Tag Archives | Molinari/C4SS

’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.


Isabel Paterson, Genetic Superwoman?

[cross-posted at Liberty & Power]

Wonder Woman Florence Finch Kelly was an important libertarian writer of the late 19th century, and a contributor to Benjamin Tucker’s Liberty. Isabel Paterson was one of the leading libertarian theorists of the early-to-mid-20th century, and a major influence on Ayn Rand.

It now turns out that their trajectories intersected: Kelly wrote a review of Paterson’s first (or first published, anyway) novel, The Shadow Riders. It’s now online in the Molinari Institute’s online library.

I plan to put the novel online as well, but you’ll just have to wait ….


Molinari Event Tomorrow

C. L. R. James Tomorrow night Matthew Quest of the Onyx Foundation will be speaking at Auburn on the topic “Pan-African historian C.L.R. James’ views on Democracy in Ancient Greece.” I’ll be commenting. The event is being sponsored by the Auburn University Libertarians, the Onyx Foundation, and the Molinari Institute.

For anyone planning to be in the area, it’ll be in Foy Union 217 at 7:00 p.m., Thursday, November 30. Here are the background readings.

Incidentally, the Onyx Foundation in general, and Matthew’s work in particular, represent precisely the sort of potential intersection of “left ” and “libertarian” concerns that I’m forever blathering about, while the focus on classical Greece adds the Austro-Athenian dimension as well. (For Quest’s work on James see here.)


Center for a Stateless Society Launched Today

Would you buy a used anarchy from these men? For too long libertarians, and I mean anarchist libertarians, have treated market anarchism almost as an “esoteric doctrine” to which one is introduced only after one has thoroughly assimilated some more moderate form of libertarianism – as though anarchism were an impediment rather than an asset in making the case for liberty.

Of course this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: potential converts find anarchism off-putting because they don’t know what it is, and they don’t know what it is because we avoid explaining it. In fact market anarchism can and should be one of libertarianism’s greatest selling-points, highlighting a radical and inspiring alternative to the present system rather than some variant of economic conservatism. It’s time to put market anarchism front and center in our educational efforts, time to start making it a familiar and recognizable position.

It is thus with great pleasure that I introduce the Center for a Stateless Society, a new project of the Molinari Institute. Under the directorship of Brad Spangler, the center aims to bring a market anarchist perspective to the popular press, rather than leaving it confined to scholarly studies and movement periodicals.

Here’s the official press release:

Anarchists launch major media offensive
October 10, 2006

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
A tiny think tank has set out on a project to provide ongoing news commentary in order to promote their set of views, known as market anarchism.

AUBURN, ALABAMA – October 10, 2006 – Center for a Stateless Society – The Molinari Institute, a market anarchist think tank, today launched a new media effort aiming to put their agenda to abolish government front and center in US political discourse. Dubbing their project the Center for a Stateless Society (www.c4ss.org), institute officials laid out plans to publish and distribute news commentary written by anarchists with radically free-market oriented views on economics – taking market anarchism out of the realm of academia and obscure internet blogs in order to put it in the public eye.

Center for a Stateless Society Molinari Institute President Roderick Long explained “For too long libertarians, and I mean anarchist libertarians, have treated market anarchism almost as an esoteric doctrine. It’s time to put market anarchism front and center in our educational efforts, time to start making it a familiar and recognizable position. The Center for a Stateless Society aims to bring a market anarchist perspective to the popular press, rather than leaving it confined to scholarly studies and movement periodicals.”

Naming longtime radical libertarian activist and freelance web developer Brad Spangler as the first Director of the Center, Long unveiled the Center’s new web site at www.c4ss.org for Molinari Institute supporters and the public.

Said Spangler “I’m honored to accept the post. In anticipation of this moment, we’ve developed a database of thousands of US media outlets for email distribution of content which these publishers will be able to use free of charge. Additionally, the c4ss.org web site makes use of stable, reliable and ‘free as in freedom’ open source web technologies. We’ve developed the site in such a way as to make maximum possible use of social bookmarking services, web syndication feeds and search engine optimization techniques. With this site, we aim to awaken more Americans than ever before to the brutal reality that all governments everywhere are essentially nothing more than murderous bandit gangs – and show them the shining light of hope for a world without the State.”

###

ORGANIZATIONAL SUMMARY
The mission of the Molinari Institute is to promote understanding of the philosophy of Market Anarchism as a sane, consensual alternative to the hypertrophic violence of the State. The Institute takes its name from Gustave de Molinari (1819-1912), originator of the theory of Market Anarchism. The Center for a Stateless Society is the Molinari Institute’s new media center.

CONTACT
Brad Spangler
Center for a Stateless Society
media@c4ss.org
http://www.c4ss.org/

The first two anarchist op-eds are already up: one by Per Bylund on North Korea, and another by me on Iraq.


Francis Tandy Rides Some More

OK, so I don't have a picture of Francis Tandy I’ve posted three more chapters of Francis Tandy’s Voluntary Socialism (about which see here) in the Molinari Institute’s online library.

Chapter 6 attempts to reconcile the labour theory of value with the principle of marginal utility. (Followers of the Austrian-Mutualist debate, take note.) Chapters 7 and 8 defend a mutualist approach to money, credit, and banking along the lines of Proudhon, Greene, and Tucker.

Coming soon: the Bastiat-Proudhon debate!


Five Years After

Five years ago today, four planes were hijacked as part of a terrorist operation that handed the u.s. government one of the juiciest Higgs crises it has ever enjoyed. In the years since, the government has exploited this bonanza enthusiastically, launching wars abroad (wars that have long since claimed far more innocent lives than were lost on 9/11) and chopping away at civil liberties at home – all in response to an incident that u.s. government policies led to in the first place.

The ever-increasing hassling of airline passengers in the wake of 9/11 is far from being the worst of what the government has been doing. Hell, it’s probably not even 20th worst. But it’s an apt illustration of the dynamic of statism.

World Trade Center The 9/11 hijackers used sharp objects, so government security starts confiscating nail clippers. A later would-be airline bomber tries to ignite a bomb in his shoe, so passengers have to start taking off their shoes. Some bozoes in Britain may have talked about using airline bombs involving gels, so passengers are relieved of their hairspray and water bottles.

The pattern is clear: each time the terrorists use a new tactic, the government imposes a new restriction on the rest of us, a restriction designed to combat that specific tactic; so the terrorists switch to a different tactic, followed by new restrictions. If the terrorists switch to targeting trains and buses, more restrictions will be imposed on people riding trains and buses – until the terrorists switch to standing on overpasses and dropping bombs on cars as they pass.

By the logic of the situation, government restrictions will always increase. When restriction A makes one tactic more difficult, the terrorists switch to a different tactic, so the government imposes restriction B – but, of course, doesn’t remove restriction A. Given the massive variety of tactics for terrorists to switch among, this process has no natural endpoint short of total government control over every aspect of life. What Mises showed with regard to price controls applies equally here.

Part of what makes this process possible is the externalisation, the socialisation, of the costs of governmental decisions – the separation of the decision-makers from the burdens their decisions impose. When the cost of a new restriction is not borne by those who make it, the demand for such restrictions will be artificially high. If there were a competitive market in airline security, passengers could decide for themselves whether to choose a low-security or a high-security airline: the gels-or-no-gels decision would then get made by the people who bear the costs either way.

Besides this institutional perversity, another factor that helps to make the government-ratcheting-to-infinity dynamic possible is ideological: the tendency to imagine that passing a law magically brings about its desired result. This comes across clearly in the interviews that were broadcast with long lines of delayed passengers in the wake of the Gel Terror. “I’m willing to put up with the inconvenience in order to be safe,” they kept saying (or at least, that’s what the passengers the networks chose to broadcast kept saying). The problem is that this describes the trade-off inaccurately. Confiscating everybody’s liquids doesn’t move passengers from a dangerous condition to a safe one; at best it shifts their chances of being killed in a terrorist attack from already-very-low to very-slightly-lower. But when a government policy is advertised as Preventing the Gel Terror, it is seen as Preventing the Gel Terror; the ideological mystification that sets up the state as external to the social relations it attempts to govern enhances its perceived effectiveness far beyond its actual effectiveness.

The real lesson of 9/11 is, or should be, the ineffectiveness of state action. On 9/11, the danger came not from a well-armed, well-funded state military but from a small group of passengers armed with box-cutters; and the most effective defense (on flight 93) was likewise not a well-armed, well-funded state military but another small group of passengers armed with fists and hand luggage.

The state is incompetent to protect us. What it’s good at is, first, dragging us into crises, and second, using those crises as an excuse to expand its control over our lives, and over the lives of people around the globe – wading through blood in the process. But even this ability depends not on its inherent powers but on our own acquiescence.

Withdraw your consent!


Four years ago today, I started both this blog and the Molinari Institute. This month sees a major retool of the blog; and this coming winter will see both the launch of the Institute’s periodical The Industrial Radical (are you writing for it? have you subscribed? if not, how can you bear the bleak desert that is your existence?) and the third symposium of our daughter organisation, the Molinari Society. Our quest for world domination continues apace!


 

 


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