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'Voluntaryism' is a new word for 'anarchism' being used by pro-capitalist, right-wing "libertarians" who tired of defending their views on the wage system and absentee land ownership from criticism by actual anarchists. Yes, 'actual anarchists'; anarchists are historically and ideologically anti-capitalist. Anarchism is the belief in the creation of human societies where all individuals are free to reach their greatest possible potential absent coercion, not a clean slate where individuals can position themselves above others in society and use that position to extract wealth from their labor.

In contrast, voluntaryists like to reduce all matters of moral action down to the voluntary consent of individuals while completely ignoring presupposed environmental variables which they sneak in the backdoor. For instance, one can easily say that I "voluntarily" pay rent to live in this apartment. And indeed, I of my own will cash my check and deposit the money into the landlord’s account on a monthly basis. Indeed, I signed the contract agreeing to pay this amount monthly. What voluntaryists ignore however, is that I by my very nature do not have a choice in whether I occupy space on the planet, or whether the "right" to occupy that specific space has been claimed by someone else. They ignore the consequences of not paying rent, homelessness, while claiming that the payment of rent represents a voluntary agreement. The threat of homelessness in this case could be easily equated to the threat of an armed robbers gun. Sure it can be said one voluntarily gives up their valuables to the robber if we choose to ignore the coercive variable which compel them to do so, their own necessity. It could just as easily be said that a 19th century English peasant voluntarily accepted monarchy by bowing to royalty if we ignore the law commanding them to do so.

More at: http://isocracy.org/node/107


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 20th, 2012 10:05 am (UTC)
First off, its so nice to see a post here. It feels like forever!

But more to the point, that is a very apt metaphor for a lot of things in modern industrial society. Without standing on equal terms, "voluntary" agreements are meaningless. Which is why I thibk the abolition of money and its equivalents is so necessary to an anarchist society because of the unequal power it gives and the way needing it to live in society enslaves one to giving away our mental and physical energies just to get some of it to get food and shelter which ultimately comes from land that, by birthright should be all ours to share, not the private holding of some rich person.
Dec. 20th, 2012 10:20 pm (UTC)
First off, its so nice to see a post here. It feels like forever!

May as well get the discussions rolling again.

Without standing on equal terms, "voluntary" agreements are meaningless.

Well, I wouldn't go so far as to say they're meaningless, but they are distorted. The less free a person really is of course is something that can be understood as a continuum. When it comes (as Matt suggests in the article) to the "free choice" of paying rent for example, one is really stuck with a Hobson's Choice.

Money is a particularly tricky one. I agree with your sentiment, but I do wonder what could be possibly used as an alternative means to allocate competing resources across relative subjective demands.
Dec. 20th, 2012 11:36 pm (UTC)
While it is true that one commodity which has near univeraal value and demand as well
as ease of measurement tends to naturally become "money", I would like to see people simply do whatever their passion is--for some its growing plants, for others tinkering with computers or programming, for others metalworking etc., and the excess of theirs stores up and freely given, just as theyfreely receive the excess of others labours for their needs. Some would no doubt form clubs
to work together and merit and reputation could become their prize. If you think of it like that-natural land and resources are free to be shared by all so that everyone can pursue their dreams.
Dec. 21st, 2012 12:02 am (UTC)
Ahh, so not so much money as a means of exchange, but the social relations of labour-capital-landlord and resulting exploitation.
Dec. 21st, 2012 02:52 am (UTC)
Yes as well as the inequality it produces simply by existing and being valued (or more commonly forcibly imposed through legal tender laws) resulting in those who have it and thse who dont, gicing one class more power over another.
Aug. 5th, 2013 04:27 am (UTC)
The need for "equal terms" is why Adam Smith was in favor of unions and education.
Dec. 20th, 2012 10:16 am (UTC)
I find left wing anarchists to be unrealistic dreamers. Right wing anarchists are just jerks.
Dec. 20th, 2012 12:13 pm (UTC)
So...you like "center" anarchists?
Dec. 21st, 2012 02:47 am (UTC)
No, I like the unrealistic dreamers. My interest in anarchism is for it's critique of power, not because I believe it has any pragmatic value as a political system.
Dec. 22nd, 2012 09:13 am (UTC)
Right-wing anarchists/libertarians are a contradiction in terms !
Mar. 3rd, 2013 11:25 pm (UTC)
Like your stuff, and wanted to share a related article I wrote.
Aug. 5th, 2013 04:25 am (UTC)
Voluntaryism would work a lot better if there was a shortage of workers instead of a shortage of jobs.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )