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Elwood: “Portland Anarchists.” Jake: “I hate Portland Anarchists.”

The good people (er, person) over at Welcome to Blog have a great post up comparing the Portland media’s reaction to recent anarchist activity with that of the “rightosphere”. As one would expect from Blog, the writing is excellent:

My pet theory: for Portland, anarchists setting things on fire is passe. Oh, sure, it was all really, really exciting back in ’99 during the WTO fallout but in ’07? It draws a collective roll of the eyes. Their actions on Sunday smack of Marilyn Manson or a random shock celeb trying to top themselves well after their fanbase has moved on.

Sorry, guys. It’s over. I know, I know. Given all the local attention the Schumacher Furs protesters received, it isn’t fair. But, hey, you made the Drudge Report. That’s got to count for something. Middle America is still outraged by your antics. Have you considered taking this act out on the road? Just start in Pendleton and work your way east until you hit Savannah.

I’ll take anarchists holding up signs and burning flags over anarchists breaking shit and acting like pissed off soccer fans. Frankly the idea of anarchists organizing a protest is incredibly funny to me. Although, when anarchists do break shit it gives the police an excuse to break them, which I enjoy even more. So I guess I’m torn on this one.

  1. Eric says:

    Ed Whitelaw once pointed out to me that the treating physician can be considered the consumer of insurance money. If that is the case than we can say, as such, they (Doctors) are likely to be some of the most well informed consumers. More over this would also explain the rise of the HMO.

  2. Timothy says:

    Ian: Well, like anything in economics, yeah, it does depend. And I’ll agree that labeling requirements are a lot less onerous than many other types of regulation that are possible. It may be that some information-related regulations are the best possible outcome.

    Interestingly, and Tyler Cowen posted a pretty interesting piece on this to Marginal Revolution about a year and half or two years ago, the insurance market may not suffer from informational problems too badly. Maybe you know more about how sick you’re going to get than the company can guess based on the actuarial data, maybe you don’t, but the sorts of people who are likely to want to purchase insurance might be the sorts of people who are in general responsible and concerned about the future: good risks. Irresponsible people don’t think about the future, and might not try to buy insurance anyway. I don’t think it’s cut-and-dried. Not that the health “insurance” market isn’t fucked up, it is, just for other reasons, I think.

    Lending, I think, can have some interesting informational issues, but that’s usually about risk-of-default, and with universal credit scoring I think that’s less of a problem that it once was.

  3. Ian says:

    Unfortunately, this is completely off topic, and even if it weren

  4. Miles says:

    I’ll take care of it. I am in Eugene after all, and I think I have a day old story I can fit in here.

  5. Timothy says:

    Dude, you’re on vacation, you should have the spare time to write posts.

  6. Niedermeyer says:

    Ohmygod… will someone put some new content on this blog?

    I think I’ve almost been convinced to join the Black Bloc.

  7. Timothy says:

    Randy Barnett’s awesomeness aside, what about the toe?

  8. Olly says:

    I would encourage you to email me as well, or check out Randy Barnett

  9. emily says:

    Tim, bad analogy on my part, for markets function in my mind even with informational asymmetry. Thanks for the recommendation.

  10. Timothy says:

    emily: Informational asymmetry is overrated as a reason for market failure. Everybody read “The Market For Lemons” and then started seeing information problems everywhere, if all you have is a hammer…etc. And, frankly, the regulators always have worse information than any market participant, so it’s not like they can act optimally. That gets missed a lot. Frankly, I think externalities and discontinuity in supply are more common issues, although only the former can be addressed through policy…if you get lucky to pick the right way to go about it.

  11. emily says:

    Whether or not I see the actions listed above as right or wrong, I can recognize that others might believe them to be the morally correct, and that I may not be able to shake others of that notion. Morality can be relative, but perhaps more importantly, ambiguous, especially in issues of sex and foreign policy. Furthermore, the emphasis in different cultures on the supremacy of the individual vs. the collective drastically changes the morality gravy train.

    What troubles me about anarchism is that much like markets, in order to operate even passably (not only utopically) is that there needs to be informational symmetry when individuals and groups interact. If everyone was on the same page (especially concerning the non-use of violence), how could anyone be coerced? Unfortunately, we live in a time and place of both intellectual and socio-economic disparity that prevents the elevated place that many types of anarchism seek. And that doesn’t even account for those people who have differing opinions; everyone at some point will be submitting to the will of another. Don’t think that I believe American democracy is perfect–but I think that Timothy’s point about a progression towards warlordism is well taken, and the most possible scenario with anarchy. I wished that question had actually been addressed…

    Summary: Anarchy won’t be for me until I become a universe-sauntering omnipotent strobing light.

  12. Eric says:

    John,

    you are a FUCKERBUTT

  13. John says:

    As to your second post, the only thing worth commenting on is that I think you are, demonstrably, flat out incorrect when you assert that “most people” don’t think in terms of “moral absolutes” – by which I can only assume you mean believe in morality period. I certainly believe in right and wrong, and I assume that most of the people posting here, too. I suspect you’ll find that most of the people here view your moral relativism as something of a ‘liberal’ doctrine.

    I suppose to test your theory we can take a straw poll:

    Do you think that the Holocaust was morally wrong or evil?

    Do you think that the terrorist attacks of 9/11 were morally wrong or evil?

    I wonder if a majority of people are going to express their lack of belief in moral absolutes by honestly answering no to either question.

  14. John says:

    Ian: You have the obnoxious tendency to respond to arguments that I have not made, while ignoring what I have, and misrepresenting (or misunderstanding) that which you do bother to directly respond to. Ultimately, this makes conversation with you difficult if not impossible.

    An example: You accuse me of viewing the political views of groups of people solely in terms of “political theory.” This is hardly the case, although I find it ironic that you refer to the “conservative” views I outlined as REGRESSIVE – which is itself a form of political theory-labeling. In fact, I based my comments about conservatives and public schools based on ACTUAL CONSERVATIVE PRACTICE. As examples I cite the general support for school voucher programs, charter schools, public-private educational initiatives (privately funded schools), homeschooling, and attempts to recapture the educational curriculum at the state and local level through ballot initiates and highly politicized school board elections. I don’t think conservatism, as a political ideology, NECESSITATES any of those, but I do recognize WHO tends to support them and with what groups they’ve become associated. That’s the very OPPOSITE of the kind of thinking you’ve charged with me.

    Unfortunately, this is completely off topic, and even if it weren’t, you seem chronically unable to engage in an honest dialogue without flagrant lies and misrepresentations about the positions of other people. Either you’re doing this deliberately, which case you’re just a liar, or you’re doing it unconsciously – in which case you’re an idiot. Either way, you’re making dialogue impossible.

  15. Ian says:

    Ian: It seems almost trivial to point out that there is no such thing as

  16. Ian says:

    Oh, and I neglected to respond to this:

    generally, conservatives are in FAVOR of private education, especially given that our current system of compulsory public education was foisted on society by technocratic social-engineering liberals to initiate children into their ideal liberal society.

    Your views seem to be based purely on political theory. Sure, some people who think of themselves as conservatives want radical regressive change– but the reality is that most simply want the maintenance of the status quo. Few people who would have opposed public education at its birth would do so now, if only because of the turmoil associated with eliminating it. Only in a textbook would a wealthy capitalist (the prototypical evil conservative imagined on college campuses) want the dramatic political, societal and economic upheaval associated with such a change.

    To put it simply: most people (of all political stripes) define their politics in practical terms rather than theoretical ones. These are the people who tend to hold power and worthwhile jobs. Idealists tend to, well, bitch about things on college campuses and make protest signs in their parents’ basements.

  17. John says:

    Ian: It seems almost trivial to point out that there is no such thing as “aggregating morality.” Why? Well, because something is not morally correct merely because 51% of the people say it is. If 51% of the population decide that it’s appropriate to send the other 49% of the population to the gas chambers – well, 51% of the population are WRONG. In fact, they would be hideous, immoral monsters, as would any state that facilitated their demand. EVEN IF a majority of people support: coercive taxation, the forcible redistribution of income from the wealthy to the poor, prohibiting the sale and use of personal firearms, prohibiting the sale and use of marijuana, etc, etc, – they are still WRONG because it is immoral to coercively violate the rights of others.

    Additionally, there is no irony in criticizing your pejorative labeling and nonsensical comments about “anarchotopia” and then subsequently linking you to an article about the pursuit of justice in a free society. I can’t locate anything even remotely ironic about that. I hasten to point out that there is nothing “utopic” in the free society posited in that article – in fact it assumes criminality of all sorts, which is hardly consistent with utopia. Furthermore, I wonder what exactly your problems are with the idea of compossibility, or the idea of property rights.

  18. Ian says:

    Ian: Your question re: who decides what is moral in a society without the State is puzzling. After all – the State has no legitimate extra currency in moral dialogue merely because it

  19. John says:

    Timothy: the minarchist vs. anarchist debate is interesting and well-worth having, but this is not the forum to do it in. If you are honestly interested in a considered response, you can contact me at plinytheelder37@yahoo.com and we can have a conversation about it.

    Ian: Your question re: who decides what is moral in a society without the State is puzzling. After all – the State has no legitimate extra currency in moral dialogue merely because it’s the State. Sending people to Siberian Gulags for writing dissident literature is WRONG regardless of whether the State says it’s a-okay to do so. If what you mean is the practical question of the administration of justice in a Free Society, well that’s a perfectly decent question. I would encourage you to email me as well, or check out Randy Barnett’s (a mainstream libertarian scholar) two articles on Pursuing Justice in a Free Society available http://randybarnett.com/textsrcrim.htm .

    Additionally, I find it puzzling that you are making imaginary jabs at “Anarchotopia’s” (a lame attempt to associate anarchism with utopia, which is both inaccurate and an obvious attempt to saddle anarchism with a loaded term – as evidenced by this Site’s “Mission” statement) educational system – generally, conservatives are in FAVOR of private education, especially given that our current system of compulsory public education was foisted on society by technocratic social-engineering liberals to initiate children into their ideal liberal society. You must be one of them “big government,” pro-social engineering conservatives.

    Eric: Every response you make is less intelligent than the last. You fail Reading Comprehension 101. You ask me how many soldiers I’ve personally burned – yet I’ve never advocated OR defended burning ACTUAL human beings. Perhaps you are unaware that an “effigy” is not a real person? Nor does my defense of burning soldiers in effigy in any way obligate me to actually engage in that behavior. Just because something is morally defensible doesn’t mean that it’s a tactically smart or particularly persuasive thing to do.

    Brandon: You are confused, but at least somewhat on the right track. I am an anarchist, and I oppose the war in Iraq for roughly the same reason. That is, I start from a base that American-loving Conservatives SHOULD find uncontroversial – aka: the Jeffersonian contention that “all men are created equal” – in the sense of having equal rights and equal authority (for an explanation: http://www.mises.org/story/804 ). Then I just work my way out from there. Try it sometime!

  20. Brandon says:

    Thanks, Tim.

    While I’m here, maybe I should attempt a grandiose postulation on a political ethos or the war in Iraq…

    Hmmmm……uh…..anarchism is….good?

    Wait….shit….wrong answer. B’oh.

  21. Dustin says:

    Besides we’re on a mission from god!

  22. Brandon says:

    I don’t know if I should apologize for starting this or say, “you’re welcome.” Thoughts?

  23. Dustin says:

    Timothy,

    I saw something interesting yesterday. Brian Williams was on IMUS yesterday and he admitted that after visiting Iraq he was confused because while he was there, he was amazed by the stunning achievements as he went from platoon to platoon. Then when he returned from Iraq and listened to congress he doesn’t know what to think. I just want to point out that everything in Iraq isn’t a stunning failure.

    I also drink the America is a shining light kool-aid. I believe that no matter what mistakes were made, Iraq will be better off in the long run as a result of our military campaign there. This war has been much worse than it was sold and people are understandably angry, but our troops are the most efficient fighting force in history, and they are winning.

  24. Timothy says:

    Eric: Say what you will about the tenets of national socialism, dude, at least it’s an ethos.

    Ian: Anarchotopia’s kids just wander into and out of classes randomly, it’s a bit sad really. Jacks of all trades, masters of paste eating.

  25. Eric says:

    John,

    I like a man of conviction. How mine soldiers have you personally burned in making your point. Also if you want to offer an answer to Timothy, I’d throw out a quick Adam Smith Quote. Now your in the magical land of economics where we can “suppose” anything. Hint: use the word marginal allot.

    Best of luck.
    I’m looking forward to your reply.

  26. Olly says:

    If you

  27. Ian says:

    Since the United States military is engaged in an immoral war of aggression against the people of another country – a people who did not violate the rights of those int he US – then ANY killing by the US military forces against Iraqis are by definition unjustified.

    In Anarchotopia, who determines what is and is not moral?

  28. Timothy says:

    A serious question for you, John, without some minimal state, what prevents warlodism? Are the outcomes from minimal states demonstrably better or worse than the outcomes of warlordism? I’d like this to not appeal to fundamental changes in human nature (that is, changing the tendency of people to be right nasty to each other if they can be).

    I’d also like to point out that before the Enlightenment, the whole world was basically ruled by warlords, and much of it still is, so that seems to be an equilibrium outcome. The appeal of minarchism is, then to attempt to recognize this and to minimize the possible damage caused by the warlord in power rather than relying on warlords to keep each other in check through violence (which also seems like an equilibrium outcome, historically).

  29. John says:

    Timothy,

    Again, I’d be happy to hear you put forward an argument – ANY ARGUMENT – as to why I am incorrect. Since as of yet you have contributed absolutely nothing of substance to the conversation, your assertions seem a little unjustified. I understand, though, that name-calling and ad hominems are fairly typical responses engendered by the inability to formulate a coherent response to someone else’s arguments. When reason fails – insult. How typical.

  30. Timothy says:

    Do you need a hug, John? You seem like you could use a hug.

  31. John says:

    Olly,

    If you’re going to make an actual argument, I encourage you to make it. Merely pointing to my comments as if that constituted making an argument against them is transparently fallacious. To clarify the argument in case you are confused. Murder is the unjustified killing of a human being. Since the United States military is engaged in an immoral war of aggression against the people of another country – a people who did not violate the rights of those int he US – then ANY killing by the US military forces against Iraqis are by definition unjustified. The US military them, is in the business of unjustified killings – aka murder, making those who commit those killings murderers and those who support them the accomplices of murder.

  32. Timothy says:

    I [heart] trolls.

  33. Olly says:

    “All of the principled libertarians ARE anarchists.”

    And that, in a nutshell, is the problem with “principled libertarians”.

    “The moral facts are clear – whether their intentions are good or bad, benevolent or malevolent, the US military forces in Iraq are MURDERERS – and evil regardless of their intention. And murderers should be treated as such – with contempt.”

    This is all completely ridiculous (and I presume that you are, on some level, aware of it) but it reads especially well coming immediately before the statement:

    “Nor have I made any egregious generalizations.”

  34. John says:

    Eric,

    Er, I never called anyone a Nazi. Nor have I made any egregious generalizations. That comment was of particularly low intelligence, even for the readers of this blog.

  35. John says:

    Dustin:

    Just so we’re clear, people have rights by virtue of their humanity. You don’t “deserve” them or not deserve them, except to the extent that their actions violate the legitimately held rights of others, and in doing so obligates them to make appropriate restitution. Since scarecrow soldiers aren’t human and have no rights, burning them cannot be a rights violation, and therefore cannot lead to any infringement of the rights of these particular anarchists.

    Additionally, the contention that America is in Iraq for “compassionate” reasons is both hilarious and irrelevant. Hilarious because it doesn’t comport with the United States’ history of interventions in Iraq (CIA support for the Ba’athist Coup, US support for Saddam Hussein, supplying the materials for and then covering for the use of Hussein’s chemical weapons in Iraq both against the Kurds and against Iran, the intentional destruction of the civilian infrastructure in Iraq during the first Gulf War and subsequent sanctions regime which was responsible for the deaths of approximately one million Iraqis, the constant US air war during the sanctions period, and of course the most recent invasion including the explicit utilization of terror bombing against heavily populated civilian centers [Shock and Awe], the refusal to allow men of ‘fighting age’ to flee Fallujah before it was bombed into oblivion [an egregious war crime], etc and so on. Its also IRRELEVANT because in an important sense it doesn’t matter WHAT the intentions are of the US Military, even though I think they are obviously in bad faith. Whether good or bad intentions prevail, the ACTIONS of the US military in Iraq are IN FACT evil – involving as they are the use of OFFENSIVE violence against the people of another country. The moral facts are clear – whether their intentions are good or bad, benevolent or malevolent, the US military forces in Iraq are MURDERERS – and evil regardless of their intention. And murderers should be treated as such – with contempt.

  36. Eric says:

    John,

    I can make blanket statements too. Hear is an example: Anarchists are nazis. Now, watch as I weekly qualify that statement with this one: The nazis burned jews in effigy, as that became too costly they developed concentration camps.

    Remember, when you dislike a group of people always compare them with nazi’s first. If some one tries to rebut the above statement you can than blatantly call them a nazi and open the flood gates.

    Hope this helps, and good luck with the soldier burning.

  37. Timothy says:

    John: Do I turn my decoder ring in to you, or do I just mail it back to General Mills?

    Dustin: Seriously, you still think Iraq is like, going awesomely? Are you deluded?

  38. Dustin says:

    No need for such hostility Dustin!

  39. Dustin says:

    Those cowards who masked themselves while demonstrating in Portland don’t deserve any freedom. I’d happily trade a couple years of probation or a year in prison to take a baseball bat to those ignorant motherfuckers.

  40. John says:

    Timothy:

    All of the principled libertarians ARE anarchists. There’s no consistent way to be a natural rights libertarian and a minarchist. Either you believe that unprovoked violence against people is wrong, or you don’t. Minarchists are just libertarians who gave up on their principles when it really mattered.

  41. Timothy says:

    If the anarchists ever manage to abolish all forms of government I will get my gun-toting libertarian brethren together and we will enslave those cheeky motherfuckers to teach them a goddamn lesson. Minarchism is one thing, the open advocacy of warlordism is another, and I’ll gladly enslave a few hippies (who also seem to want socialized health care, figure that out) to drive that point home.

  42. John says:

    Niedermeyer:

    There seems to be some confusion. I definitely agree that “murderous wars of aggression” are even more American than apple pie. I would never contend otherwise, as America’s explicitly imperialist (explicit in the sense that it was openly admitted by the officials in power at the time) period of foreign policy is widely known.

    However, I never claimed that the founding fathers would have any sympathy for modern anarchists. I merely placed a particular METHOD of protest within the American historical framework. If you can’t tell the difference between these two statements – well, you’re a moron. It’s that simple.

  43. Doomscheissah says:

    Anarchists need to be shot. I’m sorry.

  44. Niedermeyer says:

    Mmmm… anarchists defending their protest methods as being “American as apple pie.” If that rationale works for you, perhaps you should consider the fact that “murderous wars of aggression” are even more American than apple pie.

    Please don’t pretend that the founding fathers would have any sympathy for modern anarchists. They would have seen the “black bloc” as a bunch of barbarians, and they wouldn’t have been far off the mark…

    I’m gonna get back to enjoying my vacation now, have fun kids!

  45. T says:

    You’re a fucking douchebag, John.

  46. John says:

    First, organization is certainly not against the principles of anarchism. Anarchism, literally “without leaders,” is opposed to violent state coercion. It is certainly not against voluntary organization.

    Second, burning figures in effigy is as American as apple pie. The American Revolutionaries were quite fond of burning tax collectors, British officials, and British soldiers in effigy. They probably would have burned YOU in effigy for the lame snark of referring to an effective form of protest as “stale.”

    Third, American soldiers DESERVE to be burned in effigy. In reality – they deserve far worse. Human beings who volunteer to engage in murderous wars of aggression against the people of other lands deserve to be held up to scorn and ridicule AT A MINIMUM. Of course, I want the “troops home now” – but not for their sake, but because I want them to stop murdering people.

  47. Brandon says:

    Thanks for the link, Ian. I was at the main protest earlier in the day and only caught a few minutes of the anarchists’ rally. While their schtick has grown stale, I still wish I had stuck around to get in the background of that shot that wound up on the Drudge Report. My relatives back in Georgia would have been so impressed.

  48. Nick says:

    Yeah. Doesn’t organizing go against the whole anarchy thing?

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