Left-libertarianism – Bleeding Heart Libertarians http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com Free Markets and Social Justice Wed, 15 Nov 2017 17:16:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.3 http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/cropped-site-icon-BHL-32x32.png Left-libertarianism – Bleeding Heart Libertarians http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com 32 32 22756168 The Rhetoric of Libertarians and the Unfortunate Appeal to the Alt-Right http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2017/08/rhetoric-libertarians-unfortunate-appeal-alt-right/ http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2017/08/rhetoric-libertarians-unfortunate-appeal-alt-right/#comments Fri, 04 Aug 2017 15:48:39 +0000 http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/?p=11976 One of my most clicked-on posts here at BHL was this one on Ron Paul’s newsletters and why they still mattered 20 years after they were published. In that piece,...

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One of my most clicked-on posts here at BHL was this one on Ron Paul’s newsletters and why they still mattered 20 years after they were published. In that piece, I asked the following questions about the way in which racist organizations like Stormfront found Paul worthy of their support:

Even if Ron had never intentionally courted them, isn’t it a huge problem that they think he is a good candidate?  Doesn’t that say something really bad about the way Ron Paul is communicating his message?  Doesn’t it suggest that years of the paleo strategy of courting folks like that actually resonated with the worst of the right?

That was 2011, before the term “alt-right” was in currency and certainly well before the Trump candidacy dramatically reduced the stigma associated with public expressions of nativism, racism, and anti-Semitism.

The paleo-libertarian seed that Ron Paul, Murray Rothbard, and Lew Rockwell planted in the 1990s has come to bear some really ugly fruit in the last couple of years as elements of the alt-right have made appearances in various libertarian organizations and venues. Back in February, alt-right hero Richard Spencer stirred up a fuss at the International Students for Liberty Conference in DC after being invited to hang out by a group of students calling themselves the “Hoppe Caucus.” Hans-Hermann Hoppe, long associated with the Ludwig von Mises Institute as well as a panoply of racists and anti-Semites, is perhaps the most popular gateway drug for the alt-right incursion into libertarianism.

And within the last couple of weeks, Jeff Deist, president of the Mises Institute delivered a talk to students at Mises University entitled “For a New Libertarian.” In that talk, he knocks down an extended strawman of what he thinks constitutes the libertarianism he wants them to reject – what many might call “left-libertarianism,” including, I suspect, many of us here at BHL. For example:

Because while libertarians enthusiastically embrace markets, they have for decades made the disastrous mistake of appearing hostile to family, to religion, to tradition, to culture, and to civic or social institution — in other words, hostile to civil society itself.

Most controversially, Deist, after continuing to argue that family, faith, and the like are the cultural glue that humans need and that libertarians should focus on, decided to end with:

In other words, blood and soil and God and nation still matter to people. Libertarians ignore this at the risk of irrelevance.

For those who know something about the history of the 20th century, the invocation of “blood and soil” as something that libertarians should recognize as a valid concern and should appeal to should be chilling. That phrase, which has a history going back at least to the 19th century, was central to the Nazi movement and was at the core of their justification for eliminating those people who did not have connections to the German homeland. It remains a watchword of the nastiest elements on the right, as a quick visit to bloodandsoil.org will demonstrate, if your stomach can handle it. That phrase, whatever Deist’s intent, would be very attractive to many among the alt-right, including neo-Nazis and other racists and anti-Semites. One click on the Blood and Soil website above will make that appeal abundantly clear.

Perhaps Deist didn’t know all of that. If so, one would expect a decent person to immediately apologize for using that phrase that way in that context. To my knowledge, no such apology has appeared. On the assumption that he is not, in fact, a Nazi, the explanation left standing is that he and his defenders have no problem using rhetoric that will attract those sympathetic to Nazi-like views about nativism and Jews. It’s that lack of concern about engaging in that sort of rhetoric, if not a positive willingness to do so, that is so troubling here, and it is eating away at the liberal roots of libertarianism.

If I may add a personal note for a moment: I have been in the middle of several Facebook debates over that phrase and Deist’s talk, and I’ve taken quite a bit of abuse from fans of the Mises Institute. Let me take this opportunity to clarify what I did and did not say. Contrary to the assertion many are making, I did not call Deist or people associated with the Institute “Nazis.” None of my Facebook posts did that, nor can I find a comment where I said as much. If I did, I will happily apologize as I do not think Deist is a Nazi.

What I did say is the same point I made about the Ron Paul newsletters: the problem with Deist’s talk, and the Mises Institute more generally, is not that they are Nazis, but that they appear to have no problem with making arguments that are appealing to neo-Nazis and the rest of the unsavory elements of the right. That’s the problem here. Why would supposed libertarians want to engage in a strategy and make use of rhetoric that is clearly a signal to those folks? That’s the same question I asked 6 years ago and matters have only become worse since then.

It’s also amusing that I have become the poster boy for the libertine, universalist libertarianism that they attack, for at least two reasons. First, name a libertarian who has written more about the family and its importance for a free society than I have. My book is explicitly a “non-conservative defense of the family.” For the kind of libertarian who is supposedly hostile to family, I sure spend a lot of time writing professionally about how great it is.

And second, again with apologies for the personal stuff, for the kind of libertarian who supposedly doesn’t care about religion or civil society, I sure do spend a lot of time doing volunteer work for synagogues and schools. I was on the board of my local synagogue in New York for a decade, most of which was as Treasurer. My ex-wife and I were heads of the parents group for the music department at the local school for several years. Sarah and I are deeply involved with our synagogue here in Indianapolis. I’m not about to put my tax returns up on the web, but I’m confident that I give at least as much of my time and money to family, religion, culture, and civil society as do any of the folks who nodded along with Deist’s argument.

As I pointed out with the Paul newsletters, all of this appeal to nativism, racism, and anti-Semitism and the like is in deep conflict with libertarianism’s liberalism. It’s particularly in conflict with the liberal cosmopolitanism of someone like Mises. And the use of Nazi language is especially galling as it was the very “blood and soil” crowd who drove the Jewish Mises out of Vienna.

Instead of this sort of nonsense, we need to recapture libertarianism’s progressive roots in the liberal movement of the 19th century. I put it this way in 2011:

What we need right now is Rothbard’s vision of a free society as sketched in For a New Liberty, but we need it defended better.  More carefully.  More richly.  More empirically.  More humanely. More progressively.  More tolerantly. With better scholarship.  And we have to do it in a way that’s immune to the charge that libertarians don’t care about making the world a better place, especially for the least well off and those historically victimized by the color of their skin, their gender, their sexual orientation, or anything else that’s irrelevant to their moral status as human actors.

The writings of the paleolibertarians will continue to stain that project unless and until the rest of the libertarian movement stops trying to apologize for them…

Our history is one of liberal tolerance, universalism, and cosmopolitanism, putting the freedom and harmony of all people ahead of the supposed interests of any parochial sub-group, and especially ones defined by the artificial boundaries of nation-states and their subsets. Libertarians ignore this at the risk of irrelevance.

Finally, one of the most disturbing side aspects of the controversy over Deist’s speech that it revealed how little so many young libertarians know about the Nazis and the Holocaust. I suppose I can understand ignorance of the “blood and soil” reference, but what troubled me more was when I made a joke involving the phrase “work shall set you free” and several commenters had no idea where that phrase came from or why any positive spin on it (as Deist did with “blood and soil”) should be so troubling. Holocaust ignorance is a real problem. And to the degree that young people are attracted to the alt-right out of ignorance rather than pure hatred, combating that ignorance can also serve the purpose of resisting the alt-right incursion into libertarianism.

Because I believe in education, religion, and the importance of the institutions of civil society, and because I believe in putting my money where my mouth is, Sarah and I recently made a donation to the Birmingham (AL) Holocaust Education Center. We made our donation as a tribute to Ludwig von Mises. I invite my fellow bloggers and all of our commenters who share my concerns to consider doing the same. You don’t have to list Professor Mises’s address as the address of the Mises Institute as we did, but you might also consider doing that as an additional touch.

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Libertarianism and the Varieties of Virtue http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2016/06/libertarianism-and-the-varieties-of-virtue/ http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2016/06/libertarianism-and-the-varieties-of-virtue/#comments Fri, 10 Jun 2016 13:09:35 +0000 http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/?p=10805 In Reason, William Ruger and Jason Sorens seek to offer an alternative to the sort of thick libertarianism to which many of those associated with the Center for a Stateless...

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In Reason, William Ruger and Jason Sorens seek to offer an alternative to the sort of thick libertarianism to which many of those associated with the Center for a Stateless Society are committed. They seek to defend what they call “virtue libertarianism.” Sometimes, they seem to be concerned with virtues in the narrow sense of desirable habits of character; at other points, they seem to have in mind moral excellence, and a kind of moral concern that includes personal flourishing as well as interpersonal obligation, more generally.

Ruger and Sorens offer virtue libertarianism as an alternative both to an ultra-thin (brutalist?) libertarianism that treats all non-aggressive conduct as morally indifferent or “a thick variant that takes its cues from more socially (and politically correct) left-wing moral dogma.” In effect, as Sheldon Richman observes, they defend a thick libertarianism on the right.

Ruger, Sorens, and other proponents of “virtue libertarianism” aren’t attacking a straw target. There really are people who think, or talk as if they think, that, as long as the non-aggression principle isn’t violated by someone’s conduct, there’s no basis for any sort of moral objection that conduct. That view is silly on its face. Any plausible account of rights and duties with respect to aggression will be rooted in a rich moral soil. And from that soil will grow a variety of moral responsibilities, both with respect to one’s own flourishing and with respect to that of others. So far so good.

And, more than that, I think we have every reason to agree with Sorens and Ruger that beneficence and generosity matter. These character traits are certainly ones I believe that we ought to embrace and encourage and ones that we ought to exercise in and through the voluntary associations and institutions in which we participate. The same is true of a concern with effective emotional self-management.

Ruger and Sorens are right, too, that freedom is a prerequisite to virtue: only genuinely autonomous moral agents can truly be morally responsible in the way that virtue requires, and I believe they’re correct that monomaniacal focus on particular goods can compromise our autonomy and lead us to treat ourselves and others badly. Finally, they seem to me to be right that cultural institutions might reasonably promote habits that will help people to realize well being using various forms of non-violent social influence.

But Ruger and Sorens don’t simply want to reject an anemic account of morality. They want to do more—to reject, in the name of virtue, a variety of specific moral convictions. They are evidently skeptical, for instance, about moral criticisms of workplace hierarchy, and they appear to want to distance themselves from moral defenses of libertarian porn star and Duke University student “Belle Knox” and from those who object on moral grounds to slut-shaming.

Of course Ruger, Sorens, and others can legitimately challenge the substantive arguments people might make with regard to these and other matters. The devil, here as elsewhere, is in the details. But they will need to do more than simply rejecting opposing views—as I do on these two issues—as embracing “libertinism.” My view, at any rate, isn’t that anything goes. It is that workplace hierarchies are objectionable because they treat workers unfairly, disregard their dignity, and, as it happens, foster inefficiency. It is that Knox is developing and experiencing and sharing particular sorts of flourishing and offering audiences particular sorts of imaginative pleasure (not something necessarily different in kind from what other performers do) without, in principle, injuring anyone. It is that slut-shaming attempts to apply social pressure unreasonably—to discourage behavior in which people might engage for a variety of good reasons and which might either be a means to or a constitutive element of their flourishing.

I certainly believe (and have argued at length) that “[l]ife-long committed marriage” is an ideal serious romantic partners have reason to realize whether or not they are parents. But it doesn’t follow that everyone has reason to want to be seriously romantic involved with someone else, much less that someone who does prevents her- or himself from achieving this goal by engaging in the sexual practices to which Ruger and Sorens object.

No doubt we should object when people “idle away their time and talents in frivolous pursuits” if in so doing they are purposefully or instrumentally attacking their own well being or that of others, neglecting their responsibilities to others, or disregarding their commitments to themselves. But where this is not the case, where people are simply acting out priorities that we happen not to share, we have, I think, no basis for judgment. This is not because all options are equally good, but because the range of good options seems to me more likely to include the possibility of a concern with the frivolous than it does to Ruger and Sorens.

I should note that I am doubtful that, as a general matter, “our economic and intellectual elites still largely practice the sober virtues of a high-capitalist civilization but have lost the confidence or courage to expect those virtues of the whole society.” I am confident that not only political elites (who respond, of course, to different incentives) but also cultural elites (who do require the support of the marketplace) do not. Narratives of hard living in and around corporate C-suites and the highly publicized antics of the wealthy prompt me to question the commitment of “economic elites” to Ruger and Sorens’s “sober virtues.” And anyone who knows much about the biographies of writers and academics, including highly influential ones, will raise similar questions about “intellectual elites.”

Obviously, I may be mistaken about any of these factual or normative points. But, if so, it’s not because I think virtue is unimportant or shouldn’t be a significant concern, but because my conception of virtue isn’t identical with that of Ruger and Sorens. The kind of thick libertarianism to which I am sympathetic is certainly concerned with moral excellence well beyond non-aggression. I have attempted to root my approach to libertarianism in a complex and, as Jason Brennan repeatedly reminds me, controversial moral theory—the New Classical Natural Law Theory, a variant of Thomist ethics, and thus in the Aristotelian tradition, with Kantian undertones. Roderick Long has offered a different sort of Aristotelian approach, one to which the category of virtue is central. Perhaps we are captives of left-wing dogma, or perhaps we really can defend the particular, substantive moral visions we embrace successfully against the sorts of challenges Sorens and Ruger seek to articulate. I certainly believe that ours is a full-orbed moral vision, not some sort of implausible moral minimalism.

I have sometimes argued for shunning and public shaming as means of maintaining social order non-violently. But I am concerned on several fronts by the invocation of these sorts of non-violent social pressure by Ruger and Sorens. (i) I favor defensive shunning—boycotting dishonest vendors to avoid being cheated, for instance. Boycotting as a short-term strategy to encourage an end to the mistreatment of others can make sense, too. But what I wouldn’t favor under any circumstances is boycotting as an expression of moralism, of the idea that somehow associating with bad people is itself bad, a source of impurity. (ii) I am skeptical about the kind of paternalistic shunning Sorens and Ruger seem to favor both because it seems likely in many cases to involve an unreasonable pretense of knowledge on the part of the shunner—who may simply not be sufficiently aware of the circumstances of the person to whose behavior she or he objects—and because, more broadly, it may sometimes stifle expressions of human diversity that seems likely to foster social flourishing. Ruger and Sorens reject a “sour and imperious judgmentalism,” but it will be hard for those who embrace their program to avoid engaging precisely in that. Indeed, I think a case can be made for the view that it is precisely an expression of virtue—of respect for others and of celebration of the richness of the human community—to avoid a number of the sorts of judgments Ruger and Sorens might be inclined to commend. (iii) Even where we can be confident that people are making bad choices, I am deeply skeptical of the idea that shunning or otherwise rejecting them on an individual basis is likely to be redemptive—it seems likely instead to be deeply wounding and alienating—or that it will prove, in many cases, consistent with virtue, with the demands of loyalty and compassion.

Thaddeus Russell’s superb Renegade History of the United States tells a story of cultural and institutional change to which ongoing tension between the censorious and the free-spirited—including the frivolous, the drunkards, the sexually experimental—is essential. Russell does not suggest that everyone should be a renegade. But he does maintain—plausibly, on my view—that human freedom and well being are persistently expanded when those who reject established norms and sober virtues (and not only the cultural avant garde) press their claims against what they experience as the stultifying demands of the majority. Russell points, effectively, to an ecology of positive social change in which the task of pushing the envelope plays an inescapably important role. There’s certainly a role in Russell’s ecology for the kind of virtue-promotion Ruger and Sorens envision. But unqualified general embrace of the kind of stance they favor might, it seems to me, undermine the ability of that ecology effectively to yield ongoing social innovation.

We ought to be concerned with other people’s well being, richly conceived, and our own, rather than simply avoiding aggression or even with adhering to interpersonal duty. But it doesn’t follow that we should exhibit and promote just the virtues Sorens and Ruger favor, or that we should do so in the way they believe we should.

[Cross-posted at C4SS]

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“Virtue Libertarianism?” http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2016/06/virtue-libertarianism/ http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2016/06/virtue-libertarianism/#comments Thu, 09 Jun 2016 22:01:07 +0000 http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/?p=10801 Over at Reason, I am part of a symposium on what Will Ruger and Jason Sorens are calling “virtue libertarianism,” which they contrast with what they call “libertine libertarianism.” Their...

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Over at Reason, I am part of a symposium on what Will Ruger and Jason Sorens are calling “virtue libertarianism,” which they contrast with what they call “libertine libertarianism.” Their opening essay has responses from me, Deirdre McCloskey, and Katherine Mangu-Ward. This is probably of interest to BHL readers, but whatever you do, you must follow one of the most important rules of the Internet: do NOT read the comments at Reason

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Of Kangaroo Courts and Unicorns: Venues in College Rape Cases http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2016/06/of-kangaroo-courts-and-unicorns-venues-in-college-rape-cases/ http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2016/06/of-kangaroo-courts-and-unicorns-venues-in-college-rape-cases/#comments Wed, 08 Jun 2016 19:07:48 +0000 http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/?p=10795 (Co-authored with Sarah Skwire) Judge Aaron Persky recently gave convicted rapist Brock Turner a six month sentence, to be served at a county jail. Despite the fact that Turner was...

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(Co-authored with Sarah Skwire)

Judge Aaron Persky recently gave convicted rapist Brock Turner a six month sentence, to be served at a county jail. Despite the fact that Turner was caught in the act by two witnesses, and despite the clear medical evidence testifying to the violence of his crimes, and despite the jury’s unanimous conviction, Judge Persky — and the probation officials who advised the court — felt it was important not to deliver a punishment that would cause a “severe impact” on Turner’s life.

Turner was, after all, a highly successful college athlete.

One could grow old listing all the problems with the Turner case. Various commenters have pointed to the many inequities it exposes in the criminal justice system—contrasting the lengths of sentences black and poor defendants have received in similar rape cases and for drug possession. Why Turner is not labeled a “super-predator” like so many black men who have been convicted of equally violent crimes remains an interesting question. Others have pointed to the case as an impressively awful example of different kinds of privilege, of race, class, and athletic prowess, in action. Others have raised eyebrows at the discovery that, like Brock Turner, Judge Persky was also a Stanford athlete. And many have noted that the comments of Judge Persky as well as Turner’s father and friends serve as a seminar in what is meant by the phrase rape culture.

But these problems, no matter how important, are not the problem this post is concerned with.

Instead, we are concerned with the way the Turner case starkly exposes the fact that there is essentially nowhere to turn for justice in a campus rape case.

Historically, campus rapes were dealt with so badly by the court system that colleges demanded more control over policing their own student body. With women rightly arguing that victims could not get fair treatment in a judicial system that engaged in victim blaming and was controlled by an old-boys network mentality, it is not surprising that they turned to campus authorities with a more sympathetic ear.  And, for a while, colleges may well have been marginally better in dealing with sexual assault than the legal system was. But like so much else, those who have power quickly look to broaden and deepen it as their roles become institutionalized.

In the last few years, especially as Title IX and the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights have forced colleges to be more aggressive in handling sexual assaults and required a lower standard of evidence, that policing has become so inequitable and so scornful of the idea of the rule of law that there is widespread objection to it. In particular, in their perhaps laudable desire to see justice done, college campus have dispensed with the presumption of innocence, the right to counsel, and other aspects of due process. Several recent university decisions about on-campus rape cases have been appealed and overturned because the rights of the accused were so blatantly violated.

This point is worth considering when critics of campus kangaroo courts argue that the legal system should be handling these cases rather than campus adminstrators. Let’s remember Munger’s unicorn here, and the danger of contrasting an imperfect reality with an imagined ideal.

How much better than the typical campus judicial system is a court system overseen by Judge Perskys and staffed by people like the probation officers in the Turner case?  How much better is such a court system in which the arrogance and privilege of Turner’s father and friends plays such a role in determining sentencing?

These are the courts that essentially tell rape victims that—no matter the strength of the evidence against the attackers—the most important thing is not to ruin someone’s life because they committed a violent crime. Forget what has been done to the life of the victim.

This, of course, hardly exonerates the misbehavior of campus judicial processes. College adminstrators too are subject to the unicorn test.

What we have in other words, is a system with one venue that unfairly favors the victim and another venue that unfairly favors the accused. For those of us who are deeply committed to the rights of both victims and the accused, it seems like there’s no room for justice in either place.

Until we are willing to take seriously the cultural implications of the Turner case, and advocate simultaneously for the rights of the victim and the rights of the accused, the availability of multiple venues for campus rape cases might well turn out to be a race to the bottom.

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Molinari Review 1.1: What Lies Within? http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2016/05/molinari-review-1-1-what-lies-within/ http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2016/05/molinari-review-1-1-what-lies-within/#comments Sat, 21 May 2016 19:27:37 +0000 http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/?p=10740 The Molinari Institute (the parent organization of the Center for a Stateless Society) is proud to announce the publication of the first issue of our new interdisciplinary, open-access, libertarian academic...

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The Molinari Institute (the parent organization of the Center for a Stateless Society) is proud to announce the publication of the first issue of our new interdisciplinary, open-access, libertarian academic journal, the Molinari Review, edited by yours truly, and dedicated to publishing scholarship, sympathetic or critical, in and on the libertarian tradition, very broadly understood. (See our original call for papers.)

You can order a copy here:

Print Kindle
Amazon US Amazon US
Amazon UK Amazon UK
CreateSpace Store

It should also be available, now or shortly, on other regional versions of Amazon. And later on it’ll be available from our website as a free PDF download (because copyright restrictions are evil).

mr1-1-coverphaze

So what’s in it?

In “The Right to Privacy Is Tocquevillean, Not Lockean: Why It MattersJulio Rodman argues that traditional libertarian concerns with non-aggression, property rights, and negative liberty fail to capture the nature of our concern with privacy. Drawing on insights from Tocqueville and Foucault, Rodman suggests that privacy is primarily a matter, not of freedom from interference, but of freedom from observation, particularly accusatory observation.

In “Libertarianism and Privilege,” Billy Christmas charges that right-wing libertarians underestimate the extent and significance of harmful relations of privilege in society (including, but not limited to, class and gender privilege) because they misapply their own principles in focusing on proximate coercion to the exclusion of more indirect forms of coercion; but, he argues, broadening the lens of libertarian inquiry reveals that libertarian principles are more powerful tools for the analysis of privilege than privilege theorists generally suppose.

In “Capitalism, Free Enterprise, and Progress: Partners or Adversaries?,” Darian Nayfeld Worden interrogates traditional narratives of the Industrial Revolution. Distinguishing between capitalism (understood as a separation between labour and ownership/management) and free enterprise, Nayfeld Worden maintains that the rise of capitalism historically was in large part the result of a suppression of free enterprise, and that thanks to state intervention, the working-class benefited far less from industrialisation and technological innovation than they might otherwise have done.

In “Turning the Tables: The Pathologies and Unrealized Promise of Libertarianism,” Gus diZerega contends that libertarians misunderstand and misapply their own key concepts, leading them to embrace an atomistic vision of society, and to overvalue the market while undervaluing empathy and democracy. (Look for a reply or two in our next issue.)

Finally, Nathan Goodman reviews Queering Anarchism: Addressing and Undressing Power and Desire, an anthology edited by C. B. Daring, J. Rogue, Deric Shannon, and Abbey Volcano. Goodman praises the book for its illumination of many aspects of the intersection between anarchist tradition and the LGBTQ community, with particular emphasis on the tension between LGBTQ activists who seek to dismantle oppressive institutions and those who merely seek inclusion within them; but in the area of economics, he finds its authors to be too quick to dismiss the free market or to equate it with the prevailing regime of corporatist privilege.

Want to order a copy? See the ordering information above.

Want to contribute an article to an upcoming issue? Head to the journal’s webpage.

Want to support this project financially? Make a donation to the Molinari Institute General Fund.

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Remembering the Paris Commune http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2016/05/remembering-the-paris-commune/ http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2016/05/remembering-the-paris-commune/#comments Fri, 20 May 2016 03:43:25 +0000 http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/?p=10733 This month marks the 145th anniversary of the violent suppression of the Paris Commune by the French national government. The Paris Commune remains a potent symbol for many people –...

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This month marks the 145th anniversary of the violent suppression of the Paris Commune by the French national government.

The Paris Commune remains a potent symbol for many people – though what exactly it symbolizes is a matter of dispute. To conservatives, the Commune stands for a reign of terror and mob rule. For many radicals, including anarchists and Marxists (even though at the time, Marx himself opposed the Commune as a “desperate folly” and urged would-be insurrectionists to work within the system), it signifies a community that importantly prefigures their own preferred social and political systems.

The Commune wasn’t quite any of these things. While it bears responsibility for some foolish decisions (such as trying to relieve bakers of their long hours by forbidding them to work at night, which is a bit like trying to cure a disease by punishing anyone who shows symptoms of it) and some wicked decisions (most notably, executing the noncombatant hostages), on the whole the Commune behaved in a rather moderate and restrained fashion, and was far from being the sanguinary monster of conservative nightmares. (To the Communards’ credit, they were reluctant to kill the hostages, and so waited until the last possible moment to do so. To their discredit, that means that by the time they did kill them, it was an act of pure spite that no longer had even the thin justification of a strategic purpose.) The invasion and massacre instituted by the national government at Versailles in May 1871 to put down the Communards’ insurrection has far more claim to be described as a reign of terror than anything the Commune itself did.

While it certainly has inspired anarchists and attracted their sympathy (Louise Michel being the most prominent anarchist figure to emerge from the movement), the Commune was not in any real sense an anarchist project. Yes, it was a working-class insurrection, but one aimed at establishing, and one that did in fact establish, a government. And unsurprisingly, that government did (as we’ve seen) some of the stupid and unjust things that governments tend to do (though the regime that ended up suppressing it was guilty of far worse).

Nor can the Marxists plausibly claim the Commune as a precursor. While generally statist-left-leaning in their policies, most leaders of the Commune had no interest in abolishing private property; as Marx himself noted, “the majority of the Commune was in no sense socialist.” The term “Commune” refers not to communism but to the independent mercantile cities, called “communes,” that flourished in Europe at the end of the medieval period. In that respect, the Paris Commune was fundamentally a secessionist movement; the Communards sought to make Paris into a self-governing political entity separate from the rest of France.

What anarchists tend to like about secessionist movements is their thrust toward political decentralization; what anarchists tend to dislike about them is their frequent concomitants of nationalism, parochialism, and isolationism. By those criteria, the Paris Commune scores fairly well, in that it did not seek to sever economic or cultural ties with the rest of the world; on the contrary, foreigners were eligible to be elected, and were in fact elected, to the governing council, on the theory that “the flag of the Commune is the flag of the World Republic.”

For all its flaws, the Paris Commune deserves anarchist respect as an example of cosmopolitan secessionism and working-class revolution. In honor of the Commune, I’ve translated “Paris, Free City,” a piece by Jules Vallès (1832-1885), one of the intellectual leaders of the Commune, from the early days of the rebellion’s initial success. It appeared in his periodical Le Cri du Peuple (“The Cry of the People”) on 22 March 1871. As will be apparent, Vallès is no anarchist; what anarchist could speak so cheerfully of “mayors [being] named and magistrates elected”? But in his secessionism, his enthusiasm for commerce, his distinction between an exploitative and a non-exploitative bourgeoisie, and his selecting the Hanseatic League as a model to emulate, he seems closer to anarchism – particularly market anarchism – than to Marxism.


Paris, Free City

To the bourgeoisie of Paris

There exists the working bourgeoisie and the parasitic bourgeoisie.

The one that the Cri du Peuple attacks, that its editors have consistently attacked and are still attacking, is the do-nothing one, the one that buys and sells positions and makes politics into a business.

A herd of windbags, a crowd of ambitious men, a breeding-ground for sub-prefects and state councilors.

The one, also, that that does not produce, that plunders; [The translation in Voices of the Paris Commune has: “They produce nothing but froth.” This is a misunderstanding of écumer, which in this context refers to piracy.] that raids, by means of shadowy banking schemes or shameless stock-market speculations, the profits made by those who bear the burdens — speculators without shame, who rob the poor and lend to kings, who played dice on the drum of Transnonain or 2 December, [The author refers to the massacre of insurgents by the National Guard in the Rue Transnonain on 14 April 1834, and Louis Napoléon’s bloody coup d’état on 2 December 1851.] and are already imagining how to play their hand upon the cadaver of the bloodied fatherland.

But there is a working bourgeoisie, this one honest and valiant; it goes down to the workshop wearing a cap, traipses in wooden shoes through the mud of factories, remains through cold and heat at its counter or its offices; in its small shop or its large factory, behind the windows of a shop or the walls of a manufactory: it inhales dust and smoke, skins and burns itself at the workbench or the forge, puts its hands to the work, has its eye on the task; it is, through its courage and even its anxieties, the sister of the proletariat.

For it has its anxieties, its risks of bankruptcy, its days when bills come due. There is not a fortune today that is secure, thanks precisely to the clumsiness and provocations of these parasites who need trouble and agitation to live. Nothing is stable: today’s boss becomes tomorrow’s heavy labourer, and graduates see their coats worn to rags.

How many I know, among the established or well dressed, who are beset by worries as the poor are, who sometimes wonder what will become of their children, and who would trade all their chances of happiness and gain for the certainty of a modest labour and an old age without tears!

It is this whole world of workers, fearing ruin or unemployment, that constitutes Paris – the great Paris. – Why should we not extend to one another our hands, above these miseries of man and citizen, and why, in this solemn moment, should we not try, once and for all, to wrest the country, where each is brother to the other through effort and danger, from this eternal uncertainty that allows adventurers always to succeed, and requires honest people always to tremble and suffer!

Fraternity was queen the other day before the cannons and under the bright sun. It must remain queen, and Paris must take a solemn decision – a decision that will be a good one, and will have its day in history, only if it avoids both civil war and the resumption of war against the victorious Bismarck. [Voices of the Paris Commune gets this precisely wrong: “if it manages to avoid civil war and returns to the war against the victorious Bismarck.” This is not a possible translation of si elle évite la guerre civile et le retour de la guerre avec Bismark vainqueur; besides, if Vallès were calling here for renewed conflict with Prussia, why would he be proposing to “submit to everything” in the next paragraph, and why would he be advocating a negotiated peace with the Prussians a few paragraphs later?]

We are prepared, for our part, to impose nothing, to submit to everything, within the dolorous circle of fatality – on the sole condition that the freedom of Paris remains safe, and that the flag of the Republic shelter, in an independent city, a courageous populace of workers.

Denizens of the working-class districts and bourgeois alike: a few hundred years ago, in the very Germany from which came the cannons that have thundered at us, four towns declared themselves free cities; [The four founding members of the Hanseatic League: Lübeck, Brunswick, Köln, and Danzig.] they were, for centuries, great and proud, rich and calm: in every corner of the world one could hear their activity, and they cast merchandise and gold on every shore! …..

Well then! to undo, other than by the sabre, the Gordian knot in which our recent misfortunes have been tangled, there is but one message to give:

PARIS, FREE CITY.

Let us negotiate immediately, through the intermediary of the elected representatives of the people, with the government of Versailles for the status quo without struggle, and with the Prussians for the settlement of indemnities.

No blood is shed, the cannons remain cold, the barracks close, and the workshops reopen, work resumes.

Work resumes! this is the inflexible necessity, the supreme desire. Let us come to an agreement in order that everyone, tomorrow, may recover his livelihood. Citizens of every class and every rank, this is salvation!

Paris, free city, returns to work.

This secession saves the provinces from their fear and the working-class districts from famine.

Bordeaux has said: Down with Paris!

We, for our part, cry at one and the same time: Long live France and long live Paris! and we commit ourselves never more to extend toward this France who calumniates us an arm that she believed to be menacing.

Between Montrouge and Montmartre [Southern and northern districts of Paris, respectively.] will always beat, come what may, the heart of the old fatherland, which we will always love, and which will return to us in spite of everything.

Moreover, some towns – precisely those that the moderates fear – will likewise be able to negotiate in order to live free, and to constitute the great federation of republican cities.

To those who fear that they should suffer from isolation, we respond that there are no frontiers high enough to prevent labour from crossing them, industry from razing them, commerce from boring through them.

Labour! – towns with high chimneys that spew the smoke of factories, with large workshops and long counters, fertile cities do not die! Even rustics would not kill their hens that lay golden eggs.

Paris, having a flag of her own, can no longer be defamed or menaced, and she remains the skillful seeker, the happy finder, who invents beautiful designs and great instruments, who will be forever implored to put her stamp on that this metal or that fabric, on this toy or that weapon, on this goblet or that basin, on the paste for a porcelain vessel or the silk for a gown!

She will remain the master and the king.

PARIS, FREE CITY.

No more bloodshed! rifles at rest: mayors are named and magistrates elected. And then to work! to work! The bell sounds for labour and not for combat.

JULES VALLÈS.

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Questions and Answers on Workplace Democracy http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2016/05/questions-and-answers-on-workplace-democracy/ http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2016/05/questions-and-answers-on-workplace-democracy/#comments Wed, 04 May 2016 02:31:38 +0000 http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/?p=10686 My BHL colleague Chris Freiman has three questions for left-libertarians concerning how we reconcile our “commitment to workplace democracy” with the “other commitments that libertarians are inclined to have.” Here...

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My BHL colleague Chris Freiman has three questions for left-libertarians concerning how we reconcile our “commitment to workplace democracy” with the “other commitments that libertarians are inclined to have.” Here I suggest some answers.

Does workplace democracy really eliminate bosses?

Most libertarians, Chris notes, “would deny that granting all citizens a vote in a political democracy means that you are your own boss in a meaningful sense.” So in a workplace democracy, just as in a political democracy, isn’t it likewise true that “your single vote is unlikely to be decisive, meaning that you are exercising little to no real control,” and instead have simply “traded one boss for a thousand bosses”?

First: left-libertarians think that economic freedom will result in a much more competitive labour market. One dimension of this will be greater competition among different workplace structures, so that traditional hierarchical wage-labour employers will face more competition from workers’ co-ops on the one hand and individual proprietorships on the other. But another dimension will be greater competition among workplace structures of the same type; thus workers’ co-ops, for example, will face competition from many other workers’ co-ops. Just as traditional employers have to treat workers better when there are many other traditional employers competing for those workers, so co-ops have to do likewise when they face heavy competition from other co-ops. Thus in the kind of competitive market that we’d expect to result from the abolition of the current system of state privilege, it will be very hard for co-ops to maintain the kind of micromanaging, chickenshit control over their members that Chris is worried about.

Indeed, the ideal for many left-libertarians is for the situation of workers to become more similar to that of independent contractors. As agorist pioneer Samuel E. Konkin III noted, “independent contracting lowers transactions costs … relative to boss/worker relationships running the gamut from casual labor with annoying paperwork and records to full-scale Krupp worker welfarism.” And the transformation of wage labour into something approaching independent contractor status naturally results from a more competitive labour market, as the availability of other employment opportunities raises the cost of micromanagement, for co-ops and traditional employers alike.

Second: the reference to “a thousand bosses” suggests that Chris is envisioning workplace democracy as applying typically to vast firms with thousands of workers. I agree that in such large firms, the influence of any individual’s vote is likely to be negligible; but that is precisely why those who want more control over their day-to-day work situation will tend to prefer working for smaller co-ops rather than larger ones.

Chris anticipates this answer, and replies that workers’ co-ops “can’t get too small if they want to take advantage of economies of scale.”

Now I have to say, asking a left-libertarian “what about economies of scale?” is a bit like asking Cato the Elder “how come you never say what should be done about Carthage?” After all, one of the positions for which left-libertarians are best known is our claim that in a freed market, economies of scale would tend to be overtaken by diseconomies of scale at a fairly low point, and that the enormous firms that prosper in our present economy are made possible, for the most part, only by systematic state intervention that props them up by socialising the costs generated by diseconomies of scale while allowing the firms to pocket the benefits generated by economies of scale. (For details, see Kevin Carson’s book Organization Theory: A Libertarian Perspective, available either in print or as a free download.)

Third: one of the most frustrating things about ordinary wage labor is the extent to which the commands of bosses are out of touch with the reality of what is actually happening on the shop floor; this is a Hayekian knowledge problem that predictably besets large, bureaucratic organisations. (Again, see Kevin Carson’s book on this point.) Consequently, often the only thing keeping a firm profitable is the fact that workers quietly disregard their bosses’ instructions.

I once taught at a university (I won’t say which; I’ve taught at five) where the administration, having read somewhere that no one can remember more than three points from a lecture, demanded that in future no lecture should contain more than three points. Following this rule would of course have made it impossible for the faculty to do their jobs, i.e., to cover in a semester the material their courses are supposed to cover. I suspect this requirement was also in conflict with contractually-mandated academic freedom, but in any case the problem was solved by the fact that most professors simply ignored it. (The rule was essentially unenforceable anyway, because who decides what counts as one “point”?)

In the words of an old anarcho-syndicalist pamphlet:

Every industry is covered by a mass of rules, regulations and agreed working practices, many of them archaic. If applied strictly they would make production difficult if not impossible. … If managers’ orders were completely obeyed, confusion would result and production and morale would be lowered. In order to achieve the goals of the organisation workers must often violate orders, resort to their own techniques of doing things, and disregard lines of authority. Without this kind of systematic sabotage much work could not be done.

Indeed, that is why actually following all the rules and instructions is considered a form of worker resistance – a “rule-book slowdown”!

One of the great advantages of workplace democracy is that workers actually know what workers do all day, thus greatly alleviating the familiar problems of information flow in hierarchies. And of course a rule that has to be followed by the people making it, as in a workers’ co-op, is likely to be less obnoxious, for both informational and incentival reasons, than a rule made by one group for another group, as in traditional firms.

Let me give a concrete example of these various points. Like most of my BHL colleagues, I myself work in an industry (university academia) that combines bosses (the administration) with some aspects of worker control (the faculty). Both groups regularly generate edicts that are completely insane, but in interestingly different ways. The insanity of administrative demands tends to reflect the extent to which administrators are completely out of touch with, and not especially interested in, what our work as faculty actually involves. (Hence the aforementioned three-points-per-lecture rule.) The insanity of demands from fellow faculty rarely takes that form, but is instead mostly ideologically driven. Which one is worse depends on the issue. I can certainly understand an academic worrying that workplace democracy would, in this case, involve faculty governance being extended to all the issues that administrative governance now covers; whether this would be better or worse than the status quo, it surely wouldn’t be much better. But under a freed market, what we should expect universities to look like is not very much like “just what they are now, only with more faculty governance.”

Thanks to government regulations, higher education is one of the most highly cartelised industries in existence. Accreditation laws make it extraordinarily difficult to start a university, or to run one in nonstandard ways; and this artificial shortage, together with the perverse incentives of government funding, boosts tuition prices ever higher (a situation from which administrators disproportionately benefit, at the expense of faculty and students; see here and here). In a freed market, higher education jobs (whether in a traditional university structure or something else) would be so much more plentiful as to constitute a salutary check on the irrationality of faculty governance.

What about rational ignorance?

Chris likewise wonders why libertarian critiques of political democracy that appeal to rational ignorance don’t cut against workplace democracy too. (Chris calls workplace democracy “economic democracy,” but that phrase seems to have a rather different meaning.) “If the vote I cast,” Chris notes, “is probably going to be inconsequential, then I have little incentive to make it a good one.” Given that rational ignorance on the part of voters is “a standard explanation for the poor quality of political governance,” why won’t workplace democracy face the same problem?

Well, there are several important differences between workplace democracy and political democracy. One is that, given left-libertarian predictions about average firm size in a freed market, the number of voters per firm will tend to be small, meaning that each individual vote counts more. In addition, in a small firm, workers can influence the final outcome not only through voting but also through trying to persuade fellow voters via argument.

Not only is the power of voice typically stronger in workplace democracy than in political democracy, but so is the power of exit. The only way one can exit a political democracy, ordinarily, is by moving to a different geographical region (and if your political democracy is the U.S., even that won’t do it). If moving to Denmark would be prohibitively costly to me (whether financially or otherwise), I don’t have much incentive to research the differences between Danish and American laws. But a workplace democracy can be exited just by switching jobs; given the lower cost, I have more incentive to become well-informed about the pros and cons of different firms’ policies.

Moreover, much of the information that participants in workplace democracy need is information they already have by virtue of working there, so the question of how much incentive they have to acquire the info is moot. I’m talking about, for example, Hayekian local knowledge about the production process – knowledge that often travels poorly up chains of command.

Are capitalist acts between consenting adults permitted?

By “capitalist acts,” Chris, following the Nozick quote, presumably means acts of market exchange. (Of course this is not what left-libertarians mean by “capitalist acts.”) Thus he asks: “Suppose a risk-averse worker wants to sell her shares to a second worker in exchange for a steady income. Is this transaction permitted?”

Permitted by whom? If the members of a workers’ co-op want to arrange things so that shares in the co-op are transferable, or if they want to arrange things so that shares in it are not transferable, those are both permissible private contracts – as is a traditional employment-for-hire contract, at least when it takes place against a background without state privilege. Left-libertarians are not interested in interfering in the details of private contracts (though many of us would insist that enforcement of service contracts be by damages rather than specific enforcement, for familiar libertarian reasons). We may regard some workplace structures as morally preferable to others, but we regard a peaceful combination of a) moral suasion, and b) letting economic incentives work, as the best strategy for implementing this preference.

What left-libertarians oppose is not wage labour per se, but the wage system – a system in which, thanks to the state-enabled monopolisation of the means of production (as well as the use of those means) in the hands of the ruling class, the working class has no choice but to perform wage labour for others. In a freed market, no doubt many workers would still choose wage labour – but they would not be forced to do so, given that rival options like workers’ co-ops and self-employment would no longer be kept artificially scarce (and the plentifulness of such rival options would also render such wage labour as existed much less unpleasant).

Ah, but if we allow workers to opt out of workplace democracy in the way described, Chris replies, then “we have reason to think that hierarchies will arise spontaneously from an initial condition of worker equality.” (This is what Marxists seem to think too.)

Okay, I’ll bite: what reason is that? Chris says there is one, but he doesn’t say what it is – unless it’s just the “risk-aversion” he mentioned earlier. But there are other methods of reducing risks besides wage labour – mutual-aid insurance, for example, which flourished until the state shut it down. Plus, in a more prosperous economy there would be less need for risk-aversion.

Left-libertarians argue that hierarchical workplaces are both unpleasant and inefficient; hence, while some may exist in a freed market, they are unlikely to predominate. The fact that workers will be free to work in hierarchical workplaces if they so choose is no reason to think that most of them will do so.

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Questions for Left Libertarians http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2016/04/questions-for-left-libertarians/ http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2016/04/questions-for-left-libertarians/#comments Wed, 13 Apr 2016 19:28:48 +0000 http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/?p=10634 The idea of workplace democracy is popular among left libertarians, but I think it’s hard to square a commitment to workplace democracy with other commitments that libertarians are inclined to...

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The idea of workplace democracy is popular among left libertarians, but I think it’s hard to square a commitment to workplace democracy with other commitments that libertarians are inclined to have. So here are a few sincere questions for left libertarians who support worker-owned firms:

Does workplace democracy really eliminate bosses?

The claim that democratically-run, worker-controlled firms would result in greater freedom for workers seems like a strange one for libertarians to make. After all, most libertarians would deny that granting all citizens a vote in a political democracy means that you are your own boss in a meaningful sense. In both economic and political democracies, your single vote is unlikely to be decisive, meaning that you are exercising little to no real control over the direction of the democracy. (A point also made here.) In an economic democracy perhaps you’ve traded one boss for a thousand bosses, but one thing doesn’t change: you aren’t the boss. (Maybe economic democracies will tend to be a lot smaller than political democracies. But they can’t get too small if they want to take advantage of economies of scale.)

What about rational ignorance?

Here again it seems like textbook public choice worries about political democracy apply to economic democracy. If the vote I cast in an economic democracy is probably going to be inconsequential, then I have little incentive to make it a good one. The rationality of voter ignorance is a standard explanation for the poor quality of political governance, so why would things be different with economic governance?

Are capitalist acts between consenting adults permitted?

Nozick famously wrote that socialism “would have to forbid capitalist acts between consenting adults.” A similar problem arises for economic democracy. Suppose a risk-averse worker wants to sell her shares to a second worker in exchange for a steady income. Is this transaction permitted? If so, then we have reason to think that hierarchies will arise spontaneously from an initial condition of worker equality. If the transaction is not permitted, then it’s unclear in what sense this position is libertarian, given that it forbids capitalist acts between consenting adults.

To be clear: I don’t intend these as rhetorical questions. I’m genuinely curious what left libertarians have to say about them.

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New Molinari/C4SS Books http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2016/04/new-molinaric4ss-books/ http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2016/04/new-molinaric4ss-books/#comments Sun, 10 Apr 2016 08:38:22 +0000 http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/?p=10611 Two of my Molinari/C4SS comrades have new books out. One is Kevin Carson’s The Desktop Regulatory State: The Countervailing Power of Individuals and Networks. The blurb says: Defenders of the...

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Two of my Molinari/C4SS comrades have new books out.

desktop-revolution

One is Kevin Carson’s The Desktop Regulatory State: The Countervailing Power of Individuals and Networks. The blurb says:

Defenders of the modern state often claim that it’s needed to protect us – from terrorists, invaders, bullies, and rapacious corporations. Economist John Kenneth Galbraith, for instance, famously argued that the state was a source of “countervailing power” that kept other social institutions in check. But what if those “countervailing” institution – corporations, government agencies and domesticated labor unions – in practice collude more than they “countervail” each other? And what if network communications technology and digital platforms now enable us to take on all those dinosaur hierarchies as equals – and more than equals? In The Desktop Regulatory State, Kevin Carson shows how the power of self-regulation, which people engaged in social cooperation have always possessed, has been amplified and intensified by changes in consciousness – as people have become aware of their own power and of their ability to care for themselves without the state – and in technology – especially information technology. Drawing as usual on a wide array of insights from diverse disciplines, Carson paints an inspiring, challenging, and optimistic portrait of a humane future without the state, and points provocatively toward the steps we need to take in order to achieve it.

The other is Sheldon Richman’s America’s Counter-Revolution: The Constitution Revisited. The blurb says:

This book challenges the assumption that the Constitution was a landmark in the struggle for liberty. Instead, Sheldon Richman argues, it was the product of a counter-revolution, a setback for the radicalism represented by AmericaƠs break with the British empire. Drawing on careful, credible historical scholarship and contemporary political analysis, Richman suggests that this counter-revolution was the work of conservatives who sought a nation of “power, consequence, and grandeur.” America’s Counter-Revolution makes a persuasive case that the Constitution was a victory not for liberty but for the agendas and interests of a militaristic, aristocratic, privilege-seeking ruling class.

Wisdom from the right-libertarian corgi

Wisdom from the right-libertarian corgi

Another of my Molinari/C4SS comrades, Nick Ford, has a forthcoming anthology on anti-work anarchism, titled Instead of a Book, By a Man Too Lazy to Write One; check out the description.

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Upcoming Panels on International Law and Prison Reform http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2016/03/upcoming-panels-on-international-law-and-prison-reform/ http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2016/03/upcoming-panels-on-international-law-and-prison-reform/#comments Sat, 26 Mar 2016 06:19:54 +0000 http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/?p=10530 Two panels organised by the Center for a Stateless Society are coming up at two different conferences next week, bringing a left-libertarian market-anarchist perspective to international relations and prison reform....

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Two panels organised by the Center for a Stateless Society are coming up at two different conferences next week, bringing a left-libertarian market-anarchist perspective to international relations and prison reform.
 
 
1. The Molinari Society will be holding its annual Pacific Symposium in conjunction with the Pacific Division of the American Philosophical Association in San Francisco, March 30-April 3, 2016. Here’s the schedule info:

Molinari Society symposium:
Author Meets Critics: Gary Chartier’s Radicalizing Rawls: Global Justice and the Foundations of International Law

G6D. Thursday, 31 March 2016, 6:00-8:00 p.m. (or so), Westin St. Francis 335 Powell St., San Francisco CA, Elizabethan C, 2nd floor.

chair:
Roderick T. Long (Auburn University)

critics:
David Reidy (University of Tennessee)
Zooey Sophia Pook (New Mexico State University)

author:
Gary Chartier (La Sierra University)

 
 
2. We’ve also organised a panel at the <a href="Association of Private Enterprise Education conference in Las Vegas, April 3-5, 2016. Here’s the schedule info:

Prisons: Reform or Abolition?

2.G.8. Monday, 4 April 2016, 4:00-5:15 p.m., Bally’s Hotel and Casino, 3645 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas NV, room TBA.

chair:
Roderick T. Long (Auburn University)

panelists:
Daniel J. D’Amico (Brown University)
Gary Chartier (La Sierra University)
Jason Lee Byas (Georgia State University)
Roderick T. Long (Auburn University)

Another C4SS writer, Billy Christmas, will also be speaking at APEE on “Toward Methodological Anarchism,” on Tuesday, 5 April, in a session at at (horribile dictu) 8:00 a.m.

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