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Post 20

Thursday, April 22 - 6:06pmSanction this postReply
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My last post went up after Bill wrote the post above this one. I mention that because, if anyone reads what he has written and thinks that there is still an argument to be made for anarchy they should check with their therapist and ask why they maintain an obsession that flies in the face of reason. Excellent post, Bill.



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Post 21

Thursday, April 22 - 6:06pmSanction this postReply
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Jim,

[note: John made a great point that minarchy doesn't require coercion; this post deals with the other thing that is also wrong with the anarchists' argument]
What is your rebuttal to the charge in the quote that minarchists are socialists about those parts of government they say can't (or shouldn't) be privatized, and libertarians about everything else?
First, let's use the online Ayn Rand Lexicon to define what it means to be a socialist:
Socialism is the doctrine that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that his life and his work do not belong to him, but belong to society, that the only justification of his existence is his service to society, and that society may dispose of him in any way it pleases for the sake of whatever it deems to be its own tribal, collective good.

...

The essential characteristic of socialism is the denial of individual property rights ...

Okay, so, if you are a socialist, then you are a special kind of rights violator -- one who violates rights with the 'presumed' (sincere or insincere) intention to benefit 'the collective.' I hope we all agree on that. Just on that definition, it does seem that minarchists are socialists with respect to police and national defense. But, wait just one cotton-pickin' minute. The thinking error of the anarchist who makes such a claim is that of a floating abstraction/stolen concept. An example argument from the anarchist might run like this:

1) The essential characteristic of socialism is the denial of individual property rights.
2) When minarchists coercively tax the citizens in order to pay for the police (and the army), they are violating the property rights of those self-same citizens to the extent that they tax them.
====================================
Therefore, minarchists are socialists when it comes to funding the police (and the army).

But here is the kicker:
The anarchists presume you have will have all the benefits of property rights without first procuring an authorized monopoly on force (in order to protect them from violation by criminals). In doing so, they idealize the rights and hold them in their minds as a stable, but floating, abstraction. They say: "Don't tax me to pay for the police because it violates my property rights!" -- but the police are the only logical way to ensure the protection of their property rights.

Envision a wrongly-held prisoner who wants and deserves to be free. A right-thinking prison guard knows this, and is also aware of the precise time when you can pull on your jail cell door and it will open -- freeing you. The prison guard tells the wrongly-held prisoner exactly when to pull on the jail cell door, but the prisoner doesn't move. Afterwards, the prison guard asks the prisoner why he didn't pull on the door when prompted.

The prisoner admits that he's an anarchist with an idealized notion that he deserves total freedom no matter what -- and that even the verbal prompt of the prison guard took away some of that freedom to do as he wanted. So the anarchist, shaking his fist at reality, sits and rots in the jail cell -- because he wanted a complete and total, unrealistic kind of freedom. What he wanted was the freedom without having to pay anything for it (or without having to agree with others about the objective nature of the reality around him).

It wasn't just a freedom of coercion he was after, it was a freedom from identity. Anarchists who say that paying for police violates their rights also want this kind of absolute (context-free) freedom. It's a very basic -- and, therefore, hard to detect -- thinking error. It's a denial of the fact of reality that there is objective justice, or: a "right way" to enforce rights in human societies.

So there's that (plus what John said).

Ed

(Edited by Ed Thompson on 4/22, 6:10pm)




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Post 22

Thursday, April 22 - 6:17pmSanction this postReply
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Aaargh: My post was cross-posted several times with others making very similar points! I had better learn to type faster -- or I will be the tenth person to say the same thing.

:-)




Post 23

Thursday, April 22 - 6:49pmSanction this postReply
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The basic contradiction in the anarchists' argument can be illustrated by contrasting 2 things:

1) individual rights (of humans)
2) the exercise of individual rights

An anarchist affirms #1 without affirming -- indeed, in some cases, denying -- what #2 objectively requires (of humans). The free and unfettered exercise of individual rights requires a single, authorized monopoly on the use of retaliatory force (i.e., it requires cops and the objective justice of "correct" laws).

Ed




Post 24

Thursday, April 22 - 6:54pmSanction this postReply
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John -- sanctioned your post #16. I fully agree with all but one sentence, namely: I maintain that the government should have a monopoly over law, but not over service.

I'd like to mull over this, and then provide some clarifying questions and thoughts on this, to see if we have substantive differences, or merely have semantic differences but actually mean the same thing.

Or possibly I have erred in my thinking, and you might convince me to adopt your POV.

I am delighted to see that someone else here advocates an extremely limited minarchism that is so extraordinarily close to anarcho-capitalism.
(Edited by Jim Henshaw on 4/22, 6:56pm)




Post 25

Thursday, April 22 - 6:58pmSanction this postReply
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On John's discussion on "monopoly on law":
I'd like to established the necessity for Legislator, Courts, Police, and Military in order to have a "monopoly on law".


Legislator:
You need laws... that should be given. :)


Police:
To have a "monopoly on law" you need to have a group of people that enforce it. For example, lets say you have a thief who stole from another person. But lets say that the thief says he didn't commit the theft or the thief admits it. Either way, the thief refuses to give back the stolen property. Now for this to be a capitalist society, the thief must give back the stolen property.

Potentially (a) private citizen(s) could forcefully take back the property. In which case the thief may be damaged in addition to the item being returned to its original owner. This would lead to the case where maybe the thief would want to get reimbursed, and the original victim may refuse to reimburse.

Either way, we end up with people who refuse to reimburse. The people who hold the "monopoly on law" must also enforce the law. They must forcefully compel people to reimburse.


Courts:
Lets say there are two people, one who claims the other stole from them, the other denies. The group who has the "monopoly on law" must decide given the offered evidence by the two persons, what they think actually happened. Then they need to decide how to compel the criminal to reimburse the victim when an initiation of force is found, or how to limit/damage the criminal if the victim cannot be repaid.


Military:
If some group wants to overthrow the current laws of the land, they can freely do so unless the group who has the "monopoly on law" can successfully defend themselves.


So to have a "monopoly on law", a group needs:
- Their own laws
- They must be able to determine what initiations of force happened when a person claims initiation of force
- They must enforce in cases where people are unwilling to comply
- They must defend their group from other groups who want different laws

I have established the need for: Legislator, Courts, Police, and Military in order to have a "monopoly on law". Otherwise, its not a "monopoly on law", its powerless wishes on how people should behave.


===

Separate discussion
I'd agree that the government shouldn't spend its resources to try to prevent such an occurrence from happening by doing things like posting guards or cameras or anything like that. I'd explore the possibility that the police should not use tax money to stop ongoing criminal activity-- that the police should only use force after a court decision has been made. That if they do use force before a court decision then they are not acting as police but as a private protection service.
(Edited by Dean Michael Gores on 4/22, 7:13pm)




Post 26

Thursday, April 22 - 7:07pmSanction this postReply
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Jim,

I am delighted to see that someone else here advocates an extremely limited minarchism that is so extraordinarily close to anarcho-capitalism.
And what about the rest of us? Do you think "our" minarchisms are too big (not limited enough)? To be honest, I don't think you really even know about the size of our minarchisms. They're probably smaller than you think (like you think of John's). So just let me tell you something: my minarchism is small and I'm damn proud of it.

Sorry, it's getting late ...

Ed
[please ... no one (and I mean no one) put that last bit up as an RoR quote ... thanks]




Post 27

Thursday, April 22 - 7:09pmSanction this postReply
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By the way, in defense of Tibor Machan, I don't believe he has ever advocated compulsory taxation. I even recall he wrote an article arguing against such a thing. So this is simply a strawman.



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Post 28

Thursday, April 22 - 7:20pmSanction this postReply
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Dean,

Technically, you can have firms compete to supply the police functions. Same for the courts. We have security firms, and the courts could let security firms compete for contracts, and we have private arbitration firms. We could also have a mercenary army. But I think that these are minor points and not of much interest. The thing that is important is the monopoly on the law that is required. After that is understood it is more of a business decision as to what is the most effective way to implement the laws.



Post 29

Thursday, April 22 - 7:33pmSanction this postReply
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In post #27, John points out the straw-man argument that Mr. Block made. I agree and I read Mr. Block's article and found a lot of it to be intellectually dishonest.



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Post 30

Thursday, April 22 - 8:04pmSanction this postReply
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Ed -- I will let each of you define how big or small your "minarchisms" are -- I refuse to look at them. ;)

I prefer to think of it as I have an enormously large anarcho-capitalism. ;)



Post 31

Thursday, April 22 - 8:38pmSanction this postReply
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Jim,

I don't want to make you feel bad, but you don't even have an "anarcho-capitalism" (big or small) - Capitalism only exists in a near-pure form under minarchism (can't have FREE enterprise till you are FREE of initiated violence which takes a monopoly of laws based upon individual rights). No such thing as anarcho-capitalism - you can have one or the other, but never both. Sorry.



Post 32

Thursday, April 22 - 8:57pmSanction this postReply
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OK, John, I've mulled it over, and read the other comments here, and so here goes with a clarifying example:

Would something like this be a satisfactory example of what you consider an extremely minarchist "monopoly of law"?

***

We, the newly reformed United Free States of America, declare a "monopoly of law" under the following defined geographic jurisdiction [boilerplate description of territorial boundaries].

We have essentially only one law, but it is a big one: "Every individual, while within our defined geographic borders, who is a "citizen" (i.e. is an accepted subscriber to our code of law) agrees to not initiate force against any other human being, but shall be entitled to engage in such retaliatory force against an initiation of force as is necessary to defend their absolute right to not be subjected to an initiation of force."

[Long detailed boilerplate defining all the terms above, and giving a rather exhaustive list of clarifying examples of what is or is not an initiation of force and what is or is not a permissible defensive retaliation against such an initiation of force.]

Enrollment as a citizen in this code of law is entirely voluntary, as compulsory enrollment would be an initiation of force. Citizens will be charged a fee every X number of months in the amount of X standard gold units for enrollment, to pay the costs of administering this code of law. Payment is voluntary -- but non-payment will mean disenrollment from this compact, resulting in non-payors being non-citizens not protected by this code of law.

The administrators of this compact may decline to enroll people who apply for citizenship, or disenroll them from coverage, for noncompliance with the terms of this agreement.

For your convenience, every citizen may, but is not compelled to, enroll in our standard code of law enforcement service. Citizens may decline this enforcement service (since compulsory enrollment would be an initiation of force on our part) and may use some other provider service that fully complies with this code of law, or may arm themselves and self-provide this enforcement service.

Similarly, every citizen may, but is not compelled to, enroll in our standard code of law dispute arbitration service to resolve differences of opinion about how this code of law is to be applied. Citizens may decline this code of law dispute arbitration service (since compulsory enrollment would be an initiation of force on our part) and may use some other provider service that agrees to fully comply with this code of law.

Non-citizens are free to live in these geographic borders, so long as they continue to comply with our code of laws. These non-citizens may do whether the heck they want to, to other non-citizens -- but rest assured they better comply with our code of law for our citizens -- or else.

Competing law enforcement or dispute resolution agencies are free to ply their trade within our borders, and offer to enforce or interpret codes of law that differ from ours, and apply those to non-citizens, but they better comply with our code of law for our citizens -- or else.

In short -- our citizens, so long as they comply with our code of law about non-initiation of force, are free to live their lives within our geographic borders anyway that they please so long as that conduct is consistent with our code of laws, and anyone or any organization whatsoever that violates their absolute right to live that way can expect consequences that will ensure their chastened future non-molestation of citizens, assuming their existence has not been terminated. Your behavior toward non-citizens is up to you -- we don't care what happens to them, because to intervene would be an initiation of force on our part.



Post 33

Thursday, April 22 - 9:09pmSanction this postReply
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Dean's post #5:

Its not a universal rule that free market works for everything. For example, a person cannot "trade" with a murderous thief. To attempt to say that free market trading is the only "good" solution is an all or nothing position that leaves you robbed and dead.

What are you doing trading with a murderous thief when there's a minarchist government protecting the rights of individuals? He should be in jail. You can certainly trade with a murderer while he's unidentified as such and you may pay for it with your life, but what other possible system could do better? What sort of regulation or controls would be effective?

Sam

 




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Post 34

Thursday, April 22 - 9:24pmSanction this postReply
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Jim:

Enrollment as a citizen in this code of law is entirely voluntary, as compulsory enrollment would be an initiation of force.


Nope, sorry, you lost me there.

What would it mean to be compelled into respecting the law that forbids the initiation of force? You might as well say you are compelling me to respect your rights. Take a minute to think about whether that sentence makes sense or not. Does it make sense to force someone to be free? It is only moral to force someone to stop using the initiation of force. Demanding that you respect that moral principle is not a violation of your rights. You cannot take actions that violate the law, specifically law that forbids the initiation of force, because that means you are initiating the use of force. So it doesn't matter if you take an oath to be a citizen or not, you still need to respect that law.

The law as defined here, is simply a codification of a moral principle. You might as well say principles themselves for them to be moral can just be arbitrarily decided upon by any fanciful whim.

As Steve says, how you actually enforce the law is a business decision.

(Edited by John Armaos on 4/22, 9:33pm)




Post 35

Thursday, April 22 - 10:24pmSanction this postReply
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Jim,

So, your ideal system has a monopoly on the law - and a law that is based upon individual rights. That part isn't very much like anarchy (they might throw you out of the anarchy club).

But you say that taxing people that become citizens is okay - isn't that compulsory? Given that you have a monopoly on the law, and the citizens had no competitive choice.

Administrators can toss some one out of being a citizen - take away their ability to participate in any of the forms of justice? Making them open to predation? Sounds arbitrary and like the citizen has no choice.

Your non-citizens doing anything to other non-citizens is just mini-anarchy. Kind of like the drug cartels that kill one another in the US and Mexico along the border - except that they get to escalate as much as they want and still not be subject to any legal consequences.

--------------------------

A minarchy would be identical in having a monopoly on laws that are based upon individual rights. But it applies to everyone inside the country's borders.

There are no taxes, just lotteries, and fees on some voluntary items - like the right to initiate a civil suit based on a sales contract, or registering deeds and that sort of thing.

The laws apply to everyone since everyone has the same rights. No one is compelled to do anything except suffer the consequences of violating the rights of another.

The fact is that the laws create the environment and it is the environment that provides the great benefits. As we discuss things here, we tend to break down examples into this person does this thing to that person... but in real life our benefits come from the environment of observed property rights laws that have been in existence for decades and generate stability and let us trust in the future enough to take risks.

Your system is a minarchy that people can be thrown out of, or opt out of. Those who are non-citizens get to trash the legal environment the rest of us are paying for. Sorry, but I don't see the value or take it seriously.



Post 36

Friday, April 23 - 7:39amSanction this postReply
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Steve: So, your ideal system has a monopoly on the law - and a law that is based upon individual rights. That part isn't very much like anarchy (they might throw you out of the anarchy club).

What I have described is in fact anarcho-capitalism. If someone in an "anarchy club" tossed me out for proposing such a system, then they have misnamed their club, and I wouldn't want to be a member of it. ;)

But you say that taxing people that become citizens is okay - isn't that compulsory? Given that you have a monopoly on the law, and the citizens had no competitive choice.

It isn't a tax because it isn't compulsory. The monopoly on the law applies only to people who voluntarily join the organization, thus becoming citizens, and only in the defined geographic area. People who chose to become outlaws would only be subject to the law if they try to interact with citizens of the organization. Outlaws would have to develop and live under their own outlaw code of laws, or lack thereof.

Administrators can toss some one out of being a citizen

Administrators could toss out citizens for cause only -- for not complying with the code of laws, for refusing to recognize the authority of the NIOF moral code embedded in the law. This provision is based on mutual consent -- the citizen joins and remains a citizen because the organization chooses to maintain a consistent NIOF-based code of laws, the organization allows the citizen to remain as a member because they choose to abide by this moral code. If either party to this contract departs from this code of laws, consent is broken and they can end this voluntary association.

- take away their ability to participate in any of the forms of justice? Making them open to predation? Sounds arbitrary and like the citizen has no choice.

Well, no. If the organization tosses a citizen out for cause -- for refusing to abide by the code of laws -- the citizen has chosen to become an outlaw, and will have to make alternate arrangements for their personal safety.

If the organization tosses a citizen out without cause, a citizen who is complying with the code of laws, that would be an initiation of force and a subversion of the code of laws. The other citizens will be pissed off at this breaking of the contract, and will likely either replace the management, or leave the organization and set up a competing organization that doesn't engage in such initiations of force.

Your non-citizens doing anything to other non-citizens is just mini-anarchy. Kind of like the drug cartels that kill one another in the US and Mexico along the border - except that they get to escalate as much as they want and still not be subject to any legal consequences.

The non-citizens would have chosen the status of outlaws, and would bear the consequences of that choice. If they tired of being subject to predation, they can apply for citizenship and upon acceptance take the oath of citizenship stipulating they will abide by the code of laws.

There wouldn't be drug cartels under such a society, since drug cartels are made possible by the unlibertarian outlawing of people choosing to consume certain intoxicating substances. The violence of drug cartels is an artifact of the NIOF violations in the WoD (War on Drugs). Yes, an anarcho-capitalist society such as the one I described -- and ANY other society imaginable, including our current system and any minarchist society imaginable -- will have outlaws, people who choose to live outside the dominant moral code embedded in the code of laws.

A society based on the NIOF principle wouldn't compel outlaws to join -- rather, it would use defensive force to prevent those outlaws from harming its citizens who do comply with the NIOF principle. People who choose to be outlaws would suffer the consequences of violence and coercion implicit in that choice, until such time as they have had enough and renounce that outlawry.




Post 37

Friday, April 23 - 7:59amSanction this postReply
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A minarchy would be identical in having a monopoly on laws that are based upon individual rights. But it applies to everyone inside the country's borders.

The difference between a minarchy like you describe, and an anarcho-capitalist organization like I describe, is subtle. Both systems of organization would assert a "monopoly" of law within their geographic borders. Both systems would have outlaws who refuse to recognize some or all aspects of that monopoly of law.

The difference is that your minarchist society would use an initiation of force to try to compel non-consenting outlaws to join and become citizens against their will and pay compulsory taxes or fees or whatnot to finance that code of laws. And, your system would try to force outlaws who disagree with this code of laws to abide by this code of law in their interactions with OTHER OUTLAWS.

My anarcho-capitalist society would eschew such an initiation of force, and leave outlaws alone so long as those outlaws, in their interactions with citizens, were careful to not break the code of laws applying to those citizens. It would not try to impose the monopoly of law upon interactions between outlaws. It would only impose its monopoly of law upon citizens interacting with citizens, or upon outlaws interacting with citizens.

Draw a diagram with four boxes: citizen-citizen, citizen-outlaw, outlaw-citizen, and outlaw-outlaw. Both our systems agree about how to handle the first three categories. It is only in the last category, outlaw on outlaw interactions, that we differ. I would suggest that the more moral code is to allow outlaws interacting with each other to work out their own pernicious lack-of-morality code.



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Post 38

Friday, April 23 - 8:21amSanction this postReply
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John -- re post 34 -- are you advocating compulsory citizenship of every person residing in a country's borders? This seems to argue against the principles you've advocated elsewhere on immigration threads.

Take a fresh look at this sentence, please, in the context of the outlaw comments I posted above:

Enrollment as a citizen in this code of law is entirely voluntary, as compulsory enrollment would be an initiation of force.

Would you really want to force illegal immigrants who are engaging in gang violence to become citizens of the U.S.?

What I am advocating is similar to the U.S. doing away with automatic birthright citizenship, and saying that upon reaching the age of majority, each person born in the country must actually apply to continue to be a citizen and consent to the terms of that citizenship. And, if they choose to not be a citizen, they would still be allowed to live in the country so long as they chose to conform with the laws. Similarly with immigrants -- they could freely enter the country if they had no criminal background, and reside there so long as they conformed with the laws, but to become a citizen they would have to demonstrate good conduct over a period of years and then take an oath of citizenship.



Post 39

Friday, April 23 - 8:34amSanction this postReply
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Jim,

When you don't demand that people observe the NIOF principle, you cede the field to war lords, gangs, tyrants, outlaws - anyone willing and able to initiate force. Your system is lacking in the moral strength needed to tell people that they can not be outlaws, when to be outlaws means violation of the rights of others. You make that fully equal in an ugly form of moral relativism. People do not have a right to choose to violate the rights of others. But your system acts as if they do. Morally, your system betrays the very principle it is built on.
--------------

You said, "A society based on the NIOF principle wouldn't compel outlaws to join -- rather, it would use defensive force to prevent those outlaws from harming its citizens who do comply with the NIOF principle." No government or system can PREVENT crimes from happening - not totally. It can only create an environment that discourages crimes and encourages law abiding behaviors. It uses retaliatory force - that's different from defensive force. Practically, your system doesn't work.
--------------

The hidden fallacy in utopian anarchy:

When markets aren't free of force, then force becomes the dominate selector. Competition will become competition in the use of force. When you have a monopoly of objective law based upon individual rights, the markets are free markets and choice becomes the dominate selector.




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