How far do you take freedom?

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Gizmoguy
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Jul 12 2009 10:26
How far do you take freedom?

I think I'm very radical as far as freedom goes, even for an anarchist. My only rule is "live and let live", and I think you should be able to live as you see fit. I am against anybody telling you how to live, and see this as fascism, even the current governments of the world. However, I would not want to rule out racism and homophobia, because I think it is a person's right to like in a segregated society if they wish. If we tell people they cannot be racist, isn't that fascism? Basically, I think people should be allowed to live in whatever society they see fit, and if someone wants to go and live in a all-white or all-black society, then that's fine by me, because it's their right to do so: just don't try to force your views on me. That's one of the reasons I because an anarchist, so that people could live how they want. But, what do we do about the people who want to live with a government? Ultimately, there is always going to be some group of people we conflict with (and fascists). I don't see any problem with other communities having governmental systems and developing economic systems, because it's their right to do so, but what happens if this evolves into a government that tries to run the country again? I'd like to hear peoples' views on my 'extreme libertarianism', as I call it, and how we could make this work amongst other societal structures.

slothjabber
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Jul 12 2009 11:30

This is a personal view, I'm not a member of any anarchist organisation but I thought I'd just lay a few things out anyway.

OK; some problems of semantics. No, telling someone they're not supposed to be a racist is not fascism, in fact being a racist is closer to fascism (if, by fascism, you mean Nazism); and therefore the racist and the terribly bad fascist non-racist should actually be on the same side. That's obviously ludicrous, because the terms of reference of the debate are logically flawed.

An "all-white society" would be OK would it? And what if a black person wanted to live in it? Who can tell them they can't? Why, racists/fascists, of course. The scenario is exactly the same the other way around, it doesn't matter if a white person is being prevented from living in a black community or a black person in a white community. Where is the freedom to live where you like in your 'extreme libertarian' segregated utopia?

Segregation, by its nature, is the antithesis of freedom, and therefore isn't 'libertarian' at all. It is forcing your views on people - it's telling them that they can't live in your community because their 'face don't fit'. Which is pretty much up there as the shittiest politics going. Am I fascist for saying that? Must be. I'm interfering with your "right" to believe that you're an "extreme libertarian".

What you're advocating doesn't to me, seem anything like anarchism. Anarchism, at least class struggle anarchism (what individualists, Anarcho-capitalists and libertarians (American usage) may believe is beyond both my ken and my interest) is based on resitance to ooppression. Why would you advocate, or even tolerate, if you think you are an anarchist, racial oppression? Why would you tolerate oppression of homosexuals?

Rousseau, I think it was, who said that the best guarantee of the freedomn of the individual is the freedom of all. And that means that gays and blacks must have the same freedoms that everyone else has. If homophobes and racists have the right to live in a community, so do gays and blacks. Therefore, logically, there can be no such thing as 'no gays, no blacks, no Jews' communities. They are inconsistent with the fundamental principles of Anarchism.

Is that facism? No it really isn't.,

As to 'what happens if people want to live under a government...' well; 1 - it's never going to happen, because no-one is going to say 'enslave and exploit me please'; and 2 - the answer above might provide a few clues, in that, while people are I think free to believe whatever they want, they are not free, due to living in a society with other people, to impose that thinking on others. In the end this means that 'governement' as we understand it is not possible, without coming into fundamental conflicts with freedom.

If you support the 'right' of people to be 'not-free' you are not an anarchist. People do not have the 'right' to be unfree. Being free is the prerequisite for being fully human, in anarchist thought. It is a necessity to be free. There will always be constraints on that freedom, there are some laws that it's difficult to overturn (gravity, conservation of momentum, arrow of time etc) but 'wanting to be enslaved' is not a valid reason for resigning from the human race.

We have a responsibility to each other. Unlike the fantasies of the individualists, the nightmares of the Anarcho-caps and Anarcho-prims, class-struggle Anarchists recognise that our being is social, it is defined by other people; therefore, our destiny is collective, because we are figuratively all in the same boat. It is as a species that we live, thrive, or die. So, our goal must be collective action not particularism and specialisation.

As a result, there are no 'competing systems' after the revolution. There is only communism, becauyse otherwise the revolution has not succeeded. Does this mean you will be 'forced' to be free? Yes. Does this mean you will be dragged to meetings to collectively determine things? No. But I think a lot of us will probably think less of you if you refuse to participate.

banpen
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Jul 12 2009 14:47

Surely your freedom must include the freedom to live without intimidation? Racism often manifests as a misinterpretation of class issues - 'foreigners' being exploited for cheap labour then blamed for taking jobs for example, or social patterns/stigmas ingrained due to generations of oppression by the privileged labeled as 'biological'

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Jenni
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Jul 12 2009 16:12

i'm avoiding work so here are some questions for you and your absolute freedom society:
1) is the freedom to race attack someone respected?
2) is the freedom to rape respected?
3) what about the freedom to have sex with kids?
4) if not how are you going to manage this without rules, i.e. some way of suppressing total freedom.

this thread has been done to death on the internet forever, but it is fantastic procrastination material..

freemind
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Jul 12 2009 19:42

To further Jenni's point;
Anarcho-Capitalists/Individualists/Mystics etc. are not Anarchists!
Anarchism is based on the utmost individual freedom WITHIN a collective framework
"Freedom" to rob rape and kill is bourgeoise lasaise fare and Capitalist in ethos and not Anarchist!
Anarchism is collective responsibility and it's fundamental tenets are Mutual Aid and Solidarity
This is just a rough text of what i believe are essentials of what are and are not Anarchist and
why so much confusion on the basic belief in Freedom leads to a crippling malaise regarding Anarchism.Until the basics are understood and the charlatans and mystics are sent packing
Anarchism will never progress and will never regain it's place at the helm of the workers movement!

Alderson Warm-Fork
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Jul 13 2009 21:45

So first off, to echo the others in the thread, absolute freedom isn't too hot, and anarchists are generally more concerned about avoiding hierarchy and oppression than about guaranteeing people the freedom to oppress. As for 'how far to take freedom' I've never heard a better rule of thumb than 'as much freedom for each as is compatible with like freedom for all', for a substantive definition 'freedom' (i.e. not just negative freedom).

But more importantly, please don't abuse the word 'fascist'. For christ's sake, it does not just mean 'bad' or even 'authoritarian'. It's a particular ideology, a particular historical phenomenon, and applying to everything you disagree with just destroys its analytical usefulness.

And as for people who want to live under a state - this isn't actually a challenge or anything, it's the same as slave contracts. Freedom is inalienable, so people can elect governments all they want, have the ceremonies of law-making and law-following, and it may even be useful and/or fun (just like it can be useful and/or fun for sadomasochists to draw up 'slave contracts' and have obedience rituals).

But as soon as the 'citizen' decides they want to stop playing, and ignore the 'laws', their freedom returns to them and any action to punish them is simply aggression. Analogously, even if I've signed a slave contract, as soon as I decide I want to, I can disobey my master, and if they try to stop me, it's assault. If we go to any court/dispute-resolution mechanism, they have no defense of 'they agreed to it' because that contract is legally void - because freedom is inalienable.

So people are free to live under laws, up until the point when they feel like breaking them. Rather like being a vegetarian between meals.

akai
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Jul 13 2009 22:27

Good responses people. Unfortunately, there are quite a few people with these views here in Poland and you can sometimes even read them in anarchist magazines - so I'm glad to see some more good arguments against this strange, individualized view of freedom and as I'm bored of repeating my arguments and sounding like a broken record, I'll be sure to copy and paste some of these next time it's needed.

But one thing that I often point out is that it is problematic to reify the concept of personal freedom and place that above other issues which make up the real cornerstones of anarchism. Ideas like social equality, collectivism and the egalitarian running of society. A person can "freely choose" to be a racist - but that doesn't mean that he has an anarchist vision. It means he has an ego and a will to exert his personal vision - that's all.

Further, one can question the very idea of free choice. How does one "choose" to become a racist if not by certain prejudices acquired in his or her upbringing? Is this really a "free" choice, and how does one know this? Given the widespread incidence of ideas innoculated into young people throughout different cultures, it is questionable whether a "free" choice which may be made as a result of quite un-libertarian factors is really as "free" as people make it out to be.

Hakim Bey was famous proponent of creating autonomous communities based on free association which would even give rights for racists to create race-separate communities and I argued with him on this point on various occassions. One question I used to ask (and never got a good answer to) was what about the children who would be raised in such a community? He used to say that they would be able to decide if they stay or go - but how would they be able to make their choices is they were raised isolated from other people and indoctrinated? As soon as children appeared in this community, the "free choice" of the parents would become the not-free prison of the children. In such as situation, the only honourable thing to do would be to fight regular incursions to liberate the newborns. smile

Somebody above was right to bring in a criticism of anarcho-capitalists here. Many, if not most of them tend to claim that labour relations are also a matter of free choice and people "freely" sell their labour and agree to it. When we examine the real "choice" that most people on this earth have in such matters, we see what a myth this free choice really is.

All this said, even though people say this topic has been done "again and again" on the internet, we have to keep in mind that people don't generally have a comprehensive knowledge of what's been discussed on some forum smile (certainly I don't:-)) and this topic is bound to be repeated since it is a common misconception of what anarchism is about and because the marginal wingnuts who spread such ideas have been quite active in recent years and it can be quite easy for people to come across them. (In some places they also, unfortunately even made it into the anarchist mainstream. It would be great if someday there was a good article on this question that could be widely used.

banpen
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Jul 14 2009 12:10

awesome point akai, I've strangely never thought of the children point in fighting 'national anarchists' and the like

MorningStar
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Jul 19 2009 18:42

Do No Harm.
Cause No Loss.
No other rules, or restraints. I beleive people would be far less inclined toward both racism and homophobia if borders and government/media censorship ceased to be an issue. I tend to agree with the above posts, that yes this subject has been endlessly debated, and I think this is likely to continue until we have a radical change in the way we all live. My knowledge of anarchist philosophy is limited however....but that is why I am here.

Could these two 'rules' apply to a truly Anarchist society?

pannekoek-bakunin
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Jul 19 2009 21:03

red star smile red n black star

I think this discussion is very important. It is one of the most difficult to answer. I have been away from libertarian ideas for a rather long time - but now I try to rekindle the old flame of libertarian communism and left communism/council communism. I like Morning Star`s two rules (Do no harm. Cause No Loss). I remember many years ago when I became interested in libertarian communism, that many of my classmates on school always argued that human nature was essentially bad. cry

I think this is the old story of the "evil" of humanity. I recommend reading Paul Cardan and Paul Mattick. I am a marxist really, but I think the great chance for humanity is if we try to make a merge between non-authoritarian communism/marxism with non-individualist anarchism/anarchist-syndicalism.

Certainly, "marxists", which I have had faith in just some days ago should not be believed. Marxism needs to find a non-authoritarian way, or else we will maybe face a lot of "socialist" countries with oppression and lack of freedom.

smile red n black star red star

pannekoek-bakunin
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Jul 19 2009 21:26

red star smile red n black star

I believe that the left communism of KAPD/KAPN was a good way forward. And, Lenin; I do not think that he was a "monster", like Stalin was. But Lenin did some grave errors, like the NEP-period ("New Exploitation of the Proletariat", as some russian left communists called it), and the action against the revolutionaries in Kronstadt.

I believe that Lenin was really a rebel, and he should be read with other spectacles than those of his Stalinists "followers". I must admit, though, that this is indeed a difficult question.

Greetings from
pannekoek-bakunin

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Alaric Malgraith
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Jul 20 2009 00:21

Further than the Maquis de Sade. wink

MorningStar
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Jul 20 2009 16:43

They are not (sadly) 'my' rules. They are the fundamental basis for the system of laws governing the CommonWealth Countries, it's just hard to see them through all the controlling paranoid crap they bury them under.

moismyname
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Jul 29 2009 02:14
Quote:
The so-called paradox of freedom is the argument that freedom in the sense of absence of any restraining control must lead to very great restraint, since it makes the bully free to enslave the meek. [...]
Less well known is the paradox of tolerance: Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. [...]
Another of the less well-known paradoxes is the paradox of democracy, or more precisely, of majority-rule; i.e. the possibility that the majority may decide that a tyrant should rule. [...]

Karl Popper: The Open Society and Its Enemies

Popper goes on to suggest how these paradoxes would be avoided in an egalitarian, protectionist, constitutional representative democracy with institutional checks and balances (after all, he wasn't an anarchist). But I think this passage sums up pretty well were the limits of freedom, tolerance and majority-rule must be. However, I don't see how these limits would be established in society other than via a constitution of some form - even MorningStar's "Do No Harm. Cause No Loss." would have to be written down for reference and appointed with some higher value.

B_Reasonable
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Jul 29 2009 15:02
moismyname wrote:
Quote:
The so-called paradox of freedom is the argument that freedom in the sense of absence of any restraining control must lead to very great restraint, since it makes the bully free to enslave the meek. [...]
Less well known is the paradox of tolerance: Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. [...]
Another of the less well-known paradoxes is the paradox of democracy, or more precisely, of majority-rule; i.e. the possibility that the majority may decide that a tyrant should rule. [...]

Karl Popper: The Open Society and Its Enemies

Popper goes on to suggest how these paradoxes would be avoided in an egalitarian, protectionist, constitutional representative democracy with institutional checks and balances (after all, he wasn't an anarchist). But I think this passage sums up pretty well were the limits of freedom, tolerance and majority-rule must be. However, I don't see how these limits would be established in society other than via a constitution of some form - even MorningStar's "Do No Harm. Cause No Loss." would have to be written down for reference and appointed with some higher value.

Popper is defending modern capitalism (free competition) and showing how arbitrary power structures, such as racial superiority, are not part of its system of social domination. However, he is not advocating the abolition of property or wage labour, or even toleration towards those who reject either of these concepts, so he is not addressing the main causes of lack of freedom in our society.

Marx wrote:
The statement that, within free competition, the individuals, in following purely their private interest, realize the communal or rather the general interests means nothing other than that they collide with one another under the conditions of capitalist production, and hence that the impact between them is itself nothing more than the recreation of the conditions under which this interaction takes place. (Grundrisse)

In Anarchist Communism, "the limits of freedom, tolerance and majority-rule must be" determined by social relations based on mutual aid. Once you subjugate people's own ability to make decisions under rules you soon need a mini-state to preserve the rules which also probably means the rules are not being applied in the way intended. Then people start to assert their own interests under the guise of 'preserving the rules', e.g. wanting a nice cosy job as rule manager. Anyway, "Cause No Loss" doesn't seem to make much sense outside of a propertarian society.

Kropotkin wrote:
We already forsee a state of society where the liberty of the individual will be limited by no laws, no bonds -- by nothing else but his own social habits and the necessity, which everyone feels, of finding cooperation, support, and sympathy among his neighbours. (Anarchist Communism)
moismyname
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Jul 30 2009 20:47

(I knew quoting Popper would arouse controversy)

B_Reasonable wrote:
Popper is defending modern capitalism (free competition) and showing how arbitrary power structures, such as racial superiority, are not part of its system of social domination. However, he is not advocating the abolition of property or wage labour, or even toleration towards those who reject either of these concepts, so he is not addressing the main causes of lack of freedom in our society.

First of all, Popper is not defending capitalism, at least not in The Open Society and Its Enemies. If he is defending anything, it is civil liberalism against state authoritarianism, but the main theme of the book is to show how an inherent conception of social destiny, as found in the philosophies of Plato, Hegel and Marx, can lead to a totalitarian society, due to its disregard of the individual. Popper hardly even mentions economics, which, I agree with you, is an essential factor for freedom or lack thereof. But that is hardly a flaw in his reasoning, because that is simply not what the book is about.

Btw, Popper's and Bakunin's criticisms of Marx share many similarities. And you needn't throw anti-capitalist Marx quotations at me - apart from the fact that it's off-topic, if I were pro capitalism, I probably wouldn't be hanging around on libertarian communist boards, would I?

Secondly, all of that (your allegations and my response) is beside the point. Even if Popper was defending capitalism, that wouldn't make the paradoxes described above less real. Let's face it, all three paradoxes have occurred in history, the first often during post-civil war anarchies, the second and third often when fascist regimes or tyrants have risen out of democracies (including the direct democracy of ancient Athens). Even today I'm pretty sure that if the constitutions were suddenly declared invalid and people were requested to hold referenda on all communal issues, they would immediately democratically decide to return to a bourgeois way of life with capitalism, representative democracy, laws and police force and all the shite. And what's to stop them?

Quote:
In Anarchist Communism, "the limits of freedom, tolerance and majority-rule must be" determined by social relations based on mutual aid. Once you subjugate people's own ability to make decisions under rules you soon need a mini-state to preserve the rules which also probably means the rules are not being applied in the way intended. Then people start to assert their own interests under the guise of 'preserving the rules', e.g. wanting a nice cosy job as rule manager. Anyway, "Cause No Loss" doesn't seem to make much sense outside of a propertarian society.
Kropotkin wrote:
We already forsee a state of society where the liberty of the individual will be limited by no laws, no bonds -- by nothing else but his own social habits and the necessity, which everyone feels, of finding cooperation, support, and sympathy among his neighbours. (Anarchist Communism)

So you agree with Gizmoguy? You think intolerant people shouldn't be forbidden to gang up and discriminate others? You don't think we need some form of guidelines to prevent the establishment from reestablishing itself, or worse? Or are you simply reluctant to call your guidelines "constitution" (not that it makes any difference what you call them)?

B_Reasonable
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Aug 1 2009 18:14
moismyname wrote:
(I knew quoting Popper would arouse controversy)

You may be disappointed, I'm a fan of Popper's Critical Rationalism but politically, his critical faculties were out-to-lunch, blinded by his understandable hatred of Marxist-Leninism.

moismyname wrote:
B_Reasonable wrote:
Popper is defending modern capitalism (free competition) and showing how arbitrary power structures, such as racial superiority, are not part of its system of social domination. However, he is not advocating the abolition of property or wage labour, or even toleration towards those who reject either of these concepts, so he is not addressing the main causes of lack of freedom in our society.

First of all, Popper is not defending capitalism, at least not in The Open Society and Its Enemies. If he is defending anything, it is civil liberalism against state authoritarianism, but the main theme of the book is to show how an inherent conception of social destiny, as found in the philosophies of Plato, Hegel and Marx, can lead to a totalitarian society, due to its disregard of the individual. Popper hardly even mentions economics, which, I agree with you, is an essential factor for freedom or lack thereof. But that is hardly a flaw in his reasoning, because that is simply not what the book is about.

The ideology of free market capitalism is based on the idea that social relations can be separated in to civil affairs - which are determined by democracy - , and the economy which follows its own 'natural' laws of Adam Smith's "hidden hand". So when Popper defends "civil liberalism against state authoritarianism", without reference to the exploitation inherent in the 'natural' action of the economic aspect of social relations, then he is defending free market capitalism. He's right in saying that (providing someone is reasonably successful in their economic relations) it is preferable to live in a capitalist state where civil liberalism prevails rather than one which is more authoritarian. The flaws in his reasoning are (i) that greater freedom and openness should ignore economic social relations - as defined in capitalism, (ii) that a similar division can be made for non- capitalist societies so that the same reasoning can be applied to Ancient Greece etc. This means that he hasn't found any general 'truth' but something about what makes some capitalist societies much nicer to live in than others.

The historicism that can be found, or construed, "in the philosophies of Plato, Hegel and Marx", is used as a justification for authoritarianism but it doesn't "lead" to it In their absence, surely other, probably fairly abstract philosophical ideas -- in keeping with the abstract treatment of economic social relations in capitalism -- will always be found to justify power relations?

moismyname wrote:
Btw, Popper's and Bakunin's criticisms of Marx share many similarities.

Interesting point.

moismyname wrote:
And you needn't throw anti-capitalist Marx quotations at me - apart from the fact that it's off-topic, if I were pro capitalism, I probably wouldn't be hanging around on libertarian communist boards, would I?

I was hoping the Marx quote would illustrate how Popper was working within the constraints of liberal ideology, i.e. separating out the economic aspects of social relations, not questioning your 'anticapitalistiness'.

moismyname wrote:
Secondly, all of that (your allegations and my response) is beside the point. Even if Popper was defending capitalism, that wouldn't make the paradoxes described above less real.

It would make them less real because Popper would have to justify why property, wage labour and the commodity aren't central to people's lack of freedom in a capitalist society, whatever the degree of civil liberalism. And, why there is near zero tolerance to greater freedom in these areas.

For instance, if you are a wage labourer, try going to your boss and saying: "please tolerate me having a bit more freedom, by letting me go on holiday for a few months, obviously don't decrease my freedom by not paying me. Also, I promise not to additionally decrease anybody else's freedom in doing so." That's very unlikely to happen, even though it's not paradoxical, because if you follow the capitalist logic right through to the end, you find that you are employed in order to expand the value of capital and that it is that abstract concept that has the greatest freedom, and any freedoms for people are, for the most part, subsidiary to that concept.

moismyname wrote:
Let's face it, all three paradoxes have occurred in history, the first often during post-civil war anarchies, the second and third often when fascist regimes or tyrants have risen out of democracies (including the direct democracy of ancient Athens).

Sure, these paradoxes can be used to describe various historical events but attributing causality relies on 'tolerance', 'freedom' and 'democracy' being absolute concepts understood as the same, by everybody in a given society, and the fundamental driver of decisions. Again, the economic-relations is the elephant in the kitchen.

In capitalist (productivist) terms, electing, or tolerating, a tyrant isn't necessarily paradoxical. HItler got people back to work and improved living standards.

As shown above, as an anti-capitalist, you ought to accept that the concept of freedom, being referenced by Popper, isn't a universal (actually, nothing can be a universal statement according to him) because, for instance, it doesn't cover economic exploitation. In which case, I can say that I don't believe in these freedom concepts because they are part of liberal ideology and paradoxical. Instead, use my own personal set of guidelines (as you suggest below) called: Social-relations Based On Mutual Aid (SBOMA). I'm being careful here not to rely on another universal but just my own set of (changeable) guidelines. However, I would expect that SBOMA would closely correspond to the guidelines of other communists.

The nice thing about SBOMA is that it isn't inherently paradoxical. And, when some contradictions arise, I change it to fix them. My underlying theory for relying on SBOMA (and not a fixed written constitution) is Mutual Aid (see Kropotkin). As well as resolving the freedom paradox it also avoids the tolerance paradox. Things that support SBOMA - tolerate, things that don't - don't tolerate. Judgment has to be applied to all decisions. There are no absolutes that automatically translate into an answer to all the situations that arise in social relations.

If a concept of freedom is paradoxical, that should lead to the conclusion that freedom shouldn't been seen as a viable goal for a better society because it mixes desirable elements, e.g. people doing things that make them happy, with undesirable elements, e.g. exploiting others. Instead, Popper's solution is to try to fix society in order to minimise the contradictions (in non-economic sphere) and in so doing (surprise surprise) ends up justifying the free market capitalism that is currently laying the world waste. His civil liberalism only removes the aspects of exploitation that don't interfere with capitalism. As to trying to generalise to other societies, I don't think greek slaves were affected by whether there was a tyranny or a democracy - Popper is just demonstrating the superficiality of his argument.

moismyname wrote:
Even today I'm pretty sure that if the constitutions were suddenly declared invalid and people were requested to hold referenda on all communal issues, they would immediately democratically decide to return to a bourgeois way of life with capitalism, representative democracy, laws and police force and all the shite. And what's to stop them?

The UK, the first area where capitalism became predominant, doesn't have a written constitution. Unlike France and the US, where explicit philosophies, such as Saint-Simonism, were invoked to create a state that facilitated the development of capitalism, in the UK "all the shite", including the civil liberalism, came into being without reference to set of universal guiding principles. Removing the window dressing of a constitution would not change anything because they have a minimal effect on day-to-day social relations. People have to want to live in a communist society for it to happen.

moismyname wrote:
B_Reaonable wrote:
In Anarchist Communism, "the limits of freedom, tolerance and majority-rule must be" determined by social relations based on mutual aid. Once you subjugate people's own ability to make decisions under rules you soon need a mini-state to preserve the rules which also probably means the rules are not being applied in the way intended. Then people start to assert their own interests under the guise of 'preserving the rules', e.g. wanting a nice cosy job as rule manager. Anyway, "Cause No Loss" doesn't seem to make much sense outside of a propertarian society.
Kropotkin wrote:
We already forsee a state of society where the liberty of the individual will be limited by no laws, no bonds -- by nothing else but his own social habits and the necessity, which everyone feels, of finding cooperation, support, and sympathy among his neighbours. (Anarchist Communism)

So you agree with Gizmoguy? You think intolerant people shouldn't be forbidden to gang up and discriminate others?

I don't think Gizmoguy agrees with people ganging up on unwilling victims, he's bringing up the case of where people willingly create a state and whether it is not contradictory to anti-authoritarianism to stop them? I think that everyone would be better off living in a communist society. By implication, that means that I think people who don't want to live in a communist society are wrong and that I think I know what they want better than they do. Gizmoguy probably calls this something like idea-fascism. I'd view this apparent contradiction as a mental health issue: identify the material conditions that may have triggered this irrational behaviour - remove them - give the affected the psychiatric therapy they clearly need.

moismyname wrote:
You don't think we need some form of guidelines to prevent the establishment from reestablishing itself, or worse?

I've got no problem with you publishing some guidelines, I just don't support having a universal set of rules which are likely to attenuate people's freedom to make judgments and express opinions. Ultimately, I trust communist society to make the right decisions because the theory of Mutual Aid equates society's best interests with communism and what we think is "right".

moismyname wrote:
Or are you simply reluctant to call your guidelines "constitution" (not that it makes any difference what you call them)?

Personally, I don't think I could articulate useful guidelines for even quite common situations. For instance, see the last few entries in 'The Coming Insurrection' thread where the power relationships present in formal anarchist groups are discussed. These groups have written constitutions but they can't legislate against these structures developing. Perhaps, they actually hinder them being broken down because the power cliques can hide behind their adherence to the letter of the law rather than the spirit?

moismyname
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Aug 4 2009 23:57

I really don't see why you can't take The Open Society and Its Enemies for what it is: a critique on authoritarian state philosophies. It's true, Popper seems to wrongly imply that classical liberalism is the only credible alternative, but (i) he is careful not to make that definitive statement, and (ii) that false implication does not make he critique less valid.

B_Reasonable wrote:
The ideology of free market capitalism is based on the idea that social relations can be separated in to civil affairs - which are determined by democracy - , and the economy which follows its own 'natural' laws of Adam Smith's "hidden hand".

Most defenders of free market capitalism would completely disagree. Similar to Marxists who believe that economical and civil life are inseparable, classical liberals argue that "economic liberty" cannot be separated from civil liberty, because the liberty to voluntarily contract with other individuals, for economic gain or whatever other reasons, is in essence a civil liberty, and no public authority has the right to interfere. (A side note: From this point of view one could argue that capitalism is a manifestation of the first of the paradoxes Popper mentioned, the paradox of "freedom in the sense of absence of any restraining control must lead to very great restraint, since it makes the bully free to enslave the meek" using economical power rather than physical force. Of course, such economical power wouldn't exist without the exclusivist idea of property in the sense of usage control, particularly of means of production. So I think this particular paradox can be overcome without the necessity of "restraining control").

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So when Popper defends "civil liberalism against state authoritarianism", without reference to the exploitation inherent in the 'natural' action of the economic aspect of social relations, then he is defending free market capitalism.

I disagree. The mechanisms of free market capitalism that lead to restraint of individual freedom are very different to those of state authoritarianism in the name of the collective. The Open Society and Its Enemies focuses on the latter and as a philosophical inquiry that is fully legitimate. After all, we must not forget that Popper wrote it during the second world war as an Austrian Jew in exile and his main incentive was to find a philosophical explanation for the anti-humanitarian tendencies of his time (i.e. fascism, Nazism and Stalinism). Neither of your allegations (i) or (ii) are implied in Popper's reasoning, let alone are essential for it. You can accuse Popper of indirectly cultivating the impression that there is nothing wrong with capitalism, but you can't accuse him of building his theory of the corrupting factors of supposed benevolent authoritarianism on such an assumption.

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The historicism that can be found, or construed, "in the philosophies of Plato, Hegel and Marx", is used as a justification for authoritarianism but it doesn't "lead" to it In their absence, surely other, probably fairly abstract philosophical ideas -- in keeping with the abstract treatment of economic social relations in capitalism -- will always be found to justify power relations?

Granted, "leads to" was maybe too strong, my bad. And yes, people will always try to philosophically justify power relations, which is why it is all the more important to reason against them and expose their flaws of argument, as Popper does here.

In any case, whatever Popper was generally claiming or wanted to achieve with that book is still beside the point. The question at hand is: "can the paradoxes described above become a liability in a libertarian society and if so, what can we do about it?"

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Sure, these paradoxes can be used to describe various historical events but attributing causality relies on 'tolerance', 'freedom' and 'democracy' being absolute concepts understood as the same, by everybody in a given society, and the fundamental driver of decisions.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by "absolute concepts", but if you mean that people would value them higher than an appropriate sense of social responsibility, then I would say that without guidelines to follow (such as a constitution, or maybe we would call it "manifesto"), that is indeed likely to happen over time. Certainly not everybody, but possibly eventually enough to trigger one or all of the above paradoxes. All it takes is one clever and charismatic demagogue with a vision or an appetite for power.

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Again, the economic-relations is the elephant in the kitchen.

If by this you mean that an economy based on mutual aid will fill everybody's bellies and once everybody has experienced the benefits, everyone will be content and nobody will want to change the system or or dominate or discriminate anyone else, then you'll excuse me if I remain sceptical. I'm a bit of an empiricist, and the lack of empirical evidence that a mutual aid economy is immune to economic crisis, or that the abolishment of competitive economy leads to the distinction of racism, sexism, homophobia, ageism, religious intolerance and every other form of xenophobia and generalized irrational hostility leaves me reluctant to bet my children's future on the above claim.

Don't get me wrong, I sincerely believe that on the social level, libertarian socialism is the society model most capable of obviating the threats listed above. But without institutional checks and balances it is also the society model least capable of coping with those threats on an institutional level if they do occur. For that reason I advocate a minimum of institutional checks and balances such as a minimalist constitution, I don't see that this would stand in the way of a radical decentralisation of power down to each individual. And after all, constitutionally forbidding people to dominate and exploit others or to appoint an nondemocratic form of government is not a restraint of freedom, because if any of that were to happen, it would be the end of libertarianism, anyway.

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The nice thing about SBOMA is that it isn't inherently paradoxical. And, when some contradictions arise, I change it to fix them.

I don't see the difference between your SBOMA and my call for a constitution. I would be inclined to believe that anyone who wishes to establish a certain constitution is convinced that it is not inherently paradoxical. And I also haven't come across a constitution that wasn't changeable by democratic means, although usually requiring a public referendum and/or a 2/3 majority, which I would fully support. Could it be that this whole disagreement rests on a disapproval on your part of apparently bourgeois terminology (as well as bourgeois authors such as Popper)? If so, all I can say is that we can forget all hope of ever convincing any substantial proportion of society of libertarian socialist ideas if we continue to refuse to enter dialogue or even speak "their" language. This attitude of categorically rejecting anything that holds the slightest hint of "bourgeois" really pisses me off. Do we want to break the chain of class struggle by promoting a classless society, or do we want to entrench positions with semantics?

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If a concept of freedom is paradoxical, that should lead to the conclusion that freedom shouldn't been seen as a viable goal for a better society because it mixes desirable elements

Freedom is not paradoxical, it is just something that must be compromised as soon as social relations step in. But as a fan of Critical Rationalism, I'm sure you will agree that we can safely dismiss the "what" questions as irrelevant semiotic verbiage (e.g. "what is the essence of the concept of "freedom"") and move straight to the "how" questions (e.g. "how can we minimize restraint in society?"). This is basically how Popper deals with the paradoxes -- although focusing on restraint from state authority and neglecting economical restraint, as you have not failed to point out. But again I must point out that Popper deliberately abstains from delivering a detailed legal and economical description of the out-coming "open" society. The "open" stands above all for "open for correction"; rigid, inflexible "visions of society" Popper considers dangerous, because if you don't allow the social structure to adapt to the people, you'll end up trying to adapt the people to the social structure, which never ends well. Popper does not suggest that economic transaction may be one the aspects of society that has need of correction, but he certainly does not exclude it from correction, either.

Btw, I would like to point out that the paradoxes of freedom, tolerance and majority-rule are not Popper's invention -- they can be traced back to Plato, I only chose to quote Popper on this because of his precise and compact formulation.

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As to trying to generalise to other societies, I don't think greek slaves were affected by whether there was a tyranny or a democracy - Popper is just demonstrating the superficiality of his argument.

I apologize for repeatedly returning to the defence of Popper after I have stated that it is irrelevant for the issue at hand, but in this case I feel obliged to point out that this is not true. It is part of Popper's argument that slaves were indeed treated a hell of a lot better in democratic Athens than in authoritarian city-states such as Sparta. In The Republic, The Statesman and Laws Plato repeatedly complains (through the mouth of his protagonist Socrates) about how liberally Athenians treat their slaves.

Plato wrote:
But the height of all this abundance of freedom [...] is reached when slaves, males as well as female, who have been bought on the market, are every whit as free as those whose property they are [...] And what is the cumulative effect of all this? That all the citizens' hearts become so very tender that they get irritated at the mere sight of anything like slavery and do not suffer anybody to submit to its presence

(from The Republic)

There was also a growing egalitarian and abolitionist movement in democratic Athens shortly before the rule of "the 30 tyrants" and again thereafter during the time of Plato, who's philosophical figureheads (Antiphon, Hippias, Euripides, Alcidamas, Lycophron and others) Plato sharply attacked and ridiculed. It was due to the influence of Plato and his Academy (to which Aristotle also belonged) that this movement was smothered. Authoritarian Sparta, on the other hand, which Plato depicted as the closest existing thing to the perfect state, treated its slaves so badly, that during the second Persian invasion, out of thousands of warrior-citizens Sparta could famously only afford to send 300 to the Battle of Thermopylae for fear of a slave revolt.

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The UK, the first area where capitalism became predominant, doesn't have a written constitution.

Well, what's this then? A constitution isn't necessarily a single piece of paper that was written on a single occasion, it is any set of legally valid principles that prevent any given governing authority (e.g. a direct democratic majority) from deciding whatever the fuck they like, i.e. from misusing their power or shunning their responsibility.

But considering the elitist power structures of Britain, and especially because the UK was were capitalism became predominant, I'm not sure if it is wise of you to brag about not having a conceptual constitution. Other nations with conceptual constitutions that were written before the industrial revolution aren't much better, but constitutions written in the early or middle 20th century are usually more socially orientated and the difference can indeed usually be seen in the countries they apply for (cp. Benelux and Scandinavian countries -- West Germany was in there, too, but it has been throwing its social market economy out the window in the last two decades, which goes to show that constitutions can be changed). Unfortunately since the fall of the east block, the trend for new constitutions has reversed towards neoliberalism. What I'm getting at is that it's not just all about having a constitution, what it says does actually make a difference. In fact, I don't even see how a libertarian socialist society can define itself as such without setting its principles in a constitution. Otherwise we might as well close down all state and finance institutions and just watch what happens.

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I think that everyone would be better off living in a communist society. By implication, that means that I think people who don't want to live in a communist society are wrong and that I think I know what they want better than they do. Gizmoguy probably calls this something like idea-fascism. I'd view this apparent contradiction as a mental health issue: identify the material conditions that may have triggered this irrational behaviour - remove them - give the affected the psychiatric therapy they clearly need.

That is scary. I glad your not in the position to perform your psychiatric therapy. That is precisely that dangerous attitude of adjusting the people to the system rather than the system to the people that I was on about earlier. And I honestly don't see how thought manipulation is accordable with libertarian socialist principles. That's exactly the kind of thing we don't want.

B_Reasonable
Offline
Joined: 6-02-09
Aug 5 2009 05:39
moismyname wrote:
I really don't see why you can't take The Open Society and Its Enemies for what it is: a critique on authoritarian state philosophies. It's true, Popper seems to wrongly imply that classical liberalism is the only credible alternative, but (i) he is careful not to make that definitive statement, and (ii) that false implication does not make he critique less valid.

I've no problem with taking Popper's book at that level. The issue is you wanting to apply the paradox's to a communist society and drawing the conclusion that a constitution is required (or maybe your causation is the other way round).

moismyname wrote:
B_Reasonable wrote:
The ideology of free market capitalism is based on the idea that social relations can be separated in to civil affairs - which are determined by democracy - , and the economy which follows its own 'natural' laws of Adam Smith's "hidden hand".

Most defenders of free market capitalism would completely disagree. Similar to Marxists who believe that economical and civil life are inseparable, classical liberals argue that "economic liberty" cannot be separated from civil liberty, because the liberty to voluntarily contract with other individuals, for economic gain or whatever other reasons, is in essence a civil liberty, and no public authority has the right to interfere.

My point being that the effect (and the cause the liberal ideology was developed) is that the oppression of the majority is justified, and not subject to the civil liberties.

moismyname wrote:
(A side note: From this point of view one could argue that capitalism is a manifestation of the first of the paradoxes Popper mentioned, the paradox of "freedom in the sense of absence of any restraining control must lead to very great restraint, since it makes the bully free to enslave the meek" using economical power rather than physical force. Of course, such economical power wouldn't exist without the exclusivist idea of property in the sense of usage control, particularly of means of production. So I think this particular paradox can be overcome without the necessity of "restraining control").

Getting rid of "the exclusivist idea of property" doesn't get rid of capitalism. In the USSR all property was state owned but it was still capitalist.

moismyname wrote:
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So when Popper defends "civil liberalism against state authoritarianism", without reference to the exploitation inherent in the 'natural' action of the economic aspect of social relations, then he is defending free market capitalism.

I disagree. The mechanisms of free market capitalism that lead to restraint of individual freedom are very different to those of state authoritarianism in the name of the collective. The Open Society and Its Enemies focuses on the latter and as a philosophical inquiry that is fully legitimate. After all, we must not forget that Popper wrote it during the second world war as an Austrian Jew in exile and his main incentive was to find a philosophical explanation for the anti-humanitarian tendencies of his time (i.e. fascism, Nazism and Stalinism).

The Nazi and Stalinist states were still capitalist and that was still the root of the oppression. The collectivist ideology (and horrific treatment of people) were a product of that phase of capitalism. Popper's argument (because as you point out, he doesn't say otherwise) is therefore rooted in a contrast between authoritarian captialism and free market captialism. He, quite understandably, opts for the free market version as this gives more freedom in the sphere of non-economic relations. For a more thorough analysis of this issue I suggest: Anti-Semitism and National Socialism by Moishe Postone

moismyname wrote:
Neither of your allegations (i) or (ii) are implied in Popper's reasoning, let alone are essential for it. You can accuse Popper of indirectly cultivating the impression that there is nothing wrong with capitalism, but you can't accuse him of building his theory of the corrupting factors of supposed benevolent authoritarianism on such an assumption.

If Popper was in anyway trying to do a thorough job of understanding authoritarianism (particularly given both Nazism's and Stalinism's supposedly anti-capitalist stances) then it would only be reasonable for him to be clear about his position on the inherent inequities of capitalism. You say he didn't which can only really mean that he supported the liberal ideology.

moismyname wrote:
Quote:
Sure, these paradoxes can be used to describe various historical events but attributing causality relies on 'tolerance', 'freedom' and 'democracy' being absolute concepts understood as the same, by everybody in a given society, and the fundamental driver of decisions.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by "absolute concepts", but if you mean that people would value them higher than an appropriate sense of social responsibility, then I would say that without guidelines to follow (such as a constitution, or maybe we would call it "manifesto"), that is indeed likely to happen over time. Certainly not everybody, but possibly eventually enough to trigger one or all of the above paradoxes.

By absolute concept, I mean that the meaning has to stay the same, for everyone, over time. This clearly doesn't happen - constitutions stay fairly static but the amount of freedom and tolerance changes. This doesn't mean that people still don't view the concepts as being universal throughout those changes.

moismyname wrote:
All it takes is one clever and charismatic demagogue with a vision or an appetite for power.

It also requires a compliant people (perhaps enforced by a state), who are probably distracted by preserving the institutions that ensure the constitution, rather than maintaining their own power of self-management.

moismyname wrote:
If by this you mean that an economy based on mutual aid will fill everybody's bellies and once everybody has experienced the benefits, everyone will be content and nobody will want to change the system or or dominate or discriminate anyone else, then you'll excuse me if I remain sceptical.

No, but waving a piece of paper under their nose and saying, 'you can't start oppressing people because we all agreed to this' isn't going to help matters.

moismyname wrote:
I'm a bit of an empiricist, and the lack of empirical evidence that a mutual aid economy is immune to economic crisis, or that the abolishment of competitive economy leads to the distinction of racism, sexism, homophobia, ageism, religious intolerance and every other form of xenophobia and generalized irrational hostility leaves me reluctant to bet my children's future on the above claim.

Mutual Aid isn't a magic off-the-shelf formula, its a description of how people can work together. Empirically, why not perform some experiments in changing social relations and see if the results are favourable?

BTW, I was expecting that religious intolerance would one of the points in your constitution, or at least the ones that encourage racism, sexism or homophobia - that probably covers most of them.

moismyname wrote:
Don't get me wrong, I sincerely believe that on the social level, libertarian socialism is the society model most capable of obviating the threats listed above. But without institutional checks and balances it is also the society model least capable of coping with those threats on an institutional level if they do occur. For that reason I advocate a minimum of institutional checks and balances such as a minimalist constitution, I don't see that this would stand in the way of a radical decentralisation of power down to each individual. And after all, constitutionally forbidding people to dominate and exploit others or to appoint an nondemocratic form of government is not a restraint of freedom, because if any of that were to happen, it would be the end of libertarianism, anyway.

This institution is either going to have to wait until people ask it to act (wouldn't it be better if they simply acted on their own initiative,?), or it will have autonomous power to go round imposing the constitution on non-conforming groups or individuals. I was afraid your constitution was going to lead to some kind of police force.

moismyname wrote:
Quote:
The nice thing about SBOMA is that it isn't inherently paradoxical. And, when some contradictions arise, I change it to fix them.

I don't see the difference between your SBOMA and my call for a constitution.

Let's see how far your constitution can go without having contradictions: tolerate religion or not tolerate religion, or perhaps some weasel words to fudge the issue?

moismyname wrote:
Could it be that this whole disagreement rests on a disapproval on your part of apparently bourgeois terminology (as well as bourgeois authors such as Popper)?

No, I think the paradox's are posited in a statist society, e.g. capitalism, ancient greece or Mo's minimal constitution institutionalism. They reference how a society will have universal standards (at any given time). A communist society has to viewed in terms of social relations, between individuals, not mediated by laws or higher institutions.

moismyname wrote:
If so, all I can say is that we can forget all hope of ever convincing any substantial proportion of society of libertarian socialist ideas if we continue to refuse to enter dialogue or even speak "their" language. This attitude of categorically rejecting anything that holds the slightest hint of "bourgeois" really pisses me off. Do we want to break the chain of class struggle by promoting a classless society, or do we want to entrench positions with semantics?

I tend to agree.

moismyname wrote:
Quote:
If a concept of freedom is paradoxical, that should lead to the conclusion that freedom shouldn't been seen as a viable goal for a better society because it mixes desirable elements

Freedom is not paradoxical, it is just something that must be compromised as soon as social relations step in.

OK, you're defining:"the essence of the concept of "freedom".

moismyname wrote:
But as a fan of Critical Rationalism, I'm sure you will agree that we can safely dismiss the "what" questions as irrelevant semiotic verbiage (e.g. "what is the essence of the concept of "freedom"")

Or, maybe you're not! My usage was only that which was meant by your introduction of the freedom paradox. And since it was subject (by definition) subject to a paradox, it seems reasonable to call it paradoxical.

moismyname wrote:
and move straight to the "how" questions (e.g. "how can we minimize restraint in society?"). This is basically how Popper deals with the paradoxes -- although focusing on restraint from state authority and neglecting economical restraint, as you have not failed to point out. But again I must point out that Popper deliberately abstains from delivering a detailed legal and economical description of the out-coming "open" society. The "open" stands above all for "open for correction"; rigid, inflexible "visions of society" Popper considers dangerous, because if you don't allow the social structure to adapt to the people, you'll end up trying to adapt the people to the social structure, which never ends well.

Social structure, here, means state structure because it refers to universals by which individuals should conform. Popper is right with regard to a statist society but the point of a stateless society is that the external laws are removed and people make descisions based on their own judgement. Guided in part by your manifesto.

moismyname wrote:
Quote:
As to trying to generalise to other societies, I don't think greek slaves were affected by whether there was a tyranny or a democracy - Popper is just demonstrating the superficiality of his argument.

I apologize for repeatedly returning to the defence of Popper after I have stated that it is irrelevant for the issue at hand, but in this case I feel obliged to point out that this is not true. It is part of Popper's argument that slaves were indeed treated a hell of a lot better in democratic Athens than in authoritarian city-states such as Sparta.

You believe democracy caused the better treatment of slaves? Perhaps different economic conditions caused both?

moismyname wrote:
Quote:
The UK, the first area where capitalism became predominant, doesn't have a written constitution.

Well, what's this then? A constitution isn't necessarily a single piece of paper that was written on a single occasion, it is any set of legally valid principles that prevent any given governing authority (e.g. a direct democratic majority) from deciding whatever the fuck they like, i.e. from misusing their power or shunning their responsibility.

The discussion here is about your need for a written constitution, my point being that constitutions reflect the socio-economic conditions not the other way round. BTW, the UK govt. can pass whatever laws it likes, the only recourse for a citizen in common law or the European human rights act.

But considering the elitist power structures of Britain, and especially because the UK was were capitalism became predominant, I'm not sure if it is wise of you to brag about not having a conceptual constitution.

Not having a written constitution doesn't make the UK a better place to live in but it doesn't make it worse either.

moismyname wrote:
Other nations with conceptual constitutions that were written before the industrial revolution aren't much better, but constitutions written in the early or middle 20th century are usually more socially orientated and the difference can indeed usually be seen in the countries they apply for (cp. Benelux and Scandinavian countries -- West Germany was in there, too, but it has been throwing its social market economy out the window in the last two decades, which goes to show that constitutions can be changed). Unfortunately since the fall of the east block, the trend for new constitutions has reversed towards neoliberalism.

Country constitutions are window dressing and don't support your argument.

moismyname wrote:
What I'm getting at is that it's not just all about having a constitution, what it says does actually make a difference. In fact, I don't even see how a libertarian socialist society can define itself as such without setting its principles in a constitution. Otherwise we might as well close down all state and finance institutions and just watch what happens.

In order to get to such a society people will have to have had pretty good idea and experience of what they want - they won't need an aide de memoire to remind them. That's not to say that books and manifestos aren't important for developing and preserving ideas.

moismyname wrote:
Quote:
I think that everyone would be better off living in a communist society. By implication, that means that I think people who don't want to live in a communist society are wrong and that I think I know what they want better than they do. Gizmoguy probably calls this something like idea-fascism. I'd view this apparent contradiction as a mental health issue: identify the material conditions that may have triggered this irrational behaviour - remove them - give the affected the psychiatric therapy they clearly need.

That is scary. I glad your not in the position to perform your psychiatric therapy. That is precisely that dangerous attitude of adjusting the people to the system rather than the system to the people that I was on about earlier. And I honestly don't see how thought manipulation is accordable with libertarian socialist principles. That's exactly the kind of thing we don't want.

What system? You are equating what holds for a statist (liberal capitalist) society for that of a communist society. The commune has to have the courage in its convictions to take actions against those who are harming other people or themselves.

May I suggest you get on and write this constitution, I'm it would be more useful than debating whether it will be any good.

moismyname
Offline
Joined: 30-03-09
Aug 6 2009 00:23
B_Reasonable wrote:
Getting rid of "the exclusivist idea of property" doesn't get rid of capitalism. In the USSR all property was state owned but it was still capitalist.

The USSR also had an "exclusivist idea of property". There is an exclusive owner (in this case the state) given the power to singly control its use.

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The Nazi and Stalinist states were still capitalist and that was still the root of the oppression. The collectivist ideology (and horrific treatment of people) were a product of that phase of capitalism. Popper's argument (because as you point out, he doesn't say otherwise) is therefore rooted in a contrast between authoritarian captialism and free market captialism.

His incentive may be rooted therein, but his argument lies in an analyse of the philosophical roots of authoritarianism, leading back to Plato and following through to Marx. Whether the authoritarian collectivist ideologies of 20th century dictatorships was a product of that phase of capitalism or not (I agree that capitalism played its part, but your phrasing implies a great deal of historicism), they were also partly consciously, partly unconsciously modeled after philosophical conceptions.

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If Popper was in anyway trying to do a thorough job of understanding authoritarianism (particularly given both Nazism's and Stalinism's supposedly anti-capitalist stances) then it would only be reasonable for him to be clear about his position on the inherent inequities of capitalism.

That's rather far-fetched. What has the authoritarianism of the roman-catholic church in the middle-ages got to do with capitalism? Authoritarianism doesn't need capitalism, its philosophic roots go deeper than that.

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By absolute concept, I mean that the meaning has to stay the same, for everyone, over time. This clearly doesn't happen - constitutions stay fairly static but the amount of freedom and tolerance changes. This doesn't mean that people still don't view the concepts as being universal throughout those changes.

I'm slightly confused. Do you mean to say that a constitution that says something along the lines of "the community is to protect individuals from intolerance and restraint of freedom" may, at a later time, be consistent with what today we would consider intolerant and freedom restraining behaviour because of a semantic shift of the meaning of the words? Or are you accusing constitutions of not reflecting the zeitgeist? If the former, I would argue that changes of attitude happen faster than changes of semantics, and we would want "fairly static" guidelines to counteract a change of attitude that may reintroduce intolerant and freedom restraining behaviour. If the latter, I would argue that if the zeitgeist is tending towards intolerance and disrespect of freedom, then it is good if a constitution stands in its way. Abjuring a constitution is a greater hurdle than simply going out and acting.

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moismyname wrote:
All it takes is one clever and charismatic demagogue with a vision or an appetite for power.

It also requires a compliant people (perhaps enforced by a state), who are probably distracted by preserving the institutions that ensure the constitution, rather than maintaining their own power of self-management.

What if you're wrong? What if it's not the state, or capitalism, that makes people compliant, but simply opportunity? I believe that people will do a descent job attending to the affairs of the community once they are forced to by the fact that no one else will do it for them, but if a charismatic, convincing and seemingly trustworthy somebody comes along and says: "i have a great idea of how to makes things better, why don't you let me attend to affairs for a while and I'll do this, that and the other and you'll have more time and less worries", I'm pretty sure a substantial amount of people will always be tempted to say: "why, thank you, that's very kind", no matter whether there is a state or an entertainment industry or whatever, or not.

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moismyname wrote:
If by this you mean that an economy based on mutual aid will fill everybody's bellies and once everybody has experienced the benefits, everyone will be content and nobody will want to change the system or or dominate or discriminate anyone else, then you'll excuse me if I remain sceptical.

No, but waving a piece of paper under their nose and saying, 'you can't start oppressing people because we all agreed to this' isn't going to help matters.

Won't it? In my experience people generally find it less attractive to go forward on their impulse if it means they must go back on their word. In any case, at least there would be something to refer to, that's a lot better than "you can't start oppressing people because...".

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BTW, I was expecting that religious intolerance would [be] one of the points in your constitution

Why would you expect that?

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Let's see how far your constitution can go without having contradictions: tolerate religion or not tolerate religion, or perhaps some weasel words to fudge the issue?

What's this thing you have about religion and tolerance? Did I say something that lead you to believe that I wouldn't allow religion? Or are you one of those Marxists that believe religion must be suppressed? If so, how very unlibertarian of you. Religion may be opium for the masses, but who are we to forbid someone else to smoke opium?

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This institution is either going to have to wait until people ask it to act (wouldn't it be better if they simply acted on their own initiative,?), or it will have autonomous power to go round imposing the constitution on non-conforming groups or individuals. I was afraid your constitution was going to lead to some kind of police force.

Slight misunderstanding, here. the institution I was referring to IS the constitution. No more, no less. People will have to do the acting themselves. All the constitution can do is be a guideline as to when to act.

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I think the paradox's are posited in a statist society, e.g. capitalism, ancient greece or Mo's minimal constitution institutionalism. They reference how a society will have universal standards (at any given time). A communist society has to viewed in terms of social relations, between individuals, not mediated by laws or higher institutions.

I don't see how a society can be egalitarian without universal standards. And you can focus on social relations between individuals all you like, the cumulation of these social relations may still lead to the situations described in the paradoxes.

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My usage was only that which was meant by your introduction of the freedom paradox. And since it was subject (by definition) subject to a paradox, it seems reasonable to call it paradoxical.

The paradoxes aren't conceptual paradoxes, they are social paradoxes, the paradox is that an unreflective pursuit of a certain goal can lead to the opposite effect.

moismyname wrote:
But again I must point out that Popper deliberately abstains from delivering a detailed legal and economical description of the out-coming "open" society. The "open" stands above all for "open for correction"; rigid, inflexible "visions of society" Popper considers dangerous, because if you don't allow the social structure to adapt to the people, you'll end up trying to adapt the people to the social structure, which never ends well.
B_Reasonable wrote:
Social structure, here, means state structure because it refers to universals by which individuals should conform.

I disagree that a society cannot uphold "universals" by other means than a state, and I also conclude that without universals it is not possible to tell which direction development will take in your stateless society, and it is therefore not possible to foretell whether your society will result in desirable conditions.

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You believe democracy caused the better treatment of slaves? Perhaps different economic conditions caused both?

I believe that the rise egalitarian philosophies, a certain social atmosphere and certain economic conditions lead to both democracy and the better treatment of slaves.

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The discussion here is about your need for a written constitution, my point being that constitutions reflect the socio-economic conditions not the other way round.

So it's pure coincidence that today's social market economies have constitutions that were written in times where trade unions were well established and today's more neoliberal economies usually have constitutions that were written either before the industrial revolution or in the wake of increased global economical competition?

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BTW, the UK govt. can pass whatever laws it likes, the only recourse for a citizen in common law or the European human rights act.

And you don't think there may be a connection between that and the fact that Britain was the hotbed for capitalism, imperialism, neoliberalism (Thatcherism) and is generally one of the most elitist and class conscious societies in the world?

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Country constitutions are window dressing and don't support your argument.

Strange comment, considering that my argument was that country constitutions are not merely window dressing.

Quote:
In order to get to such a society people will have to have had pretty good idea and experience of what they want - they won't need an aide de memoire to remind them. That's not to say that books and manifestos aren't important for developing and preserving ideas.

This isn't about simply reminding people of what they want (as if everyone would ever want the same thing). This is about resolving conflicts.

Collective principles are the principles a society as a whole expects its individuals to live by. Should an individual not cohere with the collective principles, she must fear repercussion from some part of society in some form, which itself will be tolerated by society. Individuals don't necessarily share the collective principles, they have principles of there own. But they need to know what the collective principles are in order to know what behaviour will evoke repercussion. Collective principles are either agreed on (in the form of a constitution) or they will evolve over time. Such an evolution will take a long time, a time of uncertainty, experiment, sabre-rattling and repercussions of repercussions, but eventually there will be rules of conduct, although not necessarily the best (see UK).

My idea of libertarian socialism is to minimize collective principles to maximize individual freedom, whereas you seem to believe that collective principles can be reduced to zero. That they cannot be reduced to zero is easily shown: even the most libertarian society cannot afford to tolerate random murder, rape, abduction, assault, etc., i.e. "thou shalt not randomly murder, rape, abduct, assault, etc." are always going to be collective principles from the start, whether they are written in a constitution or not. But beyond that, opinions start to diverge and have to be fought out, either in theory up front, or on the field. I believe that attempting to keep collective principles reduced to zero will only lead to an artificially sustained period of that social evolution, with uncertain outcome.

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moismyname wrote:
Quote:
I think that everyone would be better off living in a communist society. By implication, that means that I think people who don't want to live in a communist society are wrong and that I think I know what they want better than they do. Gizmoguy probably calls this something like idea-fascism. I'd view this apparent contradiction as a mental health issue: identify the material conditions that may have triggered this irrational behaviour - remove them - give the affected the psychiatric therapy they clearly need.

That is scary. I glad your not in the position to perform your psychiatric therapy. That is precisely that dangerous attitude of adjusting the people to the system rather than the system to the people that I was on about earlier. And I honestly don't see how thought manipulation is accordable with libertarian socialist principles. That's exactly the kind of thing we don't want.

What system?

Whatever system you have in mind that must be held together by thought control. A system of inter-relations doesn't have to have a state, but I'd say yours does, or who exactly has the authority to decide who needs psychiatric therapy and who doesn't?

B_Reasonable
Offline
Joined: 6-02-09
Aug 10 2009 04:10
moismyname wrote:
Quote:
You believe democracy caused the better treatment of slaves? Perhaps different economic conditions caused both?

I believe that the rise egalitarian philosophies, a certain social atmosphere and certain economic conditions lead to both democracy and the better treatment of slaves.

I agree with that, but further, I also contend that it is not possible to determine the relative importance of each of these factors in the case of Greek slaves or any other historical event.

moismyname wrote:
The USSR also had an "exclusivist idea of property". There is an exclusive owner (in this case the state) given the power to singly control its use.

So exclusivist is just a tautological flourish as non-exclusivist property would be what others would call the abolition of property. In a world dominated by commodity relations, property isn't the pre-requisite for capitalism so your argument that it is an example of the freedom paradox doesn't hold.

moismyname wrote:
Quote:
The Nazi and Stalinist states were still capitalist and that was still the root of the oppression. The collectivist ideology (and horrific treatment of people) were a product of that phase of capitalism. Popper's argument (because as you point out, he doesn't say otherwise) is therefore rooted in a contrast between authoritarian captialism and free market captialism.

His incentive may be rooted therein, but his argument lies in an analyse of the philosophical roots of authoritarianism, leading back to Plato and following through to Marx. Whether the authoritarian collectivist ideologies of 20th century dictatorships was a product of that phase of capitalism or not (I agree that capitalism played its part, but your phrasing implies a great deal of historicism), they were also partly consciously, partly unconsciously modeled after philosophical conceptions.

Apologies if my use of "phase" implied a historicist understanding of capitalist development but you haven't refuted what I said you've just pointed out that authoritarian ideologies were rooted in previous philosophical ideas.

moismyname wrote:
Quote:
If Popper was in anyway trying to do a thorough job of understanding authoritarianism (particularly given both Nazism's and Stalinism's supposedly anti-capitalist stances) then it would only be reasonable for him to be clear about his position on the inherent inequities of capitalism.

That's rather far-fetched. What has the authoritarianism of the roman-catholic church in the middle-ages got to do with capitalism? Authoritarianism doesn't need capitalism, its philosophic roots go deeper than that.

You introduced the fact that Popper was reacting to Nazism and Stalinism, and that he was an Austrian Jew, not that he was worried about the long term effects of the medieval church. Referring to the first point of this post, you've accepted that societal freedom is a (my point: uncertain) mix of economic conditions, philosophies and atmosphere, you cannot say with any certainty to what extent authoritarianism depends on economic conditions, e.g. capitalism, in any historical era. Sure, there is a literary record but that tends to de-emphasise any relationship between means of production etc. and authoritarianism.

moismyname wrote:
Quote:
By absolute concept, I mean that the meaning has to stay the same, for everyone, over time. This clearly doesn't happen - constitutions stay fairly static but the amount of freedom and tolerance changes. This doesn't mean that people still don't view the concepts as being universal throughout those changes.

I'm slightly confused. Do you mean to say that a constitution that says something along the lines of "the community is to protect individuals from intolerance and restraint of freedom" may, at a later time, be consistent with what today we would consider intolerant and freedom restraining behaviour because of a semantic shift of the meaning of the words? Or are you accusing constitutions of not reflecting the zeitgeist? If the former, I would argue that changes of attitude happen faster than changes of semantics, and we would want "fairly static" guidelines to counteract a change of attitude that may reintroduce intolerant and freedom restraining behaviour. If the latter, I would argue that if the zeitgeist is tending towards intolerance and disrespect of freedom, then it is good if a constitution stands in its way. Abjuring a constitution is a greater hurdle than simply going out and acting.

I agree that a constitution can act as a brake to an authoritarian state but that doesn't carry over to a communist society (discussed previously). Typically, authoritarian states justify their actions as defending the constitution against an enemy. I wouldn't describe this as either semantic shift, or changing zeitgeist, but these are ways one could describe the result.

moismyname wrote:
What if you're wrong? What if it's not the state, or capitalism, that makes people compliant, but simply opportunity? I believe that people will do a descent job attending to the affairs of the community once they are forced to by the fact that no one else will do it for them, but if a charismatic, convincing and seemingly trustworthy somebody comes along and says: "i have a great idea of how to makes things better, why don't you let me attend to affairs for a while and I'll do this, that and the other and you'll have more time and less worries", I'm pretty sure a substantial amount of people will always be tempted to say: "why, thank you, that's very kind", no matter whether there is a state or an entertainment industry or whatever, or not.

Are you seriously trying to say that the 45% of Germans who voted for Hitler were thinking: "we could sort out the crisis of capitalism ourselves, but that would involve rather a lot of irksome participatory politics, no, let's sit back and relax and let the Nazis get on with it"? But read my post, and our earlier exchanges, I didn't say that the state or capitalism made people compliant.

moismyname wrote:
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No, but waving a piece of paper under their nose and saying, 'you can't start oppressing people because we all agreed to this' isn't going to help matters.

Won't it? In my experience people generally find it less attractive to go forward on their impulse if it means they must go back on their word. In any case, at least there would be something to refer to, that's a lot better than "you can't start oppressing people because...".

Remember, you're arguing for a constitution and I'm saying it is better to rely on unmediated social relations which includes people giving, and keeping, their word.

moismyname wrote:
Quote:
BTW, I was expecting that religious intolerance would [be] one of the points in your constitution

Why would you expect that?

You've argued that authoritarianism is rooted in historical philosophical concepts and one of the main conduits for those ideas is the church, e.g. Catholicism's medieval teachings.

moismyname wrote:
Quote:
Let's see how far your constitution can go without having contradictions: tolerate religion or not tolerate religion, or perhaps some weasel words to fudge the issue?

What's this thing you have about religion and tolerance? Did I say something that lead you to believe that I wouldn't allow religion? Or are you one of those Marxists that believe religion must be suppressed? If so, how very unlibertarian of you. Religion may be opium for the masses, but who are we to forbid someone else to smoke opium?

No, I'm one of those anarchists that think, "if god existed, it would be necessary to abolish him" (Bakunin). Again, I'm showing how a constitution wouldn't be fit for purpose. I'm OK with people being religious but I want the commune to be able to prevent authoritarian philosophies, such as sin, being to used to scare children etc. -- without the religious people trying to gain protection from constitutional "freedom".

moismyname wrote:
Quote:
I think the paradox's are posited in a statist society, e.g. capitalism, ancient greece or Mo's minimal constitution institutionalism. They reference how a society will have universal standards (at any given time). A communist society has to viewed in terms of social relations, between individuals, not mediated by laws or higher institutions.

I don't see how a society can be egalitarian without universal standards. And you can focus on social relations between individuals all you like, the cumulation of these social relations may still lead to the situations described in the paradoxes.

I'm not saying that the problems you foresee won't happen just that a constitution isn't going to help solve them. You seem to be arguing that a communist society based on agreed principles would be better preserved if those principles were enshrined in a constitution. To me, that is an entirely hypothetical position. Please remember, that right at the beginning of this exchange, I said that I thought that a communist society was based on the theory of mutual aid (Kropotkin) not a set of agreed principles. You can either argue that mutual aid is nothing more than a set of principles or that mutual aid should not be relied upon and that a set of principles are needed.

moismyname wrote:
Quote:
My usage was only that which was meant by your introduction of the freedom paradox. And since it was subject (by definition) subject to a paradox, it seems reasonable to call it paradoxical.

The paradoxes aren't conceptual paradoxes, they are social paradoxes, the paradox is that an unreflective pursuit of a certain goal can lead to the opposite effect.

Again, this derives from your concept of "I don't see how a society can be egalitarian without universal standards." based on Popper's use of a liberal concept of freedom -- we've done this already.

moismyname wrote:
moismyname wrote:
But again I must point out that Popper deliberately abstains from delivering a detailed legal and economical description of the out-coming "open" society. The "open" stands above all for "open for correction"; rigid, inflexible "visions of society" Popper considers dangerous, because if you don't allow the social structure to adapt to the people, you'll end up trying to adapt the people to the social structure, which never ends well.
B_Reasonable wrote:
Social structure, here, means state structure because it refers to universals by which individuals should conform.

I disagree that a society cannot uphold "universals" by other means than a state, and I also conclude that without universals it is not possible to tell which direction development will take in your stateless society, and it is therefore not possible to foretell whether your society will result in desirable conditions.

I didn't say that a society couldn't uphold universals just that trying to get people to conform via a constitution isn't going to work. And what's this about foretelling the direction of development, isn't that both historicism and the imposition of a dogma of our current conception of freedom?

moismyname wrote:
Quote:
The discussion here is about your need for a written constitution, my point being that constitutions reflect the socio-economic conditions not the other way round.

So it's pure coincidence that today's social market economies have constitutions that were written in times where trade unions were well established and today's more neoliberal economies usually have constitutions that were written either before the industrial revolution or in the wake of increased global economical competition?

No, you're supplying correlative illustrations, that my direction of causation is viable, and nothing to support your argument.

moismyname wrote:
Quote:
BTW, the UK govt. can pass whatever laws it likes, the only recourse for a citizen in common law or the European human rights act.

And you don't think there may be a connection between that and the fact that Britain was the hotbed for capitalism, imperialism, neoliberalism (Thatcherism) and is generally one of the most elitist and class conscious societies in the world?

OK, I realise you're upset that, because the UK doesn't have a written constitution, the wheels fell off your constitution drives socio-economic conditions argument but if you are going to try to argue that the UK is less free than other countries with constitutions you are going to have to get your facts straight. Firstly, Britain still (but not for want of trying) doesn't have the income differentials or absolute poverty of the US. Also, it's never imposed something as authoritarian (in Popper's civil liberalism sense) as Prohibition. Secondly, Thatcher (and Blair, her ideological follow-on) are politically anti-elitist and lean towards republicanism so the establishment isn't united in its defence of elitism.

moismyname wrote:
[
Quote:
Country constitutions are window dressing and don't support your argument.

Strange comment, considering that my argument was that country constitutions are not merely window dressing.

The fact that I concluded a point, by saying what you'd said didn't support your argument, and you found that strange, now that is strange!

moismyname wrote:
My idea of libertarian socialism is to minimize collective principles to maximize individual freedom, whereas you seem to believe that collective principles can be reduced to zero. That they cannot be reduced to zero is easily shown: even the most libertarian society cannot afford to tolerate random murder, rape, abduction, assault, etc., i.e. "thou shalt not randomly murder, rape, abduct, assault, etc." are always going to be collective principles from the start, whether they are written in a constitution or not. But beyond that, opinions start to diverge and have to be fought out, either in theory up front, or on the field. I believe that attempting to keep collective principles reduced to zero will only lead to an artificially sustained period of that social evolution, with uncertain outcome.

If by 'collective principles' you are just recapitulating your constitution arguments, but in new words, then please refer to the points already made - including the fact that I haven't said that publishing your set of principles is a bad idea. If it is something new, then please contrast it with the idea of a society based on mutual aid because it seems as if, again, you are arguing on the basis that a communist society is fundamentally based on a set of agreed principles.

moismyname wrote:
Quote:
What system?

Whatever system you have in mind that must be held together by thought control. A system of inter-relations doesn't have to have a state, but I'd say yours does, or who exactly has the authority to decide who needs psychiatric therapy and who doesn't?

Mutual aid, not mind control -- that was something you assumed about my suggesting psychiatric therapy (as opposed to prison or a bullet in the head). As to authority I answered that in the post:

B_Reasonable wrote:
The commune has to have the courage in its convictions to take actions against those who are harming other people or themselves.

Sure, hypothetically, a whole commune may become medieval Catholics, or Popperian free-market capitalists, but in the absence of the underlying economic conditions that seems unlikely.

moismyname
Offline
Joined: 30-03-09
Aug 12 2009 02:59

Let's just get Popper straight:

The Open Society ans It's Enemies is an analysis of the concepts of justice, wisdom, truth, beauty and happiness as they are interpreted in authoritarian social philosophies, in particular in those of Plato, Hegel and Marx, and as opposed to egalitarian and humanitarian interpretations. Although Popper occasionally sidetracks to the social and economical conditions that may have contributed to the adoption of those conceptions by the philosopher in question, The Open Society ans It's Enemies is explicitly not a reconstruction of historical authoritarianism in socio-economic terms (as Marx would have done, and as you seem to be demanding), because such an historicist approach is unscientific and misleading, as "it is not possible to determine the relative importance of [all] factors in the case of Greek slaves or any other historical event", to use your words. Popper is not deemphasizing anything when he points out that he is analysing certain aspects of a certain phenomenon, it is Marx who overemphasizes commodity relations when he claims to have history all sorted out in socio-economic terms, thereby deemphasizing to zero all other aspects. (For a more detailed elaboration of the unscientific nature of the historicist method, see Karl Popper: The Poverty of Historicism; for a critique on Marx's historicism, see Karl Popper: The Open Society ans It's Enemies, Volume Two, Chapters 13-22.)

I agree that Popper all too readily let's capitalist liberalism off the hook by failing to point out that it by no means meets the egalitarian and humanitarian standards he is advocating, but if there is a section in which Popper concludes that a society needs free-market capitalism in order to meet egalitarian and humanitarian standards, I missed it and you are called upon to show it to me. In any case, as a critique of the philosophical misconceptions that justify authoritarian measures, The Open Society ans It's Enemies is highly valid.

-------------------------------------------------------

As for the constitution issue, I have already formulated the problems I still, with consideration of your arguments, see that a constitutionless society must face:

moismyname wrote:
This isn't about simply reminding people of what they want (as if everyone would ever want the same thing). This is about resolving conflicts.

Collective principles are the principles a society as a whole expects its individuals to live by. Should an individual not cohere with the collective principles, she must fear repercussion from some part of society in some form, which itself will be tolerated by society. Individuals don't necessarily share the collective principles, they have principles of there own. But they need to know what the collective principles are in order to know what behaviour will evoke repercussion. Collective principles are either agreed on (in the form of a constitution) or they will evolve over time. Such an evolution will take a long time, a time of uncertainty, experiment, sabre-rattling and repercussions of repercussions, but eventually there will be rules of conduct, although not necessarily the best (see UK).

My idea of libertarian socialism is to minimize collective principles to maximize individual freedom, whereas you seem to believe that collective principles can be reduced to zero. That they cannot be reduced to zero is easily shown: even the most libertarian society cannot afford to tolerate random murder, rape, abduction, assault, etc., i.e. "thou shalt not randomly murder, rape, abduct, assault, etc." are always going to be collective principles from the start, whether they are written in a constitution or not. But beyond that, opinions start to diverge and have to be fought out, either in theory up front, or on the field. I believe that attempting to keep collective principles reduced to zero will only lead to an artificially sustained period of that social evolution, with uncertain outcome.

You can read for yourself whether I am "arguing on the basis that a communist society is fundamentally based on a set of agreed principles", but just in case the above text is somehow unclear on that point, I am arguing that without agreed principles, unwritten principles will evolve in your communist society and any other, through repercussion, fear of repercussion and tolerance of repercussion. I am also arguing that such a process of evolution is likely to be long and ugly, and unlikely to end out as anything you would call a communist society, generating not only new principles, but also new power structures. I fail to see how you have dealt with these problems before -- my apologes if you have, but I would be grateful for a short summery. Btw, it is certainly not up to me to distinguish between my concept of a constitution and your concept of mutual aid, as you have been extremely vague on how mutual aid is to be established.

B_Reasonable wrote:
Typically, authoritarian states justify their actions as defending the constitution against an enemy.
B_Reasonable wrote:
The commune has to have the courage in its convictions to take actions against those who are harming other people or themselves.

I am beginning to understand why you don't want a constitution. Authoritarian states justify coercive actions as defending a constitution that allows the state such actions against an enemy. My idea of a libertarian constitution would oblige a direct democratic majority to restrain from initiating coercive actions, forcing them to convert to the means of reason, compromise and inter-social repercussions on a one-to-one basis. But you don't want that, do you? By "actions against those who are harming other people or themselves", you also mean coercive actions whenever a given majority sees them fit -- which you hope would be whenever you see them fit, such as when it comes to suppressing religious expression, or suppressing authoritarian opposition (and of course opposition would be authoritarian by definition, as yours is the freest society). Well, that's not the libertarian socialist society I have in mind.

-------------------------------------------------------

A few more comments I would like to get of my mind, feel free to ignore:

Quote:
moismyname wrote:
The USSR also had an "exclusivist idea of property". There is an exclusive owner (in this case the state) given the power to singly control its use.

So exclusivist is just a tautological flourish as non-exclusivist property would be what others would call the abolition of property. In a world dominated by commodity relations, property isn't the pre-requisite for capitalism so your argument that it is an example of the freedom paradox doesn't hold.

I was saying that property is an exclusivist idea, there was no mention of such thing as non-exclusivist property. And of course property is a prerequisite of capitalism -- capital IS property and therefore exclusivist; that's the whole problem.

Quote:
Are you seriously trying to say that the 45% of Germans who voted for Hitler were thinking: "we could sort out the crisis of capitalism ourselves, but that would involve rather a lot of irksome participatory politics, no, let's sit back and relax and let the Nazis get on with it"?

I am seriously trying to say that if there were a referendum in the USA tomorrow on whether direct democracy should be introduced, a majority of people would think: "that would involve rather a lot of irksome participatory politics, no, let's sit back and relax and let Obama get on with it".

Quote:
But read my post, and our earlier exchanges, I didn't say that the state or capitalism made people compliant.

You suggested that compliance might be enforced by the state. True, you hadn't said capitalism does the same until now, but above you have just suggested that the crisis of capitalism may have played a role in the Germans' compliance towards the nazis. But if you don't believe that abolishing state and capitalism will make people less compliant, then all the more reason to protect society against demagogues.

Personally, I believe that both the state and capitalism do contribute towards compliance by drilling people into seeing themselves as subjects of law and as consumers, even as consumers of politics. But even if we could be sure that the abolishment of both will lead to a significant amount of will to autonomy, the general will to autonomy will always fluctuate for reasons we cannot hope to foretell, it would therefore be foolish not to prepare for the worst.

moismyname wrote:
In my experience people generally find it less attractive to go forward on their impulse if it means they must go back on their word.
B_Reasonable wrote:
Remember, you're arguing for a constitution and I'm saying it is better to rely on unmediated social relations which includes people giving, and keeping, their word.

But don't seem to include asking people to agree on libertarian socialist principles, so that's not much good.

Quote:
You've argued that authoritarianism is rooted in historical philosophical concepts and one of the main conduits for those ideas is the church, e.g. Catholicism's medieval teachings.

I've also argued that such philosophical concepts can be reasoned against. If we want people to be autonomous we must leave them the last call on such matters, it would be counterproductive to fight dogmatic thought with dogmatic interdictions.

Quote:
I'm OK with people being religious but I want the commune to be able to prevent authoritarian philosophies, such as sin, being to used to scare children etc. -- without the religious people trying to gain protection from constitutional "freedom".

So if the majority of the commune are Christian and argue that Jesus was a true communist and anarchist, and if empirical statistics show that their religious emulation of Jesus make them more accessible to autonomy than atheists, it is okay for them to indoctrinate your children?

Personally, i don't want society tampering in how I raise my kids. And of course, it would have to be a pretty reactionary constitution that forbids you to take action against other people who are indoctrinating your children. That applies whether you are atheist and the people religious, or visa versa.

moismyname wrote:
The paradoxes aren't conceptual paradoxes, they are social paradoxes, the paradox is that an unreflective pursuit of a certain goal can lead to the opposite effect.
B_Reasonable wrote:
Again, this derives from your concept of "I don't see how a society can be egalitarian without universal standards." based on Popper's use of a liberal concept of freedom -- we've done this already.

What's a "liberal concept of freedom"? As opposed to what, an "un-liberal concept of freedom"? Do you possible mean individual freedom, opposed by collective freedom?

Quote:
And what's this about foretelling the direction of development, isn't that both historicism and the imposition of a dogma of our current conception of freedom?

After the above, I'm not sure even the two of us have the same "current conception of freedom". But as for "foretelling the direction of development", touché. Our "foretelling" of the future can never be more than an educated guess, but without the assumption that certain universals will remain valid, we can not even do that.

Quote:
moismyname wrote:
[
Quote:
Country constitutions are window dressing and don't support your argument.

Strange comment, considering that my argument was that country constitutions are not merely window dressing.

The fact that I concluded a point, by saying what you'd said didn't support your argument, and you found that strange, now that is strange!

My argument was that country constitutions influence socio-economic relations, i.e. are more than merely window dressing. Your comment to that argument was that country constitutions are window dressing and don't support my argument. Don't you see a slight logical flaw in that comment?

Quote:
Sure, hypothetically, a whole commune may become medieval Catholics, or Popperian free-market capitalists, but in the absence of the underlying economic conditions that seems unlikely.

In the absence of the underlying principles, I would say hardly less unlikely than it becoming libertarian socialist (although it really is unlikely than anyone will model there economy after a Popperian model, since no such model exists -- the man was not an economist).

B_Reasonable
Offline
Joined: 6-02-09
Aug 12 2009 22:39
moismyname wrote:
The Open Society ans It's Enemies is explicitly not a reconstruction of historical authoritarianism in socio-economic terms (as Marx would have done, and as you seem to be demanding), because such an historicist approach is unscientific and misleading, as "it is not possible to determine the relative importance of [all] factors in the case of Greek slaves or any other historical event", to use your words.

As you show above, I substantively agree with your position and not that of your 'Aunt Sally' representation of Marx.

moismyname wrote:
I agree that Popper all too readily let's capitalist liberalism off the hook by failing to point out that it by no means meets the egalitarian and humanitarian standards he is advocating, but if there is a section in which Popper concludes that a society needs free-market capitalism in order to meet egalitarian and humanitarian standards, I missed it and you are called upon to show it to me.

I didn't say there was a passage in the book saying that:

B_Reasonable(#16) wrote:
The ideology of free market capitalism is based on the idea that social relations can be separated in to civil affairs - which are determined by democracy - , and the economy which follows its own 'natural' laws of Adam Smith's "hidden hand". So when Popper defends "civil liberalism against state authoritarianism", without reference to the exploitation inherent in the 'natural' action of the economic aspect of social relations, then he is defending free market capitalism.

.

moismyname wrote:
In any case, as a critique of the philosophical misconceptions that justify authoritarian measures, The Open Society and It's Enemies is highly valid.

Agreed. However, it may not be a good explanation of why authoritarian measures come about, just their justification, which is why I pointed you in the direction of the Postone pamphlet. In same way as a constitution may justify civil liberalism but probably has little effect on its formation, e.g. the UK's lack of a written constitution.

moismyname wrote:
[I am arguing that without agreed principles, unwritten principles will evolve in your communist society and any other, through repercussion, fear of repercussion and tolerance of repercussion. I am also arguing that such a process of evolution is likely to be long and ugly, and unlikely to end out as anything you would call a communist society, generating not only new principles, but also new power structures. I fail to see how you have dealt with these problems before -- my apologes if you have, but I would be grateful for a short summery. Btw, it is certainly not up to me to distinguish between my concept of a constitution and your concept of mutual aid, as you have been extremely vague on how mutual aid is to be established.

Mutual Aid isn't 'my concept' but was developed by Kropotkin (as I've indicated a couple of times already), although, I'd be interested to hear if you think I'm wrong in my interpretation of what he says. I'm getting the impression you've not read him and I would recommend you take a look at Mutual Aid, Revolutionary Pamphlets and perhaps Fields and Factories. From the arguments you've been putting forward, I think you might be persuaded by his points of view. Please don't be put off by the fact that I'm advocating him - lots of nice people like him too!

Kropotkin wrote:
This is the reason why practical solidarity never ceases; not even during the worst periods of history. Even when temporary circumstances of domination, servitude, exploitation cause the principle to be disowned, it still lives deep in the thoughts of the many, ready to bring about a strong recoil against evil institutions, a revolution. If it were otherwise society would perish.

For the vast majority of animals and men this feeling remains, and must remain an acquired habit, a principle always present to the mind even when it continually ignored in action.

It is the whole evolution of the animal kingdom speaking to us. And this evolution has lasted long, very long. It counts by hundreds of millions of years.

Even if we wished to get rid of it we could not. It would be easier for a man to accustom himself to walk on all fours that to get rid of the moral sentiment. It is anterior in animal evolution to the upright posture of man.

The moral sense is a natural faculty in us like the sense of smell or of touch.

As for law and religion, which also have preached this principle, they have simply filched it to cloak their own wares, their injunctions for the benefit of the conqueror, the exploiter, the priest. Without this principle of solidarity, the justice of which is so generally recognized, how could they have laid hold of men's minds?
...
We are not afraid to say: "Do what you will; act as you will"; because we are persuaded that the great majority of mankind, in proportion to their degree of enlightenment and the completeness with which they free themselves from existing fetters will behave and act always in a direction useful to society just as we are persuaded beforehand that a child will one day walk on its two feet and not on all fours,simply because it is born of parents belonging to the genus homo. [from Anarchist Morality]

.

moismyname wrote:
B_Reasonable wrote:
Typically, authoritarian states justify their actions as defending the constitution against an enemy.
B_Reasonable wrote:
The commune has to have the courage in its convictions to take actions against those who are harming other people or themselves.

My idea of a libertarian constitution would oblige a direct democratic majority to restrain from initiating coercive actions, forcing them to convert to the means of reason, compromise and inter-social repercussions on a one-to-one basis. But you don't want that, do you? By "actions against those who are harming other people or themselves", you also mean coercive actions whenever a given majority sees them fit -- which you hope would be whenever you see them fit, such as when it comes to suppressing religious expression, or suppressing authoritarian opposition (and of course opposition would be authoritarian by definition, as yours is the freest society). Well, that's not the libertarian socialist society I have in mind.

I don't see choosing a communist route, or not choosing a communist route, as a purely a rational choice. Its a process by which people seek to maximise mutual aid and that is an instinctive need. Kropotkin deals with this in typically operatic fashion:

Kropotkin wrote:
Perhaps it may be said - it has been said sometimes - "But if you think that you must always treat others as you would be treated yourself, what right have you to use force under any circumstances whatever?
...
Yes, certainly! Because any man with a heart asks beforehand that he may be slain if ever he becomes venomous; that a dagger may be plunged into his heart if ever he should take the place of a dethroned tyrant.

Ninety-nine men out of a hundred who have a wife and children would try to commit suicide for fear they should do harm to those they love, if they felt themselves going mad. Whenever a good-hearted man feels himself becoming dangerous to those he loves, he wishes to die before he is so.

.

moismyname wrote:
And of course property is a prerequisite of capitalism -- capital IS property and therefore exclusivist; that's the whole problem.

One can envisage a form of Proudhon's mutualism where all property is owned in common and people acquire the use of goods via the exchange of labour notes. Furthermore, these goods are produced using abstract labour - like today's workplaces - so the goods are effectively commodities. If the mutualist enterprises were competing in a market, to exchange goods for labour notes, they would require surplus value to invest in greater productivity, improved commodities etc. My point is that the concept of capital (and capitalism) can extend beyond the conventional understanding of property, i.e. it is owned/controlled by an entity. By simply saying "capital IS property" you are overlooking some of the key attributes of capital, e.g. its relation to abstract labour and its need to self-valorize, which need to be negated in order to overcome capitalism.

moismyname wrote:
But if you don't believe that abolishing state and capitalism will make people less compliant, then all the more reason to protect society against demagogues.

Capitalism, and the state, is a manifestation of the majority's compliance. As you pointed out:

moismyname(#15) wrote:
Even today I'm pretty sure that if the constitutions were suddenly declared invalid and people were requested to hold referenda on all communal issues, they would immediately democratically decide to return to a bourgeois way of life with capitalism, representative democracy, laws and police force and all the shite.

Once people have tasted any freedom they don't willingly slip back.

Machiavelli wrote:
For in truth he who becomes master of a city accustomed to freedom and does not destroy it, may expect to be destroyed by it, for it will always rally to the watchwords of liberty and its ancient privileges. [The Prince]

.

moismyname wrote:
But don't seem to include asking people to agree on libertarian socialist principles, so that's not much good.

That's because I think your principles spring from a desire for mutual aid (and not the other way round) so making them into a 'social contract' is counterproductive:

B_Reasonable(#14) wrote:
In Anarchist Communism, "the limits of freedom, tolerance and majority-rule must be" determined by social relations based on mutual aid. Once you subjugate people's own ability to make decisions under rules you soon need a mini-state to preserve the rules which also probably means the rules are not being applied in the way intended. Then people start to assert their own interests under the guise of 'preserving the rules', e.g. wanting a nice cosy job as rule manager. Anyway, "Cause No Loss" doesn't seem to make much sense outside of a propertarian society.

.

Kropotkin wrote:
We already forsee a state of society where the liberty of the individual will be limited by no laws, no bonds -- by nothing else but his own social habits and the necessity, which everyone feels, of finding cooperation, support, and sympathy among his neighbours. (Anarchist Communism)

.

moismyname wrote:
Quote:
You've argued that authoritarianism is rooted in historical philosophical concepts and one of the main conduits for those ideas is the church, e.g. Catholicism's medieval teachings.

I've also argued that such philosophical concepts can be reasoned against. If we want people to be autonomous we must leave them the last call on such matters, it would be counterproductive to fight dogmatic thought with dogmatic interdictions.

You're the one suggesting the dogma of fixed principles within a constitution. You can't reason against religion, in Popper's terms it unfalsifiable.

moismyname wrote:
Quote:
I'm OK with people being religious but I want the commune to be able to prevent authoritarian philosophies, such as sin, being to used to scare children etc. -- without the religious people trying to gain protection from constitutional "freedom".

So if the majority of the commune are Christian and argue that Jesus was a true communist and anarchist, and if empirical statistics show that their religious emulation of Jesus make them more accessible to autonomy than atheists, it is okay for them to indoctrinate your children?

I'm against anyone indoctrinating anyone - even if I agree with what they're saying. That includes pressuring people to sign-up to a constitution 'for the future good of society'.

moismyname wrote:
Personally, i don't want society tampering in how I raise my kids. And of course, it would have to be a pretty reactionary constitution that forbids you to take action against other people who are indoctrinating your children. That applies whether you are atheist and the people religious, or visa versa.

As Hillary Clinton said, "It takes a village to raise a child", you might want to consider that kids are now predominantly the sole responsibility of the nuclear family unit, as a result of capitalism, rather than it being desirable level of atomisation for a communist society. I don't want "my" children to be treated any differently to any other children, regardless of who their parents might be.

moismyname wrote:
What's a "liberal concept of freedom"? As opposed to what, an "un-liberal concept of freedom"? Do you possible mean individual freedom, opposed by collective freedom?

What I meant by the liberal concept of freedom is that which is described by civil liberalism, i.e. personal freedom that doesn't materially affect the operation of capitalism or free you from its oppression.

moismyname wrote:
My argument was that country constitutions influence socio-economic relations, i.e. are more than merely window dressing. Your comment to that argument was that country constitutions are window dressing and don't support my argument. Don't you see a slight logical flaw in that comment?

.

Concise Oxford English Dictionary wrote:
As a figure of speech, "window dressing" means something done to make a better impression and sometimes implies something dishonest or deceptive.

Perhaps we're both using "window dressing" differently, (and wrongly)?

moismyname wrote:
Quote:
Sure, hypothetically, a whole commune may become medieval Catholics, or Popperian free-market capitalists, but in the absence of the underlying economic conditions that seems unlikely.

In the absence of the underlying principles, I would say hardly less unlikely than it becoming libertarian socialist (although it really is unlikely than anyone will model there economy after a Popperian model, since no such model exists -- the man was not an economist).

By "Popperian free-market capitalists" I meant free-market capitalists who rely on Popper for their principles, like Popperian Libertarian Socialists - geddit, ha ha? Hopefully, now you can appreciate that from a mutual aid point of view, the underlying principles are an expression of mutual aid and not purely a philosophical concept with as much, or as little, validity as any other concept, i.e. authoritarianism.

moismyname
Offline
Joined: 30-03-09
Aug 22 2009 21:03

Sorry for taking so long to reply, I've been rather busy lately.

B_Reasonable wrote:
[...]Sure, there is a literary record but that tends to de-emphasise any relationship between means of production etc. and authoritarianism.
B_Reasonable wrote:
[The Open Society ans It's Enemies] may not be a good explanation of why authoritarian measures come about, just their justification, which is why I pointed you in the direction of the Postone pamphlet.

I think you are underestimating the role and significance of philosophical justification, just as you seem to think Popper underestimates economical factors. In any case, retrospectively explaining why it came to this, that and the other is all very well, but I would rather be able to tackle the philosophical assumptions authoritarian ideologies are based on.

B_Reasonable wrote:
The ideology of free market capitalism is based on the idea that social relations can be separated in to civil affairs - which are determined by democracy - , and the economy which follows its own 'natural' laws of Adam Smith's "hidden hand". So when Popper defends "civil liberalism against state authoritarianism", without reference to the exploitation inherent in the 'natural' action of the economic aspect of social relations, then he is defending free market capitalism.

Saying it a second time won't make your accusation less arbitrary. If Popper believes that civil affairs and economy can be separated, then he is obviously not defending a specific economic model when defending civil liberalism. And if you believe that civil liberalism and free-market capitalism are inseparable , then you have a problem, as civil liberty is nothing other than "freedom from arbitrary governmental interference" (merriam-webster), which is also one of the goals of anarchism, or not? Again, I believe your rejection is merely due to my use of "bourgeois" terminology.

B_Reasonable wrote:
In same way as a constitution may justify civil liberalism but probably has little effect on its formation, e.g. the UK's lack of a written constitution.

The process of agreeing on a constitution can achieve within months what Britain took 300 years for; take a look at West Germany after the war. But my argument was not that constitutions effect the formation of principles, it was that they help preserve them.

B_Reasonable wrote:
Mutual Aid isn't 'my concept' but was developed by Kropotkin (as I've indicated a couple of times already), although, I'd be interested to hear if you think I'm wrong in my interpretation of what he says. I'm getting the impression you've not read him and I would recommend you take a look at Mutual Aid, Revolutionary Pamphlets and perhaps Fields and Factories. From the arguments you've been putting forward, I think you might be persuaded by his points of view. Please don't be put off by the fact that I'm advocating him - lots of nice people like him too!

You're right, I haven't read Kropotkin, I have only come across his concept of mutual aid though secondary literature (yes, I know you were borrowing from Kropotkin, but strictly speaking it's not his brainchild, either -- Proudhon already spoke of mutual aid and I doubt he was the first). I won't pretend to know all about it, but until now I was under the impression that not even Kropotkin completely trusted that if individuals were simply left to their own accord, solidarity would be human nature's prevailing attribute and settle all problems. I imagined that Kropotkin's concept of mutual aid required society to be structured in such a way that the benefits of solidarity are immediate and apparent. As natural as solidarity may be, the conditions we live in today, which are the same conditions we wish to transfer into a libertarian socialist society, are everything but natural. Solidarity tends to limit itself to the people we know personally or to people we somehow relate to through something we have in common (e.g. a common enemy). 10,000 years ago that would have covered practically everyone in our small community, but today much of our social contact, and especially in the field of economic exchange, is characterized by impersonality. Sweeping society clean of state and capitalist structures would surely change this to a certain extent, but only on a personal one-to-one scale, larger exchanges such as the supply of non-regional resources can hardly be based on solidarity alone. But the most disturbing threat of relying solely on solidarity is the formation of groups. People would predominantly socialize and exchange with people of their own ethnicity, religion, origin, social background, scene or whatever they identify with most – we will most likely end out with a power struggle of competing groups rather than competing individuals, and possibly not only in the field of economic exchange (it is no coincidence that Gemeinschaft – gemein = what one has in common – was a central theme in Third Reich propaganda).

I do believe that solidarity and mutual aid can be central mechanisms of society, but only given an appropriate social structure. That is why I was asking how you mean to “establish” mutual aid.

Kropotkin wrote:
Perhaps it may be said - it has been said sometimes - "But if you think that you must always treat others as you would be treated yourself, what right have you to use force under any circumstances whatever?
...
Yes, certainly! Because any man with a heart asks beforehand that he may be slain if ever he becomes venomous; that a dagger may be plunged into his heart if ever he should take the place of a dethroned tyrant.

Ninety-nine men out of a hundred who have a wife and children would try to commit suicide for fear they should do harm to those they love, if they felt themselves going mad. Whenever a good-hearted man feels himself becoming dangerous to those he loves, he wishes to die before he is so.

Do I get this right? Kropotkin is telling us we are actually doing those we decide to use coercion against a favour? Because they would want to be coerced if only they saw “the truth”? That is not only the cheapest, most primitive piece of propaganda crap I have ever witnessed, with a mind-boggling potential for abuse, it also goes against the very essence of anarchism:

Proudhon wrote:
Whoever puts a hand on me to govern me is an usurper and a tyrant; I declare him my enemy.

_

B_Reasonable wrote:
One can envisage a form of Proudhon's mutualism where all property is owned in common and people acquire the use of goods via the exchange of labour notes. Furthermore, these goods are produced using abstract labour - like today's workplaces - so the goods are effectively commodities. If the mutualist enterprises were competing in a market, to exchange goods for labour notes, they would require surplus value to invest in greater productivity, improved commodities etc. My point is that the concept of capital (and capitalism) can extend beyond the conventional understanding of property, i.e. it is owned/controlled by an entity. By simply saying "capital IS property" you are overlooking some of the key attributes of capital, e.g. its relation to abstract labour and its need to self-valorize, which need to be negated in order to overcome capitalism.

I wouldn't call mutualism a form of capitalism just because it involves markets and surplus value (after all, there is an essential difference: the surplus value goes to those that created it: the labourers – rather than to the investors as in capitalism), but your scenario goes to show that you can't do away with a system based on surplus value and markets just by calling money “labour notes” and calling property “acquired usage of goods via the exchange of labour notes”. On the other hand, really doing away with property will automatically do away with competitive markets, as the only thing people are competing for in such markets is the control of goods, i.e. property.

B_Reasonable wrote:
Once people have tasted any freedom they don't willingly slip back.
Machiavelli wrote:
For in truth he who becomes master of a city accustomed to freedom and does not destroy it, may expect to be destroyed by it, for it will always rally to the watchwords of liberty and its ancient privileges. [The Prince]

I'm not so sure. History has plenty of examples of how entire nations where fooled into giving up what liberties they had, the latest being that of the Bush administration in the U.S.. Machiavelli's assertion was based on the observation of Sparta's inability to hold Athens and Rome's difficulty to hold Greece, but there are other means to “become master” than by capture.

B_Reasonable wrote:
That's because I think your principles spring from a desire for mutual aid (and not the other way round) so making them into a 'social contract' is counterproductive:
B_Reasonable(#14) wrote:
In Anarchist Communism, "the limits of freedom, tolerance and majority-rule must be" determined by social relations based on mutual aid. Once you subjugate people's own ability to make decisions under rules you soon need a mini-state to preserve the rules which also probably means the rules are not being applied in the way intended. Then people start to assert their own interests under the guise of 'preserving the rules', e.g. wanting a nice cosy job as rule manager. [...]

The idea of a constitution is, or should be, not to create rules for the people to live by (that's what law books are for), but to formulate responsibilities for the community as a whole. The responsibilities of a libertarian socialist community would be to retain administrative control within democratic parameters, respect the freedom of it's individuals and perhaps something about supplying mutual aid (but not necessarily, that would be up for discussion). Should a community fail to live up to any of these responsibilities, it will have failed as a libertarian socialist community whether it has a constitution or not, there is therefore no danger in formulating them within a constitution, only the benefit of the extra in incentive to get it right created by exposing our ambitions for all the world to see.

Btw, I think it's rather naive of you to believe that people need law books and constitutions to assert their own interests in the guise of the keepers of decency.

moismyname wrote:
If we want people to be autonomous we must leave them the last call on such matters, it would be counterproductive to fight dogmatic thought with dogmatic interdictions.
B_Reasonable wrote:
You're the one suggesting the dogma of fixed principles within a constitution.

And is your rejection of religions not to be a fixed principle? This is a perfect example of how dogmatic interdiction (your campaign against religious conviction) need not be set in a law book or constitution to take effect, and how a constitution can help prevent it (by obliging the community to respect the freedom of it's individuals). It is simply none of your nor the community's business how certain people see the world, the only question you and the community need to ask is whether their behavior is constraining the freedom of others (although I would keep an extra eye out for srongly religious groups due to the repressive nature of religions).

B_Reasonable wrote:
You can't reason against religion, in Popper's terms it unfalsifiable.

The fact that religious propositions are unfalsifiable is the best argument for their meaninglessness. But we don't even have to get all wittgensteinian, religions usually hold quite enough contradictions in themselves. That is the reason way religions are gradually dying out in those parts of the world that have a tradition of rational thought.

H. L. Mencken wrote:
Men become civilized, not in proportion to their willingness to believe, but in proportion to their readiness to doubt.

Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote:
If God has spoken, why is the world not convinced.
C. Hitchens wrote:
What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.

_

Quote:
moismyname wrote:
Quote:
I'm OK with people being religious but I want the commune to be able to prevent authoritarian philosophies, such as sin, being to used to scare children etc. -- without the religious people trying to gain protection from constitutional "freedom".

So if the majority of the commune are Christian and argue that Jesus was a true communist and anarchist, and if empirical statistics show that their religious emulation of Jesus make them more accessible to autonomy than atheists, it is okay for them to indoctrinate your children?

I'm against anyone indoctrinating anyone - even if I agree with what they're saying. That includes pressuring people to sign-up to a constitution 'for the future good of society'.

Such a prevention of authoritarian (or any other kind of) philosophies could only be achieved by one of two means: coercion or indoctrination. Therefore, your proposition would merely swap one authoritarian philosophy with another; prescribed atheism for the greater purpose of collective harmony stands metaphysically and ethically on no firmer ground than prescribed theism for the greater purpose of divine harmony, and can be misused in pretty much the same way.

Reza Aslan wrote:
Religion is, by definition, interpretation; and by definition, all interpretations are valid. However, some interpretations are more reasonable than others.

_

moismyname wrote:
Personally, i don't want society tampering in how I raise my kids.
B_Reasonable wrote:
As Hillary Clinton said, "It takes a village to raise a child", you might want to consider that kids are now predominantly the sole responsibility of the nuclear family unit, as a result of capitalism, rather than it being desirable level of atomisation for a communist society. I don't want "my" children to be treated any differently to any other children, regardless of who their parents might be.

I would generally agree, but there remains a natural bond between parents and child, and I would call it “tampering” if society seeks to undermine that bond in pursuit of collective interests.

B_Reasonable wrote:
What I meant by the liberal concept of freedom is that which is described by civil liberalism, i.e. personal freedom that doesn't materially affect the operation of capitalism or free you from its oppression.

Then I object to your allegation that my arguments are based on such a concept. If our concepts of freedom diverge, then it is because you seem to think absolute freedom is obtainable for everyone by doing away with rules and capitalism, whereas I believe that freedom is always limited; whenever two people meet, freedom is limited by the other person's interests and her power to accomplish them, and even on one's own it is limited by one's own needs. All we can hope for is to delegate our interests in such a way that they mainly co-exist and rarely clash, thereby maximizing each person's freedom. And as I have hinted before, I think there is a far higher chance of achieving this with generally accepted universal principles than without.

B_Reasonable wrote:
By "Popperian free-market capitalists" I meant free-market capitalists who rely on Popper for their principles, like Popperian Libertarian Socialists - geddit, ha ha?

Just to get this straight, I don't rely on Popper for my principles, nor would I recommend anyone else do so (he's a capitalist, for Christ's sake!). I quoted Popper because he expressed an idea (not even his own) much more eloquently and concise than I could have done, and then I defended his critique on authoritarianism, with which I would largely agree, against what I considered to be unfounded allegations. No more, no less.

B_Reasonable wrote:
Sure, hypothetically, a whole commune may become medieval Catholics, or Popperian free-market capitalists, but in the absence of the underlying economic conditions that seems unlikely.
moismyname wrote:
In the absence of the underlying principles, I would say hardly less unlikely than it becoming libertarian socialist
B_Reasonable wrote:
Hopefully, now you can appreciate that from a mutual aid point of view, the underlying principles are an expression of mutual aid and not purely a philosophical concept with as much, or as little, validity as any other concept, i.e. authoritarianism.

For the reasons presented above, I still have my doubts. Kropotkin was right to point out that cooperation is at least as much human nature as compatition is, but that doesn't mean there will be no competition if humans are left to govern themselves. I would also strongly dispute that every philosophical concept has as much or as little validity as every other.

B_Reasonable
Offline
Joined: 6-02-09
Aug 25 2009 21:55
mosimyname wrote:
And if you believe that civil liberalism and free-market capitalism are inseparable , then you have a problem, as civil liberty is nothing other than "freedom from arbitrary governmental interference" (merriam-webster), which is also one of the goals of anarchism, or not?

My point is (again) that it is pointless talking about freedom when you artificially divide up types of oppression to ignore the economic element -- especially when that artificial division is central to the ruling ideology. Basically, you end up supporting the ruling ideology. Commodified social relations are a totality. Capitalism can't be overcome on a piecemeal basis. 'Let's push for civil liberties first -- that's one anarchist goal sorted -- and then we'll have a go at property after that'. Furthermore, anarchism is no-government, that is quite different from having a government that doesn't interfere on an arbitrary basis so by that definition civil liberties aren't a goal anyway.

mosimyname wrote:
The process of agreeing on a constitution can achieve within months what Britain took 300 years for; take a look at West Germany after the war.

The US, as the superior western allied power, determined that W. Germany had a written constitution. If it had been Britain, W. Germany would have probably got a similar system to colonies such as Canada or Australia. Difference in resulting civil liberties: virtually nil.

mosimyname wrote:
I imagined that Kropotkin's concept of mutual aid required society to be structured in such a way that the benefits of solidarity are immediate and apparent. As natural as solidarity may be, the conditions we live in today, which are the same conditions we wish to transfer into a libertarian socialist society, are everything but natural. Solidarity tends to limit itself to the people we know personally or to people we somehow relate to through something we have in common (e.g. a common enemy).

Kropotkin goes into in depth about this with examples. I think, today, with the internet, we see far more examples of effective mutual aid and our ability to empathise and cooperate outside of our immediate circle. This exchange is an example isn't it?

mosimyname wrote:
IBut the most disturbing threat of relying solely on solidarity is the formation of groups. People would predominantly socialize and exchange with people of their own ethnicity, religion, origin, social background, scene or whatever they identify with most – we will most likely end out with a power struggle of competing groups rather than competing individuals, and possibly not only in the field of economic exchange (it is no coincidence that Gemeinschaft – gemein = what one has in common – was a central theme in Third Reich propaganda).

Of course you are right to be concerned about this but (again) I don't believe a written constitution is going to help solve it. I also think that these tendencies for groups to form arises out of a combination of economic circumstances and state 'divide and rule' tactics. Take those away and, even in a free-market capitalist society, people start to mix together.

mosimyname wrote:
I do believe that solidarity and mutual aid can be central mechanisms of society, but only given an appropriate social structure. That is why I was asking how you mean to “establish” mutual aid.

Poor wording on my part, I mean establish a communist society.

mosimyname wrote:
Do I get this right? Kropotkin is telling us we are actually doing those we decide to use coercion against a favour? Because they would want to be coerced if only they saw “the truth”? That is not only the cheapest, most primitive piece of propaganda crap I have ever witnessed, with a mind-boggling potential for abuse, it also goes against the very essence of anarchism:

OK, your friend's cat Tibbles get's run over by her neighbour so you take her out for a consolatory drink. After downing 17 pints, she decides it's all a conspiracy and sets off to exact revenge. What do you do? Send her on her merry way, telling her you don't want to be a tyrant, or restrain her because you know that, when she comes back to her senses, she'll thank you for it? Ideas for a future society have to deal with real life. It can't be an intellectual thought experiment. But normally it is quite easy to distinguish between well-intended restraint (to stop someone hurting others, or themselves) from exploitation.

mosimyname wrote:
On the other hand, really doing away with property will automatically do away with competitive markets, as the only thing people are competing for in such markets is the control of goods, i.e. property.

This brings us back to your term 'exclusivist property' and my point about the USSR being capitalist -- despite not having "competitive markets". So now you accept that saying "capital IS property" is incorrect? This is important because it helps show that capitalism is a totality of social relations -- that includes civil liberties.

mosimyname wrote:
History has plenty of examples of how entire nations where fooled into giving up what liberties they had, the latest being that of the Bush administration in the U.S.

Get real, I don't want to belittle the suffering of the minorities affected (e.g. gays), but what material effect did the change in civil liberties have on most most Americans, especially in comparison to the effects of the credit crisis?

mosimyname wrote:
B_Reasonable wrote:
That's because I think your principles spring from a desire for mutual aid (and not the other way round) so making them into a 'social contract' is counterproductive:
B_Reasonable(#14) wrote:
In Anarchist Communism, "the limits of freedom, tolerance and majority-rule must be" determined by social relations based on mutual aid. Once you subjugate people's own ability to make decisions under rules you soon need a mini-state to preserve the rules which also probably means the rules are not being applied in the way intended. Then people start to assert their own interests under the guise of 'preserving the rules', e.g. wanting a nice cosy job as rule manager. [...]

The idea of a constitution is, or should be, not to create rules for the people to live by (that's what law books are for), but to formulate responsibilities for the community as a whole. The responsibilities of a libertarian socialist community would be to retain administrative control within democratic parameters, respect the freedom of it's individuals and perhaps something about supplying mutual aid (but not necessarily, that would be up for discussion).

Oh look, "retain administrative control within democratic parameters" there's the mini-state I said you'd need. Please remember, I'm quite happy about you publishing (and appreciate the potential value -- when I've seen what it actually says) of your written principles, I just don't agree with the constitution bit.

mosimyname wrote:
And is your rejection of religions not to be a fixed principle?

It might remain a fixed principle for me, personally, but I'm not seeking to have it imposed as a fixed principle within society.

mosimyname wrote:
It is simply none of your nor the community's business how certain people see the world, the only question you and the community need to ask is whether their behavior is constraining the freedom of others (although I would keep an extra eye out for srongly religious groups due to the repressive nature of religions).

In principle, I agree, however it is important to challenge and critique people's views in order to maintain the "tradition of rational thought" you highlight. You might regret not doing so when you take Tibbles to the vet's collective and find they only use homeopathic treatments => painful death (I've known something similar happen).

mosimyname wrote:
Quote:
I'm against anyone indoctrinating anyone - even if I agree with what they're saying. That includes pressuring people to sign-up to a constitution 'for the future good of society'.

Such a prevention of authoritarian (or any other kind of) philosophies could only be achieved by one of two means: coercion or indoctrination. Therefore, your proposition would merely swap one authoritarian philosophy with another; prescribed atheism for the greater purpose of collective harmony

I'm simply stating that I am going to challenge people's authoritarian views -- such as having constitutions. This is neither, "coercion or indoctrination" but me continuing to preserve the "tradition of rational thought". If the people with authoritarian views (or those without them) start oppressing others then the commune needs to take action to protect those being oppressed. That doesn't present a massive dilemma does it?

But as you are, not unreasonably, worried that the commune's actions may be more oppressive, than the oppressive action that it is seeking to prevent, then please go ahead and publish "Mo's handy guide to maintaining libertarian socialist principles." This might include a chapter on, 'how not to be a bullying collective majority and become intolerant of eccentric individuals'. It certainly can't hurt at it might be a best seller -- while capitalism is still around. I just don't agree with it being adopted as a constitution requiring "administrative control within democratic parameters"

mosimyname wrote:
...there remains a natural bond between parents and child, and I would call it “tampering” if society seeks to undermine that bond in pursuit of collective interests.

Generally, if people's (non-exploitative) social relationships are being affected by what are regarded as society's "collective interests" then we're probably living in some kind of Leninist nightmare. That's probably deserves chapter of its own in your book.

mosimyname wrote:
If our concepts of freedom diverge, then it is because you seem to think absolute freedom is obtainable for everyone by doing away with rules and capitalism, whereas I believe that freedom is always limited; whenever two people meet, freedom is limited by the other person's interests and her power to accomplish them, and even on one's own it is limited by one's own needs.

I agree with the limits to freedom that you describe. Also, as a result of this exchange, I've come to realise that 'freedom' is a very loose concept. One reason being the dilemmas which you raised to begin with. There is 'freedom-from' oppression, there is 'freedom-to' do things (i.e. tolerance from other people) but much of what I'm looking for is 'freedom from social relations mediated by the commodity form'.

I don't see anything wrong with your desire to address the philosophical roots of authoritarianism as opposed to just material conditions. But I am concerned that this can overlook the autonomous nature of much of the social relations within capitalism. Most people aren't setting out to coerce or victimise others, they 'have to' in order to make a profit or keep their job etc.

mosimyname wrote:
IFor the reasons presented above, I still have my doubts. Kropotkin was right to point out that cooperation is at least as much human nature as competition is, but that doesn't mean there will be no competition if humans are left to govern themselves. I would also strongly dispute that every philosophical concept has as much or as little validity as every other.

Outside the context of a propertarian society, I don't see why the desire to compete is necessarily at odds with mutual aid or opposed to cooperation. Competition engenders motivation and a desire to do well. Perhaps, within a group, it encourages members to explore different skillsets to excel at, and overall increases the survivability of the group? Take amateur sports, sure people like winning but they'd be pretty upset if everybody conceded and simply went off to do something else.

moismyname
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Aug 31 2009 19:42
B_Reasonable wrote:
My point is (again) that it is pointless talking about freedom when you artificially divide up types of oppression to ignore the economic element -- especially when that artificial division is central to the ruling ideology. Basically, you end up supporting the ruling ideology.

Yes, people influenced by Marxism (which unfortunately covers practically the entire far-left) love saying things like that, it's a wonderful excuse not to have to seriously consider any sociological propositions coming from outside their circles. To me, there is indeed a difference between being forced to act in the supposed interest of the community under threat of physical repercussions and being forced to act in the interest of private capital-holders under threat of economic repercussions. The difference is not so much in the effect (at least from the individual's point of view), it is in their philosophical and economic/sociological justification, and therefore I continue to believe that it is not only legitimate to argue against their justifications consecutively, but failing to do so, i.e. attempting to argue against them simultaneously, all too often results in leaning towards one of these sources of restraint of freedom in one's rejection of the other -- a misapprehension that even many anarchists are not immune against.

B_Reasonable wrote:
Capitalism can't be overcome on a piecemeal basis. 'Let's push for civil liberties first -- that's one anarchist goal sorted -- and then we'll have a go at property after that'.

I never said I was opting for a piecemeal strategy, and as far as I am concerned, that's another reason for the establishment of a libertarian socialist constitution. If we sparked a revolution tomorrow with the support of the people and the government were overthrown, then what? There will be massive general disorientation and there will be plenty of statist revolutionaries willing to seize their chance with police and army disabled. Do we fight it out until all statists are dead? Or would it not be better to take the wind out of their sails by founding the new society on a piece of paper that has majority approval? If we don't come up with a constitution, someone will.

B_Reasonable wrote:
Furthermore, anarchism is no-government, that is quite different from having a government that doesn't interfere on an arbitrary basis so by that definition civil liberties aren't a goal anyway.
Benjamin Tucker wrote:
The Anarchists are simply unterrified Jeffersonian Democrats. They believe that 'the best government is that which governs least,' and that which governs least is no government at all.

_

B_Reasonable wrote:
The US, as the superior western allied power, determined that W. Germany had a written constitution. If it had been Britain, W. Germany would have probably got a similar system to colonies such as Canada or Australia. Difference in resulting civil liberties: virtually nil.

Canada and Australia both have written constitutions. W. Germany's constitution was initiated and ratified by all three occupying powers, including the UK. But the point is, it was politically established within months and ideologically established among the population within less than a decade. And as for the UK, despite the fact that Britain was one of the first “great” nations to induce the transition from feudalism to democracy with the parliamentarian acts of the 17th century, thereby completely skipping absolutism, that transition has taken almost 400 years and even today there still can be found more than just traces of feudalism in its politics, e.g. the Royal Prerogative, the Sovereignty of Parliament, the portion of hereditary peers in the House of Lords, and other institutions that modern democracies would consider surprisingly reactionary for a first world country in this day and age. And these feudal properties are not without effect, the UK has a long history of civil rights issues. Within its own boundaries (property-based plural voting, rotten boroughs, gerrymandering, etc, etc – this type of shit was still going on in Northern Ireland into the late 1960s) as well as in its colonies – lets face it, liberation from British sheer and utter exploitation never came from Britain itself, it came from political movements within the colonies. All in all I would consider Britain a particularly good example of how an evolution of constitutional principals is indeed less desirable than agreed principles.

B_Reasonable wrote:
I think, today, with the internet, we see far more examples of effective mutual aid and our ability to empathise and cooperate outside of our immediate circle. This exchange is an example isn't it?

The examples of effective mutual aid are all very well, they made me a libertarian socialist in the first place, but it is the examples of where mutual aid doesn't prevail which concern me, and those are also plentiful.

B_Reasonable wrote:
I also think that these tendencies for groups to form arises out of a combination of economic circumstances and state 'divide and rule' tactics. Take those away and, even in a free-market capitalist society, people start to mix together.

I wouldn't bet my children's' future on it. Economic circumstances certainly promote grouping, but I highly doubt they are the only cause, and it is by no means verified that the economic circumstances in a anarchist communist society will not be of the kind that promote grouping. As for state 'divide and rule' tactics, systematic ghettoizing and lack of integration policies do show that particularly conservative governments aren't all to interested in cultural intermixture, but liberal multiculturalism and it's failure show that cultural groups are quite prepared to divide on their own.

mosimyname wrote:
Do I get this right? Kropotkin is telling us we are actually doing those we decide to use coercion against a favour? Because they would want to be coerced if only they saw “the truth”? That is not only the cheapest, most primitive piece of propaganda crap I have ever witnessed, with a mind-boggling potential for abuse, it also goes against the very essence of anarchism
B_Reasonable wrote:
OK, your friend's cat Tibbles get's run over by her neighbour so you take her out for a consolatory drink. After downing 17 pints, she decides it's all a conspiracy and sets off to exact revenge. What do you do? Send her on her merry way, telling her you don't want to be a tyrant, or restrain her because you know that, when she comes back to her senses, she'll thank you for it? Ideas for a future society have to deal with real life. It can't be an intellectual thought experiment. But normally it is quite easy to distinguish between well-intended restraint (to stop someone hurting others, or themselves) from exploitation.

Funny, to me it's Kropotkin's remarks that sound like an intellectual thought experiment, and a rather crude one at that, just like your example sounds rather crudely customized to your cause. The idea that “we” (whoever that is) know what's best our poor, misguided comrades and have every right to force them to behave as we see fit is every bit as dodgy as any form of law enforcement – even more so as it is much more arbitrary. Every atrocity in history has been justified by such higher motives as “to stop someone harming others, or themselves”. Even with majority approval, particularly minorities have no reason to trust “us” to do any better than any other self-proclaimed watchers of decency that history has produced. The price for autonomy is responsibility – everyone must be responsible for their own actions, no more and no less, and everyone must have the responsibility to stand up for themselves after having experienced injustice, although that need not imply more than asking the community for support.

mosimyname wrote:
On the other hand, really doing away with property will automatically do away with competitive markets, as the only thing people are competing for in such markets is the control of goods, i.e. property.
B_Reasonable wrote:
This brings us back to your term 'exclusivist property' and my point about the USSR being capitalist -- despite not having "competitive markets". So now you accept that saying "capital IS property" is incorrect? This is important because it helps show that capitalism is a totality of social relations -- that includes civil liberties.

I said markets need property, I didn't say property needs markets. Capitalism may be a totality of social relations, but civil liberties are certainly not a necessity, or would you dispute that China is capitalist? And even if they were, that wouldn't mean civil liberties can't exist independently from capitalism. If a civil liberty is lack of restriction in a certain civil issue, then anarchism aims to establish all civil liberties and more.

mosimyname wrote:
History has plenty of examples of how entire nations where fooled into giving up what liberties they had, the latest being that of the Bush administration in the U.S.
B_Reasonable wrote:
Get real, I don't want to belittle the suffering of the minorities affected (e.g. gays), but what material effect did the change in civil liberties have on most most Americans, especially in comparison to the effects of the credit crisis?

I would argue that material effect isn't everything, but that's not the point. Your thesis was that people don't easily give up liberties they are accustomed to, my example shows that all it takes is a complacent population, an untalented demagogue and a terrorist attack.

B_Reasonable wrote:
Oh look, "retain administrative control within democratic parameters" there's the mini-state I said you'd need. Please remember, I'm quite happy about you publishing (and appreciate the potential value -- when I've seen what it actually says) of your written principles, I just don't agree with the constitution bit.

Well, what parameters would you suggest for communal decision-making processes (such as which silo to store this years corn in, or whether a new road should be built, etc)? I would have thought direct democracy is as decentralized as it gets, but call it mini-state if you like.

mosimyname wrote:
And is your rejection of religions not to be a fixed principle?
B_Reasonable wrote:
It might remain a fixed principle for me, personally, but I'm not seeking to have it imposed as a fixed principle within society.

Good. I kind of got the impression you wanted society to eradicate religious thought by any means necessary.

B_Reasonable wrote:
it is important to challenge and critique people's views in order to maintain the "tradition of rational thought" you highlight.

Absolutely!

B_Reasonable wrote:
I'm OK with people being religious but I want the commune to be able to prevent authoritarian philosophies, such as sin, being to used to scare children etc. -- without the religious people trying to gain protection from constitutional "freedom".
mosimyname wrote:
Such a prevention of authoritarian (or any other kind of) philosophies could only be achieved by one of two means: coercion or indoctrination. Therefore, your proposition would merely swap one authoritarian philosophy with another; prescribed atheism for the greater purpose of collective harmony
B_Reasonable wrote:
I'm simply stating that I am going to challenge people's authoritarian views -- such as having constitutions. This is neither, "coercion or indoctrination" but me continuing to preserve the "tradition of rational thought". If the people with authoritarian views (or those without them) start oppressing others then the commune needs to take action to protect those being oppressed. That doesn't present a massive dilemma does it?

I admit, I interpreted that first quotation of yours rather bluntly as “I want the commune to be able to prevent authoritarian philosophies, full stop.” Of course, I am all for challenging people's authoritarian views, that's what we are doing right here (and I would still argue that constitutional majority rule is less authoritarian than sovereign majority rule for any given minority, of which the individual is the smallest).

B_Reasonable wrote:
But as you are, not unreasonably, worried that the commune's actions may be more oppressive, than the oppressive action that it is seeking to prevent, then please go ahead and publish "Mo's handy guide to maintaining libertarian socialist principles." This might include a chapter on, 'how not to be a bullying collective majority and become intolerant of eccentric individuals'. It certainly can't hurt at it might be a best seller -- while capitalism is still around. I just don't agree with it being adopted as a constitution requiring "administrative control within democratic parameters"

Yes, it certainly can't hurt. In fact, it is liable to remain completely without any effect whatsoever. Marx's, Engel's, Luxemburg's, Trotsky's and Lenin's numerous manifestos, declarations and proclamations of benevolence didn't prevent the implementation of Marxism from becoming a humanitarian disaster.

mosimyname wrote:
...there remains a natural bond between parents and child, and I would call it “tampering” if society seeks to undermine that bond in pursuit of collective interests.
B_Reasonable wrote:
Generally, if people's (non-exploitative) social relationships are being affected by what are regarded as society's "collective interests" then we're probably living in some kind of Leninist nightmare.

The problem I see is that such a nightmare doesn't have to be Leninist, i.e. statist, to manifest itself. All it takes is a group of people (possibly the majority of a given society), that is motivated either by self-interest or by the prospect of some greater good, to impose their will on others who lack the power to resist (possibly because the imposing group is the majority).

B_Reasonable wrote:
Also, as a result of this exchange, I've come to realise that 'freedom' is a very loose concept. One reason being the dilemmas which you raised to begin with. There is 'freedom-from' oppression, there is 'freedom-to' do things (i.e. tolerance from other people) but much of what I'm looking for is 'freedom from social relations mediated by the commodity form'.

I completely agree.

B_Reasonable wrote:
I don't see anything wrong with your desire to address the philosophical roots of authoritarianism as opposed to just material conditions. But I am concerned that this can overlook the autonomous nature of much of the social relations within capitalism. Most people aren't setting out to coerce or victimise others, they 'have to' in order to make a profit or keep their job etc.

Believe me, I don't overlook the autonomous power relations inherent in capitalism. Outside of anti-capitalist forums, I take every chance to point them out.

B_Reasonable wrote:
Outside the context of a propertarian society, I don't see why the desire to compete is necessarily at odds with mutual aid or opposed to cooperation. Competition engenders motivation and a desire to do well. Perhaps, within a group, it encourages members to explore different skillsets to excel at, and overall increases the survivability of the group? Take amateur sports, sure people like winning but they'd be pretty upset if everybody conceded and simply went off to do something else.

Interesting point. If a natural desire for competition were the only problem left for a libertarian socialist society to solve, then would I agree, I'm sure people would find or invent harmless or useful circumstances to let it out. The problem is getting to that. Individuals or groups will enter competition whenever (i) the prize of a certain labour is inadequately available for all, and (ii) there is lack of loyalty between competitors. Unfortunately even without property, economic exchange may offer plenty of opportunities for those two preconditions to be fulfilled, such as when it comes to the use of certain resources.

Anonimiss
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Sep 4 2009 18:15

what would be the point of all white, all black neighborhoods? i think your point is the opposite of what anarchy is. to me, anarchy isn't just not having people tell you what to do. It's believe that no one should have superiority over others. no levels of hierarchy, total equality. Setting up segregated towns would be against all that. Why wouldn't you want to live with other ethnicitys? Cuz you think your ethnic group is better than theirs? Just because it's a personal choice? but why? aren't we all equal in an anarchist society? I understand your point of it not being anarchistic to tell you you can't be racist... but i dont think anarchist is what you are. just because you don't like being told what to do. so if a black person tried to move in to your all white society, and you tell him no...what does that make you?

jef costello's picture
jef costello
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Sep 4 2009 19:43
Anonimiss wrote:
what would be the point of all white, all black neighborhoods? i think your point is the opposite of what anarchy is. to me, anarchy isn't just not having people tell you what to do. It's believe that no one should have superiority over others. no levels of hierarchy, total equality. Setting up segregated towns would be against all that. Why wouldn't you want to live with other ethnicitys? Cuz you think your ethnic group is better than theirs? Just because it's a personal choice? but why? aren't we all equal in an anarchist society? I understand your point of it not being anarchistic to tell you you can't be racist... but i dont think anarchist is what you are. just because you don't like being told what to do. so if a black person tried to move in to your all white society, and you tell him no...what does that make you?

I think you're dealing with a libertarian type, I can't be bothered to read the huge exchange between those two though. In general libertarian types take personal freedom to be more important than personal responsibility. Obviously values are not constant but an anarchist society only functions if people can behave like anarchists and all forms of discrimination are got rid of.

moismyname
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Sep 5 2009 15:31
jef costello wrote:
I think you're dealing with a libertarian type, I can't be bothered to read the huge exchange between those two though. In general libertarian types take personal freedom to be more important than personal responsibility. Obviously values are not constant but an anarchist society only functions if people can behave like anarchists and all forms of discrimination are got rid of.

I think Anonimiss was referring to the very first post from Gizmoguy, the content of his comment has very little to do with the discussion between B_Reasonable and myself. Neither of us are advocating to tolerate discrimination, btw, and if by "libertarian type" you mean individualist anarchists, then I would disagree: they strongly emphasize responsibility, but take responsibility for oneself to be more important than responsibility for the collective.