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Post 0

Sunday, February 12, 2012 - 1:45amSanction this postReply
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I oppose anarchism but believe it should be identified objectively. 

Leonard Peikoff blunders in OPAR, claims anarchism is a form of statism:

[5] Anarchy, State, and Youtubia: Objective
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AC74qea4IVQ


Post 1

Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - 5:11pmSanction this postReply
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I believe the origins of the word 'anarchism' give it one meaning and the convenience of statists gives it another.

The statists will define it as no rules, but it originally meant no rulers.

Of course, that is a huge difference. I take the original meaning when I describe myself as an anarchist. I see no value in having a group of people who are in authority over others. But I DO see a need for a set of rules that people live under in order for them to live together. And I doubt the existence in history of any time that people did not have rules governing their coexistence.

There are short periods where 'official' law enforcement suddenly collapses and chaos ensues, but this is no proof that a ruling elite is a necessity for effective law enforcement. Contemporary dictionaries play on this, though, to define 'anarchy' as a failure of government.

It can become a long debate over details, but I have never yet found any "function" that requires a special privileged elite to furnish it, not law making, nor law enforcing.

I disagree with Ayn Rand's view that a group should have a monopoly on the use of force. The use of force is morally applied or not. This does not depend on Who applied it, but only on How it was applied.

Rules good. Rulers bad.
(Edited by JOHN HOWARD on 7/11, 5:12pm)


Post 2

Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - 6:17pmSanction this postReply
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Without an authority vested in specific people, by law, for the purpose of maintaining and enforcing the law, then you don't have "law," or you don't have a single set of laws for a given jurisdiction. That means you have anarchy.

Anarchists have alleged that a free market will provide 'laws' (and their enforcement) but that entails a logical error. You can't have a "free" market until there are reasonably successful laws in place that prohibit threats of force, force, fraud and theft - only then will the market be reasonably "free" of threats and initiated force, fraud and theft. Competition's beneficial effects only work in relatively free markets - when force gets to compete the benefits of competition are lost, and instead of improvements in quality and quantity we get the opposite.

A free market requires a minimal government because there must be enforcement of a minimal set of laws that are crafted to define violations of the right to be free of initiation of force, threats to initiate force, fraud and theft.

The government in a minarchy doesn't have a monopoly on the use of force, because all uses of force (government or not) are justified by whether or not they are in defense of a valid right. The monoploy is in the creation of law, by representatives, and where that law, in a minarchy, can only be in defense of rights.

Anarchy is "like" statism in a limited sense: It is another kind of political situation in which individual rights are not defended.

Post 3

Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - 10:24pmSanction this postReply
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I'm always searching for how we might increase capitalism in our society.

It is not possible for a entity that is a non-whole subset of reality to have a monopoly of force over use of any property. Rather than "monopoly of force" how about "most powerful force"?

It cannot be deduced that capitalism is not possible without law. Law is just some words written or spoken. How force is used can be dictated by many laws, but it can also be dictated by a single simple rule: "an eye for eye".

If some individuals in an anarchy (or any political system) are free from force initiations by some extent, defend and reimburse themselves to some extent from force initiators by retaliatory force, or respect other individual's property to some extent, then some extent of capitalism exists.

The greater such extents, the greater the capitalism and the lesser the force initiation. This is true whether the force initiation is performed by weak people (criminals) or the most powerful people (corrupt governments).

Without laws and government bureaucracy, surely the way retaliatory force is applied would be more chaotic. But on the other hand, victim chosen retaliation and reimbursement may be result in a society that has fewer force initiations, and when force initiation does occur, a more optimal restoration of property to the victim and assurance of net-loss to the violator may be attained.

I think the overall measure of how capitalist vs criminal a society is has much to do with what proportion of its citizens decide for themselves to respect others' property and defend their own. Furthermore this measure weights each individual's impact by how much force they apply.

Currently in the US(~2012), force is almost exclusively applied by two groups: 1. The majority mob, who vote for laws which redistribute property from the wealthy and productive; 2. Police and military, who do whatever the majority mob say.

The majority mob has been increasingly less capitalist/more criminal (by increasing the percentage of wealth redistribution from wealthy/producers) since the creation of the US. Its not clear at this point whether this trend is reversible via simple voting, beyond that at some threshold the producers can no longer support any more wealth redistribution.

Might I propose that the percentage of wealth redistribution (Percentage) will naturally be quite high in a society where power is evenly distributed (like equal voting power). There are too many people who would rather steal from others than work, even if that means their standard of living will be lower.

Education may reduce the Percentage some... some people probably do decide to respect others' property more once taught some of Objectivism.

More ways to reduce the Percentage were revealed by Ayn Rand:
Galt: Hide productivity and savings (to reduce taxes and other forms of theft)
Francisco: Legally deceive criminals (to make criminals net lose and reimburse victims)
Ragnar: Retaliate force (even illegally) (to make criminals net lose and reimburse victims)

My proposed way to reduce the Percentage:
Weigh voting power by % gross domestic taxes paid

Post 4

Thursday, July 12, 2012 - 5:41amSanction this postReply
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Steve Wolfer writes:

"Without an authority vested in specific people, by law, for the purpose of maintaining and enforcing the law, then you don't have "law," or you don't have a single set of laws for a given jurisdiction."

This raises the question of how many people should authority be thus vested in. One? 50% All? When does law stop being law, at 99%? And what does the number of vested people have to do with the number of law sets?
(Edited by JOHN HOWARD on 7/12, 5:47am)


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Post 5

Thursday, July 12, 2012 - 5:38pmSanction this postReply
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John,

These are all good questions, but you can't expect everyone within a given geographical area to agree on what rules there should be. Even a society of libertarians can and will disagree on what constitutes an initiation of force or fraud. Is partial-birth abortion a violation of rights? Do patents and copyrights establish intellectual property rights? What is required to turn a natural resource into personal property. Some person or group has to decide these questions (rightly or wrongly) and then have the decision recognized and enforced, which necessitates a government. The alternative is armed conflict among people with differing views of justice, otherwise known as civil war.


Post 6

Friday, July 13, 2012 - 9:08amSanction this postReply
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Bill,
These are all good points, but they are obvious and not in contention. When you write, "...but..." it sounds as if I am questioning the obvious. And my good questions remain unanswered.

(Edited by JOHN HOWARD on 7/13, 9:11am)

(Edited by JOHN HOWARD on 7/13, 9:11am)


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Post 7

Friday, July 13, 2012 - 9:37amSanction this postReply
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Theory and practice:

In theory, the tribe agrees first on a set of principles on which laws can be based, and then, invests some with the responsibility of enacting and enforcing those laws under those principles. Ideally, with a means of tribal feedback.

In practice, the tribe practices barely checked naked democracy, pandered to by power grubbers.

Yet the 'consent of the governed' is not absolute; it is 'consent of the governed...to be governed under declared principles.'

So, the tribe attempts to codify those principles in a constitution, and then what results is the law, in whatever form that is consistent with those principles. Without a means of enforcement and the ability to withdraw consent, a constitution is just 'wishes on paper.'

Law, OTOH, has the means of enforcement; the states license to use force and violence to enforce it. However, the state's moral right to use that force and violence depends on its adherence to the principles under which that right was granted. In the absence of those principles, that does not mean that the state doesn't have the ability to enforce laws, it only means that the state doesn't have the moral right to enforce those laws, and by extension, citizens do not have the moral obligation to obey those laws.

Under those circumstances, those that disobey such law will be criminals in the eyes of the state, and will be subject to the brute force of the state...but they will not be morally bereft in disobeying those laws. Jews in Hitler's Germany were an example. In modern times, non disclosed Cayman accounts are another(as soon as this tribe found license in the constitution of Liberty to forcefully redistribute wealth under the force of law.)

I'd love to live in a tribe where those principles were based on free association, because all else follows from that. (I don't.) If a state was granted the power to direct force only to enforce free association and prohibit forced association, then I'd sleep like a baby no matter how many laws were written under that license.

The laws against murder, rape, coercion, extortion, theft, robbery, fraud in commerce, and even, the fouling of the commons in commerce would all easily flow from that license. We'd all have a ready litmus test to evaluate any new proposed law or action by fellow peers living in freedom; we'd look for the instances of free vs. forced association, and it would be obvious to all when the USSC was spinning off into some Georgetown bistro induced coma of pure nonsense.

Such a principle is a hairshirt restriction to the religious Progressives lurching unchecked among us; they -need- forced association to push their religious agendas, freedom be damned.

That is why capitalism is hated by Progressives. That is why they spit out the words 'free association' like it was a disease. And yet, they can't bring themselves to proudly advocate 'forced association' because it sounds exactly like what it is. And so, they spin and dance and avoid using those words like they were Plutonium, they roll their eyes back into their heads and find divine faith based excuses to cling to their never named worldview ultimately based on force. They sanction their own naked aggression against others just like Christian Soldiers, marching as if to class war.

And we let them.

regards,
Fred


(Edited by Fred Bartlett on 7/13, 9:45am)


Post 8

Friday, July 13, 2012 - 10:16amSanction this postReply
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Example of free vs. forced association

Religious Progressives like to whip out the 'race-gender-class' card whenever the much hated concept 'free association' is brought up, and their argument is total scarecrow nonsense.

Laws against public discrimination readily follow from considerations of free vs. forced association, under a model of peer-peer based freedom in the public commons.

Note that our current body of anti-discrimination law says nothing at all about who we must marry, or freely associate with. (A glaring counter example in our current tribal mess are laws restricting gay marriage, which are totally inconsistent with the concept of free association.)

What those laws address is our public behavior with respect to peers living in freedom on the public commons. If we desire to publicly navigate the commons and publicly engage in commerce on those public commons, we are obligated under law to not, via forced association, project our bias onto that commons.

When we go home to our private castles, we are free to close the doors and with prejudice open them only to those we freely associate with, but in order to respect the rules of free association on the public commons, we are obligated under a separate and completely neutral set of rules.

It is our choice to freely navigate the public commons, but when we do so, we are not permitted to sprint headlong to our public destinations oblivious to the trajectory of other peers. We have a peer-peer based obligation to navigate those public commons, respectful of the peer-peer freedom of others. We see this all the time on the public interstates, where both large vehicles and small vehicles share the same roadway and yet each get to their own chosen destinations. We by necessity share the public commons when we participate in public commerce, and owe an obligation to our peers to respect their freedom as well as ours.

Concerning racial discrimination, no law tells us who to marry, nor who to invite into our homes. If we wish, we can conduct only private commerce, far from the commons. We can privately invite folks into our home. We can privately conduct whatever private commerce we want under purely rules of free association. And we violate those rules of free association whenever a third party unwillingly is exposed to the consequence of our free association. And so, that is what governs the rules of our public behavior on the commons, including, in commerce. When we choose to conduct commerce in public, we have an obligation to conduct it in a manner consistent with respect for peer-peer based freedom, and 'whites only' signs on public restrooms, etc., is an example of forced association in the public sphere. If someone wants to maintain 'whites only' bathrooms in your private home, or 'blacks only' bathrooms in your private home, then ... do so under the freedom of free association. Many do, both blacks and whites. Privately, under rules of free association. But the public commons is different. The public commons is where we publicly associate as peers living in freedom.

And so, law based on free association readily arrives at anti public discrimination laws, unlike the thin theories of the fear mongering and freedom hating religious Progressives.

regards,
Fred

Post 9

Friday, July 13, 2012 - 1:50pmSanction this postReply
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Hi Fred,

You write: "In theory, the tribe agrees first on a set of principles on which laws can be based, and then, invests some with the responsibility of enacting and enforcing those laws under those principles."

If principles are rules and laws are rules, and if the tribe can choose principles, why can't they choose laws?

If laws are needed and the tribe can agree on them and on how they are to be enforced, then where is the need for a special subset of the population to do any of this? How can it be argued that the tribe requires that something be done, but also requires that it only be done by a privileged few?

Where is the need for special rulers to either make or enforce rules? Why is that not the proper function of everyone?


Post 10

Friday, July 13, 2012 - 3:41pmSanction this postReply
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I wrote, "Without an authority vested in specific people, by law, for the purpose of maintaining and enforcing the law, then you don't have "law," or you don't have a single set of laws for a given jurisdiction."

John replied,
This raises the question of how many people should authority be thus vested in. One? 50% All? When does law stop being law, at 99%? And what does the number of vested people have to do with the number of law sets?
I'm not sure why a particular number would be important - not compared to the function.

The purpose of government is create the environment for a geographical area that best protects individual rights. The founding fathers chose to structure the government as three branches, in the form of a constitutionally limited republic. The way the constitution described the branches, and the away the judges, administrators and elected officials since that time have acted have resulted in the specific number of people at work in government.

We would all agree that there are many functions other than those described in the constitution currently being carried out, and that means that too many people are at work for the government and they are doing things they shouldn't be doing. And the constitution could be amended to further reduce the emumerated powers which would in turn reduce the number of people further. But I still don't see what focusing on a number will get us.
---------------------------

If there are any moral principles that should be observed, like say, "One may not initiate force against another person." Then the question is should that principle be enforced? If a society enforces that princple, the question becomes what is the most efficient way to enforce that? And what does "efficient" mean in this context? This is the reasoning that leads to the philosophy of law, and to a political description of minarchy.

Laws, such as laws making murder a criminal act, must have some sort of government or they are just futile wishes. Government without laws, or without good laws is just tyranny. For Objectivists the question should always be a focus of the crafting of the best laws, no more and no less, that will implement individual rights and the minimal structure (minarchy) needed to enforce those laws in the most objective fashion.

Over there years, I have heard a number of arguements proposing that either government, or a single set of laws per juridiction, or both, were not needed. But so far, none of the arguments stood up to logic.

Post 11

Friday, July 13, 2012 - 3:53pmSanction this postReply
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John:

I can only give you my opinion; I'm a 'One skin, one driver' advocate.


If principles are rules and laws are rules, and if the tribe can choose principles, why can't they choose laws?

(Credit Ayn Rand, We the Living, for the following plumbers analogy.)

There is the practical matter that there is no need to choose laws, if the principles are clearly chosen. You'll notice, our constitution is a tiny, tiny document compared to the US Code. Citizens living in freedom want to mostly live their lives, not come to consensus on every nut and bolt detail of the plumbing of state. We grant the honorable responsibility of divining law from principles to those willing to accept the responsibility, we pay them adequately for that service, just like any other honorable job in the tribe, and then we get on with the business of running our lives, the economies, and the nation.


Managing the needed plumbing of state is necessary, just like plumbing is necessary. But we don't live for the plumbing, no matter how badly we need plumbing, not are we ruled by plumbers whose responsibility it is to administer, interpret, and execute law consistent with the principles that were the basis for the consent of the governed.

True enough, some plumbers mistake their position in life as emperor. This is encouraged at some of the plumbing schools, like Princeton, Yale, and Harvard, which are always waxing poetic about training 'leaders' for 'leadership' roles. They get it in their heads that their function in life is to 'run the[sic] economy.'

That is what happens with decades of elitist inbreeding.

We can and do regularly fix that.


If laws are needed and the tribe can agree on them and on how they are to be enforced, then where is the need for a special subset of the population to do any of this? How can it be argued that the tribe requires that something be done, but also requires that it only be done by a privileged few?

We all certainly have a responsibility to pay attention to what the plumbers are doing. But I think of it only as specialization; we don't all actually do the plumbing, do we? As long as the plumbing is to code(we should at least ask), I'm happy. And as long as the law is administered according to the principles we have all long been well educated in, then I don't see a pressing need to reach a 330,000,000 vote consensus on every turn of the wrench.

Where is the need for special rulers to either make or enforce rules? Why is that not the proper function of everyone?

Well, I fully agree with you. There is no need for special rulers(the self-serving fantasies at Princeton, Yale, and Harvard not withstanding.) And more, if I was emperor for a day, I would modify the means by which we arrived at our pool of candidates for state plumber. The current system has a bias, in that, the very first impetus of anyone seeking office is that they seek office, that is, they seek state power over other citizens. They are power seekers.

Why not choose our pool of candidates for office the same way we select life-and-death decision making juries? By random selection from the phone book. (The Buckley solution.) We'd choose the initial pool this way, but then we would vet them using a process similar to the current process.

All that would change would be, the elimination of the current initial bias-- the seeking of power over others. (That's a lousy way to choose state plumbers--we end up with emperor wannabees.)

Indeed, "anyone in America could be POTUS."

We would select from that pool a subset of the willing and able, and then we'd listen to their views and select honorable state plumbers tasked with the responsibility of crafting and administering law from our tribal principles(which, in my never going to happen utopia, would be based on free association and the inhibition of forced association, even by the state.)

The current system is kind of like handing the process over to two clown fraternities.

regards,
Fred


Post 12

Sunday, July 15, 2012 - 10:32amSanction this postReply
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Replying to Steve Wolfer:

To avoid confusion, when I use the term 'government' I am referring to a group of people, a subset of the population - not everyone. I am not referring merely to their functions of making or enforcing rules. The term 'government' can be otherwise used to refer simply to rules, as in "we are governed by rules of courtesy when debating", but I am referring to the institution of government which is a group of people with special legal powers that other individuals in the society do not have. So, when I say there should be no government, this is not to be misinterpreted as saying there should be no rules or enforcement. It means there should be no ruling elite.

Steve: "Without an authority vested in specific people, by law, for the purpose of maintaining and enforcing the law, then you don't have "law," or you don't have a single set of laws for a given jurisdiction. That means you have anarchy."

This is not a fact. You certainly do have law if everyone has an equal right to enforce it. The notion that law requires a special ruling elite of enforcers is false. And laws do not require 'maintaining'.

Steve: "Anarchists have alleged that a free market will provide 'laws' (and their enforcement) but that entails a logical error."

No it doesn't. In this context, free market merely refers to majority rule. That is the only just way to have a single body of law that applies to everyone. The only alternative is for law to be decided by a ruling minority against the wishes of the majority.

Steve: "The monopoly is in the creation of law, by representatives, and where that law, in a minarchy, can only be in defense of rights."

There is no justification for any minority of individuals to have a monopoly on the creation of law, nor is there any justification for the absurdity of 'representation', and Steve doesn't offer any.

Assume Steve's ruling elite is made up of more than one ruler. How, other than by majority rule, will this elite group make those laws? And if majority rule within their group is their method, why not include everyone, and not just the elite group?

As for representation, it is a fraudulent idea since it is obviously impossible for any one to represent two others who do not agree with one another. If it is argued that the representative is obligated to represent the majority of his constituents, then we are back to majority rule and do not need a representative at all.

Representation is nothing more than the disenfranchisment of the majority and the empowerment of a ruling elite. It is as rhetorically fraudulent as the political masters calling themselves 'servants'.

Steve: "Anarchy is 'like' statism in a limited sense: It is another kind of political situation in which individual rights are not defended."

No it isn't. Anarchy, as many, many of us define it, is majority rule on law. The only alternative is minority rule. These two methods of determining law say nothing about the content of the laws made - a separate issue which Steve and I would probably not much disagree on. Steve is trying to argue that a minority will make better law than a majority. There is no reason to believe that and he offers no reason.

Steve: "I'm not sure why a particular number [of people] would be important - not compared to the function."

Of course it is important. It is the difference between government and anarchy. Government means - according to Steve (and I agree) - rule making by a few. Anarchy means rule-making by all (majority rule). Steve is consistently making the false claim that a ruling elite will make better law than majority rule. Question: how should such a ruling elite be chosen? Majority rule? And if the majority know enough to choose good rule crafters, why do they not know enough to craft good rules?

Steve: "Government without laws, or without good laws is just tyranny. For Objectivists the question should always be a focus of the crafting of the best laws....."

Government without laws is merely a contradiction in terms. But law without government is justice. Law crafting is only moral when everyone who will be subject to the law is in on the crafting.

Steve: "Over the years, I have heard a number of arguments proposing that either government, or a single set of laws per jurisdiction, or both, were not needed. But so far, none of the arguments stood up to logic."

Over the years, I have heard a number of arguments in defense of a ruling elite called 'government'. But so far, none of the arguments have stood up to logic. There is no reason for law to be 'staffed'. There is no need for government employees of any kind. There is no proper function of law other than self defense of the individual and that is the proper function of every individual in society, not an elite. Everyone has a right to delegate their self defense to whomever they wish (when possible in the marketplace).

There is a need for everyone to agree to live together under a uniform set of laws, crafted by majority rule, but no need for a few individuals to have special status under the law. That error is at the root of all political evil. Law is right only when it applies equally to all. A ruling elite contradicts that principal of political equality.

(Edited by JOHN HOWARD on 7/15, 10:40am)

(Edited by JOHN HOWARD on 7/15, 5:25pm)


Post 13

Sunday, July 15, 2012 - 5:55pmSanction this postReply
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Replying to Fred Bartlett:

Fred writes: "Well, I fully agree with you."

I am here calling for the banning from this forum of Fred Bartlett. We are not here to agree. There are ample techniques available for disagreeing with those such as myself who are right. There's no excuse for simply agreeing with them. If nothing else, one can erroneously reinterpret what is being said, insistently practicing the art of malicious misunderstanding. One can subtly change the subject, engage in word-gaming, filibuster with long irrelevant paragraphs, insult with snide innuendo, state the obvious as if one's opponent is failing to see it, or ridicule the entire line of reasoning. We don't have the luxury here in a written forum of smirking and chuckling condescendingly, but the rhetorical equivalents are easily available to those willing to expend the least bit of intellectual effort. If nothing else, we have diligent context shifting. Truth is no excuse for agreeing.

I hope our moderator is taking note.


Post 14

Sunday, July 15, 2012 - 6:14pmSanction this postReply
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John:

I will second that. All in favor?

regards,
Fred

Post 15

Sunday, July 15, 2012 - 7:23pmSanction this postReply
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John Howard,

You begin by clarifying what you mean by the term 'govenrment': "when I use the term 'government' I am referring to a group of people, a subset of the population - not everyone. I am not referring merely to their functions of making or enforcing rules. The term 'government' can be otherwise used to refer simply to rules, as in "we are governed by rules of courtesy when debating", but I am referring to the institution of government which is a group of people with special legal powers that other individuals in the society do not have. So, when I say there should be no government, this is not to be misinterpreted as saying there should be no rules or enforcement. It means there should be no ruling elite."

But then you go on to argue that one can have laws (without that institution of government which is a group of people with special legal powers), and that laws don't need to be maintained and you state that "free market" merely refers to majority rule.

I can't make any sense of your position. You want no tyrannical elite and I agree with that. But you also don't want an elected, representative elite, not even if they are rigourous in crafting laws that faithfully follow individual right? Am I correct.?

You state that "Anarchy is majority rule on law." But since we are not talking about any government employees/workers/appointees/electees then we are discussing a majority of the people in the area and the question becomes "What is the law, and where did it come form, and how do you mediate disagreements on it?" I also have to ask if this is properly exemplfied by a majority of racists in the old South lynching a black man?
----------------------

John writes:, "But law without government is justice. Law crafting is only moral when everyone who will be subject to the law is in on the crafting."

Law without government is not practical. It has no predicatable form of enforcement. There is nothing to provide accurate interpetation, and it needs to be maintained (amended, updated, repealed, etc.) Without a government is cannot be declared universal for a jurisdiction. The idea of everyone in a jurisdicion being in on the crafting is impractical. How for example, should the city of Phoenix, for example, get together for a law on, say kidnapping? Does one of the people who didn't get the word, or wouldn't cooperate invalidate the rule, or are they given immunity? Who is tasked with making all of this happen? Where is it written down? Even if this were to acutally happen and be successful, what do you do when a large group later decides they disagree?

John, you'll have to explain where the uniform set of laws come from - how do they get crafted by majority rule - how does that happen? When and where do they get recorded? And how, with no one of any special status, like a cop, do they get enforced? And without a court, how is an interpetation made when there is a conflict over interpretation?

You are conflating "ruling elite" with "selected political workers" - under the proper laws the people we put to work in the police, the courts, the legislatures, etc., just perform their tasks they are not "rulers" - they just tend to a political garden keeping it true to a constitution that is kept true to a properly understood set of individual rights. Anarchy is magical thinking that somehow an absence of any kind of governing body there could non-the-less be laws that describe rights-violations that will be objective, and get enforced.
-------------------

Everyone is not a brain surgeon, or a pilot, or a soldier.... we gain great advantage from specialization and we can't all do all things. To imagine that there will be a magical force of nature that rises up and confers upon a majority a uniform set of laws that will happen to perfectly describe our individual rights, and that they will automatically be humanely and effiently enforced and that all of this will happen either with zero human interventions, or it will happen from somekind of sponetaneous or organized meeting of a majority... well, that's mind-boggling! An organization of some sort is required, and it is called a government and the trick is go design and staff one that can be managed to prevent, or at least minimize it from doing harm.

(Edited by Steve Wolfer on 7/16, 4:08am)


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Post 16

Sunday, July 15, 2012 - 8:10pmSanction this postReply
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John:

Well, I agree totally that we don't need 'special rulers.'

But I do not advocate anarchy.

I am more of an advocate of government by honorably hired plumbers, tasked with honorably keeping the plumbing of state clean and free flowing.

That for sure doesn't require special rulers. A properly sized and tasked government is exactly one that doesn't require special rulers-- a government that can competently staffed by vetting candidates pulled from the phonebook.

There are places in the world that are ruled by something much closer to anarchy; these are not places of reason. They are characterized by living in near constant awareness, as a necessity, of unchecked violence, which can, because it can, erupt at almost any instant.

Force/violence is always the ultimate arbiter. Always. There is no unilateral repeal of violence possible.

And so what that leaves is a system of management of violence; the establishment of the biggest local mob, empowered with the administration of Superior Violence(violence projected in response to the first use of violence), fettered in usage by clear principles of deployment.

The violation of those principles of deployment are grounds for withdrawal of the consent of the governed, and then we're back to what always was, a universe ruled simply by brute force, just as it always is and was.


Without the license of that state use of force, deployable under principle, we are back to simply rule by the greatest remaining force or mob other then that, which is ultimately the irresistible force of all of us over any of us.

When seen in that light, the government license of state force devoted to the defense of principles is a requirement for individual freedom. Freedom means, exactly, freedom from each other/the mob, which left unfettered by any governance is always the biggest slobbering beast in any jungle.

Not that our beast is effectively fettered; our principles are fading. But it is not like there is this uniformly reasonable population of citizenry waiting to be reasonable and spontaneously ordered into peaceful coexistence.

Hell no. Attempting something like that is simply abdication of the world to the first warlords to look around and conclude that the new rules are no rules at all.

Better, I think, to focus on the principles required for freedom.

regards,
Fred

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Post 17

Thursday, July 19, 2012 - 6:56amSanction this postReply
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I withdraw my demand that Fred Bartlett be banned for agreeing with the truth. He has applied himself and has come up with the same bogus argument as Steve Wolfer, though he's an amateur compared to Steve. In order to justify a ruling elite, Fred characterizes the citizenry as a mob, but Steve has them out there lynching blacks. Bravo Steve!

This phony argument, when reduced to its schematic essence is as follows: when the populace is free to make their own decisions by majority rule, they will act as barbaric savages, but when they choose a few of their own to make their decisions for them, those few will act like a gentleman's club of Objectivists, and won't reflect the mob's evil by making evil laws, like Jim Crow laws. Of course they won't.

This fantasy ignores the basic truth that if the population is 70% bastards and it elects a government, the government will be 80 - 90% bastards since nasty people always seek power with greater enthusiasm than their nicer neighbors.

Nice try, boys. I love Steve's wanting to know how laws will be made without a power elite to make them while studiously ignoring my question of how the power elite is to be established. Somehow the lynching savages can elect 'Objective' rulers, but can't elect 'Objective' rules. And even if they could make rules, they couldn't revise them, according to Steve. Probably too busy lynching and stuff. Amazing.


Post 18

Thursday, July 19, 2012 - 9:48amSanction this postReply
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John:

Forgive me for noticing and pointing this out.

My words in your mouth:

"when the populace is free to make their own decisions by majority rule, they will act as barbaric savages, but when they choose a few of their own to make their decisions for them, those few will act like a gentleman's club of Objectivists, and won't reflect the mob's evil by making evil laws, like Jim Crow laws."

My words in my mouth, using your words:

"when the populace is free to make their own decisions by majority rule, [unfettered by any principles other than majority ruile...a minority of them empowered by force and fettered by no greater force]will act as barbaric savages, but when they choose a few of their own to make their [state plumbing] decisions for them[based on principles which serve as the basis for the consent of the governed], those few will [either] act like a gentleman's club of Objectivists [or be no worse off than the other world when the consent of the governed is withdrawn for failure to operate under license], and won't reflect the mob's [otherwise totally unfettered, even by principles]evil by making evil laws[inconsistent with the principles of the license], like Jim Crow laws[which are an example of laws outside the principles of the license, duly corrected when the inevitable imperfect coloring goes outside of the lines.]


If you are going to selectively put my words in your blender and then do a victory dance, then this must be a day ending in 'y' on the in-ter-net, because it is a time honored tradition.

Are you arguing for pure unfettered democracy, or anarchy? It isn't clear. They both lack any evidence of principles consistent with freedom.


My assessment of life under an ineffective government fettered by imperfect principles is tempered by having done business in places like Bangladesh(the poster child for practical anarchy) and spending considerable time on the ground in places like that. You are free to go do some research into what anarchy in practice actually looks like, and get back to us. The experiment is being run in many parts of the world as we speak. Surely, you are not going to be like those Marxists who say "Yes, but it hasn't failed in America yet, we might do it better?"

There are no traffic laws in effect in places like Bangladesh other than physics, as just one example. The results aren't pretty.

regards,
Fred

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Post 19

Thursday, July 19, 2012 - 1:43pmSanction this postReply
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"When we canít trust our ideological foils to argue in good faith (or for the public audience to categorically reject bad-faith arguments), it can become increasingly costly to admit nuances that might blur the religious, dogmatic clarity on an issue required to define our ideological tribes." - Alex Armlovich. on The Unbroken Window blog here.

I could also cite Thomas Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Kuhn noted that when schools have different paradigms they talk past each other, even when using the same vocabulary. In science that applied to terms such as "element" or "charge" and here it involves "rights" and "laws."

Steve Wolfer's claim that force is allowed by anyone and everyone in pursuit or defense of rights is not at all Ayn Rand's own expressed viewpoint. In her interview with Henry Mark Holzer, she said that the Roman Empire had objective law. Latterday Objectivists disagree with that, claiming that objective law can only be founded on a correct understanding of rights which Roman law often lacked.

Steve Wolfer also does not offer a way to determine whether or when force is being used to defend rights. I believe that that would take a trial under law. For trial under law to happen, the state must have a monopoly on the use of force, otherwise any citizen could claim that they are resisting the government in the name of objective law.

Civil disobedience is a different problem. There, you purposely break the law in public, allow yourself to be arrested, and then contest the state in court. That opens a complex problem about the structure of government. Is it legislation or adjudication or something else? When I was a teenager in Cleveland, Ohio, retail store managers opened on Sunday, were arrested for violating the Blue Laws, were bailed out by their companies and then went to court. But they did not shoot it out with the police and that is what could be allowed by arguing within a "stealth anarchism" paradigm suggested by Wolfer's argument that anyone and everyone can use force to defend rights. And it is why Ayn Rand specifically defined the monopoly on force as the raison d'etre of the government.

John Howard's claim for "anarchy" fails in the very contexts he suggests as its proper instantiation: corporate governance. We recognize that property owners have the right to set their own rules (within the limits of objective law), so that even if tobacco or alcohol are legal, you cannot use them at work or in a rental car, etc., by the terms of contract.

Howard is not alone in not addressing the mechanisms of corporate governance that bind all parties to the rules of place and time. We all know lots of examples where social status buys rights, for instance, to the executive washroom or the Employee of the Month parking space. How many shares of the company do I have to own to park in the EOM space even though I do not actually work here -- and what are you going to do about it when I do?

He is also not alone in failing to identify the here-and-now present real world as an exemplar of his "anarchy" - a world in which people choose their own government or none, live by the law, or not, engage peaceably or forcefully, and choose their laws and jurisdictions by contract. It leaves me to ask: What are you advocating that we do not have?

Such anomalies in the suggested practices cannot be successfully argued in a forum where winning and losing count and where participants attach team logos to their uniforms while labeling others as opponents and bad guys.

FB:"There are no traffic laws in effect in places like Bangladesh other than physics, as just one example. The results aren't pretty."

That sheds a bit of light. Some cities in Northern Europe have found that removing traffic signals improves flow and increases safety. It has little to do with the "law" per se and more to do with the culture, which is why Aristotle said that tradition is stronger than law. If you do not respect other people because you do not respect yourself, no one else is ever safe.

(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 7/19, 1:48pm)


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