‘Giving Back to the Community’ is Communist Propaganda

During the holiday season in particular but occasionally throughout the rest of the year as well, people in the establishment media tell us about ‘giving back to the community.’ The idea is for business owners to support local charities or help the needy directly. There is nothing wrong with this sort of action. In fact, it is more likely to be efficient and effective than a government welfare program, and it is certainly morally superior. Private charity operations must compete for donations, which incentivizes them to be more efficient and effective in their efforts. They also have a better sense of who can be helped out of poverty versus who will only exist parasitically upon the good will of others. But the phrase ‘giving back to the community’ is misguided and dangerous. Let us examine why.

That one is giving back something to people implies that one has taken away something from those people. This can lead to a perception of legitimate business owners as thieves who do not rightfully own what they have, when the truth is quite the opposite. To the extent that businesses in a free market thrive, they do so by voluntary trade. They give customers what they want at prices they deem reasonable. The customer wants the business owner’s products more than he wants his money, while the business owner wants the customer’s money more than he wants his products. They trade assets and both are improved from their subjective points of view. As such, a business is always giving to the community and its profits are evidence of the value that its customers have received from the business, not evidence of any sort of theft.

If the charitable nature of business ended there, it would be good enough, but there is more. A successful business will be able to employ people. This allows people to accept a constant rate of payment for work done without having to take on the capital risks of starting and running a business oneself. This also gives the poor and the mentally deficient, who cannot start their own businesses, a path to prosperity and a sense of dignity. Employees working together in a business are also organized to be more productive than they would be if they were working independently, which results in better returns on the labor and capital invested by everyone involved. Finally, as mentioned earlier, local businesses have their ears to the ground in their communities in a way that faraway politicians cannot, making them better at providing solutions to local problems.

The idea that such benevolent activity to improve one’s community is somehow exploitative of that community is nothing short of communist propaganda and should be rejected as such. Businesses that donate to charities are not ‘giving back to the community’; they are giving the community even more.

On libertarianism, reaction, and Trump

In recent years, the number of people identifying as libertarian has grown significantly. The support for reactionary movements is also on the rise. The relationship between the two is evolving and complex, and an exploration of the similarities and differences between the two should be enlightening.

In order to produce a meaningful analysis, it is necessary to begin by defining terms. This essay will use the following definitions:

  1. Libertarianism: a philosophical position on what constitutes the morally acceptable use of force. Libertarianism says that initiating the use of force is never acceptable but defensive uses of force are always acceptable.
  2. Reaction: in the broadest sense, a political position that favors a return to some status quo ante which is believed to have possessed desirable characteristics which are absent from the status quo. In a narrower sense, reactionaries oppose liberal democracy, socialism, communism, egalitarianism, tabula rasa, and Whig historiography while supporting hierarchical structures, traditions, nativism, and skepticism.

Within both of these groups, there are religious and secular variations as well as leftist and rightist variations. Religious and secular libertarians differ on whether rights come from God or from the nature of sentience as well as on whether a supernatural ruler is any more tolerable than a natural one. Religious and secular reactionaries differ on whether human nature is a result of special creation or biological evolution as well as on whether traditions are a result of divine revelation or adaptive memetic developments. Left-libertarians place more emphasis on social equality, egalitarianism, and other left-wing causes than on private property rights, favoring a more classical form of anarchism. In contrast, right-libertarians strongly support private property rights and tend to oppose egalitarianism, favoring a more capitalist form of anarchism. Reactionaries are usually considered to be right-wing extremists, but progressives who seek a return to a larger welfare state and other socialist policies which have either failed or been repealed in recent decades could be considered left-reactionaries under the broader part of the above definition.

While libertarianism is well described and explored elsewhere, the nature of reaction is less understood. The first thing to note is that the term ‘reaction’ is used for a reason. The natural instinct of humans is to make progress. This manifests variously as a desire to better oneself through physical training and intellectual studies, a desire to improve relationships with other people, and a desire to perform labor upon the physical world in order to sustain and improve quality of life. But like any other natural impulse, the desire to make progress can misfire. When this happens, a society can advance along the wrong path. Whenever a group of people within the society believe that this has occurred, they will seek to make society reverse course, get back on the correct path, and move forward again along it. The desire to reverse course is contrary to human nature and only occurs as a reaction to a perceived mistake, hence the term ‘reaction.’

Second, like all other political movements, reactionary movements have varying degrees of success and can be placed into three general categories: those that fail to gain traction, those that gain traction and fail, and those that gain traction and succeed. When a reactionary movement fails to gain political power, the course of society continues on its current course, for good or ill. If a reactionary movement gains power, it can fail for a variety of reasons. The reactionaries can over-correct, taking society backward beyond the point at which they believe mistakes were made, causing needless damage in the process; they can take society off of one wrong path and put it onto another, even worse path; or they can make changes only to lose power and see their changes reversed by a counter-reactionary movement. Finally, it is possible that a reactionary movement could achieve its goals and maintain them against attempts at reversal, though this has yet to occur.

Third, from a certain perspective, libertarianism is the most ancient and fundamental form of reaction. Taken to its logical conclusion, libertarianism requires anarchy and views the creation of both ancient city-states and modern nation-states as a societal error in need of correction. This mistake occurred far earlier than those cited by other reactionary movements, as the first recorded states were created around 3000 BC. Although many libertarians seek radical reforms of other kinds and current libertarian movements trace their lineage to a far later time period, this reactionary core radiates outward through other beliefs commonly held by libertarians, especially right-libertarians and religious libertarians.

Given the theoretical relationship between libertarianism and reaction, let us examine the contemporary practical relationship. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, right-libertarians and religious libertarians are more likely to have reactionary views on issues other than what constitutes the acceptable use of force and the logical implications thereof. But the recent growth of the libertarian movement due to the Ron Paul presidential campaigns of 2008 and 2012 has resulted in a different type of libertarian becoming more prominent. These campaigns attracted leftists who oppose war while supporting homosexual marriages and drug legalization, but these people do not embrace these positions through the logical approach of libertarian theory, but rather through progressive dogma and/or individual hedonism. As such, they want the state to enforce their perception of liberty rather than remove initiatory force from society and let the chips fall where they may. Their desire to end the state, if present at all, comes from a fundamentally different worldview in which egalitarianism is a goal rather than a nightmare and the state is a barrier to egalitarianism rather than a cause of it. Furthermore, their quests to add to the non-aggression principle would destroy it if taken to their logical conclusions, and the more intelligent among them seem to be fully aware of this. When these people encountered the old guard of libertarianism, conflict inevitably resulted. When the leftists lost logical arguments, true to Socrates’ adage, they resorted to ad hominems in the form of accusations of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and so on. This has fueled reactionary sentiment to the point where some of the most ardent anarchists are willing to support a borderline fascist presidential candidate just to push back against leftist influence.

This brings us to the contemporary question of the Donald Trump presidential campaign and what libertarians with reactionary leanings should do about it. The desire to use state power against those who are using state power against oneself is certainly understandable, and the idea of estoppel would justify this as self-defense in a vacuum. But elections do not solely affect the people who participate in them; they harm other people as well. Even people who live in other countries and cannot vote are aggressed against due to foreign policy. The only situation in which harming innocent third parties is acceptable is an innocent shield situation, as disallowing this is both contrary to negative homesteading and a path to an absurd result, namely that an aggressor could simply hide behind an impenetrable amount of human shielding and get away with crimes. But there are people affected by voting who are not innocent shields, at least not with respect to a United States presidential election. Thus, voting does not qualify as an act of self-defense and the proper course of action is not to enter the voting booth, but to destroy it.

As mentioned above, there are several methods by which a reactionary movement can fail. While losing power and seeing the changes reversed by a counter-reactionary movement is a future issue that cannot yet be resolved, Trump is quite capable of taking society backward beyond the point at which his supporters believe mistakes were made and of taking society off of one wrong path and putting it onto another wrong path which is even worse. Despite these dangers of being too strong in these senses, Trump’s movement is actually too weak from a philosophical libertarian perspective. Trump questions the status quo in a way that no other candidate does, but not once does he strike at the essence of state power. Never does he question the role of government; only how it should be carrying out its role. Even if Trump succeeds and the changes he would make are not undone, libertarians will still have almost all of the problems they currently have along with some new ones, such as more cronyism and more use of state power against libertarians.

In short, while the Trump campaign is a form of reaction, it is not a libertarian form of reaction. The goal of a libertarian reactionary should not be to get one’s foot into the boot of state power, but to cast the One Ring into Mount Doom. A libertarian form of reaction must correct the ancient and fundamental mistake of human civilization, which is the creation of states. Then, it must do what has yet to be done by protecting this change against attempts at reversal over a long period of time.

The Ethics of Using Force Against Planned Parenthood

On Nov. 27, Robert Dear allegedly attacked a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs, Colo., killing three people and wounding nine others. He was then in a standoff with police for five hours before surrendering.

The reaction from politicians and pundits was unanimously against the attack, with many calling the attack an incident of domestic terrorism. It is also clear that Dear was mentally ill and did not live in accordance with his professed beliefs. But let us take a step back from this particular incident and examine in the abstract whether or not Planned Parenthood is a legitimate target for defensive force, what kind of force if so, the morality versus the practicality of such a use of force, and what alternatives to said force might be more effective.

First, there is the matter of speaking out against Planned Parenthood. It should be clear to anyone with a functioning brain that calling attention to the fact that potential human beings will be killed at an abortion clinic regardless of whether a shooter is there does not amount to sympathizing with terrorists, but social justice warriors know no bounds of ignorance. Discourse is always justifiable unless the people engaging in it are on private property and acting against the wishes of the property owner.

With that handled, let us start upon the issue proper. Whether or not Planned Parenthood is a legitimate target for defensive force depends solely upon whether it is violating the non-aggression principle. The activities of interest are the receipt of government funding and the provision of abortion services.

While those who steal and threaten property owners with violence in order to gain some of their resources are primarily responsible for acts of theft and extortion, those who knowingly and willfully receive and use stolen resources bear some vicarious liability. A reasonable standard of defensive force allows for the use of force to recover stolen resources that are being held and used by a party other than the thief, as the alternative would justify theft so long as the thief could quickly fence the stolen resources in order to avoid being caught in possession of them. As such, one would be justified in using force against Planned Parenthood to recover and re-appropriate the 41 percent of its funding that comes from government grants and reimbursements.

The provision of abortion services involves removing a fetus from a woman’s uterus and killing it. The reason that most people have difficulty in figuring out the morality of this is that it weighs fundamental rights against each other: the woman’s right to liberty and property versus the fetus’ right to life. Of course, there are some special cases where there is no such weighing and an abortion is clearly justifiable. If a woman’s life is in imminent danger and the fetus is not yet viable, then there may be a choice between aborting a fetus to save the mother and letting both die. In this case, the fetus is out of luck and the abortion should proceed to preserve what life can be preserved. A birth defect or other illness which causes the fetus not to have the potential to become a sentient being (e.g. anencephaly) also legitimizes an abortion, as carrying the pregnancy to term will accomplish nothing and fail to produce a being with a right to life. But aside from these circumstances, a fertilized egg which implants into the uterus has the potential to become a sentient being. (Implantation is a better starting point for when life begins than conception because at least half of fertilized eggs do not implant in the uterus, but instead leave the uterus as menstruation does.) The rights to liberty and property cannot be exercised without exercising the right to life, and that which is dependent cannot supersede that upon which it is dependent. Thus, the fetus’ right to life overrules the woman’s rights to liberty and property. Therefore, the logical position is to be pro-life until the fetus is viable. After the fetus is viable, the woman may choose to evict it but not to kill it. As killing the fetus is not justifiable, stopping someone from killing the fetus is justifiable.

One might object that a bystander has no agency to protect a fetus threatened with abortion because a bystander is not part of the situation by default and the fetus has not asked for help. But if we were to take this view to its logical conclusion, we would also have to accept such absurdities as requiring paramedics not to help a person who is unconscious and penniless. Like a fetus, an adult who has fallen unconscious and has no resources lacks the capacity to make contracts and has nothing to exchange for help of any kind, but has the potential to gain both in the future if spared death in the present. Cantwell’s analogy of a woman who is beaten by her husband but refuses to take action against her is unsound because the abused woman has the capacity to make contracts but refuses to do so, while a fetus does not. The use of force to protect those who cannot protect themselves and cannot ask for help is justified, so one may use force to stop a person who is going to kill a fetus. This varies from the more immediate self-defense standards of contemporary law and some libertarians, but the difference can be easily explained. Contemporary law is designed to perpetuate the state by making people dependent upon it, so it naturally opposes an expansive view of defensive force by private citizens, instead reserving such actions for agents of the state. Meanwhile, some libertarians reject an expansive view of defensive force due to misunderstanding of the non-aggression principle, deliberate fakery, virtue signaling to statists, or a fear of government violence.

The next question is how much force is justified. If there is a limit to how much defensive force may be used, then all an aggressor need do is escalate the use of force beyond that limit. Having a limit thus means that might makes right, and the idea that might makes right is false by performative contradiction; might only plays a role in shaping outcomes. Therefore, one may respond to an act of aggression with any amount of force necessary to stop the aggression. As Planned Parenthood is an organization which accepts and uses stolen resources to commit acts of murder, and the use of defensive force has no limitation on escalation, Planned Parenthood is a legitimate target for as much defensive force as necessary to stop its immoral activities.

The moral case for using any amount of force necessary to stop Planned Parenthood from killing innocent (potential) sentient beings and funding its operations with stolen resources is clear. But while this is moral, it is frequently impractical. While one would be justified in raiding Planned Parenthood to recover and re-appropriate its stolen resources, hacking away at the branches of evil is generally less effective than striking the root. Planned Parenthood (or any other organization which receives government funding, for that matter) would not be able to receive stolen resources if there were no thieves to steal them. The more effective means, then, is to use force to stop tax collectors and central bankers from stealing in the first place. While one would be justified in raiding Planned Parenthood to prevent fetuses from being killed therein, an attack like that perpetrated by Dear will cause the very problem it is supposed to prevent if any pregnant women or fetuses are killed by the attacker. As mentioned above, there are cases where abortion services are needed. While abortion doctors are still allowed to refuse service (though this right is under attack by NARAL and others), their financial incentive is to perform as many abortions as possible. The abortion providers, while not innocent, are operating under perverse incentives, and it is better to correct those than to physically attack them.

With the use of force against Planned Parenthood shown to be morally justified but tactically unwise, it is worth exploring what else may be done. First, the practice of evictionism cannot be fully realized without better technology that will allow fetuses to be viable at an earlier stage of development. Someone must invent this advanced fetal incubation technology and bring it to market in order to save more potential human beings from death in abortion clinics. Second, birth control should be made available without restrictions so that less unwanted fetuses are created. Third, feminist arguments against slut shaming should be countered and the value of its practice against females and males alike should be recognized. Regardless of whether there is a welfare state, people who behave in a promiscuous manner and cannot afford the costs of doing so will visit those costs upon other people. Finally, and most importantly, the state must be abolished. The state is ultimately responsible for Planned Parenthood operating with stolen resources and performing more abortions than would otherwise occur, restrictions on access to birth control, regulations that hinder advances in medicine and technology, and the perverse incentives of welfare statism that encourage r-selected behavior in humans, a historically K-selected species. If these measures are taken, then the problems with the current operation of Planned Parenthood might not be solved peacefully, but they will be solved without direct violence against Planned Parenthood.