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

J. Stanton js_exi at gnolls.org
Sat Feb 19 20:38:05 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 serfs have a better 
standard of living than 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.

As far as libertarianism, I find the standard statist critique to be 
nonsense: claims that the government ca be less corrupt than the people 
assume that government is made up of something other than people, which 
fails trivially.  I think Bob Black's critique is much more trenchant:

"The Libertarian As Conservative"

"Silly doctrinaire theories which regard the state as a parasitic 
excrescence on society cannot explain its centuries-long persistence, 
its ongoing encroachment upon what was previously market terrain, or its 
acceptance by the overwhelming majority of people including its 
demonstrable victims."


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