Our Corporate Military


by Kevin Carson
http://c4ss.org/?p=7558

Nicholas Kristoff, in an NYT op-ed (“Our Lefty Military,” June 16), points to the “astonishingly liberal ethos” that governs the military internally — single-payer health insurance, job security, educational opportunities, free daycare — in support of Gen. Wesley Clark’s description of it as “the purest application of socialism there is.”

For me — an avowed libertarian socialist as well as a market anarchist — there are at least two howlers here. First, when I think of “socialism,” I think of all the liberatory things originally associated with that term back in the days of the early working class and classical socialist movement in the nineteenth century: empowerment of the working class, worker control of production, and all the rest of it. The last I heard, the U.S. military isn’t set up as a worker cooperative, with enlisted men electing their officers, managing their own work, or voting on whether or not to go to war. Taking orders from a boss “because I said so” isn’t exactly my idea of socialism.

Second, the primary external mission of the U.S. military is to keep the world — or rather the corporate pigs who own it — safe from anything remotely resembling worker empowerment. To me, that’s pretty unsocialistic. For the past sixty-odd years since WWII (a lot longer, actually), the primary focus of American national security policy has been to protect feudal landed oligarchs from land reform, to protect Western-owned corporations from nationalization, to act as collector of last resort for the company store known as the World Bank, and to enforce the draconian “intellectual property” protectionism which is the central bulwark of global corporate power today. Kristoff’s “socialist” military has the primary mission of keeping the world firmly in the hands of its corporate rulers.

Aside from that, I think Kristoff has it exactly backward: The military is almost a parody of American corporate culture. It’s riddled with hierarchy, with Taylorist/Weberian bureaucratic work rules and standard operating procedures, and all the irrationality that goes with them. The only difference is, the pointy-haired bosses wear a different kind of uniform. If you’ve ever seen the movie “Brazil,” or read Dilbert on a regular basis, you get the idea.

Kristoff has one point on his side: The differentials between production workers and senior management are a lot lower in the military than in present-day Corporate America. But that just means the military is structured more along the lines of old-style bureaucratic “Organization Man” capitalism of the sixties (as described by J.K. Galbraith), in which CEO salaries were typically only fifty times that of a production worker, rather than the current pathological model of cowboy capitalism where it’s more like five hundred.

The military, like the large corporation, is plagued by enormously high overhead costs (the cost of training a soldier), and enormously wasteful capital outlays. The military, like an oligopoly corporation, can afford to be so wasteful because it doesn’t bear the full cost of its own activities.

The management accounting system that prevails in Corporate America, invented almost a century ago by Donaldson Brown of DuPont and GM, equates the consumption of inputs to the creation of value. Administrative costs like management salaries, along with all sorts of wasteful capital expenditures, are incorporated — through the practice known as “overhead absorption” — into the transfer price of goods “sold” to inventory. And in an oligopoly market, the corporation is able to pass the costs — along with a profit markup — on to the customer through administered pricing. The military shares the same administered pricing system, with its incentives to maximize costs (Paul Goodman called “the great kingdom of cost-plus”). Ever hear of those $600 toilet seats? But in the case of the military, the administered pricing is called “taxation.”

In short the military, like the large corporation, is a giant, bureaucratic, irrational, and authoritarian institution which can only survive through parasitism — enabled by the state — on the working class.

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67 responses to “Our Corporate Military

  1. For me — an avowed libertarian socialist

    There’s your problem Kevin. There’s no such thing. You may as well declare yourself a christian atheist.

    First, when I think of “socialism,” I think of all the liberatory things originally associated with that term back in the days of the early working class and classical socialist movement in the nineteenth century: empowerment of the working class, worker control of production, and all the rest of it.

    And there you are, you’re not a “libertarian” socialist, just a socialist or, more precisely a typical Anglo-socialist, which is to say a utopian reactionary, still struggling after 200 years or more against modernity; cities, industry, efficient organisation of commerce.

    And thus we see again in this piece, that utopian socialism. A libertarian dislikes the state because it makes the laws which oppress us and unreasonably limit our freedom of action. But your whole complaint is this idea that the State is an extension of capialism, the thing you actually hate. Which is a different thing entirely. It is “abolish the State and the capitalists and we will all become socialists; jolly peasant farmers and stout artisans living in collective, co-operative harmony.

    For about three nanoseconds, until they realise not only the famers and the artisans have different and conflicting interests, but that the individual farmers and invidual artisans have conflicting interests with each other, and you need some kind of socio-economic system that can deal with that, and then a heretic says, “what about free market capitalism?” and you burn him at the stake.

  2. It is an interesting post, but I am sorry: so sorry to upset people. There is no such thing as a “libertarian socialist”. The entire thesis falls thus.

    I am so very, very sorry, but that’s the way things are. The world will, eventually, become ordered on the basis that these people, who called themselves this, did a lot of mortal, mortal and grave damage for a very very long time, many centuries perhaps: but ultimately, Man recovered, and it will be as if they, the “Libertarain Socialists”, had never existed.

    It’s like the people I met in the 70s and 80s who fervently and plangently referred to themselves as “Christian Socialists”. It is an Oxymoron.

    I am so very sorry to break ranks here but this is the case.

  3. The problem is socialism.

  4. The word “lilbertarian” was in use to denote socialism long before the right misappropriated it as part of a failed attempt to re-define capitalism as compatible with freedom.

  5. The word “libertarian” is widely and consensually understood to refer to that philosophy which was once universally known as liberalism before it was appropriated (in the USA) by socialists. If an archaic reference to the word “libertarian” may be found which accords it a different meaning, that is irrelevant; what matters is what the word, by common agreement, means now.

    You will not steal this word from us too.

  6. Of course I won’t steal the word “libertarian” from you. How could I possibly “steal” something from you that doesn’t belong to you?

  7. An interesting response from Knapp; we can see it on two levels. The simpler level is as a smart-alec riposte based on the rhetorical trick of focussing on something which is true but irrelevant.

    But on the deeper level, it supports very, very clearly what I asserted above; that “Left Libertarianism”- at least of the kind represented by Carson and Knapp- is indeed an ideological smash and grab raid typical of their style. “We’re working to change the meaning of this word; you cannot stop us because you do not own it”.

    The Enemy (call them what you will; they have many names, and none is quite complete) have two methods of bringing down opponent formations; the first is direct confrontation, marginalisation and destruction. The second is subversion; that is to inegrate themselves into a formation in order to make it simply another head of their hydra. David having already mentioned the Christian Socialists is a good example; the entry of socialism into Anglicanism, and subsequent conversion of it into a socialist formation, is well documented.

    The “libertarianism” of Carson, Knapp et al is not libertarian at all. It is socialism and hatred of capitalism. That could not have been more clearly stated than in the examples of the article and Knapp’s comments. In libertarian terms, these people are entryists. It is often impossible to prevent barbarians from forcing the gate; that does not make it rational to hand them the key.

  8. KC, TK et al are libertarians. They may be schismatic or heretical, but remain members of the libertarian oikoumene. And I happen to find them both interesting and not at all frightening.

  9. I have never understood why people with a weak argument think it will be improved by plundering the Scrabble dictionary.

  10. Ian,

    I can’t be sure what you mean by “socialist,” since you make a habit of defining — actually RE-defining — terms in an ahistorical and tendentious manner.

    I am not, however, a “socialist” in most conventionally accepted senses of the word.

    I’m certainly not a state socialist, since I oppose the existence of the state. From that it follows that I can’t be a “capitalist,” since that term denotes an archaic form of state socialism.

    While I have nothing against “the workers owning the means of production” in any particular instance — cooperatives, voluntary communes, what have you — I certainly don’t regard said ownership as a criterion of validity for a mode of economic or social organization.

    I’m an anarchist and a supporter of free markets. If you consider that to mean “socialist,” you’re not alone (some others do so disapprovingly like you, some approvingly), but I regard the project of re-defining socialism thusly to be as misguided as the project to re-define “capitalism” as compatible with, or even synonymous with, free markets.

    The term “libertarian” originated in theology to denote the split between doctrines of predestination and free will.

    Beginning in the early 19th century, it was appropriated for political purpose by communist and socialist anarchists, and has continued to be used in that sense ever since.

    In the late 20th century in the US (and now apparently in the UK as well), “right” libertarians have begun to associate it with “capitalism” and classical liberalism. I don’t especially begrudge them the use of the term (especially since I used to be one of them!, but to pretend that they have any kind of monopoly on it is, well, fucking stupid.

  11. Well Thomas, applying your latest post to your first, we get the interesting sentence.

    “The word “llbertarian” was in use to denote socialism long before the right misappropriated it as part of a failed attempt to re-define [archaic state socialism] as compatible with freedom.”

    Seems everybody’s a socialist.

    Since you accuse me of “mak[ing] a habit of defining — actually RE-defining — terms in an ahistorical and tendentious manner” I am inclined to wonder precisely how you define the word “socialism”. I think you had better state that.

    And are you a socialist? Your first post seemed to me to say that, properly used, the word “libertarian” is a synonym for socialism. Do you therefore consider yourself a socialst, however you define that word? Kevin does. Are you in agreement with Kevin?

    So far as I am aware, I am using words like “libertarian”, “socialist” and so on as generally understood at this moment in history. Since you seem to think that people who believe in capitalist free markets and other “right wing” things are not really libertarians, but instead muscled their way into [whatever “real” libertarianism is] in “the late 20th century”, should we all fuck off and find another new word to describe ourselves with? I mean, that would include Sean and David and the rest of the Libertarian Alliance. But feel free to give us all our marching orders. If I’m in the wrong movement, I really think I have a right to know.

    Is it not the case that you (possibly) and Carson (certainly) are using the word “libertarian” to denote voluntarist, propertyless[1] communalism?

    [1] At least in terms of land, but also in terms of labour (you cannot sell your labour to others, nor purchase the labour of others), intellectual property, etc?

  12. At the risk of breaking up a good fight, can I ask if anyone here posted that strange video file above us?

  13. Ian,

    You write:

    “I am inclined to wonder precisely how you define the word ‘socialism.'”

    I define the word “socialism” in various ways depending on usage (economic, political, etc.), but all usages include the concept “worker ownership of the means of production” as a primary criterion.

    “And are you a socialist?”

    No, I’m not.

    Rather that is to say I have nothing against “worker ownership of the means of production” per se — in fact my “day job” is organized as a unanimous consent cooperative of all its workers — but I don’t consider that a primary economic criterion (I also participate in enterprises not so structured) nor a political criterion at all (I’m in favor of freedom — what people do with that freedom, including how they interact economically, should be up to them).

    “Your first post seemed to me to say that, properly used, the word ‘libertarian’ is a synonym for socialism.”

    That’s a fair interpretation of what I wrote, but not of what I meant — the failure of communication there was mine. Let me take another stab at what I meant:

    Politically, the word “libertarian” originated as a descriptor of socialist/communist anarchism, and is still frequently used in that sense to this very day, especially in continental Europe. That does not mean that its usage may not take on additional meanings, but it does mean that the statement “there’s no such thing [as a libertarian socialist]” is nonsense.

    “Since you seem to think that people who believe in capitalist free markets and other ‘right wing’ things are not really libertarians”

    I don’t think they’re not libertarians, any more than I think that people who believe in pink unicorns who shit gold are not libertarians. Bizarre superstitions do complicate things when they’re mixed with real facts and demand that said facts yield the right of way, but that doesn’t necessarily call your motives or root beliefs into question.

    “Is it not the case that you (possibly) and Carson (certainly) are using the word ‘libertarian’ to denote voluntarist, propertyless communalism?”

    It’s certainly not the case with me, nor does it seem to be the case with Carson, unless there’s some hidden body of his work that I haven’t come across yet.

    You state three areas in justification of your “propertyless” characterization: Land, wage labor, and “intellectual property.”

    I’ve never resolved the question of ownership in land to my own satisfaction. I had always just assumed that the Georgists were FUBAR, until I read Rothbard’s piss-poor, clumsy, ineffectual attempt to refute their arguments. Since then, I’ve considered it an open issue.

    I have no problem at all with wage labor per se. I suspect that in a free society its incidence would drastically decrease, but that’s just a hypothetical prediction, not a goal — if it remained the prevalent mode of work, my toes would still be tapping. I have always considered labor to be a commodity subject to voluntary exchange like any other.

    While I do still leave some room for doubt in my own mind as to “intellectual property,” in case anyone ever advances a compelling argument for its existence, at this point I have pretty much relegated it to “pink unicorns that shit gold” status — rather far-fetched and I’d have to see it to believe it.

  14. Sean,

    I don’t see any video file, nor did I post one.

  15. I can’t see it either.

    Thomas-

    I define the word “socialism” in various ways depending on usage (economic, political, etc.), but all usages include the concept “worker ownership of the means of production” as a primary criterion.

    Ah, well that’s no use then. You’re thinking of Marxism or Communism. Are you an American, by any chance? You seem to to be using a quirky colonial dictionary.

    Anyway, by that above definition, it is hard to see how you can then say that “capitalism” is a form of “socialism” since whatever definition of capitalism you use, including Carson’s, you can’t shoehorn “worker ownership of the means of production” into it. Carson’s entire schtick against capitalism is that the workers do not own the means of production.

    It makes no sense as a definition anyway. I’m a one man business. If anyone owns their means of production, I do. I’m typing this on it. But I am doing capitalism, not socialism, am I not?

    Or are you going to say that the terms “socialism” and “free markets” are synonymous? At this moment I’m honestly thinking that your lexicon isn’t even internally coherent.

  16. It’s showing on the big computer upstairs, but not on this notebook. How strange.

  17. Ian,

    “You’re thinking of Marxism or Communism.”

    Marxism is one form of socialism, with communism as its ultimate goal. All forms of socialism are defined by “worker control of the means of production,” some with the state acting as substitute/proxy for the workers’ benefit, others direct (e.g. syndicalism).

    “Anyway, by that above definition, it is hard to see how you can then say that ‘capitalism’ is a form of ‘socialism’ since whatever definition of capitalism you use, including Carson’s, you can’t shoehorn ‘worker ownership of the means of production’ into it.”

    “Capitalism” was popularized as, and really only makes sense as, Marx’s term for the economic development stage succeeding mercantilism and preceding the dictatorship of the proletariat. It does not itself feature “worker ownership of the means of production,” but is a piece of Marx’s theory of historical progression TOWARD that.

    “Carson’s entire schtick against capitalism is that the workers do not own the means of production.”

    You keep saying these things that seem to indicate you’ve never bothered to read more than a paragraph of Carson.

    “I’m a one man business. If anyone owns their means of production, I do. I’m typing this on it. But I am doing capitalism, not socialism, am I not?”

    You’re probably doing free market work, or as close as it’s possible to get to it. You might be doing socialism. You’re almost certainly not doing capitalism, unless you’re typing on a factory subsidized by government with the goal of ensuring your profitabililty.

    “Or are you going to say that the terms ‘socialism’ and ‘free markets’ are synonymous?”

    No, they’re not synonymous. Anarchist/libertarian socialism is COMPATIBLE with free markets, but not the only mode of organization that is. State socialism, including its proto-form, “capitalism,” is completely INCOMPATIBLE with free markets.

  18. You see, the problem here is this: we are using different conceptual frameworks, so every word means something different to each of us. You have your definition of this “capitalism” thing. Me, I use it as a general word as used by most of the population, not as you have defined it in your personal dictionary. It is hopeless to try to discuss anything on these terms. I cannot write a sentence without asking you to look up all but the most trivial of words in your dictionary and tell me which ones to use. All I can say is that your defintions of these words are not the definitions that most other people, particularly libertarians (who, in the Knapp Dictionary are not libertarians at all) use.

    For instance. “Capitalism” began as a perjorative (like may words such as Tory, Whig, Hippie, Gay etc). Marx himself talked of the bourgeois and barely used the word “capitalist”. But it now, to most people, generally means “business and markets and stuff” as opposed to socialism which means to most people “not business and not markets and stuff”. Neither is a particularly great word. But if we want to udnerstand one another, we do at least need to use the same language.

    In the weird world of yourself and Mr Carson (who yes, I have read, stop with that silly argument), “capitalism” is a conspiracy theory. There is no business on earth that is not state subsidised, and thus not illegitimate. There is no question of degree, or whether some businesses lose more from the State than they gain. They are all part of the capitalist conspiracy. To give a fine example of Carson’s la-la land, he has asserted that tobacco companies are really benefitting from State anti-tobacco legislation because it frees them from the costs of advertising. I don’t know if he has asserted also- but by the same logic he should- that pornographers are being subsidised by censorship and drug dealers are being subsidised by Prohibition. Oh wait, I think he has done that last one.

    So the “free markets” you talk of are not the free markets the rest of us talk of. They are an unattainable state of untainted perfection; anything less is mere “capitalism”. It doesn’t matter how hard a “capitalist” has worked; his factory is “state subsidised” (it has a free road, doesn’t it?) and so not legitimate property.

    This is no use to anybody as a philosophy. Most importantly for this conversation though, it is not the usage of language that everybody else is using. It’s the language of Knappland, an alternate reality where nothing is quite the same.

    This is a total waste of time. Feel free to speak Knappspeak, but if you want to engage in conversation with us who are not Knapplanders, you’re going to need to find a Translating Machine.

  19. Ian,

    You write:

    “Me, I use it as a general word as used by most of the population, not as you have defined it in your personal dictionary.”

    No, you use it as used by an ideological splinter of an economic faction. As it happens, we both belong to more or less the same ideological splinter (libertarianism) and the same economic faction (I’m an Austrian both methodologically and in nearly every practical case where I have a firm opinion).

    The difference is that I live in the real world when it comes to language, while you live in a fairy tale where “most of the population” talks like you, when in fact it does not.

    “Most of the population,” on the evidence, thinks that capitalism means “government and business in bed together to fuck us over.” Which, roughly, is what it has always meant to “most of the population,” because that was what it was coined by Thackeray to mean, that’s what it was popularized by Marx to mean, and frankly Marx’s ideas dominated more than a third of the world politically/militarily for most of the last century, and more of the world than even that for even longer than that, and still largely prevail unquestioned by “most of the population” in many areas of thought.

    By the way, the definition of capitalism I use (“a mixed, state-regulated industrial economy”) doesn’t come from Knapp’s Dictionary, it comes from Foldvary’s Encyclopedia of Free-Market Economics.

    “Mr Carson (who yes, I have read, stop with that silly argument)”

    I’ll stop that silly argument when you stop the silly caricatures that militate toward the conclusion that you haven’t.

    I do agree that we are using different conceptual frameworks. I suspect we’ll continue to. Have fun with your gold-shitting pink unicorns.

  20. This is a waste of time, really it is.

    I stand by my original assertion that Carson, and you, if you are a member of his ideological gang (and it is hard to tell, because you leap to defence, then deny commonality alternately) are entryists whose personal mission is to redefine libertarianism out of existence.

    Your assertion as to the masses seeing capitalism as a system that fucks them over is true in the main. But remember, those same masses see no distinction between capitalism and free markets; they use the terms interchangeably. As a result, in this context, so do I. Those masses do not share your distinctions as defined in Knappspeak (or, we should call it, Carson’s Glossolalia). And, we should also remember that they do not understand economics at all; at least Carson has something in common with the masses in that regard.

    But one more thing we can say; it is that Carson’s conceptual framework is indistinguishable from that of people generally recognised as “socialists”. His description of capitalism is virtually verbatim from The Communist Manifesto and Das Kap. Even his perjorative “Vulgar Libertarianism” is a knowing wink to Marx. It is fair to say that he is not a “libertarian socialist”. He is just a socialist. He says nothing that cannot be heard spouting from a thousand spokesmen for socialism or, in the USA, liberalism; there is the tiresome drear about “the Corporations”, the labour theory of value, the idealisation of peasantry and ruralism, the hatred of industrialism and Calvinist disgust at widepread wealth, dismissed as fripperies. It is indistinguishable.

    Liberty and socialism are abstract concepts and thus mean something a little different to every person. But they are at least defined by being opposites; socialists the world over recognise libertarians to be at the opposite end of a particular value scale (again, in the rough abstract, individualism versus collectivism). Relgiosity and atheism are hard to define accurately too (is godless Buddhism a religion?) but as concepts they are nonetheless recognisable as antipodes. A “religous atheist” is oxymoronic, as is a “libertarian socialist”; the phrase we started with. If Libertarianism currently stands for anything, it is being socialism’s atheism; it is “we are not socialists”. Where socialism stands for collectives, libertarians stand for individuals, against central planning, we have individual action. Against objective value, we have subjective value. Against collective goals, we have individual goals. And so on.

    Carson (and maybe you, I don’t know; I argue with you merely as his defender) would like to make libertarianism just another socialism, and thus destroy it as a unique and vital philosophy in this time of deepening authoritarianism. If you take libertarianism away from me, well, I will call myself something else and carry on fighting you.

    Because you’re wrong.

  21. Ian,

    You write:

    “I stand by my original assertion that Carson, and you, if you are a member of his ideological gang (and it is hard to tell, because you leap to defence, then deny commonality alternately) are entryists whose personal mission is to redefine libertarianism out of existence.”

    Ideological gangs sometimes get blurry, but I suspect you’d deem me a member of Carson’s insofar as I’ve been cited in his work, have cited him in mine, and work with him on a daily basis.

    As far as your “entryist” theory is concerned, my policy with respect to it is the same as your blog’s: “Those who propose conspiracy theories will be deemed idiots.” You may regard my record in the libertarian movement as good or bad, but it, and the evolution of my specific personal beliefs, are well-documented and simply don’t even begin to sustain the allegation.

    This whole thread started with a clearly ahistorical, erroneous and laughable declaration on your part — that there is and cannot be any such thing as a “libertarian socialist.” It appears to have ended that way as well. You were wrong at the beginning and you remain wrong at the end. I don’t have to be one to notice that you’re wrong.

  22. It is not a conspiracy theory to call Carson an entryist. Entryism is a well recognised real phenomenon and Carson, steeped in Marxism as he is, must be well aware of it. He must also be well aware that there is a movement already extant which represents his views; it is the Socialist Movement.

    So what the fuck is he doing elbowing his way into the one movement directly, and “historically”, opposed to it? And if you are with him, what are you doing here? It is quite clearly an attempt to redefine what “libertarianism” means. You have yourself in this thread asserted that libertarianism used to be socialist, until in “the late 20th century”, “the right” supposedly remade it as nasty capitalism.

    This is such an “anhistoric” view of history that I am astonished you can present it with a straight face. But then, we are discussing Carson, with his “vulgar libertarianism” and his “Miseans” [sic].

    So either you are knowing entryists, or you are barking mad crazy people. You seem sane, so I go with the first.

    There is no “libertarian socialism”. You know it, and I know it. The two are opposites.

    But any movement has to beware of entryism. The history of the past century is full of it, and Marxists love to boast about their success at it. Well, there are an awful lot of us who are onto you. This is one time you’re going to fail.

  23. Thomas Knapp is correct when he notes that the British left long employed the term ‘libertarian’ before the American right coopyed the term; something I rudely discovered as a student at the University of Wales. Every university library I visited, including Cambridge, carried books that used the word ‘libertarian’ as a synonym for ‘socialist’. It gave me pause To consider the origins of Libertarianism as a term in the American English language.

  24. Ian,

    In “entryism,” a small organization secretly infiltrates a larger one with a view toward taking it over, usually through misrepresentation of belief and intention.

    The organization with which both Carson and I are affiliated, the Center for a Stateless Society, was openly established with clear lines of separation from other organizations based on openly discussed ideological differences with those organizations.

    Furthermore, its existence is subsidiary to/established by another organization (the Molinari Institute) and clearly descended from previous ideologically similar confabs with decades of their own history (Movement of, then Alliance of, the Libertarian Left).

    In other words, you have it exactly backward.

    When I started off as a libertarian, I did so as a “right” libertarian — but my first notice of the term “libertarian” was in association with communist anarchism. Specifically, its use to denote such in For Whom The Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway. The idea that a word cannot possibly have associations that it has always had, just because those associations piss you off, is something you really should get over.

  25. That’s basically not that relevant; political terminologies change over time. The term “liberal” originally described us, but in the USA the socialists managed to steal the word “liberal” (in a remarkably short space of time, too) so “classical” liberals had to find a new word and adopted “libertarian”. So the Knappspeak “historicity” is a (deliberate?) misdirection.

    What matters is that there is some person who believes in individualism and property rights, and the currently accepted term for that is “libertarian”; and then there is some other person who despises both those things, and the currently accepted term for that is “Kevin Carson” or “marxist” or “socialist” or David Davis’s delightful “GramscoFabiaNazi” or whatever. They have many words, we have just the one, and the bastards are trying to expropriate that too.

  26. In “entryism,” a small organization secretly infiltrates a larger one with a view toward taking it over, usually through misrepresentation of belief and intention.

    That’s too limited a definition. The Communist Movement was much larger than many of the organisations it entered, or attempted to enter.

    General movements can be entryist without a central leadership organising it. This is very true of Evangelical movements; christianity, socialism of various kinds, Islamists. In this form of entryism, the entryists are simply inspired to “do their bit” by preaching, tracts, propaganda etc. Moving from entryism to the corresponding form in terrorism as an example, it leads to a young man who’s never so much as had a TXT from Osama Bin Laden blowing himself up on a bus.

    These sorts of entryists are particularly pernicious, and have taken down virtually every institution in the western world in the post war period. They are not the products of a formal SMERSH structure; they are just “inspired” to invade and subvert whatever institutions, movements, after school chess clubs, whatever they can get into.

    Carson has read his socialist tracts, had his born again experience, and is now an evangelist and entryist; just as some missionaries chose darkest Africa, he looked around and saw a last lonely outpost of anti-socialists, and committed himself to the mission of converting them. And hence, we find him striding around our village in his pith helmet kicking over idols and, “I just want to build a little church here, you don’t mind do you?” And thus, what he needs if we’re not to be ruined, is a sharp spear up the Khaiber.

    The entryists who have subverted the institutions of state, science, and so on, are not members of any secret society. They were simply evangelised and recruited to a particular belief system. Luckily these days they are easy to spot by their words and deeds.

  27. Ian,

    I don’t see too much to argue with on your alternative definitional claims vis a vis entryism.

    As far your theory that Carson and I are entryists, well, good luck with that one. I guess if Icke can convince some people that Elizabeth II is an alien reptilian shapeshifter, you’ve got a shot at putting over something just as ridiculous, if you can find a gullible enough audience.

  28. Quoting Marx, labour value theory, exploitation of the workers by capitalists, rejection of property rights, communalist production, peasant romanticism, euthanasia of the rentier.

    There is already a good name for this belief system, and it isn’t libertarianism. Is it?

  29. I have to say, this discussion reminds me a lot of –

  30. Individual freedom.
    Individual responsibility.
    It seems the more complicated it is made, the further it strays from reality.

  31. Well John, the thing is this mob don’t want either of those things. They’re hardcore socialists sailing under a false flag.

  32. C H Ingoldby

    P Robinson, with respect, you are greatly mistaken to think this is some sort of Monty Python disagreement.

    As Ian B has correctly pointed out, Carson directly and openly bases his opinions on Marxism. He then chooses to claim that his Marxist opinions are ‘Libertarian’. This is a classic case of Lefties stealing words and redefining their meaning. Ian B is absolutely right to point that out and not tolerate it. Such behaviour is one of the most important and most damaging tactics of the Leftists.

    Frankly as long as Carson drivels about such socialist things as ‘worker control of production’ then it is clear that he is a Leftist enemy of Libertarianism and his attempt to exproriate the name of Libertarianism is an deliberate act of theft and sabotage.

  33. Ian,

    You write:

    “Well John, the thing is this mob don’t want either of those things. They’re hardcore socialists sailing under a false flag.”

    Well, at least you’ve narrowed your errors down to two. That’s a start.

  34. Thomas,

    A libertarian socialist is no more a type of libertarian than a dogfish is a type of dog.

  35. Ian,

    You write:

    “A libertarian socialist is no more a type of libertarian than a dogfish is a type of dog.”

    I disagree, and language and history are both entirely on my side in the matter, but that’s irrelevant because, as I’ve made quite clear, I’m not a socialist per any conventional definition, let alone a “hardcore” one, nor do I fly any sort of “false flag.” I attempt to say exactly what I mean at all times.

    Regards,
    Tom Knapp

  36. “Carson directly and openly bases his opinions on Marxism in my imagination.”

    There, fixed that for ya.

  37. Thomas,

    It would be really helpful if you could attempt some kind of consistency from one post to the next, or indeed from one sentence to the next, or indeed within single sentences as a bare start.

    So far, we have you saying something like, “I am a libertarian, real libertarians are socialists, I am not a socialist”.

    I mean, for fuck’s sake man.

    I would also remind you that we are actually discussing Carson, not Knapp. What’s your dog in this fight? Do you walk around behind him with a chair in case he wants to suddenly sit down or something?

    And finally, as they say on the News-

    There are some folks who call themselves libertarian socialists. They are not libertarians. The example wikipedia gives is Noam Chomsky. He would be horrified to be called a libertarian. A dogfish is not a dog. A strawberry shortcake is not a strawberry. Dwarf planets are not dwarves. And “libertarian socialists” are not libertarians. They are socialists. Noam Chomsky is a socialist. Kevin Carson is a socialist.

    Carson’s drivelling nonsense is openly, proudly derived from the labour theory of value and Marxian surplus value, expropriation of the proleteriat, etc etc. His epithet “vulgar libertarian” is openly taken from Marx.

    Now, trying being honest for once. Or does your job as “media coordinator” at the front group who can’t afford to pay you (Goddamn that capitalist wage slavery!) obligate you to lie on your comrades’ behalf?

  38. Ian,

    You write:

    “So far, we have you saying something like, ‘I am a libertarian, real libertarians are socialists, I am not a socialist.'”

    In your imagination, maybe. In reality, what I have said is something like “I am a libertarian, some libertarians are socialists, I am not one of them.”

    “Carson’s drivelling nonsense is”

    … followed by several claims which clearly demonstrate that you either haven’t read Carson, or don’t understand what you have read, or are lying about it. If I had to bet, it would be on a combination of the first two, but those three, combined with an abysmal ignorance of the history of economic and political theory, are the only plausible explanations.

    “Or does your job as ‘media coordinator’ at the front group who can’t afford to pay you (Goddamn that capitalist wage slavery!) obligate you to lie on your comrades’ behalf?”

    1) I don’t work for any “front groups.” The associations and connections of the organization to which you refer (one of a number of organizations with which I work, most of which are libertarian and the others of which are not political) are all open and aboveboard.

    2) The organization to which you refer does in fact pay me.

    3) I have never been asked to, ordered to, or had it implied that I should, lie on behalf of the organization or anyone associated with it, nor have I ever done so.

  39. In your imagination, maybe. In reality, what I have said is something like “I am a libertarian, some libertarians are socialists, I am not one of them.”

    “Beginning in the early 19th century, it [the term “libertarian”] was appropriated for political purpose by communist and socialist anarchists, and has continued to be used in that sense ever since. In the late 20th century in the US (and now apparently in the UK as well), “right” libertarians have begun to associate it with “capitalism” and classical liberalism.”

    You might like to try spreading your blatant contradictions across several places on the internet. Leaving them all in the same thread is kind of moronic.

  40. And you might want to look up the word “contradiction.” Hint: There aren’t any in the quote you cite.

  41. My God, you do it with one hell of a bare face.

  42. But anyone else reading this, who wonders who is being honest here, as Mr Knapp flaps around declaring Mr Carson to be misunderstood and misrepresented, may care to read this part of Carson’s great work

    Studies in Mutualist Political Economy

    (and indeed the preceding part, if you can stay awake through Carson’s infuriating pseudo-scholarly cut’n’paste style of argumentation). It contains all of what Knapp claims I have imagined; the Labour Theory Of Value, Marx, the “vulgar” epithet derived from Marx etc, etc.

    There is no honest way that it can be read otherwise than as a defence of the LToV, an apologetic for Marx, and as an attack on Libertarian free market economics. We even get Bohm-Bawerk “grinding his axe against Marx”.

    Thomas, it would be nice if you would, if you intend to carry on defending Carson, actually be honest about what Carson says, rather than constantly trying to pretend he is being misrepresented. However I consider the chance of this to be remote, as you seem incapable of being honest about even what you have yourself written in this very thread.

  43. “There is no honest way that it can be read otherwise than as a defence of the LToV, an apologetic for Marx, and as an attack on Libertarian free market economics. ”

    It’s certainly a defense of a version of the Labor Theory of Value. Of course, the LTV long pre-dates Marx.

    It’s hardly an “apologetic” for Marx, any more than Ludwig von Mises’s Socialism or Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom is — although it departs from Marx in different directions than those two do.

    If you’re dealing with economic theory from the 19th century forward, you’re either going to grapple with Marx or you’re simply not dealing with reality. And if you grapple with Marx, you’re going to find that, surprise, not every word he wrote was false or useless.

    You misapprehend my purpose in any case. I’m not here to defend Carson; I defend Carson when you insist on repeating your absurd claims about him because I’m already here doing something else (pointing out that your “no such thing as a libertarian socialist” claim is completely refuted by every relevant fact and historical datum).

  44. It’s certainly a defense of a version of the Labor Theory of Value. Of course, the LTV long pre-dates Marx. It’s hardly an “apologetic” for Marx, any more than Ludwig von Mises’s Socialism or Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom is — although it departs from Marx in different directions than those two do.

    Er, both of those utterly condemn socialism and Marxism, whereas Carson is quite deliberately writing an apologetic for socialism and Marxism. Carson uses Marx as a supporting authority.

    And, there is no need to “grapple with Marx”. Marx was proved wrong (LToV) by the Marginalists before he had even finished Das Kapital. There is literally nothing of use in any of his theory because its fundamental axiom (the LToV) is wrong. Without the LToV, there is no surplus value, no expropriation, etc. As such, even if he says something that is right in the same sense that a stopped clock is right twice a day, it is useless because it is just a coincidence.

    (pointing out that your “no such thing as a libertarian socialist” claim is completely refuted by every relevant fact and historical datum).

    And again, you are being disingenuous at the very least. What I clearly meant by the statement is that one cannot be both a libertarian and a socialist. You have said “some libertarians are socialists”. This is intrinsically impossible, because they are antipodal philosophies.

    Those people using the label “libertarian socialist”, like Chomsky, are not libertarians. They are socialists.

    And, the quote I used close by above, shows that you are saying something appallingly dishonest-

    “Beginning in the early 19th century, it [the term “libertarian”] was appropriated for political purpose by communist and socialist anarchists, and has continued to be used in that sense ever since.”

    This sentence clearly states that (in your view) the word libertarian is historically and primarily a word for communists and socialists.

    “In the late 20th century in the US (and now apparently in the UK as well), “right” libertarians have begun to associate it with “capitalism” and classical liberalism.”

    …until some right wingers came along “in the late 20th century” and started using it as well. You are clearly stating there that libertarianism as synonymous with capitalism and classical liberalism is an inappropriate and recent usage compared to a “proper” usage to describe socialists and communists.

    You are openly trying to steal the one word left to us to self-describe. We’re not really libertarians at all; that’s the “socialists and communists”.

    What term should we use, Thomas? “Capitalist running dogs”?

    Are you, or are you not, stating that the word “libertarian” is a descriptor for “socialists and communists”?

  45. “You are clearly stating there that libertarianism as synonymous with capitalism and classical liberalism is an inappropriate and recent usage compared to a ‘proper’ usage to describe socialists and communists.”

    I concede that if you are mentally retarded or if English is a third, infrequently used language for you, it might seem like that is what I am “clearly stating.”

    For those who read and understand English to any significant degree of competence, not so much.

    In point of fact, I use the word “appropriate” (which implies a taking) when describing the earlier socialist use of the term, and “associate” (which implies some genuine basis) for the later “right-libertarian” usage. So while the proper reading of my statement is not the exact opposite of yours, it has very little in common with yours.

    The socialist usage of the term “libertarian” has been validated by about two centuries of ubiquity. There’s no doubt as to its authenticity or applicability.

    Taking notice of the fact that the rightist usage is much more recent does not constitute an indictment of that usage, although I do hold that most “right-libertarians” are misplacing themselves on the left-right spectrum.

  46. So, then.

    Are you claiming that socialist-libertarians and right-libertarians are both members of the same grouping with a political commonality (“libertarianism”) or are you claiming that they are two distinct groupings who happen to be sharing the same word but do not have a political commonality?

  47. As a further point, I reiterate that historicity is actually irrelevant; all that matters is what the words mean now. The good example of this is the word “liberal” in America, which once meant, er, “classical” liberalism, but is now synonymous with leftist collectivism (which would be called socialism or social democracy in Europe).

    Arguing about the historic basis is the same as walking into a grocers and asking for mincemeat, then complaining when you get a kind of fruity pickle because in the middle ages, mincemeat did mean, minced meat. The word changed in meaning. What matters is current usage.

  48. Ian B,

    “Are you claiming that socialist-libertarians and right-libertarians are both members of the same grouping with a political commonality (‘libertarianism’)”

    Roughly. Actually, they are two groupings among many with that political commonality.

    “all that matters is what the words mean now”

    Mean to whom?

  49. “Roughly. Actually, they are two groupings among many with that political commonality.”

    Then we are back to square one, because socialism and “right” libertarianism are diametrically oppositional philosophies, which is what I asserted in the first comment.

    I just went for a walk to get some ciggies and thought of another way to explain this point for the hard of thinking. Suppose somebody declares that they are selling “unbreakable glass”. And some person says, “there is no such thing as unbreakable glass”.

    Now clearly he is not asserting that there is no thing which somebody has named “unbreakable glass”. What he is asserting is that there is in actuality no glass which is unbreakable; i.e. that the label is fraudulent.

    Likewise; the word “libertarian” in current usages mean us “right libertarians”, whatever else it may have meant in 1800. A person may describe themself as a “libertarian socialist”, but it is in practical terms impossible for a socialist to be libertarian, just as there is no unbreakable glass.

    “Right-libertarianism” and “libertarian socialism” are most certainly incompatible philosophies; they are not part of the same political grouping. At best, they have a confusion of terminologies. At worst, as I assert; “left libertarians” are attempting to deliberately confuse and ruin libertarianism because of their evangelical socialist compulsion to ruin opponents.

    I am a “right libertarian”. So is virtually anybody else who calls themself “(unqualified) libertarian”. This Libertarianism is inherently anti-socialist and anti-marxist. Carson, a “libertarian socialist”, is a socialist Marxist. And proud of it.

    There is no libertarian socialism.

  50. “Then we are back to square one, because socialism and ‘right’ libertarianism are diametrically oppositional philosophies, which is what I asserted in the first comment.”

    Yes, I know you’ve asserted that. Multiple times. Which brings us back to square two, which is the part where you don’t have the slightest fucking idea what you’re talking about.

  51. Are you typing this on a Mac, by any chance?

    Which brings us back to square two, which is the part where you don’t have the slightest fucking idea what you’re talking about.

    Yes, really. Because you could put a bunch of right-libertarians and Carsonite Marxists in a room, and they’re going to find so much in common, aren’t they? I mean, are you for fucking real? Have you ever talked to anyone outside the Centre For A Socialist Society? I mean, actual Libertarians?

    You cannot seriously argue that two groups, one of whom are passionately in favour of freedom of commerce, and the other who are ideologically opposed to freedom of commerce, have a commonality. Carson defines wage labour as unjust expropriation. You cannot harmonise that with mainstream libertarianism. It is hard to think of any two ideologies which are more strongly opposed.

    You are being ridiculous. And I think you know it too. You’re at that point in an argument when you know you’re talking bollocks but can’t find a way to back down without admitting it.

  52. “Because you could put a bunch of right-libertarians and Carsonite Marxists in a room”

    I suppose it’s possible that among six billion people on earth, there might be one who self-classifies, against all reason, as a “Carsonite Marxist.” But given reasonable definitions and actual facts, there is not and cannot be any such thing.

    “Have you ever talked to anyone outside the Centre For A Socialist Society? I mean, actual Libertarians?”

    Like Tibor Machan, perhaps? I publish his blog.

    Or J. Neil Schulman? His, too.

    Or L. Neil Smith, my friend and sometimes mentor since the mid-1990s?

    Or the Rothbardian paleos over at Antiwar.com, where I work as letters editor?

    Or the rest of the staff at the oldest daily libertarian newsletter on the Internet (Rational Review News Digest/Freedom News Daily, formerly Libernet, since 1991), of which I am publisher this last nine years?

    Or Henry Hazlitt, whose namesake foundation I used to be managing editor at under Louis James (now of Casey Research)?

    Or the New York Junto, where I was an invited speaker in 2003?

    Or the folks at Liberty magazine where I was first published in 1997?

    Or some of the guys in the (US) Libertarian Party, which I joined in the mid-1990s and left only last year?

    Which right-libertarians do you want me to name-drop?I was endorsed for the vice-presidency of the United States by Walter Block in 2008. Is that good enough for you?

  53. Then I don’t quite understand why you’re carrying Kevin Carson’s coat.

    Mind you, you did say you used to be a (right) Libertarian, but now you’re not. Ah, here we are-

    “In the late 20th century in the US (and now apparently in the UK as well), “right” libertarians have begun to associate it with “capitalism” and classical liberalism. I don’t especially begrudge them the use of the term (especially since I used to be one of them!,”

    I’m sorry we lost you. It happens. That would explain why you’re trying to justify not being a libertarian any more with all this nonsense about socialists being libertarians and libertarians not really being libertarians and so on.

    Of course, this makes you very dangerous, which kind of takes us back to what I said earlier about evangelists wandering around. You had your born again experience into socialism and, that missionary zeal means you now feel obligated to bring the rest of us down, and into your faith. Hence, you stick around under this false flag, subverting and sowing confusion.

    It’s funny really. So many libertarians are aware of how the Enemy have subverted institution after institution, but still seem unaware of the possibility that it could be done to ourselves. And yet, here we see that same process underway.

    I just hope that the Libertarian Alliance will remember what happened to academia, education, the sciences, the churches, etc etc and have a long hard think about the danger to Libertarianism itself.

  54. “Then I don’t quite understand why you’re carrying Kevin Carson’s coat.”

    I’m not. I contested one specific statement of yours, because it was a howler — as is your claim that I have, at some point, ceased to be a libertarian, including your attribution of statements to me that I’ve never made anywhere except in your imagination.

  55. “I was endorsed for the vice-presidency of the United States by Walter Block in 2008. Is that good enough for you?”

    That’s the same Walter Block who characterised Carson as a misguided Marxist in his “Kevin Carson As Doctor Jekyll And Mr Hyde”, yes?

    “On the other hand, familiarity with this list of libertarian authors seems to have been wasted on Carson, as he adopts the labor theory of value of all things as the basic building block of his analytic frame-work. And not only that. One could perhaps forgive a noneconomist for being seduced by the Marxist siren song of the labor theory of value. But he is also way off base on numerous elements of libertarianism, which he attacks with ignorant abandon. As the two main components of political economy are, naturally enough, politics and economics, and as Carson makes no real contribution to either, it is difficult not to dismiss his book as all but worthless.”

    On some issues, Carson is right on point. On others, he is out there, way, way out there in some sort of Marxist never never land. Perhaps the series of book reviews of which this present one is one part can help bring him back down to reality: free enterprise anarcho capitalist laissez-faire reality, that is.

    Did Walter Block know who you hang out with these days before he gave that endorsement?

  56. Oh, this is incredible…

    “as is your claim that I have, at some point, ceased to be a libertarian,

    I just quoted your very sentence where you said it yourself!

  57. Except that you didn’t, since I’ve never said any such thing and since the sentence you quote says no such thing.

    Get back to me after you master basic English and rudimentary logic. Or not — if you do those two things, you won’t really need to, and you’ll probably be too embarrassed by this ongoing display of your ignorance to really want to.

  58. So “I used to be one” doesn’t, in Knappspeak, mean, “I used to be one”, then? I wonder what it does mean. My oh my, Knappspeak is hard.

  59. “I used to be [a right-libertarian]” means, in Knapp-speak, the same thing it does in regular English: I used to be be [a right-libertarian].”

    More specifically, I used to be a rightist who associated libertarianism with “capitalism” and classical liberalism.

    Now I’m a leftist who associates libertarianism with free markets and anarchism.

    The path from former to latter was more of a continuum than a break, at least in my case (I still work and play well with right-libertarians, and often find I have more in common with them than with some self-identified left-libertarians).

    The two traditions, and others (including libertarian socialism) are interwoven at key points and historical junctures; they separate at others. What they have in common is the non-aggression principle or some recognizable facsimile thereof for most factions, fractions, tendencies and splinters, and at the very least an emphasis on liberty as the primary political consideration for all of them that stake any plausible claim at all on the word “libertarian.”

    I’m a non-aggression-principle-based libertarian, and I’ve neither stated nor implied otherwise.

    Digression: I missed this from you the first time:

    “Are you typing this on a Mac, by any chance?”

    Yes, I am, although probably not for the reasons you might think. I’m not a Mac cultist or anything:

    1) The price was right (it was a gift).

    2) I don’t have to worry about viruses and malware as much — not because Macs are “better,” but because most virus/malware authors target the more popular Windows OS.

    3) It’s quite capable of doing the specific things I use a computer for (web browsing and text editing), and doesn’t tempt me with time-wasters like the latest MMORPG, etc.

    If I didn’t have this old headless PPC Mac, hooked up to an external monitor, I’d be using my dual core HP laptop, running Linux Mint. Or, as a last resort, one of the several Windows machines that other family members use.

    It’s about time to retire this machine, as the new version of Adobe Flash doesn’t support its CPU. I do plan to go look at newer (but still used) Macs, but if I end up on a Linux box my heart won’t be broken.

  60. C H Ingoldby

    Ian B, you are arguing with someone who will argue that black is white and that 2+2=5. From his arguments it is quite clear that Knapp is happy to change the definitions and meanings of words as and when it suits him, which is a classic Leftist tactic.

    It is always fascinating to see a discussion between one party who thinks of dialogue as an attempt to discern truth and improve understanding and another party who thinks of dialogue as a weapon to to used and twisted to promote Leftistism. The twists, inconsistencies, redefinitions and misdirections of the Leftists are reminisent of holocaust deniers.

  61. Someone said words are given to people to conceal their thoughts.
    It is preferable to go back to reality, the truth of things, where possible.
    Collectivism would seem diametrically opposite to individualism. (Okay. The free market is the true, spontaneous, collective based on all the individual choices, sure, and the socialist collective is the false collective where the whole group is controlled by one person or group. I am meaning the latter false collective, as is generally understood by the term.)
    Where socialism is collectivist it is opposed to individualism, which is the basis of libertarianism as currently understood.
    I embrace libertarianism insofar as it is about maximizing the freedom (and consequent responsibility) of the individual.
    Coercion, which seems to haunt socialism, whether it be national or international, is the destruction of liberty.
    (I even dislike coercion in discussion, in a situation where one side will attempt to browbeat the other into accepting that it is correct, instead of simply presenting facts and let the other side make up its own mind.)
    Ian and I totally disagree on the nature of God and a relationship with Him, but as far as socialism goes he is obviously correct.
    As to left wing libertarians. It really depends on what you mean by left. But in the more commonly accepted left wing/socialist/collectivist concept, a left wing, socialist libertarian would indeed be a paradox.
    Very post modern.

  62. Mr.s Ingoldby and John B,

    Addressing the common thread in your posts, to wit:

    “It is always fascinating to see a discussion between one party who thinks of dialogue as an attempt to discern truth and improve understanding and another party who thinks of dialogue as a weapon”

    and

    “Someone said words are given to people to conceal their thoughts.”

    Interesting twist!

    I’m far from the Internet’s most prolific libertarian author, but I conservatively estimate that there are somewhere between 1.5 and 2 million words available on the Internet in formal article form written by me under my own name and readily available at the cost of a few mouse-clicks. That excludes things like blog comments, editor’s notes in the more than 2,200 editions of the daily libertarian newsletter I’ve been publisher at for nearly nine years, material I’ve ghost-written, etc.

    The inferences made here by Ian B are at odds not only with what I’ve said here, but with everything else I’ve said as well.

    John B,

    There’s certainly an internal libertarian schism over individualism versus collectivism. I tend toward the individualist side of that schism. However, I disagree with those who treat one’s position on it as essential/definitive with respect to whether or not one is a libertarian.

    The basis of all recognizable variants of libertarianism, including your “currently understood” one, is liberty, not individualism.

  63. Individual liberty is the basis of liberty.
    Collective liberty?
    As long as you do/think/believe what I say?
    Liberty is a personal, individual matter, decision and choice.

  64. John B,

    You write:

    “Individual liberty is the basis of liberty.”

    I agree.

    I also agree that those who think otherwise are in error.

    If you and I both set to work with a pencil to derive the value of pi to ten significant digits, and we get different answers, one of us is wrong, but we’re both doing math.

    A libertarian is a libertarian even if he is in epistemological error on some matter of how he got there got there, or in predictive error on some matter of where it leads.

  65. Socialism is a collectivist ideology.
    Therefore it cannot be libertarian?

  66. John B,

    Even if that’s the case (i.e. even if the basis of libertarianism is individualism vs. collectivism rather than freedom vs. coercion) — and I don’t see that it is — saying that socialism can’t be libertarian is not the same thing as saying that socialists can’t be libertarian.

    Humans are funny creatures: They are often capable of persisting in errors of contradiction, such as sincerely holding two incompatible beliefs, for long periods of time before reality forces a resolution in favor of one or the other.

  67. Freedom is based on individual freedom, otherwise it has become a collective will, which is coercive to the individual.
    WE can be free, but only as individuals. Each brain is separate, unless you go eastern mystical. Which could have a real application to things but then I would submit such exploration to the guidance of God.

    A human that holds two mutually contradictory beliefs is in a state of unreality. The situation is untrue.
    Sure, we all do to an extent, but to the extent that we do, we are being untrue.