Authoritarian business

Continuing the discussion from US Forestry Service wages war on photography in national parks:

Money is irrelevent in this case.

Authoritarianism is about unquestioning obedience to authority figures, no matter how wrong, arbitrary or irrelevent to the well being of the organisation their commands are.

Samsung is an example of a big business authoritarian, one that is regarded as more powerful than the South Korean government. Just try keeping your job after you didn’t bow you head and avert your gaze when the chairman comes to visit. In Britain we don’t have to do that even when Liz Windsor is there.

Coca-cola is a small business authoritarian, as it outsources so much of its business to other companies (The US government agreed that it was a small business at one point, don’t know if they still do). All the promises about allowing unions are meaningless if they continue to outsource to anti-union companies.

As a side point, unions can also be authoritarian, and many big ones have been in the past. All organisations are at risk of becoming authoritarian, but we are talking about business right now.

All those are examples of how it is easier to have a monopoly with government. I see no evidence that the existence of a monopoly is impossible in a Libertarian-Capitalist region, especially the ones that are already here.


Libertarians have it real swell.

Their opinions are effectively impossible to put into practice so their detractors will never have a real-world example to ridicule them with; conversely they can wax lyrical and pontificate till the cows come home about how it could be, if only they were allowed to build their castles in the sky… or the sea or wherever.

‘Fascism lite’ with an imperative to head-bowing, capitalist fellatio, does not a philosophy make.

Unfortunately, the individuals who inhabit the entities of supra-business are not just surrounded by but infused with the psychotic reinforcement behavior of their peers. The synthesis of evil is mandatory for those who wish to participate in those economic reality tunnels.

I’ve never heard so much spine shattering pandering as they bend over backwards to appear to belong to their chosen zeitgeist. As to whether they ‘believe’ it or not: I think such worldly conceits are increasingly being shown to be nominal at best to the continuation of the individuals participation in the human condition.

Revolutionaries should no longer be looking for the revolution but the curative properties of what Lao Tze called for when he left the madding crowd.

They say the Maitreya will not instantiate on earth until all the masters have long since left.

Well, I say the time is now. Bring on the annihilation of the weak memes.


Maybe it takes a government to uphold the contracts with which a corporation maintains its monopoly. Get rid of the privileged position that private property, and private contracts occupy in society, and abolishing government might be a worthwhile idea. But if you fail to do this, others will simply move into the power vacuum and exercise coercive power, without even having to pay lip service to the “consent of the governed”


You know, this is a real important point that is often glossed over in these sorts of discussions. There is an assumption that authoritarianism fits in with a certain sort of goverment, but it is in fact defined by a practice, so any sort of structure can be authoritarian. As you point out, Unions can become authoritarian, too, but of course, not all are.


Sure, this is why a governing body is necessary, especially a particular type of government.

Again, a form that is unlikely to ever be put into practice except as lip service to advance a kind of neo-feudalism.

Of course, that’s probably from the libertarians’ secret mailing list of talking points, because they all seem to say the same stupid shit over and over…


Mod note: stop the name calling and bickering.

You know, when everyone says it, it stops being novel?

The United States, most of its history, was a night watchman state.

( this is the part where you go into denial, or move the goalpost, or cite some esoteric law that was on the books in 1780, go ahead I’ll wait )

Ok, and in this respect I would venture to say that in this respect ALL businesses are authoritarian although I’m not sure that these two words really belong together.

By the same logic we could conclude that ALL businesses are totalitarian… or plutocratic… but you see , again I’m not really sure what that is or why its a problem.

Perhaps if we consider that an authoritarian/totalitarian/plutocratic/etc… business is bound by higher authority and, at least in the free world, one can escape a totalitarian business regime with a resignation letter or a change of shopping venue.

Can you provide an example that we can work with?

The United States, most of its history, was a night watchman state.

And when did this end?

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If I wanted to place an… era in which policy diverged away from libertarian principles in a meaningful way, I would point to the Wilsonian era flip-flop on WWI. Or perhaps the transgressions of Lincoln.

But this is just my humble opinion.

The takeaway is that, when you compare policy between now and decades ago, the US was much more Libertarian then than now.

Business interests created the slave trade—that’s why it’s called a “trade.” Lincoln’s “transgressions” ended (legal) slavery in the United States. If that’s what a more Libertarian America looks like then I’m pretty damn sure I want no part of one.

Edit to add: let’s also remember that Wilson’s flip-flops helped usher in Women’s Suffrage. No wonder it’s usually straight white males who wax poetic about all the freedom Americans had in the good ol’ days.


I really didn’t ask for that, did I? “Much more” simply won’t do.

You argue that the “watchman state” is the solution to persons exercising coercive power in the absence of governmental controls.

You then argue that the United States was a “watchman state” at some point in history.

And then you place that point as either before 1917, or before 1861.

And then we get to look at history.

I, for one, find your argument to be unpersuasive.


The UK also moved away from a similar night-watchman state when it appeared that a communist revolution was a real possibility. Interestingly, Karl Marx warned against this (Communist Manifesto chapter 3.2 - Conservative or Bourgeois Socialism), making many of the Rights claims of Marxism fall flat.

I have read articles from and talked with many people who believe that the best way to start The Revolution is to allow the libertarians to do what they want (also possibly connected, a number of ‘ex’-trotskyists now claim to be libertarian-capitalists). I strongly disagree with them, but I can see their point.

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Eh, who is talking about slavery?

Eh, who is talking about womens sufferage?

You just described the time period prior to Lincoln as “[the era before] policy diverged from libertarian principles in a meaningful way.” It therefore stands to reason that a libertarian America wasn’t especially concerned with civil rights for anyone who wasn’t a white male. Preferably the straight, Christian land-owning kind.


When you mention the United States of the 1800s, you are talking about slavery and lack of women’s suffrage. If you are comparing the country of today and the past version you said hadn’t diverged from libertarian principles, that some 3/5 of the people did not have equal rights is going to be a notable difference.


The US was a representative democracy then as well. Do you propose we do away with our current form because of slavery?

It’s not really a “representative democracy” if at least 3/5 of the people aren’t represented.

Anyway, you were talking about Lincoln and Wilson as if they were the guys who took our glorious libertarian freedoms away. By any objective standard, their actions were responsible for dramatically increasing freedom for the vast majority of Americans. If libertarian principles are so great for freedom then why didn’t the free market end slavery or give women the vote?