BGL:his assertion that the existence of class struggle invalidates the non-aggression principle (if this isn't the principle being violated, please tell me what is) along with his other points on class warfare. I am also interested in what he says about capitalism, since I am no expert on the history of capitalism. Though, with capitalism (taken literally), I see why he's against it because of certain branches such as state capitalism and because immoral methods of obtaining private property. I have some experience with the body of Marxist literature. I know the Manifesto. It is short and easy to read. You should look at it. Not to spoil the plot, but Marx called for public schools, central banking, and an income tax. So, you should read it in its entirety.
I also read Vol 1 of Capital (or much of it - it is easy to run through, making its points and then supporting them with tons of stuff I did not need to know.) It took about a week, maybe eight or ten hours all in all. In addition, I have read Lenin's Imperialism (and Schumpeter's also), What is to be Done? and few more like that, as well as the standard histories of socialism such as To the Finland Station.
A classic work on anarchism is Patterns of Anarchy by Krimerman and Perry. They assembled an anthology that begins in the Enlightenment with Woolstoncraft (father of Mary, the creator of Frankenstein) and include the American individualists Lysander Spooner and Benjamin Tucker as well as the German egoist Max Stirner. Of course, all the lefties are there, as well, Proudhon, Buffon, Kropotkin....
If you care about the individualist anarchist arguments, No Treason: The Constititution of No Authority by Lysander Spooner is short about like the Communist Manifesto, and easy to read. (Spooner was a lawyer, and an abolitionist, who at first argued against slavery on Consitutional grounds. He also operated his own post office in direct competition with the US Government. They shut him down, but cut their rates.)
So, I have some experience with this.
1. Class struggle. By Marxist theory, the CEO of Goldman-Sachs is an exploited worker, hired by the real capitalists to manage their property. Does that make any sense to you?
1.a. Class struggle. The classes are
The bourgeosie (owners of big-C capital).
The petite-bourgeoisie (shop owners who identify ideologically with the big Bs who actually oppress them. Comes the revolution, many p-B will joing the struggle against big-B.)
The proletariate including all employees and all independent skilled trades (carpenters, software developers). The latter are forced to fend for themselves as excess labor; they only think they are independent.
The lumpen-proletariate: criminals, vagrants, and others lower than the Ps, lacking any exploitable skills. Used as a weapon against the Ps by their criminality.
So, when any "Marxist" talks about the Ps versus the Bs, they are leaving out a lot of narrative, and thereby showing their ignorance.
2. Historical development of capitalism. Pharoah was not a capitalist. Caesar was not a capitalist. Richard the Lionhearted was not a capitalist. Yet, private property existed in all those times and places. They had factories but manned by slaves, which is why Marx correctly identified them as slave-based economies.
Capitalism is the result of several historical developments coming together at the same time. The two most important were Natural Rights Theory (rooted in the legal theory of medieval theology but given a rational (Locke) or empirical (Hobbes) basis); and the mathematics of risk. Once risk was calculable, not only could you make money on it, but deeper still, we were no longer at the mercy of Fate: the future could be computed. Thereby, we gained some control over our futures being able to think about the consequences of our choices.
3. Class struggle. In America in particular, with a mostly laissez-faire underpinning, massive accumulations of wealth and massive losses were alike possible. "Shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves in three generations." Yes, we have the Rockefellers and DuPonts and the other families who reflect the inherited class of European rulers. But we have other stories as well. What class you are "in" depends pretty much on what class you want to be in later.
4. Narrative versus fact. "You have the right to your own opinion,. You do not have a right to your own facts." Marxism and anarchism provide descriptive narratives of human action. The final arbiter is reality: what works. The first woman to be president of a bank in America was the daughter of a slave. The first black millionaire was an ex-slave who speculated in real estate. On the other hand, California's Utopian Colonies by Robert V. Hine is the classic history of 50 ways to freely, openly, and honestly fail via all the many ways to collectivize, communize, and democratize production.
4.b. In the history of invention, innovation, and discovery, the capitalist societies far out-distanced the socialist utopias. Freedom works.
4.c. If any semblence of truth remained in Marxism, why is Cuba not the Information Age center of the planet? The could have smuggled in computers, reverse engineered them, smuggled in the chips - transshipped them in coffee or cocoa, imported Husqvarna sewing machines and Braun coffee makers and pulled the chips from them - done a million things... Cuba was always connected to Canada, Mexico, and Spain. The US embargo was never complete. Why is Cuba so poor in the post-industrial world? Did their glorious Russian theoreticians not see this coming? And once it arrived as the PC and the Mac, why do they still lag so far behind? It does not take many boxes of cigars to buy a workstation.
5. The left insists that this is "capitalism" but denies that the USSR, Red China, Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and anyone else they do not like were not "really" socialists. It cuts both ways. Rather than calling it "state capitalism" why not use the equal and opposite term "private socialism." That would underscore the fact that socialism is theft and leave open the question who steals from whom. That would also address what you, Brandon, correctly identify as immoral means of acquiring private property.
(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 4/05, 1:11pm)