Commentary
The Myth of the Libertarian Constitution
The original Constitution, as designed by the framers in Philadelphia, has often been seen as guaranteeing individual freedom from government repression. Many of Donald Trump’s critics see him as undermining our nation’s foundational constitutional principles, and people and groups from Joe Biden to Black Lives Matter are often seen as trying to restore them. But…
Political Intellectuals Discouraging Political Intellect
Many intellectuals[1] lament the supposed apathy, stupidity, or ignorance of the average person. Some start from a charitable idea: e.g., people don’t care about issues of greater political implication for rational (economic) reasons. However, an end point for many is to conclude that it’s better if the idiots around them don’t engage in political activities…
Against the Criminal Justice System, Pt. IV: Free All Prisoners
The last three posts of this series have been focused on the injustice of punishment and criminal law, and the justice of a tort-based pure restitution system. Even if punishment itself were legitimate, however, we would still have reason to reject the main form of punishment that exists today.Prisons– especially as they exist in the United States–…
An Open Letter to Anti-Racists on Global Poverty
Dear Anti-racists,  Cheers to the earth-shattering defeat of Donald Trump, in whose electoral demise you played no small part. Your jubilation as this nightmare of a presidency nears its apparent end is every bit warranted. Joe Biden’s presidency will be far from perfect, but we can reasonably expect it to be better than the (primary)…
Should We Give to Morally Imperfect People?
Suppose that we endorse something like this moral principle: The most moral way to live is to prevent as much suffering as possible.  This principle is quite demanding, as it means (for example) that spending six dollars on an expensive cup of coffee—when those six dollars could more effectively relieve suffering in the hands of…
Against the Criminal Justice System, Pt. III: For Actual Justice
In the previous couple of posts of this series, I argued that the practice of punishment and the institution of criminal law are inherently unjust. As an alternative, I proposed that we replaced them with a purely civil system, with no law but tort law. All cases would then be cases of dispute resolution, where…
Constraining the Night-Watchman State
Many libertarians favor constraining the State to a limited set of powers, typically to the maintenance of police, courts, prisons, and security services designed to protect individual rights. This “protective state” or “Night-watchman” state is seen as the minarchist ideal. However, I think some libertarians forget that even a state only devoted to these protective…
Corporations versus the Market; or, Whip Conflation Now
(Originally published at Cato Unbound on November 10, 2008) Defenders of the free market are often accused of being apologists for big business and shills for the corporate elite. Is this a fair charge? No and yes. Emphatically no—because corporate power and the free market are actually antithetical; genuine competition is big business’s worst nightmare….
Against the Criminal Justice System, Pt. II: The Criminality of Criminal Law
In the first post of this series, I gave some reasons why libertarians ought to reject the practice of punishment. As an alternative, I suggested that the only proper role of law is dispute resolution, and that law’s violence can only be used in either direct defense or the collection of restitution. In effect, this…
Dump the Rentiers Off Your Back
(Originally published by Rad Geek People’s Daily on May 29, 2008) Here’s a great post from a bit more than a year ago at Anomalous Presumptions (2007-02-26), which I just got around to reading: I was responding to this key point: [P]eer production isn’t an assault on the principles of a free society, but an extension of…
Against the Criminal Justice System, Pt. I: No One Should Ever Be Punished
As the pain, suffering, and sheer cost incurred by the criminal justice system in America spirals further and further out of control, more and more people have come to push for reform. Even Texas Governor Rick Perry, who once proudly declared to have never struggled with issues like the death penalty, has begun to advocate…
How the State Enables Ecocide
In the first year of constant quarantine, rocked by worldwide social unrest, extreme tropical weather, and widespread government ineptitude, the complete inability and unwillingness of the ruling classes to make any substantive changes is clear. There will not be any relief and there is no reckoning. Commoditizing living animals has created the perfect conditions for…
No Empathy With Tyranny
I am happy the Trump regime is coming to an end. I am angry the Trump regime happened and isn’t over yet. There may be a path to redemption for most of Trump’s supporters and enablers, but they do not get to tell us how to respond to their choices. Asking for empathy without making…
How we can win back the Internet by creating lowercase internets
In April 2001, five months before 9/11, Bram Cohen began designing a new file sharing protocol that would almost single-handedly change the face of the music, TV, and movie industries for the next two decades. The technology was not in itself a completely new idea. After all, similar technologies like the well-known File Transfer Protocol…
Ross Ulbricht and the Courage to Break the Law
His lawyers say they will try to appeal. The charges for which Ulbricht will likely spend his life in prison all center around the Silk Road marketplace, which allowed users to peacefully trade illegal drugs over the internet. Though he admitted to originally creating the site, Ulbricht has maintained that he quickly handed it off…
Let’s Make 12 Step Programs the New Food Not Bombs
If we believe in the concepts of harm reduction and restorative and transformative justice, then we need to get involved in 12 step advocacy. 12 step programs began with the birth of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) when it was founded in 1935 out of a conversation between Bill Wilson aka Bill W. and Bob Smith. They…
What Is “Left-Libertarianism?”
Just what is “left-libertarianism?” The term (as it’s being used here) points to a broad tradition of intellectual undercurrents that are simultaneously radically libertarian and radically leftist. It includes some of the most radical elements of English liberalism (such as Thomas Hodgskin and the earlier writings of Herbert Spencer), nineteenth-century individualist anarchism, the 1960s alliance…
Harm Reduction, Soapboxing, and Destructive Voting
As anarchists, we obviously reject representative democracy along with the state itself. As such, many anarchists advocate against voting in elections or even participating at all, seeing it as reinforcing and legitimizing the very system we’re fighting so hard to abolish. However, not all anarchists are against participating in the electoral process in the here…
Against Libertarians Who Want to Shrink the State by Capturing It
There is a sentiment among many self-described libertarians that I sympathize with to some degree, but ultimately view as misguided and completely unfavorable. It goes something like this: If we are to have a state, the lesser evil solution is to have only certain groups of people vote.   Net taxpayers are a popular go-to example….
No Really, What is Anarchism?
The terms ‘anarchist’ and ‘anarchism’ are returning to the center stage of political lingo in the twenty-first century. To quote my own article on Center for a Stateless Society: President Donald Trump has repeatedly attempted to associate Black Lives Matter with anarchists and anarchism. He has tweeted such threatening posts as just the phrase “Anarchists, we see…
Anarchy and Democracy
Fighting Fascism
Markets Not Capitalism
The Anatomy of Escape
Organization Theory