A BLOG ABOUT POLITICAL ETHICS, INDEPENDENT POLITICS, AND THE ECONOMICS OF ANARCHISM.
Political theory, U.S. politics & election statistics, the political spectrum, constitutional law & civil liberties, civil rights & interstate commerce, taxation & monetary policy, health care & insurance law, labor law & unions, unemployment & wages, homelessness, international relations, religion, technology, & alternatives to the state
Agorism is a politicoeconomic philosophy proposed by libertarian author Samuel E. Konkin III. It is loosely related to anarcho-capitalism – which advocates for the elimination of the State in favor of individual sovereignty in a free market – and market anarchism and free-market anarchism, which advocate for the replacement of the State with a competitive market of private security-, justice- and defense-provision organizations.
The goal of agorism is to bring about a society in which all interaction – especially economic exchange – is free, voluntary, and either unregulated or self-regulating. The word “agorism” is derived from the Greek “agora”, meaning an open place; in the socioeconomic context, an open place for social assembly and trade.
Agorism and the various stateless forms of capitalism have a primary objective in common. They desire that all social and economic interaction be self-regulating, that all interaction be unregulated by irrelevant external actors, and that all choices be made freely and voluntarily by individual actors. According to Ayn Rand’s definition of laissez-faire capitalism, all property would be owned by private actors in a capitalistic social system.
In both statist and stateless forms of capitalism, private actors have the right and responsibility to regulate their own interaction, often – though not always – through the agreement to the terms of a mutually-binding contract, usually enforced by a mutually agreed-upon party. In statist capitalism, that party could be either the State, or various State-approved organizations such as courts of private law or private insurance companies. In the various stateless capitalisms, that party could be any person, business, or agency, such as a private defense company or a dispute-resolution organization – or D.R.O. – which is like a private-sector version of a judge or a court of law.
While agorism does not abhor the conditions of the various stateless capitalisms, agorism does not specifically mandate that all property be owned by private actors. The crucial difference between agorism and statist or state-neutral capitalism is revealed most clearly and explicitly in the writing of J. Neil Schulman, who integrated the idea of “counter-economics” into Konkin’s original conception of agorism.
In counter-economicist agorism, the very definition of the free market is expanded upon to include those economic activities, exchanges, and interactions which are not just unregulated, but also those interactions which are explicitly prohibited by law – in other words, regulated out of legality.
In this paradigm, illegal – or black-market – activity, as well as hidden, underground, or under-the-table – or grey-market – activity, become integrated into the greater realm of free-market activity. A further extrapolation of this concept of counter-economicist agorism gives rise and credibility to the notion that entities within the black and grey markets can and should be trusted, contributed to, invested in, and grown, until their ability to wield power and authority increases to such a degree that they become strong and viable enough to challenge, defeat, and replace the current overarching monopolistic governmental authority.
In a counter-economicist agorist society, only those interactions by the black and grey markets which remain peaceful and voluntary are considered part of the free market, and any black or grey market interaction which become violent and coercive are no longer considered justified. Due to this fact, precisely how black- and grey-market entities with the intent to refrain from engaging in coercion in order to affect their ends may come to defeat and replace a violent, coercive government is unclear. Granted that this defeat must be nonviolent, perhaps it is to be assumed that the defeat may be compared to the outcome of an electoral victory, in which votes are measured by monetary contribution, investment, and fidelity to markets. However, agorism does advocate the use of violent, forceful action against the State if and when necessary, but mostly for the purposes of self-defense, and in dire circumstances in which the self-preservation of the movement is threatened.
19th-century French economist C. Frederic Bastiat and his ideological heir Gustave de Molinari formulated visions of laissez-faire capitalism which, in later iterations of the ideas outlined by other philosophers, such as Stephen Pearl Andrews and Paul Emile de Puydt, came to be described as “panarchism” or "pantarchism". Those words mean “the system of the rule of all”; implying an equal authoritative legitimacy of all sovereign actors, or sovereigns. In proposing a system in which individuals are free to choose who governs, represents, protects, and defends them, the goal of Molinari was to create a "free market in governance". This would prohibit any single provider of security, justice, and / or defense from wielding legitimate authority to coerce any individual to submit to it.
Examples of sovereigns which may have equal authority in a panarchistic society include – but are not limited to – agents of governments, professional mercenaries, volunteer soldiers, police officers, private defense agencies, private security guards, bouncers, bodyguards, violent drug lords and pimps, and any individual persons asserting their own will and ability to defend themselves and their own possessions.
Uniting the concepts of the free market proposed by the panarchists, Konkin, and Schulman results in a hybrid philosophy which may be termed “panarchistic counter-economicist agorism.” Under such a system, any combination of sovereigns – be they agents of governments, professional mercenaries, volunteer soldiers, police officers, private defense agencies, private security guards, bouncers, bodyguards, violent drug lords, violent pimps, or individual persons defending themselves – may freely choose to either unite in the name of liberty and deregulation in order to overthrow the State, or to compete against one another as well as against the State in providing defense, justice, and / or security to individuals.
Admittedly, panarchistic counter-economicist agorism is a distortion of original agorism, which, by its own principles, is ideally nonviolent and non-coercive, but many of the aforementioned actors whom oppose the State but adopt its violent and coercive methods may lend at least sympathy to the agorist movement. To lend material support would mean to continue their free-market action while renouncing violent and intimidating tactics (with the exception of self-defense, and possibly in the event of a crucial moment in which the movement has the opportunity either to seize power from the State or to ensure free competition with it).
The above paragraphs outline several combinations of how an attempted agorist revolution may be interpreted and carried out. While each combination pursues the goal of attempting to undermine the State's ability to coerce, some may merely undermine the State's monopoly on legitimate initiative coercion. This means that an agorist revolution which decides that it should revise its tactics to include violence in order to overthrow the State would undermine its own goals in doing so, and that it would itself become another agent of coercive repression, similar to the State that it attempts to undermine. However, to admit this would amount to conceding that the State does not act coercively, which goes against the agorist criticism of the State as inherently violent.
Critics of agorism often cite as a major complaint and worry that attempted agorist revolution would merely lead to a more dangerous, polarized society, and would cause an already radicalized criminal class to become more willing to exercise violence and coercion, when eliminating all coercion was the original goal of the free market. Furthermore, critics argue that such action by uniting sovereigns would only challenge and incite the State to crack down harder on the free market with harsher violence and more stringent regulation.
If, under current societal conditions, we were to convert to pure agorism – especially a panarchistic formulation thereof – instantaneously, we would likely see total disaster. The military apparati would be funded, run, and staffed, as they – for the most part – are now; by corporations and by private interests. Mercenary militarism would run rampant. Law-enforcement agencies would be run by private companies as well. Government agents, warriors, security guards, bouncers, bodyguards, police officers, violent drug lords, violent pimps, and private citizens with lethal weapons would challenge one another’s authority by conquests of brute strength and might.
This would likely cause different camps to emerge, as each individual who doubted his own ability and / or willingness to defend himself would feel compelled, in such a dangerous climate, to choose which of the aforementioned sovereigns could be trusted best to protect and defend him and to afford him justice. There would be chaos; a private tyranny regulated only by the savage natural forces of competition.
Technically, this outcome would accomplish the goals of a panarchistic formulation of agorism, if only for those who would remain successful in protecting their own lives and property. But preparation for the prospect of violent revolution is not the only way that nearly perfect panarchistic agorist goals may be achieved.
I believe that nearly perfect panarchistic counter-economicist agorism may be achieved through gradualistic libertarian reform, rather than through relying on private military, defense, security, and justice-provision, and law-enforcement agencies as well as on career criminals to protect and defend us against the State and against other sovereigns whom would seek to do us harm.
Under the idealized libertarian society envisioned by such figures as Ron Paul (Republican Congressman from Texas’s 14th district), federal laws against drugs and prostitution would be repealed. Although state laws prohibiting them would initially remain, more and more states would eventually move to legalize and / or decriminalize prostitution – whether regulated or unregulated – as well as the possession, sale, distribution, and safe use of marijuana, and possibly other previously illicit drugs.
The decriminalization and / or legalization of prostitution and of the least harmful drugs would do a number of beneficial things. First, it would cut down on the number of people serving sentences in prisons across the country, relieving the burden on the prison system and on the citizens whose taxes fund that system. Second, it would drastically reduce the percentage of non-violent inmates, potentially leading in a renewal of public faith and trust in the justice system as preventing violent coercion, rather than the mere commission of infractions of malum prohibitum petty vice. Third, the violence inherent in the black-market drug and sex trades would likely, for the most part – save for the trade of the most violence-inducing drugs in the most prohibitive states and locales – disappear within a short period of time following the legalization and / or decriminalization of such trades. That takes care of most of the risk factors involved in the wielding of power by violent drug lords and pimps following the onset of an attempted violent panarchistic counter-economicist agorist revolution.
Also, in an ideal libertarian society, the world-wide interventionist military-industrial complex with which the United States is currently plagued would be scaled down to a reasonable and manageable size and scope. Additionally, the power of the executive branch and the secretive agencies upon which it relies – such as the Federal Bureau of Investigators, the Central Intelligence Agencies, the Department of Homeland Security, and black ops – would be curtailed, and their funding would be reduced. Furthermore, a smaller military would de-necessitate significant corporate contribution to the finance of military projects, in addition to the finance that could normally be handled by taxation of citizens by the public sphere. Possibly, voluntary individual donations to military would even increase due to reduced tax burdens on the citizenry. An overall optimistic combination of such prospects would result in a military in which ordinary citizens would be proud to volunteer for service, and perhaps soldiers would even be willing to serve longer and / or accept lower pay and / or accept fewer benefits. That takes care of most of the risk factors involved in the wielding of power by government, its agents, private military industry, private defense agencies, and professional mercenaries.
Now that gradualistic libertarian reform will have brought about the relaxation of drug and prostitution laws; a smaller, more manageable military; and a more principled, responsible justice system – thus eliminating the majority of public and State fear of the wielding of power by violent drug lords, pimps, military, and the executive branch –which sovereigns are there left for us to decide whether to fear or to rely on for protection?
Police officers, security guards, and private individuals. Police officers who don’t intimidate, harass, ticket, or imprison citizens for indulging in petty vices that don’t coerce or harm their fellow human beings. Security guards, bouncers, and bodyguards who could be legally hired by individuals seeking to protect themselves – individuals whom would be free to make their own rules regarding whom they would like to allow onto their own property, whether residential or for the purposes of business – their clientele, and their property. Private individual citizens whom would retain their second amendment rights to bear arms and to defend themselves and their families against violent coercion. This, too, could technically accomplish all the goals of panarchistic counter-economicist agorism.
I believe that in the preceding six paragraphs, I have articulated a statist, gradual, reformistic, non-revolutionary approach to panarchistic counter-economicist agorism that would accomplish the goals of agorism without risking any of the violence implicit in the alternative combinations of the possible formulations of the idea, especially in the approach as outlined by a synthesis of the ideas of Konkin, Schulman, and the panarchists. I would further claim that the gradual, reformistic libertarian approach would dissuade violence by negating the validity of the complaints which could be made by those agorists with revolutionary tendencies whom would argue that their own goals cannot be accomplished without violent defeat of all agents of the current government, as well as of any potentially challenging agent or agency wishing to exercise violent coercive authority.
This begs the question: is the approach which I have articulated merely an idealized libertarian republicanism, or is it a perfected, quasi-statist, panarchistic counter-economicist agorism which embraces polyarchism (that is, the legitimacy of many but not all sovereign actors)? Perhaps it is both at once.
But one thing is certain; at a time in history when the risk of worldwide economic stagnation and collapse is very real, political polarization and income inequality are high and rising, and a grassroots populist tax- and regulation-protest movement is on the upswing, the importance of articulating and considering the adoption of such a gradual, reformistic approach, and of judging how to best walk the line between conceding just enough to the movement’s demands so as to dispel justification for violent upheaval, versus conceding too much, thus upsetting the balance of the political, defense, and justice systems, cannot be overstated.
President Barack Obama and former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton
President Obama and (evidently) new co-President Bill Clinton recently conceded to Republicans that they and many Democrats are willing to accept a plan to temporarily (i.e., for the period of the next two years) extend the Bush tax cuts to not only the wealthy but to all Americans (leading to higher taxes for those individuals who earn less than $20,000 and families who earn less than $40,000, due to the amount of tax savings they will lose from the Making Work Pay credit). Advocates on the right claim that extending the tax cuts to the rich especially will help finance the creation of jobs in the private sector.
But Obama and many Democrats have decided that they would accept the tax-cut extension on the condition that Republicans agree a compromise which would allow the preservation of the extension of unemployment benefits for just over a year. So far, so good, both ideas simply preserve the status quo. But hold on...
Some Democrats are even going so far as to say that the federal government should extend up to several months of benefits to those who are coming to the end of their one-and-a-half-year federal benefit periods, which they began after they exhausted six months of state benefits. This plan is not likely to be included in the deal.
It should be obvious that you can't expect to solve unemployment by keeping taxes for the wealthy low with the intended effect of aid private-sector job creation without giving the unemployed incentive to find employment, i.e., by, at the very least, refusing to extend benefits further, or, additionally, by shortening the periods of time for which people may receive such benefits.
Any move to address unemployment by extending tax cuts to the wealthy in order to finance the creation of jobs cannot work unless unemployment is at least not extended further. If you believe that the failure of the Bush tax cuts to create jobs in the last 7 to 9 years is not a significant factor in creating and / or prolonging and / or deepening the recession, and you additionally believe that keeping things the same will only stagnate the economy, you must support some form of unemployment benefit reduction.
I think it's obvious that preserving things the way they are is not working. And the way the last several working days of this congressional session are going, more of exactly the same is just what we are going to get. This will likely lead to economic stagnation.
It is not that the government is doing nothing and that that is what's keeping the recession going. And it's not that the government is doing too much and that that is what's keeping the recession going. It's not even necessarily that the parties and the government as a whole are being inconsistent. It's that the parties and the government as a whole are being consistently inconsistent.
The government is undertaking deals that will keep the left-vs.-right, Democrat-vs.-Republican, liberal-vs.-conservative cat-and-mouse game going. They want to make everything they can into an issue of economics so that they can rightfully continue to blame one another for failing to jump-start the economy, so that they may keep their own well-seasoned, well-connected, experienced politicians in charge of their respective parties, and so that the new and alternative viewpoints within the parties will never get the opportunity to be heard or considered.
If this taxation and unemployment plan goes forth as it appears it will, it will fail, just as any compromise that takes a leftist stand on one of the issues while taking a rightist stand on the other will fail. One half of the plan will always destroy the effects of the other. The only reason both parties seem so willing to compromise on this plan is because they are trying to purposely undermine their own agenda in order to improve their own clout.
When the plan does not work, Democrats will say it is the Republicans' fault because we didn't raise taxes on the rich, and now we have that much less money for more stimulus. When the plan does not work, Republicans will say it is the Democrats' fault because maintaining and / or further extending unemployment will undermine the point of extending tax cuts to the rich, which was to finance the creation of jobs.
In other words, we're trying to fix the economy by:
1. Continuing to pay people not to work, and even considering prolonging the period for which we do so.
2. Effectively raising taxes for the poorest Americans, potentially causing more people to become dependent on the government for social welfare benefit checks.
3. Letting their would-be employers keep capital to pay new employees' wages, which, due to failure to properly incentivize potential labor, would cause that capital to go unspent.
The people who the so-called "99ers" (as in 99 weeks) want to help first exhausted their six months of state benefits, and then used up their one-and-a-half-year federal benefits, and now they want several additional months of additional benefits because they have bills and can't make their payments. Is it really that unfair to ask "when does it end?"
I just don't get why, in this time when the gap between rich and poor is widening so significantly, we are focusing on helping the people who already have their shit together well enough to have bills to pay in the first place, or to even consider trying to apply for jobs.
Plenty of these people can do fine for themselves if you just remove a little incentive not to do so. I would never call people who receive unemployment checks lazy, they're some of the hardest-working people in our society (but, of course, only when they are indeed working).
I survive on $315 a week. I'm fairly confident I could survive comfortably on $290 per week if I had to, and I would expect that any news about my benefits being extended wouldn't have any effect on whether or how hard I would look for a job.
People who have their shit together enough to be able to file the paperwork necessary to get unemployment checks and prove they've been looking for a job are not "the poor." People who can barely read or write; have drug addictions and / or mental disorders; don't have any clean clothes; have little or no practical marketable labor skills; don't have residences, mailing addresses, or consistent access to phones or internet; don't speak English very well yet; and / or have to rely on the mercy of their friends with houses and on the kindness of strangers: THESE people are the ones who are needy. They don't have bills to pay. For all intents and purposes, they don't even exist.
Why does the government want to limit the amount people are able to deduct from their taxes for charitable contributions? Is it because we have a deficit to fix, or is it because the government wants to attain a monopoly over legitimate charity? The government imposes gift taxes and death (estate) taxes, so why isn't it taking eight cents out of every quarter I give to a bum?
There's a great scene in the movie "Network," in which the TV network has decided to make a series about the bank-robbing and kidnapping activities of a group of left-wing Black-Panther types, using real footage of the crimes. Their leader is a black guy with a huge gun. He sits in his basement lair, watching his minions and the white corporate-network staff members bicker over the monetary terms of the contract negotiation. In the middle of it all, the leader stands up, fires the gun at the ceiling, everyone stops talking and looks at him, and he starts talking about percentages and spouts all kinds of incomprehensible contract jargon.
Progressivism can only progress when citizens stop letting politicians make us see income distribution solely through the lens of whom is paying taxes, because all most politicians really care about is where their money is coming from, and who is generating it. The people who don't generate any money don't matter.
My argument would hold less water were it true that the vast majority of those rich people would save their money instead of spend it creating jobs. I guess there would only be one way to find out, and obviously there's a matter of risk involved. Also, we don't know whether or how long the 99ers' benefits may continue to be extended.
Update for February 2011:
The latest development is that Obama wants to let states tax corporations more to help pay for unemployment. Great, first states tax corporations more, then corporations put people out on the street, then the fired employees go to the welfare office to pick up their checks!
more entries on employment, unemployment, the minimum wage, and
Right-to-Work, please visit:
With this article, I intend to show how one's politicoeconomic motives and values affect the way one perceives which issue or division to be the most important distinction in political economy. In doing so, I will utilize a two-dimensional (planar) political spectrum, commonly known as the Nolan chart, developed by Libertarian Party co-founder David F. Nolan in the early 1970s. The image-file of the spectrum was taken from the website www.politicalcompass.org. It depicts the geometrically-plotted politicoeconomic leanings of the major candidates for the U.S. Presidential nomination in the year of 2008. Authoritarian capitalism (or protectionism) is shown in blue, anarchistic capitalism (or libertarianism) is shown in purple, state socialism is shown in red, and anarchistic socialism is shown in green.
The images below are all variations of the same image, but rotated in different directions. To each, I have added a superimposed black line which shows where a person of a given political persuasion perceives the major division between the parties to be located.
Let us begin by assuming that I am a dedicated socialist (or collectivist) who holds authoritarian (or statist, or communitarian, or Communistic) socialism to be of equal value to anarcho- (or stateless) socialism. This would mean that my enemy is capitalism, regardless of whether it comes in a statist (protectionistic or corporate-controlled) or anarchistic (or libertarian) form. The diagram below shows my values at the bottom and that which I perceive as an oppressing or opposing force as coming from above. The horizontal black line is the closest approximation I have regarding where the most important division between the Democratic and Republican parties lies.
If I resolved to vote in the 2008 U.S. Presidential election, then, among the candidates depicted, I would be most likely to vote for the lowest candidate, Ralph Nader, because it appears to me that he would be the best defender of leftist economics, or socialism. If I did not feel that Nader were a sufficiently viable candidate, I would vote for Dennis Kucinich, followed by John Edwards, then Joe Biden, then Barack Obama, and so on. I would be least likely to vote for Ron Paul, Tom Tancredo, and Newt Gingrich (sidenote: Gingrich was not a candidate in the 2008 U.S. presidential election; there is no reason for him to have been included on this chart), due to my perception of capitalism as an oppressive force. In addition, I would likely perceive Mike Gravel as a traitor due to the fact that, although he is a Democrat, he embraces rightist economics (capitalism) at least as much as many of the mainstream Republican candidates.
Thus, the effect of my ardent socialism causes me to perceive the more socialistic the politician, the better, and the more capitalistic the politician, the worse. I see everything through the lens of economic systems; any and all forms of socialism are better than any and all forms of capitalism. Whether a politician supports more concentration of power versus more separation of power, or authoritarianism versus anarchism, usually escapes me as I simply select the most socialistic viable candidate.
Let us now assume that I am an anarcho-socialist (or anarcho-collectivist, or anarcho-syndicalist). This would make authoritarian capitalism (or state capitalism, corporate statist, or protectionistic) my least-liked adversary. Holding such a view would cause me to see the political spectrum from the perspective shown below.
Were I to vote in the election, I would still be most likely to support Ralph Nader, followed by Dennis Kucinich, but there would be a crucial difference: I would support any Democrat over any Republican. I would be equally as likely to lend my support and my vote to a state-socialist as I would to a libertarian because I would consider building a coalition against authoritarian capitalists with either group. I would be least likely to support Tom Tancredo, followed by Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney.
We shall now suppose that I am an anarchist (for the separation of political powers and decentralization of authority) who supports leftist economics (socialism) as much as I support rightist economics (capitalism). If my beliefs are so, then my greatest opponent would be authoritarianism (or concentration of power), regardless of what economic beliefs it espouses. This would result in my perceiving the world in such a way which is depicted below.
I would be most likely to support Ralph Nader, followed by Mike Gravel, then Dennis Kucinich, Ron Paul, John Edwards, and so on. I would be least likely to support Alan Keyes, Mitt Romney, and Tom Tancredo. Overall, I would be likely to see the Republicans as more authoritarian than Democrats, and I would probably see Ron Paul as the only good Republican, or at least as the Republican candidate least hostile to my views.
Now, let us suppose that I am a libertarian or an anarcho-capitalist. I would espouse a vision of capitalism which opposes the centralization of power, and which holds state (or authoritarian) socialism as the enemy. This belief structure would result in a worldview as seen below.
I would then, as a libertarian, be most likely to support Mike Gravel (an odd choice as a highly capitalistic Democrat), followed by Ron Paul, then Hillary Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, and John McCain. I would see the Democratic and Republican parties as equally oppressive and hostile to my own beliefs, so I would probably register to vote as an independent rather than as a member of either party. I would be least likely to support Alan Keyes, followed by Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson. In order to build a coalition against state-socialists, I would be as likely to embrace anarcho-socialism as I would state capitalism.
Lastly, we shall assume that I am an ardent capitalist with no inherent hostilities towards either the authoritarian or the anarchistic conceptions of that economic philosophy. This would render socialism my opponent, resulting in a worldview like the one shown below.
I would be most likely to vote for Ron Paul, followed by Tom Tancredo, then Newt Gingrich, Mike Gravel, and Fred Thompson, since they are, in that order, the most capitalistic candidates available from which to choose. I would see Republicans as overwhelmingly favorable to Democrats. I would see Mike Gravel as the only good Democrat, or at least as the most acceptable Democratic candidate in the running. I would be least likely to support Ralph Nader, followed by Dennis Kucinich and John Edwards.
In summation, you can't know where you want to go until you have begun to understood where you're coming from. People placed at opposite corners or in the middle of opposite sides of the political spectrum would see one another as the biggest impediment to advancing their own agendas. It is for these reasons that we must understand which economic system we support more, and whether we favor centralization of power, limited government, or no government at all, so that we may strategically plan with whom it would be most useful to build our alliances in order to defeat that which is ideologically abhorrent to us.
more entries on the political spectrum, please visit:
French economist C. Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850)
was a staunch defender of laissez-faire capitalism.
Austrian politician Otto Bauer (1881-1938)
was a staunch defender of social-democratic Marxism.
One would expect these two thinkers to agree on little, but surprisingly, they developed conceptions of their respective economic systems which were startlingly similar.
Frederic Bastiat formulated a conception of capitalism that came to be known – in the course of its development of the idea by philosophers such as Paul Emile de Puydt and Gustave de Molinari – as Panarchism, meaning "theory of the rule of all".
Bastiat defended, on purely capitalist grounds, the right of an individual to choose - freely, voluntarily, and reversibly - which government or agency governs, protects, and defends him. Bastiat wanted to secure this freedom to individuals for the purpose of creating what could be thought of as a "free market in governance".
He saw that a government, granted sole and monopolistic jurisdiction in its territory, would give its denizens only the “freedom of choice” over which among a predetermined set of public figures would wield legitimate power in said jurisdiction, and that to give inhabitants freedom of choice regarding which governmental institution they were to be governed under had evidently never crossed the mind of public officials.
Otto Bauer developed a conception of socialism known as National Personal Autonomism, or Cultural National Autonomism.
Bauer defended, on purely Marxist grounds, the right of a community or a group of persons to choose – freely, voluntarily, and reversibly – which government or agency governs, protects, and defends them. He wanted to secure this freedom to peoples, nations, and communities for the purpose of "organiz[ing] nations not in territorial bodies but in simple association of persons.
Bauer saw that nations of people were often separated by geographic and territorial jurisdictional boundaries, and wanted to give communities of peoples separated from the rest of their like the ability to secure for themselves communal autonomy, meaning that they would have the ability to govern themselves without regard to the regulation and authority of those who have jurisdiction over surrounding and / or adjacent areas.
Bauer saw this right as crucial for protecting cultural and religious minorities. He further imagined that each cultural group would have representatives at the nationwide level. His views were embraced by Jewish groups, but denounced by Vladimir Lenin, as well the Austrian corporativist-fascist regime of the 1930s.
So now that we can see that the idea that people should be free to choose which security- and justice-provision agency (i.e., government) has the authority to govern them – voluntarily and with the ability to change their minds at any time – has been defended with perfect fidelity to both the capitalist and socialist economic systems, we understand that capitalism and socialism are not only compatible, but also that they can exist side-by-side as well as within and without one another, and even on the same parcel of landed property.
These concepts are minarchistic (meaning that they are theories of the rule by the least possible amount of compulsion or coercion necessary) as well as localistic (meaning that they are theories which advocate for decision-making power to be concentrated as close to the party or parties in question as possible).
I believe that it is proper to conclude that a society adopting Bastiat's idea would be absolutely tolerant of socialist autonomous communities, as would a society adopting Bauer's idea be absolutely tolerant of those who embrace capitalism, whether as communities of individuals practicing capitalism, as individual persons practicing autarchism – which is self-governance by individuals – or as any combination of the two.
I believe that this type of society would be more open-minded, tolerant, voluntarism-oriented, and empowering at the grassroots citizen-advocacy level, and also that great strides towards creating this type of society could be achieved by simply reverting to the kind of government which was outlined in the Articles of Confederation.
As in Bauer's idea, to have representatives at the national level could be useful, especially if there remained the freedom to disassociate from and revoke pledges to submit to the supremacy of the national government.
If this were the case, the set of politicoeconomic ideologies existing within the United States would look less like the duopolistic two-party system we have today – under which (though seemingly pitted against one another for purposes of election) the parties must compromise their own ideologies in order to get things done, often causing the goals of one side to be made ineffectual by the provisions added by the other side – but would more closely resemble the litany of ideological caucuses and public-interest organizations in the House of Representatives.
This way, representatives of each group would be free to join and leave coalitions at any time in order to form more sizable and noticeable collections of representatives so that each small coalition would be able to negotiate for its own needs to be addressed in each bill to be considered, so that those citizens and communities who sanction their own representation by the national delegates.
By doing this, groups would ensure that their ideologies would be malleable and tentative, but also resolute in a case-by-case way, so that they would not repel smaller groups from joining with them temporarily to affect some cause, nor would they risk becoming entrenched in a single economic or civic position aimed at attracting the support of a simple- or super-majorityof the electorate for as long as they can manage to do so.
This would undoubtedly create a conflict with the constitutional requirement that all federal law must promote the "general welfare"; i.e., it must not benefit solely those people in specific territories. It is a complicated thing to argue that the representation mechanism should not truly be based on geography alone.
I would only hope that in the process of bringing about such a fundamental change in the structure of governance itself, various electoral reforms would be enacted, causing a parliamentary-type system with opportunities for wide varieties and large numbers of alternative political parties and organizations to replace the two-party system currently in place, but also allowing for true individual liberty, communal autonomy, localism- and subsidiarity-oriented governance, and confederation.
more entries on borders, immigration, and territorial integrity,