donderdag 14 oktober 2010

Mijn introductie tot mijn thesis

Hier is mijn eerste poging tot een introductie. Voor hetzelfde geld is de definitieve versie van mijn introductie compleet anders; maar het geeft goed weer wat ik zal beargumenteren en waarover ik zal schrijven doorheen de thesis.


The idea of the state is an old one: as far back as Plato and Aristotle philosophers talked about coercive political organizations. The purpose of this thesis is to argue differently. We won’t take the state, or any other coercive institution, for granted. We’ll argue for the moral superiority, the institutional robust viability and the economic possibility of an ordered anarchy. Modern political philosophy often talks about what the state ought to do (or not to do). The quintessential example is John Rawls, who, with his theory of justice, has an idea of what system of fairness the state should aim at. Luckily: not all philosophers take the state for granted as such. Going back to someone like Hobbes who provided an institutional argument for the state, it is clear that the state is often considered to be a problematic notion amongst philosophers. Unfortunately, however, the majority of all the thinkers who get accredited for being the greatest in the history of political philosophy - Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Immanuel Kant, John Stuart Mill, John Rawls and even the libertarian thinker Robert Nozick - all argued, in one way or another, for the moral justification, institutional necessity and economic beneficial influence of the state. The idea of this thesis is not to provide a point by point refutation of all these thinkers - all though some of them will be mentioned and accordingly criticized. The main purpose is to provide a positive defense of the idea of an anarchist political order as a normative framework. But as with all normative frameworks; we should base our normative conceptions on realistic arguments, so we’ll also discuss some of the scientific insights which towards the practical possibility of a society that functions without a centralized, self-defining, monopoly on the use of legitimized coercion.

We’ll give an overview of the central argumentation in this introduction, in order for the reader to get a clear view on what’s coming.

We’ll start of by providing a methodological framework, some clear definitions of certain concepts which will be used throughout this thesis and a basic anthropology. This is important because we can’t just theorize ad hoc with changing concepts; therefore it’s necessary to lay out the definitions before we start applying them. The basic anthropology we’ll be that during this thesis human beings are - for the most part - to be understood as acting beings in a scarce world, based upon certain ends and adopting certain means.

We’ll use these basic considerations - especially the anthropology - to develop a moral argumentation that can be considered to be a part of the natural law tradition. We’ll analyze the philosophy of law in terms of certain rights people have, based on their faculties as actors - more specifically: moral actors - in a world with scarce resources. From this natural law vision we’ll conclude that aggression to innocent people is an unjustifiable action. Then we’ll go on to proof that ‘the state’ or any other ‘political’ institution as such can only work based on aggression to innocent people, e.g. taxation. We’ll finish by discussing some moral arguments for the state, such as John Rawls his theory of justice. From this perspective of the immorality of the state; we’ll also comment on the typical liberal-communautarian discussion, arguing that they are both right and wrong, but that they forget option number three, i.e. ordered anarchy.

After we’ve discussed the morality of an anarchist society; we’ll discuss the basic ‘Hobbesian challenge’ towards such an order, i.e. the idea that without a state we’ll live in a world where “the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”. Therefore, according to the typical Hobbesian idea, we need a state. Contra Hobbes we’ll argue that mechanisms and extended institutions can evolve out of a anarchical state of interaction that can both facilitate cooperation without claiming a monopoly on law and order. We’ll argue mainly on two grounds: we’ll incorporate the theoretical and practical insights of modern game theory that tells us that even when a situation is similar to a prisoners dilemma - i.e. a situation where there can be no trust on what the other would do - there can be facilitations of trade, if only there is a real possibility of repeated interaction. On the other hand we’ll argue from a Mengerian invisible hand explanation that institutions to facilitate trade, similar to money and language, can evolve out of interactions without them necessarily be intended as a end in itself. Following this positive defense of an anarchist order, we’ll discuss some problems that some writers have identified with such an anarchist framework, most notably Tyler Cowen and George Stigler.

After we’ve discussed the unnecessary of the state; we still have to discuss wether or not the state is preferable. We’ll talk about two different notions that have been described to the state: (1) the state as an institution that takes certain collective decisions through the democratic process and (2) the state as an institution that provides a legal framework.

Concerning the first point; we’ll argue along the lines of the standard public choice literature that ‘the state’ as an actor has certain features that makes it a bad decision making procedure concerning the society as a whole. The second issue we’ll be resolved by contrasting ‘legislation’ with a more decentralized law-creating process. By using this method; it’ll be easier to create a picture of how a legal system in a an anarchist legal order would function. It is here that we’ll discuss John Locke’s arguments for the state, because, as we shall see, he’s points are mainly about the necessity of law, safety and judicial services. After this section we can conclude the ‘political’ section of this thesis with the basic idea that an anarchist (legal) order is a viable and justifiable idea.

In the last major section of this thesis we’ll discuss the economic foundations of an anarchist society. In this section we’ll postulate that the political institutions are - more or less - in order, i.e. that they sustain trade, enforce contracts and so on according to the preferences of the individuals which live within this framework. Based on the ‘Austrian’ way of looking at economic cooperation, we’ll argue that such a system is capable of generating wealth, without succumbing to it’s own ‘contradictions’, as sometimes claimed. We’ll argue that such a free society doesn’t ‘support’ certain organizational processes over others, i.e. people are free to cooperate using a for profit business or a non-profit commune. As long as people are free to move freely between organizations and keep their own moral sovereignty; there is no normative claim about how people should cooperate. We’ll also spend some time discussing issues such as reciprocity, feelings of community and genuine solidarity. Sometimes it is claimed that the individual rights approach that will be defended in the moral section of the book doesn’t allow - or heavily discourages - these kind of issues. We’ll try to provide substantial arguments that this is, however, not the case.

After this final section we can conclude that anarchy is a moral justifiable order, that the institutional framework of such a society is not utopian and that the economic benefits of such a society will be widespread.

I hope I can interest the reader throughout this thesis and provide challenging and convincing arguments for my case. But we have introduced this thesis enough by now. Let us begin in looking at the arguments themselves!

2 opmerkingen:

Geraldine zei

I like :-) Interessant onderwerp en veel beter geschreven (netjes, gestructureerd, weinig taalfouten, enz -> serieus en volwassen :-) dan al wat ik al van jou gelezen heb (vat dat niet verkeerd op, tis als compliment bedoeld :-)

Adriaan zei