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Summary of New Libertarian Manifesto by Samuel Edward Konkin III

Yesterday, I read and wrote a summary of New Libertarian Manifesto by Samuel Edward Konkin III.

Read it for free (pdf)

TL;DR

  • Agorist = libertarian in theory and free-market in practice
  • The problem are anti-principles which don’t lead to liberty (political action, etc.)
  • Libertarianism as a product of consistency. If we apply that consistency to our action it becomes agorism
  • Agorism is profitable and leads to a better society – it will be so good that it’s more stable than a intellectual or violent change
  • Basically everybody does some kind of counter-economics but they are indoctrinated to think that that’s bad
  • Introduce people in the black market to libertarianism so that the don’t give up and feel bad
  • You can try to suppress agora (the market) as long as you wish but as soon as you let go of it it will expand and exist
  • Combat anti-principles and be an agorist

Statism: Our Condition

“Coercion is immoral, inefficient and unnecessary for human life and fulfillment”

  • The goal is a common goal – instead of fighting against something to fight for something
  • The biggest enemy is the state
  • Libertarianism as the resistance against statism
    • Problem: the State
    • Solution: the Market

“The Market is the sum of all voluntary human action. If one acts non-coercively, one is part of the Market”

Parts of Libertarianism

  • Economics
  • Objective philosophy
  • Revisionist History
  • “Counter-psychology” (e.g. Thomas Szasz)
  • Science Fiction
  • This led to the libertarian “movement”

Anti-principles (deviations, heresies, …):

  • First counter-attack
    • Alliance with the power elite to overthrow present rulers
    • Immediate confrontation with the State’s agents
    • Collaboration with those in power who offered less oppression (e.g. FEI, FEE)
    • Educate the population
    • Libertarian Alliances
    • Running for office
  • Second counter-attack
    • A “Libertarian” Party
  • Third counter-attack
    • Buying major Libertarian institutions (aka. Kochtopus)
  • This lead to splintering of the Movement’s “Left”
  • New problem “How can we avoid deviations from the path of liberty when we know there are more than one?”
  • No one can’t predict the sequence of steps which will achieve a free society
  • However, one can eliminate the ones which will not advance Liberty
  • One can describe a Space which ways to achieve the goal of a free society

Agorism: Our goal

  • The basic principle which leads from statism to a free society is the same as the principle which lead to the discovery of libertarianism itself – consistency
  • Thus, the goal is a consistent application of the theory of libertarianism to every action
  • Agorist = libertarian in theory and free-market in practice

What does a free society look like?

The freest society yet envisioned is that of Robert LeFevre

  • “All relations between people are voluntary exchanges – a free market”
  • “No one will injure another or trespass in any way”

=> “Most damaging to this perfectly free society is its lack of a mechanism of correction”

Second best: A Libertarian society

  • A small number of individuals in the marketplace ready to defend against sporadic aggression
  • OR a large number who know and can defend themselves (deterrence & systematic violence becomes unprofitable)
  • Two problems
    • Defending those who are noticeably defenseless (e.g. children, some challenged people)
    • What to do with the violence initiator after defense?
    • => arbitration (I don’t go into detail he cites Rothbard, Linda and Morris Tannehil)

Counter-Economics: Our Means

“No change in human nature needed”

  • Micro and macro view becomes less important
    • Micro: Manipulation of an individual by himself in his environment – including the market
    • Macro: Manipulation of collectives
  • E.g. tax evasion
    • Does it hurt you? Your friends? Innocents? The State?
  • Which collective action works? Agorism.

“It is possible, practical, and even profitable to entrepreneur large collections of humanity from statist society to the agora.”

  • Counter-Economics is the practice itself
  • “Going from an agorist society to a statist one should be uphill work, [..] After all, once one is living in and understand a well-run free society, why would one wish to return to systematic coercion, plunder, and anxiety?”

=> “The agorist society should be fairly stable relative to decadence, though highly open to improvement.”

Development

Phase I

  • Only a handful understand agorism
  • Vast majority perceives illusory gains from the State and are unable to perceive an alternative

Phase II

  • Large sectors under Statism
  • Smaller ones living as agorically as possible
  • Agorists don’t need to be territorially contiguous
  • It’s also safer to deal with more trustworthy customers and suppliers
  • Easily defensible territories: space, islands in the ocean, under the ocean, big-city “ghettos”
  • Agorist alternatives exist to Statist solutions

Phase III

  • Pockets of statism since the State requires regional monopolies
  • Remaining victims are becoming more and more aware of the wonderful free world around them
  • Large syndicates of market protection agencies are containing the State by defending those who have signed up for protection-insurance

Agorism is everywhere

“Large number of people who are acting in an agorist manner with little understanding of any theory but who are induced by material gain to evade, avoid, or defy the State”

  • “In varying degrees, this is true of nearly all the Second and Third Worlds”
  • Italy: “working unofficially at various jobs the rest of the day”
  • Netherlands: “large black market in housing because of the high regulation of this industry”
  • Denmark: “tax evasion movement so large that those in it succeeded to politics have formed the second largest party”
  • USA: “According to the IRS at least twenty million people belong in the “underground economy” of tax evaders using cash to avoid detections of transactions or barter exchange”
    • “Millions keep money in gold or in foreign accounts to avoid the hidden taxation of inflation”
    • “Millions of “illegal aliens” are employed”
    • “Millions more deal or consume marijuana and other proscribed drugs, including leatrile and forbidden medical material”
    • “And there are all the practitioners of “victimless crimes”
      • drug use
      • prostitution
      • pornography
      • bootlegging
      • false identification papers
      • gambling
      • proscribed sexual conduct between consenting adults
      • Driving higher than the speed limit
      • Tourists stashing a little extra in their luggage

“Regardless of “reform movements” to gain political acceptance of these acts, the populace has chosen to act now – and by doing are creating a counter-economy.”

“To some extent, then, everybody is a counter-economist!”

  • “If everyone is somewhat counter-economic, why hasn’t the Counter-Economy overwhelmed the economy?
    • “Every victim of statism has internalized the State to some degree.”
  • “The IRS’s annual proclamation that the income tax depends on “voluntary compliance” is ironically true.”
    • If nobody would pay taxes the state would perish
    • If everybody would abandon “legal tender” it’s doubtful that even taxation could sustain the modern State
  • The State’s control of education and information media is crucial
    • Anti-State intellectuals are kept away
  • “A common characteristic of most hardened black marketeers is their guilt. They wish to “make their bundle” and return to the “straight society.”
  • There have been exceptions:
    • Dissenting religious communities of the 1700s
    • Political utopian communities of the 1800s
    • Counter-Culture of the hippies and the New Left
  • “What they had was a conviction that their sub-society was superior to the rest of society.”

“All of these examples of self-sustaining sub-societies failed for one overriding reason: ignorance of economics”

“No matter how many wish communism to work and devote themselves to it, it will fail. They can hold back agorism indefinitely by great effort, but when they let go, the “flow” or “Invisible Hand” or “tides of history” or “profit incentive” or “doing what comes naturally” or “spontaneity” will carry society inexorably closer to the pure agora.”

  • “Why is there such resistance to eventual happiness?”
    • Internalization of anti-principles (those seeming like principles but actually contrary to natural law)
    • Opposition of vested interests

What is needed?

  • Education of the libertarian activists
  • the consciousness-raising of counter-economist to libertarian understand and mutual supportivenes

“We are right, we are better, we are surviving in a moral, consistent way and we are building a better society – of benefit to ourselves and others”

  • “Note well that libertarian activists who are not themselves full practicing counter-economists are unlikely to be convincing”
  • “On the other hand, we must defend ourselves against the vested interests or at the very least lower their oppression as much as possible”
    • Bring more people into the counter-economy
    • How do we protect ourselves and even counter-attack? (Protection industry)

“The fundamental principle of counter-economics is to trade risk for profit”

  • Risk can be lowered by
    • increasing care / precautions
    • increasing security
    • trusting fewer persons of higher trustworthiness
  • Counter-economic entrepreneurs have an incentive to provide:
    • better security devices
    • places of concealment
    • instructions to help evasion
    • screen potential customers and suppliers

=> Birth of the protection industry

  • The protection industry can create its own customers by lowering the risk

Revolution: Our Strategy

“for those who wish only to live their lives as free as possible and associate with others like-minded, counter-economic libertarianism is sufficient”

  • For people who want to advance Liberty even more can work the New Libertarian Strategy
  • “The New Libertarian activist must keep in mind that actual defense against the State is impossible until the counter-economy has generated the syndicates of protection agencies sufficiently large to defend against the remnant of the State”

Tactics by phase will differ however some rules apply to all phases

  • One recruits and educates
  • If somebody want to do a counter-economic act encourage them to do it if they are intelligent enough and understand the risks and return
  • Educate them by your example
  • “All “Library Libertarians” you know should be encouraged to practice what they preach”
  • If you know people in counter-economics let them in your beliefs which keeps you so happy and free of guilt
  • “Control and program your emotional reactions to exhibit hostility at statism and deviationism, and to exhibit enthusiasm and joy at agorist acts and the State’s setbacks”
  • Coordinate your activities with other New Libertarian activists

Group action

  • All structures must be market-compatible (e.g. partnerships, joint-stock companies)

“In an agorist society, division of labor and self-respect of each worker-capitalist-entrepreneur will probably eliminate the traditional business organization – especially the corporate hierarchy, and imitation of the State and not the Market”

  • Most companies will be associations of independent contracts, consultants, and other companies”
  • “Thus an association of entrepreneurs of liberty for the purpose of specializing, coordinating and delivering libertarian activities is no violation of the market and may well be optimal”
  • “The organization is simple and should avoid turning into a political organ or even an authoritarian organization”
  • “A New Libertarian Ally does not follow a tactician or strategist but rather “buys” their argument and expertise. Anyone offering a better plan can replace the previous planner”

“Never initiate any act of violence regardless how likely a “libertarian” result may appear. To do so is to reduce yourself to a statist.”


Phases

Phase 0: Zero-Density Agorist Society

  • No agorist exist only scattered libertarians
  • As soon as somebody becomes aware of agorism they move to Phase 1
  • TODO:
    • slow evolution of consciousness
    • live counter-economically yourself
    • steer the “libertarians” from political activities
    • focus on a “hard-core” (consistent) position

Phase 1: Low-Density Agorist Society

  • First counter-economic libertarians appear
  • Splits in the Libertarian movement occur
  • “Get liberty quick”-schemes are the majority
  • TODO:
    • combat anti-principles
    • get counter-economists into libertarianism

Phase 2: Mid-Density, Small Condensation Agorist Society

  • Statists take notice of agorism (= threat)
  • TODO:
    • First “ghettos” of districts of agorists can appear and count on the sympathy of the rest of society to restrain the State from a mass attack
    • Agorist living can be official advertised promoting its superiority

Phase 3: High-Density, Large Condensation, Agorist Society

  • State moves into a series of terminal crises
  • Resources of the economy approach equality between the State and Agora
  • Inflation (and wars) can occur
  • The State tries to reverse everything
  • TODO:
    • Improve protection agencies

Phase 4: Agorist Society with Statist Impurities

  • Statists pay restoration
  • We’re home

Action! Our Tactics

  • Infiltration of less radical groups and sparking splits by presenting alternatives
  • Confrontation of coercion with visible protest and rejection
  • day to day personal salesmanship among friends
  • libertarian social groups such as supper clubs to exchange information, goods, and support
  • publication, public speaking, writing fiction
  • educational activities in many forms: teacher, business consultant, entertainment, revisionist historian, agorist economists, etc.
  • Activism is a type of entrepreneurship

“It’s all Human Action by von Mises if you can apply it”

  • Find out what has been tried and worked or failed
  • “Libertarianism rewards the practitioner who follows it with more self-liberation and personal fulfillment than any alternative yet conceived.”

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