Re: left anarchy, right anarchy, and space homesteading

Guru George (
Fri, 3 Oct 1997 22:40:50 +0100

On Thu, 2 Oct 1997 18:18:33 -0700 (PDT) (The Low Golden Willow) wrote:

>The anarchists would claim that any system which sanctions
>such inequities among human beings is unacceptable.

I hate to say this, but: to whom? It's acceptable to those who are
holding the property. So why should we accept the anarchist's
preferences rather than the property holders'? What makes the poor
person's preferences more important than the rich person's? This seems
to me to be a breach of universalism, universal brotherhood, equality and
all that - IOW, it's another deep leftist contradiction.

>That holding but
>not using resources which other people could use is theft, and
>inefficient. If you're not using the building how is someone else
>moving into it theft? How is it unjust?

Private property in the pure capitalist sense requires no justification
whatsoever. It is based on a fact: someone *already* controls x,
therefore they should be *left* in control of it. Finders keepers. By
this definition, neither first acquisition nor exchange are theft,
because they violate nobody's prior control. They do preclude other
peoples' possibilities, but that is too vague and subjective to base a
property system on, IMHO (somebody - i.e. logically, ultimately the
State - would have to calculate the relative weights to be assigned to
these 'possibilities').

What *does* require justification is the *rule* : why *should* we leave
people in control of what they already control? The answer to that has
two parts: a moral, and an economic.

Roughly, the moral justification is sort of Kantian: it is an insult to
human dignity to just snatch something that someone is in control of;
also, moral autonomy requires *some* stuff - a 'clearing', or a 'sphere'
- to be in control of, and*equal* moral autonomy (or equality before the
law?) for all requires that Peter not be taken away from to give to Paul,
for that is treating Peter*differently* from Paul, preferring Paul to

The economic justification is that rewards and penalties for an action
should, as much as possible, be restricted to the actor concerned. This
makes for economic efficiency, learning curve possibilities (a la
Bionomics), etc., etc.

Now nothing is perfect, and there are bound to be some cases where
sticking to the rule results in 'unfairness' and inefficiency; but as
Hayek showed, as a *general* rule, private property, and the economic
system that goes with it, is the best we have yet discovered for getting
the most out of our abilities and resources. Is the glass half empty or
half full? Leftist anarchists say half empty: they do not see what
libertarian anarchists see, which is that 90% of the time, the system
works *extremely* well, and gives more human beings the possibility of
actually progressing in their lives than any other system yet conceived.

You can't order society by exceptions.

>Mark Grant's retort that the empty office buildings are guarded by
>zoning laws was a rather more effective defense of capitalism.

Ooooh, sorr-ree! Maybe I should just shut my gob? ;-)

Guru George