Anarchocapitalism and the curse of corrupting political patronage

Governance has waxed and waned in credibility or legitimacy for a long time. In the time of monarchs there were weak or ineffectual kings, and before that emperors, who came perilously close to losing power, if not actually having power wrestled from them. It is no different today; however it is not a political dynasty in question, but the future of representative democracy.

Change often takes time; particularly political change. But change can conversely be very rapid. This is not to say that its inexplicable, or that its not be advocated by certain interests, or that even certain interests are giving ‘the proscription’ a name that, may or may not resonate with people’s understanding of the concept, if they have any grasp of it at all. The reality is that ideas or political imperatives are destined to be thrust upon people, and people will either learn to live with the result, or they will eventually rise up to overturn it. But do they ever really understand either way?

Consider the education system or religious conviction that is firmly entrenched in our society. I am reminded of the fact that people are far more aware today that religion has been ‘institutionalised’ or perverted in order to achieve political imperatives, than people were aware decades ago, or even in ancient times. The same can be said of ‘modern education’. Despite being hatched in the late 20th Century, people are oblivious to the origins of the Western education system. Given that its origins is Prussia, they might question whether Germany truly lost the war, or did the West succumb to the more pervasive impact upon Western individualism. After all, aren’t we struggling with the same concepts today, as during pre-war Germany. If education has become ‘well-entrenched’, precisely what has been entrenched? The reality is that the way we even appraise ‘education’ is a pretty low standard. We measure it in terms of literacy and numeracy, but explore the issue a little longer and you realise that the capacity to think is a far greater source of efficacy, and yet I can scarcely find 10% of any population that can do it, or whom take pride in it. Reflect still further on this ’empowered 10%’ and you find that they are predisposed to defend the conceptual framework in which they have been indoctrinated. That is usually the overriding political ‘democratic’, ‘religious’ and ‘unconditional love’ framework.

The following chart is interesting insofar as it shows the Google Trends for the ‘search results’ for the words ‘capitalism’, ‘socialism’, anarcho-capitalism’, ‘Marx-Leninism’ and ‘Anarcho-syndicalism’ over the entire global over the period 2004-2017. It is apparent that conventional ideologies that are taught in schools are well-placed in terms of popular views. The patronage or interest in these schools is understandable given that they are the academic ‘subject interest’ for university students over the world. Just an example of governments telling us what ought to be the subject of thought. Interest in relatively new schools, like anarchocapitalism and anarcho-syndicalism is relatively mute.They hardly register much interest at all. Unsurprisingly, given that both of these schools repudiate government coercion. So, don’t expect a university professors to extol a value system that would not justify them taking a job that involves theft of government money. Nor should you ever expect a government-funded academic to concede that they have a ‘conflict of interest‘. Expect instead academics to repudiate the school of thought, or anyone who supports it.

If we however focus only on these left and right ‘anarchist’ schools, we might however be enamoured by the fact that there is a clear winner in political interest. Anarcho-capitalism has secured a far greater interest than anarcho-syndicalism. These trends are telling because these political ideologies are hardly taught in universities, so there is no academic-inspiration for them beyond the academics who founded these ideologies. Yes, it seems that academics occasionally can foster good ideas despite their conflict of interest. This is not unsurprising – but don’t expect it. This is validated by the fact that most academics are exponents of ‘big government’. A few percent would be exponents of ‘small government’ minarchism, and of course a handful would be anarchists. I would however expect more left anarchists in academia than right anarchists. This is not to say anarchists can’t come to a persuasive justification for remaining in academia.

Anarcho-capitalism was a term coined by Murray Rothbard to describe ‘competitive authority’. I would argue that the foundation of anarcho-capitalism is the advancement of ‘jurisdictional competitive authority’. After all, we have different authority today, but because they function as ‘non-competitive’ jurisdictions in terms of:

  1. Geographic jurisdictions like the divide between NZ and Australia or North & South Carolina, there is no effective competition.It is true that you could migrate from one state to another, but it is harder to migrate between countries, so such ‘competition’ is ineffectual if you are destined to be punished for such decisions.
  2. Subject jurisdiction is another division in governance or authority structures, however they are not points of competitiveness, but rather points of conspiracy, insofar as it erects barriers to responsibility and accountability. Observe that national governments have powers over local governments, but they don’t intervene to serve the interests of local constituents. They only intervene to protect their own interests. The motivation of this ‘compartmentalisation’ is to avoid a competitive framework between local, regional and state politics. For the same reason, you get local and regional authorities avoiding disclosure on issues, in an attempt to avoid a competitive fire-fight that could only make both local and regional government ‘competitive’ and ‘accountable’.

The reason why anarcho-capitalism avoids this ‘uncompetitiveness’ between authorities is because there is no monopoly, and constituents have the discretion to shift their sanction or financial resourcing, or simply to suspend their financing, though that would not be sensible. You would always want to be associated with ‘your own gang’, as one would otherwise be placing oneself in a position of vulnerability. Now this is the scary aspect of anarcho-capitalism, the spectre of ‘gang land welfare’. What people don’t realise however is that ‘gang land welfare and extortion’ exists because of government. Consider two reasons why:

  1. Gangs exist off the tit of government welfare.If you think that there is welfare abuse or entitlement in your country; rest assured that gang members are at the forefront of organised criminal abuse of the welfare system, so that any criminal activity in the private sector is effectively financed by government. Now, the reason why governments don’t rein in this abuse is because they would have to restraint a lot of people who are construed as ‘deserving recipients’, and aren’t these people ‘innocent until proven guilty’?
  2. Duopoly alienation is the enviable burden’ of having to pay the extortive taxes of two regimes that profess to serve you. Picture the Philippines, where farmers in isolated rural areas are obliged to pay taxes to governments, but they are also obliged to pay ‘taxes’ to the National People’s Army (NPA) who emerge from the neighbouring jungles to extort money to engage in sabotage of public infrastructure paid by taxes, but ultimately not hurting the custodians of said infrastructure, whose interests lie far away.  If these farmers had the discretion to spend their resources locally, they would not be at the behest of the NPA. But centralised authorities have no interest in distributive power structures.

So we have both a conceptual definition of anarcho-capitalism, and a practical justification for anarcho-capitalism. This however is not the proper foundation for anarcho-capitalism. The justification for anarchocapitalism does not lie in ‘evidence of anarcho-capitalism’. That would have condemned humanity to never venturing out of the cave, or into space. The justification for anarcho-capitalism lies with philosophy. We build a philosophical justification for anarcho-capitalism. This is what Ayn Rand did, and she did a pretty good job, though her framework is not without errors. Such a justification is the subject of books, not a short article. If I was to critique a person, I would start with politics, and draw the opponent into ethical, then epistemic arguments and finally metaphysics. But if I was to mount a philosophical justification for anarcho-capitalism, then I would start with metaphysics.

Today, I am simply defining anarcho-capitalism and drawing people’s attention to its ascension into the mainstream of political thought – not because of academic entrenched mysticism – but in spite of it.

 

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