|Ryan, thanks for your replies. Let me take your points in succession. |
RKR: I would certainly agree that there is room for competition or overlap with law ENFORCEMENT. Yes, that is accepted here by others who disagree with me on more fundamental problems. We seem to agree that given an objective government, you have the right to buy or hire whatever protection you need. (Alarms, gates, doors, guards.) Some Objectivists here agree that you can have competing defense agencies, as long as they all operate under the same law.
As you say: The comment you are responding to was related to the proposal of competition or overlap between actual governments, the makers of law. I point to the fact that every government has a constitution. Ours is written. The UK's is not. Our constitution is terse and is intrepreted by the courts. Other constitutions (Brazil's for instance, but most others, as well, actually) are finely detailed and less subject to interpretation. So, the question remains begged, not answered. What is law?
Again, you are correct: In Ayn Rand's "stolen wallet" scenario, as soon as there is a disagreement, both agencies open fire. That has never happened in American history. Never. It did happen in Russia when she was a child and happens in many places today and seems to be the norm for most people in most times and places, except for some golden ages of peace and prosperity. of which America has been one. (And maybe that is not valid, either. Maybe "most people in most times and places" get along fairly well, even with strangers, perhaps even with sworn enemies, and the exceptions are so egregious that they stand out in a pattern as the mere norm does not.)
"The american values you mention seems to cover any snags or gray area."
RKR: However, there has been two instances that I can think of offhand where actual gov'ts attempted to exert overlapping authority in america. The revolutionary war and the civil war.Well, there was the Toledo War between Michigan and Ohio. Numismatist Michael Hodder -- a true scholar -- wrote about the Pine Tree Shillings of 1652 and pointed out that Massachusetts Bay took the initiative to make itself a nation, minting its own coins, and invading neighbors and conquering territory. When the Crown came back, they retreated, but kept Maine. The Republic of Texas is another example. On the other hand, when the Supreme Court ruled against Dredd Scott, armed gangs did not storm the courthouse or continue fighting in the streets over the issue. That came a few years later. Before that, it was because, as noted, all parties agreed to the same law -- not just the words on papers, but the "sense" of law, the tradition within which the law was understood, enacted and enforced.
All of those examples, as you say, show what happens when governments compete. Businesses compete differently. Businesses all agree to the same implicit sense of law. Robert Malcom has written at length here about The Trader Syndrome and The Taking Syndrome. Why in 100 years did General Motors suffer losses, even now, and not hire armed gangs to invade Ford or Toyota? Why is it that architects do not blow up each other's buildings? Oh... Well, that would explain a lot ... Hmmm.....
A final point. RKR: The agencies you mention are all part of the american gov't, they are coordinated on some level. The gloss won't hold. To be an agent of the government, you have to have a government job -- unless we are all "agents" of the government simply by obeying the law.
First of all, the city police in America only go back to attempts in the 1830s and 1840s. (Some argument among Boston, New York and Philadelphia for honors.) Only after the Civil War were city police a new institution. In much of America -- unorganized territories -- justice was privately engaged. Wells-Fargo's guards protected its stagecoaches. They did not shoot it out with Pinkerton's guards or with the Federal Marshalls. Those guards were not "part of the government." Government is an agency of the people; the people hire the government.
(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 12/28, 6:45am)