C4SS Editorial Policy Under Consideration

Based on feedback from supporters, the Center is considering development of a formal editorial policy — both in order to guide our writers and to inform potential supporters. Below is the draft that’s currently being kicked around. It reflects prior and ongoing discussion, incorporating input from a variety of people. Comments are welcome.

The Center for a Stateless Society commissions and distributes media content designed to challenge the state: to undermine its legitimacy, demonstrate its irrelevance, and chart a course toward its abolition. At no time will any Center publication implicitly or explicitly support the state’s continuation or augmentation.

The Center’s publications will convey a positive vision of voluntary, peaceful cooperation as the basis for flourishing life in society: they will seek to foster not only the free exchange of goods and services but also the many other kinds of voluntary interaction that help to make social existence viable and attractive. Thus, they will urge the abolition of all those privileges—including tariffs, subsidies, patents, copyrights, politically rooted land titles, and the currency monopoly—that impede peaceful cooperation, while unequivocally rejecting the privilege-riddled capitalism so frequently mistaken for, and misrepresented as, a genuinely freed market.

The Center’s publications are designed to help realize a culture free from exclusion, subordination, deprivation, and aggressive violence. Thus, they will oppose not only statism but also militarism, imperialism, workplace hierarchy, and cultural intolerance (including sexism, racism, and homophobia).

The Center’s publications will emphasize education, direct action, and the construction of alternative institutions, rather than electoral politics, as strategies for achieving liberation.

While these basic commitments will be consistently embodied in the Center’s publications, not every Center author will embrace all of them, and the Center’s core values are reflected in part in its willingness to publish the work of a broad range of thinkers who oppose the state and who value economic and cultural freedom.

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19 thoughts on “C4SS Editorial Policy Under Consideration

    1. We can argue about definitions, but it's like trying to change the weather. In most people's minds, "capitalism" simply describes the economic system the United States has now. Rehabilitating the word is a waste of effort, and runs the risk of turning off people who might otherwise be receptive to our ideas. ("Oh, these guys are defending capitalism? No thanks.")

      I think market anarchy is a more descriptive term with less baggage. Free market is accurate, but tends to get used by conservatives interchangeably with free trade — by which they mean state-managed international trade agreements, another thing we want to distinguish ourselves from.

      In any case, I took Brad's use of "privilege-riddled capitalism" as ambiguous. It can be read with privilege-riddled as a qualifier, not a innate property of capitalism, in which case the editorial policy isn't taking any position on the appropriateness of the word capitalism.

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      1. The problem is that "privilege riddled capitalism" is not capitalism at all. That is analogous to saying a "tyranny riddled freedom", it's an oxymoron.

        It has long been a leftist trick to change the words used to describe the same concepts. They have changed the meaning of the anti-statist term Liberal from its origin in the French Revolution to its current meaning, which I am sure you will agree is the opposite of anti-statist. George Orwell called it Newspeak. It is an obvious, and telling, trademark of deceitful and malicious intent. It has the effect of muddying thought and forcing those of us who read texts from earlier writers of freedom to translate the language.

        Another example is the left-right political spectrum as it is "understood" today. Its current manifestation puts economic authoritarianism on the left and social authoritarianism on the supposed right. Obviously, this leaves no room for freedom. We cannot allow social or economic leftists to pull the same trick with all our definitions. We cannot allow capitalism and fascism mean the same thing or there will be no room for freedom of thought or of markets.

        For the rest of the population, who are only just getting interested in learning, who read little and get mostly soundbites, they learn that those of us who are promoting freedom and pointing them towards classical thinkers, are actually promoting the status quo when nothing could be further from the truth.

        We cannot give up the territory of our definitions without giving up the concepts of freedom. Muddied thought works in their favor. Individual rights and freedom require clear and cogent arguments and an audience that speaks the same language. We cannot allow capitalism and fascism to mean the same thing or there will be no room for freedom of thought, or markets.

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      2. re: That is analogous to saying a "tyranny riddled freedom", it's an oxymoron… a leftist trick…"

        I'm glad that you agree with me that Mises was a leftist — because his preferred definition of "capitalism" as a completely free market is an example of exactly the sort of politically-driven redefinition you describe as a "leftist trick". The word was in use long before that to describe economic aspects of the status quo which, from a free market perspective, we can recognize as a consequence of state-cartelized capital.

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    1. 1) Insofar as workplace hierarchy derives from market intervention by the state to monopolize capital in the hands of the political class, all free market libertarians oppose it politically (whether they realize it or not).

      2) To the extent that workplace heirarchy is incompatible with the broader set of anti-authoritarian values that libertarianism entails in a psychologically well-adjusted individual, such individuals will oppose it through means that don't violate the non-aggression principle.

      3) Which doesn't mean that people can't organize themselves in ways that might involve a collegial relationship with a nominal team "leader". We really don't oppose orchestras having conductors or baseball teams having coaches. The point is that state intervention has created a hegemonic system that we can and ought to undermine by encouraging everybody to be aware that we are all, ultimately, "free agents".

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      1. Brad, I was also wondering about opposition to "workplace hierarchy". Thanks for clarifying.
        For the reasons you give in #3, (viz, we don't actually oppose hierarchical structure per se) the term "workplace hierarchy" should be dropped or clarified in a way that makes the point (viz, opposition to "hegemonic systems" made possible by the existence of the state [or otherwise brought about by even 'non-rights violating oppression' that fails to treat all persons as free agents?])

        Also, not to be overly nit-picky…
        but are not militarism and imperialism simply direct extensions or varieties of statism?

        Can the policy statement be revised to more clearly reflect the distinction between rights-violating oppression and non-rights-violating oppression? I think it should be, if possible.

        The phrase "cultural intolerance (including sexism, racism, and homophobia)" also seems somewhat problematic. There no necessary oppression involved in "intolerance." I think it would be clearer and more precise to stick to something like categorical opposition to opposition to hegemonic systems either made possible by the existence of the state or otherwise brought about by 'non-rights violating oppression' that fails to treat all persons as free agents.

        Atheist clubs or sexual fetish societies may be justly "intolerant" of an old school religious Puritan (like myself) who may attend an "open meeting" to proselytize. Neither my preaching nor their informing me that I am not welcome to return are forms of oppression, although both may be easily included under the problematic term "intolerance".

        Can the policy statement be revised to eliminate this lack of clarity? If possible, I think it should be.

        My recent post Sanctifying The Common

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    1. Well, George, some potential supporters may not want to support "X" and some may not want to support "Y". A formal editorial policy provides clear guidance for our newer writers. Potential supporters can evaluate the policy before deciding to support us or not so that they don't feel unfairly abused by later pieces that they might not like. Previously, we've kept this approach an informal matter. It was just our style, so to speak, and a relatively ecumenical one.

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  1. 1. Sheldon's point about irrelevance seems dead-on.

    2. A little "thus" goes a long way. Perhaps the second sentence of the third par. should begin "They will therefore oppose.

    3. A little "not only . . . but also" goes a long way, too, but I'm not sure what would be a better way of emphasizing the contrastive points this construction is used in the second and third pars.–it would be nice to phrase one in a different way.

    4. Licensing and zoning perhaps deserve some reference in the list of obviously opposition-worthy privileges.

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  2. Is opposition to "cultural intolerance," with the coded connotations it suggests, really a necessary or essential component of the Center's mission? The "left" in "left-libertarian" can signify a "preferential option for the poor[er]," to borrow a term from Catholic Social Teaching, by which priorities in dismantling the State are adopted with economic injustices already caused by the State in mind, or it can also embrace more purely cultural (as opposed to economic) traditional lefty agendas. Some libertarians insist that you can't be a real libertarian without subscribing to a certain strain of feminism. Some insist or imply you can't be a Catholic, or a Christian. Some insist or imply you can't harbor and encourage more traditional views of sexual morality, even if you oppose those views being forced on others by the State or anyone else. While the advancement by individual writers associated with the Center of such arguments ("true libertarianism entails [something culturally left]"), with which I personally tend to disagree, seems fair, the adoption of such positions by the Center as part of its mission statement, or the appearance of adopting such positions, would seem to me unnecessary and potentially deleterious.

    My own view is that people and persons should be encouraged to "govern themselves," and that the flourishing of such self-government itself negates and wards off government by others. Vices are not crimes, but they're still vices, and it's fair to discourage them by means short of violence for the sake of human and social flourishing.

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  3. Is opposition to "cultural intolerance," with the coded connotations it suggests, really a necessary or essential component of the Center's mission? The "left" in "left-libertarian" can signify a "preferential option for the poor[er]," to borrow a term from Catholic Social Teaching, by which priorities in dismantling the State are adopted with economic injustices already caused by the State in mind, or it can also embrace more purely cultural (as opposed to economic) traditional lefty agendas. Some libertarians insist that you can't be a real libertarian without subscribing to a certain strain of feminism. Some insist or imply you can't be a Catholic, or a Christian. Some insist or imply you can't harbor and encourage more traditional views of sexual morality, even if you oppose those views being forced on others by the State or anyone else. While the advancement by individual writers associated with the Center of such arguments ("true libertarianism entails [something culturally left]"), with which I personally tend to disagree, seems fair, the adoption of such positions by the Center as part of its mission statement, or the appearance of adopting such positions, would seem to me unnecessary and potentially deleterious.

    My own view is that people and persons should be encouraged to "govern themselves," and that the flourishing of such self-government itself negates and wards off government by others. Vices are not crimes, but they're still vices, and it's fair to discourage them by means short of violence for the sake of human and social flourishing.
    My recent post Et tu- PayPal

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  4. A good effort. My quibbles:

    (1) What Sheldon said on irrelevance.

    (2) Chart a course towards it abolition? Hayek is turning over in his grave, and I think this violates the spirit of market anarchism. Too constructivist. I know the point we're trying to make, but if we make Sheldon's excellent add on the inability of the state to solve problems, this next phrase might become, "offer alternative solutions consistent with a world based on mutual respect and individual sovereignty." Or something like that. Chart a course toward its abolition just sounds like centrally planning the spontaneous order.

    (3) Workplace hierarchy? The problem is that it needs Brad's elaboration in the comments in order to avoid misleading people, and I don't see a clean way of making it clear. I'd prefer a strongly worded call for the elimination of all obstacles to self-employment. I'll leave the wording to those in charge here … oops.

    (4) We should add to our list of cultural objections the tyrannization of children.

    (5) Per Gary, the privileges MUST include licensing and zoning: it seems like half of Ruwart's book was about how licensing is used to destroy the opportunities for self-employment by the poor.
    My recent post David Nolan- RIP

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