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Anarchism, libertarianism, and the way forward

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It's very natural for humans to join together in groups and to cooperate and compete with outsiders. Shall, and can, we outlaw that?

Some people have more skill and knowledge and are natural born leaders. Others enjoy being followers. If people voluntarily form such an organization (religions or clubs, for example), and if that organization gains some power, can and should we stop them?

Moreover, how would we stop them???

The very notion of "outlawing tyranny" implies a force (the state?) to enforce the law. In other words, anarchism opposes tyranny, but don't we need a state or other authority to stop tyranny?

Maybe the idea behind anarchism is that the great mass of people will agree to stop them.  So the force needed to stop cheaters and criminals will be based on consensus, not on hierarchy.  Does this imply a common militia?  Everyone carries a gun?  The NRA would like that.  Isn't it natural to have a government that serves the people and ensure the common good?  That is, rather than having everyone do police work and enforce laws -- there are laws, right? -- the people delegate those responsibilities to specialists: the government.

Furthermore, corporations are often innovative and efficient, or at least effective, at producing complex products and services (e.g., Microsoft, Boeing, Intel, Google, and Toyota). Likewise, universities and the sciences are pretty hierarchical.  Those who publish papers and survive peer review gain power and get to decide which other people are allowed into the community.  It's competitive and rather brutal. That's how science progresses.

Moreover, some corporations are pretty damn good: CredoMobile supports progressive causes, for example. Many corporations pay their taxes and make an effort to be decent.  The blanket condemnation of corporations is extreme.  When corporations are regulated and taxed they are useful.

Can non-hierarchical firms produce complex products efficiently?  Are there examples of that?

Yes, there are such examples. Open source software is of high quality and is widely used; a prime example is the operating system linux. There's also gnu, Open/Libre Office, and The Apache Software Foundation.  Many businesses rely on free open-source software (e.g., Java).

Gal Alperovitz has written about the movement in the US towards cooperatives, worker-owned companies, and small businesses, in What Then Must We Do -- Straight Talk about the Next American Revolution, and in other publications.

I am all in favor of such local, community-sourced, worker-owned, nonprofit, and non-hierarchical organizations.  And I agree with anarchists (and those libertarians who aren't in it just for the money) that tyrannical government programs and should be done away with.  What I disagree about is whether we should also do away with the non-tyrannical, constructive government programs such as Social Security, Medicare, public education, and public transportation. The question is: do we want to discourage government in its entirety?

I also don't believe it's possible or even desirable to stop corporations from forming, especially not without government.  We do need to regulate the corporations, however.

Several paragraphs above I wrote that anarchists want to replace government and corporations with cooperative, local, worker-owned/managed ventures.  How about publicly-owned ventures? Presumably not, because publicly owned ventures would seem to imply the existence of a government.   Alperovitz is most excited about worker-owned cooperatives and firms , but he also favors publicly owned enterprises and institutions

Next question: in worker-owned cooperatives, is there no hierarchy?  Incompetent or nasty workers need to get kicked out. I presume hiring and firing are a group decision.     That was the method described in Shift Change: a film about employee owned cooperative businesses. The cooperative they highlighted had rules for becoming a member; people could apply, after a probationary period. That's a flat hierarchy, I suppose, but it's still susceptible to corruption and power-grabbing, if people are denied membership, or services, for the wrong reason.

Tryanny is possible by the group (by the majority, or by worker-owned firms), and not just by the government.

Government's regulatory functions

In the previous section I talked about the productive effects of corporations: they produce goods and services. But of course, corporations are often very harmful: e.g., war-mongering by military contractors, death-selling by cigarette manufacturers, toxic food by Monsanto, denial of global warming by oil companies, price fixing by Big Pharma, pollution, fraud, corruption of government, political campaign spending, tax avoidance, bailouts, subsidies,  etc.

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http://waliberals.org

DFA organizer, Democratic Precinct Committee Officer, writer, and programmer. My op-ed pieces have appeared in the Seattle Times, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and elsewhere. See http://WALiberals.org and http://TruthSite.org for my writing, my (more...)
 

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Wow. Good article Don. A lot to think about. ... by David Vicks on Friday, Oct 4, 2013 at 8:03:43 PM
Good comments Dave but I've been thinking a lot la... by patricia win on Saturday, Oct 5, 2013 at 12:16:38 PM
Yes agreed on all points. This capitalism is not c... by David Vicks on Saturday, Oct 5, 2013 at 1:56:34 PM
The Problem... by unknown... by Deborah Dills on Friday, Oct 4, 2013 at 10:27:14 PM
Just saw "Inequality for All"  and though thi... by patricia win on Saturday, Oct 5, 2013 at 11:47:12 AM
Great article,it says what I have been saying abou... by liberalsrock on Saturday, Oct 5, 2013 at 9:23:36 AM
What libertarians support is the right of people t... by June Genis on Saturday, Oct 5, 2013 at 12:10:29 PM
I'm confused? How does a liberal agenda, a democra... by David Vicks on Saturday, Oct 5, 2013 at 8:36:51 PM
Elizabeth Warren says We are not a country of Anar... by Don Smith on Saturday, Oct 5, 2013 at 11:35:31 AM
Libertarian anarchists, and I include myself here,... by June Genis on Saturday, Oct 5, 2013 at 12:24:14 PM
Societies, or social groupings, begin with familie... by Derryl Hermanutz on Saturday, Oct 5, 2013 at 2:33:11 PM
Valuable comments, Derryl.Since I don't think we c... by Don Smith on Saturday, Oct 5, 2013 at 3:29:23 PM
As soon as I see the word reform I know you're abo... by Darren Wolfe on Saturday, Oct 5, 2013 at 5:34:02 PM
Good points.No shades of gray or middle ground you... by David Vicks on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2013 at 8:39:40 PM
I still have a dream, that one day writers & e... by Darren Wolfe on Saturday, Oct 5, 2013 at 5:30:35 PM
You're talking about "corrupt" government not a he... by David Vicks on Saturday, Oct 5, 2013 at 11:02:49 PM
First, govt is based on the initiation of force, a... by Darren Wolfe on Sunday, Oct 6, 2013 at 7:07:55 AM
The POWER of government to protect the individual ... by David Vicks on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2013 at 8:20:02 PM
Your or you're?  Think about that too.Yes, it... by Darren Wolfe on Thursday, Oct 10, 2013 at 6:23:29 AM
Of course government is bought out by the corporat... by David Vicks on Friday, Oct 11, 2013 at 2:08:06 PM
Libertarians are right wing weather you want to ad... by David Vicks on Friday, Oct 11, 2013 at 2:40:38 PM
I'm wondering if open source software projects are... by Don Smith on Sunday, Oct 6, 2013 at 12:43:24 AM
"democratic democracy" gets in the way when it tri... by June Genis on Sunday, Oct 6, 2013 at 3:14:16 PM
I completely agree with what you said.There have t... by David Vicks on Sunday, Oct 6, 2013 at 4:20:00 PM
Please David, educate us libertarians about our id... by Darren Wolfe on Sunday, Oct 6, 2013 at 7:04:33 PM
Let's start from the beginning.Let's have no gover... by David Vicks on Sunday, Oct 6, 2013 at 7:45:56 PM
Even with all of the atrocities that govts do you ... by Darren Wolfe on Sunday, Oct 6, 2013 at 8:32:53 PM
Government can be used to do GOOD or BAD. Without ... by David Vicks on Monday, Oct 7, 2013 at 1:15:34 PM
How can we have law without some governing body to... by David Vicks on Monday, Oct 7, 2013 at 7:01:45 PM
Well actually clicked on the thumbs up button. Whe... by David Vicks on Tuesday, Oct 8, 2013 at 11:02:00 PM
Sure, let's have anarchism in countries with govts... by Darren Wolfe on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2013 at 6:23:56 AM
What laws do you insist we have and how are you go... by David Vicks on Sunday, Oct 6, 2013 at 7:54:43 PM
I agree that there's way too much theft of money i... by Don Smith on Sunday, Oct 6, 2013 at 4:54:09 PM
No, Don, taxation is money taken by force for the ... by Darren Wolfe on Sunday, Oct 6, 2013 at 7:09:54 PM
We should use our tax money to improve the quality... by David Vicks on Sunday, Oct 6, 2013 at 8:00:12 PM
How about improving people's quality of life by no... by Darren Wolfe on Sunday, Oct 6, 2013 at 8:22:33 PM
Is there ANYTHING you WOULD like to be taxed for?A... by David Vicks on Sunday, Oct 6, 2013 at 10:04:05 PM
LMAO Is that the best you can do? Ignore the princ... by Darren Wolfe on Monday, Oct 7, 2013 at 4:39:13 AM
I could go on and on about how wrong you are on so... by David Vicks on Monday, Oct 7, 2013 at 12:44:01 PM
"Non-aggression". The opposite of "aggression". "A... by Daniel Penisten on Monday, Oct 7, 2013 at 7:50:27 PM
Well yes you are right you need AGGRESSION to enfo... by David Vicks on Tuesday, Oct 8, 2013 at 1:44:48 AM
Interesting reply and questions. That caused me to... by Daniel Penisten on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2013 at 11:54:18 AM
"They want EVERYONE to leave "me" and "you" alone.... by Darren Wolfe on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2013 at 12:24:14 PM
Daniel,One dictionary defines aggression as "The a... by Darren Wolfe on Tuesday, Oct 8, 2013 at 6:57:41 AM
What Is Law? What, then, is law? It is the col... by Darren Wolfe on Tuesday, Oct 8, 2013 at 7:00:08 AM
(continued) Such a perversion of force would be,... by Darren Wolfe on Tuesday, Oct 8, 2013 at 7:01:38 AM
Your NON-AGRESSION principle starts of good but is... by David Vicks on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2013 at 2:46:47 PM
Thank you for the reply Darren. "The act of initi... by Daniel Penisten on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2013 at 12:36:44 PM
Daniel, just as the police have the right to use l... by June Genis on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2013 at 12:52:43 PM
Thanks June Genis. Makes Good sense to me.Defendin... by Daniel Penisten on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2013 at 6:45:34 PM
Retaliatory force is still aggressive unless you c... by June Genis on Thursday, Oct 10, 2013 at 9:48:13 PM
Well, what happens if you don't pay taxes? I know ... by Darren Wolfe on Tuesday, Oct 8, 2013 at 6:03:48 AM
"...the private courts in the American West."Darre... by Daniel Penisten on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2013 at 12:43:20 PM
The Not So Wild, Wild West http://mises.org/daily/... by Darren Wolfe on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2013 at 7:19:47 PM
Yeah but governing with just profit oriented priva... by David Vicks on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2013 at 8:47:03 PM
When you buy something at the store, are the store... by David Vicks on Tuesday, Oct 8, 2013 at 2:05:15 AM
Really? The store owner doesn't hold anyone up, fo... by Darren Wolfe on Tuesday, Oct 8, 2013 at 6:20:30 AM
Frist get the enormous revenue that you don't want... by David Vicks on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2013 at 2:29:41 PM
Taxes are not harmful. Right wing thinking is... by David Vicks on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2013 at 2:36:41 PM
Government enforces laws which produce penalties l... by David Vicks on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2013 at 8:09:39 PM
Some people just cannot embrace the idea of doing ... by Daniel Penisten on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2013 at 12:51:32 PM
Agreed. However I mention that "relocation" i... by David Vicks on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2013 at 2:16:11 PM
Well. I suppose this enclave for special interests... by Daniel Penisten on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2013 at 6:20:43 PM
Well they couldn't be allowed to leave their regio... by David Vicks on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2013 at 7:47:30 PM
Actually, taxes are destructive of civil society. ... by Darren Wolfe on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2013 at 7:43:30 PM
Your already living on government money. How hard ... by David Vicks on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2013 at 7:58:54 PM
How about taxing extreme wealth and not taxing inc... by David Vicks on Monday, Oct 7, 2013 at 12:49:47 PM
"...and a government with the power to tax and cre... by Daniel Penisten on Monday, Oct 7, 2013 at 7:25:46 PM
Printing money only serves to dilute the value of ... by David Vicks on Tuesday, Oct 8, 2013 at 1:35:36 AM
Now here. I really have trouble understanding the ... by Daniel Penisten on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2013 at 1:02:09 PM
Probably need an economist to explain. I'm no expe... by David Vicks on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2013 at 2:06:26 PM
It would certainly be better to have the treasury ... by June Genis on Thursday, Oct 10, 2013 at 10:00:21 PM
Yes we have to do something about the Federal Rese... by David Vicks on Thursday, Oct 10, 2013 at 11:24:25 PM
Remember that government money is a NECESSARY (wel... by David Vicks on Tuesday, Oct 8, 2013 at 1:54:13 AM
Well ok I seemed to of missed the bottom part.Stea... by David Vicks on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2013 at 8:32:04 PM
Why is the majority justified in stealing?  W... by June Genis on Thursday, Oct 10, 2013 at 10:11:11 PM
You seem to think your not getting ANYTHING from g... by David Vicks on Thursday, Oct 10, 2013 at 11:48:17 PM
I have written a longer response which will be pos... by RanDomino Ksc on Monday, Oct 7, 2013 at 6:14:05 PM
I don't know why but apparently it's not being pos... by RanDomino Ksc on Monday, Oct 14, 2013 at 9:25:02 AM
Foreign Policy  must turn around so we can fo... by Michael Dewey on Tuesday, Oct 8, 2013 at 6:46:54 AM
Darren continues to say that taxation is a form of... by Don Smith on Tuesday, Oct 8, 2013 at 8:25:02 PM
Well it's clearly a waste of time to try to convin... by David Vicks on Tuesday, Oct 8, 2013 at 9:46:11 PM
"Your dream of a society without government is she... by Daniel Penisten on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2013 at 1:06:29 PM
If I'm not supposed to use govt services can I als... by Darren Wolfe on Friday, Oct 11, 2013 at 5:58:13 AM
How do we make sure that no government services ar... by David Vicks on Friday, Oct 11, 2013 at 3:00:47 PM
To a person who holds non-aggression as a principl... by RanDomino Ksc on Friday, Oct 11, 2013 at 6:32:55 PM
I doubt that.Non-aggression is your cover story. S... by David Vicks on Saturday, Oct 12, 2013 at 12:30:04 AM
Corporations are legal fictions created by governm... by RanDomino Ksc on Saturday, Oct 12, 2013 at 10:44:02 AM
Interesting. Especially interesting that you are a... by David Vicks on Saturday, Oct 12, 2013 at 3:15:38 PM
"so they can deregulate and lower their taxes" We... by RanDomino Ksc on Monday, Oct 14, 2013 at 9:17:11 AM
"How do you fend of corruption and power abuse?" ... by RanDomino Ksc on Monday, Oct 14, 2013 at 9:17:39 AM
Still not sure what you are going to replace gover... by David Vicks on Monday, Oct 14, 2013 at 7:06:32 PM
I certainly wasn't surrendering to Darren's argume... by Don Smith on Saturday, Oct 12, 2013 at 9:17:51 PM
"without government there might not be corporation... by RanDomino Ksc on Monday, Oct 14, 2013 at 9:24:16 AM
I have to read your link still about Anarchy. ... by David Vicks on Monday, Oct 14, 2013 at 2:34:19 PM