State Theory and Critiques of the Libertarian View: Podcast with Frederic Voltaire Bastiat

The Libertarian Ideal (with Chris Shaw): a podcast I did with Frederic Voltaire Bastiat discussing critiques of libertarianism and my ideas of post-libertarianism.

In this podcast I discuss theories of state formation, critiquing the conquest theory of the state that is proffered by Rothbard, Oppenheimer and Nock. I propose that state formation is instead more complex, incorporating cooperative as well as coercive methods which are facilitated by increasing socio-political complexity. I further note that states have facilitated technological development and created infrastructure for economic structures that libertarians see as anti or non-state (i.e. markets, money, innovation, etc.) and that states cannot be viewed as unitary forms, but are instead heterogeneous structures that are part of wider societal assemblages that combine and conflict along contextual lines. Continue reading

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The Libertarian Ideal Part 2: Voice, Exit and Post-Libertarianism

My original essay[1] defining delineations that make up and inform the libertarian ideal as I see it set out critiques of the libertarian position on markets in relation to modern capitalism. I noted that libertarians played a paradoxical game similar to socialist claims of real socialism never existing. In this case, libertarianism wanted to claim the benefits of modern capitalism (technological development, increasing life expectancy, better choices in marketplaces, etc.) while removing any statist baggage that sullied the waters. Thus capitalism and the progenation of markets were placed in an ideological vacuum that removed them from historical context. I further critiqued the libertarian reliance on abstract axioms, primarily the non-aggression and self-ownership principles, which further removed economic exchange and political development from historical reality. Continue reading

Policy Positions and Political Imaginaries: Framing Basic Income

Basic income is far too often framed in a confusing manner, presented as both a simple policy proposal with particular effects and as a fully realisable political imaginary that encapsulates a development upon the existing political economy. It is conceived as both a landscape for governance and a particular node within this landscape. In doing this, proponents want it to be a hegemonic vision encompassing a world without work and a set of labour relations radically different to those figured today as well as a narrowly focused distribuendum[1] that is prefigurable to currently-existing institutions and ideologies. The framing of basic income, as revolutionary yet simplistic, is confused and altogether difficult to parse when considering the potential of its wide-ranging effects. Continue reading

The Hobbesian Jungle Over Leviathan

Leviathan is the accomplishment of the totality, the sublimation into the monadic drive. The sum of its oppositions spread outwards into the stratosphere, escaping from and then re-conquering the jungle from which it came. The war of all against all is driven upwards, to the bounds of national sovereignty and the slow elimination of the borderlands. The subject is made the state, as the state itself becomes all-encompassing, mythologising it’s everlasting quality as a foundational axiom. It developed because it needed to be developed, tautologically justifying itself as a result of the condition of brute human nature. However, with its tentacles spreading ever further, it reaches the point of contradiction. In subsuming the antagonisms of society at large, it either accepts these as an existing framework for debate and conflict (thereby creating in itself the means to be wrought open), or makes itself increasingly totalitarian in its imaginations. All conceptualities come under its gaze in the latter formation, leading to a “commonwealth itself” becoming “a ‘demonic machine’, a tremendous enthusiasm mobilised against every other”[1]. The rationalist philosophy of Hobbes must take on the character of ideological totality, and thus in internalising conflictual patterns into its mythology must either let them fester (thus picking away at the initial wound) or externalise them as the enemy outside of its purview, to be removed. Continue reading

Decentralised Planning Potentials: A Response to My Local Council

This is a comment I wrote on a planning application within my local area which outlines my opposition to this development and why in general city councils like Coventry still have much room for potential developments in decentralised planning and the creation of new economies of scale, yet show their status quo bias when allowing planning applications like the one pushed through:

Apart from the effective removal of CT Furniture, another community charitable institution, from the area (it may move elsewhere), the increasing move toward developing and encouraging student accommodation above and beyond either productive economic capacity or affordable housing for the local population (of which this planning application is a part of) shows the short-termism of council planning, focusing on the here and now of student consumer spending over other long-term considerations. Continue reading

The Decentring Periphery: Language and Exit

The constancy of exit and decay that I’ve noted[1] within systemic organisation produces a peripheral pull from the centre, maintaining a residue of alterity with its own codes, languages and semiotic productions. This decentring force is more than just the development of smaller units of activity as the purposeful means for problem-solving and trust-development, being rather a recognition of the collapsitarian nature of all organisation that moves from striated to smooth space. In Lucretian terms, the decentring periphery is the clinamenetic force[2] that drives the constant flow apart[3], making the developments of exit and decay not so much constancies but cycles of flow and disjuncture. This goes beyond a political subsidiarisation toward more fundamental grounds of systemic existence, akin to accelerative forces that spiral between uncompromising technological capacity and collapse into new mechanisms of existential understanding alongside this capacity[4]. Continue reading

Decay as Background: The Grounds Between Acceleration and Deceleration

The development of decelerationist thinking as a counterpoint to accelerationism has raised an interesting debate about what the flows and meaning of capital are, and whether they are controllable. Decelerationism is a narrative of existence in and around Satan, the stock market as “a living breathing Overmind. Markets is not “THE BAD CAPITALISTS TAKING MY MONEY” no no no. The Market is a pricing-discovery neural network, an allocation-machine. All human and inhuman participants uplink themselves to determine what is bought and sold. It is the thing that governs your life. It is an entity”[1]. Capital in this sense is an oxymoronic entity, both internal to our very workings but external in its exigencies and developments. It works in, through and beyond the human capacity for understanding. Continue reading

Beyond Antitrust: Multiple Means of Exit

The triptych of industrial liberty, commons and democracy presented by the anti-monopoly crowd[1] presents an interesting strain of political economy that seems long-forgotten amongst much of modern discourse. To be honest the democracy part of the equation interests me little, seeing as the conception of democracy present in so-called liberal democracies seems to jump between majoritarianism, constitutions and common law liberties in a trichotomous deluge of nonsense, with any sort of semblance of “democracy” being destroyed by the technologies of big data and the internal rot that majority opinion and lobbying let leech. However the other two present the interesting variable of showing that marketplaces, as the centre of competitive activity, and social networks are not in and of themselves necessarily spontaneous conceptions. While certainly they are not purely the product of governmental activity, nor are they the natural practice of Smith’s human propensities. Continue reading

The Nonsense of National Populism

I’ve written many times on the ineffectiveness of national populism as a movement to drive forward new forms of meaning-making that combat the Cathedral. The idea that new ethno-cultural identities will seriously emerge from movements and situations which are struggling to deal with demo-bureaucratic structures and have found themselves caught up in the same institutional deadlocks they claimed to be moving beyond is frankly contemptible. While it may be said that one must start somewhere, the starting point should at least be realistic. The modern American state, and its equivalents in much of Western Europe, is no starting point for the production and preservation of ethnic enclaves or for the redevelopment of metaphysical identities. These states, which were foundational in allowing for the development of the rot in the first place, are now fundamental parts of the institutional matrices of the elite[1]. If Trump and Brexit were meant to be markers of success, then its failed. Continue reading