AnCom vs AnCap: Structural Injustices & Generational Disparities

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    Spooner Bookman

    AnCom vs AnCap: Structural Injustices & Generational Disparities

    Below (in italics) are some alleged ‘structural injustices’ and/or ‘generational disparities’ present in the world today, and a subsequent discussion between AnCap and AnCom on what to do (if anything) about each. This comes from a conversation with @empifur and @jacob, but anyone that wants to chime in should feel free to!

    . . .

    1. The State in its long history has made some people richer and others poorer than they would have been otherwise. It killed some people and let others survive. It moved people around from one place to another. It promoted some professions, industries, or regions and prevented or delayed and changed the development of others. It awarded some people with privileges and monopolies and legally discriminated against and disadvantaged others, and on and on. The list of past injustices, of winners and losers, perpetrators and victims, is endless. As a result, all (or nearly all) current property holdings and their distribution have been affected, altered, and/or distorted by State action. Everything would be different, and no one would be in the same place and position she currently is had it not been for such interferences. This is unjust. How would AnCap fix this?

    AnCap: Without any doubt, the initial observation is correct. But from this it does not follow that all (or even most) current property holdings are morally suspect and in need of rectification.

    To be sure, State property must be restituted, because it has been unjustly acquired. It should be returned to its natural owners, i.e., the people (or their heirs) who were coerced to ‘fund’ such ‘public’ property by surrendering parts of their own private property to the State.

    However the further-reaching claim that past injustices also render all current private property holdings morally suspect does not follow from the initial observation. From the fact that any individuals in any conceivable group of people had been murdered, displaced, robbed, assaulted, or legally discriminated against in the past, it does not follow that any present member of this group necessarily has a more just claim (for compensation) against the currently held property of anyone else.

    AnCap considers many current private holdings to be just, irrespective of their history except in cases in which a specific claimant can prove that they are not. That is, the burden of proof as to what specific property is or isn’t unjustly held is on whoever it is that is challenging the current property holdings and distribution. In each case, each claimant would have to show, in one case after another, that they personally have a better-because-older title to some specified piece of property than some current, identified owner (i.e., the alleged perpetrator/victimizer).

    Certainly, a considerable number of cases exists where this can be done and restitution or compensation is owed. I can go into how this could and likely would be sorted out via private arbitration in AnCap, but I’ll pause to see if you want to discuss the preceding before continuing?

    (Note: the above is primarily another’s words reworked for this discussion, but the view is mine, so pretend I wrote it.)

    . . .

    2. If your parents are racist, you are much more likely to have that trait passed on to you.

    AnCap: Does AnCom actually believe that they will be able to stop people from holding (and passing down) racist views?

    AnCom: AnCom would certainly try!

    We would suggest three ways stopping people from holding and passing down racist views:

    a) To create a non-statist world, we will change cultural norms. To create AnCom society, first we need people to abandon their currently held ‘normative expressions of self’. This will in part be accomplished by creating institutions according to AnCom principles.

    Everyone will naturally find themselves happier interacting with these more egalitarian organizations. This happiness will naturally cause them to adopt more egalitarian — e.g., non racist — norms. (How could it not?)

    Ipso facto, as AnCom society emerges, parents will become less and less racist, making it far less likely a racist parent will pass that trait down to their children.

    In theory, there’s no reason AnCom wouldn’t eliminate racism. In practice, even if racism never reaches zero, this approach would certainly be far more effective at eliminating racist thoughts than AnCap’s lack of a response to this injustice.

    b) To stop people from holding (and passing down) racist views, AnComs will create a faction in areas where white people hold racist views against blacks, and that faction will argue that black people are better than white people, and white people are worse than black people. They’ll do the reverse in areas where black people hold racist views against white people. And so on and so forth, in any area where there are any racist views. (This could get tricky as there are areas where both whites and blacks live and they both hate each other; also there’s the issue of them hating each other but also hating a third race as well, one that may or may not be present in that area; and so on and so forth. But in the interest of brevity, I’ll skip these details for now and we can return to them later if you like?)

    When these factions start to have an impact (think BLM), adherents to the current cultural norms will react (think ‘but all lives matter’) and consensus will swing back and forth in a ‘dampening oscillation’ until it settles and everybody can see they are equal.

    Basically, AnComs will create institutions that, as a matter of policy, privilege demographics which are currently under privileged, which will reduce people who hold racist views, thereby eliminating (or at least reducing) the passing down of racist views to children.

    A far better answer than AnCap’s non answer.

    c) Policies that will be instituted in AnCom that will reduce racist views from being passed onto children include a 100% inheritance tax, single-payer healthcare, UBI, land redistribution, and banning usury. Also, children could be raised communally.

    So what are the AnCap solutions to racist parents passing on racist beliefs to their kids?

    AnCap: In AnCap, you would be free to do whatever you want about racist parents, so long as you don’t initiate force against anyone.

    That means you would be free to attempt to build AnCom institutions (or even a Gramsci/Dutschke march through the institutions if you prefer). You would be free to dampen oscillations and what not. You could start/join a community that requires everyone in the community pay X percent of their income (like a ‘tax’, or POA dues) into a community fund for whatever your community wants to spend it on. Your AnCap community could make its decisions using direct democracy where everyone in the community votes on everything. Your community could have single payer healthcare and UBI and no usury allowed.

    You just have to pull all this off without aggressing against anyone.

    Every individual in AnCap would be free to pool their property with others to form whatever kind of community they want. Perhaps you want to live in a mutualist, communist, or even a primitivist commune: that is your right and prerogative in AnCap. Members of voluntary mutualist/communist/primitivist communities would have the right to withdraw themselves and their property whenever they see fit (unless, of course, they transferred or expanded title of the goods they brought to all those within said community). AnCap allows one the widest array of options to live his life as one sees fit.

    For better or worse, AnCap also allows individuals to pool their resources along racial lines. That is, AnCap has no mechanisms for preventing or punishing what you deem to be ‘thought crimes’. Your (religious?) beliefs may hold that no one should be allowed to think X race is superior to Y race. You are free to think that in AnCap. But, for better or worse, people who think X race is superior to Y race are also free to think that in AnCap as well. That’s because any thought can be thought in AnCap – there are no thought police intrinsic to AnCap theory (though your community may certainly produce Orwellian thought police, if that’s what y’all want to do).

    While AnCap does include various ‘mechanisms’ (so to speak) for preventing and punishing racism, these mechanisms do not give one the right to, for example, punch a racist because they are a racist. AnCap does not recognize thoughts as crime — racist thoughts, gay thoughts, greedy thoughts, Satanic thoughts, Christian thoughts, or any other thoughts. You get to think whatever you want in AnCap because thoughts are not initiations of force.

    AnCap does not attempt to say what one should or shouldn’t think. Should you or shouldn’t you be racist? AnCap leaves that up to you. Should you or shouldn’t you try to fight racism? Up to you. How should you fight racism if you decide that is something you value? Up to you. But, in all cases, you can’t initiate aggression against anyone.

    Fortunately for you, this lines up perfectly with your tactics – none necessarily involve aggression. That is to say: your solutions are AnCap solutions, though only a mere handful of the many, many AnCap solutions.

    AnCap believes this tolerance is one of the keys (if not the key) to finally finding some semblance of lasting, meaningful peace between races. My reading of history is that it is unambiguous on this point: forcing people to believe something they don’t want to believe only causes (or at a minimum sustains) conflict. Forcing people to associate with each other (because you or your God or your master thinks people should) has proven time and again to be an ineffective strategy for improving race relations. AnCap suggests a common sense option: don’t condone aggression but otherwise let people live how they want, even if you (in your surely infinite and never mistaken wisdom) think that how they are living is ‘wrong’ in your opinion.

    Would this result in far less racism in AnCap than in today’s world? Would this result in less racism in AnCap than in AnCom? I will argue that the answer to both is an emphatic ‘yes’ but first I’ll pause here in case you want to comment on the preceding before I continue?

    . . .

    3. Even if we achieved a stateless society, in the landscape where the U.S. previously was, the economy that existed there would still be dominated by people who are white relative to people who are black.

    AnCap: What exactly is this ‘the economy’ that you are talking about?

    In ‘the US’ people are tied together by a State regime. If the State – the thing that ties these people together – disappeared, those people would no longer necessarily be tied to each other in any way other than, I guess, geographically.

    If the State suddenly disappeared overnight, the following day there would certainly be no ‘economy’ of the area formerly under the US State’s control. There would, at first, only be household and then neighborhood economies, similar to after a catastrophic disaster. Soon enough, larger and larger economies would take shape, eventually at some point resulting in what could be called ‘the economy of the area once known as the US’.

    Is that ‘the economy’ you are referring to? The sum total of the economic activity of the people in the geographic area formerly known as the US?

    If so, if the State vanished, and AnCap theory was followed by most people, then the resulting ‘economy of the former US’ would be the sum total of the explicit, voluntary choices of everyone involved – white, black, everybody. What would be unjust about a people-group ‘dominating’ an economy if it was the people voluntarily and explicitly chose?
    . . .

    4. Fewer white people are conscious of actions they take which are discriminatory because they don’t have to be as conscious of their race, being part of the “unmarked norm” compared to black people, who have to confront racial issues on the daily.

    Empifur: There are small ways AnComs fight this on a daily basis:

    — Always mention a person’s race if they’re white, but not if they aren’t (e.g., “my friend Bryan, who’s white, told me the other day that…”, “Oh, are you talking about that white boy over there?”)

    — Noting cultural expressions as white (e.g., “oh, yeah, he loves starbucks because he’s just really white”, “You’re only asking me to go to a hockey game because you think I’ll like it because I’m white”)

    — Working to put myself in spaces where people who aren’t white hold most of the power (e.g., Black Lives Matter protests, historically black colleges/universities, living in immigrant communities without gentrifying, etc.)

    What would AnCap suggest?

    AnCap: AnCap would not ‘suggest’ anything other than adhering to the NAP. It would be up to you to come up with strategies for achieving ends you value.

    Similar to item 2 above, so far you’ve listed only NAP-friendly (and therefore AnCap) tactics (even if those tactics are definitionally racist?). In AnCap, you could practice all of the tactics you’ve articulated and many more besides.

    . . .

    5. Slavery, Interstates, Miscegenation laws, Disproportionate Policing of Minorities, Mass Incarceration of Minorities, ‘Driving While Brown’, etc.

    AnCap: Considering these are almost entirely State run/driven/protected activities, and AnCap is opposed to the State, if AnCap were to succeed, these activities would cease to exist (at least from the hands of the State) with maybe the exception of slavery.

    AnCom: Just because the State would stop enforcing policies does not mean the State policies would stop existing.

    AnCap: Absent the State, some people would take it upon themselves to continue executing and enforcing the now non-existent State’s laws? Why would any choose to do that? (Who would pay them? With what money?) How would State laws continue to exist absent the State?

    AnCom: What would stop Jim Crow?

    AnCap: Jim Crow was a name given to a series of State laws that forced business owners to carry out the segregationist policies of the State (regardless of the business owners’ views on race – didn’t matter if you didn’t want ‘colored’ bathrooms, you had to provide them or you would be caged/killed).

    What would stop a State from issuing Jim Crow laws in a stateless society? It seems the obvious answer is that if there is no State then the State would have a hard time issuing laws – what am I not understanding?

    (Or, is your question not really about Jim Crow ‘laws’? Maybe you’re wanting to ask, ‘What would stop private property owners from segregating facilities and services along racial lines without the State/’The Community’ to stop them (with violent force if necessary)?’ Is that what you’re asking?)

    . . .

    6. What would stop white homeowners from banding together to redline people of colour from their town?

    AnCap: Wait… Now AnCom is for usury? Are you suggesting some people should be forced people to commit usury? Isn’t this contradictory?

    . . .

    7. Environmental racisms ensuring that the communities where black people live are also the communities with the fewest trees, the least secure food sources, and the most pollution.

    AnCap: I just need some education on this one: ‘environmental racisms’? Who/what is ensuring black people live with the fewest trees/food and most pollution? How is the entity ensuring it?

    AnCom: A. Environmental racism is when racism manifests through environmental policy. For example, solar farms, wind farms, power plants, etc., are not built in white neighbourhoods.

    B. The State doesn’t enforce legislation that would require lead contaminated soil to be cleaned up, making lead contaminated soil cheaper to live on, leading poor people to live on soil contaminated by lead.

    D. If/when neighbourhoods like this are cleaned up, they are often promptly gentrified.

    E. A prime example of this is the recent crisis in Flint, Michigan – here, a population of primarily black and brown people had their water contaminated for years because it was cheaper for the State and because issues that don’t affect white people simply aren’t on the legislative agenda.

    F. Additionally, there is usually less tree cover in neighbourhoods which the State doesn’t care about as much, (i.e., where black people live), leading to higher temperatures and worse air quality, both risk factors for disease and death… the list goes on.

    This sort of thing is what I’m talking about when I speak of “environmental racism.”


    A. What, specifically, is the problem? Are you saying there should be equal amounts of solar/wind/etc. farms in both black and white neighborhoods? Over how large of an area? Who gets to determine how large that area is? What gives them the authority to determine this area? Do we build more of these on white people’s land, or tear down the ones on black people’s land? How much of a wind farm has to be built on a white person’s land to equate with how much of a solar farm on a black person’s land – how do you calculate what is ‘fair’? (And why do you get to calculate it?)

    In AnCap, if you don’t want a power plant on your property, then don’t agree to have one built there. See, the State (in your example) can decide they want to build a power plant on the spot where you like to sleep at night. Doesn’t matter if you think you should be allowed to sleep there — if the State decides to build the plant there, it gets built there. Doesn’t matter what color your skin is, you’re getting screwed because the State has a legal privilege over you — they get to take what’s yours because might makes right in the eyes of the State.

    By contrast, in AnCap, the NAP makes right – not might. In AnCap, even if the whole world voted to build a power plant on your land, it would grant exactly zero people any rights to set foot on your land let alone build a power plant. AnCap theory does not distinguish individuals based on race or gender or religion or sexual preference or anything. AnCap distinguishes between aggressive people – criminals – and everyone else.

    B. Part of the complaint is that the State isn’t doing what voters asked it to do? What a shock. I’m reeling over here. Give me a sec to come to my senses… In AnCap, there will be no State to fail in its promises, so I don’t know what I’m to address?

    In AnCap, you would be free to clean up lead contaminated soil if you want to (just don’t aggress against anyone). That is, in AnCap, it would be YOUR responsibility – not the State, or ‘The Community’.

    D. What is unjust about gentrification?

    E. The complaint is that the State isn’t doing what it promised. What a shock. In AnCap, there will be no State to fail in its promises. (And I seriously doubt the the State was targeting blacks in the Flint situation – it was the State vs People, not black vs white. The root cause of the Flint problem is white people? C’mon.)

    F. My question was specifically, ‘Who/what is ensuring black people live with the fewest trees, etc.’ The answer sounds like it is ‘The State’, correct? So you want to know ‘Without the State, how would AnCap redistribute the trees so everyone has an even amount of trees?’ Or how AnCap would move people around so they all have the same amount of trees?

    I’m no closer to understanding what ‘environmental racism’ is and/or what is unjust about it. My understanding is that this all amounts to a mix between ‘what will AnCap do about the State in a stateless society?’ And ‘how would AnCap reverse the injustices of the State’. It seems like the first is a paradox that no ideology could answer, and the answer to the latter is that it would be up to you to fight whatever injustices you want to fight.

    . . .

    8. House prices are lower near black neighbourhoods by virtue of those neighbourhoods being black, leading to a continuing unwillingness of white homeowners to sell to black prospective buyers.

    AnCap: How does the lower priced housing in black neighborhoods lead to an unwillingness of white homeowners to sell to black prospective buyers? (If I’m racist, I wouldn’t sell to a different race because I’m racist, right? Why would I even care to know about the housing prices in that race’s neighborhoods? The claim isn’t making sense to me… help??)

    . . .

    9: White shopkeepers follow black people around, keeping a suspicious eye on them, while the shopkeepers do not do that for their white clients. What would AnCap do about this?

    AnCap: In AnCap, it would be up to you to ‘do’ something, if you thought this was something you’d like to spend your time doing, and you would be free to ‘do’ whatever you want, so long as you don’t initiate force against anyone in the process.

    Shop somewhere else. Start your own shop. Out compete them. Boycott, picket, protest, organize a union of her workers and encourage a strike. Be creative. Be bold. Be funny. Be pushy… Bribe them. Blackmail them. Smear their reputation. Copy their ideas. Love them. Kill ‘em with kindness. Educate them.

    It’s literally up to you in AnCap.

    But — for better or worse — if someone can run a shop with practices like that and succeed without initiating force against anyone else, then they would be free to. As long as they want. On property they justly acquired.

    Again, AnCap has no mechanisms for using aggression to prevent or punish non aggressive behavior. While AnCap does include various ‘mechanisms’ (so to speak) for preventing and punishing behaviors like the one in question, these mechanisms do not give one the right to, for example, punch a shopkeeper for following around a shopper (regardless of the shopkeeper’s Orwellian ‘thought crimes’, i.e., the reasons for her actions). This is because AnCap does not recognize as criminal doing what you want on your own property, so long as you’re not aggressing against anyone. Shopkeepers are free to follow whom they choose in their shop.

    And shoppers are free to choose where they would like to shop.

    AnCap has faith that the shoppers — i.e. the people — will choose wisely. No ideology puts the importance of people’s voluntary choice higher than AnCap — in AnCap, the customer, i.e., the individual, IS the ‘majority vote’ when it comes to their body/property.

    Would more or fewer shopkeepers follow around people with a different skin color than them in AnCap as compared to today’s world? I will argue that the answer is an emphatic ‘yes’ but first I’ll pause here in case you want to comment on the preceding?

    . . .

    10. How would AnCap fix the Glass Ceiling and ‘Increased Targeting of Sexualized Violence Towards Women’.

    AnCap: If people want to hire women and minorities, they would be free to do so. Also, if people didn’t want to hire/promote women and minorities they would be free to do so. No one, including you, will be allowed to take a rifle and go around town shooting people who don’t promote women or minorities. You can go around and try to persuade people to live the way you think they should, but you can’t violate the NAP as part of your persuasion tactics.

    As for ‘increased targeting of sexualized violence towards women’, AnCap is opposed to aggression. No need to specify a certain type, necessarily. Anyone initiating force of any kind justifiably could and often very likely would be met with violence, up to and including lethal violence, surely serving as a deterrent. Not to mention the myriad other ways AnCap would mitigate and prevent violence towards anyone — not merely sexualized violence against women.

    . . .

    11. Given that the above injustices are all viewed as ‘normal’ by most people, and that racism is ingrained into the behavior of most people both economically and behaviourally, how could AnCap create a system that works even for black people, when most people (esp. white people) wouldn’t be willing to make fair deals with them?

    AnCap: To say that ‘the above injustices are all viewed as normal by most people’ is a stretch: who thinks slavery is normal?

    AnCom: To say that “slavery is NOT viewed as ‘normal’ is a ‘stretch’ for these reasons:

    * Slavery as an institution is alive and well
    * Black people are incarcerated at staggering rates
    * Lots of black people don’t get paid enough
    * Neighborhoods are segregated
    * Energy production adversely affects the health of black people
    * States pass laws that adversely affect minorities
    * There is still a glass ceiling

    Because these exist, they are viewed as normal.

    AnCap: I guess I’m not understanding how any of this is an answer to my question? Who thinks slavery is normal? My evidence is anecdotal, i.e., I don’t know anyone who thinks slavery is normal. Everyone I know thinks it’s despicable. As weak as my evidence is, it is at least somewhat empirical. I ask again, who thinks slavery is normal?

    Regardless of whether or not people think slavery is normal, one point of confusion is the part in your question about how AnCap could ‘create a system’ that will solve your problems for you:

    AnCap does not seek to create a system at all. In AnCap, there is no ‘system’ that you get to ‘use’ to solve what you deem to be yours and/or other people’s problems. If you’d like to solve what you deem to be a problem, then in AnCap, that responsibility is yours — you don’t get to make people do what you want just because you know how to work some ‘system’.

    In stark contrast to ‘creating a system’ that can be used by evil and/or racist people — or ‘good’ people for that matter — AnCap seeks to establish a ground rule (the NAP) and ‘on top of that’, nothing. AnCap leaves you free to do as you wish.

    AnCom: You say that, “AnCap does not seek to create a system.” Interesting… I assumed there had to be some kind of ‘system’ that would necessarily have to be controlled by somebody… For example, today, there is an exploitative capitalist system controlled by racist homophobic white men in the US, while I’ve been advocating for replacing this system with a commune-ish system controlled by direct democracy.

    That is, I’ve been advocating replacing the current system of control and domination that I don’t like with a different system of control and domination that I believe I would like better.

    So, if AnCap doesn’t seek to ‘build a system’, would you say it doesn’t represent the creation of anything new? (The reason I ask is that I’m concerned about my ability to create the culture that I want to live in under AnCap if AnCap isn’t ‘centered’ on the creation of the culture I want?)

    AnCap: AnCap represents the unleashing of the most creative force the world has ever known for improving the collective greater good of all humanity. In that sense, AnCap represents the creation of something both new and old: the idea of freedom is as old as womankind, but it’s rarely been given any sort of chance anywhere in history. AnCap wants to give freedom a chance.

    To address your fear that you might not get the culture you want in a free society: if you can’t persuade people to live the way you want them to live in a non aggressive fashion, then you are SOL in AnCap. AnCap gives you no tools to force people to live the way you think is best. (But if ‘your’ way is in fact the ‘best’ way, the you should have absolutely no need of initiatory force, correct? So nothing for you to fear!)

    AnCom: Ok, well… the State assures that hate crimes won’t be committed — how would AnCap stop hate crimes without a State?

    AnCap: The State assures hate crimes won’t be committed? That seems like a pretty bold claim — do you have evidence for this?

    AnCom: I admit those laws are not regularly enforced, so no, the State doesn’t actually assure hate crimes won’t be committed.

    AnCap: I would add that in AnCap, ‘crime’ is violating the NAP — it doesn’t matter whether ‘hate’ was involved. Your reasons for violating the NAP don’t matter — you’re a racist, you were drunk, you think you have a really good idea about how we should live our lives, etc., it doesn’t matter, you can’t violate the NAP.

    AnCom: So AnCap claims it has no responsibility to replace the State with anything that would ensure that racists and sexists and homophobes are not given free reign to do what they will?

    AnCap: No. Again, AnCap would replace the State with the most creative force the world has ever known for improving the collective greater good of all humanity. That force is you. And me, and all of us. But no, AnCap has no responsibility to create a ‘system’ that’s going to be the hands and feet of your ideas — you will have to use your own hands and feet.

    AnCom: AnCom is striving for a world with safety nets, in which a person cannot be cast out simply because their neighbours are hateful people, whereas AnCap does not seem to me to be aspiring even for that?

    AnCap: If you want solutions to any problems you see in the world, then get on with it, as it is literally up to you. You want safety nets? Build them — AnCap will do absolutely nothing to stop you.

    You don’t want people to be cast out because their neighbors are hateful? Do something about it.

    For example, me personally, I would join a community that has a strict policy against racists. We all agree that anyone who lived here would sign our agreement, and in that agreement, it says, in so many words:

    You cannot speak or act out racist views in this community. If you join the community and later come to hold racist views, or anyone your bring into the community (i.e., your children) come to hold racist views, you agree to leave the community (and your children will have to sign this at X age). If having coming to hold these views, you break this contract and insist on remaining in the community in violation of this agreement, you agree the community has the right to ‘physically remove’ you from the community. And everyone who lives in our community would have signed this agreement voluntarily, under no duress, because it was their explicit choice, and they wanted their voice to be heard, so they signed it, and everyone in the community would then comply with THEIR wish to be ‘physically removed’ if they ended up holding racist views.

    Boom, no racists in my neighborhood trying to cast me out, and no need for some ‘system’ to tell me what to do with my life. Just personal, individual, voluntary, non aggressive choices.

    AnCom: Aha, see, if someone changes their views and comes to disagree with the community, you AnCaps would ‘physically remove’ them from where they live, probably killing them if they resist. So now we’re just going to ‘shoot our way out’ of our problems? How can AnCap wash its hands of the inevitable violence (both aggressive and defensive) that would necessarily come as a result of this setup?

    AnCap: Aggressive violence will always be with us, so that violence can’t be blamed on AnCap. While there may be in increase in defensive violence (compared to, say, the US today where defensive violence often results in being caged/killed by the State), the overall total violence ‘amount’ in AnCap compared to today would be significantly reduced, thanks specifically to the new and ever present threat of defensive force working as a deterrent that just doesn’t exist today.

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