Rebirth of Reason

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Sunday, August 1, 2004 - 8:09amSanction this postReply
Great article, Joe. As usual, your style of saying a lot with only a few words continues to amaze me.

However, while looking through this cleaned-up Libertarian lense (where retaliation against force-initiators is a fundamental), I find myself in a quiet rage as I read books like The Government Racket 2000 by Gross or The 10 Things You can't say in America by Elder.

Joe, you've made me very angry - and I thank you for that. What did Eric Hoffer say about having angry concern (over something) in life?


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Sunday, August 1, 2004 - 10:56amSanction this postReply
     Good article Joe. I agree with you that the NIIF principle is not the defining characteristic of libertarianism. However, I would go further than you would. I think there is actually too much emphasis on the concept of "force" in libertarian political philosophy, and instead we should concentrate on the more fundamental concept of "rights".
    The reason I say this is because it has been the practice of statist philosophers for the past 20 years to try and refute libertarianism by claiming that property is an initiation of force. For example, look at this essay by a professor from the college I plan on attending next spring.
    What is many times left out of this debate is that "force" is a fundamentally moral concept, and presupposes the concept of "rights". To force someone to do something is to compel them to do it through the threat of harm. To "harm" means to take away life, liberty, or property, i.e. to violate rights. One simply cannot have one without the other.
    Thanks for the thought-provoking article Joe.

-----------------------------------Tom Blackstone


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Tuesday, August 3, 2004 - 5:14amSanction this postReply
Iím always amazed, Joe, with how you can define a topic and stay within the subject and say something useful in a short article. One good point makes an article! And a damn good point it makes.

You make it seem almost obvious. However, there are libertarians who are against the retaliatory use of force. They advocate restitution and oppose retribution, for example. Some oppose the retaliation by imprisonment, domestically. There are other libertarians who are against foreign wars since it must involve collateral damage. I imagine they would merely station the army at the borders and swat down any bombs as they are sent over. I call them quasi-pacifists - you can block a blow and even lodge one yourself but only until the enemy backs off and returns to their "space." However, if libertarianism is a viable concept, it must have a robust principle of retaliation.

Tomís right that statists would intentionally destroy the word force (or coercion). However, that could be another short article. Perhaps, by Tom?

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Tuesday, August 3, 2004 - 9:37amSanction this postReply
Heh, thanks for the encouragement Ric. I have been thinking about writing an article for SOLO, but haven't figured out exactly on what yet. I normally post essays to my website, but almost never get any feedback on them. So it would be nice to post here for a change. Stay tuned. :)

-----------------Tom Blackstone


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Tuesday, August 3, 2004 - 3:21pmSanction this postReply
Thanks for the replies.

Ed, thanks for the compliment. Glad you got something from the article.

Tom, statist may be trying to destroy the word "force", but they've also done a good job of destroying "rights". Whether it's a right to an art museum or a right to free food or a right to married parents, the meaning is destroyed.

Rick, thanks for the compliment. I agree with you about the "quasi-pacificists", one of the reasons for the article. You can't help but apply the idea to the current political context. Also, I think it has some relevance to the whole anarchist debate.

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