Anarchism and Democracy: A Debate

R. A.: I believe that what can imperil democracy can also imperil an anarchist arrangement. I believe that freedom is just as precarious to an anarchist arrangement as it is to a democratic arrangement.  There are anarchists who fear...

From Representative to Direct Democracy: A Debate

D. G.: I would have to disagree that representative democracy is nothing but window dressing. While it may not be the true classic form of democracy, or direct democracy, it still allows the people to take part in the government process....

Property: A Debate

R. A.: Unlike the ideological capitalists, socialists and communists believe that unfair exchange necessarily is, and must be, unfree exchange. M. P.: And yet they call plenty of exchanges "unfair" that are clearly free. ...

Democratic Anarchism: A Debate

A. R.: Economic exchange is fair if it is a voluntary exchange. R. A.: How much voluntarism and liberty is there when the class of propertyless direct producers sacrifice so much for so little, while the class of private proprietors...

Scarcity and Value: A Debate

A. N.: You can define what the market, or the socialist utopia, give as fair. R. A.: Socialism -- defined as "from each according to ability, to each according to industry" -- embodies fairness. Communism -- defined as "from...

Voluntary Exchange, Democratic Freedom: A Debate

A. R.: Economic exchange is fair if it is a voluntary exchange. R. A.: How much voluntarism and liberty is there when the propertyless direct producers will readily sacrifice so much for so little in return, while the private...

Free Exchange, Fair Exchange: A Debate

R. A.: Fair and equal exchange, like personal possessions, are not criticized and condemned by the socialists and communists; it is unfair and unequal exchange that characterize the capitalist free-market.  The socialists and communists...

Democracy Versus Capitalism: A Debate

R. A.: When the socialists and communists advocate abolishing private property, this is not advocating the abolition of personal property.  When the socialists and communists talk about the withering away of the state, they are not talking...

Marxism: A Debate

R. A.: I do not, for example, believe that capitalism is truly rooted in a merit system, unless by the use of the word merit we are to exclude the notion of moral merit. Does an appropriator of property simply merit what has been appropriated,...

The American Way of Life

Today we hear a lot about "threats to our American way of life".  What is the American way of life that is being threatened?  For example, I believe that the American way of life should include a right to private life, a right to...

Democracy: A Debate

M. P.: In no circumstances are you ensured treatment equal to that another would get under the same circumstances. R. A.: There is no absolute guarantee of equal treatment either in capitalism, or in democracy. However, in principle,...

Why So Many People Hate Politics

The question:  Why do so many people hate today's politics? My answer:  Because so many of today's political choices are false choices.

Abilities and Needs: A Debate

R. A.: All of us are equal in that we have needs, but we do not have the very same needs. Each and every one of us have some abilities and needs that are identical, but we also have some abilities and needs that are different. And yet, we are...

From Each . . . To Each: A Debate

R. A.: Let us discuss, some more, the famous communist policy:  "From each according to ability; to each according to need." Why is this rational communist canon also a sensible egalitarian canon? Because it does not assume as equal what...

From Each . . . To Each: A Debate

R. A.: Let's discuss the communist praxis:  "From each according to ability; to each according to need." Individuals have some exceptional abilities, and some special talents.  "From each according to ability" assumes and accepts this...

Human Abilities and Human Virtues: A Debate

M. P.: There is no reason to believe that ability can be quantified . . . R. A.: I have not said that an individual's abilities can be quantified.  I do not say such a thing.  I do not know if abilities can be quantified. ...

From Each . . . To Each: A Debate

R. A.: If people need to engage in productive labor, then there ought to be a right to freely engage in productive labor. M. P.: And who decides if they need to do it? What if they want to be productive but can't? R. A.: ...

Needs and Rights: A Debate

R. A.: If each and every individual needs a home, then that need constitutes an individual's right to possess a home.  When it comes to housing, individuals and families need as much as they can fully utilize, and as much as they can maintain...

Moral Capacity, Serial Killers: A Debate

M. P.: OK then, so you think there are no people who are "absolutely, totally, and entirely without some moral capacity for human goodness and for human kindness". Then, what about serial killers? If they have any such capacity, they certainly...

Price Mechanism,Communication Technology: A Debate

M. P.: We must have a price mechanism to coordinate production.  A democratic socialist system will dispose of that. So how will people, living and working in a socialist system manage to produce anything? R. A.: Unlike you, I do...

Property: A Debate

R. A.: If individuals need food, for example, then that need is a very rational and sensible reason for each and every individual enjoying a right of free access to whatever measure of food is necessary for their life and health. There...

The Needs of Human Beings: A Debate

R. A.: I can see no reason why individual needs cannot be dealt with as a truly rational and realistic first principle, for a just and fair distribution of goods and services. M. P.: Because there is and never will be any agreement on...

Needs and Wants: A Debate

M. P.: There is no rational reason to suppose that need can even be discerned . . . R. A.: Every human being has some needs which are the same as every other human being. Any personal needs that are somehow different, somewhat...

Egalitarianism and the Individual: A Debate

R. A.: In an essay called "The Case Against Equality", William Letwin, a critic of egalitarianism, wrote:  "Inasmuch as people are unequal, it is rational to presume that they ought to be treated unequally -- which might mean larger shares for...

Freedom and Dignity: A Debate

R. A.: We are equal as human beings in our freedom and in our dignity. Even the criminal possesses the very same measure of freedom that a virtuous citizen has, although the criminal can be said to have abused his or her human freedom.  The...