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An Anarchist Kindergarten - An Open Letter to Noam Chomsky

An Anarchist Kindergarten - An Open Letter to Noam Chomsky

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Published by Joe Kopsick
A letter to Noam Chomsky on free market economics, health care, the gold standard, state power, and voluntary government.
A letter to Noam Chomsky on free market economics, health care, the gold standard, state power, and voluntary government.

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Published by: Joe Kopsick on Sep 22, 2013
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Anarchist Kindergarten: An Open Letter to Noam Chomsky 1. Introduction 2. Chomsky vs. Paul 3. Churches and Charity 4. The Constitution 5.

Personal Responsibility 6. Obamacare 7. Slavery 8. Voluntary Governance and the Invisible Hand 9. Rules for Free Markets 10. Voluntary Provision of Services 11. States' Rights and Revolutionary Redistribution 12. Forms of Wealth and Theories of Value 13. Conclusion Introduction Dear Professor Chomsky, My name is Joe Kopsick. I studied political science and theory at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. In the last two general elections, I have voted libertarian; for Ron Paul and Gary Johnson, although not for anointed “Tea Party darlings” Scott Walker or Paul Ryan. Although I vote, I oppose statism (as defined by Max Weber), and I consider myself a market-anarchist in the tradition of C. Frederic Bastiat and Gustave de Molinari. First off, I would like to know whether you have read anything by Bastiat, Molinari, Lysander Spooner, Linda and Morris Tannehill, Agorists Samuel E. Konkin III and J. Neil Schulman, Austrian school economist Robert P. Murphy, left-Rothbardians Gary Chartier and Charles W. Johnson, panarchists John Zube and Bruno Frey, or anyone you know to be associated with the Molinari Institute and/or the Center for a Stateless Society. Secondly, I would like to address statements which you made about Ron Paul and libertarianism; at Kutztown University in November 2011, and in an interview with Michael S. Wilson for Modern Success Magazine in May 2013, particularly in regards to health insurance and care and state power. Chomsky vs. Paul In 2011, when asked for your thoughts on Ron Paul and American libertarianism, as an example of what you described as the “shocking” and “off-the-wall” “principles” that underlie some of Paul's policies, you made reference to Paul's response – in a Republican presidential debate – to Wolf Blitzer's question about what Paul thinks should happen if an uninsured man goes into a coma or falls victim to an accident. You said, “...his first answer was something like, 'It's a tribute to our liberty.' So, if he dies, that's a tribute to how free we are? He kind of backed-off from that, actually. There was a huge applause when he said that.”

Considering how most people define the word charity.[cut off by Blitzer. but not be forced. and one woman cheered.. friends”... Paul wrote in the American Free Press that he was worried that America's commitment to spend public money on relief efforts would discourage private donations to the charity of individuals' choice.. I should mention that there is no explicit constitutional authority for Congress to spend public money on relief efforts in foreign countries. and 5) taxed away by government and given directly to charities (World Vision International. You went on to say.e. but there was no cheering or applause aside from those two or three individuals. at Santa Rosa Hospital in San Antonio. Blitzer then asked. Churches and Charity You are correct that Paul said that people would be cared-for by churches. this prompted some subdued laughter from the audience. But I feel like you may have neglected two things. taking your own risk. it becomes special interests. it becomes a bureaucracy. the church will take care of him. 2) spent by government on military hardware sold to insurgent groups who use it to give wounds to our combat troops.. The Constitution .would be provided through voluntary giving (i. Our neighbors. “He backed up and said. and we've given up on this whole concept that we might take care of ourselves and assume responsibility for ourselves. it kow-tows to the insurance companies and then the drug companies.”. inflation. First. are you saying that society should just let him die?”. special interests like insurance and drug companies.. and prevailing legal attitudes toward alternative health care. it is easy to understand why your audience at Kutztown laughed when you told them Paul's position.. or charities or something-or-other. our churches would do it. In a vein similar to the above.. I know it's a loaded idea to suggest that “voluntary government” might be practical .roughly a dollar per American . and through charity (from “neighbors. 4) devalued by inflation..” What Paul said was “I practiced medicine. My advice to him would [be to] have a major medical [insurance] policy.' I mean. before we had Medicaid. we never turned anybody away from the hospitals... so it's not a problem. as you put it. whatever he wants to do. “huge applause”.. “charity”). 3) spent by government to subsidize and bail-out companies who mutate our crops and pollute our air and water. then all health care – even care provided with heavy government coordination . charities cannot provide for the health care needs of uninsured Americans. let alone within the United States. and before Paul answered. and assume responsibility for himself. Following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti..so I promise to come back to this point later. “But.. And the churches took care of [people].. re-phrasing the question] .from the federal government).. “the cost [of health care] is so high because we dump it on the government.” This statement was indeed followed by.he should do. if taxation and accession to governance were voluntary rather than coercive. Second. still receives an annual $300 million . Paul continued after the “churches and charity” comment. Some reports contradicted this fact. licensing and lack of competition in medicine.. 'Well. two men in the audience said “yeah!”.. et cetera. the reason why churches and charity are unable to provide for the health care needs of uninsured Americans is that the money which would normally be donated to churches and charities is instead 1) spent by individuals on mass-produced foods which are hazardous to their health.That's what freedom is all about.The answer to which you referred was “. However. congressman..let alone possible .). this is just savagery.” He went on to criticize the influence of bureaucracy. in their current capacities. our friends. for example.

and Welfare) through the Reorganization Plan Number 1 of 1953. Judging by these facts – and the fact that there are now nine more cabinet departments than there were during the Washington administration – it seems that the framers of the Constitution did not consider that the legislative veto might have been useful in checking executive power rather than that of the states. Until 1962.. Of course. Paul responds “In a society [in which] you accept welfarism and socialism. The more subtle position which he took was that what Ron Paul wants for the American people should not matter to a person who can make his own decisions. but about following the Constitution's own processes to amend it. nor for the federal government to regulate health insurance and care.” In that answer. Personal Responsibility As my final point on the topic of health insurance and care. At Kutztown. the Supreme Court declared legislative vetoes unconstitutional. rather than the kind of explicit authorization on which the Constitution is so keen. Legislative vetoes had only existed since 1932.. “But what do you want?”. the president had the power to create new departments.. When Wolf Blitzer asked Paul “who is going to pay” for the health care costs of an uninsured man in a coma. In short. taking your own risk. and that government should not unduly interfere in the doctor-patient relationship. I will say the following.On the topic of the Constitution. I admit that it is a shame that there is no explicit constitutional authorization for Congress to spend public money on relief efforts. Paul's not having emphasized the possibility of constitutional federal involvement is probably due to his various criticisms of how unconstitutional involvement has thus far failed us. That's what freedom is about. Until the early 1980s.. Fortunately.” Blitzer responded. Although I voted for Paul in 2008. considering that that department split into the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education. I will explain Ron Paul's position on the role of personal responsibility in regards to this topic. The only reason we have a federal Department of Health and Human Services is because Dwight Eisenhower enacted its predecessor (the Department of Health. even though they were rejected by the Constitutional Convention because of the risk of Congress trampling on the right of the states to regulate the federal government.. . The Department of Health. Paul answered. and assume responsibility for himself. “What he should do is whatever he wants to do. adherence to the Constitution is not about keeping things the way they were in 1789. practice what they want. that the American people should not want to be bossed around by politicians. It is worth stressing that the manner in which departments were created involved only a lack of veto.. you said that Ron Paul “is against federal involvement in health. we should actually legalize alternative health care. there are really two departments to have been created in such a manner. Education. Furthermore. allow people to. however. The obvious one is that people can make their own health decisions. in anything”. Paul took two simultaneous positions on personal responsibility. he expects the government to take care of him. and Welfare is the only department to have been created through presidential reorganization authority. there is nothing in the Constitution that forbids the states from regulating health insurance and care. and recognizing the values of written law that sets out to be neither too easy nor too difficult to change. so if and when a ¾ supermajority of the people agree that the federal government should regulate health insurance and care – and are willing to dedicate the one to seven years it takes to get an amendment ratified – the federal government can regulate those industries to its heart's content. In 1983. we have an amendment process. the president was allowed to create and reorganize bureaucracies as long as neither the Senate nor the House passed a legislative veto. under presidential reorganization authority. Education.

Let's assume that I recently turned 26.appearing to take care of things so the public doesn't have to worry about it. am I not taking personal responsibility for my actions? If I refuse to purchase health insurance. conscious decision not to buy health insurance . This is not to insensitively blame the victim. Ron Paul has written at great length about the topics of moral hazard and social insurance in his book Liberty Defined. could be said to have together resulted in millions of deaths. confuses the distinction between government and society.”.. of his congressman) . Let's also suppose that I understand that all Americans deserve quality health care and that a just government could easily afford a just and egalitarian formulation of socialized medicine. it doesn't mean that they always think that it is proper if nobody provides it.) of an elderly woman . But suffice it to say that the same impulse which guides a man to refrain from purchasing health insurance because he feels that society (or society in the form of government) owes medical care to him and has things under control. is the same impulse which guides a person to refrain from charitably donate to the victim of a natural disaster because they see the current administration – or a tag-team comprised of George H. if he lives in Texas's 14 th. and that – if the military budget were trimmed and corporate profits were curtailed – we could easily afford to implement socialized medicine?”.” This is to say that. every time we [what Bastiat says the socialists call “individualists”] object to a thing being done by government. and I can't afford health insurance. Let's just say.R. nobody would help me – and am willing to accept death. Obamacare At this point. and laws putting drugs with legitimate medical benefits in Schedule One.. Bottom line: standards are a double-edged sword. Additionally . First.P.based on his own subjective ethics and knowledge about his personal finances. Granted that Blitzer's scenario involved “an accident”. Bush and Bill Clinton on television . As a result of this. this is not to insensitively blame the victim. Congress is a society of representatives of societies.just as a nursing home policy that prohibited action by staff members with insufficient medical skills resulted in the preventable death ( simple C. “My advice to him would [be to] have a major medical [insurance] policy.The unaddressed underlying assumption in Blitzer's question “are you saying that society should just let him die?” is that the government (“We the People”) is not society. Paul also attempted to make a point about risk and moral hazard. I don't have consistent employment..is partially responsible for setting into motion the chain of events which led to him becoming uninsured and in a coma. if I lapsed into a coma. high drug research standards delaying the release of medications. while it may be totally reasonable to suggest that a society owes health care to its uninsured. and considering the advice of his past doctors (and. Frederic Bastiat wrote that “Socialism. the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. If I refuse to purchase health insurance (at least temporarily) – reasoning that I just may not wish to continue living in a society in which. I will note that he told Blitzer. as a member of the House is a representative of his constituency.. “who are you to assign blame to a person who understands that all Americans deserve quality health care. W. and to pay the pertinent taxes – reasoning that I just .high licensing standards set by the American Medical Association. Again. a person who makes an informed. C. you may be thinking. it might not always be appropriate to suggest that the avenues through which it provides such care be governmental. just because someone thinks that government has no responsibility to provide some good or service. In fact. but rather a representative of society.

I will address the fact that defenders of the individual mandate tend to attempt to rationalize-away criticism thereof – as if the critics' major complaint were the amount of paperwork involved – by saying “if you don't buy health insurance for more than three months. am I not taking personal responsibility for my actions? Furthermore. and to be secure in my papers. but even that article missed the following point. and for unemployed persons (who can go on Medicaid). if I were prepared to defend myself against aggression by armed taxation and police agents authorized to use deadly force in the enforcement of their order. and that I want to work directly in exchange for the sources of subsistence. organizing. If these are my beliefs and desires. Suffice it to say for now that refraining to engage in commerce is not commerce. it is rather a form of legalized plunder. part of the answer to the preceding question is because my individual beliefs and desires are not recognized as a religious sect by government (yes. The burden falls more on the people than on the agencies responsible for creating the current health care and insurance mess (a recent study out of Kansas concluded that Obamacare sextuples health care costs). we do not currently live in the just type of society in which government and the people can afford the most well-developed formulation of so-called socialized medicine. and therefore it should not be regulated as such. it's the principle of the thing. I will not even go into detail about the debate over whether health insurance constitutes commerce in the first place. Courts throughout the land have established the precedent that (as an example) a ten-dollar tax on a one-dollar item cannot be rightfully be called a tax. and showing documents which prove how much I have earned. and what that means for the rest of Obamacare's constitutionality. Instead. there's an exemption for that). and he did it by forcing me to buy health insurance. what if I choose not to work for compensation in the national currency.” If you'd like. and I have the right to pursue happiness according to my own subjective determinations and evaluations. I would be shot to death – and am willing to accept death (the ultimate price of.blogspot. As an acquaintance recently put it. or both. I just want to make it clear what the risks are if we do not embrace personal responsibility. Assume again that I believe that society owes me health care. and money going around collecting. you can read about my whole position on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in my article “Obamacare and Interstate Commerce” on my blog (aquarianagrarian. and penalty for disobeying. Assume that someone I know would like to run an unlicensed. Anyway. This is to say that it is a penalty for refraining to engage in trade or commerce. voluntary governance. energy. then why do I have to spend my time. and that I would like trade my physical labor or other services which I can offer for that person's services. the individual mandate). and which prove that I have been looking for a job (as is customary to qualify for unemployment benefits)? It's not the hassle of the paperwork. Sebelius – which regards the individual insurance mandate as a constitutional “tax” – shatters and reverses that precedent.may not wish to continue living in a society in which. But I'll get to that. and instead for the resources necessary for my subsistence? A proponent of the mandate would respond that there are exemptions for those not earning enough to have to pay income taxes. and that it is very different from your preferred solution. and legalizes what should be regarded as a ten-dollar tax on a zero-dollar item. then the government will just take it out of your tax withholdings”. Well. as I'm aware that you have criticized it. Slavery . tax-evading rural health-care co-operative which practices alternative medicine but which also has access to advanced medical technology.com). But the opinion of the majority in the case of National Federation of Independent Business v. I'm sure you don't need to have the new health care law explained to you. “Obama promised me free health care.

or go to prison”. Specifically. Eschew ye not Zizekian polysyllabic rhetorical flourishes in practical deference to observable empirical data! Where are Max Stirner. and political semiotics in all this? . then as the anarchocollectivist ideal. the business requirement of whose insurance mandate will give us a nation of employers who won't allow us to work more than twenty-nine hours a week – for whatever wages they deign to pay us – and a nation wherein half to three-quarters of the people will be unemployed and on Medicaid.e. Have you noticed that the people who protest that they are ordered to buy health insurance (as if being ordered to buy something were unprecedented) are almost never the same people who protest that they are required to spend money on state-issued identification in order to vote (often derided as resembling a poll tax) and to be identified? What is at risk if we do not embrace personal responsibility and / or voluntary governance is government being able to constitutionally penalize us for refusing to go to work... get on welfare while continuing to look for one. to work for a business which is zoned. The labor movement gave us the forty-hour workweek. I'm not talking about Slavoj Zizek).e. but the labor movement gave us the Obama administration. but rather that it is practically impossible to qualify for unemployment unless one has the monetary means to do things like ride the bus. monetary means with regards to the monopolistic national currency of the U. Dollar. chartered. print and mail resumes. true. and political irony writ large. The risk is well-meaning standards run amok. subsidized. which may differ greatly from the values-system of society as (mis)represented by government. For many. But just wait until we're all expected to work within the societal context of “get a legitimate job earning American money. we are unfree. the Apostles.. with prisons receiving funding for government simply based on how many individuals they have incarcerated. forced labor and labor for “slave wages” in prisons. trading without currency. the principle of resisting the mandate is to live as did Christ. Marshall McLuhan. The risk is the “society of permanent cripples” as described by Hunter S. and the army-like regimentation of workplaces and the “wage-conscription” of the reserve army of labor. dialectical materialism. police admitting to receiving cuts from the tickets they write. sharing all resources. The risk is – with the ever-increasing joint government-corporate intervention in the economy – that we may become unable to distinguish the vague differences between slavery to corporations (wage slavery). Thompson. alone with which taxes can be paid (unlike the recently legitimized Bitcoin). restructured. “red tape”. given tax breaks. using resources in the place of recognized currency. domination by political and managerial classes. enslaved to our needs. through government welfare programs). and subordination to an alien and alienating values-system. The risks are moral hazard. and slavery to either/or (debt slavery). and maintain normative standards of personal hygiene (no. permitted. hierarchy and lack of egalitarianism. a complete lack of effort by government to legitimate itself in the eyes of the public. et cetera. licensed. bailedout. managed. The risks are command-and-control. and when (as in health insurance enrollment periods). the principle is that in any society in which we are told what to buy. wash one's clothes regularly. And if not these Christians. wants. political psychology. between the middle and lower classes). slavery to government. without money or property. i. based on our own needs and subjective values-systems. and hopes (including the “hope” for “change”). et cetera. desires.The principle of resisting the individual insurance mandate is not that of avoiding needless paperwork. We have already seen this begin to take foot-hold. To penalize us for refusing to work for the type of business – and in exchange for the type and the character of compensation – of our choice. and doing their charitable giving privately [as in Matthew 6:4] rather than publicly (i. The risk is that we will become prisoners in our own bodies. The risk is – as always – increasing income disparity (aside from between the middle and upper classes. For some. bureaucracy.S. and Saint Francis of Assisi. by the government. bonded.

states' rights. the idea is that a situation in which people participate in collaborative decision making is preferable to a situation in which the adjustment of supply and demand is distorted by the presence of market actors who possess purchasing power in vast disproportion to that of their (so-called) competitors.Empirical data will not help us understand why in today's political culture it is wrong when a libertarian compares the forces which oppress him to slave-masters. I will note that I am probably the only person in the world who understands the humor in comparing the conservatives' ignorance of evolutionary and anthropological science in favor of a “God did it” theory. slavery. but not wrong when a socialist does the same. You might be thinking.. to their ignorance of economic science in favor of the same (e. workfare slavery. augment understanding thereof by considering economic implications. “how . True libertarians (i. involuntary servitude. “Well. I have seen your name associated with the terms “libertarian socialism”. i. confederation. Before proceeding. segregation. meaning “theory of system lacking agora”. “I know that that is not what Smith meant”. Wilson for Modern Success Magazine.) will answer every one of your questions. you may want to withhold judgment. in fact. As an agorist (agorism meaning “theory of a system of open market-places”).e. the Civil War.. Empirical data will not help us debate the qualitative differences between chattel slavery. for whose problems they are almost completely to blame. i. without open market-places. or with guidance by a deity – makes rich people sympathetic to the plight of the poor. and citizenship for illegal immigrants – and yet is regarded by so many people as practically an anarchist – then you should know that No Treason by Lysander Spooner (and a quick refresher about the crux of the plaintiff's constitutional argument in Heart of Atlanta Motel v. If that is what you are thinking.g.e. Empirical data will not help us discern the differences between “the political class” and “the state”. “if taxation and accession to governance were voluntary rather than coercive. and political slavery. have to talk about that. I believe that the above is a false dichotomy. The last of these is sometimes called “anagorism”. As I understand it. “anarcho-syndicalism”. In your interview with Michael S. taxation as theft. you said that one of Adam Smith's “main arguments for markets was the claim that under conditions of perfect liberty. we don't have to talk about that!” The content of the above four thousand words would suggest that we do.. discrimination. voluntary association and voluntary government.” You continued. then all health care – even care provided with heavy government coordination – would be provided through voluntary giving”. I can explain better and (pray) more succinctly. the 14th Amendment. U. The popular perception of Smith's “invisible hand” is that it is a disembodied entity which – as though through magic. and “market-abolitionism”. But you need not rely on the words of a man who died over a hundred years ago. but to allow responsible individuals to be left alone by the state. markets would lead to perfect equality. backwards statements on the topics of civil rights. it is only appropriate that government shrink as this gradually occurs. If you're at all curious why Ron Paul has made such apparently outlandish. Personal responsibility must be brought about through a change in culture. wage slavery. plus the stock exchange” – is illusory.e. not the Tea Party crowd) do not want to force personal responsibility on individuals by shrinking government and taking away benefits. Voluntary Governance and the Invisible Hand As I explained towards the beginning of this letter. Empirical data will not help us tell which president it is most politically correct to accuse of desiring to enslave us all. “participatory economics”. and that the manner in which the public conceives markets – if it even defines markets as anything more complex than “places to shop. at that. and. charity. nor between “the managerial class” and “workers' councils”.S..

“Civil government. had the earth been divided into equal portions among all its inhabitants.can conservatives support social Darwinism when they don't even believe in regular Darwinism!?”). and the autonomous decision-making of individuals leads to the collective good and to nearly perfect equality. without knowing it. due to the great loss in business and personal freedom – as well as the reputational damage – which she would experience were the government to intervene in her business affairs on the behalf of organized labor and in the name of the common good.. and when individuals attempt to maximize their own gains.”. and state-organized police and military forces protecting the wealth and property value of the rich? As Adam Smith himself put it. and we refrain from giving money to those homeless people whom we suspect are preparing to leap at us with the intent of mugging and beating the wits out of us.. It is to say – at the very least – that we hope something like this is going to happen. I agree. the exploitative businessman deserves to have his property and property rights put in danger. the employment of private security guards. and that our money will be helpful towards those ends. when she in fact has no personal or economic incentive to cause people to die in train crashes. and given the rise of outsourcing and off-shoring.. he should always be on the defensive. so he can get a business loan. while also rejecting outright the notion that such an idea is a valid premise for a joke. Her portrayal of the “invisible hand” in Atlas Shrugged is Dagny Taggart admonishing labor union representatives for suggesting that her self-interest drives her to place profit motive over the safety of her employees and customers. Smith wrote.. and if he wants to keep his property. and thus without intending. Why are state-chartered banks.e. but also the personal responsibility of the Lockean Proviso and of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon's differentiation of private and personal property. I contend that refraining from externalizing responsibilities onto others is not only the personal responsibility of Ron Paul. If a capitalist were to get “too greedy”. Rand did not despise altruism. We maximize our own personal gains by avoiding such people. and the funding of police and military services – the exploitative businessman expects agents besides himself to protect his property for him. This is not to say that every person who gives a homeless person a small amount of change thinks that that person is going to soon thereafter go out and spend that money reinforcing his cardboard box and punching-up his resume. better products come at lower costs and prices. “Of course. and provide for the needs of his community.. which would have been made. he “would directly see on a daily basis those who suffer from [the] deprivation” which his exploitative business practices have caused. let alone a political ideology. A libertarian socialist friend of mine recently explained the “invisible hand” in the following manner. this becomes completely inapplicable to any large-scale economy”. she despised the very idea that there is such a thing. Simply put. the gravest of trespasses against the principles of personal responsibility. is in reality instituted for . are led by an invisible hand to make nearly the same distribution of the necessaries of life. The “invisible hand” describes the self-regulating behavior of market-places. However – as in the off-shoring of assets. Smith contends that when there is competition on all sides of transactions (i. state-licensed “private” security guards. advance the interest of the society. I re-phrased this to “The invisible hand mugs the businessman in order to feed the mouth which would normally bite it [“it” meaning “the invisible hand” when it serves the businessman's interests]. This is externalization. polyopoly and polyopsony). so far as it is instituted for the security of property. Ayn Rand would undoubtedly agree that people – insofar as they base their values on personal pursuit of self-interest with rational expectations – give to charity or to the homeless to the extent to which they believe that their gifts are likely to somehow eventually get around to benefiting themselves. become a “job-creator”. My friend continues. “The rich.

To me. This is the main reason I am writing to you.. 2) The relief and diminution of suffering is promoted.. adding that “the business world. and information – competition leads to a Pareto-efficient (or Pareto-optimal) allocation of resources. They can't live without a powerful state. competition. but in the hands of private power. you said that the American libertarian ideology is “just a call for corporate tyranny. and they know it. you said that libertarianism “takes away any barrier to corporate tyranny”.. namely unaccountable private tyranny. so private power should be unleashed to do whatever it likes. if you suspect that you are wrong that American libertarianism would “take.. 1) Market actors are well-informed and rational. however. then you might want to consider the possibility that if we were to remove the privileges granted by the state. . that markets which are truly free do not permit concentrations of power.the defense of the rich against the poor[. I believe that you are trying to simultaneously imply that the state is a barrier and an assistant to domination of society and individuals by corporatism. To be clear. I am not about to try to pretend that huge military technology and infrastructure firms and private citizens who stockpile weapons and ammunition are not a threat to a free society and to free markets. 3) Malice is eliminated. I have concluded that there are ten basic rules.. or pretend to “look the other direction” of the “unaccountable private tyranny” while doing any or all of the aforementioned things). I agree with you that “the business world” – insofar as it is comprised of businesses which are perceived as legitimate because they are licensed by the state – “can't live without a powerful state”. can't live without a powerful state. is just a call for some of the worst kinds of tyranny. Rules for Free Markets So what are the rules of a truly free market? From my study of the First and Second Fundamental Principles of Welfare Economics.” At Kutztown University. in the absence of state-derived privilege. that kind of libertarianism. I need to make one point. It takes away any barrier to corporate tyranny. However. so I'm hoping that you will address this point specifically in your response. it may not even be necessary to grow state power in order to erect barriers to domination by enterprise (which. would have nobody to subsidize them. the premise here is that in a competitive (Walrasian) equilibrium – that is. The following ten rules would sustain such a competitive equilibrium. The assumption is that by some kind of magic [emphasis mine]. the notion that libertarianism “takes away barrier[s] to corporate tyranny” is antithetical to the notion that corporations would not be able to live or thrive – much less dominate or practice tyranny – “without a powerful state”...” In your interview with Michael Wilson. order individuals to buy their products. pass laws to eliminate their competitors. bail them out. and concentrations of private property.. away barrier[s] to corporate tyranny”.” Now. As I wrote above. 4) No actor hoards information. I will say. concentrated private power will lead to a more free and just society..”.. you said that American libertarianism “permits a very high level of authority and domination.. But before I explain what a truly free market is. and that no proponents of markets would knowingly support “tyranny” in so many words. markets..] or of those who have some property against those who have none at all. crony capitalism. The business world would never permit it to happen because it would destroy the economy. under conditions of perfect and complete liberty.

Jr.5) Nobody's values system is structurally suppressed or devalued. occur without retardation.. and tied to his ankle. and the adjustment of supply and demand. You can't have a free market work if you don't have regulation. If a very wealthy man were to show up at an auction and attempt to buy all of the items.. to know the regulations. if a man became too rich. This includes allowing several imperfections to cancel one-another out. But I believe that there is no reason not to keep these ten rules around as a basic set of conditions for a free and fair market. As a market-anarchist. but rather the state. 6) Price-taking. or even economic intervention. he was kicked out of the community. which you're aware it doesn't). nor perfectly rational economic behavior on the part of all individuals participating in markets. “optimality conditions”) cannot be achieved (or satisfied) – that is. Mitt Romney said the following: “Regulation is essential. and making loans. impossible in practice)... What I do support is the self-regulation of markets. and dragged to the edge of the city – his wealth converted to heavy metallic currency. I will say that. If you think you scoffed hard at the phrase at the end of that last sentence. with his $200 million. I do not even support “an anarchy of markets” (at least not in the sense that anarchy equals chaos.. 10) Honest profit-calculating is practiced. and so on. This is because market agents with great purchasing power are so influential that they distort the adjustment of supply and demand. rather than trying to fix the apparent problem through state interventions in the economy. As a business person. and removed from the market. prohibited from buying and selling. I mean you have to have regulations so that you can have an economy work. I had to have . as defined by Weber).[and]. et cetera. the preceding quote was the most insightful thing he said throughout the campaign. when there is market failure – a next-best option can be achieved by changing other variables. and no actor imposes fees which are not justifiable and negligible considering the costs of transaction. 8) Structural risks of inadvertent harm [such as moral-hazard and social-cost problems] are eliminated. of course we will never see in our lifetimes the elimination of malice. a justice system. Of course. a diverse multiplicity of buyers and sellers) practically impossible (that is. You couldn't have people opening up banks in their. In a debate against Barack Obama from 2012. or all of these goals cannot be achieved. 7) Concentrations of market share and purchasing power are eliminated. A market for liberty and for the redress of grievances in which oligopolistic and . several. as well as for multinational corporations and governments. garage. This is terribly unfortunate for Mitt Romney. and for Bain Capital. it is necessary to understand the Theory of the Second Best. But that does not mean that they should cease to be goals. To understand what is to be done when any. or through joint state-capital-labor intervention (tripartism). Every free economy has good regulation. As a libertarian. What I want as a market-anarchist is a market free from the distortions caused by wealthy and powerful actors. nor that transgressions of these rules should go unpunished or unaddressed (keep in mind that I do not oppose governance.'s “Harrison Bergeron” – and forced to fend and forage for himself. so that he must drag his wealth to the market if he wishes to participate. The presence of large actors makes competition (that is. the prospect of actually achieving these goals is pie-in-the-sky. I do not support “unregulated free-market capitalism”. placed in a large sack. In Ancient Rome. 9) Structural risks of inadvertent benefit [such as the free-rider problem] are eliminated. When one of these goals (really. Mitt Romney would be beaten up by his supporters and opponents alike. In a free market. in my opinion. like something out of a non-dystopian version of Kurt Vonnegut. I needed them there.” While I neither voted for Romney nor supported him ideologically. settle-in for this one. he would be ganged-up upon by the remainder of the participants..

” I contend that Rothbard misinterprets Heath. which would own and rent out the land and housing over the area. the rent would be collected. i. Too big to fail is too big to exist. What I want is a “free market”. roads. capitalist. the taxpayers. whatever) -down what are economic “goods” and “bads” instead of to allow subjective evaluation is to condemn independent thought. that responsibility should fall upon consumers. the guilty do not go unpunished. One man's trash is another man's treasure. and thus raise its own values and voluntary incomes. by private corporate landlords rather than by the government. then if people refuse to pay the rent because they are content to live wherever they go.] the proprietary authority. individual. a market free from oligarchy.e. The only way to guard against the excesses and distortions of large. suitably organized. like George. a market for anarchism. of course. the small business and property owners. must extend its jurisdiction. you see. and thus its revenues. the working poor. police. out of its own revenues and properties. and the land owned. The Heathian 'proprietary community' is. A self-regulating and self-policing market is one in which acceptance of the ten optimality conditions which I have enumerated is so widespread that it does not have to be brought about through a local monopoly on legitimate force. Heath and [his grandson Spencer Heath] MacCallum would provide all public services out of rent. amicable competition of anarchist currents – and of enterprises practicing the organizational principles of each respective anarchist current – to provide the best form of justice to their adherents and customers. “To obviate [prevent] the essential tyranny (coercion) of political administration[. et cetera. Nothing is further from anarchy.. For. to decide from the top. A “voluntary government” is one in which the innocent go unpunished. fire. labor-oriented. and provide all conceivable ['] public services [']. a market for liberty and for the redress of grievances would involve a diverse. Furthermore. councils.e. by itself supplying police and other community services without [emphasis mine] coercion. and because they have the means and will to protect and defend themselves (including against governments and landlords). and the people do not have the authority to legalize the crimes of the state.oligopsonistic beneficiaries of state largess and of the use of physical force are required to provide compensation to their victims.(states. then there will be no rent which is . Murray Rothbard wrote the following: “The Heathian goal is to have cities and large land areas owned by single private corporations. such enforcement would in fact violate every single condition in one way or another. one man's (definition of) success is another man's (definition of) failure. et cetera. Voluntary Provision of Services Spencer Heath – proponent of the “proprietary community” – wrote that.. To forget this is to forget God and to shit on the dignity of the poor. out of the voluntarily-paid rent. privileged market actors – governmental. one man's pain is another man's pleasure. in stark contrast to the scruffy egalitarian commune dreamed of by anarchists of the Left.” On the subject of Spencer Heath. and the payment therefore voluntary rather than coercive. and I will defend Heath's statements against Rothbard's interpretation. It would involve a “market-anarchy 'without adjectives'”. I would like markets to become more egalitarian. “Heathianism is Henry Georgism stood on its head. and as egalitarian as possible without destroying the freedom to succeed and to fail if and when either success or failure dominates one's desires. if a governance corporation provides all services (including protection) to the people out of “the rent that is voluntarily paid”. i. Rothbard is wrong that the private proprietary community is in opposition to what the left wants. but unlike George. the exploited. – is to protect the right of small actors to gang-up against large actors when their survival and market influence is threatened. Government must not pick winners and losers.

by itself supplying. if we take for granted that the prices and costs of freedom are immeasurable).voluntarily paid. I believe that Socrates understood this when he knew that he would receive either life in prison or the death penalty. drinks. clothed. a mutual.. Eisenhower say “If you want total security. The philosophy of voluntarism is based on the preposterous notion (I'm being sarcastic) that governments need us to buy their services and the products of the businesses they sponsor and subsidize. and proposed instead to be given free meals for the rest of his life. and he can get “two hots [meals] and a cot”. and that if we refuse to buy the services (or pay the pertinent penalties for failing to do so. beginning to behave more like a syndicate.. You never hear people describe the prison system as a welfare system. safety of shelter and efficiency of protection. You never hear Dwight D. if people are willing to go to jail to have all their needs provided. you never hear people complain about prisoners receiving free food. a friendly company that gives frequent deals and discounts to its customers. the prison system is a concession from the state to the people. community services. . education.. we become free to demand that they provide us with the goods and services necessary to sustain our lives. I mean.” Are you beginning to understand? To explain another way. “the. government will give us these services for free. the proprietary authority. They need us to need them. This is to say that no money from rent will be available to the corporation.... How evil does a political system have to be for something as awful as the prison system to be one of the welfare benefits it gives to the people? Furthermore.. Hence Heath's saying “to [prevent] tyranny. you will have to sit through a few polysyllabic rhetorical flourishes. medical care. You never hear people complain that all a homeless person has to do is commit a crime. It will start giving goods and services away for free (because it feels threatened). and to legitimate the state. and. Frankly.. an entrepreneurial firm. it will be necessary to repeat the argument. rather than workers needing bosses to manage them. and drugs. And they provide them free of cost to us (or practically free. To drive this point home.. services.. it is a gift intended to placate us. out of its own revenues and properties”. There you're fed. out of its own revenues and properties”.. You never hear people say that prisoners have it too easy. I repeat: to understand my argument. what does freedom look like under the state? Going back to Spencer Heath: Heath wrote. governments need us to buy their services. given medical care and so on. Only in this case. and shelter. and it will be compelled due to consumer action to stop conscripting people to become its mercenaries.... The only thing lacking. must extend its jurisdiction. and so on. authority..... go to prison. When we exploit their need. a cooperative. must. and so governments have to force us to buy such goods and services against our will. while employing some unorthodox rhetoric and entertaining some preposterous ideas.. supply. and to help it force others to buy its products.. health and safety of medications and medical care. a charity. Trying again: Voluntarism is the belief that government services are provided through whatever funding is voluntarily given to the governing agency or agencies. through taxation). is freedom. health care. just as bosses need workers to run the machines. Services like health of foods. the discount would be on the order of one hundred percent. And that is obviously false. For this I make no apologies. revenues.

and a scenario in which all fifty states are free. free from the invisible hand that would pick their pockets. The only thing that legitimates individual force and guards against the tyranny of oligarchs and oligopolists is the willingness to assert the inalienable right to threaten and to employ it in the interest of basic survival. under free market conditions. They are charging the wealthy higher rates of property protection than the poor. they are using the funds voluntarily given by the participating wealthy in order to protect the poor. the success of their efforts show that the modestly rich do not need to be stolen from in order for there to be something left to give to the poor. Of course. States' Rights and Revolutionary Redistribution Until a market for liberty can be achieved in which monopoly government has been abolished. If there were. have the most to lose. the owners wouldn't be able to defend the property without conscripting mercenaries to defend the property on their behalf. in which an unarmed graffiti artist was recently murdered by police “in order to avoid physical incident” with police – individual use of force and of threats thereof is not considered legitimate by the majority of society. That is. that is the scenario which we face today. unionist.In The Market for Liberty. Those who have the most. sovereign. the costs of protecting the rich are higher than the costs of protecting the poor. look no further than the Free Detroit Project. and security and other goods are provided by amicably competing agencies operating on principles of different anarchist currents – like libertarian municipalism. individualist. are intended to act as checks against the monopoly power of the centralized state apparatus. mutualist. cooperativist. a single company or a single private property owner in a community. so that they themselves would be free and secure in other locations. then its owners would not be able to defend it against the many people who would band together – in the interest of their own survival – to take from it what they need. and entrepreneurialist business alliances – we (and the institutions. trade-union confederalism – states' rights. But in such a scenario. a market of providers of justice and security) of non-statist governance corporations. When is the last time you heard about a homeless person being pick-pocketed? For a concrete example of what I have explained above. and its physical property housed great wealth and means for subsistence and protection. collectivist. The people of the Free Detroit Project are voluntarist Robin Hoods. syndicalist. at least. That is. communalist. and maybe even eventually afford to buy it out and replace it with an amicably competing and cooperating polyopsony (state of there being many sellers. for example. . and especially the consumers'-interest groups. However. For them. any mercenary who agrees to do so would have to be insane (or at least irrational). in which volunteers are attempting to buy-up cheap property by the block. proportionate protection of private property would lead to equal protection. Linda and Morris Tannehill defend the notion that. If only the extremely wealthy behaved this way. and independent (this scenario is constitutional. now – under the state (the Weberian “local monopoly on legitimate violence”). that we create) can become more productive than the state. as wealthy firms and individuals would absorb the costs of protecting the remainder of the community. and will pay the most in order to keep the remainder. provided that states do not confederate). the only thing preventing such a scenario from arising. municipal home rule. as he would be defending supplies like food and weapons from himself and from his friends and loved ones. and that – through building consumer choice and cooperation between guildist. is the willingness of individuals to threaten physical conflict. there is the justice system. It is not difficult to understand why. Consumers who are willing to defend themselves always have more power than corporations.

They are: 1) the elimination of privilege (i. and placed in a sack tied around his ankle. until we can replace the state with an alliance of “anarchy without adjectives” service providers.e. is to illustrate the following point: Paper fiat currency. 3) acts of solidarity (including the sharing of resources). in a free market. state-granted privilege). credit cards. including of unjust eminent domain takings). In his article “Bleeding-Heart Libertarians for Redistribution”. and social anarchism. Rothbard made valuable contributions to the ideology of the libertarian left. Remember. “Left-Rothbardians” Gary Chartier (director of the Center for a Stateless Society) and Charles Johnson – the authors of Markets Not Capitalism – have developed his ideas towards a set of positions (regarding what are acceptable anarchist tactics) that are much more likely to be accepted by the left. we will see the supporters of Ron Paul continue to drift increasingly towards individualist anarchism. While a supporter of the labor theory of value may argue that the value of gold is equal to the . and offshore bank accounts protected by states and by the security guards which they license.e. computer banking.. Gary Chartier outlines five basic tactics for achieving a more just distribution of wealth without increasing the power of the state to do so. in the coming several years. it is detrimental to the credibility of the Republicans that the “blue states” are more likely to be “giver states”. I do not support returning to a gold standard. I have voted for Ron Paul. 4) radical rectification (i.That is. Forms of Wealth and Theories of Value Part of the reason why I said that. Of course. and some 150 years ago that the Republican Party began in Wisconsin as an anti-slavery party whose founders included admirers of Karl Marx. bearing the burden of funding the federal government. and I support the idea of competing currencies. Mitt Romney would have his wealth converted into heavy metallic currency. and to defend his wealth without expending the effort which it would take to defend the same amount of wealth if it existed in another form (namely. than are the remainder of Rothbard's contributions. one can convince even the most hard-line Republican to support egalitarian management of workplaces. Although I believe Murray Rothbard was wrong in his assessment of Spencer Heath's position (stating that it is irreconcilable with that of the left). Indeed. of state theft. and 5) radical homesteading. Although I would like to see Mitt Romney's $200 million converted to gold in order to weigh him down. make it entirely too easy for a person to carry all of his wealth with him at all times. if one simply resolves not to use divisive labels such as “socialism” from the discourse. the several states will have to suffice as the market for liberty. market anarchism. it was only some fifty years ago that the marketing of the workers' rights movement to Republicans was commonplace. 2) the operation of a freed market.. I believe that American libertarians who believe in personal responsibility but occasionally defend the state and / or corporate power (such people are often called vulgar libertarians) would be much more open to leftist ideas and social-anarchism if ideas such as the Lockean Proviso and Proudhon's distinctions between private and personal property were presented in the context “you have to defend your property yourself if you want to be able to say that you truly earned it”. and that the distinctions between Ron and Rand Paul will only sharpen as more voters flock to Rand. while the “red states” are more likely to be the “taker states” which receive more funding from the federal government than they give to it. which are now considered meaningless by the left due to his purported racism. a form which is more massive and more voluminous). I predict that.

Some critics of Austrian economics claim that it is not a science. Furthermore. and manipulated. . but rather. Examples of such power include the power required to protect private property and the right of capital accumulation thereon. makes me something of an internationalist. in some strange way. You may recall that the first optimality condition for equality in a free market requires that market actors be well-informed and rational. refine it. price. People want to make their own decisions. and supporters of the power theory of value. there has to be a control group. and expect others (including politicians embracing the laissez-faire principle. As you well know.value of the amount of labor required to extract it. evaluate gold differently. Supporters of the power theory of value contend that economics cannot be separated from politics. not to have their decisions made for them by those who hold themselves in such high regard and esteem that they give out unwarranted advice. I will admit that it is true that Austrian economics is not a science. be it one or more] and however we choose to define “our families”). Any attempt to create a perfect. as social conservatives are often antiscience in the sense of the theory of evolution. I suppose that this position. we recognize that rational behavior flies out the window when it comes to determining how much labor. My valuation of gold can only be explained by the subjective theory of value. And many people do not consent to be observed. money is not valuable in and of itself but only as a medium of exchange. no matter how intellectual the pertinent scientists or academics seem. it is a net economic “bad” due to the terrible costs which its use imposes. But economic science needs to take into account the observer effect. However apt. and that the political right is ignorant of economic science (and economically “anti-science”. as economists have explained. e. given the true meaning of “economics” (the art and study of the financial management of households). This is why attempts to do economic science fail. that one affects the outcome by observing it. but also take into account the costs which the gold industry imposes on those who use it and trade it. it is instead a critique of other schools of economics. marginalists and utilitarians.g. time. Marginalists and utilitarians take labor into account. In the preceding sentence. et cetera.. watched. should not disqualify us from participating in the market in order to procure for them the goods and services necessary for survival. Ron Paul) to do the same. But the irrational thinking which is necessary for us all to refrain from selling our families or deities to government or corporate warlords for thirty pieces of silver. supporters of the subjective theory of value. or effort should be expended in order to provide for the sustenance and the financial security of our households (however many people are in our households [that is. currency. as I explained above). demand. and that under the current system it is impossible to ignore the effects which power has on the determination of supply. scientific understanding is based on what we can learn from repeatable experiments. valuation of goods and services is relative rather than absolute in regards to numbers and money (this is what makes negotiation and bargaining possible). none of these three theories of value really explain my aversion to gold. and because the conditions within the location would not be immune or disconnected from the conditions in the remainder of the world (as long as consumers of public services are aware that there is such a thing as the rest of the world). and cost. I put the word “equation” in quotes because. It is only this theory of value through which personal ethical and religious values can enter into the “equation”. controlled. A marginalist would recognize that a nuclear missile is not an economic “good” simply because labor must be expended in order to produce it. utopian market-anarchist or libertarian society through experimentation confined to a particular location would fail because – aside from the fact that people do not want to be controlled – the ostensibly natural conditions with which the experiment would begin would be the product of the fundamentally unnatural conditions built into the system which came before it in the same area. and the powers required to regiment workplaces and to create a reserve army of labor.

low prices for use as a conductor in microprocessors. which cannot occur unless and until we throw-off the alien and alienating values system which is being imposed upon us. would be more likely to result in a gold standard than would a free market emphasizing subjective valuation and promoting independent thought. and for purposes other than aesthetics and capital accumulation. and that the costs of maintaining bureaucracies will distort the data pertaining to the economic calculation problems which those very bureaucracies were instituted in order to solve. the transition to a culture in which all prices are approximately equal to marginal cost. set as equal to marginal cost. diminish. I actually agree with Paul “The Invincible Krugtron” Krugman that one of the causes of the “financial collapse” was the perception and use of mortgage-backed securities and other derivatives with irresponsibly high speculative-assets-to-tangible-assets ratios as currency. although never through structural or systematic means. however well they seem to understand the business cycle (the way it is understood and utilized these days. But returning to the topics of gold and subjective value: if I do not use or trade gold because of my own personal religious convictions. or to set its value as equal to zero. in participating in the market. or “what society wants”. To trust anything other than the combination of one's own instincts with one's own reasoning in determining the value of something is to engage in morally hazardous behavior. As Adam Smith explained. nor knows how much he is promoting it. I believe that a democratic worker-operated pricing board which assigns some value to gold. and demean the valuation of gold. does it matter whether I am aware that gold miners are exploited? Does it matter whether I know what the surplus army of labor is? Does it matter whether I know what value a worker-operated pricing board would assign to gold? I contend that these things do not matter (maybe I'm a consequentialist.” A household. et cetera. or at least without compensation being negotiated in advance ). and any attempt by pricing boards to do what they do will be rendered ineffectual.It is no measure of irrationality to refuse to subject oneself and one's household to the experiments of government-employed and government-funded voodoo economists. the intricacies of modern government finance. has to come about through a change in culture and through a change in our systems of valuation. This can lead to blind trust. working at any workplace deemed by government agencies as safe. prices should be. itself a “repeatable experiment” designed to confiscate our wealth. as much as possible. and I also do not support the notions that the state ought to prohibit the trade of gold. I don't know). black-market (agorist) prices will always evade and out-compete pricing systems put in place by public governance agencies. just may be the only civilized “society” a man knows. while I support the idea of competing and diverse currencies. an individual “neither intends to promote the public interest. Just like personal responsibility and voluntary governance. I do not support the notion that the state ought to impose a gold standard. until we have voluntary government (that is. Of course. I will continue to devalue. I do not support the idea that anything and everything should be traded as if it were currency. but also government employees perform their duties free of charge. nor in an . Until we have voluntary government. Before continuing. Don't get me wrong. these ratios would not be found in an economy in which one private agency does not have the unquestioned authority to determine interest and lending rates for the entire country. it is necessary to mention that. I instead pray that the owners of gold will sell it for low. the risks of which include consuming any product deemed by government boards as healthful. the costs of government will be so great that unjustifiable costs of transacting with government will be imposed upon participants. Furthermore. and the freedom to decide our own economic values becomes conducive to both equality and liberty simultaneously. however large or small. governance in which not only do individuals participate voluntarily. But being that freedom will always exist to some degree. Additionally. wherein we take for granted that government can determine our economic values for us. through frequent engineered “financial crises”).

monopolistic. reasoning that a market for medical care kept free of unreasonable inhibitions would most likely treat all comers. irresponsible and irresponsive control. Konkin III and J. you will find that there is a lot of truth to this notion. and to compare and contrast the aspects of Max Weber's definition of the state with the proposals put forth by the proponents of a philosophy called panarchism. unquestioned and unquestionable. Kopsick . This is to say that each statism and private property is exclusive. and to search the works for the word “syndicate”. Now that we are beginning to see that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act imposes penalties – and strict reporting and filing requirements – upon hospitals which treat uninsured patients.economy in which the ten optimality conditions for egalitarian markets are followed (i. I urge you to read the works of Lysander Spooner (whom Ron Paul once said he doesn't criticize). Whose plan would you prefer. Neil Schulman. I am wondering what are your thoughts on Obama's health care plan as opposed to the plans of Ronald Reagan and Ron Paul.. I'd prefer to have it with him. I believe that if you check Max Weber's definition of the state against the definition of property found in Lysander Spooner's No Treason. you have perhaps entertained the notion that public property and private property are one and the same. while Paul would take a laissez-faire stance. This is keeping in mind that Reagan would order hospitals to treat the uninsured.e. I also urge you to download the major works of Samuel E. If I had to have dinner with one of the Republican [presidential] candidates. no unjustifiable transaction costs. Sincerely. and no structural risks encouraging easy yet pernicious lending). I suggest that you go ahead and schedule that dinner. and dominion over some given object. Conclusion As a scholar of the “state-corporate complex”. you said. Joseph W.” If I have said anything in this letter that interests you. Doing so in Schulman's Alongside Night will help you understand what might happen to the Department of Health and Human Services under libertarian governance. The “local” or “territorial” aspect of the statist “monopoly on legitimate violence” and the “landed” aspect of “landed private property” only reinforce this similarity. no deceptive calculation of profit. and whose plan would you describe as the closest to “socialized medicine” (however you define that phrase)? At Kutztown University. “Ron Paul's a nice guy. domination.

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