’Tis the Season for Anarchy in DC, Part 2

I’m back from Mordor! Though since most of the times I’ve been in DC have been libertarian-related (e.g., my three summers at IHS) I actually associate DC more with libertarianism than with statism. Well, that plus good ethnic restaurants, coffeeshops, and bookstores.

The Eye of Sauron watching over Mordor The Molinari Society meeting went well and had a good turnout (despite the meeting’s location being changed at the last minute). Matt MacKenzie argued that even mutually consensual transactions can be exploitative from a libertarian standpoint if they are enabled by unfairly coercive background conditions; Charles Johnson in his comments raised questions about unfair but noncoercive backgrounds, as well as some epistemological difficulties. Geoff Plauché criticised the founder-legislator myth from a Hayekian spontaneous-order standpoint; Charles in his comments raised questions about consciously constructed but noncoercive orders. Other libertarian-related events I attended included author-meets-critics sessions for Jan Narveson and Tara Smith, and the Objectivist Center reception. (Apparently for APA purposes they’re still calling themselves the Objectivist Center rather than the Atlas Society.) Good to see lots of old friends.

In the book exhibits I was pleased to see that the full, massive, unabridged version of Foucault’s History of Madness is finally available in English.

I also went to the Library of Congress to look up some old Molinari and Rose Wilder Lane stuff. When I first went to the Library back in 1987 (to photocopy the notoriously Nietzschean first edition of We the Living), security was so bad that I actually wrote my Congressman about it. (Yeah, I did stuff like that in those days.) Nowadays security is much tighter – but clearly aimed more at the threat of terrorists than at the more likely threat of thieves. It would now be fairly difficult to smuggle a bomb in – but still not terribly difficult to smuggle a book out.

While I was in DC two scoundrelly ex-presidents left this sphere – one hastily murdered, most likely to avoid embarrassing inquiries into the past dealings of the American state; the other obsequiously lauded, for similar reasons. The beat goes on ….


Our Victimised State

[cross-posted at Liberty & Power]

Two news items for today:

  • A recent study of Jon Stewart’s Daily Show and its viewers reveals that “exposure to the show lowered trust in the media and the electoral process,” and thus Jon Stewarthad “detrimental effects, driving down support for political institutions and leaders.” 

    Another study reveals that the show is, horror of horrors, turning viewers off of both parties: “98% of the evaluations of Republicans prior to the election were negative, while 96% of the ‘reporting’ on Democrats was negative.”

    Voices of concern are being raised in the punditocracy; the Washington Post’s Richard Morin, for example, sounds the alarm:

    Jon Stewart and his hit Comedy Central cable show may be poisoning democracy. 

    Two political scientists found that young people who watch Stewart’s faux news program, “The Daily Show,” develop cynical views about politics and politicians that could lead them to just say no to voting.

    Oh nooooooooo!!! The end is nigh!

  • So Saudi princess Hana al-Jader is being deported, and forced to pay restitution, for keeping her domestic servants’ passports locked in a safe, thus preventing them from leaving, and forcing them to work for low pay. 

    Okay, fair enough. But what crimes was she officially charged with? Lying on immigration forms and harbouring aliens.

    In other words, her real crimes against these actual people had to be redescribed as fictional crimes against the state and its immigration laws in order for justice to be done.

    You see, it’s really the state that’s the aggrieved party in every crime. The human victims are merely occasions.

  •  


’Tis the Season for Anarchy in DC

[cross-posted at Liberty & Power]

To anyone planning to be at the APA in DC next week, don’t forget to check out the Molinari Society’s third annual Symposium:

Anarchy in DC GVIII-4. Friday, 29 December 2006, 11:15 a.m.-1:15 p.m.
Molinari Society symposium: “Anarchist Perspectives”
Virginia Suite C (Lobby Level), Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, 2660 Woodley Road NW

Session 1, 11:15-12:15:
chair: Roderick T. Long (Auburn University)
speaker: Matthew MacKenzie (Muhlenberg College)
title: “Exploitation: A Dialectical Anarchist Perspective”
commentator: Charles W. Johnson (Molinari Institute)

Session 2, 12:15-1:15:
chair: Roderick T. Long (Auburn University)
speaker: Geoffrey Allan Plauché (Louisiana State University)
title: “On the Myth of the Founder-Legislator in Political Philosophy”
commentator: Charles W. Johnson (Molinari Institute)

Also, don’t miss the AAPSSfest on Jan Narveson (Thursday at 9) or the ARSfest on Tara Smith (Friday at 1:30). (But do miss Narveson’s other session, since, alas, it conflicts with the Molinarifest.) 

In other Molinari news, look for the first issue of The Industrial Radical some time next month.


Agora! Dialexis! Ia Ia Cthulhu fhtagn!

I’ve been looking for a label for my particular political orientation.

“Left-libertarian,” “left-Austrian,” and so forth are fine, and I happily use them, but each of them really designates a genus more than a species.

Chris Sciabarra and Sam Konkin horribly merged together by a tragic transporter accidentAgorist” is a bit more specific, but without a qualifier it seems both too narrow (suggesting a stricter adherence to orthodox Konkinism than I can really boast) and too broad (inasmuch as it doesn’t capture my particular quirk of seeking an integration of libertarianism with traditional lefty struggles against racism, patriarchy, and the like).

So, thought I, maybe Agorism plus a qualifier. But what? One possibility is “Left-Agorism,” but that doesn’t really specify what’s more lefty about it. Another possibility is “Dialectical Agorism,” which does suggest (at least for readers of Sciabarra) an integration of Agorism with broader concerns – but it doesn’t specify lefty concerns (even though “dialectical” does have a lefty flavour). Combining them would yield “Dialectical Left-Agorism” – admirably specific on the one hand, butt-ugly on the other.

Maybe I’ll split the difference by alternating between them. Okay, let it be so. Henceforth I am a Dialectical Agorist. That’s right, I said a Dialectical Left-Agorist.


The Doors of Perception

[cross-posted at Liberty & Power]

Hmm, I see that former Congressman Bob Barr has been appointed to the Libertarian Party’s National Committee.

Now I’ll readily grant that Barr was one of the more libertarian-minded Republicans on the Hill; and maybe the LP should be congratulated for landing such a high-profile member.

Still, as I recall Barr was very strongly in favour of the war on drugs, and I’ve seen no mention of his having changed his mind on that issue. Does his “star power” really outweigh the downside of having a drug warrior on the LNC?


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