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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/11126/economics-vs-politics/

Economics vs. Politics

December 1, 2009 by

The presumably rational human animal has become so inured to political interventions that he cannot think of the making of a living without them; in all his economic calculations his first consideration is, what is the law in the matter? FULL ARTICLE by Frank Chodorov

{ 69 comments }

Gil December 1, 2009 at 11:21 pm

Poor, Russ! Duh, J. Lakner the burden of proof is on you that ‘anarcho-Capitalism’ works. The obvious dilemma is overturning government and imposing the anarchist system upon everyone else and then stopping the system falling apart from within. As Russ rightly points out: government works. No one says it’s perfect system but it’s a working system. It’s the system that has evolved and survived the tests of time.

Matthew December 1, 2009 at 11:49 pm

Once again, if government works, why is it imposed? If it worked better than anarchy, taxes would be given on a voluntary basis. We would have *real* social contracts (which is still anarchy) They obviously are not.

Why do I have to prove freedom?

And we should begin defining words. To me, sustainability is a vital characteristic of something that works. Statism is not sustainable.

Gil December 2, 2009 at 1:39 am

How are governments ‘imposed’ except in where certain native peoples have been pushed out of a certain area? Even then what of the natives who were nomadic and wouldn’t necessarily have qualified as ‘homesteading’ the land?

On the other hand, you have the burden because the system you propose doesn’t exist. Besides ‘statism’ is sustainable because it the type that has existed throughout history. If one brand of ‘statism’ collapses only to be replaced by another than this doesn’t bode well for ‘freedom’.

newson December 2, 2009 at 2:17 am

to russ:
“national defense” – you mean the peace of mind that no one with a stanley knife would commandeer a plane and fly it into the department of defense?

newson December 2, 2009 at 2:23 am

also, russ, santa claus does exist. he just doesn’t hang around long. but that still makes it a happy time while he does.

are you against christmas, however fleeting?

Jay Lakner December 2, 2009 at 6:29 am

Russ wrote:
**********
You are making an extreme claim (that ancap can provide effective “national” defense), therefore the burden of coming up with extreme evidence is on you, at least if you want to convince others who are sceptical.
**********

Russ, do you not understand that in the above post you are communicating the opinion that ancap fails on the grounds of insufficient defense? Therefore you are offering an argument that ancap cannot work.

Now that you have made that argument, I can attempt to disprove it. But it is always you that needs to make the initial argument. Hence the burden of proof is on you. I don’t think you’ve quite grasped the point I’m trying to make with regards to “burden of proof”.

But no matter, let’s actually argue your claim.

Now all I need to do is demonstrate that there is at least one way in which sufficient defense can be generated in an ancap society and then the burden will be back on you once more.

Of course, my argument is that there are many different ways in which ancap can provide effective “national” defense. Allow me to provide just one.

Consider the following:
- Just about every civilian will own their own personal arms.
- Large insurance companies could become PDAs.
- An ancap society would not elicit hatred from other nations by constantly meddling in their affairs.

When you factor in the above 3 points, who on earth would declare war on an ancap society? It’s a suicide job for invaders who have no motive to commit suicide. The PDAs could direct precise surgical strikes on the military bases of the invading nation. And where does the invading nation direct their strikes? A decentralised society has no major targets.

Furthermore, being the free-est society on Earth would result in greater productivity and technological advancement than any other society. As a result, the weapons and tactics of PDAs would be far superior to that of the invaders.
Furthermore, due to greater productivity, the abundance of produced goods would result in very positive trade relations with other countries. Any society that chose to disrupt that trade would only be harming themselves, which is a further reason why rival nations would have no motive to attack.

I think I’ve written enough to demonstrate that an ancap society could produce sufficient “national” defense. In reality I have no idea what system of defense would emerge. But simply being able to demonstrate one possibility is enough to debunk the “insufficient defense” argument. I think a true disproof of the viability of ancap must come from a more fundamental argument.

Lastly, I want to address your ‘extreme claims require proof’ argument. “Extreme” is a relative word. It depends purely on the opinions of the majority of people. How “extreme” a claim may sound does not give any indication as to where the burden of proof lies.
The burden of proof must always lie on those who advocate an action. They must demonstrate why inaction is unacceptable and how their action solves the problems generated by inaction.
After making their arguments, those against the action have two possible ways to react:
A) Disproving the arguments against inaction, or,
B) Demonstrating that the suggested action leads to an inferior situation than inaction.
Simply because inaction (in this case, ancap) is considered “extreme” by the subjective opinions of the majority of people does not change where the burden of proof lies.

mpolzkill December 2, 2009 at 9:15 am

Haha, you guys are really getting under Russ’ skin.

- – - – - – -

“Yoohoo, silly ass!”, I don’t know, let alone am I *so* close with every person who runs into you and instantly gets an idea of what you are, Russ. Perhaps if you would stop your foolish crusade/pastime of attacking libertarians who recognize D.C. for what it is?

- – - – - – - – -

But for those who don’t know him that well yet, this is how much Russ loves and trusts the gang in D.C. who happen to be the overlords of the spot he was born in. He calls for the near equivalent of Hitler’s Enabling Act of 1933: domestic “HUMINT” (to be used only on the Muslims Russ is terrified of, natch). Minarchism!

Gil December 2, 2009 at 9:23 am

Another standard blooper from J. Lakner- “anarcho-Capitalist society is superior to other societies and therefore ‘self-correcting’.” Nope, there’s no proof such idyllic values have any durabilty nor humanity as a whole is heading toward ‘anarchism’.

Besides ‘burden of proof’ is upon those who assert something against the norm. The ‘burden of proof’ is supposed to on those who propose Global Warming because the notion that the world going to heat up to dangerous levels is against the norm of climate stability. Proposing an ‘anarcho-Capitalism’ society is against the norm and is proved when you state “I have no idea what system of defense would emerge”, i.e. you admit you’re proposing a utopian society where everything somehow works out for the best and, best of all, hasn’t existed.

George December 2, 2009 at 10:06 am

“Consider the following:
- Just about every civilian will own their own personal arms.
- Large insurance companies could become PDAs.
- An ancap society would not elicit hatred from other nations by constantly meddling in their affairs.

When you factor in the above 3 points, who on earth would declare war on an ancap society? It’s a suicide job for invaders who have no motive to commit suicide. The PDAs could direct precise surgical strikes on the military bases of the invading nation. And where does the invading nation direct their strikes? A decentralised society has no major targets.”

This sounds nice in theory, but there are a lot of assumptions that are implied:

* human nature is predictable
* humans are generally good
* humans are generally rational
* The private market is a more efficient form of offense than the hierarchical state (otherwise, you most certainly will not be able to conduct “surgical strikes”).
* Everyone owning personal arms is a net good to society.

You can believe in these, but you certainly can’t prove them beyond a reasonable doubt. There are pros and cons to each of these arguments.

The viability of anarcho-capitalism (or any other system for that matter) is a problem of “what is” versus “what ought to be”. There are thousands of different visions of “what ought to be”, but the current situation of the world is “what is”. In the end, “what ought to be” only matters if it can come into existence and survive in this environment of “what is”. Might not make “right”, because “right” is subjective, but might certainly helps to brings about and preserve your existence.

I think in the end the burden of proof is upon anarcho-capitalists, and I really do hope that someone with plenty of money and balls does it someday. Why hasn’t anyone done so up till now and managed to make it work?

George December 2, 2009 at 10:09 am

“* humans are generally good
* humans are generally rational”

A clarification: Perhaps “humans are generally good” should be read as “humans are generally non-aggressive”. After all, just about everyone seeks out to do “good” *as they perceive the “good” to be*, and humans are usually rational as far as that is concerned even if their behavior does not appear rational to others.

Walt D. December 2, 2009 at 10:34 am

Could Noah build his ark today?

If Noah had lived in the United States today the story may have gone something like this:

And the Lord spoke to Noah and said, “In one year, I am going to make it rain and cover the whole earth with water until all flesh is destroyed. But want you to save the righteous people and two of every kind of living hing on earth. Therefore, I am commanding you to build an Ark.”

In a flash of lightning, God delivered the specifications for an Ark. In fear and trembling, Noah took the plans and agreed to build the ark. Remember,” said the Lord, “you must complete the Ark and bring everything board in one year.”

Exactly one year later, fierce storm clouds covered the earth and all the seas of the earth went into a tumult. The Lord saw that Noah was sitting in his front yard weeping. “Noah!” He shouted. “Where is the Ark?”

“Lord, please forgive me,” cried Noah. “I did my best, but there were big problems.

“First, I had to get a permit for construction, and your plans did not meet the building codes. I had to hire an engineering firm and redraw the plans. Then I got into a fight with OSHA over whether or not the Ark needed a sprinkler system and approved floatation devices. Then, my neighbor objected, claiming I was violating zoning ordinances by building the Ark in my front yard, so I had to get a variance from the city planning commission.

“Then, I had problems getting enough wood for the Ark, because there was a ban on cutting trees to protect the Spotted Owl. I finally convinced the U.S. Forest Service that I really needed the wood to save the owls. However, the Fish and Wildlife Service won’t let me take the 2 owls.

“The carpenters formed a union and went on strike. I had to negotiate a settlement with the National Labor Relations Board before anyone would pick up a saw or hammer. Now, I have 16 carpenters on the Ark, but still no owls.

“When I started rounding up the other animals, an animal rights group sued me. They objected to me taking only two of each kind aboard. This suit is pending.

“Meanwhile, the EPA notified me that I could not complete the Ark without filing an environmental impact statement on your proposed flood. They didn’t take very kindly to the idea that they had no jurisdiction over the conduct of the Creator of the Universe.

“Then, the Army Corps of Engineers demanded a map of the proposed flood plain. I sent them a globe.

“Right now, I am trying to resolve a complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that I am practicing discrimination by not taking atheists aboard.

“The IRS has seized my assets, claiming that I’m building the Ark in preparation to flee the country to avoid paying taxes. I just got a notice from the state that I owe them some kind of user tax and failed to register the Ark as a ‘recreational water craft’.

“And finally, the ACLU got the courts to issue an injunction against further construction of the Ark, saying that since God is flooding the earth, it’s a religious event, and, therefore unconstitutional.

“I really don’t think I can finish the Ark for another five or six years.”

Noah waited. The sky began to clear, the sun began to shine, and the seas began to calm. A rainbow arched across the sky.

Noah looked up hopefully. “You mean you’re not going to destroy the earth, Lord?”

“No,” He said sadly. “I don’t have to. The government already has.”

matskralc December 2, 2009 at 10:40 am

Fuck off, assmunch. I’m a minarchist libertarian. What are you, mpolzkill’s butt buddy? I swear to God, some of you guys have absolutely no sense of proportion.

That’s certainly an odd definition of “works”.

JL Bryan December 2, 2009 at 11:51 am

I do think it’s important to actually make arguments on behalf of ancap ideas, since they aren’t familiar to many people. We won’t get far just attacking anyone who doesn’t already share the ideas.

I wrote an LRC article a while back attempting to address these questions in simple and clear language (obviously drawing on Molinari, Rothbard, etc.): http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig8/bryan4.html

As for one large military possibly besting several small ones: it would be in the PDAs interest to recognize this and sign “reinsurance” or “mutual defense” contracts with each other in case of invasion. Those who insure customers in the same territorial area will have the greatest incentive to work together in case of state aggression.

Consider that a large state military is composed of discrete units: companies, brigades, platoons, etc. For defense against an aggressive state, PDAs would each function as a different unit of defense.

Now, obviously it’s difficult to predict just how a market would function, but we can get a general idea from looking at modern private security and insurance firms. Private security companies don’t initiate aggression, they only act defensely to protect people and property. And insurance companies buy reinsurance from each other. They also agree to settle their disputes peacefully and quickly through agreed-upon arbitration agencies, in order to keep their costs down.

I do agree that this is a relatively new idea that has not been fully tried–the theory has only existed for 160 years or so. I think it’s important to be patient with people who aren’t familiar or disagree with the ideas.

There is no need to assume that ancap defense could only work if humans are morally good, as an above poster claimed. It only requires that people are willing to spend money to protect and insure their own property. The existence of a multibillion-dollar private security industry, and a multitrillion-dollar private insurance industry, indicates that people are quite willing to pay for protection of themselves and their property.

However, to support the state, you must assume that politicians are morally good, and will use their power to protect the public rather than to further enhance their own wealth and power.

Jonathan Fellows December 2, 2009 at 11:58 am

@matskralc … although I appreciate the passion behind your comment, you apparently you overlooked the mises.org request that you “post an intelligent and civil comment.” Not to mention, a more laconic response would have been much more powerful.

Matthew December 2, 2009 at 1:22 pm

“…statism’ is sustainable because it the type that has existed throughout history. If one brand of ‘statism’ collapses only to be replaced by another than this doesn’t bode well for ‘freedom’.”

Statism is as sustainable as fiat currency.

“How are governments ‘imposed’ except in where certain native peoples have been pushed out of a certain area?”

Governments are violently imposed on all who have not created the government (in modern times, everybody). It’s not like you sign a real social contract when you become of majority age.

To combat arguments against how anarchy might function, I urge you to read “Practical Anarchy” by Stefan Molyneux. You should also visit his youtube channel, “Stefbot”.

Gil December 2, 2009 at 7:46 pm

“Statism is as sustainable as fiat currency.” – Matthew

Therefore: quite sustainable just as gold coins quickly get mixed or replaced with paper notes. It’s never the other way around.

“Governments are violently imposed on all who have not created the government (in modern times, everybody). It’s not like you sign a real social contract when you become of majority age.”

That’s just your Libertarian view – goverments are evil.

Matthew December 2, 2009 at 9:24 pm

A non sequitur and an ad hominem.

I don’t know whether I should feel anger or pity towards you.

Jay Lakner December 4, 2009 at 2:03 am

JL Bryan wrote:
**********
I do think it’s important to actually make arguments on behalf of ancap ideas, since they aren’t familiar to many people.
**********

You can’t make an argument on behalf of ancap until someone makes an argument against it.

What argument am I supposed to make if I don’t know what the other person’s problem with ancap is?

Therefore, the burden of proof is clearly on the statists since they need to make the initial argument demonstrating their perceived flaws in ancap.

Does anybody understand my point here?

A long while back Russ wrote:
**********
… there has never been a society without one; at least, not one that has lasted long enough for us to know about it. That leads me to believe that we need one, because societies don’t last without them.
**********

The argument against ancap, “It’s never been done before”, is a very poor argument. To contend that we need to have a government simply because it has never been done any other way is not exactly a logical line of reasoning. Especially when you factor in that just about every form of government has been tried and tested and they all collapsed.

When you consider the track record of governments and combine it with the premise that government fails in theory, how can one automatically come to the conclusion that implementing a new form of government is less risky that trying anarchocapitalism? Especially given that ancap has not been refuted in theory.

Maybe some individuals would feel much more comfortable in a system where they knows what the predictable course of failure will be, rather than in a system where they cannot predict its course. Fair enough. Every individual is entitled to feel whatever they want. But subjective individual feelings are not a justification for advocating a system which not only violates the property rights of individuals, but is also ultimately guarunteed to fail. One needs to go further and objectively demonstrate why this coercive system is necessary.

Jay Lakner December 4, 2009 at 2:09 am

George wrote:
**********
This sounds nice in theory, but there are a lot of assumptions that are implied:

* human nature is predictable
* humans are generally good
* humans are generally rational
* The private market is a more efficient form of offense than the hierarchical state (otherwise, you most certainly will not be able to conduct “surgical strikes”).
* Everyone owning personal arms is a net good to society.
**********

I have not made the above assumptions.
The only assumption I have made is the Action Axiom and the logical conclusions that arise from it.

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