Robert James Bidinotto and “The Contradiction in Anarchism”

Here’s an interesting piece on Objectivist Robert James Bidinotto’s criticisms of anarcho-libertarianism: Nicholas Dykes, Robert James Bidinotto and “The Contradiction in Anarchism”, Libertarian Alliance, Philosophical Notes No. 77, 2006 (pdf).

See also my post Objectivism, Bidinotto, and Anarchy; See also Roderick Long’s Bidinotto-Long debate on anarchism and Roderick Long’s blog discussion about this.

2 comments… add one

  • Bidinotto’s main argument is a relativist variation of the Hobbesian justification for Leviathan (whether minarchist, monarchist, oligarchist or democratic): that since there are conflicting definitions of justice (or property, rights, liberty, etc.), competing agencies and individuals will offer their own definitions, that society would degenerate into the war of all against all, and that a central coordinating agency becomes the necessary way out of this chaos. But if we accept this argument, we must also concede that the emergence of language itself is impossible without a central coordinating agency, which we know is absurd. Against this relativist justification for the state, Aquinas and his followers, including Rothbard, assert that there is one natural order of justice that is discoverable and agreeable by the use of reason.

  • If Bidinotto believes that people will arrive at conflicting definitions of justice, then what he is saying is that man, on average, can not be counted on to come to the proper conclusions through the use of his rational faculties.

    But if that is the conclusion, then why are we to believe that the final arbiter on matters of justice that Objectivists propose has itself arrived at the proper definitions?
    It seems we are here, once again, expected of to blindly believe in the ‘supermen’ type qualities of a final arbiter (i.e. government), consisting of wiser men than ourselves imposing the one true justice on the rest of us against our wills, for our own good. And since this final arbiter can, just as current governments, be described as a ‘monopoly of force’ we will arrive at the same problems that we’ve arrived at with all existing democracies.
    After all, what to do if that final arbiter turns out to be quite arbitrary in both its conclusions as well as its policies?
    To call for a revolution? Resistance has sure worked for the South in the Civil War, hasn’t it? And if such a monopoly has all the tanks, the aircraft carriers, the bombers and the nukes (as indeed it would, for if it didn’t such a final arbiter could easily be ignored) i could also wish any uprising a good luck and good night.
    And why should we even think that a Revolution would be justified in the first place? Didn’t we hear from Bidinotto that man is basically incapable of arriving at proper conclusions about justice? So on what basis would this revolution be started, and by whom?

    I have the sneaky suspicion that it would at all times be Objectivists who would be needed to inform us dullards on anything and to take seat in such a government, as far as Objectivists are concerned. A pretty self-serving view of government that would be.


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