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+3 votes
Recently, I have been challenging my Anarcho-capitalist train of thought, having particular issues with the idea of private property (specifically land). As such, I would like to know where you all draw the line between what is yours and what belongs to no one. Being a substantial land owner myself, I would have no real issues with someone coming on to my property to forage or hunt, providing that they did not decide to loot my house in the process and were courteous enough to make sure they did not shoot towards me. Another hypothetical situation: what if I had a good head of hair and wished to sell/trade it for something I desired? Would that be in holding with anarchist principles or not? Evidently, while it is attached, the hair can belong to none other than myself but is there some fundamental change once it is severed?
I was drawn to ancapism for a while, but something deep down bugged the shit out of me about it. More than one thing actually. It took me time to really formulate what they were.

One was the way most ancaps argue, that is, their emphasis on formal logic. Rather than repeat myself here, I will offer an answer I posted that touches on this directly:

Oddly enough, it was Stirner who put one of the final nails in the ancap coffin for me and ended any desire to entertain its foul parameters of life. This is in contradistinction to those who assert that Stirner's thought leads to capitalism. Phooey, bah and humbug!


One day I sat on the front steps of where I live and looked out across the yard, to the short juniper trees lining it, the grass, and started to realize all the different layers or currents of economic, political, religious, social/cultural belief and power dynamics which went into shaping this yard in it's squarish, measurable, quantifiable, shape. The fear of wildness at base, at the bottom, of all this became palpable. Another book called out for me to read and it also brushed away some more of the sleep from my eyes:

Ancapism, and most ancaps I've encountered, is/are so bound in 'civilized' (hierarchical, oppressive) ways of thinking, they never question it. They never open the way for anarchy for themselves on a deep level.

I know your questions are more specific than the way I'm presenting my views, which is why I'm commenting rather than answering. I intend to be a bit oblique, because I think your questions are deeper than perhaps you realize. I may be projecting here, true, but I find my own questioning always takes me deeper than I anticipate.

Edit: typos

2 Answers

+3 votes
good on ya for challenging your own perspective!

and let me point out the obvious: i do not speak for "anarchists", i speak only for myself. some other anarchists may agree with me, some may not. there is no singular "anarchist" answer to any question that i can think of.

the concept of "that is mine" (in some permanent sense of ownership or property) begins to fall apart when you look at material objects as nothing more than tools to be used in meeting your needs and desires. while i am using that object (or idea, for that matter), i might consider it "mine", but i would only think of that as an explicitly transient condition, for the duration of my using it. so the terms that seem relevant to me are ones like possession and usage.

in this world, a primary concern for me (and no doubt many others) is having a space where i can be alone and free of all others when i want. if i have created that space, or otherwise found it available to me - ie, not being used by others - then i would again consider it "mine", for as long as i am using it. a huge challenge there is, what if i am not there *all* the time, but choose to come back to it? if someone else comes along while i am gone and sees that it is not being used, they might well consider it available and take it for their own use. and i have no problem with that. what i would probably do is leave a note (or some clear communication) that i will be back - say, by winter - and that i expect the space will be used by anyone that needs/wants it, until such time as i return. then, when i return, if they refuse to leave (assuming i still want them to) we will have a conflict. between us alone, 2 (or however many) individuals faced with a conflict that must be resolved without relying on a state or other outside mediation.

that scenario kind of touches on the huge question of "hoarding". if i grow a shitload of potatoes, and i am saving them to sustain me for the winter, what about "sharing" with others that may not have any? i surely feel no obligation to do so. but that doesn't mean i wouldn't. it all depends on that situation. if someone comes to me and demands that i share them, or tries to "guilt" me into sharing them, they are not likely gonna get shit. or at least, there will be some definite conflict. if they approach me as another autonomous individual that is hungry and would appreciate it if i could spare a few potatoes, i am likely to be very generous. perhaps, even, they may have something (skills or knowledge, if not material objects) that i would find useful or desirable.

one area where i have major issues with ancaps in these kinds of discussions is their inability to view these kinds of situations outside of an economic perspective. every interaction must be funneled through the filter of economic transactions. every thing and activity must be assigned a value (even if the "producer" of that thing/activity is the sole assigner of the value). that is the dominant paradigm in the modern world, and it is one i seek to destroy at every opportunity.

i am definitely into mutual aid, but not based on value or enforced reciprocity.
by (13.4k points)
+1 vote
ya know, i mostly think of the sense of possession and needing to have things is more or less a pathological frame of mind we have slowly inherited from leaders and masters, starting slowly from the agricultural era. I say it's pathological considering all the personal anxiety it causes, when we identify with things then there destruction or theft is equivalent to losing part of us, especially since we can't make most of the shit we buy ourselves. There is a ton of evidence that shows that hunter gatherer tribes have practically no sense of possession, and tools/playthings ect. is passed around between all the members of the tribe.

But as for the modern world....well, i guess things are a little more complicated being conscious of this. Obviously you don't want to give all your money to a stranger because she doesn't deserve it anymore than you do, but I try to have a rather loose relationship with the things I have. For example, when I was in Peru i didn't give a shit that some guy pickpocketed 80 bucks from me because i knew he probably needed a lot more than I do, lol. You need to accept the fact that one day you could lose everything you have including your life all the sudden, which is really some wishy washy buddhist horseshit im pulling but i think it applies very well to your question :p