I would have replied to you on OWL, but I was banned from that list last November by the moderator Neil Goodell after an argument with him over the use of nested quoting rather than the essay style which he insists is the only way to prevent "chatting". Whereas I think that the nested quoting style developed by the Internet is a far better method of preventing evasion and keeping people scrupulously honest in their replies. I certainly sympathize with your frustration on OWL and among objectivists in general with their view that having governments is necessary.
I would like to have a discussion with you on a higher visibility "forum". Perhaps the newsgroup humanities.philosophy.objectivism or you could suggest another.
Paul Hibbert wrote:
> Thank you all for being here. Today, I wish to announce the
> creation of an enterprise, the socio-political and economic
> scope of which has never before been attempted. My fellow
> investors and I will create a corporation, registered in
> the United States entitled, "The Capitalist
> Covenantry of Freeland" (the CCF),
From a Canadian pov the use of the acronym CCF is unfortunate since it was the name of the highly socialist Cooperative Commonwealth Federation party which was the predecessor of the current New Democratic Party (NDP).
> the purpose of which is to create a
> new country and, as the name suggests, it will be based on capitalism,
> individual freedom and the absence of coercion. This will be
> accomplished by buying an existing, democratic country, or portion
If you don't buy the whole country, then your portion will still be under the political domination of what is left, except in the unlikely event that such a country allows secession (which none do AFAIK).
> The preliminary phase of the enterprise will consist of
> identifying candidate countries, apprising the citizens of the pros and
> cons and if the proposals are well received the citizens could normally
> request a referendum on the sale.
Even if you get a vast majority of the current citizens to vote for your proposal to buy their country, how do you handle those property owners who do not wish to be bought? This problem is called the "bootstrapping problem" of contractarian formulation of a government. It is discussed in Randy Barnett's new book "Restoring the Lost Constitution" Chapter 1. Here is a critique of that book.
Precisely what is it you are buying if most of the land is already privately owned? At best you are only buying the common land which is currently owned by the government. If that is the case then you do not need any referendum. All that you need is to make a contract with the country's current rulers who effectively own that common land.
> My fellow investors and I have
> committed $2 billion in seed money for this phase. Upon ratification of
> the referendum, the feasibility being confirmed and the overall plan
> being completed, we will be soliciting further investors for guarantees
> so that the funds can be available for the actual purchase and
> development of the territory.
Again when the territory is already inhabited, what is it exactly that you are buying? And what will you do about those who do not wish to sell either their own land or their part of the commonly owned land?
> First, let me tell you what the CCF will not be. It will not be a nation
> in the conventional sense; it will not have a government. It will not
> have a constitution, politicians or political parties. It will not have
> embassies, trade legations, passports, citizenship, foreign aid,
> membership in the United Nations, nor will it support Olympic teams.
> There will be no laws to protect individuals from themselves. There will
> be no social programs or welfare, no military and no draft. The
> administration will not support schools or hospitals. There will be no
> taxes of any kind and, most importantly — it will not be a democracy.
> The words, "incentive", "subsidy", "advocacy", "special interest groups"
> and so on will have no relevance in the administration of the CCF. There
> will be no imposed licensing requirements for professionals or
> businesses and there will be no building codes. There will be no mint or
> mandated currency or legal tender. There will be no national holidays or
> restrictions on when businesses may open their doors. There will be no
> minimum wage or anti-discrimination laws. There will be no customs
> duties or "most favored nations." There will be no common religion but
> residents will be free to build churches and worship as they wish.
> Marriage and sexual orientation will be no concern of the administration
> as there will be no special provisions for couples — everyone will be
> treated as an individual.
To a libertarian this may all sound great, but to the vast majority of the citizens of any country which you could possibly buy this would not be at all something that they would want and vote for.
> What the CCF will be is a geographical area, independent of any
> over-arching authority, administered by the equivalent of a corporation.
That's great, but you have not shown how you can establish any such area without harming the interests (as perceived by them) of some people who are already there.
> The administration's self-interest is to maximize its profit, and in
> order to do so, it must be able to attract the greatest number of
> residents by providing a safe, free, non-coercive environment in which
> they may pursue their legitimate individual goals, whatever they may be.
> The administrators will provide a justice system and the basic
> infrastructure of roads, airport, seaport (if applicable), and whatever
> else is needed for other, subsidiary, entrepreneurial enterprises to
> complete the development.
A major failing here is that all these services have monopoly status. Since CCF will have a monopoly on the legalized use of initiatory force (it will "provide" a justice system) it appears to be a government which is simply a kind of benevolent dictatorship. Personally, I would be hesitant to move to such a society. Far better to have a society where all such services are provided by several independent companies.
> The means of maintaining social and commercial
> order and justice will be by contracts and covenants. Anyone may become
> a resident or a visitor by merely arriving in the territory. Residents
> will be able to trade freely among themselves or with individuals in
> nations. Unions will not find a hospitable environment in the CCF
> because individuals will be free to deal one-on-one with employers.
> The justice system will be broadly based on existing Western
> jurisprudence, although there may need to be some major revisions.
That is an understatement from my pov.
> Because there will be no constitution, it cannot be the ultimate
> reference. Hate crimes may not be prosecuted because people will not be
> prosecuted for what they think — they will be prosecuted for what they
> do. Anti-discrimination laws are not appropriate in a pure capitalist
> system because it is not in the self-interest of capitalists to
> discriminate on the basis of race. The justice system is an area where a
> great deal of investigation must be done to be compatible with
> capitalism and non-coercion. For instance, a jury by one's peers may not
> be appropriate because it requires that residents be forced to be
> impaneled. An alternative could be that lawyers hired by the
> administration comprise a jury.
This last idea is good. I recommend that you read my essay "Social Meta-Needs: A New Basis for Optimal Human Interaction" and it's implementation in the Natural Social Contract
> In any case, residents will not be
> attracted to the CCF if it is not perceived to be fair or does not
> provide adequate protection.
The problem here is that what is "fair" varies enormously between individuals.
> The justice system will comprise a police
> force (which may be contracted out), prosecuting attorneys hired by the
> administration, private attorneys and custodial facilities owned by the
> administration but which may be staffed by contractors.
Where does the funding for the administration come from? Ie. how does it make a profit from all this sufficient to provide the services (police force, prosecuting attorneys, jails, etc)?
I have omitted any comment on all your question and answers (except the one item below) because most of them are addressed to non-libertarians. Since your major audience here and elsewhere is libertarian, you would have been better to use questions which libertarians would more likely have asked. (Note that I include objectivists among libertarians.)
> All sorts of governments and social
> organizations have been tried throughout the ages but what is needed is
> a completely new paradigm
I totally agree that an entirely new paradigm is needed and that is what I have provided in my links referenced above.
> and I'm proposing a purely capitalist
> approach that addresses all the problems of the past, such as coercion,
> suppression of liberty and self-determination.
But I don't agree that capitalism alone will provide such a new paradigm.
> If there are any more questions that you or anyone else thinks of later
> I'd be pleased to answer them. We'll be setting up a web site and an
> on-line forum where all these issues can be discussed.
If this is done, where is it?
> I hope you will all join me in this venture as I'm convinced we can make
> an obscene amount of money and at the same time further the cause of
> social progress.
You have not said anything about how such money will be made! Where is your business plan?
In summary, as I stated at the beginning, I am interested in discussion of the fundamentals of a non-government society which we both agree can exist and be much better than any society with a government. Perhaps we can get together to critique and understand each other's view, circulate and support those views more widely, and eventually get more people to join us.
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