Hi. Welcome to the site. Please check out the About Us, and if you have a question about crime and/or punishment, perhaps look at some previous questions along those lines first.
Welcome to Anarchy101 Q&A, where you can ask questions and receive answers about anarchism, from anarchists.

Is the initiation of force preferable to the non initiation of force?

–6 votes
Should I expect a consistent anarchist to be for or against using initiatory violence against other people?

Does consistent anarchism require adherence to the non-aggression principle?
asked Dec 16, 2013 by VoluntaryThinker (390 points)
it seems like you already have an answer in mind.

but I think you should know that the terms you're using reflect a lot of assumptions that people on this site (and @s in general) tend to violently disagree with.

what is implied by the so called non aggression principle? how do we know when someone is "aggressing" us versus when they aren't? what about situations with subtler forms of control and violence, like employment, marriages, military service, homelessness, etc.?

it seems like there are so many complicated and ambiguous forms of violence in the world, that to talk about it only in terms of "initiation of force" is to completely miss the point.

not to mention, why are you even suggesting that we should be held to a moral standard in the first place?? and what does non-aggression have to do with anarchy, necessarily?

2 Answers

+2 votes
Neither, and no.
answered Dec 16, 2013 by Rice Boy (8,590 points)
So, a consistent anarchist is ambivalent to the initiation of violence? I think that is wrong. If you could give me an example of when the initiation of violence is permissible, I would be impressed. Lets see a hypothetical or real world example of initiatory force being used in a way that is consistent with anarchism.
There's no need to be a "consistent anarchist". The only absolute notion in reality is that reality is thoroughly lacking in absolutes.

On another level, there's the question of what qualifies as "initiatory force". If someone incites you to violence, did they initiate it, or did you? If violence is your only method of achieving liberation, did you initiate violence against what's enslaving you, or are you responding to the violence initiated by that slavery?

Violence is an abstract concept and I don't think it can be talked about in concrete terms of being for or against it.
+1 vote
Example: My friend becomes an 'anarcho-capitalist', and then I give him a stiff kick in his ass. :)

The way I understand it is that anarchism isn't a moral prescription. It doesn't and can't dictate how people should act. I'm still trying to figure out how to reconcile this with my previous conception of anarchism as a moralistic save-the-world type utopian social anarchism and Egoism. I am a confused puppy.
answered Dec 16, 2013 by formyinformation (2,410 points)
So, there's literally nothing preventing the accumulation of capital, so long as the owner can put enough people to work (producing yet more capital for the owner).
Competition is the limiting factor. You can choose not to patronize a business. You can compete with the business. Monopolies are created and exist because of the state. In reality, monopolization of an industry results from a violation of libertarian property rules.
You can't compete with the business if that business controls the resources you would need to compete with them, or you otherwise don't have access to those resources. You can't choose not to patronize a business if they're the only feasible option for your needs. And you can't have a property-owning society existing within any proximity to a propertyless one.
A business does not automatically have control of all of these resources, they gain control through competition and savings. The producer foregoes consumption in the present to build up capital that will increase his productivity in the future. That is where the competition is. It is fantasy to believe that, absent coercion, a monopoly could exist and maintain itself. Competition, absent coercion, makes this practically impossible.
VoluntaryThinker, coercion is borne out of competition i,e, competition is what motivates and therefore causes "coercion" (and many other unsavory/corrupt behaviors). As the underlying cause it is most certainly not going to be the solution to those behaviors, far less make them "practically impossible"!