knifeAnarchists, tend, in my experience, to so fix upon the threat of government — particuarly their own government — that they underestimate the damage done by criminals . . . and by other governments.

Statists tend to fall into the opposite error, fixating on the threat of crime so much that they fail to see the damage done by governments, particularly their own.

Right and left might be definable, in part, by the sectors of society in which criminality is seen as most threatening. On the left, statists see businesses and “the rich” as the source of the most damaging criminality, while on “the right” statists see the poor and the wayward as the worst sources of criminality.

This is so much the case that both left-statists and right-statists exaggerate the nature of crime in their traditionally disfavored sectors. On the left, it’s not merely fraud and embezzlement that are seen as crimes, but also risky investments and successful business maneuvers that can sport some obvious negative consequences in terms of abandoned trades. On the right, it’s not merely robbery and murder that are identified as crimes as such, but also such activities as gambling and drug use and prostitution.

In both cases, the statists lose track of the actual nature of crime and exploitation and predation, and “write them large,” beyond the bounds of reason, thus turning whole cultures and sectors of society into criminals by fiat, by definition.

Meanwhile, anarchists “of the left” tend themselves to engage in the kinds of criminal acts (rioting, looting) most despised “on the right,” and anarchists allegedly “of the right” — libertarian anarchocapitalists (de Molinarian “panarchists,” perhaps) — rarely exhibit much interest even in the true crimes of corporations, such as in common frauds and producing negative externalities.

It interests me that both anarchists and statists form similar antagonisms, along the seemingly goofy “left-right” directional divide.