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Friday, July 25, 2008

Common Pro-State Troll Criticisms of Agorism

A lot of the criticisms of agorism are repeated over and over again. Here's a list of the most common ones. Let me know if I missed anything!

People are intrinsically evil. Therefore, government is needed.

The most evil people will exploit the State for their own purposes.

A true free market is the most efficient way to minimize the damage caused by evil people. In a free market, evil people will be unable to find customers or employees. In the present, evil people have a State-granted monopoly/oligopoly to run their businesses.

I don't believe "all people are intrinsically evil". That's part of pro-State brainwashing and religion (Christianity). That's one reason Christianity is a slave religion. Christianity teaches "People are intrinsically evil. Therefore God/State is needed to keep them in line."

Based on my experience, there's a broad spectrum from evil to not evil. The most evil people are usually the ones in positions of power and authority. One possibility is that evil people manipulate a corrupt system most effectively for their own benefit. Another possibility is that people become corrupted when possessing a position of unchecked power.

Suppose you have a State, and its leadership is dominated by evil people. At this point, honest people are excluded. The evil people can effectively collude to eliminate people who aren't evil. There's nothing that unites evil people like an honest person!

People don't need to be protected from their own sins. People need to be protected from the sins of other people!

I consider members of the Remnant to be least evil 1% of the population.

Also remember that the opposite of evil is not good. The opposite of evil is fair. If "paying taxes is good", then I can't accept being good. In many ways, good and evil are very similar, practically equal. My goal is not to be "good". My goal is to be fair. Good was invented by evil. That's pretty tricky, but what did you expect from evil!

Agorism is too utopian.

Actually, "There should be a State" is a utopian philosophy. Why are government employees magically blessed with goodness when everyone else is evil?

Francois Tremblay had a good answer to this one. If you say "There should be a government", you're making a POSITIVE argument for its existence. You should be required to produce positive evidence that having a State is better than no State.

This debating tactic is common. If you say "The Federal Reserve is evil!" or "The income tax is evil!", you're making the "radical" argument. Corrupt ideas have become the status quo. Arguing for free markets is now the "radical" position!

Without the State, who will build the roads, schools, etc.?

This assumes that people are stupid. In the present, only the State builds roads because it's illegal/impractical to build a private road.

People will buy the things they really need. If you weren't dependent on the State to fill the pothole in front of your house, you'd hire a private repair company to do it.

Without taxes, people will have a lot more surplus wealth. They can *VOLUNTARILY* pay for the things they actually need.

Without the State, who will protect us from terrorism/invasion?

An individual act of terrorism is treated like any other crime. Without a government, there's no "profit" from terrorism.

In the present, there's no incentive for the State to "solve" the terrorism problem. The State can say "Terrorism is a serious problem! Give us more resources and power!" Paradoxically, a successful terrorist attack *INCREASES* State power. The State has an unaccountable monopoly. Even if it fails to prevent terrorism, it can demand more resources and powers, via taxes and new laws.

If a private police force failed to protect its customers, then its customers would have a valid negligence claim against their police vendors. In a free market, insurance and police protection would probably be bundled together. Free market police would have a positive obligation to protect their customers. Free market police would lose customers if they mismanaged a crisis.

Imagine an invading army of 10,000 landed in a US city. Suppose there were no restrictions on gun ownership, and everyone who wanted a gun had one. Do you think an invading army would have any chance of success? The people already employed as policemen could handle an invading army of 10,000, especially if they got reinforcements from nearby cities.

It's only profitable to invade when there's a government to usurp/replace. The Supreme Leader of Humanity has *ALREADY* infiltrated and subverted the US government!

The State is needed to prevent one person from acquiring undue wealth and influence.

It's too late for that. There already is a Supreme Leader of Humanity.

The State is the primary reason for unequal distribution of wealth. In the present, you need a license from the State to operate most businesses.

A corporation is an extension of the State. The State limits competition. The State restricts self-employment opportunities for individuals.

Most economic and political competition is merely staged competition. The Supreme Leader of Humanity arranges such conflicts to distract attention from himself.

The State is needed to "manage the economy".

This is, literally, communism. A truly free market allocates capital more efficiently that any State could. Which is better, "A handful of people make decisions for everyone." or "People individually make decisions and the aggregate is the market."?

What about the environment?

The State is the primary culprit for environmental problems. The State and "limited liability corporations" allow people who pollute to avoid responsibility for their actions.

In a free market, people who are the victim of pollution have a valid tort claim against the polluters. In the present, they are forced to seek recourse in corrupt State courts. Only the most egregious environmental crimes are punished, and even then the penalty is usually less than the profit from polluting.

In the present, many "environmental crises" are merely excuses for expanding State power.

Some people say that the "global warming crisis" is entirely fabricated. Some people say that the scientific evidence for "carbon dioxide emissions cause global warming" is flimsy or nonexistent. It is an excuse for an increase in State power. All of the research that backs the "global warming crisis" is funded by the State, which means there's no independent objective analysis. (Actually, it shouldn't be too hard to measure the effect of carbon dioxide on air heat retention in a laboratory. I never heard of such an experiment.)

Agorism won't work. Defeating the State is impossible!

If you accept that the current economic and political system is slavery, then you should resist if possible. Agorism is the most effective resistance strategy I've read about.

If you are a successful agorist, your personal freedom will increase, even if the State doesn't fully collapse during your lifetime.

You need to educate a large number of people to be successful!

You can start an agorist trading group with as few as 5 people. Once you get started, the growth will occur exponentially.

If you rely on State methods of reform, you do need to educate a large number of people. For example, repealing the income tax or Federal Reserve would require a massive education and propaganda campaign. The voting system is corrupt. Reform by voting is impossible.

With free-market compensation-based justice, couldn't a wealthy person just buy his way out of crimes?

In a free market justice system, the goal is to "restore equity" to the injured party, instead of "punishing a criminal". If proper compensation was $10M, then couldn't a wealthy person murder someone and just pay the $10M? Compensation for a crime also includes punitive damages. If you're a billionaire and you blatantly go around murdering people, you'd find that punitive damage awards would be huge.

Also, if you're a criminal, other people would start refusing to trade with you. If you're a repeat murderer, the victims could organize an assassination campaign against you, in self-defense.

In the present, the State protects employers who offer "dangerous working conditions". As long as they provide the minimum safety standards as required by law, they are shielded from liability. The State distorts the labor market, guaranteeing that there will always be a pool of workers desperate to take low-paying, dangerous jobs.

Without the State, won't small disputes escalate into war?

Small disputes escalating into war *ONLY* occurs when there's a State. For example, in the USA, suppose there's a high-profile criminal trial. The "wrong" decision is reached, and there's rioting and protesting. The people who feel wronged are unable to appeal to any other authority.

Suppose that, in free market justice, person A has a dispute with person B. Person A is purchasing police protection from agency XYZ and person B is purchasing police protection from agency UVW.

If police agency XYZ and UVW agree on what the correct resolution is, then there is no problem.

What happens if police agency XYZ and UVW disagree on the correct resolution? One possibility is that they could hire a third party to resolve their dispute. Another possibility is that XYZ will reimburse person A for his loss, while UVW reimburses person B for his loss.

Free market justice is based on the concept of "restore equity". "Revenge-based justice" or "punishment-based justice" is defective thinking. This is part of Christianity slave brainwashing. It's the job of God/State to punish people who disobey their arbitrary laws.

Even if A and B were unable to resolve their dispute, there would be a public record of what happened. Anyone who wants to do business with A or B in the future will know what happened.

Suppose that police agency XYZ and UVW let their dispute escalate to all-out war. In a free market, there will be many police agencies, not just XYZ and UVW. People will seek protection of other police agencies, to avoid being caught in the dispute between XYZ and UVW. XYZ and UVW will lose their customers.

Large-scale war is *ONLY* profitable when you can force people to pay the cost via taxes.

There will be violence and bloodshed as the State collapses!

There's a lot of unnecessary violence and bloodshed in the present!

The collapse of the Soviet Union was nonviolent. However, Russia merely converted from Soviet-style Communism to USA-style Communism.

The collapse of the current economic system may be nonviolent. If agorists do a good job building free market protection agencies, then they will be able to smoothly fill in as the State collapses. At some point, many policemen will be both on State payrolls and agorist protection agency payrolls! In the present, drug dealers and other black market workers successfully bribe policemen and other red market workers to ignore their free market activity.

The State probably won't collapse overnight. The process will be gradual, with some areas attaining freedom first. For example, there may be a part of the country where State police aren't able to forcibly evict someone from their property for failing to pay property taxes. Once a small group attains freedom, it spreads rapidly.

If you don't like the USA, then move somewhere else!

There's no unoccupied space I can move to and establish a free market. Due to international treaties, all countries have agreed to adopt a corrupt monetary system and corrupt taxation system. Small countries that attempted to hold out were infiltrated or invaded.

The global free market will probably start in the USA. People in the USA have a greater tradition of individual responsibility compared to other countries, even though the welfare state has substantially eroded that.

In the USA, writing a blog like mine is not a crime. In China, writing a blog like this is impermissible. The EU and UK have pretty flaky laws; I don't know if my blog would be legal to write there!

Also, people are the property of their government. It's hard to move to another country *ON PURPOSE*. One State won't like losing their property to another State! There are very few countries I can move to and gain full citizenship.

I'm better off staying in the USA and working for free markets here, rather than moving elsewhere. There is the "Free State Project", where (L)libertarians all agree to move to the same area. Until an agorist economy gets mature, there's not much advantage to moving to the same area for mutual self-defense. At this point, stealth in a big city is more practical.

Everything the State does is legitimate, because a majority of people approved it!

Voting doesn't work. It's too easy to manipulate the outcome of an election, even if the votes are counted fairly!

The truth is not determined by a majority vote.

Besides, Congress and the President typically have "approval ratings" around 30%. Does this mean that, if presented with the option, people would vote for "There should be no government."?

You'll never see that option on a ballot. "There should be no government" is never offered as a voting choice.

What happens if 10% of the people disapprove of all taxation? What right do the remaining 90% have to steal from them?

If you agree that you have a valid claim to my property and my labor, then I'm justified using whatever trickery I can to avoid you. If you say you have a valid claim to my property and I disagree, then it's a question of tactics instead of goals. You can't convince me "Taxation is not theft." I'm justified using whatever countermeasures I can to evade you.

If individuals don't have the right to steal, then they can't authorize a government to steal on their behalf.

Suppose I organized a gang of 100 people that went around extorting tribute from people. You agree that is a crime? When the same occurs on a large scale, and the label "government" is attached, then it's morally acceptable?

Even if an agorist revolution succeeds, then someone will establish a new State again!

The original Federal government in the USA was established because a lot of people recognized it as legitimate. They willingly paid taxes to the new Federal government, and the proceeds were used to put down tax revolts. Plus, the people who controlled the existing state governments were concerned about losing their power and influence. They supported the new Federal government because that helped them cement their power. Originally, taxes were collected by the state governments and paid to the Federal government.

In the present, there are *MANY* laws that subsidize large corporations.

Without "limited liability" protection, it becomes impractical to organize a business larger than 100-200 employees. If one of your employees does something dishonest, you would be held personally responsible.

In large organization, the "Agent-Principal problem" starts to be serious. People acting as employees will never be as efficient as independent businessmen.

Also, once the State is defeated, there will be a mental shift. Once most people understand "Taxation is theft!", then it becomes very hard to establish a new State again. Suppose someone had made 20% progress towards establishing a new State. Everyone else would start to unite in opposition.

Monopolies are only possible when they're subsidized by the State. As a business gets larger, it has more and more inefficiency. In a free market, there's a natural limit to the size of a business.

Without the State, who will take care of the poor?

Most people are poor because the State denies them the ability to start their own businesses.

If I didn't have the State leeching 50%-95%+ of my productivity, I could easily afford to support my elderly parents and donate to charities.

Before the welfare state was established, private charities did a very good job. The State destroys most free market charities. Burdened with taxation, people don't have the spare resources for charities. Further, State competition and regulations make it hard for private charities to operate.

Practicing agorism is dangerous! Practicing agorism is neglecting your responsibility to your wife and children, because of the risk of being jailed or having your property seized!

How can you know what the true risk is? Nobody has calculated statistics.

What's the true risk of agorism? What's the risk of living out your life as a slave?

I assert the opposite. If you *DON'T* practice agorism, you're neglecting your responsibility to your wife and children. By letting the State leech most of your wealth, you're limiting your ability to support your children.

All the people who write about agorism are talking abstractly about a revolt that will never occur. They don't have the guts to put their freedom where their mouth is.

For all new ideas, there is a time between theory and implementation. People wrote about airplanes before one was successfully built. People wrote about horseless carriages before one was successfully built. Similarly, it is necessary to write about agorism before it actually occurs in practice.

Currently, the agorist revolution is in the "spread awareness" phase. At this point, raising awareness is still more important than implementation.

I was reading on the Mental Militia forum, where people talk about "Gulching", which is a variation of agorism. When gulching, a group of agorists move to a remote area and form a self-sufficient community away from the State. A critic on the forum said "You guys are all talk and no action." Someone retorted "How do you know we aren't doing anything? Maybe we're active, but refusing to spill the details here?"

Currently, I am all talk and no action. I plan on changing that sometime in the next few years. You can't validly call me a hypocrite until several years from now, if I haven't started implementing my theory! My primary problem right now is a lack of interpersonal freedom. Except for a few people who regularly read my blog, I don't know enough people willing to try "practical agorism".

I agree that, once I convert from theory to implementation, the quality of my writing will increase. Flaws in the theory will be discovered once people experiment with implementation.

Even if an experiment fails, that doesn't discredit the theory. The only true resistance that agorists face is the State. Superficially, the State is increasing in power. Actually, the State is decreasing in power, due to the shrinking economy.

There already is a sizable counter-economy that hasn't replaced the State.

There are two types of counter-economic activity in the present. First, there's the black market.

The black market actually benefits from the existence of the State! If you're a marijuana farmer or prostitute, you benefit from the fact that the State suppresses competition, driving up prices. If you've bribed the right people to avoid detection, you have a lucrative business.

If you work in the black market, then the collapse of the State would wreck your business!

Second, there's the grey market. These are people operating isolated off-the-books businesses. I don't know of anyone who runs a grey market clothing manufacturing business. I don't know of anyone who works as an unlicensed agorist doctor. I don't know of anyone with a grey market appliance manufacturing business. There needs to be a secure way to match grey market buyers and sellers. An agorist can't advertise on Craigslist or eBay, lest he be shut down by the State.

Currently, the grey market appears to be isolated individuals running off-the-books business, accepting payment in cash. There's no effort to use sound money instead of slave points. There's no coherent effort to form a full underground economy that totally replaces the State.

Agorism would allow current grey market workers to reach higher levels of efficiency.

A State is the natural result of free market processes.

All of the governments I know about were established by force or conquest. Can you name an example where a group of people voluntarily and unanimously created a government?

Even the US Constitution was not directly ratified by the people. It was ratified by the state legislatures. Even then, threats of violence were needed to secure ratification in some states. The ratification of the US Constitution was the result of politically connected insiders cementing their power. Contrary to what you learn in history classes, the original US Constitution was not ratified with overwhelming popular support. The vast majority of people didn't care, until they noticed the taxes the new government was imposing on them. By that time, George Washington was dispatching troops to crush tax revolts.

It's not clear if a majority of the population would re-ratify the US Constitution today, if given the opportunity. Certain provisions, such as the 16th amendment, if put to a direct popular vote, would probably not secure a majority. Even if 50%-60% of the population would ratify the current government as it exists, that doesn't make it morally acceptable.

Let me know if I left anything important out! I tried to cover all the pro-State troll criticisms of agorism, but there's so many of them!

I updated this post with a response to a comment.

Monkt has left a new comment on your post "Common Pro-State Troll Criticisms of Agorism":

Oh here is a good one.

"I, or my tribe, is better equipped and we come knocking at your door. The private police franchise finds it more profitable to look the other way. Then what?"

If anyone is able to act that way and get away with it, they're effectively the State. Let's translate that into the present.

"A group of armed thugs (policemen) kidnapped (arrested) me for failing to pay tribute (taxes). Now what do I do?"

Once a true free market is established, it should be impossible to establish a new State. If someone got close to forming a monopoly of violence, they would find themselves faced with competition. Forming a monopoly of violence is only practical when you can force people to pay the cost via taxes *AND* most of your victims assume your power is legitimate.

This is a frequent criticism of free markets. "What happens if a rogue private police agency goes around harassing people and demanding tribute?" This has already happened. We call that rogue police agency the government. In the present, this rogue business has convinced its victims/customers that its function is legitimate.


Monkt said...

Oh here is a good one.

"I, or my tribe, is better equipped and we come knocking at your door. The private police franchise finds it more profitable to look the other way. Then what?"

LXI said...

"Also remember that the opposite of evil is not good. The opposite of evil is fair. If "paying taxes is good", then I can't accept being good. In many ways, good and evil are very similar, practically equal. My goal is not to be "good". My goal is to be fair. Good was invented by evil. That's pretty tricky, but what did you expect from evil!"

Excellent insight. Keep it up.

Dreepa said...

Interesting.. thanks!

The Free State Project is moving along and the 'market' is slowly maturing among many of them.

Come to the FSP Liberty Forum or Porcfest and meet many of them.

Anonymous said...

I'm no Christian apologist, but Paul clearly tells the Romans that man in not intrinsically evil but has a law of good in his mind and a law of sin and death in his body. Paul points out that neither good nor evil are even relevant terms, but that the vocabulary begins and ends with Christ. Doing good or evil is of no value.

Buy it or don't, but the idea that Christianity preaches that people are evil is not a biblical idea; it's the pop-christian version of the story.

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