A debate with libertarians

One of the most inspirational political thinkers and someone who positively commented on my economic theory[1], Foster Gamble (categorized as int8), has recently claimed on his blog that Stefan Molyneux (categ. mat8), a well-known libertarian and YouTube celebrity, is “arguably history’s most advanced philosopher.” Gamble, himself an avowed libertarian and anarchist, has been inspired greatly by Molyneux, but Gamble’s beginning was not in imitation of Molyneux’s views like it is today. In 2012, he produced the documentary movie THRIVE (see below) and started his movement based on the philosophy and premises discussed in it.

The road from Gamble to Molyneux

In this movie, Gamble aligned himself with the principle of nonviolence and Misesian economics, albeit also mixed with his own eccentric and conspiratological views. The documentary clearly shows, however, that Gamble supports minarchism and not anarchism (see my first reply to this post). The last ‘development’ in Gamble’s outlook may be the main issue of his current stance. Instead of keeping true to his original premises, he decided to back up, turn around, and take an exit directed toward Molyneux’s purely anarchist and classically anti-Marxist camp, à la Mikhail Bakunin sans ‘collectivist.’ The debate that I started on Gamble’s post, which was undeservedly praising Molyneux and showing deep conformism to his views, should have happened earlier, when there was still time to show to Gamble toward what kind of an abyss he was setting. Now, however, Gamble simply, and blindly, marked my reply as spam, without wanting to read what I have to say on the topic, even though he was always open and engaged with his readers before. You might also understand my disagreement with Molyneux, which is now shared by some of Gamble’s readers, if you watch Molyneux’s video on the question “What is Existence?”.

Molyneux and Ayn Rand

The biggest problem which overshadows everything else that Molyneux says is that, according to him, forests do not exist. Following this reasoning, he claims that neither societies nor governments exist. Molyneux was partially inspired by Rand, so in a way this reflects what Rand claims of any “group or ‘collective,’ large or small, [as] only a number of individuals” (VoS) or how Peikoff illustrates the nature of society as that “the independent man is as alone in society as on a desert island” (OPAR, 1991, p. 381, cf. pp. 202, 252). In any case, the same problem occurs in Molyneux’s thinking as in any Objectivist’s: to claim that reality only exists as objects is to claim that reality is a solid. Let me reiterate this point several times. If we say that a group of swans on a lake is merely individual swans – then there is nothing, no spacetime, to separate swans from each other[2]. Saying that forests only consist of trees would mean that we would go through the trees and not ‘around’ them, since anything ‘around’ them would not exist[3]! Imagine a solid only consisting of trees, or a society only consisting of people. What these people who Gamble trusts actually ‘prove’ is that we are all living in a solidified state prohibitive to movement, in a world that only consists of objects as if these objects were our reality, were our contexts, as immovable as cadavers frozen in cement or stuck behind a wall in one of Poe’s stories! Think through this ludicrous scenario, if you can. Evidently, you won’t be able to, if you are an Objectivist, since to an Objectivist it all sounds just fine and nothing that deserves ‘wasting’ thought upon. Nonetheless, the problem runs even deeper.

Marxist, really – materialist in general

In his only reply to my original comment concerning the ‘factual’ nonexistence of forests, Gamble warned me that my thinking only leads toward the evil thinking espoused by Marxists. In other words, we must think like Gamble (but really Molyneux) in order to avoid thinking like Marxists. Somehow, these lost libertarians think that their thinking is superior and ‘purer’ like they are individualist gods of ‘objectivity,’ or something. Well, actually, my dear libertarians who may be reading this post – you are only deceiving yourselves.

Every libertarian who thinks like Molyneux ignores that Marxists understand Society, including government, as Nature (see highlighted instances in my Russian commentary on Lenin). Thus, these ‘individualists’ are also following this basic premise of all  materialists, Molyneux included, and Gamble neglects to notice this, even though he is not a materialist and should disagree with the premise. Molyneux uses the enemy premise thinking that he contradicts Marxists at the time he does not. He opposes ‘collective’ while comparing it to ‘nature,’ so he only plays to their hand, leading to the same result: nonexistence (of trees, societies, nature, etc.). A libertarians’ fault, as may be viewed by Ayn Rand Institute, is the confusion of man-made with natural, the distinction that is crucial not only to Rand’s philosophy but to any anti-Marxist philosophy, and this distinction can be found in Rand’s essay “The Metaphysical Versus the Man-Made” (1973/1982). One salient point from this essay is that,

It is the metaphysically given that must be accepted: it cannot be changed. It is the man-made that must never be accepted uncritically: it must be judged, then accepted or rejected and changed when necessary.

So a way of thinking that doesn’t ignore evident facts would involve accepting artificial and natural environments for what they are without mixing them. You can only integrate if you first delineate properly! If only Molyneux would not look up to Marx, as Gamble looks up to Molyneux, as if there is only one possible theory for building a new society and, even at that, it is evil. With the failure of Marx and the fear of him to which libertarians cling so ignorantly and attach so contradictorily, you could think that building a new society wouldn’t work – therefore we must oppose any such attempts. In actuality, one simply needs a better imagination and greater creativity than Marx had, and most people indeed cannot extend their minds far enough. I offer a long-sought alternative to Marx and a less utopian, despotism-leaning theory. My goal is to create something truly new and not merely oppose already failed experiments in socioeconomic construction because opposition, like the one by Molyneux, is a psychologically inadequate waste of time leading nowhere.

[1] In a disqus comment on January 6, 2015, Foster wrote about my economic theory that it is a “fascinating vision” and that it “would make a great premise for a movie.” He also thanked me for keeping him posted.

[2] Consider also that swans only live in pairs.

[3] What difference would it make to these individuals that, in addition to trees, forests include earth, plants, their elements within the surrounding air, light with emissions from this ecosystem, butterflies and other insects, chirping birds and other animals, mushrooms within their mycelium, and more that cannot be described exhaustively depending on season and regardless of how clear the boundaries are; that our heads exist within reality, and so the contents of heads, i.e. concepts, must exist within reality as well and be affected by reality, such as when electromagnetic emissions from environment enter our heads and are altered within our heads to either integrate the concept of environmental context or to completely disintegrate it into pieces and fragments that never fit together, that can never be epistemologically healed?

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One thought on “A debate with libertarians

  1. I was referring to Gamble’s plans for future society, starting in 1:57:55: “three overlapping stages of the solutions process,” the second of which, although not “the end goal of the liberty perspective,” is that “we shrink government’s role to protect the individual liberty and storing those things we share in common.” Stage three doesn’t mention anarchy but only says that there will be no “involuntary governance.” I was stating about his ‘clear minarchism’ because that is exactly the way he made it seem in the movie. If he now says that the movie was intended to spread anarchist philosophy, then that’s how he should have made the movie. But he didn’t. There is no mention of anachists there like Stefan Molyneux. Exactly in this plan he made it seem like a different kind of system than the anarchism that Molyneux supports.

    In Mises and Rand, minarchism is about the government serving the people and not the other way around. Minarchist government is, therefore, not an involuntary governance. In fact, it is not involuntary at all. There is also no involuntary tax in any of this, as Gamble should well know, since he so clearly stressed all of the minarchist concepts in his video indeed also on stage three. I repeat, anarchism is not clearly developed in his video, but now he is saying that it is indeed anarchism that’s hiding under that pleasant, nearly ‘utopian’ facade in the animation. So minarchism leads to anarchism, as the video seems to show? My argument has also shown this for Gamble in my post, but it must not be so. Anarchism is merely confusion, like in Molyneux’s case. Gamble is not like him. I hope he sees that. I repeat, he does not state in his plan anything about ‘stateless society.’ No such word is mentioned – only principles already available in minarchism. This either means his movie was made to inaccurately represent his views, or, simply, that his views have changed.

    A minarchist government is not about involuntary coercion, just as it is not about involuntary taxation, governance, or anything involuntary in general. And Gamble knows this very well. So why is he going against minarchist philosophy now, really? I think it’s because of Molyneux’s influence on him that has been developing since his movie Thrive. Surely I may be wrong. The best way to see is to check how he stands with Molyneux.

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