Showing posts from March, 2010

Libertarians for Redistribution

Libertarianism is a redistributive project. That’s another way in which radical market anarchism is rightly seen as part of the socialist tradition. Statists on both the left and the right favor the redistribution of wealth. Libertarians, by contrast, are often assumed to be dead-set against all varieties of redistribution. But it’s important to see that whether this is really the case or not depends on how we answer several questions: Agent : who effects the redistribution? Rationale : what justifies the redistribution? Means : how is the redistribution accomplished? Statist Redistribution For statists, the agent of redistribution is the state. The rationales for redistribution are primarily consequentialist —it’s seen as designed to bring about some favored end-state—though it may also be used to punish the putatively undeserving and to reward the arguably virtuous. The means ? The creation of monopolies, the enactment of regulations, the confiscation of proper


Glenn Greenwald's blog features a fascinating discussion about the history of uses of the word “terrorism." Greenwald highlights the fact that there is no international consensus regarding the use of “terrorism.” I'd like to suggest simple definitions for "terrorism” and a new term, “quasi-terrorism.” I'd welcome your feedback. 1. "Terrorism": the purposeful use of force against non-combatants to achieve political ends, broadly defined. 2. "Quasi-terrorism": the use of force against combatants to achieve political ends in a way that involves indiscriminate harm to non-combatants, with minimal effort to limit such harm.

Wanted: An Anarchist PI

No, as far as I know, I don't need a gumshoe personally. But I think the anarchist movement does. The most fun and cost-effective exercise in anarchist consciousness-raising I can imagine (at least at this point in the morning, before breakfast) would be the creation of a set of PI novels set in a stateless society. Genre-crossing is already all the rage in crime fiction. Think Laurell Hamilton's early Anita Blake novels (the ones before sex became the central point of each story), which combined fantasy, horror, and romance with elements of the traditional police procedural. Or Hamilton's Merry Gentry novels, which combine fantasy, detective work, and politics. Or Jim Butcher's novels that blend the traditional PI story with fantasy (and occasionally horror). Or Steven Brust's Vlad Taltos novels, which often mix fantasy with politics and detection. But this isn't, of course, a feature exclusively or primarily of fantasy fiction. A prime function of today

Exchange with Probable “419” Scammer

I was sitting in front of my computer on the afternoon of March 6, 2010, when I got a Facebook instant message purporting to be from “Emma” (not her real name)—who is, it will be useful to note, in her mid-sixties and relatively conservative (as well as being a native and capable speaker of English). It quickly became clear that the real Emma’s Facebook account had been hacked. Apart from changing the purported sender’s name (and my wife’s), I’ve reproduced the conversation just as it occurred. 2:50pm Emma Hi,how are you? 2:50pm Gary Good afternoon, Emma. It's a pleasure to see you on FB. 2:51pm Emma thanks 2:51pm Gary How are you? 2:51pm Emma but am not good at the moment.. 2:51pm Gary I wondered how APC would impact turnout at SS today. We had a relatively big group, but one composed entirely of regulars or semi-regulars. Oh, my--what's the matter? 2:52pm Emma am stuck in London with my family.. 2:52pm Gary London,

Poverty without the State

Statists on the right are perhaps most likely to oppose anarchism because they fear that the institutions of a stateless society would be unable to maintain order and resolve disputes peacefully. Statists on the left, by contrast, may object to anarchism because they are concerned that economically vulnerable people would suffer without the state to provide them with economic support and vital services. All of the following points (in making which I draw on insights gleaned from Roderick T. Long , Charles Johnson , Kevin Carson , David Friedman, and others) ought to figure, I think, in an anarchist response to this objection: States don’t treat recipients of their aid well . It’s important to avoid comparing idealized state practice with imaginary worst-case practice in a stateless society. If we focus on actual state practice, we find that poor people are not served particularly well by the state, and that states routinely intrude into the lives of recipients of state assistance,