Property in Land

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This topic contains 13 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Hogeye 1 month ago.

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  • #168

    Jacob
    Keymaster

    I’m currently reading Studies in Mutualist Political Economy by Kevin Carson, and in the section on land monopoly he quotes our own Hogeye on the relationship between “sticky property” and “usufruct”. Looking up the web links from which Carson draws the quotes, I am unable to find the forum thread, either on the original site or on the Internet Archive.

    I wondered if Hogeye had any copies saved of that discussion to share? Or if he could help explain the different ideas, as he understands them? I find the whole ongoing discussion over property in land interesting, especially as it seems like one of the major differences between mutualism and anarcho-capitalism, but reading some of the more recent writings on the subject by Carson and others leaves me wondering what specifically both sides are advocating for.

  • #222

    Hogeye
    Participant

    I had forgotten, but Kevin’s book has very good footnotes. It turns out most of what he quotes is from the (now defunct) Anti-State.com forum. Some of it is recapped in the chapter on property in my book “Against Authority.”

    Footnotes from Carson’s “Mutualist Political Economy.”

    10. Bill Orton, “Cohen’s Argument,” Free-Market.Net forums, January 1, 2001 http://www.free- market.net/forums/main0012/messages/807541545.html Captured April 30, 2004.
    11. Orton, “Re: On the Question of Private Property,” Anti- State.Com Forum, August 30, 2003. http://www.antistate.com/forum/index.php?board=6;action=display;threadid =6726;start=20 Captured April 30, 2004.
    12. Bill Orton, “Yet Another Variation,” Anti-State.Com Forum, December 7, 2003. http://anti- state.com/forum/index.php?board=1;action=display;threadid=7965;start=0 Captured April 30, 2004.
    13. Bill Orton, “Property (Wolf De Voon),” Anti-State.Com Forum, July 07, 2003, http://anti- state.com/forum/index.php?board=2;action=display;threadid=6072;start=0 Captured April 30, 2004.

    51. Bill Orton, “Property and Panarchy,” Free-Market.Net Forum, December 28, 2000. http://www.free- market.net/forums/main0012/messages/408156009.html Captured April 30, 2004.
    52. Orton, “Cohen’s Argument.”
    53. Bill Orton, “Which is MORE important–market or anarchy?” Anti- State.Com Forum, August 23, 2003. http://anti- state.com/forum/index.php?board=1;action=display;threadid=6721;start=20 Captured April 30, 2004.
    54. Bill Orton, “Re: Anarch-Socialism,” Anti-State.Com Forum, April 1, 2004. http://anti- state.com/forum/index.php?board=6;action=display;threadid=9256;start=120 Captured April 30, 2004.
    55. Bill Orton, “Re: Poll: What if An-capistan turned anti- capitalist?” Anti-State.Com Forum, January 31, 2003. http://anti- state.com/forum/index.php?board=1;action=display;threadid=8702;start=140 Captured April 30, 2004.
    56. Orton, “Re: Yet Another Variation…” Antistate.Com Forum, December 8, 2003. http://www.antistate.com/forum/index.php?board=1;action=display;threadid =7965;start=20 Captured April 30, 2004.
    57. Orton, “Re: On the Question of Private Property,” Anti- State.Com Forum, August 30, 2003. http://anti- state.com/forum/index.php?board=6;action=display;threadid=6726;start=20 Captured April 30, 2004.

  • #223

    Hogeye
    Participant

    In short, I think that mutualist “possession” property and anarcho-capitalist “sticky” property are essentially the same, except for a shorter abandonment period for the former. “Abandonment period” is defined as the time lag of non-use before an owned resource is deemed no longer owned, and hence (re)homesteadable. This is IMO a matter of degree, and not quality. Thus possession and sticky property are both sub-categories of private property. (Geoism is also quite close to anarcho-capitalism.)

    Cf: http://www.ozarkia.net/bill/anarchism/library/aa/p014.html

  • #256

    Spooner Bookman
    Participant

    Thanks for the explanation and that crazy helpful link, Hogeye. I haven’t thought/read much about this and this was a pretty good crash course.

    I’ve been reading some stuff lately that’s got me wanting to understand it better, so, just checking to see if I’ve got the basics of the mutualism/ancap–possession/sticky thing — if one of y’all could point me to some more basic reading (and/or have a way of explaining it) based on the following, that would be awesome:

    Both AnCap and Mutualism agree that you can own some land, and leave it for, say, 2 seconds and come right back, and it’s still ‘your’ land. And both would agree you could leave it for 60 seconds, or 2 minutes, or even a day or a week and it’s still ‘yours’ when you come back.

    But, at some point in time after you’ve left the land, a difference arises between AnCap and Mutualism: Mutualism says you forfeit your ownership because you didn’t use/possess it for X amount of time so it essentially becomes ‘land’ again and is up for grabs. And the ‘difference’ is that AnCap doesn’t say this, i.e., you can leave land for as long as you want and you can come back at any time and it would still be your land.

    Is that right? If it’s not, then the following probably wouldn’t be my first question, but if it’s right: How would a Mutualist figure out how long that ‘X’ amount of time would be before you forfeit the land?

  • #257

    Jacob
    Keymaster

    I’ve chatted with some mutualists over on reddit about this, and I’ve read some of the literature, and to be honest no one seems to have a clear idea of how occupancy and use property norms would work in practice.

    That said, the usual response from mutualists goes something like, “local groups of people would have to come up with their own standards to fit their situation.” To me the implication is that they would rely on local, consensus democracy to determine the specifics, including the exact amount of time that would pass before land would be considered abandoned. The hope would be that people would come up with norms that would let them keep their own land easily enough to live on it and use it, while also limiting the ability of any small group of people to end up controlling all or most of the land while everyone else has to work for them.

    One point that Hogeye’s explanation regarding abandonment periods doesn’t capture, in my opinion, is the distinction between “personal property” and “private property” that socialists, (on reddit at least,) like to make. The idea is that personal property is used by the property owner themselves, while private property is owned by one party and used by another, generally with the property owner charging “usury”, or a fee for mere usage. For example, someone who holds title to a plot of land, lives there themselves, and cultivates the land for their own consumption or for gift or trade is treating the land as “personal property”, while a landlord who holds title to land and lets others live there for a fee is treating the land as “private property.”

    My impression is that mutualists reject “private property” in this sense, and that if two people entered into a rental contract, with one as landlord and another as tenant, then mutualists would not accept the contract as valid. Once the tenant moved in and began living on the land, and the landlord had stopped living there, mutualists would treat the land as belonging to the tenant. They wouldn’t force the original owner to let the tenant move in, they’d let them live on the land themselves and treat it as their own while they did, but once they let the tenant become the occupant mutualists would treat the new occupant as the owner, as though letting someone else occupy the land counted as giving them title to the land.

    This does lead us back to the question of just what counts as “occupancy”, and the answer I’ve received when asking this, as I said above, usually comes down to “different groups of people would have to agree amongst themselves on what standard to use.” I don’t really find this satisfying, because the unspoken implication seems to be that people would have to abide by majority vote among people living in a certain geographical area. This sounds much like a form of government, and a form of hierarchy, which undermines the attempt to get rid of the hierarchy contained in absentee ownership of property.

    But that’s my impression of the “occupancy and use” position. I started writing a much longer response, but reading through it I think I’m going to try making a blog post out of it, partly because of the length. We’ll see if I’m able to work up something I’m satisfied enough with to publish as a blog post in any reasonable length of time… Heh.

    Edit: Forgot to suggest reading material, which is to say, I forgot the best part! Lol.

    Some of the literature that I have read so far includes:

    What is Property? by Pierre Joseph Proudhon
    The gift economy of property by Shawn P. Wilbur
    A Plea for Public Property by Roderick Long
    Land-Locked: A Critique of Carson on Property Rights by Roderick Long
    Carson’s Rejoinders by Kevin Carson

    The last two are from the Journal of Libertarian Studies symposium on Kevin Carson’s book Studies in Mutualist Political Economy, which I mentioned in my first post. That book has good material on the topic as well, but it’s 400 pages long, and I have found it hard to get through. I would suggest reading just the sections on “primitive accumulation” of capital and “land monopoly” if you’re interested in the parts of the book relevant to the present topic. If you have time to read the whole book, I expect you’d enjoy it, but I suggest reading The Labor Theory of Value: A Critique of Carson by Robert Murphy before jumping into the whole of Carson’s book, because I had a terrible time trying to understand what the labor theory of value was supposed to be while reading Carson’s description of it. It wasn’t until reading Murphy’s critique that I thought, “Oh! That’s what Carson was trying to say.”

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by  Jacob. Reason: added reading material
  • #260

    Spooner Bookman
    Participant

    This gives me a chance to circle back to what I said on that other thread — just to bring that back up before responding: “I didn’t think I was making ‘voluntary’ synonymous with ‘propertarian’, in the sense that if I say I need a grill to grill a burger, that’s not me saying a ‘grill’ is synonymous with ‘a burger’.”

    And: “…a voluntary society would necessarily require at least one property norm [i.e., self-ownership]… Now, AFTER that one property norm, I’m pretty much game for whatever.”

    With the above in mind, I have a question: is the difference between AnCap and Mutualist just a difference of opinion as to ‘what happens next’ in a voluntary society once one had been achieved?

    For example: “…local groups of people would have to come up with their own standards to fit their situation.”

    Doesn’t that apply to any situation/property-norm/etc. in any anarchist society? (Or put another way: what makes this a ‘Mutualist’ position as opposed to, say, an Anarcho Capitalist one?)

    . . .

    For another example: “…if two people entered into a rental contract, with one as landlord and another as tenant, then mutualists would not accept the contract as valid.”

    If both Mutualism and Anarcho Capitalism don’t have any issue with people banding together and opting to not accept a contract like that as valid, what’s the difference between the two? Just different prescriptions for how things would work best?

    . . .

    I’ve got Proudhon on my to-read list already, so I’ll bump that up the list per your recommendation. And I’m curious about this Kevin Carson guy, if only because he seems to live around here.

    I love Bob Murphy! On that score, any chance you’re a Contra Krugman fan? (Podcast with Tom Woods; Bob cracks me up…)

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by  Spooner Bookman. Reason: Typos/Grammar
  • #263

    Hogeye
    Participant

    Jacob> “And the ‘difference’ is that AnCap doesn’t say this, i.e., you can leave land for as long as you want and you can come back at any time and it would still be your land.”

    Close, but not quite. Even anarcho-capitalists acknowledge abandonment, at some point. Even ancaps agree that, at some point, an abandoned car or sunken ship may be “salvaged” or rehomesteaded. So it really is a difference of degree, not kind.

    Roth Bard, the difference between anarcho-capitalism and mutualism is about the best economic/property system. We pretty much agree on “what happens next” other than such details. Note that even anarcho-capitalists can disagree among themselves about property conventions, e.g. how many decibels before a noise is deemed a property violation? (And various threshold issues like that.) Interestingly, Jacob wrote that he is “uncomfortable” with such community conventions regarding property. I have to disagree. Convention is not government.

    Jacob> “One point that Hogeye’s explanation regarding abandonment periods doesn’t capture, in my opinion, is the distinction between “personal property” and “private property” that socialists, (on reddit at least,) like to make.”

    We were talking about mutualism. Mutualists as such do not make that artificial distinction between personal property and private property. That is a socialist delusion. (Some mutualists call themselves “socialist,” but they use Hodgeskin’s 19th century definition and generally don’t accept Marxian exploitation theory.) Yes, socialists make a distinction regarding capital goods, and claim that multiple user capital goods cannot be private property. Proudhon ridiculed this distinction.

    Jacob> “My impression is that mutualists reject “private property.”“

    I think your impression is incorrect. Check out the C4SS site, or read “Markets not Capitalism.” Mutualists certainly DO support private property. It sounds to me like you were talking to socialists, not mutualists.

    Here a pertinent quote:

    The social relationships that market anarchists explicitly defend, and hope to free from all forms of government control, are relationships based on:

    1  Ownership of property, especially decentralized individual ownership, not only of personal possessions but also of land, homes, natural resources, tools, and capital goods;

    2  Contract and voluntary exchange of goods and services, by individuals or groups, on the expectation of mutual benefit;

    3  Free competition among all buyers and sellers – in price, quality, and all other aspects of exchange – without ex ante restraints or burdensome barriers to entry;

    4  Entrepreneurial discovery, undertaken not only to compete in existing markets but also in order to discover and develop new opportunities for economic or social benefit; and

    5  Spontaneous order, recognized as a significant and positive coordinating force – in which decentralized negotiations, exchanges, and entrepreneurship converge to produce large-scale coordination without, or beyond the capacity of, any deliberate plans or explicit common blueprints for social or economic development.

    http://radgeek.com/gt/2011/10/Markets-Not-Capitalism-2011-Chartier-and-Johnson.pdf

  • #264

    Jacob
    Keymaster

    Thank you both for your interesting responses!

    Roth Bard:

    With the above in mind, I have a question: is the difference between AnCap and Mutualist just a difference of opinion as to ‘what happens next’ in a voluntary society once one had been achieved?

    For example: “…local groups of people would have to come up with their own standards to fit their situation.”

    Doesn’t that apply to any situation/property-norm/etc. in any anarchist society? (Or put another way: what makes this a ‘Mutualist’ position as opposed to, say, an Anarcho Capitalist one?)

    I guess some anarcho-capitalists accept geographically based communities as anarchistic, (under certain circumstances,) so for mutualists and communists to do the same thing doesn’t actually make them essentially different, as I implied. What I really wanted to criticize there was the idea of community membership being based on where one lives, (or where one is born,) as opposed to what community one has contractually agreed to be a member of. I’m cool with communities having norms or conventions. Authors like David Friedman, (an ancap,) seem to place much more emphasis on the non-territoriality of their preferred dispute resolution system than socialists and even mutualists, though.

    Hogeye:

    Jacob> “My impression is that mutualists reject “private property.”“

    I think your impression is incorrect. Check out the C4SS site, or read “Markets not Capitalism.” Mutualists certainly DO support private property. It sounds to me like you were talking to socialists, not mutualists.

    Regarding C4SS and the book Markets Not Capitalism, (and I’m a fan of both,) I think I agree with a reddit post by Shawn Wilbur, (who is himself a mutualist, in what he considers the more “traditional”, Proudhonian sense.)

    Shawn Wilbur:

    The majority of folks at C4SS seem to be market anarchists, on the Tuckerite model. They are concerned primarily with the effects of monopoly and are generally individualist in their approach. They’re anti-capitalist in the sense that they think the elimination of monopoly conditions will bring about substantially different results than those we have seen in actually existing capitalism, but Tucker wasn’t kidding when he said that his approach was really just “consistent Manchesterianism.” He envisioned something like equal exploitation, rather than the elimination of any non-monopoly sources.

    Traditional mutualism is different, in the sense that it identifies and opposes specific property and exchange conventions that might still create a class society, even in the absence of governmental interference in the market. It’s particular form of experimentalism includes collective dimensions that are not necessarily present in market anarchist approaches.

    Mutualists like Shawn Wilbur make clear, in their writings, that they don’t support property the way those at Mises or even at C4SS do. When I think of mutualism, I think more of Shawn’s work and less of Roderick Long’s, Gary Chartier’s, or Charles Johnson’s. All three of those last authors I mentioned are writers I draw from quite a bit for my own ideas, but I don’t think they call themselves mutualists; they only draw from mutualism while also drawing from other sources like John Locke, Murray Rothbard, and various modern ancaps.

    Thus, I agree with Hogeye that many at C4SS support “private property” in the sense I used the term above, (e.g. they condone wage labor and rent on land under some circumstances,) but I don’t think of C4SS as representative of mutualism. They’re more like a combination of some anarcho-capitalist ideas with the individualist anarchism of Tucker and Spooner, a bit less of mutualism, and a spattering of other influences.

    I don’t mean that as a complaint, I like their attempt to advocate for a broad, inclusive sort of anarchism. I just don’t want to conflate their ideas with those of others.

    Hogeye

    We were talking about mutualism. Mutualists as such do not make that artificial distinction between personal property and private property. That is a socialist delusion. (Some mutualists call themselves “socialist,” but they use Hodgeskin’s 19th century definition and generally don’t accept Marxian exploitation theory.) Yes, socialists make a distinction regarding capital goods, and claim that multiple user capital goods cannot be private property. Proudhon ridiculed this distinction.

    I did not know Proudhon ridiculed this distinction, I definitely find that interesting! Do you remember where he does so?

    On exploitation, Shawn Wilbur has a post here explaining Proudhon’s theory of exploitation, which he treats as different from Marx’s exploitation theory while still being an exploitation theory. I acknowledge that the post is Shawn’s interpretation of Proudhon, but Shawn seems like the most prominent scholar studying Proudhon’s writings in depth today, and he seems to have studied pretty deeply, so he seems like a trustworthy source.

    Roth Bard:

    I’ve got Proudhon on my to-read list already, so I’ll bump that up the list per your recommendation. And I’m curious about this Kevin Carson guy, if only because he seems to live around here.

    I love Bob Murphy! On that score, any chance you’re a Contra Krugman fan? (Podcast with Tom Woods; Bob cracks me up…)

    I’ve heard of Contra Krugman, and I expect I would very much enjoy it! But, alas, I don’t think I have yet listened to any of the episodes. I have listened to and read other things by Tom Woods and Bob Murphy, though, and I am definitely also a fan of both.

    Kevin Carson does live nearby, I believe. I like a lot of his writing, he seems to have a unique perspective on a lot of things. You may enjoy reading some of his essays before trying to delve into his books; I recommend Healthcare: A Crisis of Artificial Scarcity, On “Economies of Scale” and Other Magical Incantations, and the chapters by him in the book Hogeye linked to above titled Markets Not Capitalism.

  • #265

    Spooner Bookman
    Participant

    “I guess some anarcho-capitalists accept geographically based communities as anarchistic, (under certain circumstances)… What I really wanted to criticize there was the idea of community membership being based on where one lives (or where one is born), as opposed to what community one has contractually agreed to be a member of.”

    Ok, I’m definitely confused.

    I thought all ancaps (not just some) accepted any community as anarchistic so long as there’s no state, i.e., the community (i.e., a group of individuals) abides by the NAP. Ancap has no preference between ‘geographically based’ communities compared to any other type of communities, as far as I know. Ancap prefers NAP communities to non-NAP communities, and that’s all on that point.

    What am I getting wrong there?

    I mean, it seems kinda obvious a lot of (maybe most) communities would naturally be geographically based, so when imagining a free society, I think we tend to imagine geographically based communities. But nobody (to my knowledge) is saying that’s somehow a requirement.

    (Thinking about it just now, you technically have to be geographically present in some community somewhere so long as you have a physical body, right? So you’re necessarily tied to a community via physical location no matter what… You could obviously be a member of numerous, non-geographical based communities at the same time, but everyone is a member of at least one geographic-based community: the one their body is presently in, unless they’re in the middle of nowhere or something.)

    . . .

    “Authors like David Friedman (an ancap) seem to place much more emphasis on the non-territoriality of their preferred dispute resolution system than socialists and even mutualists, though.”

    Someone’s ‘preferred dispute resolution system’ is just that — a preference — in ancapistan. Prefer whatever ‘system’ you want for anything — ‘dispute resolution’ or whatever. Just no state, and no NAP-violations.

    . . .

    “[Quoting that other guy] Traditional mutualism is different, in the sense that it identifies and opposes specific property and exchange conventions that might still create a class society, even in the absence of governmental interference in the market. It’s particular form of experimentalism includes collective dimensions that are not necessarily present in market anarchist approaches.”

    So, if I’m hearing this right, what makes a mutualist a mutualist is that they are opposed to some conventions that they foresee developing if the state were removed, and they have suggestions for how to fix/prevent these conventions. Is that right?

    . . .

    Do mutualists agree with the NAP? (I’m having a tough time finding an answer on that…)

    Because if mutualists simply are opposed to some conventions they think would arise in a stateless society and they believe in the NAP, I just don’t get what makes them any different from ancaps other than they have different post-state concerns/solutions?

    . . .

    “Mutualists like Shawn Wilbur make clear… that they don’t support property the way those at Mises or even at C4SS do.”

    Am I just way over simplifying things? If they agree they aren’t going to take my property from me, then they support property the way Mises did. If they do want to take my property, then they don’t (and they’re not libertarians/anarchists/etc.).

  • #266

    Jacob
    Keymaster

    Roth Bard:

    I thought all ancaps (not just some) accepted any community as anarchistic so long as there’s no state, i.e., the community (i.e., a group of individuals) abides by the NAP. Ancap has no preference between ‘geographically based’ communities compared to any other type of communities, as far as I know. Ancap prefers NAP communities to non-NAP communities, and that’s all on that point.

    I had originally written a slightly longer post that had a more in depth explanation of this point, but, when reading back over it, I reduced it, thinking my post was too long and what I left would still be enough. I guess it was not. Perhaps my own understanding of anarchism is more unique than I assumed.

    So, I shall try to explain. (Indeed, I shall go even more in depth than I had originally attempted, before shortening my previous post.)

    The NAP subsumes concepts of consent, property, and violence. What counts as aggression to someone depends on the person’s view of these other things.

    One oft-employed justification of the State is that people live in, or are born in, a particular geographical area, which the State claims as its dominion. An often used reply, among ancaps, is that without having homesteaded the land, or gained it through legitimate-title-transfer, the State can not be the land’s rightful owner. Without being the land’s rightful owner, they can not require people residing on the land to obey them, and no one requires the State’s permission to reside on the land. Since no one needs the State’s permission to reside on the land, residing on the land does not qualify as consent to be governed. Other possible methods of consent are ruled out by other means, leaving us with the conclusion that the State can either cease to exist, or maintain its existence by violating the consent of its subjects, which violates the non-aggression principle, hence the ethical objection ancaps have to its continued existence.

    This line of reasoning leaves open the possibility that someone could, in fact, gain ownership of land through means ancaps regard as legitimate, set up a State of their own to govern their land, and accept volunteers to be their subjects. This raises the question of whether ancaps oppose the existence of a State in principle, or whether they might, under some narrow circumstances, accept a State as legitimate, i.e. as not violating the NAP.

    I tentatively accept that, in principle, a group of people living in a particular geographical area could unanimously agree to create an institution with monopoly powers over the use of force, which could resolve their disputes and enforce laws among them. One could argue that such an institution would be a voluntary State, voluntary because those subject to its rule explicitly consented to be ruled, and a State because it would have monopoly powers over the use of force and the provision of legal services, at least within a limited geographical space. Such an institution would only violate the NAP if one takes people to have an inalienable right not to be ruled by a State, rights which they have no capacity to forfeit even by explicitly expressing their consent.

    While I would not wish to live in such a community, I would probably not try to destroy the State they created unless they used it to attack someone outside their community. I would accept their relationship with their government at least enough to leave them and their government be.

    However, if any of them had children, I would not accept as valid any contract which the child supposedly entered into by being born in the territory of their government, or by growing up in said territory and failing to leave upon turning 18. I don’t accept birth and failure to leave as forms of consent, even if the government has legitimate property rights in the land they rule, by ancap or lockean standards. I also reject the idea that the parents can consent on behalf of their children.

    Thus, such a State would have, at best, temporary legitimacy, in my view. Once anyone residing in the State’s territory had offspring, the legitimacy of the State’s monopoly powers would, at least partially, evaporate. There would be no legitimate contract between them and the newborns, and so those newborns would not be subject to the State’s rule. Such a State would not have much of a monopoly, in my opinion, at least compared to real world States today.

    This argument, of course, takes as premises certain ideas about property in land. Specifically, my argument rejects the idea that a property owner can rule over someone born on their property, simply because they were born there, even when the property owner owns the land legitimately, based on lockean principles.

    Thus, under what circumstances one condones certain institutions depends, in part, on one’s view of property rights in land. If one accepts land owners as having the right to absolute rule over their land and everyone on it, one can use this, in theory, to justify the existence of some States.

    Since I reject the legitimacy of the State as an institution, except under the narrow circumstances I described, (under which the legitimacy of the institution’s monopoly powers is temporary,) and since I think even a State that obtained legitimacy in the way I suggest would likely end up becoming the sort of non-consensual institution that rules over us today, I want to live in a community without one.

    In my opinion, this means either doing without a legal system altogether or creating a legal system using institutions that have no monopoly powers over the use of force in a given geographical area. Creating a legal system with laws enforced by an institution with monopoly powers over the use of force in a given territory would be creating a State, which, even if consensual at first by the standards I described above, would, in my opinion, most likely violate the NAP eventually as new people were born in its domain, forcing it to either give up its monopoly powers in any absolute sense or rule over the new people without their consent.

    Coming back around to your question, what I wanted to allude to by the phrase “geographically based community” was a community which accepted residence, or birth, in a given geographical area as a form of consent, in particular of consent to be governed. I have a problem with such communities for the reasons described above.

    By “non-territorial dispute resolution system” I mean a system of dispute resolution which does not take people to be bound to a given set of rules merely because they reside, or are born, in a given geographical area.

    Since I take a State, (which I define as “an institution with monopoly powers over the use of force in a given geographical area, which claims a right to coerce those within its domain and to issue obligation-creating edicts to them,”) to qualify as a form of “rulership”, and since I take anarchism to be, roughly, either the rejection of rulers or the project of living without them, a core part of my own anarchism is advocating a society that has no territorial legal system. Since I value consent, and since I do not accept being born in a given area and refusing to leave upon turning 18 as a form of consent, I want to abolish any institution that violates consent by regarding someone as bound to obey them merely because of where they live or where they were born.

    Since I expect people to have disputes, I do also want some way of settling disputes that arise. Thus, another core part of my own anarchism is advocating for some kind of social system in which people are bound by rules and institutions which they contractually agree to be bound by, and in which people can switch membership from one community to another without physically relocating.

    I accept some limits to my idealism; perhaps, for instance, since people living close to one another would be more likely to interact, and thus to have disputes, people living close to each other may try to join the same dispute-resolution institution, and be bound by the same rules, as those they live by, and the easiest way to avoid some conflicts may be to change where one lives. But I want to minimize the need for people to physically relocate in order to switch from one community to another peacefully.

    Roth Bard:

    So, if I’m hearing this right, what makes a mutualist a mutualist is that they are opposed to some conventions that they foresee developing if the state were removed, and they have suggestions for how to fix/prevent these conventions. Is that right?

    . . .

    Do mutualists agree with the NAP? (I’m having a tough time finding an answer on that…)

    I would hesitate to say that’s what makes a mutualist a mutualist as such, but I think you mean “makes them a mutualist as opposed to an ancap,” which I think is pretty much correct. Shawn Wilbur, as far as I can tell, treats mutualism as an ethos, one which opposes both specific sorts of property norms and specific sorts of legal institutions, (like a State,) among other things.

    I think Kevin Carson agrees with the NAP. (He says somewhere in Studies in Mutualist Political Economy that if abolishing usury completely requires force, it’s not worth using force to do so.) I’m not sure about Shawn Wilbur. I think those two people are the two most prominent mutualist writers alive today. Since they have different views from each other, and since other living mutualists seem relatively few and far between, it does make it easy to become confused as to what “mutualism” as a philosophy is supposed to consist of.

    I have honestly had a difficult time finding an answer to this question myself, but I suspect most mutualists value, (among other things,) consent, autonomy, and equity, which together I think can form into a non-aggression principle. But I also think some mutualists, and most social anarchists, would object to using the non-aggression principle as a core political ethos because they take it to imply support for certain property norms which they reject. (Which is part of why I’m trying so hard to concoct a relatively property-norm independent non-aggression principle, so I can try to get at least some social anarchists and mutualists to work with open-minded ancaps to create a community I’d like to live in.)

    Roth Bard:

    Because if mutualists simply are opposed to some conventions they think would arise in a stateless society and they believe in the NAP, I just don’t get what makes them any different from ancaps other than they have different post-state concerns/solutions?

    . . .

    “Mutualists like Shawn Wilbur make clear… that they don’t support property the way those at Mises or even at C4SS do.”

    Am I just way over simplifying things? If they agree they aren’t going to take my property from me, then they support property the way Mises did. If they do want to take my property, then they don’t (and they’re not libertarians/anarchists/etc.).

    How one applies the non-aggression principle, and what one regards as “theft”, depends on one’s view of property norms, which is, I think, one of the main points of contention between different self-identified anarchists. Someone who doesn’t share your view of property may, by your standard, take your property from you without, by their own standards, thinking of themselves as taking your property, and similarly you could deprive them of something they regard as their property while you do not. People who have different views of property may disagree about whether one of them is stealing from another, which is where whatever dispute resolution system they adopt comes into play. Mutualists may let ancaps abide by ancap norms amongst themselves so long as the ancaps do the same for the mutualists, and Kevin Carson implies in his book that he would prefer a situation something like this, but just how disputes over whether a mutualist violated the property of an ancap, or vice versa, could best be resolved seems frustratingly tricky to figure out.

    I hope that, in succumbing to my eternal temptation towards verbosity, I at least helped clarify my own thoughts? Let me know if any of this makes sense.

  • #275

    Spooner Bookman
    Participant

    [Check out these block quotes! Starting to get the hang of this forum business…]

    “…someone could… gain ownership of land through means ancaps regard as legitimate, set up a State of their own… and accept volunteers to be their subjects. This raises the question of whether ancaps oppose the existence of a State in principle…”

    If a ‘State’ is “an institution with monopoly powers over the use of force in a given geographical area, which claims a right to coerce those within its domain and to issue obligation-creating edicts to them,” and every individual in an anarchist society has monopoly powers over the use of force in a given geographical area known as ‘their own property’, then every individual in an anarchist society is a ‘State’ unto themselves when on their own property.

    Correct, or no?

    If correct, then in that sense, AnCap isn’t opposed to ‘the existence of a State [like the one described above, specifically referencing the part about accepting ‘volunteers’ to be subjects] in principle’ because every man is a king in the castle of his own home, so to speak. If I legitimately own my land, and I’m the only one living on it, then it’s fair to say I have monopoly powers over the use of force on that land, and if anyone would like to voluntarily enter/use my land, I can stipulate that by doing so, they are agreeing to my claim to the right to coerce them and issue obligation-creating edicts to them that they must abide by (so long as they are on my land). If they don’t like the terms of this contract, they can opt to not enter/live on my land.

    Of course, if they voluntarily enter into this arrangement, then it’s hard to argue that I am in fact a real ‘State’ – it would be more accurate to call it a ‘voluntary State’, which would mean it no longer fits your definition of a ‘State’, which would mean AnCaps can be ok with what you’ve described, while still being opposed to ‘the existence of a State in principle’.

    “One could argue that such an institution would be a voluntary State… [even though] it would have monopoly powers… within a limited geographical space.”

    A ‘voluntary State’ is an oxymoron: if submission to any given State is voluntary, then that State doesn’t really have ‘monopoly’ powers because ‘monopoly’ (by definition) includes the ‘exclusive’ control of something. If people can opt out of this State’s ‘control’, i.e., their submission is voluntary (they chose to enter the land and accept the conditions of the landowner, i.e., submission to the ‘State’), then the State doesn’t really have a ‘monopoly’ and therefore, isn’t really a ‘State’ according to your definition of a State (which I accept as a good definition).

    Correct, or no?

    . . .

    “…I reject the legitimacy of the State as an institution, except under the narrow circumstances I described…”

    I’d argue the entity existing under the narrow circumstances you described isn’t a State, so accepting that entity as legitimate isn’t the same thing as accepting a State as legitimate.

    . . .

    “…even if consensual at first… [the voluntary ‘State’] would, in my opinion, most likely violate the NAP eventually…”

    That’s the point when it would go from not being a State to being a State. And I definitely agree: you set up something like a State anywhere and, well, give some people an inch and they’ll think you just submitted to them being your ruler… (Get it? Inch… Ruler? …)

    . . .

    “Coming back around to your question, what I wanted to allude to by the phrase ‘geographically based community’ was a community which accepted residence, or birth, in a given geographical area as a form of consent…”

    My question was basically that I wasn’t aware of any AnCaps who accepted this, because my understanding of AnCap is that it doesn’t accept this, so anyone who does accept it isn’t really an AnCap? Were you saying Friedman accepted this?

    . . .

    “…a core part of my own anarchism is advocating a society that has no territorial legal system. [a system of dispute resolution in which people are bound to a given set of rules merely because they reside, or are born, in a given geographical area…] I want to abolish any institution that violates consent by regarding someone as bound to obey them merely because of where they live or where they were born.”

    I agree on the ‘born’ point, but if you’d like to voluntarily ‘move to’ my land (immigrate?), then I get to choose whether or not to allow you to do this. And part of that choosing could involve you submitting to my rules – even if my rules include a legal system for my territory. If you voluntarily submit to my rulership in exchange for living on my land, you are now living under a territorial legal system (i.e., mine) – however, you are doing it voluntarily. In that sense, a ‘territorial legal system’ can certainly ‘exist’ while also not violating AnCap in any way.

    Correct, or no?

    “…another core part of my own anarchism is advocating for some kind of social system in which people are bound by rules and institutions which they contractually agree to be bound by, and in which people can switch membership from one community to another without physically relocating.”

    This holds up just fine for me except for the exception I noted immediately preceding this: if you physically relocated to my land under a voluntary, contractual agreement and you later decide you don’t want to submit to that agreement, you would necessarily need to physically relocate in order to not violate the NAP (or renegotiate the terms of our agreement, which would surely account for this situation, assuming either of us have half a brain). If you were to break the contract and continue to live on my land then you are in breach of our contract, and you are the aggressor – you need to leave, not me.

    . . .

    “…the two most prominent mutualist writers alive today… have different views from each other, and since other living mutualists seem relatively few and far between, it does make it easy to become confused as to what ‘mutualism’ as a philosophy is supposed to consist of.”

    Ha, that makes me feel better – I was getting frustrated that I couldn’t pin it down. Glad to see it’s not an issue with me but with their inchoate ideas. (Was that too harsh? I’ve been wanting to use ‘inchoate’ in a sentence for months now, and this is the first time I’ve had even the slightest reason for using it…)

    . . .

    “I have honestly had a difficult time finding an answer to [whether or not Mutualists agree to the NAP], but I suspect most mutualists value, (among other things,) consent, autonomy, and equity, which together I think can form into a non-aggression principle.”

    One can claim to value consent until they’re blue in the face, but if they’re willing to use aggression to accomplish their goals, they don’t value consent at all.

    “But I also think some mutualists, and most social anarchists, would object to using the non-aggression principle as a core political ethos because they take it to imply support for certain property norms which they reject.”

    I disagree (and we may need a new thread for this one?). I believe the only reason anyone rejects the NAP is because they would like to use force and aggression to get their way. If you won’t accept the NAP as a starting point, it’s because you’re looking for a way around it – you would like to reserve the right to aggress against me. What good could come from discussing property norms if, after having agreed to some norms, you reserve the right to violate them with aggression? If aggression is on the table, then there is only one property norm – might makes right – and all other norms would be subservient to that one.

    “Someone who doesn’t share your view of property may, by your standard, take your property from you without, by their own standards, thinking of themselves as taking your property, and similarly you could deprive them of something they regard as their property while you do not.”

    Right, but all of that presupposes that both of us would like to not aggress against each other. And that we are trying to sort out what is and isn’t aggression, and once we decide who the aggressor is, we agree that the aggressor is at fault (as opposed to the non-aggressor). By contrast, if we aren’t starting from the NAP, then what’s the point in sorting out who aggressed against whom? If you and I both come to the conclusion that I aggressed against you, it’s all for nothing if my retort is ‘So what? I don’t have a problem with aggression.”

    . . .

    “Mutualists may let ancaps abide by ancap norms amongst themselves…”

    If Mutualists abide by the NAP then they have no choice/say in the matter — they ‘may let ancaps’ do anything the AnCaps want so long as they do it ‘amongst themselves’.

    “…so long as the ancaps do the same for the mutualists…”

    This statement is really my primary question in all this mess: I ASSURE you, AnCaps will let Mutualists (or anyone) abide by Mutualist (or any) norms amongst themselves (so long as they don’t aggress against anyone). So, my primary question in all this: If AnCaps want Mutualists to live the way they want to live (amongst themselves and without aggressing against others), and Mutualists want AnCaps to live how they want to live (amongst themselves and without aggressing against others), is there really any real disagreement here?

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by  Spooner Bookman. Reason: Figured out how to use b-quote button
    • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by  Spooner Bookman. Reason: Added a really dumb joke; trimmed some verbage/fixed some stuff in 'born vs move to' point; added parenthetical clause to physical relocation point; softened the NAP rejection point; couple fixes/clarifications in last few lines;
  • #278

    Jacob
    Keymaster

    [Cool block quotes! :)]

    So, I have done some more searching and reading…

    This statement is really my primary question in all this mess: I ASSURE you, AnCaps will let Mutualists (or anyone) abide by Mutualist (or any) norms amongst themselves (so long as they don’t aggress against anyone). So, my primary question in all this: If AnCaps want Mutualists to live the way they want to live (amongst themselves and without aggressing against others), and Mutualists want AnCaps to live how they want to live (amongst themselves and without aggressing against others), is there really any real disagreement here?

    I previously had the impression that this may not be the case for all AnCaps. I got this from a mixture of things, support for immigration controls by people like Peter St. Onge, (at least in today’s world,) old debates on the now abandoned Daily Anarchist forum, some of the more impassioned criticisms of Carson’s ideas over at Mises.org, Walter Block’s criticisms of Elinor Ostrom’s work, etc.

    In looking for clarification I went and found a couple articles criticizing Elinor Ostrom, authored or coauthored by Walter Block. I had seen the first one, Review of Ostrom’s Governing the Commons, (Libertarian Papers,) before, and assumed from some comments I’d seen by other readers that Block opposed Ostrom’s support of joint ownership, but I put aside reading through his review for later. Having now read both this article and another titled Tragedy of the Partnership: A Critique of Elinor Ostrom, it now seems to me that Block’s dispute with Ostrom’s work was, a bit strangely and sadly, more semantic, although his review does also give me the impression that Ostrom may have failed to give a clear enough explanation. (Having yet to read her book, Governing the Commons, myself, I don’t know whether her work actually lacked the needed clarity or if Block simply missed it.)

    Block uses “commons” to mean resources anyone can access, whereas Ostrom includes resources owned in common by a group of people but kept from those outside the group, a setup Block calls “partnership”, which he thinks of as a form of “private property” since the co-owners exclude outsiders from using their resources. Block treats “partnerships” as perfectly alright, while insisting they don’t count as “commons.”

    I’m still unsure how ancaps and other anarchists might best resolve intergroup disputes. Accepting, (if nothing else for the sake of argument,) that ancaps and mutualists would not intervene in the intragroup disputes of the other, (at least not by threats of physical violence or deprivation of resources,) this still leaves unsettled just how they could handle intergroup disputes. For example, if a mutualist began living on land an Ancap considered to be their property, but which the mutualist did not, the two groups would need to determine how to proceed.

    Perhaps, though, I’m spending excessive energy attempting to come up with ideas for how to cross this bridge before coming to it. If both mutualists and ancaps disagree, to some extent, within their own circles about what specific norms of resource us they want to adopt and enforce, this may make it overly difficult to come up with ways to arbitrate successfully between them.

    I’ll keep thinking about it, though. Right now I don’t honestly know the answer to your question, I can’t actually discern what specifically the disagreement is over between ancaps and mutualists, or even ancaps and socialist anarchists.

    If a ‘State’ is “an institution with monopoly powers over the use of force in a given geographical area, which claims a right to coerce those within its domain and to issue obligation-creating edicts to them,” and every individual in an anarchist society has monopoly powers over the use of force in a given geographical area known as ‘their own property’, then every individual in an anarchist society is a ‘State’ unto themselves when on their own property.

    Correct, or no?

    Correct.

    A ‘voluntary State’ is an oxymoron: if submission to any given State is voluntary, then that State doesn’t really have ‘monopoly’ powers because ‘monopoly’ (by definition) includes the ‘exclusive’ control of something. If people can opt out of this State’s ‘control’, i.e., their submission is voluntary (they chose to enter the land and accept the conditions of the landowner, i.e., submission to the ‘State’), then the State doesn’t really have a ‘monopoly’ and therefore, isn’t really a ‘State’ according to your definition of a State (which I accept as a good definition).

    Correct, or no?

    I think of consent as, more or less, a state of mind, and a state of mind can change.

    I forgot to include secession in my explanation, but it is important to account for it, so I will adapt my explanation a little bit now.

    Take the issue of “self-ownership” as a starting point, “ownership” of one’s own physical body and mind. People can, in principle, express consent to transfer ownership of themselves, both their body and mind, to others.

    If someone does this, and we treat their expression of consent as valid and binding, then we treat them as no longer owning themselves. Instead, we treat the person to whom they transferred title as their owner.

    A question arises as to what we do if and when the newly enslaved individual wants out of the agreement. So long as the slave acts, willingly, as a slave, trying to free them may fail. But, if at some point they decide they want free, do we treat them as bound by their previous expression of consent, or not?

    If we do, then I think it still makes sense to call them a slave. They are “owned” by another person, and while their will at the time title was transferred was in favor of this, their will at present is not. Their relationship is “voluntary” in the sense that they volunteered before, but it is “slavery” in the sense that they are no longer volunteering now.

    Yet, if we treat them as no longer bound by their prior expression of consent, then we also treat them as having no capacity to bind themselves to such an agreement, which, in a sense, is also treating them as not having full “property rights” in their own body and mind, assuming that “property” generally entails “alienation rights,” or the “right” to transfer title.

    Analogously, while a person may express consent to become a subject of a particular institution at one moment, it is possible for them to change their minds later on, and the question of whether to treat them as bound by their earlier expression of consent arises again. In the case of a “State” or “government”, this may amount to a question of whether people can bind themselves to permanent membership in a governed society, or whether we will treat them as no longer bound by such an agreement once they change their mind. In “rights” terminology, the question is whether they have a “right” to forfeit their “right” to opt out at a later time.

    Once someone volunteers to join a governed society, “opting out” could mean renouncing their citizenship and leaving the territory, as in today’s governed societies, or, alternatively, it could mean claiming a parcel of their rulers’ territory as their own and seceding.

    If the “government” of a given territory accepts secession, then I would, (a little tentatively,) not consider them to be a “State.” However, if they do not treat their subjects as having a “right” to secede, then I would call them a “State,” even if all of their subjects agreed to live under these conditions. Similarly, if they not only rejected “secession,” but actually held their subjects as permanently bound to obey them, and as unable to opt out even by relocating outside of the territory, then I would also call them a “State,” again even if their subjects had, at one point, agreed to be bound by these conditions.

    I think of the question of whether to condone such “voluntary States” as similar to the question of whether or not to condone “voluntary slavery.” Those ruled over do have a choice at the outset, but there is a question of whether we treat them as bound by their earlier choice if their choice is to give up any ability to opt out in the future, and if they later want free of this earlier decision.

    Murray Rothbard opposed (enforcement of) “voluntary slavery” in the sense I have described, while Walter Block condones it. Given that I take “voluntary slavery” and “voluntary State” to be, at least in large part, analogous, I suspect that at least some ancaps condone “voluntary States” in the sense I described them.

    Coming back around to what you said about monopoly, I do think it makes sense to say that once a group of people living in a given geographical area voluntarily surrender to the authority of an institution, explicitly, and unanimously, granting that institution the “right” to prevent, through physical violence if necessary, any of them from providing dispute resolution, contract enforcement, security, or other similar services, and forfeiting any “right” to exit this agreement without physically relocating to the outside of the institution’s domain going forward, such an institution would be both “voluntary,” (in the sense ancaps generally use the phrase,) and an institution possessing monopoly powers over the use of force, (in the sense you described “monopoly,”) i.e. a “State,” (in the sense I defined.)

    My own position, (at least for the moment,) is to treat “voluntary slave” and “voluntary State” contracts as invalid, a position I argue for in the following way:

    One defense of “private property” used by authors like Bruce Benson is that individual ownership, (or, at least, distributed ownership, assuming Benson accepts “partnerships” the way Walter Block does,) helps make possible reciprocity among property holders, in a way that, (according to Benson,) joint or “communal” ownership does not.

    To detail the idea: if I own an apple, (or an acre of land,) and you an orange, (or a different acre,) then so long as I refrain from depriving you of “your property,” you may find it prudent to reciprocate by not depriving me of “mine.” Adopting a set of norms of resource usage that treat some resources as “mine” and others as “yours” could grant us both an ability to cooperate, to our mutual benefit. Thus, we could both find it prudent to adopt and abide by certain norms.

    Defending ownership in this way opens up an avenue towards defending a sort of “lockean proviso,” in my opinion. Consider, for example, what happens to the incentives provided by the potential for reciprocity when a single individual owns everything that exists. The incentives we formerly had to abide by property norms evaporate; if I respect your claim to “your property,” but I have no property of my own for you to respect in turn, then you have no ability to reciprocate my gesture, and the expectation I would have had of such reciprocation no longer makes it prudent for me to abide by such norms.

    Of course, the likelihood of a single individual legitimately gaining ownership of everything in existence through homesteading and voluntary exchange, (by ancap standards in other words,) seems low to me, as I expect it does to you. But I think a similar situation occurs under other extreme conditions, including “voluntary slavery” and “voluntary submission to a State.” In the former case, it would be hard for me to find it prudent to abide by an agreement I had made in the past to become another person’s slave. Perhaps it would not be impossible, but, thinking about the conditions under which I might find it prudent, it seems likely that such conditions would be similar to the conditions under which an involuntary slave found it prudent to obey their master.

    Another article I have read recently during the course of the present discussion is David D. Friedman’s A Positive Account of Property Rights I had heard of Friedman’s fondness of Schelling points before, but not fully understood his ideas regarding them. I think, understanding his ideas better now, I can usefully employ them here.

    Abiding by norms, and stating that one desires mutual adoption of specific norms, can be thought of as part of a bargaining process. One may insist on adoption, and maintenance, of a specific set of norms not just because one expects to benefit from the situation this creates, but because one can compare the set of norms in question to other possible norm sets that might replace it once the present norm set is abandoned, and because people can try to figure out the likelihood that any specific set of norms will be adopted. Once a set of norms is agreed upon, participants may be reluctant to change partially out of fear that whatever new set of norms ends up replacing the present set will make them worse off than they currently are.

    Thus, how strategically prudent one finds it to continue abiding by some specific set of norms, (or by some specific agreement,) depends in part on a comparison between the conditions created by the present norms to the likely results of sets of norms likely to replace the present set once changes are underway.

    If the present set of norms entails my enslavement to another person, it may turn out that I would expect to find almost any other possible arrangement preferable to my present one. Interestingly, and to the point, this could be the case whether I originally volunteered to become the slave of the other person or not.

    If I run away, breaking my earlier agreement to become a slave, then could my life be worse than if I stay? Would the answer to this question change dramatically if I had at some point agreed to become a slave?

    A lot of motivations exist to encourage people to keep their promises. Reciprocity, reputation, signalling, adhering to schelling points for fear that instigating a bargaining process about what norms to adopt could make one worse off, etc. I believe a lot of these motivations are likely to be present under most conditions, but absent in “border cases,” such as when one person owns everything that exists, when I have promised to be another person’s slave, or when I have promised to submit to the authority of a State. The things that make it prudent for me to keep a vast array of other promises may be less palpable, or entirely absent, in these extreme cases, where I may think I have nothing to loose by violating the present norms and trying to escape.

    All this is to try and argue that, at the margins, some defenses of “private property” may also be used to place limits on “property,” “permitting” people to violate even “property rights” gained through means ancaps would regard as legitimate.

    I definitely agree: you set up something like a State anywhere and, well, give some people an inch and they’ll think you just submitted to them being your ruler… (Get it? Inch… Ruler? …)

    Funny. 🙂

    Coming back around to your question, what I wanted to allude to by the phrase ‘geographically based community’ was a community which accepted residence, or birth, in a given geographical area as a form of consent…

    My question was basically that I wasn’t aware of any AnCaps who accepted this, because my understanding of AnCap is that it doesn’t accept this, so anyone who does accept it isn’t really an AnCap? Were you saying Friedman accepted this?

    No, I don’t think Friedman accepts birth as a form of consent. He does discuss “proprietary communities” as potentially better than local governments, though it’s unclear to me whether he would condone a “proprietary community” that constituted a “voluntary State” in the way I described above. I expect he would try to avoid speaking in terms of what he “condones” or “condemns” in favor of discussing the likelihood of results of different setups along with what order he would prefer the results in, which might be translatable into something close to “condoning” or “condemning” anyway.

    Given the discussion of voluntary slavery and the fact that “right-libertarians” actually debate the question, (with Walter Block condoning voluntary “slave contracts,”) it seems possible to advocate for a form of “private property norms” that would, logically, lead to a defense of some “States” under some conditions. Some minarchists, following Ayn Rand, seem to believe in a sort of “Social Contract,” which might be consistent with the concept of “private property” I’m worried about.

    Basically, I don’t see my own objections to either “consent through birth” or “consent through presence” as inherently present in “ancap” ideology. I think one could defend a version of “ancap” ideas that accepted presence on someone’s property as consent to do whatever the owner wished, even if one was merely present at the time one was born. I would not defend such an ideology myself, but I’m not sure in what way it would be internally inconsistent, or in what way it would not qualify as “ancap.”

    I agree on the ‘born’ point, but if you’d like to voluntarily ‘move to’ my land (immigrate?), then I get to choose whether or not to allow you to do this. And part of that choosing could involve you submitting to my rules – even if my rules include a legal system for my territory. If you voluntarily submit to my rulership in exchange for living on my land, you are now living under a territorial legal system (i.e., mine) – however, you are doing it voluntarily. In that sense, a ‘territorial legal system’ can certainly ‘exist’ while also not violating AnCap in any way.

    Correct, or no?

    Correct in so far as I think such a requirement would not violate ancap ethos. It is, however, a place where I diverge, in my own values and my application of them, from (most) ancaps. In the “border cases” I described above, I would condone violating property norms. If someone has absolutely no where else to go other than squatting on another’s land or submitting to the authority of another, (or dying,) then I’ll condone their choice to squat if that’s the choice they make. Even if, by squatting, they have to violate ancap-style property rights.

    I would still limit how far I would go in this. If they physically attacked a landowner when they didn’t need to to save themselves or their loved ones from physical harm, I would object. But under circumstances where people have a choice between violating ancap property norms, (aggressing, by ancap standards,) and submitting absolutely to the will of others, if they choose to (peacefully) squat, I won’t regard them as an aggressor, and if they submit to someone’s authority but later break their promise to continue submitting, I will treat their earlier promise as not binding on them.

    Now I am out of time, my friends! I must head off to work. But I hope what I have written has been interesting.

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by  Jacob. Reason: Added a link to work by Bruce Benson and changed my response to Roth Bard's main question
    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by  Jacob. Reason: fixed a typo
  • #284

    Spooner Bookman
    Participant

    You start off by saying that until this conversation, you had the impression that some AnCaps did not, as I put it, want to let others ‘live the way they want to live (amongst themselves and without aggressing against others).’ You are saying you got that impression from sources like Peter St Onge, some online debates, Mises.org, and a criticism by Block.

    I read Mises.org nearly everyday, and I’ve read a ton of Block’s writing, and never in a million years would I have guessed that either source would ever give the impression AnCap didn’t want others to be able to live how they want. Did you read something in particular that gave you that impression, or was it just a general impression having read some of their stuff?

    Seemingly as an aside, you add that based on some comments you read regarding one of Block’s criticisms, you made the assumption that Block opposed ‘joint ownership’, and that having now read the article, you’ve concluded Block is not opposed to joint ownership. I do apologize, but I’m not sure what this has to do with anything?

    You then say you don’t know how AnCap plans to resolve intergroup disputes with non-AnCap communities/individuals. You say that one obstacle facing whatever plan AnCaps have is that Mutualists and AnCaps (and presumably any other ideology) don’t always agree within in their own circles, so it may be ‘overly difficult’ for AnCaps to come up with a plan for resolving intergroup disputes. This also seems to be a side note, so I won’t comment here — maybe we could do a new thread regarding how AnCaps might best resolve intergroup disputes?

    The two preceding asides make me think I need to rephrase or just flat out change my question. I think what I really want to know is:

    What do Mutualists believe regarding the NAP?

    Because if they are in favor of abiding by it, then, like AnCaps, they want to let others live the way they want. And ‘we’ (i.e., the two ideologies) are just debating the likely outcome of what will happen if/when we just let people live the way they want (and of course, what exactly it means to let everyone live the way they want, and of course, how to deal with the inevitable disputes that will arise between people and groups of people, and so on). But, depending on what Mutualists believe regarding the NAP, I think we may well be starting from the same place.

    You say that ultimately you don’t know if there is ‘really any disagreement’ between AnCaps and Mutualists, or even ancaps and socialist anarchists for that matter.

    Me either! At least in this sense (which is what I think you also mean): as far as ideologies go, all of these (AnCap, AnCom, Mutualists, Thick/Thin/Right/Left-libertarians, plus a few others) are really all under one umbrella. We all want to be free (and for others to be free), but we have disagreements on what exactly ‘free’ is and how ‘free’ would work out. Which would mean the important parts of each ideology virtually all ‘line up’ or ‘overlap’ at least to some degree. And debates should really be more like inter-group arguments than any sort of ‘real’ opposition to each other. Maybe…

    I’ve been digging through Ozarkia.net and also reading Bionic Mosquito vs. Kevin Carson and other ‘hyphenated libertarians’ over the last few days and I’m not so sure it’s that simple now…

    How about I write up what I’m finding out as far as ‘key differences’ between these groups and post in a new thread? Unless there is already a good source for this somewhere else that you know of? (Even if there is, I may do it anyway for my own benefit…)

    . . . . . . . . .

    So the above is really the ‘end’ of the official comment. The following is more like ‘I wrote this for me but posting here for you to comment on any/all/none of it you want…’ So I don’t have any particular expectations on/for a response — other than curiosity! (My dream would be for you/anybody to read the whole thing and then point out my errors with detailed explanations of each… A fella can dream, can’t he?)

    . . . . . . . . .

    VOLUNTARY SLAVERY & VOLUNTARY STATES

    You say you think of consent as a state of mind which of course can change. And, also, that secession is important to account for in your explanation of a ‘voluntary State’. You believe people can ‘express’ their consent to transfer ownership of themselves to others. You believe that if ‘we’ ‘treat’ their expression as valid then ‘we’ are ‘treating’ the person to whom they transferred the ownership of themselves to as their owner. And if ‘we’ did ‘treat’ the situation this way, then a question arises: what ‘should’ ‘we’ ‘do’ if and when the newly enslaved individual wants out of the agreement?

    I have a question on this: You are equating ‘voluntary transfer of ownership of themselves’ with ‘enslavement’ – are these two things really synonymous, or is there a difference between ‘slave’ and ‘voluntary slave’?

    You then say you believe that so long as the slave acts, willingly, as a slave, ‘trying to free them may fail.’

    I have another question here, and having gone back and read everything I’ve written, I believe this is the question I’d be most interested to hear an answer to: Why would you want to try to free someone who does not want to be ‘freed’? Why do you want to violate someone’s voluntary arrangement?

    . . .

    Next, you have us jump to the point in this hypothetical voluntary-slave/slaveholder relationship where the voluntary-slave decides they want to break their agreement. You ask: do ‘we’ ‘treat’ the ‘freedom seeking’ (i.e., ‘contract breaking’) voluntary-slave as bound by their previous expression of consent (i.e., agreement/contract), or not? You say that if ‘we’ do consider them bound to the agreement, then you think it still makes sense to call them a slave. You then define what you mean by ‘slave’ by saying they are ‘owned’ by another person, and at present this is not their will.

    This last sentence is why I asked my previous question about the distinction between a ‘voluntary-slave’ and what you just defined a ‘slave’ to be: the voluntary-slave may have been ‘owned’ by another person which fits part of your definition of a slave, but as long as it was voluntary, it was not against their will, which doesn’t satisfy your definition of a slave. That is, it would appear you agree there is a difference between a voluntary-slave and a slave?

    Because you next argue as if there is no difference: you essentially say (correct me if I’m wrong) that the voluntary-slave/slaveholder relationship is both currently a “voluntary” one (because it was at one point in the past deemed voluntary, evidently meaning that it is now-and-forever voluntary because it was at one point in the past), and also one of “slavery” because it’s not currently voluntary, and (for whatever reason) this new designation of ‘slavery’ doesn’t override the previous ‘voluntary’ label.

    You are arguing that it is both voluntary and not-voluntary at the same time. How can that be?

    Surely you would concede that relationships can change their character without retaining all or even some of their previous character, right? That is: they had one sort of relationship at first (a voluntary one), and then that relationship ended (when the voluntary-slave changed their mind) and a new sort of relationship (a slavery one) began (assuming the voluntary-slaveowner successfully continued the arrangement, which I would add is a big ‘if’).

    Basically, would you agree they are not-a-slave so long as their will is in accord with their agreement, but once their will changes (and the agreement is still in place), then they could accurately be called a ‘slave’ (assuming everything but their will continued as before)?

    . . .

    AnCap is clearly opposed to slavery in the (strange to say) ‘traditional’ form, i.e., kidnapped from your home against your will and forced to do hard labor and yadda yadda. Chattel slavery, that sorta thing. After reading one of your links (more on this below), I have to say I’m disappointed that I’m now obligated to add that this is just me stating what is blatantly obvious: ‘slavery’ is arguably the polar opposite line of thinking of AnCap. AnCap does not condone slavery and anyone saying it does is trying to sell you something.

    But, where does AnCap stand on a voluntarily-entered-into contractual agreement that, for all intents and purposes, mirrors that of a ‘slave’ and ‘slaveowner’ arrangement?

    I guess it would depend on the details of the agreement, but, knowing nothing else other than the details provided (i.e., it’s a voluntary agreement for one person to submit to another as a slave for the rest of their life), then the AnCap position on voluntary agreements (of this or any kind) is that they should be condoned (because all voluntary agreements should be allowable). This shouldn’t be twisted into saying ‘AnCap condones slavery’ as that would be saying that this voluntarily-entered-into agreement is one of slavery, when it’s not. (More on this last bit below.)

    . . .

    Continuing with your response, you say that if ‘we’ ‘treat’ a voluntary-slave as no longer bound by their agreement when they decide they want to be ‘free’, then that ultimately means ‘we’ are ‘treating’ them as not really having self-ownership because it’s basically saying the person doesn’t have the right to transfer the title to this thing they own, and if you’re not allowed to transfer the title of a thing you own, it’s tough to say you really ‘own’ it.

    I think the trouble you’re running into is with just what ‘self-ownership’ means when compared to just what exactly this ‘thing you own’ is (that you are attempting to hand over that would result in you being a slave). Take a look at what you said at the beginning of this section of your response: consent is a state of mind. A person could, as you’ve suggested, certainly ‘express’ their consent to transfer their ‘ownership’ of a permanent and unchanging state of mind (i.e., the will to be someone’s slave), but just because they could ‘express’ a desire to do something doesn’t mean they could actually do that ‘something’, simply for the fact that in this case no one actually owns a permanent and unchanging state of mind. ‘Treating’ someone (accurately) as not ‘owning’ a permanent state of mind isn’t the same as ‘treating’ them as not having self-ownership, as you have argued.

    . . .

    You go on to say you think this voluntary-slave situation is analogous to voluntarily submitting to an institution (as opposed to just one person) like, for example, either a ‘State’ or a ‘government’. Can people bind themselves to permanent membership in a governed society? And if they change their mind, ‘should’ ‘we’ ‘treat’ them as no longer bound by their agreement? You state that ‘opting out’ could mean leaving the territory or claiming a parcel of their rulers’ territory as their own, which you call secession. You tentatively concede that if the ‘government’ of a given territory accepts secession, then you would not consider them to be a ‘State’. However, if the ‘government’ doesn’t accept secession, then you would call them a ‘State’ even if all of their subjects agreed to live under these conditions.

    If ‘leaving upon opting out’ wasn’t a condition of the original agreement, then I believe AnCap is in full agreement with you. However, I just want to point out that a ‘government’ (or person) could stipulate at the time of your ‘opting in’ that you can only ‘opt out’ by ‘leaving’ and if you voluntarily agree to this, but then you later decide to break your agreement and lay claim to a portion of the land of your former ‘ruler’, you are just a thief stealing property that doesn’t belong to you.

    . . .

    You then go on to make what I believe is your primary point on the topic:

    If a ‘government’ that (1) rejected secession, (2) held their subjects as permanently bound to obey them, and (3) prevented their subjects from relocating outside of the territory, that would definitely be a ‘State’ even IF their subjects had, at one point, agreed voluntarily to be bound by these conditions.

    I can agree to that: if the people change their minds after this agreement goes into effect, they are (in effect) agreeing it’s might-makes-right at that stage, and if the State overpowers them, so be it, it was their choice, their voluntary interaction that they wanted. If that’s what the people agree to, then I’d say prior to the agreement taking effect, they had a ‘government’ (not a State) and after the agreement takes effect, i.e. once the ‘government’ is given a monopoly of ultimate decision making (force), then it becomes a State. And since the people ‘voluntarily’ made it a ‘State’, you could say that it’s both ‘voluntary’ and a ‘State’ at the same time.

    So, I’ll grant that it is theoretically possible to have a ‘State’ that is also ‘voluntary’ without it being an oxymoron.

    But then, when I initially rejected the idea of a ‘voluntary State’ as an oxymoron, I guess I was thinking in terms of reality: who on earth would ever voluntarily submit to the monster you’re describing? I guess it’s a theoretically possible thing, this ‘voluntary State’, but in real life, to my knowledge, a State (as described above) hasn’t come about voluntarily in all of history and with what I know of human nature, I can’t fathom how it ever could.

    So, where I come down on this ultimately is that I can see how a ‘State’ can be ‘voluntary’ in theory, but I still hold that in practice, a ‘voluntary State’ is an oxymoron.

    . . . . . . . . .

    “Murray Rothbard opposed (enforcement of) ‘voluntary slavery’ in the sense I have described, while Walter Block condones it.”

    The source you provided doesn’t make the case that Rothbard opposed enforcement of ‘voluntary slavery’ while Block condoned it. (Or, if it does, I’m not understanding it as such.)

    First of all, I find the source hard to take seriously when it starts off this way: “Do ‘libertarian-capitalists’ support slavery? Yes.”

    You have to be kidding me… Is this where you’ve been headed this whole time? AnCap supports slavery? Please, say it ain’t so… As I said before, anyone telling you AnCap condones slavery is selling you something. I wonder what this guy is offering?

    (Continuing from the source:) “…right-’Libertarianism’ is one of the few political theories that justifies slavery. For example, Robert Nozick… [in Anarchy, State and Utopia, p. 371]. While some right-’libertarians’ do not agree with Nozick, there is no logical basis in their ideology for such disagreement.”

    I guess I’m one of those ‘right-libertarians’ who disagree with Nozick, even though there’s no ‘logical basis’ for it. (Who is this jackass?) I’m about 100 pages into Nozick’s highly (overly?) acclaimed book right now. Nozick advocates for a limited State, so he’s hardly AnCap, and certainly not of one accord with either Block or Rothbard (and speaks for neither), so Nozick’s thoughts on the matter are essentially irrelevant for the author’s discussion, more so for ours. (If you’re interested in a non-puerile, accurate AnCap analysis of Nozick, written by an actual adult, Rothbard took Nozick’s measure a while ago; I’d bet dollars to doughnuts Block would concur, as he and Rothbard do on most things.)

    “This can be seen from… Walter Block, who, like Nozick, supports voluntary slavery.”

    Saying you support ‘voluntary slavery’ is not the same as saying you support ‘slavery’. Saying Walter Block, Murray Rothbard, and people like me condone ‘slavery’ because it can be argued that we condone ‘voluntary slavery’ is either a dishonest attempt at an insult, or it’s conflating what is a voluntary interaction with something that is not a voluntary interaction.

    ”Thus agreeing to sell yourself for a lifetime ‘is a bona fide contract’ which, if ‘abrogated, theft occurs.’”

    Saying ‘theft occurs’ doesn’t imply the person is going to have to go on living as a slave, so it does not imply a pro-slavery argument — it’s not evidence that Block is in favor of ‘slavery’. It’s simply a factual statement about what would happen if a contractual agreement has been broken: a theft has occurred.

    “[Block] critiques those other right-wing ‘libertarians’ [e.g., Rothbard]… Block… seeks to make ‘a tiny adjustment… that contract, predicated on private property [can] reach to the furthest realms of human interaction, even to voluntary slave contracts.’”

    Again, I have to chuckle at this. Attempting to make a ‘tiny adjustment’ is a pretty mild ‘critique’ — it’s certainly not a disagreement. I hardly see a reason to fabricate some sort of split on the issue between Rothbard and Block.

    (Also, note again that Block clearly says ‘voluntary slave contracts’, not ‘slave contracts’. I have no doubt Block sees a distinction between the two or he wouldn’t have added the modifier.)

    If there is a split between Rothbard and Block regarding their views on voluntary slavery, this source does not provide any evidence of it, as far as I can tell. (I would be interested in an honest appraisal of their views on this, but this source doesn’t provide that.)

    Anyway, enough of my whining about that source, back to your point: after reviewing this source and determining (somehow) that there is a split between two major AnCaps regarding voluntary slavery, you now suspect that AnCap isn’t clear on ‘voluntary States’ and ‘some ancaps’ would condone a ‘voluntary State’ if it allows for secession. To which I would respond: AnCap (as an ideology) ‘condones’ what you’ve described as a ‘voluntary State’, i.e., ‘if secession were allowed, presumably including to the individual level’. (Just like Block agreed to ‘voluntary slavery’ as opposed to ‘slavery’.)

    Anarcho-Capitalism does not oppose this type of State because (and you are about to address this in the next section): a ‘voluntary State’ (with secession down to the individual level) doesn’t really have ‘monopoly’ powers because if any individual or group can opt out at any time, it isn’t really a ‘State’ according to our (or your, for that matter) definition of a State (i.e., has monopoly use of force over a given territory).

    . . .

    In response to my ‘monopoly’ point, you said you think it makes sense to say (roughly) that once a group of people voluntarily surrender to the authority of an institution, granting it the ‘right’ to prevent, through physical violence if necessary, any of them from providing dispute resolution, contract enforcement, etc., and forfeiting any ‘right’ to exit this agreement without physically relocating, such an institution would be both ‘voluntary,’ and an institution possessing monopoly powers over the use of force, i.e., a ‘State’.

    Don’t get me wrong, I see what you mean: you believe there is no need to call it a ‘voluntary State’ as if it were different than a plain old ‘State’. That makes sense to me and I would concede that in theory, it’s possible to have a ‘State’ that could also be regarded as ‘voluntary’.

    I would still stand by my previous argument if only in this sense: in reality, no sane person would agree to such a thing, let alone a whole group of people. I mean, it kinda describes the founding of the US, except that not even close to ‘everybody’ agreed to it. So this entity you’re describing, as far as I can tell, is just a theoretical concept. In theory, can there be a ‘voluntary State’? Yes. But in reality, a ‘voluntary State’ is an oxymoron.

    . . .

    I probably could have brought this up earlier, but now seems like as good a time as any: your questions have been regularly prefaced with ‘How should we treat people’ in such-and-such a situation? In this case, ‘how should we treat people’ (or ‘how would AnCap treat people’) in a situation that would never actually arise in real life? Well, I don’t know exactly. I do think it’s fun to think about imaginary situations, and they are extremely useful for refining an idea – but not having a solid answer for an imaginary situation doesn’t pose any philosophical difficulties for me with the AnCap ideology.

    Besides, the answer to ‘how should we treat people’ in AnCap is always ‘with nonaggression’, i.e., don’t do to others as you wouldn’t have them do to you. So even if some people did this insane voluntary-State thing, ‘we’ ‘should’ ‘treat’ them the same as we ‘treat’ anyone…

    . . . . . . . . .

    You say your own position is to ‘treat’ ‘voluntary slave/State’ contracts as invalid. You argue that individual ownership helps make possible reciprocity. You point out that defending ownership in this way opens up an avenue towards defending a sort of ‘lockean proviso’ because if in some faraway, mystical land, a single individual owned everything then this reciprocity evaporates. I would counter that it only leads to defending a sort of ‘lockean proviso’ in this make-believe world – I don’t see what it has to do with reality?

    You think a similar situation occurs under extreme conditions like ‘voluntary slavery’ and ‘voluntary submission to a State’. And that if you yourself ever personally volunteered for slavery, you would find it hard to abide by your agreement. You say this with (I can’t help but think) the implication that this would come as some sort of surprise? I would just add to your comment that you, like all people, would find it hard to abide by a voluntary-slave agreement.

    I think this is a good spot to bring up a point that’s been running through my mind this whole time:

    What do you mean by ‘treat’? Like, when you say ‘if we treat people as if’ or ‘how do we treat people if’…?

    And who is ‘we’? You got a rat in your pocket?

    . . .

    (The following interlude is all just ‘thinking out loud’ having poked at this response on and off for a few days: I almost can’t help but wonder if this whole mess is some desperate attempt to retain some ability to interfere with other people’s voluntary interactions. Or, just an attempt to find some way to call ideological enemies pro-slavery and get away with it. On the first point, it’s like you don’t approve of interfering in voluntary interactions, but surely, if you look hard enough, you can find some situation – even if only imaginary – where you get to ride in on a shining white horse of social justice and use a justifiable amount of violence and aggression to save somebody from themselves! Huzzah! Let’s unite and free voluntary-slaves, and let’s conquer voluntary-States and ‘free’ their people! Like, is the whole question – and maybe this is crazy, but – is the question just whether or not I’d help you use violence to free a voluntary-slave from their voluntary slavery? Basically, are you saying ‘we’ ‘should’ violate AnCap principles to ‘free’ people who got themselves into these situations? And, to the second point, if I say ‘no, I won’t use violence to help you free voluntary-slaves,’ does that make me ‘pro-slavery’? Is that what’s at the end of this tunnel?)

    . . . . . . . . .

    You say all of what follows “is to try and argue that, at the margins, some defenses of ‘private property’ may also be used to place limits on ‘property,’ ‘permitting’ people to violate even ‘property rights’ gained through means ancaps would regard as legitimate.”

    If that’s what the following argues, then, my apologies, I’m just missing it? I can’t make heads or tails of this… I keep trying to break it down and figure out what you’re saying but I’m struggling.

    Here’s what it looks like when I try to break it down for myself:

    – ‘At the margins’ = edge cases like voluntary-slavery and voluntary State. (Got this part!)

    – ‘Some defenses’ = What defenses are you referring to? (Something to do with what you say below about the reasons you choose for abiding by norms, like ‘because one expects to benefit’? Or the point about defending norms because they will produce reciprocity? Or, what…?)

    – ‘Place limits on property’ = What limits? On what property? (I can’t figure out what the antecedents for these are?)

    Here’s your argument, broken down and abbreviated (correct me if I’m missing something):

    ‘Abiding by norms… can be thought of as part of a bargaining process. One may insist on… a specific set of norms… because one expects to benefit… [Also] because one can compare the set of norms in question to other possible norm sets… and [also] …people can try to figure out the likelihood that any specific set of norms will be adopted.’

    Ok, those are all obvious statements.

    ‘Once a set of norms is agreed upon, participants may be reluctant to change…’

    People are certainly willing to suffer while evils are sufferable… Another obvious statement.

    ‘Thus, how strategically prudent one finds it to continue abiding by some specific set of norms… depends in part on a comparison between the conditions created by the present norms to the likely results of sets of norms likely to replace the present set once changes are underway.’

    Fa sho. Very obvious.

    ‘If the present set of norms entails my enslavement to another person, it may turn out that I would expect to find almost any other possible arrangement preferable to my present one.’

    Ha, no surprise there! See, earlier you made it sound kinda like I’d find it surprising you’d change your mind. But of course you’d change your mind – everyone would. Super obvious.

    ‘Interestingly, and to the point, this could be the case whether I originally volunteered to become the slave of the other person or not.’

    Absolutely, makes perfect sense. Totally obvious. I would think it’s obvious that every sane, rational person would expect a ‘voluntary-slave’ to change their mind at some point. And..?

    ‘If I run away, breaking my earlier agreement to become a slave, then could my life be worse than if I stay?’

    Valid and obvious question, if you were a voluntary-slave looking to break your agreement. Always good to consider your options. So, what’s the point of all these super obvious observations?

    ‘Would the answer to this question change dramatically if I had at some point agreed to become a slave?’

    Obviously, it would not… Soooo..?

    ‘A lot of motivations exist to encourage people to keep their promises.’

    Of course. Obvious. Annnnd…?

    ‘A lot of these motivations [like one’s motivation to keep one’s promise to be a slave] are likely to be absent in ‘border cases’ like the ones we’re discussing [i.e., voluntary slaves, voluntary States], where I may think I have nothing to lose by violating the present norms and trying to escape.’

    Sure, I don’t see why not. Annnnnd the point is….?

    ‘ … ‘

    That’s the end of it…?

    ‘ … ‘

    Man, forgive my ignorance, I’m totally lost here: What’s your point? I don’t get from the preceding how ‘some defenses of private property may also be used to place limits on property.’

    . . . . . . . . . .

    “…it seems possible to advocate for a form of ‘private property norms’ that would, logically, lead to a defense of some ‘States’ under some conditions.”

    Certainly. Just about anything is possible these days, including this.

    “Some minarchists, following Ayn Rand, seem to believe in a sort of ‘Social Contract’ which might be consistent with the concept of ‘private property’ I’m worried about.”

    I don’t get what ‘minarchists, following Ayn Rand’ who ‘seem to believe in a sort of Social Contract’ have to do with AnCap? (And I’d add AnCaps are worried about these people and their ideas as well!)

    “I don’t see my own objections to either ’consent through birth’ or ‘consent through presence’ as inherently present in ‘ancap’ ideology. I think one could defend a version of ‘ancap’ ideas that accepted presence on someone’s property as consent [for the owner] to do whatever the owner wished, even if one was merely present at the time one was born…I’m not sure in what way it would be internally inconsistent, or in what way it would not qualify as ‘ancap.’”

    What do you mean by ‘consent through birth’ and ‘consent through presence’? In the original question, I can see now that when you said ‘…residence, or birth’ you were talking about two different things. And now, I think you are still talking about two separate things? Here’s what I think you mean:

    Consent Through Birth = A group of people determine that people residing in an area will follow a set of rules, and one of those rules is that anyone born in that area automatically consents to the rules simply by being born in the area.

    Consent Through Presence = A person (or group of people) trespasses on another’s property and this act in effect grants the property owner the ‘consent’ of the trespasser to allow the property owner to enact any sort of ‘defense’ (/attack) they want (presumably including horrific torture up to and including tickling them to death with men made of straw…).

    Is that what you’re talking about, basically that you object to both of these, yet you see AnCap as condoning both of these?

    . . . . . . . . .

    AnCap argues that if you’d like to voluntarily ‘move to’ my land, then I get to voluntarily choose whether or not to allow you to do this. And part of that voluntary choosing could involve you voluntarily submitting to my rules – even if my rules include a legal system for my territory. If you voluntarily submit to my rulership in exchange for voluntarily living on my land, you are now voluntarily living under a territorial legal system (i.e., mine) – however, you are doing it voluntarily. In that sense, a ‘territorial legal system’ can certainly ‘exist’ while also not violating AnCap in any way because every single aspect of everything I’ve described is voluntarily.

    And this — this — you say, this is a place where you diverge from AnCap.

    I have a question for you then: why are you opposed to people having these voluntary interactions?

    . . .

    “In the ‘border cases’ I described above, I would condone violating property norms.”

    Violating them how? By doing what? If you saw a voluntary-slave that had changed their minds about their agreement and were still being ‘forced’ to be an actual-slave, how would you violate that property norm? If you entered into a voluntary-slave agreement and then (predictably) changed your mind, how would you go about violating your agreement?

    “If someone has absolutely no where else to go other than squatting on another’s land or submitting to the authority of another, (or dying,) then I’ll condone their choice to squat if that’s the choice they make. Even if, by squatting, they have to violate ancap-style property rights.”

    Whoooah, whoa whoa…

    Hang on now, the voluntary-slave/state ‘border cases’ you ‘described above’ didn’t mention ‘having nowhere else to go’ (as far as I can tell). None of what I’ve said in the current response so far has been in relation to ‘having nowhere else to go’.

    I thought I copy/pasted your whole comment over, but when I finished writing, I went back to the forum and saw that either I had not copy/pasted the whole thing or you had added some and I missed it.

    Even if this has caused a huge mix up, I figure it can’t be a total loss because I’ve been responding so far without really knowing whether the person has somewhere else to go or not (although I have definitely assumed a few times that there was somewhere else to go). So surely there’s still some usefulness to all this. Oops…

    Regardless, now that I’m on the same page with you, let me see if I’ve got this straight: the hypothetical is that someone enters into a voluntary-slave agreement, time passes, and one day they decide they no longer want to abide by the agreement. Also, they have ‘nowhere else to go’ (at least to the extent that we all agree that for whatever reason they really have nowhere else to go). What you’re saying is if that person stops abiding by their voluntary agreement, and claims a portion of the land that was — up until this precise moment — rightfully owned by the ‘slaveholder’, you would ‘support’ them in this action because at the precise moment they changed their minds part of the land became rightfully theirs? Is that right? Put another way (that would be wrong if the preceding isn’t right): Your view is that at the moment the voluntary-slave broke their agreement, an undefined portion of the voluntary-slaveholder’s land automatically becomes the rightful property of the former-voluntary-slave.

    Surely that’s not right, is it? (If so, then I am MADE of questions right now. First one: how do you know how much land to the former-voluntary-slave is rightfully entitled to? Contiguous land, or no? Who picks what, i.e., size/location of the land?)

    . . .

    “…under circumstances where people have a choice between violating ancap property norms (aggressing…), and submitting absolutely to the will of others [and they have no other choices], if they choose to (peacefully) squat, I won’t regard them as an aggressor…”

    Again, this is a whole new situation to me since I have not been assuming the ‘no other choices’ thing until now. I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around how this works with the voluntary-slave thing. Here’s me trying to break it down:

    You’re saying that the voluntary-slave doesn’t want to be a slave anymore, and the voluntary-slaveholder says ‘you’re free to go!’ but the voluntary-slave ‘has nowhere else to go’?

    And, in this super strange situation, you wouldn’t regard the now-former-voluntary-slave as an aggressor if they stayed put on the voluntary-slaveholder’s land specifically because of the caveat that they have nowhere else to go and this only holds true so long as they ‘stayed put’ peacefully.

    Is that right?

    . . .

    “…and if they submit to someone’s authority but later break their promise to continue submitting, I will treat their earlier promise as not binding on them.”

    I really should wait for your answer on what you mean by how you would ‘treat’ them before commenting, but I want to take a stab at it anyway:

    In AnCap, how ‘you’ (or ‘we’) would ‘treat’ their earlier promise likely wouldn’t matter, because any rational, sane people entering into such an agreement would of course account for the 100%-likely chance that the voluntary-slave will change their mind, and what will be done in this event will likely be included in the agreement.

    The agreement would be something like, ‘…and if/when volunteer-slave changes their mind, X.’ If the volunteer-slave changes their mind, then does not abide by X, then ‘how you would treat their earlier promise’ is irrelevant as they are now bound by X, which is a new and different promise — the prior promise in question, the promise-to-be-a-slave would be irrelevant.

    In AnCap, your view of how to treat the volunteer-slave’s earlier promise would only matter if you were one of the people involved in the agreement, or if you were involved in arbitrating the dispute once it arose. That’s just to say yours or anybody’s view on how to treat the situation is likely/often irrelevant in AnCapistan, especially if you live in neighboring AnComistan — because we would never call AnComs in to arbitrate any of our volunteer-slave court cases… Certainly not any of our actual slave cases. But I’ve said too much already… 😉

    . . .

    AnCap allows for all sorts of ridiculous other plans and schemes and societies and utopias, even really, really bad and stupid ones, like voluntary States and voluntary slavery. So long as it’s voluntary, you’ll have a tough time convincing an AnCap to ‘do’ something violent about somebody else’s ridiculous desires (so long as they’re not aggressing against anyone).

    You can tell us what we ‘should’ do all you want — like, for example, that we should ‘treat’ voluntary-slaves who’ve changed their minds a certain way. That’s fine with AnCap, depending on what you mean by ‘treat’.

    For another example, you could tell me I ‘should’ ‘regard’ someone or something a certain way. In AnCapistan, have at it — get me to picket this-or-that voluntary-slaveholder, get me to boycott him/her, let’s do sit-ins, I mean I’m with you, I would totally protest a voluntary-slave-turned-real-slave in a heartbeat. Hunger strikes! Huzzah! JUSTICE!!

    But when you hand me a brick and say, ‘Here, throw this at that dirty voluntary-slaveholder’s window.’

    I have to ask, ‘Hold up, uh, how did the voluntary-slave end up in this situation again? And what was their agreement?’

    Because if the voluntary-slaveholder is upholding their end of the agreement, and the other person is the one that’s being a dick and breaking their agreement, then, regardless of how opposed to the whole thing I am, I have a hard time burning the voluntary-slaveholder at the stake for his sins just because the voluntary-slave is a moron for getting themselves into it.

    Having said that, we are talking about ‘norms’ right? Would I violate a ‘norm’ in certain extreme situations? Yes, of course. Does that make me any less AnCap? No…

    (Come to think of it, how would you even know the voluntary-slave wants being freed? How do you know that ‘pretending to want to be freed’ isn’t part of the fun of the fetish that led them into this strange arrangement in the first place?)

    And yeah, no… yeah, let’s end it on the fetish line.

    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by  Spooner Bookman. Reason: Linked to Rothbard's take on Nozick;
  • #298

    Hogeye
    Participant

    Jacob> “If a mutualist began living on land an Ancap considered to be their property, but which the mutualist did not, the two groups would need to determine how to proceed.”

    In a mature stateless society, the arbiter would simply look at whether the land in question was in a sticky property zone or a possession property zone. Problem solved!

    In the transition period immediately after the dissolution of monopoly security firms (States), resolution would not be quite so easy. The arbiter would, in effect, ask the neighbors what property arrangements prevailed. If most say “sticky property,” then it goes by capitalist rules. If most say “possession property” it goes by mutualist rules. If most say “collective property” or “we don’t recognize property,” then it goes by commie rules. Again, rather simple. Once the early rulings in competing courts are made, they make precedent. Then “everyone” knows that you cannot own land absentee in that enclave, but you can in this one.

    In short, I just don’t see any major conflict in a freed society. I see some transitional conflict, but also a process where it can be worked out. Finally, I see scenarios like the one you give, Jacob, as extremely rare in a mature anarchist society. Just as people know local rules like, e.g. whether you can walk around naked or not in this enclave, or whether door to door solicitation is allowed, people will know whether land can be owned and in what manner. I think the flaw is imagining that different property systems will be shuffled together (as in the forced integration of statism), when I see enclaves of like-minded people as prevailing.

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