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

–7 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 (380 points)
To live is an act of involuntary aggression...that's what I don't like about the NAP principle. For all the an-caps and vegan pacifists out there, there is the option of suicide or jainism. Jainism sometimes entails starving yourself so that you aren't doing harm to any of the worlds living creatures. Anarcho-capitalism necessarily implies some sort of mafioso security to instill delusional ideas of private property and inviolable, permanent ownership.

Remember, statecraft takes various forms, just because you call your asset-protection peacekeeping security forces anarchists doesn't mean that they aren't police
@DD:

I don't have to explain how I would do it without violence. I'm only suggesting how it is possible and preferable to function without initiating violence. The NAP is not 'without violence'. It recognizes the necessity for self-defense at times. When in the judgement of the individual his non-aggressive stance has been so abused that it constitutes aggression against himself then it may be time for self-defense to come into the equation.

If you observe the real life activities of bounty hunters and bailiffs for e.g. they often resolve potentially violent situations, such as perhaps the 'shovel' dispute, with tricks learnt from years of experience.

When you say things such as "also at that point it seems worth it to just get a new shovel instead of hiring an army of goons to get a rusty shovel you weren't even using" it implies I came up with the Shovel scenario. I didn't. I notice it's been brought up elsewhere on this site to supposedly counter so-called 'an-caps', a  term I will address in the appropriate thread, and the NAP.

We could back and forth with variations on the scenario like 'now that I know you are coming for it, and I put it in a padlocked shed, would you violate the NAP by vandalizing my lock and shed?'. I could talk about locksmiths etc. But none of it is really the point which is that as a general approach to life not initiating violence and the conditions that may foster it (e.g. by taking a shovel in the first place) is a 'good' principle. Better than no principles at all. We could argue all we like about it. The simple fact is that people apply this principle all the time in their everyday lives. If they don't they will most often be corrected in their behavior by others who do hold to the principle. It's all around us because it's a simple principle that is taught to 3 year olds.

There is only really a problem when there is a large imbalance of power. Which, ironically in my view, you are making reference to with 'armies of goons'. Which army of goons do you prefer - the one you selected and paid for out of your own choices or the one you are forced to pay for up front and that will do whatever it likes, whether you like it or not? Yes, at some point our subjective values come into the equation. Why not at this point, when we select our preferred 'goon squad'? Choice or no choice. Which is more compatible with freedom?

Of course we'd all like to live in a world in which 'armies of goons' aren't necessary at all. But many of the points made by others here make it clear that's not always going to be possible (what if some 'goon' comes and takes your shovel?). Advocating the NAP is not denying the existence of violence and conflict, in fact just the opposite. It also helps to clarify who's really violating ordinary common sense and principle when an army of goons shows up at your door demanding prepayment for their 'services'.
@funky:

I meant "Can, not necessarily would". DDs point made later illustrates why:

"also at that point it seems worth it to just get a new shovel instead of hiring an army of goons to get a rusty shovel you weren't even using"

He may be right ...

Taking stuff that isn't in your possession (even if it's 'just lying about') is behavior that can tend to lead to violent conflict (Palestine comes to mind). Another thing most people learn by age 3. Most people, naturally in my view, develop some level of attachment to their personal possessions and understand that taking others is 'wrong'. The Shovel example is disingenuously attempting to create a 'non-violent' scenario that is clearly based on an initial wrong in an attempt to relativise the initiation of violence with the lesser wrong of theft and hence make it seem more like an arbitrary, subjective distinction. As I've mentioned elsewhere people, all the time, everyday, use their own judgement to make those distinctions and they are not as generally as arbitrary and subjective as you are attempting to portray.
@nihilist:

"To live is an act of involuntary aggression...that's what I don't like about the NAP principle."

What I like about the NAP is that you have to come up with some fairly distorted ideas to deny that not initiating violence in the vast majority of our interactions is 'good'. Here we have such a case, which dovetails nicely with that other anti-human idea 'environmentalism' (but I won't go there now).

I believe I have a sense of what you're referring to (I'm sure you'll correct me if wrong). Little children come into the world demanding, expecting and taking anything and everything using violence if necessary etc. That's why, generally, we teach them not to take that which doesn't belong to them and the NAP.

What I like about the NAP is that this works pretty well, for most people, most the time (again I'll leave it to others to come up with distorted outlier cases). Many of the problems appear to arise when these simple principles that are violated on a small, or large, scale.

I believe I've been branded (incorrectly) an 'an-cap' on this site. Thank you for your generous option of suicide. I hope you're not a powerful agent of the State, in which case it will remain an option I can ignore forever.

I'll discuss what "Anarcho-capitalism (whatever that is) necessarily implies" in the appropriate thread.

We can slap labels onto anything and it often becomes necessary to define what we really mean by a label to prevent further misunderstanding - "anarcho-capitalism" is a good example. The only distinction I'm trying to make is between police/security services you choose, and those you don't/can't.
@dns you have a stunted, myopic conception of freedom.  to be honest i shy away from the word, because its basically meaningless in conversation.  the 'choice' you describe in reference to choosing the 'army of goons' is such a hollow choice as to be meaningless.  our problem with the government is not that we dont get to chose them, otherwise this site would be called 'democracy101', but that they are there at all.

3 Answers

+2 votes
 
Best answer

[changed from a comment]

violence/non-violence is a false dichotomy. when people don't even agree on what those terms mean, why try to create ideological boxes based on them, and shoe-horn people into them?

i tend to think of people's behavior - what they do, not how someone labels what they do. behavior that is unacceptable to me in one situation may be completely acceptable in another. and behavior that is acceptable to me in some situation, may be completely unacceptable to another in a similar situation.

again, context is key. to me, principles are guidelines based on desire and experience (and maybe other stuff too); they are not "rules". the context of any situation will determine how any principle i might hold factors into my thoughts and behavior in that situation. i might ignore a principle entirely, if the situation calls for it. or i might adapt the principle for that situation.

the nap, like any rigid ideological stance, has no concept of context. hence, it is useless to me.

answered Apr 29 by funkyanarchy (11,920 points)
selected Apr 29 by dot
@funky:

I consider 'violence' to be another form of theft. A physical 'taking' that is both objectively and subjectively dishonest. How do we determine objectively dishonest? By reference to a broadly held principle - I suggest the NAP. How do we determine subjectively dishonest? By reference to our own (and perhaps our peers) understanding of the context.

The question: "Is the initiation of force preferable to the non initiation of force?" concerns the initiation of violence rather than violence itself. What constitutes 'violence' is possibly a subject for a separate thread but I believe most people have a reasonable understanding if the discussion is limited to the physical.

We refer to objective principles because they help us to maintain a logical consistency despite the multitude of subjective factors that may pervade any given context. Just because someone subscribes to the NAP in preference to the USV doesn't mean they have to function within a rigid ideological cage. It still leaves individual responsibility to determine how the NAP is applied from one context to the next. As you said yourself:

"the context of any situation will determine how any principle i might hold factors into my thoughts" - so you might hold a principle. Being relatively honest and clear and stating that that principle is the NAP is not something to be ashamed of because it violates someone else's rigid ideology that says there can be "no universal moral principles". It remains an individually held principle, even if one encourages everyone else to subscribe to it. The key is that if you don't subscribe to it for any reason no-one who does can enforce it upon you anyway.

Can you give me a context in which you might ignore the NAP entirely?

dotnetspec: "How do we determine objectively dishonest?

By reference to a broadly held principle - I suggest the NAP. "

well that clears things up....

@ba:
It's clearer than USV (unprincipled subjective violence).
i don't know what that means.

ba@, i had mentioned "unprincipled subjective violence" as a completely sarcastic response to all this nap/apv crap.

dns, as should be clear from many comments in all the exchanges around this beaten-to-death-horse-of-a-discussion: violence, aggression, initiation, even principle.... ALL those terms are subjective, and mean different things to different people in different situations.

sorry, but i have no interest in dragging out your repetition ever more. it seems clear that you have reached your peter principle on this. perhaps i have too.

perhaps we could all take a nap in an suv and see how that goes....

@funky:

The topic is the preference or not for the initiation of violence

"i might ignore a principle entirely" - which would be unprincipled

"behavior that is unacceptable to me in one situation may be completely acceptable in another" - subjective

All that is in your answer to the question. So is your answer 'completely sarcastic' as well? Or are you hedging so that you don't appear to be contradicting anyone else (other than the 'an-cap' of course)? I'm sorry if that sounds 'belligerent' but sometimes I feel compelled to call it out when I see it and I can't think how to put it more diplomatically (my shortcoming, perhaps).

In this 'beaten-to-death-horse-of-a-discussion' I have patiently (and despite quite a bit of condescension and outright insult) attempted to explain why I believe it is not advantageous for 'anarchists' (leaderless) to conflate a preference for the initiation of violence (something the State needs to preserve itself) with a NAP that most learn at a young age, and serves us all quite well as a general principle to live by, by insisting that it is ALL subjective. You disagree. There it is.

What sounds to you perhaps as "repetition" is the sound of someone disagreeing with you. It is most odd, but perhaps revealing, that you finish with another insult, albeit a little more subtle than some I have received here (and 'perhaps' applied to yourself which you may, or may not, actually believe). The vehicle is by reference to a management theory and organizational hierarchies (incongruous for an 'anarchist) . I appreciate you may be referring to the 'there is a strong temptation for people to use what has worked before, even when this might not be appropriate for the current situation' part of it, but still, you are subtly implying that I am somehow incompetent (to do what exactly?).

Anyway this point could just as easily be made the other way round. The only difference is that I don't appear to have any support for my perspective here. Whose to judge? The 'hierarchy' on this forum or each of us as honest individuals?

As ba suggests, perhaps we could sleep, or dwell, on that point ...

actually, i'd like to use some unprincipled subjective violence to kill this question....

ok, last last time.

dns, sorry to disagree, but your repetition is you repeating yourself. it is very clear by simply reading your comments. you are using the same words to say the same thing, over and over. the fact that i (and others) disagree with your perspective is no doubt a reason for your repetition; but it doesn't somehow change that you are being repetitive.

your constant reference to the state when articulating your own aversion to violence speaks to one of my earliest comments to you (probably on another thread): you seem to have a myopic obsession with a single institution of domination (albeit a very relevant one), without any discernible comprehension of the relationship between that particular institution and other major ones - such as the capitalism that you came here promoting with your crypto-worship, much less contextual individual-to-individual relations. it is as if you need to justify your perspective by pointing at your boogeyman and saying "see, they do it, so it MUST be wrong".

as i have said previously, i appreciate your seemingly earnest (and largely respectful) engagement with a bunch of folks that disagree with you. but when you talk about condescension, let's not forget your comment that went something like: "well, i know technology, so it makes sense that i understand crypto stuff better than you all". bogus assumptions, much?

there is no possible reason to continue this discussion, other than trying to change people's minds (which obviously isn't happening). if you want to have the last word, have at it.

@funky:

My perspective has as, at times, been over-simplified, misunderstood and misrepresented. Correcting that I accept may have come across as (unnecessary(?)) repetition for anyone reading. Please remember that I'm responding to others who disagree with me as well, rather than just one to one.

Perhaps with all the other diverse perspectives the sense of the State as "a very relevant one [institution of domination])" didn't strike me as the prevailing or consensus view, however, if it is, then we're 
more in agreement than it appeared to me at that time.

I am familiar with the relationship between capitalism and the State. In earlier times I have attempted to make this relationship more recognizable and raise 'class consciousness' such that ideas like structure and super-structure, alienation, labor theory of value and dialectical materialism etc. are more generally and easily understood. Not only is this an uphill task, but in the process I have found it necessary to honestly reflect on my own motivations and desires and they are not always determined by such 'lofty' ideals and the interests of the 'oppressed'.

Interesting and important as those ideas may be, I now tend to focus on those forces specifically holding me back from making more choices in my own life and by extension advocate for the same freedoms generally. I am not blocked by 'capitalism' even though it may attempt to exert it's forces upon me. We are all free to ignore the multitude of ideas out there until those ideas are imposed upon us by physical force. The only vehicle that I am currently aware of that imposes it's ideas on me via physical force is the State. This would also be the case if the State was Communist, Socialist, Fascist, Monarchist, Republican, Democratic, a gang of goons etc. Far from 'promoting capitalism' I'm opposed to it insofar as it can, in some manifestations, result in the imposition/initiation of physical force upon me. But so can all the other ' isms' . Anarchism potentially could and in that instance I would be opposed to it as well. I intend to discuss 'capitalism' in another thread. But, in short, here, I support 'free market' (with the emphasis on 'free'), which is different.

To date, anarchism, for me, appears to represent the most coherent, practicable, anti-political alternative to the State in whatever form it manifests itself because of it's focus around the individual. But it would help for more individuals in wider society to understand that. Freedom is infectious. So often thinking people get distracted by 'politics'.

When you say 'crypto worship' it suggests why you may also have concluded that I'm repeating myself. That tends to happen when you're not being listened to and/or misrepresented. I have repeatedly stated that I see technology as a two-edged tool that, in the case of crypto, holds the potential to implement counter- economics. A way to withdraw from the State (whatever State that imposes itself via physical violence) 
and cut off it's economic lifeblood. That's a form of action, not just words and theories about 'oppression'. It's hardly 'worship', I accept some of what's been said about potential for misuse and given links where that argument has been better articulated than it could be by me. I suggest we become more familiar with P2P software (like ZeroNet) in general, not just crypto because the battles of the future are going to increasingly take place in cyberspace. Ignore, laugh, mock whatever you like. At the end of the day I'm not going to fund a 'gang of goons' to come knocking on your door to finance my vision of a crypto P2P 'utopia' because you MUST see it my way (unlike your average, mild-mannered, everyday voter). Whether I can justify my perspective or not makes no difference to the more heavily armed aggressor. In other words every vision and 'ism' ultimately manifests itself through the same vehicle, so it makes sense to point at that vehicle rather than some relatively vague phenomenon like 'capitalism'. When it is another entity functioning in a State like way - initiating theft and aggressively holding onto the stolen items I might then have another label that would prevent me from having to keep repeating the same word (nb. I wouldn't choose such an entity myself and choice is key).

If your example of my 'condescension' is the crypto one you gave then I feel exonerated because firstly I deliberately wrote 'perhaps' as I did not intend to presume anything and secondly I only wrote it as some of the responses appeared to indicate a possible lack of understanding of how crypto actually works and I wanted to ascertain to what extent that was the case. As soon as you (and one or two others) mentioned their IT background etc. I didn't bring that up again. As you are experienced in IT the point appeared condescending - it wasn't meant to be.

I was going to leave the last word to ba's joke about a nap in the suv although it was a mild piss take. But I felt I had to respond to your post.

I will be away for the next two weeks and not sure how much Internet access I will have. I'll leave this particular thread for now as it seems like the right time. I will look at the threads concerning 'an-caps' and consider the extent to which myopic focus and 'box' creation applies and perhaps uncover a 'bogus assumption' there.

Thanks for sharing your views. No doubt the differences will re-emerge elsewhere, but that's the nature of debate.

+2 votes
Neither, and no.
answered Dec 16, 2013 by Rice Boy (8,680 points)

so your answer to the problem of conflict in your proposed world is simply 'Would hiring different security services to defend ourselves ... inevitably lead to full scale conflict?', i guessing banking on the fact that something not being inevitable means its unlikely -which isnt the case-.  you try to provide evidence this by linking to a wikipedia article about 'conflict resolution'.  bahahah.  you realise what has to happen for conflict to be resolved, right?  the clue is in the name.  you dont even try to distinguish your desired world from what we have now, admitting that this is what already happens!  bahahahah. #nicetry

your security force might try to mediate, but i pay mine to simply move into the area and fortify it, believing this to be both my right as the owner of the land, and a savvy business decision given that i can make money from the land, pay a portion to the security company, and keep the rest.  the relevant image a security company needs to keep up -if it is going to be successful- is precisely that it can provide the client with their desired outcome.  you might think my action isaggression, as you think you own the land, but you arent going to get me to move without force.  you can hire all the negotiators you like. #nicetry

and no, in the case of the eastern congo, the congolese central government has little to no control over the jungles and hills were the mines are, though more so recently.  militias and rebels fight for their own control of the territory around those mines, using the proceeds to fund their lifestyle and further expansion.  #nicetry

also this 'respected' 'independent' 'third-party' 'arbitration service' are going to need there own forces to make sure their decision is upheld, unless you somehow believe that pieces of paper have magic powers, in which case write 'i dont have to pay taxes' on your door and see what happens.  this 'respected' 'independent' 'third-party' 'arbitration service' kind of sounds familiar.  lets call the arbitrating section of it 'the legal department' for ease of use, and the enforcement section 'the policing department' for similar reasons, and oh look its just another state.  #nicetry

so dns, if i understand you, "nap" to you amounts to you taking on a personal ethic of not using "initiatory violence", and also trying to persuade others to do the same.

i don't know what you mean by "consistently applied to the state" though.

if you think about it, the laws of the state today dictate that people (other than police and armies) cannot use "initiatory physical aggression" against each other, or against the state....and if they do, they'll likely end up in prison. and even the state has so-called "rules of engagement". so the state today advocates for its "citizens" to follow the "nap".

i just don't see how "nap" has anything to do with anarchy. it does not for me. you have a preference to live that way and to convince/advocate to others to live that way. i understand that. but i don't intend to do any persuading, or to ask other people to act "consistently" according to it.
@Sky:

Why would my 'answer' be just another question? I was questioning your assumption regarding the inevitability of conflict between security service providers, not answering the problem of conflict in my 'proposed world' (especially since the thread topic is preference for initiatory/non-initiatory violence).

Believe it or not conflict can be resolved without violence although it's very difficult to achieve in relation to 'unprincipled subjective violence' (usv), which is why it's important to be clear on that point. I included the wiki link to underline that even States make a show of attempting this despite all the advantages war brings them. It makes much more sense for security companies to find peaceful solutions (and, for anyone so inclined, they could support and advocate for those companies that are best at it). I'm trying to distinguish how we think (state of mind) about our world today rather than idealize a 'desired' future and I therefore consider how the initiation of violence, in principle, plays into the hands of the State (because it is the basis for the State). Only when those who claim to 'oppose the State' understand this, can the State actually be opposed. Otherwise, as you have correctly pointed out, the State will simply re-create itself in new forms.

If "simply move into the area and fortify it, believing this to be both my right as the owner of the land, and a savvy business decision" are genuinely a reflection of your thoughts then I would suggest you would be re-creating the State in new forms. How I felt about it could depend on a lot of factors, but one thing is for sure and it's the distinction I'm making - you would be free to choose the security service that best represented your world view. Like all 'normal' commerce you would choose first then pay. Not like all extortion rackets where you pay first and get whatever, whether you like it or not. Was Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan etc. the 'client's desired outcome'? How far would Blair have got with a privately funded security firm for his Iraqi adventure? It is only ever possible with previously extorted funds. I'm talking about yesterdays, and today''s, world, not some fantasy.

TBH I've not focused on Eastern Congo but turning briefly to Wiki I find in the first paragraph on causes of the first war "corrupt and inept government". Of course that doesn't tell the whole story, but it is a common theme. Did the ordinary people choose and support those militias and rebels or are they being extorted by them (perhaps indirectly through the mines etc.) as well? None of this detracts from my point, rather it supports it.

There's no reason why the same companies that subscribe to the arbitration service wouldn't also support (or provide part of) it's enforcement services. Again, you could decide which arbitration services best reflected your values. I don't need to somehow believe that pieces of paper have magic powers for this to approach to better reflect my/your/or anyone else's values.

If the 'legal department' sent members of the 'police department' to my house and threatened to put me in a cage if I didn't pay for the 'legal department' and the 'police department' to exist then I would agree. So far the only 'service provider' that has ever done that is the State.

omfg this 'conversation' is exactly like that fucking patrick meme.  whether or not i decide to support a specific fucking company doesnt stop some rich fucker just paying some doods to just take my things.  in your system, if im poor and cant afford a big enough security company, then there is nothing to stop some rich guy just paying some doods to take my things.  i know what your response to this is, because you have already given it to me - 'that would just be recreating the state'

but that is exactly my fucking point!  you arent proposing that anything change, youre just insisting that things should 'get better' and be 'less violent', with no idea of how that might actually look.  in your scenario the state would simply reassert it self because 'the state' isnt a a fucking dragon that you can kill, its a psychological, socio-economical situation that allows people with power and wealth to just steamroll everybody-else, a situation that your proposal has left entirely untouched.  urgh

@Sky:

Try to calm down and let the dissonance subside. You could stop them. With a gun. The only thing preventing 'poor' people from defending themselves if they are too poor to hire anyone else is the State. Perhaps the idea of 'ordinary' people having the relative power and will to defend themselves is shocking to you? Of course the security company could outgun the individual, but you have to admit if everyone was armed the balance of power would be tilted in favor of the 'ordinary poor' and rather different calculations would need to made to justify invading your home and taking your things. How determined are you going to be to defend them relative to the the 'rich fucker' who doesn't really need your stuff anyway?

Again, you presume to know what I'm thinking. THAT would not be just re-creating the State. It would go a long way to re-balancing the extreme current imbalance between individuals and the State. Would things just "get better' and be 'less violent'" - perhaps, if everyone had the NAP in mind, but not if they have a USV state of mind. Which one you adopt is up to you. I'm sure you're wiser in reality than your posts suggest.

Do you really believe what I"m suggesting here represents the status quo that allows people with power and wealth to just steamroll everybody-else?
–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 (2,400 points)
That was clever :) I don't believe in prescriptive morality either. I don't accept the existence of categorical imperatives ("shoulds"). I find only the conditional imperative to be useful. (i.e. if you want to live, you should eat). All should statements must be conditioned before they are valid. That being said, if I want to promote life and respect the needs of individuals, I should support the existence of libertarian property rules.
Could you define libertarian property rules? Maybe make it a question? I'm interested in what libertarian property rules say about 'owning scarce resources' as you mention in your profile.
Sure, I can put it in a question. I prefer David Friedman's definition that rights "...are a consequence of strategic behavior and may exist with no moral or legal support...". I prefer this theory because it can be used as "...an explanation of how rights could arise in a Hobbesian anarchy and as an explanation of the nature of rights as we observe them around us." This is distinct from the "Natural Law", which lacks rigorous justification of property rights and rests on "shoulds". The principle of homesteading and contractual title transfer would likely occur in anarchy as a component of spontaneous order. I believe that the property rules of homesteading and contract/title transfer are consistent with the non-aggression principle (Libertarianism).

Homesteading: The first person to employ unowned resources has the best claim to use the resource. If another person comes along, they have a lessor claim and I would prefer that the late comer not be able to control the resource.

Contractual Transfers: The original owner can relinquish ownership to another by intentionally transferring title to them. The owner could also relinquish ownership by abandoning the resource; in which case another individual could homestead the item.
I'm having trouble understanding how the homesteading concept wouldn't lead to the imposition of wage labor.

For example: an entity employs/controls a vast swath of resources, to the extent that others can only access the basics of their survival through trading with the resource-owner (through wage labor).
There is a natural limit to what a single entity could claim to acquire through homesteading. One could not employ the entirety of North America and make his ownership known to all who come across this continent. As such, should an individual attempt to argue that he was the first one to employ the "vast swath" of resources on the continent, he would likely be met with counter arguments claiming that he did not mix all of these resources with his labor. It will be obvious that he has either abandoned, or never properly homesteaded the vast majority of the resources. As such, others would come and homestead the abandoned property. Also, an entity would need enormous resources out the gate to do something as simple as put up a fence around an entire continent; and magnitudes more to patrol the fence. Therefore, it would be in the homesteader's interest to simply sell the resources for any price above the present value of future earnings. Which would almost certainly be a negative number because it would cost so much money to maintain recognizable ownership rights; far more than a single entity could manage to generate by exercising these ownership rights. So, the motivation to embark on such a campaign does not exist and most people would ignore the homesteader's outrageous claim.

The concise and clear answer is: Norms would develop that would determine whether an individuals ownership via homesteading is valid or invalid. There might be a generally accepted "statute of limitations", which we could call something else since the word statute is a relic of the statist past.

In addition, the people that you say might become wage laborers could homestead as well. A Libertarian-Anarchist society would be merit-based, unlike the present capitalist society. The fear that some could only generate enough wage labor to maintain subsistence is unlikely to occur. As such, wage earners could build capital by foregoing consumption in the present to become employers and producers in the future; if they so desire and there is demand.
So would you say that property can only be 'owned' by those who truly use it? (meaning directly... renting land for ex. is not personally using the land)
No. After homesteading or receiving a transfer of ownership, one could rent their property to others. The renter is not the owner simply because they are the user. The renter has only the contract with the owner to use the property for a limited time.
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"!
We tend to compete with each other. We may come together to co-operate on particular projects but pretending that we are not pursuing our personal interests to some degree is dishonest and counter productive. You see this everywhere, including this forum. For me this is precisely the point of anarchy. By rejecting the notion of 'leaders', we empower the individual who is pursuing his own interest ultimately. This ameliorates the tendency for power to centralize and for 'solutions' to be imposed from above.

Control of resources is ultimately determined by aggressive physical violence (apv). Remove that and you've created a far more equal (but not perfect) playing field.
@formyinformation: your example is simply an example of initiatory violence, it doesn't throw much light on the question.

Did either of the elements creating a problem for you -  "anarchism isn't a moral prescription" and "moralistic save-the-world type utopian social anarchism" involve aggressive physical violence (apv) to implement?
@dotnetspec

could you clarify what you mean by: "remove that and you've created a far more equal..."

I just don't get what you're getting at in general. the first part: violence and competition are natural and inevitable second part: ??
@DD:
Remove the belief in the idea that somehow 'rights' that we don't posses as individuals (e.g. to aggress against others and take their property) can be bestowed upon all the individuals that make up the State and then somehow become 'moral authority'.

If that superstitious belief can be eradicated (by helping people to understand how potentially and actually dangerous it is) then it would be harder for relatively small but highly influential groups to manage and manipulate broader society. That's what I'm getting at. Not 'violence and competition are natural and inevitable' ...partly because I would distinguish between violence and competition.

What I did mean was that if either of these elements involve aggressive physical violence (apv) to implement then they are not anarchy by my understanding, so they needn't create a problem for @formyinformation.

I hope this clarifies for you.

do you think humans posses any rights?

@sky:

Definition from Wiki:
"Human rights are moral principles or norms that describe certain standards of human behavior, and are regularly protected as legal rights in municipal and international law."

Can anyone 'posses' moral principles or norms? We only posses our current faculties, mental and physical, and even then to varying degrees over the course of our lives.

Certain norms extend the relative power of our individual faculties in broader society - e.g. free speech. I support the ones that do, but support is different to posses.
the definition you use says rights are 'protected' by some sort of legal system, that being a euphemism for police violence.  if you support those 'rights', then you support what creates them; the state and the police, no?
@Sky:

I have no problem with many of the functions that are currently undertaken by the State and Police.

The State may perform a useful function e.g. build a bridge. The police may perform a useful function e.g. retrieve my shovel from someone who stole it.

My problem is with how they came to deliver these services. With my consent? Certainly not. I didn't get to choose these service providers. A sufficient number of my fellow citizens have been deluded into believing they have the right to bestow authority onto State agents who then believe they have the right to force these 'services' onto me whether I want them or not. This includes violently extracting value from myself and many others to finance the entire extortion racket.

People who like to accumulate power to themselves like this arrangement. People who like to increase individual freedom, I suggest, shouldn't if they are able to perceive how this racket functions.

Do I sound like someone who supports the State and Police as currently configured?

so you version of anarchy is a government where when a road gets built they ask you first? ... ?

'I have no problem with many of the functions...' here you simply admit you condone the use of violence -aggression- for your own aims -such as retrieving a shovel, building a bridge-, and as such violate your own supposed universal principal, and demonstrate quite neatly why 'non-aggression' cannot be universalised.  and why the notion of 'universalised' is authoritarian.

i dont like either particularly, they both seem made up.  i like chocolate and ice cream and my friends.

and in answer to your question; yes, you sound like you support it.

edited to be more 'logical', and in reflection of funkyanarchy's comment .-.
 

@sky:
My version of anarchy is where there is no government at all and if a road is built I decide whether I'm going to use and pay for it (or undertake whatever arrangement the road builders and land owners have established), or not use that road. (This usually prompts debates about truly 'free' markets, which this perspective requires and should be debated in other threads, I suggest).

How is choosing to hire an organization that has a reputation for non-violently resolving petty disputes 'condoning the use of' apv? The rest follows from your straw man.

Even if I didn't personally like someone who 'like[s] to increase individual freedom', I would support their perspective because I think it's important (unlike chocolate and ice cream).

You appear to be saying 'no', but 'yes', which is illogical. I support that which I have consented to, not had forced upon me. I never consented to having the shovel taken. My judgement is that I can reasonably take it back, but I will only do so through an agency that represents my values (in this instance the NAP).

I don't understand the emoji reference (I probably missed something).
" I have no problem with many of the functions that are currently undertaken by the State and Police. "

" Do I sound like someone who supports the State and Police as currently configured?"

yes, you do, unsurprisingly.

"I have no problem with many of the functions that are currently undertaken by the State and Police. ​"

this is why ancaps are not anarchists. you advocate for everything to basically be the same, but just replace government with "private companies". and on consent, I still haven't given that private security company permission to police me or come get that shovel.

"A sufficient number of my fellow citizens have been deluded into believing they have the right to bestow authority onto State agents who then believe they have the right to force these 'services' onto me whether I want them or not."

this sounds like you right now just replace state agents with private security company.

"Do I sound like someone who supports the State and Police as currently configured?"

very much so, its not configured differently just because government services aren't monopolized over a single territory. the same things are still happening.

"How is choosing to hire an organization that has a reputation for non-violently resolving petty disputes 'condoning the use of' apv? The rest follows from your straw man."

actually considering you ditched the shovel conversation when we asked you to explain how the private security company would acquire the shovel without vandalism or physical force, it is not a strawman at all. until you can come up with something, or someone else, it is not unreasonable for us to assume that this private security company wont be able to figure out how to telekinetically acquire a shovel from inside my locked shed with me around.

you seem like you only are against violence when you have to get your hands dirty and cant use it as a way to try to be morally superior to others.

@funky:

Then you haven't been listening .... unsurprisingly
no, we most of us here think are pro-state and pro-police.  i certainly wouldnt describe your beliefs as anarchic.  even before this discussion it has seemed to me that your idea of anarchy is just this world with less taxes.
it's also pretty disingenuous to ask someone what they think and then to dismiss it out of hand because they don't answer the way you want them to.  as many have pointed out, including myself, talking to you feels largely pointless, as you seem to have no desire to engage, but simply to dismiss.

@DD:

Definition from Wiki:

Anarchy is the condition of a society, entity, group of people, or a single person that rejects hierarchy.

What have I stated that contradicts this definition?

"just replace government". You make it sound so easy. It would be a staggering achievement if anarchists of whatever 'flavor' were able to achieve this alone in our lifetimes. I have said elsewhere it wouldn't create a utopia, just an improvement.

Private companies are not at all the same as government. When did Apple put you in a cage because you refused to buy an iPhone?

On consent: you never had permission to take that shovel remember. Some things are "basically the same". Petty disputes can escalate into something more serious as, of course, can more serious disputes. The question is whose judgement are you going to rely on to resolve these disputes and then how will you enforce that judgement once you've relied upon it. For me the anarchist position is to posit as much judgement and power to enforce in the individual as possible. What's the alternative? Hand judgement over to the State.

Whilst as individuals I believe we should be as fully armed as we personally judge to be necessary according to our particular circumstances for our defense, far more important is the judgement that we use in the exercise of the increased personal power. Is the 'shovel dispute' likely to have arisen if you knew I had an arsenal at my disposal as well as being a generally 'nice guy' to deal with? Or do you think we should just leave such questions to our 'betters' in the State apparatus?

A security company I can choose, a State I cannot.

Freedom definition:

The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants.

Choice is inherent to freedom. Freedom is an inherent component of anarchy.

Yes, the same 'shovel [etc.] disputes are still happening' and probably always will (perhaps you have a solution (I suggest in another thread)?). I haven't ditched the shovel conversation at all. The scenario could take endless different forms but my approach would be either to deal with it myself if I am able, otherwise hire a professional (chosen by me on the basis of that professional or organization to resolve disputes with the least friction possible). That is not "'condoning the use of' apv". 'Killing a cop ... sitting in his car' because you think 'he started it' is. Incidentally, in the case of the shovel, you started it.

It's not about 'telekinetically acquire[ing] a shovel'. It's about how you apply your judgement to a particular circumstance. I'm only against violence when it's exercised aggressively (as opposed to defensively) and as a consequence of poor judgement.

We're generally opposed to moral prescriptions dictating how people should act. But I believe there are some valid one's regarding how we shouldn't act (e.g. stealing, aggressing). When the policemen sitting in his car is actively engaged in such activities (and he may well be at some point) then I (generally) don't physically resist. Not because I believe he has any moral authority or because I 'support' him in any way, but simply because he's in possession of overwhelming physical force. I suggest it's that we need to change and the only way is for a greater percentage of people generally to understand the fundamental difference between State imposed 'services' and ones we are free to choose ourselves (which may mean dealing with it ourselves). Understanding that anarchism means exercising better discretion and judgement than anything the State hired enforcers can offer is an important part of that process imo.

@Sky: if you believe my position above is 'pro-state and pro-police' I have to say I disagree and I believe most 'Statists' would as well. I have said elsewhere my perspective is 'no tax' not 'less tax' - big difference (hope I don't have to keep repeating this).

I hope you feel I have engaged with DD on the points he's raised and in relation to the original question. I have addressed the questions as honestly as I am capable and whilst there is clearly a difference of opinion I don't agree that there is no engagement and that it is 'pointless'. It's highlighting significant differences on a topic that is consistently raised in many discussions that I've ever had with the wider public and their perceptions of what 'anarchy' is.

no, corporations just lock people in cages to make them manufacture iphones, and rely on the violence of the state to help maintain the socio-political system that allows them to do that in the first place, making the two concepts inextricably linked.  also you can chose your state to the same standard you can chose what security company you use, you can chose to emigrate to a different state, or to sit in some non-state territory like international waters, or antarctica.  also, in a dispute the person with the most money and most militarily adept security company wins; but that definitely isnt a war, its just healthy competition!  the invisible hand of the free market will ensure that the righteous prevails!  deus vult err... i mean its just good business *adjusts tie*

as outlined before, there no-one else here so far believes you can 'objectively' measure whether a particular instance of aggression is aggressive or defensive.  you have not provided us with any thoughts as to why you think this is the case.

also you cant cop out of advocating for a way people should act, by saying that you only 'advocate for a way they shouldnt act'.  i would have thought that was obvious, given that 'shouldnt' is just contracted 'should not'.  any 'should not' statement can be rewritten as a 'should statement', and visa versa.  an act of not doing something is an action, and hence you are still prescribing a way people 'should' act.

so as to illustrate the point of there not being a definitive answer to whether a given violent act is aggressive or defensive, no, the moment you claimed universal 'ownership' of any 'object' in the world you committed an act of aggression.

no tax is less tax than some tax; hence less tax.  in your world taxes are just replaced by fees to certain companies who perform the same actions a the state.  since you have shown support for paying those fees, as long as they are called fees, i can honestly say it seems to me you support the police and the state, just as long as they arent called by those names.

""just replace government". You make it sound so easy. It would be a staggering achievement if anarchists of whatever 'flavor' were able to achieve this alone in our lifetimes. I have said elsewhere it wouldn't create a utopia, just an improvement."

​so you admit you were advocating for simply replacing gov with private companies? the possible attainability of it doesn't change the fact that you are in fact advocating for it seemingly by your own admission in the last sentence of the quote.

"Private companies are not at all the same as government. When did Apple put you in a cage because you refused to buy an iPhone?"

no but it sounds like your private security force would be more than willing to contract a private prison company

"Is the 'shovel dispute' likely to have arisen if you knew I had an arsenal at my disposal as well as being a generally 'nice guy' to deal with? "

sounds like you are now willing to use violence to recover it, I thought earlier you were trying to figure how you wouldn't or maybe hire someone else to so you can keep moralizing.

but it sounds like you could be saying its just a bluff/security theatre. in which case yes the situation would have arisen because I would have noticed you are a push over from prior situations or your personality, so now I'm coming back for the rake.

"I haven't ditched the shovel conversation at all. The scenario could take endless different forms but my approach would be either to deal with it myself if I am able, otherwise hire a professional "

see but you are ditching the convo, because earlier we asked how you would deal with it yourself or how the professionals would do it without initiating violence, and you still haven't answered. are you saying that its not aggressive violence because its in response to my supposed bad judgement? how is that any different from me saying my violence isn't aggressive because I think the cop has bad judgement for becoming a cop? doesn't that idea validate our point that non physical types of harm could incite a reasonable person to violence?

@Sky:

Which corporation lock[s] people in cages [without their consent] to make them manufacture iphones? "the violence of the state to help maintain the socio-political system" yes, but that's different to people voluntarily deciding to go and work in suicidal conditions for Apple. This is an important distinction that is often overlooked.

For the majority of people on the planet today the 'violence of the state to help maintain the socio-political system' is considered a righteous necessity. If Apple were to invade people's homes and cage them for not buying an iPhone the majority of people would not consider that a righteous necessity. They would consider it wrong.

Security companies don't claim to own vast regions of land, issue passports on it and tell me to conform or get out. A gated residence perhaps. A shopping mall. Disneyland. But Disneyland can't force me all the way to Siberia or the North Sea. Possibly this is what the British Crown corporation has been up to, but I certainly didn't consent to sign up for it no matter how much 'implicit contract' or other dubious justifications I'm presented with and I doubt you would either given the choice.

I prefer the invisible hand, stripped of all the moralizing and posturing that creates the power politicians crave, to the visible hand that imposes itself on me via direct apv.

In a dispute perhaps the person with the best arbitration will win, mitigating the need to expend valuable and costly security resources. A security company working in a truly free market has to manage it's resources much more carefully than a government which can simply plunder the population whenever required for the next stage in the 'war on terror' or whatever.

Has someone initiated a physical aggression against another person? You might be able to conjure up some outlier cases that make the distinction between subjective and objective difficult (not the shovel case) but the vast majority of the time, if we're honest, we all know what this means. The form it takes in the State and it's relation to citizens is also very clear, once the political euphemisms have been stripped out.

"an act of not doing something is an action".That's illogical. Not doing something may make an implicit statement or reflect an opinion etc., but it is not an action. I'm suggesting that adhering to the NAP and holding the State to the same standard is a more effective way to challenge the State because it undermines the ideological basis for the State. Apv of the type DD discusses has a similar ideological basis as that of the State. The imposition of ideas/opinions via apv.

Which 'object' did I claim 'universal ownership' over and thereby commit an act of aggression?

I'm opposed to the principle of taxation, not the quantity. If you haven't picked that up by now you're obviously paying no real attention to what I'm saying despite the 'cop out' etc. statements that you're quick to make. No slavery, not less. Can you see the difference?

Certain companies who's services I get to decide if I'm going to pay for or not. Fees I decide who I'll pay to, taxes are taken from me (and everyone) by force. Choice. Freedom. They are called Police, State because they take payment in advance by force and this is currently generally perceived as morally 'right'. Which company can you quote which does the same?

Rather than dancing around the nuances of subjective/objective violence when the vast majority of people, the vast majority of the time, know perfectly well how to implement the NAP in their lives and are already living it most the time, why don't you think about the elephant in the room? Instead of trying to pretend there's no difference between having choices and being forced by the State or that by owning something like a mobile phone you've somehow committed an 'act of aggression', why not face up to the very real and apparent aggression directed towards anyone who withdraws their consent from the State? Or do you still insist that by advocating withdrawal of consent for the State I'm somehow 'supporting the State'?
@dns well thats a crock of shit
@DD:

I don't envisage a world in which it would never be necessary to lock certain (usually violently aggressive) people up. Prisons are an unfortunate necessity. Having them run by companies that I, and everyone else, can scrutinize and either support or not is preferable to an outfit that we know is run by a morally self-righteous mob that goes around imprisoning people for smoking plants and extorting everyone to pay for it's operations (or locking them up as well).

I suggest that violence is a last resort in the vast majority of circumstances and that it probably couldn't easily be justified as 'defense' in the case of the shovel. How likely is it that I'm going to come to actual physical harm due to loss of the shovel? Taking back something that belongs to you isn't 'moralizing'. It's just a restoration back to the previous circumstance.

You might judge that I'm a pushover and that now the rake etc. is up for grabs. Although, in the examples you've given previously as well, so far, I'm not impressed by your 'judgement'.

Its not apv if I deal with it in a non-aggressive way. That's how I would attempt to deal with it. Depending on circumstance this could involve more or less skill. If it's a 'tricky' situation I might turn to others with better skills and attributes than me to help resolve the issue non-violently. If your judgement led you to use apv you would be the one initiating apv, then for me it would be a matter of self-defense.

"how is that any different from me saying my violence isn't aggressive because I think the cop has bad judgement for becoming a cop?" Because the cop isn't actually aggressing against you as he sits in his car. Bad judgement + actual apv = a worse world for all of us. Currently we trust our extortionists to make these judgement calls for us. I suggest we do it ourselves. Such a change suggests a greater confidence in ordinary people to make judgement calls than we currently have in the State. The responsibility for good judgement falls onto the individual where it belongs. You've told me what 'good judgement' means to you. I disagree. I hope most other reasonable people would as well. Otherwise we're actually better off with no change, which, given the current state of the world would be a sad conclusion.

What "non physical types of harm could incite a reasonable person to violence"?

"I suggest that violence is a last resort in the vast majority of circumstances and that it probably couldn't easily be justified as 'defense' in the case of the shovel. How likely is it that I'm going to come to actual physical harm due to loss of the shovel? Taking back something that belongs to you isn't 'moralizing'. It's just a restoration back to the previous circumstance."

I said you are moralizing because you are talking about a system of morals and looking down on those who don't adhere to it (NAP). maybe you forgot why and when you were trying to take the shovel back without apv, which is why I implied you were going to telekinesis it with your mage powers.

"really. here's a real-world scenario.

i take the shovel that was sitting unused on land that you claim. (call it theft if you like). you eventually see that i have taken it. you ask for it back. i tell you i'll give it back when i am done using it, since you were not. you demand it now! i refuse. you attempt to physically grab it from my hand; i refuse, by simply holding it out of your reach. nothing violent has yet occurred, by your definition. what's your next move? if it involves physically overpowering me, then you are unquestionably the initiator of violence. if not, then you are actually not able to take it back, despite the fact that i used no violence at all."

"Its not apv if I deal with it in a non-aggressive way. That's how I would attempt to deal with it. Depending on circumstance this could involve more or less skill. If it's a 'tricky' situation I might turn to others with better skills and attributes than me to help resolve the issue non-violently. If your judgement led you to use apv you would be the one initiating apv, then for me it would be a matter of self-defense."

again, turning to others with more skill is a cop out, like I said earlier, until you explain how it can be done without apv, I'm assuming it cant.

"What "non physical types of harm could incite a reasonable person to violence?"

seriously? another thing from the beginning you forgot about, go read the comments on the question from the beginning.

considering that is the third thing I reminded you of, I think we are now in circles and I am finished. goodbye.

edited to clean sloppy quotes and change answer to question in the last few sentences

@DD:

Even if I was 'looking down on those who don't adhere to it (NAP)', why would that create a real problem for you? It's not like I could enforce it. I'll take other people's 'morality' (which I can ignore) over being shot sitting in a car because someone doesn't like my uniform any day.

I've set out my position on the shovel scenario already. Could it turn violent? Yes, it's possible. Should it turn violent? My judgement. Yours and anyone else who finds themselves in such a situation.

The 'others' would, of course, be confronted with the same set of issues, it's just that they may be more skilled and experienced at handling them. If the intention is to avoid violence, which, in my case, it would be, then turning to such help would be a good idea imo.

"What "non physical types of harm could incite a reasonable person to violence?" Again a question simply answered with another question i.e. a cop out.

I read the earlier comments. I don't see what I'm supposed to have forgotten.

no problem, that's just why I said you are moralizing. 

"What "non physical types of harm could incite a reasonable person to violence?"

your answer:

"I've set out my position on the shovel scenario already. Could it turn violent? yes"

and I was talking about how we mentioned non physical forms of harm like psychological and emotional abuse. manipulation, idk anything like stealing ur shovel according to u

I feel like you aren't even thinking about your responses, as you contradict yourself so much. your efforts to walk back and clean up the slop make it worse (see above).

not copping out just not worth the time. 

@DD:

It turning violent doesn't imply 'non physical types of harm'.

"psychological and emotional abuse. manipulation, idk anything" - indeed, but I specifically related the NAP to 'physical violence' which you would know if you read my earlier comments.

You haven't pointed out any contradiction. You've simply demonstrated that you never listened to or thought about what I was actually saying.

""psychological and emotional abuse. manipulation, idk anything" - indeed, but I specifically related the NAP to 'physical violence' which you would know if you read my earlier comments."

if I don't agree with the NAP, why would I argue within its framework? you asked me what kind of non physical things can incite someone and those are my answers, I don't have to agree with the NAP. fuck off.

me taking the shovel and it turning physical with you trying to get it back is an example of you being incited to be violent by something non violent

if you only want people to talk to who will respond according to the NAP then go to an ancap forum
@DD:

No, you don't have to agree with the NAP and that's the point. But since you adhere to no principles at all it seems that whatever subjective "psychological and emotional abuse. manipulation, idk anything" idea that pops into your head from moment to moment informs your judgment and subsequently your actions.

In such a state of mind you probably wouldn't notice that:

"me taking the shovel and it turning physical" - is you turning it physical and initiating violence. After that, it would be self-defense on my part as I've said many times already.

I want to talk to people whose own statements, on reflection, highlight the potentially dangerous consequences of their own unprincipled, subjective, position, especially in the context of political violence. I want to talk to you DD, but something tells me I'm safer doing it online ... I hope I'm wrong about that, at least.

The online equivalent of the last resort argument: "if you don't like it why don't you go and live in [insert relevant State controlled territory (or Antarctica))]". I don't go where I can find people to simply agree with me. It's harder, but more interesting, to go where there's disagreement. How about you?

But since you adhere to no principles at all it seems that whatever subjective "psychological and emotional abuse. manipulation, idk anything" idea that pops into your head from moment to moment informs your judgment and subsequently your actions.

that is correct

"me taking the shovel and it turning physical" - is you turning it physical and initiating violence.

what I meant is it turning physical when you try to take it back. remember? that has been established because we said you left it unattended. I already reminded you of the situation funky originally laid out for you. you leave it unattended, I take it, how do you take it back without initiating apv.

this plasticity, forgetfulness, and inability to connect what I say to what was said only a few messages ago is why I stopped responding.

@DD:

everything I have said has been directly related to what you said before.

It turns physical when someone makes it physical. In those moments are they thinking in terms of avoiding violence (nap) or do they make calculations based on, as Sky put it: 'egoistic, individualistic extension of my power and will to relate the way i want to to the world and people around me, using whatever means i think will be the most effective.' so that if they happen to simply be bigger and stronger the 'shovel dispute' is easily resolved in their favor.

Which mental state is preferable when confronting the problem as laid out by funky?

I advocate for the NAP in a world absent the State. You don't. Disagreeing is not "plasticity, forgetfulness, and inability to connect" it's seeing the same problem in a different way to you. Just as I would approach the shovel problem in a different way to you ... and I believe, fortunately, so would most people who look to non-violently resolve their differences.
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