For a Libertarian Communism is a collection of translations from the French communist writer Daniel Guerin. The title implies that the theory inside will include or at least make use of libertarianism, but this is not the case. Instead, Guerin has a slightly different flavor of communism that he is trying to sell.
Unfortunately, Guerin’s brand of communism is not novel enough that the average ancap needs to learn about it. Only those who are doing historical research are likely to benefit from reading this book. You can read the full text here.
Guerin says that, in pursuit of equality and liberty, the libertarian communist movement must resign itself to:
…imposing its will on the majority, first and preferentially through persuasion, and, if persuasion fails, by force.
Some like to describe ancaps as alt-right or right-wing libertarians. The reason is that in the American political spectrum, right-wing politicians occasionally use rhetoric that is somewhat close to what an ancap would think and say. For example, the technically-true but misleading “taxes are too high” or an insincere variant of “property owners should get to decide how to use their property”.
With friends like that, who needs enemies? Yet, the American-left’s hysterical call to follow Venezuela into the 9th level of hell is so abhorrent that Continue reading →
Pompeii was a wealthy city in Southern Italy until its population was destroyed by the eruption of a neighboring volcano in the year 79 CE. However, the eruption left much of the city intact, and preserved it under several meters of ash. It is slowly being dug out and has become a tourist attraction where people go to see what life was like at the beginning of the common era.
Pompeii was impressive for its orderly neighborhoods, metal water pipes, and some clever civil engineering. It was much smaller, and much less grand, than the city of Rome located a short distance to the north. Yet, in comparison, Pompeii seems to shine as a city that never lived past its prime. Rome, on the other hand, is a shadow of its former glory.
The interesting question, however, is not whether Pompeii would have suffered the same decline as Rome, but why so many civilizations seem to rise and fall with the historical tide. Is it part of human nature that societies must decay? Continue reading →
Ludwig von Mises’ last book is an examination of social sciences as they are and as they should be. Mises characteristically spends time excoriating historians who pretend to be economists. His main effort, however, is on the proper delineation between psychology, economics, thymology, and, of course, history.
For those who have read Human Action, the distinction between historical science and economic science is well known. When a so-called economist models the price of onions in Venice in the 1850s, he is not furthering economic knowledge, but simply using mathematics to relate what happened in the past. That this work provides no economic insight and has no predictive power is a central theme of Theory and History.
Furthermore, Mises attacks supposed economic theories that are actually theories of history, and bad ones at that. He embarrasses Marxism for its foundational beliefs that technology determines the social state of affairs and that history is on an inevitable trend towards a final state of socialism. With his typical dry humor, Mises tears apart collectivist ideologies, though some may seem obscure to a modern reader.