On Saving America from the Horrors of Liberty and Community

“Preston’s vision emphasizes individuals choosing the communities they want and not bothering other people…”

A “watchdog” critic from the Left wants to save America from such a horrifying fate.  Read the whole thing at the New Politics site.

This critique by Lyons is actually quite good, and is light years ahead of previous efforts by leftists to critique my own work. I get the impression he is making an honest, serious, and intelligent effort to understand my own views and interpret them correctly. This is considerably different from the usual habit of my critics of either misrepresenting my work in a seemingly deliberate manner, or of simply lacking the level of skill, knowledge, or ability required to interpret my work correctly. There are not many actual quibbles I would have with this piece regarding facts alone, ideological differences aside. I do see some problems with matters of focus, emphasis, or proportionality. These problems affect the “big picture” analysis of my work by zeroing in on peripheral matters that are inconsequential to the most substantive aspects of my work. Lyons’ interpretation of the broader philosophical framework I adhere to is a bit crude, and he greatly oversimplifies some of my economic views. There are a few seeming contradictions in places. But all in all, it’s a good effort. I’ll have a thorough reply forthcoming relatively soon.

10 replies »

  1. To be honest, I share some of the author’s concerns regarding expansionist, regionalized authoritarians. I’m amused by the “armed settler’s” taking land from indigenous tribes comment. I think that conflict in particular highlights the difficulty in subduing any population, even a “stone aged” one, without a centralized state. It took a sustained campaign of slash and burn, scorched earth, kill all the buffalo military campaign by the federal government just to get rid of the plains indians. We’re seeing that same campaign in the Middle East right now, and the state is losing. So if a alliance of “backwards” tribes in the Asian steppes can resist the US empire, then your favorite oppressed group in the US can hold off the Klan.

  2. Aside from the economic warlordism and anarcho-slavery stuff, this wasn’t too bad. Some parts were quite good

  3. Raven,

    “To be honest, I share some of the author’s concerns regarding expansionist, regionalized authoritarians.”

    I agree that’s a fair question, and one that raises genuine issues worth considering. But I think he wildly exaggerates such threats, for the reasons you point out and for other reasons as well. A more serious matter that he doesn’t get into is the possibility of the present system trying to regain power in an anarcho-pluralist system once it has been initially deposed. The overlords of the military-industrial complex and the police state aren’t going to give up their vested interests easily. They would pose a much more serious threat than fringe relics like the Klan.


    “Aside from the economic warlordism and anarcho-slavery stuff, this wasn’t too bad. Some parts were quite good”

    Well, I think my discussions of things like “anarcho-monarchism” venture into theoretical and historical territory that he’s just not familiar with and is unable to digest. One of the purposes of anarcho-pluralism and pan-secessionism is the creation of tactical alliances and mutually negotiated settlements so as to avoid the emergence of warlordism once the USA begins to rumble like the USSR did. The “anarcho-slavery” comment raises certain questions that merit a reply also, not because there’s anything to his assertions, but because some people associate secessionism with apologies for Southern slavery.


    “The economic misunderstandings will probly take some time to work out, lol.”

    Well, on one hand he tries to portray me as a “vulgar libertarian,” but he clearly recognizes that’s not really the case so far as the full body of my published work on economics goes. I think a lot of his confusion on this question results from his simple lack of familiarity with economic ideas outside the usual capitalist/socialist dichotomy. At one point he goes into a lengthy digression where he outlines what is a fairly standard neo-Marxist interpretation of U.S. economy history. I actually agree with much of what he says there, although I think the principal source of the discrepancy is the standard arguments about the relationship of the state to political economy and class theory that Anarchists and Marxists have been having for 150 years or more.

  4. I’m going to have to go through this and do a line-by-line reply which is going to take some time. There are plenty of individual phrases in this alone that I could easily digress into a chapter long response to. I could use the the first two sentences of the article by themselves as a foundation for a lengthy discourse combining an analysis of the context of the American Revolution in relation to economic history with a dissection of the thought of J.J. Rousseau.

  5. “Black Front Strasserist”

    What, were “Darth Vader” and “Ming the Merciless” already taken?

  6. Lol, if there’s one thing the leftoids are good at, its knocking the chips off the shoulders of far rightists. (:

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