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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/21154/many-americans-dont-pay-income-tax-is-this-a-bad-thing/

Many Americans don’t pay income tax. Is this a bad thing?

February 24, 2012 by

Last week, the Heritage Foundation published commentary on the number of Americans who pay income tax, and decried the fact that 49.5 percent of Americans are “not represented on a taxable return.” The Daily Mail then picked up the statistics and announced that “HALF of Americans don’t pay income tax despite crippling government debt.”

To its credit, the body of the Heritage post began with a reference to the “the sharp increase of Americans who rely on the federal government for housing, food, income, student aid or other assistance.” The emphasis of the piece, however, and thus, the emphasis of the other news outlets and pundits who have picked up on the statistic, is that too few people pay taxes.

The increase in reliance on government assistance is the problem here, not a lack of people who pay income tax.

Yet, it has become something of a right-wing talking point to claim that a declining number of taxpayers among some income groups is a nefarious development in American history.

The emphasis on the lack of taxpayers is getting the whole issue backward. The problem is the increase of income from government transfer payments. There is nothing bad whatsoever about fewer people paying income taxes.

The Conservative obsession with getting people to pay more in taxes comes from a preoccupation with class warfare in which it is assumed that if middle-class and wealthy people are paying too much in taxes (which they are), then the solution is to punish low-income people by making them pay more in taxes. It’s allegedly not “fair” if everyone is not being extorted by the state in a similar fashion.

The just solution, however, is to greatly decrease the tax burden of those paying taxes now. In a recent NPR interview, Ron Paul nicely summed up what is actually “fair”:

MR. SIEGEL: This week’s release of Mitt Romney’s taxes and President Obama’s advocacy of a millionaire’s tax raise questions about fairness in funding the government. The first question: Do you believe that income derived from dividends interest or capital gains should be taxed at a lower rate than income earned from a salary or commissions?

REP. PAUL: Well, I’d like to have everybody taxed at the same rate, and of course, my goal is to get as close to zero as possible, because there was a time in our history when we didn’t have income taxes. But when government takes it upon themselves to do so much, you have to have a tax code. But if you’re going to be the policemen of the world and run all these wars, you have to have a tax code. But as far as what the rates should be, I think it should be as low as possible for – for everybody.

It’s a safe bet that Siegel’s underlying assumption behind the question is that in order to make taxes fair, then anyone who is paying a tax bill that is too “low” should therefore have his taxes raised.

The opposite is true, as noted by Paul.

So, when Conservatives get bent out of shape about some people not paying tax, the response should be to demand lower taxes for everyone, not to complain that people aren’t paying their “fair share,” which seems to be the Conservative sentiment.

We might also note that this statistic apparently only applies to income taxes. It says nothing about payroll taxes, which for many middle-class people is by far the largest part of one’s monthly tax bill. Any teenager with his first job notices just how much those payroll taxes take out of one’s paycheck. So, to claim that people aren’t paying taxes simply because they’re not paying income tax is rather disingenuous. Since there’s no such thing as a Social Security or Medicare trust fund, payroll taxes are really just income taxes under another name.

Also, any demand for more taxation is really just a demand for increased government revenue. It’s a call for more money so government can bomb more people, bail out more banks and spread around more largesse to politically well-connected friends.

So, the focus on whether or not “enough” people are paying taxes completely misses the point. The larger point is that far too many Americans receive government benefits. Indeed, recent increases in income as measured by the BLS, reflect increases in government transfer payments, as I’ve shown here.

Ludwig von Mises wrote in Bureaucracy that a system in which a majority of the population is dependent on the government dole leads to an unstable political and economic situation, since a majority of the population then has a vested interest in increasing the power of government to redistribute wealth. While the Heritage article makes some comments in this vein, it nevertheless makes the claim that “The rapid growth of Americans who don’t pay income taxes is particularly alarming for the fate of the American form of government.” Really? By that logic, “the American form of government” would be in danger if the income tax were abolished. Oh, how did America ever survive prior to the 16th Amendment?

There is no doubt that the growth in dependency on government largesse is a serious problem, but that doesn’t mean that any American pays too little in taxes. It simply means that the government spends too much money.

The Conservative reaction to this statistic, however, seem to be: “Hey, those guys aren’t being taxed! Tax them!” This is hardly a phrase that should be uttered by anyone who claims to be for limited government.

{ 176 comments }

J Cortez February 24, 2012 at 2:08 pm

“HALF of Americans don’t pay income tax despite crippling government debt.”

Man, that’s bad news. Let’s try to get that number down to zero.

Collin Knight February 24, 2012 at 2:21 pm

We hear this argument in many forms from all sides of the political spectrum. The 1% don’t pay enough or the poor don’t, here in Canada the Native Indians are exempt from income tax and everyone else complains that they should have too. Libertarians know that NO taxes can be paid by the those who are paid by taxes and all the taxes in society fall on those individuals who don’t receive government income.

Phinn February 24, 2012 at 3:07 pm

The Conservative obsession with getting people to pay more in taxes comes from a preoccupation with class warfare in which it is assumed that if middle-class and wealthy people are paying too much in taxes (which they are), then the solution is to punish low-income people by making them pay more in taxes. It’s allegedly not “fair” if everyone is not being extorted by the state in a similar fashion.

The reason conservatives argue this way is that they’ve abandoned all of the better arguments — that income taxation is inherently evil and indefensible.

Ever since 1913, whatever the voters decide with regard to direct taxation is acceptable.

So, conservatives have very little room to stand on. They must resort to arguing that outright confiscation, while acceptable morally, is a bad idea economically. That a tax rate of 30% is somehow qualitatively different than a tax rate of 40% or 70%. As though there’s some operative principle that backs them up.

They are left with no choice but to argue that when 51% of the voting population votes themselves a fat redistribution of wealth from the 49%, they are voting in bad faith.

Libertarian Jerry February 24, 2012 at 4:46 pm

What the many of the readers of this article don’t realize is 3 basic things. 1st. The income Tax, on the Federal level,only makes up about 38% of what the Federal Government takes in in taxes. The other 62% is made up of Corporate taxes,Tariffs,Payroll taxes,fees,value added taxes,borrowing plus a variety of other sources of revenue. 2nd. The Income Tax is a device,used by the central bank(Federal Reserve) to collect the interest on it’s debt based currency. In other words the IRS is basically a collection agency for the Federal Reserve Bank. 3rd. The problem is not in the revenue area but in the spending area. If the Federal Government would cut spending by say 50% in real terms,there wouldn’t be any need to have an income tax nor a large National Debt. Arguing about who pays and what method of payment is instituted is a waste of time. Only when the Federal Government returns to the chains of the Constitution and is limited to its basic functions will there be any meaningful changes. Unfortunately, the chances of this happening is slim to none,and none just left town.

Mark Young February 25, 2012 at 6:40 am

“Unfortunately, the chances of this happening is slim to none,and none just left town.”
I believe that slim just left town.

Just my thoughts,
Mark Young

Ned Netterville February 25, 2012 at 10:37 am

The Constitution was never useful to the cause of liberty, If it was effective in reigning in government we wouldn’t be where we are today. In the beginning it sanctioned slavery, and it still sanctions tax slavery. Indeed, it can be argued that it glorifies taxation for it places no practical, enforceable limits on government spending, which is just another word for taxation.

Wildberry February 25, 2012 at 3:19 pm

Ned,
Talk about getting it wrong.

The Constitution is not an actor, those under its soveign authority are. The point is it CAN be effective in reigning in government if properly availed of its authority. This is the fundamental argument of follks like Ron Paul. You speak as if you expected it to be some form or “magic pill”. If that is the case, you are a prime target for weight loss pills, low T, etc.

Limits on spending and taxation are political questions. As was slavery. We got that one right, eventually. We have yet to reach the proper result on taxing and spending. However, establishing the governed’s rights to make the political policy is a good thing. Sorry.

That leave us of course, with the question of what is the best policy. We have not chosen that path, IMHO, but we COULD under the rights insured by the Constitution. That fact that we haven’t says more about the governed than the Constitution under which we are governed.

Dagnytg February 25, 2012 at 7:02 pm

Wildberry,

The Constitution is not an actor, those under its sovereign authority are.

Who’s under its sovereign authority? I don’t recall Ned and I being asked if we wanted to join.

The Wikipedia description of sovereignty is interesting though:

“It can be found in a power to rule and make law that rests on a political fact for which no purely legal explanation can be provided. In theoretical terms, the idea… of “sovereignty”, has always necessitated a moral imperative on the entity exercising it” [emphasis added]

Thus, we can conclude “sovereign authority” (you so dearly uphold) has no legal basis and its moral basis comes from those who enforce it which is another way of saying…might makes right.

The fact that we haven’t says more about the governed than the Constitution under which we are governed.

True…and that is the problem. The Constitution is nothing more than a piece of paper with no legal basis; with its interpretation and enforcement empowered to men. When men are empowered over others, you end up where we are today (violence, wars, prisons, class envy, hate, mistrust, poverty, corruption…)

Your conclusion supports the foundation of anarcho-libertarianism – men are incapable of governing.

Why do you ignore your own conclusion?

Wildberry February 25, 2012 at 7:43 pm

Dagnytg,

You weren’t asked if your parents were OK with you either. So? We are born into the world, and we adapt or change it. Both options are open to you. What else do we owe you?

Yes, I can agree with your source; sovereignty depends upon the power, and therefore the authority to rule. Ideally, it stems from ongoing consent. If you don’t’ consent, stop whining and take action. Many peoples have won their freedom throughout history. What’s stopping you?

Your analysis is lacking. You completely ignore the meaning of the word “authority”; in this context authority to govern within the jurisdiction of the sovereign. That does not come from nowhere.

If you like, it may come from might. Certainly there are plenty of historical examples of conquest. But if you have been reading what I’ve posted here today, you know that I believe that “consent of the governed” through a democratic process is superior to armed insurrection. I only know of three options; persuasion, coercion, or abandonment/surrender. Choose your weapon.

By the way, the moral basis is another way of saying consent. The concept being described here, I think, is that the government, on any level, has a moral duty to the governed. If that breaks down, the government ceases to govern with consent. Thus my reference to Syria.

You and those who think like you are simply wrong. The constitution is a document with the force of law behind it. Laws are the product of men, (I prefer humans) so what do you expect? Who do you want to be governed by, robots? The principle is so simple, I don’t understand how you get it all twisted up.

Free people have a right to organized themselves into societies; organizations of cooperating humans. These societies have God given rights (i.e. they do not emanate by grant of government) including to govern themselves. This is the proper way to understand what the Constitution is and what it is and does.

There is no doubt that reasonable people can disagree with some of the interpretations that have followed over the 200+ years of governance. I think the commerce clause has been raped. But that by no means implies that the Constitution is meaningless or impotent. Far from it. But like the human brain, we get by with only using a small percentage of its power.

Your ultimate conclusion, no offense, it utter nonsense. If men are not capable of governing, then how can you claim to govern yourself? What is the meaning of individual liberty if men are not capable of it?

Ancap, or your preferred anarcho-liberalism is a fantasy based on a utopian dream, where men are angles and none are hungry or cold. Welcome to planet Earth.

Wildberry February 26, 2012 at 1:13 pm

Ned,
I understand your point, but I disagree. As I said before, you are not born to your parents and subject to their authority because you consented in the womb. We are born into the situation that exists. At the time of my birth, the sovereignty of the constitutional government existed. My freedom is to accept it,, change it, or reject it, each of which has consequences and obligations.

Your free will is that of choosing the consequences you are willing to endure for your liberty.

I see you are a Christian. Isn’t that a fundamental tenet of the Christian faith? The free will to chose salvation?

ned@jesus-on-taxes.com February 25, 2012 at 9:46 pm

Wildberry, thanks for your reply.

Wild, you said: “The Constitution is not an actor, those under its soveign authority are. The point is it CAN be effective in reigning in government if properly availed of its authority.”

What authority? You really must read Larken Rose’s small book, THE MOST DANGEROUS SUPERSTITION. The point is, if you have not voluntarily and individually given the Constitution and the government it created authority over you, sovereign or otherwise, than neither it nor the government can legitimately exercise authority over you. If one submits to government authority without the government first obtaining that person’s consent, he or she certainly cannot pretend to be free nor even to own oneself.

Wild: “You speak as if you expected it to be some form or “magic pill”. If that is the case, you are a prime target for weight loss pills, low T, etc.”

You clearly misread my comment, or perhaps I didn’t make myself clear. I expect nothing of the Constitution nor the government it created. I didn’t sign it nor do I sign on to the myth of its authority. But to tell the truth, I do take Lipton for both low and high T, although for a change I’ll take Lapsang Souchong occasionally.

Wild: “That fact that we haven’t says more about the governed than the Constitution under which we are governed.”

Not really, although I suppose a race of superhuman beings might arguably abide by its provisions.

Ken February 24, 2012 at 9:31 pm

I’m happy to say that my taxable status is zero, and that is indeed a fair tax rate.

GW February 24, 2012 at 9:32 pm

Lib. Jerry makes a good point, but it ends up being irrelevent. Like it or not, the government does have the constitutional authority to tax income. Until there is a grassroots effort to repeal the 16th amendment, what we have is a less-than-perfect system.

Why shouldn’t conservatives argue for a low-rate, broad-based income tax system, given the 16th amendment? It isn’t a waste of time to argue about “who pays what.” I’d rather pay 15% than 30%, even if this does nothing to reduce the size of the government. But considering those that pay 0% get just as much a vote as those that pay 30%, they too should pay into the system which provides services they overwhelmingly receive.

Fiscal conservatism isn’t perfect, but it isn’t naive. Government exists, like it or not, and it isn’t within the realm of human nature for society to set up a libertarian utopia. A “Fair Tax” system is preferrable to the system we have now.

Richie February 24, 2012 at 11:27 pm

and it isn’t within the realm of human nature for society to set up a libertarian utopia.

But you trust that same human nature to keep from abusing the power granted to individuals that can kill with impunity. Minarchists are the ones dreaming of a utopia.

Inquisitor February 25, 2012 at 7:47 am

“Government exists, like it or not, and it isn’t within the realm of human nature for society to set up a libertarian utopia.”

Nonsense. Even if you argue for the necessity of law (and thus “government”), it need not be provided by a state. States are atrocious providers of nearly every service the provide. They never aim to supply any goods or services but solely exist to maximise the power at the hand of their beneficiaries, i.e. politicians, rulers and any connected interests. As close to 0 is the ideal tax objective.

Wildberry February 25, 2012 at 3:38 pm

GW,

I agree. I note that to Richie’s point, you have said nothing about trusting human nature.

The question is a political one; can we humans truly understand and consequently act in our own self-interest? If the only thing on the table is “can I get more free stuff through self-serving taxing and spending powers of government”, then as the percentages shift towards majority in the affirmative, we are sunk. That is the precipice we are approaching, or perhaps we have arrived.

Lower taxes means smaller government. So in this regard I agree with Ron Paul; the lower the better. It is not just personal income tax either. The ability of the federal government to be so pervasive must be reversed and controlled by the governed. There is no magic pill that is going to deliver that outcome.

So if a policy results in less money going to Washington, as in the old joke asking what is 1,000 lawyers at the bottom of the sea, it is a good start.

Phinn February 24, 2012 at 10:03 pm

Like it or not, the government does have the constitutional authority to tax income.

Like it or not, the Constitution is a nullity. It has no authority whatsoever. They set it aside when and where they want.

But even if they followed it to the letter, it would still be a nullity. No one has the power to impose a regime on anyone else. I have a constitution of my own, written in crayon and posted on my bathroom wall, and it has as much authority in this world as the one in Washington, D.C.

The government is a mafia racket, and it’s convinced everyone that it’s somehow legitimate.

Feel free to waste your time and energy trying to convince a corrupt organization that 29% income taxation is acceptable but 30% is an outrage.

If you think you can reform the US government into a minarchist, night watchman organization, here’s a thought experiment for you — you’d have more success trying to infiltrate the Russian mob and persuading them to become a charity for widows and orphans.

Ned Netterville February 25, 2012 at 10:41 am

Right on, Phinn, My sentiments exactly.

Wildberry February 25, 2012 at 4:16 pm

To the two birds of a feather, Phinn and Ned,

Like it or not, the Constitution is a nullity. It has no authority whatsoever. They set it aside when and where they want.

Who is “they”? Are you saying you have no culpability for the current situation? I thought so…you didn’t sign on the dotted line when you were born, right?

But even if they followed it to the letter, it would still be a nullity. No one has the power to impose a regime on anyone else. I have a constitution of my own, written in crayon and posted on my bathroom wall, and it has as much authority in this world as the one in Washington, D.C.

This is quite a declaration of independence, worthy of crayons. Unfortunately the people with guns and police and courts that YOU HIRED think and act differently. Lucky for you (and the rest of us) we don’t need to raise an armed insurrection to defeat them.

The government is a mafia racket, and it’s convinced everyone that it’s somehow legitimate.

I agree in part, government is a racket. But the important part is your second point. How did it convince everyone, and why did we fall for it? If we didn’t fall for it what would we have instead. Is that vision, whatever it is, prohibited by our form of government, and/or the Constitution?

Feel free to waste your time and energy trying to convince a corrupt organization that 29% income taxation is acceptable but 30% is an outrage.

I don’t think this is relevant. That is the Kinsella style of argumentation. You are saying that any amount of taxation is arbitrary. Is that your point?

How do you manage your personal budget? If you are building a house, do you build what you want, figure how much money you have, and steal the difference? Or do you figure out what you have and build what you can afford. Or do you figure out what you want, and then work to obtain it? Do you see a difference? It’s not really that difficult, is it?

If you think you can reform the US government into a minarchist, night watchman organization, here’s a thought experiment for you — you’d have more success trying to infiltrate the Russian mob and persuading them to become a charity for widows and orphans.

Let’s follow your experiment a little further than simply jumping to the conclusion you like. If you were limited to persuasion (is that your premise?) then a Russian mob would be acting as they please, and your only weapon would be their self-interest. In your premise the use of force is assumed away either by you or the victims, but not by the Russians? (“mob” seems to imply not). In that case, might makes right, and you are powerless as are the victims, by presumption.

If you presumed instead your goal was to stop them from killing widows and orphans, does that change anything?

If any means were available (which assumes everyone is both subject to and capable of force, a fair assumption), how would you decide what is best, and how would you propose doing it? Your choices are persuasion or coercion. Other than abandoning your goal, what other choices are there? I see which you choose. You choose to imagine a world where such difficult choices are not necessary. If you really believe widows and orphans need help, and the only ones that can do it is the Russian mob, (the premise of your experiment), then what is the “legitimate” course of action? The only option available to NAPsters like you is to let them perish. After all, the Russians didn’t aggress against you, right?

We have what we have; the Constitution, 2012, planet Earth, and humans. That is what you have to work with, not some fantasy world where difficult choices are not necessary. I prefer a slightly more heroic position, and assume those widows and orphans are worth saving. The question is how?

Welcome to the real world.

Claudius Etruscus February 24, 2012 at 10:52 pm

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Ned Netterville February 25, 2012 at 10:43 am

Troll!

W. Craven February 24, 2012 at 11:48 pm

You folks are referencing conservatives in your blogging, you should be using Neo-Conservatives.

Agrippa February 25, 2012 at 6:27 am

Joe Sobran was the last of the conservatives, and look what his fate was.

Lee Fox February 25, 2012 at 10:27 am

*sighs*

Again, a Mises blogger makes assertions so detached from reality that it obliterates any point they may have been trying to make.

For example:

“” The Conservative obsession with getting people to pay more in taxes comes from a preoccupation with class warfare “”

That is absolute, utter nonsense and it makes all the other conclusions they arrive at suspect, at best.

Anybody paying attention can cite unending evidence that it is the progressives that are obsessed with class warfare and making sure taxes stay high.

It is Conservatives that want to Lower taxes for Everyone and to shrink government back to its proper role of the protection of Life, Liberty, and Property.

The Mises folks allowing their name to be attached to such blather is stripping their entire organization of credibility.

Joel Poindexter February 25, 2012 at 12:37 pm

“Anybody paying attention can cite unending evidence that it is the progressives that are obsessed with class warfare and making sure taxes stay high.”

Yes, because it’s a fact that class warfare can only extend in one direction, or be used by one group.

“It is Conservatives that want to Lower taxes for Everyone….”

If that were true than why do so many conservatives want to raise taxes on those who currently pay no income taxes?

Wildberry February 25, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Joel,

Since you are invoking facts, do you have any?

What conservatives are you thinking of who have advocated raising taxes?

Joel Poindexter February 27, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Michele Bachmann believes “Absolutely every American should pay something….” And that “Part of the problem is today, only 53 percent pay any federal income tax at all […] we need to broaden the base so that everybody pays something….”

Jeffrey Folks at the American Thinker likes Bachmann’s idea of making everyone pay at least some taxes.

Marco Rubio: “we don’t have enough people paying taxes in this country.”

Rick Perry: “we’re dismayed at the injustice that nearly half of all Americans don’t even pay any income tax.”

Bill O’Reilly said: “The reason I want the consumption tax is because I pointed out that almost half, HALF (of) American workers don’t pay any federal income tax. With a consumption tax, everybody would chip in. That seems to be kind of fair. Pay your fair share.”

John Huntsman: “Marco Rubio was right when he said we don’t have enough people paying taxes in this country….”

Wildberry February 27, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Joel,

This is an impressive collection of quotes. Assuming they are are accurate (they seem about right), you are evidence of what, exactly?

That all of these people want taxes to increase? That people that pay nothing should pay something so those that are already paying something should pay less. That all Republicans want big governemnt and more taxes? That the people you quote don’t know what they are talking about? All taxes are theft? What is your point?

Don’t just let the meaning hang out there by implication; tell us what you mean to say?

Wildberry February 27, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Joel,
They’ve taken the edit function away, so I want to make a modification to the last post.

The implication of your response is that these comments imply that they want to raise taxes.

The point is obvious; Even if taxes were completely unchanged, more people paying them would change the allocation. That is not raising taxes. It is possible that taxes can be reduced AND more people could pay them, right? At the extreme, we could have EVERYONE paying NOTHINNG, right?

So what did these people mean, do you think?

Joel Poindexter February 28, 2012 at 1:17 pm

“…evidence of what, exactly?”

I see these statements as evidence that many so-called conservatives are engaging in class warfare by advocating tax increases on poorer members of the population. This seems hypocritical given that conservatives frequently accuse the Left of engaging in class warfare (I realize the redundancy of accusing a politician of hypocrisy).

It also belies their anti-big-government rhetoric about wanting to reduce taxes. If one really did believe that big government is a problem, lowering taxes on everyone should be the goal. Without the power to forcibly confiscate other people’s property, the government would soon wither.

Simply reallocating the tax burden and shifting some of it from the wealthy to the poor means that, on net, taxes aren’t lowered. If taxes remain unchanged, rolling back government cannot happen. Part of what’s wrong with so many conservative tax reform schemes is that they always boast about them being “revenue neutral,” as if we should all get excited about having an equal amount of our property stolen by some other means.

To the point I made below quoting Alexis de Tocqueville: guys like O’Reilly and Perry each referred to fairness and justice when advocating taxing the poor. There is nothing “fair” or “just” about taxes any more than robbery or assault is “fair” or “just.” By any definition taxes are an affront to one’s property, as are the above mentioned crimes. As Robert Murphy noted, “the standard moral objections to theft and killing don’t magically disappear just because a group of professional liars reclassifies them as “taxation” and “national defense.”

I’d also like to point out that there is nothing “extreme” about individuals being allowed to keep the fruits of their labor. What is extreme is that so many on both Left and Right, believe: a) that individuals must pay taxes, that is they exist to fund the State and its machinations, and b) that someone who takes a moral exception to being treated as a slave is some kind of extremist.

“It is possible that taxes can be reduced AND more people could pay them, right?”

Sure, that is possible, but it’s not any more desirable than a more equal distribution of car-jackings or muggings. It is also possible – as well as preferable in both economic and moral terms – that taxes be reduced and for fewer people to pay them. The ultimate goal should be that no person or business has to pay anything in taxes.

Richie February 25, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Anybody paying attention can cite unending evidence that it is the progressives that are obsessed with class warfare and making sure taxes stay high.

Then present the evidence since you are obviously paying attention.

Conservatives cannot have it both ways. They want lower taxes, but yet, they want to keep funding overseas adventures in killing foreigners. That means, as Joel points out, they will need to start collecting taxes on those that currently pay no federal income taxes (or just have the Federal Reserve create more money).

Also, why does Sean Hannity love to point out that when taxes are cut, revenues to the government increase? He obviously has no problem with more money going to the government. If you believe in smaller government, should you not want the opposite to occur?

Wildberry February 25, 2012 at 8:12 pm

Not to defend Sean, who rarely knows what he’s talking about, but the basis of his comments is the Laffer curve, I think. Remember that one?

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

I think we can all agree that lower taxes are better than higher taxes. Many here want to make sure the litmus paper is red accross the board before you’ll agree with something; even if he’s right, he is wrong about other things, so he’s wrong on everything.

This is why libertarians and more specifically Ancaps are politically insignificant. They don’t know how to play team sports. I may be a different religion than you, and belong to a different political party, but we can still both pull for a base hit. What’s wrong with that?

Richie February 25, 2012 at 9:33 pm

This is why libertarians and more specifically Ancaps are politically insignificant.

I could not be happier with that. Thank you!

Marissa February 28, 2012 at 7:38 pm

Considering that conservatives are perfectly fine with deficit spending and loose monetary policy, i don’t see how they are remotely on the same team.

Inquisitor February 25, 2012 at 7:45 pm

Actually conservatives are pretty fine with government, with people paying their “fair” share to finance it and in many cases with welfare of their own choosing.

Ned Netterville February 25, 2012 at 11:07 am

An exceptional collection of classical articles showing the unmitigated immorality and stupidity of taxation as a means of financing anything–other than wars of naked aggression–is Carl Watner’s recent publication, RENDER NOT, which is available here: http://www.voluntaryist.com/books/

The only difference between progressives and conservatives is who they want to spend the OPM on respectively. (OPM–sounds like opium, is equally addicting, stands for other people’s money.) Conservatives prefer spending it on their favorite government dependents in the military-industrial-boots-on-the-ground-border-gestapo complex, whereas progressives want to spend it on their friends in the enviro-welfare-healthcare-fine-arts establishment, which admittedly is slightly larger.

The only good thing I heard come out of the current political debate between progressives and conservatives was something a local conservative columnist wrote. Decrying progressive’s desire to tax the rich in order to pay for programs for the poor and middle class, he proclaimed that using government revenues, because they are collected by force, for such purpose is stealing. Now if only conservatives could follow the logic behind that contention to the only logical conclusion–that all taxation, because it requires the use of force, is stealing…,well… But alas, conservatives are every bit as inconsistent as progressives–who embrace the use of force to collect taxes while decrying its use in other areas.

Bob February 25, 2012 at 6:58 pm

Ned,
Your website for the download of Jesus, Illegal tax protester, is not active. What’s going on?

Ned Netterville February 25, 2012 at 7:06 pm

Bob, Whoa. Thanks a gazillion. I will look into that and correct it asap. I certainly do appreciate you calling it to my attention.

Ned Netterville February 25, 2012 at 7:08 pm

Bob, I am exceedingly grateful to you for letting me know of the problem. I look into it and try to fix asap. Many thanks. Ned

Chris February 25, 2012 at 11:21 am

Most of the comments have missed the point.

First, the income tax is itself the vehicle for much of the government largesse. Most of the 49% don’t pay “no income tax,” but receive “refunds” through the growing system of refundable tax credits: Child Tax Credit, Making Work Pay, etc.

Second, the objection to exempting a larger and larger percentage of people from the income tax burden isn’t at all that the mean conservatives want to make poorer people pay more taxes. It’s that the deliberate political strategy of the progressives has been to vest millions and millions more of the voting population in maintaining the government trough.

This is a continuation of the Cloward & Pivens strategy begun in the 1960s: abandon radical bombings, work to collapse the system by overwhelming it. Get more people on welfare, food stamps, public housing, and “free” medical care. When the system collapses, we can rebuild it in the image of our glorious socialist revolution.

Once people start depending on government benefits, they tend to think of themselves as “have-nots” and identify with lower economic classes, even if they are living comfortably. Union members will perpetually view themselves as “working-class” no matter how high their pay. Public employees, with pay and benefits far outstripping their private-sector counterparts, also overwhelmingly have this mindset; hate Republicans and love progressives; and feel like Obama is talking to them personally with his constant invocation of terms like “working-class”, “middle-class”, and “families” to qualify the word “Americans.” Any hint of cutting government spending is met with “teachers, cops and firefighters” — sanctified groups immune from scrutiny, appealing to the largest group of voters.

This isn’t a wacky conspiracy theory. Frances Fox Pivens gave seminars at Columbia, and Obama is known to have attended at least one of them. The Obama administration has systematically increased food stamp rolls, Medicaid rolls, extended unemployment benefits indefinitely, promised debt forgiveness for student loans, not just by loosening criteria but by directing state workers NOT to be on the lookout for fraud or obvious ineligibility.

The strategy may be working, as media and academic elites work their propaganda. I just heard a Fox business analyst say, with a straight face, that 49% of Americans are now living in abject poverty.

Conservatives don’t want anybody paying more taxes; they want all voters to understand the tyranny and destruction of high taxes and big spending, not rejoice in raising taxes as a chance to stick it to those whom they envy.

Libertarian Jerry February 25, 2012 at 11:52 am

Chris,Phinn and Ned…..My sentiments exactly. Its just a gang of thieves using parasites to stay in power to advance a collectivist agenda. Its Cultural Marxism on steroids. Its a megalomaniac socialist’s dream of attaining the apex of power. To actually control the course of history as based on the religion of Socialism. Its not just the power to rule but also the power to control people’s thinking and lives. I’m afraid,that in the end,America will go down the path of all totalitarian nations of the past. The Gulags,the Secret Police and a stack of corpses. Its not about taxes its about power.

Wildberry February 25, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Sorry, LJ. I should have included you in the flock:

@Wildberry February 25, 2012 at 4:16 pm

ABR February 25, 2012 at 12:39 pm

The only ‘fair’ tax is voluntary.

If a tax is mandatory, the least unfair option is a head tax.

Ned Netterville February 25, 2012 at 7:02 pm

Right. But a voluntary tax is not a tax.

Joel Poindexter February 25, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Whenever issues like this come up I am always reminded of Alexis de Tocqueville’s quip that: “Americans are so enamored of equality that they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom.”

Ned Netterville February 25, 2012 at 7:11 pm

BOB, I have been trying to reply to your message with a heartfelt “THANK YOU” for calling the problem to my attention. I will look into it and try to fix the problem. For some reason replying to your post doesn’t seem to be working so I will try posting it here. I am grateful.

Ned Netterville February 25, 2012 at 10:32 pm

Wildberry, Among many other things equally confused, you said:

“By the way, the moral basis is another way of saying consent. The concept being described here, I think, is that the government, on any level, has a moral duty to the governed. If that breaks down, the government ceases to govern with consent. Thus my reference to Syria.

You and those who think like you are simply wrong. The constitution is a document with the force of law behind it. Laws are the product of men, (I prefer humans) so what do you expect? Who do you want to be governed by, robots? The principle is so simple, I don’t understand how you get it all twisted up.”

Wild, saying someone is wrong, simply wrong or even utterly wrong doesn’t make that person wrong, and in your comments you certainly did not show that Dagnytg was wrong. On the contrary, his arguments trumph yours. I’m afraid you are the one who is mixed up. You use the word “consent,” as in governing with the consent of the governed, and your reference is the clearly to that government created by the Constitution. But neither you, nor Dag, nor I ever consented to the Constitution. As long as you keep saying one thing but meaning something else, you are only sewing confusion. I know you know what consent means, but for the record here is what Wiki says: “Consent refers to the provision of approval or agreement, particularly and especially after thoughtful consideration.” Did you consent to the Constitution. I think not. I’ll look again, but I’m quite sure your name isn’t on it. As for me, I know I didn’t and I don’t consent to it. After very thoughtful consideration I conclude it is a sham, or as Lysander Spooner put it, a constitution of no authority. Of course if enough people are fooled into believing its authority is real, that silly document can stir up a lot of trouble, as indeed it has. (e.g., slavery, virtually unlimited taxation, Civil War, WW I and II, Vietnam War, many other wars, Jim Crow, involuntary military servitude and consequent deaths [mass murder?], medical experimentation on unwilling human guinea pigs, etc., etc.)

Wildberry February 26, 2012 at 1:52 pm

@Ned Netterville February 25, 2012 at 10:32 pm

Wild, saying someone is wrong, simply wrong or even utterly wrong doesn’t make that person wrong, and in your comments you certainly did not show that Dagnytg was wrong. On the contrary, his arguments trumph yours. I’m afraid you are the one who is mixed up.

Yes, I agree with the first bit. But I think I explained why it is wrong. My response was to the assertion that the Constitution is just a piece of paper. This is like saying that a statute prohibiting murder is just a piece of paper. Yes, that is literally true, but that distinction is irrelevant. The relevant point is that what is written is enforceable within sovereign jurisdictional authority. That is a factual assertion, that can be either right or wrong. What is your beef?

You use the word “consent,” as in governing with the consent of the governed, and your reference is the clearly to that government created by the Constitution. But neither you, nor Dag, nor I ever consented to the Constitution.

I think this statement is also wrong, because we consent by ongoing assent, and you and I have the freedom to revolt on any level we choose. However I also have a right to protect what I consider my rights, and one of those is to choose to live under and support our particular form of constitutional government. If you want to change that, there is nothing stopping you except the inconveniences of reality. Some of us, myself included, will oppose you. But if you think you have a view that will produce a groundswell of support, you are free to use it, and one of us will lose. But, no one is stopping you. Where is the revolution you think you are due?

As long as you keep saying one thing but meaning something else, you are only sewing confusion.

I am sorry you are confused, but I’m doing my best to be clear.

I know you know what consent means, but for the record here is what Wiki says: “Consent refers to the provision of approval or agreement, particularly and especially after thoughtful consideration.” Did you consent to the Constitution.

You think you have a head shot here… Let me be clear; Yes. If you mean to ask was I alive and present at the founding moment, no I was not. However, if you are asking me as an adult whether I DO consent, I do. If I did not, I have the freedom to revolt. So do you. The Constitution you abhor guarantees it. I’m willing to live with that. Knock yourself out.

I think not. I’ll look again, but I’m quite sure your name isn’t on it.

Is it acceptable if I state that you are wrong? True, I was not alive in 1787, but you are mistaken about my consent. I think my opinion about that trumps yours, do you agree?

As for me, I know I didn’t and I don’t consent to it. After very thoughtful consideration I conclude it is a sham, or as Lysander Spooner put it, a constitution of no authority.

That is your right and privilege under the Constitution. Isn’t that ironic?

Of course if enough people are fooled into believing its authority is real, that silly document can stir up a lot of trouble, as indeed it has. (e.g., slavery, virtually unlimited taxation, Civil War, WW I and II, Vietnam War, many other wars, Jim Crow, involuntary military servitude and consequent deaths [mass murder?], medical experimentation on unwilling human guinea pigs, etc., etc.)

Now you are just being silly. You assert that those who support it only do so because they have been “fooled”. You are calling me a fool. That is your right, but you are wrong. I am well informed and educated in the Constitution. You need another theory.

Finally, your debate tactic is dishonest and full of broad assumptions that are, at the very least, arguable. For example, you may understand slavery as a fundamental flaw, when viewed in the context of the founding period, or you may view it as a compromise that eventually led to its defeat, also a historical fact. Nothing is absolute about the judments one might make about the Civil War. But the facts are that slavery was abolished, and the 13th, 14th, and 15th amenedments were ratified shortly thereafter. By the way, slavery is a good example of what I’m talking about. Many people, with vastly different motives, resources, tactics, etc. revolted to corrected that wrong. It was costly and replete with the atrocities you allude to. But it did happen. You are arguing from the point of view that it needn’t have happened, and you are right. But it did. And it no longer exists and is not a part of the Constitution you and I live under. That is a fact.

Phinn February 26, 2012 at 2:56 am

I say I am free, and Wildberry cites the constitution? Please. What a joke.

Citing the constitution as “authority” for governing someone is like telling a slave to get back to picking cotton by showing him the Bill of Sale.

What don’t you understand? Your claim to “authority” is transparently frivolous.

All you have left is raw power. You can call it “governing” all you want if it makes you feel better, but you’re as much of a slave as I am. You’re worse — you’re the slave who helps oppress the other slaves.

Slavery has always depended on 3 things to be economically viable:

(a) psychological manipulation (to disinhibit the instinct to resist),

(b) horizontal force (the assistance of collaborators among the slave population who suppress the ones who fight back). The latter is encouraged by the infliction of collective punishment, and

(c) draconian punishment of defiance.

Shackles are inefficient. So in modern times, slavery’s 3 essential components are accomplished through:

(a) statist schooling, which (not surprisingly) promotes statism and the charade of voting more or less constantly, and discourages learning one iota of logic or economics; and state-licensing of the major media, which was once printing (so naturally it was heavily content-regulated), then radio and TV, which were (and still are) constantly monitored for unapproved radicalism, under threat of immediate loss of “license.”. The Internet is the freest medium in the lifetime of anyone alive today. So of course, that’s where anarchism is spread. If history is any kind of guide, the statists will shut that down fairly soon. Probably will use a war as a pretext.

(b) income taxation as a modern form of collective punishment. Whatever I don’t pay, someone else has to. Fellow slaves didnt like runaways either. The cotton still had to be picked, now with one fewer set of hands. And

(c) prison (i.e., rape rooms) for failing to pay the taxes demanded.

So that’s the real world, Wildberry. The real-real world. Stripped of your propaganda about authority and documents and non-existent consent.

Wildberry February 26, 2012 at 2:24 pm

@PhinnFebruary 26, 2012 at 2:56 am

Hi Phinn. Have you missed me?

I say I am free, and Wildberry cites the constitution? Please. What a joke.

I missed the punch line. Enlighten me.

Citing the constitution as “authority” for governing someone is like telling a slave to get back to picking cotton by showing him the Bill of Sale.

I’m not sure I get your meaning. Law, enforcement, revolt, change. Which part is the joke?

What don’t you understand? Your claim to “authority” is transparently frivolous.

All you have left is raw power. You can call it “governing” all you want if it makes you feel better, but you’re as much of a slave as I am. You’re worse — you’re the slave who helps oppress the other slaves.

Are you sure I misunderstand? Perhaps we don’t have a common understanding for “authority”? What is it and where does it come from? I think it comes from conquest or consent. I for one consent, but not in the way you seem to believe I do.

If you are a slave, and I am oppressing you, the very Constitution you abhor gives you the right, under the enforcement power of the state, to redress my oppression.

So if you feel the Constitution is and should be eliminated, what’s stopping you? I for one, will oppose you. That is part of the reality we share.

Slavery has always depended on 3 things to be economically viable:
(a) psychological manipulation (to disinhibit the instinct to resist),
(b) horizontal force (the assistance of collaborators among the slave population who suppress the ones who fight back). The latter is encouraged by the infliction of collective punishment, and
(c) draconian punishment of defiance.

Slavery depends upon the power to enslave. Slavery by armed conquest is implied in your analysis. I think you are trying to make some analogy that I am a slave. You are wrong.

Shackles are inefficient. So in modern times, slavery’s 3 essential components are accomplished through:
(a) statist schooling, which (not surprisingly) promotes statism and the charade of voting more or less constantly, and discourages learning one iota of logic or economics; and state-licensing of the major media, which was once printing (so naturally it was heavily content-regulated), then radio and TV, which were (and still are) constantly monitored for unapproved radicalism, under threat of immediate loss of “license.”. The Internet is the freest medium in the lifetime of anyone alive today. So of course, that’s where anarchism is spread. If history is any kind of guide, the statists will shut that down fairly soon. Probably will use a war as a pretext.

What is your explanation for why it hasn’t worked on you? Even if we agree with your premise of “discouragement”, it is not prohibited to do those things you mention, and cannot be under the rights guaranteed by our Constitution. In other words, no one forces us to be a fool. We choose that course.

If you and I find that the internet is being controlled by our government in the way you suggest, you can count on me to oppose it, even though we may have different motives for doing so. That’s ok by me. I don’t mind. As I said to someone earlier, just because we have different religions, or whatever, doesn’t mean we can’t both try to get a base hit for our team. Anarchists don’t seem to think that way. You folks believe in a purity litmus test, I think.

(b) income taxation as a modern form of collective punishment. Whatever I don’t pay, someone else has to. Fellow slaves didnt like runaways either. The cotton still had to be picked, now with one fewer set of hands. And

Are you saying that you pay your taxes to prevent me from paying more? Thank you !

(c) prison (i.e., rape rooms) for failing to pay the taxes demanded.

You are saying that if I don’t pay my taxes, the IRS will make sure I get raped? Last time I looked, prisons are filled with criminals other than tax evaders. You are saying that they are there only to rape tax evaders? Wow, that’s a whole brand new conspiracy theory.

So that’s the real world, Wildberry. The real-real world. Stripped of your propaganda about authority and documents and non-existent consent.

I always get a kick out of people who make grandiose claims about the “real world” and then propose to lecture me on my failure to see it.

If you assume, just for one little minute, that I am not a fool, explain to me how in your world, real or not, there is room for us to disagree on one thing, yet cooperate on some other fundamental cause? This brand on intolerance, as I said recently, is why folks with your world-view, are politically and socially insignificant. And as someone else said here, that is a good thing. I agree.

Phinn February 26, 2012 at 3:27 pm

I’m not sure I get your meaning [re: a slave being shown his Bill of Sale]. Law, enforcement, revolt, change. Which part is the joke?

The joke is that you seem to believe that citing the Constitution will somehow convince any anarchist that the use of force by the US government is legitimate. As though a slave standing there in his shackles on the auction block is supposed to walk into his new life of agricultural labor with a bright and open heart, full of optimism, simply because his purchaser can wave a Bill of Sale at him.

It’s so outrageously ridiculous that it’s humor by extreme exaggeration.

Are you sure I misunderstand? Perhaps we don’t have a common understanding for “authority”? What is it and where does it come from? I think it comes from conquest or consent. I for one consent, but not in the way you seem to believe I do.

Let’s back up a step or two in the whole “logic” thing, since you have a seemingly infinite capacity for getting things gloriously wrong.

When talking about topics like force and law and authority and such, there are two categories that we need to clearly separate before we can continue.

These two categories are: positive and normative. They are (to dumb it down a little) what we might call an “is” and an “ought.” This is the difference between “might” and “right.” There is (a) positive assertions, which are what actually happens, physically, in the observable world, and these things are different from (b) normative assertions, which go by many names: ethics, morals, law, legitimacy, authority, justice, etc.

That which “is” occurs in the observable world. But the realm of “ought” is purely abstract. It is an abstract division of the universe of all possible human action into two categories: that which is wrongful and that which is not-wrongful.

I think we can both agree that the organization that calls itself the US government has, in some respects, the ability to exert force. (I happen to think the effectiveness of that force is VASTLY overstated, largely as a propaganda tool in and of itself, to discourage defiance.) It has lots of guns and battleships and brain-dead losers, paid for with my money, who will fire them at me and others like me when told to do so, so I guess I will have to concede there is some measure of force to be acknowledged. (Although, the way this force-wielding group of thugs is organized makes it pretty much a paper tiger, but that’s a topic for another day.)

Conquest is might. Consent is a major factor in the issue of right, i.e., a normative assertion concerning the just and unjust use of physical power.

So, to answer your question, the Constitution has no authority. It authorizes precisely none of the force used (and attempted) against me or anyone else. The corporation known as the US government is illegitimate. All states are. Those guys may have (some overstated) might, but that’s it.

If you are a slave, and I am oppressing you, the very Constitution you abhor gives you the right, under the enforcement power of the state, to redress my oppression. So if you feel the Constitution is and should be eliminated, what’s stopping you? I for one, will oppose you. That is part of the reality we share.

The Constitution gives me nothing and denies me nothing. I do not care one iota about what the people who tax and threaten and point guns at me on a daily basis tell me as to what I can and can’t say or do.

You are oppressing me if and to the extent you concede in the use of force being used (and attempted) against me by the corporation calling itself the US government. You consider these thugs to be your agent. I hold you responsible for everything they do, which is a basic tenet of agency.

The Constitution does not need to be eliminated. I, for one, simply ignore it, for the obscure, irrelevant, mildly notable historical artifact that it is.

Slavery depends upon the power to enslave. Slavery by armed conquest is implied in your analysis. I think you are trying to make some analogy that I am a slave. You are wrong.

If you allow someone to assert a power over you that you do not have over him, that is not reciprocal, then you are inferior. If you acknowledge and accept this, then you are still inferior, but merely willingly inferior. You are the serf who adores the noble. Are you still a slave if you stay in a state of meek submission (and Stockholm-Syndrome worship) to the person who asserts the power to take what’s yours as they see fit? Hard to say. Is a willing slave still a slave? I’m not sure. Maybe the label “slave” doesn’t apply once you resign yourself to the status of being a bootlicker. But either way, accepting your slavery is not what I would call an improvement.

Most slavery is accomplished through psychology. The force required to enslave a resistant population is far too expensive. It eats up all the profits in the slavery, rendering it uneconomical. Slavery has always required breaking the minds of the enslaved, by several insidious psychological manipulations, like religion, separating children from parents, early indoctrination of the young, destroying native languages, collective punishment, control of the media, etc.

All are practiced expertly by the US government you bow to.

What is your explanation for why it hasn’t worked on you? Even if we agree with your premise of “discouragement”, it is not prohibited to do those things you mention, and cannot be under the rights guaranteed by our Constitution. In other words, no one forces us to be a fool. We choose that course.

I explain it by the fact I grew up with a remnant of a culture that was based on defiance and rebellion that lingered in the area where I grew up. (Scottish, Southern). The Scots were overrun and enslaved by Romans, Saxons, Normans, and eventually the modern English. Through it all, they kept a tiny hold on the value of autonomy, self-respect, etc. I also attribute it to the discontinuation and frequent interruption of my government-schooling. And access to anarchist writings, once the Internet was up and running.

And, yes, suppression of these ideas is accepted by the Constitution, irrelevant as it is. It is considered the promotion of rebellion. The thugs will, I fully expect, eventually clamp down hard on this sort of thing at some point in the near future. The US gov’t has wrecked the economy, and a war is on the horizon as a way of getting out of the political jam. I expect the usual scapegoating to happen relatively soon.

If you and I find that the internet is being controlled by our government in the way you suggest, you can count on me to oppose it, even though we may have different motives for doing so. That’s ok by me. I don’t mind. As I said to someone earlier, just because we have different religions, or whatever, doesn’t mean we can’t both try to get a base hit for our team. Anarchists don’t seem to think that way. You folks believe in a purity litmus test, I think.

It isn’t being controlled too much yet. But it won’t take much to spark a crack-down. A minor act of “terrorism” will probably do it, even if it claims fewer lives than die on government highways in a single afternoon, it will be touted as the Worst Thing Ever. Rebels will be rounded up. It’s happened too many times to pretend it won’t happen here, again.

Are you saying that you pay your taxes to prevent me from paying more? Thank you !

Wow, you’re thick. I pay my taxes because of the gun pointed at my head. I pay far less than the thugs command me to, largely because they’re too stupid (and overburdened) to bother to hound me for the full payment.

You are saying that if I don’t pay my taxes, the IRS will make sure I get raped? Last time I looked, prisons are filled with criminals other than tax evaders. You are saying that they are there only to rape tax evaders? Wow, that’s a whole brand new conspiracy theory.

The US government tolerates prison rape because it’s in the interest of governments to make prison as horrifying as possible. It’s part of the psychological manipulation I described above.

I always get a kick out of people who make grandiose claims about the “real world” and then propose to lecture me on my failure to see it.

You did exactly this, two days ago. (“We have what we have; the Constitution, 2012, planet Earth, and humans. That is what you have to work with, not some fantasy world where difficult choices are not necessary. I prefer a slightly more heroic position, and assume those widows and orphans are worth saving. The question is how? Welcome to the real world.”)

If you assume, just for one little minute, that I am not a fool, explain to me how in your world, real or not, there is room for us to disagree on one thing, yet cooperate on some other fundamental cause? This brand on intolerance, as I said recently, is why folks with your world-view, are politically and socially insignificant. And as someone else said here, that is a good thing. I agree.

If you think that aggression is legitimate, then we have nothing left to discuss. I am not going to pretend we’re negotiating as equals and being cooperative with your goons pointing guns at me. Either we’re at peace, not threatening each other, or we’re not. There’s no middle ground.

I am only bothering to discuss these things in this forum because (a) we’re anonymous and (b) I suspect you are under the commonplace delusion that a state is somehow not an organized form of aggression. I happen to think it’s patently obvious, but I was so deluded once, too, so I know this delusion can afflict even otherwise intelligent people. Maybe you reject aggression, but don’t see the aggression all around you. So, we can cooperate for a little while, and get our positions out in the open, but we’re pretty much at the end of our civil relationship. You’re either going to get it, or we’re going to run out of things to talk about.

Wildberry February 26, 2012 at 5:57 pm

@PhinnFebruary 26, 2012 at 3:27 pm

The joke is that you seem to believe that citing the Constitution will somehow convince any anarchist that the use of force by the US government is legitimate. As though a slave standing there in his shackles on the auction block is supposed to walk into his new life of agricultural labor with a bright and open heart, full of optimism, simply because his purchaser can wave a Bill of Sale at him.

Phinn, I have no desire to “convince an anarchist” or any illusions about my ability to do so. Fanaticism is typically intractable by any means. I suspect you are no exception.
To wit, it is not reasonable to argue with me by creating my side of the dialogue; I never said or implied any such thing.

A slave should be outraged, and non-slaves should too. That is what those two groups had in common, and why I suspect that the opportunity to fight for the Union was an attractive option for many, not to mention the mule and 40 acres, which they mostly got cheated out of, but that’s another story.

As you may know (but I’m not sure what to assume) all laws, even property laws, are subject to other laws. At this time, a bill of sale for another human is an illegal contract. As far as I can tell, you are still whining about an issue that is moot. In case you missed it, the 13th Amendment was ratified in 1865.

It’s so outrageously ridiculous that it’s humor by extreme exaggeration.

I see. Fanatics tend not to have much of a sense of humor, so perhaps there is still hope for you.

Let’s back up a step or two in the whole “logic” thing, since you have a seemingly infinite capacity for getting things gloriously wrong.

At least I’m glorious. That’s something… I stand humbly before you awaiting my instruction. Please proceed.

When talking about topics like force and law and authority and such, there are two categories that we need to clearly separate before we can continue.
These two categories are: positive and normative. They are (to dumb it down a little) what we might call an “is” and an “ought.” This is the difference between “might” and “right.” There is (a) positive assertions, which are what actually happens, physically, in the observable world, and these things are different from (b) normative assertions, which go by many names: ethics, morals, law, legitimacy, authority, justice, etc.

Let’s agree not to quibble about whether “is” is to “might” as “ought” is to “right”. While “might” does not always make “right”, sometimes might is right. But let’s move along.

That which “is” occurs in the observable world. But the realm of “ought” is purely abstract. It is an abstract division of the universe of all possible human action into two categories: that which is wrongful and that which is not-wrongful.

I hope you are not going to do a “Surda” here and presume that it is always possible to ascertain the difference under any and all circumstances, like 1s and 0s. I think what you are meaning to say (perhaps you know this and it is part of the “dumbing down”?) is that we can argue about abstract things, like right and wrong, because it cannot be empirically “proven”. However, I might point out that what “is” is not a certain as you make it out to be. That, too, is subject to many abstract concepts, like the ability to see and understand. Moving on…

I think we can both agree that the organization that calls itself the US government has, in some respects, the ability to exert force. (I happen to think the effectiveness of that force is VASTLY overstated, largely as a propaganda tool in and of itself, to discourage defiance.)

I think I can mostly agree up to this point. May I restate your point as, government has, except for very limited circumstances, a monopoly on the application of coercive force. Unlike you, I suspect, I think this is both by design, and proper. This is one point of divergence between our world-views.

It has lots of guns and battleships and brain-dead losers, paid for with my money, who will fire them at me and others like me when told to do so, so I guess I will have to concede there is some measure of force to be acknowledged. (Although, the way this force-wielding group of thugs is organized makes it pretty much a paper tiger, but that’s a topic for another day.)

With your view of the nature of this force, you seem to imply that your house might be shelled at any moment. I think this is the situation in Syria, but I don’t understand your implication that the ability to do so equates to the likelihood, intent, or even desire that it take place. If it was as you portray it, why haven’t we been shelled yet? Certainly that would be a more efficient way to raise gas prices, wouldn’t it?

Conquest is might. Consent is a major factor in the issue of right, i.e., a normative assertion concerning the just and unjust use of physical power.

Your use of language is a little sloppy. Conquest may be accomplished by force of arms. It may also be done by breeding, one of the strategies, I have heard, of the radical Muslims for conquering the infidels. Is that the use of might? How about promoting ideas that involve the overthrow of the sovereign government? Is that might? Is that what you are doing?

One way to understand consent is assent to some act; i.e. Consent to cooperate is a mutual assent to some agreed conduct. If I, and a few more millions of Americans consent to the application of force to enforce laws consistent with the Constitution, is that conquest? Some, myself included, would say no. We seem to have the upper hand at the moment.

So, to answer your question, the Constitution has no authority. It authorizes precisely none of the force used (and attempted) against me or anyone else. The corporation known as the US government is illegitimate. All states are. Those guys may have (some overstated) might, but that’s it.

See, this is what I mean by fanatical. I can’t really see how you got here. If the society of free people choose to govern themselves according to a legal framework that you are calling the Constitution, who are you to simply declare that invalid, or without authority to bind you to that framework? You are free to try to change it, but until you do, it’s got teeth. It is not just “those guys”. It’s also you and me, no matter what we think at this particular moment. If you really want to change something, that same Constitution guarantees your right to do so. What could be more fair?

The Constitution gives me nothing and denies me nothing. I do not care one iota about what the people who tax and threaten and point guns at me on a daily basis tell me as to what I can and can’t say or do.

That is all very heroic, as far as words go on a rather obscure blog. But that is far from anything significant. If you are not in jail, then you apparently have been conforming enough to hold your view and remain free to hold it. Nobody cares what you think about it, at the end of the day. Like most anarchists, you simply whine about how unfair it all is, talk like you are living on an island, and then live your life as you choose, thanks to the very Constitutional rights you oppose.

You are oppressing me if and to the extent you concede in the use of force being used (and attempted) against me by the corporation calling itself the US government. You consider these thugs to be your agent. I hold you responsible for everything they do, which is a basic tenet of agency.

Fine. Make your case. What is your complaint against me? Besides being uninformed about the Constitution, you are apparently uninformed about agency law. If you rob me, and I call the cops and they arrest you at gunpoint, yes, they may be acting as my agent in that very limited sense. But agency is based on authority. If that same cop visits you again tomorrow, and he robs you, he is not acting as my agent, because I did not consent to his authority to do so. I agree for him to act on my behalf, and under the control of the principal within the granted authority to act. That authority ultimately is defined by the Constitution. Any state action outside that framework is unauthorized. Under that condition, the agent is responsible for his own actions. Do you see the distinction? My constitution protects you from what you are complaining about. Your mouth is too frothy to see that.

The Constitution does not need to be eliminated. I, for one, simply ignore it, for the obscure, irrelevant, mildly notable historical artifact that it is.

You say that as if it is really true. It is like saying: “I oppose air, so I simply ignore it”, while speaking your words with the very air you ignore. For the record, you are free to ignore it to a large degree, and everyone else will do the heavy lifting so you may continue to do so. Fanatics are also often somewhat selfish in that regard. They seem to think that the universe revolves around them, and just because they have not been struck by lightning, they control it. That sudden bright flash can be a rude awakening. Reality bites.

If you allow someone to assert a power over you that you do not have over him, that is not reciprocal, then you are inferior. If you acknowledge and accept this, then you are still inferior, but merely willingly inferior. You are the serf who adores the noble. Are you still a slave if you stay in a state of meek submission (and Stockholm-Syndrome worship) to the person who asserts the power to take what’s yours as they see fit? Hard to say. Is a willing slave still a slave? I’m not sure. Maybe the label “slave” doesn’t apply once you resign yourself to the status of being a bootlicker. But either way, accepting your slavery is not what I would call an improvement.

Yes, this may be true. But you conveniently ignore the contrary view, that cooperation is not slavery, it is superior to either slavery or isolation, and it generates improvements in the general conditions of life. Your conclusion is such a strong bias, you cannot see your own shadow. That is the way of fanaticism. All is black, there is no white and certainly no grey. I pity you.

Most slavery is accomplished through psychology. The force required to enslave a resistant population is far too expensive. It eats up all the profits in the slavery, rendering it uneconomical. Slavery has always required breaking the minds of the enslaved, by several insidious psychological manipulations, like religion, separating children from parents, early indoctrination of the young, destroying native languages, collective punishment, control of the media, etc.

As I asked before, if the psychological weapons are so efficient, how did you escape? How is it your mind did not break (or did it)? Everything example you give in this rant is within your power to oppose. You can free your mind, you can renounce religion or invent one, you can home school your children, you can speak your native tongue, exclusively if you wish. You can start your own media outlet, as has Mises and a few others. If you gain a following, you can be the next Ted Turner or Bill O’Reilly, or Reverend Sharpton. Go for it. Stop whining that the “man” is keeping you down. You are much freer that you admit. But then to admit it to be so, you would have to acknowledge the personal responsibility for your situation. That is not likely to ever happen.

All are practiced expertly by the US government you bow to.

Yes, you never win because the other team is just so much better. With your attitude, we would still be living in caves.

I explain it by the fact I grew up with a remnant of a culture that was based on defiance and rebellion that lingered in the area where I grew up. (Scottish, Southern). The Scots were overrun and enslaved by Romans, Saxons, Normans, and eventually the modern English. Through it all, they kept a tiny hold on the value of autonomy, self-respect, etc. I also attribute it to the discontinuation and frequent interruption of my government-schooling. And access to anarchist writings, once the Internet was up and running.

Honestly, do you think your people are the only ones in history to suffer abuse? Were YOU enslaved by Romans, Saxons, Normans, and the modern English? You remind me of reparationists who want compensation for things that happened to their ancestors. Those times are long gone, my friend. We are here now.

And, yes, suppression of these ideas is accepted by the Constitution, irrelevant as it is. It is considered the promotion of rebellion. The thugs will, I fully expect, eventually clamp down hard on this sort of thing at some point in the near future. The US gov’t has wrecked the economy, and a war is on the horizon as a way of getting out of the political jam. I expect the usual scapegoating to happen relatively soon.

I have a question; if you are a Scotsman, why such vehemence against the US Constitution? Do you live here in the US now? Why?

This last bit is where you just start making up stuff. I don’t think you can support the assertion that what you are saying here is suppressed by the Constitution. You can promote the overthrow of the government. Just not by armed insurrection. We in the civilized world use the ballot box.

It isn’t being controlled too much yet. But it won’t take much to spark a crack-down. A minor act of “terrorism” will probably do it, even if it claims fewer lives than die on government highways in a single afternoon, it will be touted as the Worst Thing Ever. Rebels will be rounded up. It’s happened too many times to pretend it won’t happen here, again.

Perhaps, but the offer still stands. Eternal vigilance and all that.

Wow, you’re thick. I pay my taxes because of the gun pointed at my head. I pay far less than the thugs command me to, largely because they’re too stupid (and overburdened) to bother to hound me for the full payment.

See what I mean about the sense of humor being absent? By the way, watch out: when times are tough the G-men start looking under more rocks…

The US government tolerates prison rape because it’s in the interest of governments to make prison as horrifying as possible. It’s part of the psychological manipulation I described above.

Oh my. You need to take a pill.

You did exactly this, two days ago. (“We have what we have; the Constitution, 2012, planet Earth, and humans. That is what you have to work with, not some fantasy world where difficult choices are not necessary. I prefer a slightly more heroic position, and assume those widows and orphans are worth saving. The question is how? Welcome to the real world.”)

OK, fair point. For the record, the “real world” I was referring to is the one where difficult choices are unavoidable, in contrast to my perception of your world, where difficult choices are unnecessary.

If you think that aggression is legitimate, then we have nothing left to discuss. I am not going to pretend we’re negotiating as equals and being cooperative with your goons pointing guns at me. Either we’re at peace, not threatening each other, or we’re not. There’s no middle ground.

Who is being thick now? You illustrate my point about fanaticism. You act as if all things are absolutely ascertainable. Let’s agree that aggression is NEVER legitimate, for the moment. How can you be so sure, in every single possible situation, that you can so easily decide right from wrong? If you know all the facts, maybe. But when do any of us truly know all the facts? This is the problem with the NAP crowd. They assume that the distinction between aggression, and say self-defense is always absolutely known. If that were true, it is trivial to follow the rules of NAP. But I for one have spent hours explaining how that is often not the case, and how that reality is embodied in our system of common law, where strict liability is a rare and very limited legal principle. NAPsters on the other hand, believe that strict liability can be applied in all cases of conflict.

I am only bothering to discuss these things in this forum because (a) we’re anonymous and (b) I suspect you are under the commonplace delusion that a state is somehow not an organized form of aggression. I happen to think it’s patently obvious, but I was so deluded once, too, so I know this delusion can afflict even otherwise intelligent people. Maybe you reject aggression, but don’t see the aggression all around you. So, we can cooperate for a little while, and get our positions out in the open, but we’re pretty much at the end of our civil relationship. You’re either going to get it, or we’re going to run out of things to talk about.

Let’s see. Yes, the state is an organized form of aggressive capability, and on occasion that capability is employed. I think I have a realistic understanding of the world we live in, but perhaps everyone thinks that. Obviously you think you do.

The real problem, Phinn, is that we will never run out of things to talk about. Our interest will wane far earlier. You remind me (no offense) of someone with a dog’s vision (only black and white) who cannot perceive colors. Everything is so clear to you; truth is an absolute. You consider this a badge of courage. I do not. We are not likely to see eye to eye on that (pun intended).
Cheers.

Phinn February 27, 2012 at 10:09 am

As far as I can tell, you are still whining about an issue that is moot. In case you missed it, the 13th Amendment was ratified in 1865.

In case you missed it, I’m making an analogy, to help illustrate an ethical principle.

The operative ethical principle here, in case you missed it, is that a person who is harmed by aggression is not ethically bound by the writings and agreements passing between two other people, particularly when those two other people are the ones who are conspiring to inflict that harm.

You can dress that agreement up in whatever pomp and formality your imagination can muster, and surround it with filigree and gold seals and play majestic music whenever the document enters the room, but none of that crap makes it any more effective, legitimate or authoritative. It’s still just a bill of sale between slavers.

For the same reason, the Constitution is utterly ineffective and meaningless, as far as the ethics of statism is concerned. It applies to no one.

May I restate your point as, government has, except for very limited circumstances, a monopoly on the application of coercive force. Unlike you, I suspect, I think this is both by design, and proper. This is one point of divergence between our world-views.

No, the government CLAIMS a monopoly on coercive force.

That claim is patently frivolous, and no more “proper” (i.e., legitimate) than a mental patient’s claim that he is Emperor of Earth.

In practice, the de facto monopoly on force is also tenuous at best. The difficulty here is the metric for how much aggressive violence the government perpetrates, as a percentage of all aggression. It’s a lot, of course, since it includes almost everything statists do. You would have to subtract the defensive violence its agents sometimes employ, like stopping actual crime and catching kidnappers, which would be done even in a free society, by someone. But my rough estimate is that this defensive component consists of about 0.001% of what government does. The rest consists of its counterfeiting cartel, protectionism, price-fixing, loan manipulations, and erecting barriers to entry for favored industries, starting with finance, but also includes oil and major manufacturing.

With your view of the nature of this force, you seem to imply that your house might be shelled at any moment. I think this is the situation in Syria, but I don’t understand your implication that the ability to do so equates to the likelihood, intent, or even desire that it take place. If it was as you portray it, why haven’t we been shelled yet? Certainly that would be a more efficient way to raise gas prices, wouldn’t it?

I haven’t been shelled because, on this tax farm, the farmers want my productivity, not to shell me and my house. Dairy farmers don’t routinely use their best cows for target practice, either. It’s uneconomical.

How about promoting ideas that involve the overthrow of the sovereign government? Is that might? Is that what you are doing?

Yes, although I would say that it’s more accurate to say that I am promoting the idea that the authority of this government is a fiction, an illusion, and its power is based on bluster, not nearly as much actual might as they pretend to have. In practice, it is so fragile and weak that we only need to stop supporting it, and it will collapse in a matter of days.

One way to understand consent is assent to some act; i.e. Consent to cooperate is a mutual assent to some agreed conduct. If I, and a few more millions of Americans consent to the application of force to enforce laws consistent with the Constitution, is that conquest? Some, myself included, would say no. We seem to have the upper hand at the moment.

Consent is a simple concept. Your consent to allow someone to aggress against others means nothing. I didn’t consent. I know lots of people who didn’t consent. Whatever “upper hand” you think you have is ethically irrelevant. See above re: might vs. right.

See, this is what I mean by fanatical. I can’t really see how you got here. If the society of free people choose to govern themselves according to a legal framework that you are calling the Constitution, who are you to simply declare that invalid, or without authority to bind you to that framework? You are free to try to change it, but until you do, it’s got teeth. It is not just “those guys”. It’s also you and me, no matter what we think at this particular moment. If you really want to change something, that same Constitution guarantees your right to do so. What could be more fair?

A society that does not ignore my lack of consent, and respects life, liberty and property would be more fair.

I did not choose to be governed in this way. I did not agree to put my liberty and property up to a vote. I did not agree to any framework for deciding what my rights are.

Wild animals have teeth, too. I do not recognize the authority of them, either.

That is all very heroic, as far as words go on a rather obscure blog. But that is far from anything significant. If you are not in jail, then you apparently have been conforming enough to hold your view and remain free to hold it. Nobody cares what you think about it, at the end of the day. Like most anarchists, you simply whine about how unfair it all is, talk like you are living on an island, and then live your life as you choose, thanks to the very Constitutional rights you oppose.

Your lack of concern over the perpetration of crime and injustice on a massive scale is touching.

Your fanaticism for statism has made you callous, shallow and confused.

Fine. Make your case. What is your complaint against me?

You are a criminal. You support statism. You support the wholesale, institutionalized robbery and control of people, who are harming no one, and restricting their freedom to live as they see fit.

Any state action outside that framework is unauthorized. Under that condition, the agent is responsible for his own actions. Do you see the distinction? My constitution protects you from what you are complaining about. Your mouth is too frothy to see that.

Your constitution purports to authorize an innumerable list of crimes. The currency cartel, for example. Taxation. Running any enterprise that some brain-dead, half-educated judge somewhere declares to be “affected by interstate commerce.”

There are your agents, Wildberry, doing what they do.

You say that as if it is really true. It is like saying: “I oppose air, so I simply ignore it”, while speaking your words with the very air you ignore. For the record, you are free to ignore it to a large degree, and everyone else will do the heavy lifting so you may continue to do so. Fanatics are also often somewhat selfish in that regard. They seem to think that the universe revolves around them, and just because they have not been struck by lightning, they control it. That sudden bright flash can be a rude awakening. Reality bites.

You are a fanatic for statism. Your absolutism on this point is funny, compared to your other derogatory comments about fanaticism and absolutism.

As I asked before, if the psychological weapons are so efficient, how did you escape? How is it your mind did not break (or did it)?

I already gave my best explanation for this. I attribute my escape to growing up in a (somewhat rare) culture in which defiance and liberty were valued, albeit imperfectly. And to gaps in my state-school indoctrination. And exposure to anarchism through the Internet, which is an accident of history.

Yes, you never win because the other team is just so much better. With your attitude, we would still be living in caves.

I’ve already won. Most statist-oppression is psychological, as I said. When you’re free of that, you’re already over halfway there.

With my attitude, we’d all be living with an incalculable increase in peace and prosperity. Free markets produce such things, reliably.

Honestly, do you think your people are the only ones in history to suffer abuse? Were YOU enslaved by Romans, Saxons, Normans, and the modern English?

No and no. I mentioned it as an illustration of the origin of the culture I grew up in, which was descended from Scots and other enslaved (and defiant) people of northern England.

I have a question; if you are a Scotsman, why such vehemence against the US Constitution? Do you live here in the US now? Why?

I’m not. I grew up, and still live much of the time, in America. I was talking about my parents’ cultural heritage, not my personal experience.

I don’t think you can support the assertion that what you are saying here is suppressed by the Constitution. You can promote the overthrow of the government. Just not by armed insurrection. We in the civilized world use the ballot box.

I didn’t agree to allow my freedoms to be subject to a ballot box. Nor do I have to take a vote if a criminal intrudes my house and holds my family hostage. I have the absolute right to defend them and me. Likewise, I have the absolute right to repel the aggressive force of men with fancy costumes and shiny badges and official-sounding documents in their pockets.

I happen to think armed rebellion is a waste of time and energy, since the state is FAR more easily defeated by letting it implode. But I would be perfectly justified in using force, if I thought it would help.

You act as if all things are absolutely ascertainable. Let’s agree that aggression is NEVER legitimate, for the moment. How can you be so sure, in every single possible situation, that you can so easily decide right from wrong? If you know all the facts, maybe. But when do any of us truly know all the facts? This is the problem with the NAP crowd. They assume that the distinction between aggression, and say self-defense is always absolutely known. If that were true, it is trivial to follow the rules of NAP. But I for one have spent hours explaining how that is often not the case, and how that reality is embodied in our system of common law, where strict liability is a rare and very limited legal principle. NAPsters on the other hand, believe that strict liability can be applied in all cases of conflict.

Aggression is illegitimate, by definition.

As far as the aggression of statism is concerned, its “facts” are largely out in the open. The ethical difficulty some people have with statism is not ignorance of facts, but confusion about ethical principles.

Let’s see. Yes, the state is an organized form of aggressive capability, and on occasion that capability is employed. I think I have a realistic understanding of the world we live in, but perhaps everyone thinks that. Obviously you think you do.

As I said, the key facts are not hidden. Well, they’re hidden by propaganda, but not literally unknowable.

You remind me (no offense) of someone with a dog’s vision (only black and white) who cannot perceive colors. Everything is so clear to you; truth is an absolute. You consider this a badge of courage. I do not. We are not likely to see eye to eye on that (pun intended).

Are you absolutely sure about that?

You pretend to reject absolutism, but then rely on absolutism to reject my …. absolutism.

You call me a fanatic, even as you fanatically defend statism.

You’re a walking mess of self-contradiction.

Wildberry February 27, 2012 at 12:04 pm

@PhinnFebruary 27, 2012 at 10:09 am


You can dress that agreement up in whatever pomp and formality your imagination can muster, and surround it with filigree and gold seals and play majestic music whenever the document enters the room, but none of that crap makes it any more effective, legitimate or authoritative. It’s still just a bill of sale between slavers.

You need to wipe your chin. I think you are saying that you don’t feel bound by the term of the Constitution, or any other law for that matter. You are an independent and free man. Good for you. I presume you have a family. Are you “free” to not be bound by the reality that you did not “choose” your parents and siblings, the country you are born into, the year of your birth, etc? Get a grip man.


No, the government CLAIMS a monopoly on coercive force.
That claim is patently frivolous, and no more “proper” (i.e., legitimate) than a mental patient’s claim that he is Emperor of Earth.

I understand your position. It is untenable in an advanced division of labor society. But I gather from some things you said, that doesn’t bother you much.


You would have to subtract the defensive violence its agents sometimes employ, like stopping actual crime and catching kidnappers, which would be done even in a free society, by someone. But my rough estimate is that this defensive component consists of about 0.001% of what government does. The rest consists of its counterfeiting cartel, protectionism, price-fixing, loan manipulations, and erecting barriers to entry for favored industries, starting with finance, but also includes oil and major manufacturing.

If it is such a small part of what government does, why are you all frothy about it? In my view it should be a much larger percentage of the total function of government, since that is about all it’s good for. On these other things, you might be surprised how much we may agree.


I haven’t been shelled because, on this tax farm, the farmers want my productivity, not to shell me and my house. Dairy farmers don’t routinely use their best cows for target practice, either. It’s uneconomical.

You speak like a slave. How ironic.


In practice, it is so fragile and weak that we only need to stop supporting it, and it will collapse in a matter of days.

You may be right, but the difference between us is that you are cheering for ashes, for some reason I can’t rationally understand. You already have the matches in your hand. You are just too lazy, disorganized, and “independent” to use them. It is not necessary to chop down the tree to pick the fruit.

You remind me of the character in that Twilight Zone episode, who is repelled by people, and ends up in a bank vault during an A-bomb attack where he reads books alone. He gets his wish for a library all his own, but breaks his glasses. It’s a classic.


Consent is a simple concept. Your consent to allow someone to aggress against others means nothing. I didn’t consent. I know lots of people who didn’t consent. Whatever “upper hand” you think you have is ethically irrelevant. See above re: might vs. right.

Whoa, there Skippy. The issue of whether I’m aggressing against you is far from a settled issue, except in your mind. I asked you if promoting the overthrow of the government was a form of “might” and you agreed. That makes you an aggressor, doesn’t it?


A society that does not ignore my lack of consent, and respects life, liberty and property would be more fair.

I do, and so does government. Better than that, it respects and protects your RIGHT to believe this, and act on it. All that is required is that you do it in a way that doesn’t hurt others. Molotov cocktails are out, but organizing, protesting, and voting are in. What’s your problem?


I did not choose to be governed in this way. I did not agree to put my liberty and property up to a vote. I did not agree to any framework for deciding what my rights are.
Wild animals have teeth, too. I do not recognize the authority of them, either.

I wanted to be 6’ 4” too, but I didn’t get my choice. But I didn’t spend my life complaining about it either. I suspect if you were in a cage with a bear, you might acknowledge its self-given right to eat you. You would have the right to fight back, but the bear is not going to care much what you think. So it goes.


Your fanaticism for statism has made you callous, shallow and confused.

You don’t know me, Phinn. Do you think you do? That is because for fanatics, it doesn’t take much to rush to conclusions about who are allies and enemies. If you declare me your enemy, that makes you a threat to my safety, an act of aggression. Fanatics can’t see their own conduct in the same light that they judge others. It is called a double standard, right? Enemies don’t have the same rights as allies.


You are a criminal. You support statism. You support the wholesale, institutionalized robbery and control of people, who are harming no one, and restricting their freedom to live as they see fit.

You see to a rational person, it doesn’t matter that you have no basis, evidence or other rational reason for considering me a criminal. It is enough that you believe it, and it is reasonable to assume you might act on that belief. That makes you a threat. Threats are aggressive, right?


Your constitution purports to authorize an innumerable list of crimes. The currency cartel, for example. Taxation. Running any enterprise that some brain-dead, half-educated judge somewhere declares to be “affected by interstate commerce.”
There are your agents, Wildberry, doing what they do.

If I sell you a lemon of a used car, and you are too stupid to know it, who is to blame? If you learn about it after the fact, and are too stupid or cowardly to do something about it, what is your complaint?

You do not seem to distinguish between a crime and policy that you disagree with. Do you think there is a difference, or do you believe that anyone who doesn’t buy your menu of anarchist crap is a criminal? Let’s play that out and see where it leads.



As I asked before, if the psychological weapons are so efficient, how did you escape? How is it your mind did not break (or did it)?

I already gave my best explanation for this. I attribute my escape to growing up in a (somewhat rare) culture in which defiance and liberty were valued, albeit imperfectly. And to gaps in my state-school indoctrination. And exposure to anarchism through the Internet, which is an accident of history.

You’ve missed my point twice now, so let me try one more time. You are free to form your beliefs because you are free. You control your own destiny. In my view, character is destiny. You choose what you believe, and you have chosen some extreme view of isolationism and anger for not having things your own way by birthright. It is a small in insignificant position to find yourself in. I understand.


With my attitude, we’d all be living with an incalculable increase in peace and prosperity. Free markets produce such things, reliably.

Sorry, but I’m not about to follow you into the sunset. I suspect you do not know how to play well with others. That makes your unpredictable and dangerous. We may agree on the concepts of free markets, but we don’t agree much on our orientation to that freedom. Your are a typical anarchist, which is why the most you have to show for your philosophy is Occupy Wall Street. Congratulations.


No and no. I mentioned it as an illustration of the origin of the culture I grew up in, which was descended from Scots and other enslaved (and defiant) people of northern England.

Well we all have histories. If you go back far enough, there is usually violence and conquest by force involved. But in 2012, I don’t sit around hating the British for the oppression of my Irish ancestors. I get that you fancy yourself as a descendant of William Wallace, but wake up man! That particular battle is over.



I have a question; if you are a Scotsman, why such vehemence against the US Constitution? Do you live here in the US now? Why?

I’m not. I grew up, and still live much of the time, in America. I was talking about my parents’ cultural heritage, not my personal experience.

What about the “why?” part? I’m wondering where it is that you’ve found more compatible environs.


I didn’t agree to allow my freedoms to be subject to a ballot box. Nor do I have to take a vote if a criminal intrudes my house and holds my family hostage. I have the absolute right to defend them and me. Likewise, I have the absolute right to repel the aggressive force of men with fancy costumes and shiny badges and official-sounding documents in their pockets.
I happen to think armed rebellion is a waste of time and energy, since the state is FAR more easily defeated by letting it implode. But I would be perfectly justified in using force, if I thought it would help.

You don’t get it, do you. “It” is my house you want to implode, and you don’t care who gets hurt in the process. You may self-righteously believe you are justified, but I do not, and I will oppose your use of force, with force if necessary. That is the way violent revolution goes. If the force of police keeps you from acting on our emotions of hatred, so much the better. That’s what they’re there for.

I hope you are not shocked by the idea that no one is counting on you to help out much. You are much too selfish, self-absorbed, and a little volatile and dangerous to be on my team.


Aggression is illegitimate, by definition.

Unless it is in the hands of your righteous cause. What a charlatan.


As far as the aggression of statism is concerned, its “facts” are largely out in the open. The ethical difficulty some people have with statism is not ignorance of facts, but confusion about ethical principles.

If you are suggesting that I accept yours, that isn’t going to happen. Facts are readily observable, but opinions are like belly buttons; everybody has one. It is not the facts that are the issue, so much, but the opinions formed around them. Reasonable people can disagree. Unreasonable people don’t care what others think. That leads to the bear in the cage scenario. Good luck with the bear claw.


You pretend to reject absolutism, but then rely on absolutism to reject my …. absolutism.

You call me a fanatic, even as you fanatically defend statism.

You have a right to be blind, and I will defend that right. I leave you alone, wishing for the dark of night.

Phinn February 27, 2012 at 1:49 pm

I think you are saying that you don’t feel bound by the term of the Constitution, or any other law for that matter. You are an independent and free man. Good for you. I presume you have a family. Are you “free” to not be bound by the reality that you did not “choose” your parents and siblings, the country you are born into, the year of your birth, etc? Get a grip man.

I’m perfectly calm, thank you. I am bound by rationality, as we all are.

Am I bound by the arbitrary, self-serving ramblings in third-party documents? No.

I understand your position. It is untenable in an advanced division of labor society. But I gather from some things you said, that doesn’t bother you much.

Statism is untenable in an advanced economy. As Mises and Hayek showed, statism destroys the information needed to adapt. Now that we have computer technology, the gap between the adaptability of market actors and state actors is becoming too large for even otherwise corrupt people to ignore.

If [crime prevention] is such a small part of what government does, why are you all frothy about it? In my view it should be a much larger percentage of the total function of government, since that is about all it’s good for. On these other things, you might be surprised how much we may agree.

Here’s what you don’t understand — the State does not exist to right wrongs, catch kidnappers, and burglars and retrieve the purses taken from old ladies. The State did not begin as a tiny night watchman, and just happened to grow to be a gargantuan, cancerous Leviathan. The minarchist Night Watchman state never existed.

The State began as a kleptocracy. As thugs owning the farmers, enslaving them, and turning them into farm animals, who’d live alongside the other farm animals.

The Night Watchman “services” that minarchists want, which the State minimally provides today (albeit ineptly, and at grotesque expense) were grafted on later. They provide these half-baked “services” to mollify and pacify the populace. They are an afterthought. They are the window dressing to make the Core Functions of statism more palatable.

The Core Function of statism is slavery. Today’s corporate-style state evolved from feudal warlords owning peasants into a more money-based tax-farming system, but the State was never conceived or implemented to be the impartial Night Watchman, guarding us all from crime.

That’s why it devotes 0.01% of its time and energy to anti-crime tasks, and 99.99% of its time to collecting taxes, controlling industries, protecting insiders from competition, fixing prices, forming cartels, etc.

You may be right, but the difference between us is that you are cheering for ashes, for some reason I can’t rationally understand. You already have the matches in your hand. You are just too lazy, disorganized, and “independent” to use them. It is not necessary to chop down the tree to pick the fruit.

Yes, I cheer for the end of tax farming. For myself, but for you, too!

My study of law, economics and history leads me to conclude that the most effective way to end statism is to set an example. So I live an anarchistic lifestyle. As such, I focus on entrepreneurship, private solutions to problems, and taking advantage of the economic benefits of free markets.

You remind me of the character in that Twilight Zone episode, who is repelled by people, and ends up in a bank vault during an A-bomb attack where he reads books alone. He gets his wish for a library all his own, but breaks his glasses. It’s a classic.

I remember him ending up on stairs, not inside a vault. Maybe I’m remembering it wrong.

Anyway, you are 180-degrees wrong, again. I have found that I have become more social, more connected, more open to forming relationships with new people as my understanding of anarchism has developed.

I don’t recommend isolation. It’s terribly unproductive. It brings the individual down to subsistence. I do, however, recommend relationships that are mutually voluntary and thus mutually beneficial. I don’t want isolation. I seek out peace and cooperation, i.e., the opposite of statism.

Whoa, there Skippy. The issue of whether I’m aggressing against you is far from a settled issue, except in your mind. I asked you if promoting the overthrow of the government was a form of “might” and you agreed. That makes you an aggressor, doesn’t it?

No, defensive violence is the antithesis of aggression. Ethical rules distinguish between right and wrong, and thus between aggression and defense.

Since I am living my life peacefully, taxing me is obviously just another word for theft, hence it’s aggression. Giving money by consent is called “buying things.” I’m sure you can see the difference.

I [respect your life, liberty and property], and so does government. Better than that, it respects and protects your RIGHT to believe this, and act on it. All that is required is that you do it in a way that doesn’t hurt others. Molotov cocktails are out, but organizing, protesting, and voting are in. What’s your problem?

No, you don’t, and neither does the state. If it did, it would not NEED to make the claim that it is the final arbiter of violence. We’d be equals, in all respects.

The problem is the theft. And the financial cartel, which is just sophisticated theft. And the rape rooms they set up for resisting the theft.

I wanted to be 6’ 4” too, but I didn’t get my choice. But I didn’t spend my life complaining about it either. I suspect if you were in a cage with a bear, you might acknowledge its self-given right to eat you. You would have the right to fight back, but the bear is not going to care much what you think. So it goes.

Only humans act economically. Only humans can predict and choose. Thus only humans can be aware of ethics. Instinctual action is not a matter of ethics.

You don’t know me, Phinn. Do you think you do? That is because for fanatics, it doesn’t take much to rush to conclusions about who are allies and enemies. If you declare me your enemy, that makes you a threat to my safety, an act of aggression. Fanatics can’t see their own conduct in the same light that they judge others. It is called a double standard, right? Enemies don’t have the same rights as allies.

Pot. Kettle. Black. Tu quoque.

You seem to a rational person, it doesn’t matter that you have no basis, evidence or other rational reason for considering me a criminal. It is enough that you believe it, and it is reasonable to assume you might act on that belief. That makes you a threat. Threats are aggressive, right

Statism is a euphemism for gangsterism. That’s why its criminal.

If I sell you a lemon of a used car, and you are too stupid to know it, who is to blame? If you learn about it after the fact, and are too stupid or cowardly to do something about it, what is your complaint?

I would be responsible. If I wanted an arbiter, I would find one that we could both agree to. I would appeal to the seller’s desire to preserve his reputation for honesty and quality of goods. If he has no such desire, I would have little basis to obtain restitution. In that case, I would learn and let it go.

You do not seem to distinguish between a crime and policy that you disagree with. Do you think there is a difference, or do you believe that anyone who doesn’t buy your menu of anarchist crap is a criminal? Let’s play that out and see where it leads.

Bastiat said 150 years ago: “But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.”

Simple.

Sorry, but I’m not about to follow you into the sunset. I suspect you do not know how to play well with others. That makes your unpredictable and dangerous. We may agree on the concepts of free markets, but we don’t agree much on our orientation to that freedom. Your are a typical anarchist, which is why the most you have to show for your philosophy is Occupy Wall Street. Congratulations.

OWS is socialist.

You don’t get it, do you. “It” is my house you want to implode, and you don’t care who gets hurt in the process. You may self-righteously believe you are justified, but I do not, and I will oppose your use of force, with force if necessary. That is the way violent revolution goes. If the force of police keeps you from acting on our emotions of hatred, so much the better. That’s what they’re there for.

OK, fine. I’m smarter than you are, so think about that before you go off half-cocked. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Your precious statist foot-soldiers will be cracking down on everyone soon enough. People like you never learn, it seems.

I hope you are not shocked by the idea that no one is counting on you to help out much. You are much too selfish, self-absorbed, and a little volatile and dangerous to be on my team.

Anyone who votes for war will be the first ones on the front line. That’s my basic approach to both voting and war.

If you are suggesting that I accept yours, that isn’t going to happen.

Absolutist!

Facts are readily observable, but opinions are like belly buttons; everybody has one. It is not the facts that are the issue, so much, but the opinions formed around them. Reasonable people can disagree. Unreasonable people don’t care what others think. That leads to the bear in the cage scenario. Good luck with the bear claw.

Oh, well, now you’re right back into relativism and “opinion.” And only a microsecond ago, you were quite absolutist, and certain about your conclusions. Now you’re saying that it’s all mere opinion.

Or, are you saying that certainty only exists when we’re talking about your assertions, but my assertions are relegated to the status of relativism and opinion?

That seems odd. And by “odd” I mean “wrong.”

Phinn February 27, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Here’s a little statism parable, Wildberry, taken from today’s headlines:

Farmer Faces Possible 3-year Prison Term for Feeding Community

Hershberger … is charged with four criminal misdemeanors that could land him in prison for three years with fines of over $10,000. The Wisconsin Department of Agricultural Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) targeted Hershberger for supplying a private buying club with fresh milk and other farm products.

DATCP has charged Hershberger with, among other things, operating a retail food establishment without a license. Hershberger repeatedly denies this, citing that he provides foods only to paid members in a private buying club and is not subject to state food regulations. “There is more at stake here than just a farmer and his few customers,” says Hershberger, “this is about the fundamental right of farmers and consumers to engage in peaceful, private, mutually consenting agreements for food, without additional oversight.”[/blockquote]

Phinn February 27, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Here’s a little statism parable, Wildberry, taken from today’s headlines:

Farmer Faces Possible 3-year Prison Term for Feeding Community

Hershberger … is charged with four criminal misdemeanors that could land him in prison for three years with fines of over $10,000. The Wisconsin Department of Agricultural Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) targeted Hershberger for supplying a private buying club with fresh milk and other farm products.

DATCP has charged Hershberger with, among other things, operating a retail food establishment without a license. Hershberger repeatedly denies this, citing that he provides foods only to paid members in a private buying club and is not subject to state food regulations. “There is more at stake here than just a farmer and his few customers,” says Hershberger, “this is about the fundamental right of farmers and consumers to engage in peaceful, private, mutually consenting agreements for food, without additional oversight.”

http://farmwars.info/?p=791

Wildberry February 27, 2012 at 3:56 pm

=========
Phinn,

You are so busy flinging the label “statist” around, you haven’t stopped to take a breath. Do you think I believe that there is not injustice in the world? You think that everything that is done by the Fed is OK by me? That is silly nonsense.

I’m a statist, OWS are socialists, and Republicans want more taxes. How tidy for you. Everyone in their proper place.

You live your lifestyle, which sound pretty mainstream normal to me, because you don’t have to worry about thugs raiding your property and holding you hostage. Your 911 works just like mine. I’ve never had to use mine, thank God, but I wouldn’t hesitate to dial. Would you, or would choose to be a victim of some third-party thug, or would you fight it out alone, OK Corral style?

It is not your assessment of specific wrongs that is at issue so much, it is your vision of the “final solution”. You are naive, in the sense that because you withdraw from some aspects of society, which is perfectly fine by me, and decide to structure your own affairs in a particular way, that you are immune and independent of the environmental context within which you live. That same state you abhor will enforce your personal contracts, which makes them work for you as well as me. You didn’t invent everything you enjoy out of whole cloth. You think you have “withdrawn”??? What a hoot.

As to OWS, to say they are anything is another hoot. They are a bunch of people with nothing better to do, who whine and act badly, infringing on the rights of everyone else, because they think the world is unfair. They all have their own “reasons” or rationale. They don’t strike me as a particularly educated or unified group. To dismiss them as socialists is to ignore the main point.

In a world with NO social institutions, you get something that more resembles a fungus than a mushroom. Some OWS want “government” to make things more fair, but others just want to burn it down, and some want other things. What is clear is that the tactics they are using will yield nothing but resentment and repression, as it should.

As to Twilight Zone, you have it right. He survived by being the vault, but while surveying his kingdom, he broke his glasses on the steps of the library. That is my perception of the vision for Ancap Utopia. Watch out for what you wish for.

Ned Netterville February 29, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Phinn, Beautiful! That should silence Wildberry, but we know it wont.

Phinn March 1, 2012 at 9:16 am

Thanks, Ned. It’s amazing how clear the world is once you blow away the fog of the myths of statism, with its convoluted, self-contradictory explanations about “consent of the governed” and other nonsense.

The parable goes something like this: We all start out as free, sovereign individuals, who delegate a portion of our power to a group of people we call the “state,” who then wields that power for us, but in the process we lose the power we once had, which makes it more of a transfer of power rather than a delegation or agency relationship, and then those people turn around and tell us what we can and can’t do, how we can defend ourselves from real crimes, how we owe a perpetual debt incurred by earlier generations, and who we can and can’t sell milk to.

So, the relationship we have with the state is supposed to be based on consent, even though no one actually consented, and the relationship between the governors and the governed looks an awful lot like one group of conquerors who treat everyone else like free-range farm animals.

When you take the pretense of “authority” out of the analysis, the true nature of the state instantly becomes clear.

wildberrry March 2, 2012 at 12:45 pm

To Ned and Phinn:

Dear Blind and Blind; not sure who is leading…

In your mutual admiration club, with all that patting on the back, high fives and so forth, you sort ‘a missed the essential point. Let me use Phinn’s “parable” to illustrate. Ironically, you make your errors plain and obvious. You even call them by name. Let’s see…

The parable goes something like this: We all start out as free, sovereign individuals, who delegate a portion of our power to a group of people we call the “state,” who then wields that power for us, but in the process we lose the power we once had, which makes it more of a transfer of power rather than a delegation or agency relationship, and then those people turn around and tell us what we can and can’t do, how we can defend ourselves from real crimes, how we owe a perpetual debt incurred by earlier generations, and who we can and can’t sell milk to.

First, you over-generalize to support your narrative. Is it relevant to you at all what specific “powers” you refer to? You say we “delegate a portion of our power”. What portion? What power? Your bias of anarchy reveals itself here. Are you implying that any such delegation is improper and a mistake? Yes you do, I understand. Therefore you imply that all individual powers and rights are one big thing, and that if we hand over any portion, we hand them all over like a key to the city.

By saying it this way, you contradict the meaning of “a portion”, and by not saying what portion, you prevent any challenge to your fundamental assumption, that any and all delegation is fundamentally wrong. That you are doing is simply stating the conclusion that is the basic tenet of anarchism.

However, I think you have to acknowledge that is not an argument for anarchism, it is only an assertion that any other view is wrong. It is not surprising, then, that you get the rest of your argument wrong, because you are just stitching concepts together that you don’t understand, in order to reach your foregone conclusion. That is not honest, unless you truly don’t understand what you are doing. Let me give you the benefit of the doubt and continue by showing you your errors.

Let’s say you disagree with the government’s exercise of their power in a specific instance (I know you do, but I said “SPECIFIC”). Let’s pick a specific example, the power to tax. Let’s say that you oppose paying income taxes, and your complaint is that the government has gone too far in its exercise of the power to tax, which we delegated to it, as you say. Your complaint is that when you gave it the power to tax, you did not intend that it create an income tax, and all the enforcement infrastructure that goes along with it. You personally object.

If it was really a “transfer of power” as you say, this implies that it is like a sale of land; once transferred, there is no right to take it back. Is that what you mean? You call it a delegation, which means to transfer your duties to someone else. But delegation can be permanent, or it can be conditioned by some event or condition. You imply that it is complete and absolute. Is this your intended meaning? If so, then you are wrong. The power to tax is not absolute, as I will explain.

Also, in order to delegate a power, you have to first have it. Do you mean that before you delegated this power, that you had an individual power to tax? I would think that individuals do not have this power, and therefore it is non-delegable. This is another error.

You contrast this delegation with the concept of an agent, who acts on behalf of and is controlled by the principal. You may not be aware, but the law of agency is based on authority; the principal is only bound by the acts of the agent if the agent was acting with authority. If not, the principal is not bound, and the agent is liable for any damages. In addition, the principal is always, since s/he controls the agent, capable of terminating the agency.

Do you see the difference between a delegation and an agency? You use the terms, but I suspect you really don’t understand what they mean. You conclude that government is not an agency relationship, but you are wrong. We do not delegate individual rights and powers permanently to the government, we grant them authority to act on your behalf, and because we are principals, we have ultimate control of the agent. This entire thread is based on that simple concept. This is your most serious error.

If you did understand the nature of agency, then you would understand that consent by a principal is in the hands of the principal, not the agent. At no point can the agent turn around and tell the principal what he must do. Also, the agent cannot act on my behalf, and bind me to the consequences, unless there is proper authority, which only the principal can grant. Such a grant need not be permanent.

Now, is the government the “owner” of your rights and power, or is the government the agent of the governed/principals?

Let’s take it one step further.

The Constitution starts out with this premise: certain individual rights are ordained by God, and cannot be infringed upon by government. That is the essential premise. Individuals are holders of the power of liberty and freedom. I suspect we do not disagree about this.

Second, it specifically enumerates very specific powers that are authorized as government action. One of those powers is the power to tax. Any act by government to tax must be based on this and other enumerated authority. Only tax laws passed by a political agent are enforceable. Your mayor or the President cannot levy taxes. That is not authorized conduct. See?

Third, no power thus enumerated is absolute, because the agent is controlled by the principal. You can’t just skip over this essential issue because it is convenient to your narrative. Any tax that exists can be repealed through the same process that enacted it. In some cases (i.e. California), a general vote can, by the proposition process can directly repeal legislation. Again, the principal has the power of control over the agent, through the political process that defines the authority of government action.

To skip the rest of the civics lesson, the courts have consistently found over the 200+ years of hearing complaints about the government overstepping its authority, that the check on federalism (i.e. the agency of the government) is a political question. In other words, the courts have confirmed my assertion, that governments, and the extent of their authority to act, is subject to the power of the people (principals) to determine and control.

Do you get that? The constitution does not say that Congress can tax you, and there is nothing you can do about it except defeat them by military coupe. It says that Congress, as your agent, can enact laws that are necessary and proper to exercise their taxing powers. If you don’t like it, you elect Congressional representatives that agree to do your bidding. That is the system. It is in fact an agency arrangement, unlike what you conclude. So, as I have shown your conclusion and analysis are simply wrong, wrong, wrong.

Now we are still left with a problem. An individual that is being paid by the government with taxes s/he doesn’t have to pay himself, because the money comes from the taxes you pay, is not likely to elect Congressmen who are going to change that arrangement. If there are more of them than there are of your view, then it creates a political problem. That is where we are. We have a political problem.

Your (our) options are: 1) put yourself in a position where you don’t have to pay the taxes (unemployment, cash business, etc); 2) figure out a way to get the net recipients of taxes over to your side (good luck); 3) Elect as many people who want a small government as possible (that is on the table, so some extent); 4) refuse to pay taxes and suffer the consequences (and maybe do a Ruby Hill thing and shoot it out with the G-men); 5) Use hostility and aggression to get your way (which ranges from OWS on one end, and outright civil war on the other), or 6) do nothing and hope for the best, (which you may believe is collapse from bankruptcy and other forms of government implosion, but you are only hoping that happens, because you think that gives you a shot at the power to prevent the reoccurrence of any government).

Or (7) you can you can ignore/misunderstand the situation, and act like you are doing something heroic in the process, and/or complain that you do or should have other options. In short, you can deny reality.

According to Mises, you will act by choosing the course of action that you consider to be in your best interest.

It appears to me that options 6 and 7 are the course you have chosen. Ironically, that is the most selfish and self-centered course of action, a hallmark, IMHO of the anarchist types.

I asked you if your chose your parents, and you just blew that question off. I was making a point. You do not always get to choose the reality you find yourself in. But again, turning to Mises, you calculate based on your subjective beliefs and your understanding of the data you have on hand. If you are wrong, or you believe something unreasonable, you are still free to act on that calculation. You just will not get the outcome you expect.

Finally, you make this assertion: “…but in the process we lose the power we once had.”

My question to you is how and why? Are you suggesting someone took it from you, or are you simply abandoning your rights to that power? It seems like the latter to me. So much for the independent heritage of the Scottsman you are so proud of. This is the conduct of a coward, not a hero.

And to you Ned. Why would you want me to shut up? It is my right to express my opinions here and elsewhere. You claim to promote freedom and liberty, but you sound like someone who would like me to feel intimidated by your disapproval.

Perhaps if you had the PDA of your dreams, you might be able to carry out your wishes. That’s what worries me. You don’t see the insidious nature of your own contradictions. That makes you dangerous to the cause of freedom and liberty, not an ally to it.

Phinn March 2, 2012 at 3:11 pm

I think it’s pretty funny that you want to comment on my knowledge and understanding of agency principles, considering the fundamental confusion you are exhibiting here.

For example, I invite your attention to these two assertions of yours:

I would think that individuals do not have this power [to tax], and therefore it is non-delegable.

and

We do not delegate individual rights and powers permanently to the government, we grant them authority to act on your behalf, and because we are principals, we have ultimate control of the agent.

The governmental actors are supposedly acting on authority granted to them by non-governmental people, but those non-governmental people (from whom the government derives its authority) do not have the power to impose taxes on each other. Therefore, the governmental actors could not have the power to impose taxes.

Do you engage in circularity professionally, or is it just a hobby?

Maybe you should try pulling your hair straight up and seeing how high you can fly.

One cannot delegate a power to someone that he does not first have himself.

If I have no power to levy taxes on people, then I cannot authorize anyone, permanently or temporarily, the power to levy a tax on people.

And, more importantly, since no individual has the authority to tax me, in his individual capacity, he cannot authorize his agents to do it for him.

Wildberry March 2, 2012 at 7:37 pm

@PhinnMarch 2, 2012 at 3:11 pm

That’s it? This is your response?? You create circular argument by equivocating on what I said and then argue against it? I think we have a name for that kind of construct.

The distinction I am making is one of delegation versus agency, permanence versus revocability. I think you will agree, if you understood it, this was my point. Let me make it again this way:

If I am King, I have the power to tax. I have this power because I impose it as a matter of might. If I permanently delegate that power to the Sheriff of Nottingham, (as you imply has been done in our government system) I am abdicating the throne. I surrender my power to the sheriff, who now has the personal power to tax, and who can and must defend that power with his own force of arms.

If I make the sheriff my agent and remain the principal, however, he has the power to tax only under my authority, up until the time I decide to take it back or delegate it to someone else. The Sherriff does not become the King. He is, to use your term, “government people”, acting with the authority of the King.

Under this latter arrangement, the Sheriff does not have the individual power to tax. Therefore he may not delegate this power to someone else; that power belongs to the King. Likewise, an individual Serf (the taxed) does not have the power to tax the King or the Sherriff. Therefore in either case, the individual cannot delegate that power to someone else, because it is not his to delegate, as an individual actor.

The question is, in your metaphor (what you call the parable) about delegation of our individual powers, who is King? You imply that the government acts as King, but do not explain how this power was obtained or enforced. You must ignore reality to make this metaphor work.

I am pointing out to you that the correct relationship is that the people, acting together and NOT as individuals, are King. The government is properly understood as the Sherriff, not the King or Serfs, or “government” or “non-government people”. No individual has the power or ability to assume the throne, and therefore no individual has the personal power or authority act as if he has.

In our system of government, collectively (whatever we decide that means; I think it means simply cooperation on a grand social scale, as in the concept of a country) individuals are King. By granting this authority to an agent, they do not abdicate the throne.

Let’s look again at what you wrote, and I will substitute the terms you introduce with King, Sherriff and Serf as I use them above.

The Sherrif [is] supposedly acting on authority granted to [him] by King (correct), but the Serf (from whom the King derives its authority) (incorrect), do not have the power to impose taxes on each other. (correct) Therefore, the Sherriff could not have the power to impose taxes (non-sequitur).

Obviously this is not my logic. You equivocate on Serf (acting alone) and King, (acting together). “Non-government people” is not sufficient to describe both King and Serf.

If you start with the premise that government can only act within the authority of their agency (correct) then you have to be clear about who the principal is.

If you say the principal is “non-government people” what does this mean? Do you mean actors who are not acting with the authority of the government? Or do you mean individuals acting as individuals before a government existed, or individuals acting in cooperation in forming a government? Your ambiguous use of the term creates your logical non-sequitur.

Serfs acting as Serfs (individually) have no power over the Sherriff or the King. Serfs acting together (cooperating) are the King. The Sherriff acting as an agent for the King is acting under the authority of the “Serfs acting together” (King). The Sherriff is the agent of the King. The King is the principal of the Sherriff. This is the proper relationship.

You create the circular argument, and then argue against it.

But I think you understand this. I think your beef is that YOU PERSONALLY did not agree to pay taxes. But you did. You were born here, and the government preceded you, just as if the King existed before and after you were born, and just as your parents did, and the land and the air and everything else you inherited by virtue of being born. You object to that reality? Who cares?

You also consent by conduct every day. You are part of the system you inherited. But you neither own it or denounce it. You do not take a stand either way. You continue to live under the reality you inherited, but deny that you are a part of it. You whine that it is not fair, but you continue to suck at the teat that was your birthright. You continue to enjoy the benefits of a system you despise, yet you do nothing to own it, or attempt to change it to your liking. You act as if it is something that comes from “out there”. Do you own your Scottish heritage, or is that something that happened to you from “out there” and so you are now free to reject its existence?

If you object to paying taxes, what are your options? I laid them out for you. The question is whether the agency you call the State is a legitimate artifact of a free people, and where that legitimacy came from. You have to answer this before you can address any specific objection about how the government exercises its authority.

If you believe it is illegitimate in its existence, then you still have to deal with reality. It does exist. You object you do not have the individual power to change it. I say thank God that’s the case. But you do have the power to change it by acting in cooperation with others.

If you choose to change it from within the existing framework, you are going to have to play with others, which you reject. You are your own man, to paraphrase. You don’t vote, or example, because to do so is to support the illusion that voting has meaning.
If you are going to change it from outside the existing framework, you are also going to have to play with others, to defend yourself against to power of those who would stop you. Looks like either way either you are alone, or you have to cooperate. Those are your options. Reality bites, no matter how much you try to pretend it doesn’t.

Like that Ron White line, “At that moment, I had the right to remain silent, but I didn’t have the ability.” You have the right to change things, but not the ability.

Peter Surda March 3, 2012 at 11:54 am

Wildberry,

it looks like you mistake Captain Planet, arising by powers combined, for reality.

Libertarian Jerry February 26, 2012 at 5:13 am

Wildberry…..The Elsworth Toohey of bloggers.

Wildberry February 26, 2012 at 6:01 pm

LJ
you mean the unabashed collectivist and Rand’s personification of evil who falsely styles himself as representative of the will of the masses.

Wow, when you get it wrong, you really excell.

WB

Bloodthirsty Liberal February 26, 2012 at 11:38 am

Joining late, but with this to add: I half-agree with this post. The supportive half says the increase in government assistance does indeed put the nation in peril. When “a majority of the population then has a vested interest in increasing the power of government to redistribute wealth”, that’s what the government will do. It’s a symbiotic relationship: the majority gets its welfare checks; the government gets its votes. Until you’re Greece, and you need Germany (or China in our case) to bail you out. My argumentative side says why shouldn’t federal income tax be discussed in the same way? When a majority (or even large minority) has no interest in decreasing the tax burden, where will the political pressure come from to decrease it? Rather, all the pressure will be the other way: soak the rich. I’ll leave the argument over the legality of the federal income tax to others. But if you want it lower, apply it to everyone.

Alexander S. Peak February 26, 2012 at 2:22 pm

I wonder what makes the responder known as GW think that conservatives are fiscal conservatives. GW argues that it is not a waste of time to argue about who gets what, while completely ignoring that every second wasted on arguing about who pays what is a second that could have been devoted to petitioning for the repeal of the sixteenth amendment. Finally, a libertarian society is the only sort of society that actually gels human nature. Human nature being what it is, peaceful, beneficent government is an impossibility.

Lee Fox is not impressed by the original blog post, but I am. I am inclined to think that Mr. Fox misunderstands the original blog post. In the least, it’s probable that he and I do not share the same interpretation of the original post, regardless of which of our interpretations (if either) is correct. Mr. Fox dismisses the possibility that conservatives have any obsession with class warfare on the grounds that the modern so-called “liberal” (or, as Fox calls them, “progressives”) have an obsession with class warfare. But I do not agree that simply because the modern so-called “liberal” has an obsession with class warfare that the modern conservative cannot. While it is almost certain that the modern conservative has a different interpretation of class than the modern so-called “liberal,” the conservative is also probably more prone to seeing the bogeyman of class warfare more often than others, and in that sense, could be easily accused of obsession. (I say bogeyman, not to imply that class warfare does not exist, but rather to note that it is not necessarily there every time a person thinks she or he sees it is it.) As for whether conservatives do or do not support high taxes, it seems clear from their conduct that they in fact do support high taxes, regardless of their fake small-government rhetoric. Finally, conservatives have never wanted to shrink government “back to its proper role of the protection of Life, Liberty, and Property.” Conservatism, as an ideology, was born out of defence for the statist status quo. Modern conservatives have no greater love life, liberty, or property than their classical brethren, and the only reason they ever adopted classically liberal rhetoric in the first place was because it was the only rhetoric available with which to oppose the New Deal.

Wildberry February 26, 2012 at 2:29 pm

LJ,

You mean an unabashed collectivist and Rand’s personification of evil who falsely styles himself as representative of the will of the masses?

Wow, when you get it wrong, your really hit a home run!

WB

Libertarian Jerry February 26, 2012 at 8:07 pm

WB…You must have a guilty conscience. Most trolls don’t. LJ

terrymac February 27, 2012 at 5:22 am

The primary focus should be cutting spending, for several reasons.

First off, government spending is always paid for, but not always via taxation. You must pay for government spending via taxation, inflation, or some future combination of these (borrowing). We have often cut taxes but increased spending, deluding ourselves into thinking that we were “starving the beast.” Does this beast look starved to you?

Second, there is a fair statistical correlation between increased spending and increased oppression. All those jackbooted thugs from various TLAs and ETLAs demand their paychecks and their tools of oppression. Cut their budgets and starve them out.

In short, the beast feeds from several sources: taxes, inflation, borrowing, and outright confiscation, such as asset forfeitures. If you want to starve the beast, all four taps must be shut down. A simpler approach is to go downstream and cut off the spending spigot. Stop paying the bureaucrats, police, and other agencies, and they’ll stop oppressing you.

Regan Hines February 27, 2012 at 2:38 pm

“The increase in reliance on government assistance is the problem here, not a lack of people who pay income tax.” – Great point. I would disagree that all conservatives just want more people to pay taxes though. Many genuinely understand that we need a lower tax rate for all but they may disagree on the best way to get there. The major issue that this article points out is very important though. It is the amount of people that rely on government assistance that is the main problem. Check out my article about the absurdity of so-called budget cuts. http://conservativesolutions.co/absurdity-of-so-called-budget-cuts/

John Locke II February 27, 2012 at 3:21 pm

I would like to abolish all federal income taxes in every form. However, if some people must pay, then essentially everyone must pay. The 50% who don’t pay federal income tax, and about 40% more who pay minimal tax, have absolutely no interest in restraining the cost of government. If you tax Peter to pay Paul, then Paul will tend to agree to more spending and taxes. Since Paul gets to vote, the vast majority of the electorate gets to support ever more spending at no cost to themselves. There is no force under heaven to slow this process.

Daniel February 28, 2012 at 6:35 am

A proposed solution is that only those that pay taxes get to vote (I’d go one further and have your number of votes be proportional to the amount of money you pay in taxes) but that would. Be considered undemocratic and the liberals would cry

Bambino212 February 27, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Another part of this argument that conservatives fail to account for is the inflation tax, which tends to disproportionately affect people belonging to lower tax brackets . So while the income tax system is “progressive”, the inflation tax is “regressive”; whereby individuals with lower living standards pay higher prices for goods and services that often exceed official government numbers due to aggregation bias or outright omission (agricultural goods and sources of energy). In addition to the valid argument the author made about the nature of the income tax debate, we must also consider the effects monetary policy has on individuals’ living standards irrespective of the direct taxation they may or may not incur on their wages… Maybe too much to expect from a largely uninformed political class seeking votes from a less informed public.

Wildberry February 27, 2012 at 4:15 pm

Precisely.

Time to trot out the old quote from Ronald Reagan quoting the quote attributed, (falsely) to Alexander Fraser Tytler:

“Perhaps what he had in mind was what Prof. Alexander Frazer Tytler has written, that a democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover they can vote themselves largesse out of the public treasury. From that moment on the majority, he said, always vote for the candidate promising the most benefits from the treasury with the result that democracy always collpases over a loose fiscal policy, always to be followed by a dictatorship. Unfortunately, we can’t argue with the professor because when he wrote that we were still colonials of Great Britain and he was explaining what had destroyed the Athenian Republic more than 2000 years before.”

The sourcing is bad, but the sentiment is good.

Mushindo February 28, 2012 at 5:25 am

OK, so who DID say that then?

Paul Bonneau February 27, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Whether conservatives are “right” about this depends on how one defines the problem. In other words, at least part of the controversy is due to poor definition.

Look at two scenarios. In the first, the government derives all its revenue by taxing 20% of the population. In the second, the government derives exactly the same amount of revenue by taxing 100% of the population at a much lower (and equal) rate. Which is better?

The conservative would say the second case is better, because all people feel a disincentive that goes along with government “services”, where in the first case 80% feels no such disincentive and thus are more likely to lobby for more government largesse. I can see nothing wrong with this argument.

There’s no free lunch in any case, but the costs are much more obviously connected with the bennies in the second case. Taxes should be as low as possible (ideally zero, along with zero government), and as broadly-based as possible (everyone should feel the bite). This situation provides the best set of disincentives for inhibiting the growth of government, and is arguably the most fair.

Phinn February 27, 2012 at 9:58 pm

The conservative would say the second case is better, because all people feel a disincentive that goes along with government “services”, where in the first case 80% feels no such disincentive and thus are more likely to lobby for more government largesse. I can see nothing wrong with this argument.

In itself, there’s nothing too terribly wrong with it. The flaw lies in what it ignores and thus assumes — it abandons any and all objection to: (a) voting, (b) income taxation, and (c) governmental involvement in (and expenditure on) anything and everything its members see fit to concern themselves with.

When these three components are combined (per capita voting, direct taxation and unlimited scope of power), then I would agree with you that you have a recipe for rapidly-accelerating theft.

Conservatives have already given up all of the strongest, most principled positions. They are playing a rigged game.

(The dirty little secret, of course, is that they resort to quibbling over crumbs because they want the power to do all of these things, but for their own faction’s benefit. This is obviously true, or else they would not have conceded all of the principled arguments.)

Mushindo February 28, 2012 at 5:23 am

If taxes are a going to be accepted as a given, why not tax the flimflam artists who hoover up money through broadcasts, mail shots and fake….sorry faith…. healing, under the pretext of doing gods work? They have a free pass to delude the American public and separate them from the contents of their wallets.

nate-m March 3, 2012 at 11:46 am

They pay their taxes in a, shall we say, a much more direct manner.

Also one group of frauds posing as the priests to a false savior (Bureaucrats of the Democratic State Government) doesn’t necessarily want to expose the lies of another group of priests to false saviors (Super Preachers with their False Religions). The ‘spiritual’ connection between these two groups of con artists is probably too uncomfortable to warrant any real action.

Not to mention they both are good at making each other extremely rich.

Ken February 28, 2012 at 11:06 am

The Ron Paul quote does not support the author’s thesis. Paul said: “I’d like to have everybody taxed at the same rate.” Of course he would like to see the tax at zero, but if there is going to be a tax, he wants everyone taxed the same. Does that make him like the other “conservatives” who it is claimed seek to support “class warfare.”

The reason most “conservatives” want everyone to pay taxes is because it will dampen their enthusiasm for raising taxes to expand government, redistribute wealth and war. It will give all citizens a little skin in the game.

Trying to characterize broadening the tax base as class warfare or an attempt to increase taxes evidences a mindless commitment to doctrine; in this case lower taxes.

You can tax everybody and still lower taxes.

Ryan McMaken February 28, 2012 at 12:13 pm
Indosmith February 29, 2012 at 1:36 am

Phinn, great job fighting Wildberry’s faulty logic and false claims. I’m glad there are people with the time and patience to do it. Ultimately, any constituion touting individual is left arguing that some group of people have rights that others do not have. I used to be one of them, until I found Rothbard’s “For a New Liberty”, which rocked my intellectual world. Next was Hoppe’s “Myth of National Defense.” I have a hard time believing any independent mind who believes in liberty can come away from those without enough respect to refrain from the familiar “utopia” acusation.

Just wanted to thank you for your fine work here.

Phinn March 1, 2012 at 9:23 am

Thanks! Rothbard was amazing. I wish I’d had the opportunity to meet him.

Kid Salami March 1, 2012 at 6:43 am

Peter – the previous threadhas been closed for some reason, so if you see this…

From the perspective of NAP, I do not object to people voluntarily agreeing to a rearrangement of property rights among themselves. What I (from the perspective of NAP) object to is application of arrangements to people who did not participate in the agreement.

We already agreed on this – someone economically/legally isolated and who has never relied on the common law system etc. can indeed object. Some actions though mean that you “consent”, in some sense.

You continue to assert that there is some problem with transaction cost, without explaining your normative scale. From a particular point of view, you might be correct, but why should it be relevant? This objection can be made with respect to any system.

Do you have any problems with my actual and very clear words/questions rather than these imaginary issues? What is this “objection” I am making “with transaction costs” – maybe quoting what I say will force you to read it and find I have not said any such thing. I am saying, for the tenth time at least, that market members sometimes make a decision to make act X illegal and I am positing transaction costs as the main factor, for the sake of argument really, it’s not important we agree on this. It’s only important that this process of making act X illegal be carried out without coercion, regardless of WHY the market participants want to do it. You seem to agree that this can happen, has happened and that it is self-consistent.

I have no problem with the NAP, far from it – and if people want to achieve the goals that the NAP does in fact bring about then great, else they can go somewhere else. Same with a common law system which is NAP + act X is illegal. If someone is asked why he did act X, I think we agree that there are of course scenarios where he can’t be forced to give up any of his property – however, there are also scenarios where he can be deemed to have agreed, explicitly or implicitly, with the common law ruling eg. trading under these rules previously. So I don’t just have “some problem with transaction costs”.

I do not understand why I should somehow address a situation where someone might advocate contradictory goals. Do you ascribe such a position to me? Regarding what?

I don’t understand this either – I don’t “ascribe” anything to you. I quoted your words when making your standard rebuttal to a pro-copyright-like law and asked you to explain them in the context of your seeming admission that the system I propose is self-consistent. You won’t do this because I think you can’t and so you are asking me other questions.

I explained in the past that I subscribe to the argument Roy Cordato made, that property rights have to be as clear as possible.

I agree – but we have just transferred the debate to what “as possible” means. And I say that common law systems have often shown that the market participants choose some added complexity (in making a non-invasive act X illegal) in return for benefits elsewhere, meaning “as possible” is NAP + other stuff. It’s not necessary to analyse these benefits, or determine if they are real or imagined, only to acknowledge that the market participants agreed it without coercion, certain actions can mean you implicitly or explicitly agree to abide by the common law rulings and that it is self-consistent.

Your objections do not invalidate that NAP conforms to this criterion, but that someone might be unhappy about this. But someone will always be unhappy, regardless of how conflicts are resolved.

What? My objection is that people are “unhappy” about NAP? I’m trying to “invalidate” the NAP? I don’t know what you’re on about. My objection is, as I clearly stated, that your counter-arguments implicitly assume that the NAP is the only self-consistent system and that you, essentially, “falsify” proposed systems on the basis that they are not the NAP (not directly but this is in fact logically equivalent to what you do).

You can prove me wrong by explaining how your comment “So unless you denounce rights in material objects, you cannot have [copyright-ks]” fits into this (let stick with my version of copyright with copyright registries) – have the people in the common law system where X is banned (X=copying stuff registered for copyright) “denounced” rights in material objects? Yes or no. You can’t say “no” obviously, or you’re wrong. So is it “yes”? How? In what sense have they done this?

Peter Surda March 1, 2012 at 8:34 am

Dear Kid Salami,

We already agreed on this – someone economically/legally isolated and who has never relied on the common law system etc. can indeed object.

In this case then I don’t understand what we are discussing, because apparently we agree on everything :-).

Some actions though mean that you “consent”, in some sense.

This is possible, but my issue is that this “consent” cannot be defined apriori, because it depends on context. We must analyse each potentially consensual situation as an individual case.

I am saying, for the tenth time at least, that market members sometimes make a decision to make act X illegal and I am positing transaction costs as the main factor, for the sake of argument really, it’s not important we agree on this.

Ok then, I think this is understandable. However, I don’t understand why you consider this important. It is not a systematic issue, and it is affected by context and consequence. I already attempted to explain the context and we appear to agree (it only affects voluntary agreements, and the reasoning underlying this can’t be generalised). But there is also another thing, which is the actual question from the point of view of a legal system: the consequences of non-compliance. This needs at some stage be reflected in a transfer of property rights, and this is logically also covered by the legal system. So there is no fundamental issue here. People, in advance, voluntarily agree in advance to conditional transfers of property rights. Since a transfer of property rights is involved, it is enforceable. TTTC already covers this.

Same with a common law system which is NAP + act X is illegal.

You neglect the consequence of act X. The consequence, in the end result, needs to be reflected somehow in property rights as well, so in a NAP system, it would need to be consistent with NAP. If we have “NAP + act X illegal”, it must logically mean “NAP + remedy of act X legal”. If, for example, a rule makes copying a book illegal, then this needs to be offset, for example, by the author taking money from the copier becoming legal instead of theft. Otherwise the restriction is impotent and irrelevant. In other words, a deviation is merely a transfer of property rights. Whether this is done by voluntary agreement, or by having this exception as a general rule is of secondary importance. You can’t only make one exception. You always need to create a collection of mutually offsetting exceptions. This creates doubt whether such exception can be, as a general rule, be justified by transaction costs.

You can prove me wrong by explaining how your comment … “denounced” rights in material objects?

I hope that the previous paragraph explains it. The exceptions need to be mutually offsetting, and people like Schulman deny this. Every restriction on copying needs to be offset by the corresponding transfer of property rights.

In a system (say NAP), X is legal, and Y isn’t. A deviation from this system (e.g. restriction of copying) results in X being illegal, and thus, logically, the remedy, Y, becoming legal. This is what illegal means. It does not mean that illegal things do not happen when they are labelled illegal, but that there will be consequences to performing such act. But the consequences are also an act. More specifically, the use of force on you, which otherwise would itself be illegal, is legal.

I hope that my position is not explained better.

Kid Salami March 3, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Your basic position trivialises the whole situation and is devoid of any substance at all. It is “if people agree to transfer their property then it’s no problem. If they don’t and their property is taken, it is aggression”. This isn’t exactly earth-shattering. It is the PROCESS by which the “agreement” is arrived at, and the limitations on what can be agreed implicitly and what must be explicit and why, that is interesting. You assume a world of perfect information and so jump over the problem.

This is possible, but my issue is that this “consent” cannot be defined apriori, because it depends on context. We must analyse each potentially consensual situation as an individual case.

I couldn’t agree more – this is the purpose of common law courts, to apply some set of principles to each situation. However, when an evolutionary process results in common law courts making a series of decisions in individual cases, reverse engineering exactly what these principles are from these individual judgements is in fact the problem. If you just assume we are in a world of perfect information and we know when someone did or did not agree to something, then you assume away the problem.

People, in advance, voluntarily agree in advance to conditional transfers of property rights. Since a transfer of property rights is involved, it is enforceable. TTTC already covers this.

How can people “voluntarily agree in advance to conditional transfers of property rights” when you yourself just said “this “consent” cannot be defined apriori, because it depends on context”. This is show-stoppingly incoherent.

You neglect the consequence of act X….You always need to create a collection of mutually offsetting exceptions…. This creates doubt whether such exception can be, as a general rule, be justified by transaction costs.

I’m not neglecting anything – your formulation of the problem is a convoluted way to explain the obvious. Acts which result in you losing your property can in fact be the definition of illegal, so the simplest way to think of it is: what are the acts that can result in you losing some of your property? 1) invasions 2) Act X. Everything else can be derived from this.

I can’t take your claim that rules such as this can’t ever decrease transaction costs at all seriously.

I hope that the previous paragraph explains it. The exceptions need to be mutually offsetting, and people like Schulman deny this. Every restriction on copying needs to be offset by the corresponding transfer of property rights.

Please show me where Schulman denied the obvious fact? In fact, I don’t even know what it is that you are saying he denies or why. But this isn’t about him, I can pull quotes like this from you in about 100 posts, some to me, with regard to any system proposed by anyone that was not 100% NAP. I didn’t actually ask you to explain your “position”, as that is not really productive. I asked you a simple question and you didn’t answer, so i’ll ask again: does my proposed copyright system “renounce rights in material objects” in the manner you said? Yes or no?

Peter Surda March 3, 2012 at 9:04 pm

Kid Salami,

Your basic position trivialises the whole situation and is devoid of any substance at all.

have you considered that it is difficult to debate when the opponent avoids clarifying his position?

You assume a world of perfect information and so jump over the problem.

I do not assume a world of perfect information, merely that a deviation from NAP cannot be known to apriori decrease transaction costs.

However, when an evolutionary process results in common law courts making a series of decisions in individual cases, reverse engineering exactly what these principles are from these individual judgements is in fact the problem.

Even if we do not know for all the details about how these judgements were created, they were created somehow. The judges must have had a reason for deciding the way they decided. They must have combined a set of data known to them with a set of rules that they thought are applicable and concluded what they concluded.

If you just assume we are in a world of perfect information and we know when someone did or did not agree to something, then you assume away the problem.

I am not assuming the problem away. I am merely questioning the validity of approaches of solving it.

How can people “voluntarily agree in advance to conditional transfers of property rights” when you yourself just said “this “consent” cannot be defined apriori, because it depends on context”.

Obviously, it only works if all the elements remain in the same context: the act of agreeing, the condition triggering, and the transfer of rights. My objection is not that this cannot happen, but that this decision is not up to a third party’s arbitrary assessment.

This is show-stoppingly incoherent.

On the contrary. It explains that it is not a particular assignment of property rights that poses a problem. It is the question of who’s assessment of the legality of such a situation is relevant.

I’m not neglecting anything – your formulation of the problem is a convoluted way to explain the obvious.

If you are not neglecting the obvious, they why do you insist that a deviation can decrease transaction costs? Obviously, if there is a deviation from a rule, even if this deviation, considered alone, decreases transaction costs, it must result in another, compensating, deviation, which also affects transaction costs. And here the argument gets stuck due to the inability to perform interpersonal utility comparison.

I can’t take your claim that rules such as this can’t ever decrease transaction costs at all seriously.

This is not my argument. My argument is that:
- we can’t know this apriori
- and we can’t even use praxeology to analyse it

Please show me where Schulman denied the obvious fact?

Schulman kept presenting examples of violations of property rights in physical objects (e.g. house, car, book) as an explanation of what his Logorights are. When I kept pointing to him this obvious non-sequitur and that the approaches are contradictory, he retorted with “AbSurda”:

http://blog.mises.org/16319/the-origins-of-libertarian-ip-abolitionism/#comment-771570

I interpret that as a denial. However, admittedly, other explanations are possible. For example, he could have no had no idea what he was talking about.

I asked you a simple question and you didn’t answer, so i’ll ask again: does my proposed copyright system “renounce rights in material objects” in the manner you said? Yes or no?

You still have not clarified the decisive element of your position: who determines which acts count as agreement? Is it the owner of the goods altered in the act, or someone else? If the former, then it’s fine. If the latter, then it’s not. For simplicity, I’m assuming “NAP + act X”, but of course this can be adapted for completely different systems as well. Also I’m assuming there are no unowned goods.

Kid Salami March 4, 2012 at 3:41 pm

This is not my argument. My argument is that:
- we can’t know this apriori
- and we can’t even use praxeology to analyse it

I agree with both statements. However, if the market members choose to do it nonetheless, because they consider it to decrease transaction costs, then what relevance do these statements have? Should we ignore it’s possibility because we can’t predict it? Sorry, i refuse to go over this this again, i can’t take your objections seriously, you’r like a kid saying “no” to every question before it’s even finished.

You still have not clarified the decisive element of your position: who determines which acts count as agreement? Is it the owner of the goods altered in the act, or someone else? If the former, then it’s fine. If the latter, then it’s not. For simplicity, I’m assuming “NAP + act X”, but of course this can be adapted for completely different systems as well. Also I’m assuming there are no unowned goods.

So, you won’t answer – what a surprise. Funny how this devastating question you say demolished Schulman and everyone else’s argument now suddenly requires even more clarifications before you can answer, after god knows how many posts about that thing called the common law that you pretend doesn’t exist.

And the clarification is literally a lol – you ask if it is the person “whose goods are altered” who decides?! Jesus. This is like we just started the debate and didn’t already discuss at great length that someone who has traded and used the common law can reasonably be expected to abide by decisions made by the same process. I could go on but enough already – life is too short for these wilful misunderstandings and requests for ever more clarifications that go abck to where we started.

Peter Surda March 4, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Kid Salami,

you still have not explained the issue you have in a way that I can understand. When I dig deeper into your argument, it looks like as if we agreed on everything. But for some reason, you appear to hold the opinion that our positions differ.

Let’s try it again. A group of people, A, consisting of a1, a2, a3, …. a100 come to a mutual agreement about refraining from act X, say, whistling. For simplicity, we will ignore how exactly this happened. We will merely conclude that they tend to adhere to it, they verbally affirm this as something they consider this important, and that penalising people who do not adhere to it, say whipping them, is not considered a problem. On the contrary, it’s more like an obligation.

Here comes the question you dodge: under what circumstances may this (whistling leads to whipping) apply to a group of people B, consisting of b1, b2, …. b100, which does not fulfill the same requirements as A? For example, they verbally deny the arrangement and view the whipping as a problem. This is what matters from the point of view of NAP. Until you clarify this, I can’t address it any other way.

But let’s now switch to the part which I disagree with, the justification of such a restriction. If a42 says “the restriction decreases my transaction costs” and b1 retorts “I don’t care”, whose opinion takes precedence? The way I understand your argument, you’re saying that a42′s opinion takes precedence. So it does and he attempts to whip b1. But b1 is resourceful and evades a42. a42 can’t live with the whistling and dedicates increasingly more resources on his futile attempts to chase b1, until the tragic climax a’la Les Miserables. Evidently, his assumption that the restriction decreases his transaction costs was erroneous. But even in less dramatic situations, the core issue is that resources are scarce. Any legal system must define not only what rules should be adhered to, but also what the consequences of non-adherence would be. The seen and the unseen. Opportunity costs.

Kid Salami March 6, 2012 at 10:10 am

Actually, I guess I should answer as, on rereading it, I can see this is an actual, if misguided, attempt to understand. But you are not reading what I’m saying – what I’m saying it that your counterargument of “denouncing rights in material objects”, “contradicting physical property” etc. is nonsense, the questions you bring up are not the relevant.

Here comes the question you dodge: under what circumstances may this (whistling leads to whipping) apply to a group of people B, consisting of b1, b2, …. b100, which does not fulfill the same requirements as A? For example, they verbally deny the arrangement and view the whipping as a problem. This is what matters from the point of view of NAP. Until you clarify this, I can’t address it any other way.

Dodge? You already asked and I already answered – how much clearer can I be? If bi has relied upon the common law system which produced and polices the no-whistling law for any reason before (a dispute over his land or trade or whatever with the As), then there are some circumstances in which he is deemed to have accepted the law and the As can whip him – however, I accept there are other circumstances in which bi can deny this and where whipping them would definitely be aggression.

But let’s now switch to the part which I disagree with, the justification of such a restriction. If a42 says “the restriction decreases my transaction costs” and b1 retorts “I don’t care”, whose opinion takes precedence? The way I understand your argument, you’re saying that a42′s opinion takes precedence. So it does and he attempts to whip b1.

We are in ancap world plus no-whistling, right? Why are you assuming that the rest of society seems to have ground to a halt and now the “opinion” of some random yahoo must be what I think counts? If you make me explain every little step, can you see why this gets pointless? If it suits you better, think of the common law as the clauses which people in a particular community no longer even bother including in the contracts with PDAs, because they are a given.

A1 trades only on land owned by a As and under As common law conditions, so in a dispute with B1 he can reasonably expect only to be held by As common law (B1 must have been on A land). If B is on A land and disputes this, an A court makes a decision. Maybe it decides that B1 has performed certain actions should be whipped, and he is – but making a decision in the favour of the A every time is not optimal as it can mean people in future avoid trading with As on their land. It is in the interests of each jurisdiction to be at least somewhat fair.

In short, this rule works just the same as does policing of physical property in ancap world, except there is one more decision as to whether or not you are deemed to have consented by your actions – but you agree that some decision can be made on this consistently?

But I have no idea why you keep asking me to explain this. You just won’t focus on what I’m saying no matter how many times I say it. I’m not saying we [necessarily] disagree on any of this. I’m willing to grant you all of it for the sake of argument and be as NAP-ancap as you like on this, it doesn’t matter. What I’m saying the possibility of these no-whistling laws arising in a self-consistent manner makes your “contradicts physical property” counter argument to a proposed system nonsense. I asked you to tell me why not.

But b1 is resourceful and evades a42. a42 can’t live with the whistling and dedicates increasingly more resources on his futile attempts to chase b1, until the tragic climax a’la Les Miserables. Evidently, his assumption that the restriction decreases his transaction costs was erroneous. But even in less dramatic situations, the core issue is that resources are scarce. Any legal system must define not only what rules should be adhered to, but also what the consequences of non-adherence would be. The seen and the unseen. Opportunity costs.

None of this has anything to do with anything.

Peter Surda March 6, 2012 at 10:44 am

Kid Salami,

If bi has relied upon the common law system which produced and polices the no-whistling law for any reason before (a dispute over his land or trade or whatever with the As), then there are some circumstances in which he is deemed to have accepted the law and the As can whip him – however, I accept there are other circumstances in which bi can deny this and where whipping them would definitely be aggression.

“common law system” is not an exogenous variable, it is merely a particular label. There are only people. Even if you “aggregate” the opinion of people a1….a100 under a new label, that does not create a new entity or new rights, that are suddenly applicable to b1-b100. That’s exactly the fairy tale Phinn was talking about.

Why are you assuming that the rest of society seems to have ground to a halt and now the “opinion” of some random yahoo must be what I think counts?

Yet in another post that you made just an hour ago, you complain that in NAP, a single guy that does not want his air polluted can prevent the industrial revolution. You can’t have it both ways. Make up your mind.

B1 must have been on A land

There we have it, the answer I’ve been looking for.

But I have no idea why you keep asking me to explain this.

Because you are making misleading statements.

What I’m saying the possibility of these no-whistling laws arising in a self-consistent manner makes your “contradicts physical property” counter argument to a proposed system nonsense.

But you neglect to mention certain prerequisites, which when explicitly formulated, make it clear that you’re describing symptoms as causes.

Kid Salami March 7, 2012 at 4:43 am

“common law system” is not an exogenous variable, it is merely a particular label. There are only people. Even if you “aggregate” the opinion of people a1….a100 under a new label, that does not create a new entity or new rights, that are suddenly applicable to b1-b100. That’s exactly the fairy tale Phinn was talking about.

What – “that are suddenly applicable to b1-b100”? Seriously, how many times are you going to say this is my position when it is not? I’m just going to ignore you fundamental confusion here, it’s not relevant to the problem.

Yet in another post that you made just an hour ago, you complain that in NAP, a single guy that does not want his air polluted can prevent the industrial revolution. You can’t have it both ways. Make up your mind.

Another non-sequitur. I don’t know what this even means.

There we have it, the answer I’ve been looking for.

This has been the case all along. This is how PDAs work in ancap land, and so in my (ancap + no act X) world. So why you think this is illuminating is beyond me.

But you neglect to mention certain prerequisites, which when explicitly formulated, make it clear that you’re describing symptoms as causes.

That’s all great. We have (ancap + no act X) world. PDAs work as above. There are copyright registries and act X=copying documents in the registry. This is the case in A land. B land does not have this. A bi either does or does not have to obey the copyright law depending on the nature and location of his actions as per usual ancap PDA rules.

Any questions, fire away. Please either
a) Explain why this system I propose is not consistent
b) Explain why this “contradicts physical property”
c) Admit neither of the above is true

Peter Surda March 7, 2012 at 5:04 am

Kid Salami,

since you admitted that the restrictions are traceable through contracts, c is correct. However, presenting particular restrictions, for example those that were enacted due to of lobbying efforts as “common law” is, in my opinion, misleading. This includes various variants of IP. Similarly as it would be misleading to represent the existence of elections to political functions as a voluntary consent to being ruled.

Kid Salami March 7, 2012 at 9:34 am

common law system” is not an exogenous variable, it is merely a particular label. There are only people. Even if you “aggregate” the opinion of people a1….a100 under a new label, that does not create a new entity or new rights, that are suddenly applicable to b1-b100. That’s exactly the fairy tale Phinn was talking about.

If you have a gas in a container, when one molecule meets another, the faster one gives some energy to the slower one. You can say that the macro property of the gas called “temperature”, while a helpful concept, need not exist and that only individual molecules moving exist really, and so any formulation using the word “temperature” can therefore be reworded without that word by substituting the correct description of the motion of the molecules.

There is really no need to explain or accuse me of believing in pixies, I understand exactly what you mean when you say that “only people exist” and that the phrase “common law” as I am using it is superfluous. I understand it, I just think you are plain wrong, and not in a hand-wavy kind of way, but in a very specific sense. There are two issues which invalidate the argument with respect to humans in an economy – however, I no longer have any hope of you or any other of the conclusion-assumers in these here parts aiding my understanding of this in any way so forgive me if I can’t be bothered going into it, not only do you not think you are wrong, you cannot conceive of any way you could possibly be wrong.

since you admitted that the restrictions are traceable through contracts, c is correct.

Man, are you really going to make me say this again – do you have the same disease as that guy in Memento? I admit it is true IN THEORY for Cruseo and Friday but that in practice in an advanced division of labour society that this does not fly. You just think it’s oh so simple “you’re on my land so my rules” and that’s. Let’s just agree to differ.

Anyhow, now you admit this, don’t see how your “contradicts physical property” argument against a proposed form of copyright has any meaning. And you certainly didn’t establish Schulman’s views on all this for example before saying it – and he is no “statist” (I looked at the link by the way, I’m not sure what you think bolsters your argument except maybe that he “ran away”). Is this argument really as devastating as you think it is?

However, presenting particular restrictions, for example those that were enacted due to of lobbying efforts as “common law” is, in my opinion, misleading. This includes various variants of IP. Similarly as it would be misleading to represent the existence of elections to political functions as a voluntary consent to being ruled.

I don’t really understand this.

Peter Surda March 7, 2012 at 10:20 am

Kid Salami,

your example of emergent features such as temperature is, as an analogy, misleading. You are correct that we can observe interactions between molecules that we’d omit if we only saw individual molecules alone. But this is not analogous to the issue being debated. The Austrians do observe interactions among individuals, as opposed to individuals being alone. This is the emergent aspect, not some fictional “common whatever”. That would be double counting.

With respect to your allegation that I am wrong, even if I was, I still think that you have not been successful in explaining your position, so I don’t know if I should confirm or deny it.

Kid Salami March 7, 2012 at 10:36 am

“your example of emergent features such as temperature is, as an analogy, misleading.”

Temperature does not satisfy the defintion of “emergent”.

“You are correct that we can observe interactions between molecules that we’d omit if we only saw individual molecules alone.”

That’s not it . never mind.

“I still think that you have not been successful in explaining your position”

My position is quite simple – when you drill into the details, your “contradicts physical property” argument makes no sense. You don’t even seem willing to explain it. According to you, whoever owns the land makes the rules and so it is either legal or illegal for whistling while on it. Banning whistling, correct me if I’m wrong, “contradicts physical property”. But so what?

Peter Surda March 7, 2012 at 11:56 am

Kid Salami,

My position is quite simple – when you drill into the details, your “contradicts physical property” argument makes no sense.

you appear to forget that it is my opponents who make up their frameworks. For example, the libertarian ones tend to insist on 100% property rights in physical goods (including opposing regulation or victimless crimes, for example). They are making these assumptions. Complain to them, not me. On the “falsificationist level”, I’m indifferent to validity of these assumptions when taken individually.

Kid Salami March 7, 2012 at 2:35 pm

So its not that you WON’T defend what you said – repeatedly – and explain why it isn’t, erm, idiotic but you simply don’t have to? Man, this is some gig, this “falsificationist” – where do I apply? You say whatever you want and seemingly cannot, in principle, be faulted.

Get real. To defend your words here, I reduced you to the most trivial and ridiculous position, where “restrictions are traceable through contracts”, a position from which there is no need to ever debate any system because explicit contracts solve every problem – one which I agree is great if you’re Crusoe swapping berries with Friday, but potentially less great in a world with oil rigs and electricity grids and the internet.

Why discuss any system at all – surely any system is possible so long as these contracts are in place i the land on which the system is used? This should be your answer to every possible question of “is X allowed” – you should just be replying “all the person does is look through all the contracts he has with everyone else concerned and see if it is explicitly allowed or not”.

And yet no matter how trivial and worthless this position, you still contradict yourself – you said in the middle of it “this “consent” cannot be defined apriori, because it depends on context”, thereby admitting there is some process that must go on after a event leading to a dispute to take into account the context that was not known until it occurred. When I refer to this process as the “common law”, you tell me it doesn’t exist. It’s really hard to take you seriously any more.

Peter Surda March 13, 2012 at 7:41 pm

Kid Salami,

you conflate the problem of the interpretation of the contents of a contract with the problem of concluding the existence thereof. I already explained this error in the past, although maybe not to you.

Kid Salami March 14, 2012 at 3:28 pm

I don’t know where I am conflating these as you suggest – enlighten me if you like.
And please feel free to expand upon why “contradicts physical property” was a valid counter-argument to all proposed copyright systems in light of the discussion – it seems somewhat odd that you are not prepared to defend a simple statement that you have said such a ridiculous number of times.

Peter Surda March 15, 2012 at 5:42 am

Kid Salami,

the constructs you are presenting, e.g. “common law”, can in a NAP situation influence the contents of a contract, for example make it more restrictive than without. However, they cannot influence the existence of contracts, and make one magically appear where there is none before.

In most cases, it is theoretically possible to implement a particular restriction on a particular person, if a chain of contracts can be arranged. The ways this can be achieved are endless, so someone with enough resources and/or inventiveness can pull it off. From this perspective, you are correct.

But this is not the position of IP proponents. Furthermore, interpreting this chain as somehow relevant for IP is misleading, similarly as would be interpreting someone voluntarily entering into an employment contract as an example of a right to a job, or someone paying for a checkup in a hospital as an example of a right to healthcare.

Kid Salami March 16, 2012 at 9:38 am

However, they cannot influence the existence of contracts, and make one magically appear where there is none before.

This is only relevant if you perform your trademark trick of assuming your conclusion ie. assume that only explicit person-to-person contracts can possibly constrain your actions (aside from invasions). However, we already discussed/agreed how someone trading and using the common law in one scenario eg. in a land purchase dispute, might then later reasonably be forced to obey a common law ruling in another grey-area scenario eg. copying a document in the copyright registry that belongs to some third party with whom he has had no dealings directly, even if he disagrees with the judgement. You can agree or disagree with this position or debate in what circumstances it might or might not work – however, instead, you just want to just keep making irrelevant objections that forget everything we discussed already and make me go back to the start every post, assuming that I’ll get bored and give up. You’re correct in this assumption.

But this is not the position of IP proponents. Furthermore, interpreting this chain as somehow relevant for IP is misleading, similarly as would be interpreting someone voluntarily entering into an employment contract as an example of a right to a job, or someone paying for a checkup in a hospital as an example of a right to healthcare.

You are comparing my position to that of an economic ignoramus while steadfastly and quite unbelievably refusing to defend 3 simple words that you’ve said on this site a million times. Or maybe I can take you non-response to mean that you agree that the “contradicts physical property” argument is meaningless and implicitly assumes its conclusion, in which case that’s all I wanted to show.

Peter Surda March 16, 2012 at 11:33 am

Kid Salami,

This is only relevant if you perform your trademark trick of assuming your conclusion ie. assume that only explicit person-to-person contracts can possibly constrain your actions (aside from invasions).

No.

However, we already discussed/agreed how someone trading and using the common law in one scenario eg. in a land purchase dispute, might then later reasonably be forced to obey a common law ruling in another grey-area scenario eg. copying a document in the copyright registry that belongs to some third party with whom he has had no dealings directly, even if he disagrees with the judgement.

This does not invalidate my argument. I did not say that the violator needs to enter into a contract with the alleged victim. But as long as he is using other people’s property (which is almost impossible to avoid), he needs to enter into a contract with the owner of this property, which might be accompanied by arbitrary restrictions. And this owner can be in a contractual relationship with someone else, and so on, until the chain arrives at the alleged victim. This scenario is hypothetically possible.

You can agree or disagree with this position or debate in what circumstances it might or might not work – however, instead, you just want to just keep making irrelevant objections that forget everything we discussed already and make me go back to the start every post, assuming that I’ll get bored and give up.

And you can clarify your points instead of complaining how I’m being unjust to you.

… refusing to defend 3 simple words that you’ve said on this site a million times.

I confront specific arguments. You want me to defend a statement without the context of its validity. This is of course impossible. I would like to remind you that I explicitly said several times that other consistent positions are possible, but my opponents almost never formulate them. You’re an exception, but unfortunately I have difficulties understanding your points.

Kid Salami March 4, 2012 at 5:03 pm

you still have not explained the issue you have in a way that I can understand

I’m happy with what i’ve written, i don’t need to add to it. Maybe I’m an idiot. Or

“I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.”
Leo Tolstoy
Russian mystic & novelist (1828 – 1910)

Wildberry March 13, 2012 at 3:36 pm

Kid Salami,

What is going on around here? It looks like Rockwell, French, et al are taking their ball and going home?

You saw the announcement “end of an era” letting us know the blog is “old fashioned” and is better served by the “Bastiat Circle” in honor of Rothbard? I guess we always said the site should be named after Rothbard instead of Mises, but then I didn’t think they’d really do it! Also notice the announcement was closed to comments? Heaven forbid anyone posted FEEDBACK!

Anyway, it looks like this place is folding up. I hope we cross paths somewhere down the road.

WB

Kid Salami March 14, 2012 at 3:24 pm

Indeed – something weird going on here. I mean “old fashioned” – that is clearly a load of nonsense. Cutting out Mises name and going to something called . Am half way through that Epstein video – I remember where I’d seen him before, in a debate with Walter Block ages ago about privatising the roads that’s on this site somewhere. He’s pretty good – feel free to email me any other good links until the Bastiat’s Circle (which sounds like slang for something filthy) finds its groove.

Wildberry March 15, 2012 at 11:17 am

Kid Salami,

Well, I signed up on the Circle just for fun, and they didn’t block me, so we’ll see how that develops. Given the crew and their affiliation with Rothbard (instead of Mises), I don’t have high expectations. It’s sort of along the line of the kind of stuff Tucker used to post; somewhat light and quirky.

For sure the quality of debate and discussion here has taken a real nosedive. If you want to see some ridiculous exchanges, check out the Block thread in defense of blackmail. The discussion is left to those who know little about the issues involved. I tried to push some buttons, and some of the responses made me laugh out loud. You might be amused.

This brings me to Surda, and the like. I note his non-response response. The problem with these people’s thinking is that they are imprisoned by the fundamental premise that the only possible law is natural law, and as such, adopt a secondary premise that no third-party neutral (government function) is legitimate. This is a force field that you cannot penetrate from the outside. This is why I call them fanatics; Internally consistent, closed systems of logic that defends itself from any outside challenge, regardless of possible merit.

The entire concept of common law, which Peter has to put in “quotes” to even use the word, is summarily dismissed. To them, the only enforceable rule is a rule of contract, and rules of property and tort are reduced to the elementary problem of trespass and physical violence. It is impossible to discuss anything meaningful on the large topics of government, common law, or even liberty in the context of complex social structure (what you refer to as the division-of-labor society). They do not have the tools to deal with these problems, and so attempt to derails the discussion by rejecting the premise that anything other than their framework is possible in a “free” society.

In legal terms, all laws are malem in se (naturally wrong) or malem prohibitium (wrong by rule of law). All law but malem in se is illegitimate, in their view, because if you deny the very concept of an ability of society to make and enforce laws to govern themselves, you cannot admit to a process of formulating rules for self-government outside of a framework limited to natural law. To argue otherwise is simply met with circular logic that refers back to the framework they acknowledge, and the conceptual denial of any other framework.

Consequently, even your elemental construct of NAP+X is impossible to conceive outside of explicit contract. Even if you grant the genesis of NAP+X (malum prohibitum law) as arising from rules of contract, you cannot move beyond a social organization that is simple and small enough to make “social norms” to paraphrase the concept, the subject of explicit contracts between all possible parties. Such a notion is practically and conceptually bankrupt on any scale beyond a Crusoe framework, and even in that limited situation, it has problems which go unacknowledged by others than Dun, Treadstone, and the like.

Anyway, I used to refer people to this site, but am now somewhat embarrassed I ever did. The “Circle” is in fact what you imply; the remnants of a cultish following of Rothbard’s worst work, who only really want to deal with like-mined extremist world views. They have formed a cult that attacks any idea that does not conform to their limited and twisted “utopian” views. The authors of these ridiculous articles are either students, or obscure economics professors at some back-channel school who don’t even bother to defend their own works on this site. I’ll give Kinsella at least that, such as his posts were. Do you notice that under Block’s resume, he has published only “un-refereed” articles, by the hundreds? I rest my case.

I have been paying attention to this site lately: http://volokh.com. It is a site which posts comments on contemporary legal matters, court rulings, controversy’s, etc. that I find pretty interesting. It is about the opposite of what is now so common here. It is mostly legal professors, etc. but you might find it interesting.

Take care.

Peter Surda March 15, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Fauxberry,

noone is interested in your pretence of knowledge. What you produce cannot be considered serious. It’s an amalgamation of untruths, non-sequiturs, fairy tales and word plays, signifying a complete disconnect from reality. This you accompany with ignorance of other people’s arguments, making the argumentation merely apparent rather than real. Only the hardest fanatics can repeat jibberish nonsense while entirely oblivious to what is happening around them.

Wildberry March 15, 2012 at 12:53 pm

Mr. Surda:

As if you confirm my point, you speak as if you have the right to speak for everyone. Do you have a valid contract appointing you universal guardian of the Truth? I don’t recall signing up. But then who can trust my deseased mind to remember such things?

As I said elsewhere, when one has to argue from the point of view that they represent the opinions of all who are not insane or criminally delluded, that argument might be slightly suspect.

Your are the poster child for the type of person I am describing.

Ned Netterville March 3, 2012 at 8:36 am

Phinn, Do you suppose Wildberry has ever taken the time to read Rothbard, or any of the great voluntaryist authors? I have taken the time to read the great statist authors, including Marx, Keynes and others of that ilk. The statists’ arguments can sound reasonable at first glance, BUT when they are put next to the arguments of the voluntaryists they collapses into a mass of flawed logic and woeful inconsistencies. Sorta like WB arguments here.

Is there a citizen of the United States who is willing to accept responsibility for all of the actions of all of his or her government agents, military and civilian? The principle of the US government as stated by the Supremes in several precedent-setting opinions is that the sovereign authority of the nation resides in the people. In other words, government employees merely the citizens’ agents. There is, of course, a still-valid, but very ancient legal axiom that holds that a principal (master) is responsible for the actions of his or her agents (servants) undertaken in the course of the agent’s duties, including misfeasance and malfeasance. Thus, when Lt. Calley had his troops brutally murder almost an entire village of Vietnamese woman and children, all innocent non-combatants, WB and the other good statist citizens of the USA were just as responsible for the bloody slaughter as they would be if they had been firing the automatic weapons and throwing the grenades–morally and legally speaking, that is.

nate-m March 3, 2012 at 11:54 am

If that were to be true then it would make things a lot more convenient. Unfortunately people are responsible for their own actions. Their crimes are their own crimes.

Now supporting a regime who finances, trains, and protects mass murderers is a crime in itself. Their crime is not murder then. One the people that did the murdering are the murderers. Their crime is one of more like aiding and abetting.

Wildberry March 3, 2012 at 3:49 pm

Ned NettervilleMarch 3, 2012 at 8:36 am

Phinn, Do you suppose Wildberry has ever taken the time to read Rothbard, or any of the great voluntaryist authors? I have taken the time to read the great statist authors, including Marx, Keynes and others of that ilk. The statists’ arguments can sound reasonable at first glance, BUT when they are put next to the arguments of the voluntaryists they collapses into a mass of flawed logic and woeful inconsistencies. Sorta like WB arguments here.

Mr. Netterville:

Your assertion that there is Rothbard, the torchbearer of Truth, is on one side (yours) and Marx and Keynes, the princes of Darkness on the other (mine) is nothing more than cheap, dishonest propaganda. I think it is notable that rather than offer any rational justification for your interpretations of what I’ve actually said, you resort to this sort of infantile smear tactic. Is this supposed to convince or inspire a following of some sort?

I have read a good deal of Rothbard, Hoppe and others. I personally appreciate Rothbard more for his work in economics and the history of banking than I do his philosophy of ancap “voluntarism” as you call it, as if nothing other than anarchy can be voluntary. Unlike Mises/Hayek, his brand of truth will not be discovered by history as having been a premonition of the future of human kind living in a free society. It will be catalogued as another shallow, erroneous version of utopia that depends upon the nature of human kind being something other than it is, and has consistently been throughout history. In my view, to use your phrase, the vision of an ancap society is a vision that “collapses into a mass of flawed logic and woeful inconsistencies”. But that’s just me.

Is there a citizen of the United States who is willing to accept responsibility for all
of the actions of all of his or her government agents, military and civilian?

Is there a single human being that is willing to accept responsibility for ALL of the actions of another human being? As if this is actually an argument of any substance; i.e. because there are things which I oppose, I must oppose everything entirely and absolutely. Only a child or a demagogue would make such an argument.

The principle of the US government as stated by the Supremes in several precedent-setting opinions is that the sovereign authority of the nation resides in the people. In other words, government employees merely the citizens’ agents. There is, of course, a still-valid, but very ancient legal axiom that holds that a principal (master) is responsible for the actions of his or her agents (servants) undertaken in the course of the agent’s duties, including misfeasance and malfeasance.

Once again, you clearly show your misunderstanding of that of which you speak. Apparently you memorized some words in the doctrine of vicarious liability, but you clearly do not understand the concept. The phrase you are looking for is “course and scope of employment”, or more generally, when the agent is acting within his authority. The example you use to attempt to smear illustrates your error.

Thus, when Lt. Calley had his troops brutally murder almost an entire village of Vietnamese woman and children, all innocent non-combatants, WB and the other good statist citizens of the USA were just as responsible for the bloody slaughter as they would be if they had been firing the automatic weapons and throwing the grenades–morally and legally speaking, that is.

Likewise, the doctrine holds that the liability does not apply when acting outside the scope of authority (assuming, which I do not buy, your initial premise that I am liable for others acts, in any case). Obviously Calley was not acting within his authority, and was held (somewhat lamely, I agree) personally accountable.

Your attempt to paint me as a baby killer because I support our Constitutional form of government, is slanderous. It illustrates why you, Rothbard, Kinsella, Hoppe, Rockwell, and the like, are insignificant in the grand scheme of things. In the face of the slightest challenge to your asserted superior “understanding” of America, Americans, the law, and humans in general, you resort to simple and cheap propaganda aimed at personal discredit. It simply illustrates how weak and shallow your so called “philosophy” is. I think you illustrate that fact far better than I ever could.

Richie March 4, 2012 at 10:34 pm

It illustrates why you, Rothbard, Kinsella, Hoppe, Rockwell, and the like, are insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

I’m sure they really give a shit about being significant.

Who really cares about that? Significant how, BTW? I assume you mean with the overlords in D.C. Big fucking deal.

nate-m March 5, 2012 at 3:26 am

[quote]I’m sure they really give a shit about being significant.
[/quote]

Well I am sure that they were hoping to be significant. Unfortunately being right and speaking truth has been shown by history to more often then not be mutually exclusive with having significant influence. Sometimes you have to make a choice between the two.

Wildberry March 5, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Richie,
I think Nate-m is hitting a little closer to the mark. I am asking why is this so? It is because bad ideas do not catch on. That is just another attribute of the wisdom of the marketplace.

Nate-m,

Yes, I agree that history has many example of something truthful or valuable being rejected until much later than it was originally expressed. Copernicus is the classic example.

In those examples, there were also powerful forces of the status quo that had vested interests in containing new lines of thought that challenged their position. A contemporary example is the current reaction of Keynesians to Austrian economic thought. The Keynesians have something valuable to lose, and so continue to fight AET tooth and nail.

But a distinction is that in those cases, were the rest of the world eventually “caught up”, those who objectively looked at the proposed paradigm found it to be valid, expanded our understanding of nature, and/or provided something useful. This is not the case with anarchy. It does not hold up to scrutiny, and adherents just callapse into personal attacks and sloganeering when challenged. That is why it fails to gain traction. Notice that AET is catching on. Anarchism is not.

As an organizing principle, it cannot solve the most basic of social problems; some of which are not in critical need of solving. It is a bankrupt philosophy. Not enough people are buying it, me included.

collinknight March 3, 2012 at 12:32 pm

no matter how you try to spread the taxes equally among everyone it will be impossible. Some people will never pay taxes under any system. There will always be some people paid from taxes and who will therefor never actually be paying any. The total abolition of taxation should be the end. The means to get this end is less and less taxpayers not more.

Phinn March 4, 2012 at 7:30 pm

I think your beef is that YOU PERSONALLY did not agree to pay taxes. But you did.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!

Is that what you’ve been going on about all this time? Implied consent!

Wow. What a collossal waste of time.

Ok, look, I didn’t want to pull rank on you but you leave me no choice. A thousand years ago, 99% of then-living humanity agreed to abide by a very solemn document that declared that anyone who used the capital letter W in his nickname owes 50% of his annual income to anyone going by the name of “Phinn.” So you owe me.

What’s that you say? You never consented to this arrangement? Like hell you didn’t! You posted a comment on the Internet using the words a, an and the. It says right here in the Super-Duper King’s-X Mega-Constitution, which almost everyone agreed to at the time 10 centuries ago, that these were the rules. Use these words, under a name that starts with W, and you have consented?

What’s that you say? That you didn’t consent to these rules about consent? Who cares?

Gil March 4, 2012 at 8:49 pm

You didn’t consent but you submitted anyway – so it’s still more money in their coffers.

nate-m March 5, 2012 at 3:32 am

It’s hard to argue with people that would murder you if you don’t submit. I wouldn’t consider choosing death versus paying taxes much of a choice or a issue of free will. Plus most people have obligations to society and themselves that go beyond political idealism.

Wildberry March 5, 2012 at 1:00 am

No dummy. That’s not it.

I’m saying that if you don’t like it, you have the power to change it. If you don’t want to pay taxes, to abide by the rules of the status quo, you don’t have to.

Either you are in jail for refusing to pay taxes, or you paid them. Which is it? If you paid them, but don’t want to, then what is your plan or what are you doing to change that fact? Are you raising an army? Are you engaged in some form of civil disobedience, or do you have your head in the sand?

At the very least you shouldbe able to string together one little argument that addresses the core of what I’ve said to you, since you obviously have Truth and Justice on your side, But you can’t. All you can do is just keep repeating that you just know you are right.

There is no easy answer here Phinn, my boy… Like I said, reality bites.

What I’m saying is the only thing standing between you and your utopian dreams, is an overthrow or overhaul of the Government. Or time, lots of time. Don’t tell me, you are just going to wait it out? If that is not your goal, then get busy. Lucky for you, you don’t have to raise an army, like some other poor slobs have to. But you can choose whatever method you think is in your best interest. Your options are limited, as I said. Limited only by reality. So knock yourself out. Got a plan? Quick, the water is rising. Or do you figure that reality won’t affect you, because like the bear you mentioned, you don’t acknowledge that power. So There! Problem solved!

Apparently you think that placing yourself above the battle in your own mind is a sufficient contribution to get what you want. That makes you, well to be kind, uninformed.

There are two political extremes; anarchism and tyranny. Fortunately, most of us live somewhere in between. You can’t even articulate why you think you are so “vision” is the right way to go.

Say something intelligent for a change.

And by the way Gil, you are right; submission is consent. Refusal to submit is heroic, but not necessarily right. Right and wrong are things you have to fight for. To just declare your supremacy over others is unpersuasive and nothing more than a nuisance. The unpopular appeal of anarchism is not an accident, or an idea that is just ahead of its time. It is as shallow and foolish as tyranny. They are two possibilities on opposite ends of the worst of human experiences. It is no wonder it hasn’t caught on.

Phinn March 5, 2012 at 6:31 am

It really infuriates you that I refuse to play the game of politics in order to advance anarchism, doesn’t it!

For some strange reason, you insist that I work within the statist political system to advance anti-state ethics. Why is that? Why do you get so angry at the thought that I (and anarchists generally) not only reject certain political positions, but politics altogether?

And when I do this, you do 3 things: you repeat the convoluted nonsense parable of delegated individual sovereignty (although the punch line of that tale just happens to arrive at the conclusion that it’s justified that we’re treated like serfs on a corporate-style tax farm), or you resort to might-makes-right, or you tell me to go to war.

What on earth makes you think those are my only options? What makes you think it’s up to you to define my options in the first place?

I’ve already explained this thoroughly. Now that I have managed to accurately comprehend the State (i.e.,slavers who’ve managed to convince their slaves to shackle themselves), being free is relatively easy. It’s 90% psychological, and 10% learning how to hide your wealth.

My primary strategy to help humanity is to withdraw my support, and let the State implode, as it certainly will. It’s a lot more beneficial than what you’re doing.

And I promote anarchist parenting. It’s too late for people like you, so I focus on future generations. As Planck also said about science, ethics advances one funeral at at time.

Wildberry March 5, 2012 at 12:33 pm

@Phinn March 5, 2012 at 6:31 am

It really infuriates you that I refuse to play the game of politics in order to advance anarchism, doesn’t it!

Not at all. I consider your passivity a favor to the rest of us; If you actually tried to “play the game”, I would have to oppose you. You save me the trouble. Thank you.

For some strange reason, you insist that I work within the statist political system to advance anti-state ethics. Why is that? Why do you get so angry at the thought that I (and anarchists generally) not only reject certain political positions, but politics altogether?

Reading comprehension not your strong suit? I explicitly acknowledged that your options extended to actions that are outside the governmental (not the “statist” equivocation you insist upon, dishonestly) framework. I simply said that every action has a consequential reaction. Your passivity calls for a lack of interest; so much the better.

And when I do this, you do 3 things: you repeat the convoluted nonsense parable of delegated individual sovereignty (although the punch line of that tale just happens to arrive at the conclusion that it’s justified that we’re treated like serfs on a corporate-style tax farm), or you resort to might-makes-right, or you tell me to go to war.

This is your meaningless, unsupported diatribe. I do nothing of the sort. You only want to paint me into this corner, like any half-assed propagandist would do. I support classical liberalism, not anarchy. I adhere to the tradition followed by Mises, Hayek and others.

You think the almost total lack of popularity of your views are because you are so smart you discovered the Truth before the rest of us dummies have figured it out. This is the nature of your arrogance. The reality is that it is an insignificant, meaningless viewpoint promoted by a few, politically insignificant spokespersons. Rothbard did some great work, but this was not part of it.

What on earth makes you think those are my only options? What makes you think it’s up to you to define my options in the first place?

Did I miss something? I’m listening…

I’ve already explained this thoroughly. Now that I have managed to accurately comprehend the State (i.e.,slavers who’ve managed to convince their slaves to shackle themselves), being free is relatively easy. It’s 90% psychological, and 10% learning how to hide your wealth.

Good for you. Think about this. You are free to pursue your nonsense exactly because of what you inherited from classical liberals, including the founding fathers. So you are acting within that framework, whether you “acknowledge” it or not. Freedom to be entrepreneurial extends to lifestyles, with relatively few limitations. You did not create that environment, you lavish in it, while at the same time you promote its destruction. That makes you kind of nutty, IMHO.

My primary strategy to help humanity is to withdraw my support, and let the State implode, as it certainly will. It’s a lot more beneficial than what you’re doing.

If I give you the benefit of the doubt, which is difficult to justify, you are simply stating your investment strategy. But like all entrepreneurs, your future is not certain. Time will tell. But to claim that your selfish and self-righteous “withdrawal” is a gift to humanity is only true to the extent that the rest of us don’t have to bother with you. So please, keep it up.

And I promote anarchist parenting. It’s too late for people like you, so I focus on future generations. As Planck also said about science, ethics advances one funeral at at time.

Who the hell knows what “anarchist parenting” is, but is sounds a little scary, like something a fanatic religious cult leader might say; protecting the little ones from the corrupting influence of “bad” ideas, ideas which you obviously do not yourself understand. If you did, your comments would be more intelligently expressed. As it is, you can only repeat the foamy rhetoric of a closed-minded fanatic.

Sione March 5, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Wildberry

You’re doing it again- evading the points made, arguing by insistence and engaging in smearing. Phin points out that, “you repeat the convoluted nonsense parable of delegated individual sovereignty (although the punch line of that tale just happens to arrive at the conclusion that it’s justified that we’re treated like serfs on a corporate-style tax farm), or you resort to might-makes-right, or you tell me to go to war.” You respond with lies, hollow denials and (as usual) resort to smearing yet again. Pathetic.

Go back and reread the thread. Your position has been demolished several times and yet here you are denying, evading, wriggling and dissembling over and over again. Your contributions are so obvioulsy false and yet even when your erroroneous statements, lack of logic, evasion of the point etc are clearly illuminated, you continue mindlessly onwards. No-one is fooled by your cheap antics. You might like to think you are really clever and perhaps you are even able to fool yourself, but the rest of us laugh at your obvious shortcomings. You are a fool!

Sione

Wildberry March 5, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Sione,

What is there to respond to? These are simply accusations without substance, justifiation or rationale, as usual.

No one here has mounted any form rational counter-argument to anything I have said.

If you want to join in the fray, say something intelligent. You can’t even get through this short rant without condradicting yourself:

You’re doing it again- evading the points made, arguing by insistence and engaging in smearing.

and

You are a fool!

Smearing? me?

DixieFlatline March 5, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Good point about the smearing Wildberry. Only you should be allowed to do that.

Wildberry March 5, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Want to jump in, Dixie?

Smearing is in the eye of the beholder. It’s like pornography; it’s hard to describe but you know it when you see it.

My point was simple; if you are going to criticize someone for smearing and name calling, don’t do the very same thing in your own complaint about it. See?

Wildbery March 5, 2012 at 3:23 pm

Want to jump in, Dixie?

My point is not represented by our comment. First, smearing is like pornography; it’s hard to define, but you know it when you see it. If you think I am merely smearing the good names of these fine posters, be my guest.

Second, my point is simple; if you are complaining about someone’s name-calling and smearing, etc. don’t do the exact same thing in the body of your complaint.

You know, Pot meets Kettle?

DixieFlatline March 7, 2012 at 4:27 pm

I agree with you Wildberry, only you should be allowed to smear people and post half truths. It is really unfair when other people do that to you in return.

Wildberry March 7, 2012 at 5:13 pm

Didn’t we already have this little talk?

“My point was simple; if you are going to criticize someone for smearing and name calling, don’t do the very same thing in your own complaint about it. See?”

I’m not trying to reserve rights here. I would like to see the level of discourse raised a bit, though. As to your comments; no help.

Sione March 8, 2012 at 3:19 am

Wildberry

If there is nothing to respond to, then why are you responding? Here, another example of your dismal habit of contradicting yourself. You assert, simultaneously destroying your own assertion! Indeed the behaviour of a fool.

Concluding you are a fool on the basis of your approach to topics of interest combined with your manner of assertion, self-contradiction, evasion, substitution etc is no smearing on my part. It is an accurate identification. I’ve stated the facts of the situation and having done that identified your fundamental nature as that of a fool- a fact of reality. I’ll now add that you are also a liar (a poor liar but a liar nevertheless). For example, when you wrote this you lied, “No one here has mounted any form rational counter-argument to anything I have said.” By the time you wrote this your position had already been refuted, as you were well aware. Go back and read the thread.

Digressing for a moment, it would be great entertainment to witness you on the stand and placed under cross-examination. One of the juniors in our legal firm would swiftly make mince of you. Your antics are so easy to see right through.

Sione

Wildberry March 8, 2012 at 11:39 am

Sione,

You are right, there is something to respond to, but it has nothing to do with the topic of this thread.

You have the temerity to share the fact that you work in a law firm, and you want to see me “made mince” of through the rules of cross-examination, but at the same time decry these very things as being a big mistake that the rest of us poor, misguided slobs just haven’t figured out yet. Your hypocrisy knows no bounds.

If you claim to be affiliated with the legal profession in any way (you carefully avoid saying whether you are a lawyer), I wonder if your employer would be interested to know of your disdain for the rule of law and its procedures?

I support and defend a classical liberal position. You are a child who stomps his feet and states grand, sweeping conclusions as if it is self-evident to anyone with a modicum of intelligence. Apparently this is not the case.

As usual, you neglect the obvious. A courtroom implies rule of law and finding of fact, and perhaps a jury. You are in the position of having lost the case, since the status quo, if you haven’t noticed, is not Ancap. That puts you crosswise with traditional wisdom. Yet you can’t even articulate a reasonable defense to any challenge. Bluster is not a defense.

If it was, you would be on top of the world. Since it is not, you and your philosophy of anarchism remains a curiosity and nothing more. Enjoy your self-righteousness, that’s about all you have to show for your efforts.

Phinn March 8, 2012 at 12:45 pm

the status quo, if you haven’t noticed, is not Ancap. That puts you crosswise with traditional wisdom.

You keep mistaking the claims of the State with reality. The map is not the territory.

Ancap is the status quo. It’s the nature of society. It’s the way things always are and always will be.

Now, I admit that we’d all be a lot richer and happier if the fruits of ancap were allowed to be more freely distributed. That would require the organization that calls itself our overlord to be disbanded. But merely because they claim to be the status quo, and the definers of the essential matrix of society, does not make it so.

I also admit that only a small minority of people understand the essentially and unavoidably anarchistic nature of human social organization, and are laboring under the delusion that the State actually controls what it purports to control. But people don’t have to understand the nature of economics to conduct their economic lives, and more than they have to understand physics to live in the physical world.

Traditional wisdom doesn’t mean anything. The ancient Greeks believed that Helios drove a fiery chariot across the sky. If you went back in time and tried to explain to them the true nature of the solar system, it would probably make no sense to many of them, because their traditional wisdom told them that the sun is a fiery chariot. It was an integral feature of their worldview, albeit wholly false.

Narratives tend to do that. They worm their way into your mind and color everything you see, particularly the narratives you are told as a child. You, for example, are entrenched in the narrative that the State wrote for you — that the “country” was “founded” when a bunch of rich merchants and landowners got together to write up a document. But the contents of that document are no more binding on anyone’s present reality than are the pronouncements of the priests of ancient Mesopotamia.

Wildberry March 8, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Are you kidding Phinn?

You keep mistaking the claims of the State with reality. The map is not the territory

You keep mistaking what I’m saying as claims of the State.

Ancap is the status quo. It’s the nature of society. It’s the way things always are and always will be.

You are the first person I’ve ever heard claim that we are living under an Ancap social structure. And here I thought Rothbard, Hoppe, et all were PROPOSING something, not DESCRIBING something!

Two people interacting may be, with a stretch of language, described as operating untouched by any established social norms or outside framework. But were are (or at least I have been trying) to discucuss wide spread, large scale, advanced technology, division of labor social organizing principles. I guess you have not caught on to what we’re talking about yet.

Now, I admit that we’d all be a lot richer and happier if the fruits of ancap were allowed to be more freely distributed. That would require the organization that calls itself our overlord to be disbanded. But merely because they claim to be the status quo, and the definers of the essential matrix of society, does not make it so.

They are allowed, it’s just that your solitary voice is not strong enough to prevent the vast majority of people from expressing their own freedom in ways which require you to choose; be a part or be apart. You don’t get that. In the meantime, the existing system lets you live your life pretty much as you wish, including advocating radical, structural change to our present society. What is your actual problem; that no one is buying what you’re selling? I for one see good reasons for that choice.

I also admit that only a small minority of people understand the essentially and unavoidably anarchistic nature of human social organization, and are laboring under the delusion that the State actually controls what it purports to control. But people don’t have to understand the nature of economics to conduct their economic lives, and more than they have to understand physics to live in the physical world.

With all due respect, this is hilarious. In order for you to be right, everyone else who disagrees with you has to be operating under a delusion. Take the hint. People are not, generally speaking, stupid. They can generally understand what side the bread is buttered on. Fundamentally, you do not agree. You think that you have to lead us all into the light! Hah!!

Traditional wisdom doesn’t mean anything.

Case in point. You do not believe in traditional wisdom. You think that history is just the record of stupidity. I don’t. I see history as the refinement of knowledge. Knowledge is cumulative. That is why we advance.

The ancient Greeks believed that Helios drove a fiery chariot across the sky. If you went back in time and tried to explain to them the true nature of the solar system, it would probably make no sense to many of them, because their traditional wisdom told them that the sun is a fiery chariot. It was an integral feature of their worldview, albeit wholly false.

You illustrate my point. People did, eventually, replace symbolic explanations for things they did not have the knowledge to understand, with better knowledge and more literal explanations. New knowledge that is sufficiently persuasive gets integrated into our common knowledge. Notice that we don’t generally believe in a literal Helios anymore. Isn’t that progress? False knowledge is eventually purged. Thus it is with Ancap, which is not really anything new. It started out as a bad idea, and it hasn’t gotten any better.

Narratives tend to do that. They worm their way into your mind and color everything you see, particularly the narratives you are told as a child. You, for example, are entrenched in the narrative that the State wrote for you — that the “country” was “founded” when a bunch of rich merchants and landowners got together to write up a document. But the contents of that document are no more binding on anyone’s present reality than are the pronouncements of the priests of ancient Mesopotamia.

Look Phinn, I not about saving you. I don’t need you to save me. You have such deep misunderstandings about the world you live in, your language is so corrupted with your own misguided narrative, you are not qualified to lead others out of the darkness.

Yes, a shallow, biased, unenlightened view can describe this particular history this way. I can find many ways to describe a car wreck too. You carefully select the rhetoric you think advances your narrative: the State is EVIL, it casts some spell over poor souls who cannot defend themselves, it eliminates all options, it ignores human nature and all that is real! We are prisioners of our own minds, blah, blah, blah.

What about you are the one deluded, mistaken, and lost? Is that even a possibility in your world? Anyone that can be so sure they know everything, and the rest of the vast majority of other humans are operating under total hypnosis is himself a little unstable.

The funny thing is that I don’t mind. I thinks its fun to try to get you guys to string a few thoughts together in opposition to the most fundamental observations about social, legal, moral structure, and listen to your rants about how Ancap solves everything, if “people” would only listen to you. Well, I’ve been listening. Meh.

Oddly, I think you are a sincere, honest person, as far as you go. You are just lost and uninformed and somewhat immature. So, lot’s of us fall into that category. But it is the attitude that you already know everything you need to know, you already have it all figured out without making the slightest effort to understand in any meaningful way what you oppose. You act as if the State is one monolithic monster that can be simply slain with an idea or two. You are not swimming in the deep end, my good man.

Wildberry March 8, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Sorry for the formating error. Removing the edit function makes this kind of thing more likely.

What ever happend to that, anyway?

Andras March 8, 2012 at 11:28 pm

Hi Wildberry,
Your formulating your thoughts is a treasure for me. Just keep doing it. I truly enjoy all the words you write even if I can very rarely participate do to lots of travelling. As a bioscientist I have quite a unique view on the state. I would compare it to the gut flora. It is essential to human lifet, it can wreak havoc and usually it is quite disgusting. I think Mises had a few things to say about this as well. In short, understanding it is a way to optimization. Ignorance is lethal at both extremes. At this level whoever (mis)qualifies the fundamental issues of it, qualifies himself instead.
By the way, Sione is a “Jack of all trades”.
He also claimed that he belonged to a group of scientists who were successfully working on 3D molecular printers. Since then I do not reply to him.

Phinn March 5, 2012 at 1:18 pm

You are free to pursue your nonsense exactly because of what you inherited from classical liberals, including the founding fathers. So you are acting within that framework, whether you “acknowledge” it or not.

Incorrect. I’m free because I’m human. You’re free too, if you’d only see it. You don’t have to settle for minarchism, or any other -archism. Even as little as I regard your mind, no one can take that away from you (until and unless they kill you, I guess).

Anarchy exists, even in a Soviet gulag. Even in American prisons, where the reach of the statists is as strong as it gets. The globe as a whole is anarchistic, since there is no single global State, and never will be.

Anarchy has already “won.” It’s the nature of all human society. It’s the framework of humanity. It arises inevitably from our capacity to predict future results from our possible actions, and choose from those actions according to our unique (subjective) valuations of those possible outcomes.

So, no one gives anyone any freedoms, least of all the statists (like you) who try to crush the inherently free, anarchistic reality of society, control freaks that you are, ineffective as you are.

You can’t accomplish what you think you’re accomplishing. It’s like trying to get away from gravity or the laws of thermodynamics. It’s like trying to get rid of drugs or poverty or hold a cartel together. Even the Soviets couldn’t get rid of their black markets (and probably didn’t even want to), since it was the only part of the economy that actually worked.

I’m sure that’s endlessly frustrating for you, but it’s the nature of things.

Who the hell knows what “anarchist parenting” is, but is sounds a little scary, like something a fanatic religious cult leader might say

Like making every school-age child in America pledge allegiance to the flag every morning? So too uniforms, student government, and a thousand other collectivizing indoctrination methods?

It’s all designed to get you conditioned to be nice, quite little voters, who pay their allotted portions of the “national debt,” who never question when they ever agreed to put their lives and property up to a vote in the first place.

Yeah, that’s not creepy or anything.

But teaching children that all of their relationships are voluntary? That they were born free and nothing can take that away, even when criminals attack you (which they probably will), even when the criminals write fancy documents and give each other titles to convince you of the justice of their crimes?

To you, that’s beyond the pale. Loyalty oaths and training children to ask permission to urinate = good. Teaching them they have the innate right to property and thus the freedom to choose their own lives = bad.

At least we know where you stand.

Wildberry March 5, 2012 at 3:06 pm

@Phinn March 5, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Incorrect. I’m free because I’m human. You’re free too, if you’d only see it. You don’t have to settle for minarchism, or any other -archism. Even as little as I regard your mind, no one can take that away from you (until and unless they kill you, I guess).

As usual, we are talking past each other. I am free to act as I choose. I am not free to escape the consequences of that act, especially just because I declare that I do not “acknowledge” those consequences. I don’t need your regard. I don’t seek your approval. I am simply giving you my unvarnished opinion. Saving you is not my objective. I am simply meeting your brand or foolishness with the expression of an alternative view, which you cannot handle by anything but slogans and rhetoric. That is the way fanaticism works; the ability to critically and objectively justify your own position is surrendered to the party line, and then you forget that you are just mouthing someone else’s speech.

Anarchy exists, even in a Soviet gulag. Even in American prisons, where the reach of the statists is as strong as it gets. The globe as a whole is anarchistic, since there is no single global State, and never will be.

This is complete nonsense. Anarchy is the absence of government, right? It is the “voluntary” cooperation of some humans with others, without any form of government intervention. Isn’t that correct? You seem to forget that this dialogue, (such as it is) was based on my defense of a CONSTITUTIONAL FORM OF SELF-GOVERNMENT. I was never talking about the freedom of thought of an individual. That is undisputed. Yet you argue as if 1) anyone said it; 2) anyone cares about such trivial, banal observations of the plainly obvious. Meh.

Anarchy has already “won.” It’s the nature of all human society. It’s the framework of humanity. It arises inevitably from our capacity to predict future results from our possible actions, and choose from those actions according to our unique (subjective) valuations of those possible outcomes.

Won what? “Anarchy is the nature of all human society”?? Says who? Did your momma abandoned you at birth because she is a free woman? In your world, that is how is supposed to be?
Humans are social animals who can use language to make rules that govern their own conduct. This is the nature of humans; human actors who pursue their own satisfaction through cooperation with others. They satisfy their needs in something like a Maslow hierarchy of needs.

Your adherence to some romantic notion of anarchy only serves to demonstrate that you have no idea what you are talking about. If you did, you would be able to mount at least an intelligible sentence or two to show me how I and most of the rest of America are simply misled by our own blindness. You assume things about human nature that do not, have never existed. There is not a single example of an anarchist society that has ever escaped more than a primitive tribal existence. Yet you now assert that it has “won”. It has never started. It is a fantasy that does not and has never existed. You just delude yourself that when the rest of us catch up, we will see the light that you have been basking in. I don’t think so, Scooter.

So, no one gives anyone any freedoms, least of all the statists (like you) who try to crush the inherently free, anarchistic reality of society, control freaks that you are, ineffective as you are.

That’s right. Freedoms have to be won and defended, every day. And by the way, no one is trying to “crush” you or anyone else. Here you are, spouting away without being accosted or prohibited anything. People make choices. Just because some (most) people make different choices than you (thank God), does not mean they are stupid and you are brilliant. If you are so brilliant, why are you so impotent? If your ideas are so great, why haven’t they caught on like wildfire? Are you saying that anarchism isn’t even as powerful as an iPhone? After all, it is a free market of ideas, right? You are free to speak, and certainly books and videos are not outlawed as yet. You live among other humans, presumably with the same basic capacities to understand as you. So, what’s the problem?

You can’t accomplish what you think you’re accomplishing. It’s like trying to get away from gravity or the laws of thermodynamics. It’s like trying to get rid of drugs or poverty or hold a cartel together. Even the Soviets couldn’t get rid of their black markets (and probably didn’t even want to), since it was the only part of the economy that actually worked.

If progress was left up to Neanderthals like you, we would still be walking around instead of flying. Apparently gravity can be overcome, go figure…

As to the rest, who knows what you are saying. Last time I looked, the majority of Americans are not drug addicts. However, it only takes a few to represent a nuisance. Abating a nuisance is one of the few things government rules and enforcement make possible. I am not advocating a drug policy here; that is an empirical question. I am saying that free people can choose to do so if they feel it is in their best interest. It is not a question of can we, it is a question of should we. It is not sufficient to deal with a problem like drug use by application of a slogan; “people are free!!!” People are not absolutely free, unless they are Crusoe and alone. In a free and civilized society, people are not free to make themselves a public nuisance. At what point does one’s conduct rise to that level? That is an empirical question. Get it?

I’m sure that’s endlessly frustrating for you, but it’s the nature of things.

I can’t be frustrated by you, I don’t care enough about what you say or do. I am simply responding to someone who is talking out of his ass.

Like making every school-age child in America pledge allegiance to the flag every morning? So too uniforms, student government, and a thousand other collectivizing indoctrination methods?

Some people like it. Some people like to say prayers at night. Some people like tattoos. That’s freedom, which you obviously do not understand.

If you don’t want your kid to say the pledge, you can use your parental authority and make them stop doing it. Or, if you were a good parent, you could help them understand what it means, and let them decide for themselves. Or you can give them exclusively your own twisted brand of “reality”. I can’t or won’t stop you. That’s America baby!!

It’s all designed to get you conditioned to be nice, quite little voters, who pay their allotted portions of the “national debt,” who never question when they ever agreed to put their lives and property up to a vote in the first place.

Well it seems to have worked on you pretty well! There is nothing so quiet and compliant as a non-voter. And you are patting yourself on the back? In case you haven’t noticed, quite a few people are asking some pretty important questions, at the moment. There is a chance that a historical moment may present itself, and you, like all the other selfish, self-absorbed “free thinkers” like you, will be sitting on the sidelines, believing that the only real side is no side. You are a fraud.

But teaching children that all of their relationships are voluntary?

Really? Did you ask your kids if they wanted to be home schooled or hang out with other kids as public school? Did you let them try it out to see if they liked it better? Or did you make the rules for them? At what point did you children get to be “voluntary”?

That they were born free and nothing can take that away, even when criminals attack you (which they probably will), even when the criminals write fancy documents and give each other titles to convince you of the justice of their crimes?

One thing is obvious. They were not born free of you. Whether you are speaking as a parent or someone who has responsibilities for the children of others (God, I hope not), are you saying that you defend their right to make their own choices in all cases? No? What a hypocrite!!

To try to claim that anyone is acting or supporting something like the Constitution because it was written on a “fancy document” is just another example of your intellectual (I use the term loosely) dishonesty. You have failed to actually defend or oppose by rational argument anything I have said here. That is the handiwork of a fanatic, who cannot think outside the slogan.

To you, that’s beyond the pale. Loyalty oaths and training children to ask permission to urinate = good. Teaching them they have the innate right to property and thus the freedom to choose their own lives = bad.

I have known third graders who are more mature than you. Fist, can you point to anywhere or anything I have said that gives you the right to these claims? Of course not; that makes this a complete fabrication. Propagandist!!

What is an “innate right to property”? If you can’t explain it, you certainly can’t “teach” it. I always thought you had to do something to acquire property, but for you it’s an innate right? Raising the next generation of the welfare state?

At least we know where you stand.

I have never made it a secret, not that you are any kind of expert on what I think. You are so wrapped up in your sloganeering, you don’t even know what YOU think. Let’s all hope that you remain inept and passive, and that you are not exposing yourself too much to other people’s children (no pun intended). You are the type that I would like to see contained as much as possible, you know, to minimize the potential destruction you might otherwise cause. But that’s just me

Wildberry March 5, 2012 at 3:50 pm

I realize this thread is getting stale…and that this site is dominated by those most vocal about their beloved anarchy, in its various forms. But I just want an honest answer from one, any of you out there still tuned in.

1. Is there such a thing as a “public good”? I mean, we all benefit from certain things, no matter who we are or what our political philosophy is. For example, we all benefit from clean air.

2. Imagine 100 people live on an island, and 90 agreed to pay X for something that produced cleaner air, and 10 withheld because if they refused to pay, they got the clean air anyway. That is the holdout problem. It is most commonly solved by the 90 enforcing payment against the 10. That is why taxes can be coercive.

Question #1: How does the anarchist deal with this issue? Is there any framework or justification for preventing free people from choosing this course, in the ancap world?

3. If we agree that something is a net benefit to everyone, like my example of clean air, and the incremental cost to each individual was less than the benefit received, it would be a rational act to agree to pay that tax. If the benefit can be produced for the amount collected, everyone benefits. There would be a rational basis for the bargain.

Qestion #2: If individual tax (T) was less than the the individual benefit (B), and total T = total cost of producing the benefit, would an anarchist refuse to deal on some moral or economic policy basis?

Anyone? Anyone?

Kid Salami March 5, 2012 at 4:28 pm

P J Plauger on consensus:

“That is an interesting word, consensus. It does not mean ‘majority vote.’ That could oppress an important minority. No matter how large a fraction of votes you require to be ‘yes,’ you run the risk of an industry ganging up on an individual company. Or academia ganging up on industry. Or conversely.

“Equally, consensus does not mean ‘unanimity.’ That runs the risk of letting the minority thwart the needs of the majority. The most likely outcome of a heterogeneous group that demands unanimity is stalemate. It is too easy for any individual to delay completion rather than lose.

“So the standards process puts considerable emphasis on getting everyone to agree. If you disagree, you have a strong obligation to the whole. You must state as clearly as possible what changes would permit you to agree. Then you must not renege. If the majority agree to your changes, you must capitulate. You must not say, ‘Yes, but…’ You must not introduce a fresh slate of issues.

“This is still not sufficient machinery to ensure closure. The process must also tolerate the occasional diehard. If someone insists on changes to a standard that the majority simply cannot swallow, it must be possible to proceed anyway. In this case, the majority has a strong obligation to demonstrate (to a disinterested third party) that it has exercised due process. The minority viewpoint must have its day in court.

“My colloquial definition of consensus is as follows: at best, everyone agrees. Barring that, the majority who agree also agree that the minority who disagree are being disagreeable.”

Wildberry March 5, 2012 at 7:00 pm

Kid Salami,

A breath of fresh air, just in time. Is this the same PJ Plauger?

My definition of an expert in any field is a person who knows enough about what’s really going on to be scared.
P. J. Plauger, Computer Language, March 1983

As you once said, this only seems like rocket science when you try to explain it to the “disagreeable”.

Have you ever read any Richard Epstein? Here is a RealTV clip to give you a taste. His little book,”How Progressives Rewrote the Constitution” is outstanding.

WB

Wildberry March 5, 2012 at 7:13 pm

KS,
Sorry, forgot the link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRut_LTJpwI

Kid Salami March 6, 2012 at 7:04 am

Same person yes – he’s a bigwig programmer. The name Epstein rings a bell, I’ll check him out. Personally, I don’t think there is any “solution” to the hold out problem, it just is what it is. The NAP “solution” where one guy can refuse at any price to allow any particles of smoke into his garden and thereby prevent the industrial revolution is most assuredly the simplest and most consistent of all the courses of action – its only handicap is that it can only exists on arguments on blogs and in the real world it would create tremendous imbalances that would resolve in some way, agreeable or not.

Wildberry March 6, 2012 at 11:40 am

Epstein is nothing short of amazing. Incredibly coherent.

If you have 45 minutes to spare, check out this lecture on the roots of common law of property, contracts and torts in ancient Roman law. It is fascinating, and formalizes much of what you have been observing in your posts.

And of course you are right. Problems get solved, and people don’t allow their own progress and well being to be blocked by a small number of whiners. That is exactly what the history of the common law has done. Consequently, despite the attitude that some have that Truth began with Rothbard, there is merit to looking at and understanding the history of human problem solving. He concludes that although not perfect and comletely refined in every way, the Romans had it all about right.

One more comment; Epstein is a propoponent of the Classical Liberal views, a terms used and shared by Mises. He contrasts this view with Modern Progressives, and in the book I’m reading, traces the progress of this philosophy, especially through the FDR courts to present day, looking at anti-trust, labor laws, wage and price controls, etc. in terms of the major supreme court decisions that advanced the Progressive agenda.

He has been a valuable discovery. I encourage you to check him out.
Here is the link to hte Roman lecuture: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=R_ge4tYI8Vk

Keep up the good fight.
WB

nate-m March 6, 2012 at 9:51 am

1. Is there such a thing as a “public good”? I mean, we all benefit from certain things, no matter who we are or what our political philosophy is. For example, we all benefit from clean air.

See also: Tragedy of the commons.

2. Imagine 100 people live on an island, and 90 agreed to pay X for something that produced cleaner air, and 10 withheld because if they refused to pay, they got the clean air anyway. That is the holdout problem. It is most commonly solved by the 90 enforcing payment against the 10. That is why taxes can be coercive.

Imagine a 100 people live on a island. 90 people agreed to pay X for something that produced cleaner air, and 10 withheld because they knew it was a con. Now 100 people are fucked over by the conman because the 90 people used forced the 10 people to pay against their will. This is why we have green energy initiatives in Washington.

see also: Why imaginary scenarios that are dreamt up are more often then not used to support logical fallacies.

3. If we agree that something is a net benefit to everyone, like my example of clean air, and the incremental cost to each individual was less than the benefit received, it would be a rational act to agree to pay that tax. If the benefit can be produced for the amount collected, everyone benefits. There would be a rational basis for the bargain.

It’s a rational act to pay money for something that benefits you.

It’s a criminal act to threaten (and then kidnap and/or kill people if they resist) that don’t pay money that benefits you.

JFF March 6, 2012 at 10:06 am

Something else I was thinking about yesterday but didn’t write; what constitutes “clean air?” Does it truly benefit everyone? Does “clean air” mean the immediate cessation of all industrial production resulting in the immediate return to a unacceptable standard of living? What is the cost? Look to the unseen, yes?

nate-m March 6, 2012 at 10:42 am

Convincing people that Co2 is a pollutant is probably the greatest scam the world has ever known. Human activity generates Co2, period. You can’t get away from it. The only way to stop Co2 is to stop human activity. It’s a con that is specifically designed to allow governments to justify any sort of economic controls they feel like enforcing for whatever purpose they like.

Once you understand what Co2 does and how it performs it’s functions as a greenhouse gas, it’s very easy to understand just how full of shit the everybody is about it.

Wildberry March 6, 2012 at 12:31 pm

@nate-m March 6, 2012 at 9:51 am

See also: Tragedy of the commons.

This is no answer. The commons as portrayed in this analysis is not a public good, it is a category of property that can and should be privately owned, but is not. That is what creates the tragedy.

I’m asking about clean air, which is not property that can or should be owned, but has a common utility and benefit to everyone who breaths, which I presume includes you. There may be many other examples, but please stick to the question.

Imagine a 100 people live on a island. 90 people agreed to pay X for something that produced cleaner air, and 10 withheld because they knew it was a con. Now 100 people are fucked over by the conman because the 90 people used forced the 10 people to pay against their will. This is why we have green energy initiatives in Washington.

Again, you miss the mark. You are presenting an empirical question; how do you know who is right about whether the thing in question actually works. I assumed it did, for the purposes of this question. Of course you can change the question by changing the assumption I am asking you to consider, but that is not helpful.

see also: Why imaginary scenarios that are dreamt up are more often then not used to support logical fallacies.

Again, you pose the empirical question. You act as if nothing is every knowable or probable, so no conclusion, even a preliminary one, can ever be reached. This is why anarchy is anti-social. You chose to act on the possibility of error, rather than the probability of truth. Like I said to Phinn, with Neanderthal thinking like this, we would all be living in small tribes in caves.

It’s a rational act to pay money for something that benefits you.
It’s a criminal act to threaten (and then kidnap and/or kill people if they resist) that don’t pay money that benefits you.

You are 0 for four. The question assumes that everyone benefits, but some don’t pay. It is a holdout problem. I asked for the anarchist’s solution to this problem, but you respond by changing the question.

This is why I don’t find your posts helpful. You don’t try very hard to defend your ideological position. You just bend the question to make your narrative work. It is transparently childish. If it is such a wonderful philosophy for society and life in general, how come you don’t have a ready answer to such a simple and common social problem?

nate-m March 9, 2012 at 9:53 am

[quote]This is no answer. The commons as portrayed in this analysis is not a public good, it is a category of property that can and should be privately owned, but is not. That is what creates the tragedy.[/quote]

Well outside the analysis and in the real world the ‘public good’ is nothing if not a constant reminder of the reality that is described by the phrase ‘tragedy of the commons’.

[quote]You are 0 for four. The question assumes that everyone benefits, but some don’t pay. It is a holdout problem. I asked for the anarchist’s solution to this problem, but you respond by changing the question.[/quote]

I changed the question because the original question is silly. It “begs the question”, and boring, and unrealistic.

The Anarchist’s answer to the hold out problem is this:
“Let them hold out. Life isn’t perfect and attempting using force to coerce desired behavior isn’t going to make it so.”

Wildberry March 9, 2012 at 11:24 am

@nate-mMarch 9, 2012 at 9:53 am

Try using “blockquote” instead of “quote”

Well outside the analysis and in the real world the ‘public good’ is nothing if not a constant reminder of the reality that is described by the phrase ‘tragedy of the commons’.

You are the one who brought it up, but I can see you did know what you were saying. Here, educate yourself: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons

In turn, I have no idea what you are saying here either. I gather you think there is a commons and it is a tragedy.

I changed the question because the original question is silly. It “begs the question”, and boring, and unrealistic.

That’s ok. I think you again don’t know what you are saying or want to say. You just don’t like “it”, whatever “it” is.

The Anarchist’s answer to the hold out problem is this:
“Let them hold out. Life isn’t perfect and attempting using force to coerce desired behavior isn’t going to make it so.”

Yes, Nate-m, I know. The answer is to ignore the question. Meh.

In a division of labor society that respects property rights, decisions must be made about the nature and scope of cooperation. One holdout will not and cannot control the progress of everyone around them. And as you so clearly illustrate, disagreeable people are part of the social mix.

How to deal with that problem is an ethical, and ultimately legal and economic, question. It doesn’t disappear because you personally choose to ignore it.

But yes, you did answer my question, but I already knew the answer. Ancaps cannot manage any problem that does not exist within the very contrived boundaries of one’s own property. If you are standing on your land, you need no rights except self-defense, and grant others none more.

This is why I said that if Ancap was to gain a foothold, we would all return to caves and hunting/gathering. Of course the limits of that lifestyle requires a sufficient holding of land. And that motivates others to test your precious right to self-defense. But I know you don’t worry about that because in your world, all men are angles, or in the alternative, you can hire your own personal goons, and assume that your resources are always sufficient to defeat the trespasser.

And for you, this is the “real world”??

nate-m March 9, 2012 at 3:07 pm

I talk on more then one forum. The syntax differences get me.

In turn, I have no idea what you are saying here either. I gather you think there is a commons and it is a tragedy.

I am saying Public goods suffer from the ‘tragedy of the commons’.

Why you need to be so obtuse on the matter is irritating. I know you are trying to create a definition of ‘public good’ that can’t suffer from this common pitfall, but you can’t because the world doesn’t work that way.

Yes, Nate-m, I know. The answer is to ignore the question. Meh.

No the answer is in two parts
A) You can’t fix every fucking problem in the world with violence.
B) You can’t fix every problem.

That’s ok. I think you again don’t know what you are saying or want to say. You just don’t like “it”, whatever “it” is.

The ‘IT’ is your question. Which is:

How do Anarchists do in order force 10 people to pay for clean air when only 90 people have paid for it but it benefits all 100 people on a imaginary island.

It ‘begs the question’ because your phrasing the question in such away that assumes that
A) Something _must_ be done about the hold out problem
and
B) That the only solution is forcing other people to pay.

You created a unrealistic, uninteresting, imaginary scenario with the assumption that the ‘hold out’ problem must have a immediate action and that action must include figuring out how to force people to pay you money for something the majority of people thinks needs to be done.

Sometimes in some situations there is _nothing_to_be_done_. Sometimes you just have to leave people alone and let them live their lives even if ends up costing you money. Sometimes the best action is no action and doing anything about it is just throwing more good money after bad. The money has been spent, it’s in the past and it’s gone. Move on with your life.

nate-m March 9, 2012 at 3:13 pm

“”"I am saying Public goods suffer from the ‘tragedy of the commons’. “”"

Actually there are two ways these things can go:

Overutilization
Underutilization.

Either the public good is made available for everybody to use and it gets over exploited and you end up with a loss of that public good. ‘tragedy of the commons’
or
You end up with regulation preventing people from using the public good and it ends up being wasted or used in a inefficient/ineffective manner.

Wildberry March 9, 2012 at 5:24 pm

@nate-mMarch 9, 2012 at 3:07 pm

I am saying Public goods suffer from the ‘tragedy of the commons’.
Why you need to be so obtuse on the matter is irritating. I know you are trying to create a definition of ‘public good’ that can’t suffer from this common pitfall, but you can’t because the world doesn’t work that way.

Let me be less obtuse (I assume you are not referring to geometry).

The tragedy of the commons is based on private/public land management. But air is not subject to private ownership (except small amounts captured and contained). In any case, you are shifting topics. You are attempting to shift the discussion to a general analysis of public/private property. I am talking about governance, decision-making and cooperation.

For example, in the case of the proverbial “commons”, it is based on a common grazing area that belongs to everyone/no one. Consequently, the benefits of overgrazing was realized by each individual, but the costs were shared among all users. It led to overgrazing, because there was no way to stop it.

Imagine you are there. Everyone that uses the commons have recognized the tragedy, and most want to do something about it. They propose cooperation. The question is, how? They might divide it equally into private property, or they may make rules that have to be enforced. One guy wants to continue overgrazing, and refuses to go along with anything that interferes with his “right” to use the commons as he sees fit.

What do Ancaps do in this situation. Now don’t invent another situation, I’m asking about this one. I’m granting that if they do nothing, they will starve for lack of grass to feed their cows, etc. There is one holdout. What to do?

This is your answer?

No the answer is in two parts
A) You can’t fix every fucking problem in the world with violence.
B) You can’t fix every problem.

I see. You are the holdout.

The ‘IT’ is your question. Which is:
How do Anarchists do in order force 10 people to pay for clean air when only 90 people have paid for it but it benefits all 100 people on a imaginary island.
It ‘begs the question’ because your phrasing the question in such away that assumes that
A) Something _must_ be done about the hold out problem
and
B) That the only solution is forcing other people to pay.

Nate, I am asking you for other options, if you have any. You either find a way to support A or B, or you explain C or D, or you pick “none of the above. Do nothing.” Do you have any? If the roof is leaking, do you just accept the puddle in the middle of the room?

You created a unrealistic, uninteresting, imaginary scenario with the assumption that the ‘hold out’ problem must have a immediate action and that action must include figuring out how to force people to pay you money for something the majority of people thinks needs to be done.

Yes, I created a simple hypothetical, which apparently is pissing you off. I’m asking you to tell me how ancaps solve hold out problems, or do you hold the line that you don’t have to play. Fine. That’s what I’m saying. That is your solution. You don’t like the hypothetical because it confronts you with a problem that you are not prepared to solve. That is my point, obtuse as I may be.

Sometimes in some situations there is _nothing_to_be_done_. Sometimes you just have to leave people alone and let them live their lives even if ends up costing you money. Sometimes the best action is no action and doing anything about it is just throwing more good money after bad. The money has been spent, it’s in the past and it’s gone. Move on with your life.

Yes, Nate, I agree with this. For example, the earth is being bombarded with the consequences of sun spots right now, and I don’t think we need a meeting to do something about it.

On the other hand, not all conflicts involve trespassing. What we do, us humans, is to solve problems. I have presented you with a simple one. It is not earth shaking, but it has turned you off you lunch. Got it. I understand. Ancaps do not have the tools to deal with simple social problems that extend beyond private property and trespass. I rest my case.
@nate-mMarch 9, 2012 at 3:13 pm4
Round 2:

Actually there are two ways these things can go:
Overutilization
Underutilization.

What about sustainable management? Is that not an option? What about no utilization?

Either the public good is made available for everybody to use and it gets over exploited and you end up with a loss of that public good. ‘tragedy of the commons’
or
You end up with regulation preventing people from using the public good and it ends up being wasted or used in a inefficient/ineffective manner.

This is actually a beautiful illustration of what I’m talking about. In your world, you see two negative outcomes, and then throw up your hands. “Not every problem has to be solved” or some such other slogan about freedom and harmony.

Things work out if we work them out. For any 100 people on an island, no decision is going to always make 100 people happy. But the ancap approach to that observation is to say, “just divide the island up into 100 private parcels, and defend each one from your neighbors, and contracts will take care of the rest.” With that simple concept, you think you have solved the problem of inevitable conflict. It is a shallow, naive idea.

nate-m March 9, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Nate, I am asking you for other options, if you have any. You either find a way to support A or B, or you explain C or D, or you pick “none of the above. Do nothing.” Do you have any?

Do I have a solution for a imaginary island with 100 people and 10 cheap bastards that went out and purchased a magical mystery machine that cleans the entire planet’s air, but now those 10 people don’t want to pay anything after the fact?

No I don’t have a solution.

If the roof is leaking, do you just accept the puddle in the middle of the room?

Usually I would put a bucket in the middle of the room so there isn’t a puddle. Then when it stops raining I’ll go on the roof and in the attic and find the damage, fix it, put new insulation in and see what I can do about improving the ventilation in case there was moisture that I missed. That’s assuming it’s not a serious leak, if it’s serious then I would see about patching the roof in a temporary manner immediately to reduce the damage to the interior walls and ceiling then seeing about contacting my insurance company and getting a new roof put on.

Yes, I created a simple hypothetical, which apparently is pissing you off.

It’s not that it’s a simple hypothetical, it’s that you are carefully framing a question by assuming the answers.

The problem with the situation you have chosen to create is that there are hundred billion different ways to approach a general problem of people holding out on payment.

If you have a 100 people and 90 people agreed to pay for something and then 10 people said no, but the 90 people went out and did it anyways then it’s bullshit for those 90 people to expect the 10 people to pay. The solution is ‘do nothing’, the 90 people are in the wrong if they decide to go after the 10.

If you have a 100 people and 100 people agreed to pay, then they went out and purchased the magical world air cleaning machine and then 10 people changed their mind and refused payment after the fact then the 10 people are in the wrong and the 90 people have the right to go after those 10 people. If the 10 people refuse to pay after confronted with the fact they broke their word then there is a number of things the 90 people can do, all of which depends on the specific situation and details surrounding the agreements.

For example:
If the amount of money that the 10 people owe is not significant then it probably not cost effective to go after them. The cost of enforcement is more then the money you get back. In that case the 10 people will probably just get away with it. However they lose a significant amount of credibility in future agreements and they will probably lose money in the long run.

If the amount of the money is significant enough to warrant action then the 90 people could collude to simply charge the 10 people slightly more for products and services until the amount the 10 people owe is paid back.

Another option is that since they have the technology to create a magic world air cleaning machine it is safe to assume that they have the technology to control the earth’s air currents, at least local to the island. In that case they can deny the service of the air clean machine to the 10 hold outs and let them wallow in their own filth until they die of self-poisoning or (much more likely and hopefully) they see the error in their ways in breaking their agreement with the 90 people and pay what they owe.

If they lack that technology and they had a penalty clause in the 100-man-air-cleaning agreement then they could use the funds guaranteed them by the contract to purchase the services of the Martians that created the air cleaner to build transparent air bubbles over the 10 people until those 10 people come to terms with their dishonesty.

Maybe the solution is just to act like huge dicks to the 10 people and not invite them to all the cool parties. Then when they come crying to the 90 people saying ‘Why are you not being nice to us anymore?’ then the 90 people can say “Well you were not nice to us because you promised to do something and you broke your promise. We don’t want to be friends with people that don’t keep their word”, then the 10 people can say “Oh we are sorry, we will work to make up for you”. Then the 90 people and the 10 people can bake a cake to signify their mended relationships and they can have a nice party in the sunset and enjoy the cool breeze from their air cleaning machine together for ever and ever.

There are hundred thousand billion possible solutions here. What ever is most appropriate depends on the specific circumstances and the nature of these people’s agreement with one another prior to the air cleaner purchase. Their social morays and all sorts of other stuff.

Phinn March 5, 2012 at 4:56 pm

In case you haven’t noticed, quite a few people are asking some pretty important questions, at the moment.

No, the vast majority of people are still enthralled in the theater of statism. It’s a mass hallucination, but for some reason (stemming from the psychological abuse most all of them experienced as children), many people seem to believe in the legitimacy of states. (It’s like trying to talk to someone who believes in the Tooth Fairy. Tiring, that’s what it is.)

As a result, they spend almost all of their time asking purposefully-trivial questions, like quibbling over tax rates and whether the corporation they call the US government should have a “balanced budget” or not.

These are obvious defense mechanisms, mostly forms of avoidance. It’s the same reason people become obsessed with more overt forms of trivia, like sports or the minutiae of self-referential narrative fiction, especially what they call “genre fiction.” Consider the adults you come across who are deeply entrenched in fierce debates about the NFL, or Star Trek or Harry Potter characters. Are these the more brave and successful people in the world? Or are they typically over-represented in terms of small-mindedness, know-nothings, and people who chronically retreat from deep personal relationships? Are the hard core comic book fans the more socially successful people, or less so?

I think we all know the answer.

Here’s the upshot — they are all doing exactly the same thing as people (like you) who get caught up in the fictional narratives of Constitutionalism. Of America and its founding. Of great moments in electoral history. People who think that Elections Matter.

Electoral politics is a socially-acceptable form of being obsessed with lightsabers and Wookies and Twilight and Voldemort.

Statism is a way of retreating into fantasy.

The Constitution is a fantasy. Or, more accurately, the legitimacy of the state is a fantasy. It’s a story. It’s fiction. It’s imaginary. It’s Superman, Spider Man and Batman all rolled into one. It’s ritualistic mumbo-jumbo. The people who supposedly made these agreements and pacts and signed various documents are ALL DEAD, and they didn’t have the right to speak for anyone but themselves anyway. Politicians are not authorities any more than Tutankhamen was actually an incarnation of Horus (who, incidentally, was also imaginary).

You can tell a lot about a person by the kind of fiction he enjoys.

What can we infer about the people who gravitate toward the raw power fantasies of wrestling and the NFL (which are just forms of theater)? What does that say about their views of power, and their need for highly-aggrandized forms of ritualistic displays of deference, respect and insults? I think it’s pretty obvious they feel perpetually humiliated, and engage in these fantasies of power as a means of redemption.

What about people who obsess about pornography (mostly males)? Or the people (mostly women) who read dozens of romance novels a month, all featuring the same main characters with only minor variation? What do these forms of fiction preferences reveal about the consuming audience’s sexual self-image, their levels of desirability in the sexual marketplace? I think it’s pretty obvious they know they are largely undesirable, and enjoy fantasies of wildly attractive people with infinite sexual options.

The same analysis applies to all forms of fiction, including the state, which is also just theater. What can we infer about people who obsess over the legalistic fantasies about the origin of the state? These people need constant reassurance that what they do, and how they vote, matters, that it affects outcomes, that they have some control over “nuisances” and criminals and an ever-widening sphere of human social activity. I think it’s obvious that these people have major insecurities over the lack of control over their lives. Statism is your anti-anxiety drug, for when you feel a loss of control.

You are the type that I would like to see contained as much as possible, you know, to minimize the potential destruction you might otherwise cause.

See? Control issues.

Phinn March 5, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Wildberry, I found this for you, from GoodTherapy.org:

Control issues are characterized by a person’s need to micromanage and orchestrate the actions and behaviors of others. Control is a reaction to fear. There may be many reasons fear plays a role in one’s life. People who struggle with the need to be in control fear being at the mercy of others. Control issues can develop from traumatic events that created a feeling of helplessness and chaos, thus causing a person to crave control in a disproportionate and unhealthy manner. Control issues may be a result of being neglected or abused. If a child is controlled, physically, verbally, or sexually, by an adult throughout their youth, they may reach a point at which they feel the need to regain control. Many survivors of abuse do not control their abusers, but lash out in anger or hostility, or use confining and restricting emotional strategies, to psychologically control others in their lives.

That’s the State, and the motivations of all its participants, in a nutshell.

Wildberry March 5, 2012 at 6:14 pm

@Phinn March 5, 2012 at 5:04 pm

It is possible that you are in need of therapy. I’m glad you are familiar with this site.

I gather that your point is that the State (i.e. non-human) and its participants (which includes you unless you live in a hole or a cave on an island) is reacting to former abuse, and is now lashing out against its citizens as a manefestation of its (non-human) neurosis, causing a collective, mass psychosis among government employees. Of course, if a government worke loses his job, he is instantly cured.

Hmmm. That sounds reasonable.

Phinn March 6, 2012 at 12:27 pm

I gather that your point is that the State (i.e. non-human) and its participants (which includes you unless you live in a hole or a cave on an island) is reacting to former abuse, and is now lashing out against its citizens as a manefestation of its (non-human) neurosis, causing a collective, mass psychosis among government employees. Of course, if a government worke loses his job, he is instantly cured.

Your preternatural ability to misunderstand simple concepts never ceases to amaze. It’s like a super power.

The State is not “non-human.” It’s an abstraction, concerning the manner in which people interact with one another. So, at most it’s a mode of human behavior, but more accurately, the State is the abstract justification for statist behavior — it’s the claim to be the ethically-legitimate, final arbiter of violence in a territory.

It’s participants include those who claim to be State actors (i.e., acting under the authority of the State), but it also includes everyone who believes that claim of legitimacy, consents to it, or otherwise recognizes that authority. These are the people who acknowledge that state actors are their representatives, and therefore when acting within that authority, the culpability of the representatives (or their agents) are imputed to the people, since the actions of agents (or sub-agents) with actual authority are imputed to principals.

Voters who want the State agents to do something for them (collect taxes, fix prices, ban drugs, form cartels, etc.) are the ones lashing out.

The State actors themselves often lash out, too. Sometimes they lash out against the people they claim to represent, but they have a habit of lashing out against others as well.

I, for one, don’t want any part of that wholly dysfunctional relationship. I do not acknowledge State actors as my agents, and certainly not as wielding legitimate authority over anyone, myself included.

I live in peace with everyone, for our mutual benefit.

Wildberry March 6, 2012 at 12:42 pm

I think this about locks it. Please check yourself in.

I live in peace with everyone, for our mutual benefit.

That’s good, Swahilibob.

First, I don’t see how you are a benefit to me, but perhaps you can explain. After all, I want get every benefit I’m entitled to…

Second, you are looking through the telescope from the wrong end. The question is what is your response to those who act contrary to your rights in property, contract and tort?

You intend to stand against any offense as an individual, and because you intend no harm to anyone, you “should” be left alone, like the bear that you do not acknowledge is supposed to leave you untouched.

Good luck with that. I hope, for your sake, your denial is never tested. It will be a rude awakening.

Phinn March 6, 2012 at 1:50 pm

First, I don’t see how you are a benefit to me, but perhaps you can explain. After all, I want get every benefit I’m entitled to…

You and I aren’t doing business with each other. We’re not exchanging anything other than words. I have no physical contact with you other than through this medium.

As to the people with whom I have real contact, I endeavor to (a) respect their property, (b) insist that they respect mine, and (c) see if we can find a way to cooperate for our mutual benefit.

That’s about it.

As to the people who insist on using their costumed agents to steal from me and threaten me with abduction and other injuries, we get a lot more of (b) than either (a) or (c). I try to keep such horribly disfigured personalities out of my life as much as possible, though.

Second, you are looking through the telescope from the wrong end. The question is what is your response to those who act contrary to your rights in property, contract and tort?

The responses are as varied as there are types of problems. But there are some general levels to one’s responses: First, there’s prevention. Second, there’s taking security. Third, there’s negotiation. Fourth, there’s self-defense. Fifth, there’s employing specialists to help me with negotiation. Sixth, there’s employing specialists to help me with self-defense.

I’ve never had to get all the way to level 6.

You intend to stand against any offense as an individual, and because you intend no harm to anyone, you “should” be left alone, like the bear that you do not acknowledge is supposed to leave you untouched.

No, I solve most of my own problems, but if I ever encountered one that I couldn’t deal with, I am sure there are people who would be glad to work with me, for our mutual benefit, to solve it. I can hire plumbers, electricians, mechanics, accountants and doctors, so I am sure I can hire any kind of problem-solver for whatever problem that comes along.

As for your vague sense of dread and foreboding, however — there’s no practical solution for that. You can hide under your bed, but the bogeymen you’re afraid of are inside your head. Trying to get costumed agents to hunt down everyone you consider a threat is only going to make everyone miserable, since you’re looking in the wrong place for a solution.

Wildberry March 6, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Phinn,

That is all fine. Who could have a problem with 1-5. But not having ever had to get to 6 is the problem we are talking about, and you just skip right on by.

It is #6: Under the system you and I live under, if you are in fact in the US, we (remember the serfs acting in cooperation) do not permit you to hire specialists to enforce your interests with force. Thankfully, we have evolved passed vigilanteism. We enlist a neutral third-party system as a public good. We don’t function as individuals on an island with only self-help remedies for the inevitable personal conflicts arise between well-behaved and not so well-behaved humans.

You argue that is a mistake, yet you can find no persistent system of civilization to point to that has ever succeeded in defending itself both from inside and without. So I am asking you a simple question, which I figure you have answered.

Your answer is that each individual should be left to his own personal devices if #6 is ever required. So some poor slob just trying to get ahead, with limited personal resources, is insured of being the victim/looser in any conflict with a more well-resourced adversary. That, my friend, is a system of might makes right. So again, you demonstrate that you do not know much about the subject we are discussing. In order to have anything to say, you have to resort to a fabrication of the world as it does NOT exist, and claim that it SHOULD, that maybe someday it COULD exist, if people would only get their heads out of their ass and act like the angel that you clearly are, at least in your own mind. Maybe you are; great! But you hang your pathetic anarchist hat on the hope that when you finally do need #6, that you have the resources and wherewithal meet any challenge, or perish. How optimistic of you.

Although you may think it is naughty, some people in this world don’t care what you think, and can use the force of arms to accumulate enough wealth to rule you, as in actual conquest. You think this is impossible in your modern, enlightened world? Like I said, check out the situation in Syria, or read up on what has happened in Lebanon. You live in a pipe dream. If what you have “discovered” is so great, how come you can’t even give me one realistic example of how such simple problems as I’ve presented can be easily solved? “Oh, but it can!” says you. All you need is a new brand of human, a planet that is only populate by that brand, and all the time and resources you need to re-invent evolution from your puny theoretical constructs. Good luck with that.

Phinn March 6, 2012 at 4:09 pm

It is #6: Under the system you and I live under, if you are in fact in the US, we (remember the serfs acting in cooperation) do not permit you to hire specialists to enforce your interests with force.

They claim as much, but I ignore that claim for the worthless noise that it is.

Thankfully, we have evolved passed vigilanteism.

It’s always been unfairly demonized. Notice the demonizing is spread by the very same organization that wants to claim the right to be the Ultimate Vigilante. Such transparent propaganda, obvious to those who wish to think for half a second.

We enlist a neutral third-party system as a public good.

There’s no such thing. That’s a total fantasy of yours.

We don’t function as individuals on an island with only self-help remedies for the inevitable personal conflicts arise between well-behaved and not so well-behaved humans.

Individuals living alone on islands don’t have conflicts, by definition. People living in groups, on islands or anywhere else (aren’t continents just giant islands anyway?) have the same rights as everyone else.

You argue that is a mistake, yet you can find no persistent system of civilization to point to that has ever succeeded in defending itself both from inside and without. So I am asking you a simple question, which I figure you have answered.

Every society that has ever existed has thrived because of cooperation, and failed because of aggression. I suppose there are some that were wiped out by disease or volcanoes, but if we’re talking about social reasons (economics, war, but I repeat myself), then all progress and economic growth is the result of anarchistic cooperation, and all decline is due to aggression (both private (e.g., invasion) and under the pretense of statism.

To the extent a society with a state operating in its midst has succeeded or grown or benefited in any way, it was in spite of the aggression of statism, not because of it.

See, you need to do more than cite examples. Examples show correlation, not causation. Economic assertions need to show causation to be worth listening to. To do that, a priori reasoning is needed.

Your answer is that each individual should be left to his own personal devices if #6 is ever required. So some poor slob just trying to get ahead, with limited personal resources, is insured of being the victim/looser in any conflict with a more well-resourced adversary. That, my friend, is a system of might makes right.

Relatively poor people benefit the most from free markets. They are made poor and kept poor by the hypocritical, lying, thieving statist system that pretends to help them.

blah, blah, ad hominem, blah

Yeah, whatever.

You live in a pipe dream. If what you have “discovered” is so great, how come you can’t even give me one realistic example of how such simple problems as I’ve presented can be easily solved

Look around. The successes of anarchism (i.e., cooperation) are everywhere. You, however, mistakenly attribute the cause of these great advancements to aggression (i.e., statism).

Your sense of cause-and-effect is wonky.

The fact that you can’t see how the world operates is not my problem.

You ask for solutions. You’re like a 19th century slavery supporter who might be amenable to abolition, but just can’t get his mind around the question of who’s going to pick all that damned cotton. It’s not going to pick itself, that’s for sure!

Wildberry March 6, 2012 at 7:29 pm

@Phinn March 6, 2012 at 4:09 pm

They claim as much, but I ignore that claim for the worthless noise that it is.

Yes, you already said that with your bear example. You would ignore those claws and teeth too. Remind me not to stand too close to you. I’m hoping that by the time he finishes with you, he won’t be hungry.

It’s always been unfairly demonized. Notice the demonizing is spread by the very same organization that wants to claim the right to be the Ultimate Vigilante. Such transparent propaganda, obvious to those who wish to think for half a second.

OK let’s give thinking a try. Vigilante refers to private action; the taking of law enforcement into one’s own hands. In order to avoid you taking private action on me, I agree to not take private action on you, and we agree to submit our grievance to a third-party arbiter who we agree to vest with the power to enforce the judgment, with subsequent rights of appeal. It is a major advantage to me not to have to defend myself against very yahoo that thinks he is a personal bad ass. Unlike you, apparently, I don’t assume that every yahoo is as smart and righteous as you. Rules help provide order, and I want order, because disorder introduces very high transaction costs. Vigilantes are not an advantage to anyone but the yahoo who thinks (or knows) he can kick your butt. To counter, everyone else has to assemble the resources to protect his personal interests. It’s a gang war at best, and an arms race at worse. No thanks.

There’s no such thing. That’s a total fantasy of yours.

I didn’t make up the term. It has meaning that some people recognize. I already explained how clean air is a public good. Infrastructure, the channels of commerce, are a public good. If you want understand what happens when a public good becomes private property, look up the history of the Rhine. It was once made completely ineffective to trade by private property claims to each section of the river from point A to point B, each with its own toll booth. As an instrumentality of commerce, it became worthless. See? Public good.
Clean air is a public good, and pollution is a nuisance, against which one has a right to enforce a tort for damages. I won’t bother you with that problem, it is beyond you, no offense.

Individuals living alone on islands don’t have conflicts, by definition. People living in groups, on islands or anywhere else (aren’t continents just giant islands anyway?) have the same rights as everyone else.

Yes, and so there are inevitable conflicts, as I said. That is not the issue. I am trying to illustrate to you, with a simplest of examples, how inadequate your theory of governance is. Governance is an approach to solving these difficult social problems. Your approach is to deny that they are problems. Like the bear. Who is being blind now?

Every society that has ever existed has thrived because of cooperation, and failed because of aggression. I suppose there are some that were wiped out by disease or volcanoes, but if we’re talking about social reasons (economics, war, but I repeat myself), then all progress and economic growth is the result of anarchistic cooperation, and all decline is due to aggression (both private (e.g., invasion) and under the pretense of statism.

Now you are forgetting what side of the argument you are on. What if some people cooperate to use aggression to get what they want? Your solution is to deny aggression. I may renounce aggression, but I don’t deny it exists. If it exists, then I want a way to deal with it that works well for me and others. I want to cooperate with a system that works for me, including having a common understanding of what aggression actually is and what it is not. That is pretty helpful.

You would be a problem for me, because I can’t accurately predict how your framework would actually operate, and neither can you. So you are left with a shallow narrative that has no meat on the bones. You don’t see it that way, but you can’t explain exactly why. I understand. I suspect you really don’t have the background to deal with these kinds of problems.
All I would say then, is don’t act like you have such a justifiable solution. If it’s justifiable, you should be able to explain it in some detail. I can. Do you see the difference? Of course, I have a few thousand years of human civilization to draw upon, so I don’t have to make everything up from scratch, like you do. Thank God Rothbard did so much of the heavy lifting for you, or you would have very little to go on. Rothbard may be a pretty smart guy, but he can’t compare to the accumulated wisdom of, for example, 500 years of common law.

Here’s just one little hint for you. Coase developed his theories of the economics of law and the economic impacts of transaction costs, and then compared them to what the common law had done with the problems he looked at. What he found is that in most cases, the common law had considered the economics, even if somewhat unconsciously, and had arrived at the same approach to solving the difficult problems of nuisance, for example and converged upon the same conclusions that Coase reached through economic analysis.
When the same conclusions can be converged upon by triangulating widely varied sources of knowledge, it says something about how likely they are to be based on something solid. Consider that.

To the extent a society with a state operating in its midst has succeeded or grown or benefited in any way, it was in spite of the aggression of statism, not because of it.

I am persuaded that you learned the word “statism” without ever really appreciating the difference between government and statism. I have never mentioned the word in my examples, and you raise it about every other sentence. I suspect you are trying to make a very, very broad generalization from what I’m saying to some lofty concept that is probably beyond you anyway. Try not using the word, and saying what you mean by it. You might be surprised.

See, you need to do more than cite examples. Examples show correlation, not causation. Economic assertions need to show causation to be worth listening to. To do that, a priori reasoning is needed.

Thank you for the lecture, but there is nothing wrong with giving examples as a way to create an entry point for further discussion. Listening is voluntary.

Relatively poor people benefit the most from free markets. They are made poor and kept poor by the hypocritical, lying, thieving statist system that pretends to help them.

Ignoring the vitriol, I think you may be wrong about the first part, but in any case I think we can agree that everyone benefits the most from free markets, except those perhaps who don’t; i.e. rent seekers, both rich and poor. That is what started this thread.

Look around. The successes of anarchism (i.e., cooperation) are everywhere. You, however, mistakenly attribute the cause of these great advancements to aggression (i.e., statism).

You are redefining anarchism as “cooperation” now. Gee I didn’t realize it, but I’m an anarchist! I cooperate!!! What a hoot!

Your sense of cause-and-effect is wonky.

What cause and what effect? Stay with me now. Breath.

The fact that you can’t see how the world operates is not my problem.

There. We finally agree on something.

You ask for solutions. You’re like a 19th century slavery supporter who might be amenable to abolition, but just can’t get his mind around the question of who’s going to pick all that damned cotton. It’s not going to pick itself, that’s for sure!

Talking to you is like drinking from a fire hose. I didn’t ask you to solve slavery. We already have that one. I just asked one simple little question. I gave you a hypothetical, and asked for your view. Look where you’ve traveled.

Anyway, I think your due for your dose.

Peter Surda March 7, 2012 at 5:26 am

Phinn,

No, I solve most of my own problems, but if I ever encountered one that I couldn’t deal with, I am sure there are people who would be glad to work with me, for our mutual benefit, to solve it. I can hire plumbers, electricians, mechanics, accountants and doctors, so I am sure I can hire any kind of problem-solver for whatever problem that comes along.

You just gave me an idea. How about we hire a problem-solver to deal with Wildberry? Division of labour at its best.

Phinn March 7, 2012 at 9:21 am

It may be difficult to find such a person. It would require finding someone with the ability to tolerate constant self-congratulatory pronouncements, mixed with endless griping about how no one knows genius when they see it.

In other words, it would require someone with an unusually high ability to appreciate irony, someone who can cope with an avalanche of unintentional comedy and still maintain interest over the long haul.

Maybe there’s an online forum for masochists, where we can post an ad for a Troll Entertainer.

Wildberry March 7, 2012 at 9:58 am

What kind of dealing do you have in mind, Surda?

Peter Surda March 7, 2012 at 10:06 am

Now now, Berry, there’s no need to worry. We’re civilised people here. The specialist we’re looking for is going to make you an offer you can’t refuse.

Wildberry March 7, 2012 at 11:25 am

Far from worried, actually; not even that curious.

Your implied reference to the Godfather tells everyone all they need to know.

Like so many ideologues and fanatics, you prefer to deny and discredit, rather than understand or debate.

You are hopeless. It has been interesting to note that everyone who bothers to try to have a discussion with you eventually comes to the same conclusion.

Whatever happened to people that know something posting here? This place has turned into an intellectual desert. Is Mises.org is depending on posters like you, Phinn and Nate-m to carry the anarchist water? Pathetic.

Peter Surda March 7, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Wildberry,

Your implied reference to the Godfather tells everyone all they need to know.

it looks like while we are both capable of formulating explicitly ambiguous sentences, you’re the only one that takes them seriously, both as a sender as well as a receiver.

Like so many ideologues and fanatics, you prefer to deny and discredit, rather than understand or debate.

There no debate, since you avoid it at all costs. You prefer to live in your la-la-land where a rational discourse is unnecessary. I provided, several times, point by point refutations of your nonsense, only to be met with the same deceptive tactics over and over and over. Clearly, it is pointless to attempt to debate when one party is not interested.

Is Mises.org is depending on posters like you, Phinn and Nate-m to carry the anarchist water?

Contrary to what you might believe, there is a world outside of the comments on mises.org. Even when we restrict our analysis at the Mises Institute, it provides, among other things, online courses and free books. I do what I do because I want to learn, not because I want to parade my imaginary erudity, or to form cults, or to otherwise compensate for the deficiencies experienced in other areas of my life.

Wildberry March 7, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Peter,

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve taken anything you’ve said seriously.

The statement that “there is no debate” is something we do agree upon. You think you can interact without any knowledge of understanding of the topic by “falsifying” the contributions of others. When they explain, you don’t get it, and come back with incomprehensible nonsense. You may not agree with me on much, but at least I can explain my position. That is what is such a disappointment with the posters here.

The prospect of debating the rediculous positions often taken here is null.

I would be curious to understand what you think you are learning here. I have never seen you acknowledge that you don’t already know everything.

Peter Surda March 7, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Wildberry,

I’m not here to ensure your satifaction.

Wildberry March 7, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Surda,

Well that’s good, ’cause I sure can’t get none…not from you anyway.

monkeylove March 6, 2012 at 6:55 am

The problem isn’t inability to pay taxes but tax breaks.

And behind that is a far greater problem of deregulation leading to incredible amounts of money used for financial speculation. The cause of that, ironically, is limited government.

Richie March 6, 2012 at 9:13 am

LOL.

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