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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/13556/explore-the-theory-of-the-completely-free-society-2/

Explore the Theory of the Completely Free Society

August 13, 2010 by

After taking this class, you will realize that the Founders who called government a “necessary evil” were only half right. Join us as the Mises Academy leads the way forward in educational technology. FULL ARTICLE by Robert P. Murphy

{ 68 comments }

Aubrey Herbert August 13, 2010 at 9:07 am

“and the veteran anarchocapitalist who read Rothbard while nursing.”
lol, I didn’t quite get that?

Aaron August 13, 2010 at 9:21 am

Is there any chance these courses might be offered in future at times convenient to folks out here in Europe?

J Cuttance October 25, 2010 at 4:59 pm

and Oz/nz!

Nathaniel August 13, 2010 at 9:54 am

Looks fascinating but the time frame is bad for me; I hope you offer it again!

michael August 13, 2010 at 10:07 am

I’m tempted to take this class, just to see where it leads. My first take is that it leads to the Congolese Solution.

Lesson One: Private Law.

He who has the most money buys the most law. He owns the judges; therefore he owns the decisions. Rival bidders to own the law just can’t meet the price he offers, so he gets first dibs on the law.

Lesson Two: Private Enforcement (military defense).

He also picks up an army, using the infinite supply of unemployed former military and police as his recruiting base. So what he says goes.

Lesson Three: Common Objections.

Wouldn’t warlords take over?

The person described above IS the warlord. Those seeking employment should come to him.

“Naturally, we can’t say exactly what a free society would look like — libertarians don’t have the hubris of central planners. Even so, we can explain how market forces would lead to a much more peaceful and prosperous society than one plagued by a parasitical and violent State.”

It would not be centrally planned, no. The warlord is not a planner but an action figure. In the words of GW Bush, it’s his job to get things done. It’s the job of others to think about what he has done.

Will it lead to a peaceful and prosperous society? Or will it lead to the Republic of Congo? (Where, by the way, there is indeed a lot of wealth creation.) That is the question.

Daniel August 13, 2010 at 10:33 am

Chomsky?

George August 13, 2010 at 2:13 pm

Please join it, Michael. I have a feeling you’ll benefit from the access to Murphy and other students.

Michael A. Clem August 14, 2010 at 4:06 pm

In the historical common law system, law was not “bought”. Nor did this happen in with Merchant Law. Does everyone in your neighborhood capitulate to the wealthiest neighbor? I would argue that there would be no ONE wealthiest person, and that anyone trying to lord it over others would have a lot of competition. Instead, I don’t even think that’s true==even the wealthy want a peaceful and orderly society, and without government, they would quickly find out that trying to be king of the hill just ensures the opposite: fighting and endless conflict. If anything, the wealthy would have an even stronger desire for a peaceful and orderly society because they have more to lose.
Furthermore, the wealthy are unlikely to change their habits that caused them to be wealthy simply because there’s no government–wealth is still only earned in certain ways.

michael August 14, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Obviously, in a “warring princes” situation you’d have any number of contenders for the throne. And I would assume that the working oligarchy in the United States, as they mostly know one another and share common aims, would work together to combine assets and impose authority on everyone they felt might threaten them. If you assume I meant that one leader only would appear from the throng, you mistake my meaning.

The point is we have many factions. Each would contend for hegemony over the others. There’s a high likelihood that it would be a period of very serious armed conflict. And those who have the most money would get the most justice.

You really can’t imagine this? In your mind everyone would be all peace and love, and let their neighbor live in peace? That freedom would just spontaneously break out, and we’d all respect each other’s property?

It’s the threat of force that keeps the lid on this place. Live through a couple of riots first.

Michael A. Clem August 15, 2010 at 12:56 pm

I can imagine lots of things,michael,including a few things that you apparently cannot. No, there wouldn’t be spontaneous peace and love–anarcho-capitalism doesn’t assume some kind of hippie establishment. But there would be a predominance of peace and order, partly because people fear not having it, and partly because people want to accomplish certain things in their lives that presuppose peace and order.
The threat of force would still be there, but there’s no reason to assume that government is necessary to provide such a threat. The risk of force from multiple sources (competition) also helps ensure a minimum of corruption.
Ultimately, we will only get the society that people want if they are willing to do what it takes to ensure that society. Ultimately, this is a matter of culture and sociology, not politics.

michael August 16, 2010 at 10:23 am

Mr Clem: I’m having trouble following you.

“The threat of force would still be there, but there’s no reason to assume that government is necessary to provide such a threat.”

Do you mean “to provide deterrence against such a threat”? That would make more sense. I don’t look to government to provide any threats.

In the absence of some government we should have at our fingertips a force capable of deterring heavily armed and trained militias, very likely ex-military with deeply held political convictions and a plan– a preconceived strategy for an armed takeover. Because that’s the kind of threat that would very quickly grow on American soil.

If such a force were available on a subscription basis, much like the old for-profit fire departments that would only save the homes of paid subscribers, there would very likely be competition. In Civil War era New York, for example, the Metropolitan Police and the Municipal Police would go across town in subscription drives… which is another way of saying they would shake down all the merchants in the neighborhoods they ‘owned’ for protection money.

They would fight pitched battles with one another over turf… little battles that were not always to the consumer’s advantage. And things only stabilized when the Metropolitans won, becoming today’s NYPD.

“The risk of force from multiple sources (competition) also helps ensure a minimum of corruption.”

See above. The Greater NYC area used to be divided into five separate Mafias. They each controlled the rackets on their turf.

“Ultimately, we will only get the society that people want if they are willing to do what it takes to ensure that society. Ultimately, this is a matter of culture and sociology, not politics.”

People were not willing to take on the Mafias. In fact the FBI was not willing to take them on. They owned most major cities, from Buffalo to Vegas.

I suspect we’ll be the same way next time.

Michael A. Clem August 16, 2010 at 10:46 am

Do you mean “to provide deterrence against such a threat”? That would make more sense. I don’t look to government to provide any threats. Good gosh, man, what is government and government regulation if it is not the threat of force being used? Call it a “deterrent” if you will, but by the same token, such deterrent can be offered without government. The whole question of minarchism is if this threat would only be used for defensive or retaliatory reasons, that is, after force has already been initiated by some criminal. But historically, governments engage in the initiation of force regularly and consistently. Government in general is fundamentally provided for by the initiation of force (involuntary taxation and an expectation of obedience to its laws), which is why government is fundamentally flawed from the libertarian perspective. Now, if someone wishes to be pessimistic and argue that it is a “necessary evil”, then they are arguing something completely different–that man’s fundamental nature is flawed and will only be kept in check with someone (i.e. government) who will initiate force for “good intentions”. This is a flawed argument, too, but a different argument.

Russ the Apostate August 16, 2010 at 11:13 am

Oh, wow. Something that michael and I actually agree on.

Michael Clem wrote:
“Government in general is fundamentally provided for by the initiation of force (involuntary taxation and an expectation of obedience to its laws), which is why government is fundamentally flawed from the libertarian perspective.”

Ummmm, no, it’s fundamentally flawed from the anarcho-libertarian perspective. Other libertarians see the anarchist view as flawed.

I see two major problems with anarcho-capitalism:

1) If a free market cannot exist without a government, then free market arguments for anarcho-capitalism don’t apply, because free markets themselves cannot exist in a state of anarchy. Economic justifications for anarcho-capitalism implicitly assume that a free market can exist without government, which is precisely the point which is being debated. Basically, economic justifications for anarcho-capitalism are a sophisticated form of begging the question.

2) The assumption that defence agencies will not fight each other, to the detriment of the people, is a huge assumption, and flies in the face of all of human history, AFAICT.

michael August 16, 2010 at 11:24 am

“Good gosh, man, what is government and government regulation if it is not the threat of force being used?”

Mr Clem: It’s interesting that when the talk turns to questions of the rule of law, you automatically assume it will be used against you– while I assume it’s there to protect me. It’s almost like you’re the one who wants to get away with something, while I’m the one who needs protection from guys like you.

“Call it a “deterrent” if you will, but by the same token, such deterrent can be offered without government.”

So you don’t mind threats and force, so long as they don’t come from the government? That’s a curious stance. What makes non-affiliated individuals necessarily more trustworthy than people we elect by common consent?

We have some really basic differences in POV.

Russ the Apostate August 16, 2010 at 11:48 am

michael wrote:
“Mr Clem: It’s interesting that when the talk turns to questions of the rule of law, you automatically assume it will be used against you– while I assume it’s there to protect me. It’s almost like you’re the one who wants to get away with something, while I’m the one who needs protection from guys like you.”

(British accent on) Bad form, man, bad form! (British accent off)

It’s not that the rule of law will be used against him because he’s a criminal. It’s that the force of government violates his rights much more than any common criminals do, even though he’s not a criminal.

“What makes non-affiliated individuals necessarily more trustworthy than people we elect by common consent?”

But it’s not common consent. That’s where the force comes in. In wealth redistribution, for instance, the majority forces its will upon the minority, without any consideration of property rights.

Michael A. Clem August 16, 2010 at 1:44 pm

We have some really basic differences in POV.

I can say the same thing over and over again, but it gets tiring, and sometimes a different point of view can help people see things differently. I shouldn’t have to say this to someone familiar with libertarianism, but the key idea is that it’s not okay to initiate force against people, that the only legitimate use of force is defensive or properly-justified retaliatory force. Government is an agency that claims a monopoly on the use of force, and theoretically, it is there to “protect” its citizens from force initiated by others (i.e. protect rights). But if government is fundamentally supported by initiations of force, then it is nothing more than a protection racket, given legitimacy by misguided but well-meaning people such as yourself. And once this organization has the legitimacy to initiate force, what’s the limit? What stops government agents from engaging in more initiations of force? What prevents corruption and ensures protection? Very little as far as i can see, as most people will object to the more outrageous acts but still support the underlying causes.
What I don’t mind as a deterrent is the idea that someone will use force if it has been initiated against them, or will have the help of others for defense or retaliatory purposes . What I do mind is granting a monopoly to a particular organization and naively assuming that they won’t abuse their power. Without a monopoly, any particular organization will be constrained by the “deterrent” that other people and organizations could have the means to defend against corruptions and abuse of power.
While I, too, have watched Mad Max, Escape from New York, and any number of other movies, you have to remember we’re talking about reality, not fiction. Have you read about “The Not So Wild West,” for example? The Wild West of the movies is fictionalized for dramatic purposes, actual history paints a much milder picture of the Old West.

michael August 16, 2010 at 5:08 pm

“.. the key idea is that it’s not okay to initiate force against people, that the only legitimate use of force is defensive or properly-justified retaliatory force. Government is an agency that claims a monopoly on the use of force, and theoretically, it is there to “protect” its citizens from force initiated by others (i.e. protect rights). But if government is fundamentally supported by initiations of force, then it is nothing more than a protection racket..”

Force, force, force…

Mr Clem: I mean this in the nicest way. You folks really do need a different planet. Around here, reason and courtesy are fine principles with which to deal with the many reasonable and principled people you meet. For everyone else? Blunt force trauma. It’s the only way.

That’s why we have laws with penalties. And IMO the United States is really far too nice. We have so many criminals because we’re just so damn tolerant of them. Justice, to be just, should be certain and swift. And currently, every criminal in America knows that either a good lawyer can get him off or, if he can’t, that he can then get reversed some day on appeal. Justice is way too tentative and defensive, not up to the job of dealing with the battle hardened types out there.

True SOBs, once identified, should be shot. Really.

Let me ask you a question: when was the last time a government employee used actual force on you? Maced you, tear gassed you, beat you up down at the station, knocked you around in the back of the patrol car? Ever?

The police do shoot entirely too many innocent people. Just try being a deaf-mute when the cops says “Okay, MF, hands in the air!” He’s a dead one every time.

I still like the odds against experiencing true violence in the states far better here than I would over in Yemen. Even though the regulatory burden is oh, so much lighter there. I think the whole thing, is, you just don’t want to have to pay taxes. ‘Violence’ is actually the code word for ‘taxes’.

Again, maybe Hong Kong is really the place for you. Don’t try to screw up our thing over here, we actually prefer it this way, with lots of services and moderately high fees.

If you really look like you’re going to finish the job of messing up our government some day, I think a lot of people are going to turn on you. It’s our protection we pay our mild predators to save us from the even worse predators.

michael August 17, 2010 at 9:21 am

“While I, too, have watched Mad Max, Escape from New York, and any number of other movies, you have to remember we’re talking about reality, not fiction. Have you read about “The Not So Wild West,” for example? The Wild West of the movies is fictionalized for dramatic purposes, actual history paints a much milder picture of the Old West.”

Mr Clem: This is a great comment. A real primary indicator. You have obviously never lived in an uncivil society. How fortunate.

Life in middle America is predatory. The claws are just clad in elegant gloves. We haven’t seen it because we’ve never had a real period of incivility. We haven’t seen the creatures that come out in the daytime once the police are no longer on patrol.

I understand that most of you don’t champion there being no law at all. You just have this idea that we are all reasonable people, and that all will subscribe to minarchy once its virtues have been pointed out to us.

It would be tempting to set aside some part of the planet for you, so you could build your leaderless society and all have the full experience of where that leads.

Michael A. Clem August 18, 2010 at 12:44 pm

Geez, michael, I take it back–I put it right in front of you, and you still misunderstand (deliberately?) libertarianism. Also history and sociology, apparently. You even admit that government doesn’t work too well, but still cling to the idea that the are no reasonable and worthwhile alternatives. Better the devil you know than the one you don’t, eh? Of course we don’t think everyone will be reasonable and civilized. Get it in your head that we’re not advocating some kind of benevolent, utopian La-la land. What we ARE advocating is the idea that society will be largely less violent and less criminal if we as a society stop supporting the aggression that government is fundamentally based upon–legitimizing the coercion of government has created a terrible moral hazard and decay in our society that ensures the very problems you see in our society. In some ways, a libertarian society will be even more strict and disciplined, because people would be expected to be responsible for the consequences of their actions, and nowhere would that be more obvious than in dealing with criminal activity (but it would also apply to non-criminal activity, too, such as contracts and debt). It may be reassuring to have an ultimate arbiter to act as a father figure, but it’s even more reassuring and liberating to know that people can stand up and effectively deal with problems as they arise, without some authority figure pretending to make things better for you, but in reality creating various unintended consequences that actually degrade your quality of life. Consider libertarianism as a form of “self-empowerment”, although I’m not trying to suggest a society of atomized, isolated individuals. Voluntary cooperation in no way violates self-empowerment, but is one of the most powerful tools individuals have for achieving their goals.

michael August 18, 2010 at 7:39 pm

“Geez, michael, I take it back–I put it right in front of you, and you still misunderstand (deliberately?) libertarianism. Also history and sociology, apparently. You even admit that government doesn’t work too well, but still cling to the idea that the are no reasonable and worthwhile alternatives. Better the devil you know than the one you don’t, eh?”

Actually I was trying to tell you about the other devil– the one I know but obviously you don’t.

Whenever you have an area with no central government you find large, well armed bands of predators. Because there’s no one to stop them. And they’re really more than just a bother. They set the tone.

“Get it in your head that we’re not advocating some kind of benevolent, utopian La-la land. What we ARE advocating is the idea that society will be largely less violent and less criminal if we as a society stop supporting the aggression that government is fundamentally based upon..” etc.

Offer your basis for imagining that might be so. That is, with some concrete example. In recorded history, it has always been MORE violent in anarchic times.

Peter Surda August 15, 2010 at 3:42 am

He who has the most money buys the most law. He owns the judges; therefore he owns the decisions. Rival bidders to own the law just can’t meet the price he offers, so he gets first dibs on the law.

He who has the most money buys the most food. He owns the bakers, therefore he owns the bread. Rival bidders to own the food just can’t meet the price he offers, so he gets the first dibs on the food.

Makes no sense? Right.

michael August 15, 2010 at 10:37 am

Makes every bit of sense, Peter. Currently there’s a very rich fellow who’s bought up nearly all this year’s chocolate crop, so he can hold it off the market until he can command a high price.

Such behavior is natural. If justice were to be privatised it would operate like any other unregulated commodity.

Don’t get me wrong. In today’s America, justice serves the rich an extra portion. We tend to side with the cases presented by the most expensive lawyers. But in a privatised world this situation would be exacerbated.

Scott D August 15, 2010 at 7:33 pm

Michael, mentioning Anthony Ward’s purchase of a large amount of cocoa lends no more credence to your arguments than it did in this thread.

If justice were to be privatised it would operate like any other unregulated commodity.

Yes, I agree. Oops, I’m not supposed to do that. :)

I would be hard-pressed to find any market anywhere that is “unregulated”. Hong Kong is about as close a match as I can come up with (moreso in the past than recently), and I certainly wouldn’t characterize that region as the capitalist Hell that you hold in your head. The paradigm of regulation = prosperity is a left-wing myth which, recently revived and exhorted with the passion and blind faith of born-again evangelism, has served its purpose remarkably well. You repeat their lies as the unvarnished truth without a second thought. You are either unaware, or carry a distorted view, of counterexamples and logical arguments that contradict this view.

You say that you operated a business for many years. How many times did you find it to be in your best interest, overall, to act dishonestly? Were there times when you could have gotten away with deceiving someone, but at the risk of destroying business or personal relationships? Don’t you think that those who have earned their wealth on the market would also value trust and long-term relationships over short-term gain?

michael August 16, 2010 at 4:49 pm

Pretty good content, Scott.

First thought: I find a lot of people around here thinking More regulation = bad; Less regulation = good. As though regulation was just some fungible product, like coffee beans.

Instead, if you actually talked with anyone on the other side of the table, you’d find them saying Well crafted regulation = good; Poorly thought out regulation = Not so hot… or even, Invitation to steal. They don’t think of regulation as being something quantifiable.

A good way to imagine what those strange leftist beings actually think about is this: if it sounds too stupid to be believed, there’s probably very few people who actually believe it. I also like to remind people on the left to not think of you all as being absolute morons. No matter how inscrutable, you do have some rationale behind your exotic belief structure. It is something to be understood and worked with, not just ridiculed and dismissed.Hence my fieldwork here. I seek to understand.

2. I would say more than half the world has unregulated markets. These are all the places with weak governments, whose writ doesn’t go very far; all the tribal areas; all the war zones; and all the places so far out in the boonies the inspector doesn’t get there but once every decade or so. (And he’s poorly paid, so can be cheaply bribed.) When you enter into a business deal in such a place you have to keep in mind ALL the variables that can occur. Here? You can assume that the person you’re dealing with has probably calculated the odds on being sued and hauled in to court. So there are a smaller set of variables shaping the deal.

See? Already my vision looks different than that of the prototypical Bolshie with his lurid visions of a capitalist hell.

I lived and worked within this capitalist hell out of personal choice. And I didn’t do badly.

Now for truth time: “How many times did you find it to be in your best interest, overall, to act dishonestly? Were there times when you could have gotten away with deceiving someone, but at the risk of destroying business or personal relationships?”

This is the obvious question. All the time I was working for corporations I was being asked by superiors to carry out policies they wanted me to embody. They themselves would never have been the person to actually insert the knife in someone’s back and give it a twist. They liked to sub the dirty work out to subordinates. So I didn’t linger in such roles. I learned to tell them in the interview stage that I was bullheaded and obstinate, and had my own methods for getting results. If they didn’t like any of those results, they all had my name on them and no one else’s.

That way I got to use my own methods and my own situational ethics in delicate situations. And that approach worked pretty well for a long time (14 years).

But still I felt constricted. So I went into business for myself. And decided that instead of trying to compromise my own soul for a slightly enhanced margin I’d go in the other direction. I’d undercut the competition by charging a fair price well below theirs and by keeping accurate T&M on my books and their bills. And I found I got even more business that way than I’d have gotten by screwing every customer I managed to snare.

So I guess my answer would be that I found virtue to be its own reward. That was a really good question.

Peter Surda August 21, 2010 at 10:42 am

I hope you are still reading this michael,

sometimes, when I observe how you react, I am reminded of a bad AI that cannot perform more than one iteration in following a chain of reasoning. How on earth is a guy who wants to earn money by speculating on a market with a very specific commodity (i.e. buying something with the intent to sell it more expensively) comparable with a guy who wants to prevent anyone from offering services that run counter to his plans, forever? It’s more like if he bought out all the lead production for one year with the intent to make bullets more expensive. Only someone who already has enough power to prevent competition by force can actually prevent it. So you’re using circular reasoning.

Furthermore, you do not realise that monopolising “justice” does not solve any economic problems. Just like any other service, producing “justice” requires scarce resources and making decisions about what and how to produce. By monopolising and preventing competition, you eliminate the data (price mechanism) required for rational decisions, leaving irrational decisions as the only option.

Matthew Swaringen August 21, 2010 at 11:46 am

“Don’t get me wrong. In today’s America, justice serves the rich an extra portion. We tend to side with the cases presented by the most expensive lawyers. ”

Good so far…

“But in a privatised world this situation would be exacerbated.”

Why? What reason do you have for believing this? The government personnel who work in the current system have very little reason to be responsible to you the small defendant. The judge won’t face election for years, and the laws/regulations are extensive and complex so that you must have a lawyer to compete, but one who will almost certainly not compete with the oppositions corporate team of lawyers.

As far as bribes go, our current system doesn’t show (visibly) too much direct issues like that but because of the extent of laws and regulations it doesn’t need to. They can eliminate the small guy just by making it nearly impossible for him to understand how to defend himself.

That’s the current system.

Now in a private system, who would accept arbitration where they couldn’t argue for their position or where there were hundreds of regulations they didn’t even know about affecting their activity? It would be a sham. And would you as a customer go to a private court of law if you knew they rendered decisions based on who paid them the most? Absolutely not. Neither would anyone else.

Even if it was under the table deals you know that if it happened often many consumers would complain about outcomes and demand 3rd party audits of the books of the arbitration agency (in fact, most of them would want to know this was happening before even agreeing to that arbitration agency!)

Arbitration agency’s have to function on the trust of consumers to their impartial and fair decisions. If the customers even get an inkling that they are being mistreated due to favorite status on someone’s part they won’t use that agency. It will go out of business.

(I currently work at a finance company and created a database for a team which handles arbitration processing between car dealerships who purchase/sell vehicles via the internet. So I know that opposing factions can seek alternative arbitration outside the government. It’s extraordinarily rare that there are any lawsuits involved in this process because almost every buyer/seller knows that this process is faster and fairer than anything the blunt force government could provide.)

Brian Drake August 13, 2010 at 10:11 pm

@Michael

“He who has the most money buys the most law. He owns the judges; therefore he owns the decisions. Rival bidders to own the law just can’t meet the price he offers, so he gets first dibs on the law.”

Have you really thought this through? So the wealthiest person owns all the judges/arbitration courts because he can outbid less wealthier rivals, but is this a secret? Because unless he’s also wealthy enough to perpetually buy off all forms of whistle-blowers, the media, consumer protection agencies, bloggers, people who can demonstrate how injustice was committed against them due to the “bought off” nature of all the available arbitration courts, etc… then eventually “word will get out” that 1) all the current arbitration courts are corrupt and 2) Wealthiest Man is a criminal. After that, who is going to contract with any of the current arbitration courts (knowing they are corrupt and thus a guaranteed loss to anyone who can’t outbid Wealthiest Man) and who is going to do business or even associate with criminal Wealthiest Man (since there is high likelihood he’ll aggress against them with impunity)? Forget moral indignation or principle, from simply pure self-interest most (if not all) people will decline to voluntarily choose a court that is corrupted against them, or do business with someone who has a record of committing aggression and then getting away with it.

So while your hypothetical “Wealthiest Man owns the law” may manifest a few times in a stateless society, it is completely unsustainable. Eventually, those corrupt courts will go out of business from lack of customers (it takes two to tango, so even the patronage of Wealthiest Man will cease once no one else is willing to contractually agree to use the corrupt courts to settle disputes), and the Wealthiest Man will find himself further and further ostracized from society (or outright killed, with most people simply looking the other way and even helping to protect the identity of the assassin, who will be viewed as a hero).

It is only when there is violently held monopoly provision of “law” that corruption as you describe can be sustained because the “customers” have no choice and cannot “fire” the state whenever corruption is (routinely) discovered.

michael August 14, 2010 at 9:11 am

Absolutely! In the current United States there are any number of different estates, each vying with the others for power, influence and control of public policy. Those who believe it’s the Council on Foreign Relations, the Freemasons or the heads of our giant corporations behind all the ills of the world are being very simplistic in their analysis. Things are so complicated that even the military establishment is very frequently against the Defense Department. It’s the constructive interplay of many competing forces that makes up America as we see it. Even the vestigial persistence of Eastern Establishment elites has a dog (a tiny one) in this race.

Where I believe I might differ with the people presenting this course, and where I’m very curious as to what their thoughts in the matter might be, is that they seem to be predicting that a collapse or serious shrinkage of Big Gubmint would lead to a new era of equality for all Americans. And human history clearly tells a very different story.

In the absence of a strong framework of civil and military authority backed by laws, not men, chaos becomes an armed struggle between those who want to keep what they have and those who want to take it for themselves. And they have all figured out that armed militias will help them attain your stuff. They can play with your wife, use up your home and get rid of you. It is invariably this way in any society that has lost its central government. Invariably.

People who post that there was egalitarian joy and freedom in 9th century Iceland have a point. There was. But that was only possible in a world where there were only a couple of hundred families. Yes, they practised primitive democracy and arrived at group decisions by direct assent, not by electing representatives to speak for them. But this kind of participatory direct democracy doesn’t scale up. We are now over 300 million in number, and we are comprised of factions in extreme political opposition to the other factions. Without a central command and control, we’re at civil war with ourselves sixty different ways.

Plus, we’re surrounded by another seven billion have-nots, all wanting to come here to enjoy our fruits. A casual group of self-armed and self-appointed vigilantes at the borders is not going to stop the very serious efforts to invade that would quickly follow the collapse of the USG.

You should probably look at the histories of every revolution that has ever occurred, save our own. As far as I’ve read, there is always an initial period where the most radical elements hold sway. They are the most ruthless. They set the stage for everything that follows. And in time this phase of the revolution burns itself out, and an established government takes shape.

What led to the singularity of our own revolution? There was no need for violence because the oppressor had been thrown out. And there were no neighbors to pose any armed threat. The few radical malcontents that might have arisen to prey on their neighbors were greatly outnumbered by citizens wanting to establish a new law and order as quickly as possible.

Such is not exactly the case today. If we can be thrown into a state of terror by 19 men armed with box cutters, imagine the impact of a militia of ten thousand men, highly motivated, military-trained and armed with looted stores from an abandoned military base. They would come to save us from whoever they thought of as “the enemy”. Quite possibly, you.

I’m always accused of being a stooge for government, despite the many grave problems I see with our current one. But all the alternatives I can imagine are worse.

Without civil defense a civil war will arise. And in time, the strongest faction will win and form the new government. Quicker and less painful, IMO, just to try to work with the one we’ve got.

(The seminar will present the opposing view.)

Dan August 14, 2010 at 2:32 pm

http://academy.mises.org/moodle/mod/resource/view.php?id=993

I thought that since Michael is just throwing out opinions without showing any historical examples to support his claim it might be helpful to look at what Murray Rothbard wrote on the matter. Even though you say history proves you right the actual history is against what you say. Governments are responsible for the worst atrocities in human history but they are the ones who are best at providing defense and law? There is no better alternative than mass suffering under the thumb of the elite?

michael August 14, 2010 at 4:45 pm

“Even though you say history proves you right the actual history is against what you say. Governments are responsible for the worst atrocities in human history but they are the ones who are best at providing defense and law?”

You could provide some examples yourself. The only occasion I can think of where government control was dissolved and nationwide violence did not ensue was the American Revolution. People had limited goals and achieved them.

scineram August 14, 2010 at 6:52 pm

I would be interested in what the hell it was if not nationwide violence.

Dan August 14, 2010 at 9:18 pm

Murray Rothbard did provide examples in the link I put up. Check it out.

michael August 15, 2010 at 10:44 am

The link does not allow visitors with only a guest pass to enter. Would you be so kind as to just summarize a couple of instances where there were peaceful, non-destructive revolutions? Thanks in advance.

And scineram: There was a degree of violence between Tory sympathisers and separatist patriots, I agree. But neither a full-scale civil war nor anarchy nor a despotic dictatorship followed the British exit. That’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout. It was as nice a revolution as one could ever hope for.

In Maine the custom was to paint one’s chimney white if he were a Tory and black if he were a rebel. After the war, many chimneys were found to have seven or eight alternating coats of black and white, depending on which units were coming through the area.

Dan August 15, 2010 at 2:18 pm

http://mises.org/books/newliberty.pdf

The relevant material starts 106 of the book.

michael August 16, 2010 at 6:50 pm

Thanks for the link, Dan. That was very helpful.

The chapter you point to is on ‘Involuntary Servitude’. And it covers slavery (which we no longer have), forced military conscription (which we no longer have) and the selling of one’s labor under conditions where one is forced to accept less than he might desire in a better market. Which, at first glance, is at the core of our economic system.

Or, as the book puts it:

“For what is slavery but (a) forcing people to work at tasks the slavemaster wishes, and (b) paying them either pure subsistence or, at any rate, less than the slave would have accepted voluntarily. In short, forced labor at below free-market wages.”

Which is something we don’t have either. We have a system where applicants for employment have to choose the wages offered them in a free market where labor is commonly at a disadvantage relative to management. Or choose to remain unemployed. I except, of course, talent in fields where desirable labor is in very short supply. Capable, photogenic film actors, for instance, command a very high premium, as do CEOs with a solid track record of success.

For many of the rest of us, it’s normally free market voluntary servitude. We choose the not-quite-enough over the nothing-at-all.

Likewise in the case of Nixon’s declaration that strikes are illegal is not an example of involuntary servitude. Striking workers are offered their choice: desist and go back to work, or persist and go to prison. It’s their option to choose.

The tax system is another example of voluntary servitude. The principle is that if you live here, you enjoy the services the various levels of government provide. And if you enjoy and benefit by the services, you are required to pay for them, in the form of our various taxes. You have the option of going abroad and electing not to enjoy the services provided to the public in this country.

In the courts, testimony may be coerced, under penalty of law. You could, of course, pull a Judith Miller and elect to go to prison on principle. So it’s a matter of choice.

Likewise jury service. Only here you get a fine, not jail time.

Then there’s involuntary psychiatric commitment. This one is problematic, all right.

All in all, it’s a fairly short list of impositions on your total freedom. The only major one is the requirement to pay your taxes. But it’s hardly likely to imagine you’re going to be able to get them to change their kinds on this one. Far easier to move to Hong Kong, where the tax you owe is at least a small one. And I’m sure you can still get an excellent mai tai. Check this page out:

http://www.guidemehongkong.com/hongkong-tax-calculator

Gil August 15, 2010 at 9:34 am

Such a wealthy person would an emperor and they tend to have done quite well throughout history. By your reasoning, revolutions should pop up every time a dictator takes power and return the power to the people until aspiring to dictatorship is no longer worth it. Heck, to turn a Libertarian argument on its head – why aren’t Libertarians leading by example and storming the White House in an American Revolution 2.0 kind of way?

michael August 15, 2010 at 10:53 am

A coup would probably take the form of the plot against Roosevelt back in 1933. This was hatched by a small group of businessmen alarmed by creeping socialism and determined to make the country safe for themselves again. Fortunately it was thwarted by the efforts of the man they asked to be ‘point man’ for the coup. He didn’t accept the job they offered him, to be the American fuehrer.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_Plot

One man alone can’t do much. Small conspiracies, on the other hand, can be very effective. (This one wasn’t.)

mr taco August 15, 2010 at 8:18 pm

that funny michael because the business plot is considered by most a crotch of shit just like you : )

Matthew Swaringen August 15, 2010 at 11:44 am

1) The American Revolution 1.0 led to the rise of the massive American state . Why’d we want to do that again?
2) Violence is inefficient for producing desirable outcomes. No one believes “storming the White House” is going to lead to liberty. On the contrary, doing such a thing would be a great way of making a lot of new draconian laws to protect Americans from libertarian terrorists.

Gil August 15, 2010 at 8:16 pm

Then how is a free society going to stop dictators from taking over? Such a viewpoint probably is why dictators do take over and last a long time without much fear for their lives (except from other aspiring dictators).

mr taco August 16, 2010 at 1:10 pm

so how is he going to get these people to help him get to power by paying them ?
and if the threat of such wouldnt people be able to purchase the necessary

and how much does the dictator want to take over also ?

Dan August 14, 2010 at 12:34 am

Well cased closed, Michael just blew up the theory of your entire class with a few off hand remarks. Apparently in a free society we would have judges corrupted by the wealthy and powerful. Good thing we don’t have that type of system now.

OJ Simpson August 14, 2010 at 5:00 am

Friends, don’t fix what ain’t broke.

Allen Weingarten August 14, 2010 at 12:35 pm

My position against anarchism.

First, I note the position of von Mises:

“An anarchist society would be exposed to the mercy of every individual. Society cannot exist if the majority is not ready to hinder, by the application or threat of violent action, minorities from destroying the social order. This power is vested in the state of government…The state is essentially an institution for the preservation of peaceful inter-human relations. However, for the preservation of peace it must be prepared to crush the onslaughts of peace-breakers”, ‘Human Action’ p.149.
Society cannot do without a social apparatus of coercion and compulsion, i.e. without state and government. The Anti-Capitalist Mentality, p. 90.
There are people who call government an evil, although a necessary evil. However, what is needed in order to attain a definite end must not be called an evil…Government may even be called the most beneficial of all earthly institutions as without it no peaceful human cooperation, no civilization and no moral life would be possible. Economic Freedom and Interventionism, p. 57.
Anarchism misunderstands the real nature of man. Liberalism, pp. 36-7.
Liberalism [in the European sense-the philosophy of free markets and limited government] differs radically from anarchism. It has nothing in common with the absurd illusions of the anarchists…Liberalism is not so foolish as to aim at the abolition of the state. Omnipotent Government, p. 48
[Anarchists are] shallow-minded, dull, [and suffer from] illusions and self-deception. The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science, pp. 98-9.

Another notable is Ayn Rand, who wrote in ‘The Virtue Of Selfishness’ even a society whose every member were fully rational and faultlessly moral, could not function in a state of anarchy…suppose Mr. Smith, a customer of Government A, suspects that his next-door neighbor, has robbed him; a squad of Police A proceeds to Mr. Jones’ house and is met at the door by a squad of Police B, who declare that they do not accept the validity of Mr. Smith’s complaint and do not recognize the authority of Government A. What happens then?”

I believe that anarchist movements have never worked out in practice, and in theory lack the glue to unify a nation against aggression and barbarism. Since nations evolve on the shoulders of previous nations (and not out of pure theory) what is needed is government.
Since I have not seen any case for government given in Austrian or libertarian publications, I now present it:

Any group (nation or country) needs a defense mechanism against aggression from without and from within. Without such a mechanism, the group could not survive, let alone carry out its mission (whether to sustain civilization, bring goods to market, or anything else).
I call this mechanism ‘government’ for that is its lexical definition, while recognizing that government ultimately relies on self-governance. What are some of the properties of this mechanism? Its purpose is to sustain its members, rather than aid either outsiders or those who would disrupt it. (A wagon train does not aim at helping the Indians, nor supporting the desires of some members at the expense of others.) The application to America is straightforward. Our government is to protect the rights of its citizenry, as well as our civilization, rather than to aid foreign nationals or immigrants. To do so, it must survive and consequently be funded.

Anarchists cannot refute this by focusing on the faults of government, for such a case would apply across the board to mankind itself, including art & science. Rather they would have to show that either there is no need for any defense mechanism, or that there is a better way to defend than by using force.

My view is that the reason anarchy is associated with violence (e.g., bomb-throwers) is that the experience of attempting to bring it about (by peaceful means) demonstrates its infeasibility. Consequently, rather than reject the pretense that man can be fully rational and faultlessly moral, and that this would suffice to cement a society, the recourse becomes extreme. Note that for anarchy to be established, it must gain the acceptance of the existing society. Since this society is itself based on force, the anarchist establishment contains the same failings it criticizes government for, namely the requirement for coercion.

Zorg August 14, 2010 at 3:55 pm

“My position against anarchism.”

It may be your position, but what you are “against” here is not
the anarchism being proffered by anarcho-capitalists. These are
all straw man arguments you give. You really need to study and learn
more. You cannot criticize something that you can’t even describe
correctly. Anyone familiar with this stuff will see right through the
smokescreen you are sending up.

Also, you are not understanding Mises’ position correctly. You can
probably find Kinsella’s article on Mises and anarchism if you google the
terms. Hoppe also brings out Mises’ view more clearly in Democracy – The
God That Failed. The basic point is that Mises believed in the right of
peaceful secession. Any acceptance of peaceful secession through
existing democratic means is, essentially, the principle of anarchism.

Lincoln made this argument (for the other side) and concluded that
secession *was* anarchy, simply because once the principle is admitted for
one group it must be applied to all. The devolution of political power is
unavoidable as long as the principle is adhered to.

Clearly, you don’t even understand the arguments. You say, “Any group
(nation or country) needs a defense mechanism against aggression,” and then
conclude with “Anarchists cannot refute this by focusing on the faults of government.”
Well, lo and behold, anarchists don’t deny the need for mechanisms to deal with
aggression. They deny that a *monopoly* is either needed or justified for this
purpose – ever. So you are not even getting the point in the first place.

michael August 17, 2010 at 1:54 am

“An anarchist society would be exposed to the mercy of every individual. Society cannot exist if the majority is not ready to hinder, by the application or threat of violent action, minorities from destroying the social order. This power is vested in the state of government…The state is essentially an institution for the preservation of peaceful inter-human relations. However, for the preservation of peace it must be prepared to crush the onslaughts of peace-breakers”, ‘Human Action’ p.149.
Society cannot do without a social apparatus of coercion and compulsion, i.e. without state and government. The Anti-Capitalist Mentality, p. 90.
There are people who call government an evil, although a necessary evil. However, what is needed in order to attain a definite end must not be called an evil…Government may even be called the most beneficial of all earthly institutions as without it no peaceful human cooperation, no civilization and no moral life would be possible. Economic Freedom and Interventionism, p. 57.
Anarchism misunderstands the real nature of man. Liberalism, pp. 36-7.

It’s funny how when I say that, everyone tells me I’m full of crap. But when Allen quotes Mises as saying that, all you can say is that he misunderstands Mises.

It looks like he’s saying it plainly enough to be understood quite clearly. Anarchy is a lack of effective government and doesn’t work. Minarchy, as you describe it, is something little different. It’s a societal condition where Joe has his vision of justice, Bill has another and Sam a third. Boy, nothing could EVER go wrong with that plan.

Matthew Swaringen August 14, 2010 at 4:29 pm

Allen:

Question, have you seen any debates with Stefan Molyneaux online? You may be a committed minarchist, but I didn’t like the idea of anarchy either. It adds so much uncertainty until you start thinking of ways that different state apparatus and institutions can be replaced.

I’d highly suggest watching some of the Molyneaux debates or looking at his material on this matter. He goes into why your “government A” and “government B” (what we’d call DROs or “Dispute Resolution Organizations”) have every reason to work together, just as in most market circumstances we see market competitors create interoperability/etc.

The market naturally tends towards cooperation, even during stiff competition. This is the core reason that you are just wrong about the way interactions would work between the competing agencies. In reality the DRO A and DRO B would have to honor each others decisions or go to a 3rd party independent arbitration on disagreements. Their customers would never stand for gang warfare of the type you are probably imagining. Just think about how you would sell your DRO service to your own customers, and what challenges they might provide to you.

I thought it was interesting you talked about “government” A and B here, because there is no reason you won’t have these types of disputes with governments. We have them all the time, but rather than customers being able to “vote with their wallet” on which government they want they are forced from birth into the one that happens to rule the land where they reside.

The disputes between governments are resolved arbitrarily, even irrationally, because just as with everything else government has no effective method for associating the dispute with a price/cost. But with DROs, if you screw up and get into a gang war and piss off your customers, you lost financial backing and are out.

Dave Doctor August 14, 2010 at 5:02 pm

I have one quibble. Robert says he will maintain “ordered anarchy, rather than a free-for-all involving name-calling” in the discussions, thereby implying anarchy is disordered.

Allen Weingarten August 14, 2010 at 5:47 pm

Zorg: When you say that I have given “straw man arguments…need to study and learn more” these are ad hominem statements, rather than specific counter arguments. Note that even if my shortcomings were absolute, one could make those statements against Newton’s Principia, since no substance is provided by them.
Now you do say that my quotes of Mises lack understanding. But quotes state his position, not mine. Perhaps you are saying that Mises lacks understanding when he made those quotes. If so, a substantive argument would be a different quote by Mises that contradicts the ones I provided. The fact that he (and I) believe in peaceful secession is not a counter argument to the quotes given.
When you can provide arguments, and acknowledge quotes, I will be pleased to respond to them. (As an aside, my argument was not that anarchists do not use aggression to respond to aggression, but that without a monopoly, it lacks the glue for a country to do so successfully.)

Matthew, I have not seen the debates to which you refer. Perhaps you can (instead of saying I am wrong) answer Ayn Rand’s view that the agencies would conflict. You have assumed a market relation between agencies, but *market relations have only been stable because there has been a government to keep them on target*. What happens when neither DRO A, DRO B, nor a 3rd party, are willing to settle, but prefer to fight? Isn’t that precisely what fiefdoms, war lords, and other separate powers did, before they joined to form a government? I don’t require that women do or do not have abortions. Do you believe however that when DRO A says that women have that right, while DRO B says that the practice is murder, that these agencies will submit to the jurisdiction of a third party?
Now I do not deny that governments settle their differences by force, and either are able to do so, or will lose. The problem with separate parties within a country is that they lack the power to compete with a united government (whatever faults those governments have).

Matthew Swaringen August 14, 2010 at 9:02 pm

“Matthew, I have not seen the debates to which you refer. Perhaps you can (instead of saying I am wrong) answer Ayn Rand’s view that the agencies would conflict.”
I have done that. I have explained that if you look at other market interactions in any other industry that the desire to please customers creates a need for cooperation and interoperability. No customer is going to buy the service of a DRO that’s going to act like a gang anymore than they are going to deal with an internet service provider that doesn’t allow access to 3rd party networks.

” You have assumed a market relation between agencies, but *market relations have only been stable because there has been a government to keep them on target*.”
I’m not assuming because there are examples of markets functioning with little government intervention and we had the greatest period of economic growth during those times (18th century US/Britain) Are you saying that everywhere there has been no government that market relations are unstable? Doesn’t this imply we need an even bigger government for more stability, yet I know that you aren’t michael. You know this doesn’t work. Government stifles relationships and trade, it doesn’t create the atmosphere for them. People do these things out of their nature.

“What happens when neither DRO A, DRO B, nor a 3rd party, are willing to settle, but prefer to fight? Isn’t that precisely what fiefdoms, war lords, and other separate powers did, before they joined to form a government?”
Isn’t it what war lords/etc who formed government continued to do after? I haven’t seen war go away. On the contrary, the state has only made larger wars and killed more people than ever. Democracies themselves have perpetrated exterminations of peoples and forced migrations and all manner of other evils.

As for DROs, unlike warlords these are businesses that function for profit. They cannot profit without consumers, and their other customers, investors, etc aren’t going to stand for gang warfare against another DRO. I’m not avoiding your question here, I just don’t think it’s realistic. You are implying that investors, banks, and customers are going to suddenly all go crazy and be fine with some rogue DRO attacking another. That’s not the case. Given anarchy, the last thing anyone would want is some rogue DRO attempting to conquer others. Their funds would be frozen, they would lose customers, etc.

“I don’t require that women do or do not have abortions. Do you believe however that when DRO A says that women have that right, while DRO B says that the practice is murder, that these agencies will submit to the jurisdiction of a third party?”
Certainly, how many people do you see killing others over abortion? I’m pro-life myself (I’m very understanding of other view points, I just happen to think conception defines human potentiality better than any other point and see birth as extremely arbitrary).

It just doesn’t happen often, people want to impose their will but they are only willing to pay so much to do that. I foresee communities handling agreements like having no abortions through contract if it bothers them a great deal. And yes, if someone violates those contracts I think they should be penalized, and I think even pro-choice DROs would not be ok with people violating contract.

“Now I do not deny that governments settle their differences by force, and either are able to do so, or will lose. The problem with separate parties within a country is that they lack the power to compete with a united government (whatever faults those governments have).”

I’m not denying this point here. Insofar as government has the consent of a significant amount of the governed, and those who disagree with it are small enough that they can’t compete against the government, obviously it can attempt to prevent anarchistic societies, trade, drug use, and any other number of things (as well as steal via taxation and redistribute the money to others).

Anarchism will definitely require a bit more convincing of people that government doesn’t work. But given where I think modern societies are headed, I think it’s not impossible. I’m a little skeptical myself on that point. I’m no huge optimist on that matter but I also am not an optimist for a return of minarchist government either!

Allen Weingarten August 15, 2010 at 6:15 am

Matthew, again, you are referring to market interactions that take place under a government, with a common legal system. Once there is a government the market can operate, but that does not show it does so when there isn’t one. You respond that “there are examples of markets functioning with *little* government intervention…”. That is fine, and it is best to have the minimum amount necessary. However, it is akin to arguing that a woman was only a little bit pregnant, as though there were no man needed.

“Are you saying that everywhere there has been no government that market relations are unstable? Doesn’t this imply we need an even bigger government for more stability…?”
For sufficiently small enterprises, self-government suffices, but *for common relations across a country, a system of law is required*. That doesn’t mean that we need more government, for government has far exceeded its size and role. It is not that government creates virtue, but only that it restricts aggression. We probably agree that the greatest aggression for the past century has been that by governments. I would add that it would have been better for Germany to have had anarchy than to have had Nazism, and better for many Islamic countries to have anarchy than to have government. Once government engages in more aggression than it prevents, it is worse than anarchy because it has comprehensive power. (Similarly, there are times when the medical profession does more harm than good, where people are better off without its treatment.)

Your answer regarding abortion is that people aren’t killing one another over it. We agree, but let us note that *this is when we have a government, where it is against the law to do so*. You are again assuming that such would be the case, were there no government. Perhaps you believe that the conflicts between Muslims and non-Muslims would not be bloody throughout the world under anarchy, because it is not economically viable to have those murders?

You say that you do not want a “return of minarchist government”. How about a government whose function is to protect our inalienable rights, and not intervene in our culture or our economy?

Peter Surda August 15, 2010 at 11:19 am

Matthew, again, you are referring to market interactions that take place under a government, with a common legal system.

This is, in my opinion, one of the major fallacies of anti-anarchy arguments. It ignores international trade, which does not operate under one government. In fact, the existence of multiple countries per se is a refutation of the claim that a common legal system is necessary.

Allen Weingarten August 15, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Peter, as you say, international trade does not operate under a common government. I do not deny that an anarchist community can engage in trade. Yet note that when governments have disputes, such as having their property or resources taken from them, they employ sufficient force to defend themselves (or else lose out). An anarchist country could not defend its trade for the same reason that it cannot defend against foreign aggression, namely it lacks the monopoly power of government.

Peter Surda August 16, 2010 at 5:12 pm

Yet note that when governments have disputes, such as having their property or resources taken from them, they employ sufficient force to defend themselves (or else lose out).

Yes, a government, when threatened in its power, defends itself. Primarily if it feels threatened by the very people it claims to be protected. Also against other governments. Such issues however do not arise so much between citizens of different states. Or, to rephrase it better, they are usually not solved by violence.

An anarchist country could not defend its trade for the same reason that it cannot defend against foreign aggression, namely it lacks the monopoly power of government.

This is a non sequitur. It can, of course, happen, that an underpowered defender succumbs to an overpowered attacker. It does not follow though that this accurately reflects the state vs. non-state situation. Theorists have addressed this problem in books already. Apart from a simple comparison of force, you need to consider other aspects of warfare, such as sabotage, propaganda, all the good old cloak and dagger methods, bribery, all kinds of economic measures, and others. And don’t forget the nukes.

I think the main reason why we don’t see full fledged anarchy is simply that there is an insufficient number of anarchists. People accept anarchy in all kinds of everyday activities, but have come to believe the “noble lie” with relationship to other activities.

Olive Branch August 14, 2010 at 9:16 pm
Allen Weingarten August 15, 2010 at 6:30 am

“That Mises, at least in theory, believed in the right of individual secession and therefore came close to anarchism can also be seen in his description of liberalism, that “it forces no one against his will into the structure of the State.” ”

I concur that the individual should not be forced into the state, and that communities have the right to secede. It is just that when they do so they will lack the power to survive. Isn’t it instructive that no libertarian, Objectivist, Misesian, or anarchist community, has been able to establish itself on some territory?

Matthew Swaringen August 15, 2010 at 11:52 am

It’s instructive insofar as it means we know states seek their own power and will use force to make people recognize it within their territorial borders, regardless of the peaceful nature of opposition.

I don’t know that it has any meaning for whether or not anarchy or minarchy works though. It’s extraordinarily difficult to make powerful and large regimes smaller. That isn’t, however, a sign that those large and powerful regimes work for increasing human prosperity.

Allen Weingarten August 15, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Matthew, you say that anarchist societies have been unable to be formed because states employ force to stop them. Yes, and that same process is why anarchist regimes will not work, because those states will use that same force against them. The society can be as peaceful and idealistic as possible, but *to be survivable requires competitive force*. As a matter of fact, it would take less force to form an anarchist society than to defend it. That is because an anarchist commune within America would not have to defend against foreign powers, but once it was sovereign could be attacked by anyone.

And I have never suggested that “those large and powerful regimes work for increasing human prosperity”

Prevalent One August 17, 2010 at 6:21 am

Can’t native tribes and the Amish in America be viewed as Anarchist Societies? Ways to exist and survive include non-mixing and expelling violators. Widely alternate social customs and economic methods and separate language are helpful, just to name a few.

A good way for Libertarian Anarchists to diverge from their various oppressive societies would be to form a common language, alphabet, and countless unique “shiboleths” to keep the heathen collectivists blasphemes at bay. We could synthesize an American language based on North American Native pictographs and Robert Heinlein novels. TANSTAAFL, anarchy requires additional effort to overcome the dominant archy and its destructive entropic effect.

damocles August 14, 2010 at 6:53 pm

Sounds all very ivory tower to me, kind of like some of my Harvard professors. Factually, no group of people in history has had freedom from the thuggish state without a willingness to fight for it with any and all weapons available. Where does this fact fit into the lecture?

Matthew Swaringen August 14, 2010 at 9:06 pm

Well damocles, I think that “getting to anarchy” is probably outside the scope of the class. Obviously that will require a great deal of proof to many people that government has utterly failed. Many of us know this, that’s why most anarchists started out as minarchists. We also knew then as minarchists that getting the government small and “back to the constitution” or whatever, was extraordinarily difficult.

pbergn August 15, 2010 at 4:06 pm

Private Law, Private Army, Private Police?!!
Who’s gonna stop them from not liking you? Who’s gonna dare to say they are bad?
Don’t you see a conflict of interestt here?! What a lot of nonsense!

The richest guy will own everything and everybody lock, stock and barrel, period!
The richest cartel or goffather figure will become de facto totalitarian State all the libertarians are so abhore…

I find it very ironic that anarcho-capitalists do not see what would happen if their wish was granted…

One can’t predict how the “free” private world would look like? How about rivalling gangs on the streets or mafia wars? Does it ring a bell?!

The State is nothing else but the extentin of the dominant military-political group based on whatever affiliation – blood-line, clan, race, etc…

Fallon August 15, 2010 at 4:30 pm

pbergn,

There are many objections to your claims. I will mention one. It is that the economic calculation argument applies in all cases. All organizations are constrained, not merely by external market competition, but by each’s internal ability to ascertain opportunity costs in natural price terms. Organizations can grow too fat and blind to their own inefficiency and become ripe for dethroning. The question then becomes: Is there among a populace a general abhorrence for political monopoly and an acceptance of market relations? What society is perceived to be becomes self-reinforcing. The substance of ideology informs action.

Fallon August 15, 2010 at 4:31 pm

ps. or were you being ironic, pbergn?

Prevalent One August 16, 2010 at 7:54 am

The first step to a completely free society, here in America, is tangible Libertarian legislation and creation of a Libertarian body to focus attacks and rebuffs against the Leviathan government. I.E. a constitutional amendment.

The 28th ammendment can also be called the Tea Party ammendment. The crafting, orgainization, and passing of this amendment will be nothing less than the start of a new republic. Until this amendment is proposed by both houses, or 33 states call for a constitutional convention, I hope every incumbent is voted out, every election, among many other acts of patriotism.

This amendment includes a 8 year lifetime employment limit for all federal workers. It establishes a 2/3 majority requirement for all bills and laws to be passed. It declares all laws and regulations to be repealed unless they are proven to apply equally to public and private citizens. It decrees that all laws and regulations expire every 8 years.

It establishes a house of repeal. Each states tea party sends 1 representative to this new house. Every 2 weeks, the people can vote by direct national ballot to repeal any law, regulation, agency, or federal employee (elected or unelected) by a 1/3 or greater vote. These votes would become effective 2 weeks after tallying.

Whatever Government atrocity or infringement you wish to put an end to, this is your chance to create the mechanism to make it a reality.

Allen Weingarten August 16, 2010 at 9:59 am

“This amendment includes a 8 year lifetime employment limit for all federal workers. It establishes a 2/3 majority requirement for all bills and laws to be passed. It declares all laws and regulations to be repealed unless they are proven to apply equally to public and private citizens.”Prevalent One: as long as you are addressing an advanced position, why not include ‘isonomy’ namely ‘equal rights for all, special privileges for none.’

Prevalent One August 17, 2010 at 6:05 am

Good Question. From what I just read on Wikipedia, that looks to be a Platonic dead-end. Creating an ideal by fiat greater than exists in reality is a statist fools errand that never materializes. I’m simply saying belonging to government can get you no additional immunity or privilege not granted to private citizens. You can’t profit from your position of authority. A Senator gets limited, contractually enumerated: pay, fringe benefits, perks, no more no less than a private employee. It would be similar to things an athlete cannot be offered nor accept if the spirit of competition and undue influence is to be preserved.It appears Hayek is speaking positively of Isonomia in “Origins of the Rule of Law”, this term later degenerated into the English concept of platonically ideal “isonomy” http://lamar.colostate.edu/~grjan/hayekrulelaw.htmlI support the concept of Isonomia. To me Isonomia’s most significant effect is that majority vote does not trump the rule of law. You have to spell out all the rules explicitly in advance, you can’t just have a show of hands to agree that America needs to bomb Afghanistan or SWAT teams need to kick down suspected drug users doors and deploy flashbangs to conduct search warrants. Not having a specific law to support every state action means Americans live under mob rule, no better than Russia, China, Iran, or Somalia IMHO.

JAlanKatz August 22, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Yes, that will fix the problem…more ‘damn pieces of paper.’

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