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Post 60

Tuesday, February 22, 2005 - 1:04pmSanction this postReply
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Robert wrote,

"Unlike a profit-driven "security agency," a constitutionally limited government is hamstrung by a host of institutional and procedural barriers -- those checks and balances, separations and divisions of powers, etc., that act as brakes on runaway "democratic" impulses and the arbitrary exercise of power. And these institutional restraints are legally enforced."

But "security agencies" face the same "institutional and procedual barriers" in the form of other agencies.




Post 61

Tuesday, February 22, 2005 - 6:26pmSanction this postReply
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Robert Davison wrote:
Please correct me if I am wrong, but I believe Rothbard to have been quite elderly by the time he met Rand, prior to which he was connected with Von Mises and had been publishing his thoughts on liberty for several decades.
OK, you're wrong. Rothbard was born in 1926 so he was 21 years younger than Ayn Rand and would have been in his late 20's in the early 1950's. He died in 1995. Rothbard's first books were published in 1962 though he did publish some pamphlets prior to that. You are however correct in that he was a student of Mises. A biography and bibliography is available at http://mises.org/content/mnr.asp.



Post 62

Tuesday, February 22, 2005 - 7:26pmSanction this postReply
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Richard quotes me thus:

"Unlike a profit-driven "security agency," a constitutionally limited government is hamstrung by a host of institutional and procedural barriers -- those checks and balances, separations and divisions of powers, etc., that act as brakes on runaway "democratic" impulses and the arbitrary exercise of power. And these institutional restraints are legally enforced."


Then Richard adds...

But "security agencies" face the same "institutional and procedual barriers" in the form of other agencies.


Richard, if you mean that what will police any "rogue" "security agency" is the force of other agencies, I would absolutely agree.

But...who is the "rogue" agency, and by whose definition? Is it "rogue" because of its violation of "rights"? Well, by whose theory and definition of rights? Since the resolution of these matters requires SOME enforceable conclusions, whose force will ultimately rule -- and whose rules ultimately will be enforced? By what right are the enforcers empowered? In whose name and for whose interests do they speak?

In addressing such questions, and assuming people won't be angels, you will see that any plausible, honest answers MUST involve the enforcement of somebody's rules (whether they be rights-based or not) on others. And that begins to look suspiciously like a government: a final arbiter of disputes with the power to enforce their resolution. It means that at some point, "competition" in such interpretations will end, because somebody will make his own interpretation stick.

In reality (as opposed to fantasy), some agency or agencies will always impose its will on others, resolving social conflicts and enforcing their resolution. If you are an anarchist, please, don't pretend that THIS arrangement is anything more or less than the forceable elimination of all "market competition" in the determination of what rights are, and how they apply to a given situation. Don't pretend that any "security agency" wielding that power is anything more or less than a government.





Post 63

Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - 6:41amSanction this postReply
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Thank you for that. I have wanted to make this same assertion for some time, but somewhere out there is a bogus bio making him much older. I should have double checked.



Post 64

Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - 12:18pmSanction this postReply
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In defense of my claim, I refer you here:

http://www.noblesoul.com/orc/essays/obj_cult2.html

which posts an essay that Rothbard clearly (in my mind, at least, and allegedly our own Barbara Branden's) plagarised. Perhaps Ms. Branden can tell us what she recalls of Rothbard's plagarism of her thesis?

I would like to add that the best description of Rockwellians is that they are like Leninists: you either tow their party line or you're a "neocon" or "statist". The scandal and criticisms of Woods' pro-Confederacy history, and their disgusting defense of it, only proves that Tom G. Palmer is right to call lewrockwell.com "The Fever Swamp".

May I add that when I post comments here, I am using the superior browser Firefox, but, for choosing a superior browser, I am relegated to the "Gimpy Netscape box". Might I suggest an upgrade?



Post 65

Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - 3:54pmSanction this postReply
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Robert

But...who is the "rogue" agency, and by whose definition? Is it "rogue" because of its violation of "rights"? Well, by whose theory and definition of rights? Since the resolution of these matters requires SOME enforceable conclusions, whose force will ultimately rule -- and whose rules ultimately will be enforced? By what right are the enforcers empowered? In whose name and for whose interests do they speak?

Couldn't the same be said to the Founding Fathers? They thought it was OK to use force against a "protection agency." According to their own theory of rights or justice. If the principles of justice are objectively knowable, then they are Objectively knowable. Of course, we have little reason to believe that those in protection agencies are doing what is just, as revealed by the use of reason, but we have little reason to believe the same of politicians in government.

And that begins to look suspiciously like a government: a final arbiter of disputes with the power to enforce their resolution. It means that at some point, "competition" in such interpretations will end, because somebody will make his own interpretation stick.

Why? Having a final arbiter needn't need a monopoly, for reasons Roderick has shown: There is no reason to assume that if there is a final arbiter in disputes between you and I, then that same arbiter need be the final arbiter in disputes that arise between myself and others, or those others and yet others.

Moreover, an agency that ignores the final arbiter is in essence the same as an agency that doesn't go to arbitration in the first place. It is esentially saying that arbitration is not what it wants, and is choosing to settle disputes with force.

If you are an anarchist, please, don't pretend that THIS arrangement is anything more or less than the forceable elimination of all "market competition" in the determination of what rights are, and how they apply to a given situation.

But since we are discussing Rothbard here, this is moot point: He didn't advocate competing laws, but a single, libertarian law code.

Of course, in reality, we know that the market will produce the laws there is a demand for, just as any government (including minarchy) will. there are reasons for believing that it will tend to be libertarian law, but no guarantees. This leads us to the conclusion that anarcho-capitalism won't necessarily be libertarian. However, until some means of refuting Roy Childs argument against Rand can be provided - i.e., without denying (a)that government is an institution with a monopoly on enforcing certain rules of social conduct in a given geographic area, or (b) that preventing people from doing what would be legitimate for the government to do, from using legitimate force, from doing something that isn't an initiation of force - we know that a minarchy will <i>never</i> be libertarian. It would be logically impossible.

Suppose that there were some Objective laws, perhaps developed by the legislature of the Objectivist state, that defined what was and was not an initiation of force. Now suppose a protection agency, without having secured a license or anything from the state, started using force without ever doing what this Objectively derived view of what it is to initiate force. Wouldn't the government face the same dilemma Childs brings up?

And suppose that the government itself violates that law? Can the agency use force against it? If so, the we have a body of Objective law, but no monopoly on the role of enforcing that law - no government as Rand defines it. In who's courts will the government be judged? In its own? How can we be sure of an impartial verdict then? But if government canm be tried in some other courts, perhaps ones pre-arranged between itself and its prosecuter, again, how would that be different from a protection agency prosecuting another protection agency under this Objective law code, or a protection agency using force to check another protection agency? The situation would be no different from the anarchist situation Rothbard describes in Power and Market.




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Post 66

Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - 4:40pmSanction this postReply
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No. 6, thanks for the kind words.

All this talk about "Rockwellians" being cult-like is quite funny, coming from Objectivists. I disagree with Lew and many of his associates on a number of political issues and even a greater number of philosophical issues. Some Randians get upset if you have different opinions on art.

Of course, Woods' book is not pro-slavery. Anyone who reads it cannot honestly and intelligently conclude that it is. Though I did disagree with parts of it, and made this known in my review of it for Liberty Magazine. I disagree with Woods on some things, but neither he nor I feels compelled to call the other a "neocon" for not following the party line.

Neoconservatism has a meaning. Many pro-war libertarians _are_ basically neoconservatives, since the ideology is much more concerned with foreign policy than domestic.

It's okay to not follow the party line. However, it is inconsistent for any libertarian to endorse the initiation of force, and yet I've seen it advocated many times on this board, especially in the form of warfare.



Post 67

Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - 8:20pmSanction this postReply
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Oh ho, M. Gregory, tricky use of words there. Although I said that Woods' book is pro-Confederacy, and that he has a distasteful association with segregationists, bigots and racists (say, oh, The League of the South, or LRC's constant posting of the late Samuel Francis' sick screeds), I never said he was pro-slavery, did I? Don't play word games and change what I said.

Frankly, M. Gregory, LRC has a troubling history of associating itself with bigoted tripe and Lenin sympathies. Nice job repeating the lie of us being a cult, however. I note that, although you distance yourself from Woods on this board, you certainly do not hesitate to rise to his defense on LRC, going on and on about how the Left is at least better because it questions traditional history. So, questioning is intrinsically good, even if Leftists get it wrong, as they so often do? You seem to imply so.

And as for neocons? No, wrong again. The common definition is basically a reformed Trotskyite that embraces the welfare state as here to stay and necessary, and advocates United States hegemony worldwide. You can change the definition all you like, but you're still wrong.



Post 68

Thursday, February 24, 2005 - 11:50amSanction this postReply
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M. Gregory, tricky use of words there. Although I said that Woods' book is pro-Confederacy, and that he has a distasteful association with segregationists, bigots and racists (say, oh, The League of the South, or LRC's constant posting of the late Samuel Francis' sick screeds), I never said he was pro-slavery, did I? Don't play word games and change what I said.
Frankly, M. Gregory, LRC has a troubling history of associating itself with bigoted tripe and Lenin sympathies. Nice job repeating the lie of us being a cult, however.


Sorry I was unclear, You're right. You didn't say he was pro-slavery. Nor did I say Objectivists were a "cult."

I note that, although you distance yourself from Woods on this board, you certainly do not hesitate to rise to his defense on LRC, going on and on about how the Left is at least better because it questions traditional history. So, questioning is intrinsically good, even if Leftists get it wrong, as they so often do? You seem to imply so.


I don't "distance myself from him," except to point out that we don't agree on every issue. Yes, I'll defend his book, including the parts that have been most criticized. I criticized it myself for not talking enough about the Vietnam war.

The left is more correct on a lot of history than some libertarians give them credit for. Of course they're wrong on large parts of it. So are other types of statists and even many libertarians.

And as for neocons? No, wrong again. The common definition is basically a reformed Trotskyite that embraces the welfare state as here to stay and necessary, and advocates United States hegemony worldwide. You can change the definition all you like, but you're still wrong.


I wouldn't say "embraces the welfare state." Many of them do; others have simply made peace with it for reasons of pragmatism or realpolitik. Many pro-war libertarians have also made their peace with the welfare state, which is how so many of them were able to support Bush, the worst welfare-statist president since at least Lyndon Johnson. And many pro-war libertarians do seem to want U.S. global hegemony.



(Edited by Anthony Gregory on 2/24, 3:16pm)




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