Oh hey look! More "Anarcho"-Capitalists defending the facilitation of sexual harassment on the grounds of liberty.

I posted a while back explaining why the AnCap dismissals of Block’s support for sexual harassment where misguided and inconsistent with their own principles and why the question was not really about the act of aggression but how a capitalist system makes the act itself possible. Now, someone else is basically making the same argument as me only…he comes from the opposite side. I’ve just noticed that Stephen Kinsella left a comment on Brad Spangler’s blog making a similar case in support of such facilitiation…on the grounds of liberty of course.

In sum: no one is entitled to a job; employment is at-will: you can quit any time, or be fired any time. So you are not entitled to a job offer, so a conditional one does not violate your rights: I offer you a job IF you will consent to my lechery, fondling, whatever. The candidate can accept or turn it down. Note that this is true even AFTER they start work for you, usually–since employment is at-will. So you can just fire her one second, and re-offer the job, with strings, the next second. Etc.

So basically Kinsella is claiming that Block was absolutely in the right in his original case against sexual harassment laws. Maybe he considers that Block should have phrased it a bit differently to avoid drawing attention to the conclusions.

Really, this whole mindframe is the disease of right-libetarianism and the reason why I find it so difficult to take them seriously. If one can find nothing wrong with their espoused principles even when they theoretically lead to situations of people doing what they cleary do not wish to do or situations clearly appaling, then they’re well and gone in their fetishism of “voluntarism” and contracts.

The willfull ignorance of the social context in which such consent might be given is also stunning. “Nobody deserves work” says Kinsella. No, some people apparently just deserve to starve if they won’t accept sexual harassment or 16-hour workdays. It’s their fault for being born unprivileged and if they don’t like it they should just hole up in a corner and die. Compare that with Emma Goldman’s legendary quote to see the vast ideological difference between anarchism and “Anarcho”-Capitalism. The bankrupcty of putting rights to private property over rights to life.

“Ask for work. If they do not give you work, ask for bread. If they do not give you work or bread, then take bread.” — Emma Goldman (Anarchism and Other Essays)

But of course, this is nothing new. “Volunteering” to sexual harassment is exactly possible for the reason why people would “volunteer” to wage-slavery or “volunteer” to child labour. This is all a normal continuation of the same principles that see the hierarchical control of boss over worker and landlord over rentor as an expression of “freedom”. Consenting to be pinched is just that extra thing women might have to accept after they have consented to put aside their liberty during working hours. But hey, it’s all worth it for that cuchy office job isn’t it?

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28 thoughts on “Oh hey look! More "Anarcho"-Capitalists defending the facilitation of sexual harassment on the grounds of liberty.

  1. I think what it boils down to, after we strip away all the colorful words and assumptions – you know, let's pretend even that there is no "boss" or "hierarchy" or what-have-you. Let's further assume that there is only possession, as in "I possess and occupy my house, etc." Now, if someone wants to come in to my house – regardless of the reason – can I place conditions upon it, such as: You're welcome for dinner, but you must present me a bottle of wine (etc.).

    With respect to possession/use: Am I obligated to allow? Or, under what circumstances would I be justifiably permitted to refuse?

    Further: Kinsella says, "I offer you a job IF you will consent to my lechery, fondling, whatever…" so from this I can conclude that his hypothetical man is pretty much a total bastard. Whatever. In a *free* society it should be all the less-likely that such a person would command any authority or would be in any position of power over others. That's how I see it.

    I mean, the contrary suggests that violence is a dominant strategy, in which case we're all pretty well fucked.

    1. With respect to possession/use: Am I obligated to allow? Or, under what circumstances would I be justifiably permitted to refuse?

      For one's possessions of course you can set the rules with which others can interact with them. Since you mentioned this example, this post argued from exactly this point so check it out.

    2. Whatever. In a *free* society it should be all the less-likely that such a person would command any authority or would be in any position of power over others. That's how I see it.

      But that's exactly the problem! In a propertarian society where rampart accumulation is possible, the capitalist or landlord will be able to command such authority from proletarians who need to work or starve. This is the point I've been trying to make all along. To avoid this outcome one needs to strike at the cause of such power differentials and privilege. Abolish Private Property.

    3. so from this I can conclude that his hypothetical man is pretty much a total bastard.

      There is also one other thing to consider in that what perceptions of what is unacceptable change by how society is formed and what is possible and the norm. For example, 200 years ago, taking a wage position was seen as a huge burden for people who were used to be living as either free proprietors or communally. It is this age which bred the term "wage-slavery" which adequately expressed their feelings on this issue. Two generations later, wage work was seen as a necessary evil for people to gather enough funds for the next step in their life which would be to start their own business. To stay all of one's life as wage-slave was seen as a horrible turn of events. Still two generations later, living one's life as a wage worker and never getting out had become something acceptable. And still later on, sexual harassment in the workplace had finally become something if not acceptable, but at least expected as part of the natural state of affairs.

      So if the system starts facilitating wanton sexual harassment of women proletarians who have to put up with it due to lack of options, then it's very likely that once again, people will not see such an act as something morally condemnable but will either accept a stance of defeat or rationalize it in a Blockean way. Thus, not even social pressure would be there to reduce such effects.

      1. Your comment on perceptions does not go unnoticed or unappreciated, but people lived in relative squalor, women died routinely during childbirth, and most people worked until they were physically incapable of doing so any longer.

        So if the system starts facilitating wanton sexual harassment of women proletarians who have to put up with it due to lack of options

        Didn't they have an option initially? At that time prior, when they were free proprietors or living communally (usually also under some monarch or another)… Something made people take the leap from proprietorship/communal living, to teh dread wage labor. What was that "something"?

        1. State violence and facilitation of capital naturally. Kevin Carson has gone into considerable depth on this.

          1. Even in light of primitive accumulation, one must question how an oppressive "capitalist" oligopoly would come to exist in the absence of a state or pseudo-state.

            To put it in context of the time period we were discussing above, I find in Belloc's work (and the other Distributists) detailed accounts of the enclosure of the commons in the UK, etc., and IMO these are decidedly not organic or justifiable on "propertarian" terms. It goes back to a state or pseudo-state.

          2. Even in light of primitive accumulation, one must question how an oppressive "capitalist" oligopoly would come to exist in the absence of a state or pseudo-state.

            I'm not following. You're asking how primitive accumulation got started or how it would occur again if we are to start in a theoretical stateless scenario or propertarian free markets?

          3. You can bring up "primitive accumulation" until you're blue in the face, but the facts of history seem to suggest that a State (or states or pseudo states) created the beast of capitalist oligopoly, and not the other way around. The contention, of course, is that without an enabling "state" the path taken by "capitalism" or whatever label you want to ascribe to a propertarian exchange system, should've been very, very different. Capitalists didn't create the State, they overthrew it — and in the absence of a State, they should've been powerless to originate one.

          4. The contention, of course, is that without an enabling "state" the path taken by "capitalism" or whatever label you want to ascribe to a propertarian exchange system, should've been very, very different.

            It wouldn't just have been very very different. it wouldn't exist at all! There wouldn't be any capitalists to create the state without the state first facilitating the use of capitalist mode of production. One can thus empirically assume that Capitalism needs a state in order to maintain itself. Where the power of the state lacking, people would quickly return to the possessive or communal ownership system they used before the state forced otherwise.

          5. The State does not use a propertarian exchange system — in fact the defining characteristic of a State is utter disrespect for anything even resembling voluntary exchange.

            There wouldn't be any capitalists to create the state without the state first facilitating the use of capitalist mode of production

            This is perfectly circular; perfect nonsense.

            One can thus empirically assume that Capitalism needs a state in order to maintain itself

            There is no reason why a system based on use/appropriation and "possession" rather than PP, but still utilizing voluntary exchange and commerce, can't exist in the absence of a State.

          6. This is perfectly circular; perfect nonsense.

            How the hell is that circular? This is the historical and current reality!

            There is no reason why a system based on use/appropriation and "possession" rather than PP, but still utilizing voluntary exchange and commerce, can't exist in the absence of a State.

            True, there isn't. But it would not be capitalism anymore.

          7. How the hell is that circular? This is the historical and current reality!

            There wouldn't be any state without capitalists and there wouldn't be any capitalists without the state. This model offers no explanation of the genesis of either capitalist or state, merely postulating that they both require the other in order to exist. But this is a distraction. What matters to me is this:

            It would not be capitalism anymore.

            What would be the name for this? I ask only because I want to sign up for it, right now.

          8. There wouldn't be any state without capitalists and there wouldn't be any capitalists without the state.

            Err, i didn't say that. In fact I pointed out that there was a state before the capitalists (the feudal states) which facilitated the capitalist mode of production.

            Btw, please reply to the specific threads if possible to keep things less quoted and confusing.

          9. Err, i didn't say that. In fact I pointed out that there was a state before the capitalists (the feudal states) which facilitated the capitalist mode of production.

            Within the context of a state-dominated environment, something which we call "capitalism" arose, which would not have otherwise come to pass. I'll grant you that much. But I still say the State is the root cause. it's the State and its prior usurpations which are the proximate cause of "capitalism", slavery &c.

          10. Not exactly, if we look far enough back in the origins of the state we see that the statification of society was required to protect the newly forming classes from conflict. The reason why classes started forming is the institution of private property as the result of the original breakthroughs in growing and accumulation of food, allowing people to create more than they consume and thus facilitating slavery and thus promoting the concept of PP among slaveholders as a way to utilize said slavery. Once this was done, a state was necessary not only to protect the slaveholding society from the slaves, but also the haves, from the have-nots.

            A bit more complex than that of course but I digress anyway. In short, let me just say that the state itself is the result of primitive accumulation.

          11. I find it a tad unsatisfactory to suggest that, for hundreds or thousands of years, mankind lived these idyllic communal lives, until all of a sudden a few people discovered how to harvest plants/vegetables from the land with regularity, thereafter which these producers decided to deny their communal society, their family, etc., in order to become oppressive slaveholders.

          12. It didn't happen overnight or over a single generation. Communal institutions and rules remained for a time after both accumulation and even slavery were introduced. However those institutions were based on tradition, not rationalism and thus were slowly eroded as the new ownership relations created classes and conflict their rules were not meant to deal with. This is in fact how the Greek states came about when the traditionally arbitratory families/clans were turned to in order to mediate between the newly originating class struggle. As such a concept started passing hereditary within the family/clan, statification begun.

            As I said though, i'm giving a very summarized view, full of holes due to brevity.

          13. Not exactly, if we look far enough back in the origins of the state we see that the statification of society was required to protect the newly forming classes from conflict. The reason why classes started forming is the institution of private property as the result of the original breakthroughs in growing and accumulation of food, allowing people to create more than they consume and thus facilitating slavery and thus promoting the concept of PP among slaveholders as a way to utilize said slavery. Once this was done, a state was necessary not only to protect the slaveholding society from the slaves, but also the haves, from the have-nots.

            A bit more complex than that of course but I digress anyway. In short, let me just say that the state itself is the result of primitive accumulation.

          14. Not exactly, if we look far enough back in the origins of the state we see that the statification of society was required to protect the newly forming classes from conflict. The reason why classes started forming is the institution of private property as the result of the original breakthroughs in growing and accumulation of food, allowing people to create more than they consume and thus facilitating slavery and thus promoting the concept of PP among slaveholders as a way to utilize said slavery. Once this was done, a state was necessary not only to protect the slaveholding society from the slaves, but also the haves, from the have-nots.

            A bit more complex than that of course but I digress anyway. In short, let me just say that the state itself is the result of primitive accumulation.

          15. Not exactly, if we look far enough back in the origins of the state we see that the statification of society was required to protect the newly forming classes from conflict. The reason why classes started forming is the institution of private property as the result of the original breakthroughs in growing and accumulation of food, allowing people to create more than they consume and thus facilitating slavery and thus promoting the concept of PP among slaveholders as a way to utilize said slavery. Once this was done, a state was necessary not only to protect the slaveholding society from the slaves, but also the haves, from the have-nots.

            A bit more complex than that of course but I digress anyway. In short, let me just say that the state itself is the result of primitive accumulation.

          16. What would be the name for this? I ask only because I want to sign up for it, right now.

            For Free Market Anti-Capitalism? Mutualism as far as I know.

          17. and IMO these are decidedly not organic or justifiable on "propertarian" terms. It goes back to a state or pseudo-state.

            Well obviously, but this is exactly the point. The concept of private property is only dominant and normal because of such acts.

        1. Within capitalism? Isn't it obvious? Actually, it's not bastard per-se but psychopath. This is what the system naturally selects for.

          1. Yes, "psychopath" is a better word than "bastard." But what I'm getting at then, without offering an endorsement one way or another, is whether the system itself is a dominant strategy. If it is, then I would submit that even eternal vigilance may not be enough to overcome.

          2. But what I'm getting at then, without offering an endorsement one way or another, is whether the system itself is a dominant strategy.

            You mean the capitalist system and mode of production as a whole? If it was, then certainly state violence and facilitation would not be necessary would it? What in fact is a dominant strategy (in a empirical deterministic PoV) in light of a feudal era is the Capitalist mode of production coupled with a facilitating state. As a whole, this form of Capitalism has proven to be the most "socially competitive" in the same way that Slavery was "socially competitive" in a pre-industrial and supertitious era. It's meant to be seen if Anarchism will turn out to be more competitive than this yet.

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