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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Why Should Anarchists Party With Statists?

Bryan, the best discussion about co-ops that I've found is in Fred Foldvary's book "Public Goods and Private Communities", well summarized at  Foldvary describes some very clever ways to bundle club goods and even public goods with land holdings in private communities, but to me they seem either unrealistic or nearly indistinguishable from properly-decentralized local governments with secession rights.  If a community of landholders wants to enjoy the usual physical-network natural monopolies -- streets, pipes, wires -- then the only way I see to avoid monumentally-inefficient redundancy is with a local monopoly whose pricing power is indistinguishable from the power to tax.

Paulie, where did you live before your "captors" dragged you to America, and how are they keeping you here? :-)  Yes, the government commits aggression, but not all aggression qualifies as kidnapping.  Calling the U.S. government your "captor" may feel good, but it arguably undermines the efforts of others to end that aggression.  Even on the terms of your analogy, I don't know of any hostages who ever won their release simply by demanding it.  The bargaining analogy won't float no matter how you try to patch it.  A better analogy is to a prisoner of conscience (or martyr), in which case you should not tolerate the presence in the LP of we minarchists who dispute your central ethical premise.  Why shouldn't you anarchists try to purge anyone you don't think you'll ever convert to anarchism?  Are you so optimistic as to think I'd ever become an anarchist?

Bob, I agree: most anarcholibertarians I interact with seem to think that anarchotopia is much more likely to be preceded by the collapse of a near-maximal state, rather than by the fading away of a minimal one.  What I don't understand is why catastrophist anarcholibs bother with electoral politics at all -- except perhaps to help a maxarchist party and thus hasten the End Times.  As for non-catastrophist anarcholibs, they need to answer Charles Johnson's question: why cooperate with minarchists who will likely turn around and shoot you when you try to abolish their minarchotopian state?  The only practical reason I can think of for an anarchist to join a political party is to promote the sort of radical decentralism that might allow local experiments in anarchy.  Otherwise, politics would seem to be self-expression merely for its own sake, and so the Party should proudly call itself anarchist and purge all statists.   More at