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Monday, May 5, 2008

Does David Nolan Know Whether He's An Anarchist?

Tim West wrote:
TW) David, you overstepped your bounds by interfering with the business of a duly appointed standing party committee (Platform) with your ‘suggestions’ in your open letter to the committee’s members. (TW
Tim, are you suggesting that an LP member can't give the PlatCom any of the feedback that it has been begging the LP membership for?  We're big boys and girls, and we can stand up to Mr. Nolan if we disagree with him.
Carl, you seem to be assuming that Mr. Nolan knows whether or not he is an anarchist.  I now have reason to doubt that he does, and I'm starting to suspect that a fundamental problem with the LP is that its founder has in nearly four decades apparently never managed to get on record explaining what he thinks is the power or authority that distinguishes a legitimate state from any private organization.  He told me he wouldn't be replying to the following, so I welcome any answers from anyone with insight into his thinking:
Can you please give us a brief explanation, in terms of force initiation, about what would qualify your "State" as "non-market" in how it non-exclusively makes and enforces "laws"?  For example, when the agents of this "State" come to collect its "tax" on land values, would I be free to treat them like Jehovah's Witnesses (and of course lose all benefits/protections for doing so)?  Would I be free to opt out of all the "laws" of this "State", or would it initiate force against any non-aggressive but obstinate holdout who disagrees with some legal technicality?
If the "laws" of this "State" are not mandatory, then this is seems identical to David Friedman-style anarchism with market production of laws. The "State" you advocate seems to have no power or authority beyond that of a voluntary neighborhood watch group.  A strong case can be made that a "state" does not qualify as a state without a monopoly on formal retaliatory force, and that such a monopoly can only be maintained with (the threat of) force initiation.   For details, see