Two Projects Of Social Technology



Grant Gould respoonds to Patri's post in the comments below as follows.

I have increasingly been coming to see libertarianism as two related-but-different projects of social technology.

The first, and perhaps less immediately important of these is the anarchist project: The development of social institutions and mental models that could make some point north of big-government democracy a stable point. This includes notions like seasteading, development of insurance market technlogy that can recreate the “social safety-net” in a voluntarist fashion, systems of private adjudication and arbitration, and the like. People will never choose to go to or remain in a free society unless they can get certain things that the state has traditionally provided, and the state has a serious advantage since its monopoly has stifled development of these fields and given it centuries of head-start on us.

The second, and perhaps more immediately important of these is the liberal project: The maintainance of states free enough that people can work on the anarchist project. Once upon a time the “killer app” here was revolution. These days “killer app” seems to be constitutional democracy. It is no coincidence that the United States has been home to most of the recent work on the anarchist project. You can’t be totally free in a democracy, and a democracy cannot help but slowly erode its constitutional bounds, but classical liberalism bought us a good century to play with, and it has not been squandered.

So to me the questions are, first, what are the remaining holes in the anarchist project – what is the to-do list before kicking off a seastead or what-have-you – and, second, what must be done to keep liberty alive for the century or two needed to get those done.

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what is the to-do list

what is the to-do list before kicking off a seastead or what-have-you

Find someone who wants to live on one. :)

Even more crudely put:

Even more crudely put: offense and defense.

Offense (new and improved voluntary institutions) makes defense easier and more interesting. The world changes and a defense left with the same old arguments will weaken.

Discovering holes in the anarchist project and to-do before launching a seastead or similar are very different but somewhat complementary.

I think fighting the security state is most important for keeping liberty alive to the extent needed to work on radical projects. The welfare state permits competitive research, the warfare/security state may not. (Of course the two aren't independent.)

One of the biggest problems

One of the biggest problems with the "anarchist project" (which I support) is its name. As long as people associate anarchism with chaos, or with turn-of-the-twentieth-century assassins and terrorists, our cause is lost before it has even begun.

As irrational as it is, there is no way "rape oil" can compete with "canola" in the marketplace, even though chemically they are identical. "Anarchy" is the rape oil of politics—full of healthy goodness, but with a catastrophic brand name that makes it a non-starter.

We need some rebranding, and fast.

Economic prosperity is the

Economic prosperity is the greatest weapon there is. As intelligent leaders of smaller monarchies realize that the key to the US's economic prosperity has been its liberty, more and more of them will start to loosen their stranglehold on their own economies and "let the market work." In my opinion this can only work in a monarchy because democracies will always tend to vote themselves back into slavery. Of course, it can also work in an anarchy like Somalia where you have warlords keeping each other from becoming a government.

I think our most important to-do is to keep reminding the world of the connection between liberty and prosperity. Educate people that for example things aren't as horrible as the media would let them believe in Somalia. When those two words come to mean the same thing in people's minds, they will start automatically questioning the cost of deviation.

It's funny, because the

It's funny, because the answer should be pretty obvious to free-market and capitalist types.

What do you need? Lots of money. You are definitely correct that liberal representative nations are the most fertile ground for this -- become a gazillionaire. Have your friends become gazillionaires. Then you can really do whatever you want, from setting up your Anarchotopia island, or just getting elected president of this country and setting in motion your nefarious plans.

The problem that occurs, however, is that when you become a gazillionaire, you basically have already achieved all the things you personally might have wanted from your crazy anarchist vision.

One of the biggest problems

One of the biggest problems with the “anarchist project” (which I support) is its name. As long as people associate anarchism with chaos, or with turn-of-the-twentieth-century assassins and terrorists, our cause is lost before it has even begun.

Well put and right on the money. Many libertarians, including myself, are oft not terribly good at projecting our ideas to others who are not "in the know". There needs to be a better name for the project.

Patri, I’m sure you know

Patri, I’m sure you know about all this stuff but how about this?

http://www.slate.com/id/2030/

As for me, I always refer to

As for me, I always refer to it as voluntarism and liberalism. I don't bother trying to reclaim the word anarchy because I don't reject the archos. I just reject the idea that we need a big, centralized, monopolized, & coercive archos. Polyarchos, or, better yet, Catallarchos :grin:

"As irrational as it is,

"As irrational as it is, there is no way “rape oil” can compete with “canola” in the marketplace, even though chemically they are identical. “Anarchy” is the rape oil of politics—full of healthy goodness, but with a catastrophic brand name that makes it a non-starter."

I always found that odd, here it is called rapeseed oil. I had never even heard of canola before visiting the USA! Then again we have had supermarkets change the name of Spotted Dick (a culinary masterpiece) and other such idiotic self-censorship. Seems like 'political correctness gone mad'(TM) to me and I think our self-appointed moral guardians are of the opinion that the rest of the populace is too stupid to differentiate between abusive and benign uses of such words.

Having said that I would advise anyone from across the pond against marketing 'fanny bags' in Great Britain!