Monday, September 21, 2009

What the %#^@ is an Anarcho-capitalist?

...I must admit to a feeling of release in being able to call myself an "anarchist," so it's my preferred term of choice. At the least, it's definitely a far sexier word than "libertarian." But, of course, there are also problems with choosing this term. Namely, that the word tends to evoke a range of images, from punk rockers like the Sex Pistols and Rage Against the Machine (which I don't necessarily mind so much) to Timothy McVeigh and the Unabomber (who provide really poor P.R. images) to those anti-WTO nutcases that raised such a ruckus in Paris and Seattle this past year. Now, I don't like the WTO any more than they do, and I certainly empathize with the urge to burn Seattle to the ground (ahhh, it's a long story) but politically, I have next to nothing in common with such folks, so sharing the name with them is, once again, a confounding experience.

Basically, it's my opinion that these folks aren't really "anarchists" (at least not in the sense I use the term) they are socialists (or, in McVeigh's case -- just plain old-fashioned Oklahoma white trash.) They, like me, want to "smash the state," but they also want to abolish private property, and they see government being replaced by "cooperative communities" that sound an awful lot like governments to me. For those of us who believe the state should crumble, but who also support capitalism and believe that private property both should and would continue in a world without government, the term "anarchist," while technically accurate, is still insufficient and likely to bring about confusion.

And so, we must search for yet another name to define my political philosophy. While "Lehmannism" might seem an appropriate choice, given the apparent unlikelihood that my views would be shared by many others, shockingly, it turns out that my philosophy is not, indeed, mine alone. Though I didn't know this as I was developing it, it actually coincides with thoughts shared by a long tradition of historians, philosophers, and economists that support an individualistic flavor of anarchism, and is a more or less natural outgrowth of the long history of classical liberal thought. Elements of this philosophy can be seen in the writings of thinkers like Lysander Spooner, Benjamin Tucker, and Herbert Spencer and it was carried on full-force in the 20th Century through the work of economists like Murray Rothbard and David Friedman (son of the aforementioned Nobel laureate Milton Friedman.)

And the name of this philosophy? You guessed it -- anarcho-capitalism...

1 comment:

  1. Great, another person who thinks the Earth and land are theirs to divide up and decide who gets to do what with it.

    Fuck off.


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