Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Neo Feudalism?

Neo Fuedalism?
My Vision of an Anarchist society.

I deliberately did not title this my vision of an anarchocapitalist society for a reason. This construct, which I've been working in my head for well over a decade, is what led me to believe that anarchocapitalism is not only possible without rulers, it's inevitable. I concluded that it is, in fact, the ONLY way that anarchy could be achieved on a sustainable basis.
However, the deeper I go down the rabbit hole, I see how many similarities this has to what the anarcho socialists believe. There are, in our ongoing arguments, basically two points in which we seem to each other to be diametrically opposed.
1. Property. Both who should own it and if it should even exist as a legitimate concept.
2. Money and Capital. what kind of economic system should exist.
One actually follows from two, but we seem to see them as separate points. I am going to posit that we are not so far apart after all. Much of what the socialists wish to achieve is ALSO what the capitalists want to achieve. Mainly, we disagree on the mechanics. At least in the case of the Mutualists. The divide to the "left" is wider than the divide to the "right". Agorists call themselves "left" in the sense or revolutionary, but they fall more to the right in just about everything else. The only anti property argument I hear from them is Intellectual property, and I'm inclined to agree. I'm not committed to that position, but I am definitely leaning towards it. From there we go all the way left to anarcho communists and syndacalists. Of the two systems, I think the Syndicalists have a more realistic view of how to organize, but it's still pretty anti individual. But I digress, as I tend to do.
Rather than again address these points head on, I'm going to do something else. I'm going to build a mental model for you. This model is how I think that anarchy might be made to progress peaceably, and how it could work as a long term model for society. In all of my thought on this, sustainability has been my prime concern after liberty. Brief liberty isn't really better than no liberty. I am not going to label the activities at any point with the terms "capitalist", "socialist", or "communist". I am just going to describe them.
I think I can confidently say that most anarchists over the age of thirty have thought it through enough to have assumed their political position out of conviction, rather than fad. I don't say this to discourage or disparage the youth who ARE thinking it through, but I also know from my own experience and from watching others that being an "anarchist" is considered "cool" by quite a few youth who don't really follow through. I also think the situation is improving. I talk to a lot of kids who consider themselves anarchists who HAVE thought it through, or are well on their way. This was not true ten years ago, and even less so twenty years ago. The State has become far less important as technology advances, and far more intrusive. Kids today are not particularly well educated in the public schools, but they aren't stupid. They see what's going on. Maybe they don't understand it, hell none of us fully do, but they see it. They know it's wrong. If the world is to change, they're gonna do it. My generation probably will not see a lot of the changes we work for. But given the speed of modern communication and it's ready access, the next generation has a large chance of at least partial success. The establishment of ONE working anarchy that lasts ten years would be sufficient for me. Being a Transhumanist, I hope that I live long enough for life extension to be worked out, but the odds are long on that.
If you're an observer of history, and being honest with yourself, you know that there is no such thing as a "limited" state. The only real limits on it's power is how well it can shear the sheep and keep them from rebelling en masse. Small rebellions are more easily dealt with as a state grows. But states INEVITABLY grow, and just as inevitably become tyrannical. The only solution to this that has been proposed outside of the State is anarchy. The absence of the state, juridical persons, limited liability corporations, central governance, centralized law enforcement (as opposed to local), in short, all the impedimentia of the State.
I am, here, going to posit something that I've never heard an anarchist claim. I am going to claim that the State was necessary. Past Tense. I think, in fact, that given how we came to be civilized and advanced our society just about guaranteed the rising of the State in it's many incarnations. We tend to try things, and hold on too long to the ones that got supplanted. This has always been true of human nature. After a revolution, there is a continuous evolution. And it scares people, and they act out of fear rather than reason. The model that works in a crisis is one in which there is a leader. When the crisis passes, the leader becomes a Leader. Not always, but often. People continue to follow him and give over their power and autonomy under this common banner. After a generation or two of this, the idea that there has "always been" a ruler is well planted in the general populace, and the successive rulers gain ever more power until one or two of them overextend themselves and fall into chaos. Then the whole sequence begins anew with a different model. This is how humanity has always acted. Not just in the political realm, in everything. We try shit. What works we keep. Often along with a lot of stuff that didn't work, or don't work as well.
The problem with that is learning to discard what didn't work AND NOT TAKE IT UP AGAIN. In the past, this was probably impossible. The necessary ability to communicate rapidly and accurately did not exist. Things got lost to time and memory. Our knowledge, as a species, increased dramatically with every improvement in communication, starting with the written word and working right up to the moment with all of our modern forms of "instant" communication. We can now preserve for posterity damn near everything. Cheaply. We no longer have the NEED for the state, as a species, but the transition needs to be revolutionary only on a small scale, and evolutionary from there. And that starts with you and me. Our job, as anarchists in the most controlled statist environment that has ever existed, is to educate, agitate, and hopefully start that small seed that spreads like a virus. With any luck, it won't mutate as fast as a virus, and society will change for the better. I doubt that the other systems will ever go completely away, but if anarchy can be made to happen on a small scale, it will spread. Slowly at first, but along with goods and services, an intangible crosses borders. And that intangible has been the seed of societal change as long as there have been human societies. Ideas. Traders talk. It's part of what they do. Each side brings back the knowledge gained from the other. No monetary or capital value is exchanged, but the actual value is incalculable.
Societies, throughout most of history, have evolved with very little in the way of a plan. That has become less true with the passing of time, because of our ability to pass knowledge forward, but it's still the case. Here in the United States, much of what is our Law comes from the English Common Law, and much of it from even older sources than that. The differing influences are immmense. This is overly complex and unneccessary. Yes, the way things are has been built on the way things were. Under the current systems, we can't purge the dross. It currently outweighs every benefit.
But this is not purely necessary. We can, in small groups, begin anew with agreed upon standards, and in common courts of many sorts build up a new body of common "law" that addresses specific situations. And this can and should be done within the market rather than in one monolithic juridical monopoly. I was impressed with Robert Heinlein's description of a court that was considered binding by the residents of Luna in his book "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress". They went to a guy who was trusted as a judge (it was NOT his profession) and gathered up some people to act as a jury. They all got paid, and the amount was agreed upon beforehand. I think this perfectly valid, and I think such would be part of anarchic juridical procedure. I also think that Stephen Molyneaux's DRO theory is a valid model, and that both compliment one another.
And that's all for today. I'm going to put up a website with a forum for this model, as the limits of a blog don't really give me the layout I want, but I'll still post each addition to the blog as well.


XOmniverse said...

I agree about the state being necessary in the past.

Statism was a necessary, primitive form of social organization, just like religion was a necessary, primitive form of philosophy. Neither are necessary anymore, though.

Kevin K. Biomech said...

Yeah, and I believe the computer revolution was the last necessary piece that needed to exist before anarchy could succeed on any kind of large scale, because of it's ability to provide nearly instantaneous communication across the entire globe. Any statist encroachment could be viewed and prepared for almost in real time.

Anonymous said...

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