Blogs > Liberty and Power > Anarchism Anti-Defamation League Formed

Jun 29, 2006 2:18 am

Anarchism Anti-Defamation League Formed

In light of the calumny against anarchism in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, I announce the formation of the Anarchism Anti-Defamation League, AADL.

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Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

Right. The statist position is that rights can only systematically be protected if there IS a monopoly on the use of retaliatory force, so its absence is inseparable from systematic rights violations.

But even a critic of anarchy can see that New Orleans is not what anarchists have in mind when they defend anarchy. It's anarchists who can't seem to grasp that statist malfeasance is not what defenders of the state have in mind when they're defending the state. Hence the indiscriminate nature of anarchist anti-state polemics. Look around; you don't have to look far.

Geoffrey Allan Plauche - 9/7/2005

Sorry, that post above is mine. I didn't realize I had been logged out.

Geoffrey Plauche

- 9/7/2005


The problem with your argument is that you apparently fail to appreciate the contradiction in a territorial monopoly over the legal use of initiatory (and/or defensive) force and ultimate decisionmaking that must by its very nature violate the very rights it is allegedly instituted to protect. If you advocate minarchy, you are logically compelled to either reject rights or redefine rights as privileges (in which case they aren't really rights anymore). Since you seem to advocate rights, you must really be talking about privileges.

While anarchists tend to appreciate and make an effort to understand the moral and economic deficiencies of the State, advocates of minarchy rarely give the moral and especially the practical (whether and how it might work) aspects of anarchy much consideration. They tend to just make snide remarks, utter proclamations of disbelief, make unsupported dismissive claims, and so on. The one-sided relationship is actually the opposite of what you claim. When I start seeing a lot more minarchists seriously considering anarchy as a possibility, then the relationship will be more balanced.

To make a comment on William Stepp's argument: The alternative to the State is not merely the market, it is society (of which the market is one very important and pervasive aspect).

MBrady - 9/3/2005

From Saturday's Financial Times, p. 1:

"For Janet Chapman and her family of four it began as a jaunt to New Orleans to support their football team from Baltimore. A week later they are sheltering with several thousand other refugees ankle deep in mud and excrement under a Route 10 overpass desperately wondering when they will ever get home.


"The hotel organising her tour group was said to have paid $25,000 for a convoy of buses to take them away but they were commandeered by security forces just as they arrived and taken to another location."

William J. Stepp - 9/3/2005

The essential difference between the market and the State is that the former cosists of bilateral, voluntary exchanges (the economic means), which benefit buyers and sellers alike, at least ex ante.
The State is an organization that gains its revenue by theft (the political means), and which claims a statutory monopoly of coercive force over an arbitrarily circumscribed geographical territory. Everything it does consists of robbing Peter and shifting his resources to Paul. Peter certainly loses in the transaction, and Paul often does as well, ex post.
Mark Brady once pointed out that taxation is a tort.
So the State's actions by definition consist of malfeasance on a massive scale.

Irfan Khawaja - 9/3/2005

As for the rest of the comments here besides Roderick's, all I can say: predictably, you're missing my point, and making it at the same time.

Logan Boettcher - 9/3/2005


Yes it is defamation of anarchy going on out there. First off, there's the statist system of publicly built levees that failed. Not only that, the fact that these levees were publicly funded means the state subsidized the risk of living in New Orleans. Therefore, there were more citizens who chose to live in such a dangerous place than otherwise would have without this subsidy. It is sort of like subsidized flood insurance to those on coastal Florida who live in the path of hurricanes.

And can you really call it anarchy with National Guard troops guarding the Superdome and New Orleans government police patrolling the streets? The fact that they were not as effective as they could have been does not negate the fact that their presence makes it still a statist world down there.

Finally, all the resources gobbled up by the maw of the different layers of government leads to less money for 'anarchic' relief efforts. Most people expected the feds to lead the way in providing relief. The fact that it took 4-5 days for any meaningful relief to enter the city is an indictment of the government's relief efforts, given that they have virtually limitless resources, at least in the short term.

William J. Stepp - 9/2/2005

Defame the State? Give me a break!
Rothbard rightly called the State "the biggest mass murderer, armed robber, enslaver, and parasite in all of human history."

You can't defame the state, no way, no how.

William J. Stepp - 9/2/2005

I suggest making up an Anarchist Antidefamation League business card with whatever contact details you like (name, address, phone, cell, e-mail, etc.).
I had a batch made up when I learned a few years ago of the ADL's aggressive tactics against the AADL. (It was a pity they caved. I'm not a lawyer, but considering that many software firms have "soft" in their name [Microsoft, Peoplesoft, Viasoft, etc.], and Micro [Microsoft, Microstrategy, etc.], I think they have a weak case on the legal merits.)

My card, black letters on white, has Intelligent Worldwide Subversion in smaller letters under Anarchist Antidefamation League, with a quote in the middle from Benjamin Tucker.
There are lots of great quotes, by BT, Spooner, Nock, Rothbard, and others. There's an especially great one by Rocker floating around somewhere I might use in a second batch.

A couple months ago, I got out of jury duty by flipping one onto the desk of the judge, who was clearly stunned. She kicked my out of there the same day, which was the point of it. They're also great as gag items at parties, etc.

William J. Stepp - 9/2/2005

Exactly right. The Army Corps of Engineers reshaped the land and waterways around the flooded area decades before the catastrophe, which exacerbated its effects.
See the op-ed piece in today's _NYT_, and the two articles on the hurricane in today's edition of _The Economist_. I also posted a long note at the Libertarian discussion board a little while ago pointing out that the brunt of the force has been borne by the poor and minorities--who have been the biggest victims of both federal and state action going back to slavery, continuing through Lincoln's War, carpetbagging politicians, Black Codes, Jim Crow, and various government deals--the New Deal, Fair Deal, New Frontier, Great Society, etc., all of which have increased the power of the state over their lives, while too often restricting their market-based options, and shunting many of them onto the welfare plantation.

Bush just said the results of the Federal response "are unacceptable."
I wonder if he would apply this to the malign influence of the Army Corps of Engineers?

Anthony Gregory - 9/2/2005

The state is largely to blame for the flood catastrophe. This is not anarchy in action, but the chaos caused by central planning.

Sheldon Richman - 9/2/2005

Oh, darn. I meant to start this long ago. Can I sue them for infringement?

Sheldon Richman - 9/2/2005

This is a joke, right?

Roderick T. Long - 9/2/2005

Well, the anarchist position is that since states are monopolies, and thereby carry with them a) the incentival and informational problems that monopolies face, and b) the moral defect of a double standard (forbidding to some what is permitetd to others), there's no way to separate the state from the statist malfeasance.

Irfan Khawaja - 9/2/2005

Maybe what comes around goes around: could it be that the defamation of anarchism is just the consequence of anarchists' having defamed the state for so long? Maybe we should have a separate league to defend the state against the defamations of anarchists. I'd join that one.

Anarchists are complaining that what we're seeing in New Orleans isn't what THEY have in mind by "anarchy." Well statist malfeasance isn't what responsible advocates of the state have ever had in mind in advocating the legitimacy of the state.

So trust me, anarchists: We feel your pain. We know what it's like when people misrepresent us. In fact, we kinda know what it's like when ANARCHISTS misrepresent us. Oh the irony.

But have you guys learned your lesson yet on this issue? Are you going to stop defaming the state the way that your critics are defaming anarchism? Or are you now going to turn around and say, "Oh, no--but the state...that's DIFFERENT! We can blame it for anything and everything,'s EVIL!"

Roderick T. Long - 9/2/2005

I believe there already is, or was (apparently the ADL threatened legal action -- gotta love those IP laws ....), at least one left-anarchist group with that name or something like it: one of them here.

Anthony Gregory - 9/2/2005

Where do I sign up??