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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/10701/security-without-a-state/

Security Without a State

September 23, 2009 by

No doubt the depredations of the state are an ever-present menace, but how can we possibly get along without this institution? Would not a stateless libertarian community easily fall prey to the first state that chose to attack it? FULL ARTICLE


mpolzkill September 27, 2009 at 10:32 am

[Why I answer your sub-juvenelia, I have no idea]

The word was “master” you change it to “leader”. There are millions of born leaders. Most of the ways they could lead have been made illegal by our MASTERS. These masters are empowered by an increasingly infantile mob. Your little schematic here is imbecilic.

Martin OB September 27, 2009 at 1:52 pm


“But then isn’t any retaliatory use of force too coercive? ”

Yes, you are right, “coercive” should be a danger signal, but it’s not by itself a condemnation; that’s why I added “aggressive”.

“And what does one do when one of the parties remains intransigent and refuses to agree to a solution though he may be in the wrong? What is the victim to do?”

Ultimately, the victim (or their protection agency) may have to fight. I’m not denying that. All I’m saying is that fighting does not solve a conflict. The conflict is the fact that you disagree with your neighbor; if he thinks he is in the right, he won’t change his mind after being defeated or coerced. When you decide to fight, you are not picking a solution to the conflict, you are either accepting the fact that you can’t solve it, or deciding your neighbor is lying and there’s no real conflict (he doesn’t really believe he has those rights).

I’ll tell you my account of what anarchy is by comparison with other political systems.

Every society realizes that some coexistence rules are necessary. Monarchists will argue about who is to make them; democrats will argue about how to make them (direct democracy) or how to decide who is to make them (republic); anarchists will argue about the rules themselves. Anarchists don’t believe the rule-making should be delegated, and they see a genuine problem whenever the rules are left behind by the facts. They will pick the most durable, universal, timeless rules they can think of. Since they believe the key point of agreement should be the law and not the law maker, anarchy may well be the closest to the “rule of law”.

“The real problem is that they follow the corrupt altruist moral code. Michael Moore is a prime example of that. ”

Altruist? You must be speaking jargon. See this Michael Moore quote:

“I’m a millionaire, I’m a multi-millionaire. I’m filthy rich. You know why I’m a multi-millionaire? ‘Cause multi-millions like what I do.”

Ayn Rand would be proud, right? :p

mpolzkill September 27, 2009 at 2:19 pm

To say that defending oneself from a criminal should or even could be called “coercing” the criminal: this is an abuse of the English language.

Bala September 27, 2009 at 6:02 pm

Martin OB,

While I do not disagree that discussing the rules governing dispute settlement is very important, my problem is with the objectives you have set for these processes. In your previous post, you said

” Fine, maybe the government is not intrinsically “evil” (whatever that means), but it *is* intrinsically coercive, furthermore, intrinsically aggressive, and perfectly useless in the advancement of social peace. That’s because, as I said, social peace comes from the elimination of social conflict, and social conflict is only eliminated when the conflicting parties agree to a solution. ”

You have implied here that “social peace” is what you seek to advance. This objective, to me, does not sound appropriate. I would be far more comfortable with the word “justice”. Without justice, specifically a widespread belief that justice is possible in a given society, social peace is impossible and may even be undesirable. Of what value to man is peace without a possibility of justice?

My point is that “justice” may at some stage require “coercion” and even “aggression” (By this, I mean the agent of the aggrieved party initiating force against the offender. I am calling this “aggression” since the offender never initiated force against the agent.). Without this “coercion” or “aggression”, justice would become impossible and meaningless. Hence, to use ideas such as the undesirability of “aggression” to dismiss the agency that dispenses “justice” may turn out to be dismissing the very notion or the possibility of “justice”. I am not prepared to do that.

Continuing on your point about the difference between others and Anarchists, we Objectivists add that “justice” per se is a better objective than social peace which, as I have said earlier, is a by-product of and impossible without justice.

On Michael Moore, his movies talk for him far more than his quotes do. In any case, Ayn Rand would keep rotating forever in her grave if I said that she would be proud of Michael Moore because of 1 statement of his.


” To say that defending oneself from a criminal should or even could be called “coercing” the criminal: this is an abuse of the English language. ”

I am here not talking of defending oneself when a criminal act is being performed but of an agent of the victim exercising retaliatory force against the accused. From the perspective of the accused, it would be seen as coercion. I fail to see how else he would see it. For instance, if you have to return stolen property, you have to physically take it away from the thief or prevent (by exerting physical force) the thief from preventing the original owner from taking it away. I am unable to understand how the accused would not see this as coercive or how you fail to see this as coercive.

Bala September 27, 2009 at 6:09 pm


” The idea that we must live under the State unless we can prove that it is inherently evil is a pretty ridiculous false dilemma ”

I presume this was directed at me. So I will address this myself.

When I said that the inherent evil nature of the State is not proven, I am not saying “Let us live under the State until it is proven that it is evil.”

Rather, I am saying that by blaming the unacceptable violations of Liberty by States past and present on their “nature”, we may be missing the point completely and end up barking up the wrong tree.

You could end up with a “non-State” society and be in a much worse problem if you failed to tackle the causes that actually made the State “evil”.

It is in that sense that I have identified and continue to identify the “Altruist Morality” as our biggest enemy. That is why I believe the real batlle for Liberty will start with rooting out this vile morality from the minds of a substantial proportion of the human population. The idea is not to “emancipate” this section of the population but to “emancipate” ourselves (free men) from their tyranny by bringing them to our way.

mpolzkill September 27, 2009 at 7:54 pm

Nothing “causes” the State to be evil, it is born from and *lives* by evil. Where it grows you will know that it is using the cover of its supposed justification to hide the fact that it is actually (its members wittingly or not, or both) propagating crime.

Ayn Rand misidentified the roots of evil because, judging by your pitch, she was a very minor thinker. This idea you keep trying to sell is laughably juvenile. Only one who can’t grow up would remain attached to it: essentially that all is permitted as long as one convinces oneself that he is purely motivated by self interest and enlightened reason. For herself, she apparently bought all the Commie propaganda rammed down her throat and was just smart enough to see what a disaster it turned out to be. If charity and programs of official brotherly love are going sour, don’t blame charity and brotherly love; realize that the charity (and always State charity: coerced charity) is a cover for, as an actual thinker, Burke put it, “all the train of disorderly appetites…pride, ambition, avarice, revenge, lust, sedition, hypocrisy, ungoverned zeal…” (to which I would add envy, a biggie). These passions when unchecked (or when they may be satisfied under the cover of civic mindedness) lead to crime. Crime is the justification for the State, but State power is not diminished when it fails to curb crime, it is *aggrandized*. This is correct in theory, is obvious to those who will see and is backed up by all of history.

Gil September 27, 2009 at 8:19 pm

Yes, mpolz – strength and action gets results. Weakness and bland acceptance means you’ll keep getting pushed around by those who are stronger than you. Mexican Drugs Lords show what can be done to threaten a government. They have the capacity to threaten governments because they are strong. There’s no other way. Hoping all the evil in life will dissipate one night because you want it so is the height of disengenuousness.

mpolzkill September 27, 2009 at 8:34 pm

Gilbert Khan,


Calling that a straw man would be giving you too much credit. Why not just let me do your posts for you from now on. Here goes:

“Strength good, weakness bad. Me like strength, me good. You don’t, you weak. Me worship kicking butt through strength, me in the know, you wish bad go away by self, you stupid.”

This is all I’ve ever gotten out of reading your sub-mental posts. This last one was the last one I read (I swear this time). Goodbye, Gil.

mpolzkill September 27, 2009 at 9:06 pm

* as for, she apparently bought…

On second thought: yes Bala, I have seen the light. Yes, I see now, the world has been overcome by so many people with the overwhelming desire to help and care for each other. How could I not see it?!? If this madness is not stopped, I don’t know what further horrors we will be subjected to. You have convinced me, now for Rand’s sake, focus all your energies on saving anyone but me from wallowing in or succumbing to this disgusting pandemic of feelings of universal brotherly love.

mpolzkill September 27, 2009 at 9:16 pm

Damn, out of it: “For herself, she apparently bought all the Commie propaganda.”

And that would be the Commie propaganda of Eastern Bloc fascists. There are three kinds of people in the world: fascists, non-criminal adults, and children. ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” had a more elegant take: just two kinds, “those with loaded guns and those who dig.”

Gil September 28, 2009 at 12:43 am

Golly mpolz – even the Libertarian concept of ‘retaliatory force’ is lost on you. I wonder what ‘answers’ you have – “me believe in everyone’s goodness and people need more edumucation to teach them to be nice to one another so I don’t get robbed anymore without having to expend any effort”? Or “leave me the hell alone whilst I occupy your land because I believe occupancy is 9/10ths of ownership”? You seem to be good at criticising others but not much more.

Bala September 28, 2009 at 12:55 am


” On second thought: yes Bala, I have seen the light. Yes, I see now, the world has been overcome by so many people with the overwhelming desire to help and care for each other. How could I not see it?!? ”

Actually, it’s not surprising you don’t see it. That’s because no one can ever live by that code and no one does either. What’s happening is that people normally do lip-service to the “moral” principles of the altruist code (as preached to them by their religious preachers or texts or their social/political leaders). When it comes to their real life choices, however, they act as per their nature and act extremely selfish.

The problem starts at a different end. While people do not live by the Altruistic moral code on a day-to-day basis, they have not rejected it either, especially its key postulates (like the one that “man is his brother’s keeper”). They live a life carrying the guilt of repeatedly breaking the moral code they have accepted. The carry this guilt like a cross and, over a period of time, get convinced that they are sinners or depraved people whose only saviours are their religious/social/political preachers.

Such people who carry guilt thus are ideal sacrificial lambs for the power hungry who seek to use the State machinery to fulfill their own ends at the expense of the very people whose rights they are supposed to protect (being in government).

All it takes is an innocent-sounding question like “Don’t tell me you are that selfish!!” (with self-righteous indignation). That’s where the cumulative guilt takes its toll. Instead of saying “Damned right you are!!!”, the sheep now say “No…. Not really… hum…. haw…” and on come the chains – Newer, better and heavier than any they have been trapped with before.

If you have any doubts, check out these lines Obama is said to have said during his campaign

Obama’s speech (extracted)

“The point is, though, that — and it’s not just charity, it’s not just that I want to help the middle class and working people who are trying to get in the middle class — it’s that when we actually make sure that everybody’s got a shot – when young people can all go to college, when everybody’s got decent health care, when everybody’s got a little more money at the end of the month

“John McCain and Sarah Palin they call this socialistic,” Obama continued. “You know I don’t know when, when they decided they wanted to make a virtue out of selfishness.”

You know… that was a time John McCain and Sarah Palin should have stood up and said “You want to know when??? Ever since Man evolved on this Earth!! Damn you you maggot… If selfishness is not a virtue, then what is? Your proclaimed selfless spirit to do good for the toiling masses?”

But that was not to be. McCain and Palin did not say it for the obvious reason – that they too have not rejected the Altruist code. But what about the average American?

By keeping quiet at such crucial moments, they give the power-grubbers the ultimate weapon at their disposal – The Sanction of their Victims.

The tyrants of yesteryears had to drag their victims kicking and screaming to the sacrificial altar. No wonder their tyranny never lasted too long. The yoke was thrown off frequently and freedom would bloom again till the next despot managed to take charge. The victims of today, in contrast, go to the sacrificial altar happily, thinking that it is the best thing that could happen to them. They think they are acting by their moral code at last and are grateful to their slave masters for helping them do it.

Such indeed is the mentality of the masses today – the people who praise their chains because that’s all they have seen and hence desired. No wonder the State has become such a monster.

I am therefore saying that the only way to kill the evil that is the State is to deprive it of this most potent weapon. When you spread a selfish morality around, they will stop finding willing victims giving their sanction to their own enslavement. They will once again have to start dragging their victims kicking and screaming. When that happens, the mask will drop and the scales will fall from many eyes that have long since stopped seeing.

mpolzkill September 28, 2009 at 7:26 am

Bala and Gil,

Keep addressing me if you wish to, but I’ve determined that you are both bonkers for different reasons and I’m not wasting any more time reading your flights of fancy.

mpolzkill September 28, 2009 at 8:57 am

Wow! fourth time’s the charm: “As for her, she apparently bought all the Commie propaganda.”

Trying to run this one up the flag pole one more time, too:

“There are three kinds of people in the world: fascists, non-criminal adults, and children. Sergio Leone had a more elegant take: just two kinds, ‘those with loaded guns and those who dig.’”

If even a fraction (perhaps one fifth, maybe far less) of the billions of children in the world grew up and stopped accepting treats and promises from the fascists, those millions would join us in emancipation and we would overwhelm the fascists with sheer numbers (no violence). Then we wouldn’t have to work on Maggie’s Farm no more. (to say this is not to say that one thinks it will happen or is counting on it)

Martin OB September 28, 2009 at 9:51 am


“To say that defending oneself from a criminal should or even could be called “coercing” the criminal: this is an abuse of the English language.”

I’m using Rothbard’s (and others’) terminology here. I guess you don’t complain when physicists define “work” as “force times displacement”. Besides, the dictionary.com definition of coercion says:

Coercion (noun):
1) The act of coercing. Use of force or intimidation to obtain compliance.
2) Force or the power to use force in gaining compliance, as by a government or police force.

It does seem to include defensive threats. On the other hand, I concede its negative connotations may be too strong. What do you propose? How about “compulsion”? “Threat of violence” is a bit too long for my taste, and anything qualified with “defensive” is not equivalent (too specific).

mpolzkill September 28, 2009 at 10:35 am


Same as last time, what I said was pointed more at your interlocutor. It happens to fall on you too because you don’t seem to object too much to his wacky language.

Your analogy is not very precise, I’ll try one: If a demented propagandist wished to use the physicist’s definition of “work”: “force times displacement” to equate the activities of an Auschwitz oven operator to my activities feeding patients at the children’s hospital: *yes*, I’d complain vigorously.

I don’t know if Rothbard abused the word or not, if he did or if all English speakers do, I still have a beef. I like Webster’s (with etymology) better than your reference:

“Middle English cohercen, from Anglo-French *cohercer Latin coercÄ“re, from co- + arcÄ“re to shut up, enclose — more at ark Date: 15th century

1 : to restrain or dominate by force

2 : to compel to an act or choice

3 : to achieve by force or threat

Self defense *could* be the first part of 1. or it *could* be 3., *certainly* not 2. All three definitions are iffy and strained, as the receiver of the hypothetical violence is free to do anything else in the world he wishes other than assault the “giver” (?) of the violence. “Giver”(?) I don’t know what to call that party because there would be no violence if not for the decisions of the criminal. Now someone may try to say that the state is in the position of this “giver”. Bollocks. There are millions upon millions who have never committed assault , theft or fraud that are incessantly harassed by the State. (sorry for the length of this but I’m dealing with some thick-headed folks here. {not you})

It is merely my opinion that “proportional self defense” is not consistent with the origins, connotations or spirit of the word “coercion”. I don’t have an opinion right now on what you should use instead. I was just bemused by your going along with this dime-store propagandist’s loaded terminology.

mpolzkill September 28, 2009 at 10:43 am

I should add for an imagined enemy hairsplitter, that my little analogy was precise in kind, but carried (not too far really) to a reductio ad absurdum.

mpolzkill September 28, 2009 at 11:06 am

“to equate the activities of an Auschwitz oven operator to my activities feeding patients at the children’s hospital”

Ha ha, just realized that if this hypothetical Nazi lived a life of comfort on a Brazilian beach, and to a ripe old age where he died peacefully in his sleep (or passed quickly while frolicking in the waters of a South American beach, as in fact happened with one very famous Auschwitz worker) and I wasn’t getting paid for my part-time activities; Bala shouldn’t want to equate our activities at all. I am obviously the evil one here!

Martin OB September 28, 2009 at 7:23 pm


I won’t comment on Ayn Rand’s philosophy. What I’ve heard and read sounds so … insane that I keep thinking I just don’t get it. I mean, I’m no altruism enthusiast when they demand it of me (as Spain’s Zapatero and his “solidary” tax hike), but bemoaning other people’s altruism? now that’s a real tour de force.

mpolzkill September 28, 2009 at 7:50 pm


My exact sentiments. Forced altruism is not altruism. Uninformed altruism is not altruism. Of course reason is a good thing. How about a balance of rational self interest *and* freely, intelligently caring for others? Maybe I just can’t get it, like you say, how could it be *so* insane? If I am getting it, Randism is completely asinine.

Bala September 29, 2009 at 3:41 am

Martin OB,

” I won’t comment on Ayn Rand’s philosophy. What I’ve heard and read sounds so … insane that I keep thinking I just don’t get it. ”

Just curious to know which part sounded so … insane. ‘Coz I thought it was the easiest set of ideas in the world to understand, especially if you got past the part where she explains how the word “selfishness” has been given all sorts of connotations you would never get from the meaning of the word. For your reference, since you use dictionary.com, I checked it out for the meaning

1. devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.
2. characterized by or manifesting concern or care only for oneself: selfish motives.

I thought the simple point that every single human action aimed at enhancing life is inherently selfish and that without selfish action, man cannot live. I wonder what is unintelligible in this (unless one just does not want to accept the simple basic meaning of the word and insists that all the illegitimate connotations also be included).

Bala September 29, 2009 at 8:26 pm


” How about a balance of rational self interest *and* freely, intelligently caring for others? ”

This is the perfect redundancy. Rational self-interest, especially if it includes a man’s long-range self-interest and not just range-of-the-moment benefits, already factors in the part about “freely, intelligently caring for others”. The logic is simple – Conflict is never in a man’s self-interest, especially if it can be avoided by his own actions that do not compromise his self-interest.

Just to take a ridiculously simple example, while walking through a crowd, I have two options – push through it as fast as I can to reach where I want to directly or be polite and walk slowly, taking temporary diversions when necessary and ultimately taking more time. The first option includes the risk of triggering a stampede or a scuffle with someone I push around and thus (possibly) my own death while the second consumes more time but gives me a chance of preserving my life and well-being.

The distinction you are making between selfishness and self-interest is both unnecessary and illegitimate. By rejecting the word, you are buying into the altruist campaign.

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