Travis Hallman, 7/15/2018
Agorism and Partyarchism are both libertarian social philosophies that advocate for all relations between people to be voluntary exchanges. However, they both have very different means. Agorists claim that such a society could be more readily established by employing methods such as:
- direct action
- alternative currencies
- self sufficiency
- civil disobedience
- counter-economics (AKA black markets)
The purpose of employing these methods of self-governance is to defund the state until it cannot afford to exist.
Partyarchs pursue a free-society through political parties via campaigning, voting, and holding offices. This includes the vetoing of draconian legislation, as well as passing bills designed to allow for greater freedom.
The debate between these methods has raged for decades, possibly millennia. It is worth considering that there may be no single, conclusive right or wrong path to a free society.
The study or practice of self-governance is very insightful by helping people realize they do not need a government in order to progress in a peaceful manner. Homeschooling is an example of autonomy which teaches parents that government-funded schools are not necessary. Here are a couple of examples, in support of agorism, that teach how civil disobedience and counter-economics can effectively cause politicians to remove laws:
According to Civil Disobedience Weekly, “Gandhi led the Salt March in 1930, in order to eliminate the Salt Tax, a tax on salt, which harmed India’s poor population. The Salt Tax was beneficial to the British as they financed subjugation of India by the Salt Tax. If having India as a colony was no longer profitable for the British, the Indians thought they would eventually leave. This did end up happening, because after World War II, the British did not want to stay. They did not want to raise taxes from their own people for a war against India, and they did not want to spend their money on a war.”
According to Freedom Leaf, “Large gatherings of pot smokers in Colorado each year on 4/20 signaled the public groundswell of support for legalization. Major events that include public smoking, like Seattle Hempfest and the Boston Freedom Rally, have served as the main vehicles for political reform.”
However, is self-governance the only path to a free society? The laws would not have been removed if the politicians didn’t consent to removing them.
Here are a few examples of counter-economics that have been practiced around the world:
According to The New Libertarian Manifesto on page 20 (written in 1983):
“In the Soviet Union, a bastion of arch-statism and a nearly totally collapsed ‘official’ economy, a giant black market provides the Russians, Armenian, Ukrainian and others with everything from food to television repair to official papers and favors from the ruling class. As the Guardian Weekly reports, Burma is almost a total black market with the government reduced to an army, police, and a few strutting politicians. In varying degrees, this is true of nearly all the Second and Third Worlds.
Italy, for example, has a ‘problem’ of a large part of its civil services which works officially from 7 A.M. to 2 P.M. working unofficially at various jobs the rest of the day earning ‘black’ money.
The Netherlands has a large black market in housing because of the high regulation of this industry. Denmark has a tax evasion movement so large that those in it seduced to politics have formed the second largest party. .. Currency controls are evaded rampantly; in France, for example, everyone is assumed to have a large gold stash and trips to Switzerland for more than touring and skiing are commonplace.
According to the American Internal Revenue Service, at least twenty million people belong in the ‘underground economy’ of tax evaders using cash to avoid detections of transactions or barter exchange. Millions keep money in gold or in foreign accounts to avoid the hidden taxation of inflation. Millions of ‘illegal aliens’ are employed, according to the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Millions more deal or consume marijuana and other prescribed drugs, including laetrile and forbidden medical material.
And there are all the practitioners of ‘victimless crimes.’ Besides drug use, there are prostitution, pornography, bootlegging, false identification papers, gambling, and proscribed sexual conduct between consenting adults.
But it doesn’t stop here. Since the 55 mph speed limit enacted federally in the U.S., most Americans have become counter-economic drivers. The trucking industry has developed CB communications to evade state enforcement of regulations. For independents who can make four runs at 75 mph rather than three runs at 55 mph, counter-economic driving is a question of survival.
The ancient custom of smuggling thrives today from boatloads of marijuana and foreign appliances with high tariffs and truckloads of people from less- developed countries to the tourists stashing a little extra in their luggage and not reporting to customs agents.”
Citizens are not directly culpable for the system in place; however, how do agorists justify reconciling their means to a free society with traveling on government-funded roads or using federal reserve notes for trading or providing commonwealth government identifiers (such as a social security number and a zip code) to attain a job? Is it possible, at all, to be a pure agorist in the United States of America? If an agorist is anything less than pure then is it still self governance?
Agorists only support engaging in political activity as a means to educate voters about the unnecessity of voting. According to The New Libertarian Manifesto on page 28 (written in 1983), “The best form of organization is a Libertarian Alliance in which you steer the members from political activity (where they have blindly gone seeking relief from oppression) and focus on education, publicity, recruitment and perhaps some anti-political campaigning (i.e. ‘Vote For Nobody,’ ‘None of the Above’, ‘Boycott the Ballot,’ ‘Don’t Vote, It Only Encourages Them!’ etc.) to publicize the libertarian Alternative.”
According to The American, “Only 1.3 percent of the total population—38,818 people—cast ballots in the first presidential election.” Yet, a ruling class was still created. How do agorists intend to get 100% of the population to refrain from voting? This task is seemingly impossible considering how many citizens want a voice in the political arena.
What are some large/major efforts taken by agorists to educate the public about the benefits of a free society? Do agorists voluntarily create collectives to educate others on the benefits of a free society? Please visit the bottom of this article to view a list of agorists.
The entirety of the Libertarian Party is a large/major effort taken by partyarchs collectivizing to educate the public about the benefits of a free society. Partyarchs seem to be championing this field of educating others. Please visit the bottom of this article to view a list of partyarchs.
The following questions are intended to challenge the philosophical means of agorists:
- If offered, would you accept the opportunity to present the benefits of a free society on a government funded tv channel?
- Since aggression is ethically justified as self-defense and voting for statists causes aggression toward yourself and/or others; then would voting for partyarchs be self-defense?
- Is agorism appealing to minarchists, classical liberals, right-anarchists, and other interpretations of the non-aggression principle?
The following questions are intended to challenge the philosophical means of partyarchs:
- Would you not engage in profitable civil disobedience and/or counter-economics if you were presented with an opportunity?
- How do you intend to defund and dismantle the state if everyone exclusively engages in the white market?
- If elected, would you resort to agorist means if the state resisted your legislation creating a free society?
Are the means from each social philosophy so different that the two cannot work together toward a voluntary society? Seemingly, everyone engages in some amount of agorism, whether paying the least amount possible in taxes, bartering (without payment of taxes), civil disobedience (such as consuming cannabis), gardening, or something entirely different. This includes agorists, partyarchs, and everyone else. According to The New Libertarian Manifesto on page 21 (written in 1983), “To some extent, then, everybody is a counter-economist! And this is predictable from libertarian theory. Nearly every aspect of human action has statist legislation, prohibiting, regulating or controlling it.”
The New Libertarian Manifesto (written in 1983) on pages 28 – 31 describes the transition from a statist society to a free society using agorist means; beginning with phase 0 and ending at phase 4. The author describes part of phase 3 in the following manner, “Wars and rampant inflation with depressions and crack-ups become perpetual as the State attempts to redeem its authority.” This statement begs to ask the question, “Would the state initiate aggressive wars if the state consists predominantly of partyarchs or would the partyarchs simply allow for a free society (considering that’s also the end goal of partyarchs)?”
Agorism “vs” partyarchism is a false dichotomy. The two are not competitive in reality; whereas, partyarchism with agorism would be cooperative and compatible. At minimum, the supporters of either philosophical means can work together to educate others about the benefits of a free society.
Consistencies offer legitimacy to any philosophy. As written in The New Libertarian Manifesto on page 3 (written in 1983), “Consistency of ends, of means, of ends and means.” Agorists claim that since there would be no political arena in the end then engaging in a political arena as a means would be inconsistent. However, the political arena is aggressive so using aggression as defense would be justified ethically. This remains consistent with the means and end because aggression (unfortunately) will always occur; so defensively using aggression as a means would not be inconsistent with the end. Here is a short video detailing how aggression would be resolved in a free society.
According to Lysander Spooner, “In truth, in the case of individuals, their actual voting is not to be taken as proof of consent, even for the time being. On the contrary, it is to be considered that, without his consent having even been asked a man finds himself environed by a government that he cannot resist; a government that forces him to pay money, render service, and forego the exercise of many of his natural rights, under peril of weighty punishments. He sees, too, that other men practice this tyranny over him by the use of the ballot. He sees further, that, if he will but use the ballot himself, he has some chance of relieving himself from this tyranny of others, by subjecting them to his own. In short, he finds himself, without his consent, so situated that, if he use[s] the ballot, he may become a master; if he does not use it, he must become a slave. And he has no other alternative than these two. In self- defence, he attempts the former. His case is analogous to that of a man who has been forced into battle, where he must either kill others, or be killed himself. Because, to save his own life in battle, a man takes the lives of his opponents, it is not to be inferred that the battle is one of his own choosing. Neither in contests with the ballot — which is a mere substitute for a bullet — because, as his only chance of self-preservation, a man uses a ballot, is it to be inferred that the contest is one into which he voluntarily entered; that he voluntarily set up all his own natural rights, as a stake against those of others, to be lost or won by the mere power of numbers. On the contrary, it is to be considered that, in an exigency into which he had been forced by others, and in which no other means of self-defence offered, he, as a matter of necessity, used the only one that was left to him.”
Here is a long list of individual agorists educating others about the benefits of a free society: Larken Rose, Patrick Smith, Peter Kallman, James Corbett, Derrick Broze, J. Neil Schulman, Wally Conger, Gary Greenberg, and very few more.
Here is a short list of partyarchs educating others about the benefits of a free society: Adam Kokesh, Darryl Perry, Mary J. Ruwart, Arvin Vohra, John McAfee, Will Coley, Craig Bowden, Caryn Ann Harlos, and very many more. *Disclaimer: the partyarchs on this list have engaged in the political arena with serious intentions of using their elected political positions to work toward a free society and may or may not have engaged or supported agorist means too.
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