Center for a Stateless Society
A Left Market Anarchist Think Tank & Media Center
Editor’s Report, November 2015

November was business as usual for C4SS in the op-ed department. We’ve always got the world’s events covered from our distinct left market anarchist perspective. Nick Ford called into question the state’s protection racket, providing us with some staggering statistics surrounding civil asset forfeiture. Joel Schlosberg commemorated the centennial anniversary of the execution of radical labor activist Joe Hill. Ryan Calhoun called out the extreme hypocrisy of Nationalist-Christians in America and their hatred of the refugees.

C4SS also continued its exciting new program, Mutual Exchange. November’s topic, Property: Occupancy and Use, brought forth a lead essay from Kevin Carson, followed by responses from Shawn Wilbur, William Schnack, Robert Kirchner, Fred Folvardy, Jason Byas and William Gillis. As I write this, November’s participants are still producing content. It’s been a vibrant conversation and we thank all the writers for contributing to what’s been a really informative and high-level symposium.

A few other noteworthy items:

In addition to his participation in Mutual Exchange, Carson took a brief timeout to lambaste Lew Rockwell and Hans Hoppe over their odious, un-libertarian positions on immigration.

Sheldon Richman’s work, as usual, circulated far and wide, getting picked up by Newsweek as well as another unlikely source: John Kasich’s Presidential campaign advertising. I wonder if the Kasich people got the memo that Sheldon is an anarchist?

Nick Ford concluded his in-depth review of Michael Huemer’s The Problem of Political Authority. Part One of the review can be seen here.

November was a busy and productive month for C4SS. Between our sharp and incisive news commentary, Mutual Exchange, continued reprints of left-libertarian classics, book reviews, and blogging, we’ve got a lot of irons in the fire heading into December. But that’s what we do. And we couldn’t do it without you, our readers. Please help keep us going and growing by making a donation via Paypal, Patreon, or any of our other countless giving platforms:

Many thanks,

Richman in Newsweek

My post about Donald Trump’s immigrant-deportation proposal was picked up by Newsweek. This screen shot is featured in an anti-Trump ad produced by presidential contender John Kasich. The ad, suggesting a comparison between Trump and the Nazis, has been widely discussed by news outlets and other sites. (HT: Joel Schlosberg.)


The Weekly Libertarian Leftist Review 108

Roderick T. Long discusses public choice theory as it applies to ancient Athens.

Roderick T. Long discusses political themes in ancient Greek drama.

George H. Smith discusses John Locke on money and private property.

Lucy Steigerwald discusses Paris, fear, and repetition.

Jacob G. Hornberger discusses the counter-containment racket.

Sheldon Richman discusses letting the refugees in.

Brad Stapleton discusses why the Paris attacks shouldn’t lead to further U.S. military action.

Nick Turse discusses America’s empire of African bases.

Tom Engelhardt discusses Western responses to ISIS.

Richard M. Ebeling discusses the 2016 presidential race and the prospects for human freedom.

James Ostrowski discusses Woodrow Wilson.

Sam Husseini discusses why right and left need to stand up to perpetual war.

Joel Scholsberg discusses the late Joe Hill.

David Stockman discusses U.S. foreign policy.

Anna Lekas Miller discusses life inside ISIS controlled territory.

Leon Hadar discusses a book on Obama’s foreign policy.

Nebojsa Malic discusses the situation in the former Yugoslavia.

Murtaza Hussain discusses the attitude of some former drone operators to drone assassinations.

William Hartung discusses how arms sales fuel Middle Eastern wars.

Jacob G. Hornberger discusses regime change as the root of evil in Syria.

Dan Sanchez discusses blowback from U.S. interventionism.

Eric Margolis discusses an atrocity in France.

Greg Grandin discusses Woodrow Wilson.

Ivan Eland discusses the endless cycle of terrorism.

Doug Bandow discusses Western interventionism and terrorism.

Max Blumenthal discusses how Western politicians are playing into the hands of ISIS.John Glaser discusses why a ground war against ISIS is unwise.

James Bovard discusses the use of the census for state oppression.

Scott Mcconnell discusses Hilary on foreign policy.

George Leef discusses business-government partnerships.

Robert Anton Wilson on Blowback, Anarchy, and Optimism

The following interview with Robert Anton Wilson was conducted in 2002. It’s Part 3 of a 4-Part series.

It took place after the publication of Wilson’s most overtly political tract, TSOG: The Thing That Ate the Constiution. (TSOG stands for Tsarist Occupation Government.) Among the topics discussed in this segment: 9/11 and Pearl Harbor as blowback from American Empire; the “despised” (aka revisionist) historians Wilson was warned by high school teachers not to read (Harry Elmer Barnes, Charles Beard and James J. Martin); libertarianism, anarchism and contract-based societies; Wilson’s favorite anarchist influences (Tucker, Tolstoy and Kropotkin); globalization, corporatization and the transformative potential of the internet; and how Wilson remains optimistic despite never-ending war.

Most intriguing to me was Wilson’s assertion that he sometimes identified as a libertarian only because most people don’t understand anarchism. They assume anarchy means “throwing bombs,” he says. Wilson’s (anti)political self-identification varied after his outwardly anarchist period during the 60s and 70s. In one interview from the early 80s, Wilson says:

I’m a libertarian because I don’t trust the people as much as anarchists do. I want to see government limited as much as possible; I would like to see it reduced back to where it was in Jefferson’s time, or even smaller. But I would not like to see it abolished.

It’s refreshing to hear Wilson getting back to his radical roots in his latter years.

It’s also worth noting that by 2002, Wilson was suffering from the symptoms of Post-polio syndrome, a condition that plagues polio survivors years after their initial bout with the virus. Wilson nonetheless manages to maintain his characteristic wit and humor despite battling great physical pain, which he says in Part 4 of the interview was only managed through his use of marijuana.

The clip is about 15 minutes in length.


Warning: TheRightStuff Authors Misappropriating C4SS Identity

Some confused folks have been asking us — in understandably concerned tones — about a couple of people named Ryan McMahon and Rob Paul. Both of them contribute to the blog The Right Stuff  — as you can see for yourself by clicking on their names — and both have “Works for C4SS” in their Facebook profiles. The Right Stuff’s position seems to be an amalgam of paleo-conservative, paleo-libertarian, neo-reactionary, men’s rights activist, gamergate puke, “race realist,” out-and-out fascist, and people who like to say “cuck” a lot — in other words pretty much the whole gamut of scum of the earth. And Paul has reportedly been involved in creating so-called “white student unions” on one or more university campuses. Needless to say, both McMahon and Paul are liars. Neither one is affiliated with us in any way, nor will they or anyone else with ideas remotely similar to theirs ever be welcome here.

McMahon’s Facebook page is here, and below is a screenshot of his false claim to work for C4SS:

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Ditto for Paul:


Please do us a favor and flag them for false impersonation if you’re on Facebook, as well as on any other social media platform where they make similar claims. And please spread the word that their claims are lies. Thank you!

ADDENDUM: You can add Alex McNabb (Facebook page here) to the list of TheRightStuff contributors falsely claiming association with C4SS. Please report him as well, and let us know about anyone else you see making similar claims. Thanks!


How to Respond to the Paris Attacks

Look, even authoritarian and totalitarian states can’t prevent domestic terrorism. What hope do relatively open societies have? Open societies abound with “soft targets”; that is, noncombatants going about their everyday lives. They are easy hits for those determined to inflict harm, especially if the assailants seek to die in the process.

We also know, as U.S. officials acknowledge, that NATO bombing of jihadis boosts recruitment.

So if Americans and Europeans want safer societies, they must discard the old, failed playbook, which has only one play — more violence — and adopt a new policy: Nonintervention.

But how are we to pursue this saner policy in the face of a determined refusal to understand what happened in Paris?

All too typical was a recent discussion on CNN in which an American-Muslim leader and an English former jihadi debated whether the attacks in Paris are best explained by the marginalization of France’s Muslim population or by an “ideology.”

Missing was any reference to France’s bombing of Syria.

How could that not have been part of the CNN discussion? The answer cannot be ignorance. Indeed, throughout the weekend the bombing of Syria was often acknowledged on France 24 television. At times the Paris attacks were portrayed as acts of vengeance, however horrifyingly misguided and evil. (While attacks on noncombatants are undeniably evil, we must note that western governments incessantly claim to act on behalf of their people.)

Why do the U.S. media think Americans need not know what the French know? (I won’t say America’s establishment media never associate jihadi terrorism with revenge, but it’s far too infrequent.)

The Islamic State’s own statement made clear that the attacks were in response to the French bombing of Syria.

Let France and all nations following its path know that they will continue to be at the top of the target list for the Islamic State and that the scent of death will not leave their nostrils as long as they partake in the crusader campaign, as long as they dare to curse our Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him), and as long as they boast about their war against Islam in France and their strikes against Muslims in the lands of the Caliphate with their jets, which were of no avail to them in the filthy streets and alleys of Paris. Indeed, this is just the beginning. It is also a warning for any who wish to take heed.

The New York Times reported that a witness to the Paris violence heard one perpetrator say, “What you are doing in Syria, you are going to pay for it now.”

The upshot is that war on Mideast populations will not prevent terrorism against western societies. On the contrary, it will make terrorism more likely because “the action is in the reaction.” Indeed, the U.S.-led coalition commits terrorism in the eyes of its victims — so many of whom are noncombatants. Who can blame them when, for example, the Obama administration has no idea whom it kills with its “signature strikes” by drone? As the New York Times reported,

Every independent investigation of the strikes has found far more civilian casualties than administration officials admit. Gradually, it has become clear that when operators in Nevada fire missiles into remote tribal territories on the other side of the world, they often do not know who they are killing, but are making an imperfect best guess.

That is hardly the way to win hearts and minds. One might be tempted to ask if the foreign-policy elite will ever learn. But if it has no incentive to learn, why should it bother? Has it learned anything from the uninterrupted flow of money and arms to the jihadis from its allies Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and Turkey? Has Israel’s tilt toward the radical Sunnis made any impression?

Finally, just as more war will fail to protect Americans and Europeans, so will further destruction of their liberties fail. Closing these open societies is a bizarre way to answer jihadis. Better to liquidate the self-destructive empire and privatize security. It’s often said that “freedom isn’t free.” Fine, but why must we pay monopoly prices for inferior “services”?

Translations for this article:

Omission as Damage to Route Around

Seeing Iain Murray’s title, How the State Keeps You Working Long Hoursgot me pretty excited. Especially as I’ve been trying to fuse libertarian concerns with work-critical sentiments for a few years now.

And though the post had potential, it ultimately fell flat.

For one thing, it mainly comes from a non-anarchist perspective. So the chance of this being as radical as I hoped were dashed. Murray also discusses Tim Ferriss and how his book, The Four-Hour Workweek, could aid the structure of corporations. He attempts this even though, as he admits, the book was written with individuals of a lower class standing in mind.

Nevertheless, Murray writes that these recommendations of automation and effectiveness are halted in corporations by, “…processes that make them not just inefficient but ineffective.”

To explain why, Murray turns to two notable economists: Ronald E. Coase and Friedrich Hayek.

Coase studied (among other things) transaction costs and why firms existed. He reasoned that external transactions in the marketplace were of such a cost that firms made sense. But the Hayekian knowledge problems means, as Murray points out, “…that command-and-control structures suffer from a knowledge problem, because the commanders cannot possibly know as much as they need to know to make rational decisions.”

As such, Murray admits that the structure of corporations are largely based on a “master-servant relationship” (his term). He also explains that they exist that way due to Frederick Taylor and his methods of management called “Taylorism”.

After reaching all of these commendable conclusions, we reach a point where the article takes a turn for the worse:

The solution to the knowledge problem … is to use markets … But then we run into the problem Coase identified — transaction costs are higher in markets than in firms. If they weren’t, firms wouldn’t exist. Firms exist until their transaction costs get too high, and then they collapse. Some large companies have avoided this fate by using market-based processes within their organizational structures. The franchising business model also introduces these processes. (emphasis mine)

First, the marketplace corporations have been using are heavily corrupted by state subsidies. These include transportation subsidies, which fellow C4SS writer, Kevin Carson, has written about at FEE as well. These allow corportions to externalize costs while maximizing profits, thus staving off an otherwise inevitable collapse.

Second, Murray’s article uncannily resembles insights from Carson’s other FEE articles. Namely articles like Economic Calculation in the Corporate Commonwealth and Hierarchy or the Market, as well as an article called Taylorism, Progressivism and Rule by Expertswhich touched on the master-servant dynamic Murray mentions.

The omission of Carson’s work damages Murray’s argument in several ways. It undermines his claim for worker empowerment and would’ve helped reinforce his discussion of inefficiency in the corporate structure. It would’ve also given more historical and economic context for why the master-servant relationship exists.

Carsonian insights for future attempts at synthesizing work-skepticism and libertarianism may produce more radical and interesting results. It is my hope that Murray will implement them.


Property and the family are two ideas, for the attack and defense of which legions of writers have taken up arms during the last half century. Recent systems, founded upon old errors, but revived by the popular emotions which they aroused, have in vain disturbed, misrepresented, sometimes even denied, them. These ideas express necessary facts, which, under diverse forms, have been and will always be coming forth; they may thus be justly regarded as the fundamental principles of all political society, because from them originate, to a great extent, the two principal objects which concern social laws, namely, the rights of man over things, and his duties toward his fellow-men.

The Right of Property

If man acquires rights over things, it is because he is at once active, intelligent and free; by his activity he spreads over external nature; by his intelligence he governs it, and bends it to his use; by his liberty, he establishes between himself and it the relation of cause and effect and makes it his own.

Nature has not for man the provident tenderness imagined by the philosophers of the eighteenth century, and dreamed of before them by the poets of antiquity when they described the golden age. She does not lavish her treasures in order to make life flow smoothly along in abundance and idleness for mortals; on the contrary, she is severe, and yields her treasures only at the price of constant labor; she maltreats those who have not sufficient strength or intelligence to subdue her, and when we consider the primitive races whom the arts of civilization had not yet raised above her, we may ask ourselves, with Pliny, if she did not show herself a step-mother rather than a mother. Left to itself, the earth presents here deserts, there marshes or inextricable forests; the most fertile portions are ordinarily the most inaccessible, because, situated in the valleys, they are encroached upon by stagnant waters, and infected by the miasms which exhale from them, or haunted by noxious animals that seek their food there; poisonous plants grow among the nutritious ones, without any outward sign by which to distinguish them, while yet we have not the warning of instinct which the animals have. The best fruits themselves have as yet, for the most part, only a coarse savor before cultivation has corrected their bitterness. Doubtless man can live, as he has, amidst this indifferent or hostile nature; but he would live there, timid and fearful as the roe of the forests, isolated, or collected in small groups, and lost in the immense spaces, in which his frail existence would be but an accident in the luxuriant life of organized beings; he would not feel himself at home, and would in very fact be like a stranger on an earth which he would not have fashioned according to his will, and where he would be neither the swiftest in the chase, the best protected against cold, nor the best armed for strife.

What even now distinguished him from other creatures, in this state of profound barbarism, were the divine powers of soul with which he was gifted. However torpid they might as yet have been, they would have taught him, without any doubt, to emerge from his nakedness and his feebleness: from the earliest times, they would have suggested the means of arming his hand with an axe of stone, like whose which, buried in the calcareous deposits of another age, tell us to-day of the miserable beginning of our race upon the globe; they would have taught him to protect his body against the cold with the skin of the bear, and to shield his home and family from the attacks of ferocious beasts by arranging a cave for his use or building a hut in the midst of water, not far from the shore of a lake. But already man would have left upon matter some impress of his personality, and the reign of property would have begun.

When centuries have elapsed, and generations have accumulated their labors, where is there, in a civilized country, a clod of earth, a leaf, which does not bear this impress? In the town, we are surrounded by the works of man; we walk upon a level pavement or a beaten road; it is man who made healthy the formerly muddy soil, who took from the side of a far-away hill the flint or stone which covers it. We live in houses; it is man who has dug the stone from the quarry, who has hewn it, who has planed the woods; it is the thought of man which has arranged the materials properly and made a building of what was before rock and wood. And in the country, the action of man is still everywhere present; men have cultivated the soil, and generations of laborers have mellowed and enriched it; the works of man have dammed the rivers and created fertility where the waters had brought only desolation; to-day man goes as far as to people the rivers, to direct the growth of fish, and takes possession of the empire of the waters. We reap the wheat, our principal food. Where is it found in a wild state? Wheat is a domestic plant, a species transformed by man for the wants of man. Thus products, natives of countries most diverse have been brought together, grafted, modified by man for the adornment of the garden, the pleasures of the table, or the labors of the workshop. The very animals, from the dog, man’s companion, to the cattle raised for the shambles have been fashioned into new types which deviate sensibly from the primitive type given by nature. Everywhere a powerful hand is divined which has moulded matter, and an intelligent will which has adapted it, following a uniform plan, to the satisfaction of the wants of one same being. Nature has recognized her master, and man feels that he is at home in nature. Nature has been appropriated by him for his use; she has become his own; she is his property.

This property is legitimate; it constitutes a right as sacred for man as is the free exercise of his faculties. It is his because it has come entirely from himself, and is in no way anything but an emanation from his being. Before him, there was scarcely anything but matter; since him, and by him, there is interchangeable wealth, that is to say, articles having acquired a value by some industry, by manufacture, by handling, by extraction, or simply by transportation. From the picture of a great master, which is perhaps of all material production that in which matter plays the smallest part, to the pail of water which the carrier draws from the river and takes to the consumer, wealth, whatever it may be, acquires its value only by communicated qualities, and these qualities are part of human activity, intelligence, strength. The producer has left a fragment of his own person in the thing which has thus become valuable, and may hence be regarded as a prolongation of the faculties of man acting upon external nature. As a free being he belongs to himself; now, the cause, that is to say, the productive force, is himself; the effect, that is to say, the wealth produced, is still himself. Who shall dare contest his title of ownership so clearly marked by the seal of his personality?

Some authors have tried to establish the principle of property on the right of the first occupant. This is a narrow view: occupation is a fact, and not a principle. It is one of the signs by which the taking of possession manifests itself, but it is not sufficient to make it valid before the philosopher or the lawyer. Let a man land upon a desert, and say: “As far as my eye can reach, from this shore to the hills which bound the horizon yonder, this land is mine”; no one would accept such occupation for a bona fide title. But let the man settle upon the most fertile hill-side, build a hut there, cultivate the surrounding fields, and the possession of the portion actually occupied will become a right, because he has performed a proprietary act, that is to say, has by his labor thereon impressed on it the seal of his personality. International law makes a distinction, in regard to this, between individuals and states; what it refuses to the former, it grants to the latter; and it recognizes the validity of a summary taking of possession, which does not injure any anterior right. It is because the occupation is of an entirely different nature: the one having as its object useful possession, the other sovereignty, which implies only a general protection; the proof of this is, that in modern society the sovereignty frequently passes from one state to another without property changing hands. [1] Montesquieu wrote: “As men have renounced their natural independence in order to live under political laws, they have renounced their natural community of possession to live under civil laws. The political laws gave them liberty; the civil laws, property.” Bentham enlarged upon the same thought: “Property and law were born together, and will die together. Before law, there was no property; take away the law, and all property ceases.” This was a narrow view. Montesquieu and Bentham, in order to consider but one side of the question, approached very near an exceedingly dangerous error, for it led to this consequence, that if the law had made property, the law could unmake it, and undid the very foundation which the authors intended to lay. It is evident that property originated before law, as before the formation of any regular society, since there has been appropriation of a certain part of matter ever since man has lived, and began, in order to subsist, to extend his hand and his intelligence about him. Property and the family have been the cause, and not the effect, of society; and the laws, to follow the beautiful definition placed by Montesquieu himself at the beginning of his work, “are the necessary relations which flow from the nature of things”; the laws have consecrated this necessary relation which was established between man and matter, but they have not erected a relation which would have been factitious and accidental. It is true that, without law, property has no guarantee against violence, and that it lacks security and solidity. But what right is there the exercise of which would be secure outside of the social condition?

It is also true that there are certain kinds of property which could not be produced without the protection of social law, because an advanced civilization and good government have the effect of widening the circle in which human activity can with safety move, and consequently extend the field of property. It is true, in short, that, in a certain number of particular cases in which natural right does not furnish sufficient light, the law decides and determines thus a positive right of property which it might perhaps determine otherwise, because it is important, in well organized society, that nothing, in such a matter, should remain in uncertainty, abandoned to the caprice of arbitrary power. But care must be taken not to confound a particular form or case with the principle of right itself.

It is, then, to the human being, the creator of all wealth, that we must come back; it is upon liberty that it is expedient to base the principle of property, and if any one would know the sign by which it is to be recognized, we will answer that it is by labor that man impresses his personality upon matter. It is labor which cultivates the earth and makes on [= of?] an unoccupied waste an appropriated field; it is labor which makes of an untrodden forest a regularly ordered wood; it is labor, or, rather, a series of labors often executed by a very numerous succession of workmen, which brings hemp from seed, thread from hemp, cloth from thread, clothing from cloth; which transforms the shapeless pyrite, picked up in the mine, into an elegant bronze which adorns some public place, and repeats to an entire people the thought of an artist. It is labor which is the distinctive sign of property; it is the condition (or the means) of it, not the principle, which traces its origin to the liberty of the human soul.

Property, made manifest by labor, participates in the rights of the person whose emanation it is; like him, it is inviolable so long as it does not extend so far as to come into collision with another right; like him, it is individual, because it has origin in the independence of the individual, and because, when several persons have cooperated in its formation, the latest possessor has purchased with a value, the fruit of his personal labor, the work of all the fellow-laborers who have preceded him: this is what is usually the case with manufactured articles. When property has passed, by sale or by inheritance, from one hand to another, its conditions have not changed; it is still the fruit of human liberty manifested by labor, and the holder has the rights as the producer who took possession of it by right.

Violence, confiscation, fraud, conquest, have more than once disturbed the natural order of property, and mixed their impure springs with the pure source of labor. But they have not changed the principle. Does the theft by which a lucky rascal is enriched interfere with the fact that labor is necessary for the production of wealth? Moreover, we must not exaggerate at pleasure the extent of these deviations from the general rule. It has been said that if we could go back to the origin of all landed property, possibly none would be found untainted with some of these vices, on the soil of old Europe, overrun and successively occupied by so many hordes of invaders in ancient times and the middle ages. But how far would we have to go back across the centuries? So far that it could not be told in the case of ninety-nine hundredths of landed estates, except by mere conjecture, based on the probabilities of history. French laws, for instance, have established the thirty-years limitation, firstly, because it is necessary, in order to give some fixity to property, that it should not be left exposed to endless claims, and then, because long possession is itself a title, and because a man who has himself or by his tenantry, or farmers, put continuous labor on the same soil for a generation, has made, so to speak, the property his own. Now what is this short legal limitation beside the long limitation of ages, and how would anyone dare contest the lawfulness of the owner’s right over lands now richly cultivated, covered with farms and manufactories, under the pretext that a Frank of the fourth century expelled from them a Gaul who was herding his flocks there? On the land has accumulated immovable wealth, which has sometimes increased the value of it a hundred-fold, and the origin and transmission of which are equally lawful. Out of the soil has grown the personal wealth which now forms a large part of the patrimony of society, and this wealth, the fruit of modern labor, is for the greater part free from the stain of brute force. War is no longer in our day a means of existence; it is rather a cause of ruin; conquerors aspire to usurp sovereignty, but they respect property. The political societies which have settled in new worlds, in America and Australia, have been established for the greater part by the clearings of the pioneers who made the land what it is, and bequeathed it to their children. There has been little or no violence there, in the many places where they have not had to strive against savage tribes, even in the occupation of the land. In the main, if we consider property as a whole, how small a place is occupied by the exception as compared with the rule, by violence as compared with labor!

Social Utility of Labor

What is just is always useful. Property has such a character of social utility that society could not exist without property, and there is no thriving society without individual property. Therefore, when persons have desired to base property upon utility, arguments were certainly not lacking; but utility, which must be taken great account of in political subjects, is, as we have remarked, a result, and not a principle, and we must content ourselves with saying that the excellent effects of property corroborate the lawfulness of that right. “Man,” says M. Thiers, “has a first property in his person and his faculties; he has a second, less adherent in his being, but not less sacred, in the product of these faculties, which embraces all that is called the goods of this world, and which society is deeply interested in guaranteeing to him; for without this guarantee there would be no labor, without labor no civilization, not even the most necessary, but only misery, robbery and barbarism.” We can not imagine a society entirely devoid of the idea of property; but we can conceive of one, and even find such in history, where property is in a rudimentary condition, and it would not be difficult to prove that such a condition is indeed, as M. Thiers says, misery and barbarism. Man is not a god; labor, which is a healthful exercise for both soul and body, is at the same time painful; it is only at the cost of an effort that man realizes his thought in matter, and oftentimes he would not make this effort, so painful to him, if it were not encouraged by the thought of producing a useful effect, and of himself enjoying the fruit of it. Who would take the trouble to fell a tree, to divide it into boards, if he knew that the next day a savage would seize upon it to make a fire with it, or even build a hut? Activity would have no object, because it would have no certain compensation; it would retire within itself, like the snail when threatened by danger, and would not venture out save for the satisfaction of the most immediate wants or the creation of property the easiest to defend – the hunting of game, or the manufacture of a bow or of an axe. In societies which have already risen to a certain degree of civilization, but which have not sufficient respect for property, this social imperfection alone is enough to impede progress and to keep men for centuries at a low level, to rise above which requires unheard-of efforts, and, above all, the knowledge of right. “All travelers,” says M. Thiers elsewhere, “have been struck by the state of languor, of misery, and of greedy usury, in countries where property is not sufficiently protected. Go to the east, where despotism claims to be the sole owner, or what amounts to the same thing, go back to the middle ages, and you will see everywhere the same features; the land neglected, because it is the prey most exposed to the greediness of tyranny, and reserved for the slaves, who have no choice of employment; commerce preferred, as being able to escape more easily from exaction.” A melancholy picture, but which has long been and still is, on a large portion of our globe, the true picture of humanity. When property, on the contrary, is fully recognized, respected and protected in its various forms, man does not fear to let his activity radiate in every direction. The picture of society is then entirely different: in place of a few thin, boughless shrubs, there will be seen a forest of immense oaks, spreading their branches far and wide, and exhibiting trunks more vigorous in proportion to the greater number of pores through which they breathe air and life. Far from injuring each other, men sustain each other by their individual development. For property is not a common fund fixed in advance, which is diminished by the amount which each appropriates; it is, as we have said, a creation of the intelligent force which dwells in man; each creation is added to the previous creations, and, putting new vigor into commerce, facilitates ulterior creations. The property of one, far from limiting for others the possibility of becoming owners, on the contrary increases this possibility; it is the strongest stimulus to production, the pivot of economical progress; and if the nature of things had not made a law with regard to it, anterior to all agreement, human law would have established it as the institution pre-eminently useful to the welfare and morality of nations.

History of Property

It will be understood, that, although the principle of property is always the same, it has not been comprehended and applied in the same manner at all times and in all countries. It is with the right of property as with most natural rights, which remain long buried in barbarism, and emerge from it gradually with the progress of civilization. We tend at present toward the plenitude of the right of property, and the most advanced nations of Europe and the new world appear to be not very far from the ideal of our conception. But how many centuries has it taken to free it from the exigencies or the ignorance of the past? The savages of America, who did not cultivate the soil, had no idea of landed property; custom made sacred the right of possession only for personal property; the land was common to all; it was a vast territory for fishing and hunting, open to all belonging to the tribe, but defended with jealous care against the encroachments of the neighboring tribes. When they improved and formed societies wisely organized, as in Mexico and Peru, they were necessarily obliged to take into account the appropriation of land, but their ideas even then did not rise to individual property. “No one,” says Robertson, speaking of Peru, “had an exclusive right over the property allotted to him. He possessed it only for a year. At the expiration of that time, a new division was made according to the rank, the number and the necessities of the family. All these lands were cultivated by the common labor of all the members of the community.” In Mexico the grandees had individual property, but, he adds, “the bulk of the nation possessed the lands in a widely different manner. A certain quantity of land was allotted to each district proportionate to the number of families which formed it. This land was cultivated by the labor of the whole community. The produce was taken to a common warehouse, and divided among the families according to their respective needs.”

The primitive nations do not appear to have risen much higher in the conception of the idea of property. Among the pastoral peoples of the east, property, composed principally of personal property and cattle, was almost wholly in the hands of the father of the family, of the patriarch, of the chief of the tribe; such are the customs of the Arabs, and we find them to-day in Algeria, where the land belonging to members of the same douar or village in common, is distributed among them by the caïd. The same system, ascending from the head of a family to the prince, has concentrated all property in the hands of eastern despots, and enfeebled the progress of those beautiful countries by cutting into the roots of individual activity. The Jewish law had conceived the idea of the cancellation of personal debts every seven years and the restoration of alienated lands every fourteen years, at the great jubilee, with the view of retaining property in the same tribes and families: a law, which appears, however, not to have been very well observed. In Greece, [in?] Sparta and Athens there were indicated two opposite tendencies: one mutilating and suppressing almost the right of property, in order to fashion the citizen according to the will of the state; the other insuring, notwithstanding certain restrictions, civil liberty; but it is easy to see to which side the philosophers inclined. Even in the laws [= Laws], in which he tries to create a practical policy, Plato expresses himself thus: “I declare to you, as a legislator, that I regard you and your property as belonging, not to yourselves, but to your family, and your entire family, with its property, as belonging still more to the state.” Rome, while sanctioning territorial property more solemnly than most other ancient governments, guaranteed it to her own citizens only, and centred it in the hands of the father of the family; conquest, moreover, was still among the principal modes of acquisition, and had given rise to immense possessions of the state (ager publicus) and to the agrarian laws. During the empire the jurisconsults, under the influence of the new ideas propagated by the stoic philosophy and the Christian religion, set themselves to extricate persons too closely confined by family bonds, and property was the gainer by this advance in liberty. But in the middle ages the feudal system weighed heavily upon the land; confounding the ideas of property and sovereignty, it made the possessor of the land master of chattels and persons, bound both the one and the other by a multiplicity of bonds, the serfs to the glebe, the lords to the fief, and interwove society in a vast net-work of reciprocal servitudes. Personal property, long smothered by these various systems, showed itself only with timidity, under the shelter of the franchise, in the guilds of the arts and trades; the laws of the princes protected it only by keeping it under strict tutelage; it gradually increased, however, and was even beginning to develop quite rapidly, when the discoveries of Christopher Columbus and Vasco da Gama had opened the great course of the ocean to maritime commerce. But, at this period, the absolute power of kings was being raised upon the ruins of feudalism in the principal states of western Europe, and if property freed itself somewhat de facto from bonds put on it, it de jure only changed masters without acquiring any further independence. Louis XIV., who may be regarded as the most illustrious and most fully convinced representative of absolute power, wrote, for the instruction of the dauphin: “Everything within the extent of our estates, of whatever nature, belongs to us by the same title. You should be fully convinced that kings are absolute lords, and have naturally the full and free disposition of all property possessed as well by the clergy as the laity, to use as wise stewards.” About a century later, in 1809, another sovereign, not less absolute, said during a session of the council of state: “Property is inviolable. Napoleon himself, with the numerous armies at his command, could not take possession of a single field, for to violate the right of property in one, is to violate it in all.” His actions did not always exactly conform to this theory; nevertheless, this declaration shows what progress the idea of property had made in France, from the eighteenth to the nineteenth century. This was because the eighteenth century had passed between the two periods, and although it had not itself as clear idea of the sacred character of property, since it based it upon utility and the law, and declared it to have arisen in a so-called primitive community, it had, nevertheless, shaken off the yoke of feudal servitude and the divine right of kings; it had pleaded the cause of liberty, and the revolution had made this cause triumph, by emancipating man, labor and the land; property could now be produced under its principal forms.

Of the Objections to Property

Property triumphed with liberty, one of the forms of which it is. It was just the time when it was about to be obliged to defend itself against the most malevolent adversaries, who attacked it in the name of a pretended equality; jealous of seeing large fortunes displaying themselves side by side with extreme poverty, they foolishly believed that to deprive of the fruits of their labor those who had lawfully acquired them, was to encourage labor and to relieve poverty. The convention, guided by principles entirely different from those of the constituent assembly, slid more than once down this declivity, and following the convention, Gracchus Babœuf collected and exaggerated the doctrines of the mountain [Online editor’s note: the (second) Montagne was the social-democratic faction in the Assembly. – RTL] out of which he created modern communism. “When,” says he, “the minority in a state have succeeded in engrossing landed and industrial wealth, and by this means hold the majority under their rod, and use their power to cause them to languish in want, the fact should be recognized that this encroachment could take place only under the protection of the government, and then what the old administration failed to do in its time to prevent the abuse or to repress it at its birth, the present administration should do, in order to reestablish the equilibrium which should never have been lost, and the authority of the law should effect an immediate change in the direction of the ultimate principle of the perfected government, of the social contract: that all should have enough, and no one too much.” There have been at all times those who have dreamed of a community of property, and who could do so the better, as individual property was in their time less extended and less firmly established. Plato wrote his “Republic”; Campanella, his “City of the Sun”; Thomas More, his “Utopia”; Fenelon, his “Bætica” and his “Government of Salentum”; but they created a specultive philosophy rather than a policy, and intended, above all, to trace for mankind an ideal of virtue: a mistaken, erroneous conception, but more disinterested, nevertheless, than those of modern communists. The principal object of the latter is enjoyment; their theories have been suggested by the sight of the wealth which was increasing rapidly in modern society, but distributing its favors in an unequal manner, as it proportioned them o the labor, to the intelligence, to the capital of each one and to the circumstances of production: they have wished that those less favored should have a larger share without having a heavier burden of labor, and they have conceived of no better way to do this than to limit or confiscate capital, that is to say, property, which is the lever of labor.

The Saint-Simonians, to attain this end, proposed to organize a powerful priesthood, composed of the ablest men in science, the arts and manufactures. This priesthood would have given an impetus to all society; the priest would have been “the living law”; there would have been no longer emperor nor pope; there would have been a father “disposing of all the capital and products, and distributing them to each according to his merits.” They arrived at this conclusion, that “all property is property of the church,” and that “every kind of business is a religious function.” They did not see that property is the very reward of the labor which they were extolling, and the fruit of the economy without which labor deprived of capital, is reduced to impotence; they did not see that hereditary transmission is the consequence and the extension of property, and, under pretense of increasing social wealth, wealth which for lack of being managed and renewed by the force of individual interests, would have insensibly melted away in the hands of their high priest, they ended in an immense despotism; in order to pursue the shadow of comfort, they would have forfeited, without knowing it, their real welfare, and they did not hesitate knowingly to sacrifice liberty, the most important of all possessions in a society of civilized men. This is where the first of the systems hostile to property would have led to.

That of Fourier dates from about the same period, that is to say, the consulate. But it found no echo until after the great eclat which Saint-Simonism caused at the beginning of the reign of Louis Philippe. Fourier was not, properly speaking, a communist; he proclaimed liberty, and admitted capital. But, in fact, he incloses both the one and the other in a system of exploitation in common which maims them; there is no longer but one kind of liberty, that of the phalanstery. Is that truly liberty which,, with a firm will for a guide, and responsibility for a guarantee, directs the spirit of man toward a definitive end? Is this truly property, that is to say, the full and entire possession of the various things which man has appropriated to himself by labor?

The latest adversary of property is M. Proudhon, who in a famous pamphlet has taken up again up again a paradox of Brissot’s, viz., that property is theft. M. Proudhon does not recognize, either in possession or in labor, sufficient reasons to justify property. “Since every man,” he says, “has the right to possess simply because he exists and can not do without material for exploitation and labor in order to live; and since, on the other hand, the number of occupants varies continually by birth and death, it follows that the quantity of material to which each laborer may lay claim is changeable, like the number of occupants; consequently, that possession is always subordinate to the population; finally, that, as possession in law can never remain fixed, it is, in fact, impossible that it should become property.” Elsewhere, in answering the argument of Ch. Comte, who sees a title to property in the superior value obtained by the possessor when the latter, thanks to his labors, has drawn subsistence for two persons from soil which had formerly fed but one, M. Proudhon adds: “I maintain that the possessor is doubly paid for his trouble and his industry, but that he acquires no right to the land. Let the laborer claim the fruits as his own; I grant that he should have them, but I do not understand that the ownership of the produce involves that of the material.” This concession places all personal property outside of litigation, as it consists entirely of the produce which the laborer has made his own and has not consumed. There remains landed property, or, to express it more clearly, the very small portion of the value of real estate which is not the result of labor, a personal capital buried in the soil and confounded with it. Now, no economist maintains that every man, on coming into this world, has a right to a portion of it, and especially a portion equal to that of others in the very country in which he is born. Possession is a fact, and not a right; it may give rise to a right when, having taken place upon land still unpossessed, it is sanctioned by labor; that is all. Society guarantees the rights of individuals, it is her first duty; in the system of M. Proudhon she would commit the double fault of wishing to do them too much good by seeking to make a fortune for them, and of doing them too much harms by spoiling some of a right logically anterior to herself, for the purpose of endowing others with a gratuitous benefit.


1. The word “cultivate” (to work and sow) must not be taken too literally; possession of land may also be taken by placing flocks on it, by opening a mine on it, or otherwise. And if the government has taken possession in the manner indicated in the text, and an individual buys a piece of ground from it, this ground becomes individual property even if left unoccupied.

Note on the Authors:

“Another prominent economist was the Pole Louis Wolowski (1810-76), a brother-in-law of Michel Chevalier. Born in Warsaw, Wolowski emigrated to France in 1834, founding and editing for many years the Revue de législation et jurisprudence. Possessor of a doctorate of law and another in political economy, Wolowski was to become a banker, statesman and professor as well as being associated for many years with the Journal des Économistes. Wolowski’s nephew, Émile Levasseur (1828-1911) became a prominent economic historian and successor to Baudrillart at the Collège de France. Levasseur published a well-known work on the Histoire des classes ouvrières en France (History of the Working Classes in France) (1859) and, in 1867, published a Précis d’Économie Politique, which went into many editions. Wolowski and Levasseur, it should be noted, wrote a scintillating joint article in defence of property rights, on ‘Property’, for Lalor’s three-volume Cyclopedia of Political Science, published in the United States in 1884.” — Murray N. Rothbard, An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought, vol. 2, p. 443.

Note on the Text:

This article on property, drawn from John J. Lalor, ed., Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and of the Political History of the United States; By the Best American and European Writers, Vol. III (New York: Charles E. Merrill & Co., 1888) [reprinted from: Chicago: M. B. Cary & Co., 1884], pp. 391-95, turns out, after some detective work, not to have been “written for” Lalor’s Cyclopædia, but rather to be a condensation, by an unknown translator, of a still longer article by Wolowki and Levasseur, likewise on property, in Maurice Block, ed., Dictionnaire général de la politique, 2nd ed. (Paris: E. Perrin, 1884) [original edition: Paris: O. Lorenz, 1863-4], tome II, pp. 710-21. In a note to the French original, Wolowski informs us that Levasseur took over the writing of the article during Wolowski’s illness, so that while the article expresses the opinions of both authors, its final manner of expression is primarily Levasseur’s. We plan in due course to translate and post both the French original and a complete English translation (including Wolowski’s critique of intellectual property); in the meantime we provide the truncated Lalor version both for its intrinsic interest and for its possible influence on Rothbard, who cites it favorably in several of his works. – RTL

Tony Dreher Interviews Kelly Vee

C4SS’s Tony Dreher (Senior Fellow & Audio/Visual Coordinator) and Kelly Vee (Advisor & Intern) recently sat down for a discussion surrounding Vee’s intellectual roots and her metamorphosis into a vegan, individualist anarcha-feminist. The audio clip is a little over 20 minutes.

The Campaign Needs a Radical, But Sanders Isn’t It

We could use a radical in the presidential race — someone who really challenges the status quo — but Bernie Sanders isn’t it. Sanders of course calls himself a democratic socialist, but that tells us almost nothing. One gets the impression the socialist label was pinned on him and after resisting it, Sanders decided “socialist” sounded romantic and embraced it.

Nevertheless, whether you like socialism or not, Sanders is not a socialist: he calls neither for nationalizing the means of production nor for replacing the market economy with central planning. Yet that is what socialism came to mean in the mid-20th century. Democratic socialism meant that socialism would be achieved through the ballot box.

It is worth noting that in late 19th and early 20th-century America, socialism was an umbrella term that was also used by radical free-market, or individualist, anarchists like Benjamin R. Tucker and Francis Dashwood Tandy, who called his 1896 book Voluntary Socialism. A socialist then was anyone who objected that workers were cheated out of their full reward and that prices of goods were fixed above the cost of production; in contrast to state socialists, free-market socialists attributed these evils to “capitalism,” by which they meant the system of government privileges for well-connected owners of capital.

What Sanders favors is an expanded welfare/regulatory state, i.e., more of what we have. When asked about socialism, he praises Medicare. Medicare, however, is not socialism, nor would single-payer for all be socialism. Under state-socialized medicine, government would own and operate the hospitals, and doctors and nurses would be government employees — like the post office without competition. Under single-payer, government would pay the bills for private-sector medical care and impose controls that powerful interests would inevitably manipulate to their advantage. Sound familiar?

The welfare state was established by western ruling classes to tamp down discontent among the powerless that had the potential to turn revolutionary. The father of the modern welfare state, Otto von Bismarck, intended government-administered social insurance to keep the Prussian working class loyal to the regime and out of the Marxist and liberal (libertarian) camps. In England, workers initially resisted the welfare state because it was seen as a move by the aristocracy to co-opt the labor movement, which sought to redress its grievances directly.

Sometimes Sanders says that being a socialist means merely that he’s neither a Democrat or a Republican. That’s not terribly informative. At other times he says it signifies concern about gross income disparities, the high cost of college, and the lack of access to medical care. Again, this doesn’t tell us much since radical libertarians share those concerns. What matters are the solutions. Two people can look at the same social problem and argue over whether the best approach is more government, less government, or no government at all. Sanders’s preference, more government, would mean expanded bureaucratic control and special-interest “capture,” i.e., more of what already ails us.

In 1986, Sanders said, “All that socialism means to me, to be very frank with you, is democracy with a small ‘d.’ I believe in democracy, and by democracy I mean that, to as great an extent as possible, human beings have the right to control their own lives.” Considering that Sanders’s program would empower bureaucrats rather than people, one could consistently endorse Sanders’s objective while opposing his proposals. (See my “Free-Market Socialism.”)

He also said, “What being a socialist means is … that you hold out … a vision of society where poverty is absolutely unnecessary, where international relations are not based on greed … but on cooperation … where human beings can own the means of production and work together rather than having to work as semi-slaves to other people who can hire and fire.”

Again, these are objectives that any radical free-market libertarian could embrace. Where Sanders goes wrong is in aiming to empower bureaucrats and politicians.

Sanders cannot and will not see that expanding the welfare/regulatory bureaucracy would not help those outside the ruling elite. Beefing up the state won’t liberate us. Despite his intentions, Sanders is an unwitting defender of the status quo.

Where is the radical who will make the case for individual liberation and purely voluntary social cooperation through freed markets?

The Weekly Libertarian Leftist Review 106

Sheldon Richman discusses the question of who supports the troops.

Ramzy Baroud discusses co-existence with apartheid.

Glenn Greenwald discusses the response of journalists to a recent U.S. military attack on an Afghan hospital.

Jacob G. Hornberger discusses the state of freedom in Afghanistan.

Marjorie Cohn discusses the drone papers.

C.J. Polychroniou interviews Noam Chomsky.

Uri Avnery discusses Israeli politics.

Yves Engler discusses the enabling of Netanyahu.

Andrew Levine discusses Netanyahu.

Maya Evans discusses people taking on U.S. imperialism in Japan.

Ann Jones discusses the never ending war in Afghanistan.

Mark Karlin interviews Greg Grandin.

Jamil Khader discusses Palestine and the failure of international humanitarian intervention.

Zaid Jilani discusses the criminalization of students in America.

Hamida Ghafour reviews a book about Afghan history.

Greg Grandin discusses Henry Kissinger.

Veronique de Rugy discusses an instance of crony capitalism.

Who Supports the Troops?

A huge sign outside a local tire store really irritated me a couple of weeks ago. Its large letters blared: “WE SUPPORT THE TROOPS.” I was tempted to get out of the car and demand that the owner tell me what he was actually doing besides displaying the sign, which probably didn’t cost much in money or effort. I suspected that posting the sign was the extent of his “support,” but I restrained myself and kept going.

I wonder if anyone ever asks the owner that question. Probably not. People seem to think that supporting the troops consists simply in displaying signs and bumper stickers, and perhaps suppressing negative thoughts about what those troops — including pilots — are doing in the far-flung locations to which the imperial ruling elite has dispatched them, That’s all you need to do to be a citizen in good standing of the Empire — that and pay your taxes on time. It’s funny because supporting the troops and declaring you support the troops don’t really seem to be the same thing.

I can imagine a conversation:

Troop supporter: I support the troops!
Interlocutor: Okay, let’s see how you support the troops.
Troop supporter: You just did.
Interlocutor: I just did what?
Troop supporter: You just saw me support the troops.
Interlocutor: No I didn’t. I heard you say you support the troopers.
Troop supporter: That’s right.
Interlocutor: Okay, then. Let’s see how you support the troops.
Troop supporter: You just did!
Interlocutor: No I didn’t. All I saw was you saying you support the troops. I want to see you actually support the troops.
Troop supporter: That’s how I support the troops.
Interlocutor: To support means to assist. How does your empty declaration of support assist the troops?
Troop supporter: Why don’t you support the troops? Don’t you love your country?

What’s strange is that demanding an end to the wars in which the troops are fighting, killing, and dying seems not to count as support. You’d think that the ultimate expression of support would be, “Bring them home now!” But that’s not how typical troop supporters see things. In fact, they think that’s the opposite of support — and even treason. Topsy-turvy.

While I believe their expressions of support are sincere, I also believe they haven’t thought things through. Good intentions aren’t enough. Their expressions in effect are only in support of the regime that moves the troops to dangerous spots on the map like pawns on a chessboard in the ruling elite’s geopolitical games.

I concede that opposing the wars — how many are there today? — is also little more than a declaration not backed by much action and therefore without immediate effect. However, I see a difference. To the extent that declarations of support for the troops reinforce the government’s militarism, it endangers those troops, and those not currently deployed — and that really doesn’t seem much like support. In my book, merely making the troops feel better about what they are doing (if that is indeed the effect) doesn’t count as actual support.

On the other hand, to the extent that antiwar declarations and public activities such as demonstrations change government policy for the better, the troops are that much closer to safety. That, I submit, would be of help to the troops.

So who really supports them: those who merely say they support them while refusing to criticize the militarism that imperils them, or those who vocally oppose militarism while trying to convince families, friends, neighbors, and total strangers to join them in opposition?

At some point during a discussion with an avowed troop supporter, the matter of morale may come up. “I support the troops but not necessarily the wars,” he might say. “We’ve got to keep the troops’ morale up while they are away from home serving our country.”

Why do we want their morale high while they are carrying out immoral orders — which does not serve the country but only the regime? Remember, American troops are fighting aggressive undeclared wars — in one manner or another — in more than half a dozen countries, roughly from Somalia up to Syria and over to Pakistan. Heaven knows where else the CIA (do their agents count as troops?) and special-ops forces are? American military personnel — including drone operators — routinely kill and injure noncombatants. As we know too well, even hospitals and wedding parties are bombed.

Perhaps if the troops’ morale was low, they’d refuse to do the immoral things they do, like raiding homes, operating killer drones, and flying bombers and gunships. Perhaps they’d like to know that some Americans disapprove of what they are doing. Some of the troops know that what they are doing is wrong. What about their morale?

I know: they’re just following orders. Does anyone still think that’s a valid excuse? One has no obligation to follow an immoral order.

To be fair, troop supporters may do more than merely express their views. They may send money to the Wounded Warrior Project or a similar organization. I guess that’s nice, but I can’t help thinking that for the mangled beneficiaries, the help comes a little late.

Where were their supporters before they were deployed to hell?

Kevin Carson Interview on Party Smasher

C4SS’s Karl Hess Chair in Social Theory, Kevin Carson, recently appeared on Party Smasher to talk intellectual property. Some of the topics included big vs. little players in
the content industry, the use of IP to enclose common culture, and copyright
trolling as censorship. The interview is about 45 mins.



Costa Rica News on the “Animal Issue”

Upon reprinting my October C4SS commentary, Animals Aren’t Property: Circus Edition, The Costa Rica News added a thoughtful postscript worth sharing here:

However small, Costa Rica is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet. Said title has made the country think seriously about the treatment, use and exportation of animals. Here, circuses are more known for majestic acrobats and aerial dancers. From marches against animal abuse to rumors that they may close down the zoos, the pura vida nation is well on its way to earning a gold star.

That said, there is another side to animal maltreatment that is not mentioned above. Many poachers still find their way into Costa Rica’s borders, harvesting turtle eggs from its plentiful coasts or simply using the country as a pass-thru to sell rare animals on the black market.

El Manantial is a macaw sanctuary located in the city of Puntarenas. While this sanctuary works with many injured or endangered birds, the majority have been confiscated by authorities — and not just macaws either. Other types of parrots, jaguars, tapirs and monkeys have also made their way into El Manantial post-confiscation. Other sanctuaries and refuges within Costa Rica include: The Costa Rica Animal Rescue Center, Sibu Sanctuary, the Sloth Sanctuary, Osa Wildlife Sanctuary and the Jaguar Rescue Center among many smaller projects.

Unfortunately, back in libertarian-land treatment of the article remained less serious, further proving my point that, by and large, libertarians have trouble grappling with the issue.

To quote the latter critic linked-to above:

As to humans v. non-human animals … God is sufficient an [sic] answer.

Media Coordinator Report, October 2015

These are our numbers for October, 2015:

Month after month we’re getting better numbers and our writing is getting more visibility. I am personally quite happy with how we’ve managed to expand our media operation in the last few months.

If you think that we’re doing valuable work, contribute to our efforts and donate!

It’s your donation that keeps C4SS running.

Erick Vasconcelos
Media Coordinator

Audio/Visual Coordinator Report – October 2015

What Has Been Done

Article Uploads

In October, I uploaded the following 6 readings to the YouTube and the Jellycast feeds: Kevin Carson’s At Reason, War is Peace … and TPP is “Free Trade” and Will Free Markets Recreate Corporate Capitalism?; Jason Farrell’s Why Libertarians are Failing at Politics and The Natural Right of Encryption; Joe Szymanski’s Autonomy for the Students of PSU; and Dawie Coetzee’s Dieselgate: Why VW Will Come Out Smelling Like Roses.

Many thanks to Athena Roberts, Mike Godzina and Katrina Hafner for joining me to narrate these articles.

Other Projects

I recorded an interview with Kelly Vee, the first of three interviews with the C4SS interns. It needs some audio on my part re-recorded, but that will have to wait until I am back from vacation.

Athena Roberts recorded a fundraising piece for the Tor Node which will be added to the end of some podcasts in the future.

I made a post requesting volunteers, and so far, I have gotten 3 responses, 1 of which actually gave me sample audio, Michael Storm, whom I added to the media project group.


Facebook: 4 Likes
YouTube: 2808 views in October, 3638 in September, 76,463 total
+39 net subscriptions in October, +16 net subscriptions in September, 1210 total Subscribers
$4.09 in October, $5.59 in September, $24.70 Lifetime Earnings
Stitcher Analytics were unavailable at the time I wrote this report.

What Is Being Done

Article Uploads: Kevin Carson’s A “New New Deal” for the Old Economy and Charter Schools, and Other Right-Libertarian False Gods; James C. Wilson’s Floating through New York’s Underground Economy; Steven Horwitz’s Will Truly Free Markets be Truly Different; Derek Wall’s Corporate Capitalism, Not Simply a Product of the State.

These are the articles that are currently up for recording. No one has signed up for them yet, and I will not be around for the next week to prod people into doing so. If any of them go over a month old, I’ll replace them with the highest ranked article according to Feedly that was published in the last month. I actually don’t know how well Feedly tracks to actual raw number of page views, though I suspect it’s probably close. I would like to get that information if it is readily available though.

I will also definitely record all the articles from the Mutual Exchange series this month regardless of their ranking.

Other Projects

I will interview Benjamin Blowe when I get back from Mexico and TJ Scholl after that. These interviews should be completed and published in November.
The video montages did not come together like I wanted them to in October. In November, this should change. Expect at least two video montages next month.

What Will Be Done

Long term, I have a few goals:

Get more volunteers. Having readers is nice, but I want to find other people who can edit and put video montages together. Ideally, I want to move my role to being one of final approval and pressing the publish button.

I want to expand the number of interviews being done. My plan is to get to an average of 1 interview a week with each interview running about 30 minutes.

Improve outreach. Right now, videos are being posted in the same groups every time without a whole lot of thought about relevance other than the group being left-libertarian-ish. I’d like to drill down and start sharing to interest specific groups according to the article in question.

Improving analytics. This report will be far more spreadsheet based in the future.

What Can Be Done

Find me a co-coordinator. I spent around 40 hours doing Feed 44 related stuff in October. That’s a little lower than it will usually be because it was my first month and I had to wind down some other obligations I had. However, I probably won’t be able to spend more than 60 hours a month on Feed 44, and I suspect that in order to do this job really well, I would need to spend around 80 hours. So, I could probably use an assistant or co-coordinator of some kind. Obviously, I’m trying to get more volunteers and among them may arise the trusty sidekick I’ve always wanted, but in the meantime, I’m a Frodo without a Samwise.

How Folks Can Donate to C4SS

I already mentioned the Tor Node recording which will start appearing soon. Additionally, each interview will include a mention of the long list of places you can give us money. That’s all I have planned for now, but I’m open to suggestions.

Please help keep us going and growing by making a donation via Paypal, Patreon, or any of our other countless giving platforms:

The Weekly Libertarian Leftist Review 105

Dan Sanchez discusses the neocon hunger for universal empire.

Ivan Eland discusses how endless war makes Americans less safe.

Jim Lobe discusses a 2016 neocon manifesto.

Patrick Cockburn discusses Tony Blair’s recent apology for the Iraq War.

George H. Smith discusses some problems in John Locke’s theory of property.

Roderick T. Long discusses the provision of public services in ancient Athens.

Medea Benjamin discusses how Hilary Clinton hasn’t learned a thing from Iraq.

Philip Giraldi discusses the mainstreaming of assassination.

Uri Avnery discusses Adolf, Amin, and Bibi.

Charles Paul Freund discusses Muslim heroes of the Holocaust.

Ramzy Baroud discusses the Palestinian people vs the Palestinian Authority.

Ron Paul discusses why we must oppose Obama’s escalation of war in the Middle East.

Richard M. Ebeling discusses the Supreme Court and the New Deal era.

Richard M. Ebeling discusses the welfare state.

Scott McPherson discusses the American rejection of Clinton on gun control.

Joshua Frank discusses Syria.

Vijay Prashad discusses the Afghan war

Jacob G. Hornberger discusses why libertarians don’t compromise.

Christopher Preble discusses whether empire is inevitable or not.

Trevor Timm discusses Obama’s latest broken promise.

Ron Paul discusses why repentant pro-war people should spare us apologies and just stop promoting war.

Daniel L. Davis discusses whether keeping 10,000 troops in Iraq would have prevented the rise of ISIS.

“Rational Irrationality” vs. “Rational Ignorance”

In my recent op-ed, P. Diddy as the Rational Voter, I made a mistake.

I haven’t read Bryan Caplan’s The Myth of the Rational Voter. I have seen a presentation by Caplan on the book, read numerous blog posts by him and have heard his argument restated by other libertarians. In my op-ed, I was going on my recollection of these secondary sources.

I recall Caplan making an argument about people having too much information. Particularly when it comes to decisions about voting. The rational thing to do in such a case is to simply aim for some sort of basic understanding. In other words, it makes rational sense to be, relatively speaking, ignorant.

But Caplan’s argument is slightly different from that argument. His argument is that voters don’t have to face the costs or consequences of their choices due to the low probability of influencing public policy. Thus, they are rationally irrational about their voting decisions. This, according to Caplan, leads to situations where politicians sometimes want to do the right thing. Unfortunately, in this scenario the right thing isn’t popular due to rational irrationality.

On the other hand, rational ignorance comes from the public choice theory school of thought. This economic-based school of thought discusses things like rent-seeking that affect how public policy is made. While Caplan lays the blame on the populace for the failures of democracy, public choice theorists often claim that rent-seeking and special interests tend to affect it more.

Both of these theories are not only similarly titled but are also often brought up in discussions of democracy and voting. Caplan himself discussed public choice theory somewhat recently, which is likely where my confusion stemmed from. It doesn’t help that he also specializes in public choice.

Regardless, for the sake of intellectual honesty, I wanted my mistake to be clear. And hopefully we can all learn a little something from it too. I have since edited my article to better reflect my renewed understanding of these concepts and hope that they are sufficient.

Editor’s Report, October 2015

C4SS was awfully busy in the month of October tackling important and wide-ranging issues. Roderick Long reported on racial bias in America’s judicial system — particularly how it affects criminal defendants and jury composition. Jason Farrell discussed the contradiction-in-terms that is “libertarian” politicians, and why they fail to achieve success. I wrote on a subject seldom discussed in libertarian and anarchist circles: Animals.

C4SS also began its exciting new program, Mutual Exchange. As C4SS’s first Mutual Exchange Coordinator Cory Massimino put it, the program is “C4SS’s effort to achieve mutual understanding through exchange,” and that, “Mutual Exchange will explore many issues from a variety of perspectives.” October’s program, Do Free Markets Always Produce a Corporate Economy?, brought forth a lead essay from Kevin Carson, followed by responses from Derek Wall and Steven Horwitz. The program concluded with Carson’s rejoinders to Wall and Horwitz. Many thanks to the participants for all their hard work. We expect to have the symposium reproduced in print and e-book formats in short order.

C4SS continued its series of left-libertarian reprints. Gary Chartier wrote an introduction to Bill Kauffman’s The Way of Love: Dorothy Day and the American Right. I did the same for Bob Shea’s Doing Anarchism Yourself.

James C. Wilson reviewed two very interesting anarchist-themed books: Angela Davis’s Are Prisons Obsolete and Sudhir Venkatesh’s Floating City: A Rogue Sociologist Lost and Found in New York’s Underground Economy.

When I look back on the month, I’m amazed at how much C4SS produced in such a short time. But we couldn’t do it without you, the reader, and your all-important financial contributions. We depend on you. Please help keep us going and growing by making a donation via Paypal, Patreon, or any of our other countless giving platforms:


C4SS Comes to Ohio University!

I’ll be presenting on and facilitating a discussion of left-libertarianism Thursday, October 29th, for the OU Students for Liberty. The meeting will take place from 7 to 8 pm. The title of the conversation is, “What is Left-Libertarianism?”

It’ll be an introductory discussion exploring the group’s questions and ideas about left-libertarians. The discussion will rely heavily on audience participation but I’ll also deliver some questions and answers I wrote out myself.

These questions and answers will be published on C4SS soon and hopefully serve as another useful introduction to left-libertarianism.

The event will be taking place in Athens, Ohio at Ohio University — more specifically in Ellis Hall, Room 112.

I hope to see some folks there!

Markets Not Capitalism
Organization Theory
Conscience of an Anarchist