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.

  • #668


    Okay, this one’s the centerpiece reply, on my part, I think– I’ve got a lot of other arguments that I’ve recently posting alluding to this one, so I’ll try to break this up into a few posts, for coherence’s sake. This is also the section that I would be most curious to hear a reply to, as I think that it is possibly the most critical flaw in the AnCap argument!

    • #818

      Spooner Bookman

      Apologies for the slow response! Been busy, and didn’t want to rush through my answers. I am grateful for how much time you’ve taken to work with me on all this. Also, poor old @jacob might ‘physically remove’ us if this post gets much longer — let me know on any of these points if you want a new post: tell me if I need to correct the phrasing/positioning or whatever, and then I’ll do so in a new post and you can make your response there? (And/or make one yourself if you prefer?) And, with the holidays and all, the next month or two will be even busier than the last, so my apologies in advance if the next response is even slower… But I do hope our conversation continues into 2018!

      • #901


        Hey! Thanks for responding, and, now that the holidays are over, I’ve got the time on my hands to run back through all of this and give a proper response! If you want to splinter any of these out into seperate themes, feel free, but I’m going to try to respond to everything here so I can keep it straight in my head, and perhaps I’ll, after responding, recommend some splinter themes should you choose to create new posts from which to explore subarguments further? Anyway, I’m excited to get to this!

  • #669


    1) Okay, so you assert, if I am reading you correctly, that state-owned property would need to be redistributed, but that privately owned property, by and large, would have the burden of proof on the claimant, on a case-by-case basis, and would merit much less distribution.

    If this is your transition plan, we’re all fucked, and I think that this ignores a primary mechanism of statism. Specifically, the state exists not only to perpetuate itself, but also, by that virtue, to perpetuate the ruling class, right? So when the U.S., for example, institutes a tax code that redistributes wealth from the 99% to the 1%, why are we treating this injustice differently from if the state simply appropriated the wealth from the 99% for itself? Like somehow it merits redistribution if the state still holds it at the time of transition, but it doesn’t merit redistribution if it’s privately held at that magical inflection point? I don’t get how this can be rationalized, and this is a large reason that I am drawn to AnCom’s disaffection with property as a concept that it needs to support– in supporting property as a fundamental to the ideal future structure, AnCap binds itself to defending the current distribution of property, because it is difficult if not impossible to determine exactly who is owed restitution for the tax break that a state offers a wealth person, paid for by taxes of the poor.
    More broadly even than this, this policy tacitly gives lie to the AnCap claim to be about individual agency, and to not discriminate on the basis of identity. Currently, in the U.S., the average Black american owns much less wealth than the average white american. This is not, the data is unambiguous, because people who are black don’t work as hard, or because people who are white made better investment decisions. This is because the state has worked, initially through slavery, more recently through Jim Crow laws and permissiveness of lynching, and contemporarily through asymmetrical policing and redlining, among other mechanisms, to redistribute wealth from black americans to white americans. To allow this AnCap system to come in and say “yes but everything that you own right now is justly owned and from here on out we’ll stop bad things from happening” is explicit endorsement of those past statist policies, as it allows white americans to keep and maintain a serious economic advantage over black americans that is predicated on state violence, even if the state stops existing– as we know, it takes money to make money, and so without active redistribution, the violence of these statist policies would simply be magnified by an AnCap system such as you propose. This is only one example of many that I could make– statist policies have also historically prevented many other identities from amassing and passing on wealth (for example, individuals who were gay paid higher taxes on passing their estate on to their loved ones because their marriages and families weren’t recognized by the state in the same way as those of het couples). How do you justify this codification of violence?

    • #819

      Spooner Bookman

      1.1: AnCap reasons that all State wealth is illegitimate and deserving of redistribution — why doesn’t AnCap also reason that all privately held wealth is illegitimate for the same reasons?

      AnCap reasons that State property is necessarily acquired via aggressive means as the State must first tax (aggress) before it can perform any other function — this is the reason why State property is illegitimate for AnCap. But this ever present acquired-via-aggression feature of State property that makes it illegitimate is not a necessary feature of all non-State property, so AnCap cannot determine all non-State property is illegitimate for the same reason it determines State property to be illegitimate. For AnCap to determine any non-State property is illegitimate, it must use different reasoning.

      . . .

      1.2: I can’t think of any example of non-State property that could be proven to belong to someone other than the current ‘owner’, therefore I conclude that this requirement of proof of a more valid ownership claim is nothing but a defense of the current distribution of property.

      It would indeed be very difficult to prove that someone else has a more legitimate claim to your property than you do. But this of course does not mean that all privately owned property could escape justifiable redistribution, and as such, the claim is not a defense of all current private property holdings. See 7A.1 below for a specific example, but broadly: there are disputes over non-State wealth every day in today’s world. Sometimes — even if only by sheer chance — the legal system does justly find that a claimant is the rightful owner because of a better-because-prior claim and restitution is rendered accordingly. Private arbitration services, which also exist under today’s current Statist conditions, accomplish this feat (daily) as well. There’s no reason to think that absent the State, private arbitration services would not continue to overturn current non-State wealth claims when better-because-prior claims are brought to light. If anything, it stands to reason that this process would function far more accurately and therefore justly, not to mention efficiently, once the State is out of the way.

      . . .

      1.3: Requiring proof of a better claim to property before taking it from its present so-called ‘owner’ shows that AnCap is not ‘about’ individual agency.

      To the contrary, the requirement shows AnCap protects the individual agency of the current property holder from all but any who has a better claim, in which case AnCap is still protecting the individual agency of the rightful owner. No ideology is more ‘about’ individual agency than AnCap.

      . . .

      1.4: Requiring proof of a better claim to property before taking it from its present so-called ‘owner’ is an endorsement of past statist policies.

      Allowing Peter to rob Paul on Peter’s say-so alone (in the event the State vanished) will of course lead to conflict between Peter and Paul. The requirement does not endorse past Statist policies, it endorses a conflict-minimizing norm of fair ‘redistribution’ of current privately owned wealth (at least as alleged by the current self-styled owner/possessor/controller) in the totally novel situation of the State vanishing.

      The State takes by force what it thinks belongs to it, and this above all is why I hate it. In the event the State went away, the last thing I’d want is to become the thing I hate.

  • #670


    2) First, I’d be curious to hear your evidence that having people live together with people of other races doesn’t at least sometimes increase interracial harmony? Either way, though, my answer to this point is mostly predicated on my answer to #1– I don’t think that the freedom that AnCap affords is a bad thing, so long as people are coming into it from an equal playing field– if, however, you inject society into this system, but codifying disparities such that white people have a disproportionate amount of economic power relative to black people, then this hands-off approach amounts to little more than allowing those who have to exploit those who have not freely.

    • #820

      Spooner Bookman

      2.1: First, I’d be curious to hear your evidence that ‘having people live together with people of other races’ doesn’t at least sometimes increase interracial harmony?

      I don’t have any evidence that “forcing” people to associate improves interracial harmony, as my point was that it doesn’t. (On the other hand, “having” people voluntarily associate — cf. Daryl Davis — almost invariably does improve intergroup relations, so no argument from me there, if that’s what you mean by ‘having’?)

      . . .

      2.2: Freedom is a bad thing if people are not coming into freedom from an equal playing field.

      What do you mean by an ‘equal playing field’?

      . . .

      2.3: If you free society from aggression without first righting historical wrongs, you are then codifying economic disparities between races, which amounts to little more than allowing those who ‘have’ to freely exploit those who ‘have not’.

      I see no reason to think this is true.

      . . .

      2.4: If you inject society into this AnCap system…

      Would you say you have a pretty good handle on what Anarcho-Capitalism is? Like, you understand 80-90% of it? More? Less?

  • #671


    3) This assumption re: the rebuilding of the economy assumes explicitly that property rights assured under the state are lost with the dissolution of the state, and people only have what they come to create or some such in the new stateless society, which directly contradicts your assumptions in #1 and #2 above, unless I read you wrong? Alternatively, if you actually intend for property to carry over, then your claim that every contract that exists is “voluntary” I am a little bit skeptical of for reasons elucidated above, but also because then I’m not sure what you mean by “the dissolution of the state” if that doesn’t involve the dissolution of power relations based on property that have been propped up by the state historically?

    • #821

      Spooner Bookman

      3.1: This assumption that property rights assured under the state are lost with the dissolution of the state combined with the assumption that people would only have what they come to create directly contradicts your assumptions in #1 and #2 above, unless I read you wrong?

      The State does not ‘assure’ property rights – quite the opposite. Also, I didn’t assume that ‘people would only have what they come to create’. You must be reading me wrong.

      . . .

      3.2: I am skeptical of your claim that every contract that exists is “voluntary”.

      I am skeptical this claim was made.

      . . .

      3.3: You can’t get rid of the state if that doesn’t also include the dissolution of the currently existing power relations that are based on property holdings that have been propped up by the state.

      I see no reason to think this is true.

  • #672


    4) “Even if those tactics are racist”– let’s talk about racism. Racism, as most commonly defined, is discrimination on the basis of race /in a manner inline with existing power systems/. Working to denormalize white people, by most definitions that I’ve run into, then, is not so racist.

    Beyond that, these are ends that I am arguing are in the interest of AnCaps to achieve because the functioning of the AnCap system is predicated on the idea of a market that is level and free, and systemic oppressions prevent that, which then results in the reproduction of hierarchies of power, the entire thing we’re seeking to destroy with the state. You keep saying that “you can do that under AnCap, so why should it be mandated?” but the point that I’m trying to make is that if you don’t /necessarily/ do things like this, then the AnCap (or AnCom) system will necessarily fall apart!

    • #822

      Spooner Bookman

      4.1: Racism, as most commonly defined, is discrimination on the basis of race in a manner inline with existing power systems. Working to denormalize a particular race of people, by most definitions that I’ve run into, is not racist.

      This is not a common definition of racism. (Denormalizing people because of their race is racist according to the actual definition of racism.)

      . . .

      4.2: The ends that I am arguing for are in the interest of AnCaps to achieve.

      I don’t have a problem with your ends. I believe we want the same ends. Nothing you’ve said makes me think we don’t. There is nothing unique or uncommon or special about your ends — while there is always a tiny minority that thinks otherwise, your sentiments with regards to ends are as common as dirt. You say you don’t approve of slavery? I’m all choked up with admiration for this noble, heroic stance you’re taking on such divisive topic. So courageous!

      It’s not a heart for helping other people that you and I don’t share. It is in the intellectual response to this desire where we differ, with what is allowable in pursuit of our ends being the key difference — as far as I can tell. If we agreed on that score, I would be happy with whatever the ends happened to be, even if they turn out not be what I expect. “Aggress against no one and let the chips fall where they may.” What makes me ‘AnCap’ is that I’m convinced if this advice were followed (within a neighborhood or across the world), the inevitable result would be AnCap. The only reason you wouldn’t end up with AnCap is the only reason we don’t have it now: some people just can’t let the chips fall where they may. Gotta get those chips in order, even if it means cracking a few skulls en route. AnCom seems like it doesn’t want to rely on skull cracking on a personal level, but you sure want to make sure the door is left plenty wide open just in case, ya know, a few skulls need to be cracked. If y’all could just close that door, tightly, then I’d consider myself on the same page with y’all, at least in principle.

      . . .

      4.3: AnCap is predicated on the idea of a market that is level.

      Are you sure about that?

      . . .

      4.4: The effects of prior systemic oppressions perpetrated by the State would prevent a free market in a Stateless society if redistribution of non-State property wasn’t carried out.

      I see no reason to think this is true.

      . . .

      4.5: The entire thing we’re seeking to destroy with the state is the production of hierarchies of power.

      I’m not sure what you mean by ‘we’, but that isn’t what AnCap is seeking.

      . . .

      4.6: The point I’m trying to make is that AnCap “system” will necessarily “fall apart” if people ‘like you’ don’t ‘always mention a person’s race’ in certain situations, ‘note cultural expressions as’ belonging to a particular race, and ‘work to put yourself in spaces where’ a particular race doesn’t hold power.

      I see no reason to think this is true.

  • #673


    5) Correct– my question is not “what would stop the state,” the state being nonexistent in this hypothesis. The question is what would stop the continuation of effectively statist policy by confederations of private individuals? How would this stop the reemergence of a racist state system? And maybe the answer is that it doesn’t, so long as no one violates the NAP, but then I’m curious– if we go to all teh trouble of having a revolution without putting any counterrevolutionary countermeasures into place, what are we doing?

    • #823

      Spooner Bookman

      5.1: I concede that ‘state laws’ like Jim Crow wouldn’t emerge without a state, but what would stop the emergence of ‘effectively statist policies’ by confederations of private individuals? What would stop ‘effectively’ Jim Crow policies from being enacted by some groups of people?

      What characteristic or feature of a policy makes it ‘effectively Statist’? If I require whites and blacks to drink at separate water fountains when they are in my bedroom (and no one is ever forced to be in my bedroom), is that an example of an ‘effectively Statist policy’ that needs to be stopped?

      Could any policy under AnCap norms be accurately described as ‘effectively Statist’? For a ‘policy’ to be legitimate under AnCap norms, it must only apply to the individual/group’s own property and not aggress against anyone (i.e., involvement is voluntary). If a policy does all that (and it must if it follows AnCap norms) how could it be rationally considered ‘effectively Statist’?

      . . .

      5.2: If we go to all the trouble of having a revolution without putting counter revolutionary measures into place, what are we doing?

      Would the following be an accurate rephrasing of the question: ‘If the State vanished and AnCap norms took hold, what would stop the reemergence of the State?’

  • #674


    6) Not quite clear what your use of “usury” is supposed to refer to in this context– redlining is the institutional system by which people of colour are kept in segregated housing, including but not limited to the practice by which white people refuse to sell to people of colour, or the practice where banks refuse to give loans to prospective black homebuyers, or, more historically, explicit Jim Crow laws. As such, I’m not seeing where preventing redlining involves forced usury, unless you’re viewing this specifically in terms of forcing banks to give loans to people, in which case I would articulate that, ideally, in the future, the bigger issue would be the cultural norms that keep segregation in place, because housing would be secured as a right rather than privilege for all people, so the struggle would be against, I dunno, community housing groups and getting them to allow black people to live there, rather than against banks not giving loans, specifically.

    I think that what a lot of these are starting to get at is “yeah, okay, but does AnCap care about Justice at all? Because AnCaps can claim that they won’t get involved so long as the NAP isn’t violated until they’re blue in the face, but if that policy doesn’t ensure the existence of a system not only without aggression but also that is /just/, then why bother striving for it? And how can AnCaps claim to care about justice but not care if white supremacist communities hoard all of their ill-gotten resources for themselves to the detriment of people who aren’t white on that virtue alone?

    • #824

      Spooner Bookman

      6.1: If AnCap got its way, what would prevent a group of people from banding together and refusing to sell to and/or loan money to a particular race of people?

      I have two problems with the question: one, it presupposes a moral judgement, namely that refusing to sell/loan to someone is morally wrong, and ‘ought’ not be done. But regardless of whether it ought or ought not be done according to your personal morality, for AnCap, refusing to sell/loan to someone (because of their race or any other reason), is not aggression. My second problem is that stripped of the moral claim, the question is, ‘If AnCap got its way, what would reduce racial discrimination to zero?’ Which is to ask ‘How would an impossible utopian goal be reached?’ As long as people are people, there will be some degree of racial discrimination somewhere. Saying otherwise is to say that human nature will someday not be what it is today, in which case I would concede that my views are based on human nature as we understand it today, and of course, if our nature or understanding thereof were to change, I would necessarily reassess my views accordingly. I’m not looking for solutions to any conceivable future/different version of our world, I’m looking for solutions for the world we have. And in that world, the only way to eliminate all racial discrimination would be to kill everyone on earth.

      But, what if we take your personal morality out of the question: “If AnCap got its way, do you really think racial discrimination would decrease? If so, why?” This question would allow me to speak to some of the ‘nuts and bolts’ of AnCap (like I do below in 10.1.1) — I think that answer gets more to the heart of “how would AnCap fix structural injustices?”

      . . .

      6.2: DoEs AnCaP eVeN cArE aBoUt JuStIcE aT aLl?


      . . .

      6.3: If the NAP doesn’t ensure the existence of a “just system”, then why bother striving for it?

      Would you say you have a pretty good handle on the NAP? You understand pretty well what it is, the major implications, etc.? Or would you say it’s fairly new to you? (Or somewhere in between?)

      . . .

      6.4: How can AnCaps condone a group of people of one race hoarding ill-gotten resources for themselves?

      If a group’s resources are ‘ill-gotten’ (i.e., via aggression) then the NAP (of course) doesn’t condone it. (The race of the group does not matter.)

  • #675


    7) A) The problem here is that the presenve of industry or energy plants in one’s neighbourhoods is well-documented as lowering property values, providing yet another means of preventing Black families from amassing wealth through the route that most most white American families did post-WWII. It’s worth noting that the NAP does /not/ inf act solve this issue– you are looking at this as an issue of landedness, when it is really an issue of community integrity. If your neighbour sells out and builds a big-ass coal plant on her property, /your/ property values are affected– and not only that, but your health outcomes become dramatically worse, too, lowering your life expectancy by, potentially, decades. This is why AnCOm views it as so important to not locate the primacy of justice in the individual property, because there is no conceivable way for one individual’s decisions with “their” property to not affect all of their neighbours– for this reason, possession rights and community determination over property rights and primacy of the individual makes more sense for dealing with issues like this. Unless you would grant that building an enormous polluting plant on your property is an aggression against your neighbours, thus violating the NAP (which I would argue it does)… but then the circumscribing of personal property rights that comes with that admission is tantamount to admitting that AnCom had it right? This is a big point, that I’m curious to hear your response to.

    Beyond that, you ask how that calculus is decided, and ultimately, the answer will be “by communities” as I’ve articulated before, which isn’t perfect, but is still better than “by individuals,” I hold.

    • #825

      Spooner Bookman

      7A.1: The problem here is the presence of power plants in black neighborhoods (without the residents’ consent in many cases). If the State is gone, how does AnCap get these power plants out of these neighborhoods (and/or how does AnCap get black residents out of these neighborhoods)?

      From what little research I just did, it appears most power plants in the US are built on ‘public’ land given to State privileged energy companies, along with massive and continual public subsidies and tax breaks, meaning all these power plants would be up for redistribution under AnCap norms if the State vanished, even if they were currently technically ‘privately owned wealth’. (This would be an example that you can apply to 1.2 above.) That is, it would go through the same (or very similar) redistribution processes as State property would go through under AnCap norms, i.e., those neighbors would likely be restituted to one degree or another. Furthermore, considering these plants all rely so heavily on the State, if the hypothetical is that the State is gone, I’m not convinced the plants would continue operating. While they may still be in the neighborhood, the pollution problem would be solved (insofar as the plant was causing it).

      . . .

      7A.2: The NAP does not solve this issue of power plants being disproportionately built on black people’s land, unless building an enormous polluting plant on your property [in violation of any neighborhood agreements] is an aggression against your neighbours, thus violating the NAP (which I would argue it does), in which it case, it would solve the issue.

      I agree!

      . . .

      7A.3: The “circumscribing of personal property rights” that comes with “that admission” is tantamount to admitting that AnCom had “it” right?

      I’ve tried very carefully to figure it out, but I don’t know what you mean by the things in quotation marks, so I’m not sure how to answer this?

      . . .

      7A.4: “Possession Rights” and “Community Determination Over Property Rights” and “Primacy of the Individual” makes more sense for dealing with issues like where to locate power plants. How and where to put energy plants in AnCom will be decided “by communities” (which is better than “by individuals”).

      From my (very tiny bit of) research, it would seem where to put energy plants has always been decided “by the State”. Considering this, from the perspective of one who has been outvoted, what’s the difference between a democratic ‘The State’ deciding to put a power plant on my land and a democratic ‘The Community’ deciding to do it? What wins out when your ‘Primacy of the Individual’ comes into conflict with your ‘Community Determination’? (Is it any different than when the ‘Primacy of the Individual’ comes into conflict with the State? Because the ‘Primacy of the Individual’ always loses that battle. Would the individual not also lose every time they disagreed with ‘Community Determination’?)

  • #676


    7) B) Right, mostly I agree with you, but I point out that if someone other than you contaminated your land unfairly (e.g., by polluting a river upstream), how does AnCap deal with that? Is that an aggression? Or is that just tough luck for everyone downstream? More broadly, how does AnCap propose enforcing the NAP more broadly across society (this is a broader question, and should maybe be addressed under a seperate subpoint)

    • #826

      Spooner Bookman

      7B.1: If someone contaminated your land, is that an aggression?


      . . .

      7B.2: How does AnCap propose enforcing the NAP more broadly across society?

      The short answer is: the same way AnCap proposes enforcing the need to defend against bear attacks more broadly across society. The NAP is a principle (or even a ‘presumption’) — it does not need to be ‘enforced’ in the way an order or a command needs to be ‘enforced’. There is no law or norm that says ‘if you are getting attacked by a bear, you MUST defend yourself’ as the presumption is that you both would and should attempt to defend yourself (or flee, or whatever) from a bear attack. Similar to a bear attack, if you are aggressing against me, much like a bear aggressing against me, it’s up to me (and anyone else that wants a free, flourishing society) to stop your (or the bear’s) aggression. That is the short answer. The long answer would be in response to something like, ‘What sort of mechanisms — individual, institutional, organizational,etc. — would emerge that would defend against and prosecute aggression under AnCap norms?’ Again, a more ‘nuts and bolts’ question — want me to answer that question?

  • #677


    D) What is unjust about gentrification. Um, okay, so, I would recommend a brief google if you want a bite-size argument from people better qualified to talk about this than myself. If you want a more in-depth examination, I’d recommend “There Goes the Hood: Views of Gentrification from the Ground Up.” That said, if I had to give a brief summary, gentrification is bad because people form connections to place, and those connections are important. I’m from the midwest, and if I was forced out of the midwest because property prices became to high because other people were moving in because it became “trendy,” I’d be really friggin bitter about it, because I ahve a connection to that place, and there is something important about it for me, emotionally. This place-bond formation is a very human thing, and to deny that it exists or that it matters is to deny that any non-western or “cultural” idea can hold any relevance, which we rejected back with postmodernism some 70 years ago, almost, now. Connection to place is possibly not inviolate, but to force people out of their place so that others can come in and colonize it is not just by default– I would argue, in fact, that it is your responsibility to answer why it is just to use economic coercion to force people from places that they care about, rather than mine to argue why it is injust to do so.

    • #827

      Spooner Bookman

      7D: Gentrification is unjust because it is the use of “force” in the form of “economic coercion” against others.

      What exactly are the victims being forced/economically-coerced to do? Is it that they are being forced/economically-coerced out of their homes because their rent has been raised by a landlord (who is looking to free up space for a different clientele)? And that this is sort of like putting a gun to someone’s head and kicking them out of their home — the landlord is just replacing the gun with economic means, but otherwise, not much different? Is that right? (Also, are there any other injustices with gentrification, or is this the one?)

  • #678


    E) This is a little more left of an argument than most of the ones I’m making here, I’ll grant, but I will not back down on it in the face of your incredulity. Whether or not Flint is happening “because” of white people at its root, white people are definitely exacerbating the issue because white people in the U.S. simply don’t seem to be able to find it in themselves to care about people who are not white in the U.S.
    This is, of course, overly simplistic, as there is a lot of intersection, in the case of Flint, with issues of class, especially, also, but I think that it would be naive to dismiss the role that race plays in this ongoing crisis– one need only look at the difference in life expectancies between people who are white in the U.S. and people who are black in the U.S., and contrast that with average life expectancies in various 2/3rds world countries, and it becomes apparent that we have on our hands a crisis that we are ignoring because we simply don’t care. I could, additionally, point to the difference in response of the powers that be (admittedly, statist at the time, but reflective of broader societal attitudes) to the crack epidemic and the heroin epidemic.

    • #828

      Spooner Bookman

      7E.1: I admit Flint isn’t happening “because” of white people, but it would be naive to dismiss the role that race plays in this ongoing crisis.

      In what way have I naively dismissed the role that race plays in the Flint crisis?

      . . .

      7E.2: Look at the difference in life expectancies between white and black in the U.S. and contrast that with average life expectancies in various “2/3rds world countries” — it is apparent that we have on our hands a crisis that we are ignoring because we simply don’t care.

      I’m looking at the difference in life expectancies in the US and the life expectancy all over the world, and I’m not sure what it is you want me to conclude from this data? That white people — as a group — are the root cause of the difference in life expectancies between white and back? Is that it? (If so, my first question would be: how does this data show causation?)

      . . .

      7E.3: The response of the State to the crack and heroin epidemic was reflective of society’s broader attitudes.

      I see no reason to think this is true.

  • #679


    7) F) If your question was “which one person is ensuring that people who are black have fewer trees” then your question is, um, missing the forest for the trees, if I may be pardoned an inexcusable joke. My answer to this should address a number of the points that you brought up earlier: You keep pointing out that the things that I am taking issue with are state policies, and that without a state, the problematic policies would disappear, problem solved. I, however, view the state as a means rather than a source of agency– a means that corrupts its users, to be sure, I think that we are in agreement about that, however I would articulate that a prime sin of the state is in enabling people to carry out such awful policies as they may imagine, as much as causing them to imagine awful policies. The state would not systematically discriminate against people who are black if it did not consist of people who think that discriminating against people who are black isn’t really a huge problem. The state would not enact retrogressive environmental policies if it did not consist of people who think that the interests of big oil are more important than that of coastal farmers. Without a state, it becomes much more difficult to implement forcibly on a large scale programmes of ecological devastation, it’s true, but if we do not address the other equally important issue– that it is normative for people to believe that such ecological devastation is okay– then simply destroying the state will not suffice for fixing this problem, as a plurality off people will still run their lives according to roughly those policies. This is why the idea of a transition plan is so important, and why I tout AnCOm’s plan of “out of the shell of the old” as workable, because it operates on the basis of changing people’s daily norms, and why I am so curious for what AnCap’s plan is that addresses those norms, as I have not heard it yet? Does this make sense? I would underline this as a critical point because I feel that a lot of our disagreement rests on this crux here, and I am particularly eager to hear your response here.

    To more directly answer your question, there are lots of people in petty offices enacting various policies to ensure that black people have fewer trees, but historical redlining is a big part of it, which, to address your addendum, is also part of why it is so important for an adequate transition plan to right historical wrongs before declaring a level playing field, or else the field will not actually be level, and your system will amount to no more than an affirmation of historical statist injustices.

    • #829

      Spooner Bookman

      7F. There are lots of people in petty offices enacting various policies to ensure that black people have fewer trees.

      My question remains the same as before: “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?’”

      . . .

      7F.2: If the State vanished, and people were free (gasp!) to “run their lives” (the horror!), and think whatever thoughts they want to think, many will choose to hold views that my personal morality disagrees with (like racist views).

      Yes, such is human nature, for better or worse. If one would like to eliminate any kind of thought from humanity, one is left with few options, with total extinction being the only surefire method of complete erasure.

      I cannot directly answer you as to how to reach a racism-free utopia as I don’t think it is possible, and further, I think anyone promising this is only using it as bait to attract the naive. But, similar to 6.1, if I can take your personal morality judgement call out of the issue, I can make it a question I can answer directly (if you’re at all interested?): “If AnCap got its way, do you really think racial tensions would improve, and if so, why?” (Want me to answer that?)

      . . .

      7F.3: Without a state apparatus to control and direct, it becomes much more difficult for these racists to implement large scale racist policies, but it would still be possible for them to do it.

      How would it still be possible?

      . . .

      7F.4: AnCom’s transition plan ‘operates on the basis of changing people’s daily norms’ — what is AnCap’s plan for addressing people’s ‘daily norms’?

      What is a ‘daily norm’? Why is a plan for addressing them necessary?

      . . .

      7F.5: An adequate transition plan must right historical wrongs before declaring a level playing field, or else it will not be level.

      (7F.5.1) What is a level playing field?

      (7F.5.2) Is a level playing field something that can be ‘declared’ as you indicate here? (Seems like a field would either be level or not — not sure how a fiat declaration could make a physical thing something it’s not?)

      Regarding the implied assumptions that a ‘level playing field’ (whatever it is) is both practically achievable and morally desirable: (7F.5.3) how do you know either is correct?

  • #680


    8) Sorry, you’re right, that claim that I made doesn’t make sense as it is articulated– I jumped over a lot of interim assumptions, which wasn’t fair of me. What I should say is that because having black neighbours decreases property values in white neighbourhoods, there is cultural pressure on white homeowners to sell to white homebuyers (compounded by the fact that fewer non-white homebuyers can get the kinds of loans necessary to purchase a house in a white neighbourhood with higher housing prices)

    • #830

      Spooner Bookman

      8. Because having black neighbours decreases property values in white neighbourhoods, there is cultural pressure on white homeowners to sell to white homebuyers.

      Cultural pressure to participate in particular financial transactions is not aggression. Are you asking what AnCap would do to change the non-aggressive ‘cultural pressure on white homeowners to sell to white homebuyers’? How about we take your personal moral judgement out of the question: “If AnCap got its way, do you think there would be less cultural pressure on white homeowners to sell to white homebuyers? Why or why not?” Want me to answer that?

  • #681


    9) You say that AnCap has no mechanism for punishing behaviour that doesn’t violate the NAP– remind me again what its mechanism is for punishing behaviour that /does/ violate the NAP? Beyond that, is it a violation of the NAP to refuse to serve people with certain identities on the basis of those identities? What if you’re the only grocer for 20 miles around, and you only serve one demographic? Then is it a violence? Your answer seems to rely on perfect competition– could you demonstrate for me a time when that has existed? I’m not sure if I believe that perfect competition is possible?

    • #831

      Spooner Bookman

      9.1: What is AnCap’s mechanism for punishing behaviour that violates the NAP?

      Force, today is used to defend against and punish aggressive behavior. This would continue under AnCap. The difference is that today, under Statist conditions (and also under AnCom conditions apparently), force is used for other purposes, whereas in AnCap, it serves just the one purpose.

      Put another way, aggressive behavior is presumed by nearly everyone to be ‘bad’ (regardless of how they got to that conclusion), much in the same way that nearly everyone presumes a bear attack is ‘bad’. We don’t need to come up with a norm that says ‘you must protect yourself and/or flee from bear attacks’ because if someone gets attacked by a bear, it is presumed by (nearly) all that they could/should/would defend themselves (or flee). Similarly, if someone gets aggressed against, the “presumption by (nearly) everyone that this is bad” (the NAP) is the start of the ‘mechanism’ for punishing aggression. From this starting point, YOU would be responsible for coming up with how to punish aggressive behavior in AnCap. You, me, our neighbors, friends, coworkers, etc. We would have to sort out how best to handle aggressions in ways that make sense among our families and communities. In a truly free society, there will be as many different mechanisms for punishing aggression as there are communities. To answer you question in full, I would have to go in to the fact that, while the mechanisms might all be slightly different from each other from one community to the next, they will of course have some similar structural/organizational/institutional features. This would get into things like private defense/insurance agencies. It could be a lengthy discussion so I’ll pause here to see if you want to go down that road?

      . . .

      9.2: Is it a violation of the NAP to refuse to serve people with certain identities? What if you’re the only grocer for 20 miles around, and you only serve one demographic — does that violate the NAP?

      Refusing to serve someone something isn’t aggression. (Initiating force against a grocer to require them to serve someone would be aggression.)

      . . .

      9.3: Your answer seems to rely on perfect competition – could you demonstrate for me a time when that has existed? I’m not sure if I believe that perfect competition is possible?

      What is ‘perfect competition’ and how does my answer rely on it?

  • #682


    10) We live today in a world in which women are regularly targeted on the basis of their sexuality, and are demeaned and not believed on the basis of their gender. If the only mechanism for getting rid of violence against women is that “any aggression could be met with lethal force,” then how do we deal with aggressions like those which women face daily, making them feel unjustly unsafe in public spaces– catcalling, lewdity, ambiguous threats, groping? I don’t believe that women will be believed often enough to kill off even serious sexual predators, even if people didn’t just argue that it wasn’t worth killing the person for committing “just one rape,” much less that most people would think it justified for a woman to shoot someone for catcalling her. Are you suggesting that we institutionalize the second-class status of women by saying that since catcalling isn’t a violation of the NAP, we can’t stop it? Or would you fall back on the worn-out argument that “we could choose to socially sanction catcallers, thus reducing incidence of catcalling, thus elevating women to a status where they can feel safe walking the streets” in which case my question would be… But couldn’t we do that today? And we clearly don’t So there are clearly power structures in place that prevent this from happening, and they’re almost certainly not only statist structures– the state is, in fact, by and large, a force for good for women when it comes to sexual violence, even if it is still woefully inadequate. How can you recommend, morally, that we adopt a political system that means that women become helpless against these kinds of transgressions that keep them down? I cite, for example, exercise data recently collected in NYC which demonstrate that women walk considerably less than men, resulting in worse health outcomes, as a result of feeling unsafe in public spaces. Is that not an issue that you think deserves to be addressed? And as far as I can tell, the NAP doesn’t help a whit… Or else it is far broader than I expected, in which case we are in agreement, and you may actually be an AnCom?

    • #832

      Spooner Bookman

      10.1: How does AnCap deal with aggressions like catcalling (and making lewd gestures or remarks)? If it is a violation of the NAP, then most people would not think it justified for a woman to shoot someone for catcalling her. But if it’s not a violation of the NAP, it must be allowed? I’ve heard the argument that we could “socially sanction” catcallers, thus reducing incidences of the behavior. My rebuttal to this is that we could do that today and we clearly don’t. This tells me there are “power structures” in place that “prevent us from sanctioning catcallers”, and they’re almost certainly not exclusively statist structures — there must be other mystery structures that will go unnamed here. The State is by and large a force for good for women when it comes to catcalling and lewd behavior. Doesn’t AnCap success mean that women become helpless against catcalling and lewd behavior?

      (10.1.1) Similar to holding racist views, catcalling and lewd remarks are not, strictly speaking, aggression. Almost as an aside, I have to note that outlawing catcalling and lewd gestures/remarks across the board (so to speak) would violate free speech: some people may pay for the pleasure of being catcalled in the same way that some pay to be spanked — just because most everyone (or just you personally) finds something morally objectionable doesn’t mean it should be outlawed. Further, and much more importantly, contrary to your point about the State being a force for good with regards to catcalling, such harassment almost invariably takes place on State land, parks, sidewalks, or streets. This is to be expected as these State-run areas and activities where the behavior is most prevalent are funded by illegitimate compulsory taxation and as such the perpetrators and their superiors do not have to respond to people’s preferences in the way firms do in a free market. Contrast what happens when catcalling takes place within the confines of a private place (Walmart or Disney World) and when it takes place on one of the State’s streets. When a woman is catcalled within the confines of a private place, it is in the entrepreneur’s self-interest to apprehend and discourage the offensive actors. If she doesn’t, she will lose the business of most if not all women as well as most if not all men who object to this maltreatment of women (which in the modern day US is almost everybody). That is, she has a strong pecuniary incentive to end the behavior. Enterprises that succeed to the greatest degree in their anti-catcalling policies will tend to reap greater profits than those that don’t, encouraging the success of those that can best mitigate the behavior. The State, on the other hand, has almost no incentive to deal with the problem, as there is no one who automatically loses anything when a woman is catcalled, and as a result, not much is done about it. The police are supposedly charged with the responsibility, but their salaries are paid for by taxation and they suffer no financial loss when women are catcalled. It is clear then why most of this type of harassment occurs on the State’s streets and rarely at Walmart or Disney World. If the State vanished, the morally objectionable but non aggressive behavior of catcalling that these practices support would diminish. (This, of course, is not a guarantee that catcalling will cease. Similar to 6.1, as long as people are people, there will be some degree of inappropriate moral behavior — anyone who says different is selling a lie. Do not get on the trains when these people tell you to get on the trains…) Quite to the contrary of your claim, the State is not, by and large and/or in any way shape or form a force for good when it comes to women being catcalled — it is arguably catcalling’s biggest supporter.

      (10.1.2) It sounds like you squeezed in a question about the proportionality of defense/retaliation in response to a possible aggression under AnCap norms — did you want to know more about this? (It seems like you’re thinking a response must be nothing at all OR lethal force, and nothing in between? Is that your understanding of AnCap?)

      (10.1.3) It also sounds like you may have a question regarding how arbitration proceedings would work when there is not hard evidence (witnesses, video, etc.) of an actual aggression (or threat thereof) taking place? Something about the ‘believability’ of a female witness? Did you want to know more about this? (The example in 10.2 below might cover this one.)

      . . .

      10.2: How does AnCap deal with ambiguous threats?

      Let me know if this example gets at what it is you want to know:

      A man yells at a woman passing by that he intends to perform a sex act on her without her consent, and the woman takes him to court. The man argues he was only catcalling her, a non-aggression, and not actually threatening any aggression. The woman counters that she believed it to be a legitimate threat — even if she may concede for the sake of our argument here that she wasn’t positive he was going to do something, i.e., it was a bit ambiguous, she still firmly argues she was frightened enough to (say) not go for her evening stroll — that is, his catcalling/ambiguous-threat essentially physically interfered with her behavior, which is almost-kinda-essentially aggression. (To the believability point, i.e., 10.1.3., let’s assume for this example that there is no evidence other than each person’s word.)

      “Considering the complexity of this, how could private arbitration possibly sort all this out in a way that is just?”

      Is this what you want to know more about?

      . . .

      10.3: How does AnCap deal with aggressions like groping?

      Groping (when not consented to) is an aggression. People would be able to respond with defensive or retaliatory force, and/or seek restitution via arbitration services. This question of yours was wrapped up with a lot of other stuff, so it’s hard to sort out what info would help your understanding. For example, do you want to know whether or not uninvited groping would likely increase or decrease under AnCap norms, and why? Or how would groping cases be handled in arbitration if the only evidence is the word of the accuser? Or what level of force would be allowed in response to groping? Or something different?

  • #683


    11) I think that we are disagreeing here on two issues: First, what constitutes “slavery,” second, what constitutes “viewing something as normal.” I would grant that if you were to walk up to any american, and ask “Is slavery normal?” they’ll say no. Yet, the slave labour provided for us by the prison industry is an enormous part of our economy that sustains us on a daily basis. Additionally, sex slavery is still alive and well as an institution, and is patronized by a huge number of people. Whether or not people will /say/ that slavery is normal, they live their lives with no concern for the slavery that exists, even, often, relying on it to make it through the day. Is that not “thinking that slavery is normal?” Is anything less than arguing vociferously and constantly against slavery on the daily, when one knows that it exists, not accepting slavery as “normal,” given the kind of outrage that the existence of slavery /ought/ to inspire? What I was trying to articulate in my earlier point was that all of those systematic and segregative injustices prevent us from developing proper empathy for individuals with different identities form our own, which lets us treat slavery as it exists today as not awful and, thus, as normal.

    As far as the first definition goes, if you would like to argue that any of the sex slavery that exists in the U.S. today or the prison-based slave labour that exists in the U.S. today is /not/ “slavery,” I would be glad to hear your argument. I grant that it’s not identical to the model of deep-south slavery that we grow up learning about, but it is unambiguously slavery nonetheless.

    • #833

      Spooner Bookman

      11. Anything less than arguing vociferously and constantly every day against the slavery that exists is the same thing as accepting slavery as “normal”, therefore, considering that essentially no one on earth does this, that means that essentially everyone on earth thinks slavery is “normal”.

      Yes, by that definition, I agree with you. Now that we’ve cleared up what you mean when you say ‘people think slavery is normal’, we can continue with the rest of your question:

      11. Given that nobody on earth has ever argued vociferously and constantly every day against the slavery that exists, and that racism is ingrained into both the economic behavior and the ‘behavioural’ behavior of most people, how could AnCap create a system that (11.1) works for black people, when (11.2) most people (esp. white people) wouldn’t be willing to make fair deals with them?

      11.1: When you say ‘a system that works for black people’, what do you mean by ‘works for’? (Makes them wealthy? Wealthier than anyone else? Or just provides for all their needs and desires? Or, looking at the context, are you saying a system that works for black people is just one in which non-black people are willing to make fair deals with black people?)

      11.2: Are you saying that if the State was gone, the majority of non-black races wouldn’t be willing to make fair deals with black people? And of the non-black races (Asian, Hispanic, etc.) that will be unwilling, white people will be especially unwilling? Am I reading that right?

  • #689


    At any rate, super excited to hear your response to the points in this subthread especially!

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