Thursday, February 16, 2006

Aaron Kinney Deconverted Again!

Yes, I just went through another deconversion. Don't worry though; I'm still an atheist! How can an atheist "de"convert anyway? No, this time it was a political deconversion to anarcho-capitalism. I have given up my addiction to the concept of government, and it only took me 10 years longer to give up government than it did for me to give up God and the afterlife! Just for the record, I will still refer to myself as a libertarian on occasion, because libertarianism and anarcho-capitalism are compatible concepts.

Kill The Afterlife is not a political blog, and I don't want to talk politics here (that’s what I have The Radical Libertarian for). But I thought my political deconversion would be worth mentioning, in part because a political deconversion is similar to a religious one (just how different are God and state concepts really?), and in part because I employ the Burden of Proof in my post at The Radical Libertarian blog. If any of your recall, the Burden of Proof was the subject of my very first post at Kill The Afterlife.

So all you atheists (and even pro-afterlife theists) out there, check out my post at The Radical Libertarian about my very recent deconversion to anarcho-capitalism. I think you will find it interesting food for thought, and I think you will like how I apply the Burden of Proof to politics and anarcho-capitalism.

Kill the state. Kill the afterlife.

25 comments:

BigHeathenMike said...

...and there was much rejoicing...



Hurrah!

Good job yet again!

Delta said...

Congratulations on the giving up on the state, that's not a very easy thing for someone growing up in the United States to do. It's a much larger achievement than religious deconversion also. I mean, how big of an intellectual achievement is it to not believe that a virgin gave birth to a baby who was the son of a god? Not much imo.

However, I think you still have further to go. Capitalism is not actually a form of anarchism in the sense that as long as capitalism exists in a community the principle goals of anarchism will never be met. Being ruled over by large corporations is no different than being ruled by a government, and today we are ruled much more by capitalists than we are by any bureaucrats.

Personally I consider myself an anarcho-syndicalist, as I find their positions most similar to mine. I'd definitely be interested in discussing these or other ideas on your Radical Libertarian blog. Unfortunately your fellow blogger Francois Tremblay hates dissenting opinions and no longer allows comments (especially by me =) ). This is his call of course, but he shouldn't be saying that he's a proponent of free speech.

Aaron Kinney said...

Hi Delta, I appreciate your comment!

Capitalism is not actually a form of anarchism in the sense that as long as capitalism exists in a community the principle goals of anarchism will never be met.

You mean the lack of a monopolistic coercive force aka government?

Being ruled over by large corporations is no different than being ruled by a government,

That is not true. A free market, by definition, would necessitate voluntary mutual interaction between all involved parties. With the government that is not the case; you are coerced. In a free market, there would be competition in all sectors of society, including legal and arbitration entities, and anyone would be allowed to start their own one or choose between the existing ones. But a government does not allow competition like this.

In a free market, the competing companies get legitimacy by fulfilling customers' needs and, by the nature of the free market, allowing customers to freely choose whether or not to interact with the corporation. This is not true with a government.

Anarchy means without government. A free market anarcho-capitalism would have no government whatsoever.

and today we are ruled much more by capitalists than we are by any bureaucrats.

The capitalists are in bed with, or often ARE, the bureaucrats. Dick Cheney? John "Heinz" Kerry? The Bush family? Are you kidding me? Those are businessmen AND bureaucrats!

Without government, they would just be businessmen like us all, with no special unique claim to legitimacy. They would not have the power they do now.

And without a government for businesses to get in bed with in the first place, we would not be "ruled" by capitalists in the way you speak of.

Delta said...

A free market anarcho-capitalism would have no government whatsoever

I disagree. Governments are simply the mechanism by which the wealthy control their property and their hold on the economic situation from the less wealthy, and better yet it is subsidized by their own victims. Let's say that tomorrow the government were gone. Do you not think that the extremely rich people in this country would hire large security forces for their private estates and businesses? Would they not use them to protect their own economic interests? How would this be different from a government?

And I don't have as much faith in the "free market" as you do. For one thing, it's never existed so I've never seen it in action. It seems to me to me more of a ideal that can be easily discussed in economics classes, but it doesn't fit the real world and so I think making policies surrounding it is a bad decision. Imo, a free market is to economics what a pendelum on a massless string and without resistance is to physics. It makes the analysis easier, but isn't of much practical use in the real world. In the real world people can't just start up a business and compete, because there are often huge financial entry barriers. The idea of an informed consumer is also bogus because consumers don't choose the products that give them the best value, they simply choose the products that have the flashiest celebrity advertising them. Only well-established, large businesses would be able to hire such a celebrity or advertise this effectively. And capitalism has shown that it simply concentrates the wealth in fewer hands over time. Even if we had a free market, I think having more money to begin with makes it easier for you to be sucessful in the future, so the wealth would be concentrated over time even in that case.

I think you should be careful about your belief in the free market. Growing up in the US we gorge on propaganda telling us that christianity is good, the US goverment supports freedom and democracy, and that capitalism is the best economic solution. You've already seen that two of those 3 are bullshit, so be skeptical about the third. On the contrary, it could be argued that I reject the third simply because I associate it with the other two, and I try to keep this in mind when I think about these issues.

Francois Tremblay said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Francois Tremblay said...

"Do you not think that the extremely rich people in this country would hire large security forces for their private estates and businesses? Would they not use them to protect their own economic interests? How would this be different from a government?"

Are you asking this seriously ? You don't see how people buying security services is different from a monopoly of force ?

You are totally brainwashed, I'm afraid.


"And capitalism has shown that it simply concentrates the wealth in fewer hands over time."

Um... don't look, but capitalism is responsible for the DEconcentration of wealth and power, and the formation of the "middle class". Historically and empirically you are 100% wrong.


"Growing up in the US we gorge on propaganda telling us that (...) capitalism is the best economic solution"

Bwahahahahaha !

Not to rain on Aaron's parade of trying to convince you rationally, but that is the stupidest thing I've read in a while. I have never heard any American propaganda telling us that capitalism is the best economic solution. American propaganda is pretty much a constant bombardment of pro-government bullshit.

Aaron Kinney said...

Hey Delta,

You said:

Do you not think that the extremely rich people in this country would hire large security forces for their private estates and businesses?

Yes I do think they would do that.

Would they not use them to protect their own economic interests?

Of course they would use them to protect their own interests.

How would this be different from a government?

No monopoly for one thing. No pseudo-legitimacy either. And because these entities would be competing with eachother and people would be free to choose between them or create thier own, then the incentives for these entities would be totally different. Their income is not garunteed through the threat of a gun or jail time (think taxes) but instead they have to rely on voluntary trade from customers. The mere fact that their customers are free to choose other entities to do business with (free market) and that they dont have a monopoly, would change everything.

The government does not allow competition. In a free market anarchy, competition would be unstoppable. The whole interaction system between customers and the service provider(s) would change from coercion (in a government) to voulntary (in an anarchy).

And Franc, dont be too hard on peoplehis. Its not easy to wrap ones head around concepts as radically differennt than the ones we are used to, especially for Americans. I should know, I just went through this.

Dont worry Delta. Keep asking me questions and raising objections. I enjoy answering them :)

Aaron Kinney said...

America may release a constant bombardment of pro-government propaganda on its citizens, but it ALSO releases lots of pro-capitalism propaganda too.

Francois Tremblay said...

If they do, we don't see any of it here on the American channels. Must be pretty private propaganda ! ;)

Delta said...

If those who fall victim to the propaganda, such as yourself Francois, realize it's propaganda, then it's not too effective =)

And I don't give a damn if you think I'm brainwashed or if you want to type out laughter as a response. The fact of the matter is is that you're a complete intellectual joke. On one hand you like to talk about being against censorship, but on the other you censor your comments more than any blogger that I've ever seen. And yet you are somehow able to reconcile this in your mind; congrats. And you don't care about spreading anarcho-capitalism, which is why you don't want to convince anyone of it. You just want to mentally masturbate onto your blog entries and have no one comment on them. Hell, you started an anarchism FAQ less than a week from when you become an anarchist! And like I said at the time (which of course wasn't allowed to be posted), you should be reading anarchism FAQs, not producing them.

But to AK's comments. While I must concede that the semi-legitimacy of a government force makes it worse than private, corporate forces at least in that respect, I do think that the fact that the force of the government is concentrated might be better than if it were split between large corporations. With the power concentrated all in one place, it seems that it may be less prone to abuse because it is controlled collectively by all the wealthy and so the democracy of that makes it harder for it to respond. Whereas if they were private forces they could do whatever the hell they wanted in their respective regions of control. The people wouldn't backlash against them because they wouldn't know anything about it as the corporate media would distort the issues, much as it does today. People don't know jack shit about what's going on in the world and are prevented from knowing information that would help them better act in their own self-interest.

Francois Tremblay said...

"If those who fall victim to the propaganda, such as yourself Francois, realize it's propaganda, then it's not too effective =)"

Thanks, but unlike you I am not a brainwashed peon. I recognize propaganda.


"The fact of the matter is is that you're a complete intellectual joke."

No one has ever questioned the quality of my material. So where do you get off saying that ? Do you have any reason to say it ? Or is this just your frustration showing ?


"On one hand you like to talk about being against censorship, but on the other you censor your comments more than any blogger that I've ever seen."

That is a ridiculous statement and you know it. I have censored Mark Spittle because he has been harassing me constantly wherever I go. I have censored a couple of other comments that were, like you, aggressively ignorant. So apparently you don't know many bloggers if you think I am the one who censors the most.


"And you don't care about spreading anarcho-capitalism, which is why you don't want to convince anyone of it."

Excuse me ? I have spread the word about Stefan Molyneux's podcats and got him on Infidel Guy. I have started a web site dedicated to anarcho-capitalism. Please do explain how I don't want to convince anyone of it, you little shit ?


"You just want to mentally masturbate onto your blog entries and have no one comment on them."

Comments are open to everyone (except of course Mark Spittle). Stop your fucking libel.


"Hell, you started an anarchism FAQ less than a week from when you become an anarchist!"

I did no such thing.


"And like I said at the time (which of course wasn't allowed to be posted), you should be reading anarchism FAQs, not producing them."

You don't know what I already knew or did not know. So shut the fuck up, you fucking twat.

Stop playing the asshole and listen to what we has to say. You know NOTHING about politics and you are a brainwashed peon. If you want to learn, we'll teach you. As long as you stay aggressively ignorant and flaunt government propaganda, YOU WILL LEARN NOTHING. And if that's what you want then stop bothering us.

If you are really interested in the truth, then ask HONEST QUESTIONS and we'll answer you. If not, stay in your bubble and stop pretending to be open-minded. Because YOU ARE NOT.

Delta said...

Woah, looks like I struck something in your mind that you're self-concious about.

No one has ever questioned the quality of my material

How would you know? You don't allow posts. I've had different people come to my blog or email me and tell me that they defended my position on your blog but their comments were immediately deleted. I don't need to go into this more, you know the truth as well as I do, whether you want it public or not. Here's a direct quote from you on Dec. 13th, "One more Christian comment and I'm closing this comment page. This is not the blog for you. We don't want to hear from you. We don't even like you. We want yuo to wither and dissapear from the public square, and from OUR media."

As long as you stay aggressively ignorant and flaunt government propaganda

See, your comments don't mean a damn thing. Flaunt government propaganda? Every one of my stated views here is exactly opposite of what the government would want and you saying that just shows that you're not thinking about what you say, but simply acting out in anger.

I did no such thing

Actually, I looked at the record and I can't prove that it was less than a week. You posted about your conversion on Jan. 11th, and then posted about an anarchist site that you "had been working on" in a post on Jan. 24th. So under two weeks for sure.

Aaron Kinney said...

Okay everyone needs to calm down. Franc, I dont know why you are insulting Delta. Delta is a respectable atheist blogger that weve seen in the community for a long time now. Delta is only asking questions and providing respectful challenges to anarchy, which is exactly what I want people to do in the comments of this post. And Delta, Franc is not an intellectual joke.

If you wont get along then how about just me and Delta continue this conversation?

Delta:

While I must concede that the semi-legitimacy of a government force makes it worse than private, corporate forces at least in that respect, I do think that the fact that the force of the government is concentrated might be better than if it were split between large corporations.

I see what youre saying, but I think there is a pinciple youre missing. It is called the principle of universality. If priatization is good, then it must be good for X, Y, Z, and everything else, not just X. Similarly, if the initiation of coercion is bad, then it must be bad for X, Y, Z, etc...

With the power concentrated all in one place, it seems that it may be less prone to abuse because it is controlled collectively by all the wealthy and so the democracy of that makes it harder for it to respond.

How can competition and privatization be good for the economy, but not for politics? Indeed, the government has already conceded that private industry is better than a monopoly so many times. From the privatizate management of school systems and waste systems and fuel systems and energy systems, to the bidding on government contracts, etc... The government implicitly admits its own illegitimacy every time it uses competition in the private market to provide services or goods on its behalf.

Whereas if they were private forces they could do whatever the hell they wanted in their respective regions of control.

Delta, what I would like to do is shift the burden a bit, because you must remember, that it is you, not me, who is making the positive claim. You are saying that a government is necessary. But what good has Democracy brought to America? High quality politicians? No. More freedom? No.

And what has privatization brought us? High quality services and goods? Yes. More freedom? Yes.

Which system responds more to consumer demands? Enforced monopoly or free market? Let me tell you Delta: While the government wants to satisfy 51% of the population, the corporation wants to satisfy 100% of the population. And while the governemnt is garunteed to receive the business of 100% of its customers, the business is not garunteed to receive the business of anyone. Who has superior incentives, competitive free market, or the monopolistic and coercive government?

Awhile ago I saw an article in a science magazine. It was popular mechanics or Scientific American or something like that, and the article was arguing for the decentralization and privatization of essential services, like energy and other utilities. Security is already privatized around the world. From Blackwater in Iraq to the security guard in my office building, privatization of essential services WORKS BETTER THAN GOVERNMENT, period. Especially in todays technological world. Technology only enables privatization and decentralization more and more.

Now, privatization and decentralization is anarchistic. The more free and unregulated something is, the more anarchistic it is. And, the more free and unregulated something is, the better it responds to consumer demand. Period.

People don't know jack shit about what's going on in the world and are prevented from knowing information that would help them better act in their own self-interest.

I totally agree with you here. That is why I am now trying to promote both atheism and anarchy, because neither the state nor God satisfy the burden of proof.

Francois Tremblay said...

I just want to say that this is total libel. I have only censored a couple of people on my two blogs, and I do not have a policy of censoring except in exceptional circumstances. This person is obviously not interested in dialogue with me and only wants to insult. If you, Aaron, can get him to be civilized with you, that's fine, but he is not being civilized with me.

Anarcho-syndicalism is inherently unstable and will inevitably lead to exactly the kind of situation that he wants to avoid - a few powerful organizations turning feudal. As always for collectivist belief systems, it is a classic case of projection. Free markets are the only natural and viable way of life for man. This is not an issue of free speech, but an issue of facts.

Francois Tremblay said...

By the way, saying that someone is brainwashed is not a negative. To a certain extent we have ALL been brainwashed by church and government, some more than others, and some are more resistant than others. That's all.

Delta said...

You are saying that a government is necessary

Hold on a second here. I think you're misundertanding my position severely. I absolutely DO NOT think that a government is necessary. As an anarchist, which does not simply mean absense of government, but absence of authority, I'm opposed to the existence of a government. All I was saying was that a single government would be preferable in terms of human rights violations and freedom restrictions that if the government were dissolved and the corporations were free to do whatever they wanted to do.

But what good has Democracy brought to America? High quality politicians? No. More freedom? No.

Absolutely no argument there, except for the fact that the United States does not actually have a functioning democracy.

And what has privatization brought us? High quality services and goods? Yes. More freedom? Yes.

Yes, so technology increases over time. There is no evidence to suggest that an anarchist (meaning non-capitalist) society would not also have high quality services and goods. And freedom was never given to people from capitalists, it was won from hard struggle by everyday people.

Delta, what I would like to do is shift the burden a bit, because you must remember, that it is you, not me, who is making the positive claim.

In all honesty, I think if we are going to talk about burden of proof, the elephant in the room would be the proof that this "free market" would work, or that it could ever actually exist and function as ideally as it is laid out in economics class.

The more free and unregulated something is, the more anarchistic it is. And, the more free and unregulated something is, the better it responds to consumer demand. Period.

We're missing each other I think because I'm not even taking issue with what might happen in a free market. I think that capitalism inherently leads to a market that is not free, and which monopolies naturally arise, and power is concentrated. I just don't think that a free market and a capitalist economy could coexist. Well, to be more clear, I don't think a free market is actually realizable.

And Francois, I wouldn't mind discussing issues with you if you could keep from calling people names and from being such an asshole to those who disagree with you. It's silly to say that I was the one who was not being civil.

To a certain extent we have ALL been brainwashed by church and government, some more than others, and some are more resistant than others. That's all

Absolutely, and we're probably all slightly still brainwashed. The best we can do is hope to free outselves from the majority of it.

Tanooki Joe said...

Strange. I myself recently concluded that anarchism is the closest system to my personal political beliefs. (Though my anarchism is of Delta's variety.) Something seasonal, perhaps? :P

Francois Tremblay said...

Then you believe in a fantasy. Anarcho-syndicalism is a utopian "beautiful fiction" - the belief that once the state is eliminated, human nature will somehow suspend itself and people will follow a new anti-individualist system slavishly. To put it mildly, this is a refusal to see reality.

Market anarchy is the only form of anarchy that is not a construct of fantasy, because it does not require people to abandon human nature - in fact it is wholly based on human nature. That is why it is such a great system. People naturally want better live for themselves, and will cooperate to achieve it. People will not sacrifice their freedom and standard of life in the name of "labour", "the working class" or "the abolition of wages". That is just as evil as sacrificing them for the state. Ultimately, for your fiction to subsist, a state would be needed, because only a state (or a religion) controls enough of any given society to repress human nature.

Delta said...

the belief that once the state is eliminated, human nature will somehow suspend itself and people will follow a new anti-individualist system slavishly. To put it mildly, this is a refusal to see reality

The change wouldn't occur overnight. There would have to be a radical change in people's view of the world (which would already have to be there if they were to eliminate the state). And it isn't anti-individualist. If some people preferred to work on their own, they'd be afforded the basic tools and resources that they needed to maintain themselves. If a community nearby wanted to develop and have a capitalistic "anarchy", then they would be allowed to do that. It's not about forcing anyone to fall under the system. I think after the violent struggle that would likely take place in order to throw off the government, which would be supported by large businesses, that most people would be wary of letting power accumulate again. But like I said, if they didn't connect the dots, they could learn the lesson again.

People naturally want better live for themselves, and will cooperate to achieve it.

This is exactly why my form of anarchy would work. Because they are willing to cooperate. But let's look at capitalistic "anarchism" for a minute. Let's suppose that the government is gone and there are simply businesses both small and large left. I think you can agree that for the government to be dissolved the mindset of people would be radically changed. They would care about freedom in a more true sense of the word, they would care about the environment for at least the purely selfish reasons, and they would care for each other and realize their own interdependence (especially after fighting the violent struggle to eliminate the state together). They would take these views and apply them in the economic choices (assuming they are free to do so, which you are). I don't think it's an exaggeration to think that they would support businesses that didn't trash the environment, give their fellow workers the best pay and treatment, and who don't abuse people's freedoms overseas. This would devastate the capitalistic system and would lead to a system which looked a LOT like what I'm talking about, simply because people would vote economically to have a stable and non-exploitative economy that returned benefits to them, and not to a select few. Of course this would not happen if the corporations used force against the people, or if they obstructed the truth from them, but this is clearly not want we want in the future. I think that if a revolution were to occur to overthrow the state, there would be a lot of support for cooperative endeavors.

People will not sacrifice their freedom and standard of life in the name of "labour", "the working class" or "the abolition of wages"

They don't need to. They would do it for themselves, and if they didn't want to they don't have to.

Delta said...

Market anarchy is the only form of anarchy

Actually, I guess I should say something about this. There are legitimate anarchist ideas that include markets. Within anarcho-syndicalism, you have different ideas on how goods and services should be exchanged, and a type of market is one of the possibilities. It's capitalism that anarchists are united against, not markets.

Ivan Fischer said...

Hope you are still checking this comment thread now and then, Aaron...

I have been reading the argument about the burden of proof between you and Lbbp on "Radical Libertarian", but as that blog does not allow non-bloggers to post, I thought I might ask a few questions here, as the subject is partially related.

Just to note, I still have no opinion on anarcho-capitalism. In past years, me and my friends have attempted to construct a variety of "ideal" political systems, and have evaluated each, trying to find its flaws and ways to overcome those flaws. I do not hold that governments are neccessary, and would indeed like to see a workable system that avoids them. Perhaps anarcho-capitalism is that system.

However:

The burden of proof lies with you. You cannot make an honest analogy between god and government. The burden of proof lies with the person making a positive claim, that is true. But we are arguing about a system of organisation, of which government (or lack of one) is only one part. If I have a fast car with four wheels, and you claim that you can make a faster car without wheels, even though you might be right, it is not I who has to prove that you cannot. You are not claiming that there is no government, and it would be easy to prove you wrong on that point. You are claiming that you have a better system of societal organisation than the one currently available, and your system has never been tried yet. I hope you have not deconverted solely on the merit of the burden of proof, it is a weak and fallacious argument in this case.

Furthermore:

Free market, as much as democracy, depends on members of a society to be informed, and to make rational decisions reflecting their best interest. However, psychology has shown that people do not behave rationally and economically in many cases. People are complacent, prejudiced, easily influenced by marketing, slow to change their habits, and most can't be bothered to check out facts vital to their well-being. When you imagine ideal free market, you probably envision people taking actions that make most sense to you, rational actions.

You seem like a bright person, striving to consider things rationally and logically despite any inherent bias you might have. If the society consisted of people like you (if you are such person), free market might just work, but so could democracy then. But the fact remains that most people are poorly informed, easily swayed, cannot make a voting decision that would really represent their interest, and cannot purchase a product that would really fulfil their needs the most.

"Follow those who seek the truth. Run away from those who have found it." (can anyone attribute this quote?)

Francois Tremblay said...

"I have been reading the argument about the burden of proof between you and Lbbp on "Radical Libertarian", but as that blog does not allow non-bloggers to post"

If you want to post entries, just add a comment on the latest blog entry or email me, and I might add you to our list. Otherwise, just post comments. It's not that hard. Geesh ! I don't know what's wrong with you people and your fucking accusations.

Ivan Fischer said...

Sorry about that, Francois. I imagine your exchange with Delta has left you rather irritated, and I understand why you might think that I am spouting some accusations, but the truth of the matter is merely that I have a limited amount of time available for commenting, and mostly never do so, but was intrigued by the BOP discussion and wanted to participate, yet could find no way to do so on Rarical Libertarian without registering, which I considered doing, but posting here seemed like a less time-consuming task. Sorry again.

Anonymous said...

> It's not that hard. Geesh ! I don't know what's wrong with you people and your fucking accusations.

Actually, I left an angry (but not illogical) post about the public healthcare system being necessary on RL. You deleted it. It was my first and last post on the radical Libertarian as well. What the hell would I post on a blog with the word liberty in its name if I am going to be censored there? All the grief you are getting about being a petty tyrant is absolutely true.

Federico Contreras
the_blur_oc@hotmail.com
AND I live in Montreal, just like you...
Look me up I'm in the book.

(I found out about you when I heard hellbound allee for the first and last time, when you tried to take on Matt Slick, too bad you're not such an e-thug in real life. Matt Slick destroyed you guys in that "debate" so badly I almost emailed you to give you some debate pointers after having to shudder through that fiasco. Then I found out you were a libertarian, so I'd rather let you sink or swim on your own (I am a leftist atheist, so while our standards of evidence are similar, it appears our politics are not)).

Mark Spittle said...

Francois Tremblay collects child pornography. Other than that, though, he's ... well, actually, he's still a puckerhole.