Archive | January 22, 2009

Chomsky Inc.

In other news, left-libertarians will find Ben O’Neill’s new piece on Chomsky a bit frustrating. It attacks Chomsky at a point where he certainly needs attacking, and rightly complains that “Chomsky’s quarrels with private business entities do not rest on any allegation of the initiation of force either by these corporations or on their behalf”; moreover, O’Neill even cites Kolko re the dependence of corporate power on government intervention. So far, so good.

Kevin A. Carson - Organization Theory: A Libertarian PerspectiveNevertheless, the Kolko references notwithstanding, the tone of O’Neill’s piece still conveys the impression that existing corporate structures, with all their Dilbertian irrationality and obnoxious hierarchy, are mostly the result of the free market and so to be defended, thus leaving the reader with the old choice between vulgar liberalism (treating various nasty features of the prevailing corporatism as though they constituted an objection to the free market) and vulgar libertarianism (treating the case for the free market as though it justified various nasty features of the prevailing corporatism). In fact, given the impact of statist intervention on corporate structure, Chomsky’s characterisation of corporations as “private tyrannies” can be vindicated on purely libertarian grounds – as Kevin Carson does in his new book Organization Theory: A Libertarian Perspective. (And of course it’s also worth saying that even forms of power that don’t involve or depend on coercion can still be harmful and worth fighting – noncoercively, of course.)

While we’re on this topic – I haven’t forgotten my promise to respond to some of the later criticisms in the Conflation Debate; life has just been über-hectic lately.

Steal This Journal!

Libertarian PapersA new online journal named Libertarian Papers and edited by Stephan Kinsella debuts today. (I’m on the editorial board.)

Note to contributors: it is peer-reviewed (and so gets you a shiny star on your c.v. if you’re an academic) and copylefted (so you never need to ask permission to reprint your own work), plus as an online journal it has a faster publication schedule and no arbitrary length restrictions. So submit! submit!

Speaking of copyright issues, check out Jeff Tucker’s recent series of posts: A Book That Changes Everything, What Is Your Attitude Toward IP?, and Authors: Beware of Copyright.

Different Lives

I’ve written before about the difference between the James Bond of the movies and the one of the books, and why I prefer the latter. Time for another example.

Here’s how the movie version of Moonraker ends:

(Hey, my new blog allows embedded videos! The old one wouldn’t.)

And here’s how the original novel ends:

He looked up. She was standing a few feet away from him. He noticed that she was wearing a black beret at a rakish angle and that she looked exciting and mysterious like someone you see driving by abroad, alone in an open car, someone unattainable and more desirable than anyone you have ever known. Someone who is on her way to make love to somebody else. Someone who is not for you.

MoonrakerHe got up and they took each other’s hands.

It was she who released herself. She didn’t sit down. … Her eyes were soft as she looked at him. Soft, but, he thought, somehow evasive. … She looked over his shoulder.

Bond turned round. A hundred yards away there was the tall figure of a young man with fair hair trimmed short. His back was towards them and he was idling along, killing time.

Bond turned back and Gala’s eyes met his squarely.

‘I’m going to marry that man,’ she said quietly. ‘Tomorrow morning.’ …

‘Oh,’ said Bond. He smiled stiffly. ‘I see.’

There was a moment of silence during which their eyes slid away from each other.

And yet why should he have expected anything else? A kiss. The contact of two frightened bodies clinging together in the midst of danger. There had been nothing more. … Why had he imagined that she shared his desires, his plans?

And now what? wondered Bond. He shrugged his shoulders to shift the pain of failure – the pain of failure that is so much greater than the pleasure of success. … He must get out of these two young lives and take his cold heart elsewhere. There must be no regrets. No false sentimentality. He must play the role which she expected of him. The tough man of the world. The Secret Agent. The man who was only a silhouette.

She was looking at him rather nervously, waiting to be relieved of the stranger who had tried to get his foot in the door of her heart. …

He touched her for the last time and then they turned away from each other and walked off into their different lives.

I’m just sayin’ ….

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