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Author Topic: Walter Block on FSP and Civil Disobedience  (Read 1020 times)


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Walter Block on FSP and Civil Disobedience
« on: September 13, 2010, 04:15 PM NHFT »

Seth: I've been a libertarian my entire life but only recently converted to free-market anarchism. My perspective is that of a young, internet savvy, philosophical newbie to Anarcho-Capitalism. From my point of view it seems as if the libertarian anarchist movement is rapidly accelerating and because of that I am extremely optimistic about the not-too-distant future. From your point of view, have you also observed exponential growth in the Anarcho-Capitalist philosophy over the last couple of years, and if so, how does that make you feel for our future prospects?

Walter: There has been GIGANTIC growth since I got involved in 1966. Sure, this makes me optimistic. On the other hand, there are socio-biological considerations that mitigate in favor of pessimism: we are hard wired for socialism and government interventionism. But, these questions don’t much interest me, since I will do exactly the same things, pursue the same kind of life, etc., whether the case for optimism or pessimism is strong; namely, try to promote liberty, peace and economic understanding to the best of my ability.

Seth: I'd like to talk now a little bit about this thing called Agorism. Recently, I've come across the writings of a man named Samuel Edward Konkin III. I've read his works and it seems to me that Agorism is the logical conclusion, or next step, to Anarcho-Capitalism. Many individuals in the free-market anarchist movement, especially of my generation, feel that the state will never be ended through the electoral process. Only through principled, counter-economic (more commonly referred to as the underground economy) actions will the state be replaced by a voluntary regime. I would like to know how familiar you are with the writings of S.E.K. III and the philosophy of Agorism. Also, would you say that the faculty and fellows of the Ludwig von Mises Institute generally find S.E.K.III and Agorism to be consistent with Praxeology and Austrian Economics?

Walter: There are many means, techniques toward freedom: think tanks like the Mises and Independent Institute; there’s; the free state project; Ron Paul and principled politics; civil disobedience; attempts to set up a free society in the middle of the ocean; free market economics departments such as at Grove City, Hillsdale, G. Mason, Loyola New Orleans, Cal State at San Jose, Hampden-Sydney; and, yes, Agorism too. I liked and admired SEK III during his all too brief life. I count myself as one of his many friends. I’m very familiar with his writings and activities. But, I can’t say I’m a big fan of his methods. As well, there is a category mistake in your question: Praxeology and Austrian Economics are aspects of positive economics; these means and techniques are very different; they are would-be recipes for bringing about the free society. Not all of those who support Praxeology and Austrian Economics favor freedom. What I’m trying to say here is that there is a chasm between normative and positive economics.

Seth: You've publicly endorsed the Free State Project in the past. Is there any chance of you migrating to the geographical area commonly referred to as New Hampshire? What would it take for you to move there? Perhaps if New Hampshire State nullified the federal income tax? How about if Louisiana passed some extremely draconian legislation? What if someone offered you a million dollars? Surely, there must be an incentive strong enough to entice you up north?

Walter: It would be difficult for me to move to New Hampshire. I like my job at Loyola very much; I have good friends here. Well, if you’re offering, I’ll take $100 million. I could do a lot in the direction of promoting Austrian economics and libertarianism with that kind of money. If I had it, I’d set up a graduate school in NH.

Seth: I think it's safe to say that if a libertarian gets asked, anarchist or not, what the main form of activism is for the cause, the vast majority of the time the answer will be education. We need to continue to educate ourselves as well as others. But after that, it seems to me that a very large percentage of the population neither desires, nor has the ability, to substantively learn the philosophy of liberty or Austrian Economics. This is the position we libertarians have found ourselves in for quite some time. We often criticize Keynesians, and the like, for insanely repeating the same mistake over and over whilst expecting a different result. Could it not be that relying on the rest of the world to catch up to us through education is a recipe for failure? Civil disobedience seems to be rather contagious. I would imagine that the ruling elite and the rest of the state apologists fear civil disobedience more than any other tactic known to man. Could it be time for the free-market intelligentsia to endorse, promote, and practice this tactic as the surest way to abolish the state? What would it take for you to practice civil disobedience? Perhaps an unconscionable law being passed? Perhaps one million other resisters? Or will you wait until the day the state is completely abolished before disregarding the laws against nature?

Walter: Civil disobedience is but one technique among many. I’m not a big fan of that one, at least right now, because despite our stupendous growth, there are still far too few of us to make that a viable option.

Although it seems generally somewhat negative towards CD (although its not like he denounces it, or wants people to stop) I would like to point out the first part that I bolded; the exact same statement could be true for many of the CD activists in NH.

Russell Kanning

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Re: Walter Block on FSP and Civil Disobedience
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2011, 08:27 AM NHFT »

i guess i missed this the first time around
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