Tuesday, 15 March 2011

You Don’t Own Other People

You Don’t Own Other People

An honest article by Kevin Carson from the Center for a Stateless Society, which subscribes to the market Anarchist school of thought. I definitely agree with the morality of these four paragraphs:

We anarchists don’t believe other people are our property. We don’t believe we have the authority to tell other people what to eat, drink, smoke, or who to have sex with. We’re not their boss. We don’t own them. And we have no right to act through the government to do things we have no legitimate authority to do as individuals. In other words, we anarchists actually believe the things the authors of your civics texts claimed to believe [i.e. "…government exercis[es] only powers delegated by the governed, government’s function [is] to protect the rights of the individual…"].

The big difference is, we’re consistent about it. We judge all groupings of individuals, even groupings that claim to represent a majority of people in a community and call themselves a “government,” by the same moral principles that govern individuals. The legiminate powers an individual possesses — the right to life, liberty and property, and the consequent power to defend those rights without harm to innocents — can be exercised cooperatively by any number of individuals in concert.

But even if they comprise a majority of people in a community, they have no rightful authority to bind those who did not freely join their cooperative venture. No group, including a group made up of a majority of individuals in a community, has any powers or rights beyond those already possessed by its individual members. Individuals cannot delegate any powers to a government that they do not possess as individuals.

Like any other association, a government exists for the ends of its members, and has no authority over anyone outside it. The state has no aura of majesty, and exercises no divine power. Like any other human association, it has only those legitimate powers which individual human beings can rightfully grant in the first place.
[My emphasis in bold]

Here is the link again: You Don’t Own Other People


Anonymous said...

A bit of a cop-out from the issue of protection for the vulnerable.

Balkan Ⓐnarchist said...

Well, the article in question discusses libertarian morality as far as contracts like governments are concerned.

However, with regards to protecting the vulnerable, which is a highly moral issue as well as a practical one, in a "free municipality" (i.e. free of state government and unbound by state borders), the community would collectively take care of disabled people needing physical help, for instance; specifically, a regional syndicate (i.e. members of a trade union) through a local co-operative would take responsibility in doing such a job for such a community. That's how I see it happening.

What we have in the UK and other European countries is a nationalised system of health care service, whereby the state government funds it. Generally speaking, it's a reliable system: government provides the money, therefore relieving hospitals of financial worries — so to speak; and more importantly, patients are provided free care "at the point of delivery". And me and my parents have personally benefited from such a system through our local Luton & Dunstable Hospital, which last year was selected winner of The Health Foundation's Safer Patients Initiative.

Anonymous said...

The problem is that he doesn't seem even to nod his head in the direction of the real problems of containing irreconcilable conflicts of interest, in the way your other post and Milos Nickels's do.

For example, a complex and expensive mechanism like the NHS may need external control and monitoring - references to the principle of "free at the point of delivery" may be deployed as a way of concealing movement towards a system in which control moves even further away from the consumers/beneficiaries. For example, a lot of people are wary of handing over responsibility to local GP commissioners, even though they may in theory be closer to the patient. GPs and patients don't necessarily share a common interest. Democracy and freedom may protect the vulnerable less well than more remote and less responsive institutions. What is important is to be aware of the real balance of risks that any solution offers.