Sunday, March 07, 2010

I am often asked to explain the reasoning behind my political views. Here are the basics.

I'm a socialist because I think if the workers owned the means of production, the world would both be more fair and have better outcomes for the majority of people. Every society that guards against theft defines some things to be just acquisition of property, and other things not to be.

Most people agree that pointing a gun at someone and asking for their wallet is theft, even if--once the gun is pointed at their head--they hand it over freely. I believe we would be better off if we decided certain contracts were also theft. Namely, I object to "freely" (on penalty of not having their basic needs met) entered contracts where one person gets a small amount of money for their labor--and the other person sells the product of that labor for much more money, generating profit in various forms.

I'm an anarchist because I recognize that authoritative structures have only the power we collectively and individually give them, and I hold the value of maximizing liberation. In my (arbitrary) system of values, the freedom that comes from access to quality education is valued enormously over the freedom that comes from the access to seventeen different toothpaste options. I think that I am more free if you have access to a good education, and have time to parent your children; you may not believe the same, or wish to prioritize my access to the same resources. Maybe you really love your toothpaste.

There are other kinds of freedom that fall between those two, and that's where a lot of anarchists and communists clash. Is the freedom not to starve more important than the freedom to choose what job you do? I believe this is exactly the sort of choice that was faced in the Soviet Union. A lot of the more patriotic American types will loudly protest that they'd prefer the option of choosing their livelihood. Ultimately, I think these sorts of conflicts have got to be resolved through communal negotiation.

I'm a republican because I recognize that there must be a negotiation of common values, and because I think this negotiation of values has a greater importance--and a more profound impact on individual lives--than the preservation of individual rights. I'm a republican because I'd prefer that this negotiation be as explicit as possible.

I believe that recognizing and prioritizing the negotiation of common values is the only way that common people can have a real say in it. Yes, the majority will fail to give just consideration to the interests of minorities. That is better than having a minority in power who fails to give just consideration to the interests of the majority--which is how we do things now.

The label these things add up to is Anarcho-Communist. It is not set in stone. If you'd like to convince me it's wrong, you have my blessing; if it can't hold up to argument, I shouldn't believe it.


___________________________ said...

1) Suppose that P is some piece of knowledge. Then P is a justified true belief.
2) The only thing that can justify P is another statement – let's call it P1; so P1 justifies P.
3) But if P1 is to be a satisfactory justification for P, then we must know that P1.
4) But for P1 to be known, it must also be a justified true belief.
5) That justification will be another statement - let's call it P2; so P2 justifies P1.
6) But if P2 is to be a satisfactory justification for P1, then we must know that P2
7) But for P2 to count as knowledge, it must itself be a justified true belief.
8) That justification will in turn be another statement - let's call it P3; so P3 justifies P2.
9) and so on, ad infinitum.

Therefore nothing you believe is justified! Boom! (ok, messing around)

Hmm... a big issue I see with the issue of socialism is a few basic problems:
1) Is your solution to "freely" entered contracts distribution to cover basic needs? I am just curious, as it seems that this is the only way to deal with the problem. The problem that could be created by this though, is reducing the incentive to work. Are you supposing this is offset by more community? And joy through work through this?

2) Additionally, how is the issue of different kinds of roles dealt with? If it varies, what do you think about any resulting inequality? (assuming more intra-factory democracy) I know this seems weird to ask about, but there are a lot of other places where companies are made to function better that don't strictly do with directly producing stuff, and I am not saying that the current system is fair, just that focusing on the "workers" seems to leave out a lot of what happens, or it requires a broad definition of worker.

As for anarchism now:
1) What do you mean by "quality education"? Do you mean the basic skills needed to gain more skills, such as reading, writing, mathematical reasoning, etc? The reason I ask is that one of the functions of school really is to instill certain beliefs, even through ignoring truths. So, to me it seems that a lot of history and English classes don't add freedom so much as instill values, while philosophy classes, which are not taught, would actually liberate people more.

Finally, on your republicanism.
1) Generally across history, we see the editing of legal structures by judges, who themselves are usually not explicitly empowered to edit in this manner. Do you view this trend as outright problematic, potentially problematic, or generally acceptable within your republican framework?
2) A system of laws generally has laws that exist long after their obsolescence. What is your proposal for dealing with such problems? Political reviewers? Bureaucratic reviewers? Judgmental judges? Jury nullification?

I am just curious as I want to explore your ideas on this.

Day said...

For the socialism: I don't argue for making the contracts voluntary. I argue for making them non-exploitative, and I believe that after awhile of that they'd probably become much more voluntary as well.

For the anarchism: your question is irrelevant to the nature of anarchism--it's merely a specific example of which values might need to be negotiated between yourself and me.

On republicanism: I don't know as much about adaptability in government as I should, but I can tell you that I don't see any of the existing structures as they currently function actually serving the people. If the people really controlled the legislative branch, it would make more sense to curtail judicial review. As it is, it's just one more broken part of a broken system.

As evidence, even the things virtually everybody agrees on don't get done, legislatively.

natalie said...

Hey Day, just followed you here from fMh. Love your stuff! Your writing is great, and the range of topics you address is fascinating.

I'll be visiting again.

~nat kelly

Day said...

Thank you! That really means a lot to me. :)

I'm quite grateful to y'all who make fMh happen. . . such an interesting place. And probably badly needed by a lot of people.

natalie said...

Yeah, I think it definitely fills a need.