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Communist anarchism: deontological critique?

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FlyingAxe Posted: Sat, Feb 9 2013 9:04 PM

I think this has been touched upon in other threads, but I couldn't find an explicit answer.

Let's imagine A builds a well to use as a drinking water source. B comes along and wants to use it as a bathroom; fight between them ensues. To prevent this fight and to resolve the conflict (or prevent it before it starts), we say that we assign property rights to the well based on homesteading/transfer, etc.

But a communist anarchist might say: 'I don't believe in the concept of property a priori. The way I see it, "property" is just violence of the "owners" against the others. In the situation with the well, whoever is using it at the moment has a right to use it, in the sense that nobody else can prevent him. But then, when he is done using it, he can't prevent others from using it whichever way they see fit.'

So, a communist anarchist's solution to the conflict is for whoever is not using the well at the moment to walk away.

Now, obviously, there are practical problems with this argument: no society could function well if people never saved use of anything for the future or planned ahead. There would be no motivation to build a well if one knew that in the next moment it can be ruined. But these are consequentialist arguments. Is there a deontological moral or legal argument against communist anarchism that shows, in fact, that B's actions are aggression, not A's defense of his "property"?

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Wheylous replied on Sun, Feb 10 2013 12:17 PM

Communist anarchists aren't against property. They like personal property. The well might be considered such, especially in this dispute. What they don't like are exclusive rights to capital goods.

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FlyingAxe replied on Mon, Feb 11 2013 11:16 AM

OK, so I mislabeled them. Who cares? (Actually, I've heard Bob Murphy talk about communist anarchists and basically describe them as I did.)

How would you answer to someone who said that one good way to solve conflicts is just avoid the concept of property? More particularly, how would you answer them deontologically?

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From Wikipedia:

Deontological ethics or deontology (from Greek deon, "obligation, duty"; and -logia) is the normative ethical position that judges the morality of an action based on the action's adherence to a rule or rules.[1] It is sometimes described as "duty" or "obligation" or "rule" -based ethics, because rules "bind you to your duty".

So are you asking for a set of rules from which it would follow to respect the concept of property? If you are, then how about Rule 1: Respect private property.

But your avatar tells me you are a smart guy [who is he in that photo?] and you must mean something else. Do you mean a rule that everyone would agree on as correct? There is no way of finding something like that. The guys in power usually have a morality that tells them to keep power. Those not in power usually have a morality that tells them that those in power should give it up.

Which fits right in with what's happening here. The communist's morality says he [under the guise of "the people"] should get control of things he doesn't control now. People who think they will lose out when there is no private property coincidentally happen to think private property is a sacred ethical principle.

Now I'm not saying there are no people out there who just seek the truth for its own sake. But there are plenty who don't, consciously or unconsciously.

TL;DR version. Not sure what you are looking for.

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It's easy to refute an argument if you first misrepresent it. William Keizer

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