Yesterday, I finished Sowell's book: A Conflict of Visions, and this gives a framework in which to understand some of the internal conlicts I have about, well, everything. I'll start with Agorist/Libertarianism.
First, a summary:
Sowell says that there are 2 visions that can explain a whole lot of the differences between folks approaches to politics (and to some extent to other stuff)
Vision 1: Unconstrained
The judicious exercise of reason and compassion can make a better world.
In the extreme, we can create world peace and eliminate hunger by collective (or philosopher-king) decisions with the right heart and mind. Let us create such a world.
Vision 2: Constrained
Most of life's results come from forces largely beyond our control.
In the extreme, genetics and economics and political necessities combine so that some folks will be hungry/poor/violent no matter what we do, and politics cannot help.
The funny thing about libertarianism is that it seems to draw relatively strongly from both sides of the vision...and I am having trouble separating my approach to libertarianism and (newly) Agorism into the competing visions.
From vision 2:
Economics wins -- scarcity + unlimited wants (biologically/genetically driven, esp. status driven) make for a reality that overwhelms almost any planning that can be done on a societal scale.
Public Choice economics adds fuel -- politics is always primarily concerned with political favors, and rarely with anything else. All government "victories" are about governments removing atrocious government rules that prevent the good. -- Civil rights, discrimination, etc. The old bad stuff used to be supported by government power. by passing laws to remove the old bad stuff, somehow government becomes the hero, rather than the villain, partially redeemed, for having done it in the first place.
Summary: Markets mostly work, and politics nearly alway fails to solve problems, and creates more problems, and it's about the structure, not the people.
From vision 1:
Something can be done to stem the seemingly inexorable flow towards statism.
People are (essentially) good, if incentives and power to be really bad are removed.
The Founding fathers in 1776 and again in 1787 were able to found a country which attempted for a while to preserve liberty...and so it might be possible to found a society conceived in liberty again.
AND...there is a fair claim that, despite all the libertarian groaning, life is indeed getting better. And freer. The idea that there is little systematic government-based oppression of citizens based on race or sex in the USA is rather impressive. Certainly it makes all of US history pale in comparison. There is great freedom of speech, even with McCain-Feingold. Despite Kelo, there is little corporate hideousness (Railroad takings, Standard Oil pseudo slavery), and despite Chevrolet, there is little union hideousness (broken kneecaps).
The libertarian vision is to roll back the state somehow. I see that as vision 2 suggesting an improvement, and vision 1 ignoring vision 2 in suggesting it can be done.
The agorist vision is to build competing institutions. Again, this reeks of conscious design and human fallibility against the relentless onslought of historical processes. Recognize the situation as a result of processes? Vision 2. Decide to fight it via action? Vision 1. Hmm.
Beautiful analysis method. Inclines one to fatalism, if one suspects that in general vision 2 is correct.