'Two things fill the mind with ever-increasing wonder and awe, the more often and the more intensely the mind of thought is drawn to them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.' -Immanuel Kant, Critique of Practical Reason

Anarcho-Capitalism Is Evil

by Ethan Glover, Thu, Oct 17, 2013 - (Edited) Thu, Oct 06, 2016

In my constant search to find just one single legitimate argument against anarcho-capitalism, I came across this recent gem. The claim that anarcho-capitalism is evil and that the goal of it's "minions" are to distract people so that the new world order may take over and eliminate import and export tariffs. The proof? An episode of Little House on the Prarie. I'd never seen the show before, and the only thing I like about it is that the main character is Little Joe from Bonanza. It's a very whiny, overly emotional show that is perfect for the kind of person who complains about capitalism without knowing what it is.

Definitions

As always, we must first get definitions out of the way before we can even approach the argument made by "LB Bork." He claims that the definition of capitalism is, "the one with the most money wins". As we all know from the Commonly Confused Words List [Discontinued] and as we know from common sense, this is wrong. The actual definition of capitalism is:

The possession of capital or wealth; an economic system in which private capital or wealth is used in the production or distribution of goods and prices are determined mainly in a free market; the dominance of private owners of capital and of production for profit.

By that definition, if LB Bork owns anything at all, he is a capitalist. If he believes in the free market, and I believe he does, he is a capitalist. When he talks about tariffs, he is supporting what is known as mercantilism. This is when the government plays favorites on certain companies based on their geographical location. This of course distorts market signals and hurts foreign markets and the consumers. It places extra-legal rules that allow for particular companies to charge more due to a lack of competition. By his own admission, the poster does not support the free market or capitalism. He supports mercantilism and government interventionism. He would prefer for the government to forcefully extract money out of people like livestock than for the customer to decide what is and isn't right for them.

Next we get his definition of anarchy which says, "not controlled by law". This simplistic definition is nothing more than a stereotype and really a reflection of the entire argument. The real definition of anarchy is:

A theoretical social state in which there is no governing person or body of persons, but each individual has absolute liberty (without implication of disorder).

As I have shown time and time and time and time again, law is a major concern for anarcho-capitalists and a really simple solution. In fact, law is more easily enforceable and more moral under such a society. Anarchy does not imply lawlessness. It implies that there is no monopoly on law and it allows people to react and adapt to the world around them rather than living and dying by the word of the state judge. This idea that people are incapable of organizing without the government to back them up is absurd. The ability to self-organize is how society is built. Governments are the result of small groups of people getting together and convincing others that their idea of the perfect way to go about things is the perfect solution for everybody and should, therefore, be forced on them whether they like it or not.

Just to get it out of the way, we should define anarcho-capitalism:

A theory or ideology based on a belief in the freedom to own private property, a rejection of any form of governmental authority or intervention, and the upholding of the competitive free market as the main mechanism for social interaction.

As you can see, anarcho-capitalism, according to the Oxford English Dictionary is a compatible mix of both anarchy and capitalism. It is a theory that supports no government and the free market. Anarcho-capitalism shows the possibility of using free trade and the specialization of that trade to create a society as it has always been. Free trade and capitalism have always existed despite the government, not because of it. Corporations are not a part of capitalism and are not free trade for the fact that they enjoy legal privileges created by the government which has a monopoly on the law. Corporations, when it comes to business and law are:

  1. Law. A body corporate legally authorized to act as a single individual; an artificial person created by royal charter, prescription, or act of the legislature, and having authority to preserve certain rights in perpetual succession.
  2. An incorporated company of traders having (originally) the monopoly and control of their particular trade in a borough or other place; a trade-guild, a city ‘company’. (Now so called only in legal or formal language.)

LB Bork incorrectly points out that the state controls corporations. While there are regulations, these are primarily meant as a way to play favorites and to destroy competition. To use his own words, it destroys "the little guys". The state creates corporations and the problems that follow. It funds the corporations through stolen money called taxes and tariffs. Everything the poster speaks against is based either on an unbelievable ignorance and inability to do a little research, or refusal to see what's right, for whatever reason.

There is a whole lot of misunderstanding in this short post, and it attempts to use insults to cover up for ignorance. While it's obvious LB knows nothing about anarchy, capitalism or anarcho-capitalism, he also shows a misunderstanding of communism. I am of course no fan of that former, but it is important to put a little effort into something before criticizing it, which is why my first experience with communists involved simply asking 15 questions and being as polite as possible. While the results of that may not have been pretty, I do have a better understanding of the philosophy, and I still eagerly await full responses. (You know who you are!)

The Legacy

I grudgingly gave the video posted by LB Bork (posted below) a watch and I can now say, based on first impressions, Little House on the Prarie is a horribly stupid show. When looking for shows of a similar style, I would suggest Bonanza, Gunsmoke and the Andy Griffith Show. (The early episodes of the first and third.) It features Charlie (who I will still call Lil' Joe) who is a great woodworker who decides to work for a nice old man in his small shop making the same table for $12.50 a pop. It's hard to tell how much that is in today's time because most inflation calculators only go back to the source of inflation in 1913. However, we can safely assume that it was some serious money for the little table that was being sold in the show. Of course, that's not the point. The issue comes when the evil man in the business suit with a cigar comes along and steals the design of Lil' Joe's table and begins to mass produce them at a cheaper price. I believe it was $4.50 or something. Lil' Joe in the honest old shopkeeper then must give up the business of selling handmade items and not become rich after all.

I believe what the facebook rant wanted to convey is that it is preferable for poorer people to have monopolies on what they make as a way to give them an advantage so that they too may become suit wearing cigar smokers. Or is it that, prices should never drop due to production methods and people should just hand make everything for three times the price? Lil' Joe certainly does not have to give up if he doesn't want to. He showed in the episode the ability to design and build a wide range of items. I have had an article on this planned for awhile, and it may be a great time to write it after this. But, Lil' Joe, as a craftsman, has the unique ability to use his craft to create personalized and special items that a machine can not build. The tombstone, for example, (although wood and subject to weather/quick aging) was something that the evil Scrooge McDuck can not do. He may also design new products to be mass produced and sold at a cheaper price. This allows the customer to get great new items at a cheap price, and it allows Lil' Joe to work on a contract.

The solution to large companies using their own popularity and finances to their advantage can not be solved by handing out monopolies and restricting other people's ability to trade. I have written fairly extensively on intellectual property before here, and here. I recommend giving them a read. The solution is for small business owners to find their own niche, find a way to get into the market without simply doing what everybody else does. If a machine can do your job just as good as you can, it's probably a sign to either embrace technology or find a way to beat it. If we didn't have innovation and imitation we wouldn't have the society we live in today. If everyone had a monopoly on everything he or she did, nothing would be affordable and building something would be such a mess it would be impossible. McScrooge was able to do a better job than Lil' Joe and offer a lower price to the customer. That's the point of selling things, providing for a want. Yes,  he won, not necessarily because he had more money but because he looks for ways to compete. When someone takes his business (as Lil' Joe did in the beginning) he does the research and does it better. Lil' Joe could have easily taken his business up a notch and started offering high quality personalized products, even leaving designs up to the customers. Instead, he returned to the fields. Showing he wasn't ready for business to begin with.

You can watch the episode of Little House on the Prarie below.