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Post 20

Monday, October 31, 2005 - 11:56pmSanction this postReply
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Mark - you write, "Unhappy other-worldly Christians, for example, might warm to the prospect of forcing others to give up the practice of early-term abortions; provided, of course, that they don't have to pay the bill themselves for their aggression, and provided also that they don't personally have a lot at risk in the fighting."

But this "provided" is counterfactual. Those who murder abortion providers by exploding bombs in homes and clinics often do indeed pay the whole "bill" - which frequently includes their own freedom and even their own lives. Their organizations are funded by the contributions of tens of millions, many of whom contribute as much as 10% of their entire income to the "cause." Give them the power of their own armed "defense" agency, and we get back to a society in which people with any bad genes can't have children - in which, without the option of abortion if genetic tests come back with the wrong result, people like me could never risk to have children of their own. And keep in mind that some 30% of people who consider themselves "libertarian" would also happily destroy this crucial freedom.

I thought that Peter Schwartz was wrong about libertarians, until I talked with them enough to realize - that about one-third of them are into "libertarianism" only because that competing-defense-agencies scheme would let them, if it ever came about, terrorize the rest of us into submission to the dictates of whatever arbitrary creed they happen to believe in. They disagree with each other about what exactly constitutes "initiation of force" in their delusional opinions, but they all love the idea of having their own armed goons to enforce their delusions. Abortion is just the tip of the iceberg.


Post 21

Tuesday, November 1, 2005 - 11:30pmSanction this postReply
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Okay, so there's a clear cut case for a minarchist Government being able to wield force against those who would set up a competing Government that initiated force against citizens of that minarchist Government - in other words, a competing Government that was not rational & objective.

So much for the abortion-criminalizers.

But I'm still struggling to see a case for a minarchist Government to be able to prohibit the creation & patronage of Courts, Police etc. that are manifestly rational & objective - in effect entirely compatible with that minarchist Government.

Adam, you're right that for such a state of affairs to happen, there'd have to be a much higher proportion of rational people (an overwhelming majority, in fact) in society than there would be for the establishment & maintenance of minarchism.

Robert, the poorest members of society will never be able to afford any kind of Government: they are in fact without any type of wealth. However, most New Zealanders could afford a tax burden of ~ NZ$20 / week, which is what we (the Libertarianz) estimate a minarchist Government with a strong police & defense system would cost.


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Post 22

Wednesday, November 2, 2005 - 5:44amSanction this postReply
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Duncan,

You just wrote:
But I'm still struggling to see a case for a minarchist Government to be able to prohibit the creation & patronage of Courts, Police etc. that are manifestly rational & objective - in effect entirely compatible with that minarchist Government.
The particular nature of force is that initiating its nonconsensual use annuls the volition of another - effectively violating a more fundamental right. That is why it has to be delegated to a monopoly.

There can be no competition on the capacity to violate the rights of others without something above it to enforce market rules.

I go back to man's capacity to choose good and evil (volition). This capacity is why laws are needed and why they need to be enforced. A law that cannot be enforced is merely on the books, but is not a reality in any other way.

How are you going to enforce anything against a "competing" agency that has grown too big and its directors choose evil all of a sudden? You can't. That is reality.

One moral code, one rights code, one political philosophy and one monopoly on the use of nonconsensual force is the only solution that will permit enforcement.

And even then, various divisions under such an arrangement are vastly preferable to one (the checks and balances premise). Thus it is far better to have local, state and federal police, an army, navy, marines, air force, coast guard, etc., than one central agency. That way if any one agency gets out of hand, the others are there to stop the bastards.

Michael


Post 23

Wednesday, November 2, 2005 - 12:13pmSanction this postReply
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Michael,
The right to inflict violence must be taken from the hand of the individual - since he has the volition to inflict it at whim - and handed over ...
(my emphasis)

If I have a right to NIOF, & hence to self-defense, then surely I ought to be able to delegate that to whom I choose? And surely, then, that agency acts with every bit as much moral authority as a minarchist Government, provided it too is grounded in non-initiation of force, and rational & objective law?
How are you going to enforce anything against a "competing" agency that has grown too big and its directors choose evil all of a sudden? You can't. That is reality.
Exactly - just as happened in Soviet Russia, NAZI Germany, etc. etc. It doesn't matter whether the big, evil organisation with the guns is the Government, or a competing agency. It doesn't matter who is violating rights by initiating force - all that matters is that those rights are being violated. Hence the recognition of the right to armed rebellion against illegitimate Government.
One moral code, one rights code, one political philosophy and one monopoly ...
(In a dark reach of my mind, the phrase "Ein Volk! Ein Reich! Ein Fuhrer!" keeps echoing...) ;-)



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Post 24

Wednesday, November 2, 2005 - 1:40pmSanction this postReply
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Duncan,

I know the principle of checks and balances is not a popular one with anarchists, but that is what makes the whole thing in a government works when it is based on rights and officials are both elected and appointed.

None of the dictatorships you mentioned use the checks and balances principle.

When I stated "inflict violence" earlier, I was not precise. My meaning was that the "capacity to inflict violence" must not be left solely up to the individual in a society, since an individual can choose evil against innocents. An organization constituted by individuals, however, will be governed by a code - including a moral code (rights, when society is involved).

Back to checks and balances to make the thing work.

The principle of checks and balances only works within a single organization, not as a governing principle for competing ones. I certainly can't imagine how something like that could work.

And of course self-defense is completely proper. I should be more clear on that (I presumed it was evident).

btw - The echoes in your own mind had me in stitches. Ya' got me there, dude!   //;-)

Michael


Post 25

Wednesday, November 2, 2005 - 4:15pmSanction this postReply
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Duncan - you write, "But I'm still struggling to see a case for a minarchist Government to be able to prohibit the creation & patronage of Courts, Police etc. that are manifestly rational & objective - in effect entirely compatible with that minarchist Government."

Once you grant that the minarchist government may forbid acts of "market government" that are not "manifestly rational & objective," then anyone subjected to force by a "market defense agency" must have the right to appeal to the minarchist government if he believes that the actions of the "market defense agency" were NOT rational and objective.

Thus you grant that the minarchist government will function as, at minimum, a court of last appeal, and have means to enforce its final decision against any secondary "market defense agency" within its jurisdiction. But this defines "minarchist government" as such.

QED.


Post 26

Wednesday, November 2, 2005 - 4:51pmSanction this postReply
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From "Police Forces and Courts of Law" in the Dissent Forum:

There are a hundred ways to deal with the problems of predation.  Retaliatory force is the last resort of the incompetent.

"Don't call me a mindless philosopher," said C3PO to R2D2.

None of you 3POs has ever worked as a security officer.  I have.  I know what I am talking about because I do it for a living. 

The discussion here is a perfect example of the fallacy of rationalism.  You are aguing over floating abstractions, a priori illusions, what philosophers now call "counterfactuals."  If there were no government, crime would run rampant.  If kangaroos had no tails they would fall over -- except in this other world where they stand upright.  That is the "other world" of the anarcho-strawmen whom you so easily defeat.

I live in the real world.
I work as a security guard.
I know, objectively (rationally and empirically) that you are all wrong.


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Post 27

Wednesday, November 2, 2005 - 5:10pmSanction this postReply
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Michael,

You keep referring to private security as an example of competing enforcement. It is not. The laws of the United States government bind private security agencies; they do not make their own laws. Walking a coworker to their car after dark does not a competitive agency make.

Get back to us when your employer declares abortion murder and orders you into clinics to make arrests. *That* is when your work will qualify as competing with the U.S. Government.

Jon


Post 28

Wednesday, November 2, 2005 - 7:13pmSanction this postReply
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Duncan:

"It doesn't matter who is violating rights by initiating force - all that matters is that those rights are being violated. Hence the recognition of the right to armed rebellion against illegitimate Government."

Correct. Jefferson:

"But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."

Would you say the NZ government, the US government is violating the rights of citizens? Yes, you would. So why not take up arms against the state *now*?

Jefferson:

"Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed."

You don't start shooting bureau-rats *now* because there are still many avenues down which you can seek redress. Granted, the American revolutionaries needed not much more than a mildly good excuse to start smacking the Brits around. We have much more to moan about. Far more justification for armed rebellion. We can see, clearly, a design to reduce us under absolute despotism. It's manifest and only the beguiled cannot see it. But still we suffer because the evils are sufferable. And, at the same time, we try to right the wrongs.

Can the same situation be envisaged with competing security forces? Not likely. It seems that it's an either-or situation resulting in perpetual conflict. Why would you *not* rebel for "light and transient causes" or right yourself by abolishing the forms to which you are accustomed? After all, it's not a rationally designed, constitutionally limited government you're attacking now, it's just one of many competing security forces. Who are they to say what's right? Let 'er rip!

Ross

PS: Jon, good post, #27



Post 29

Wednesday, November 2, 2005 - 9:25pmSanction this postReply
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But I'm still struggling to see a case for a minarchist Government to be able to prohibit the creation & patronage of Courts, Police etc. that are manifestly rational & objective - in effect entirely compatible with that minarchist Government

In my opimion there is no need to prohibit the creation & patronage of Courts, Police etc.
In the situation of a minarchist government existing anybody should be able to start up a court or a police organisation.
As long as it is consensual there is no violation of rights. However, the moment this organisation would use force to drag anybody before itís court a clear violation of rights takes place and the existing government would have to come to his defence.
I imagine courts of  'arbitration' would start up in competition to the minarchist government if that government is not efficient enough and charges too much.
Those courts of arbitration would have no authority to use force unless, for whatever reason, authorised by the government, which is till that moment the ONLY custodian of the peoples right to self-defence. If a minority group would set up their own government they would only have redress against people who voluntarily submit themselves and the majority would not. There would be no practical point to it.


Post 30

Thursday, November 3, 2005 - 10:49amSanction this postReply
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Jon,

Yes - what Michael is referring to as AC is merely competition within the field of policework - the implementation of laws set by the Government.

Michael,

No, dicatorships didn't use checks & balances - but often, the systems they displaced *did*, and look how well that protected them against the dictators.

W.r.t. your comments on inflicting violence, I'd just assumed that you didn't mean self-defense (I can't think of a single SOLOist who opposes the idea of defensive violence).

But as far as inflicting violence, say, in the form of breaking into someone's house to arrest him: if it's proper for me to delegate that power to the Government, why is it *not* proper for me to do that *myself*, or to delegate that power to someone else?

Now, I can think of a million good reasons why I should delegate it, and precious few against. But I can't see a good reason for the Government to *force* me to delegate it - after all, that isn't really delegation if it's forced.

Ross,

I understand what you're saying, & pretty much agree with you - hence my comment earlier that I'd like to be disproved. But so far, I'm failing to see a justification for a minarchist Government to use force to prevent the establishment of a competing court, provided that court enforces laws as just & rational as those it enforces itself.


Post 31

Thursday, November 3, 2005 - 1:52pmSanction this postReply
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Duncan,

Re your comment:
But I can't see a good reason for the Government to *force* me to delegate it...
This "forced delegation" is in the Constitution.

There is a very thought-provoking essay by Lysander Spooner on the Constitution being a contract that was signed by other people, not by him. He was not asked whether or not he agreed. He did not sign it. Therefore it was not logical for him to have to be bound by it.

The need to set some kind of social convention not open to formal agreement, however (in the "Constitution" and "Magna Carta" sense of the term), seems to be inherent to the nature of man when he groups with others. The alternative is gangs or tribes.

The "moral out" for such lack of consent has been to establish the government with the possibility to change it from within according to clear and logically constructed rules based on persuasion and irrevocable rights (under that particular founding document).

I have been working on an essay dealing precisely with this point.

Michael


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Post 32

Thursday, November 3, 2005 - 3:36pmSanction this postReply
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Duncan, Mark-

You two already nailed the point that minarchy could transition to anarchocapitalism by the emergence of competing justice agencies which followed the same ethics (hence, ones which it could not ethically use force to shutdown).

The point I'd add is the converse. If providing justice is a natural monopoly, an anarchocapitalist system could also transition to minarchy, as competing agencies merge to become more efficient. The ultimate result would be a monopolistic supplier, ie. a minimal government. The transition between the two I see as potentially fluid either way; the ultimate question of which would be the more stable end result boils down to whether a justice system is in fact a natural monopoly.


BTW, the Spooner article MSK referred to is "No Treason": http://www.lysanderspooner.org/notreason.htm


Post 33

Thursday, November 3, 2005 - 6:28pmSanction this postReply
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Take care in accpeting Jon Letendre's accusation in post 27. He isn't describing a normal defense agency engaging in protection. There, the hypothetical competitor is not defending its citizens. That defense agency is imitating Hitler's annexation of Austria prior to the invasion of Poland. Tsk Tsk, strawmen are for demagouges.

However, this characterization reflects a larger problem of not imagining the concequences of each concept. Those arguing for anarcho-capitalism are seated in the consumer's seat in the fantasy. The way to truly test it is to place yourself in the CEO position of your own defense agency.

What are you going to advertise? Do you declare what price you will charge? That is easy enough for a passive business like a gas station, but this is anything but passive. People will want some marker for how you justify that price, else a fly-by-night will be the tool of con men. The only distinction I can draw is number of criminals captured by one already in operation. This, however, is misleading (difference of crime density in areas).

Also, don't put these agencies in a vacuume. Sure, a minarchist government might allow another police agency to handle an area and save cost for itself, but how would banks react? They could charge different rates for people protected by a new agency as insurance. Mind, I don't think this unjust. I mention it as economic incentive against the outcome of anarcho-capitalist agencies. Economic historian Frederic Lane supports this (indirectly) in his paper "National wealth and Protection":

An essential charge on any economic enterprise is the cost of protection, its protection from distruption by violence. Different enterprises competing in the same market often pay different costs of protection, perhaps as tariffs, or bribes, pehaps in some other form. The difference between the protection costs forms one element in the income of the enterprise enjoying the lower protection cost. This element in income I will call protection rent. Just as differences in the fertility of land produce rents for the owners of the more productive fields, so differences in the difficulties of protection produce rents for enterprises which are more easily or efficiently protected. To the categories traditional with the economists, that is, wages, interest, and land rent, can be added for present purposes the category of protection rent.
Above all defenders of anarcho-capitalism, never forget that we live in a world with competing defense agencies. To switch, you move to Hong Kong or Switzerland. They aren't minarchist, you say. What makes you think competing governments wouldbe? In fact, force in the market has a unique effect, much like water's decrease in density when it freezes. Protection is the only resource that has a price increase when in competition. Disagree? Look at Medieval Europe and compare its economic restrictions to those under the fewer monarchs of the 1700's. The restrictions under Louis 14th were still exorbitant, but far better than five centuries before. And this bears out logically:

I am a police chief. Are my cost higher when there are many mobs in my city competing to engage in protection rackets or when there are few?


Lane, Frederic C. Venice and History: The Collected Papers of Frederic C Lane. "National wealth and Protection." John Hopkins Press, Baltimore. 1966.


Post 34

Tuesday, November 8, 2005 - 12:01amSanction this postReply
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What I think is that there is no substantive difference between libertarian minarchism and anarchism other than that the anarchists claim they need no territorial contiguity or homogeneity within the jurisdiction of the defense agencies they support, whereas minarchists claim that this is as yet unavoidable (at least until Star Trek type transporters come into being). The anarchist reply that there is no need for contiguity because adjacent and crisscrossing jurisdiction will function fine. How? All will recognize the cost-effectiveness of cooperation (a la Friedman, et al.). I think this is a fantasy. Some may well be cooperative, but they certainly need not necessarily be. Even if it would be cost-effective, lots of endeavors of human beings go counter to economic rationality, the tautological contention to the contrary notwithstanding. As to why are governments justified in maintaining their monopoly, it's no more mysterious than why the owner of a security service in a large apartment complex or manufacturing plant may--it had this monopoly status delegated voluntarily, on a long-term "contractual" (or compact)basis, when all those within a given region who are receiving the service of law and order became its citizens (however becoming a citizen can occur).

(Edited by Machan on 11/08, 12:07am)


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Post 35

Tuesday, November 8, 2005 - 3:37pmSanction this postReply
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Tibor - you write, "As to why are governments justified in maintaining their monopoly, it's no more mysterious than why the owner of a security service in a large apartment complex or manufacturing plant may--it had this monopoly status delegated voluntarily, on a long-term "contractual" (or compact)basis."

But then, who will then make sure that private owners adhere to their contracts? This system was the law in the 17th and 18th centuries in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. What happened in reality was that large landowners with their own private armies, the magnaci, would violate the rights of their "tenants" at will. This included arbitrary enslavement and murder; in some cases members of the magnat's own family were imprisoned for life at the magnat's whim. To remedy this problem while securing individual rights, in 1793 Poland adopted a limited-government constitution modeled (the first in Europe) on the Constitution of the United States.

The point is that governments are instituted among men to protect their rights against all violators. This includes the provision that no one can be above enforcement of the law, not even "private" owners of "competing" (or locally monopolistic) "private law enforcement agencies."

(Edited by Adam Reed
on 11/08, 3:39pm)


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Post 36

Tuesday, November 8, 2005 - 7:32pmSanction this postReply
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Jon Letendre drew a wide circle: "The laws of the United States government bind private security agencies; they do not make their own laws. ... Get back to us when your employer declares abortion murder and orders you into clinics to make arrests. *That* is when your work will qualify as competing with the U.S. Government."
I grant that fully.  That is why defense agencies are not governments.  Calling this "competing governments" is the governmentalist point of view.  The rational point of view is realizing that to protect your property, you have to take responsiblity for owning it. 
Adam Reed wrote: "The point is that governments are instituted among men to protect their rights against all violators. This includes the provision that no one can be above enforcement of the law..."
Who do you go to when your rights are violated by the government?

Where is Martha Stuart's redress of grievance?

Sovereign immunity applies in the United States.  Right now, I believe that they are calling it "executive privilege."  It is not the first time.  You can get Congress to battle the President and you can call that justice.  What do you call it when the Congress and the President and the Supreme Court all agree?  (I'd call it the Patriot Act.)  Remember that The Great Empancipator suspended habeas corpus.


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Post 37

Tuesday, November 8, 2005 - 7:32pmSanction this postReply
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Suppose that as a result of the harsh circumstances at Valley Forge in 1777-1778, the U.S. Constitution of 1789 promised every citizen a new pair of boots on their birthday.  Two hundred years later, along come the anarcho-caligulans claiming that the free market can provide "boots" for everyone in a wide array of styles and prices. 


Post 38

Tuesday, November 8, 2005 - 11:31pmSanction this postReply
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Michael,

Martha Stewart? Your first name reminds me of Michael Radziwill, who spent the last 40 years of his life in the Radziwill family dungeon, because he exercised his constitutional right to change his religion. There were hundreds, perhaps thousands, imprisoned for life or killed by magnaci on whim before the constitution of 1793 gave the government the legal power to "invade" their domains and enforce equal justice. And this in a country with a total of about 3 million people at the time.

Much as I hate seeing a politician act as though he were about the law for 4 years, replacing him with dozens of men with their own private armies, and thus permanently above the law, would be many, many times worse.


Post 39

Thursday, November 10, 2005 - 5:20amSanction this postReply
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I am unsure of what Adam is disputing in my post. Proper governments are freely instituted and those who institute it establish its monopoly status by their freely, voluntarily instituting it; ergo, it's not a coercive monopoly. That's my point.

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