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  • 8/4/2019 Gary Chartier


    Gary Chartier

  • 8/4/2019 Gary Chartier


    The Conscience of an Anarchist,

    by C4SSAdvisory Panel member Gary Chartier

    A compelling case or a stateless society.

    Anarchy happens when people organize their lives

    peaceully and voluntarily without the aggres-

    sive violence o the state. This simple but powerul

    book explains why the state is illegitimate, unneces-

    sary, and dangerous, and what we can do to begin

    achieving real reedom. Paperback, 129 pages.

    Available at:

  • 8/4/2019 Gary Chartier



    1. Framing Left Libertarianism: A First PassLet libertarianism (hereinater LL) can be seen as an exercise in packag-

    ing and propaganda. Or it can be seen as a powerul expression o concerns

    that ought to be at the heart o movements or reedom.

    Cynical libertarians and letists alike might see talking about LL as an exer-

    cise in spin. Perhaps it's an attempt to sell unsuspecting letists on libertarianideals that are undamentally at odds with the let's agenda. Or perhaps it's an

    eort to grat an alien lie-orm onto the body o the libertarian movement, sad-

    dling it with concerns that have no place on a genuinely libertarian agenda.

    Neither account o LL is remotely persuasive or appealing.

    LL is authentically libertarian both because it is anti-statist(the LLs

    who come readily to mind are all anarchists; I take it as a given here that the

    LL is an anarchist or something close enough or the dierence to be ir-

    relevant) and because it airms the value o markets and property rights. At thesame time, LL is authentically leftist because it seeks to challenge privilege,

    hierarchy, exclusion, deprivation, and domination both ideologically and

    practicallyand because it can exhibit a genuine commitment to inclusion,

    empowerment, and mutual respect.

    And it can do this, not by redening termsso that, or instance, reedom

    rom physical coercion turns out to be the only kind o reedom that really

    mattersbut instead by demonstrating the consonance between libertarian

    ideals and principles and a good-aith embrace o the let's central concerns.It may do so by pointing out the radical implications o commonly accepted

    libertarian principles.

    Thus, or instance, it may highlight the degree to which a history o violence

    and collusion with (or sponsorship o) tyranny on the part o economically

    powerul people and organizations vitiates the legitimacy o the property titles

    held by these people and organizations and justies the homesteading o

    their putative property by those who live and work on it.

    Similarly, it may note that the ull implementation o libertarian prin-

    ciples related to the injustice and imprudence o monopoly and subsidy

    would likely undermine, in multiple ways, the power o hierarchical, cen-

    tralized business organizations and acilitate the replacement o many by

    worker-managed cooperatives and dramatically enhance the infuence o

    workers in most or all o the others.

    It may demonstrate that these same libertarian principles rightly lead

    to a rejection o the kind o privilege that allows infuential businesses,

    proessional groups, and individuals to use state power to exploit others

    (as when well-connected businesses extract tax privileges that provide

    them non-market advantages over their competitors, or when occupa-

    tional groups harm both the public and poor potential competitors by

    maintaining wealth and privilege through expensive licensing require-

    ments imposed or maintained at their behest by the state).

    And it may stress that the same principles that condemn the state in general

    provide a powerul basis or opposing war and imperialism in particular.

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    It can also emphasize the degree to which the same moral principles that

    drive opposition to the state's oppressive power canprovide good reason or

    challenging the kinds o social inequities that rightly claim the attention o

    many people on the let. To the extent that their opposition to state power

    is rooted in a given moral theory, o whatever sort, they can show how other

    concerns fow rom that theory. Natural law theory, virtue theory, Kantian-ism, moral pluralism, even (though it still seems to me to be a non-starter,

    or multiple reasons) consequentialismall can be shown to ground sup-

    port or market anarchism, and all can be shown to ground moral concerns

    independent o market anarchism. And (or instance) the very concern with

    the moral equality o persons that underlies a denial o any natural right to

    rule and the rejection o collectivist inattention to individual particularity both

    render racism, sexism, and heterosexism morally untenable.

    Right libertarians may be inclined to reject the let libertarian positionon multiple grounds. They may maintain (i) that there is nothing particu-

    larly libertarian about concern with the workplace authority or well being

    o workers or with, say, racism. Or they may argue, more strongly, (ii) that

    such concerns are anti-libertarian.

    Whether objection (i) is persuasive will depend in part on how one sup-

    poses opposition to state power is grounded. To the extent that it is rooted

    in a particular moral theory, however, that theory itsel can likely be used

    to generate moral judgments about matters other than state power. There isnothing arbitrary about arguing both that a given theory grounds regard or

    liberty andthat it grounds other moral judgments or attitudes.

    O course, a right libertarian might say that she armed the value o

    liberty as basic, as ungrounded in any more general theoretical judgment.

    But the let libertarian need not concede a complete disconnection between

    a concern with racism, or workplace authority, or poverty and liberty con-

    ceived o as a basic value. This is so not only because (the let libertarian

    might say) structures and actions violative o liberty in the right libertar-

    ian's ocal sense serve to oster the subordination o workers and members

    o ethnic minority groups and the continued impoverishment o the poor,

    but also because it seems inconsistent to oppose subjection to the arbitrary

    authority o state actors while regarding the arbitrary authority o those

    who don't threaten physical violence as morally neutral.

    A standard right libertarian objection at this point might be that authority

    not rooted in physical orce or the threat o physical orce cannot justly be

    opposed using physical orce. But this objection is a red herring.

    The let libertarian need not regard aggression against anyone's person orproperty as an appropriate response to non-orcible but morally objection-

    able conduct. Organized boycotts, shaming, shunning, the use o various

    public and private bully pulpits, work slowdowns, and other mechanisms

    or enorcing social norms and rules that do not violate the principle o non-

    aggression are all available to the let libertarian.

    The let libertarian can also emphasize that, while it is (tolerably) clear

  • 8/4/2019 Gary Chartier



    what it means to attack someone's body, while the notion o someone's bodyis a relatively stable one, just what counts as aggression against someone's

    property will itsel be contestable, and will depend, in particular, on just what

    her property rights are. A court in a mutualist community would obviously

    be quicker to recognize the rights o workers homesteading a shuttered ac-

    tory than a comparable court in a community with conventionally Lockeanproperty rights. A local jury in one market anarchist community might per-

    ectly well conclude that the commercial property rights it was prepared to

    enorce didn't include the right to deny someone ordinary services on the

    basis o race. There is nothing about market anarchism, per se, that settles

    the question just how dierent communities that all endorse private property

    rights will or should understand those rights, or just when dierent courts or

    protective agencies will be inclined to, say, award tort or contract damages.

    Which rights should be endorsed by a legal system in a market anarchistcommunity, and what remedies should be available or their inringement,

    can only be answered in terms o ongoing moral argumentjust the sort o

    argument that allows diverse communities in a market anarchist society to

    serve as laboratories in which experiments in living are carried on.

    Non-libertarian letists (NLLs) may be equally suspicious o let liber-

    tarianism. They may doubt that let libertarians are really concerned about

    poor people, about workers, about sexual minorities, and others about

    whom they proess to care. Just as the let libertarian can rightly resist theright libertarian's raming o LL as statist or as irrelevant to liberty, so the

    let libertarian can rightly resist the letist non-libertarian's raming o LL

    as unconcerned with exclusion, domination, and deprivation.

    Here, the let libertarian must emphasize to the NLL just how much the

    state really is implicated in the structures o subordination, impoverish-

    ment, and violence they both reject. The let libertarian can rightly stress

    the role that state-granted monpolistic privileges and subsidies play in un-

    derwriting putatively private power. She can oer the NLL a wager: that

    the removal o the threat o state violence as a back-stop or such power

    would play an enormous role in deanging it.

    She can point out that market anarchism does not, cannot, mean main-

    taining the current system o property relations, untouched, in the absence

    o state powernot only because o disagreements about property rules

    (as between Lockeans and mutualists) but also because o the injustice

    that vitiates so many existing property titles (as to the latiundia o Latin

    America). And she can stress, as to the right libertarian, that adhering to

    Leonard Read's dictum to limit one's actions to anything thats peace-ul need not mean abandoning the right to subject the behavior o those

    who use their property in morally objectionable ways to incisive critique

    or the capacity to exert signicant infuence on that behavior.

    Let libertarianism represents a particularly radical development o

    generally acknowledged libertarian moral judgments and an elaboration

    o the implications o moral principles that can be seen to provide plau-

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    sible grounds or rejecting statism. It can provide bases or challenging

    and means or reducing or ending exclusion, subordination, and depriva-

    tion that are authentically consistent with market anarchism. Thus, it can

    outline identiably libertarian means to identiably letist ends, and it can

    persuasively redescribe those ends and means as both genuinely libertarian

    and genuinely letist.

    2. The Left in Left LibertarianMy previous post regarding the nature o let libertarianism was airly gen-

    eral and vague about what I mean by let. I the notion o let libertarian-

    ism is going to make sense, we need to be clear on what is and isnt let.

    I dont think there's anything wrong-headed about other recent char-

    acterizations o the central concern o the let as anti-authoritarianism,

    openness to the uture, or opposition to privi lege. I want, though, to o-

    er a dierent proposal regarding what I take to be the central elements

    o a letist agenda and to suggest what may be a thread capable uniying

    these elements.

    An authentically letist position, I suggest, is marked by opposition to

    subordination, exclusion, and deprivation.

    SubordinationOne person, A, is subordinate to another, B, when B has signicant, per-

    sistent power over A. The power involved may be physical, but it may also

    be economic, psychic, social, or cultural. The important thing is that B

    determines, to some meaningul degree, what A does. A is signicantly un-

    ree in relation to B, either because B can impose on A some cost that A is

    unwilling to bear or because A genuinely (but mistakenly) believes that B is

    entitled to determine the character o As conduct.

    I assume here that subordination is presumptively morally objectionable.That, indeed, is part o what it means to adopt a position I would recognize as

    letist. I do not seek to justiy this presumption (perhaps that's a task or another

    post) nor to suggest how one could correctly identiy cases in which it might

    rightly be deeated. I suspect that most o my readers do not like being subor-

    dinated, and might be inclined to accept this dislike as revelatory o something

    important. But my goal here is not to show them that they should.

    Note that the question, Is there a relationship o subordination in a given

    case? doesnt determine the answer to the question, I there is subordination

    in this case, what is the appropriate remedy? I emphasize this because many

    libertarians and anarchists adhere to what might be called the Principle o

    the Proportionality o Remedies (PPR). According to this principle, my

    using physical orce against someone is appropriate only when deending

    mysel against a physical threat posed by her to me or someone else; my in-

    ringing on her property rights apart rom those in her body is appropriate

    only when deending mysel against a threat posed by her to my non-bodily

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    property rights. And so orth.Someone who endorses the PPR may be nervous about the notion that

    subordination (or domination, or hierarchypick your avorite term here)

    might be exercised economically or psychically. Clearly delimiting subordi-

    nation, so that the only sort with which one ought to be concerned is physi-

    cal, provides a check on the use o orce. By contrast, appearing to confatedierent kinds o subordination runs the risk o justiying the use o orce

    to respond to non-orcible exercises o infuence.

    But this worry is ill-ounded, or several reasons. Among these:

    (i) Physical orce can be seen to underly many other orms o domination

    that do not themselves involve physical orce. Persistent violence against

    women in a given social environment may lead to a climate o ear and

    submission on the part o many women, even in relationships with men who

    have not themselves behaved violently and might not threaten to do so or beinclined to do so. The knowledge that a strike might be broken through the

    use o violence might dispose workers in a morally objectionable work set-

    ting to avoid initiating the strike in the rst place. And so on. An important

    aspect o objection to the subordination in these cases will be, precisely,

    objection to this background o physical violence.

    (ii) More undamentally still, someone who acknowledges that subordi-

    nation comes in dierent orms need not maintain that all o these orms

    merit the same kind o remediation. Being on the let means being opposedto subordination, but it needn't mean supposing that all sorts o subordina-

    tion should be dealt with in the same way. There is nothing inconsistent

    about holding both that workers in a given rm are dominated in a morally

    objectionable way by managers and that this morally objectionable domina-

    tion does not on its own in any way justiy the use o physical orce against

    the managers. Acknowledging the reality o subordination as morally ob-

    jectionable need not involve erasing moral dierences among kinds o sub-

    ordination or responses to them.

    ExclusionSome person, A, is excluded rom a group when it is made clear that she

    does not belong to the group, that she is entitled neither to the material

    incidents o membership nor to the recognition as a ellow member (and

    respect) associated with belonging.

    Unavoidably, some intimate relationships exclude: close riendships and

    monogamous partnerships are obvious examples. No credible letist posi-tion will seek simply to eradicate the particularity o these relationships.

    And it can thus deend no bright-line rule regarding permissible and im-

    permissible exclusion. Roughly, though, I think, it will want to oer at least

    two kinds o limits on morally permissible exclusion.

    (i) It will want to say that, even when particular intimate sub-communi-

    ties justly exclude someoneor the simple reason that they would cease

  • 8/4/2019 Gary Chartier



    to be the kinds o communities they are i they werent strictly limited in

    sizethere is clearly room or her in the broader community o which they

    are components. She is clearly welcome there, clearly included there.

    (ii) It will want to say that, when justiable exclusion occurs, it ought not to

    refectalse belies about or unreasonable reactions to some group to which the

    excluded person belongs. Perhaps A acts reasonably in declining to marry Bbecause o, say, important dierences in the ways in which B and A under-

    stand the nature o marriage, dierences which might emerge rom Bs mem-

    bership in a particular group with a tradition o viewing marital relationships

    in a certain way. But surely this is quite dierent rom As declining to marry

    B either because o (a) the act that certain visible members o Bs group hold

    belies about marriage, even i (1) A does not know that B holds these belies

    or (2) B credibly denies holding these belies or (b) A holds to a visceral

    prejudice against members o Bs group, believing, say, that cohabitation witha member o this group would render someone like A unclean.

    A credibly letist position, then, will oppose exclusion-in-general, treating

    as reasonable exceptions only (roughly) when they dont involve exclusion

    rom large, relatively impersonal, communities and relationships and only

    when they are not rooted in alse belies or unreasonable reactions.

    Again, it is important to emphasize that treating exclusion as morally ob-

    jectionable does not determine what counts as an appropriate remedy or

    morally unjustiable exclusion. I wont repeat the points I made above withregard to subordination which are, in general, applicable here as well. It is not

    necessary to justiy exclusion as reasonable or morally appropriate, all things

    considered, to object to the use o physical orce as a remedy or exclusion.

    DeprivationA credible letism will oppose deprivation.

    Some person A experiences deprivation i she lacks the resources needed

    or (i) physical survival and health; (ii) clothing and shelter; and (iii) mate-rial circumstances that qualiy as minimally dignied in accordance with

    the norms prevailing in her commnity.

    To oppose deprivation in this sense is not so ar to assign blame or anyones

    deprived condition. Nor is itI repeatto identiy anyparticular remedy or

    deprivation as morally required or permitted. Thatis a separate question. A

    position is credibly letist i it regards ignoring the deprivation o others as

    prima acie morally objectionable. But a position can reasonably be regarded

    as letist while deending any o a wide range o responses to that depriva-tion as consistent with (or demanded by) prudence or justice, provided those

    responses can reasonably be regarded as eective, or likely to be so.

    VulnerabilityA position qualies credibly as a letist position i it involves clear objection

    on moral grounds to subordinating people, excluding them rom community

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    membership, or tolerating their deprivation. I suggest that concern with subor-dination, exclusion, and deprivation can be seen as united by a concern with re-

    spect or and protection o people who are vulnerablevulnerable to the power

    o those who dominate and exclude, vulnerable to the circumstances that lead

    to deprivation and the risks associated with being deprived. (More broadly,

    we might righly include within the concern or the vulnerable that animatespositions credibly recognizable as letist concern or those who suer the direct

    violence o the state when it wages war, tortures, or, oten, imprisons.)

    The Range of Leftist PositionsMorally grounded opposition to subordination, exclusion, and deprivation,

    perhaps best seen as linked by a concern or the vulnerable, denes what I

    am inclined to argue is the minimum core o a letist position. I do not mean

    to suggest that all those who might claim to be letists would acknowledge

    just these commitmentsthe Stalinist or the Maoist seems unlikely to ex-

    hibit much in the way o concern or the particularvulnerable person. And

    I do not mean to deny that many o those associated with the let might

    go on to hold particular positions about the most eective or just ways o

    achieving letist goals. Some might argue, or instance, that a position was

    not authentically letist i it ailed to involve recourse to the state or the use

    o physical orce against persons to prevent subordination, exclusion, or

    deprivation. This seems to me to be a possible development o letism, but

    not a necessary one. There is, at minimum, no reason why someone who

    supports the anarchist project o doing without state could not adopt a let-

    ist position o the kind I have described.

    I think it is clear that a market anarchist couldbe a letist. Whether a mar-

    ket anarchist shouldbe a letist is, o course, another matter. Whether she

    should be will depend on what reasons warrant opposition to subordination,

    exclusion, and deprivation, and the consonance o those reasons with her

    reasons or endorsing market anarchism.

    3. Socialism for Left LibertyI know I'm coming a bit late to the game, but I wanted to oer some brie

    responses to Shawn Wilbur's request (in anticipation o the rst issue o

    Let Liberty) or analyses o "socialism," "solidarity," and "individualism."

    I'll start with "socialism.

    The socialist denitional ree-or-all that has captured the ongoing atten-

    tion o a number o people on the libertarian let (and others) has put back on

    the agenda the question whether there is a way o understanding socialism

    that renders it compatible with a genuinely market-oriented anarchism. I so-

    cialism must mean eitherconventional state-socialism orstate socialism with

    ownership o the means o production vested in local micro-states orsome

    vaguely dened model o collective ownership rooted in a git economy, then

    it has to be clear that socialism and market anarchism aren't compatible.

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    But it ought to be troubling, then, that one o the ounding spirits o mar-

    ket anarchism, Benjamin Tucker, clearly considered his variety o market

    anarchism to be an alternative to state-socialismas a orm o socialism.

    Words (nod to Nicholas Lash) are known by the company they keep, and I

    think it's worth reminidng readers o the diverse company kept by "social-

    ism." I think it makes sense, thereore, to oer a denition o "socialism"that will make clear why Tucker, at least, clearly ought to be included.

    With that in mind, then, I suggest that we understand socialism negatively

    as any economic system marked by the abolition (i) o wage labor as the

    primary mode o economic activity and (ii) o the dominance o society

    by (a) the minority o people who regularly employ signicant numbers o

    wage laborers and (b) the tiny minority o people who own large quantities

    o wealth and capital goods. We might understand socialism in positive

    terms as any economic system marked by (i) wide dispersal o control overthe means o production; (ii) worker management as the primary mode o

    economic activity; together with (iii) the social preeminence o ordinary

    people, as those who both operate and manage the means o production.

    State socialism has attempted to realize socialism through the power o the

    state. Not surprisingly, given everything we know about states, state social-

    ism has proven in most respects to be a disaster. Coupled with the economic

    ineciencies associated with central planning, the secret police, the barbed

    wire ences, and the suppression o dissent are all elements o state social-isms disastrous record.

    I you want to dene socialism as state socialism, be my guest. Many

    people do so. But the history o the term makes clear that many people have

    not meant state control or society-wide ownership o the means o produc-

    tion when they have talked about socialism.

    4. Socialism Revisited

    I'd like to try to tie together and expand my observations re. the greatsocialist/capitalist terminological debate thats been proceeding at

    The Center or a Stateless Society ( and Austro-Athenian Empire


    Socialism as Genus; State-Socialism as SpeciesI think there is good reason to use socialism to mean something like op-

    position to:

    bossism (that is to subordinative workplace hierarchy); and

    deprivation (that is, persistent, exclusionary poverty, whether result-

    ing rom state-capitalist depredation, private thet, disaster, acci-

    dent, or other actors.

    Socialism in this sense is the genus; state-socialism is the (much-to-be-

    lamented) species.

    Indeed, using the socialist label provides the occasion or a clear dis-

  • 8/4/2019 Gary Chartier



    tinction between the genus socialism and the species state-socialism.Thus, it oers a convenient opportunity to expose and critique the stat-

    ist assumptions many people refexively make (assumptions that make it

    all-too-easy or political theory to take as given the presupposition that its

    subject matter is the question, What should the state do?).

    I am more sympathetic than perhaps I seem to the claims o those who objectto linguistic arguments that they ear may have no real impact on anyones

    political judgment. I wouldnt dismiss as silly someone who said that no market

    anarchist could employ socialist without creating inescapable conusion.

    Capitalism: Seemingly in the Same BoatSo the rst thing to say, I think, is that the same is true o capitalism. Its

    a word with a history, and the history is, very oten, rather less than pretty.

    Consider people on the streets o a city in Latin America, or Arica, or

    Asia, or Europe, chanting their opposition to neoliberalism and, yes, capi-

    talism. I nd it dicult to imagine that hordes o protestors would turn out

    in the streets to assail po-lil-ol private ownership. When a great many

    people say that capitalism, is the enemy, thats surely because, among

    many people around the world, capitalism has come to mean something

    like social dominance by the owners o capital, a state o aairs many

    people might nd unappealing.

    In accordance with the kind o libertarian class analysis its easy to fnd in the

    work o people like Murray Rothbard, John Hagel, Butler Shaer, and Roderick T.

    Long, Kevin Carsonauthor o the original C4SS article and Stephan Kinsellas

    target (to Stephan Kinsellas credit, he is not only blunt but also good-natured)

    maintains that this social dominance is dependent on the activity o the state. Re-

    move the props provided by the state, he argues, and capitalism in this sense

    the sense in which the term is employed pejoratively by millions o people who have

    no ideological investment in statism or bureaucratic tyrannyis fnished.

    Socialist Ends, Market MeansThat doesnt mean that the market anarchist must somehow have orgotten her

    commitment to markets. As Kevin Carson, Brad Spangler, Charles Johnson, and

    others have observed, as a historical matter there clearly have been people who have

    argued or the abolition o state-supported privilege and who have enthusiastically

    avored reed markets who have worn the label socialist confdently. Benjamin

    Tucker and Thomas Hodgskin wouldnt have agreed that socialism is synony-

    mous with collective ownership. Rather, they would have said, various schemes or

    state ownership (or or collective ownership by some quasi-state entity) are ways o

    achieving the underlying goal o socialisman end to bossism in the workplace,

    the dominance o the owners o capital in society, and to signifcant, widespread

    deprivation. But, Benjamin Tucker and Thomas Hodgskin would have said, these

    are both unjust and ineective means o achieving this goalbetter to pursue it by

    reeing the market than by enhancing the power o the state.

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    O course, i socialism means state [or para-state] ownership o the

    means o production, there is no sense in characterizing Kevin Carson or

    any other market anarchist as deending clearly pro-socialist positions.

    On the other hand, i socialism can have a suciently broad meaning

    one compatible with market anarchismthat it makes sense to say that

    Kevin Carson (or another market anarchist) does deend such positions,then it is unclear why talk o socialism should be objectionable.

    Distinguishing Market-OrientedSocialists from State-Socialists

    Kevin Carson, or one, clearly supports the existence o private ownership

    rights. And I have seen nothing to suggest that he would disagree with the

    claim that market interactions have to eature non-state ownership i theyare to be voluntary. Hes consistently clear that there could, would, should

    be alternate kinds o property regimes in a stateless society, but none o

    those he considers appropriate would be rooted in coercion. So Im puzzled

    by the implication that hes an opponent o private ownership.

    None o that means that one cant point to despicable regimes (Pol Pot,

    anyone?) whove worn the socialist label proudly. But surely i the idea is

    to point to despicable applications o a term, one can do the same with cap-

    italism as with socialism? (Think Pinochet-era Chile.) The association

    o capitalism with mercantilism and corporatism and the dominance o

    entrenched elites is hardly a creation o let libertarians and other market

    anarchists: its an association thats common in the minds o many people

    around the world and which is thoroughly warranted by the behavior o

    states and o many businesses and socially powerul individuals.

    Beyond Semantics

    So, in short, Im not sure that using socialism as the label or a particularsort o market anarchist project, or o capitalism or what that project op-

    poses, has to be seen as just an exercise in semantic game-playing.

    1. Emancipatory intent. For instance: labeling a particular sort o market

    anarchist project socialist clearly identies its emancipatory intent: it links

    that project with the opposition to bossism and deprivation that provide the

    real moral and emotional orce o socialist appeals o all sorts.

    2. Warranted opposition to capitalism.Thus, identiying ones project as

    socialist is a way o making clear ones opposition to capitalismasthat term is understood by an enormous range o ordinary people around

    the world. The socialist label signals to them that a market anarchist proj-

    ect like Kevins is on their side and that it is opposed to those entities they

    identiy as their oppressors.

    3. Forcing the state-socialist to distinguish between her attachment to ends

    and her attachment to means. A nal rationale: suppose a market anarchist

  • 8/4/2019 Gary Chartier



    like Kevin Carson points out to the state-socialistby sincerely owningthe socialist labelthat she or he shares the state-socialists ends, while

    disagreeing radically with the state-socialists judgments about appropriate

    means to those ends. This simultaneously sincere and rhetorically eective

    move allows the market anarchist to challenge the state-socialist to conront

    the reality that there is an inconsistency between the state-socialists eman-cipatory goals and the authoritarian means she or he proesses to preer. It

    sets the stage or the market anarchist to highlight the act that purported

    statist responses to bossism create more, and more powerul, bosses, that

    the state is much better at causing deprivation than curing it.

    Thus, the market anarchists use o socialism creates an occasion or

    the state-socialist to ask her- or himsel, perhaps or the rst time, Am I

    really more attached to the means or to the end? I realize that what I intend

    as a rhetorical question may noti the state-socialist cares more aboutpower than principleelicit the intended answer. But it seems to me that,

    or many state-socialists, the recognition that the let-wing market anarchist

    sought socialist goals by non-statist means provides the state-socialist with

    good reason to rethink her attachment to the state, to conclude that it was

    pragmatic and unnecessary, and that her genuinely principled attachment

    was to the cause o human emancipation.

    This means theres a meaningul opportunity or educationto highlight the

    existence o a credible tradition advancing a dierent meaning o socialism.

    Libertarianism and the Socialist VisionNow, it is obviously open to a critic to maintain that she has no particular

    concern with workplace hierarchies or with deprivation, or that they should

    be o no concern to the libertarian-qua-libertarian, since objections to them

    do not fow rom libertarian principles.

    I am happy to identiy as an anarchist who avors markets and property

    rights (though my Aristotelianism and Thomism disincline me to charac-terize them in the same way as Stephan Kinsella), as well as individual au-

    tonomy. But I do not ask mysel whether my appreciation or socialism in

    this sense is something to which I am committed qua libertarian. Rather,

    my willingness to identiy as a libertarian is licensed by a more undamental

    set o moral judgments which also make socialism in the relevant sense

    attractive, and which help to ensure that the senses in which I am a libertar-

    ian and in which I am a socialist consistent.

    At minimum, there seems to be some reason or using the label capi-talism, so clearly understood to be the alter o socialism, or the kind

    o economic system we have now, backed up so clearly by state-granted

    and state-maintained privilege. But I think its worth emphasizing that

    capitalismboth because o its history and because o its supercial con-

    tentseems to suggest more than merely state-supported privilege (though

    surely it implies at least this): it seems to suggest social dominance by the

  • 8/4/2019 Gary Chartier



    owners o capital (understood to be other than the owners o labor).

    Now, it happens to be the case that I agree with Kevin Carson, Roderick

    T. Long, and others that this dominance is dependent in large measure on

    state abuses. But I dont want simply to emphasize my objection to these

    abusesthough I certainly dobut also to express my opposition, per se,

    to the dominance o the owners o capital, thus understood. Thats why Iam disinclined to regard talk o socialism as important, as highlighting,

    at minimum, the trajectory toward which the market anarchist project be

    thought to lead, and as identiying morally important values to which my

    sort o market anarchist, at least, is committed, and which do not seem to

    me like good candidates or the status o particular interests, i these are

    understood as arbitrary, even i morally licit.

    I am avowedly opposed to the institutionalized use o orce against per-

    sons, and against their (Aristotelian-Thomist) ownership rights, and I amquite willing to say so loudly or clearly. That makes me, by my own lights, a

    libertarian. But I am not prepared to dismiss my invocation o socialism

    as a label that has not lost its useulness or the let-libertarian project, as

    simply an expression o individual preerence with which no good libertar-

    ian ought to interere, simply because intererence would be unreasonably

    aggressive. Rather, socialism names a set o concerns, including ones re-

    garding attractive patterns o social organization, that there is good reason

    or let-libertarians whole-heartedly to endorse.

    5. State Socialism and Anarchism:How Far They Agree and Wherein TheyDiffer Regarding Health-Care Reform

    The current US debate about health-care unding can be understood as

    concerned with meeting the challenge o doing three things at once: (1)

    ensuring that everyone can aord to buy ample medical services and (2)

    lowering the price o care while (3) not interering with our choices.

    An Unnecessary Tension amongHealth Care GoalsCreated by the State

    I you assume that most or all o the eatures o our current health care system

    should be treated as given, the trilemma really does seem irresolvable. Suppose

    everyone can aord ample medical care. We know what doctors charge. We

    know what hospitals charge. We know what drug manuacturers charge. Weknow what medical device manuacturers charge. And we know what insurers

    charge to, were told, make it all possible. And we know the charges are anything

    but insubstantial. So, given they way things work right now, i everyone can a-

    ord ample medical care, then everyone must be able to spend a lot o money.

    I the current pricing o medical care really refects conditions in the current

    market, and theres no reason to think it doesnt, then theres no way to lower

  • 8/4/2019 Gary Chartier



    the cost o care without, realistically, making ewer services, ewer drugs, ewerdevices available, as long as current market conditions persist. And that means,

    o course, interering with our choices, since its hard to choose an option thats

    not on the table. With ewer services available, options have been reduced, and,

    assuming the real value to patients o some available procedures that would be

    less prevalent as a result o cost-control measures, the quality o services wouldbe reduced. So Goal 1 doesnt look too achievable.

    O course, we could insist that Goal 1 be achieved no matter what, perhaps

    along with Goal 3. But then its hard to see how Goal 2 could be achieved.

    Or we could dramatically reduce choice, and perhaps, just perhaps, that

    might enable us to oer an ample supply o, well, some kind o care judged

    by someone to be o high quality, while controlling costs. Would the quality

    be adequate? Without choice, it would be hard to tell, and it would be hard

    to require quality, since thats what unrestrained markets do, and since wewouldnt have anything like an unrestrained market.

    So it might seem, at rst glance, as i there were a real problem achieving

    all three goals. But theres not, i you vary one assumption that isnt being

    made explicit in most o the discussions being conducted on-line, on TV,

    and in the print media by Beltway insiders. Thats the assumption that we

    need to keep a whole range o monopolistic cartels intact, cartels established

    by the state at least in part precisely to keep costs up.

    A natural approach or anarchists to take is to challenge this assumption,while suggesting that, i it's notendorsed, the three explicitly stated goals can

    all be achieved at the same time. One way to think about this is as a contribu-

    tion to the ongoing debate about the meaning o socialism. The Tuckerite

    [Benjamin Tucker] claim (Im not precisely a Tuckerite, but I like to think

    o mysel as a ellow traveler) is, I take it, that socialism is best understood

    as naming a series o goals which can be achieved using the political means

    or the economic means. For the Tuckerite, the economic means turns out to

    achieve the desired set o goals more eciently than the political meansand

    so without the aggression thats denitionally part o the use o the political

    means. But what is achieved is still socialism. The Tuckerite socialist can

    achieve what the state socialist purports to want, but without many o the

    human and nancial costs created by a state-based approach.

    What the State Does to Keep Health Care Costs HighConsider the impact o the monopoly power drug companies and medi-

    cal device exercise by retaining and enorcing patent rights arbitrarily con-erred by the government. Or consider the eect on prices when licensing

    requirements limit who can be a doctor, how many doctors there can be,

    what kinds o procedures non-doctors can perorm? Or the eect exerted

    by similar licensing requirements that dramatically reduce competition in

    other health-care proessions. Or the eect o limiting the accreditation

    o hospitalstoo requently in light o the market conditions o the com-

  • 8/4/2019 Gary Chartier



    munities in which they wish to operate (so that theres as little head-to-head

    competition as possible).

    And theres more: what about the rules that provide tax incentives or em-

    ployers to purchase health insurance or employees, thus taking responsibility

    out o the hands o employees with incentives to seek good individual deals?

    And what about state rules that make it harder, or impossible, or people toseek insurance rom out-o-state carriers? Or ones that limit who can be an

    insurer (hint: not a physician who wants to oer her patients care on a fat-ee-

    per-year basis)? These constraints create or promote monopolistic or quasi-

    monopolistic positions or many players in the health-insurance industry.

    The FDA approval process is also, o course, a state monopoly that drives

    up costs and lengthens the time-to-market o many products. It's also one

    o the actors that helps to make health care unaordable or many people.

    State subsidies to agriculture also contribute to health-care costs by en-couraging the purchase o lots o low-nutrition oods. Purchasing these

    items simultaneously redirects resources that could be used to buy oods

    that made positive contributions to people's health away rom the purchase

    o such oods and encourages the purchase o items that may actually de-

    crease health and thus boost health care costs.

    Finally: its not a monopoly, precisely, but it is a dubious legal privilege

    that also drives up costs. A punitive damage award can turn an individual

    person into scapegoats, someone to be taught a lesson on behal o the en-tire class o victims o conduct like his or her own. Punitive damage awards

    drive up costs unnecessarily while orcing health-care proessionals and

    hospitals to ocus on deensive medicine.

    How the State Can Help to Make Health CareAccessible by Stopping Its War on Poor People

    Remember, the driving orce behind so much o the debate about health

    care is accessibility. Thats a unction o cost. But its also a unction o the

    incomes o people who might want access to care but cant aord it.

    The rst step would be to lower taxes. The long-term goal must be to

    eliminate all the tribute people pay to the state at all levels, but legislators

    might start by dramatically increasing the standard deduction while , at the

    ederal level, increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit.

    Its worth asking, too, about the impact o multiple monopolies on the

    circumstances o poor people. The state does lots o things that make and

    keep people poor.Some kinds o jobs require business licenses, or other kinds o permis-

    sions rom local actors to start up. Maybe the licenses require costly and

    dispensable equipment or unnecessary certication, or maybe they just in-

    volve prohibitive up-ront costs. (Think about how much it costs to obtain

    a New York taxicab medallion.) Sometimes, they preclude people using the

    low-cost acilities that are their own homes or business purposes, imposing

  • 8/4/2019 Gary Chartier



    the heavy burden o working elsewhere. And sometimesas when Tulare,Caliornia, ocials recently shut down a little girls lemonade stand because

    it didnt have a licenselicensing requirements are just exercises in petty

    tyranny. Whatever their orm or their motivation, the burdens created by

    licensing requirements all hardest on poor people.

    Those same requirements impact where poor people can nd housing:housing that doesnt meet someone elses standards o middle-class accept-

    ability is denied to poor people who could pay or it, but might be able to

    pay or anything else. And the burden on the poor is only increased when

    certain kinds o jobs are denied to people at alllike selling medications

    that the government wants sold only by government approved pharmacists

    in government-approved pharmacies.

    Taris also hurt poor people by signicantly increasing the costs they

    need to pay or imported goods (including, oten enough, ood that wouldbe less expensive than domestic alternatives absent import duties). Oten

    touted as propping up poor workers' incomes, they serve primarily to boost

    the prots o poorly perorming domestic producers at the expense o both

    domestic consumers (especially poor ones) and oreign producers.

    In a perect or near-perect market, it might make little dierence whether

    or not everyone was unionized. But in todays un-reed market, state-guar-

    anteed privilege, rather than competitive excellence, is responsible or some

    corporate prots. In this kind o market, unionization can help to improveworkers economic positions. State limitations on union activity can tend to

    reduce unions infuence, and so to reduce the incomes o workers who might

    make more were they ree to engage in more radical bargaining tactics.

    An Initial Anarchist AgendaBottom line: arguably the most important thing government ocials could do

    to reduce health care costs would be to get completely out o the way, to stop

    privileging avored elites and driving up prices. State unctionaries could:Stop oering protection to patents and copyrights.

    Eliminate hospital accrediting and proessional licensing rules, leaving

    a variety o fexible, competing market-based certication systems to

    do the job.

    Limit malpractice awards to actual damages plus the costs o recovery

    (including reasonable legal ees).

    Repeal regulations that prevent the sale o insurance across state lines

    and that prevent the operation o what amount to insurance schemes byhealth proessionals.

    Alter the tax code to de-link employment and insurance. (This change

    would have the potential to boost net taxes, o course, i it weren't made

    in tandem with the tax cuts or which I've argued.)

    Replace the FDA approval process with alternative, voluntary private

    certication systems. (Obviously, doing this would include eliminating

  • 8/4/2019 Gary Chartier



    all attempts to use the orce o law to limit the commercial accessibility

    o remedies desired by health-care conumsers.)

    Eliminate agricultural subsidies.

    And government ocials could also ensure that ordinary people had the re-

    sources needed to pay or (newly much less expensive) health care. They could:

    Eliminate licensing, zoning, and related restrictions that help to keep

    people rom starting small, low-capital businesses.

    Eliminate rules that prevent poor people rom entering businesses re-

    garded as o-limits (like selling non-approved pharmaceuticalswhich

    could be certied by voluntary, non-state certication services).

    Eliminate rules that orce poor people to choose between the kind o

    housing middle-class planners and neighborhood busybodies preer

    and no housing at all.

    Eliminate import duties.Slash the tax burden at the state and ederal level as much as possible

    sharply increasing the standard income tax deduction and the Earned

    Income Tax Creditand make corresponding reductions in spending.

    Eliminate state limitations on collective bargaining, including com-

    pulsory arbitration requirements, prohibitions on secondary boycotts,

    back-to-work orders, and all state Right-to-Work Laws which prohibit

    employers rom making voluntary contracts with unions.

    Notice how the Tuckerite socialist model would work. It would ensurethat poor people had more money. By el iminating monopolies (and qua-

    si-monopolistic market distortions like tax subsidies or particular insur-

    ance choices), it would also ensure that prices or health care services

    whether purchased directly or provided via insurerswere lower. By

    keeping a competitive market in place, it would ensure that competitive

    market pressures would tend to elevate overall product and service qual-

    ity. And because it wouldn't involve the installation o yet another czar,

    or the equivalent, because it would leave people ree to make their own

    health-care choices, it would preserve liberty rather than limiting it. It

    would achieve all three o the goals proponents o current health-care

    reorm measures say they want.

    Putting it on the table could also provide an opportunity to link a variety

    o other pro-reedom legal changes with (radical) health-care reorm. And

    it would orce proponents o statist options to ask more clearly whether they

    value the goals they say they want to achieve more than they value the op-

    portunity to give more power to technocrats.

    While a Tuckerite socialist plan would, indeed, provide a way o achiev-ing state-socialist goals via the economic rather than the political means,

    such a plan would be anything but a continuation o the status quo. Indeed,

    it would be a dramatic attack on the status quo, one that redistributed

    wealth rom privileged monopolists to ordinary people, and dramatically

    increased the likelihood o access to inexpensive, high-quality medical

    care or all Americans.

  • 8/4/2019 Gary Chartier


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    Prepared by the

    Tulsa Alliance of the Libertarian Left

    in coordination withGary Chartier

    or the

    Center for a Stateless Society

    Gary Chartier Im Associate Pro-

    essor o Law and Business Ethics at La

    Sierra University and a let-wing marketanarchist. I take anarchism to be the proj-

    ect o doing without the state. Id preer a

    stateless society in which people enjoyed

    property rights and were ree to structure

    relationships through exchange. But, un-

    der anarchy, dierent communities could

    reasonably implement dierent property

    rules and a community's courts couldrightly enorce rights some market anar-

    chists might want upheld in other ways.

    Privation could be signicantly reduced

    in stateless societies, but I believe such so-

    cieties could and should organize income

    security and poverty relie systems. I call mysel a letist because I support inclu-

    sion and oppose subordination, deprivation, and aggressive and preventive war.

    Im happy to identiy as both, in something like the sense suggested by Benja-min Tucker, a socialist and a libertarian. Cambridge just published my second

    book, Economic Justice and Natural Law. Next: The Conscience o an Anarchist

    and Anarchy under Law.