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Old 03-23-2010, 05:59 PM   #118
Phone Booth
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 3,350
Re: Questions about Anarcho Capitalism

Originally Posted by xorbie View Post
I reject the notion that this "internal EV calculation" is being done at a conscious level, and I agree with what you are otherwise saying. I just don't think that people are taking PBs point seriously enough, which is that if y'all (and myself) want to get things done, we need to do things that we don't really want to do, and that pretending that we are engaging in some sort of "internal EV calculation" just obscures the fact that most of what we do is appeal to emotion or psychology. We don't like social activism. So it goes.
On some level, there are three types of people interested in politics. First, there are those with a strong me versus society or us versus them mentality. For some reason, someone feels that he is entitled to more than what's available to him and comes up with some theory to justify this sense of entitlement. Often there's a strong sense of victimhood. This group is also relatively younger and disenfranchized. We'll call them the victims. They can't accomplish much by themselves because ultimately, significant political change demands personal sacrifice, which is the last thing those who see themselves already as victims are willing to offer. This is by far the majority of those who show significant interest in politics and in fact the greatest source of potential political discontent in any society.

Second, there are those who are unusually concerned with the welfare of others. Those whose sense of empathy is far-reaching. They are generous, giving and in ordinary times often model citizens. Most such people are not interested in politics, but some of them catch that fever. Perhaps they carry just a touch of that victim mentality, or perhaps felt that way as a youth, though they rarely cast themselves as victims and instead choose to express this feeling through empathy for others. Perhaps they are excessively idealistic or a bit academic in their comprehension of morality. Perhaps their empathy allows them to see the world through the eyes of others. Maybe they just weren't loved enough by their parents and seek self-validation from the rest of the world. Whatever it is, they are often driven to help others. We'll call them the idealists.

Third, there are opportunists. These are people for whom politics is just a career. They mechanically pursue self-interest, perceing the system as a machine.

The most interesting aspect is the synergy between victims and idealists. While victims are fundamentally uninspiring to one another, in idealists they can find that missing inspiration. They are no longer fighting for self-interest, but a greater cause. Idealists are also much better at providing guidance and vision and do not suffer from the utter incoherence of the victims, who are slaves to their emotional whims. On the contrary idealists are few but victims are many and can provide the strength in numbers, as well as raw emotions. Depending on what sort of emotions idealists are able to stir in victims (or vice versa), the resulting movement can be peaceful and progressive or highly violent and regressive.

Over time, any successful political movement includes opportunists, as their realistic viewpoints become more valuable and less appalling. Furthermore, both victims and idealists tend to become more opportunistic as they age, at least as it relates to their involvement in the political movement.

One problem with ACism is that practically all of its followers are victims - the philosophy promotes the worst excesses of victimhood and rejects the leadership of idealists. It's structured to be uninteresting to idealists, whose inspiration and ability to guide raw emotional whims of the victims into coherent political action are necessary for significant political change. On some level, ACism is a great weapon of the status quo, in that it neutralizes political dissent. The best way to change the world is to inspire more people to become idealists. Anyone can demand stuff for himself - it takes a selfless, principled person to inspire a political movement. ACism, from its economic arguments to its stale, cynical view of politics, attempts to make a victim out of everyone and leaves no one to inspire the resulting mass of ACist victims. Even expanding it to include libertarians, I'm struggling to think of one inspiring leader in the history of libertarian politics.

Originally Posted by sards View Post
Yes it does. The government being non-voluntary changes things.
This is nonsense, we've already beaten this to death, but it's pretty much been conceded that the distinction between ACism and Statism has nothing to do with government being voluntary or non-voluntary, but the precise nature of property rights and specific social institutions used to enforce those rights. If the government is presumed to own what it presently controls, there's not much involuntary about the rules it enforces. In a purely AC society, if you don't feel that your landlord rightfully owns the property you're renting, the situation would appear involuntary to you. Thus this line of reasoning is ultimately about complaints that you don't own things that you wish that you owned.

Anyway, I'm talking more about the ACist argumet about specific programs - given that government exists as an entity already, why is government provision of X presumed to be inefficient?
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