Here’s the text of the talk I gave on self-ownership at the PPE conference last March. It’s not a defense of self-ownership in the sense of a positive argument for the thesis; instead, it’s a reply to the most common objections to self-ownership that I’ve encountered:
[cross-posted from Austro-Athenian Empire]
The aforementioned punishment panel has been held.
Here are some photos from the event.
Here’s the paper I presented.
And for a more detailed presentation of some of the arguments from my paper, see my 1999 responsibility article (which depends in turn on some of the machinery in my 1993 abortion article), as well as the powerpoints from my 2015 prisons talk.
In celebration of the 17th anniversary of the Molinari Institute, we’re happy to announce:
a) The long-awaited second issue of the Molinari Review will be published later this month. More details soon!
b) In the meantime, the entire first issue is now available for free online on the journal’s archive page. You can download either individual articles or the whole thing. Contents include:
- “The Right to Privacy Is Tocquevillean, Not Lockean: Why It Matters” by Julio Rodman
- “Libertarianism and Privilege” by Billy Christmas
- “Capitalism, Free Enterprise, and Progress: Partners or Adversaries?” by Darian Nayfeld Worden
- “Turning the Tables: The Pathologies and Unrealized Promise of Libertarianism” by Gus diZerega
- Review of C. B. Daring, J. Rogue, Deric Shannon, and Abbey Volcano’s Queering Anarchism: Addressing and Undressing Power and Desire by Nathan Goodman
A long-awaited anthology I’m scheduled to appear in (with a couple of pieces on the question “Do We Need Government?”) has now, I hear, been split into two – one volume on metaphysics and epistemology, and the other on ethics, æsthetics, and politics – and in that form (and with a bunch of historical selections deleted) is/are finally slouching toward publication; see the tables of contents here and here. Some old friends are in it/them too, as you’ll see (if you know who my old friends are).
I’m told: “The eText will be coming out in February , with hard copies soon to follow.”
No one should raise the stars and stripes on the 4th. The proper flag to raise on the 4th of July is the black flag of anarchy.
The Fourth of July commemorates the anniversary of the American Declaration of Independence, a document which the anarchist must view with mixed emotions.
The document’s stirring proclamation that “all men are created equal,” with inalienable rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” that no government is entitled to infringe; its further insistence that all authority must depend on the “consent of the governed,” and that when such authority becomes abusive it is the “right of the people to alter or to abolish it” – all of these are welcome statements of a philosophical outlook which, if logically pursued, leads inexorably to a much wider liberation (an implication clearly grasped at the time by many of the Revolution’s critics).
In June 1963, when Nathaniel Branden published a piece on “Inherited Wealth” in The Objectivist Newsletter, he was still the beloved disciple of Ayn Rand, who reprinted his piece in her 1966 collection Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, and continued to include it in subsequent editions despite her break with Branden in 1968. As Rand famously did not allow opinions deviating even in the slightest from her own to appear in journals or books that she edited, we can assume Branden speaks for Rand when he writes:
Phil Magness has performed a great service for the history of individualist anarchism by tracking down and publishing some of Lysander Spooner’s hardest-to-find works, in two volumes:
“Available for the first time in over 140 years, these two ‘lost’ treatises [What Is a Dollar? and Financial Imposters I-IV] by libertarian legal philosopher Lysander Spooner present his vision for a radically decentralized monetary system rooted in privately issued competitive currencies and free-banking. …
Once presumed to have been destroyed in a turn-of-the-century fire, these writings contain Spooner’s most extensive foray into economic theory and reveal new insights into his distinctive and uncompromising free-market vision. …
Spooner’s articulated theory of radically decentralized competitive currencies might be seen as something of an intellectual grandfather to the rise of cryptocurrency in the present day.”
“This collection brings together the political writings and short essays of Lysander Spooner for the first time in a single volume. Spooner’s editorials span topics ranging from abolitionism and the Civil War, to free banking and currency, to the trial of President Garfield’s assassin, to government corruption in Massachusetts during the Gilded Age – all with biting wit and an uncompromising disdain for politicians.
Containing over 40 years of newspaper editorials as well as the complete set of Spooner’s contributions to the magazine Liberty, many of these essays have been out of print for over a century. For any fan of Spooner’s political philosophy, and the idea of human liberty generally, this collection is essential reading.”
I’m excited to announce the publication of two new anthologies from C4SS (the Center for a Stateless Society): The Anatomy of Escape: A Defense of the Commons (357 pp.; buy at C4SS [$12 plus shipping] or buy at Amazon) and Fighting Fascism: Anti-fascism, Free Speech and Political Violence (479 pp.; buy at C4SS [$14 plus shipping] or buy at Amazon).
The Anatomy of Escape explores the role of common property in a market anarchist system, while Fighting Fascism features debates over the ethical, political, and strategic/tactical considerations that should inform resistance to fascist movements. (Both books include contributions by me – although my piece in the fascism volume is a bit of an outlier, as it concerns fascism in a somewhat different sense of the term from the one addressed in most of the other pieces.)
From the introduction to The Anatomy of Escape: A Defense of the Commons:
Many market anarchists – especially, though not exclusively, those associated with market anarchism’s “right” wing – tend to envision a fully free market as one in which all resources are privately owned. The essays in this book offer a different perspective: that a stateless free-market society can and should include, alongside private property, a robust role for public property – not, of course, in the sense of governmental property, but rather in the sense of property that is owned by the general community rather than by specific individuals or formally organized groups.
From the introduction to Fighting Fascism: Anti-fascism, Free Speech and Political Violence:
Anarchists are, by definition, anti-fascist. They oppose all forms of fascism just as they oppose all forms of statism, domination, and oppression. What’s left to be settled, however, is what our anti-fascist commitment entails in practice. What should our theoretical debates surrounding the nature and danger of fascist ideas imply for our practical strategies for creating the new, anti-fascist world in the shell of the old, fascist one?
More specifically, we need to understand just what fascism is and how it spreads. We need to know why fascism has any appeal at all and how to stem that appeal. We need to see how concepts like freedom of speech figure into anarchist praxis. We need to discuss what free speech is. We need to explore what constitutes mere speech and assembly and what constitutes intentionality and violence. We need to differentiate between self-defense and aggression. We need to seriously interrogate the morality and efficacy of different kinds of political violence. Most importantly, we need internally consistent ethical and strategic insights into replacing fascist ideas with anarchist ones. Failing to clarify these issues could cost us, not only our souls, but any fighting chance for anarchy left in this fragile world.
You can view the tables of contents at the links above.
And for more LWMA (left-wing market anarchist) books and other swag, check out the C4SS Store.
For Game of Thrones / Song of Ice and Fire fans, now that the tv series is winding down, and neither the prequel tv series nor the next book will be here any time soon, the question is what to read and/or watch next. The answer a lot of people are recommending is the science-fiction epic The Expanse, which even gets frequently described (somewhat simplistically, but not entirely unreasonably) as “Game of Thones [and/or Song of Ice and Fire] in space.”
I want to add my own enthusiastic recommendation to that throng; The Expanse isn’t as popular as Game of Thrones, but it deserves to be, because it’s good in many of the same ways (complex politics viewed with a cynical eye; engaging but flawed characters; redemption arcs successful and otherwise; exciting action; willingness to kill off major characters; and a creepy menace growing on the periphery of the known world, to which the main players are initially oblivious). Moreover, while I don’t believe that the authors are either libertarians or anarchists, the series offers a great deal to interest libertarians (especially left-libertarians) and anarchists alike. Continue reading
Check out Chris Matthew Sciabarra’s announcement for his forthcoming anthology Dialectics of Liberty: Exploring the Context of Human Freedom (edited by Sciabarra, Roger Bissell, and Edward Younkins) here, and the abstracts of chapters here.
Contributors include Jason Lee Byas, Robert Campbell, Troy Camplin, Kevin Carson, Gary Chartier, Billy Christmas, Douglas Den Uyl, Nathan Goodman, Robert Higgs, Steven Horwitz, Stephan Kinsella, Deirdre McCloskey, David Prychitko, Douglas Rasmussen, John Welsh, the editors themselves (Sciabarra, Bissell, and Younkins), and your humble correspondent. (You’ll notice several of my fellow Molinari/C4SS and BHL folks on that list.)
In Sciabarra’s words: “These essays explore ways that liberty can be better defended using a dialectical approach, a mode of analysis that grasps the full context of philosophical, cultural, and social factors requisite to the sustenance of human freedom.” Sciabarra notes that while “some of the authors associated with the volume may very well not associate themselves with the views of other authors herein represented,” a “context-sensitive dialectical approach” is “living research program” that “will necessarily generate a variety of perspectives, united only in their ideological commitment to freedom and their methodological commitment to a dialectical sensibility.”
Sciabarra has devoted his career to exploring such an approach, most notably in his “Dialectics and Liberty” trilogy Marx, Hayek, and Utopia; Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical; and Total Freedom: Toward a Dialectical Libertarianism.