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Anarchism, libertarianism, and the way forward

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As long as we have corporations, we need the state to regulate the corporations and prevent them from exploiting their power.

And to get rid of corporations, as anarchists propose, and prevent their gaining power, we presumably need government to stop them, at least in the beginning.

A libertarian would defend corporations this way:  nobody forces you to buy a product from a private company -- unless the government grants the company exclusive rights.  Corporations acting in concert with government power are harmful, but corporations by themselves don't have the power to harm you -- according to libertarians.

I disagree with libertarians on this. If a corporation or a small group of corporations gains monopoly power over a market sector (especially for essential products and services such as medicine, health care, food, or water), then they can do evil even -- nay, especially -- in the absence of government.   Also, corporations often harm people by polluting the environment. In both cases (monopoly and pollution) we need governments and laws to regulate corporations.  We also need government to protect the people from exploitation by deceptive or dishonest business practices (e.g., mortgage fraud).   Most people aren't knowledgeable enough to make these decisions themselves and need government specialists to regulate the market (e.g., state insurance commissioners).

Government's constructive functions

Aside from government's many regulatory functions, it also provides many useful services:   education, public transportation, public health, research, conservation efforts, parks, and Social Security, to name just a few.  For more explanations of why we need government see Without government, we'd be hunter-gatherers and Bring on the Reagan Counterrevolution, Countering anti-govt propaganda, The Forgotten Achievements of Government, and Government is like a computer operating system.

We built these
We're the government and we built all these by
Don Smith

I note, by the way, that the US government invented the Internet, and much of the foundations of software were produced by universities, with government funding.

Both libertarians and anarchists seem to ignore the productive, beneficial effects of governments.

Obamacare is far from perfect, but it does provide health care for more Americans, and the Republicans hate it and fear it. Do anarchists like government health care?  Single-payer healthcare would be a big win, covering more people more cheaply and more justly.

Let's get practical: addressing David Fryett's points

First let me acknowledge Fryett was correct that the government was brutal in its suppression of Occupy, and I should have pointed that out in my earlier article. On the other hand, there is no denying that Occupy movements nationwide had lots of infighting and wasteful blathering. Nathan Schnieder makes this point in several of his articles on Occupy.     Without leaders and hierarchy it's hard to be effective.  Not impossible (open source) but hard.

By the way, I don't think that open source software is completely horizontal. Many people provide input, but there are probably a few smart people who have final veto power. (Anyone know this for sure?)

I also want to acknowledge the eloquence of Fryett's essay.

Fryett addresses my claim that we can thank the government for many social goods, such as seat belts, civil rights laws, pollution controls, Medicare, Social Security, laws, constitutionally guaranteed freedom of religion and press, public transportation, public schools, disaster relief, the Internet, and medical research. Fryett says that the People had to force the government to grant these social goods. Both state and capital oppressed the people.

We have constitutional rights, but the only real threat to these is the state, the same state which ever so condescendingly grants them to us. We would not need the guarantee if not for the existence of the government as it is the only thing which can (and frequently does) deprive us of these rights.

This is simply wrong, in my opinion. Trust busters such as Teddy Roosevelt and FDR directly confronted the power of moneyed interests that had power independently of the state. Without the state, what's to stop people from forming corporations backed up by private militias?

To me, government -- when it works -- IS the people, or at least a proxy for the people. Government is (ideally) the power of the people: We the People.

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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