‘Anarchism and Crime’ by Wilson and Shea
(This article ran in Green Egg. I could not find a date, so all I can say is it was in the 1970s. It reads like one of the missing appendices for Illuminatus!, but I can’t think of anyone I could ask to test my theory. My thanks to Mike Gathers for making it available to everyone. — Tom.)
Anarchism and Crime
By Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea
Because anarchists aim at the abolition of government, the first question they are usually asked is, “What about murderers, thieves, rapists? The government protects us from them. Would you just let them run wild?” Continue reading
David Hume: A Brief Appreciation
by Sean Gabb
(Published in The Salisbury Review, Summer 2004)
In writing about David Hume (1711-76), it is hard to know where to begin. He was a first rate philosopher, historian, economist, political philosopher and literary critic. He was also one of the greatest prose writers of his age. How does one appreciate that achievement – especially as briefly as the space here requires?
One answer is to see his work, in all its diversity, as part of one consistent project. Hume was interested above all in what we can know about ourselves. His philosophy can be seen as a purely negative achievement – as a retreat into scepticism. It is that. But it is also a great clearing away of misconceptions. Most previous thinkers had regarded knowledge as most surely gained by a chain of deduction from undeniable first principles. Hume denied that reason in itself gave any knowledge about the world. For him, there could be no jump – as there was for Descartes – from simple to complex certainties. He rejected the old Platonic distinction between an intelligible world of essences and the world of appearances. Instead, he completed the work of Locke and Berkeley, focussing attention on the world of appearances. Even this, however, could not yield certain knowledge. The evidence of our senses was no more than a stream of sense impressions that might or might not be related to an external reality. These impressions we processed according to conceptions of cause and effect that could not themselves be rationally demonstrated. To say that A caused B for Hume meant only that we had always experienced certain effects one after the other, and that we had a customary expectation that they always would be. Continue reading
Me, Two Nudey Men, and a Theatre Full of Lefties
By Sean Gabb
19th June 2014
The London International Festival of Theatre is an enterprise funded by the Arts Council of England and by the Culture Programme of the European Union. If I ever come to power as the front man for a military coup, it will be on my list of things to shut down before breakfast. This being said, I was happy to take part, on Wednesday the 18th June 2014, in its “Change for a Tenner” evening at the Yard Theatre in Hackney. My main outreach of late, has been to explain libertarianism to schoolchildren and traditionalists. Here was my first chance in several years to address an audience of committed pro-state leftists. The fee offered, plus expenses, was nice, though not essential to my acceptance. Continue reading
by Dan Sanchez
The Bigotry of Anti-Bigotry
Left-libertarians who espouse “thick libertarianism” especially like to lump anti-“bigotry” (I’ll explain the scare quotes later) into libertarianism: e.g., anti-racism, anti-sexism, anti-homophobia, etc. The more principled ones are careful to insert the proviso that “libertarian” efforts to combat bigotry must never violate the Non-Aggression Principle (NAP); e.g., laws against “hate speech,” business discrimination, etc, are out of the question. Instead, they favor non-state, non-coercive social harassment, including especially what they call “BOP,” which stands for “Boycott, Ostracize, Protest.” Continue reading
by Kevin Carson
What is Left-Libertarianism?
Left-libertarianism has been getting a lot of buzz recently in the broader American libertarian community. The term “left-libertarian” has been used many ways in American politics, and there seems to be some confusion within the libertarian community itself as to who left-libertarians actually are.
The basic ideas of left-libertarianism, as we at the Alliance of the Libertarian Left (ALL) and Center for a Stateless Society (C4SS) identify with that label, are broader than our organizations alone. The 1990s were a sort of Steam Engine Time for the general idea of libertarianism with a left-wing orientation, and the use of free market ideas as a weapon against the evils of corporate capitalism; a number of thinkers have developed parallel lines of analysis independently of one another, and it has grown into a large and loose-knit ideological tendency. But considering the disproportionate role ALL and C4SS have played in the growing prominence of this tendency, it’s only appropriate to explain where we’re coming from and what we mean by left-libertarianism. Continue reading
by Joel Schlosberg
Every Man a King Juan Carlos
Note: Karl Hess was wrong. There is a fundamental difference between an hereditary monarch and an elected president or prime minister. Unless drawn from a class of hereditary landlords, the latter will always be a political bureaucrat. He will be part of a faction that may at any time be driven from office. Any regard he feels for the long term benefit of his country will be more than balanced by his own need to make five lifetimes of income for himself in five or ten years, and to keep his client base attached with jobs and sinecures. A monarch, on the other hand, has no need to lie his way to the top, or to stay there by handing out bribes. Taking the trouble to be born is no qualification for a shoemaker or brain surgeon. Heads of state are different. They have an actual incentive to look out for the long term benefit of the society over which they and their descendants will rule. Just because our own dear Queen has been shockingly useless does not invalidate the general case for a divine right but constitutional monarchy. Despite his corruption and philandering, Juan Carlos appears to have kept Spain more stable and more liberal than would otherwise have been the case. SIG
by Kevin Carson
What’s Stossel Supposed to be Defending, Again?
I coined the term “vulgar libertarianism” several years back to describe reflexive mainstream libertarian defenses of the existing corporate capitalist system as if it were the free market, and using “free market” principles to justify the evils of the corporate economy. I recently saw one of the worst examples of this phenomenon ever, courtesy of John Stossel (“Debunking Popular Nonsense About Income Mobility in America,” Reason, June 4).
Vulgar libertarian apologists for capitalism use the term “free market” in an equivocal sense: They seem to have trouble remembering, from one moment to the next, whether they’re defending actually existing capitalism or free market principles. So we get the standard boilerplate article arguing that the rich can’t get rich at the expense of the poor, because “that’s not how the free market works” — implicitly assuming that this is a free market. When prodded, they’ll grudgingly admit the present system isn’t a free market, and includes a lot of state intervention on behalf of the rich. But as soon as they think they can get away with it, they go right back to defending the wealth of existing corporations in terms of “free market principles.” Continue reading