NAP—NOT

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NAP—NOT

  • Ned Netterville

    I just joined Philosophical Anarchists, my first liberty.me group. I wanted to add this as a comment on the topic, “How to defend the NAP.” Couldn’t figure out how to do so, but saw the “start new” button and clicked on it. So here I am, not to defend but to challenge NAP. My inspiration for questioning NAP is an article I read in THE VOLUNTARYIST by Spencer Heath MacCallum entitled, “A Skeptic’s View of One’s Right to Defensive Force. Since I cannot add to Spencer’s argument, I would invite those who care to consider an alternative to NAP to critique Spencer’s article: http://voluntaryist.com/backissues/169.pdf

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  • Sam Spade

    As I see it, Ned, the existence of “Philosophical Anarchists” may itself amount to contradiction.  Let’s see if I can explain:

    None of us has ever experienced “anarchy”.  Keep in mind, “…anarchy refers to a society without a central political authority. But it is also used to refer to disorder or chaos. This constitutes a textbook example of Orwellian newspeak in which assigning the same name to two different concepts effectively narrows the range of thought. For if lack of government is identified with the lack of order, no one will ask whether lack of government actually results in a lack of order. And this uninquisitive mental attitude is absolutely essential to the case for the state. For if people were ever to seriously question whether government actions are really productive of order, popular support for government would almost instantly collapse…”

    (Obviousness of Anarchy:  http://explore.georgetown.edu/publications/21193/)

    My observation of “anarchist theorists” is that they will tend to approach the topic from collectivist mindset:  as if “we” need to determine “…how “we” are going to be protected from theft and aggression — absence [collectivist] state…”  How are “we” to “arrange ‘society'” to be free.

    We” don’t.  “We’re” not.  I am responsible.  Of course I’m a man (albeit an 81 year-old duffer).  And I have children, grandchildren, neighbors and friends who would not allow bad things to happen to me.  So perhaps my voice is not valid to “philosophical anarchists”.  So, what about the ones who are out in the cold, cold world — alone?

    My mantra:  Abstain From BeansBe Free.   Sam

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      Ned Netterville

      Sam, Thanks for the lone comment I received. I certainly didn’t stir up a hornets nest.  It is interesting that you link to two of my favorite essays on the Web, having often used Hasnas’ essay to support a position I was arguing. (I can say the same of another one of his essays: http://faculty.msb.edu/hasnasj/GTWebSite/MythWeb.htm) Regarding “Abstain From Beans,” the logic of which I endorse, I’m pretty sure Spencer MacCallum knew Robert LeFevre personally and may even have attended Bob’s Ramparts College. (Perhaps, then, it is no coincidence that LeFevre says in his “Beans” essay, ” In times such as these, it is incumbent upon free men to reexamine their most cherished, long-established beliefs,” which is almost exactly the point MacCallum is pushing in his “Skeptic’s View” of violence.

      Although I can’t speak for him, I’d guess Spencer wouldn’t object to being called a “Philosophical Anarchists,” and I have no trouble assuming from what I know of him that he is well aware of the conflicting meanings of the word “anarchy.” I also suspect that better than most advocates of a stateless society, Spencer has long since freed himself from any residue of a “collectivist mindset.” After all, Spencer has been about this business of freeing ourselves from that collectivist mindset imposed upon us from an early age and from all directions for longer than young wippersnappers like you and me (79) have.

      I’m not sure I’d even have a vision of the voluntaryism I so admire and so often champion or defend were it not for some of those philosophical anarchists who painted a beautiful picture of life in the absence of violent government. I believe it is out of a compassionate love of those who are out in the cold, cold world alone that the best of the philosophical anarchists devote their time, energy and talents to philosophizing. At least I hope so.

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