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Could Anarcho-Capitalism be the solution to our problems? - Anarchism Pt. 4 (Rothbard, Friedman, Malice)

Description of Anarcho-Capitalism, Anarchism in the Modern Context, Anarcho-Capitalism vs Anarcho-Communism, Critique of Anarcho-Capitalism.


Could Anarcho-Capitalism be the solution to our problems? - Anarchism Pt. 4 (Rothbard, Friedman, Malice)

So a question that’s worth ASKING of these Anarchists we’ve been talking about…you know the kind of anarchists that would say we’re be better off without the police, without laws, without a central authority with a military WARDING OFF other countries invading…a QUESTION a skeptic HAS to ASK these people…is if ALL these ideas of yours are so great…WHY in recent history EVERY time they’ve been tried…have they eventually FAILED? I mean, we mentioned the Seattle strike last time… the Ukrainians post WW1… the Spanish Civil War, and Peter Gelderloos in his book mentions DOZENS of OTHER moments in history with anarchist principles in action…but one common theme among ALL these examples is that they all ended up collapsing. What does an anarchist have to say about the fact that their track record isn’t exactly GREAT here. Well the ANSWER to that is that there’s specific reasons that EACH of them went south when they DID. Admittedly, sometimes it was a tactical error by the anarchists themselves. Other times like in the case of the Seattle Strike… sometimes things just reverted back to the way they were BEFORE there was a need for people to organize themselves. MOST of the time though… in recent history, REGARDLESS of the SPECIFIC reasons each of these experiments ended you could say a MAJOR FACTOR is that there’s really just been a lack of solidarity with other anarchist societies. You could say that MANY of these examples from history would STILL be going on today if there just HAPPENED to have BEEN more international SUPPORT at the time for bottom up organization like this. In fact if the reason you’re even ASKING that question is because you’re actually interested in the viability of anarchism in the world we’re living in today…needs to be said: LOT of anarchists out there will say that FAR FROM anarchism being a strategy that’s been totally DEBUNKED…on the contrary, we’re in about as prime of territory as we ever HAVE been… for these IDEAS to catch fire. I mean, there’s certainly some promising things you could point to: how about the fact that 20 years ago… a lot of publishers wouldn’t even CONSIDER printing a book on anarchism…nowadays you got best SELLERS on anarchism…nowadays we’re TALKING about anarchism on a show like this…and you know short of a few emails… from people saying I must be huffing elmers glue to even be COVERING something like anarchism…short of that, there’s really NOT as MUCH of a SOCIAL cost that people have to pay anymore for CONSIDERING these ideas. ANOTHER promising thing that an anarchist might bring up…is that one of the biggest BARRIERS, FOR this bottom up, direct democracy style ever WORKING in the past…is that people have said that the level of COMMUNICATION that’s required to MAKE something like this work…is just impossible. I mean fair question: how do you COORDINATE between this ever growing federated NETWORK of communities… that THEMSELVES are constantly changing shape? But some anarchists say in the world we’re living in NOW…the technological climate with web 3.0, DECENTRALIZED technology like blockchain, cryptocurrency, digital democracy platforms…these SORTS of things make the COMMUNICATION required for anarchism something FAR MORE FEASIBLE than it EVER has been before. So yeah, some anarchists think this is DEFINITELY a possible direction that things could be going in in the future…big question you gotta worry about if you’re THEM on the other SIDE of all this is…when this DOES take off as a set of ideas…exactly, what kind of anarchist do you wanna be? Because as we’ve mentioned at multiple points on this series so far…there’s many different KINDS of anarchists…and not all of them LIKE each other. In fact ironically…there’s a bit of a turf dispute that’s been going on among anarchists in their ranks…the totally non-hierarchical, horizontal ranks that is of course. My friends, today I wanna tell you about the plight, the SAD situation… of a particular KIND of anarchist out there right now. It’s a type of person who THINKS of themselves as an anarchist…but most OTHER anarchists DON’T think of them as a REAL anarchist. Maybe you’ve heard of them…I’m talking about someone who calls themselves an anarcho-capitalist. If ALL the other anarchists are kind of like santa’s reindeer…you know not letting one of the reindeer play in all the reindeer games…THIS is rudolph the anarcho-capitalist. Really is EXCLUDED from the party sometimes. Reason BEING is the KIND of anarchist we’ve been talking about on this series so far, again the kind that doesn’t like the police, laws, private property…MANY of the people that think this way fall under the very BROAD category of what’s called anarcho-communism. And that would make THEM… anarcho-communists. And AS anarcho-communists…they don’t really LIKE anarcho-capitalists for MANY reasons we’ll elaborate on in this episode. For now though it’s JUST important to say: try not to get TOO thrown off by these titles: communist and capitalist. Because as we’ll ALSO TALK about when it comes to the ANARCHO version of these two things… this is NOT your grandpa’s capitalism…and it’s not your grandma’s communism either for the record. Anarcho capitalists would CERTAINLY not be a fan of any of the capitalist systems that are going on today… and anarcho communists would CERTAINLY not be a fan of any of the communism that went on in the 20th century. I mean OBVIOUSLY. They’re anarchists, how COULD they be? They don’t believe in the legitimacy of the state…how could they EVER be a fan of the communism of the 20th century that was DOMINATED by a MASSIVE state and government. We’ll hear MORE from the anarcho-communist side of things here in a second…but FIRST: FEW questions gotta be answered at the start of this…what IS an anarcho capitalist, WHY would they CALL themselves that, and how EXACTLY do they DIFFER from other people who call themselves ANARCHISTS? And MAYBE the best place to start EXPLAINING that is to say that to an anarcho-capitalist…ONE of the ways that they’re different is that the TYPE of anarchist we’ve been TALKING about on this series has a BIT of a problem that they haven’t really laid out a clear SOLUTION to yet. The PROBLEM is…once we REMOVE the GOVERNMENT from the equation…how EXACTLY… are we going to ORGANIZE society on the other SIDE of that? They’d say they HAVEN’T ANSWERED that. I mean they can talk about their DECENTRALIZED, HYPOTHETICAL ways that the world MIGHT be organized… in a totally DIFFERENT world once people’s values CHANGE into something where these things are possible…but THAT’S not really answering the question. Sure…if everyone was like ME then we wouldn’t need any laws. But look if we could guarantee that almost everyone is gonna have a set of values where they’re peaceful and hardworking, you can structure a society basically any way you WANT to. But how do we ACTUALLY HAVE what David Friedman calls a system of anonymous coordination among MILLIONS of PEOPLE… that ALL have different SUBJECTIVE takes on what is valuable? To an anarcho-capitalist…anarcho-communists have NOT GIVEN a sufficient ANSWER to that question yet. And the GOOD news to an anarcho capitalist like David Friedman…is that we already HAVE a system of coordination we know about that helps us efficiently distribute and allocate resources, it’s a system that becomes a MIRROR for the VALUE that society is placing on things…it’s a self-regulating system that can meet EVERY NEED that a person may HAVE in a society and THAT is: the free market system combined with the wisdom of capitalism. That once we’re LIVING in this world where you’ve REMOVED the unnecessary hierarchy of the government…free markets are what we should be steering into and trying to make BETTER to PROVIDE the services that government USED to provide for people. Now you may recognize the name David Friedman…he is the SON of the world famous economist Milton Friedman god rest his soul. And Milton Friedman believed… that having a government was necessary. A SMALL government…a government that provides certain BASIC human services…national security, police, the enforcement of contracts…we NEED a society he thought where people feel SAFE enough…for something like a FREE MARKET to EVER truly be FREE. If everyone’s fearing for their life all the time then you can’t ever really have people feeling comfortable enough to make consumer choices. Point is: MOST THINGS he thought…are better off WITHOUT the government involved in them…but there ARE SOME BASIC things we BENEFIT from when a government DOES them for us. Well, his son David just takes this one step further. It’s a BIT like that argument that an atheist will say to someone that believes in a religion. It’s like if there’s 1000 gods…BOTH of us don’t believe in 999 of them. I just take it one step further, don’t believe in ANY gods and think maybe you’re just doing the same thing you think all those OTHER people are doing. You apply this same kind of argument… to the government… and as David Friedman says just take the SMALLEST level of government that you can possibly imagine where EVERYTHING ELSE is being fulfilled by the people themselves or the private sector…and then just take it one step further. In other words: police, enforcement of contracts, national security…have THESE things provided by the private sector as well! The THINKING is: that the private sector…is just generally BETTER at doing EVERYTHING…than the government is. You ever drive by a construction site…and it’s something you drive by every day so you just see the thing being built at every step along the way? You drive by and you wonder is that a government building they’re putting up? Is that a new business coming to town? Well don’t think TOO hard…wait a few weeks and you’ll know EXACTLY what it is because if it’s a PRIVATE sector contract that building will be done in 2 months. If it’s a GOVERNMENT contract you’ll be driving by that same site two years from now…five dudes will be standing around in reflective vests…one dude will be shoveling dirt…the other four standing around ensuring that this is a safe operation that’s going on. And to an anarcho-capitalist…the REASON this happens…OBVIOUSLY… is that the government has a MONOPOLY on government. The government doesn’t have competition like a business does. The government isn’t gonna LOSE the JOB…they don’t have customers that are going to leave and go somewhere else if they aren’t happy. As Michael Malice says: what OTHER arrangement do we HAVE in society where you’re just LOCKED IN for four years or WHATEVER the term limit is…and if at ANY POINT you realize that this is a BAD SITUATION for you…you CAN’T decide to go elsewhere? WHEN is it ever LIKE that? WHEN would we ever PUT UP with something like that? Well we DO when it comes to the government. And THIS is part of the core of anarcho-capitalism as a potential SOLUTION: they’d say that maybe NOT ALL HIERARCHIES…are a BAD thing. Maybe there ARE DEFINITELY hierarchies that are bad like… the involuntary, monopolistic control of the GOVERNMENT for sure…but isn’t it just STUPID to NOT consider that we have OTHER hierarchies… that are NOT monopolies… that are entirely VOLUNTARY for people to participate in? Things like capitalism. And wouldn’t it just be STUPID to THROW all of that out? Here’s what we can be certain of: There is NO SERVICE out there that has a monopoly at the HEAD of it…that is BETTER OFF for the customer than something WITHOUT a monopoly. So this is WHY the services that government has a monopoly on providing…are never really DONE that well…as Michael Malice puts it: this is WHY the police can shoot somebody in the streets…and the penalty is just to get a leave of absence and a pension. This is why you see people HIGH UP in politics…and the law just DOESN’T APPLY to them in the same way it does for people like you and me. Celebrities can literally KILL a person… face very little consequences. Look at the geopolitical decisions that are made with everyone’s LIVES hanging in the balance. To an anarcho-capitalist like David Friedman…the politicians that are suggesting these SOLUTIONS to supposedly FIX our social problems…these are people who are ENTRENCHED in a system…that has HORRIBLE incentive structures. Think of what it’s like to be a politician often times…there’s some PROBLEM that faces us, SOCIALLY, we want to find a way to fix it. And the politicians who make the decisions can SUGGEST…ANYTHING they WANT…it costs them literally NOTHING to suggest anything, actually…spend a hundred billion dollars and build a koala sanctuary….and then AFTER their BRILLIANT suggestions…on the other side of it when people are DEALING with the BACKLASH of whatever POLICY it was that they put in place…THESE politicians often live FAR away from their constituencies in some gated community where they don’t bear any of the cost of the bad policy they supported. In other words to David Friedman…these people have no skin in the game. And the result for US as CITIZENS is that things get done that are USUALLY not as good for us as they could be. The GOVERNMENT…IS the problem here. In an anarcho-capitalist society based around free markets WITHOUT the government…to SUGGEST something as a potential SOLUTION to a problem people are facing, like a koala sanctuary, that TAKES an initial INVESTMENT BY the person that’s suggesting it. More than that if their product or service FAILS to meet the needs of the consumers…THEY BEAR… THE NEGATIVE COST of that failed investment…NOT the taxpayer. People can talk about the woes of capitalism and what often happens in our current systems…but to an anarcho-capitalist what WE have is not capitalism…but CRONY capitalism. What WE have is some weird Frankenstein monster where GOVERNMENT’s embedded in free markets to the extent that they’re no longer free. Subsidies and Bailouts for CERTAIN companies over others. Not regulating CERTAIN companies the same way they regulate OTHER companies. Contracts and licenses EXCLUSIVELY given to certain companies with a better lobby. But when you LET the free market TRULY be FREE…it has a very beautiful sort of self correcting mechanism built INTO it that’s DRIVEN by human behavior. Because when consumers engage in totally VOLUNTARY exchanges with each other…when two people agree to trade THIS good or service for THAT amount of money…that’s not just a TRADE that’s going on…to an anarcho-capitalist that’s more DEEPLY… a manifestation of individual preferences and consent. It is a STATEMENT about what people subjectively VALUE in a society. And FROM that information…and through MANY of these voluntary transactions it not only becomes a SIGNAL we can read for how to efficiently allocate economic resources WITHOUT central planning. You know we DON’T need a team of people PLANNING OUT what our society should look like…on the contrary human BEHAVIOR will show us what society IS. NOT ONLY THAT…but this SPONTANEOUS order… that emerges out of a BUNCH of different voluntary exchanges between people…this can PRODUCE a NATURAL decentralization of power…to an anarcho-capitalist. When a company produces a good or service TRYING to meet the needs of the citizens…and then that company does a BAD JOB at it. UNLIKE when we rely on the monopoly of the government and there’s no CHOICE in the matter…people in an anarcho-capitalist society can just CHOOSE to not do business with them anymore. Then…the companies that are ACTUALLY MEETING the demands of the citizens will BE the ones that people naturally buy from. So to an anarcho-capitalist in a truly FREE MARKET…what would emerge is not a centralization of power, but A LOT of different parties holding power that’s more spread out because a LOT of different consumer choices would be being made. Now COMBINE this vision… of there being no NEED for economic central planning…with a world where basic services like the police are provided by private companies as well. May seem a little strange to imagine at first, but it’s ACTUALLY not that far from what’s already being done. Michael Malice gives an example: think of a bar late at night. Can a BAR really, RELY on the monopoly security service provided by the government to resolve any conflict that may come up? No, so what do they do? They hire private security. And the RESULT of that is that EVERYONE… is safer for it. That BAR late at night becomes, ironically, a SAFER PLACE for you to BE…than something like a public park late at night that it’s the government’s job to police. So far from it being chaos… an anarcho-capitalist society could have an ABUNDANCE of security. A constant OVERLAP of one security detail over another. We could HANDLE disputes BETWEEN people the SAME way we ALREADY handle MOST disputes we have between each other in our private lives…that is PRIVATELY…without the government being involved. Now a natural question that comes up here is what happens when MY security guard and YOUR security guard don’t AGREE on how we should be SECURING things. Do they do rock paper scissors? Do they both pepper spray each other at the exact same time? Well NO because this ENTIRE anarcho-capitalist society that I’m suggesting is FOUNDED upon an ethical principle first devised in this way by the philosopher Murray Rothbard. What’s known as the non-aggression principle. Murray Rothbard would want to stress that ANY organization in this society would NEED to be founded upon a principle of non-aggression...where each person, understanding how important it is to respect the natural rights and property rights of others, understanding that THAT’S what allows for a society to be able to function at ALL…in this world the VAST majority of people would agree… that initiating force against others is inherently wrong. That you can ARGUE with people…you can COMPLETELY disagree with how they live their life…you can hire private arbitration companies to MEDIATE a dispute between you and them…but there should NEVER be a situation where initiating FORCE against someone else or their property is SEEN as the correct course of action. And this obviously comes with everybody else having that SAME respect for you. But hold on a second: I got a stupid question. What if people just say no? What if people just DON’T BELIEVE in this non-aggression principle of yours? You know that’s very INTERESTING Murray Rothbard…but I TOO have a principle…it’s MY OWN principle I came up with it’s called the AGGRESSION principle…where I just TAKE your stuff and beat you senseless in front of your family if you try to stop me. What happens when 10% of society doesn’t BELIEVE in the non-aggression principle? Well there’s answers to ALL these questions… MUCH like we’ve seen anarchist answers in the last three episodes of the show. Bottom line is: it TAKES imagining a world that’s structured in a very DIFFERENT WAY than our PRESENT world currently is. For example when it comes to people not going along with the non-aggression principle…you can IMAGINE the anarchist communities emerging of like-minded people we’ve been talking about. Well if there’s someone that DOESN’T respect the rights of others… they’re NOT going to be accepted into one of these communities of people that believe in non-aggression. And if they were to ever try to DISRESPECT the rights of one of those communities…they would be going against an entire COMMUNITY of people and whatever security measures THEY had set up. Anyway… it NEEDS to be said here…that I, personally, have come across VERY FEW SERIOUS anarcho-capitalists that TALK about this hypothetical world… as though it’s OBVIOUS that we should be doing this… and that the path to get there is simple. Nobody talks that way. They ALL pretty much acknowledge this transition is going to be a tricky one, that NOBODY has all the answers, and that LIKE anarcho-communism…it ultimately requires a pretty substantial SHIFT in the VALUES of the average person than what we have today. But that although the world CERTAINLY wouldn’t be problem-free on the other side of these changes…to an anarchist-capitalist: the INCENTIVE for CONSIDERING these ideas is just TOO great to ignore. That said: what would an anarcho-COMMUNIST have to say about this whole strategy? Why do they see anarcho-capitalists…as FAKE anarchists? To the point that SOME people say that the entire MOVEMENT of AnCap as its called…USES ANARCHISM in its name… to DELIBERATELY OBSCURE the STRENGTH of anarchism as a movement more broadly. Well the reason Ancaps are not REAL anarchists is because to a LOT of anarchists out there…the entire POINT of anarchism… is to REMOVE forced hierarchical authorities from the way society’s organized. And to the Ancap’s point: there certainly ARE hierarchies out there that are pretty harmless: the rankings of sports teams comes to mind, rankings in games that people play…like when someone says I’m a level 37 woodsy, vegan blood elf emotionally conflicted…in this board game I’m playing…there’s PLACES where this stuff doesn’t HURT anyone…but to an anarcho-communist the hierarchies of Capitalism…is NOT one of those places. An anarcho-capitalist can talk all they WANT about how capitalism is VOLUNTARY…how if you don’t like it, simple, just don’t participate. But that’s a little bit like saying if you go to prison for forty years you don’t HAVE to join a gang. Just stand by your morals and deal with the CONSEQUENCES of that. To say that capitalism is VOLUNTARY is to IGNORE the REALITY of what it IS to be in a capitalist system. You know take the popular conservative intellectual position where you’re a FAN of capitalism and you say that Capitalism… is actually a BRILLIANT way to set things up…because it’s essentially forced morality. The thinking is look we’re trying to manage a society here…and there’s no GUARANTEE that ANYBODY gets off the couch and does ANYTHING to contribute to this whole operation…so what Capitalism does is it forces people to either FIND SOME WAY to contribute a good or service that other people want…or else…ya STARVE to death. They’ll say this is a GOOD thing this is a way to GET people DOING the things we NEED people to do. Now, an anarchist would OBVIOUSLY see that as coercive and NOT how society should be set up. But they WOULD no doubt AGREE with the idea that the CHOICE that people really have is to either PARTICIPATE in the Capitalist system…or starve to death. But that’s not really a CHOICE…they would say. So this whole idea that this is all VOLUNTARY so it’s not really a hierarchy we gotta worry about… is just inaccurate. ANOTHER problem anarcho communists are gonna have with all this is that Capitalism…is NOT in fact a system that NATURALLY GRAVITATES towards a decentralization of power. The ENTIRE THING they’d say…is BUILT around an imbalance of power…you have a small handful of people who control the means of production and private property…and then the REST of society who WORKS for them, creates a SURPLUS of value with their LABOR, that the capitalist then TAKES and justifies it as their PAYMENT for taking all that RISK to own the means of production. But then consider what ALWAYS seems to happen: THAT wealth is then used to acquire MORE wealth. Nothing wrong with that. And then THAT wealth is used to further dominate the market that the company is currently competing in. SQUEEZING out their competitors. This is what HAPPENS in a competitive system like capitalism. And then just keep following this domino effect into the future far enough until you arrive at the REALITY… of companies then USING their market dominance and abundance of resources to use MEDIA to influence consumer decisions…you know…what companies USUALLY do when they advertise. Again the capitalist CAN SAY all they want…that the market is self correcting...that when there’s a bad company people can just go shop somewhere else...but what happens… when we have something like what the MEDIA’S become in today’s world…where it’s GROWN into something SO POWERFUL that it’s capable of SHAPING the VERY PREFERENCES and PERCEPTIONS of the people that are MAKING these consumer choices. Is that liberty? Is that a free market where consumer choices are going to self-correct and GUIDE us to the right decisions? I mean right now… if you take a look at the media and what it is, there are just a few MASSIVE corporations that control MOST of the media that people consume. Now CONSIDER that for a second. If there was THAT much centralized control over media in some OTHER area, say it was controlled by the government…we’d just call that a ministry of propaganda. But under capitalism…it’s just called good business. See that’s maybe the more GENERAL CRITIQUE here from an anarcho-communist to an anarcho capitalist…that the anarcho-capitalist has focused SO HARD on how dangerous the GOVERNMENT is as a hierarchy…that they’ve practically IGNORED all the OTHER GLARING EXAMPLES of hierarchies that are STARING them in the face…that are most of the time MORE dangerous than government. SO MANY THINGS we’ve mentioned on recent episodes since we’ve been covering modern day philosophy. An anarchist that’s TRULY committed to FINDING these in the world around them DOESN’T have to look too far. What are the things that REALLY have control over peoples lives– is it the government? Well yes, to an extent. And corporations like we’re talking about for sure! They’re often so powerful… that they control the government just through successful lobbying. How about financial institutions in particular, how much power do THEY have when it comes to determining what’s possible? Again, how about the media? Is THAT something with power we have to worry about? Media has the power to control someone’s entire WORLDVIEW…it not ONLY gives them the information they use to construct a worldview…but then it ALSO gives them the OPINIONS they’re supposed to HAVE about it. How bout technology, our digital panopticon, and its INCREASING ability to lock people in little algorithmic CELLS that they can’t see out of? Or tech’s ability to run surveillance and keep a record on practically everything that you do. How bout our schools and universities that control what type of bias is going to be academically endorsed THIS particular decade? The SAME universities that control WHO gets tenure, WHO will be a thought leader in the coming years for us to look to for guidance. How bout religions or ideologies or how about examples of power that’s held over people SIMPLY because of their group identity? See we’re not LIVING in a world where government is the only form of power we have to worry about. In fact you COULD say that a NECESSARY skill for SURVIVAL in our modern world… is being able to pay attention to all these different mechanisms of control as though they’re PREDATORS. Noam Chomsky says that what an anarcho capitalist is TRULY advocating… though they often don’t even realize it…is what will eventually become a pure corporate tyranny. It’s funny because it’s BASED on good intentions…as he says Ancaps say that freedom… is essentially people being able to do whatever they want. But their MISTAKE he thinks is that they’re not FULLY playing out the consequences of what they’re suggesting and he thinks that WHAT we will end up with…are companies who have “security services” that have transformed into armies. We’d have domination over the media and corporate monopolies and technology…and we’d HAVE these going on in a world…where we’d NO LONGER have a government to be able protect us from them. See this is WHY someone like Chomsky advocates for USING the power of the government that we STILL have… to REGULATE these OTHER forms of power. Let’s USE government to regulate technology, media, financial institutions, economic policy…and then once we get THESE things under control… THEN we can start having the BIGGER conversations about getting rid of the government and organizing things in a more bottom up way. And that all SOUNDS really great in theory. Sometimes you need power to take out a more dangerous form of power. But to a LOT of anarchists INCLUDING Chomsky…THAT solution’s filled with a bunch of potential problems as well. Take for example the reality of how regulation CURRENTLY fails in today’s world. Governments ALREADY… TRY to REGULATE companies…but it’s not a coincidence that a lot of people in high ranking government positions USED to have high ranking positions in companies. It’s not a coincidence that K street and lobbyists are a thing. It’s not a coincidence that regulatory capture is something that commonly goes on…and so at the VERY least… this is all MUCH easier said than done. But then if we CAN’T rely on the GOVERNMENT as a tool to bring this stuff about…what SHOULD we be doing? It can be TEMPTING to think if companies are so powerful should we all just start a company, become a billionaire, buy a social media platform and start spreading the gospel? Well I guess that’s ONE way…but how about the REST of us who CAN’T do that? I mean anarchists throughout this series so far have CERTAINLY provided a LOT of reasonable alternatives to MOST of these powerful institutions in society…for example instead of companies they might suggest worker co-ops. Instead of central banking they might support community lending. Instead of universities they might support alternative schooling or unschooling. And the list goes on. But as we’ve said before… to GET to the world where these sorts of anarchist alternatives can WORK…its gonna require DIFFERENT values and DIFFERENT social NORMS than what we currently have. And it can SEEM to SOME people on the outside LISTENING IN to these sorts of conversations that to even TALK about this hypothetical world of solutions without FIRST talking about HOW we’re actually going to CHANGE people’s values…it can come off to some people as disingenuous. Self indulgent. Like some anarchists are not CONCERNED with the real world as it IS…they’re just interested in having an overly intellectual discussion that should ONLY go on at an academic seminar as Chomsky says. But if you’re somebody looking at the state of the world and you want greater levels of liberty, equality and solidarity…there’s a point in these discussions where you gotta start talking about the real, actionable things that people can DO if they want to be on the right side of that change. And what you’ll often HEAR from the REASONABLE people on this side that aren’t talking about a violent revolution…is the SAME sort of starting SMALL conversation that we already addressed on the Bookchin episode. That if you want to CHANGE people’s VALUES…start SMALL…start by just supporting critical thinking. Support after school programs and communities that try to FOSTER critical thinking about the world. Support ANY individual person you come across in your life that GENUINELY wants to learn more about SOCIAL issues. Support ANYONE who genuinely wants to develop that EMPATHY for the perspective of the other. Support ANY program that tries to make it a priority to CARE MORE about your fellow human beings around you… than they do about someone salsa dancing with their dog on a TikTok video. And I get it. I know all this can sound like I’m youth pastor Steve…oh wow! We’re gonna change the world one little smile at a time. And on that note there’s of course a much more cynical line someone could TAKE with all this discussion. Something an optimistic philosophy podcast like this…MAY have forgotten to ever consider…what if it’s too late? What if the society that we’re talking about with ALL of its entrenched power structures and corruption…what if it’s too far gone to save? What if all these TACTICS to CHANGE THE VALUES of people are really just the death throes of a desperate person who WANTS to help SO BAD, but sadly is just wasting their time because no matter how much effort they put into it…people are just gonna KEEP doing what they do they’re gonna keep getting their spray tans, buying their butt implants, buying their shiny watches and shoes…THIS is what is going to MATTER to people UNTIL the ENTIRE ship finishes sinking and everything gets a reset. You could think that way…and you wouldn’t be the first person to become cynical about the way the world is, and give up. But cynicism is a drug. It numbs you to the pain that’s going on around you. It enables you to look at the things you care about that keep getting you to FEEL A certain way when you see them…and just put them off until tomorrow. And then tomorrow again. Cynicism… is a lot like other drugs where whenever you indulge in it a bit too much…you start to blame everyone else for the reasons why you’re using it. Ironically…what someone from the outside may see as an anarchist delusion…that all we NEED for the WORLD to change is for everyone’s VALUES to change! Yeah! And how some people might see that as avoiding the real question. There’s ANOTHER way to interpret that whole line of thinking… which is that the individual values that people hold…at LEAST where we are now…they STILL DO HAVE a lot of POWER in DETERMINING how the world takes shape. Again, you can be CYNICAL about whether most people are going to get there…but the fact is: YOU still exist in a world where you’re making consumer choices. You ARE supporting CERTAIN causes over others. You ARE investing time. And even if it’s through a REFUSAL to consciously support anything…you STILL END UP supporting SOMETHING. And look, history is FILLED with examples of things that STARTED as small, grassroots movements, things that had FAILED before in the past many times… but then when the RIGHT sequence of events took place… people took small steps that collectively made a difference and people were left with greater levels of liberty equality and solidarity on the other side of it. And FORGET about anarchism for a second…MOST people WANT greater levels of liberty equality and solidarity for people…WHATEVER that means to them. Most people would agree, anarchist or not, that if we’re imagining the world with the most liberty, equality and solidarity that makes sense…this world ain’t it. See, the fact is BOTH of these things could be true at once. It COULD be true that society is past the point of no return…AND it could be true at the same TIME…that there are TONS of examples from history where small movements catch fire and end up doing a lot of good. The question that MATTERS if you’re a person going through your daily life…is what sort of life do you want to live? Do you want to live a life of cynicism with no responsibility…which, can sound pretty good honestly…OR if the SHIP that you’re on is sinking… would you rather go out while at least putting up a fight? And when it comes to CONTEMPORARY philosophy…the CONVERSATIONS going on right now…this is ONE lens that you can start to understand it all through. You can take what can SEEM at FIRST like a TON of different, very FRAGMENTED goals that these philosophers have…and understand them ALL as different attempts to address these non-governmental POWER structures, so that the world may have even a LITTLE more liberty equality and solidarity…these are ALL people that are UNIFIED in the sense that they have decided that they’re not going down without a fight. Take thinkers like Martha Nussbaum or Michael Sandel…with their focus on civic ethics and political participation and liberty…take thinkers like Cornel West or Naomi Klein…focusing on intersectionality, bringing SOLIDARITY to a bunch of DIFFERENT groups that want greater social representation…groups that in the past have seen their causes as entirely separate. Take a thinker like Judith Butler, the ways that SHE’S supporting critical thinking as per our examples from before…and I guess finally…take ANOTHER person who’s supporting the cause of thinking critically about the ideologies that determine people’s thinking. He’s a man that MANY of you have no doubt heard of before. He’s a bit of a character in the best way possible. And while in the coming months on this podcast will talk about ALL these different thinkers we just mentioned…the ONE we’re going to talk about next…is Slavoj Zizek. And as it turns out…I recently heard from his people in my email…and they told me he’d be available for an interview…if that’s something that the listeners would want. So let me know either way. Thank you for listening. Talk to you next time.

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