How Anarcho-Capitalists lost their freethought.
I just discovered this quote on yet another Ning network about liberty which was unsurprisingly filled with right-“libertarians” and assorted propertarians. I felt it was too good to let it dirft into obscurity in a random thread.
Mase R. Molina said:What do you mean when you say [Anarcho-Capitalism] became monolithic?
If I had better words for it I’d use those! Anarchocapitalism isn’t a free chamber for discussion of ideas. It has an orthodoxy, a hivemind.
Their sense of identity is strong. They stick together and talk largely amongst themselves about the same tired subjects over and over, occasionally venturing out to troll enemies. They are not comfortable discussing other subjects. Trying to discuss other subjects usually leads to misunderstanding or mockery on the part of the ancap. It becomes a catch-22 where they don’t talk because they don’t know, and they don’t know because they don’t talk.
If that was scattered with different people having different randomly-overlapping comfort zones I wouldn’t call it monolithic. The thing is they all have roughly the same range of topics and range of tolerable positions on those topics as each other. This restricted range of acceptable topics leads to the above-mentioned loss of free inquiry spirit, and development of a hive mind. They repeat each others mistakes and think that they aren’t mistakes because others who agree with them can rationalize them better.
I don’t think I’ve ever had a gainful discussion with an ancap. Some have been fun, but never gainful. That’s why I’m not an ancap. It’s basically a big debate club of people who already agree with each other. The mistaken ideas they hold are side-effects of this monolithy, so I really consider avoiding the monolith to be a whole layer above avoiding their specific mistakes. To stay amongst them is to allow their limits to be yours. I can’t stand that.
Also Brainpolice has a nice addendum to it.
I agree with you, Zhwazi, but perhaps I could try to clarify and elaborate. What you’re saying is potentially true about any political ideology, and ancap would just be one example of it. The same thing is true of hardcore libcoms in my experience. But, by the very least, in terms of the orthodoxy of ancap, there is an inflexibility in which (1) word-association dogmatism destroys the prospect of understanding with other libertarian and anarchist ideologies, and other ideologies in general (2) an a priori conceptual apparatus is clung to in which rigid dichotomies are established, such as assuming that the only alternative to absolutist propertarianism is non-ownership and (3) a willful ignorance of other libertarian/anarchist positions and their history, only viewing things through the lense of a specific “capitalist” paradihm, and effectively denouncing that which deviates from the orthodoxy as statism. This can be seen most clearly at the Mises Institute. Try even suggesting that there is such thing as left-libertarianism to many of these people, and observe their reactions.
I agree of course. I’ve noticed rigidity from many other camps as well, from State Communists to Social Democrats but only among AnCaps (and Objectivists) have I experienced this amount of ideological rigidity. Of course, fundamentalist christians might be even worse but those at least don’t try to pass themselves as freethinkers.