Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Aristocratic Egalitarianism

This post is a response to Alrenous's post, Steel Anarchism. It contains a few minor edits to the original. I thought it was a valuable discussion leading to Aristocratic Egalitarianism, which is something on which I plan to do more work.


We get into trouble with semantics here. Calling this vision 'anarchy' or 'ancap' may not be clear. I think that your 'steel anarchy' could be called 'Right anarchy'. When I look at anarchism in practice, I see Spanish syndicalism or Eastern communisms, which is nothing like 'steel anarchism' because those practical implementations are Leftist. Leftism has as its goal the destruction of hierarchy. I expand on this here: http://poseidonawoke.blogspot.com/2014/10/leftism-vs-liberalism.html

When I look at syndicalism or communism, I see an innate property/axiom: the destruction-of-hierarchy. Calling this Left Anarchy is redundant in my view, because Leftism is the destruction of hierarchy. Leftism or Anarchism will do and are interchangeable. In theory, it means no leaders.

When I look at AnCap or 'Right Anarchy', I see that the destruction-of-hierarchy element is removed. In this version of Anarchy, natural hierarchies are allowed to form. This is what makes it Rightist: the acceptance of hierarchy. Why 'anarchy' at all then? The idea is an egalitarianism among the leaders, with each group tending to allow the others to co-exist, not allowing a totalizing, centralized leader to emerge. It contains the the idea of no-hierarchy, but at a different level, a higher level. Small scale hierarchy = good, large scale hierarchy = bad. Basically, totalitarianism = bad. This Western idea is expounded upon by Ricardo Duchesne in his work The Uniqueness of Western Civilization, and he dubs it 'Aristocratic Egalitarianism'. It is a uniquely Western European formulation.

You and I then both game out 'Steel Anarchy'/'Right Anarchy' in the same way: natural hierarchies form. Basically, when Western men are allowed to self-organize (free association/exit) into 'natural' (learned over millennia) units, they end up looking like city-states with a central leader (mayor/baron/king). When I looked at what is known as 'anarchic Ireland', I see this same arrangement, where a 'king' means that you are 'king' from this field to the river. We probably relate more to the term 'sheriff'. I see limited hierarchies, forming a loose confederation of competing (and sometimes cooperating) hierarchies. Of course, we are talking about a homogeneous population here — of Western Europeans.

The semantic problem is that 'Left anarchists' assume destruction-of-hierarchy at all levels, but 'Right anarchists' assume hierarchy at one level, but limited in scope. For this reason, I don't really like the term 'anarchy' or 'Right anarchy' or 'steel anarchy', it simply invites confusion on the issue of hierarchy. What we really mean when we talk about 'Right anarchy', is free association/exit and the ability to form hierarchies (small groups organized under a singular leader), not the complete destruction of the 'arch' form of organization, but barring totalizing hierarchy.

I think the idea is much better formulated and explained by Duchesne and named as 'Aristocratic Egalitarianism'. Let the Leftists keep 'anarchy'. :-)

1 comment:

  1. Anarchy is absolutely a confusing name, but we seem to be stuck with it. I'd use akratism, but it's patently failed to make inroads.

    If you can't unilaterally leave the syndicalisms or communes, they're not anarchy. I have trouble believing they'd survive if they weren't illegitimately retaining members. However, if I'm wrong...well, good on them.

    You can of course try to sidestep hierarchy, but it fails twice. First, hobbits like hierarchy; they don't join attempted flat societies. Second, you tend to get informal chimp hierarchy. Societies have to have leaders as a matter of logical necessity. Conflicts must be resolved or the society splinters, ultimately into individuals - and whoever gets their way is de facto the leader.

    Steel anarchism has no principled objection to large-scale leaders, as long as you're allowed to leave. (Or intentionally signed a contract stating they can't.) I think in practice it will be necessary to have exit-in-place somehow. Steelman homesteading; yes, you can in principle buy vast tracts of uninhabited land solely for the purpose of preventing anyone from living there, much as states would object to me founding a town in the middle of nowhere, even though they're not using it. However, that's simply Exit in name only; the spirit must be respected, because that's the only way to invite Gnon's comment.
    But perhaps we get it for free. Security on empty land is actually quite expensive, because you have to send patrols that have no other reason to be there, and tons of them to cover with any reliability. Perhaps this cost will deter anyone sane from trying it, and cause the insane to run out of money.

    Because the members are allowed to leave, the leaders can't externalize the costs of warring on other leaders. As a result their incentives are sane and they don't. Obviously aggressive war is immoral, but if morality enforced itself it would just be prudence and we wouldn't have had to worry about it in the first place. Steel anarchy admits that the principle of property cannot directly prevent warfare.

    I would like to start my own security firm. I would have sheriffs instead of police. Of course if the police can't do it, it's for political reasons and my sheriffs would have similar troubles.