The Website of the Propertarian Party

PropertarianHQ is the headquarters for the Propertarian movement in North America.  We are a new party looking to challenge the current two party system in the United States.  The Propertarian Party believes in the sovereignty of every individual, and in that individual’s right to use his property as he sees fit so long as he does not aggress against the property and person of others.

The goal of the Propertarians is in our motto: Maximum Freedom for a Just Society.  We want to expand the freedom of the individual to its maximum limits that a completely contractual society will allow.  This includes reducing the powers of all levels of government, and giving that power to the individual as far as possible.  The Propertarians believe that all actions should be made voluntarily, and nobody should be forced to acknowledge an authority they do not want to live under.  We believe in the power of the individual to plan his own destiny, and the wonderful economic prosperity and social stability brought on by private property, free markets, and contracts.  Only when the individual is allowed complete sovereignty can there be a just society.

 

 

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AnCaps Must Do Something

Anarcho-Capitalism is a wonderful political philosophy.  It calls for abolishing the morally bankrupt institution called the State, and it understands that man’s ultimate freedom comes from an uncompromising recognition of property rights found in the economic system of the free market.  This makes it the ultimate moral, political, and economic system.

Despite all of its merits there is one fatal flaw in the Anarcho-Capitalist (AnCap) group, and that is their strategy for changing society.  There are two ways to change a society 1) through peaceful means by engaging in the political system, or 2) through violent revolution.  Both of these methods require education to gain the acceptance of a sizable portion of the population in order to create a stable society.

First of all, the anarcho-capitalists are not succeeding in laying a foundation to bring people to their cause.  This is not to say there are no great ancap intellectuals.  There are many such intellectuals, for example Tom Woods, Robert Murphy, Hans Hoppe, and others, but these men are excluded from academia and mainstream media.  This reality means that laymen are the main spokes people for the ancap movement.

Sadly this has not gone well.  Many amateur ancaps either stick to their own little group, and they give off an arrogant vibe.  On the other hand many anarchist come on strong with their ideology frightening away many potential listeners.  Of course many ancaps are struck down before they can begin simply by the name anarcho-capitalist, but I have written about this elsewhere.  A quick note on the name though, it would be good to change the name to end the silly debate of whether anarcho-capitalist are really anarchist or not.  Its really not that important, and the debate is just always something that is a distraction and an annoyance.

Another problem within the anarchist’s camp is how divided the movement is.  There are several key issues that have split the movement e.g. boarders, identity politics, cultural issues, etc. This division has made it very difficult for ancaps to unite and actually get anything done.  Also a movement which is constantly divided and bickering with each other is very unattractive to outsiders.  I believe, they fall into many of the problems that mainstream libertarianism falls into.

I know much of this is very unattractive to other ancaps, but these are things which need to be discussed.  A name change is important to make the movement more attractive, and ancaps need to be willing to treat other groups more diplomatically instead of calling them a bunch of brainwashed statist pigs.  This is the kind of pragmatism required to actually make an impact on the world, and it is a kind of pragmatism that does not ask us to abandon our principles.

But lets say the problem of transmitting the message was solved, how would an ancap change the political system.  It is my opinion that most ancaps would not be able to change the system.  As said above once a sizable part of the population agrees with an ideology there are two ways to change the political structure 1) through the political process or 2) revolution.

Of course no ancap has ever advocated revolution.  It is not desirable, and it would not be winnable, but what of a peaceful political process?

In modern America this means obtaining power through winning elections.  While I will write more on this later in this article I am focusing on the problem that most ancaps have with changing the system this way.

Most people in the anarcho-capitalist camp refuse to take part in the political system.  They believe, if they were to vote they would violate the Nonaggression Principle by forcing their will on others through their vote, and they believe that voting and participating in the political system gives legitimacy to the government.

I disagree with these sentiments.  Most voting is done defensively.  It is done to keep the worse of two candidates out of office, and it is done so people can better protect their property.  I realize this is by far not ideal means of defense, but at the moment it is all that is realistically available.  Also just because one participates in the political system does not mean he is giving it legitimacy.  Man only gives his consent to a system when he expressly gives his consent.

Sadly, it is only through the political process that positive change can occur.  Since the current ancap movement is unwilling to take part in the political process on a large scale and revolution is out of the question, anarcho-capitalism is doomed to be some radical fringe ideology that will fade away while its ideological enemies, who have no problem using the State to force others to comply, gain ever more power.  Luckily, the Propertarian Party has found a way that is consistent with the ideals of ultimate freedom to rectify these problems.

Beginning with the division problem, Propertarianism solves the problem by being a “thicker” form of libertarianism.  Instead of only advocating an abstract legal code, the propertarians realize that politically free societies are best realized in traditional Western culture.  A right leaning thick libertarianism also has the positive affect of attracting a larger base of average Americans, and it makes the Party more uniform by giving it a culture and a more encompassing philosophy taking away everybody’s ability to make libertarianism whatever they want it to be.

When dealing with outside groups the propertarian is pragmatic and delivers his message with a nuance.  This is not a watering down of his principles because the goal of abolishing government does not change and is always at the forefront.  This is always the ultimate end goal, but the way that goal is reached and how the message is put across needs to be thought through carefully.  For example, propertarians never refer to themselves as anarchists because of all the negative connotations this word has.

What about how propertarians want to change the current system? Can they change the system and be coherent with their stated philosophy?  The answer, or course, is yes.  Again like normal ancaps, propertarians do not advocate for a revolution because it is not desirable nor would it be winnable without unimaginable costs.  It is through the political process the propertarians will change things.

I have written elsewhere on a propertarian strategy.  Here I would simply like to say that voting and participating in politics is not a violation of NAP.  It is a defensive justifiable violence if it is done for propertarian purposes especially trying to gain independence from a corrupt and evil government.  This is best achieved at the local level through independence movements.

As we have seen current anarcho-capitalist’s theory does not allow for an effective way to change an existing society into an anarcho-capitalist one.  Mostly there strategy is just to complain and argue with each other on some obscure online chat rooms.  If the movement is to have any hope many things will have to change.  Outreach will have to be improved, and ancaps will have to unite in order to take control of politics.  Otherwise the anarcho-capitalists will simply fade away as a viable option while their opponents gain evermore control.

 

 

 

The Propertarian Break from the Libertarian Party

Since its founding in 1971 the Libertarian Party has never been more than a fringe party in American politics.  The Party’s candidates have had moderate success in local elections, but the Party has never had a major candidate sent to the U.S. Congress, and the most an LP presidential candidate has received in the popular vote was 3.27%.  Why has the Libertarian Party preformed so poorly over the years, and where does propertarianism fit into the libertarian landscape?

Let’s start with the problems of the Libertarian Party.  The main problem with libertarianism is that it means almost anything these days.  Just think about all the types of “libertarianism.  There are anarcho-capitalist, minarchist, weeditarians, bleeding heart libertarians, and more.  This is only possible because, strictly speaking, libertarianism is only a basic legal code based on the Nonaggression Principle, and it generally says nothing about the ethics more broadly.

In addition, libertarianism has so many different philosophical backgrounds.  This has created an environment where some libertarians support abolishing the State and allowing for unfettered capitalism while other libertarians want to keep the State and use it to help minorities and to abolish “social pressure”.  All this has made cooperation between even minutely differentiated libertarian groups, especially on the Right, almost impossible.  How can those who believe in a limited government work with those who want to abolish the State, or how could those want unfettered capitalism work with those who view private property as oppressive and illegitimate?  If you want a quick glance of the never ending bickering between these groups just look at a libertarian Facebook group.

Of course some of the groups listed above are on the fringe of libertarianism, so we need to look more in depth at mainstream libertarianism.  Most of the mainstream movement is portrayed as a center of the road ideology between the Democrats and the Republicans, and they try to gain appeal with slogans such as “fiscally conservative, socially liberal”.  This is a terrible appeal though.  American politics is very divided now, and instead of trying to find a middle of the road solution most people are moving to one side of the American political spectrum.  In reality this translates to American liberals believing libertarians are capitalist pigs who want the poor to die, and conservatives think libertarians are commie pinkos who just want to smoke dope.  So instead of having a broad appeal libertarians just alienate themselves.

In any case though a middle of the road policy is a terrible libertarian goal anyway.  First of all, these policies is not exciting at all especially for those who are tired of the political status quo.  Also, as Mises showed in his essay “Middle of the Road Policies Lead to Socialism”, mainstream libertarian goals are self destructive.  Many mainstream libertarians still want a central bank, taxation, welfare programs, and other statist measures.  These libertarians want to limit these powers of government, but with this ideas they run into the problem of a utopian limited government which will eventually break the constraints placed upon it.

So where does Propertarianism fit into all this?  Propertarian ideology is on the right of the libertarian spectrum.  They believe in shrinking or abolishing government, and they want the free market to provide the services currently provided by the private sector.  The propertarian realizes that not just any philisophical and cultural background will ensure an eviroment liberty, but that only the philosophy and bourgeois culture of the West is the best way to ensure liberty.  Of course, since libertarianism is based on NAP which is only a legal code, this makes Propertarianism, as a political movement, a thicker form of libertarianism.

Because of all the problems with the general umbrella term “libertarianism”, I advocate for a split from the libertarian party.  Without the encumbrance of the mainstream libertarians, propertarians could actually take steps to get something done politically.  Instead of trying to appease a right leaning base who needs some reforming, and a libertarian base, the party could focus on catering to a larger base of support.  This could prevent the cycle of alienating more and more groups.

In addition, splitting from the libertarians would draw in those propertarians who have not yet found a home because they do not agree with the Republican or Libertarian Parties.  Also being independent from a terrible coalition would allow us to put out our message on our own terms, instead of having to water down that message to prevent infighting.

A new movement needs a new and independent party.  Propertarians can no longer latch on to an increasingly leftist and fracturing Libertarian Party.  In order to be effective this party must have a broader appeal than a fractured Libertarian Party can offer.  In order to succeed propertarians must find a way for themselves by uniting into a solid front.

 

The Propertarian Strategy

With Propertarianism becoming a larger and more widespread movement it is time we developed a pragmatic strategy to take back our freedom.  Much of this work has been done by the great intellectual Hans Hermann Hoppe in his work What Must Be Done.  In this post, I would like to take and expand Hoppe’s view of what a propertarian strategy should look like.

The propertarian’s have four tactics to achieve our overall goal.  Of course the ultimate end goal is to create a propertarain society of our own, and the four pillars to bring that society into reality are organization, education, national politics, and local politics.

Organization is key for the propertarian movement.  Propertarians need to create their own organizations, clubs, events, think tanks, etc.  We can no longer rely solely on mainstream libertarian outlets to help and support us.  One look through either the Young Americans for Liberty or Libertarian Party’s comment section will show these groups are anti-anarchist and in some cases really rather statist.  Also mainstream libertarianism is not going anywhere, and it does not really stand for anything, but I will cover that in a later post.

Separating from mainstream libertarianism and uniting under propertarianism would be beneficial for our movement.  First of all, it would allow us to form a community of actually like minded individuals to support each other, and to break the isolation of being on the ideological fringe.  In addition, a unified and organized front does lend legitimacy to our cause because most people are more likely to listen to ideas if these ideas has a following.  Having our own think tanks and political organizations would allow the propertarian message to be clear and unadulterated because we would not need to alter our message to appease some shaky coalition that is not going anywhere e.g. libertarianism, and propertarians would be able to lobby for a freer government on their own terms if they were independent.

Organizing the propertarain movement helps with the second tactic of education.  Obviously education is very important for our ideology to flourish because without the ideas of Propertarianism being known and understood it is hard to bring a propertarian society into reality.

Propertarianism, now more than ever, has the ability to make a great impact on the American political scene.  Americans are tired of the two party system, and we saw this during the 2016 presidential election.  There were many democrats who wanted to promote a candidate further left than Hilary i.e. Bernie.  Many groups throughout America, like the antifa crowd, would be happy with someone further left than Bernie!

The same phenomenon happened to the Republicans.  Sure some Republicans wanted a centrist candidate, but it was still Trump who won the Presidency despite all of the establishment’s whining.  This is not an endorsement of Trump because his platform was never ancap and not even mainstream libertarian to begin.  What this does show however is that people are tired of the political establishment.

This anti-establishment sentiment is great for groups on the political fringe because it gives them an opportunity.  The people realize something is wrong, but they are not sure what exactly it is or what to do.This is where we come in.  We need to get the word out as best as we can to show the American public there is another way.

Of course we cannot work within the establishment framework which rules out mainstream media and academia.  This means our own propertarian think tanks and foundations need to be started.  There are some intellectuals who are propertarians, or at least sympathetic to its ideals, and they need to be united under one roof to maximize their output and effect.  Foundations such as the Mises Institute need to be promoted and contributed to more often by propertarains.  Propertarian media outlets could be estabished to report news from the propertarian point of view and give people a view different from CNN and Fox News.

Just because propertarians are locked out of the classroom does not mean we should not have a presence on college campuses.  Propertarian student unions and propertarian events on campus can be very profitable to spread liberty like was seen during the Ron Paul and Bernie Sanders phenomenons.

Not only is getting our message out important, but so is how we put that message.  Even though much of the population is open to try something new it cannot come off as some half baked idea since that will still turn a lot of people away.  It is important that propertarians show Propertarianism’s deep intellectual tradition.  This does not mean that we must water down our principles, but simply to put them in a way that is more palatable to the public.  Naturally not everybody will be attracted to Propertarianism.  Those on the far left or neoconservatives will probably not be interested in what we have to say regardless of how we say it.  But there is a large sect of the population who, I believe, would be interested e.g. libertarian conservatives, anarchists caught up in libertarian parties, and others.

It is the purpose of this website to help with these first two tactics of organization and education.  Propertarian HQ is a place for propertarians/ancaps to get together and support each other.  To form a community in order to help educate each other through debate, and to be a place full of resources and original material to help bring people into the propertarian fold.

Organization and education are the foundations for what are the third and fourth steps in our strategy.  This is the topic a politics, but I am breaking it down into two sections because national and local politics will need to be treated differently.

As propertarians we do not want to expend too much time and energy on the national stage.  Not because we do not want to see the entire United States embracing our ideals, but because we do not believe our party will profit much from national politics since places like New York and California are not very receptive to the idea of Liberty.  Of course for those who go into national politics abolishing taxation and regulation should be a goal, but their main focus should be to work with other politicians to bring about political decentralization and secession around the country.  Actually, I believe the best way for national politics to help our party is by using debates, commercials, etc. as a platform to spread our message with special focus on the importance of decentralization.

Finally, the last part of this discussion is the most important.  This last tactic is how we handle local politics.  Propertarianism is really a local grassroots movement with the motto, “think locally act locally”.  Since the goal of our party at the national level is political decentralization, it is important that we have a plan for once we become politically autonomous.  We need to look at this part of our strategy in a little bit more detail namely 1) what will happen in the locality specifically, and 2) how to deal with higher political authorities.

We will first discuss what to do in a specific locality.  Of course the first goal is to get propertarians elected into office.  I know that some anarchists have issues with voting.  They believe, voting gives legitimacy to the State, and that voting is a coercive act.  However I do not believe this is the case.  Voting is often a defensive action to minimize the damage that democracy causes by voting for the lesser of two evils.  Also voting in local elections is the best way to repeal and abolish the government peacefully, and I do believe that this processes has the best chance of success if it is done peacefully.

But once the officials are elected then what?  Well that is when the elected officials must build a propertarian society.  Taxation and regulation should be abolished, and all government property should be privatized.  Hoppe lays out a fairly good strategy of this by restricting the right to vote to those who are net taxpayers.  This group generally boils down to property owners, and this policy excludes welfare recipients and government employees who have an incentive to increase taxes and government.  Government officials would still have to be careful because property owners can still be lured into the siren song of corporate welfare/protectionism.  As tax revenue would inevitably decrease because most taxpayers would want to lower their tax burden, and the propertarian elected officials would seek to lower taxes anyway on economic and moral grounds, this would cause a funding shortage in the local government.  The lack of funding will create the incentive for the local government to privatize assets which the propertarians would be doing anyway.  I would recommend that this privatization start out small by privatizing parks, lands, and other recreational government areas and working up to schools, courts, police, etc to minimize the shock factor.  I believe this privatization would occur by giving out shares in proportion to the taxes paid over a persons lifetime.  These shares could be bought and sold just like any other shares in a company so these functions would concentrate in the hands of entrepreneurs.

At the same time the propertarian officials could be repealing all laws that interfere with the Nonaggression Principle (NAP). I believe this would occur naturally in a propertarian society, but until all government property is completely privatized and all taxation and regulation is abolished the more NAP is the dominant ethical and legal code the better.  This step would also help to make a smooth transition from the public statist courts to a private court system based upon NAP and propertarian values.  Some examples of laws to be repealed, besides taxation and regulation, would be: all drug laws, eminent domain and civil asset forfeiture, minimum wage laws, etc.

How would the propertarian society deal with the upper, i.e. state and federal, levels of government?  Well it could go one of two ways, 1) the upper levels of power would renounce control of the propertarian society leaving it free to do as it wishes, or 2) the other governments would still try to enforce their rules over the propertarians.  If it is the first scenario that is great because the state and federal governments are not an issue.  It is the second case where things are a little more tricky.

If the upper levels of government want to try and hold onto areas that wish to secede, it is obviously not desirable to directly confront those governments.  What would be best is to simply ignore the federal and state governments.  There rules, regulations, and taxes would simply not be enforced in the seceding areas.  The federal government and state governments would have a hard time enforcing their laws because without the aid of local law enforcement their ability to enforce federal law is greatly diminished.  It should come as a surprise to no one that federal and state funding would be cut off, but this should not be a problem since the local government would be dissolved, and the propertarians would not want any funding from any government.

In conclusion, propertarianism needs to move out of the theoretical realm and into reality.  This strategy is a good start to get us there.  Of course this is not a step by step guide, and it may have to be adapted along the way.  It is also important to remember that all four of these tactics can be carried out at the same time.  They do not need to be done one at a time.  It is best to get officials into local government sooner rather than later before it is too late.

 

 

 

No, Ancaps Are Not the Problem

In a recent article on beinglibertarian.com, it was asserted the anarcho-capitalist (ancap) version of libertarianism is a threat to the liberty movement because of its radical purism.  This purism drives more moderate individuals away from the Libertarian Party, and either the anarchists need to get on board with a more pragmatic political agenda, or the Libertarian Party needs to excommunicate these radicals.

All of the anarchists problems stem from their goal for the abolishing of taxation.   The author correctly realizes, if taxation were abolished, the United States would default on its debt causing a horrible economic depression, destruction of the dollar as a unit of currency, and not only would the U.S. default on its debt, but all public spending would come to a halt too.  This would cause unimaginable chaos because all government schools, welfare payments, courts, etc. would cease to operate.

The author does recognize the ancap’s belief that all public goods could be provided on the free market with private competition of courts, police, and schools with welfare being taken over by private charity.  However he believes this is a real world impossibility because without the government their can be no laws, and nobody would respect anybody’s natural rights.  The author states,” [E]ven if you had judges, you would have no laws for them to enforce, for in the absence of government there is no codification of natural rights”.  After this the article ends with a section declaring this to just be the surface problems of anarcho-capitalism.

That was a short summary of the article.  There are many fallacies in the article.  I believe the author does not have a full understanding of anarcho-capitalist theory, but there is something I would like to say myself.

Firstly, I would say that anarcho-capitalism was a terrible name for our movement because it has done much more harm than good.  As soon as someone hears the word anarchy their desire to listen is instantly shut off, and the anarchist is branded a lunatic.  I have written on this topic elsewhere.

Secondly, I do not think it is necessarily the ancap’s message which turns people away, but how the anarchist goes about delivering that message.  As soon as an anarchist says, “The State needs to be abolished,” most people stop listening.  The anarchist needs to put more of a nuance on his message in order to show people that anarcho-capitalism has a deep intellectual tradition rooted in Western Culture.

With that being said, I would like to turn back to critiquing  the article, but I would like to go backwards by first describing the production of law in an ancap society, and then handling the economics question.

Yes, there would be law in an anarcho-capitalist society.  The laws are not derived from any government; they are derived from man’s inherent nature.  These natural laws existed before governments, and they exist even when governments deny these immutable laws.

In the Rothbardian tradition the laws are deduced through a rational system of natural law.  These laws are discovered by man’s reason as he introspects about himself because man, as a specific creature born in a universe of fixed laws, has a certain fixed nature.  For the anarchist the basic realizations about man’s nature are that man has a free will and can determine for himself what he will do with his body, because man must satisfy his needs through labor and natural resources, man has the right to own any natural resource with which he mixes his labor if he is the first user of those natural resources, and he has the right to own any products he makes through the process of production.  Finally, man has the right to freely exchange any of his products for the products of others.  Any aggression or direct threat of aggression against a person or their property is a violation of man’s natural law.

It is from this basic framework that all ancap law is derived.  The next question of course is how would these laws be enforced in an anarchist society.  The author does acknowledge the ancap position that a court system can be provided on a private market, but he thinks this is unrealistic because 1) there is no law to be enforced, and 2) he does not see how the courts would gain legitimacy.

The answer to point one was answered above.  In the ancap society the courts pledge to uphold natural law.  The second question seems more tricky, but upon further inspection it is not.  Why do government courts have legitimacy?  It is because public opinion gives them legitimacy.  If government courts have legitimacy in a statist world why would private courts not have legitimacy in a completely privatized world?  In the ancap society any court or judge who followed a process that is deemed by the customers of the court system to be appropriate, and has a reputation of knowledgeably of the law and fairness,  would be considered legitimate by society.  This is best seen today with private arbitrators.

The anarchist society is not a pacifist society; there is still coercion, but coercion is only against those who have violated natural law and never against the innocent.  The coercion that is used in a society is legitimized because public opinion legitimizes it whether it is a system of public or private courts.

The anarchist is not against rules, but they are against the State; anarcho-capitalist are most against the State’s monopoly privileges of the courts.  Instead anarchists want to eliminate this monopolistic privilege and open up the courts to competition in upholding natural law.  Just like with any other product, abolishing this monopoly will lower the price and increase the quality of justice.

With a basic legal framework in mind we can now tackle the economic problems.  In the article, it is claimed that an ancap society would never reach the levels of prosperity that current American society has reached.  I believe the author says this because he assumes protection of private property would be impossible.  But we have seen above that there would be law, and private courts and police forces would be legitimized because of public opinion.  With private property rights protected there is no reason to believe that an ancap society would not be able to reach the current level of prosperity and even to exceed it.

Another concern is that all public spending would cease including roads, schools, welfare, etc. But there is no reason to expect these functions not to be preformed by entrepreneurs.  The roads and schools in a community do not simply disappear without a government, so why could these public goods not be privatized and run more efficiently?

Finally, the author mentions the U.S. debt problem by stating it would be impossible for the United States to pay off their 20 trillion dollar debt if there were no taxation.  This default on the debt would cause a terrible economic depression and the destruction of the dollar as a currency.

I do agree the repudiation of the debt would bring economic hardship because the massive U.S. debt bubble would pop, but this is an event that many economist already agree will happen.  In any case the politicians will not do anything about the debt until it finally come crashing down.  Either way the solution to the debt problem is not more debt.

Furthermore, the popping of the debt bubble is necessary since it will liquidate previous malinvestments due to earlier central bank policies, and this will allow for a more efficient allocation of resources and higher standards of living.  The adjustment phase (depression) would be relatively short in the absence of government since prices would be allowed to fluctuate freely and resources would go to their highest demand just as during the depression of 1920-21.

And what of the dollar, where does this come into play?  While it may be true the dollar could be destroyed in the ancap society, this should be celebrated not feared.  No anarchist wants to see the dollar continue to be used as a unit of currency because it is a fiat currency manipulated by the Federal Reserve.  In fact, in the anarchist society, once legal tender laws are repealed, the dollar would probably lose its standing as a major currency anyway.  The massive inflation this author predicts would only accelerate this trend as the population moved toward a more stable currencies like precious metals or cyrptocurrencies.

Adopting a stable currency has positive economic side effects.  It eliminates national currencies manipulated by central banks allowing for a universal commodity money to expand across the globe making economic calculation more efficient, and hard monies under a system of free money are more difficult to inflate eliminating the cycle of boom and bust we see in our modern economies.

At the end of the article it is claimed anarcho-capitalism is utopian just like Marxist Socialism.  Anarcho-capitalism though is actually the complete opposite of utopian.  No ancap has ever claimed that crime would vanish under an ancap social system.  What makes the Marxist a utopian is his belief that in order for the socialist paradise to be achieved the nature of man has to change which is impossible.  Ancaps do not make this argument.  The ancap society is the only society which takes man’s nature and builds a legal code on this nature and a series of institutions to uphold that legal code.

In fact, libertarians that want limited government are the utopians.  Most politicians attempt to limit governments with constitutions, but how can a constitution limit government when the government is given sole power to interpret its powers?  Also the State is in control of its own limitations through the court system.  This system of constitutions generally inhibits the minority in power from exercising the checks on government.

Finally, I will say a few words about the purism of anarcho-capitalism.  Purism is what the ancap community needs because it is a purist ideal which keeps the ideology on a straight and consistent path.  Yes, it is good to be pragmatic in the sense of delivering our message to the masses in a calm and rational way that , and by being pragmatic by working with other groups to push the idea of secession to create an independent ancap society.

Yet this is not the pragmatism pushed for in the article.  The author wants a more Beltway Libertarianism of working within the federal government to get minor tax cuts and other little reprieves from the State.  That would be nice if it would actually work.  This “Fabian” strategy only works for increasing the State not repealing it.  The author claims the ancap takeover of libertarianism was relatively recent.  If that were so why did Libertarian pragmatism not make any progresses before the ancaps took over?

To conclude, there is one point where the author and I agree.  We both see the need for a seperation between mainstream libertarianism and anarcho-capitalism.  Whereas he sees the libertarian movement being taken over by the ancaps; most ancaps believe that the libertarian movement is being taken over by leftist statist.  A split between the two factions would allow for our movement to not be fettered to the growing statist dominance of the Beltway Libertarians.

 

Why the Name Propertarian?

Because of the power of a first impression, the name for our new political movement had to be chosen carefully.  After much consideration, the name Propertarian was chosen to be the name of our new party.  But why was this name Propertarian chosen?

Our version of Propertarianism should not be confused with that associated with philosopher Curt Doolittle.  While both versions of Propertarianism share some common features, they are both distinctly different.  The version of Propertarianism espoused on this website follows the Mises, Rothbard, Hoppe tradition, which is more commonly referred to as “anarcho-capitalism”.

First of all it should be noted that on this website, we do adhere to anarcho-capitalism in the Rothbardian tradition.  We have relabeled it Propertarianism because a more suitable name is needed to replace the name anarcho-capitalism.  Anarchy, in the mind of the public, has a very negative connotation, and has the unfortunate consequence of stifling any conversation since anarchy is now associated with chaos instead of its traditional meaning of no central authority.  Secondly, the word anarchy has been completely taken over by the Left.  When people think of anarchy as a political movement, they think of anarcho-communism, but the anarcho-capitalist/propertarian movement is decidedly to the Right on the political spectrum.

The name propertarian is derived from the Party’s unwavering stance on the defense of man’s property rights.  The Propertarian believes man’s property rights, in both himself and in what he produces, homesteads, or inherits, all come from nature.  We believe that all exchanges should be voluntary, and the best way to accomplish such voluntary exchange and defense of property rights is achieved by the free market.  This commitment to private property rights, as understood by Rothbard and Hoppe, will solve the problems of social order.

Due to the Party’s desire to be logically consist, Propertarians do not believe in a State.  We see the State as a systematic aggressor against a person’s property rights, and therefore the State is an immoral institution.  Even the night watchman state is still an aggressor to property and needs to be abolished.  The reason for this is two fold.  First, all States extract tax dollars from its citizens, and taxes being taken from the people by force must be considered theft.  Secondly, a State is the monopoly provider of defense and law in a geographical area.  This means the State is aggressing against all those who wish to provide defense and law outside of the State by forbidding them to compete with their own person and property.

In conclusion, the term anarcho-capitalism needs to be set aside, and the term propertarian should replace it.  Propertarianism, being a relatively new and unknown word, will give us a chance to speak and instill curiosity in our movement unlike the words anarchy or capitalism which usually makes people stop listening depending on the crowd.  Propertarian is an especially well suited word for this task because the institution we are trying to defend derives the word.  This institution namely is private property which is the only way to resolve conflicts peaceably and to create a thriving prosperous society.

Taxation is not Compassionate

The public’s view on taxation over the last several centuries has changed very radically.  Once upon a time, people viewed taxation as an invasion of private property and as an aggression against the individual.  This can still be seen today with the slogan Taxation is Theft used by many libertarian groups, but this is a view held by a small proportion of the population.  It is much more common these days for people to say that paying taxes are an act of compassion by contributing one’s fair share to society, and that many in society, especially the rich, need to pay more in taxes.  Anyone who protests is simply heartless and evil.

To show how radical the shift of popular opinion has been, people once revolted when governments tried to enact higher taxes, but now a great portion of the public actively cheers for more taxation, as we saw with the Occupy Wall Street crowd.  How did this come about?

First of all, we have to keep in mind that those who want higher taxes , most of them do not actually expect to pay the higher taxes.  They want higher taxes, but they only want higher tax rates for those who make more money than them.  Once the tax money is confiscated, the high tax crowd expects the funds to be redistributed to them and their friends.  This is how those on the Left plan to fund their myriad of programs such as single payer healthcare and government funded education.

This policy of taxing the rich has a broad appeal for many reasons.  There is of course the human emotion of envy, which Ludwig von Mises covered in depth in his The Anti Capitalistic Mentality.  Of course many people believe they should have a better life, and they believe that taxation and redistribution is a good consequence free way to have a more prosperous life.

Then there are those who advocate high taxation on philosophical and economic grounds.  The two largest groups in this category are the Marxists and the Keynesians.  The Marxists believe that the rich have systematically oppressed the poor and therefore their wealth should be seized and redistributed to its rightful owners which is the poor, and the Keynesians believe that taxation helps to regulate the “excesses” of capitalism and can mitigate business cycles.

There is however one group of people, who may or may not be associated with the Marxists, who believe that taxation is a form of philanthropy.  This group wants to use government welfare to either supplement or replace private charity.  We may call them the misguided philanthropists.  It is possible that their philanthropic sentiments is simply a cover for their envy to have another’s material goods, but we will take their claim at face value, and in this post demonstrate that taxation is anything but compassionate, and that private charity is more efficient than government welfare.

The main reason why taxes cannot be considered compassionate is because taxes are not voluntary payments.  Despite the beliefs of many, taxes are not freely given; they are taken by force.  What happens if one decides not to pay their taxes?  Their assets will be seized, their bank accounts frozen, a ban is placed on their passport so they may not leave, and the person may even end up in jail.  What person would support a charity which says, “Give us your money, or we will take it from you by seizing your assets!”?  This is in effect what government does to the extent government can actually be considered a charity.

If we were to continue on with our private charity example, when the person being molested into giving money says “No, I will not give you my money.  If I choose to support your charity it will be by voluntary means”, would it be appropriate for a hoard of voices to scream, “How can you be so heartless?  We believe this charity may now take funds from you by force due to your lack of compassion for the plight of the poor, and we will shame you until you repent and join us.”  This is the typical response of those who believe taxation is compassion, but if no charity may coerce funds from the public then why may the government coerce funds for supposedly charitable ends?

There are those who say the motto Taxation is Theft trivializes actual theft.  This is not true because taxation really is theft violating individuals, and it is actually worse than petty theft because while theft by private persons is sporadic and condemned by almost everybody, taxation is systematic, constant, and has a plethora of defenders being accepted as valid almost universally.  As stated above taxation is theft precisely because the individual has the choice to either pay the tax or be severely punished.  What is the difference between that and being held up at gunpoint by a mugger?  Sure the government provides me with roads and education, both of which can be provided for much more efficiently and justly on the free market, but would we really be content if, say, the mugger bought me a hamburger with the money he took from me and pocketed the rest?

Taxation actually retards the natural process by which the market allows people to express their compassion for those less fortunate.  True compassion is shown by one giving to those less fortunate through their own free will.  In order for someone to give to others they must have their own needs satisfied.  The market allows for the greatest satiation of needs by being the most efficient production structure and producing the greatest number of goods.  This allows for more of the product to be given as a gift to charities which can then help the poor.  Taxation has a negative effect on the economy, and hinders people’s ability to give either goods in kind or money.  This means less poor people can be helped, and those who are helped are helped in a less efficient way.

Government itself is not compassionate.  Not only is the means it uses to fund itself theft and hurts people’s ability to help the poor on their own, but government is much less efficient than private charity in two ways.  First, much of what the government collects for social welfare goes to the government in overhead costs.  This number is close to 70% is eaten up by government bureaucracy.  This is contrasted to only 25% by private charities.

Secondly, government gives a certain crowding out effect to local charity by taking over many of the duties that local communities used to preform.  Since the federal government took over these duties it gives many people the idea that there is nothing more to do.  “The government takes care of it why should I?”, the common man asks himself.  Also when there is a charity collecting money for the unemployed many ask, “Don’t I pay taxes to help the man looking for work?”.

Finally, private charity has a more personal touch that government cannot.  A local charity is going to understand the needs of the community and can tailor its approach to the problem.  Government on the other hand, being far removed from the community and not knowing its local problems or history, must institute a one size fits all policy.  The incentives for private charities and government welfare is also quite perverse.  Governments have the incentive to keep people on the dole since handouts from the government equal votes.  The more goodies you promise people the more votes and loyalty the government accrues, and since the government is funded through taxation there is no hurry to get people off the dole since there is no immediate need to worry about funds; they will simply be taken from productive population.  Private charities on the other hand have to show results by getting people on their feet.  What person would support a charity which does not actually show progress to some stated goal?

Private charities also make the important, although currently unpopular, distinction between the deserving and undeserving poor.  Most people will agree there is a difference between the man who is down on his luck but is trying to get on his feet, and the man who just wants to live parasitically off his neighbors.  Charities have an interest in supporting the former because these people, the deserving poor, because they are trying to better themselves, and they are trying to become productive members of society rather than living off others like the undeserving poor.  Government, in practice at least, tends not to make a distinction, and it is not in the government’s best interest to make a distinction because of the above mentioned points e.g. voting.

In conclusion, taxation is theft not compassion.  It is theft because payments to the government are extracted by force, under no stretch of the imagination can they be called voluntary contributions.  Since taxation is not compassionate, the institution funded by taxation i.e. government cannot be compassionate.  We have seen this in the fact that governments crowd out and replace local personalized charities who serve the poor more efficiently.  Government replaces these local charities with one size fits all solutions and the stone cold touch of bureaucracy with all the inefficiencies that entails.  There is nothing stopping the misguided philanthropist from paying more taxes to Uncle Sam, and better yet there is nothing stopping them from forming their own charities to help the poor in their communities.  It is the propertarian notion of voluntary private charity, with its emphases on just property rights and by uplifting the poor instead of giving them handouts, which is truly compassionate.

 

 

 

Why Propertarians Can Work with Anybody

Secession is a word which has an intense negative connotation in the minds of the American public.  Up until recently just the thought of secession was liable to make somebody be labeled as a traitor to America and a racist.  But it is interesting times we live in, and the idea of secession is no longer so quickly shot down.

There has always been a small secessionist current in America stretching all the way back to The War of 1812 when New England threatened to secede over the war with England.  Finally, in 1860 the South decided to use its right to leave, and by mid 1861 eleven states had left the Union to form the Confederate States of America.  Since in the minds of most Americans the war was solely about slavery, and due to the fact that the South lost the war that followed their secession, secession has been ridiculed by both Left and Right in America ever since.

It is not in the scope of this post to debate the causes of the War Between the States.  If this is what you are interested in I would refer the reader to Dr. Thomas Woods’s 33 Questions About American History You’re Not Supposed to Ask, and The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History, for a brief discussion on the topic.  On the legality of secession I recommend Dr. Woods’s book Nullification.

For the purposes of this post, I am assuming that secession is legal due to the compact theory of the United States’ Constitution, and that secession is morally consistent with natural law.  Here I am simply stating that secession has become much more accepted in the mind’s of people across the United States, and that Propertarians can use this new sentiment to further their own political goals.

It was in 2008, with the election of Obama and the subsequent increase in the polarization of American politics, when secession started to gain much more currency with many conservatives, especially with the passing of Obamacare.  As usual this push from conservatives was met with nothing but smear tactics from the Left calling the conservatives racists, white supremacists, and whatever other terrible word they can come up with.

This all changed in 2016 with the election of Donald Trump.  All of a sudden the Left started to sing a radically different tune by actually calling for secession!  This has been most clearly evident by the stunning popularity of the Calexit movement.  With the leftist’s sudden change of heart, instead of calling them a bunch of hypocrites, which they are, Propertarians should be celebrating and encouraging such a development.

Secession is good for all those who are involved, especially with the current political polarization.  Nobody should be ruled by a government they do not consent to.  Secession can allow for all parties to go their separate ways in peace, and for local communities to take control over their own affairs.  If a very leftist California wants to secede and create a society with government healthcare, unrestricted immigration, a lavish welfare state, etc. let them.  All of this can be achieved by Californians through secession, and none of what California does would affect the conservative states.  In fact, it would help the conservative states by removing the power California once held over them through the central government.

Of course it is not only states which should be allowed to secede.  There are many secessionist movements within states, like Washington and Colorado for example.  In these states the larger cities, Seattle and Denver respectively, are much more leftist than the rural counties of each state causing the conservative counties to want to form their own states.  Why should these localities not be allowed their sovereignty if it is the will of the people?

On a national scale, decentralization is the main goal of the Propertarian Party, and decentralization is most effectively achieved through secession.  This why the Propertarians are able to work with both the Left and Right of the American political spectrum, especially since this simple goal is now being embraced by both sides.  Let us take advantage of the situation to educate the public about the good of secession, and to help and encourage those secessionist movement already in motion, so that we may be able to have our own Propertarian society.

Short History of Propertarianism

Propertarianism has a long, rich, and beautiful history and intellectual tradition.  In fact, the movement began to develop all the way back at the start of Western Civilization in the city states of ancient Greece.  It was in Greece, particularly Athens, where man started to develop the idea that man should be protected from the arbitrary will of government.  In addition, many Greek philosophers held to the idea that all matter had a certain specific nature that it was bound to follow.  Importantly, this idea of an inherent nature was extended to man, and thus the idea of a natural law was born.

Many of these Greek ideas are adopted by the Roman Republic, but it is not until the fall of the Empire and the rise of the feudal system of the Middle Ages when Propertarianism becomes much more developed.  The development actually came from the Catholic Church, as show by Thomas Woods in his book How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization.  Many great theologians, such as St. Thomas Aquinas, developed and greatly expand the natural rights doctrine that they learned from the writings of the ancient world.  Much more innovative was the Church’s teachings on economics, particularly from the school at Salamanca.  This monks developed modern economics long before Adam Smith had thought of the concepts.  Another seperate monk who developed economic theory, especially monetary theory, was Nicole Oresme. Due to the influence of the Church, these economic and philisophical theories became quite wide spread in parts of Europe allowing for the seeds of Propertarianism to be sown in the Old Continent.

It was in the coastal free cities of Medeval Europe where these ideas took their deepest roots.  The chaos of the breakup of the Roman Empire allowed for a system where government control in the cities was relatively weak.  Naturally theses cities were where the manufactures and merchants gathered, and this class was able to amass much wealth through industrial production and free trade, eventually allowing them to break away completely from the feudal lords.  Once the cities were free from the feudal lords they jealously guarded their new found liberty.  The ideology of the free cities were based on the natural rights of life, liberty, and property that the Catholic Church had made popular.  They realized it was the principles of natural law and the free market economy which gave them their freedom from governments and their prosperity.

The cities were not perfect though.  Many guilds operated like labor unions hampering the labor market and trampling the rights of individuals.  In addition, many cities fought among themselves, most notably Venice and Genoa.

Sadly though, as the feudal lords became absolute monarchs and aristocratic rule broke down, the free cities lost their independence, and this independence was replaced by a strong mercantilism regime restricting trade and progress.  But this does not mean it was the end for the liberty movement.  As the free cities started to lose their independence, a new secular trend in thinking was beginning to emerge.  It was started by John Locke and his Two Treaties on Government.  With this book the ideology of liberalism took shape, and it is thanks to liberalism, and the work it did to reduce the size and scope of government, that the Industrial Revolution occurred which has allowed for an ever increasing rise in the standard of living despite an explosion of population.

Western Europe, particularly England, was obsessed by liberalism by 1800s.  Liberalism was allowing unheard of freedoms and social mobility.  Europe produced some of its greatest thinkers.  Some of the names on this long list include: Frederic Bastiat, Lord John Acton, Jean Baptist Say, Richard Cobden, Gustave de Molinari, who gave the first thought to a propertarian society in his “The Production of Security”, and many others.  By the mid of the 19th century liberalism reached its height.

After the 1850s, Classical Liberalism has been in one long retreat.  New statist ideologies like Marx’s “scientific socialism” and all manners of interventionism gained sympathy from the people. This does not mean however that propertarian thinking went by the wayside.  The darkest yet one of the most productive times for Propertarianism was from World War I through World War II.  During this time statist activist and ideologies were what had almost all the intellectual backing.  Turn of the century Progressivism had the wide support of the people.  It was during this time that the suffrage was expanded, the direct election of senators was passed, the income tax was passed, the New Deal programs came about, Prohibition was passed, and the Federal Reserve System was created.

Despite all the darkness there was light.  Ludwig von Mises, one of the greatest economist and sociologist of the 20th century, and a small group of followers were still writing books and laying the foundations of Propertarinsim.  It is thanks to Mises, and his work like Human Action and Socialism, that we have a modern and fully developed Propertarian tradition.

Despite all of his contributions, Mises was not a complete Propertarian he was a Classical Liberal, it was his student Murray Rothbard who took this intellectual tradition to its logical conclusion.  Rothbard wrote the most complete propertarian economic treaties in his Man, Economy, and State.  He also wrote the most complete propertarian manifesto called For a New Liberty.  Rothbard was an extremely talented, well read, and productive person.  He wrote an extraordinary amount of work.  He covered many topics from a propertarian view including economics, politics, sociology, history, and even sports.

The most recent chapter in Propertarianism is the work of Dr. Hans Hermann Hoppe.  Hoppe was a student of Murray Rothbard, and some of his greatest contributions have been argumentation ethics, his constant attacks on pubic goods, and his sociological work on the state.  Hoppe has also contributed in the way of propertarian strategy most shown in his “What Must be Done”, and he has also demonstrated the importance to the right for a thick libertarianism.  To spread these ideas, Hoppe formed the Property and Freedom society which is the leading propertarian institute and think tank.

The current state of the Propertarian movement is very disorganized.  At the moment the movement is more a theoretical movement waiting to be shown to the oppressed masses.  There are so many good propertarian thinkers, writers, and activist, but what they all need is to be brought together into one organization in order to start making practical and principled change to the United States’ political landscape.  This is exactly what this website is intended to do.  It is to provide an organization to unite the propertarian movement into one united front, and to provide assistance whenever and wherever it is needed in order to educate the masses and gain political power to create the free and just society.

The purpose of this very very brief outline of propertarian history was to show that propertarianism did not simply emerge out of a vacuum nor is it a relatively new or ad hoc ideology.  It is a very rich tradition with its roots stretching back thousands of years ago, and it has been developed all the way to the present day by some of the greatest thinkers the world has ever known.