Hope In Agorism

I just found an interesting label for a political ideology I share many beliefs in common with: Agorism.

As stated on Wikipedia:

Agorism is a political philosophy founded by Samuel Edward Konkin III and developed with contributions by J. Neil Schulman that holds as its ultimate goal bringing about a society in which all “relations between people are voluntary exchanges – a free market.”[1] The term comes from the Greek word “agora,” referring to an open place for assembly and market in ancient Greek city-states. Ideologically, it is a term representing a revolutionary type of anarcho-capitalism or free-market anarchism.[2] Schulman integrated the idea of counter-economics into Konkin’s libertarian philosophy[3], which is the advocacy of untaxed black market activity, which agorists say will lead to development of private defense force sufficient to protect private property and liberty from the state to the point where such protection is strong enough to overthrow the state.

I think it is interesting to note that the statement “where such protection is strong enough to overthrow the state” doesn’t necessitate that the agorists would overthrow the state, but would probably just maintain their independence from the otherwise oppressive taxation of the state.

Later it speaks of how Agorists regard capitalism:

Agorists hold that the evils attributed to capitalism are not caused by laissez-faire but by government working together with private industry.[10] By preferring the term “free market,” Agorists feel they are not bound by the implications of the term “capitalism”.

Agorists despise the tendencies of governments to become fascist and oppressive and seek to undermine such oppression by promoting extralegal free markets that undermine such oppressive government monopolies of power:

With the State’s coercive monopoly undermined, the market is then able to generate the security services necessary to openly defend their clientele against coercive government as a criminal activity (with taxation being treated as theft, war being treated as mass murder, et cetera). The organisational nature of these services will ultimately be determined by the market based on effectiveness, efficiency, and expense. Agorists spurn political participation in favour of counter-economics, as political participation is seen to be costly, time consuming, and ineffective. Involvement in advocacy and outreach activities are motivated by the goal of making more people aware of Agorism and counter-economics, indirectly increasing the conscious practice of counter-economic activity.

Although I do disagree with the label of some of the more faithful Agorists as the “New Left”. Some disagree with such labelling as noted on the wiki:

The labeling of market anarchism as left-wing libertarianism is not accepted by some scholars, such as David DeLeon, who regard “anarchists” that stress “the individualism of the unregulated marketplace” to be right-wing libertarians, with left-wing libertarians being communitarians such as anarcho-communists.[8]

While I wouldn’t advocate black market activity such as drug trafficking or prostitution — i.e. anything that would violate God’s commandments. I would highly advocate free market activity that circumvents oppressive taxation.  Luckily there are ways to circumvent oppressive taxation  without necessarily breaking the law — e.g. barter, trade outside the government regulated retail markets. Oppressive governments, including our own might label such as “black market” activity, but I would simply call it the true and proper activity of the free market, unsullied and unraped by government and government regulation (even that done under the guise of Consumer Advocacy that has led to stifling regulations).

A wonderful book that promotes Agorism and liberty is “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” by Robert Heinlein.  It discusses a futuristic society on the moon that rebel against their earth bound oppressors and their Federated Nations (a spoof on United Nations) until they are recognized as a sovereign nation unto themselves.  The book stresses natural rights (i.e. rights inherent by birth) as opposed to government provided rights.

I’m also interested in purchasing Ragnar Benson’s book “Ragnar’s Guide to the Underground Economy” as well as “The Other Path: The Economic Answer to Terrorism” by Hernando de Soto, who has written several works on how South American nations have combatted the threat of communism and communist terrorists by using free market principles.

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9 Responses to “Hope In Agorism”

  1. Tano Says:

    Why do you believe that God’s law requires the AMA to have a monopoly on medicine?

    • nikolaus6 Says:

      I don’t know how you infer from my blog an idea that I somehow endorse the AMA having a monopoly on medicine. While I’m not radically opposed to associations and/or unions, I’m not really for them and don’t really see their benefit. Like Milton Friedman I see them as anachronist throwbacks to medieval guilds that promote the interests of a few at the cost of hindering the greater free trade of all.

  2. George Donnelly Says:

    Kudos. Keep up your evolution. Join the agorist community on twitter and facebook.

  3. Jim Davidson Says:

    I would be curious to find the commandment against buying and selling herbs bearing seeds. From Genesis 1:29 it seems clear that God gave us all the herbs bearing seeds and trees bearing fruit to be as meat. You seem to be putting man’s laws above God. If God made marijuana and opium and coca plants, who are you to say that He doesn’t want us to use these things?

    You might enjoy reading Alongside Night. It shares many themes in common with Heinlein’s The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. Look for it at alongsidenight dot com.

    • nikolaus6 Says:

      I’m starting to read Alongside Night. The beginning thus far reminds me a little of the 1980’s movie “Cloak and Dagger”. The boy’s encounter with a hooker his age was a little seedy – I wouldn’t recommend this book to the young reader. While this seedy part is probably necessary for realism in a future with anarchist elements, there are ways of depicting hookers and their trade in ways that leave more to the imagination. It’s like the old Alfred Hitchcock movies being more suspenseful than any of the new suspenseful horror genre, especially because of what was left to the imagination.

      As to the idea that God wouldn’t have made certain herbs if they didn’t have uses, I agree that there are valid medicinal uses of such plants as you mentioned. Glaucoma patients have benefitted from using marijuana medicinally. Opium has greatly aided in alleviating suffering of dying patients, and coca plants certainly have helped indigenous peoples acclimate better to high altitudes. However I won’t deny that such herbs can’t be misused. Whether man should strictly enforce the use of such herbs by establishing laws making the traffic and/or possession of such substances illegal for those not using it for legally defined uses is still a subject I haven’t fully resolved in my mind. Certainly I don’t believe that it was right for the government to outlaw alcohol during the Prohibition. Nor am I for sin taxes such as increasingly exorbitant cigarette taxes. However some drugs are simply so addictive that the traffic and use of them dooms individuals to a life of dependency and addiction. Surely you wouldn’t want a society where your child could be so easily exposed to substances that they didn’t know were so addictive that one would actually kill and steal just to have the next fix from such substances. When something definitively induces society to kill, steal, and neglect one’s own, then the law certainly needs to be applied. Unless of course you really believe in total anarchy, which I don’t. I simply believe that when government becomes so oppressive as it is becoming, that institutions like the free market that once were able to exist in the open framework of society can only survive and thrive by going underground, and sometimes out of necessity sharing such underground marketplaces with seedier elements. While unfortunate, that may be necessary.

  4. aljmiller87 Says:

    I enjoyed your post as a nice informative piece that helps dispel possible false notions concerning agorism. I enjoyed the post until I read:

    “While I wouldn’t advocate black market activity such as drug trafficking or prostitution — i.e. anything that would violate God’s commandments.”

    Anarchists/Agorists/Libertarians all claim to speak correctly of truth, knowledge, virtue, and ethics. We are anarchists because we recognize the non-aggression principle (NAP) to be the highest moral ideal. We understand that coercion is immoral not only because it breaks universal principles derived from reason*, but empirically it consistently results in disaster (i.e. wars, genocide, rape, starvation, etc).

    To follow a commandment of god is to create a principle that says it is good to obey an authority without evidence or credentials. As far as I can tell, the existence of Zues/Osiris/God cannot be proven. Nor can it be proven that “no prostitution/no drugs” are a god’s commandments. In essence, what you are really saying when you say the above quoted segment is “this can’t be proven, but i want you to believe it because I said so.” In form, is this statement any different from:
    -The white race is the best
    -Women carry the sin of eve
    -The Greeks are the best
    -Governments are necessary to facilitate peace and prosperity.

    Please understand, I do not for a second believe that you mean to consciously imply this. However, when you bring the irrational and supernatural into the realm of a reasoned and principled debate of ideals, you only cheapen the freedom movement.

    I admire and greatly appreciate your desire to rid the world of evil. Let’s take the time to make sure we do it right… if you would to talk more or merely would like me to clarify something i’ve said, please do not hesitate to write me.

    *(i.e. if violence is moral, it requires immorality to exist –> the victim must be “immoral” to “allow” virtue to take place–>logically inconsistent because virtue cannot be virtue if it requires simultaneous vice)

    • nikolaus6 Says:

      I agree that coercion is amoral when it is applied unjustly. Yet I wouldn’t dismiss government altogether and embrace anarchy. Law is still necessary to ensure that men (and by “men” I mean the germanic usage of the word meaning “persons”) don’t oppress others by their actions — e.g. rape, theft, bearing of false witness, violence inflicted outside of self-defense. To deny the need for laws and true principals upon which such laws originate from is to buy into the false notion of moral relativism. Moral relativism ultimately rests upon the false assumption that multiple half-truths a whole truth make. Truth, while sometimes dependent on context, can still be pure, whole and undefiled. That said there are those who buy into the idea of moral relativism and the idea of shopping for your religion (truth). They adopt only those aspects of religion and the divine that suit their own purposes, and subscribe to the notion of all roads leading to a portion of heaven. Others version of moral relativism is that of seeing life as purely amoral, a taoist universe of yin yang elements but devoid of definitive right and wrong.

      Some may not believe in God, nor do I intend on forcing them to believe. There is a hymn in the lds faith entitled “Know This That Every Man Is Free” that reaffirms the free will of all men:

      1. Know this, that ev’ry soul is free
      To choose his life and what he’ll be;
      For this eternal truth is giv’n:
      That God will force no man to heav’n.

      2. He’ll call, persuade, direct aright,
      And bless with wisdom, love, and light,
      In nameless ways be good and kind,
      But never force the human mind.

      3. Freedom and reason make us men;
      Take these away, what are we then?
      Mere animals, and just as well
      The beasts may think of heav’n or hell.

      4. May we no more our pow’rs abuse,
      But ways of truth and goodness choose;
      Our God is pleased when we improve
      His grace and seek his perfect love.

      So we should respect others’ beliefs by not persecuting or imposing our own beliefs on others. We shouldn’t ascribe to a state religion. This doesn’t mean though that men should hide their beliefs or fear the reproach of other’s in sharing such beliefs. Certainly I have had strong testimony of God’s influence in my life and I can’t deny this. Likewise I believe that every man or woman has a conscience that tells them what is right and wrong. Some may dull such a conscience by their behavior. When we rationalize ungodly behavior with moral relativism, then we risk a situation where anything is justified and nothing is absolute. I don’t assume that any should necessarily share my beliefs, yet I won’t deny that I have found the one true and living church led by a living prophet who receives modern revelation from a living God, an immortal man in whose image we (male and female) are created. I have felt witness of truth in the following statement from 2nd Nephi chapter 2 of the Book of Mormon:

      13 And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away.

      Another great discussion on the dangers of moral relativism is given in St. Augustine of Hippo’s book “On Free Choice of the Will” where he leads you on a reductio ad absurdum logical argument against moral relativism by starting with a free will founded on truth and grace and then slowly removing such a foundation with the standard arguments for moral relativism. By following his logical arguments you can suddenly witness in your mind the free will hanging for a moment with no moral foundation, ready to fall into the depths of immoral decay. When the moral foundation is fully removed, the free will can justify the most heinous acts that would revolt the normal person. But then once you go down that road, nothing is normal, disfunctional is commonplace, and man chooses to abandon salvation from his fallen state.

  5. Jim Davidson Says:

    “As to the idea that God wouldn’t have made certain herbs if they didn’t have uses, I agree that there are valid medicinal uses of such plants as you mentioned.”

    No. God gave us all herbs bearing seeds, whether you think they have “valid” uses or not. All of them. Don’t put man’s law above God. He has a long history of not liking that. And don’t blaspheme by claiming there is any “commandment” from God having to do with your narrow minded ideas about what people should do with plants.

    Benjamin Franklin once wrote, “Beer is God’s way of telling us He loves us.” To which I recently responded, “Whiskey is God’s way of telling us He really meant it about the beer.”

    Some people lie, cheat, steal, rape, and kill. Herbs don’t “make” people do these things. People in government do these things for any reason, and often for no reason. People in war zones do all these things without drugs, and that includes many inner city neighborhoods. It turns out that about 1.8% of the population ever commits any violent crime, which makes me wonder why Americans have locked up 2.5% of their neighbors, and have another 7% under some form of probation or parole limiting their freedom.

    Having your government attacking and murdering adults because you are claim to be afraid for children or of addicts who don’t control their behaviors doesn’t work. You have no right to demand that two million people be arrested this year for non-violent non-crimes such as possessing marijuana. If putting two million people in cages and subjecting them to the brutality of police is your idea of an orderly society, you may be surprised when these victims of authoritarianism respond negatively.

    The author of Alongside Night is a very intelligent man named J. Neil Schulman. You might want to direct your ideas to him. I gather he had a conversation with God some years after writing the book, and is now holding very different views on many things.

  6. the art of war Says:

    the art of war…

    …He wrote that . . ….

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