart are dependent on their business, they still forgo boycotting them, either because of the inconvenience of traveling further than they have to in order to buy an equally cheap product, or because they're generally more apathetic when it comes to their role in shaping the magic of markets, compared to the lesser amount of apathy they exhibit as it pertains to their role as a voter.

He used YouTube's popularity to disprove my claim that YouTube is a prime example of free-market hell. Isn't this redundant again? Firstly, he ignores that tons of people only use YouTube because Google indexes key word searches in a way concocted for popularity to breed popularity. It takes the already popular and makes them even more popular, while burying the unpopular further down the ranks. He also keeps ignoring the fact that most people using YouTube are kids/tweens/teens who are too lost in their own emotionally charged pubescent bullshit to know or care about what it's like to be on a reasonably run website. Same goes for people who contribute to the weekly "Top 40 Radio Hit List" call-in shows. They largely do so because they don't have the depth of taste to find the breed of music they'd likely enjoy far more had they been more disciplined and patient with their options. There are more examples of this. Bottom line: Popularity =/= Quality, and supply often creates demand.

He said that if video sharing sites were subject to democratic rule, we would end up stuck with only one site and no alternatives. That's not true. Democracy doesn't have to pronto imply a State monopoly. We have democracy here in BC, and yet manage to simultaneously juggle private and public Hospitals, Banks, Casinos, etc. There's no reason to suggest that video sharing sites would be exempt from this, under many forms of democracy. And again he mentioned that the market feedback mechanism is instant because people can easily just switch to other sites. So once again, no they can't. Not if they're like every vlogger I've conversed with who recognizes the many faults of the site, but who is unwilling to compromise viewership in order to go on some dead-end stab in the dark mission aimed to hurt YT. Vloggers (content generators) are too focused on obtaining views and you can't do that on a tumbleweed site. Besides, YT isn't just rough around the edges. We can't even get a reply from a YT staff member regarding the sea of complaints sent to them over the last 4 years in relation to serious matters involving senseless wipe-outs of channels which didn't violate TOS, and were merely the recipients of false-flagging campaigns. There are countless issues with the site, but teenagers and other shitheads are still content with it, and there's clearly more than enough of them because YT is mainly catering to their demo, since their demo goes on to click enough ads thus generating enough lowest-common-denominator traffic, while legit complains about YT continue to remain ignored. We'd see the exact same result in offline commerce if we lived in a completely deregulated environment, like the internet. I'm not being a fortune-teller with this, but I am pointing out how the reasoning behind it currently falls in the category of beyond-reasonable-doubt, and that a substantive counterargument to this predicament has, as yet, not been provided by the Stateless camp.

And no I wasn't talking about Spinney when I suggested that Ancaps shouldn't strictly talk Anarchy scenarios, disregarding policies applicable to current systems, or halfway solutions which are at least pragmatic and within reach. I'm well aware of his other channel and I get a kick out of those Capitalist/Socialist videos, but he really should just finally replace Soc with a full blown Communist. I particularly like the one on inheritance where he makes it out as if the goal of the Socialists is to legally prohibit rich people from buying porches for their spoiled kids because that's just how Socialists roll. The actual goal is to have some semblance of a fair level playing field when it comes to the extremely disproportionate lapses pertaining to the starting line. Striving towards this would not create some kind of a "single file" rainbowland where everyone is equal. I'm pretty sure only Communists would strive for that, but even if a Commie implemented a complete ban on all inheritance, it would still not bring about total equality, it would just mean that people would excel based strictly on their superior genetics, perseverance, environment, or jackpot lottery business circumstances. Capitalism, as a system, would still be preserved, since inheritance policies have nothing to do with it, or with any other economic system.

He once again said I'm attempting to backtrack because I initially said the richest people today and throughout history inherited their wealth, but then I went on to add that this doesn't mean that the top ten richest people inherited their wealth, because to me "the richest people" qualifier bar doesn't arbitrarily stop at number ten. It can go all the way up to triple digits as far as I'm concerned, given the fact that we have a scope of 6.8 billion people to work with. The main reason I believe the majority of the wealtheist people inherit their money is because of the eradication of the middle class over the last 30 years due to the resurgence of neoclassical policies, dictated by the richest people in the world. You know, the same people who fund websites and think tanks which peddle the very arguments I've been served up here. Anyway, children of "Corporatists" are often raised in elitist environments where great measures are taken to ensure they end up extremely well educated. They're not going to be dumb enough to invest their inherited cash and assets unwisely. But Spinney wants evidence to counter his anecdotal evidence which to him suggests that people who inherit huge wads of cash usually blow it irresponsibly on cars and such. I spent about 10 minutes trying to look up solid peer-reviewed statistics on how the richest few hundreds/thousands of people acquired their wealth, and found nothing substantial that suggests anything either way. I doubt concrete numbers are available for this anywhere and I don't exactly feel like wasting even more time on it, mainly because the odds of actually getting any of them to budge on any issue, are microscopic. Bottom line: Nothing he said proves that inheritance untaxed would do anyone outside of the ownership class any good.

Landowners driving impaired on their own property: He briefly leaned towards non-association, mentioning the market feedback mechanism, but then went on to add that they'd actually have clauses for this. The landowner would apparently choose to impose these clauses on himself equally as much in order to keep his renters satisfied. I don't see why a landlord would be worried about losing renters when most of the land in any given urban setting would end up belonging to a couple of dozen families, at most. Landowners would be all too aware that most of their customers wouldn't exactly be thrilled over the prospect of putting up with the burden of moving halfway across town in order to stick it to their landlord, only to end up experiencing similar problems with their new landlord. There's also nothing stopping landlords from charging the renting majority on their walks in the park, or their drinking from a fountain, or any other artificial free-lunch-having Socialist horrors currently in effect. By this stage many Ancaps are quick to point out how landowners wouldn't charge for stuff like this, but why not? It would no longer be public property and they'd stand to make more profit, which is their entire reason for having purchased the formally public land, post-State apocalypse. People would rather be subject to the tiny tax burden for those luxuries instead of being charged for them on a case-by-case basis.

I'm spent, gonna do one more on this and then it's over.

If anyone has by any chance made it this far (and I don't blame ya if you haven't) I applaud and thank you for your insane and frightening stamina.

ABM

4 comments:

  1. I agree with many of the arguments here. You should have used most of these arguments in the actual videos you did on this subject. I just don't see why you insist on interchanging the term "Anarchists" with the term "Ancaps". In the past I've seen you mention the vital distinctions in left-anarchism, so I don't get why you'd just blend it here, when clearly you're responding to anarcho-capitalist arguments.

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  2. "don't see why you insist on interchanging the term "Anarchists" with the term "Ancaps" "

    You've seen me bring up left-anarchists before, so you should recall my reasoning. I don't view them as real Anarchists, but naive Utopians. None of them advocate a system that can be actualized without a State there to enforce it, which is precisely why so many of them go around saying "Well the State shouldn't exist, but it has to continue to exist for the time being & for a few hundred years after that as well, all the way until all human beings magically transform into natural angels with zero reverence for personal property & competition". Such a system has to be enforced. To insist otherwise is to be utterly blind to what human beings are at their core & what they'll continue being until the day they're extinct. That said, I prefer left "anarchists" as people more than I do Ancaps, who are mostly just selfish cunts (and clever sarcasm/parody won't change that).

    "You should have used most of these arguments in the actual videos you did on this subject"

    Thought I'd have time to squeeze it all in, but next thing I knew it was 14:59. This was back when the 15 min restriction was still in tact for uploads, sadly.

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