Why choose Libertarian Socialism?

I’ve been having a lengthy discussion with an Anarchist on Facebook which was triggered by my criticism of a link he made on one of Molyneux‘s videos. The argument has been mainly around the issue of whether we should be promoting “Anarcho”-Capitalist ideas since they are also considered libertarian, promote freedom/liberty and might thus bring someone close to Anarchism, even if through a different path. Needless to say I disagree.

Nevertheless, the discussion took an unexpected direction when he demanded “proof”

I just want something more substantial than rhetoric (no offense) but the more I look for these kinds of quantitative examples, the more I realize that, so far, there are none in existence. Rather than encourage, I find that discouraging; even disturbing. […] I won’t be satisfied until I see real, measurable progress[…]I’m open to new information if it’s quantifiable; it’s generalized rhetoric that fails to persuade me.

The quote above is referring to my pointing out the success of anarchist movements from the takeovers of Argentina to the Spanish Revolution. It seems then, that because the world is at the state it is now, ie not in Anarchy, all anarchist theory has been empirically disproven. That is, none of the methods suggested – syndicalism, collectivism, direct action etc, have made the world a better place. This reasoning might look valid on the surface but unfortunately is quite fallacious.

The problem here is that one ignores the reality of human politics. There has never been a human society which managed to totally change their sociopolitical system within a generation or hell, even within a 100 years. In fact, there has never been a radical sociopolitical change of such scale outside of socialist revolutions. Both Feudalism and Capitalism came about through hundreds of years of evolution, struggle and pressure which slowly made the environment fertile for their spread. In fact the form of those systems never reached a “final form” of any sort and simply continued to change according to the way the environment around them allowed. One could even go further and say that Capitalism is in fact the natural continuation of Feudalism as it provided a way for the Landed aristocracy to retain their elite status without having to base it on metaphysical rights.

As such, to request “proof” of going closer to the Libertarian Socialist ideal is entirely the wrong way to look at this, as this is rather a gradual progress which is based on many different aspects such as popular understanding and/or support, betterment of human life, liberalization, democratization etc. And this process can even be reversed when the class struggle goes toward the benefit of the ruling class, as is what has been happening in the last 30 years.

So to ask for “quantitative examples” is to miss the forest for the trees. The process is all around us and we can see it whenever we see betterment of human life, greater satisfaction from work, increased social safety etc. If one is simply looking for the “signals of revolution” in order to be convinced who to support, they’ll be waiting forever.

The question to ask rather is: What is causing all these beneficial events? What makes human lives better, work more fulfilling and increases social safety? The answer can easily be seen: Direct Action & Mutual Aid. In short, the Libertarian Socialist principles. Whenever these have been applied, a noticeable improvement can be observed while when these are missing, when Authoritarianism (the opposite of Direct Action) and Crass Individualism (the opposite of Mutual Aid) take over, we notice the exact opposite, even though superficial improvements might be observed, like an increase in GDP or some other irrelevant statistic.

So if these principles work and if the improve the lives of humans, why are we not in Anarchy yet? The answer to this is class struggle. For every attempt by those at the bottom to self-manage and help each other directly, there is a push in the opposite direction by the ruling class through any means possible, from propaganda to violent suppression. You cannot simply ignore the opposing force and claim that nothing works because the result is not here yet! Rather one needs to look at the gradual progress and the many different movements that progress. Once there’s a relatively large amount of such anarchistic instances, then a revolution can’t but follow as the capitalist system will be too undermined to work. Such was the case in the Spanish Revolution for example.

Then there is the other aspect of the demand for “proof” put to me. The question I need to ask, proof of what? That an anarchist society can work? There’s more than enough historical proof of that already. Or is it proof that anarchist principles will bring about Anarchy? If so, then I have to point out that it’s impossible to prove the future. But you don’t have to anyway, we do know that even outside Anarchy, libertarian socialist principles make our lives better and give us incentive to do more of them. This is why Anarchism is a hopeful theory, not a Utopian or nihilistic one.

Or perhaps it’s proof that anarchist principles are better than Reformism, State Socialism or Neoliberalism? In that case, one only has to point out at the inherent flaws in each of these theories. Thus when they were attempted, their failure only validated the predictions that anarchists made. Along all of them, only Libertarian Socialism actually did what it predicted when put into practice, even if it was later crushed military before it had a chance to ignite people’s feelings elsewhere.

So there’s really no rhetoric needed to make the case for Libertarian Socialism. History and personal experience are more than enough. This is in fact why so much rhetoric is needed by everyone else, for they need something to cover the abject failure of their practice.

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  • Arch Anism

    I think you've mis-characterized our discussion when you wrote, "The argument has been mainly around the issue of whether we should be promoting “Anarcho”-Capitalist ideas since they are also considered libertarian, promote freedom/liberty and might thus bring someone close to Anarchism, even if through a different path. Needless to say I disagree."

    I posted that link to Molyneux's video without any personal commentary attached. I intended to get feedback from whomever may take the time to watch i. Your first reply to that video was "Oh gawds, Molyneux…" to which I replied "careful, careful! 'Ad hominem' and all that. As long as honest people can lie, and liars can tell the truth, it's illogical to see the man rather than any particular idea that he advocates :)"

    Later on in the discussion you addressed my caution with "As for my exclamation about Molyneux, it was only because I have personal experience with him." I don't need to remind you that when you dismiss an idea on the basis of who puts forth the idea, that is ad hominem. With all due respect, your "personal experience with him" is irrelevant to whatever argument he may be advancing in the video.

    (Since there will be several references to the video, those who may wish to familiarize themselves with it may do so at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIs5r3ujBmw&fe… ).

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

      I posted that link to Molyneux's video without any personal commentary attached. I intended to get feedback from whomever may take the time to watch it

      A simple video, without any commentary from the poster is an implicit endorsement. That's plain netiquette. If you meant to simply gather feedback you should have clarified it. As such I didn't mis-characterize our discussion as most of it did really move around the issue of whether we should be promoting such an explicitly AnCap argumentation just for the off chance that someone, somewhere might see something and be convinced and thus come closer to anarchism.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

      I don't need to remind you that when you dismiss an idea on the basis of who puts forth the idea, that is ad hominem. With all due respect, your "personal experience with him" is irrelevant to whatever argument he may be advancing in the video.

      In that case I shouldn't need to remind you that an ad hominem accusation only applies when one actually dismisses an argument based on who the speaker is. I did not such thing. I simply made an exclamation which comes from my personal experience. Nothing more, nothing less. if i wished to counter Molyneux's argument I would have done that instead.

      • Arch Anism

        I think we're picking nits here, and that you're inconsistency is showing :)

        If, as you said in the comment below, that "a simple video, without any commentary from the poster is an implicit endorsement," then a simple implicitly negative exclamation, without any critique of the argument in the video, could also be seen as an implicit dismissal. Personally, I don't believe that "posting without commentary = implicit endorsement" in the grand Internet scheme but if that's how you see it, then for you, that's how it is. However, now that you understand that my position wasn't an endorsement (something you could easily have gleaned from our conversation, where I explicitly said so), I can only conclude that this blog post intentionally ignored my explicit statement, ergo, an intentional mis-representation. No back-peddling! :)

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

          I can only conclude that this blog post intentionally ignored my explicit statement, ergo, an intentional mis-representation. No back-peddling! :)

          My blogpost is not accusing you of endorsement, it's criticizing the idea that promoting (Note: Promoting =/= Endorsing) AnCap material might make people more positive to Anarchism. Ergo no mis-representation. In fact, the whole of my blogpost outside the original paragraph which was meant as a simply introduction has nothing to do with this but rather about your request for "proof".

        • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

          I can only conclude that this blog post intentionally ignored my explicit statement, ergo, an intentional mis-representation. No back-peddling! :)

          My blogpost is not accusing you of endorsement, it's criticizing the idea that promoting (Note: Promoting <> Endorsing) AnCap material might make people more positive to Anarchism. Ergo no mis-representation. In fact, the whole of my blogpost outside the original paragraph which was meant as a simply introduction has nothing to do with this but rather about your request for "proof".

          • Arch Anism

            My desire for proof was the conclusion of our Facebook discussion, where you voiced a lot of rhetoric about what has worked and is working, but it just takes enormous amounts of time. I said that I wanted something I could count but that, so far, I couldn't find any examples of this countable progress. Taken in context, my request seems quite reasonable to me; I say, taken in context.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            What does this have to do with the comment you are replying to? Do you concede that you were attacking a strawman in this thread then?

  • Arch Anism

    (part 2) From our Facebook discussion, I wrote "this 'proof of anarchy' [video] wasn't written so much to convince those of us who already embrace [anarchism]; it's for the general public and its aim, if i understand it correctly, is to show–in layman's terms–that anarchism is a workable system and that it is, at least partially, at work in the society [the general public] now enjoys."

    My premise never was about promoting Anarcho-Capitalism. That seems to be a red-herring upon which you build a straw man. It goes without saying (ok, maybe not) that as you kick and beat on the straw man, you seem to think you're refuting what I said in our discussion; not so.

    From our Facebook discussion, you wrote "I won't really bother to counter Molyneux's ideas about a possible anarchy based on this concept other than to say that it's hopelessly Utopian." Fair enough as opinions go, as long as we realize that I wasn't personally advocating Molyneux's ideas; I simply pointed my finger at them as if to say, "Hey, everyone; look at this."

    Again, I'm not promoting Anarcho-Capitalism, or even Molyneux's specific version of it. I'm simply putting it out there for consideration. It need not be an all-or-nothing proposition, that's my approach to new information. In a sea of sewage, there may be someone's lost diamond ring. One could easily (and understandably) dismiss the whole pile of sewage as detestable, but for those who are willing to see beyond the surface (no pun intended), there's a diamond ring in there waiting to be discovered.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

      My premise never was about promoting Anarcho-Capitalism. That seems to be a red-herring upon which you build a straw man.

      Then you have not understood what I was attacking (but really like to accuse me of random fallacies). In this case your quote makes it obvious that you consider AnCap to be a form of Anarchism and therefore something that can convince the layman that it's a workable system. I am thus attacking the root of the problem, the assumption that Molyneuxism is a form of Anarchism and that any such convertion will bring them closer to Anarchism.

      • Arch Anism

        What you were attacking was not what I was referring to. One can refer to a blueberry without necessarily making reference to blueberry pie. Once you began the Facebook discussion beyond my warning against ad hominem, my point NEVER was that An-Cap proper was the way to go; only that some nuggets might be gleaned from the idea. If you will, that a single blueberry might be tasty even if the pie was baked poorly.

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

          Once you began the Facebook discussion beyond my warning against ad hominem, my point NEVER was that An-Cap proper was the way to go; only that some nuggets might be gleaned from the idea.

          Sorry but that was never simply your point. Your point initially was that this might make some people more positive to anarchism (something I actually criticize) and further to that you also opened arguments on whether Anarchism and AnCapitalism can coexist side-by-side and that Anarchist tactics do not work (another thing I criticized). In fact, after I made a simple exclamation you went on a proper tangent about it which I simply followed. So please do not try to make me look as if I started randomly attacking points you did not make.

          • Arch Anism

            We are at a fundamental disconnect here. I can point to explicit statements by me that I was not endorsing Molyneux or An-Cap, and here you're saying it was my point. I wrote to Damien "I realize that nearly every idea has flaws. I don't agree with it 100% but I do think there are 'nuggets' of utility that can be gleaned from it." Some of what I wrote to you "As long as no one coerces me to participate in a DRO against my will, why should i care if a separate community of people desire to use it for themselves?" and " I'm not singing the praises either of Molyneux or his proof." and "I'm thinking that one of the nuggest to mine from Molyneux's 'proof' is the general idea that we need public support to further our agenda; period. Don't you agree?" and " I just want something more substantial than rhetoric (no offense) but the more I look for these kinds of quantitative examples, the more I realize that, so far, there are none in existence. Rather than encourage, I find that discouraging; even disturbing. Forget Stephan, forget his message. I won't be satisfied until I see real, measurable progress." Now tell me, how can you misinterpret my endorsement from all that?

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

            I can point to explicit statements by me that I was not endorsing Molyneux or An-Cap, and here you're saying it was my point.

            Argh! Where? Where do I say that it was your point? I've said it already many times in these comments. I have not accused you of endorsing Molyneux! I mean, FFS the comment you are replying to makes it absolutely clear what I was criticizing your arguments for.

  • Arch Anism

    (part 3) You said "…if this is the kind of thing that will convince the 'general public', then it will push them in entirely the wrong direction…."

    I think "entirely" is an overstatement. I replied "I suppose the public has already demonstrated its ability to go off in non-anarchistic directions so I can't help but wonder if something like this were to steer them more toward our ideology, would that be such a bad thing?"

    Please note that I wrote "something like this." Again, I'm not advancing a Molyneux's Anarcho-Capitalist, or any strict Anarcho-Capitalist, idea. I'm willing to wade around in this sewage pool (no disrespect meant to Molyneux in this unpleasant parallel).

    Moving forward to the crux of our dialog, I had indeed asked for something more quantifiable than a general rhetoric. This is not an unreasonable request, even in the face of socio-political dynamics. If you say {something} is working and I disagree, there needs to be some way to evaluate (in my terms, to measure) which of our claims may be closer to the truth.

    Even in your posting, above, you referred to historical events that seem (to me) to have no continuity in this present day. They happened, they're over, so what?

    You made reference both to Argentina and Spain. Is it your opinion that either of these places–aside from the historical events that occurred (past tense)–is more anarchistic today than they were before said events occurred? Granted, I'm no history buff so it may be that they are closer and I just don't know it. Consider my question an opportunity, even a sincere invitation, to educate me.

    • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

      Is it your opinion that either of these places is more anarchistic today than they were before said events occurred?

      Outside the fact that Argentina is not in the past-tense, you are still looking at my finger when I'm pointing at the sky. The fact that Anarchists were defeated does not change the validity of Anarchist tactics, only calls us to learn from past mistakes and work to get more popular support. Similarly, the fact that workers are worse now than they were 40 years ago does not mean that labour struggle is not working. One can easily see that from noticing that the worsening of the working class conditions correlate perfectly with the weakening of labour organizations rather than the opposite. This points out that such tactics do in fact work but that they have been suppressed.

      If we were to give up on struggling because "we're not in anarchism yet" we might as well go jump off a cliff as well since the world does not change in one day, and defeats and setbacks are only to be expected in a class struggle. Those defeats do not mean that we discard what has been shown to work, but that we learn from our mistakes, tweak what works and convince more people to take part.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

      I think "entirely" is an overstatement.

      You misunderstand "entirely". It did not mean that you say someone should really be interested in such argument. I meant that if someone is convinced by such arguments, it will be a convert in the wrong direction.

      You seem to have it into your head that this whole post was a denouncement of you for "endorsing AnCapitalist views" And thus keep looking all my sentences from this perspective, understand a totally different thing and trying to counter things I did not say.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

      Moving forward to the crux of our dialog, I had indeed asked for something more quantifiable than a general rhetoric. This is not an unreasonable request, even in the face of socio-political dynamics. If you say {something} is working and I disagree, there needs to be some way to evaluate (in my terms, to measure) which of our claims may be closer to the truth.

      And there is something more quantifiable than "general rhetoric" (Something wonderfully ambiguous which by now I take it to mean – "stuff I don't agree immediately with")

      This whole post was to point out that you are looking for proof in the wrong dimention, you are missing the forest for the trees. My main argument was to point that you cannot judge whether something is working by whether or not it's here yet. In fact, you seem to ignore my arguments when you state:

      Even in your posting, above, you referred to historical events that seem (to me) to have no continuity in this present day. They happened, they're over, so what?

      They were valuable lessons? They proved that Anarchism can work practically and can be used as historical examples on the this? They serve are useful arguments? They showed the accuracy of Anarchist predictions? There's so many things that the historical examples of Anarchism are useful for and yet you seem to think that because we're not in Anarchy yet, they didn't really count. Anarchist tactics don't work or whatever.

  • Arch Anism

    (part 4) Oh, I mentioned a straw man build upon the red herring. Here is where I see the straw man: You posted "It seems then, that because the world is at the state it is now, ie not in Anarchy, all anarchist theory has been empirically disproven."

    I never said, nor implied, any such thing; straw man.

    You continued "That is, none of the methods suggested – syndicalism, collectivism, direct action etc, have made the world a better place. This reasoning might look valid on the surface but unfortunately is quite fallacious."

    More rhetoric. If you say it's unreasonable, or illogical, or irrelevant, for me to request quantifiable evidence FOR the effectiveness of these tactics, then it's equally inappropriate for you to claim that they're 'working'. No measurements for one must equal no measurements for the opposite of the one. Simple.

    There's no false-dichotomy here. One not need fully embrace or fully reject Molyneux's–or anyone else's–ideas. I'm still willing to slosh around in the sewage for that undiscovered diamond. In other words, I'm not looking at the man to judge the idea or any component of it. Also, I'm not looking at the label (Anarcho-Capitalism) and dismissing out-of-hand any possible nugget within that my be useful when set in another context.

    I don't have 'the answer' in all this. But along the way, I don't appreciate being mis-characterized.

    • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

      If you say it's unreasonable, or illogical, or irrelevant, for me to request quantifiable evidence FOR the effectiveness of these tactics

      But you're not doing that. When one presents evidence that these tactics are working (improving the lives of people doing them and collectively making the world more open to anarchist revolutions for example), you're then shifting the goalposts and demanding as proof some "quantifiable evidence" that the world is "closer to anarchy". This is fallacious reasoning.

      This reminds of arguments requesting evidence of evolution and as evidence only accepting a dog turning into a cat or something. In short, you're requesting evidence that is impossible and is not actually how such "proof" is validated.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

      I never said, nor implied, any such thing; straw man.

      Really? because this quote to me says otherwise…

      Educating the public has not worked… unions have not worked… direct action (both violent and non-violent) have not worked…

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

      I'm still willing to slosh around in the sewage for that undiscovered diamond.

      More strength to you. I never criticized you for this. What I did criticize was to consider people who will be convinced by AnCap arguments to be closer to Anarchism (amongst other things)

  • http://dbzer0.com db0

    Fair enough as opinions go, as long as we realize that I wasn't personally advocating Molyneux's ideas; I simply pointed my finger at them as if to say, "Hey, everyone; look at this."

    No you didn't. Unless you're very new on the internet in which case I'll give you the benefit of a doubt. What is the point of saying "look at this?" If one started posting Nazi promotional material without comment would you assume that they are just pointing out things critically? That's not how things work.

    I can perfectly understand that you are not promoting Molyneux. I am not criticizing you for that, which is incidentally the real strawman you are attacking. I am criticizing your defense that posting a vid does not constitute promotion, that Molyneuxism is a form of Anarchism and that through it one can come closer to anarchist ideas.

    • Arch Anism

      Actually, the point of saying "look at this" is what I said it was: to get feedback. You're saying a lack of explicit elaboration implies an endorsement. I think that's your opinion rather than any inviolate Internet protocol. People on Facebook often give a "thumbs up" to a video that shows an atrocious act of cruelty or injustice. Would you say they're in favor of the video showing that act (from a perspective of "I'm glad someone's exposing this cruelty/injustice") or would you say they're in favor of the cruelty/injustice itself?

      Without an explicit statement either way, assuming is the wrong attitude to use. Better to ask the simple question when unsure, "Are you in favor of this logic? Why did you post it; can't tell from the absence of commentary from you." Perfectly reasonable means of clarification in the face of uncertainty. But you did no such fundamental clarification, but assumed that your view is universal and that I shared your view. Assumption has no place in rational discourse, and for someone who seems quite intelligent, I think maybe it was an oversight rather than an intentional misrepresentations. As you did with me, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. :)

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

        Without an explicit statement either way, assuming is the wrong attitude to use[…]

        Sorry but unless I know someone, this assumption is perfectly valid. You're simply assuming a different set of social norms which are simply not true online.

        And again, I didn't pass judgement on you for "endorsing" neither at the start, nor at the continuation of the discussion. In fact, this was never an argument of mine for anything, and it seems to me that you're caught on the more minor straw you can find sticking out in order to make an argument. As such, while my assumption might have been wrong, I would never use one initial assumption to make define a person I do not know online which is in fact why I didn't!

        That being said, assumptions are normal part of human interaction with people we do not know. We take the things they say and gather them until we have a full picture. As someone I do not know at all other than your links, my initial assumption was perfectly understandable (and possible incomplete/inaccurate something I never denied)

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

    People on Facebook often give a "thumbs up" to a video that shows an atrocious act of cruelty or injustice.

    I find that hard to believe unless the video itself had the proper context.

  • Arch Anism

    It happens on StumbleUpon all the time. People thumbs up or down on pages they like or don't like, but with no context for the rating. It happens on Facebook, too, at least in my exposure to it. Perhaps this is the cause of our initial disconnect. In the future, I'll try to remember to be more explicit and maybe you could try to elicit more clarification in the face of uncertainty. Deal? :)

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

      Facebook is not Stumbleupon and in the later one easily makes the assumption that those who thumb up pages actually liked them. So if someone is voting up a page about explicit violence, or say nazism, I am well to assume that he likes explicit violence or Nazism.

      In the future, I'll try to remember to be more explicit and maybe you could try to elicit more clarification in the face of uncertainty. Deal

      I always elicit more clarification when I care. In this instance I neither cared nor did I ever accuse you of what my assumption was.

  • TheTaoOfStevie

    Greetings. I am a Libertarian Minarchist & staunch individualist who was recently exposed to and is seriously considering Libertarian Socialism. I have a number of questions I would like to pose before I might "jump on board". Are you currently available for some Q & A?

    Thanks.

  • TheTaoOfStevie

    Just a friendly nudge- do you wish to respond to my query?

    • http://dbzer0.com db0

      Sorry, I must have missed the notification. Replied now.

  • http://dbzer0.com db0

    I've written a bit on these subjects here
    http://dbzer0.com/blog/misunderstanding-communism

    In short, it's not really about having "compensation" but about improving one's life by improving your tools. This is its own incentive. There is no need to assign value to different labour and skills, since everyone is supposed to receive according to their needs anyway.

    • TheTaoOfStevie

      I'll read the article, but I am *very* much *against* the idea of "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need", if that's where you're going.

      I'm leaning towards the Mutualist camp at present.

    • TheTaoOfStevie

      I have to say though- if I were in a Libertarian Socialist society that was focused on Municipal communities, I'd live in one that was Mutualist oriented, but I would be *very* curious to see how a more communist oriented community might work. I think it would take a unique group of people to make it work well.

  • http://dbzer0.com db0

    Why are you so strongly against it?

    • TheTaoOfStevie

      Several reasons- the first being the determination of "need". "Need" can become "the coin of the realm" in such a society. It would take a very unique sort of community to avoid that happening, I think.

      • http://dbzer0.com db0

        How do you imagine need becoming "the coin of the realm". Why do you think it needs to be "determined"?

    • TheTaoOfStevie

      I can't stand the woman & I disagree with much of what she said, but I think Rand did a pretty good job of portraying Marx's theme in Atlas Shrugged. Are you familiar with the part of the story that described "The 20th Century Motor Company"?

      • http://dbzer0.com db0

        No seriously, Rand was nowhere close to Marxist concepts, not to mention Anarcho-Communist concepts.

        • TheTaoOfStevie

          She was very myopic and polarized. She missed a great many things, but in her assessment of Marxism she brought up several valid points. One was exemplified here-

          If I feel a *need* a yacht, and a mansion, and a sports car, who is to say I am wrong? Am I to expect the community to provide me these things, because I feel I *need* them?

          • http://dbzer0.com db0

            Common sense would say that you do not. But it may be the case that these will be provided to you as luxuries in a communal basis.

          • TheTaoOfStevie

            Provided to me? By whom? Based on who's decision?

          • http://dbzer0.com db0

            By the commons. I.e. by the common area where all the shared resources/luxiries are stored.

          • TheTaoOfStevie

            I have too much of a sense of individualism & independence to live communally like that. I believe in primarily providing for one's self, earning one's own way, but also sharing some portion of the fruits of my labor to help others. I don't want my work effort going into a "pool" which I might draw from when I have a need. I don't mind sharing & helping others, in fact I enjoy it immensely, but I want to decide the how & when & who of the fruits of my labor being shared.

            I accept that you & others like you would prefer a more communal association, I do not think less of you for it- it is simply your way. I would be happy if we were both free to live in the sorts of communities we desire.

          • http://dbzer0.com db0

            "Providing for oneself" is an illusion. You always rely on other humans to help you surive. The only thing that changes is how that help is provided. Based on mutual aid, or based on competition? I choose the former, you choose the latter. Unfortunately for you, research has shown that competition is sub-optimal to say the least.

          • TheTaoOfStevie

            I am not at all interested in "optimal", I am interested in *independence*. I could provide for myself if I were the only human in existence- so it is most certainly NOT an "illusion". My work effort supports my life, whether I trade with others or not, I need no research to confirm that truth.

            I am independent in that my work effort supports my life, directly or indirectly. The output of my work effort may be TRADED with others to our mutual benefit, but I still support myself by MY work.

            I cannot live in your sort of society, period.

          • http://dbzer0.com db0

            No, you really wouldn't. You wouldn't raise yourself. You wouldn't educate yourself. You wouldn't build your own tools. The whole idea that you are completely self-reliant is absurd. No human being has ever lived in this way. As much as you want to delude yourself otherwise, homo sapiens is a co-operative and social species. In fact, you'd probably go insane living alone.

          • TheTaoOfStevie

            You are not understanding my position. I will attempt to simplify it.

            I work. My work produces output. I trade this output with others, I do not want put my work output into a "communal pool", I want to control the output of my labor effort more directly.

            I recognize that I can't build everything myself. I build what I wish to, what I enjoy producing, as do others. I have my work output, they have their work output- we trade as we see fit. Our interactions are voluntary trade for mutual benefit.

            I don't want the output of my work put in a "communal pool". I don't want to draw the means of my survival from a "communal pool". If you and others do, that's fine… for you.

          • http://dbzer0.com db0

            You always control the output of your work. What you can't control is the output of other's work. And that is true in communism just as well as in mutualism. In both scenarios you produce as much as you are able and give the surplus to others in exchange for anything that you want or need. Both cases are voluntary and for mutual aid, but the market one adds the unhealthy element of competition in the mix.

            By itself, this addition makes no sense, unless you expect either of two things. A) that you're a much better producer and thus will end up with more of your wants filled than the others or B) That there are some others who are so lazy that they do not deserve to achieve as much as you do. You then mistakenly expect that by introducing an element of luck, social mistrust and ultimately social darwinism in the exchange process, you somehow achieve this egotistic result.

            It's this unhealthy obsession with what is "fair", even though you will theoretically get your need and wants filled in both systems, that I do not comprehend.

          • TheTaoOfStevie

            I believe market competition should be there for one simple reason-

            There must be *freedom* to produce what you wish to produce, and *freedom* to choose who you wish to produce it with.

            Again- it is about individualism. The other considerations you mention are irrelevant to me. I said nothing of "what is fair".

          • http://dbzer0.com db0

            You don't have to say it, I am challenging your unstated premises. The "individualism" you mention is primarily an obsession with everyone getting what is their due.

            I believe market competition should be there for one simple reason-

            There must be *freedom* to produce what you wish to produce, and *freedom* to choose who you wish to produce it with.

            This does not in any way imply a free market.

          • TheTaoOfStevie

            "This does not in any way imply a free market."

            I am now doubting your sense of rationality. Please explain that statement.

            "I am challenging your unstated premises"

            You added several embellishments that do not apply. Which is somewhat irritating- akin to having words put in one's mouth.

          • http://dbzer0.com db0

            Ugh, seriously, you're calling me irrational because I point out that freedom = / = free markets? I've already given a whole post which attempts to explain the statement.

          • TheTaoOfStevie

            To be specific- I said I was *doubting*- I asked for explanation to confirm or remove my doubt. I may read the post you mentioned and change my opinion.

            We are operating from different paradigms. You often don't understand the fullness of my meaning. I often don't understand yours.

          • http://dbzer0.com db0

            You added several embellishments that do not apply. Which is somewhat irritating- akin to having words put in one's mouth.

            Alright, I'll bite. How is it "about individualism" exactly? How is my ideology *less* individualistic than yours?

          • TheTaoOfStevie

            Simple- I see my ideology as "individual gets what individual works for- directly"

            I see yours as "individual works and gets… some mix of what he thinks he needs from what others want to put in the collective pool"… I really don't know. I can't relate to it at all.

            You know- what you want to do might work, but it doesn't matter to me. I don't want it. I don't want to live that way. It's just that simple.

          • http://dbzer0.com db0

            I really don't know. I can't relate to it at all.

            No, you don't. And the thing is, that you don't seem to even be trying to understand. Case in point, this statement: "individual gets what individual works for- directly" is true for all socialist systems (but not for capitalist ones). The difference is what happens *after*. In mutualism, you voluntarily trade your surplus product. In Communism you voluntarily share your surplus product. The only difference between the two on this issue, is that communism is not subject to the social darwinism of the free markets.

          • TheTaoOfStevie

            "you don't seem to even be trying to understand"

            I haven't read the post you mentioned yet, to be honest. Perhaps we should pause our discussion until I do.

            "In mutualism, you voluntarily trade your surplus product. In Communism you voluntarily share your surplus product."

            THAT I understand. I still prefer Mutualism. I prefer trade.

            "Communism is not subject to the social darwinism of the free markets."

            I *really* like that *free* part…. quite a lot, to be honest.

          • http://dbzer0.com db0

            It's just a name. They're not freer than any other anarchist distribution model and I could argue that they're less free than most, along with the other failings they have.

          • TheTaoOfStevie

            I've read the posts you referred to. I understand your position better. I still don't prefer your methods.

            Mutualist trade seems much more direct. I *know* that I earned that which I have, and I can take pride in it. I don't want to just walk up to the car company and request a car. I want to trade *my* widgets for *their* car, directly.

            I just want to be able to look at my home, my car, etc. and honestly say- "I truly earned that". Trading value for value directly offers me that.

            As to the competition issue- competition with others does not drive me, and I'm happy to cooperate with others to a reasonable degree. I prefer many individual co-ops so that I have a choice, and I can associate with those who are more aligned with my personality, temperament and goals. I just want *variety*, because I know people are varied, and there are those that I would *not* wish to work with.

            There's nothing *wrong* with your form of communism, I just don't want to live in such a manner.

  • Mike

    There are a few issues you didn't cover regarding "proof" of libertarian-socialism that an individual entertaining this idea might have in mind. One might, for example, ask for proof of libertarian-socialism's desirablity. Is there something, for example, that makes it morally superior to alternative systems of social organization or political philosophies? If so, what exactly? Further, one might wonder, what proof is there for the claims libertarian-socialists commonly make about the incompatibility of capitalism with individual autonomy (this is particularly important question to address considering that right-libertarians think capitalism provides an environment in which liberty most flourishes; a claim entirely opposed to libertarian-socialist ideas)?

    Just to be clear, I'm not trying to be contentious. I think it would strengthen your presentation if you were to address these issues. Further, although I have some tentative answers of my own, I'm genuinly interested in how a libertarian-socialist might address these questions. I'd much appreciate your help, thanks.