“Dear Phyne Dyner…” (We finally opened our mail.)

In Intro to Libertarianism on September 5, 2012 at 12:17 pm

The High Holy Days are almost here and that means it’s also time for the Phyne Dyner to sweep the cobwebs out of his mailbox. I only publish letters/comments I feel may appeal to the general readership. If your letter doesn’t get quoted or published, don’t get your scivvies in a bunch. Letters getting “hot topic treatment” are those that ask questions or seek clarification of a libertarian viewpoint or cooking technique.

One of the hot topics was Phyne Dyning’s decision to bring his readers postings from Dr. Jimmy T. “Gunny” LaBaume’s email newsletter, The Flyover Press.

[Editor’s note: “Agreeing to disagree” is fundamental to any libertarian belief system. Prior to adding Dr. LaBaume’s material, I prominently declared that he and I disagree on many subjects. Readers who also disagree with him should subscribe to his newsletter and then contact him directly. Unless your question is grievously stupid, he’ll answer you. The following is intended only to flesh out the thoughts of the Phyne Dyner.]

From “Rachel”: You claim to support feminism, but guide your readers to LaBaume’s site where he states, “We believe that radical feminism is one of the largest contributors to the destruction of our civilization’s fundamental building block–the immediate family.” What gives with your inconsistency?

Rachel, I don’t propose to speak for LaBaume. Equality of rights is a cornerstone of libertarian socialism. Therefore, men and women are equally endowed with rights. “Radical” feminism, in my opinion, is essentially a female-centric doctrine or a female superiority belief system and is inconsistent with the egalitarian principles of libertarian socialism.

(Also) From “Rachel”: Flyover Press, in its opening page “manifesto”, states its author(s) oppose abortion because it is “murder”. You’ve said manty (sic) times that you support a woman’s right to choose. Which is it?

As a Torah-believing Jew, base my personal legal code around its premises. According to Torah (and rabbinic scholars), abortion is not murder because the unborn “child” is not a child (having rights) until it emerges from the mother’s body. Therefore, an unborn child does not have rights, including the right to life. Still, abortion is a tragedy because it destroys a potential life. But then, so do some forms of birth control. But, remember, the main point is that the state has no business in personal reproductive choices…none. BTW: Nor does the state have any business deciding who can marry who. If a person is opposed to same-sex marriage, the solution is simple…don’t have one. Marriage is essentially a contract between two people. The worries about men marrying prepubescent children (or dogs and horses if the state does not regulate marriage) are unfounded, since they cannot enter into binding contracts.

From “J.W.”: I understand your libertarian viewpoints, but I don’t get your attitude toward the police or the military as individual members. Why can’t you support the troops?

Because it is wrong; unless there is state-ordered conscription. Even then, draftees have a choice. I see enlistees (and people who choose to become professional edict-enforcers) as dupes of the state. I was once a dupe. I also, as a child, once believed in the Tooth Fairy. Asking me to “support the troops” (or police) is akin to demanding that I return to believing in the Tooth Fairy. At the risk of being accused of proving Godwin’s Rule, you are asserting that it would have been morally right to “support the troops” of the Third Reich. No, it would not.

From “Sam”: I don’t understand libertarian “socialism”. Socialism created mass misery for millions and it is inconsistent with libertarianism.

Sam, you are thinking of state socialism. Socialism works every day among peaceful people. If you belong to a church, synagogue, gun club, Rotary, Lions, or other civic organization, you are practicing voluntary socialism. You can quit any of those organizations at will (or they can toss you out). Socialism (and capitalism) becomes evil when participation in socialism (or capitalism) is mandated by the state.

From “T.R.”: The Flyover Press says America “was founded on the moral principles of Christianity”. Do you agree that America is a “Christian nation”?

Yes and no. America’s moral principles largely come from biblical sources. The Christian Bible is a descendant of Torah. In fact, Jesus specifically said that he (lower case is deliberate) did not come to change “one dot” of the Law of Moses. But even that point is moot. America was founded by individuals who were almost entirely Christian. To their immense credit, they did not specifically encode Christianity (or any religion) into the nation’s constitution.

(Also) From “T.R.”: You don’t like “anarcho-capitalism” and call yourself a “libertarian socialist”. Why and why?

Dr. LaBaume and I had an off-line discussion on this topic. The father(s) of anarcho-capitalism embraced much of what is (today) called libertarian socialism. Because of the times in which they lived, and the disfavor held for all things “socialist”, they referred to their philosophy as “anarcho-capitalism” instead of libertarian socialism. I have no beef with anarcho-capitalists, provided they don’t seek to impose their system on me. In libertarian reciprocity, I will not seek to impose my socialist ideas on them.

[Editor’s note: I believe voluntary economic socialism to be vital in the establishment of any anarchist society. Pooling resources (voluntarily) creates opportunities for an emerging society to take root. Once rooted, participants may (again voluntarily) evolve their society into one where capitalism predominates or where socialism persists.]

(Also) From “T.R.”: Do you foresee a coming revolution in the USA? Will it be peaceful or will we repeat another (un)Civil War.

I have no crystal ball. But I see huge changes coming at us as a people and as a nation. I believe there will be pockets of violent revolution in America that will be quickly (and brutally) suppressed by the American state. As a libertarian, I believe our personal response to the state must remain an individual choice. As an anarchist, I believe deeply in the peaceful resolution of differences between parties. That said…I am not a pacifist. Had Gandhi lived in Hitler’s Germany or Stalin’s Russia, rather than in British colonial India, he would have been unknown…executed and rendered to ashes almost as an afterthought. Mankind has a natural affinity for liberty. Our job, as I see it, is to plant the seeds for recovery of liberty after the revolution and to give heart to our fellows during the intervening years of oppression. I think the Occupy Movement represents America’s greatest hope and it reflects how other people, in other nations, rebelled peacefully against their own, tyrannical states. I see pockets of violent resistance in the future. They will be quickly (and brutally) suppressed (systematically killed) by the American state’s Praetorians. My job is to spread libertarian thought through peaceful resistance and by educating others. The best thing we can do to perpetuate the state is to violently resist and thereby give the state any opportunity to say, “See! These people are dangerous. We’ll protect you.” Also, if one is violent in pursuing liberty, it is hard to convince those on the fence that the end result of any proposed libertarian revolution will be peaceful. As you know, most people sit on the fence.

From “Dick”: If anarchism (the real name for libertarianism) is a superior form of organization for societies, can you name anyplace where anarchy has been successful?

Every time an anarchist society has emerged, the greater state surrounding it has brutally suppressed it. The Paris Communes thrived until statist French brutally put it down. The Spanish Communes were thriving until statist Spaniards did likewise to them. If you are expecting history books, written with the consent of the state, to say “nice” about anarchism, you are naïve.

From “Gail”: I think alot (sic) of people are put off by the term “anarcho” and “anarchist” because of its association with violence. Don’t we need some kind of government to avoid descending into anarchy?

“Anarchism” or “libertarianism” has no association with violence. Any such association is the result of the state repeating a big lie loud enough and long enough. “Government” is not evil. Government is merely cooperation between individuals according to mutually agreed-upon rules. In the absence of government, there is no “descent into anarchy”. There is a descent into chaos if there is no mutual agreement for peaceful resolution of individual differences. We have “government” (in the USA) that is absent of any semblance of mutual agreement on rules. If you do not consent to follow rules (enacted by the bureaucracy or by mob “democratic” choice) the government will send men with guns to kill you, put you in chains, or to toss you into a cage somewhere until you “voluntarily” (heavy sarcasm) choose to follow the rules of “government”.

A government is only legitimate when it governs with the consent of those it governs. That 51% constitutes a majority in a democracy does not take away that the 51% has voted to take away the rights of the dissenting 49%.

Look at the American state’s disinformation program about anarchism in the United States. Many people are awakening to find that the system they have unwittingly supported is a dismal failure and the “economy” it created is entirely vaporous. Consequently, the state’s toady press is bellowing how “dangerous anarchists” are being interdicted by the state’s “heroic” police forces. In truth, the “dangerous anarchists” are usually mental midgets who have been manipulated by police controllers to act out or plan “acts of terror”. Real anarchists do not embrace terror as a mechanism for change. Think about it: If a person’s moral compass says it is wrong to use violence to impose his/her will upon another, how could they ever resort to violence?

[Editor’s note: In a representative democracy, the electorate chooses people from the population to make difficult decisions on behalf of the people. Ideally, these chosen people must consider the rights of the minority whenever the majority supports some measure. That means, even if the majority wants something desperately (like “free” health care), the representatives can decline to follow their wishes if acceding to them would somehow deprive the minority of some right or of a portion of their property. When the people’s representatives simply bow to the will of the majority and then hide behind excuses that they now “only follow the enacted law” government becomes “state”. Unfortunately, any elected representative usually succumbs to the intoxication that comes with holding the reins of public power and, in order to get re-elected, they will bend to the will of the majority. Any person seeking to become an elected representative of the people must be carefully examined for the presence of a spine. Washington D.C. has become, in its entirety, a nest of invertebrates.]

And finally!

(Also) From “T.R.”: In your piece, “A Taxing Unfairness” you seem to be calling for taxation of churches. I thought libertarian “whatevers” were opposed to taxation. Are you flipping, or flopping?

Libertarians oppose any situation where the state gives advantages to one business over another. It is, therefore, a gross unfairness that someone is exempt from theft (tax) because he buttons his shirt collar in the back. Not taxing houses of worship turns them into dutiful disciples of the state. Go inside any church on Sunday and you’ll find people clamoring for more state and its leaders urging submission to the state’s authority. At its front, you’ll find a flag…a symbol of the state’s omnipresence and omnipotence, even in the face of G-d.

Is it “flipping or flopping” to promote taxation of churches? No. If one seeks to raise the ire of an entire population, it is vital to equally oppress them. Once everyone is equally oppressed, the masses will be more willing to rise for better terms. As is, the state benefits by playing favorites because it pits one person (or group) against another and doing so acts to dissipate the anger that would otherwise be directed against the state. As Emily Bronte astutely observed, “The tyrant grinds down his slaves and they don’t turn against him, they crush those beneath them.”

We live as the animals in “Animal Farm” where all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others. Once the inequity affects a critical mass of people, we can look forward to our redemption into freedom.

Ironically, this is saying that we should hasten our own oppression. Is it an oxymoron to say this? I don’t think so. There is virtually no chance that members of the ruling class will awaken one morning and say to each other over breakfast, “I say. We have been brutally unfair. What say we give it all up in the name of equal rights and opportunity for all?”

[Editor’s note: One area where LaBaume and I disagree is in our definition of “property”. I embrace the definition given by Mikhail Bakunin: Property is whatever a worker creates with his own hands (labor). One “buys” land. One does not “create” land. Therefore, all land is the property of all. Only the improvements we place on it through our own work is our property. We can defend, however, the property upon the unowned land. Therefore, it is reasonable for a person to have vicarious land “ownership” so long as he does something on the land. An area I explored with another anarcho-captitalist is Bakunin’s disdain for laws of inheritance. Since “property” is only that which we create with our hands, one cannot bequeath (or inherit) property. A corpse  has no property rights, obviously. So “ownership” terminates with the death of a property owner. However, one may give away one’s property at any time and he may draft a property transfer to whomever he chooses to take effect “one minute prior to my actual death”. It seems nonsensical to assume a world where inheritance does not exist. It was once considered nonsensical that inherited titles of nobility would become passe. Of the Colonial militia, the British Crown once said, “Without men of title to lead, there will be no ‘army’. Who will lead in a mob?”]

And, with that, I’m knackered.


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