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0 votes
I suppose the question could be phrased as 'Are Ancap counter revolutionary?' Though perhaps that sounds a bit Stalinist. Are they a genuine blocking point to the establishment of egalitarian, free and democratic societies and if so should we try to challenge them and try to poke holes in their rhetoric?
related question: is it worth arguing at all?

3 Answers

+3 votes
In short, yes! Many anarchists (including myself) were "an"-caps at one point that simply had some hazy understandings of things.

Seeing the radical conclusions they've came to, they likely have a more opened mind than statists.

Here's a comment I left on YouTube a while back:

As a former "anarcho"-capitalist myself, lemme give you [anarchists] some [debating] pointers:

1. Expound upon the mechanics of exploitation in full. Don't just talk about private ownership in the means of production; capitalists act under the impression that laizze-faire property is axiomatic, hence their inability to comprehend capitalist exploitation. Go over how the restriction of resources as private property for private individuals coerces people in to selling their labor for less than its intrinsic value.

2. Explain that property is not axiomatic. The only reason anyone owns anything it because the people around them collectively acknowledge it to be so.

3. Tell them how Voluntarism physically can not regulate possessions. In the absence of democratic regulation, the definition of property will vest to whoever has the most expansive access to violence; a people-democracy is preferable over a money-democracy any day.

4. Explain how undiluted capitalism converges to Social Darwinism, and how Social Darwinism is counter-productive to our evolution as a species. The people that will move us forward on this planet aren't necessarily the ones that survive in the wilderness.
by (310 points)
edited by
I very much appreciate this take on a debate that has come up (in various ways) again and again on this site.
@ingrate Thank you very much!
Sure thing. I am honestly unlikely to engage ancaps, in debate a lot of the time (I'm not trying to win converts), but there are times where it does seem worthwhile, and this is a nice window into how to engage them.
this is definitely a different and interesting response to the ancap engagement question.

i do find #4 a bit disturbing in its "progressive" perspective. in particular this sentence gives me pause: "The people that will move us forward on this planet aren't necessarily the ones that survive in the wilderness."

but overall, useful answer. not that i have much interest in engaging ancaps anymore.
@funkyanarchy In what way does it give you "pause"?

@ricksantorum666 I didn't read over the thread before I sent it to you, sorry. Now that I'm looking at it, it does seem as if that wasn't a great example.

Just for the record, I'm fully aware of the pointlessness of identity with the exception of communication purposes; I wrote a whole chapter about it in my latest book. I don't even tread the waters of the whole "who's an anarchist and who's not" bull for the most part; I suppose I couldn't help myself this time.

I do think it's really annoying how they had to jut in on our terminology, though. Now we have to suffer for each other's crashes.

(The thread gets moderately intellectual near the bottom, if you were curious. Or, if you'd like, I could send you a different thread.)

@ad: you said "Social Darwinism is counter-productive to our evolution as a species. The people that will move us forward on this planet aren't necessarily the ones that survive in the wilderness."

that gives me pause because it expresses a belief in the inherent value (as if valued by everyone) of "progress", whatever that really means. also the implied relationship of progress with evolution. not to mention the whole "the people that will move us forward..." - that reeks of vanguardism, of a sort.

overall, that entire paragraph espouses what i think of as progressive values, and very definitely not ones i share, by and large.

but that doesn't take away from the other good points you made.

0 votes
Of course it's worthwhile.

An anarcho-capitalist grew up in the same mileu we did, watching TV and coveting the feelings we imagine commercials showed us.  Then, something happened, and the anarchist idea woke up in them a little bit.  So now, they're trying to make the new idea which seems *right* fit with what they already know, which seems familiar and inevitable.

They're already getting better. They are allies with strong potential.  They may still have some bad values, but they can and should be invited to the conversation so they can be exposed to better ones.

Think of it like they're building something for the first time.  Knocking it over or shunning them for doing it wrong will only alienate someone who is trying to get better.  Instead, praise what they are doing well, and show them how the rest can be improved.
by (480 points)
edited by
i find this really disrespectful of ancaps actually, and also disturbingly linear in its assumption of how people think/change/learn, etc. even your language sounds like you're training kids or something.

i don't think that in general ancaps are on the way to recovering from their mistaken ideas, and are merely resting on the plateau of ancap-ism while they catch their breath (lol at my metaphor!). or, of course, some are, but i doubt most people move on, just like most people don't move on from many perspectives on how things work/how they would be better.

i don't have to like their perspective to understand that it might suit their desires more than what i want and believe, right?


edit to fix "it's" (d'oh)
it does sound condescending, but i get what your saying....this goes back to the whole problem with the whole identity/ally/enemy. I like anarchist ideas, but i doubt i could really be friends with most of them due to our differences
I am also inclined to say this is an inaccurate assessment of the motivation and justification of ancap thought, being that I'm fairly certain they know why they think what they think and have their own moral/ethical justifications for it.

Are they a blocking point to achieving social change?
+2 votes
Great question, and another way to phrase this question (the one i will respond to in this answer) "is it productive to argue with people?".

It certainly can be productive to argue with people and contradict them. If you just keep going along with what someone is doing without putting up any resistance to it, they will keep doing it, and the same thing goes with unchallenged ideas.

However, in all arugments, you have to understand when the other person simply does not understand what your saying, it will feel like your butting your head into a brick wall. At that point, if you continue to argue, then you are committing the wrong/stupidity, not the other person. Generally speaking, if you start to feel frustrated, as in you can't find ways of rephrasing what your saying, then you are at this point.

There are certain things you need to watch out for when trying to convince other people of something, and this requires a lot of foresight. Sometimes it can be rediculously easy these days to make someone want to hurt you. ten cuidado
yea, i like where RS666 and asker went with this. what is the point of arguing?

my point (although i usually forget and just try to win -- lol), is to challenge my own thinking, and to learn about other people.

to address the given question though, it depends on the ancap. ;)