Tag Archives: Democracy

Your democracy is built on totalitarianism

I wonder how people can still think they are living in a Free Democratic Nation™ when their whole live revolves around profoundly undemocratic institutions save for a few hours ever few years where they get to pick among those choices predefined for them. How can you call your life anything democratic when your jobs resemble state socialism, your schools resemble prisons and your army resembles totalitarianism. How can people seriously consider themselves free when they only have the choice between unfree options?

Seriously, I read this article about boot camp (h/t Broadsnark) and how much people are conditioned within to accept the most totalitarian institution. How all semblance of individuality is wiped out and replaced with unthinking collectivism and sheer killer instict. How can a free society claim that it requires an unfree institution to survive? Does not compute.

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The Politics of Change

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Yesterday I discovered how the Starcraft reddit had implemented little icons next to each user’s name (of those that wanted it) which could display which faction they belonged to. I found the idea cute and an interesting way to add some more character into the discussion. I thought that something similar would be a nice addition to the /r/anarchism so I experimented a bit and then implemented it to see what others thought about it.

Initially I opened a thread announcing it. Everyone could request any icon they wished for among the available options. I figured that if people don’t want one, they can simply ignore it and those who do can get one. If very few got a star, the change would be practically invisible. If many wanted one, then it would show that it was indeed a good option to have.

I expected some people not to like it and I just assumed that if they had a good argument against it, a democratic vote would decide if people agreed with them to take the stylesheet change down or keep it up. I did not expect to be called a dictator…

I won’t respond to the shallow baiting some are all too eager to fling around when things don’t go their way (read: when the community does not back them up) but I thought it would be useful to explain why I act the way I do, why this is beneficial and why the alternative is not a good idea.

Change Boldly, Reverse Democratically.

My theory on changes is that any of them that are opt-in and easy to reverse do not need democratic consensus to be attempted. I get my idea from Wikipedia and the brilliant way it’s worked for that until now where it urges people to be bold in their changes since any mistake can be easily fixed and/or reversed when needed and the damage should be non-existent until it is. Much like that, I believe that any change in society that affects only those who decide to follow it, does not have the capacity to cause immediate damage and can be reversed easily should it be requested, should be tried boldly.

This usually affect the most novel and the most interesting ideas. Being for opt-in ideas, it practically limits this practice to those ideas that enhance individualism rather than modify the collective as a whole. In the end, it affects those ideas which are the most likely to be opposed by conservative minds and those ideas who are very likely to be rejected by those who have not experienced them.

This is important to clarify because it’s these ideas that not only make a society or community more interesting and colourful, but are the ones that promote individualism, creativity and serve as the “beachhead” and basis for others to build upon them. It is exactly those ideas which change the chaotic environment in unexpected ways and allow a new and better emergent order. The throttling of those ideas would be disastrous for the cultural health of a community.

To give you real life example of such ideas, think of creativity and innovation. For example, a person designing a new style of clothing, or an engineer designing a revolutionary technology like the steam engine or the TCP/IP protocol, or even a person who starts living in a completely novel lifestyle. Certainly nobody would request that those people refrain from introducing such changes until a consensus has been reached in society. Those changes affect the individual first and foremost and only those who want them would embrace them.

And yet, that those changes would affect the environment and the society as a whole is certain. Some will do it far more than others but everything that affects individuals – from fashion, to lifestyle to technology – can in turn change the society once a critical mass of individuals start following it. One can simply see how for example, the Internet, which is a completely opt-in technology, has shaped and continues to shape the face of our global society in it short existence. And the more people that start to use it, the more powerful it becomes to perform this change. Mannerisms, clothes, lifestyle practices etc also have the same possibilities which can easily be seen in our history.

Is this an argument to request consensus decision before those are introduced? If this was an anarchist society and a technology like the early Internet was developed, do you think it would be a good idea to block it until a democratic vote was taken on it? Those enthusiasts old enough to remember those early days will certainly remember the rampart scaremongering surrounding it during those times. You could find practically weekly a columnist from one traditional newspaper or another warning us of all the horrible consequences it would have when it became widespread. I don’t think any of them came even closer to materializing. Instead, new ways of use were discovered which further changed the way it was used in ways that nobody could even imagine.

Think of Twitter for example. At the early ages of the internet, it couldn’t be even imagined. When it was first introduced, it was widely dismissed and/or assaulted by a vocal minority (among the majority who didn’t use it) that was nevertheless bigger than the majority which found it exciting and interesting. If one would have a democratic vote at that point, at the point of introduction, twitter would not exist today. The majority who was hostile to it was simply larger than the bleeding edge minority that wanted to try it. This is a fact of reality. The conservative vocal minority will always be larger at the start-of-life of a particular innovation, than the progressive vocal minority who wants to use it.

Twitter, much like the internet persisted. Slowly,the progressive minority found more and more novel ways to use it, the membership of Twitter increased and a critical mass was reached. A critical mass which, while still a minority among Internet users, has a profound and significant effect on society. Twitter is starting to have a real societal effect in the way people communicate. From the political campaigns, to advertising, to reactionary communications among anarchists during riots!

Think: Nobody would have even thought this was possible until it happened naturally. Until order emerged out of chaos.

Nobody could argue that Twitter did not have a profound effect on the community it was introduced into (The Internet community first, the greater society second). And yet, nobody but the very misguided would suggest that it was a mistake that Twitter was not introduced consensually. Twitter was introduced boldly but as an opt-in method. People who wanted it can use it and the success of it as a service would depend on those opting-in. That means, that if it was discovered that it had a harmful effect, it would eventually change or die a natural death as people stopped using it and were not replaced. This is the first security valve that exist for all the bold opt-in changes.

The second one does not exist in all societies but the truly democratic ones. The option for a community to convene and decide if they wish to ban a particular change that is having a harmful effect on them. This is however the nuclear option and one which can have as much a harmful effect on creative changes as the ones I mentioned above, as voting before each change. If a democratic vote it convened at the early life of a change, the vocal conservative minority will once again out-weight the vocal progressive minority which will not have had a chance to grow by showing the beneficial effects of the change.

This democratic choice needs to be taken not just when a change has been introduced but when the practice of it has empirically and materially had a harmful effect. It needs to be base on evidence, on balancing the good against the bad and not scaremongering. It requires thus enough of a trial time on any change to allow it to be judged in practice. However, unlike a market economy or a dictatorship, this “nuclear option” can be a life-saviour on a technology which is indeed harmful due to its externalities. And while some will certainly complain about the loss of freedom of banning something which a minority might still want, the luxuries of the few should never out-weight the damage done to the many.

This is primarily why bold changes need to be easily reversible. While I’m all for such modifications, I would never dream of instituting a change that cannot be reversed or that has such likelihood of further implications that make it irreversible. My change on /r/anarchism’s stylesheet for example can be removed in 3 clicks. However when I say “implications” this obviously does not include democratic support for a good idea, as some have implied. Such a support does not mean that a change is technically irreversible but rather that people wish for it to stay. A technical implication would rather be something like digging an oil rig in the sea when knowing that that there’s a change for it to explode and pollute the surrounding environment catastrophically. In short, a change which cannot be reversed given democratic opposition.

When such reversibility is existent, being bold is not an issue. Any of us can make mistakes or miss some consequence that emerges later on and being able to quickly revert things to the way they were is the fallback solution to a bold change that did not work as intended. However, like before, the harmful effect needs to be existent and not theoretical. Scaremongering will not do. Such harmful effects will then convince the community to oppose it democratically and reverse it or modify it so as to avoid those effects. No real argument will be required.

Furthermore, bold changes can be done on top of bold changes to as to improve on them and give more options. This does not include the bold change of reversing them without them having a chance to be trialed. Say for example that the stylesheet change I did ended up looking fugly (and indeed my initial change was also opposed exactly for this point by some). While one change is for it to be reversed, another one which is also quicker (as it would not require a democratic vote) and better would be to make it nicer. And indeed this is what another mod did, by replacing the big flags I used with small stylish stars. Not only was he bold in turn, but in a future vote we can have three options rather than just two. Flags, Stars or Removal.

Isn’t this dictatorship?

One thing that some anarchists were very eager to throw against me was the accusation of acting like a dictator to the subreddit. They claim that because I acted without consent, I forced everyone to accept my change. But this should be fairly easy to see why it’s false.

First of all, dictators don’t make their choices opt-in. They force them on the society at large because they want them to happen. Had dictators made unpopular decisions as opt-in, they would have never had any effect as people would simply ignore them. This is why dictators and oligarchies end up dragging the unwilling populace behind their “visions”.

On one hand, the ease by which such visions can be attempted is a particular benefit for a dictatorship, allowing a progressive dictator to make rapid changes. This is naturally outweighted by all the bad things that follow a dictatorship, especially the inability to reverse a bad decision or even opt-out of it. The trick to is to keep the good (easy progressive changes) and discard the bad (not being able to reverse bad ones, among everything else). This is what bold changes attempt to achieve.

A dictators decision would not be reversible given democratic opposition. The people accusing me of acting like one, take the considerable support my idea has had and claim that because they can now not reverse the change as people like it, it might as well have been a dictatorial edict. But the little option that the idea is only irreversible because people want it makes all the difference in the world. It means that when and if harmful effects are discovered from it, it can still be removed or fixed. You do not have such an option with a dictatorial edict. In fact, especially because that was the idea of the supreme ruler, it’s very unlikely that he would change it even when harmful effects are obvious, simply because of personal pride.

I consider such accusation to be nothing more than baiting. Trying to shame me with a label which does not fit, just because they know anarchist abhor this accusation and are especially sensitive to it. IMO The accusation itself is shameful to those making it.

I was planning on writing about the issues that will occur if we require consensus before every change but I notice that this post is already getting quite long so instead I’m going to close this post now and write about the harmful effects of democratic fetishism in a future post.

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What would an Anarchist society look like?

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If there one question that gets asked ridiculously often to anarchists is to describe how the future society would look like, how would an anarchistic world function. Any answer given to this question can but only raise more questions and open more venues for criticism as any system described can only be simplistic and full of conceptual holes. Therefore I dislike this question with a passion, as not only it is commonly used as a basis for dismissal of anarchism without bothering to look any deeper but also misses the greater point that anarchism is about the process rather than the end result.

However today I had a small epiphany on this topic while watching the excellent BBC documentary The Secret Life of Chaos. At some point in the film, Prof. Al Khalili made the point that while migrating birds have no leaders and no complex system of organization or rules to guide their flights, their flocks nevertheless not only manage to achieve great feats such as flying over whole continents but also display stunning patterns of flight formations, surprisingly suitable for their purpose (such as flying in a V-shape formation) or simply beautiful, while managing to avoid even colliding with each other.

What surprised me about this statement is how incredibly similar this type of organization sounds to an anarchist society. A society which has no leaders and no complex rules and yet manages to function and even create a very complex societal organization and order which serves to maximize the happiness of every human within it. The complexity of it arises, not despite the simple rules underlying the system but because of them and the existence of chaos. In short because of the natural complexity that arises when one combines simple rules with feedback.

And human societies, if anything, are nothing but feedback.

And this, I realized, is why one can never describe an anarchistic society. The simple fact of humans starting to follow simple  anarchistic rules will create such levels of complexity and radical, strange and wonderful patterns and formations of social organization, that any prediction one of us makes now can only end up horribly wrong. In fact, the only accurate prediction one can make about a system that follows a certain set of rules within a chaotic environment is…that the system will follow those rules. Nothing else. You cannot predict the end result any more than one can predict the shape a flock of birds will take or how a certain pattern will look like when zooming 10x in a Mandelbrot set, while starting at a random location.

What does this mean? That any targets we set for a future society, such as the end of crime or having conquered the galaxy with billions of human colonies is impossible to predict with any certainty. No matter the system we setup to achieve this, because the smallest changes in our environment and behaviour will radically change what we expect. Just look at how science fiction looked even a mere 100 years ago (not to mention even longer) and you will see how little resemblance it has to our world. In fact, even looking at popular conceptions of the future, as crystalized in various movies produced a mere 30 years ago we can see that most of them are way off base. Personally, I’m still waiting for the flying cars.

And yet, even 30 years ago, nobody could even imagine something like the internet and how it would completely revolutionize our whole way of thinking and interacting with each other.

And yet, when one simple technological innovation completely re-shapes significant parts whole world in one short generation, you ask us to describe how an anarchist society, which would require a whole change of social relations, not to mention technology and lifestyle – in the face of rapid climate change and disentanglement from oil – would look like?! This is simply impossible.

However we can predict one thing: An Anarchy, that is, a society where humans individually follow and promote anarchist principles will…have anarchist principles. Simple nü?

So let me clarify this. One of the most fundamental anarchist principles is true democracy; the very simple concept that the power of one to affect a decision should be directly proportional to how much that decision affects them. As far as social rules go, this is as simple as “One person – One vote” or “The King’s choice is infallible”. We cannot remotely predict how a society based on this rule will look like any more than classical Greek democrats could ever foresee the US political system. What we can predict though is that the society will at its core allow people to have a truly democratic voice in their lives and thus greater control. Such a society would be definition need to have all hierarchies abolished (and that includes for example prison and business hierarchies) and will not have any  prohibition on recreational drugs of any sort.

The rule is simple but the society that will form around it will be incredibly complex and impossible to predict.

This, I realize, is the only way to think about societal change. There is no point making utopian constructions in one’s head about how a future society must function for all humans to be happy, as this is moored in current social relations and current technological levels. This is the fatal flaw all such ideas had, from communist Utopias to “anarcho”-capitalist conceptions of freed markets and competing defence organizations. They assume a static world and a have a distinctly “Newtonian” understanding of social sciences. They assume that they have discovered the perfect equation which will bring about the perfect society…if only humans were smart enough to follow it to the letter.

But no matter how smart humans are the end result predicted is impossible. Not only because of minor, minuscule changes in the system (not to speak of major changes such as a new revolutionary technology being innovated), but fundamentally because of feedback, the end utopia will never come to be. All one will end up with is a vague trace of the original idea, somewhere in the developing society. Much like someone, paying very close attention, might discern the flame of a candle as it is moved within a video-feedback system.

In fact, our current society is nothing more than the end result of humans following a host of other basic rules of organization such as respect of free speech, respect for private property, promotion of classical freedom (i.e. your rights end where my rights begin), “one person-one vote”, secularism, gender and race equality, promotion of and respect for the scientific method and many others1. However, society did not change overnight, we did not move from feudalism to capitalism in one month, nor did we embrace modern science in a few years. It took centuries for those ideas to become mainstream because of the societal evolution. And those ideas only even got a hold in the first place because of the same evolution that came before them. Because of the way the system ended up forming from the ideas that were dominant in the past. And the funny thing is that those ideas might have been the complete opposite of what they produced.

What this means is that while we may have reached where we are because of the ideals that came before us, the capitalist mode of production which came after feudalism and slavery, which came after theocracy which came after imperialism and so on, we are still capable of changing where we are headed by the simple act of embracing different ideals. We will not know how exactly we will turn out, but we will know that we’ll have those ideas in action2 and thus can rule at least the things out that conflict with them.

In the end, the order of human societies are the complex result of simple rules, much like chaos theory predicts. However there is a factor which is absent from every other chaotic system we see around us. A simple detail which gives a whole new dimension of complexity to the evolutionary progress:

Humans can modify their own environment.

This simple fact I have come to realize is surprisingly important. Whereas every other organism (or simple pattern) can only adapt to  how the environment around it changes and will only slowly change its basic rules as a result of natural selection, humans can to a large extent modify both their behaviour and their social rules instantly (in an evolutionary timescale) by using their primary trait, their reason, to discover a better optimal path than the one they were following until then. This means that they can follow a particular rule-set until it stalls or it becomes obvious that it is detrimental and then either modify their environment until this is not the case anymore, or simply discard their rule set for a superior one3

Looking back at human history from this perspective, it’s impossible to miss this process. Humans adapted to their environment by using a specific system of social organization and production. When their environment changed (say by the introduction of a new technology or resource) they changed then either or both of them accordingly. Thus the slavery as a mode of production led to Imperialism (as well as, surprisingly, Democracy in classical Greece – remember the things we can’t predict?). The discovery of the steam engine and oil and the general industrial revolution led to the widespread abolition of slavery in favour of wage-slavery.All these things happened not because of fate, or the will of a creator and whatnot, but because of simple rules and material changes and feedback which always worked mindlessly to create the best combination of social organization given the existing environment for the maximal human spread.

And this is in fact the crux of the cookie. The current socioeconomic framework is not optimal anymore. The environment has changed far too much since the dawn of capitalism. Not only has the technological level broken the barriers of the system and thus made the ground fertile for different organizations (much like the industrial revolution made slavery sub-optimal) but the way the environment changes because of the system (such as global climate change and peak oil) has made the current one not only simply detrimental but outright destructive for the evolutionary success of humans (i.e. our continued existence as a species).

And this is where Anarchism comes in. I can only but consider it but the latest of an human societal recalibration required to work with the current and changing environment. It is no wonder than the first flickers of the idea occurred just as the capitalist system completed its dominance as the chosen method of production. It’s as if human history cunningly winks at us, while it hints to what is to follow. In fact, I consider it even more noteworthy that anarchist theorists had intuitively grasped the chaotic nature of social change approximately half a century before Turing made his breakthrough research into biological patterns. If there’s one thing that has always been a primary concept behind the anarchist movement is how it gives far more weight to the means to achieve change than it does to the ends.  For me at least, the more I learn, the more this fact is  solidified and the current post is only the latest of such knowledge.

Is Anarchism (or Marx’s “Pure Communism) to be the last sociopolitical stage? I used to think so but now, highly doubt it. As much as we can’t even remotely predict the future, so can we not predict the circumstances that might make Anarchism obsolete. Perhaps it will be enough to save us from annihilation by our own hands but not enough to survive contact with Alien races. Who knows? As much as Adam Smith could not even imagine a system like Anarchism when the Free Markets he suggested was itself a radical concept, so can I not even imagine what could possibly follow Anarchism.

But what I do know, is that no anarchist will be ever be able to accurately describe what Anarchy will look like. Only that like a flock of birds, it will be complex in its simplicity.

Anarchy is Order.

And Order comes from Chaos…

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  1. If you thought it’s merely very difficult to predict a future society based on only 1 rule, I want to see you juggle 5 or 10 []
  2. that is, unless there are no conflicting ideals as well. In fact, this is why we cannot have a free society or even one that is simply gender or race egalitarian. Those conflict with respect for private property and respect for authority which breeds hierarchies and thus perpetuates patriarchy minority oppression []
  3. Of course, by going one level of abstraction back, this human ability to modify their environment and behaviour is only the result of evolution again, which has granted the humans the best capacity to expand their number given the nature of the planet and the universe as a whole []

On the recent betrayal by the US "justice" system

Toilet paper
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So your courts finally and unapologetically sold your democracy out to the corporations. Are you truly that surprised? I see a lot of gnashing of teeth lately online from people who are outraged, Outraged that their high courts would pass such a ruling. “How can they not see that they’re handing the power over to the plutocracy?”, “There goes our democracy”, Boo-hoo-fucking-hoo.

WELL, WAKE UP AND SMELL THE FUCKING COFFEE.

Your democracy has been a farce ever since your corporations started being considered “persons” in the late 19th century. Your politics and your government and your justice system and your enforcement agencies have always worked for the benefits of the rich only. Whatever crumbs of wealth and illusions of democracy you received were only to prevent you from realizing the truth of your situation. But you’ve been so pathetic lately that they know they can get away by spitting at your illusions directly.

I find it extremely humorous that after all the things that have been taken from you. After all the rights you’ve lost, all the people they’ve imprisoned for nothing, all the people they’ve killed and tortured, all the wealth they’ve transferred straight out of your pocket to theirs, now you get all upset and seeing the dystopian future that awaits you?

They’ve been turning your constitution into toilet paper for the last decade (not to mention defecating in the spirit of liberty for the last 150) and you’re still surprised when they crassly continue doing it? Who’s going to stop them? Your politicians? Those were in their corporate pockets long before this latest detail, and it is a detail after all for it functionally changes nothing in the way your political system has always worked. They know how to bypass such limitation for a long while now. They’re just confident enough with your pathetic resistance that they don’t even care to keep up the pretenses.

Your justice system? Only deluded fools with naive beliefs in the efficiency of common law or due process can still expect that there’s some objectivity in the legal system that appropriately balances the interest of the poor to the interests of the wealthy. That the process by which laws and rules were created ensures their fairness. That rich judges with a constitution and politicians making laws skewed towards the wealthy, would create legal precedents that went contrary to the spirit of your “justice” (i.e. protect the rich from the poor).

Perhaps this might wake some of you up but I doubt it. The only thing you people seem to think first when they’re once again preparing the lubricants is to vote for the brand. Yes, lobby some politician to pass some law, or even better, waste your time building yet another non-starter.

When are you going to realize that these things don’t work. Not because you may not get another Pyrrhic victory in such issues, but because your whole system is rotten to the core. These are just the latest symptoms of the decay.

Realize finally that what you’ve been told to believe since you were kids, that your democracy works, is a lie. It does not. No matter how likable the muppet you have at the front is. Your only solution is to tear it down and start from a solid basis again, not battle with palliatives.

So can we please stop with the impotent internet outrages? At the least switch do some good ol’ honest cynicism. This is nothing novel or important.

It’s only business as usual.

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A Misoid Revolution

Murray N.
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Have I got a treat for you this time! I just found a Mises article presenting am idea on how to bring about a change toward the kind of perfect society they envision. An actual article dealing with the social change rather than fantastical conceptions of free markets or utopias. I was stunned and I couldn’t but take the time to go through this novelty.

Unfortunately from the whole essay, only 1/5th or so was devoted to the actual methods. Most of it was restatements of assumed natural laws, denunciation of the state, praising of private property and the other classic preaching to the choir one expects from Mises.org articles. Although largely irrelevant to the final suggestion, the author couldn’t help but providing me with ample ammo for criticism of their rampart idiocy.

But first, let’s see the argument on why Monarchy is better than Democracy. For the lulz.

Why is it better? Why because of course the King was at least to an extent a “natural elite” and his only flaw was that he monopolized the protection. Still though, he was superior since he was putting the interest of the social elite (ie, the rich) in generally above the “mob’s” and thus was closer to the Propertarian ideal, even though the cost of protection was higher and worse due to his monopoly. Another benefit to the King was apparently that he was more malleable by the elites than a democratic state. That is, at least with the one King, the rich had it easier to get their way since that was the only one they had to convince to make top-down changes that would benefit them. The unwashed masses didn’t get to have as say, as is apparently right.

Princes and kings were dilettantes as rulers, and normally had a good measure of natural elite upbringing and value system so as to act often enough simply as a good household father would have done. Democratic politicians on the other hand, are and must be professional demagogues, constantly appealing to even the basest — and that is typically egalitarian instincts — as every vote is obviously as good as any other. And because publicly elected politicians are never held personally accountable for official public service, they are far more dangerous, from the viewpoint of those who want their property to be protected and want security, than any king has ever been.

It is hard to decide if one should be laughing or getting angry at this patriarchal nonsense. Why is democracy worse? Because it does not shamelessly give more benefit to the elite and rather tries to spread some measure of power among all those affected by this “monopoly of protection”. This is the “curse” of democracy it seems. That the scum of the earth get to have a say in the affairs of their own lives, even if they *gasp* possess no property.

But monarchy of course did not just get mentioned to display more of the expected Misoid intellectual bankruptcy. It was brought up to explain how much easier it would have been if we had Monarchy now. At least in that case, according to Misoid fantasies, it would have been relatively simple to convince a kings to abdicate of his “monopoly of power.” No seriously. With a straight face. It would have been simple(r) to convince a king to give up his kingdom. You can’t make this shit up.

What follows afterwards is a long assumption of what would follow when the king abdicated his monopoly or protection. It’s all fantastical nonsense of how humans would act if they were all Misoids or somesuch and how it would have lead to a perfect world naturally and peacefully. Of course actual history has shown us that humans freed from monarchical tyranny acted quite unlike to what the author expects.

I won’t go into much detail on the rest of the filling of the essay as it’s mostly irrelevant to the main tactic proposed, with the exception of the denunciation of reformism and intellectualism. I only mention this because it only makes the actual suggested tactic even more hilarious.

So how do the Misoid suggests to take down the state? How is his implementation of “Bottom-up revolution” to happen?. Via reform and intellectualism. Ayeap.

Lets break down the suggestion for commentary

And even if it is impossible to win a majority for a decidedly antidemocratic platform on a nationwide scale, there appears to be no insurmountable difficulty in winning such a majority in sufficiently small districts, and for local or regional functions within the overall democratic government structure. In fact, there seems to be nothing unrealistic in assuming that such majorities exist at thousands of locations.

Here the author takes a great leap of faith. Not only does he assume that there are areas where undemocratic sentiments are strong, but that also those undemocratic sentiments are mostly aligned with propertarian ideals and that all those undemocratic people will decide to democratically vote the undemocratic platform. That the author assumes and imagines his way through most of his suggestion is just hilarious.

The problem that the author seems to be missing is that even if somehow such a undemocratic majority existed somewhere it is extremely unlikely that they would be positive to propertarian ideals but most likely would align with the Anarchist (i.e. libertarian socialist) movement. As such, not only would they stay away from all elections whatsoever but even if they were to vote, it’s unlikely to follow the undemocratic platform. The author is basically asking for undemocratic people to trust in democracy this one time because this time it’s going to work. It’s not difficult to see the flaw in this plan.

Likewise, even though the intellectual class must be by and large be regarded as natural enemies of justice and protection, there exists at various locations isolated anti-intellectual intellectuals, and as the Mises Institute proves, it is very well possible to assemble these isolated figures around an intellectual center, and give them unity and strength, and a national or even an international audience.

Emphasis mine for the lulz. Much like the undemocratic democracy he suggests, he follows up with anti-intellectual intellectualism. It’s difficult not to imagine this essay as some kind of joke playing on oxymorons.

So these anti-intellectuals of crass individualism would somehow be convinced to suddenly co-operate with the Mises institute in order to promote collective action? Does this make sense to anyone?

First, as an initial step, and I’m referring now to what should be done on the local level, the first central plank of one’s platform should be: one must attempt to restrict the right to vote on local taxes, in particular on property taxes and regulations, to property and real estate owners. Only property owners must be permitted to vote, and their vote is not equal, but in accordance with the value of the equity owned, and the amount of taxes paid.

In my opinion, this is absolutely the best part of this essay. The central plank, the core ideology of the platform one is going to try to get elected on by the “mob”, is going to be to replace “one person, one vote” to “one dollar, one vote”. Can anyone see the fail in this idea? Anyone? Ok, let me put it out there: He’s expecting the majority of people in an area, which generally comprises of proletarians since the property owners are always in a small minority, to vote for taking all power out of their hands and giving it to the rich minority only.

Of course it all makes sense if you assume that a “small area” exists where people are likely to be converted to misesian ideals but such an area could only be a village where only rich property owners live. Like, I dunno, a vacation village or something.

But no, the absurdity does not stop yet.

Further, all public employees — teachers, judges, policemen — and all welfare recipients, must be excluded from voting on local taxes and local regulation matters. These people are being paid out of taxes and should have no say whatsoever how high these taxes are.

So all these people must be convinced to vote for outright removing their right to vote, because voting benefits them. Right.

With this platform one cannot of course win everywhere; you cannot win in Washington, D.C. with a platform like this. but I dare say that in many locations this can be easily done. The locations have to be small enough and have to have a good number of decent people.

Emphasis mine again for the lulz. I like that the author is keeping this realistic the most.

I guess by “decent people” he means willing slaves and power-hungry propertarians.

Consequently, local taxes and rates as well as local tax revenue will inevitably decrease. Property values and most local incomes would increase whereas the number and payment of public employees would fall. Now, and this is the most decisive step, the following thing must be done, and always keep in mind that I am talking about very small territorial districts, villages.

I like that how the most difficult part of his whole idea is already past. No talk on how people are going to be convinced. No talk on where such villages might exist or some examples. No talk on how local campaigns are going to be run and promoted. No. Let’s just assume that the perfect village, full of “decent people” exists and we managed to get elected already.

In this government funding crisis which breaks out once the right to vote has been taken away from the mob, as a way out of this crisis, all local government assets must be privatized

Is “taking the right to vote away from the mob” a solid position in your platform? But wait, now we have a crisis on our hands. So the solution to the crisis that the Misoid platform has created, the solution is…more Misoid platform.

An inventory of all public buildings, and on the local level that is not that much — schools, fire, police station, courthouses, roads, and so forth — and then property shares or stock should be distributed to the local private property owners in accordance with the total lifetime amount of taxes — property taxes — that these people have paid. After all, it is theirs, they paid for these things.

Lolwut?

So here’s the plan gang. First we convince everyone to allow only us to take decisions based on how rich we are. Then we create a funding crisis. Finally we use the excuse of the crisis to pillage all public property by all voting to pass it to ourselves. Nothing could ever go wrong!

So apparently nobody but the rich pays taxes around there and thus they deserve to become even more rich. No, proletarians who worked all their lives as wage-slaves and have nothing to show for it never paid taxes. They were simply exploiting the capitalists. And the public workers? Those even less deserve any say in this as they were being paid by exploiting the capitalists or by the money of those exploiting the capitalists. It all makes sense now.

These shares should be freely tradable, sold and bought, and with this local government would essentially be abolished. If it were not for the continued existence of higher superior levels of government, this village or city would now be a free or liberated territory.

I like how “liberated territory” here means “The rich will own all of the village and make all decisions.” It seems that the most liberated territories in the history of the world where none other than company towns.

On the small local level, we can be as certain, or even more so than we could have been one hundred years ago about what would have happened if the king abdicated,

“Certain” here should mean “I imagined it in my head so it must be right.”

And many former teachers, policemen and judges would be rehired or resume their former position on their own account as self-employed individuals, except that they would be operated or employed by local “bigshots” or elites who own these things, all of whom are personally known figures[…]Local “bigshots” frequently provide public goods out of their own private pocket; and they obviously have the greatest interest in the preservation of local justice and peace.

I like how it’s assumed that the rich are “personally known figures” and that they are going to be the most charitable and eager to maintain local justice and peace. Of course, we all know the kind of justice and peace the rich generally dish out. It’s the justice geared to make them richer and the peace of putting down any challenge to their power.

But you know, those rich people who felt so unfair on having to subsidize public institutions and now going to turn charitable and out of the goodness of their heart now subsidize these public institutions to maintain justice and peace. That, or try to make them profitable, which we all know how that translates in regards to things like Firefighters….

Accordingly judges must be freely financed, and free entry into judgeship positions must be assured. Judges are not elected by vote, but chosen by the effective demand of justice seekers.

Right. Effective Demand. Interesting choice of words. So obviously someone who has no money gets no justice, while the richest with the most effective demand, get as much “justice” as they need. Something which becomes even more obvious once one considers that they now also own the courthouses as well. Basically what the author is suggesting is that justice should be explicitly geared to protecting the interests of the rich. But that’s not very surprising since the author considers them to be the only ones that count and the “natural elite.” All that the competition among judges (for effective demand of course) will do is to simply prune out those who are not sufficiently focused on protecting the interests of the plutocracy.

it should be clear that only a handful of local people, and only widely known and respected local personalities — that is, members of the natural local elite — would have any chance whatsoever of being so selected as judges of local peace.

And just to make things even more certain, you can’t become a judge unless you’re already rich and have the appropriate bias. Got that? Huh, scum?

Only as members of the natural elite will their decision possess any authority and become enforceable. And if they come up with judgments that are considered to be ridiculous, they will be immediately displaced by other local authorities that are more respectable.

What he means here is that since the rich will own all enforcement institutes like the police, if the judge makes a decision they do not like, they will simply refuse to enforce it. Obviously any decision that goes against the plutocratic interests must be “ridiculous.” That judge will most likely be arrested on the decision of less ridiculous judges and the eager enforcement of the (now) private police.

This implies that a central government cannot possibly enforce its legislative will, or perverted law, upon the entire population unless it finds widespread local support and cooperation in doing so. This becomes particularly obvious if one imagines a large number of free cities or villages as I described them before.

Yes, because there will never be local support at all from all those disenfranchised workers who now not only have no vote, but also no public goods and shamelessly skewed justice. Not at all. Plus, there will be “a large number of free cities and villages” already. They will just pop-up like mushrooms or something. It’ll never be the case that one (as impossible as that sounds) will take this step and be immediately crushed as a warning to the rest. Oh no, that would no be a perfect enough scenario.

The author then continues to say how those very small villages would resist the might of the government by not cooperating with them because the natural elite will be “only obligated to their local constituents.” Apparently it goes without saying that the rich will be more interested in protecting all those people they exploit (who are glad for it of course) rather than risk the wrath of the federal govt. Of course. Because the rich have always been paragons of courage and solidarity…

Consistently applied, no cooperation, no assistance whatsoever on any level, the central government’s power would be severely diminished or even evaporate. And in light of the general public opinion, it would appear highly unlikely that the federal government would dare to occupy a territory whose inhabitants did nothing else than trying to mind their own business. Waco, a teeny group of freaks, is one thing. But to occupy, or to wipe out a significantly large group of normal, accomplished, upstanding citizens is quite another, and quite a more difficult thing.

Putting aside the comparison to Waco (which believe me, it’s a difficult thing to do right now). The author’s willingness to assume what the government would be doing and what its motives are is brilliant. Not only will the public opinion remain on the plutocracy’s side, not only would the government be weakened by the “many such villages” but they will suddenly start caring about the lives of citizens outright challenging the power of the national plutocracy (expressed via the federal state of course). No the National Elite will be more than willing to allow the local upstarts challenge their power just like Kings were more than willing to suffer autonomous feudal lords rather than make them join their kingdom. Truly.

And it is in this situation then, when the central government will be forced to abdicate its protection monopoly and the relationship between the local authorities that reemerge and the central authorities, who are about to lose their power, can be put on a purely contractual level, and one might regain the power to defend one’s own property again.

And finally I’ll be able to shoot those damn kids playing on my lawn.

So there we go then. This is the first “practical” scenario I’ve seen from the Mises Institute about how to bring their utopia about. I hope I don’t have to explain the scare quotes around ‘practical’ by now. Unfortunately the more I read from them, the more their insane rants really make me challenge people who can take the whole institute seriously still. It really boggles the mind that some would even link me to this drivel as some feasible way to go forward.

TL;DR Version

  1. Find many many perfect small villages full of “decent people.”
  2. Vote to change “one person, one vote” to “one dollar, one vote.”
  3. Engineer a financial crisis.
  4. PRIVATIZE FUCKING EVERYTHING!!!
  5. ???
  6. Profit.
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