[ExI] Serfdom and libertarian critiques (Was: Call to Libertarians)

J. Stanton js_exi at gnolls.org
Sun Feb 20 19:31:11 UTC 2011

On 2/19/11 10:46 AM, Richard Loosemore wrote:
> Taxation and government and redistribution of wealth are what
> separate us from the dark ages.  The concept of taxation + government
> + redistribution of wealth was the INCREDIBLE INVENTION that allowed
> human societies in at least one corner of this planet to emerge from
> feudal societies where everyone looked after themselves and the devil
> took the hindmost.

This is a breathtakingly counterfactual statement.

Feudal economies were and are entirely supported by "taxation + 
government + redistribution of wealth".

The only difference is that in a feudal economy, the redistribution is 
from the masses to the already rich, in the form of "lords" -- whereas 
in our modern government-contronlled economy, the redistribution is from 
the masses to the already rich in the form of "corporations" and "banks".

The difference of income and assets between a feudal serf and his lord 
in the Middle Ages is not proportionally larger than the difference in 
income and assets today between the average world citizen and its 
richest citizens. The only difference is that we modern serfs have a 
better standard of living than serfs in the Dark Ages due to sterile 
medicine, antibiotics, and mass production of technology.

If anyone thinks there is a difference of kind between medieval serfdom 
and what we have in America ("oh, we can OWN LAND") just stop paying 
your property tax -- or any other tax -- and you'll see that the state 
owns everything, just as in the Dark Ages.  What we call "ownership" is 
a finder's fee for the privilege of paying below-market rent.  There is 
no difference between the Domesday Book and the county recorder's office.

As far as libertarianism, I find the standard statist critique to be 
nonsense: claims that the government can be less corrupt than the people 
assume that government is made up of something other than people, which 
fails trivially.

My critique rests on the blindness of the Libertarian Party (and 
libertarians) towards banks and corporations. Both are 
government-granted exceptions to the rules of liability for one's 
actions and debts ('limited liability') and monetary exchange 
('fractional reserve banking', i.e. the ability to create money from 
thin air by issuing debt) -- and both produce the inevitable result that 
institutions granted such exceptional powers control the world economy.

If libertarians genuinely believed what they said, the first plank on 
every libertarian's political platform would be "abolish corporations 
and banks".

Yet the LPUSA, and every libertarian I've personally met, remains blind 
to this yawning contradiction.  Therefore I discard modern 
libertarianism as self-contradictory, irrelevant, and inevitably 
producing the same corporate/banking hegemony as any other statist 


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