April 30, 2007 3 Comments
I used to call myself a libertarian socialist. This was in college. At the time, I didn’t realize that libertarian socialism was already a common euphemism for left-anarchism. I was not an anarchist, even though I did embrace the non-aggression principle. I just hadn’t thought it through yet.
I was an individualist, a decentralist, and a secessionist. I thought the only ethically legitimate arrangements were voluntary. But I wanted to see more voluntary experiments in socialism and "intentional communities." I absolutely did not trust businesses or markets larger than a certain very small size, and I considered "capitalism" to be a dirty word.
It was with these ideological reflexes that I made my pilgrimage to the Mecca of voluntary socialism: the Israeli kibbutz.
I lived there for almost half a year. I loved the people, loved the life, loved the land, but I also, sadly, came to the conclusion that socialism was not sustainable, whether voluntary or coerced.
It was clear to me that I was visiting a dying institution.
Christopher Westley posts to blog.Mises.org about "the Degania kibbutz’ decision to abandon socialism and allow the private ownership of property, a move many kibbutzim in Israel have been making in response to low productivity and the abandonment of their youth." Read the rest.