What is an AnarchObjectivist?

AnarchObjectivism

Atlas

An AnarchObjectivist is one who accepts the fundamental principles of Ayn Rands philosophy, but rejects her advocacy of minarchism as inconsistent with those basic positions in metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics.

The contradiction between the Objectivist Ethics and minarchism

“The basic political principle of the Objectivist ethics is: no man may initiate the use of physical force against others. No man——or group or society or governmenthas the right to assume the role of a criminal and initiate the use of physical compulsion against any man. Men have the right to use physical force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use. The ethical principle involved is simple and clear-cut: it is the difference between murder and self-defense.” – Ayn Rand “The Objectivist Ethics” (emphasis added)

and

“A civilized society is one in which physical force is banned from human relationships—in which the government, acting as a policeman, may use force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use.” – Ayn Rand “Man’s Rights” (emphasis added)

Now, the problem arises when Miss Rand elaborates on the nature of government:

a government holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force.” – Ayn Rand “America’s Persecuted Minority: Big Business” (emphasis in original)

If a government holds a legal monopoly on the retaliatory use of force, it necessarily initiates the use of force against those whom would seek to start businesses in the arbitration and defense services industries, as well as all those who seek to do business with such persons. If a defense service is not allowed to exist or operate, yet has not initiated the use of force against anyone, and only retaliates against those who have initiated the use of force, those individuals rights have been violated.

A government that holds a legal monopoly on the retaliatory use of force actually initiates the use of force against its citizens, which violates the basic political principle of the Objectivist ethics.

Best Case Scenario

If, under an Objectivist Minarchy, the government did allow competition in the fields of arbitration and defense services,market pressures would render the government obsolete. As such a government would be voluntarily funded (so as not to violate the basic principle), private firms, in a free market, would be able to provide services cheaper and more efficiently than a government could and so would put the government out of business, and lead to de facto anarcho-capitalism.

Resolving the Contradiction

In conclusion, AnarchObjectivists reject the coercive (at worst) and/or obsolete (at best) nature of the state in favor of Voluntaryist solutions to law, arbitration, dispute resolution, and defense

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The Top Ten Most Anarchist Moments of Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand’s Ten Most Anarchist Moments

While Ayn Rand was nominally a statist, many of the passages from her works point toward anarchism as a political system that is compatible with Objectivism.

The Source of individual Rights

The source of man’s rights is not divine law or congressional law, but the law of identity. A is A—and Man is Man. Rights are conditions of existence required by man’s nature for his proper survival. If man is to live on earth, it is right for him to use his mind, it is right to act on his own free judgment, it is right to work for his values and to keep the product of his work. If life on earth is his purpose, he has a right to live as a rational being: nature forbids him the irrational. Any group, any gang, any nation that attempts to negate man’s rights, is wrong, which means: is evil, which means: is anti-life. http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/individual_rights.html#order_4

By identifying the fact that the source of rights is natural law, she destroys the notion that government is a necessary condition for rights to exist.

The Basic Political Principle

“The basic political principle of the Objectivist ethics is: no man may initiate the use of physical force against others. No man——or group or society or government—has the right to assume the role of a criminal and initiate the use of physical compulsion against any man. Men have the right to use physical force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use. The ethical principle involved is simple and clear-cut: it is the difference between murder and self-defense.” – Ayn Rand “The Objectivist Ethics” (emphasis added)

As I argued in What is an AnarchObjectivist? this basic political principle forbids any initiation of force, including the establishment of monopolies, such as the minarchist system she later advocated.

Speaking of Monopolies

A “coercive monopoly” is a business concern that can set its prices and production policies independent of the market, with immunity from competition, from the law of supply and demand. An economy dominated by such monopolies would be rigid and stagnant.

The necessary precondition of a coercive monopoly is closed entry—the barring of all competing producers from a given field. This can be accomplished only by an act of government intervention, in the form of special regulations, subsidies, or franchises. Without government assistance, it is impossible for a would-be monopolist to set and maintain his prices and production policies independent of the rest of the economy. For if he attempted to set his prices and production at a level that would yield profits to new entrants significantly above those available in other fields, competitors would be sure to invade his industry. http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/monopoly.html#order_2

 

No Compromise between Freedom and Government

“There can be no compromise between freedom and government controls; to accept “just a few controls” is to surrender the principle of inalienable individual rights and to substitute for it the principle of the government’s unlimited, arbitrary power, thus delivering oneself into gradual enslavement. As an example of this process, observe the present domestic policy of the United States.“ http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/mixed_economy.html#order_3

Minarchism not compatible with Capitalism

“It is the basic, metaphysical fact of man’s nature—the connection between his survival and his use of reason—that capitalism recognizes and protects.

In a capitalist society, all human relationships are voluntary. Men are free to cooperate or not, to deal with one another or not, as their own individual judgments, convictions, and interests dictate. They can deal with one another only in terms of and by means of reason, i.e., by means of discussion, persuasion, and contractual agreement, by voluntary choice to mutual benefit. The right to agree with others is not a problem in any society; it is the right to disagree that is crucial. It is the institution of private property that protects and implements the right to disagree—and thus keeps the road open to man’s most valuable attribute (valuable personally, socially, and objectively): the creative mind.” http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/capitalism.html#order_5

On Galts Gulch

“We are not a state here, not a society of any kind – we’re just a voluntary association of men held together by nothing but every man’s self-interest. They say that it’s hard for men to agree. You’d be surprised how easy it is – when both parties hold as their moral absolute that neither exists for the sake of the other and that reason is their only means of trade.” – Midas Mulligan, Atlas Shrugged

On Agorism

“I am speaking to those who desire to live and to recapture the honor of their soul. Now that you know the truth about your world, stop supporting your own destroyers. The evil of the world is made possible by nothing but the sanction you give it. Withdraw your sanction. Withdraw your support. Do not try to live on your enemies’ terms or to win at a game where they’re setting the rules. Do not seek the favor of those who enslaved you, do not beg for alms from those who have robbed you, be it subsidies loans or jobs, do not join their team to recoup what they’ve taken by helping them rob your neighbors.” – – John Galt, Atlas Shrugged

Statism

A statist is a man who believes that some men have the right to force, coerce, enslave, rob, and murder others. To be put into practice, this belief has to be implemented by the political doctrine that the government—the state—has the right to initiate the use of physical force against its citizens. How often force is to be used, against whom, to what extent, for what purpose and for whose benefit, are irrelevant questions. The basic principle and the ultimate results of all statist doctrines are the same: dictatorship and destruction. The rest is only a matter of time. http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/statism.html#order_4

The Nature of Government Action

No individual or private group or private organization has the legal power to initiate the use of physical force against other individuals or groups and to compel them to act against their own voluntary choice. Only a government holds that power. The nature of governmental action is: *coercive *action. The nature of political power is: the power to force obedience under threat of physical injury—the threat of property expropriation, imprisonment, or death. http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/government.html#order_5

Statism and War

If men want to oppose war, it is statism that they must oppose. So long as they hold the tribal notion that the individual is sacrificial fodder for the collective, that some men have the right to rule others by force, and that some (any) alleged “good” can justify it—there can be no peace within a nation and no peace among nations. http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/war.html#order_4

Voluntary Taxation

In a fully free society, taxation—or, to be exact, payment for governmental services—would be voluntary. Since the proper services of a government—the police, the armed forces, the law courts—are demonstrably needed by individual citizens and affect their interests directly, the citizens would (and should) be willing to pay for such services, as they pay for insurance. http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/taxation.html#order_1

As George H Smith noted “The principle of “voluntary taxation” reduces Rand’s “government” to a free-market protection agency, which, like every business, must either satisfy its customers or close up shop. What is to prevent a dissatisfied customer from withholding his money from a Randian “government,” while subscribing instead to the services of another agency?

The right to pay for services or not, according to one’s own judgment, is a characteristic of the free market; it has no relationship, either theoretically or historically, to the institution of government. There is no way a government can retain its sovereign power – its monopoly on the use of legitimate force – if it does not possess the power of compulsory taxation.”

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A free market defense of Walmart? Not so fast.

In his November 27, 2013 Forbes article, Doug Altner asks the question, “Why do 1.4 million Americans work at walmart?” His answer, presumed to be along free market lines, is that walmart and its employees voluntarily trade value for value to mutual benefit and satisfaction. “So, let’s stop attacking Walmart for paying market wages,“ Altner urges readers. Since Walmart and its business model exist in the context of a mixed economy, and depends fundamentally on state interference into the economy on their behalf, or that, at the very least, give rise to a business model that could not exist unsubsidized (even nominally) it cannot be said that Walmart operates according to free market principles .

Part of that business model is the need for a cheap, disposable source of labor, which is exactly what arises when large firms lobby the government to write laws that create a regulatory environment that artificially restricts the options available to workers. By enacting regulations that unaturally restrict a person’s ability to pursue self employment, business start-up, cottage industry and artificially limit access to credit, the government and crony firms create an increase in the supply of labor. This inflation puts workers in a government created disadvantageous position from which to negotiate pay, benefits, working conditions and other usual terms of employment. The imbalance of power is so extreme that workers are often subject to intrusions into their personal lives by the corporation. This poor terms are still often only viable because of further government subsidy in the form of low-income housing, food stamps, and medicare.

The most direct of Walmart’s cronyism are two-fold. First, Walmart’s push for a raise in minimum wage to push competition out of business, since Walmart can afford to pay the higher minimum wage, but smaller competitors may not be able. Using legislation to destroy competition for customers, also destroys competition for employees and furthers the effect of labor supply inflation that allows Walmart to have the terms of employment it sets be accepted by the labor market. Secondly, the corporation has engaged in the abuse of eminent domain to misappropriate land from private owners by the force, which stops any resistance by a community to the abuses cited above.

Walmart has spent $35 million in lobbying in the last 6 years alone in an effort to extend and maintain these conditions, conditions that do not resemble a free market at all. So when Altner and the Ayn Rand Institute ask “Why do 1.4 million Americans work at Walmart,” the answer is not that they trade value for value in a free market, but rather that these perverse arrangements are created by government intervention in the economy and should be condemned by authentic advocates of the free market as such.

Suggested Reading:

http://aaeblog.com/2009/03/31/advocatus-diaboli/

http://c4ss.org/content/14925

http://c4ss.org/content/22385

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Orthodox Objectivist Harry Binswanger Mocks the Passing of Libertarian Icon Barbara Branden

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This is despicable behavior for anyone, but it is especially sad from a longtime associate of Ayn Rand and affiliate of the Ayn Rand Institute. Orthodox Objectivist’s like Binswanger are so bitter and petty.

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Going Galt: Individuals Seceding by Wendy McElroy

“In Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged, a group of producers withdraw their talents from a parasitic society so as to speed along its collapse in order to rebuild on the ruins. But Going Galt doesn’t need to be a strategy for social change. It can be an individual choice and a strategy that increases the Galter’s freedom, quality of life, and self-respect. It doesn’t require leaving society for an isolated community or ceasing to fight for general freedom – for example, through writing and other activism. Going Galt as an individual choice simply means withdrawing support from parasites in a process that resembles a private boycott or secession. The withdrawal can be partial or it can be total; the extent of Going Galt depends on many factors including the comfort level of the individual.”

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Barbara Branden RIP

Early adopter and long time Rand associate Barbara Branden passed away yesterday, 12/11/2013. I would highly recommend her course “Principles of Efficient Thinking.” I have heard it said that the quality of your thinking determines the quality of your life. If that is the case, Ms. Branden lived amazingly, and certainly improved mine as well. I knew her through objectivistliving.com, where she was a delightful contributor. She will be missed.

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In Praise of Looters: Harry Binswanger’s Defense of Goldman Sachs

This article of mine was recently published at dailyanarchist.com

In Praise of Looters: Harry Binswangers Defense of Goldman Sachs

Harry Binswanger’s 2013 praise of Goldman Sachs at Forbes.com ignores the context that the US does not have a free market economy. The US is a mixed economy, whose financial sector is monopolized by banking cartels. Counter to Binswanger’s argument that, “since profit is the market value of the product minus the market value of factors used, profit represents the value created,” the corporate profits of Goldman Sachs are the result of lobbying, government insider favors, the infamous 2008 bailout of AIG. and their membership in the central bank’s monetary monopoly. This misdirection is the primary characteristic of what Roderick Long called “right-conflationism.”

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Fast Food in a Freed Market Doesn’t Look Like This.

The Ayn Rand Institute continues it’s divorce from reality with its latest blog entry “The fast-food industry is not a burden” by Carl Svanberg. Apparently taking a que from fellow ARI associate Harry Binswanger, this author drops the context of the mixed economy and attempts to defend the fast food industry on free market grounds.

Svanberg claims that “The fast-food industry is not forcing anyone to accept the wages they offer. On the contrary, people accept these wages voluntarily.” This much is true, the fast food industry isn’t forcing anyone. But, to say that these positions are taken voluntarily is disingenuous, in light of the fact that the state has artificially inflated the labor supply by restricting the opportunities of workers with regulatory barriers to entry into self-employment and business start up and also driving up the cost of living. Because of the states interference into the market that creates a near endless supply of cheap labor, laborers are put in a disadvantageous position from which to negotiate pay and benefits.

The second reason this industry is able to continue with its business model is state handouts. Without welfare, food stamps, and medicaid, workers would not be able to afford to take these positions and employers would have to pay better wages and give better benefits to attract workers.

Rather than acknowledge the massive amount of state interference giving rise to the fast food industry’s business model, Svanberg defends the actions of the industry on purely free market terms, as if a free market exists today.

“The impression the minimum wage lobbyists want you to get is that the fast-food industry is forcing unjustifiably low-pay on to workers who are powerless to refuse. But the industry is not in any position to set wages arbitrarily. It has to compete for workers by offering wages that reflect the market value of their work. If a business offers people more than they are worth, it will lose money. If it offers people less than they are worth, they will work elsewhere. The cause of low pay in the fast food sector is not industry stinginess, but the fact that these are low-skill, low-experience jobs.”

Of course this would be true, if we lived in a free market. But the fact is that the business can pay workers less than they are worth, and they can not seek employment elsewhere, not because of any law restricting them to their job, but because of the regulatory environment favoring large firms that has created a surplus of workers.

Kevin Carson writes:

“Under capitalism — as opposed to a freed market — the state makes the means of production artificially scarce and expensive for workers, and raises the threshold of comfortable subsistence, so that workers are artificially dependent on wage labor.

The state enforces artificial property rights and artificial scarcities, like so-called “intellectual property” (the source of the $150 markup on Nike sneakers that cost $5 to produce) and absentee title to vacant and unimproved land. It organizes the economy into oligopoly cartels, with “sticky” prices (probably a 20% price markup in most industries) and enormously inefficient and high-overhead production methods. It enforces entry barriers to self-employment by inflating the capital outlays required for production, through such things as “safety” codes that criminalize the use of ordinary household capital goods and zoning laws that criminalize household microenterprises. It impedes comfortable subsistence by promoting real estate bubbles and criminalizing competition from vernacular building techniques.”

In true vulgar libertarian fashion, Svanberg then proposes the abolition of the welfare state, without a word about abolishing the state privilege that gives rise to such blatantly exploitative business models, as if the welfare recipients are leeches on society, but the businessmen taking advantage of workers with the assistance of the state are saints. As an advocate of freed markets, I, of course, would like to see the welfare state abolished, but not before the regulatory environment created by state intervention is dismantled, putting workers and employers on even footing.

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How to Spread Anarchy

Occasionally, someone will ask me why I spend time on orthodox objectivist forums, debating, and generally being exposed to the nastiness only statists seem capable of.

Here is a copy of a message I received this week on reddit.com, where i have been very active over the last 2 years. It isn’t too often that an AnarchObjectivist gets fan mail. This is the reason that I do what I do. (I have removed the senders name to protect their privacy)

“Let me begin this message by saying that I am new to Reddit. I just recently discovered this site, and this is my first PM here.

I came here a few months back as an Objectivist. I didn’t think much about heterodox and orthodox Objectivism, but I did always take issue with Rand’s minarchy. For a person who talked about government ever expanding, she sure hated anarchy. But I never understood it.

Then, I found Reddit. Subsequently, I found r/Objectivism. And, by sheer luck, I discovered one of your posts, one about Galt’s Gulch being an ancap society. I was shocked, but intrigued. I read your blog, and I started trolling around r/Anarcho_Capitalism. My eyes opened, as much as when I read Rand for the first time (Capital: The Unknown Ideal, btw). I reread Atlas Shrugged, and I saw the agorism and voluntaryism there. I also looked up various complaints about the ARI, and I was disgusted by their neoconservatism.

Today, I call myself an “AnarchObjectivist” thanks to you. I created this account simply to PM you and tell you this, and I look forward to becoming an active member of the Objectivism and Ancap subreddits to spread the idea of Open Objectivism. Thank you very much!”

Messages and comments like this certainly make everything worthwhile. Thank you, and thank you to everyone who has expressed your support!

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Top 10 Subreddits for Aspiring Agorists

The prospect of building a community outside of the state sanctioned economy can seem like a daunting task, but with a little creativity the range of actions open to the aspiring agoAgorism_Poster_by_thorsmitersawrist are seemingly endless. The opportunities are all around us, some small and others large, to deprive the state of the resources it uses to aggress against individuals. It is my hope that this list of subreddits will serve as inspiration for members of the community to seek out ways to live their lives free of state intervention.

I have intentionally chosen non-ideological subreddits and whenever possible, subreddits that are not listed as “default” subs. I have also attempted to no list any subreddit which is on the sidebar of a subreddit that is already listed. The sidebars of these subreddits are often the most valuable resource, and I would highly recommend reading them to get the most out of the subreddits, including exploring the list or related subreddits many sidebars offer.

1) Frugal

Spending less in the formal economy means the state has less ability to tax and you can use the money you save on other agorist projects

2) FreeLance

This subreddit is dedicated to teaching you how to be a free-lancer. There are many skills that can be used to free-lance. Photography, writing, coding, and graphic design are all skills that can be traded in the informal economy.

3) StartUps

As an entrepreneurial movement, start ups are at the heart of agorism. The guides and tips on this subreddit could make the difference between a thriving agorist enterprise and failure.

4) Gardening

Gardening is an easy skill that I feel is integral to agorism. Not only can you cheaply produce your own food, you can also sell any surplus at the local farmers market, or online (especially, soaps, canned goods, and other nonperishables that can be produced). The sidebar here has links to a lot of useful skill sets, such as /r/canning, that raise the potential value of your gardening efforts. For those with not much space, there are specialized subreddits for just about any living situation: http://www.reddit.com/r/GuerrillaGardening and http://www.reddit.com/r/SquareFootGardening

5) BuyItForLife

Buying once and maintaining an item, even if it is more expensive at first, can often mean great savings over the life of the item. A n example is choosing to shave with a straight razor instead of buying disposables over and over again.

6) Homestead

Being able to produce more of what you need yourself is valuable for situations where you can’t otherwise find a state-free alternative. Producing your own electricity and collecting water can reduce your dependence on utility companies, which are often monopolized by the state.

7) BodyWeightFitness

Everyone knows that staying in shape is important. By using bodyweight workouts, you can avoid gym memberships, or buying equipment.

Personally, I prefer barbell workouts. You can often buy used barbell sets, relatively cheap.

8) CordCutters

Many avenues are available for enjoying your favorite artists work, without surrendering to state extortion and without giving recording/movie/software industry more money to lobby for ever more conspicuous property rights violations through “intellectual property” law enforcement. This subreddit will teach you how to master them all.

9) Flipping

The sidebar of this subreddit is complete course in buying and selling online. This is a great way for an agorist to supplement their income, or for some, as a sole means of income, derived entirely from the informal economy.

10) NetSec

Learn the skills necessary to protect your information on and offline, access the internets black markets, and many other activities of interest to agorists. Again, the sidebar here is a wonderful learning tool.

Bonus: AgoristLiving My subreddit has a growing collection of  practical agorist solutions to life’s challenges.

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How to Become an Agorist and Fight the State in 7 Easy Steps

keep-calm-and-practice-agorismThis list is presented in the interest of keeping resources out of the hands of the State and their accomplices in business by minimizing participation in the state economy by doing business in the informal economy whenever possible.

Buy Used

Buying used can often mean great savings, but it also means that the money you spend isn’t going into state or corporate hands. (craigslist, physical yard sales and local yard sale websites and facebook groups, farmers markets (also useful for soaps), thrift stores (you can often ask for a discount by way of tax exemption in these types of stores),

Use an Alternative Currency

Bitcoin, precious metals, bartering, local voluntary currencies are all ways to impede the States ability to tax and track your purchases. These are used preferentially to legal tender.

Grow your Own

Food. Personal gardening and farming can reduce your dependence on the state economy and ensure that your food is what you think it is, unlike that processed and treated in factory farms. Not having to buying food will reduce your grocery bill as well which further deprives the state of resources in the form of sales tax you would have paid on the product. A goat can provide 150lbs of meat per year and an average of 2 quarts of milk which can be drank, used in cooking, and made into cheese or soap. Even if you don’t have much land, you can take advantage of urban gardening and permaculture techniques to reduce your “government footprint”

Get off the Grid

Utility companies are often state owned, or at the very least take advantage of arbitrary property titles and monopoly status. Earth ships are around the same price as regular houses but have the benefit of having no electric or water bills. The buildings are designed to generate the electricity they need to operate and have their own water supply, both completely independent of the local utility company. Decentralized energy generation is achieved with a combination of solar and wind generation, along with building position, and insulation. Rainwater collected and purified in cisterns and ground based well water provide a source of water independent of the state economy.

Another great benefit of the earth ship is that it is constructed largely of recycled material, IE material that you can get for free, again avoiding the tax burden.

Quit Your Job.

Working in the state run economy enables the state to tax your income and manufacture your consent in a number of government programs including Social Security Insurance, Medicare, and Affordable Health care Act (ObamaCare). The government has an interest in having you believing that you can’t make a living without a job. It is not true. Take cue’s from illegal immigrants in the US; working under the table for cash. Freelance work is available in writing, coding, and graphic design. Self employment work in construction, painting, pressure washing, landscaping, and other handyman skills can be used for cash. This income is supposed to be reported to the state, but if it is paid in cash or bitcoins, how will the authorities ever know?

Peaceful Duplication

Since the IP debate has been settled for sometime, another way to not spend money so as to keep resources out of the hands of the State and corporations that benefit from state enforced intellectual poverty (in this case, media, broadcasting, film, and music industries, and patent war profiteers Apple and Microsoft) is to use bittorrent or other file sharing networks to download content. Almost any digital information can be acquired; music, films, ebooks, and computer programs.

Ditch Consumerism

Part of the agorist lifestyle is to spend as little money as possible in the state economy. That means becoming a producer. Still, there will be many things that can not currently be gotten through the informal economy (although most things can be bought used at least). Live frugally and avoid planned obsolescence. One example is using a straight razor instead of disposables (Alternatives to disposable consumer products).

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