I have failed

To be sure, I am a liberal, but I take liberalism to its logical conclusion. This makes me a private property anarchist, or anarcho-capitalist. Thus I typed the phrase ‘anarcho capitalism’ into DeviantArt a couple of weeks ago – I’ve been a member for a long time – and, hey presto, up come dozens of meme images presented by socialists of varying stripes. Almost nothing by an actual liberal got in there.

DeviantArt is a very cool place but it’s a bit of a pit when it comes to politics. Artists tend towards the socialist side of economic thinking since, as Paul Cantor explains, they want to be subsidised by the state to produce art without thought for whether anybody else wants it first. That is, they don’t want to produce value for anyone else, making them anti-social.

The site works by providing an online art gallery for still or moving images and writing, along with a system of comments. Each submission to the site, called a ‘deviation’, gets a separate page of its own, and all users get a unique web address for their profile page. This makes DeviantArt, or dA to its friends, a haven for freaks and weirdos the world over, including myself.

And among the lefty delights on DeviantArt were the following, which I will deconstruct briefly before sharing the delightful discussions I had with a formidable opponent in the comment sections of these meme pieces.

Impressive, right? Is anarcho-capitalism actually feudalism? I take the statement above to represent a horrid misunderstanding of how monarchies come into being and the fact that they are states. In a libertarian world a conqueror can’t claim to have homesteaded so much as a blade of grass and the peasantry may attempt to secede en masse without complaint from this ancap. A King in London cannot claim to justly ‘own’ Yorkshire, for example, making any claim of such an instance of statism. Political and proprietary jurisdiction have almost always been separate and in conflict with each other. The proprietary claim can only be made through homesteading, trade and gift, while the political can only be made through conquest and aggression. By the definition going back to the first liberals the King is no proprietor.

ME

Since the king has no property claim to any land unless they can engage the peasantry in voluntary employment contracts, actually the people can justly homestead their land, as the King’s forebears have taken the land by force in order for the Monarchical order to exist in the first place.

This was a very simple rebuttal of the principle that a monarch can justly lay claim to any private property in their demesne, an absurdity ably addressed above and by Sheldon Richman and Bruce L. Benson elsewhere. The British Isles, where I live, actually have a really neat and tidy example of exactly this when William the Bastard invaded, defeated King Harold Godwinson at the Battle of Hastings, and claimed all England as his by right of conquest. That is literally might makes right, the very opposite of liberalism as explained by John Milton, John Locke, Jean-Baptiste Say, Adam Smith, Chydenius, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, Frederic Bastiat, David Hume, William Gladstone, Richard Cobden, Carl Menger, Eugen von Bohm-Bawerk, Friedrich von Wieser, Garet Garrett, Albert Jay Nock, Frank Chodorov, Rose Wilder Lane, Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, Lionel Robbins, Murray Rothbard and Milton Freidman.

But since my opponent feels strongly and has an axe to grind, daft and unsubstantiated jabs swiftly follow in the form of;

OPPONENT

“the king has no property claim to any land”

Neither do capitalists.

Unsubstantiated. My denial of the King’s rights is in reference to the King establishing or inheriting a legal monopoly on the initiation of the use or threat of force over a geographical area. Capitalist landowners – does he mean farmers? – do not enjoy such a right, have never enjoyed such a right, and never could enjoy such a right. They either homestead, purchase or receive gift of land. Bare in mind I do not claim that history has neatly followed this course, at least not statist history.

“voluntary… contracts”

Where does capitalism place a limit on how much land a person can own and at what point does rent and fees become recognized as involuntary taxation?

The point is when one monopoly enjoys jurisdiction over all the land. In a political sense that is exactly what states enjoy today, and that jurisdiction clashes with the proprietary jurisdiction of those who actually bought or inherited parcels of the land in question. Private land monopolies are an absurdity addressed elsewhere.

“the people can justly homestead”

But the King says it’s his land and that they’re guests on his property.

I am speaking in terms of what is just, not what the politically powerful say. If we trusted people in power neither my opponent nor I would hold the world-views that we do.

*as the King’s forebears have taken the land by force*

Ok, so anyone claiming aboriginal heritage can just homestead your property. Makes perfect sense.

This has been abstracted away in the case of privately owned land in England on account of changes in ownership through peaceful gift and trade since the original expropriation in the 1060s and 70s. As for land still held by the Crown or the government, one can homestead away, as indeed Rothbard himself, my opponent’s equivalent of the bogeyman, said.

ME

Homesteading is one of the three methods by which people are reckoned to justly acquire property rights in land and anything made by artifice. The other two are gift and voluntary trade. But an important proviso to homesteading is that only previously unowned land and produce can be homesteaded. Pretty much all land is now owned. A King is inheritor to land which was acquired through none of these means, but instead through violent conquest by someone some way back who has bequeathed this demesne. None of what I’m saying is controversial.

Ok, so anyone claiming aboriginal heritage can just homestead your property. Makes perfect sense.

If you mean homesteading in the sense of a property rebellion against a monarch, then yeah sure. The last time that happened where I live the English killed their King and created a Republic for a time.

“Neither do capitalists”

Since all land is owned now, they do. Property titles have now changed hands in exchanges a sufficient number of times that anywhere that land is privately owned it can no longer justifiably be homesteaded. As for land that governments claim ownership of, knock yourself out! Hell, homestead government-owned rainforests and then refuse to let logging companies use them. And yeah, pretty much all rainforest are state-owned and leased to loggers. The logging companies do not own the land they operate on except in some coniferous forests like those of Canada, where replanting projects are run by the companies themselves so they can stay in business. Not ure how horrible these capitalists really are, maintaining forests like that…

As for land monopoly – none in the private sector has ever existed or ever will, rendering the question rather pointless. Theoretically there is no limit of course, but so what. There’s no limit on how much land I can buy. Since I can’t afford to buy it all, and since there’s no advantage to owning it all, such a concern is trifling and silly. Trying to establish what any acreage of land is worth would get gradually more and more difficult as this theoretical monopoly lasted longer and longer. This is called the economic calculation problem, and once it arises in land it will arise in everything. Also since socialism by definition requires a socially owned monopoly on all land I’m not sure why you would object anyway.

“But the King says it’s his land and that they’re guests on his property.”
That’s a problem with statism, not capitalism. Glad we agree.

OPPONENT

HomesteadingWould that be when you violently massacre natives and seize their land through colonial imperialism?

Where natives owned the land, it wasn’t homesteading. Where they didn’t, it was. This isn’t very intellectually taxing once one’s encountered these arguments once or twice, as my opponent claims to have done.

voluntary tradeWhich ignores the inherent coercive nature of the market.

Also if one landlord trades rental property to another, what makes that voluntary for the tenants?

The claim about coercion by market exchange is unsubstantiated. Markets are the consequence of and the setting for barter and money exchanges between freely associating people. That’s literally the whole story. Even children default to creating capitalism ad hoc given the chance;

A King is inheritor to land which was acquired through none of these meansA king can inherit land that was gifted or acquired through trade.

Also, in theory there’s nothing that limits the amount of land a landlord can hold and pass on through inheritance, and the same systems of violence are used to enforce private property that are used to enforce feudal property.

Presumably feudal property means political jurisdiction, since the King was the political master, the head of the temporal state under God, so we’re not talking about a landlord here. And since Kings disposed of their territories by granting them to vassals who in turn had further vassals the real control by the King over the territory became an entirely political rather than proprietary exercise by the 17th Century and the advent of the absolute monarchies in Europe.

If you mean homesteading in the sense of a property rebellion against a monarch, then yeah sure.Then native americans can homestead capitalist property in the Americas.

Capitalist property? I dunno what that’s supposed to mean. Certainly they can homestead state-owned land, whether it be held by State or Federal government, because it is effectively unowned.

Since all land is owned now, they do. Property titles have now changed hands in exchanges a sufficient number of times that anywhere that land is privately owned it can no longer justifiably be homesteaded.So all that’s necessary to justify monarchy is that the land change hands a few times.

Once again there is a distinction between political and proprietary means of establishing dominion over land and stuff. A political state, however constituted, has no land, has no money, has no moral justification for its existence whatsoever. Never has, never will.

Something that gave me a smidgeon of hope was a comment by another user;

Government property is not private property! You might as well say that all federal land is Obama’s private property.

And are you comparing rents and fees to taxes? So are you admitting that taxes are theft? If not, then how can rent and fees be?

Lastly, self-defense is not violence. Protecting yourself against violence is not violence.

I would disagree concerning self-defence in that I would say it is violence, but justifiable consideing the extant threat posed by an aggressor, even if that aggressor wears a fancy costume with a badge.

I think I’ll let an incredulous 3rd party do the talking here, since the police are a state-funded monopoly, on which more later.

3rd PARTY

I’m sorry, but I’m not seeing anything to do with capitalism in this picture.

Are you sure you don’t mean collectivism?

OPPONENT

Capitalism is a form of collectivism in which people who have property rule over people who don’t to the collective enrichment of the property owner.

Wrong answer! Capitalism is either;

1. personal and freely transferable (private) ownership of the means of production.

2. the increase in capital intensity over time that drives division of labour and productivity growth.

3. entrepreneurialism + profit&loss + finance (investment and lending)

Nothing inherently collectivist there, though the two are not mutually exclusive. Who the Hell doesn’t have property anyway besides the majority of already deceased people and unborn foetuses? Let us remember that we own ourselves and that our self-ownership – asserted by command of our faculties, senses, movement, and choice – grants our property rights in external things through homesteading (mixing labour in productive use of land, for example), trade and gift.

3rd PARTY

Funny, but no property owner ever forced me to work for him, and I certainly profited from the work I did for them.  They all had to offer me what I felt was a fair trade for the use of my time and energy, and if I didn’t like what they offered, I was more than free to go elsewhere.

And where, pray tell, did the property that those folks own come from?  They certainly didn’t wake up one day and have it appear out of thin air.

All trade is mutually beneficial otherwise it isn’t trade, but either fraud or slavery. Honestly this is somewhere socialists and free marketeers should be able to find common ground. If both parties are happy with the outcome of their exchange, then what need is there for any third party watching over them? And if they’re not, the free market would provide affordable dispute resolution organisations to sort problems out. Indeed it’s already happening now.

OPPONENT

You were forced by an economic system through which your subsistence depended on subordination to an institutional hierarchy based on legal fictions of property that function like royal titles, an illusion and trick to conflate institutions with personal possessions and make all the products of an institution the personal possessions of an elite class of property owners who rule to enrich themselves until it is no longer possible.
Perhaps you are simply too privileged to understand that millions of people suffer daily in this system, faced with the choice between submission and obedience to often draconian bosses for poverty wages, or sacrificing the incomes they need to survive and feed their offspring.

I nearly despair reading this. There is not an accurate statement about economics in either of these two paragraphs. I guess “suffer daily in this system” has some merit but not for the reasons my opponent believes in. It ain’t humans voluntarily exchanging title to goods and services that creates poverty. Nature already did that. Absolute subsistence-level poverty is the default condition of humanity, as it is for all other species, thus there is no moral dimension to the scarcity in the natural world that sets the stage for this pre-division of labour subsistence.

“And where, pray tell, did the property that those folks own come from?”

That depends on the property. If land, it was likely seized by force from the commons during the enclosure of the commons, or seized by the royal government through force while the aboriginals were being exterminated and quarantined into concentration camps and “reservations”, or by the royal government as unclaimed property (unclaimed meaning the government could establish a monopoly of force to use it), later to be leased out to tenants.

If machines, or a building, someone built it, typically someone other than the capitalist.

In either case the capitalist holds a royal title which entitles him to a violently enforced monopoly, not only over the property, but also over the social institutions which, through the investment of human capital, produces a surplus value for the capitalist. This surplus value is accumulated in order to expand control over property, the more the subordinate workers produce the more the capitalist can acquire and thus property is accumulated into fewer hands over time, until an oligarchy of private capital controls pretty much everything.

My opponent handily forgets that before the monarchical orders responsible for enclosures acts even existed private property in land already did under the Iceni, Dumnonii, the later, merged Romano-Britons, and the subsequent Saxons. Of course the Saxons were invaders and there were many thefts of small holdings, but no King ever successfully laid any kind of property claim to the land under Englishmen’s feet until William the Bastard.

Also, the act of commission and pay to do a job is not addressed. The commissioner of a job to build a house owns the damned house once it’s finished. To suggest there’s anything wrong with that is to suggest that common property itself is immoral, in which case I’m glad that my opponent and I agree. Though I doubt that’ll be my opponent’s position.

3rd PARTY

Give reality my regards when it kicks you in the ass to wake you up.

I sympathise, but this was not a constructive thing to say. It was plain rude, to boot.

OPPONENT

I’m not the one who has to deny the reality of exploitation or the violent coercion of the capitalist system. You are.

Exploitation? Labour theory of value? Definitions of socialism? Bring it on!

ME

As a long term student and disciple of economics, logic and philosophy I must respectfully disagree on certain aspects of the critique offered by the above meme.

The police are a state-funded monopoly, which according to dictionary.com is socialism…

dictionary.reference.com/brows…

noun1.

a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.

2.

procedure or practice in accordance with this theory.

3.

(in Marxist theory) the stage following capitalism in the transition of society to communism, characterized by the imperfect implementation of collectivist principles.

No ifs, ands or buts. State monopoly control is socialism. That makes the military and court systems examples of state socialism too.

Hooray for dictionaries!

The community as a whole means the commonwealth means the state. QED socialism includes any compulsory single-payer programs.

On the subject of exploitation;

https://tomaszkaye.liberty.me/2015/01/16/the-shaky-foundation-of-exploitation-theory/

The Marxian thoery of exploitation – the difference between a worker’s wages and the total revenue of their employer – is actually quite easy to explain away. Either it exists, in which case the onset of the worker’s paradise won’t help anyway since workers will still demand pay in order to pay for the necessities of life. Or it doesn’t, due to wages representing the different time preferences of the workers versus the employer. The wage payments are made monthly to keep workers sweet as if they had to wait for revenues they’d be paid only rarely and erratically and not at all whenever their syndic ( see, I know what I’m talking about ) didn’t make a profit.

I’m a big fan of Tomas Kaye’s animations on the principles of voluntarism versus statism.

Speaking of which, once you’ve abrogated everybody’s property rights, how are you going to continually convince an entire population of humans to live in squalor? And yeah, that’ll be the result, QED Catalonia and Yugoslavia.

I look forward to your rebuttal!

It never came. Instead…

OPPONENT

“The police are a state-funded monopoly”That violently enforce private property and capitalism. Furthermore, it doesn’t matter, because a privately financed police force is just as bad, and often times worse. We’ve seen what private security and paramilitary groups do when companies hire them.

State monopoly control is socialism”No it’s not, defining every state monopoly as socialism fails to understand the basic concept. According to this theory, Tsarism would have been socialism. 

And trying to redefine socialism when being taken to task by a non-socialist who only wants to be left in peace is cowardice. Mother Russia, the Church, the Tsar is clearly a call to national-level collectivism and so can be understood as right-wing, but state-owned monopoly organisations, since they are socialised, are, to an economist, socialist.

In a capitalist society the police are not controlled by the community, they are used to control the community, so your arguments fails by your own definition. If you’re going to try to make an Argumentum ad Dictionarium at least try to properly apply the definitions you’re using.

Again, community -> commonwealth -> state.

“is actually quite easy to explain away”Oh yes I’m sure you have no shortage of rationalizations to explain away treating workers so badly and paying them so little that nets have to be placed around buildings to prevent them from jumping to their deaths, while the capitalists make billions of dollars with sociopathic disregard for the suffering of those who do all the work.

And I did so. but my opponent didn’t even try to rebut anything after that quoted line. I was fed up, so I wrote and wrote and wrote until I’d carved up every one of my opponent’s points, but they clearly decided that it was too long. Were they right?

ME

OK so we’re going to go down this road.

You’re a slippery one, I’ll give you that, but you’re not actually engaging with the points I’m making.

Re socialism – anything single-payer is socialism by the definition above – eg the National Health Service in my native UK. The next step down from that is socially owned organisations that still engage in exchange when providing goods or services ( like shops in entirely socialised societies like pre-collapse Somalia, Ethiopia during its famines, or Cuba, Laos and North Korea now ), and since the 20th Century already debunked it as a sound economic model I am trying to understand why you’re playing word games every time I offer an argument. The model is older than the idea. The Byzantine Empire employed an effectively socialist economic model to its trading fleets and agriculture.

Re definitions – you evidently find the difference in words between the dictionary definition and my assertion that “state monopoly control is socialism” distasteful or inconvenient. But have a close look at definition 1, and state monopoly is a category of social ownership. Hell in most of the socialist works I read the terms were synonymous. Now if you’re an anarcho-socialist then, sure, there can be a bit of a distinction since states would go away and big huge corporations owned by their employees and families would be the units of socio-economic organisation, and all humans on Earth would be members of a mega federation where they would use direct democracy to command and control everything. That’s 7 billion people so probably 5 billion old enough to take part in the constant white noise of votes. Bear in mind how many would be needed every day to set schedules and priorities for every single factory, trucking station and florist on Earth, and maybe you start to see why economic planning didn’t work out historically. Also, if that alternate world that sounds a bit like the Borg, congrats, you have a soul.

Re policing – “That violently enforce private property and capitalism. Furthermore, it doesn’t matter, because a privately financed police force is just as bad, and often times worse. We’ve seen what private security and paramilitary groups do when companies hire them.

Private property arises naturally where no coercive force exists to cause some other system to arise. Examples include the Indus Valley Civilisation, ancient Ireland, and mediaeval Iceland under the Althingi. In fact I wrote an article about the Indus Valley peeps which you can read here; http://hayden.liberty.me/2015/01/13/scarcity/

Even the left-anarchist David Graeber attests to this when describing how individuals in pre-historic tribal civilisations would have been unable to keep and hold anything for their own because of the constant need to give gifts, which actually gives an explanation for the origins of debt; abahlali.org/files/Graeber.pdf

Of course a private security system would take in normal people to. You would get to choose what policing agency you felt comfortable with patrolling your streets or even join or set-up a local co-op. There’s even an app serving a function like this in use in the United States right now called Peacekeeper; http://sovereigntarian.liberty.me/2015/01/04/peacekeeper-free-app-enables-community-based-emergency-response-rather-than-risk-calling-911/ or peacekeeper.org/

Police enforce private property and capitalism? You mean they provide the teeth to persuade others not to rob, assault, rape and murder me? Oh no! Frankly if your complaint were true I’d have no truck with the police, but it isn’t, QED the militarisation of police in the United States and the creeping surveillance state in the UK – here the police do most of the snooping.

I do take my time.

You said something very interesting at the end of your comment that I am interested in analysing at some length in future. 

“Oh yes I’m sure you have no shortage of rationalizations to explain away treating workers so badly and paying them so little that nets have to be placed around buildings to prevent them from jumping to their deaths…”

This is the tale of the exploited. The word can have three definitions.

1. Use of a resource.
2. Abusive use of the body or faculties of one moral agent by another. This would include chattel slavery and rape.
3. Gap between employer revenue and employee wages.

Now you made no attempt whatsoever to rebut my debunk of Marxian exploitation, so I’ll assume you take my side on that matter and agree that either it doesn’t exist or if it does it doesn’t matter. So you’re only worried about exploitation in terms of working conditions being harsh, and the scarcity that induces those conditions being somehow invented. The scarcity matter is so childish even Noam Chomsky knows better than to go there. Scarcity is the universal reality of daily life. You have a limited position from which to perceive reality, you have limited time because sometimes you have to sleep and are ultimately mortal, and there is a limit to the resources available in human life to exchange with each other. So no basis on which to argue against scarcity.

So why might working conditions be harsh? Think really hard. Picture life before civilisation and for the first several millenia up to the industrial revolution. What was the near universal condition of humanity, and how did most of us escape it over the last 200 years? The answer is not just poverty. That term only explains the condition of a poor person. Rather societies in centuries and millenia gone by were poor as a whole. It wouldn’t have mattered if the peasants stormed the palaces and dished all the wealth out amongst themselves, because all of it put together would have made a negligible difference to their spending power, and no difference to the need to work the land in order to eat.

What this subsistence speaks to is a universal problem of scarcity, a scarcity that has been beaten back, like a wolf beaten back from the door, only in the last 200 or so years, by increasing division of labour and increasing labour productivity on account of increasing capital intensity. Even Marx would have found this description agreeable.

“…while the capitalists make billions of dollars with sociopathic disregard for the suffering of those who do all the work.”Capitalists come in a few flavours; lenders, investors and entrepreneurs. Since the first two are giving their stuff to the entrepreneur they are not on the hook here, so presumably it’s the entrepreneur you’re concerned about. Your concern is that entrepreneurs are all in on some diabolical scheme to make off with something they have stolen from someone else. But since entrepreneurs take on and manage their own and their lenders’ and investors’ risks they have a very different financial time preference to anybody they may offer a job. The people who take work just wanna get paid monthly, and when their upward wage pressure and the entrepreneur’s downward wage pressure meet you get the market clearing wage – this is a simplification employing language from mainstream economics, but it serves to illustrate just why a factory in China might offer long hours and low pay.

The clearing wage in China is lower than in the USA or UK. A lot lower. This is because China is far poorer on account of having had far less economic development over time than the other two countries ( far less capitalism since you asked so graciously ) and so workers will accept lower pay. The fact that the conditions are harsh and unlikeable is not a moral referendum on the factory owners, but rather is a practical referendum on the economic worth of their labour. If there are three potential workers to every two jobs in a factory, then the wages are going to be lower than if the ratio is a neat 1:1.

Why this needs endless explanation in the 21st Century is beyond me.

I kinda don’t blame my opponent for his or her reaction to this comment, as it was so long they probably treated it as an argumentum ad tl;dr, which is very depressing considering that was not my intention, but my opponent does not know my intentions anymore than I know his or hers.

I guess I should have just asked how much Chinese workers’ spending power has gone up over the last 20 years. But a socialist who’s really determined to be a miserabilist about capitalism, even now, has abdicated any intellectual respectability, however well they string sentences together.

OPPONENT

anything single-payer is socialism by the definition above

No it isn’t. Single payer is a way of paying for something with taxes, it makes no provision that what’s being paid for is either owned or controlled by the public.

Single payer is a lot like paying a portion of rent towards the garbage collection bill.

*doesn’t read the rest*

The discussion is about approaches by those with political power to economic policy, so it is about practical economic socialism, not socialism as a political ideal or an aspiration. Economics in practice is not like ideology. This isn’t about whether something is directly controlled by everybody, and anyway if it was the result would be exactly the same. Once everybody has a full say, nobody does. I made this point far better elsewhere on DeviantArt on the subject of what a socialist commonwealth might actually be like.

True, making something single-payer does not mean it is in accordance with the socialist ideology of many socialists – though Kier Hardie would approve, as would Karl Marx, Leon Trotsky, Vladimir Lenin and Ernst Rohm. But then socialism as an ideal can mean so many different things depending whose book I open that to talk about the ideal when it’s economic reality under discussion is just a diversion.

Here is another meme. Those factory workers are evidently rather fatigued, albeit more comfortable and cleaner than workers in an English factory circa 1850, or even circa 1890, a time when conditions were far better than forty years earlier but not at all up to those of China today. But don’t let history rain on my opponent’s parade.

To quickly go into pitiless manager mode; what is the failure rate of the production line due to human fatigue? I didn’t ask this on the site and I regret that now, but I think it’s reasonable to expect the rate to be very low. It would erode revenue and so potential profit to have workers failing at their tasks due to fatigue or repetitive strain injuries. This is another way of saying that conditions in these places, however bad they may be, can’t possibly be worse than the lives these workers fled to work in them, because otherwise they wouldn’t do it. Unlike many occupations in China the people in the Special Economic Zones were not forced into their positions as factory labourers.

OPPONENT

Don’t be silly! If someone wants to be locked in a building that’s structurally unsound and a fire hazard, working without gloves handling materials that permanently stain and damage their bodies, then that’s their freedom as voluntary members of the free market.

And if Nestle owns all available access points to fresh water, then if I can’t sell myself to a slave owner and become his property in exchange for water then what rights do I have? Freedom. Voluntary. Liberty.

Pay and conditions are indirectly ( in a theoretical free-market directly ) reflective of how easy each worker is to replace. The easier, the lower the pay and the less time the employer takes to ensure safety standards. Should’a said this in this way. You live and learn I suppose.

ME

Whatever made you think China is an exemplar of capitalism?

Or did the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, the Tiananmen Square massacre etc not get much airtime wherever you are?

OPPONENT

Not all of China, only their Special Economic Zones which have virtually unregulated free market capitalism.

ignoring your gish gallop of propaganda tropes

So all I have to do is paraphrase RationalWiki and suddenly I can claim moral high ground? Yay! Go my opponent, go! You see, it turns out that the Great Leap Forward, Cultural Revolution and Tienanmen Square massacre never happened. Since the avowedly socialist government used socialist economic policy in creating the first two and fought to preserve its at the time still mostly socialist order in the third case I don’t see the Gish in those three examples.

ME

And once again economic scarcity and morality get confused for each other. Y’know abject, near death, quarter of all babies dying before age 2 poverty is the default condition of humanity, right?

I am referring to those many millenia before the settling of the first cities, and in fact to the first few millenia even in those cities and on the farms that fed them.

Your truck is with scarcity, not job contracts. The terms of contracts will reflect the relative plenty or paucity of resources, and labour has been plentiful, and poor, in China of late.

Or at least Chinese people are poor compared to Westerners. I’m still not really sure what it is you’re taking issue with… help me…

And in response I get mumbo jumbo like…

OPPONENT

“economic scarcity”

Artificial economic scarcity caused by the capitalist market producing solely for the profits of the capitalist

Morality is about ‘ought’, not ‘is’, and ought is non-scarce. Nonviolence is always right, and never wrong. On the other hand, the quantity of hospital bed is finite, or scarce to an economist. Economics is the science of how humans allocate scarce resources. That resources are scarce is so mind-blowingly obvious that this person’s capacity to throw sound economic thinking aside is actually scary.

Also, what about the subjective and particular facts of what gets produced and who consumes it and why they do so? Nah, this kind of thing isn’t important. Entrepreneurs go into business to offer goods and services to customers, not to hire employees. Alas, my response wasn’t really in this spirit…

ME

The Earth has a finite mass. There are also finite means by which humans transfer mass from the ground or Oceans to turn into food, clothing, shelter, energy, infrastructure, locomotion aids ( mostly vehicles nowadays, horses in days gone by ), and this scarcity is somehow an invention…

How, exactly, do you imagine we have infinite beds, doctors, windows, computers, paper, road tarmac, syringes, etc? Does it not occur to you that you’re saying something deeply disturbing and silly?

I guess to be a Marxist you have to reject marginalism, but to say that scarcity is invented is deeply ignorant or deeply disingenuous, because if the human race had the capacity to undo it as yet, we would.

OPPONENT

Do you get paid by the John Birch society or something? This is a massive gish gallop you posted across multiple comments on multiple posts and you’re engaging in refined sophistry. I’m not about to put up with your bullshit, so I’m blocking you.

I am an independent person just searching for the truth. As stated previously I typed ‘anarcho capitalism’ into the DeviantArt searchbox and this user’s images were almost all I got, so I commented on the critiques they offered. That is the whole story. I have received no funds for my writing work whatsoever and have little prospect of being so any time soon because, contrary to what many socialists may believe, free marketeers like me are actually more out of fashion than eco-socialists.

On another note I learned a new phrase! Gish gallop! What fun! And I’d be convinced but for the fact that every single point of mine above is actually directed at what I was reading by my opponent.

Sophistry is not aimed at the person you’re debating with but at the audience. I aimed every word squarely at you Herr Opponent, and you chose to give up rather than try to engage with anything I said.

Ultimately the three world-views that are clashing in the comments of your memes can be summed up thus…

Communal ownership = Communism

Social ownership = Socialism

Worker ownership = Syndicalism

Personal and freely transferable ownership = Capitalism

Peace be with you

Matthew John Hayden