On the Other Hand

The Return of the War Crimes--War Criminals Issue

There is a great deal to be said concerning war, and certainly many a timely observation should be made of the current claim that American servicemen are war criminals. With devastating verbiage and with equal emphasis in both directions, Dr. James J. Martin has a few things to say in this area. (¶ 1)

Commenting on trials such as those of Nuremberg, he observes: Sustained insistence upon the principle of individuality and the subordination of authority to the Higher Law of individual conscience, as a universal constant, might easily undermine and make unworkable all statecraft build upon conscripted and otherwise impressed and dragooned military force. (¶ 2)

If we are to accept the edict of the ex post facto proceedings at its face value, then each man should weigh the consequences and moral implications of any order he receives. If the order goes against his conscience, it would follow that he should disobey. It's an interesting proposition with fascinating convolutions in the area of predictability. (¶ 3)

Observations of a Free Market Operator

This is a two-fisted, hard-hitting presentation in fresh contrast to the usual learned style and form of an article in a scholarly journal. Actually, the argument is scholarly in a most practical sense for it is offered, not as a result of intellectual theorizing, but as a result of experience in a real world. The purpose of scholarship has always been to come to grips with reality, and William Grede's grasp of industrial reality is profound. In recent years, there has been a widening gap in communications between business leaders and the intellectual leadership of our institutions of higher learning. The breakdown has been extensive, to the point where today many industrialists simply do not comprehend what professors are saying, and the professors do not comprehend what the industrialists are saying. (¶ 4)

It is in hopes that this breakdown can be at least partially bridged that Mr. Grede's thoughts are offered here. (¶ 5)

America's Sacred White Cow

Larry Glaser has penetrated to the roots of the problem of conscription. He sees our conversion from a nation of people who opposed conscription to one of people who favor it, as the result of a process of governmental conditioning. There can be no avoidance of the inescapable conclusions drawn here. Governments have customarily been their own worst enemies. When the image of government as a supporter of peace and freedom is shattered and its real character is seen through the tattered veil of broken lives and imposed violence, then chages can and will occur. Mr. Glaser's warning is timely, indeed. (¶ 6)

Leonard Read's Dilemma--and Mine

Howard E. Kessler has developed his analytical powers to a remarkable degree as recent articles from his pen have indicated. His current analysis on the position taken by Leonard E. Read respecting government is a case in point. Mr. Read has already become a legendary figure in his own lifetime and the philosophic position he supports has been the source of both inspiration and frustration along the libertarian front. (¶ 7)

While the article may be taken by some as an attempt to criticize unduly, no such motivation exists. It is one of the purposes of the Journal to discuss ideas and ideological systems without personal rancor. Mr. Kessler has succeeded in illustrating the dilemma and in avoiding the all too prevalent tendency to descend to bitterness and calumny. It is hoped that other articles of this same genre will be forthcoming. (¶ 8)

Myths of the Cold War

Dr. Murray N. Rothbard is opposed to communism because communism advocates the confiscation of private property and the operation of the tools of production and distribution by the state. In his well-reasoned article in this issue of the Journal, Dr. Rothbard catalogues many of the arguments marshalled by anti-Communists and finds most if not all of them specious. (¶ 9)

Dr. Rothbard is also opposed to war, in which position he favors peace and freedom, both of which are customarily reduced or destroyed by war. Many will find Dr. Rothbard's article inflammatory and we can anticipate that some will even suppose it to be pro-communistic. (¶ 10)

The merit of the Myths of the Cold War lies in its intellectual stance in respect to principles. Dr. Rothbard, unlike many who will recoil at his logic, applies precisely the same reasoning to both sides of each issue. If peace and freedom are constructive, and war and slavery destructive, then moves toward peace and freedom are laudatory, and moves toward war and slavery are to be deplored. It matters not one iota who favors war and slavery; such advocacy, while it must be permitted as an adjunct to free speech, cannot be logically supported by those who profess to believe in peace and freedom. If identical tests relating to motive and evidence are applied to both Communist and anti-Communist arguments, then truth may be discerned. (¶ 11)

Let's Call It Anarchy

Miss Koehn and Messrs. Gaskins have collaborated in this effort to show that the word autarchy should not be used in relation to a system containing no political government. They prefer to use the word anarchy. This is in response to an article which appeared in the winter edition of the Rampart Journal (1965). (¶ 12)

They argue that the author was in error when he contended that he cannot be an anarchist because he is not a socialist and that the word autarchy (self-rule) can be used to describe a free-market economy. (¶ 13)

It appears that the authors are not trying to establish that autarchist LeFevre is a socialist. Rather, they wish to establish that anarchy is not necessarily socialistic, and that there is no necessary connection between the concept of self-rule as embodied in the word autarchy and an actual free-market condition. (¶ 14)

While autarchist LeFevre is criticized for interpreting anarchist writings as invariably including economic intervention and hence being part and parcel of the socialist movement, Miss Koehn and Messrs. Gaskins employ precisely the same method, interpretation of anarchist writings, to reach an opposite conclusion. The difficulty here lies in the fact that any interpretation is neither more nor less a value judgment. Therefore, criticism of LeFevre for employing literary interpretation is only valid if his critics abstain from like behavior. Since their first line of attack is to offer their own interpretation of anarchistic writings, the criticism as to the use of interpretation will not stand. (¶ 15)

Nor will the assertions that economic revisions were offered by Tucker as a prophecy, or that the admitted fact that anarchists were historically included as socialists as a result of an historical accident, impress many thoughtful readers. The fact is that the anarchists were socialists. The fact remains that economic intervention is their central goal. (¶ 16)

Since Tucker has already been referred to, it is instructive to note this analysis of Mr. Tucker's writings in Men Against the State by Dr. James J. Martin. The reference is on page 205 under subhead, 2. Theoretical Anarchism Matured. The crystallization of anarchist thought which took place during the period of Tucker's prominence as the literary focal point of the native American demonstration can be found illustrated in both political and economic senses throughout Liberty. Tucker himself, however, leftn o doubt as to which aspect of the struggle against the state he considered the most important. Production, distribution, and exchange were all subjects of long study on his part, and he came to the conclusion that the political and social structures of American culture could better be dealt with after economic problems had been settled (emphasis added). Liberty, to be effective, must find its first application in the realm of economics, he declared, and on this matter of the economic basis of life he drummed continually. (¶ 17)

The claim that economic science had not advanced to the place where capitalism was viewed as self-regulating, and hence the anarchists advocated economic reform, is of course valid. But this is all the more reason why the term anarchy cannot be applied equally to those scholars and theorists today who wish to rely upon private capitalism and who detect the role of government as private capitalism's destroyer. (¶ 18)

If there are two groups of theorists wishing to avoid state rule and state control, one because the state makes private ownership of property possible, and the other because the state impairs private ownership of property, it is clear that a single term will not encompass the task. Since anarchists are historically admitted have been practicing socialists (accidental or not), then it follows that those who reject socialism totally cannot be called anarchists. And it is far more logical and far more useful to devise a new term to indicate the new departure away from socialism than to attempt to rewrite history. (¶ 19)

The next objection, and we suspect the real objection, of the three critics relates to the admitted fact that the word autarchy has not been used to mean self-government for 275 years. Therefore, when it is used today, it is apt to convey some of the meaning that is intended to relate to the economically self-sufficient state (autarky). The difficulty here is admitted. Nonetheless, the word autarchy explicitly means self-rule or self-government. Anarchy, on the other hand, means no rule and no government. (¶ 20)

The argument proceeds to show that when common usage corrupts a word, the word can only be used in its corrupted sense; therefore, redcoats may mean an external garment of crimson hue but it will also certainly signify the British soldier of the American revolutionary period. While this criticism has merit, it serves to sustain LeFevre's rejection of anarchy as a useful word. Webster gives this meaning to the word anarchy: 1. The state of society where there is no law or supreme power; a state of political disorder. 2. A state of confusion or disorder. Syn. Anarchy, chaos, lawlessness mean a breakdown in law or order. Anarchy implies total absence or suspension of government; chaos, the utter negation of law or order; lawlessness, a prevalent or habitual disregard of law or order. (¶ 21)

Under the term anarchism, the same dictionary includes as a second meaning: Advocacy or practice of anarchistic principles; esp., anarchistic revolution, nihilism; terrorism. (¶ 22)

Under the term anarchist, Webster advises: One who advocates anarchy or believes in anarchism; a terrorist; a nihilist. (¶ 23)

The American College Dictionary adds this to the definition of anarchist: One who seeks to overturn by violence all constituted forms and institutions of society and government, with no purpose of establishing any other system of order in the place of that destroyed. (¶ 24)

While it could readily be shown that such blanket indictments of anarchy do not apply to historical anarchists as a whole, but rightfully adhere only to Bakuninists, Marxists, Nihilists, and so on, if reliance is placed upon the argument offered, that corruption permanently impairs a word, it would follow that anarchy has been far more grossly impaired than autarchy. (¶ 25)

The position taken in Autarchy Versus Anarchy is not a position leading to chaos, social disruption, violence, and a complete lack of social order. On the contrary, the position of the autarchist is one that supports self-rule rather than a lack of rule. It calls for social order of a high caliber and totally eschews violence for any reason whatever. The autarchist does not seek to overthrow government even by peaceful means, certainly not by violent means. The autarchist has no political objective whatever. He will abandon reliance on the state in favor of self-reliance. The autarchist seeks to build a useful and constructive order by reliance upon economic law and the manifest self-interest each of us unquestionably has. If the word autarchy has its limitations, then it would be valid to offer a better and more useful term. Anarchy, even by the arguments of its supporters, is hopelessly corrupted and out of date. Until a better word can be found, the autarchists will use autarchy. (¶ 26)