AnCom and AnCap Discuss Aggression

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  • #536

    Spooner Bookman

    AnCom and AnCap Discussing Aggression

    Below is a little back and forth between my (‘AnCap’) thoughts and a couple ‘AnCom’ representatives (@Empifur and @jacob) regarding ‘aggression’ and who is ‘better’ (AnCap or AnCom) in this regard. I conclude AnCap is so far, but would love to continue discussing with Empifur/Jacob and/or anyone else that wants to jump in.

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


    ‘Freedom’ for AnCap is ‘freedom from aggression’.

    And this: AnCap holds no higher political ideal than this.

    “Freedom from aggression’ — if you need help understanding this concept — is ‘freedom from the initiation of force’. If you still need help understanding it, a longer way of saying the same thing is that “it is one’s freedom from the initiation of interference with one’s action from another individual/agent.” I can keep elaborating if you are genuinely confused by this, but it is a fairly straightforward concept so I assume most folks of average intelligence can grasp the concept with this explanation.

    If an AnCom wanted to convince an AnCap to convert to AnCom, this one very basic issue of non-aggression will necessarily always be the primary issue that AnCaps will be concerned with.

    With this in mind, this AnCap would like to hear AnCom’s stance on non-aggression is – this shouldn’t take very long, right?

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    Does AnCom Reject Aggression?

    AnCap: Would AnComs use aggression (initiatory force) to get non-AnComs to live in an AnCom society according to AnCom ideas?

    AnCom: No, AnCom wouldn’t use initiatory force (aggression) to get people to live in AnCom.

    AnCap: Would AnComs use aggression (initiatory force) to prevent usury?

    AnCom: It depends on your definition of force. For example, on the one hand, I would not attack rent collectors, but on the other hand, I may (for example) attempt to stop rent collection by, say, chaining myself to a door.

    AnCap: I define ‘force’ as “interference with the freedom of action of another agent” (h/t to @hogeye for the definition). So, using that definition, then your answer is ‘yes’, AnCom would initiate force against someone if they thought it would prevent usurious action.

    AnCom: Yes, by that definition (which I like better than mine), using aggression to prevent usury is totally okay.

    AnCap: Ok, so AnCom is ok with initiatory force. AnCom in general thinks that, or just you in particular?

    AnCom: Some AnComs think that, some don’t. There’s a lot of conflict within AnCom over this issue.

    Some AnComs (1) would say that physically violent means are always justified by utopian ends.

    Some AnComs (2) would argue physically violent means are never justified, for any reason.

    Some AnComs (3) would argue physically violent means are never justified but in AnCom ‘property’ destruction is not necessarily ‘physically violent’ and as such some AnComs could be ‘pro’ physical violence in the eyes of those who believe ‘property rights’ are morally legitimate, but to those who do not recognize this legitimacy, well, it’s no violence at all (so they are pro/anti-aggression depending on your point of view).

    What you have is not a gamut of AnCom opinion on aggression, but rather, AnCom and Arrogants. Types 1 and 2 above are “arrogants,” and type 3 is in the right. But there are those who would disagree with me.

    I’m personally not okay with ‘aggression’ (initiatory force), and I do not think that any AnCom can justify a different position. That said, I don’t necessarily condemn initiatory force when it is used for ends I approve of – meaning I am in fact okay with aggression and I do in fact think AnCom can justify this position, contrary to my preceding sentence.

    AnCap: So is it safe to say that AnCom does not take a principled position on ‘aggression’? Some AnComs are ok with it in a lot of cases, some are ok with it in very few, some are ok with it never… Some change their position on it from one sentence to the next (it would seem). One’s stance on aggression, whatever it is, isn’t an issue in AnCom — it’s a ‘big tent’ when it comes to views on aggression?

    AnCom: I think AnCom is always mutually exclusive with forcefully violent aggression, except for when I think it isn’t. There are other AnComs who will disagree. I don’t know if I can be more specific than that. I feel comfortable saying that AnCom is principally against aggression. It’s just that not every AnCom would agree that I’m speaking truth when I say that. Many AnComs invoke the NAP but vary wildly on what they think initiation of force is. It mostly depends on what particular writers you follow.

    AnCap: You ‘feel comfortable’ saying AnCom is principally against aggression, but you know for certain that other AnComs would disagree, and really, it depends on what gods and masters you fo… uh, I mean, what writers you follow?

    Based on this conversation, I — like any honest observer, I believe — can only conclude that it is extraordinarily safe to say that AnCom does NOT take a principled position on aggression.

    In stark contrast, the most structurally critical pillar that the entirety of AnCap thought sits on is the outright rejection of aggression.

    AnCom does not sit on a similar foundation — AnCom’s most important pillars (whatever they may be) do not include the rejection of aggression.

    This is one major reason why I could never ‘switch’ to AnCom (or any theory that has no stand against aggression). I would need to be convinced that either I’m wrong and AnCom does take a position on it, or I’m wrong to desire an aggression-free environment.

    Anybody want to attempt to convince me of either?

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    Does AnCap Reject Aggression?

    AnCom: For this, I’ll have to go through the work of various ancap authors I’ve read or seen scary quotes from. An example off the top of my head, Hoppe advocates “physically removing” a range of people from society, which sounds like use of force to me. I’m simply not convinced that ancaps are better than ancoms, as a rule, here.

    AnCap: If you are raping my wife and I begin “physically removing” you from her body, am I committing aggression? Advocating for ‘physical removal’ is in no way necessarily advocating for aggression.

    For better or worse, if you genuinely care to understand a topic, at some point, you would have to stop reading out of context quotes on websites that promote your already-held views and actually go take a look at what the people are actually saying.

    I’m very convinced already, and increasingly so with every exchange, that AnCaps are unambiguously ‘better’, as a rule, when it comes to aggression.

    . . .

    AnCom: AnCom and Aggression is similar to how you personally would be against eugenics (seeing it as an initiation of force), even though there are those who use the name of AnCap as a justification for eugenic programs. You’re opposed to it personally, but some AnCaps are for it. Does that mean AnCap as a philosophy doesn’t have a principled position on forced sterilization?

    AnCap: AnCap has a principled position on ‘forced’ anything, sterilization or otherwise. AnCap is opposed to the initiation of force, in principle.

    If the action — i.e., sterilization (or a tax, or sex, or whatever) — is done by initiating force, AnCap is opposed to it. While we can and should debate what constitutes the initiation of force, it is not debatable as to whether or not there is in fact a principle in place.

    If someone claims to be an AnCap because it is a justification of forced anything (sterilization, sex, taxation, etc.) then they are either lying or they simply don’t get the very elementary concept AnCap is built on. But either way, the error isn’t with AnCap, the error is in mind of the person in question.

    Now, to specifically answer your question:

    “Does the fact that some AnCaps are for eugenic programs mean AnCap as a philosophy doesn’t have a principled position on forced sterilization?

    First of all: are ‘eugenic programs’ and ‘forced sterilization’ the same thing? If they are, then why are you using two different terms for the same thing? If they are not the same thing, what is the distinction between the two?

    Second: I can claim to be Wolverine until I’m blue in the face but if I can’t sprout adamantium claws and some sweet chops, my claim doesn’t amount to much. People lie and/or make mistakes all the time. If someone says “I’m an AnCap” and they also say “I’m in favor of forced sterilizations” then the person is either lying or incorrect about one of the two claims (if not both). Again, it’s not a fault with AnCap that some people make erroneous/stupid claims – the fault is inside the mind of the person saying they will draw a red line with blue ink, so to speak.

    Last but not least: is this a fact? Are you certain? What evidence do you have? Can a comrade get a link?

    Because I’ve read tens of thousands of pages of AnCap literature and I’ve never come across anything of the sort. Isn’t it weird that you and Jacob seem to find great white sharks the second you dip your toe in the AnCap pool and yet here I’ve been swimming in these waters for years and haven’t seen a single one?

    So I did some Googling to find out what I missed and as I suspected, I can’t find a single AnCap in favor of forced sterilization. But, I do think I found what you may be talking about:

    AnCap wouldn’t stop someone from offering, say, a drug addict money to sterilize themselves if the offer is voluntarily made (i.e., no one is initiating force causing the offer to be made) and similarly voluntarily accepted (i.e., nobody is going to attack the addict if she refuses the offer), then AnCap would not condone taking the drug addict’s freedom away from her.

    AnCap recognizes people have different moral beliefs and does not attempt to force people to live contrary to their own beliefs.

    My understanding is that contrary to this, AnCom would declare the addict a victim (of some vague entity) and claim that because she is being aggressed against (by this vague entity) AnComs would be justified in intervening with so-called ‘defensive’ force (not directed at the vague entity, but towards individuals, somehow?) to prevent her freedom to choose what to do with her own body, regardless of what she ‘really wants’. (Which sounds pretty rape-ish to me.)

    AnCom feels justified in taking one’s freedom (to do what they think will make them happy) away from them whenever particular AnComs (i.e., ‘the majority’, or who I will now call ‘the bosses’ throughout) decide (in their infinite wisdom) that what one thinks one wants is actually a ‘want’ that one has been ‘wrongly’ conditioned to have by Capitalism. For those of us illuminated and enlightened enough to recognize this, it would be irresponsible for us, the enlightened majority, i.e., the bosses, to take such an individual at their word.

    That is, for AnCom, for example, when a woman says ‘no’, there is no reason to think that she actually means ‘no’. In AnCom, if a woman says ‘no’, it’s perfectly ‘ok’ for the bosses to hierarchically declare that her ‘no’ actually means ‘yes’. In AnCom, when it comes to women deciding what to do with their own bodies, sometimes ‘no’ means ‘yes’ (and vice versa in the pay-for-sterilization example in question), and it is not up to her what she does with her body in some cases — it is up to her bosses.

    AnCap, on the other hand, would simply respect her wishes, and not pass holier-than-thou moral judgement on the validity of her desires, whatever they are, as long as they don’t violate the NAP. She doesn’t have to do what her boss says, i.e., the majority. There of course may be consequences to that, but at least in AnCap no one will aggress against her for doing what she wants with her body. Keep in mind, AnCap also respects YOUR moral and/or religious belief (or psychological need, or whatever it is) that drives you to want to try and save the woman from herself: you can certainly try to persuade her not to sterilize herself (if that’s how you want to spend your time).

    But, ultimately, if a woman (or anyone) wants to have some sort of medical operation on her body, and she can pull it off without aggressing against anyone, then AnCap doesn’t have any intrinsic rules against a woman’s choice when it comes to her body.

    Make sense?

  • #666


    CW: Discussion of how people mistreat women’s bodies

    (to briefly answer your explicit question, forced sterilization is the act which reifies an ideology or program of eugenics, and I think that that is how I am using them above)

    Okay, so what we have going on here is a situation where we understand how a movement is defined differently. My understanding of how we define a movement is that we take everyone who claims to be a part of that movement and try to figure out what it is that unites them. As a result, I articulated that different AnComs would believe different amounts of force would be justified in different situations, and I asserted that there were AnCaps who were all about eugenics (the top five or so hits for googling “ancap eugenicist” are all people claiming that they are both ancaps and eugenicists– these people do exist). You, on the other hand, define a movement based on certain principles, such that you would exclude those people who would articulate eugenetic leanings from being ancaps, and such that my admission that different ancoms believe different things amounts to an admission of a failure in ancom philosophy. Allow me to clarify: Ancom philosophy is against the violation of any person’s personal sovereignty/autonomy. Strictly.

    Now, where this gets thornier is when we talk about what “aggression” or “autonomy” is. You have struck here a holier-than-thou stance in which you seem to claim that because ancaps have the NAP they are, therefore, morally in the right re: aggression. This is complicated by the fact that I disagree with the definition of aggression that you offered earlier in our thread, and which you expound upon here by example. This is something that I will elaborate on at length in my response to your long form response to #18. However, for here, I will also engage with a different facet of this topic. In the abstract, it sounds to me like you are maintaining a definition of aggression which is based in physical violence and coercion, whereas I would adopt one that recognizes that there are many means by which a person is compelled against their will, only some of which are strictly physical, and I would seek, always, to respect a person’s will. To wit: I don’t think that we can separate what we call aggression from the practical context in which the action exists. Here, I want to seize on the example you gave where you speak about the offer to sterilize a woman who is addicted to a drug, in exchange for money. First of all, the point at which I would want to intervene, as an AnCom is not the point at which the woman has received the offer and is like “sure, sterilize me.” The point at which I would intervene is the point at which an individual is like “I will go out and try to sterilize every woman that I meet who I don’t like, aided by my reams of ca$$$$h. Here, we have to do some analysis. For example, historically, this is a thing that has happened, which has had problematic racial overtones, but that argument will be addressed more in depth in my response to long-form #18. However, I would articulate that if a person has an agenda of convincing as many poor women addicted to drugs as possible to get sterilized, that amounts to a eugenic agenda, regardless of whether or not physical force is used to effect such an agenda, and for this reason, I would begin to cast aspersions on a moral system which did not condemn such an agenda. Again, I’ll get into this more re: #18, but basically without an explicit affirmation of the importance of diverse identities and world-experiences, the Ancap NAP amounts not to a prevention of aggression, but an affirmation of the status quo– those who have power (in the form of money) will not be sterilized, and those who do not have power (money) will be far more likely to be sterilized. Furthermore, in the specific example which you display here– suppose that the woman who you are approaching with an offer of sterilization gestated in a womb in which heroin was present, and so has been addicted to opiates from birth. At this point in time, is it a “choice” of hers to need more resources in order to be able to fulfil this addiction? If the only way that she can slake that thirst is by accepting your offer, is the decision freely made? Shoot, even if that woman became “voluntarily” addicted (if such a thing is strictly possible), but she didn’t realize at the time that what she was doing would force her to “elect” to get sterilized at a later date, is that a choice freely made? Will I tell that woman that she necessarily cannot accept money in exchange for becoming sterilized? No, I will not. You are right, that reeks of exercise of biopower, still. What I will do, however, is examine whether or not a person should be prevented from targeting vulnerable populations in an effort to sterilize them. Either way, in an Ancom society, ideally, this should be happening in the context of a society in which this woman’s basic needs are met, so she is not reliant on sterilization to fund her existence, and if, given that baseline, she might choose to sterilize herself in exchange for money, I would have much less issue with it, but the future that I am hearing you outline, in which this action is proposed, is one on which she might be dependent on this money to have the means of survival, and that, I think, is suspect.

    All of which is to say, I am not convinced that AnCap rejects aggression in a meaningful sense if those who have can still use the coercion of exclusive access to the means of survival to dictate the behaviour of those who have not, regardless of the reason that those who have not have not, I think?

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by  empifur.
  • #810

    Spooner Bookman

    I wanted to know if AnCom was opposed to aggression in any principled sense, and the answer is abundantly clear that aggression is very much allowable for AnCom. I consider the issue closed for me.

    . . .

    However, it sounds like you are wanting me to convince you AnCap is principally opposed to aggression? If that is what you want me to do, let me make sure I understand your thoughts on AnCap and Aggression: you think AnCap’s vocal opposition to aggression is a lie because there are AnCaps (who you will not name) who advocate for ‘eugenics’ which by definition includes aggression. Is that your current position?

  • #811


    I don’t know if you read my article about property panarchy yet, but the question

    AnCap: Would AnComs use aggression (initiatory force) to prevent usury?

    is, I argue there, ambiguous. Do you mean in a commie enclave (where the consensus is to use commie property conventions) or do you mean in a cappie enclave (with a sticky property consensus)? It matters, since the landlord/capitalist is the aggressor by commie conventions but not by cappie conventions. Thus, in a commie enclave, even physically assaulting a usurer might be retaliatory force against an aggressor.

    In my theory, the concept of aggression *depends* on some particular property system.

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by  Hogeye.
    • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by  Hogeye.
    • #836

      Spooner Bookman

      I did read the article, enjoyed it!

      I see now how it is ambiguous. Before these AnCom discussions, I didn’t realize how much I just assumed the enclave model, as compared to how (I guess) most people don’t conceive of it that way? When I asked the question, in my mind, I pictured happy AnCapistan on one side, practicing usury, and happy AnCommieland on the other, banning usury — I know AnCap wouldn’t mount up and ride into AnCommieland and force them to allow usury. But would AnComs go out on usury hunting trips, mowing down those practicing usury, even though they may not have anything to do with AnCommieland? From what I can tell, the vast majority of AnComs are personally opposed to it but that is only according to their personal morality, not because it is a feature of AnCom. In principle, they would allow it — if some AnComs wanted to leave their territory and go on a moral crusade that includes violent force, it is, in principle, allowable — AnCom as a theory wouldn’t count that as aggression. Again, this is only insofar as I can tell, as AnCom seems to be deliberately obfuscated to me. Anyway, I believe you and I are in agreement: if people would just do their own thing on their own property (or enclave), then the rest of us would have a huge array of enclaves/norms to choose from and surely everyone would have a better shot at finding one that works for them, rather than everyone everywhere having to adopt one set of norms, as if that were possible. (Not to mention the ‘laboratory’ effect of the most successful enclaves demonstrating to the rest what works the best, and many more benefits besides…)

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