Comments from NoodleFood


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Comment #1

Saturday, December 17, 2005 at 13:10:21 mst
Name: James Heaps-Nelson

Diana,

Thanks for posting this. I know relatively nothing about Bandow and haven't read anything by him, but this is bizarre and sad. CATO says they take this kind of thing seriously, but the article doesn't mention what they plan to do in the future to prevent it from happening again.

Jim



Comment #2

Saturday, December 17, 2005 at 15:54:08 mst
Name: A.West

I would not be surprised to find that various high-level Libertarian academics have been incentivized by agents of the P.R. China. I've encountered many who find the massive corruption in that country's now mixed economy to be a kind of "laissez faire" they could never dream of in the U.S. They certainly seem to care less about individual rights in China than a naive observer might expect. I've known a few Libertarians who crave to start businesses in China, presumably assuming that they'll be on the winning side of conflicts among "competing governments" or assume their bribes will be sufficient.



Comment #3

Sunday, December 18, 2005 at 15:30:18 mst
Name: Stephan Kinsella
URL: http://www.StephanKinsella.com

Sigh. You silly Objectivists <http://blog.lewrockwell.com/lewrw/archives/009527.html>.



Comment #4

Sunday, December 18, 2005 at 18:02:29 mst
Name: Lowell R.

"In fact, a public intellectual cannot claim to advocate some substantive ideology on principle while also accepting payment to promote some special interest or other. It creates too obvious a conflict of interest -- and casts doubt upon his honesty as a public intellectual."

This is just bizarre. Without knowing the details of the Bandow situation, how is this any different from an Objectivist receiving money to promote Objectivist goals in the media? Aren't ARI's op-ed and letter writers paid to promote an agenda?

If Bandow sacrificed his principles to promote something *different* for dirty money, of course, that's completely different.



Comment #5

Sunday, December 18, 2005 at 18:03:43 mst
Name: Lowell R.

And by the way, it truly pains me to agree with Mr. Kinsella, having seen some rather strange behavior on other forums. But when you're right, you're right.



Comment #6

Sunday, December 18, 2005 at 18:18:18 mst
Name: Lowell R.

What's more: Regarding the "libertarian subjectivism" element of this episode, how on earth is it anti-Objectivist to accept money to promote a cause that you support (I assume Bandow really DOES support the rights of Indians to open casinos, as all free-marketeers should)? Is it only "honest" to write op-eds if you sanctimoniously sacrifice the opportunity to get paid?



Comment #7

Sunday, December 18, 2005 at 21:38:08 mst
Name: L.S.

Silly Lowell R. writes: "I assume Bandow really DOES support the rights of Indians to open casinos, as all free-marketeers should".

Well if I understand the issue correctly there's some move to allow *only* "Indians" to open casinos and not others. If so then I question if all free-marketeers should be in support of something like that. Only a "libertarian" would consider that to be some kind of "step in the right direction" as reggards the present improper prohibitions against gambling. It isn't.

But more importantly--the actions of the op-ed writer were clearly dishonest and "morally subjectivist" to say the least. Comparing it to ordinary payment to write op-eds--for those associated with ARI or anyone else--only shows the same overall failure to conceptualize clearly by some that may also leave them baffled by certain Objectivists take on an issue.

To understand if someone is being paid to write from a certain point of view not his own, one can start with just following where the money comes from and how. If the payments were not disclosed to CATO then there's your first lead something is fishy.

If ARI pays writers to write op-eds, it is because the writers view on the subject is in agreement with ARI's position and the op-ed will reflect the position of ARI. We can only trust that the writer honestly holds the view in question--and that's just life, unless you are the one advocating all writing be self-sacrificial for no payment.

If there is a particular position held by ARI that some "interest" agrees with because it's to their benefit--then they can support the writing of the op-ed by simply donating to ARI as an organization. Then it's up to the public to decide whether ARI is choosing positions on that basis, rather than sincere conviction. That's always a judgment people have to make when reading an op-ed from a writer affiliated with *any* organization. (With the degree of consistency in ARI op-eds, I don't think anyone would consider that's the case.)

But if someone working for such an organization took payments from some "interest" on the side--that is clearly dishonest and the public then would be right to suspect the organization as well. It reflects poorly on them. The op-eds all accompany an indication of his affiliation to CATO, according to the article. If so then it's up to CATO to establish whether they must approve the position of the op-ed of their writers.

If CATO's position on the Indian casinos is that it's some step-forward for laissez-faire to grant special franchise favors to a particular ethnic group--that's CATO's problem and the libertarian's problem. But whether or not it would be their position--if they were counting on their writer to think for himself and not take side-payments from Indian casinos and not disclose it, then what he did was obviously wrong.

To mock the use of "moral subjectivism" and so on as just throwing out some Objectivist sounding cliche rather than intelligently analyzing an issue--while not even taking time to think through the moral issues involved sensibly for one's self, the criticisms of libertarians is only demonstrated further, IMO.



Comment #8

Sunday, December 18, 2005 at 23:18:29 mst
Name: Diana Hsieh
URL: http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog

Stephan Kinsella: In your post, you said that your eyes glazed over upon reading my post. If so, perhaps that explains why you managed to so completely mischaracterize what I wrote. I never said nor even implied that "Bandow's error has something to do with his 'Christian libertarianism,' and that this comes out of 'the moral subjectivism common in the libertarian movement'."

For the record, I mentioned Bandow's Christianity only because it relates to a forthcoming post mentioning him. And my comment about the moral subjectivism of libertarianism pertained not to Bandow's actions, but to the likely "what's wrong with that?" responses to the scandal within the libertarian movement.

So you can have you "Oh please" back -- with interest.



Comment #9

Monday, December 19, 2005 at 0:32:44 mst
Name: Lowell R.

Silly L.S. -- I agree with you (mostly, that is -- what's wrong with intermediate steps?). I disagree with Diana that there is a conflict of interest in this case. Of course, it's true that all parties involved acted stupidly by doing things that led easily to their intended audience impugning their own credibility, and thus that no party actually FURTHERED those interests - but they were and are the same: to further liberalize gambling laws.

So the disagreement as I see it is: If this whole episode happened without any public fallout, would it still be wrong? An example of "libertarian subjectivism," or whatever the phrase is? (I agree that Stephan should have offered more than zero analysis of the phrase, but *I* still don't know what it means either). At the risk of walking into some ingenius argumentative trap Diana has laid, I don't think there's "anything wrong with that" -- except insofar as it's wrong to act in such a way that it's likely your own agenda will be undermined.



Comment #10

Monday, December 19, 2005 at 9:36:03 mst
Name: Stephan Kinsella
URL: http://www.StephanKinsella.com

Diana, I realize you didn't specify what your cryptic "Christian libertarian" comment meant, but given your Objectivism and use of stock Objectivist phrases--hey, let's throw in a few em-dashes and *too many italics*, while we're at it; and say a few times, "Observe:"--I assume you are planning on criticizing his Christianity, perhaps even something along the lines of an argument that this is yet another demonstration of libertarianism's "whim-worshipping" or "rampant moral subjectivism". The more I read Objectists trot out their ridiculous stock phrases, the more I realize this aspect of the philosophy is really inapplicable to the real world. Who *talks* like that? Who *thinks* like that? Who goes around talking about "psycho-epistemology" or saying their husband is their "top value". What the hell is a "top value"? Jesus. In my view, this cliched, robotic reasoning is useless and off-putting.

I've read the ridiculous attacks on libertarianism by Peter Schwartz and Rand, and all the dishonest, simplistic dismissals of anarcho-capitalism by Rand and some of her followers; it just doesn't wash. Of a kind is the criticism of libertarianism for "moral subjectivism". The strongest part of Objectivism has always been its politics, which is virtually identical with libertarianism. Or did you think it was the concept of Crow epistemology? Or the romantic aesthetics?

I also realize your moral subjectivism comment was aimed at the response of the libertarian community to Bandow's actions. The distinction is not material.



Comment #11

Monday, December 19, 2005 at 10:17:56 mst
Name: Dave Harrison

Stephan,

Most of your post is just an emotional baseless personal attack. You really should withdraw it.

Anyway, to respond to just one point:

Libertarians will not be able to respond to two crucial points: What is liberty? And why liberty? Without clear answers to the above, libertarianism, at least in theory, leads to anarchy. It hasn't happened in practice yet only because our constitution protects us by (among other things) recognizing individual rights.

Objectivism provides answers to these questions because it is systematic, and politics can only arise out of a proper metaphysics, epistemology and ethics. Politics (e.g., libertarianism) is not a primary.



Comment #12

Monday, December 19, 2005 at 10:36:55 mst
Name: Lowell R.

Dave,

Politics is a primary -- in the political system! Or will the first Objectivist candidate for president begin all his stump speeches by talking about how A is A?

As for your assertion, "Libertarians will not be able to respond to two crucial points: What is liberty? And why liberty?", this is true only to the extant that not all libertarians have the same answer. They all agree that liberty is, more or less, negative (as opposed to positive -- rights AGAINST vs. rights TO), that it is good, and that all steps towards it (as long as all consequences are taken into account) are good.

"[L]ibertarianism, at least it theory, leads to anarchy" -- only if you're an anarcho-capitalist! Mises sure wasn't, to take just one example, nor was Robert Nozick.



Comment #13

Monday, December 19, 2005 at 10:43:00 mst
Name: Fred Weiss
URL: http://www.papertig.com

Stephan, it's absurd for you to be denouncing Objectivism for attacking the subjectivism of libertarianism - and in the process provide a very good example of it- your very own recent post which is nothing but an empty rant. It is also a very good example of second-handedness (to use another Objectivist "catch phrase") since your predominant objection seems to be nobody else talks like us or thinks like us. Gee, we sure wouldn't want that.



Comment #14

Monday, December 19, 2005 at 10:45:35 mst
Name: Dave Harrison

Lowell,

"Politics is a primary -- in the political system! Or will the first Objectivist candidate for president begin all his stump speeches by talking about how A is A?"

There are ways to answer those two questions I spoke of to a layperson's general satisfaction. No need to go all the way back to A is A in this context.

"They all agree that liberty is, more or less, negative (as opposed to positive -- rights AGAINST vs. rights TO), that it is good, and that all steps towards it (as long as all consequences are taken into account) are good."

Dangerously vague.

"(Libertarianism in theory leads to anarchy) only if you're an anarcho-capitalist! Mises sure wasn't, to take just one example, nor was Robert Nozick."

They had to adopt a rational base to some extent, if not explicitly, then implicitly. Having said this, I'm not sure how they would have specifically responded to these questions.

Dave




Comment #15

Monday, December 19, 2005 at 10:54:07 mst
Name: Fred Weiss
URL: http://www.papertig.com

Err...Lowell R., if you acknowledge that libertarians don't all have the same answer to the questions, "What is liberty? And why liberty?", how can they all agree that "liberty and that all steps towards it (as long as all consequences are taken into account) are good." What are they all agreeing on if they don't agree what it is or why we need it?

(Which btw, Stephan, was precisely Peter Schwartz's point in his essay on libertarianism.)



Comment #16

Monday, December 19, 2005 at 15:43:37 mst
Name: Stephan Kinsella
URL: http://www.StephanKinsella.com

Dave Harrison:

"Most of your post is just an emotional baseless personal attack. You really should withdraw it."

What is the procedure for "withdrawing" something? Is there some metaphysical white-out? Blank-out. This very notion reminds me of the silly Randian notion of "breaking" with people, as if there is some official record book.

My comments are not an emotional personal attack; it is more of an expression of why I think Objectivists are not even worth taking seriously if they continue to trot out these weird, robotic phrases.

"Libertarians will not be able to respond to two crucial points: What is liberty? And why liberty? Without clear answers to the above, libertarianism, at least in theory, leads to anarchy."

Oh for God's sake, I know Rand said something like this, but do we have to repeat it? Gack, it's embarrassing. A couple of comments: first, there is nothing wrong with "anarchy"; it is simply a system in which there is no institutionalized aggression. Any Objectivist who opposes anarchy must be for archy--a state--and therefore, in favor of institutionalized aggression. See my What It Means to be an Anarcho-Capitalist <http://www.lewrockwell.com/kinsella/kinsella15.html>.

Second, you harp on the notion that without the full-fledged Objectivist philosophy, the concept of "liberty" is meaningless. My view is that liberty is just a shorthand for describing the state of non-aggression. That is, it is based on the concept of aggression. And even Rand believed that this was a simple, obvious phenomenon:

"Whatever may be open to disagreement, there is one act of evil that may not, the act that no man may commit against others and no man may sanction or forgive. So long as men desire to live together, no man may *initiate*--"do you hear me? No man may *start*--"the use of physical force against others."

--Ayn Rand, "Galt's Speech." Here is is very clear that Rand quite properly recognized that aggression--the initiation of force--is a fairly simple concept. Libertarians are those who believe aggression is not justified. Now you may think their *justification* of this proposition is flawed (I think Rand's is flawed); but I think you are in trouble if you try to maintain that libertarianism *is not coherent*--it is as coherent as Objectivism's politics is, since both reason on the coherence of the primary concept of aggression.

"Objectivism provides answers to these questions because it is systematic, and politics can only arise out of a proper metaphysics, epistemology and ethics. Politics (e.g., libertarianism) is not a primary."

Uh hunh. Not buying it. And note this: any philosophy that is by and large composed of decent, benevolent, nice, charitable people--as I think Objectivists are, at heart--and that makes its followers feel so guilty about being benevolent and charitable that they think you need a whole book written just to give them moral permission to be nice to their neighbors... has something screwed up in it. You don't need a fancy philosopher's tome to justify being nice to your fellow man. It's just common sense. No agonized, handwringing guilt over it is needed. But of course, to realize this, you'd have to ditch Rand's flawed concept of "altruism" and that would lead to further unraveling of the tapestry.

Fred Weiss:

"Stephan, it's absurd for you to be denouncing Objectivism for attacking the subjectivism of libertarianism - and in the process provide a very good example of it- your very own recent post which is nothing but an empty rant. It is also a very good example of second-handedness (to use another Objectivist "catch phrase") since your predominant objection seems to be nobody else talks like us or thinks like us. Gee, we sure wouldn't want that."

Oh for God's sake--second-hander. Next you'll drop the stolen concept fallacy on me. BTW I believe I am actually an Objectivist if you go by the short summary of her views, on politics, metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics. I just don't go for the dour, humorless, robotic cult of personality that has arisen around her. And you know what, I don't even feel guilty about it--the face without pain or fear or guilt, and all that, ha ha.



Comment #17

Monday, December 19, 2005 at 16:02:09 mst
Name: Fred Weiss
URL: http://www.papertig.com

Stephan, you're the one who brought up the brilliant objection that no one talks or thinks like Objectivists, so you can hardly complain about being labelled a second-hander.

(When you commit the stolen concept fallacy, I'll be happy to let you know.)

Btw, I'm not objecting to your characterization. No one - or hardly anyone - talks or thinks like Objectivists. Which of course calls for another catch-phrase, "it's earlier than you think."



Comment #18

Monday, December 19, 2005 at 16:54:50 mst
Name: Lowell R.

Fred,

"What are [libertarians] agreeing on?" Why don't you ask THEM, instead of relying on Peter Schwartz' sloppy essay? Again, "They all agree that liberty is, more or less, negative (as opposed to positive -- rights AGAINST vs. rights TO), that it is good, and that all steps towards it (as long as all consequences are taken into account) are good."

Is that "dangerously vague," as Dave suggests? First of all, most things are, when you get right down to it. Even "life is the standard of value" doesn't really mean what it says -- but that's beside the point. Libertarians agree on 99% of issues, and hold healthy internal debate on the other one percent -- unlike certain other internal movements, which seem to do everything they can to prevent associating with outside scholars.

But you know what? It doesn't matter, because you'll be proven wrong in time. Imagine talking to a receptive person about Objectivism, and then hearing them say, "Hey, I think an op-ed I read the other day from Cato [or, God forbid, TOC] made a similar point." What do you do? Start yelling about "libertarian subjectivism" (see L.S.' offensively patronizing non-answer on an earlier thread on Austrian economics)? Repeat Rand's bizarre allegation that libertarians are just "plagarists" -- as though every pro-liberty philosopher from Lao Tzu to Locke didn't exist? The end result: You scare them away. THAT'S why no one talks or thinks like Objectivists. Get used to it.



Comment #19

Monday, December 19, 2005 at 17:25:42 mst
Name: Diana Hsieh
URL: http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog

Lowell --

Before the discuss degenerates too much, let me strongly suggest that you read some of what Paul and I have already written about libertarianism. There's just no point in repeating a debate that's already happened, but I do encourage you to raise whatever questions and doubts you might have about those essays.

I would particularly recommend that you read Paul's "Fable of the Cardiac Surgeon":
<http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog/2004/08/fable-of-cardiac-surgeon-and.html>

I discuss the subjectivism of libertarianism in the last third of this post:
<http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog/2005/08/stinky-garbage-on-islam.html>

Paul considers the explicit subjectivism of a leading libertarian theorist here:
<http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog/2005/08/moral-foundations-of-modern.html>

And I link to some good articles on the LP by former LP activist Ari Armstrong in this post:
<http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog/2005/05/hammering-on-libertarians.html>

All of those essays, plus a few more, are linked from this page:
<http://www.dianahsieh.com/misc/toc.html>

And please, take a few deep breaths before posting again. Your last post on this thread was rather personally offensive.



Comment #20

Monday, December 19, 2005 at 18:16:12 mst
Name: Lowell R.

Sorry if I offended you, Diana. Certainly, your blog DOES encourage healthy debate, and so what I said on that account does not apply to you. Otherwise, just venting... (I'll have more to say on the posts you linked to at some point)



Comment #21

Monday, December 19, 2005 at 18:59:36 mst
Name: Dave Harrison


Stephan said:

"My comments are not an emotional personal attack; it is more of an expression of why I think Objectivists are not even worth taking seriously if they continue to trot out these weird, robotic phrases."

No matter how much sense they make. (Sigh) Whatever.

Dave said:

"Libertarians will not be able to respond to two crucial points: What is liberty? And why liberty? Without clear answers to the above, libertarianism, at least in theory, leads to anarchy."

Stephen said:

"Oh for God's sake, I know Rand said something like this, but do we have to repeat it? Gack, it's embarrassing. A couple of comments: first, there is nothing wrong with "anarchy"; it is simply a system in which there is no institutionalized aggression. Any Objectivist who opposes anarchy must be for archy--a state--and therefore, in favor of institutionalized aggression. See my What It Means to be an Anarcho-Capitalist <http://www.lewrockwell.com/kinsella/kinsella15.html>."

I didn't know Rand was this explicit. Where was that? I do recall Schwartz bringing out these points.

Ok, so you're an anarchist. Be my guest. I'd rather live in a society where I have a better chance at living more peacefully and a little longer.

Stephen said:

"Second, you harp on the notion that without the full-fledged Objectivist philosophy, the concept of "liberty" is meaningless. My view is that liberty is just a shorthand for describing the state of non-aggression. That is, it is based on the concept of aggression."

Ok; no aggression; no state; anarchy. A gang on every corner. Gotcha. Hey, I'm aware some people are into that. You like it, go for it.

Stephen said:

"And even Rand believed that this was a simple, obvious phenomenon: 'Whatever may be open to disagreement, there is one act of evil that may not, the act that no man may commit against others and no man may sanction or forgive. So long as men desire to live together, no man may *initiate*--"do you hear me? No man may *start*--"the use of physical force against others.'

"--Ayn Rand, 'Galt's Speech.' Here is is very clear that Rand quite properly recognized that aggression--the initiation of force--is a fairly simple concept. Libertarians are those who believe aggression is not justified. Now you may think their *justification* of this proposition is flawed (I think Rand's is flawed); but I think you are in trouble if you try to maintain that libertarianism *is not coherent*--it is as coherent as Objectivism's politics is, since both reason on the coherence of the primary concept of aggression."

You quote Rand as if to support you, yet you say her position is flawed. Please clarify and elaborate.

Why non-aggression, then? Why is it good?

Stephen said:

"Objectivism provides answers to these questions because it is systematic, and politics can only arise out of a proper metaphysics, epistemology and ethics. Politics (e.g., libertarianism) is not a primary."

Stephen said:

"Uh hunh. Not buying it. And note this: any philosophy that is by and large composed of decent, benevolent, nice, charitable people--as I think Objectivists are, at heart--and that makes its followers feel so guilty about being benevolent and charitable that they think you need a whole book written just to give them moral permission to be nice to their neighbors... has something screwed up in it. You don't need a fancy philosopher's tome to justify being nice to your fellow man. It's just common sense. No agonized, handwringing guilt over it is needed. But of course, to realize this, you'd have to ditch Rand's flawed concept of "altruism" and that would lead to further unraveling of the tapestry."

I'm not sure who you're talking about here. I feel absolutely no guilt over being benevolent. In general it makes me feel good.

In what way is her concept of altruism flawed? And can you give me a definition of "common sense?"



Comment #22

Monday, December 19, 2005 at 19:41:14 mst
Name: Anonymous

Oh for God's sake, Stephan -- you are insufferably condescending and patronizing, aren't you? Gack, it's embarrassing....



Comment #23

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 at 0:20:30 mst
Name: Stephan Kinsella
URL: http://www.StephanKinsella.com

Dave Harrison:

""Oh for God's sake, I know Rand said something like this, but do we have to repeat it? Gack, it's embarrassing. A couple of comments: first, there is nothing wrong with "anarchy"; it is simply a system in which there is no institutionalized aggression. Any Objectivist who opposes anarchy must be for archy--a state--and therefore, in favor of institutionalized aggression. See my What It Means to be an Anarcho-Capitalist <http://www.lewrockwell.com/kinsella/kinsella15.html>."

"I didn't know Rand was this explicit. Where was that? I do recall Schwartz bringing out these points."

What's your question, exactly?

"Ok, so you're an anarchist. Be my guest. I'd rather live in a society where I have a better chance at living more peacefully and a little longer."

Wooo, touche! You got me!

"Stephen said:"

Stephan, dude. Not Stephen. See the difference?

"Second, you harp on the notion that without the full-fledged Objectivist philosophy, the concept of "liberty" is meaningless. My view is that liberty is just a shorthand for describing the state of non-aggression. That is, it is based on the concept of aggression."

"Ok; no aggression; no state; anarchy. A gang on every corner."

You Objectivists don't mind real big gangs, but for some reason the notion of little ones bugs you. Weird.

Anyway, anarchy is the state of *lack of institutionalized aggression*. Are you in favor of institutionalized aggression?

"You quote Rand as if to support you, yet you say her position is flawed. Please clarify and elaborate."

Rand was right about aggression. It is immoral. She was wrong in thinking the state is compatible with this view. She went off track.

"Why non-aggression, then? Why is it good?"

Well, either you are with me in opposing aggression, or you are against me, and you favor aggression. In the former case, my reply is: why ask me why you believe what you believe? In the latter case, I have no reason to talk with savages.

"I'm not sure who you're talking about here. I feel absolutely no guilt over being benevolent. In general it makes me feel good."

I am talking about David Kelley's book on benevolence. Keep in mind: I respect and have always liked Kelley. I just refer to the search by Objectivists for permission to be charitable. Rand casually dismissed being charitable as some "neutral" value. Whatever. Got no time for such losers.

"In what way is her concept of altruism flawed? And can you give me a definition of "common sense?""

No. Either you got it or you don't. Next question?



Comment #24

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 at 4:01:49 mst
Name: Dave Harrison

Stephan,

(Me) "Ok; no aggression; no state; anarchy. A gang on every corner."

"You Objectivists don't mind real big gangs, but for some reason the notion of little ones bugs you. Weird."

Ok, so little governments/gangs are just fine with you. I thought you liked non-aggression.

"Anyway, anarchy is the state of *lack of institutionalized aggression*. Are you in favor of institutionalized aggression?"

To a point, i.e., I support the government's use of force in order to preserve and protect my individual rights.

"You quote Rand as if to support you, yet you say her position is flawed. Please clarify and elaborate."

"Rand was right about aggression. It is immoral. She was wrong in thinking the state is compatible with this view. She went off track."

And why was she wrong?

(Me) "Why is non-aggression good?"

"Well, either you are with me in opposing aggression, or you are against me, and you favor aggression. In the former case, my reply is: why ask me why you believe what you believe? In the latter case, I have no reason to talk with savages."

I'll ask you once again: Are you able to explain why non-aggression is a good thing?

"In what way is her concept of altruism flawed? And can you give me a definition of "common sense?""

"No. Either you got it or you don't."

Ok, "just because I said so" and "I don't need a definition." I see.



Comment #25

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 at 10:49:08 mst
Name: Stephan Kinsella
URL: http://www.StephanKinsella.com

Dave Harrison:

""You Objectivists don't mind real big gangs, but for some reason the notion of little ones bugs you. Weird."

Dave: "Ok, so little governments/gangs are just fine with you. I thought you liked non-aggression."

I oppose all aggression--all crime. Both public crime (that is, institutionalized crime, committed by a state--typically, in a way that is (erroneously) viewed at least tacitly as quasi-legitimate by the public at large); and private crime. Anarcho-capitalism is simply a system in which institutionalized aggression is not present, primarily because the prevailing ethos of the populace is such that they do not view the state or its use of institutionalized aggression as legitimate. Under anarchy, there would still be private crime, just as there will always be in human society because of free will and variations among humans.

me: "Anyway, anarchy is the state of *lack of institutionalized aggression*. Are you in favor of institutionalized aggression?"

The Davester: "To a point, i.e., I support the government's use of force in order to preserve and protect my individual rights."

One thing I always used to appreciate was the Objectivists' fairly careful use of terms and definitions. You are falling short of this. Let's be clear: force and even coercion are neutral terms; just as a gun may be used for good or evil, the same with force or coercion. As Rand herself said, it is the *initiation* of force that is not legitimate, not permissible. Aggression is a common term for "initiated force". Now, I ask you again: are you in favor of institutionized *aggression*, or not? Rand, I believe, would say "no", and then she would deny that the state necessarily perpetrates aggression; she would deny that the state's use of *force* is aggression--she would probably base this suspect claim on some wave of the hand and dropping the word "context" as if tha explains it. But the point is Rand would never say she condones *aggression*. She would say that 'in context" the use of force by the state is not aggressoin, it is justified.

This is exaclty why there is tension in Objectivism and why the most consistent Objectivists become anarchists. It is because they realize that (a) states *by their nature* commit aggression: in extracting taxes (which Rand pretended to oppose) and/or in outlawing private or competing justice/defense agencies; and (b) even if states do not "necessarily" commit aggression--even if it is logically possible to imagine a legitimate, minarchist state--reason and experience shows us that there has never, ever, been a single state in all of human history that was ever minarchist or even close to it, or that stayed close to it for long; that is, if you have a state it is a virtual certainty, it is inevitable, that it will become tyrannical and wield massive institutionalized aggression.

The point is that any Objectivist who says he is in favor of any state at all, is basically endorsing a type of aggression. This is an exception to his standard position of opposing aggression. It is an inconsistency. Basically, Objectivists who favor the state are in favor of criminality to that degree.

me: "Rand was right about aggression. It is immoral. She was wrong in thinking the state is compatible with this view. She went off track."

Dave: "And why was she wrong?"

IF you mean psychologically: I think the reason she made the mistake, was probably because of what Roderick Long identified as her chief failing: her *impatience*. <http://blog.lewrockwell.com/lewrw/archives/009372.html> Probably she was so enamored with America that she assumed you should, and could, have a good minimal gov't; and it was not immediately obvious to her how anarchy would work; so that was it for her. I dunno. Maybe she was wrong, for some other reason.

But if your question was -- what about her view was wrong: I explained it above: her view is that aggression is impermissible; and that (a minimal) state is justified. However, states arguably necessarily employ aggression, or they are extremely likely to, so if you favor a state, you are favoring aggression, which is incompatible with a blanket opposition to aggression. The only way to achieve consistency is to either modify your opposition to aggression, and say you are against most, but not all, aggression; or, to change your view of the state and oppose it, instead of endorsing it. Rand was not willing to do the latter (and neither are most Objectivists), so by default she (and most Objectivists) take the former path: they basically make an exception to their opposition to aggression (crime), which means: they are primarily opposed to criminality, to aggression, but not completely. Now, I do believe this is the actual view of most Objectivists, but they are uncomfortable admitting this. So they hem and haw, and they change the subject (asking how anarchy would work, which is beside the point; or pointing to the crimes committed under "chaos", which is again beside the point), or evade, or equivocate (e.g., they use "force" both to mean aggression, and to mean neutral force, as you did above).

I would prefer a good, honest Objectivist to simply say:

"I don't see how anarchy can work. I believe that under anarchy you would have far more private crime and it would be worse than the aggression committed by a state. Therefore, I think a perfect solution is not possible: our alternative is (a) a stateless society with rampant private crime; and (b) a society with a state which does commit aggression, but which also reduces private crime by such a great amount that the sum total of aggression is less than under anarchy. Therefore I favor (b), even though if the state metastasizes the total amount of aggression under (b) would be worse than under (a), because I am an Objectivist and I crave a neat, tidy solution; I just can't bear the thought of the chaotic, dynamic, messy market solution to justice; I would prefer there to be a neat, tidy, written-constitutional "final" authority to decide disputes--even if there is no reason to think that this authority would tend to be just; even if my view implicitly endorses the idea that we have to have a one-world government; even if reason and experience show that it is extremely likely that a minimal state is impossible."

This is what an honest Objectivist would say, in my view: but they will not, for at least 3 reasons:

1. Rand never said it.
2. It would look too much like compromise, or giving up on utoptia.
3. It means you are actually (however reluctantly) endorsing aggression--that is, crime, in a sort of utilitarian way where you favor aggression/crime by the state as the price of reducing even greater private crime.

Dave: "I'll ask you once again: Are you able to explain why non-aggression is a good thing?"

A few responses. 1. Presumably you are opposed to aggression, which implies you believe "non-aggression is a good thing". So, what are your reasons for this view? I'll tell you what--mine are whatever yours are.

2. I believe it is indeed impossible to derive an ought from an is. Rand herself admits her entire ethics is hypothetical, not categorical, in that it is all based on the initial *choice to live*. But she said that the choice whether or not to live, e.g. whether to commit suicide, is amoral, or pre-moral, since all morals depend on one having already decided *to live* ("qua" man, to use another Randian catch-phrase). I agree with this. And I think it is similar regarding morality of interpersonal conflict. I think some people choose to be civilized; and others do not. I happen to be on the side of civilization: which means peaceful interaction and cooperation; which means avoiding violent conflict wherever possible; which means assigning property rights to contestable (scarce) resources in an objective and fair way; which means Lockean homesteading where the earlier user ceteris paribus or prima facie has a better claim or better title than latecomers.

So I would say I think non-aggression "is a good thing" for many reasons, but the fundamental answer is it is because I oppose violent interaction and prefer civilization and cooperation; if you ask for a justification for this, I think you might as well ask for a justification for why you should choose to live; it is the same type of analysis.



Comment #26

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 at 11:53:01 mst
Name: A.West

Stephen K.,
You seem determined to be Ayn Rand's Charles Kinbote.

I noted from Ayn Rand's Q&A that she found it extremely offensive for someone to declare or project what she or her philosophy believed, particularly when she explicitly and clearly stated the opposite.



Comment #27

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 at 13:09:56 mst
Name: Stephan Kinsella
URL: http://www.StephanKinsella.com

Oh god, I just realized <http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog/2004/02/public-statement.html>, the proprietor of this blog does the official "breaking" with TOC that I mocked earlier. You people cannot be serious. Jesus H.

"Some of you may wonder why I am disassociating myself from TOC in such a public fashion, rather than merely drifting away in private discontent like so many others over the years."

No, I don't wonder--it's b/c it's common among Objectivists to "announce" their "decision" to "break" with someone in such a serioso fashion.

"For these and other reasons, I am pained by the end of my ten year relationship with IOS/TOC."

Okay, hereby noted; will the Official Secretary of Rational Relationships please record in the Official Record Book of Official Relationships that Ms. Hsieh has Officially Broken with IOS/TOC.



Comment #28

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 at 13:11:27 mst
Name: Stephan Kinsella
URL: http://www.StephanKinsella.com

A.West:

1. Go ahead and correct where I mistated Rand's views, instead of cryptically alluding to the obvious fact that I did.

2. Is it "rational" to read Nabakov? I was not sure if I had permission from The Committee.



Comment #29

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 at 13:37:22 mst
Name: Philip Coates

> s it "rational" to read Nabakov? I was not sure if I had permission from The Committee. [Stephan K]

Go ahead. Just this one time.



Comment #30

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 at 13:37:55 mst
Name: Diana Hsieh
URL: http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog

As regular NoodleFood readers know, I usually boot trolls from the comments. Stephan Kinsella is an unusual case. I've been so thoroughly entertained by his libertarian rantings and ravings -- particularly by his pathetic attempts at intellectual bullying -- that he's more than welcome to stay. That way, we can have a good laugh while he embarrasses himself further.

Despite my opposition to the libertarian movement as a whole, I do like and respect a few libertarians, including some anarchists. Intellectual discourse is possible with those people because, despite our substantial disagreements, they take ideas seriously. Obviously, that's not true of an intellectual joker like Stephan Kinsella -- and the fact that he is well-respected in libertarian circles speaks volumes about its lack of intellectual standards.



Comment #31

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 at 13:38:03 mst
Name: Dave Harrison

Stephan said:

"I oppose all aggression--all crime. Both public crime (that is, institutionalized crime, committed by a state--typically, in a way that is (erroneously) viewed at least tacitly as quasi-legitimate by the public at large); and private crime. Anarcho-capitalism is simply a system in which institutionalized aggression is not present, primarily because the prevailing ethos of the populace is such that they do not view the state or its use of institutionalized aggression as legitimate. Under anarchy, there would still be private crime, just as there will always be in human society because of free will and variations among humans."

Then it is worse for a prison official to electrocute a murderer than for a private lynch mob to do it? If so, why?

Stephan:

"Force and even coercion are neutral terms; just as a gun may be used for good or evil, the same with force or coercion. As Rand herself said, it is the *initiation* of force that is not legitimate, not permissible. Aggression is a common term for "initiated force". Now, I ask you again: are you in favor of institutionized *aggression*, or not?"

Yes, if it preserves and protects the individual rights of all parties to the "transaction." I would like interpretations of Rand to be considered beyond the scope of this discussion, as I don't agree with Rand in every issue anyway. Don't get me wrong, the points may be interesting and important, but I'm far more concerned with my own views than hers. The same with what "most Objectivists" would think.

Your position on minarchy becoming tyrannical is really just baseless speculation.

Your "Objectivist" viewpoint on why State "aggression" is worse than private aggression is ok, but there is a better Objectivist argument. And that is that man requires recognition of individual rights to survive and flourish and only a state that preserves and protects them is conducive to this.

Dave had said:

"I'll ask you once again: Are you able to explain why non-aggression is a good thing?"

Stephan replied:

"A few responses. 1. Presumably you are opposed to aggression, which implies you believe "non-aggression is a good thing". So, what are your reasons for this view? I'll tell you what--mine are whatever yours are."

Really! Ok, so we agree that A ia A, therefore man is man (a rational animal) who survives by a process of reason, etc, etc, etc. So you're really an Objectivist? Or not? Or what? Now I'm really confused.

Stephan said:

"I believe it is indeed impossible to derive an ought from an is."

Have you read Peikoff's Fact and Value? And even Kelley, in Truth and Toleration (as I recall) doesn't differ from him on this point. I don't think I could cover this any better than they do. If you still disagree, then we're at an impasse here. I really would rather not go over all that again. If you insist, I might if I think it would be helpful, but I wouldn't be covering any new ground.

Stephan said:

"So I would say I think non-aggression "is a good thing" for many reasons, but the fundamental answer is it is because I oppose violent interaction and prefer civilization and cooperation; if you ask for a justification for this, I think you might as well ask for a justification for why you should choose to live; it is the same type of analysis."

Hmmm...again, metaphysically we may be closer than you think. But anarchy certainly does not arise out of this, because in essence you're wiping out a government which is created to protect us. You say you "prefer" cooperation, yet you propose a politics which pretty much guarantees the opposite.

So your metaphysics is pro-life, yet your politics is anti-life.

A contradiction.



Comment #32

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 at 14:27:05 mst
Name: Stephan Kinsella
URL: http://www.StephanKinsella.com

Diana,

I've been kicked out of better places :)--like HNN's Liberty & Power Blog, and Tom Palmer's smearblog.

"his libertarian rantings and ravings -- particularly by his pathetic attempts at intellectual bullying -- that he's more than welcome to stay. That way, we can have a good laugh while he embarrasses himself further."

Well, it's not bullying. I do like to be funny. It's called a sense of humor. I actually am very close to Objectivism's basic tenets. I like honest Objectivists; but the main disagreement is always anarchy; and I find the standard Objectivist attacks on anarchy to be vicious, ridiculous, insincere, and hypocritical, since most of the valid criticisms they level apply almost with equal force to Objectivism's utopian goal of minarchy.

As for embarrassing myself: seriosos can never seem to comprehend that people don't always take their serioso-ness seriously. I take real ideas very seriously.

"Despite my opposition to the libertarian movement as a whole, I do like and respect a few libertarians, including some anarchists. Intellectual discourse is possible with those people because, despite our substantial disagreements, they take ideas seriously. Obviously, that's not true of an intellectual joker like Stephan Kinsella -- and the fact that he is well-respected in libertarian circles speaks volumes about its lack of intellectual standards."

Oh, I'm not that respected. :)

Dave Harrison:

"Then it is worse for a prison official to electrocute a murderer than for a private lynch mob to do it? If so, why?"

I never said it was. A given murderer's rights are not violated if he is killed by a big gang or by a little gang. Or by the victim.

You seem, however, to imply that unless it is the state killing him, it must be a lynch mob. Does it not even occur to you that there could be a legitimate process in a private society, that is not a "lynch mob"?

Me: "Now, I ask you again: are you in favor of institutionized *aggression*, or not?"

YOu: "Yes, if it preserves and protects the individual rights of all parties to the "transaction.""

But if you believe aggression--the initiation of force--is the only way to violate rights, and that it necessarily violates rights (this is my view; and Rand's), then how can aggression *preserve* rights? And what do you mean, "parties", and what "transaction"? What has this to do with the state? I am not a party to it.

Me: "Your position on minarchy becoming tyrannical is really just baseless speculation."

You have to be kidding. I assume you would agree that all states today are far beyond minarchy, and to a degree tyrannical (rights violative). Including America. And most Objectivists point to the US as a near-minarchy; so obviously even it devolved. And it's not baseless speculation: all of our experience and history shows all states to ride roughshod over citizens' rights; logic and reason demonstrate it too: from public choice economics on.

"man requires recognition of individual rights to survive and flourish and only a state that preserves and protects them is conducive to this."

Even if this is so (I like the use of "man" in the glorified Randian fashion--good one), how does this observation establish that the state does not employ aggression?

"Really! Ok, so we agree that A ia A, therefore man is man (a rational animal) who survives by a process of reason, etc, etc, etc. So you're really an Objectivist? Or not? Or what? Now I'm really confused."

Welll, sure, i agree w/ that above, depending on the content of your "etceteras".

SK: "I believe it is indeed impossible to derive an ought from an is."

"Have you read Peikoff's Fact and Value? And even Kelley, in Truth and Toleration (as I recall) doesn't differ from him on this point."

Sure.

"I don't think I could cover this any better than they do. If you still disagree, then we're at an impasse here. I really would rather not go over all that again. If you insist, I might if I think it would be helpful, but I wouldn't be covering any new ground."

I know the standard line that "what a thing IS determine what it OUGHT to do". Doesn't do it for me, thanks.

"But anarchy certainly does not arise out of this, because in essence you're wiping out a government which is created to protect us."

What do you mean, it "is created to protect us"? What is your evidence for this?

Anarchy does not "arise out of this"; I never said that it did. What I said was that anarcho-capitalism is the only justified system. That you cannot justify a state, if you oppose aggression, because the state is institutionalized aggression.

"You say you "prefer" cooperation, yet you propose a politics which pretty much guarantees the opposite."

So you say.

"So your metaphysics is pro-life, yet your politics is anti-life."

Ah, thanks for reminding me of yet another Randian catchword: anti-life. I like it. Keep 'em coming.



Comment #33

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 at 15:58:43 mst
Name: L.S.

Getting back to the issue of the Indian Casinos for a moment to answer Lowell's question as to why I do not consider the current debate over allowing Indian Casinos to be an issue of taking sides in order to make an "incremental step" to laissez-faire:

If one looks at the issue only as "what is moral for the Indians in question"--then of course it is moral to allow them to open the casinos.

But now let's put it into the wider context--a uniquely Objectivist "cliche" thing we apparently do mindlessly just 'cause Ayn Rand said to do it. (Should I have used the term "big picture" just now so as to avoid the accusation of parotting AR?)

Why would such a move be seen as an overall step towards the government getting out of economic issues? Is it that you project a process by which you make a case that a particular ethnic group has been "victimized" and so--as an exception--ought to be allowed some economic freedom--then once you secure permission to act freely for that group move on to the next ethnic group and make the same appeal . . . and so on until all ethnic groups are free to act economically and we all wake up one morning finding ourselves free?

Because if so that's alarmingly insipid. By going out of one's way to "side" with the Indians in the present debate, one is doing nothing to advance any kind of principled case to incrementally institute laissez-faire. The most you should say on the matter is something like: "*All* people should be able to own or patronize casinos regardless of ethnicity. To allow some to do so and not others based on ethnicity is wrong." Or something like that.

That is why you do not see Objectivists--to my knowledge--seizing on this issue as one to focus on to promote good ideas. That makes me extra suspicious of a "free-marketeers" motive of doing so if they are receiving direct payments from Indians who wish to open casinos.

So, no it's not a good incremental step to proper government--it's just another example of tribalism and putting the government in the position of "granting" economic freedom to those they choose. I won't go so far as to say it's a step backwards--but it might be, I haven't thought about it that deeply. But at best it's a step "sideways" if you will. Just exchanging one irrational policy for another.

But of course, I only figured this out because I remember Ayn Rand saying something about not fighting bad laws with more bad laws--and so just mindlessly parotted her back on this issue. (??)



Comment #34

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 at 15:59:26 mst
Name: James Heaps-Nelson

Diana,

Since you've been amused by the first episode of the Stephan Kinsella show, why not blog on intellectual property and get the Full Monty :-).

Jim



Comment #35

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 at 16:19:59 mst
Name: L.S.

Thanks for the link, James, I just looked at it.

Silly, silly Stephan.



Comment #36

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 at 16:29:14 mst
Name: L.S.

Sorry, my above comment was weirded strangely--there was no actual link from James, in case people are looking for that!

I should have said "thanks for the *lead*". What I looked at was Kinsella's blog--and it's certainly quite silly.



Comment #37

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 at 16:39:31 mst
Name: Don Watkins
URL: http://www.axiomaticmagazine.com

James, speaking of IP, Greg Perkins has written a very powerful critique of the libertarian opposition to Intellectual Property rights for the February issue of Axiomatic. I don't think it will shut the libertarians up, but it will put their arguments to rest.



Comment #38

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 at 16:54:07 mst
Name: Stephan Kinsella
URL: http://www.StephanKinsella.com

Oh, people can have reasonable disagreements about IP. Unless they start shouting it's whim-worshipping to disagree, or get personal. Or make ludicrous claims like patents are the fountainhead of all rights (Hmm, I wonder who would say such a ridiculous thing??).

What it the link for your boy Perkins' piece?

Normie



Comment #39

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 at 18:14:27 mst
Name: Dave Harrison

Stephan,

Please don't be concerned about any "bullying" as far as I'm concerned. Your personal crap doesn't bother me in the least...in fact it's mildly amusing to a point. Except that if I judge that the crap-to-substance ratio in your posts is growing large enough for me that it becomes too time consuming for me to sift through it all to get a reasonable bang-for-the-buck I might just get bored and quit.

As for now, I'll respond to your latest post as soon as I can.



Comment #40

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 at 19:01:28 mst
Name: Stephan Kinsella
URL: http://www.StephanKinsella.com

Davester wrote:

"Please don't be concerned about any "bullying" as far as I'm concerned. Your personal crap doesn't bother me in the least...in fact it's mildly amusing to a point. Except that if I judge that the crap-to-substance ratio in your posts is growing large enough for me that it becomes too time consuming for me to sift through it all to get a reasonable bang-for-the-buck I might just get bored and quit."

Yeah, but this is a truism, so the fact that you took time spell it out to me .... umm....

Sincerely now: none of this need be disrespectful. I think that disagreement is fine, as long as all sides stick to substance, and are honest and not disingenuous.

Look. re IP for example, I am a practicing and registered patent attorney. I searched for years for a justification for IP, because I always sensed problem's w/ Rand's quick sketch about this. Finally I realized my roadblock was: IP is actually not justified. I will say that as a practicing IP attorney I would certainly enjoy finding proof that I am wrong, but I am pretty sure by now that none will be forthcoming: it's like the God thing: you would like there to be immortality and someone to prove you wrong, but when you keep encountering the same old dishonest theist schlock, you realize there is nothing new that will be found. I predict the same will be true of this Perkins character's piece, but I will wait and see.

My point is that even re anarchy etc., we can debate it respectfully and civilly. Yes, I shift to a mocking mode; a smart-ass mode; I start not taking the other seriously--when they abandon these principles. I see this all too often among Objectivists, sorry to say. I am always open to reasonable discourse and civilized, mutually respectful discussion. But it has to be mutual.



Comment #41

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 at 19:57:11 mst
Name: RT

Dave Harrison wrote:
"In what way is her concept of altruism flawed? And can you give me a definition of "common sense?""

Stephan Kinsella wrote:
"No. Either you got it or you don't. Next question?"

Wooo, touche there Stephan! You got him!

Stephan, I really admire your style of argumentation, but allow me to humbly suggest some additions to your debating arsenal:

- Eye-rolling: you've probably got this mastered for interpersonal encounters, but did you know you can effectively include it in blog posts? Either as a standalone, or attached to another phrase for added emphasis: E.g. "Oh for God's sake {rolling eyes}..."

And not just eye-rolling, you can transliterate a whole range of physical innuendo: "You've got to be kidding! {throwing up hands}"; or, "You silly Objectivists {shaking head with patronizing smirk}".
(You already did the "sigh" thing in your very first entry on Noodlefood: "Sigh. You silly Objectivists". So I think you get the general drift.)

- You need some more stock reflex phrases that you can automatically spurt out against any point your opponent makes. When you start off with "Oh for God's sake" twice in one entry, well... it starts to sound a bit... like an affectation... you know what I mean? Try to mix it up a bit:
"Oh come now, you can't be serious!"
"Surely you don't actually believe *that* do you?"
"Don't make me laugh!"
"Every educated person knows that's not true."

- Here's something I haven't really noticed you doing yet, that could really increase your effectiveness: start tossing in gratuitous references to obscure academic works (the more obscure the better). E.g. "Well, it's obvious you haven't read Nozick's 1978 article in the Journal of Intellectual Tedium where he proved that the inexorable end-state of minarchy is totalitarianism. Sigh {rolling eyes}. Silly Objectivist."

Stephan, you might want to check out chap. 19 of Virtue of Selfishness for some more great tips along these lines!

(p.s.: I *love* your sense of humour! You know, where you insult someone (e.g. imply they are an idiot), and then you say that it's just humour and that they lack a sense of humour! Hilarious! I can't get enough of this stuff! And your call...LOL...your call...for civilized mutually respectful discussion: "I am always open to reasonable discourse and civilized, mutually respectful discussion. But it has to be mutual." LOLOLOL... stop, you are killing me... I can't breathe...! It would have been even better if you had said: "I am always open to reasonable discourse and civilized, mutually respectful discussion. But it has to be mutual. You silly Objectivists." LOL! Keep it going!)



Comment #42

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 at 21:20:04 mst
Name: Stephan Kinsella
URL: http://www.StephanKinsella.com

RT: great comments. Observe: are they intended to demonstrate that I am wrong in some of my substantive--and more form-related--criticisms of Randians? Because I don't see that they do, anyway, not qua argument.

Seriously, I can understand that it might get under your skin when someone doesn't take your self-imposed pet mannerisms and dour, self-serioso attitude seriously. Really a dilemma for you, I guess. Blank-out.

BTW, as we are currently engaging in intercourse, does it mean it represents our expression of highest self-esteem for each other? SK



Comment #43

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 at 21:59:30 mst
Name: L.S.

So, no answer from the libertarian side about my post on the issue of campaigning specifically for Indian Casino owners as a political advocacy project? Do we still think such is a good incremental step towards economic freedom in the U.S.?



Comment #44

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 at 23:27:32 mst
Name: Lowell R.

RT,

I see you very generously gave me six hours -- on a weekday -- to respond to your latest post before gleefully all but declaring victory. To which I say: hold your horses. "We" still are not convinced, but we must wait till tomorrow for a response, as we have been working on other things all day.

Don't worry, I shall not forget about you.



Comment #45

Wednesday, December 21, 2005 at 9:28:39 mst
Name: Dave Harrison


Stephan(1): "Now, I ask you again: are you in favor of institutionized *aggression*, or not?"

Dave(1): "Yes, if it preserves and protects the individual rights of all parties to the "transaction.""

Stephan(2)"But if you believe aggression--the initiation of force--is the only way to violate rights, and that it necessarily violates rights (this is my view; and Rand's), then how can aggression *preserve* rights?"

Retaliatory force as utilized by a government is for the purpose of preserving and protecting individual rights...preserving meaning just that: to keep alive, make lasting, maintain. A government is not for the purpose of initiating force; retaliatory force is its function re force.

Dave: "Your position on minarchy becoming tyrannical is really just baseless speculation."

Stephan: "You have to be kidding. I assume you would agree that all states today are far beyond minarchy, and to a degree tyrannical (rights violative). Including America."

Agreed.

Stephan: "And most Objectivists point to the US as a near-minarchy"

Sorry, I don't buy that at all. In any case, I can't control what most "Objectivists" would say. I speak for myself.

Stephan: "All of our experience and history shows all states to ride roughshod over citizens' rights."

To some extent or another, depending on the state. And therefore what?


Dave: "Man requires recognition of individual rights to survive and flourish and only a state that preserves and protects them is conducive to this."

Stephan: "Even if this is so, how does this observation establish that the state does not employ aggression?"

What does "does not" have to do with this? I'm not speaking of the present. If you're speaking ideally, however, e.g., preventing individual bureaucrats from criminal acts within a politically "ideal" government, then you're getting into the Philosophy of Law which can be very complex and detailed. Political philosophy establishes the principles; hopefully we can stay on that level for the sake of these posts.

Dave: "Really! Ok, so we agree that A ia A, therefore man is man (a rational animal) who survives by a process of reason, etc, etc, etc. So you're really an Objectivist? Or not? Or what? Now I'm really confused."

Stephan: Well, sure, I agree w/ that above, depending on the content of your "etceteras".

You might to an extent; then before you get to politics you'll have to make a breach with reality as well as the rest of Objectivism to get to anarchy. Oh, you can still "do" anarchy, if you don't mind it as a whim-based floating abstraction, cut off from any other principles or standards. If that's what you're into, hey, whatever floats your boat, man.

Dave(1):"But anarchy certainly does not arise out of this, because in essence you're wiping out a government which is created to protect us."

Stephan(1):What do you mean, it "is created to protect us"? What is your evidence for this?"

Reason, reality, objectivity, the nature of man, individual rights, and a proper ethics and politics arising from this. If you want more, let me know; I can recommend some books for you.

Dave: "You say you "prefer" cooperation, yet you propose a politics which pretty much guarantees the opposite."

Stephan: "So you say."

Do you agree with me? If not, why not?

Dave: "So your metaphysics is pro-life, yet your politics is anti-life."

Steve:"Ah, thanks for reminding me of yet another Randian catchword: anti-life. I like it. Keep 'em coming."

Do you agree or disagree? If not, why not?

To repeat a statement from you:

Steve:"Ah, thanks for reminding me of yet another Randian catchword: anti-life. I like it. Keep 'em coming."

In the future, please just say this type of thing once to cover my post. That way I won't have to spend time deleting all this repetitive, infantile crap from most your replies. And hopefully this will satisfy you that you at least still get to see your little "asides" in print.

By the way, how old are you? No insult intended; just curious.



Comment #46

Wednesday, December 21, 2005 at 11:49:27 mst
Name: David Lanning

That Kinsella character wrote:
"I am a practicing and registered patent attorney. I searched for years for a justification for IP, because I always sensed problem's w/ Rand's quick sketch about this. Finally I realized my roadblock was: IP is actually not justified."

I'm wondering, sir, are you the kind of IP attorney that goes about seeking patents and protecting them, or the kind that goes about defending against patent violations? I'm thinking the former might leave you feeling like the cigarette vendor that finds cigarette vending to be evil, or maybe the preacher that does not believe in God.



Comment #47

Wednesday, December 21, 2005 at 13:12:36 mst
Name: L.S.

Lowell:

It's me, L.S.--not RT--who posted on whether it makes any sense to spend one's resources as a pro-capitalism writer on a campaign to support Indian casinos.



Comment #48

Wednesday, December 21, 2005 at 16:32:33 mst
Name: RT

Stephan Kinsella wrote:
"RT: great comments. Observe: are they intended to demonstrate that I am wrong in some of my substantive--and more form-related--criticisms of Randians? Because I don't see that they do, anyway, not qua argument."

Oh, so you want to stick to substantive issues now. Hmm. Well, did you consider that when your approach is: "You Objectivists are all a bunch of silly robotic weirdos, and everything you say is stupid. Now let's discuss." -- that perhaps most of us might be singularly unmotivated to discuss anything with you?

"Seriously, I can understand that it might get under your skin when someone doesn't take your self-imposed pet mannerisms and dour, self-serioso attitude seriously. Really a dilemma for you, I guess. Blank-out. BTW, as we are currently engaging in intercourse, does it mean it represents our expression of highest self-esteem for each other? SK"

Whoa!! Those are some pretty substantive criticisms!! You are right. I have no answer to them.



Comment #49

Wednesday, December 21, 2005 at 19:53:44 mst
Name: Philip Coates

> t's me, L.S.--not RT--who posted

Very hard to keep people straight if they only use two letters as their pen names.



Comment #50

Thursday, December 22, 2005 at 0:45:55 mst
Name: L.S.

"Very hard to keep people straight if they only use two letters as their pen names. "

Right. That's why I wanted to be sure Lowell didn't go crazy looking for my posts by looking for "RT".

I really think I would have heard *something* from the libertarian side by now defending Bandow against my quite substantive criticism on the worthiness of his Indian Casino advocacy project--outside of getting the direct pay-offs from Indians, that is.



Comment #51

Thursday, December 22, 2005 at 12:03:28 mst
Name: Lowell R.

It's quite simple, really. The government works on a special-interest basis, not a principled one. The citizenry (those who read Cato op-eds) think that way, too. Therefore, (1) there is no danger of Bandow setting a precedent that only certain groups deserve rights, as that precedent has been set for a while, and (2) defending casinos on a special-interest basis, at least in the immediate short-term, offers the best chance for at least SOMEONE to enjoy his right to build a casino.



Comment #52

Thursday, December 22, 2005 at 16:09:35 mst
Name: L.S.

Thanks, Lowell for confirming my suspicions that you and other libertarians have no idea what you're talking about because you reject principled thought.

1) What purpose does it serve to further endorse a bad precedent? Do you just accept the precedent as the metaphysically given--or is it a choice people can make?

2) If that SOMEONE is "permitted" to act freely on the basis of a premise that completely undercuts the very idea of economic freedom--then that is just silly.

The whole issue with Bandow and this response from you are prime examples of the kinds of criticisms Objectivists like Diana level at libertarians. Fascinating.



Comment #53

Thursday, December 22, 2005 at 21:15:48 mst
Name: Stephan Kinsella
URL: http://www.StephanKinsella.com

Dave Harrison: "Stephan(2)"But if you believe aggression--the initiation of force--is the only way to violate rights, and that it necessarily violates rights (this is my view; and Rand's), then how can aggression *preserve* rights?"

Dave: "Retaliatory force as utilized by a government is for the purpose of preserving and protecting individual rights...preserving meaning just that: to keep alive, make lasting, maintain. A government is not for the purpose of initiating force; retaliatory force is its function re force."

Ummm, okay. Once again: retaliatory force is not aggression. A state that taxes you to fund its operations does commit aggression, right? And one that outlaws competitors likewise commits aggression. Right?

>Stephan: "All of our experience and history shows all states to ride roughshod over citizens' rights."

To some extent or another, depending on the state. And therefore what?<

Therefore: if you are advocating a state you are advocating an entity that will end up aggressing on a widespread scale.

>Dave: "Man requires recognition of individual rights to survive and flourish and only a state that preserves and protects them is conducive to this."

Stephan: "Even if this is so, how does this observation establish that the state does not employ aggression?"

What does "does not" have to do with this? I'm not speaking of the present. If you're speaking ideally, however, e.g., preventing individual bureaucrats from criminal acts within a politically "ideal" government, then you're getting into the Philosophy of Law which can be very complex and detailed.<

Yeah. My point is that it is clear by now that states by their nature always commit aggression and always will. To say otherwise is naive, if not dishonest.

>You might to an extent; then before you get to politics you'll have to make a breach with reality<

oh man, see, this is what I mean--saying things like "you'll have to make a breach w/ reality" is so heavy-Randian man. It's like getting an espresso when you really want a latte. See what I mean?

>Oh, you can still "do" anarchy, if you don't mind it as a whim-based floating abstraction, cut off from any other principles or standards. If that's what you're into, hey, whatever floats your boat, man.<

Oh, for god's sake. Whim. Snicker.

>Dave(1):"But anarchy certainly does not arise out of this, because in essence you're wiping out a government which is created to protect us."

Stephan(1):What do you mean, it "is created to protect us"? What is your evidence for this?"

Reason, reality, objectivity, the nature of man, individual rights, and a proper ethics and politics arising from this. If you want more, let me know; I can recommend some books for you.<

My point is that even if some document says it's "the" purpose of the state, it does not mean it's so. The statements of the founders are not necessarily the best evidence of the real nature of the state. "Qua" state. ha.

>Dave: "You say you "prefer" cooperation, yet you propose a politics which pretty much guarantees the opposite."

Stephan: "So you say."

Do you agree with me? If not, why not?<

Of course not. All i have said is that I oppose aggression; and I realize that states commit aggression. So far, I have not heard anyone disprove either statement, or even deny either one.

>Dave: "So your metaphysics is pro-life, yet your politics is anti-life."

Steve:"Ah, thanks for reminding me of yet another Randian catchword: anti-life. I like it. Keep 'em coming."

Do you agree or disagree? If not, why not?<

I of course disagree, if I can get past the smirks and sniggers of treating a question that is termed in "anti-life" etc. seriously.



Comment #54

Thursday, December 22, 2005 at 21:17:37 mst
Name: Stephan Kinsella
URL: http://www.StephanKinsella.com

David Lanning: "I'm wondering, sir, are you the kind of IP attorney that goes about seeking patents and protecting them, or the kind that goes about defending against patent violations? I'm thinking the former might leave you feeling like the cigarette vendor that finds cigarette vending to be evil, or maybe the preacher that does not believe in God."

What is the exact question?

RT: "Oh, so you want to stick to substantive issues now. Hmm. Well, did you consider that when your approach is: "You Objectivists are all a bunch of silly robotic weirdos, and everything you say is stupid. Now let's discuss." -- that perhaps most of us might be singularly unmotivated to discuss anything with you?"

Could you repeat the question and clarify?



Comment #55

Thursday, December 22, 2005 at 22:07:36 mst
Name: Lowell R.

L.S.,

What a convicing rejoinder. Strangely (or not), this is, by my count, the second thread on which you've thanked me for illustrating your point. Well, I'm glad I fascinate you.

Do me a favor and name one piece of pro-free market legislation that Objectivists have helped push through. By contrast, libertarian Carla Howell got 46% of the vote for a Massachusetts referendum for eliminating that state's income tax. Why, if YOU had lived in Massachusetts, would you have discouraged people from voting for it, on the grounds that its advocated "completely undercut[] the very idea of economic freedom"?

As for "the metaphysically given" -- what are you talking about? I was just pointing out the very common-sense principle that people over a certain age (the people who matter politically) -- and especially politicians, who are vulnerable to allegations of flip-flopping -- are rarely open to sweeping criticisms of their beliefs. This is mainly because few of them think in principles (aside from platitudes like "every American deserves a fair chance," etc.). Thus, you're far more likely to convince them on a somewhat more pragmatic level, as Cato is trying to do, than on a broad philosophical basis.

I don't understand your second point whatsoever. Why do you put "permitted" in quotes? You're permitted to do something if the government doesn't forbid you from doing so, right? And as far as non-Objectivists (and we count too, remember) are concerned, it doesn't matter under what reasoning they are freer.



Comment #56

Friday, December 23, 2005 at 10:29:36 mst
Name: Dave Harrison



Stephan: "Retaliatory force is not aggression. A state that taxes you to fund its operations does commit aggression, right?"

If the taxes are involuntary it is an act of force.

Stephan: "And one that outlaws competitors likewise commits aggression. Right?"

If you're referring to business competitors, then it is an act of force by the state.

Stephan(1): "All of our experience and history shows all states to ride roughshod over citizens' rights."

Dave(1): "To some extent or another, depending on the state. And therefore what?"

Stephan(2):"Therefore: if you are advocating a state you are advocating an entity that will end up aggressing on a widespread scale."

With an enormous leap of faith, maybe you can somehow manage to "arrive" at that. May I infer, therefore, that libertarianism is a religion?

Stephan(2):"It is clear by now that states by their nature always commit aggression and always will."

For the foreseeable future, states will continue to commit varying levels of force, depending on the state.

Dave:"...before you get to (your) politics you'll have to make a breach with reality..."

Stephan: "Oh man, see, this is what I mean--saying things like "you'll have to make a breach w/ reality" is so heavy-Randian man. It's like getting an espresso when you really want a latte. See what I mean?"

You know, you sound sort of like a Cheech Marin type. No offense, just trying to envision you, and to get to know you better. I mean I have a feeling you'll be around pestering me for a while, so I might as well get a picture.

Stephan:"Even if some document says it's 'the' purpose of the state, it does not mean it's so. The statements of the founders are not necessarily the best evidence of the real nature of the state (qua state)."

If you divorce, e.g., individual rights (say, as per the Constitution) from all the rest of philosophy (e.g., ignoring reality, etc.), then yes, those documented rights are more dificult to support.

Dave(1): "You say you "prefer" cooperation, yet you propose a politics which pretty much guarantees the opposite."

Stephan(2):"(No). All I have said is that I oppose aggression; and I realize that states commit aggression. So far, I have not heard anyone disprove either statement, or even deny either one."

I agree that you say you oppose force. Yet you're perectly fine with force by gang rule. Please explain why that is not a contradiction.

I agree that states are currently using force to varying degrees.

Dave: "So your metaphysics is pro-life, yet your politics is anti-life."

Stephan:"I of course disagree."

Why do you disagree?



Comment #57

Friday, December 23, 2005 at 15:34:26 mst
Name: Betsy Speicher
URL: http://forums.4aynrandfans.com

Lowell R. Wrote

"Do me a favor and name one piece of pro-free market legislation that Objectivists have helped push through. By contrast, libertarian Carla Howell got 46% of the vote for a Massachusetts referendum for eliminating that state's income tax."

In 1966, the military draft was challenged, unsucessfully, by an Objectivist-instigated test case on the grounds of the Tenth Amendment and an unenumerated right to life. Although we lost the court challenge, this case brought one of our group, Martin Anderson, to the attention of President Nixon and Anderson helped persuade Nixon to opt for an all-volunteer army.

I think that tops Carla Howell.



Comment #58

Friday, December 23, 2005 at 17:40:33 mst
Name: Lowell R.

Betsy,

Glad to hear it, actually. A Google search reveals he's now at the -- uh-oh -- libertarian Hoover Institution.



Comment #59

Friday, December 23, 2005 at 23:34:48 mst
Name: Stephan Kinsella
URL: http://www.StephanKinsella.com

Dave Harrison:

>Stephan: "Retaliatory force is not aggression. A state that taxes you to fund its operations does commit aggression, right?"

If the taxes are involuntary it is an act of force.<

Ummm...
1. taxes are by definition involuntary.
2. You are not being careful enough here with terms. An "act of force" is not bad per se. It can be used for good, or for evil--for self-defense, or for aggression--as can a gun.
I.e., taxes are by their nature involuntarily; and becaue they are, they are *aggression*, not "an act of force". It is for this reason taxes are injust: they are a type of aggression.

>Stephan: "And one that outlaws competitors likewise commits aggression. Right?"

If you're referring to business competitors, then it is an act of force by the state.<

No. I mean that if I an a bunch of my neighbors prefer to use Acme Justice Agency to defend us, then this is actually outlawed by the state. ARe you playing dumb?

Stephan(1): "All of our experience and history shows all states to ride roughshod over citizens' rights."

>Dave:"...before you get to (your) politics you'll have to make a breach with reality..."

Stephan: "Oh man, see, this is what I mean--saying things like "you'll have to make a breach w/ reality" is so heavy-Randian man. It's like getting an espresso when you really want a latte. See what I mean?"

You know, you sound sort of like a Cheech Marin type. No offense, just trying to envision you, and to get to know you better. I mean I have a feeling you'll be around pestering me for a while, so I might as well get a picture.<

If I'm disinvited, I will happily leave. It's a property rights issue for me.

>Stephan:"Even if some document says it's 'the' purpose of the state, it does not mean it's so. The statements of the founders are not necessarily the best evidence of the real nature of the state (qua state)."

If you divorce, e.g., individual rights (say, as per the Constitution) from all the rest of philosophy (e.g., ignoring reality, etc.), then yes, those documented rights are more dificult to support.<

Yeah, so the US was really founded to "support individual rights". It's just bad luck we ended up with the state we have (or do you think we still have "basically a good state"?).

>Stephan(2):"(No). All I have said is that I oppose aggression; and I realize that states commit aggression. So far, I have not heard anyone disprove either statement, or even deny either one."

I agree that you say you oppose force. Yet you're perectly fine with force by gang rule. Please explain why that is not a contradiction.<

No. I never said I oppose force. I oppose initiated force--just like your hero, Ayn Rand. I oppose aggression.

I don't support aggression by private criminals, or by organized criminals--whether those widely seen as criminal (gangs, mafias), or those erroneously viewed as "legitimate" (the state).

I support the use of force in response to aggression, by the individual victim, or by his agent. You apparently do not.

>I agree that states are currently using force to varying degrees.<

Yeah, so are die-presses. Aggression is the issue, not "force".

>Dave: "So your metaphysics is pro-life, yet your politics is anti-life."

Stephan:"I of course disagree."

Why do you disagree? <

Because my politics is favor of interpersonal cooperation and peace, and opposed to all acts of aggression. It is not anti-life to oppose aggression, whether on the private or public scale. Do you think it is anti-life to oppose institutionalized aggression?



Comment #60

Saturday, December 24, 2005 at 11:04:02 mst
Name: Dave Harrison

Stephan said:

"1. taxes are by definition involuntary.
2. An "act of force" is not bad per se. It can be used for good, or for evil--for self-defense, or for aggression--as can a gun.
I.e., taxes are by their nature involuntarily; and becaue they are, they are *aggression*, not "an act of force". It is for this reason taxes are injust: they are a type of aggression."

But of course. As Peikoff once observed, debate, for practical necessity, has to be economical and make some assumptions; you cannot import the whole of epistemology into each sentence. You'd never finish.

Stephan(1): "And one that outlaws competitors likewise commits aggression. Right?"

Dave(1):"If you're referring to business competitors, then it is an act of force by the state."

Stephan(2):"No. I mean that if I an a bunch of my neighbors prefer to use Acme Justice Agency to defend us, then this is actually outlawed by the state. Are you playing dumb?"

I don't "play dumb," with you other than as a part of a Socratic method. But I might speak to what I surmise your intellectual level might be. That's why I asked you your age.

To respond to the issue:

If the Acme Justice Agency is the gang on your block and the Beta Justice Agency is the gang on the next block with your parents' house on their turf, or where your children live with your ex, and gang wars and civilian deaths by invasion and drive-by shootings are the order of the day and you all live in constant fear, and, oh yes, your 5-year old son was just shot in the head yesterday in his bed through the wall, it's all worth it because in some way that's so abstract that you don't even understand it (but you still have faith), you're living "without state aggression."

And, oh, let's blank out the fact that the gangs themselves are states.

Do me a favor...rethink this and present it in a way that actually makes sense. Never mind. It'll never make sense.

Stephan:"I don't support aggression by private criminals, or by organized criminals--whether those widely seen as criminal (gangs, mafias), or those erroneously viewed as "legitimate" (the state). I support the use of force in response to aggression, by the individual victim, or by his agent. You apparently do not."

I support the use retaliatory force by the individual (in emergencies), or by his agent, the state, in all other cases.

A street gang is no more or less "legitimate" than Idi Amin's gang. Just a different size. The concept is the same; we just omit the measurements.

Dave: "So your metaphysics is pro-life, yet your politics is anti-life."

Stephan:"I disagree, because my politics is in favor of interpersonal cooperation and peace, and opposed to all acts of aggression."

Why then would you want to live under gang rule and thus constant fear of your life and those of your loved ones?

Stephan: "It is not anti-life to oppose aggression, whether on the private or public scale. Do you think it is anti-life to oppose institutionalized aggression?"

No. But you're all for it. You are comforatble with institutionalized gang aggression. Such being the case, your whole position is self-contradictory.



Comment #61

Sunday, December 25, 2005 at 10:56:45 mst
Name: Stephan Kinsella
URL: http://www.StephanKinsella.com

Dave Harrison: >If the Acme Justice Agency is the gang on your block and the Beta Justice Agency is the gang on the next block with your parents' house on their turf, or where your children live with your ex, and gang wars and civilian deaths by invasion and drive-by shootings are the order of the day and you all live in constant fear, and, oh yes, your 5-year old son was just shot in the head yesterday in his bed through the wall, it's all worth it because in some way that's so abstract that you don't even understand it (but you still have faith), you're living "without state aggression."<

You are engaging in the stolen concept fallacy. You are smuggling in the concept "gang" to describe any private justice agency, while implicitly holding that a state is not a gang. This is question-begging at best.

>I support the use retaliatory force by the individual (in emergencies), or by his agent, the state, in all other cases.<

And his agent has to be a state, by your lights. It can't be a peaceful organization.

>A street gang is no more or less "legitimate" than Idi Amin's gang. Just a different size. The concept is the same; we just omit the measurements.<

Uh hunh. And states are not gangs. I see.

>Why then would you want to live under gang rule and thus constant fear of your life and those of your loved ones?<

Your statement here presupposes that any non-state justice or defence agencies are "merE" gangs; and that states need not be. This is question-begging, and a quite disingenuous type of argument.



Comment #62

Sunday, December 25, 2005 at 16:16:09 mst
Name: Dave Harrison

Stephan: "You are engaging in the stolen concept fallacy. You are smuggling in the concept "gang" to describe any private justice agency, while implicitly holding that a state is not a gang. This is question-begging at best."

You're way off. First, in an anarchy, a private justice agency for hire that respects individual rights may well exist.

For a time.

As long as the gang on the next block (or a much more powerful gang a half-mile away in the other direction) that doesn't respect individual rights doesn't happen to decide the agency's on their turf. Or on the turf they want.

In any case I refer to a gang as any group that utilizes potentially all forms of force and therefore does not recognize individual rights. A state can be a gang, and/or have gang-like characteristics to varying extents. But not necessarily. A state can also be a minarchy which recognizes individual rights.

So a gang is a type of state, but a state is not necessarily a gang.

Dave: "I support the use retaliatory force by the individual (in emergencies), or by his agent, the state, in all other cases."

Stephan: "And his agent has to be a state, by your lights. It can't be a peaceful organization."

What is a "peaceful" organization? And why do you feel "peace" is a good thing?



Comment #63

Sunday, December 25, 2005 at 18:52:21 mst
Name: Stephan Kinsella

Dave Harrison: >First, in an anarchy, a private justice agency for hire that respects individual rights may well exist.

For a time.

As long as the gang on the next block (or a much more powerful gang a half-mile away in the other direction) that doesn't respect individual rights doesn't happen to decide the agency's on their turf. Or on the turf they want.<

I like how you persist in calling them "gangs" as if that settles the argument. Argument by definitin--cool.

>In any case I refer to a gang as any group that utilizes potentially all forms of force and therefore does not recognize individual rights.<

>A state can be a gang, and/or have gang-like characteristics to varying extents. But not necessarily. A state can also be a minarchy which recognizes individual rights.<

YEs, but to the extent the minarchist state outlaws competitors and/or taxes, it also *necessarily* violates rights.

>So a gang is a type of state, but a state is not necessarily a gang.<

A private defense agency is not necessarily a "gang" either. Merely because such an agency refrains from outlawing its competitors does not make it all of a sudden merely a gang.

>Stephan: "And his agent has to be a state, by your lights. It can't be a peaceful organization."

What is a "peaceful" organization? And why do you feel "peace" is a good thing? <

Peaceful means respecting individual rights--refraining from initiated violence.



Comment #64

Sunday, December 25, 2005 at 20:02:15 mst
Name: Jack

Kinsella wrote:
>Peaceful means respecting individual rights--refraining from initiated violence.<

...and everyone agrees on what constitutes individual rights and force, such as how factory workers are "forced" to work for low wages and have a "right" to a certain standard of living. Therefore, the workers are within their rights to have their hired agency force their employer to pay more. Go anarchism.



Comment #65

Sunday, December 25, 2005 at 21:52:24 mst
Name: Stephan Kinsella
URL: http://www.StephanKinsella.com

Jack: >Kinsella wrote:
>Peaceful means respecting individual rights--refraining from initiated violence.<

...and everyone agrees on what constitutes individual rights and force, such as how factory workers are "forced" to work for low wages and have a "right" to a certain standard of living. Therefore, the workers are within their rights to have their hired agency force their employer to pay more. Go anarchism. <

Er, um, this perversion of rights actually happened in our time, in modern-day America, a state that grew out of the allegedly near-minarchy hailed by Objectivists. Such false rights are invented and enforced by *states*. It is remarkable that a failing of states could be blamed on anarchy.



Comment #66

Monday, December 26, 2005 at 5:41:46 mst
Name: Dave Harrison



Stephan: "To the extent the minarchist state outlaws competitors and/or taxes, it also *necessarily* violates rights."

Outlaws what kind of competitors? Gangs for police services?

Dave:"So a gang is a type of state, but a state is not necessarily a gang."

Stephan:"A private defense agency is not necessarily a "gang" either. Merely because such an agency refrains from outlawing its competitors does not make it all of a sudden merely a gang."

Ok. Although anarchy encourages street gangs, it does not necessarily limit itself to them. And a given private defense agency under anarchy is not prevented from recognizing individual rights.

Stephan: "And his agent has to be a state, by your lights. It can't be a peaceful organization."

Dave: "What is a "peaceful" organization? And why do you feel "peace" is a good thing?"

Stephan: "Peaceful means respecting individual rights--refraining from initiated violence."

Why do you like individual rights? What's wrong with initiated violence? Since anarchy encourages proliferation of gangs that initiate violence, are not peaceful and therefore do not respect individual rights, why then do you like anarchy? Why are a million street gangs better than one large minarchy?



Comment #67

Monday, December 26, 2005 at 16:54:18 mst
Name: L.S.

Lowell R. writes:

"What a convicing rejoinder. Strangely (or not), this is, by my count, the second thread on which you've thanked me for illustrating your point. Well, I'm glad I fascinate you."

Yes--a case study, certainly. I thank you.

Inspired by Bandow and your support of his advocacy campaign for Indian Casinos, I've decided to immediately get behind a new campaign to press the government to grant a suspension of all capital-gain tax to anyone who is of Japanese decent.

I'll frame it as an issue of making up for the Hiroshima bombing and the internment camps. This will be brilliant, I'll be able to make many good points and it will be a great incremental step to laissez-faire capitalism in the U.S.

Think I could get any kind of direct payment from groups of Japanese-American businessmen? That wouldn't be my *reason* for such a principled, sensible advocacy project, mind you--but it would be nice to get some extra $$.



Comment #68

Monday, December 26, 2005 at 23:14:23 mst
Name: Stephan Kinsella

Dave Harrison:

>Stephan: "To the extent the minarchist state outlaws competitors and/or taxes, it also *necessarily* violates rights."

Outlaws what kind of competitors? Gangs for police services?<

Dave, you insist on inserting "gangs" as a synonym for any non-statist justice or defense agency, which is question-begging and disingenuous.

Here is what I mean, however. If your "government" does not tax me; does not prohibit me from hiring an agency to have patrols to stop crime, or which captures and punishes people who harm me; then I don't object to it. If your government attempts to put me in jail for violating the objective rights of its own customers, I don't object to that either, even if I was never a customer of your "government" (though I expect such a "goverment" would tend to make various agreements with other such "governements", much as states today have extradition treaties with each other, etc.).

>Ok. Although anarchy encourages street gangs, it does not necessarily limit itself to them. And a given private defense agency under anarchy is not prevented from recognizing individual rights.<

Actually, states encourage street gangs, by a variety of means: 1, by hampering and stealing wealth production and thereby increasing poverty; 2 by increasing the klepto-mentality (because the state essentially is a kleptocracy); 3, by doing a piss-poor job of justice, thus increasing the demand for "street justice".

>Why do you like individual rights? What's wrong with initiated violence? Since anarchy encourages proliferation of gangs that initiate violence, are not peaceful and therefore do not respect individual rights, why then do you like anarchy? Why are a million street gangs better than one large minarchy?<

so you are in favor, ultimately, of a one-world government? Of course--a "limited" one. Amazing. Your desire for a "final" decider of disputes is so acute that you are willing to sacrifice justice and rights in its name.



Comment #69

Tuesday, December 27, 2005 at 0:50:15 mst
Name: Lowell R.

L.S. wrote:

"'What a convicing rejoinder. Strangely (or not), this is, by my count, the second thread on which you've thanked me for illustrating your point. Well, I'm glad I fascinate you.'

"Yes--a case study, certainly. I thank you."

Well, at least we agree that people should read what I have to say... ;).

Regarding your specific "proposal," note that I explicitly denied that ALL "intermediate steps" should be supported -- just those that, on the whole, cause more freedoms to be granted to deserving people than taken away from such.

Under your proposal, the precedent set is: Any group that can demonstrate a certain level of near-irreperable harm done to it by the U.S. government should earn an exception from the capital-gains tax.

Under the Bandow proposal, the precedent is: Any group that can demonstrate a certain level of near-irreperable harm done to it by the U.S. government (or, perhaps, that can demonstrate that it is in truly dire straits -- Indians have astonishingly high rates of suicide and alcoholism) should be allowed to set up casinos.

It is highly probable that if your precedent is set, other groups -- blacks, Hispanics, etc. -- will lobby for, and be granted, excemptions as well. Given the ever-growing demand for tax dollars, it is also highly probable that, in the end, rich white males would end up with a far higher tax rate to balance out the exempted groups.

But there's no way to balance out Indian casinos. It's a local/state issue, not a national one, even to anti-gambling forces -- here in Maryland, opponents of slot machines at horserace tracks frequently say that gamblers can easily drive to West Virginia. It's my understanding that a large portion of the casinos in the western U.S. are run by Indians, and if they are all shut down, there probably won't be anywhere else convenient for gamblers to go. Thus, this position will lead to more granted liberties and virtually no denied ones.



Comment #70

Tuesday, December 27, 2005 at 8:02:23 mst
Name: Dave Harrison

Stephan: "Dave, you insist on inserting "gangs" as a synonym for any non-statist justice or defense agency, which is question-begging and disingenuous."

Who said anything about "any?"

Stephan: "If your "government" does not…prohibit me from hiring an agency to have patrols to stop crime, or which captures and punishes people who harm me; then I don't object to it. If your government attempts to put me in jail for violating the objective rights of its own customers, I don't object to that either, even if I was never a customer of your "government."

A) Is it mandated that all these governments recognize individual rights?

B) (Similar to an example from Rand): Suppose you, a customer of Agency A, suspect that I, a citizen of Government B, robbed you? A squad of Police A proceeds to my house and is met at the door by a squad of Police B, who declare that they do not accept the validity of your complaint and do not recognize the authority of Agency A. What happens then?

Stephan: "Actually, states encourage street gangs, by a variety of means: 1, by hampering and stealing wealth production and thereby increasing poverty; 2 by increasing the klepto-mentality (because the state essentially is a kleptocracy); 3, by doing a piss-poor job of justice, thus increasing the demand for 'street justice'."

And therefore an anarchy of a million street gangs murdering, robbing, burning, extorting, raping, threatening and torturing every day at whim is superior?

Dave: "Why do you like individual rights? What's wrong with initiated violence? Since anarchy encourages proliferation of gangs that initiate violence, are not peaceful and therefore do not respect individual rights, why then do you like anarchy? Why are a million street gangs better than one large minarchy?"

Stephan: "So you are in favor, ultimately, of a one-world government? Of course--a 'limited' one. Amazing. Your desire for a 'final' decider of disputes is so acute that you are willing to sacrifice justice and rights in its name."

A one-world minarchy could be very nice. A near utopia, in fact. In what ways would justice and rights be sacrificed here?

A one-world minarchy does not imply a dictator. There would be checks and balances to prevent this. And the executive would not necessarily be the final decider of disputes. We will have a court system, you know. And a legislative branch as well. So I have no idea what you’re talking about here.

Further, you didn’t answer my previous questions.



Comment #71

Thursday, December 29, 2005 at 1:16:23 mst
Name: Stephan Kinsella
URL: http://www.StephanKinsella.com

Dave Harrison: >Stephan: "Dave, you insist on inserting "gangs" as a synonym for any non-statist justice or defense agency, which is question-begging and disingenuous."

Who said anything about "any?"<

Well, rather than waste time with evasive answers, why don't you just either admit or deny this? Do you maintain that a non-state justice/defense agency is necessarily a gang? Or not? I take it that you do maintain this. You have not denied it, but have instead diverted the question as to whether you had said you did. It is implied from what you have written that this is your opinion, therefore I inferred as much; instead of denying my stated inference, you question whether I have evidence for it. Funny, if someone accused me of a view I did not hold, I would not bemusedly wonder if they had evidence for it; I would deny it posthaste.

>A) Is it mandated that all these governments recognize individual rights?<

"Mandated"--by whom? the UN? Judge Narragansett? Aliens? The author of a utopian novel?

>B) (Similar to an example from Rand): Suppose you, a customer of Agency A, suspect that I, a citizen of Government B, robbed you? A squad of Police A proceeds to my house and is met at the door by a squad of Police B, who declare that they do not accept the validity of your complaint and do not recognize the authority of Agency A. What happens then?<

How do I know? If a communist asks me, "in a free market, how many and what kinds of toothpaste can I choose," can you answer him? And let me ask you this: "Suppose you, a customer of Government A, suspect that I, a citizen of Government B, robbed you? A squad of Police A proceeds to my house and is met at the door by a squad of Police B, who declare that they do not accept the validity of your complaint and do not recognize the authority of Government A. What happens then?"

This is as possible in today's multi-state world as it is in anarchy. So the dilemma you hurl at me confronts you as well. Unless, that is, you favor one-world government, which I truly believe is the end result of Objectivist political theory, though they never want to admit it, because it so obviusly makes them appear to be totalitarians.

>Stephan: "Actually, states encourage street gangs, by a variety of means: 1, by hampering and stealing wealth production and thereby increasing poverty; 2 by increasing the klepto-mentality (because the state essentially is a kleptocracy); 3, by doing a piss-poor job of justice, thus increasing the demand for 'street justice'."

And therefore an anarchy of a million street gangs murdering, robbing, burning, extorting, raping, threatening and torturing every day at whim is superior?<

Why, no. I object to aggression, as I have made clear, both private and public forms. Or was I not clear?

>Stephan: "So you are in favor, ultimately, of a one-world government? Of course--a 'limited' one. Amazing. Your desire for a 'final' decider of disputes is so acute that you are willing to sacrifice justice and rights in its name."

A one-world minarchy could be very nice. A near utopia, in fact. In what ways would justice and rights be sacrificed here?<

Ah! You admit it! Gotcha! Is any further discussion really needed?

>A one-world minarchy does not imply a dictator. There would be checks and balances to prevent this.<

There "would"? How nice. And even if there was a risk of it slipping its constitutional bounds--at least, for a brief, shining moment, everything would be all *neat*.

>And the executive would not necessarily be the final decider of disputes.<

He woudln't? not "necessarily"? Whew. Thank God you've got it all planned out.

>We will have a court system, you know. And a legislative branch as well. So I have no idea what you’re talking about here.<

A branch? Wow. Three "genuinely" equal and independent branches. NOt really part of the same entity at all. And of course, natural law dictates that there be three and only three "branches". And that Lincoln was a hero.



Comment #72

Thursday, December 29, 2005 at 7:04:22 mst
Name: Dave Harrison



Stephan: "Dave, you insist on inserting "gangs" as a synonym for any non-statist justice or defense agency, which is question-begging and disingenuous."

Dave:"Who said anything about 'any?'"

Stephan:"Well, rather than waste time with evasive answers, why don't you just either admit or deny this? Do you maintain that a non-state justice/defense agency is necessarily a gang? Or not?"

Not if it recognizes individual rights.

Dave: "A) Is it mandated that all these governments recognize individual rights?"

Stephan: "Mandated"--by whom?"

By any rule or law; say, of the major government of the geographic area in which it resides. Your answer might be that no other government would have that kind of authority over the agency. That answer would be acceptable. I would then infer that you would be just fine with the million street gangs. Oh yes, plus some "peaceful" agencies. Can't forget them. Agreed?

While we're on the subject, for the umpteenth time, why do you feel peace is good? And does the million-street-gang anarchy afford sufficient peace?

Dave: "B) (Similar to an example from Rand): Suppose you, a customer of Agency A, suspect that I, a citizen of Government B, robbed you? A squad of Police A proceeds to my house and is met at the door by a squad of Police B, who declare that they do not accept the validity of your complaint and do not recognize the authority of Agency A. What happens then?"

Stephan:"How do I know?

You're the anarchist. I thought you could enlighten me here. Apparently you're unable.

Stephan:"And let me ask you this: "Suppose you, a customer of Government A, suspect that I, a citizen of Government B, robbed you? A squad of Police A proceeds to my house and is met at the door by a squad of Police B, who declare that they do not accept the validity of your complaint and do not recognize the authority of Government A. What happens then?"

How should I know? You're the anarchist. You tell me. Or do you simply like vomiting up vague ideas, leaving it to others to think them through for you?

Stephan:"This is as possible in today's multi-state world as it is in anarchy. So the dilemma you hurl at me confronts you as well. Unless, that is, you favor one-world government, which I truly believe is the end result of Objectivist political theory, though they never want to admit it, because it so obviusly makes them appear to be totalitarians."

A non-totalitarian one-world government as I described previously would be just fine with me. And it appears you don't know what "totalitarian" means. Please consult a dictionary before you use big words like this.

Stephan: "Actually, states encourage street gangs, by a variety of means: 1, by hampering and stealing wealth production and thereby increasing poverty; 2 by increasing the klepto-mentality (because the state essentially is a kleptocracy); 3, by doing a piss-poor job of justice, thus increasing the demand for 'street justice'."

Dave:"And therefore an anarchy of a million street gangs murdering, robbing, burning, extorting, raping, threatening and torturing every day at whim is superior?"

Stephan:"Why, no. I object to aggression, as I have made clear, both private and public forms."

Don't evade. Which is preferable?

Stephan: "So you are in favor, ultimately, of a one-world government? Of course--a 'limited' one. Amazing. Your desire for a 'final' decider of disputes is so acute that you are willing to sacrifice justice and rights in its name."

Dave:"A one-world minarchy could be very nice. A near utopia, in fact. In what ways would justice and rights be sacrificed here?"

Stephan:"Ah! You admit it! Gotcha! Is any further discussion really needed?"

So you've become a minarchist during the course of our conversation? Good.

Dave:"A one-world minarchy does not imply a dictator. There would be checks and balances to prevent this."

Stephan:"There "would"? How nice. And even if there was a risk of it slipping its constitutional bounds--at least, for a brief, shining moment, everything would be all *neat*."

Give me an example of its "slipping its constitutional bounds."

Dave:"And the executive would not necessarily be the final decider of disputes."

Stephan:"He wouldn't? not "necessarily"? Whew. Thank God you've got it all planned out."

Thank you.

Dave:"We will have a court system, you know. And a legislative branch as well. So I have no idea what you’re talking about here."

Stephan:"A branch? Wow. Three "genuinely" equal and independent branches. Not really part of the same entity at all."

Yes; part of the same entity.

Stephan:"And of course, natural law dictates that there be three and only three 'branches'.

Not necessarily; give me a better arrangement and I'll consider it. And please don't say you have unless you've ignored everything I've said.





Comment #73

Thursday, December 29, 2005 at 14:22:51 mst
Name: Stephan Kinsella
URL: http://www.StephanKinsella.com

Dave Harrison:

>Stephan:"Well, rather than waste time with evasive answers, why don't you just either admit or deny this? Do you maintain that a non-state justice/defense agency is necessarily a gang? Or not?"

Not if it recognizes individual rights.<

Ah. Good. Then that's the kind I'm in favor of. you too?

>Dave: "A) Is it mandated that all these governments recognize individual rights?"

Stephan: "Mandated"--by whom?"

By any rule or law; say, of the major government of the geographic area in which it resides. Your answer might be that no other government would have that kind of authority over the agency. That answer would be acceptable. I would then infer that you would be just fine with the million street gangs.<

I think you are being disingenuous. Let's say we have a minarchist state. Who "mandates" that it *be* or stay a minarchist state? Some overlord state? The UN?

>While we're on the subject, for the umpteenth time, why do you feel peace is good? And does the million-street-gang anarchy afford sufficient peace?<

Why does it matter why I "feel" peace is "good"? And I don't feel like replying to your "when did you stop beating your wife" type questions. You keep bullheadedly assuming your conclusions in your premises.

>Dave: "B) (Similar to an example from Rand): Suppose you, a customer of Agency A, suspect that I, a citizen of Government B, robbed you? A squad of Police A proceeds to my house and is met at the door by a squad of Police B, who declare that they do not accept the validity of your complaint and do not recognize the authority of Agency A. What happens then?"

Stephan:"How do I know?

You're the anarchist. I thought you could enlighten me here. Apparently you're unable.<

I have explained umpteen times that to be an anarchist simply means to (a) oppose aggression; and (b) to recognize that states commit aggression by their nature and are therefore illegitimate. It does not imply that one has any kind of prediction as to how a society lacking institutionalized aggression would work. Just as you, as a free market advocate (for the most part) could to do a communist country and advocate the abolition of the state, does not mean you alreayd have an answer to the question, "if we abolish the state monopoly on toothpaste, who will make toothpaste in a free market?"

>Stephan:"And let me ask you this: "Suppose you, a customer of Government A, suspect that I, a citizen of Government B, robbed you? A squad of Police A proceeds to my house and is met at the door by a squad of Police B, who declare that they do not accept the validity of your complaint and do not recognize the authority of Government A. What happens then?"

How should I know? You're the anarchist. You tell me. Or do you simply like vomiting up vague ideas, leaving it to others to think them through for you?<

My point obviously is that you support multiple governments (unless you are a one-worlder) and the same dilemma thus confronts you as confronts the anarchist bogey man you are attacking.

>Dave:"And therefore an anarchy of a million street gangs murdering, robbing, burning, extorting, raping, threatening and torturing every day at whim is superior?"

Stephan:"Why, no. I object to aggression, as I have made clear, both private and public forms."

Don't evade. Which is preferable?<

Peace and cooperation is preferably to violent aggression.

>Give me an example of its "slipping its constitutional bounds."<

The USA from its founding until now.



Comment #74

Friday, December 30, 2005 at 7:09:54 mst
Name: Dave Harrison



Dave:"For the umpteenth time, why do you feel peace is good? And does the million-street-gang anarchy afford sufficient peace?"

Stephan:"Why does it matter why I "feel" peace is 'good'?

This would help me to assess whether your position is reality-based or whim-based. I will assume it's whim-based, as you seem to be unable to answer the question.

Stephan:"And I don't feel like replying to your "when did you stop beating your wife" type questions. You keep bullheadedly assuming your conclusions in your premises."

I'll rephrase the question for you: Would any street-gang-to-"peaceful-agency" power ratio within an anarchic geographic boundary of the United States afford sufficient peace?

Keep in mind that from time to time I may assume prior assertions of mine in premises because it was part of a previous question that you ignored. It's not a perfect tool, but it can be an economical and reasonable approach when you're confronting avoidance or evasiveness. It can help to move things along.

Stephan:"I have explained umpteen times that to be an anarchist simply means to (a) oppose aggression;"

Define aggression in this context. And go deeper than "it's the opposite of being peaceful."

Stephan: "(Also to be an anarchist means to) recognize that states commit aggression by their nature and are therefore illegitimate."

And institutionalized street gangs (e.g., do not recognize individual rights), the proliferation of which will be encouraged by anarchy, by their nature commit aggression as well. Why is the latter acceptable while the former is not? Is it because you fear every big government will become another Stalinist Russia? If so, what is your basis for this? And why would even another Stalinist Russia necessarily be worse than anarchy?

Stephan:"(Being an anarchist) does not imply that one has any kind of prediction as to how a society lacking institutionalized aggression would work..."

But as I've indicated above, anarchy does not lack institutionalized aggression. So your premise is wrong.

And why is predictability per se important to you?

Stephan:"...Just as you, as a free market advocate (for the most part) could to do a communist country and advocate the abolition of the state, does not mean you already have an answer to the question, 'if we abolish the state monopoly on toothpaste, who will make toothpaste in a free market?'"

Please respond to the first part of this point just above. Then I think whis part will become obvious to you. If you're still in the dark I'll be happy to answer it.

Stephan:"You support multiple governments (unless you are a one-worlder) and the same dilemma thus confronts you as confronts the anarchist bogey man you are attacking."

If the one-world government is a minarchy that preserves and protects individual rights, then I'm a one-worlder.



Comment #75

Tuesday, January 3, 2006 at 14:33:09 mst
Name: Stephan Kinsella
URL: http://www.StephanKinsella.com

Dave: "Stephan:"Why does it matter why I "feel" peace is 'good'?

This would help me to assess whether your position is reality-based or whim-based. I will assume it's whim-based, as you seem to be unable to answer the question."

Excuse me, I thought you were joking earlier with the "whim" comment. I am sorry but I cannot really take such a question seriously.

>I'll rephrase the question for you: Would any street-gang-to-"peaceful-agency" power ratio within an anarchic geographic boundary of the United States afford sufficient peace?<

"would" is hypothetical. It "woudl", "if" the right conditions prevailed, of course. Think about it. You are in favor of, basically, an improvement in the overal human character by correcting their erroneous ideas: basically, you think if people are more educated, they would be more in favor of the right policies. Right? I believe this too. I believe that we have a semblance of civilization right now, because most people by and large voluntarily respect each others' rights. Not everyone: there are criminals. But the law-abiding majority by and large voluntarily respect the rights of their fellow men: they would not commit crimes, theft, etc, even if they could get away with it, because they regard it as immoral or at least distasteful. To improve society we don't so much need to reduce the fraction of criminals--though this would help; but it's not necessary because in a free society the productive majority can survive with some wolves, and hopefully kill a lot of them. But it's more important that the majority's own views become improved: that they become more civilized, more consistent--more principled. That they favor freedom more consistently--that they become more educated.

I would say we both believe this. And I think it is utopian to believe we can have a significantly freer society until this happens. And it might be utopian to think it's even possible; I am pessimistic and think we happen to have the state run societyr we have because man's social nature is such that most people will be generally decent but not 100% principled about it. I am not sure this can really ever change. Nonetheless, it must change, and improve, for us to move toward more freedom. Is it possible for enough people to adopt a very principled and consistent libertarian (or Objectivist) political viewpoint for anarchy to be achieved? I don't know, but if we ever do achieve anarchy, it will only be because enough people have become educated enough to be very principled about respecting their neighbors' rights.

Note, however, that the same is true of the Objectivist minarchy you favor. If overall human character or education could improve enough to allow an Objectivist minarchy to arise or be reached, it is not a huge leap to believe that the state would continue to wither away and yes, in such a system, anarchy would have "sufficient peace" since there would be widespread voluntary compliance.

I am not a utopian and do not predict this: as I've said many times, to be an anarchist simply means to believe that institutionalized aggression is unjustified. We can only *have* anarchy when a large number of people actually believe this--that is, when most people *are anarchists*. Likewise, we can only have an Objectivist minarchist society *when most people are libertarians* (minarchists, Objectivists, whatever).

>Keep in mind that from time to time I may assume prior assertions of mine in premises because it was part of a previous question that you ignored. It's not a perfect tool, but it can be an economical and reasonable approach when you're confronting avoidance or evasiveness. It can help to move things along.<

I'll endeavor to keep it in mind. Or was that just a reminder to yourself?

>Stephan:"I have explained umpteen times that to be an anarchist simply means to (a) oppose aggression;"

Define aggression in this context. And go deeper than "it's the opposite of being peaceful."<

As Ayn Rand said--the initiation of force, is one way to identify it.

>Stephan: "(Also to be an anarchist means to) recognize that states commit aggression by their nature and are therefore illegitimate."

And institutionalized street gangs (e.g., do not recognize individual rights), the proliferation of which will be encouraged by anarchy, by their nature commit aggression as well.<

I would oppose such a criminal entity. You keep implicitly maintaining that the anarchist is an advocate of private gangs or even defense agencies; as I keep pointint out, it only means you identify the state as unjust because it commits aggression. That is all.

I would have no problem with a justice or defense ageny that did not commit aggression and did not tax its subjects or try to outlaw other similar agencies.

> Why is the latter acceptable while the former is not? Is it because you fear every big government will become another Stalinist Russia? If so, what is your basis for this?<

Well, no, I think even a minarchy is aggressive, even if it is stable; but of course, all states tend to metastasize, and the evidence is all of human history. Our own state, touted by you people as nearly libertarian at its outset, has devolved, not into a Stalinist Russia, but is that the only evil type of state? No, it has devolved into a marauding, regulating, killing, taxing machine. That is bad enough, for me.

>But as I've indicated above, anarchy does not lack institutionalized aggression. So your premise is wrong.<

Yes, it does; anarchy is the condition in which there are no states; states just are agencies of institutionalized aggression.

>If the one-world government is a minarchy that preserves and protects individual rights, then I'm a one-worlder. <

Amazing. Thanks for putting this in black and white, at least, and not hiding it.



Comment #76

Tuesday, January 3, 2006 at 16:36:43 mst
Name: ATR

Dave:
-------
Stephan(2):"Therefore: if you are advocating a state you are advocating an entity that will end up aggressing on a widespread scale."

With an enormous leap of faith, maybe you can somehow manage to "arrive" at that. May I infer, therefore, that libertarianism is a religion?
-------

It is not a matter of faith to believe that if you're advocating a state you're advocating aggression. Whether that aggression is limited or widespread doesn't really matter to someone who opposes all aggression (he will oppose the state in either case), but experience suggests that states end up aggressing on a wide scale.

If you support a state because you believe the sum of all aggression with a state will be less than the sum without a state, then just say so. It's not crazy to support some aggression under the belief that creating a monopoly on aggression in the form of a state is the best POSSIBLE arrangement for reducing aggression. But you must admit that it's not the best CONCEIVABLE arrangement for reducing aggression--such an arrangement is not compatible with a state.

In either case, I would hope we could agree that the status quo is neither the best possible arrangement nor the best conceivable arrangement, and we probably don't need to resolve the argument about what's possible until after the existing state(s) have been trimmed down to minarchy.

Personally, I think Stephan is right to suggest that neither arrangement is possible (nor realistic) today.



Comment #77

Wednesday, January 4, 2006 at 8:38:53 mst
Name: Dave Harrison

Stephan(1):"Why does it matter why I 'feel' peace is 'good'"?

Dave(1): "This would help me to assess whether your position is reality-based or whim-based. I will assume it's whim-based, as you seem to be unable to answer the question."

Stephan(2):"Excuse me, I thought you were joking earlier with the "whim" comment. I am sorry but I cannot really take such a question seriously."

Let me rephrase my comment then: This would help me to assess whether your position is reality-based. I will assume it's not as you seem to be unable to answer the question.

Dave:"Would any street-gang-to-"peaceful-agency" power ratio within an anarchic geographic boundary of the United States afford sufficient peace?"

Stephan: "Would" is hypothetical. It "would", "if" the right conditions prevailed, of course. Think about it. You are in favor of, basically, an improvement in the overall human character...(snip)..."

If I may attempt to restate your position here: You would be in favor of a society that protected your rights but did not regulate or tax (e.g., an Objectivist minarchy); however you are pessimistic and therefore believe this would be utopian (unrealistic) and unachieveable, as the state would naturally gravitate towards more and more regulation and taxation until we're back to where we are today or worse.

Is this a fair statement of your position?

If so, I respond as follows:

Given a minarchy of only the armed forces, police and judicial system and a Constitution tight enough to allow no more, how would the government get out of control? E.g., how would it regulate the economy and tax if these actions would clearly violate the Constitution?

Yes, there are substantial weaknesses in the U.S. We do need a revised Constitution, to start with. But it's curious that you ignore the good stuff that's happened. Reduction of tax rates (Reagan admin.), reduction and possible elimination of the estate tax, abolition of slavery, giving women the right to vote, and so forth.

Dave:"Anarchy does not lack institutionalized aggression. So your premise is wrong."

Stephan:"Yes, it does; anarchy is the condition in which there are no states; states just are agencies of institutionalized aggression."

Why is a small state (a gang) not a state? What is your definition of a state?

Dave:"If the one-world government is a minarchy that preserves and protects individual rights, then I'm a one-worlder."

Stephan:"Amazing. Thanks for putting this in black and white, at least, and not hiding it."

I'm not necessarily limited to being a one-worlder, though. If the world consisted of only Objectivist-type minarchies, I'd be ok with that, too.



Comment #78

Wednesday, January 4, 2006 at 8:56:47 mst
Name: Dave Harrison

ATR:

Stephan:"Therefore: if you are advocating a state you are advocating an entity that will end up aggressing on a widespread scale."

Dave:"With an enormous leap of faith, maybe you can somehow manage to "arrive" at that. May I infer, therefore, that libertarianism is a religion?"

ATR:"It is not a matter of faith to believe that if you're advocating a state you're advocating aggression. Whether that aggression is limited or widespread doesn't really matter to someone who opposes all aggression (he will oppose the state in either case), but experience suggests that states end up aggressing on a wide scale."

See my latest reply to Stephan; hopefully that will clarify my position on this.

ATR:"If you support a state because you believe the sum of all aggression with a state will be less than the sum without a state, then just say so."

I support an Objectivist-type minarchy. In this context all legal aggression by the state will be retaliatory, which is a good thing.

ATR:"It's not crazy to support some aggression under the belief that creating a monopoly on aggression in the form of a state is the best POSSIBLE arrangement for reducing aggression. But you must admit that it's not the best CONCEIVABLE arrangement for reducing aggression--such an arrangement is not compatible with a state."

The state monopoly will consist of retaliatory force/aggression only. And this being the case, it certainly is the best possible use of force by a state that I'm aware of. If you know of a better arrangement, please share it.

ATR:"In either case, I would hope we could agree that the status quo is neither the best possible arrangement nor the best conceivable arrangement, and we probably don't need to resolve the argument about what's possible until after the existing state(s) have been trimmed down to minarchy."

I agree that the status quo is certainly not the best possible arrangement. However, I believe Ayn Rand has made an excellent case for a new, near-ideal arrangement.

ATR:"Personally, I think Stephan is right to suggest that neither arrangement is possible (nor realistic) today."

Not today, but George Reisman, in his book Capitalism, outlines a very good model for a gradual transition to an Objectivist-type minarchy.





Comment #79

Wednesday, January 4, 2006 at 10:44:50 mst
Name: Stephan Kinsella
URL: http://www.StephanKinsella.com

ATR:
>It is not a matter of faith to believe that if you're advocating a state you're advocating aggression. Whether that aggression is limited or widespread doesn't really matter to someone who opposes all aggression (he will oppose the state in either case), but experience suggests that states end up aggressing on a wide scale.<

True. I am baffled by Objectivists acting as if there is no reason or evidence in favor of the idea that states--even "minimal" states--can be expected to metastasize. Moreover, I have not yet seen an Objectivist clearly explain why it is not aggression when states outlaw competitors.

>If you support a state because you believe the sum of all aggression with a state will be less than the sum without a state, then just say so.<

Right. I think this is the way it should be argued; this would be respectable. It's a sort of rights-utilitarianism. BUt Objectivists would neverwant to just be upfront like this, it would make it look too much like they-re--gasp, dread--"compromising"!

Dave Harrison: >If I may attempt to restate your position here: You would be in favor of a society that protected your rights but did not regulate or tax (e.g., an Objectivist minarchy);<

No; it is more than this. Even if an Objectivist minarchy somehow did not directly tax, so long as it outlawed the private defense/justice agencies people wanted to hire, it is still objectionable. If you establish a monopoly on a service by outlawing competition, then the fee you charge to your "clients" is similar to a tax since it can be monopolistic and you have a customer base who have no choice but to use your service since you have outlawed others.

> however you are pessimistic and therefore believe this would be utopian (unrealistic) and unachieveable, as the state would naturally gravitate towards more and more regulation and taxation until we're back to where we are today or worse.<

No; that is a secondary point. I oppose minarchy because I oppose the state, because the state by its nature--even a mininal one--engages in aggression. Namely, it has to either tax, or outlaw competition, or both. If it does neither of these then it is not a state and I do not object to it. You seem to believe it can exist without taxing, but you seem also to think it's okay if this agency outlaws private defense and justice agencies *even if these agencies operate on principles of justice and individual rights*.

>Given a minarchy of only the armed forces, police and judicial system and a Constitution tight enough to allow no more, how would the government get out of control? E.g., how would it regulate the economy and tax if these actions would clearly violate the Constitution?<

Well, for one, because it is agents of the State that decide whether the State's actions are unconstitutional or not. You can call them "independent judges" if you want, but they are nothing but employees of the state.

>Yes, there are substantial weaknesses in the U.S. We do need a revised Constitution, to start with. But it's curious that you ignore the good stuff that's happened. Reduction of tax rates (Reagan admin.), reduction and possible elimination of the estate tax, abolition of slavery, giving women the right to vote, and so forth.<

Abolition of chattel slavery (by unconstitutionall, illegal war), only to be replaced with tax-wage slavery; why is giving women the right to vote "progress"? Why is voting at all "progress"? There is nothing categorical in libertarianism or Objectivism that says we should have a one-person-one-vote democracy. A limited democracy would be preferable, e.g. one where only certain landowners coudl vote, or perhaps one vote per household (exercised by the head of household, normally the husband); it's not clear apriori which is better politically.

>Why is a small state (a gang) not a state? What is your definition of a state?<

The state is the agency that coercively monopolizes defense and justice in a given terroriry; this requires either taxation, or outlawing of competing agencies. Both of which are aggressive.

>I'm not necessarily limited to being a one-worlder, though. If the world consisted of only Objectivist-type minarchies, I'd be ok with that, too.<

This, IMO, shows the naive, utopian, constructive rationalism of Objectivists.

>I support an Objectivist-type minarchy. In this context all legal aggression by the state will be retaliatory, which is a good thing.<

This is not true. In such a minarchy, the state would physically stop a group of people from hiring a private agency to defend them from criminals. This is not retaliatory, but initiatory. Please explain why you think it is not.



Comment #80

Thursday, January 5, 2006 at 9:52:56 mst
Name: Dave Harrison

Dave: "If I may attempt to restate your position here: You would be in favor of a society that protected your rights but did not regulate or tax (e.g., an Objectivist minarchy);"

Stephan: "No; it is more than this. Even if an Objectivist minarchy somehow did not directly tax, so long as it outlawed the private defense/justice agencies people wanted to hire, it is still objectionable. If you establish a monopoly on a service by outlawing competition, then the fee you charge to your "clients" is similar to a tax since it can be monopolistic and you have a customer base who have no choice but to use your service since you have outlawed others."

They have a choice. They can leave the country and start an anarchy with their friends on an island somewhere. There they’ll have the "freedom" to murder, rape and pillage to their hearts’ content. But "freedom" is good, right?

If the major government happens to be a one-world minarchy, then in that isolated case they don’t have a choice. But they and you have to realize that this preventative measure is in place to protect individual rights. If it were not in place, the rights of the citizens of the major government would be at risk from any and all internal alternative gangs/agencies/governments, because there is no guarantee that these would respect individual rights. In practice, I’m sure in most cases they wouldn’t. Further, what about when they clash, as per the example with Police A and Police B that I gave previously? Is any outcome of that just fine as well?

Dave: "…however you are pessimistic and therefore believe this would be utopian (unrealistic) and unachieveable, as the state would naturally gravitate towards more and more regulation and taxation until we're back to where we are today or worse."

Stephan: "No; that is a secondary point. I oppose minarchy because I oppose the state, because the state by its nature--even a minimal one--engages in aggression."

Not as I’ve pointed out.

Stephan: "Namely, it has to either tax, or outlaw competition, or both."

Not as I’ve pointed out.

Stephan: "If it does neither of these then it is not a state and I do not object to it."

Then an Objectivist minarchy that does not tax or regulate does not have to be a state? In which case you’d accept it as better than anarchy?

Stephan: "You seem also to think it's okay if this (government) outlaws private defense and justice agencies even if these agencies operate on principles of justice and individual rights."

Yes, because others wouldn’t have to respect individual rights, therefore putting everybody at risk.

Dave: "Given a minarchy of only the armed forces, police and judicial system and a Constitution tight enough to allow no more, how would the government get out of control? E.g., how would it regulate the economy and tax if these actions would clearly violate the Constitution?"

Stephan: "Well, for one, because it is agents of the State that decide whether the State's actions are unconstitutional or not. You can call them "independent judges" if you want, but they are nothing but employees of the state."

How many different ways can one interpret, "No tax shall be imposed."?

Dave: "Why is a small state (a gang) not a state? What is your definition of a state?"

Stephan: "The state is the agency that coercively monopolizes defense and justice in a given territory;

So a gang that controls one square mile of turf is a state?

Dave: "I support an Objectivist-type minarchy. In this context all legal aggression by the state will be retaliatory, which is a good thing."

Stephan: "This is not true. In such a minarchy, the state would physically stop a group of people from hiring a private agency to defend them from criminals. This is not retaliatory, but initiatory. Please explain why you think it is not."

It’s a preventative measure in order to protect individual rights, as I’ve explained above.



Comment #81

Thursday, January 5, 2006 at 14:57:25 mst
Name: ATR

Dave: I support an Objectivist-type minarchy. In this context all legal aggression by the state will be retaliatory, which is a good thing.

Dave: The state monopoly will consist of retaliatory force/aggression only. And this being the case, it certainly is the best possible use of force by a state that I'm aware of. If you know of a better arrangement, please share it.

Yes, retaliatory force is the "best" possible use of force by a state, in the sense that retaliatory force is not aggression. But states also aggress, as I take you to acknowledge below, so a better arrangement would not feature a state.

Dave:
-----
Stephan: "This is not true. In such a minarchy, the state would physically stop a group of people from hiring a private agency to defend them from criminals. This is not retaliatory, but initiatory. Please explain why you think it is not."

Dave: It’s a preventative measure in order to protect individual rights, as I’ve explained above.
-----

I take this as acknowledgement that it's a "preventative" (not retaliatory) act of aggression by the state, which conflicts with your claim that a minarchist state will limit its force to retaliatory force. So you believe as I suggested above that some aggression is justified in order to protect individual rights (i.e. in order to minimize the sum of all aggression)?

Dave: Given a minarchy of only the armed forces, police and judicial system and a Constitution tight enough to allow no more, how would the government get out of control? E.g., how would it regulate the economy and tax if these actions would clearly violate the Constitution?

It would regulate the economy and tax by using its monopoly on force--its armed forces, police, and judicial system.

Dave: . . . others wouldn’t have to respect individual rights, therefore putting everybody at risk.

You imply that the minarchy WOULD have to respect individual rights. Is there something about being part of a government that makes a person more likely to respect individual rights? My sense is the opposite--that being part of a government provides aggressors a false sense of legitimacy, whether they are aggressing "in order to protect individual rights" or otherwise.



Comment #82

Thursday, January 5, 2006 at 15:24:10 mst
Name: Dave Harrison

ATR: "Yes, retaliatory force is the "best" possible use of force by a state, in the sense that retaliatory force is not aggression. But states also aggress, as I take you to acknowledge below, so a better arrangement would not feature a state."

Why are gangs, which would proliferate under anarchy, not states as well?

ATR: "I take this as acknowledgement that it's a "preventative" (not retaliatory) act of aggression by the state, which conflicts with your claim that a minarchist state will limit its force to retaliatory force."

Yes, in order to properly preserve and protect individual rights, a preventative measure to avoid anarchy is necessary.

ATR: So you believe as I suggested above that some aggression is justified in order to protect individual rights (i.e. in order to minimize the sum of all aggression)?

I'm speaking of a preventative measure. I'm not sure how you get from that to "aggression."

Dave: "Given a minarchy of only the armed forces, police and judicial system and a Constitution tight enough to allow no more, how would the government get out of control? E.g., how would it regulate the economy and tax if these actions would clearly violate the Constitution?"

It would regulate the economy and tax by using its monopoly on force--its armed forces, police, and judicial system.

Oh, illegally. Here you're getting into the philosophy of law, where some bureaucrats commit criminal acts. This is beyond the scope of this discussion, where I'm trying to stay focused on political philosophic principles.

Dave: ". . . others wouldn’t have to respect individual rights, therefore putting everybody at risk."

ATR:"You imply that the minarchy WOULD have to respect individual rights. Is there something about being part of a government that makes a person more likely to respect individual rights?"

Philospically it would. This certainly does not prevent individuals from breaking the law.

ATR:"My sense is the opposite--that being part of a government provides aggressors a false sense of legitimacy, whether they are aggressing "in order to protect individual rights" or otherwise."

Some corrupt individuals may feel this way, yes.



Comment #83

Thursday, January 5, 2006 at 16:53:15 mst
Name: ATR

Dave: Why are gangs, which would proliferate under anarchy, not states as well?

They may be states; I oppose aggression of gangs just like I oppose the aggression of states.

You're giving yourself a pass that you're not giving to me as well: you assume that aggression would proliferate under anarchy. Your defense of minarchy is based on philosophical principles (normative), but your attack on anarchy is speculative or utilitarian. Why can't I defend anarchy the same way you defend minarchy--by saying that "philosophically" people in anarchy would (have to) respect rights?

Dave: I'm speaking of a preventative measure. I'm not sure how you get from that to "aggression."

Earlier, you wrote: "I support the government's use of force in order to preserve and protect my individual rights."
-----
Stephan: "And one that outlaws competitors likewise commits aggression. Right?"

Dave: If you're referring to business competitors, then it is an act of force by the state.
-----
So by "preventative measure" I take you to mean preventative force, as distinguished from retaliatory force. Non-retaliatory force is aggression.



Comment #84

Thursday, January 5, 2006 at 18:38:45 mst
Name: Greg Perkins

Hi, Stephen. Greg here (that Perkins character, Don’s boy ;^), the one who wrote the pro-IP article for Axiomatic.

My piece made it out a month earlier than Don predicted and is now up on <http://axiomaticmagazine.com> at <http://tinyurl.com/a7zkc>. I thought I’d mention this because you ended up being the star anti-IP witness, with Palmer in a strong supporting role.

Above, you talked about sensing problems in Rand’s quick sketch on IP and that the notion just didn’t seem justified, though you would enjoy learning otherwise. That’s great -- perhaps my tracing out more of IP’s foundation and implications while addressing the bigger puzzles and problems you and Palmer put forth will help on that front.

Looking forward to your comments,
Greg



Comment #85

Thursday, January 5, 2006 at 18:59:30 mst
Name: Stephan Kinsella
URL: http://www.StephanKinsella.com

Dave Harrison:

>They have a choice. They can leave the country and start an anarchy with their friends on an island somewhere. There they’ll have the "freedom" to murder, rape and pillage to their hearts’ content. But "freedom" is good, right?<

Sure they have a choice, but forcing them to make it presupposes they don't own their property. And very disingenuous of you to say freedom to commit crime. You are the only one here advocating crime--the state's outlawing other agencies.

>If the major government happens to be a one-world minarchy, then in that isolated case they don’t have a choice. But they and you have to realize that this preventative measure is in place to protect individual rights.<

"I'm from the federal government, and I'm here to help." Ha ha ha ha.

>If it were not in place, the rights of the citizens of the major government would be at risk from any and all internal alternative gangs/agencies/governments, because there is no guarantee that these would respect individual rights.<

Thank God they are not at risk now.

> In practice, I’m sure in most cases they wouldn’t. Further, what about when they clash, as per the example with Police A and Police B that I gave previously? Is any outcome of that just fine as well?<

So even in a world of minarchist states, you would think rights are "at risk" because of the chance of "clashes" between states; so you would then advocate a one-world gov't, right?

>Not as I’ve pointed out.<

You haven't denied it commits aggression; you have danced around the issue and attempted to justify it. Fine; you believe some aggression is justified; common criminals do too.

>Then an Objectivist minarchy that does not tax or regulate does not have to be a state? In which case you’d accept it as better than anarchy?<

No; not that it does not regulate: I don't mind if it regulates. I mind if it outlaws non-criminal activity, such as a business engaged in defense etc.

>Yes, because others wouldn’t have to respect individual rights, therefore putting everybody at risk.<

>How many different ways can one interpret, "No tax shall be imposed."?<

You have to be naive or ignorant not to be aware of the state's ability to twist things like this.

>So a gang that controls one square mile of turf is a state?<

If it outlaws competition or taxes, it would be a mini-state, sure.

>Dave: "I support an Objectivist-type minarchy. In this context all legal aggression by the state will be retaliatory, which is a good thing."

Stephan: "This is not true. In such a minarchy, the state would physically stop a group of people from hiring a private agency to defend them from criminals. This is not retaliatory, but initiatory. Please explain why you think it is not."

>It’s a preventative measure in order to protect individual rights, as I’ve explained above.<

That is might be "necessary" or "prevenative" does not show that it is retaliatory. It is initiatory, whether it is "necessary" or "preventative" or not. You are in favor of aggression, because you think it is "necessary" (just like criminals and statists do), but you don't want to state it plainly like this.

ATR: >Dave: It’s a preventative measure in order to protect individual rights, as I’ve explained above.
-----

I take this as acknowledgement that it's a "preventative" (not retaliatory) act of aggression by the state, which conflicts with your claim that a minarchist state will limit its force to retaliatory force. So you believe as I suggested above that some aggression is justified in order to protect individual rights (i.e. in order to minimize the sum of all aggression)?<

Yes, well stated ATR.

>You imply that the minarchy WOULD have to respect individual rights. Is there something about being part of a government that makes a person more likely to respect individual rights? My sense is the opposite--that being part of a government provides aggressors a false sense of legitimacy, whether they are aggressing "in order to protect individual rights" or otherwise.<

The thing about Objectivists is they want a guarantee. They just want to posit their state "would" "have to" respect individual rights. The messiness of real life bugs them. Way too untidy.

Dave Harrison:

>Why are gangs, which would proliferate under anarchy, not states as well?<

Why do you insist on calling a private defense agency a gang? Surely you are aware that this is question-begging, as it assumes your premises. It is thus disingenuous, but not sneaky enough to be undetected, I'm afraid.

>Yes, in order to properly preserve and protect individual rights, a preventative measure to avoid anarchy is necessary.<

Which is not in response to force; it is not in retaliation to aggression--it is initiated force.

>I'm speaking of a preventative measure. I'm not sure how you get from that to "aggression."<

Force is either initiated, or it is in response to initiated force. If it is not one, it is the other. The "preventative" force you speak of is not in response to aggression; therefore it is itself aggression. The libertarian (and Rand) says that force is permissible ONLY in response to initiated force. You are here saying force is permissible in response to initiated force, OR if it's preventative.

ATR: >You're giving yourself a pass that you're not giving to me as well: you assume that aggression would proliferate under anarchy. Your defense of minarchy is based on philosophical principles (normative), but your attack on anarchy is speculative or utilitarian. Why can't I defend anarchy the same way you defend minarchy--by saying that "philosophically" people in anarchy would (have to) respect rights?<

This is one of the primary errors of minarchists: almost all the critiques they hurl against anarchists apply to their minarchist utopia as well. They are selective and inconsistent. And we know how Rand felt about Emerson.

You nailed him, ATR.



Comment #86

Friday, January 6, 2006 at 9:28:26 mst
Name: Dave Harrison

ATR:

Dave: “Why are gangs, which would proliferate under anarchy, not states as well?”

ATR: ”They may be states; I oppose aggression of gangs just like I oppose the aggression of states.”

Which would you prefer to live under, and why?

ATR: “You're giving yourself a pass that you're not giving to me as well: you assume that aggression would proliferate under anarchy. Your defense of minarchy is based on philosophical principles (normative), but your attack on anarchy is speculative or utilitarian. Why can't I defend anarchy the same way you defend minarchy--by saying that "philosophically" people in anarchy would (have to) respect rights?"

Sure you can. But you’d have to explain why, what are rights, what is their philosophical foundation, and so forth. Or you can say you’re an Objectivist except for the politics, but then you’d have to explain why rights are essential but preservation and protection of rights are not.

If you say anarchy preserves and protects rights better than an Objectivist-type minarchy, you will have to explain why.

Dave: I'm speaking of a preventative measure. I'm not sure how you get from that to "aggression."

ATR: “Earlier, you wrote: [‘I support the government's use of force in order to preserve and protect my individual rights.’]
-----
[Stephan: "And one that outlaws competitors likewise commits aggression. Right?"]

[Dave: If you're referring to business competitors, then it is an act of force by the state.]
-----
ATR: So by "preventative measure" I take you to mean preventative force, as distinguished from retaliatory force. Non-retaliatory force is aggression.

The anti-anarchy preventative measure is protective of individual rights, and would actually be implicit in any government set up to protect individual rights, as I’ve explained above. If you want to twist it into “aggression,” be my guest. Actually, I think you’re spending too much time on semantics and not enough on the underlying principle or its purpose.



Comment #87

Friday, January 6, 2006 at 9:38:41 mst
Name: Dave Harrison

Stephan:

Dave: “They have a choice. They can leave the country and start an anarchy with their friends on an island somewhere. There they’ll have the ‘freedom’ to murder, rape and pillage to their hearts’ content. But ‘freedom’ is good, right?”

Stephan: “Sure they have a choice, but forcing them to make it presupposes they don't own their property.”

They own their property and also have the freedom to abandon it. Where’s the force?

Stephan: “So even in a world of minarchist states, you would think rights are "at risk" because of the chance of "clashes" between states; so you would then advocate a one-world gov't, right?”

My ideals are as I’ve stated previously; not necessarily a one-world government.

Stephan: “You haven't denied (an Objectivist-type monarchy) commits aggression; you have danced around the issue and attempted to justify it.”

In any government there will always be some corrupt individuals. You develop laws to deal with that.

Stephan: “Fine; you believe some aggression is justified; common criminals do too.”

What are you talking about?

Dave: “Then an Objectivist minarchy that does not tax or regulate does not have to be a state? In which case you’d accept it as better than anarchy?”

Stephan: “No; not that it does not regulate: I don't mind if it regulates. I mind if it outlaws non-criminal activity, such as a business engaged in defense etc.”

To protect individual rights, this activity would be made criminal.

Dave: “Yes, because others wouldn’t have to respect individual rights, therefore putting everybody at risk.”

Dave: “How many different ways can one interpret, "No tax shall be imposed."?

Stephan: “You have to be naive or ignorant not to be aware of the state's ability to twist things like this.”

Your non-answers are very telling.

Dave: “So a gang that controls one square mile of turf is a state?”

Stephan: “If it outlaws competition or taxes, it would be a mini-state, sure.”

What if it specializes in gang-rapes? And of course it also outlaws competition on its one square-mile of turf. Is it a state then?

Dave: "I support an Objectivist-type minarchy. In this context all legal aggression by the state will be retaliatory, which is a good thing."

Stephan: "This is not true. In such a minarchy, the state would physically stop a group of people from hiring a private agency to defend them from criminals. This is not retaliatory, but initiatory. Please explain why you think it is not."

Dave:"It’s a preventative measure in order to protect individual rights, as I’ve explained above."

Stehen: "That it might be "necessary" or "preventative" does not show that it is retaliatory. It is initiatory, whether it is "necessary" or "preventative" or not. You are in favor of aggression, because you think it is "necessary" (just like criminals and statists do), but you don't want to state it plainly like this."

See my last comment, below.

Dave: “Why are gangs, which would proliferate under anarchy, not states as well?”

Stephan: “Why do you insist on calling a private defense agency a gang? Surely you are aware that this is question-begging, as it assumes your premises. It is thus disingenuous, but not sneaky enough to be undetected, I'm afraid.”

I’m not insisting on anything. The only premises I assume here is that murderous gangs would proliferate under anarchy. And that some rights-respecting agencies would probably exist for a while as well. And since the beginning, you’ve never clearly denied this, so I assume you’ve accepted it.

Dave: “Yes, in order to properly preserve and protect individual rights, a preventative measure to avoid anarchy is necessary.”

Stephan: “Which is not in response to force; it is not in retaliation to aggression--it is initiated force.”

(elsewhere…)

Dave: “I'm speaking of a preventative measure. I'm not sure how you get from that to "aggression."

Stephan: “Force is either initiated, or it is in response to initiated force. If it is not one, it is the other. The "preventative" force you speak of is not in response to aggression; therefore it is itself aggression. The libertarian (and Rand) says that force is permissible ONLY in response to initiated force. You are here saying force is permissible in response to initiated force, OR if it's preventative.”

You seem to be almost obsessively focused on categorizing and labeling rather than on facing and addressing the underlying principle and the reason for it. Very telling as well.



Comment #88

Friday, January 6, 2006 at 11:59:57 mst
Name: Stephan Kinsella
URL: http://www.StephanKinsella.com

Dave Harrison: >If you say anarchy preserves and protects rights better than an Objectivist-type minarchy, you will have to explain why.<

Well for one thing, anarchy is the state in which *there is no institutionalized aggression*. Minarchy *has institutionalized aggression*. From that standpoint, anarchy does a better job of "preserving and protecting" rights than minarchy.

>The anti-anarchy preventative measure is protective of individual rights, and would actually be implicit in any government set up to protect individual rights, as I’ve explained above. If you want to twist it into “aggression,” be my guest. Actually, I think you’re spending too much time on semantics and not enough on the underlying principle or its purpose.<

This is not semantics and not a trick. It is identifying what you are advocating. You are advocating a state be set up with a monopoly and that it maintain this by forcefully shutting down even peaceful and rights-based competing private agencies. You claim this is a "preventative" measure that is "protective" of rights, and that it is "implicit" in the state. Yes, I agree w/ the latter; and you may even be right that this use of force by the state is somehow "necessary" or whatever--but that does not change that it is an *initiation* of force.

You admit the state's outlawing of private justice agencies is a use of force, right? Yes. So the force is either initiated, or it is not. Right? I assume you agree. Well, is the force *in response to* force initiated by the private agency? No, I don't see that it is. Therefore, the force you advocate is NOT in response to any aggression/initiatory force; so it must itself be initiated force. Or do you maintain there is some third category of force--initiated force; force in response to initiated force; and "preventive" force?

>Dave: “They have a choice. They can leave the country and start an anarchy with their friends on an island somewhere. There they’ll have the ‘freedom’ to murder, rape and pillage to their hearts’ content. But ‘freedom’ is good, right?”

Stephan: “Sure they have a choice, but forcing them to make it presupposes they don't own their property.”

They own their property and also have the freedom to abandon it. Where’s the force?<

Oh, only if you force them to choose: submit to our jurisdiction (and our rules outlawing competitors), or leave. IF you don't force them, fine. But then you would have to let me hire my own defense agency.

>Stephan: “So even in a world of minarchist states, you would think rights are "at risk" because of the chance of "clashes" between states; so you would then advocate a one-world gov't, right?”

My ideals are as I’ve stated previously; not necessarily a one-world government.<

My point is: if one of your objections to anarchy is the risk of clashes between multiple defense agencies (which you deride as "gangs"), then why doesn't this concern also apply to a multi-state world?

>In any government there will always be some corrupt individuals. You develop laws to deal with that.<

I am not talking about exceptions; I am talking about the nature of the beast. I am not talking about a minimal state making mistakes, or metastasizing into tyranny. I am saying even a perfect minarchist state *commits aggression* by its nature--in outlawing competitors. You obviously endorse this aggression but refuse to admit it. Why? Are you ashamed?

>Stephan: “Fine; you believe some aggression is justified; common criminals do too.”

What are you talking about?<

I'm saying that your view endorses some degree of aggression; you have a reason why you think the aggresion you are in favor of is morally justified--and I am observing that tyrants and criminals are also in favor of agression and could give some reason why they are willing to condone or commit it. From my perspective as a victim of aggression you and criminals condone or commit, I don't give a damn what your little excuses are; that you have them does not really interest me. That the aggression is occuring is what I'm opposed to. But then, I oppose aggression on principle. Not everyone does.

>Stephan: “No; not that it does not regulate: I don't mind if it regulates. I mind if it outlaws non-criminal activity, such as a business engaged in defense etc.”

To protect individual rights, this activity would be made criminal.<

Yes yes, I see you have a *reason* why you are in favor of this act of aggression--hey, conservatives and liberals favor the aggression of taxes, anti-discrimination laws, etc., and they have plenty reasons for being in favor of these acts of aggression.

>I’m not insisting on anything. The only premises I assume here is that murderous gangs would proliferate under anarchy.<

Do you mean the private defense agencies are the murderous gangs, or that little mafia like gangs would arise as a type of crime in anarchy, which the private defense agencies would be unable to put down?

>And that some rights-respecting agencies would probably exist for a while as well. And since the beginning, you’ve never clearly denied this, so I assume you’ve accepted it.<

Well, I think we will always have crime because I'm not a utopian. I am against private crime, as you apparently are, and public crime, as you are for the most part. Anarchy is where there is no institutionalized, or public crime. Why? Because a state requires legitimation to survive, since it rests on the tacit obeisance of the people. Most people respect rights to some extent; this is what makes civilization possible. If they were to become more educated (say, in basic economics) then far more of them would be more libertarian in their views, and the level of tacit consent for the state's aggression would fall, and the state would be smaller, since it would be able to get away with less widespread aggression. The point is that anarchy is a society where there is no widespread belief that public/state crimes are legitimate, so the state cannot exist *as a state*. A state is an agency of *institutionalized* aggression--this means that its acts of aggression are not seen as illegitimate by the populace. So my point is: public crime can persist only so long as the populace holds false views about rights. If the masses become more libertarain/objectivist, then the state could not persist.

But private crime is committed by private criminals and does not need public support; so even if we reached a minarchy or anarchy b/c of widespread withdrawal of tacit consent/support for the welfare state's actions, there would still be a background level of private crime that would have to be dealt with. That is the main reason for private defense agencies. I could protect myself on my own, to a degree, by living in a safe area, being careful, and having good locks on my doors. I could outsource the job to others to a degree--say, I make payments (directly, or through a neighborhood association, or indirectly through an insurance company) to help fund a private patrol of guards in my area, and so on. Adn so on and so on.

What form private crime would take, I dont konw. Would there be roving gangs in addition to robbers and brigands? I suppose. For you to simply posit that the private citizens and their defense agents would be unable to handle this problem, and that therefore a state is justified to monpolize the field and outlaw private agencies (with an act of aggresions itself) -- is frankly bizarre.

Stephan: “Force is either initiated, or it is in response to initiated force. If it is not one, it is the other. The "preventative" force you speak of is not in response to aggression; therefore it is itself aggression. The libertarian (and Rand) says that force is permissible ONLY in response to initiated force. You are here saying force is permissible in response to initiated force, OR if it's preventative.”

>You seem to be almost obsessively focused on categorizing and labeling rather than on facing and addressing the underlying principle and the reason for it. Very telling as well.<

Telling what? Rand herself said that "do you hear me?! No man may initiate--no man man START--the use of force" (paraphrasing). I, like Rand here, am opposed to aggression--the initiation of force. You are advocating a measure by an entity that appears to me to be the initiation of force. You try to squirm out of this by saying, "no, it's preventive force", as if this means it's not initiated force. Why don't you just admit it: the difference between us is that I see all aggression as unjustified; you see most aggression as unjustified but believe that some small amount of aggression is permissible because it is the only way to deal with normal criminal aggression? That is actually your position, but you don't want to admit it.

Then you would have to say: therefore, Rand's theory has a contradiction or inconsistency: you cannot be against all aggression, and be in favor of the state (against anarchy); one has to give.

In my case, I would prefer to give up on the latter: to me being "against aggression" is more important than being "against anarchy". To you, being "against anarchy" is more important than being "against aggression". I am willing to admit that you cannot have both, and frankly admit which I choose. You want to have them both, but you cannot. You have chosen to give up on "against aggression" but do not want to admit it. Go ahead, you'll feel so much better.



Comment #89

Saturday, January 7, 2006 at 15:02:38 mst
Name: Dave Harrison

Stephan:"Anarchy is the state in which *there is no institutionalized aggression*. Minarchy *has institutionalized aggression*. From that standpoint, anarchy does a better job of 'preserving and protecting" rights than minarchy.'"

Gangs under minarchy are also institutionalized aggression. This wipes out your rationale for anarchy. How many times do I have to repeat this before you respond?

Stephan:"You are advocating a state be set up with a monopoly and that it maintain this by forcefully shutting down even peaceful and rights-based competing private agencies."

Yes, because anarchy does not distinguish between these and murderous gangs. Thus, anarchy allows gang and agency aggression and implies that the rest of us must deal with living under this kind of oppression, terror and fear. This is completely anti-life, anti-rights and anti-reason. (details on request, but I hope I don't have to go back to A is A with you.)

Stephan:"You claim this is a 'preventative' measure that is 'protective' of rights, and that it is 'implicit' in the state. Yes, I agree w/ the latter; and you may even be right that this use of force by the state is somehow "necessary" or whatever--but that does not change that it is an *initiation* of force."

No it isn't. It's retaliatory because it prevents gang and agency aggression/initiation of force.

Stephan:"You admit the state's outlawing of private justice agencies is a use of force, right? Yes. So the force is either initiated, or it is not. Right? I assume you agree. Well, is the force *in response to* force initiated by the private agency?

It's in response to the threat of aggression/initiated force by an agency or gang. So it's retaliatory/preventative/protective. An Objectivist government would make a similar law against having a tank in your driveway or walking down the street with a bomb strapped to your chest. I really don't much care what label you stick on it. It's anti-aggression and the threat of aggression, pro-life, pro-rights and pro-reason. I'll be happy to elaborate here if you wish.

Stephan:"If one of your objections to anarchy is the risk of clashes between multiple defense agencies (which you deride as 'gangs'), then why doesn't this concern also apply to a multi-state world?"

That's a concern of mine, which would be substantially lessened if it was an Objectivist multi-state world. And substantially heightened the more anarchy there is.

Dave:"In any government there will always be some corrupt individuals. You develop laws to deal with that."

Stephan:"I am not talking about exceptions; I am talking about the nature of the beast. I am not talking about a minimal state making mistakes, or metastasizing into tyranny. I am saying even a perfect minarchist state *commits aggression* by its nature--in outlawing competitors. You obviously endorse this aggression but refuse to admit it. Why? Are you ashamed?"

For reasons I've stated previously, an Objectivist minarchy minimizes all aggression; and anarchy approaches maximization of it.

Stephan:"I'm saying that your view endorses some degree of aggression; you have a reason why you think the aggresion you are in favor of is morally justified--and I am observing that tyrants and criminals are also in favor of agression and could give some reason why they are willing to condone or commit it."

I am not in favor of aggression.

Dave:"Premises I assume here is that murderous gangs would proliferate under anarchy."

Stephan:"Do you mean the private defense agencies are the murderous gangs, or that little mafia like gangs would arise as a type of crime in anarchy, which the private defense agencies would be unable to put down?"

If the agencies clash with mine, sure, they could become murderous. Who could tell what their rules would be anyway? Also the latter would proliferate.

Stephan:"Public crime can persist only so long as the populace holds false views about rights. If the masses become more libertarain/objectivist, then the state could not persist."

Too simple; individual psychology as well as ignorance and low intelligence can complicate matters indefinitely.

Stephan:"But private crime is committed by private criminals and does not need public support; so even if we reached a minarchy or anarchy b/c of widespread withdrawal of tacit consent/support for the welfare state's actions, there would still be a background level of private crime that would have to be dealt with. That is the main reason for private defense agencies. I could protect myself on my own, to a degree, by living in a safe area, being careful, and having good locks on my doors. I could outsource the job to others to a degree--say, I make payments (directly, or through a neighborhood association, or indirectly through an insurance company) to help fund a private patrol of guards in my area, and so on. And so on and so on."

Again, this ignores the rights of others who would be living in constant terror of what your agency might be capable of, as well as prolieration of gangs who are even less nice. This is an anti-life, anti-rights and anti-reason situation. I think this is self-evident, but let me know if you'd like me to elaborate.

Dave:(prior unanswered question of mine):"What if a gang specializes in gang-rapes? And of course it also outlaws competition on its one square-mile of turf. Is it a state then?"

(I have not responded to some points I felt were unnecessarily repetitive)



Comment #90

Sunday, January 8, 2006 at 8:31:13 mst
Name: Stephan Kinsella
URL: http://www.StephanKinsella.com

Dave:

>Gangs under minarchy are also institutionalized aggression. This wipes out your rationale for anarchy. How many times do I have to repeat this before you respond?<

I supposed there could be some private criminal gangs in anarchy, which I would also oppose. But organized crime is not institutionalized--this latter implies the agency is viewed as legitimate, as our state is today.

If you are implyin that any private defense /justice agency under anarchy is necessarily a gang, I disagree.

>Stephan:"You are advocating a state be set up with a monopoly and that it maintain this by forcefully shutting down even peaceful and rights-based competing private agencies."

Yes, because anarchy does not distinguish between these and murderous gangs. Thus, anarchy allows gang and agency aggression and implies that the rest of us must deal with living under this kind of oppression, terror and fear. This is completely anti-life, anti-rights and anti-reason. (details on request, but I hope I don't have to go back to A is A with you.)<

Why does a state have a right to shut down a *good* PDA?

>No it isn't. It's retaliatory because it prevents gang and agency aggression/initiation of force.<

You are assuming that any private agency must use aggression. But this is not true. IF it is limited to the defense of individual rights, and does not commit crime itsself, then it does not.

>It's in response to the threat of aggression/initiated force by an agency or gang. So it's retaliatory/preventative/protective.<

What threat is there from a peaceful, individual-rights-respecting, non-aggresssion-wielding defense agency?

>Stephan:"Do you mean the private defense agencies are the murderous gangs, or that little mafia like gangs would arise as a type of crime in anarchy, which the private defense agencies would be unable to put down?"

If the agencies clash with mine, sure, they could become murderous. Who could tell what their rules would be anyway? Also the latter would proliferate.<

So you say.

>Again, this ignores the rights of others who would be living in constant terror of what your agency might be capable of, as well as prolieration of gangs who are even less nice. This is an anti-life, anti-rights and anti-reason situation. I think this is self-evident, but let me know if you'd like me to elaborate.<

no thanks. Your mindset is clear by now. What an imagination you have.



Comment #91

Sunday, January 8, 2006 at 9:59:05 mst
Name: Dave Harrison

Dave: "Gangs under minarchy are also institutionalized aggression. This wipes out your rationale for anarchy. How many times do I have to repeat this before you respond?"

Stephan:"I supposed there could be some private criminal gangs in anarchy, which I would also oppose. But organized crime is not institutionalized--this latter implies the agency is viewed as legitimate, as our state is today."

You might personally oppose them, although I'm not sure why. After all, they're exercising "liberty." Why wouldn't all these groups be viewed as legitimate under anarchy? Ater all, they're just exercising their freedom.

You actually seem like a good guy. I'm sorry that under anarchy your life expectancy wouldn't be more than another few months or so, depending on your stash of arms, food, water and medical supplies. (I know, I know, "So you say.")

Stephan:"If you are implying that any private defense /justice agency under anarchy is necessarily a gang, I disagree."

They're not necessarily.

Stephan:"You are advocating a state be set up with a monopoly and that it maintain this by forcefully shutting down even peaceful and rights-based competing private agencies."

Yes. This makes things much more organized, protective and predictable for the citizens, so they can produce and enjoy their lives with their minds free as opposed to living day-to-day under the constant terror of anarchy.

It wouldn't forcefully shut down any such agency, except in retaliation for the aggression of the creation of the agency in the first place. Like not allowing people to walk around with UZIs, machetes and hand grenades strapped to them and using them whenever they felt offended. See above for reasons why these agencies could morph into anything else at any time anyway.

Dave:"No it isn't. It's retaliatory because it prevents gang and agency aggression/initiation of force."

Stephan:"You are assuming that any private agency must use aggression. But this is not true. IF it is limited to the defense of individual rights, and does not commit crime itsself, then it does not."

The problem is that under anarchy, they're all philosophically equally free to do whatever they want. There's no moral difference. I don't even know why you call certain agencies "good." Because they respect rights and liberty? You may like rights and liberty personally, but your philosophical system obviously doesn't care. And as long as you go along with your system, your liking rights or liberty can't have a real philosophical basis, other than lip service.

Dave:"It's in response to the threat of aggression/initiated force by an agency or gang. So it's retaliatory/preventative/protective."

Stephan:"What threat is there from a peaceful, individual-rights-respecting, non-aggresssion-wielding defense agency?"

If, under anarchy, you pointed me to one, I'd give you an answer. Maybe it intends to be good, but would be overrun by the gang on the next block tomorrow. It depends on relative power structures there. Or maybe tomorrow it would be bought out by a guy who doesn't particularly care about rights. Or maybe next week the board of directors votes that rights are good, except for an occasional gang rape. Maybe the next time they save you they'll decide to borrow your wife for a while. "Oh, didn't you get our newsletter yesterday that we liberalized our policy?"

Dave:"And again.....(I'll just keep repeating this at the end of every post until you answer it.): "Is a gang that murders but doesn't allow competition and "owns" a square mile of turf a state?"



Comment #92

Monday, January 9, 2006 at 14:57:32 mst
Name: Stephan Kinsella
URL: http://www.StephanKinsella.com

Dave Harrison: >Stephan:"I supposed there could be some private criminal gangs in anarchy, which I would also oppose. But organized crime is not institutionalized--this latter implies the agency is viewed as legitimate, as our state is today."

You might personally oppose them, although I'm not sure why. After all, they're exercising "liberty." Why wouldn't all these groups be viewed as legitimate under anarchy? Ater all, they're just exercising their freedom.<

Um, because, as I've, er, ahem, said, several times, I oppose, like Rand did--aggression.

>You actually seem like a good guy. I'm sorry that under anarchy your life expectancy wouldn't be more than another few months or so, depending on your stash of arms, food, water and medical supplies. (I know, I know, "So you say.")<

Oh, for God's sake.

>Yes. This makes things much more organized, protective and predictable for the citizens, so they can produce and enjoy their lives with their minds free as opposed to living day-to-day under the constant terror of anarchy.<

As I have long suspected, what drives Objectivist is a desire for order and neatness. Hence the obsession over having to have a "final" answer to a dispute, even if it is not "guaranteed" to be right; hence the Objectivists just positing that the state "would" "have to" stick within constitutional limits, etc. Nice and neat.

>It wouldn't forcefully shut down any such agency, except in retaliation for the aggression of the creation of the agency in the first place.<

So I and 1000 or so other inhabitants of an area hire Acme Defense Agency to defend them. Someone breaks into my house; Acme catches them and holds a trial, the jury finds them guilty, and the agency punishes this criminal. What justifies your state's forcibly preventing my agency from doing this?

>The problem is that under anarchy, they're all philosophically equally free to do whatever they want.<

I have no idea what this "philosophically equally free" means. You seem to want there to be some solution imposed "from above" to "ensure" or "guarantee" everyone will "follow the rules." What you seem totally oblivious to is that this is not possible in anarchy, nor in minarchy, since there is nothing outside the minarchist state that guarantees it will not "do whatever it wants". The only real check is the attitude of the citizenry: if they regard state actions beyond a minimal core as illegitimate, then the state will be less likely to try it or get away with it. But it depends on the mindset of the populace. The same is true of anarchy. Why can't you see this?

> There's no moral difference. I don't even know why you call certain agencies "good." Because they respect rights and liberty? You may like rights and liberty personally, but your philosophical system obviously doesn't care.<

No, my system doesn't care, that is true. Systems don't "care."

>And as long as you go along with your system,<

I don't have a "system". That's what you can't seem to realize. I am not advocating some complex system of competing defense agencies. I have merely stated that states impose aggression, and I abhor aggression.

>your liking rights or liberty can't have a real philosophical basis, other than lip service.<

Well, it's very important for things to have a "real" philosophical "basis". Otherwise... er.. what was the question?

Dad: "Son, have you figured out what you want to major in? [or: that you really want to marry Susie?]"
Son: "Yes, accounting [or yes, I love her]."
Dad: "Okay son--but, are you sure you have a real philosophical basis for that decision?"
Son: "Hunh? Does not compute. Are you a robot, Dad?"

>If, under anarchy, you pointed me to one, I'd give you an answer. Maybe it intends to be good, but would be overrun by the gang on the next block tomorrow.<

Why do you automatically assume this? And further, why do you assume a similar critique can't be made of a minachist state?

> It depends on relative power structures there. Or maybe tomorrow it would be bought out by a guy who doesn't particularly care about rights.<

What if the minarchist state is "bought out" -- say, by bribes--in the same way?

> Or maybe next week the board of directors votes that rights are good, except for an occasional gang rape. Maybe the next time they save you they'll decide to borrow your wife for a while. "Oh, didn't you get our newsletter yesterday that we liberalized our policy?"<

What if the legislators of the minarchist state votes that rights are good this week, and next week they decide to enact conscription?

Dave:"And again.....(I'll just keep repeating this at the end of every post until you answer it.): "Is a gang that murders but doesn't allow competition and "owns" a square mile of turf a state?"

I dunno. It sounds criminal, whether it's a state or not. Does not seem to fit the definition of a state, since it does not appear (as you describe it) to be *viewed as legitimate* by those whom it rules. Why do you ask? What does it matter? There are different types of aggression; nothing wrong with opposing them all.



Comment #93

Tuesday, January 10, 2006 at 9:05:49 mst
Name: Dave Harrison

Stephan: " But organized crime is not institutionalized--this latter implies the agency is viewed as legitimate, as our state is today."

Viewed by whom as legitimate? And to what extent?

Stephan: “I oppose, like Rand did--aggression.”

Then do you support, like Rand did " liberty? Or do you support the anarchic view of liberty, where someone is free to kill you and you’re free to live in constant terror or free to die?

Dave: “(An Objectivist monarchy) makes things much more organized, protective and predictable for the citizens, so they can produce and enjoy their lives with their minds free as opposed to living day-to-day under the constant terror of anarchy.”

Stephan: “As I have long suspected, what drives Objectivist is a desire for order and neatness. Hence the obsession over having to have a ‘final’ answer to a dispute, even if it is not ‘guaranteed’ to be right; hence the Objectivists just positing that the state ‘would’ ‘have to’ stick within constitutional limits, etc. Nice and neat.

Would you prefer a “nice and neat” private agency protecting you or one that’s so disorganized you might as well protect yourself? Also I noticed you jumped on “organized," ignoring “protective” and “predictable.” Can you address those?

Dave: “It wouldn't forcefully shut down any such agency, except in retaliation for the aggression of the creation of the agency in the first place.”

Stephan: “So I and 1000 or so other inhabitants of an area hire Acme Defense Agency to defend them. Someone breaks into my house; Acme catches them and holds a trial, the jury finds them guilty, and the agency punishes this criminal. What justifies your state's forcibly preventing my agency from doing this?”

Preservation and protection of that person’s individual rights. Just because some obscure “agency” (gang?) and “jury” might feel he’s a criminal doesn’t mean he is one.

Dave: “The problem is that under anarchy, they're all philosophically equally free to do whatever they want.”

Stephan: “I have no idea what this "philosophically equally free" means. You seem to want there to be some solution imposed "from above" to "ensure" or "guarantee" everyone will "follow the rules." What you seem totally oblivious to is that this is not possible in anarchy, nor in minarchy, since there is nothing outside the minarchist state that guarantees it will not "do whatever it wants". The only real check is the attitude of the citizenry: if they regard state actions beyond a minimal core as illegitimate, then the state will be less likely to try it or get away with it. But it depends on the mindset of the populace. The same is true of anarchy. Why can't you see this?”

Who said anything about a guarantee? I already said that in any situation there will be bad guys. That what the law is there for. And law should follow principles of individual rights, not shifting “attitudes.” Do you feel government by daily polls is just?

Dave: “There's no moral difference. I don't even know why you call certain agencies "good." Because they respect rights and liberty? You may like rights and liberty personally, but your philosophical system obviously doesn't care.”

Stephan: "No, my system doesn't care, that is true. Systems don't 'care.'"

Okay, your nihilism, your chaos, your non-system, your anti-system. Whatever.

Dave: “I don't have a 'system.' That's what you can't seem to realize. I am not advocating some complex system of competing defense agencies. I have merely stated that states impose aggression, and I abhor aggression.”

Okay, we both abhor aggression.

Dave: “Your liking rights or liberty can't have a real philosophical basis, other than lip service.”

Stephan: Dad: "Son, have you figured out what you want to major in? [or: that you really want to marry Susie?]"
Son: "Yes, accounting [or yes, I love her]."
Dad: "Okay son--but, are you sure you have a real philosophical basis for that decision?"
Son: "Hunh? Does not compute. Are you a robot, Dad?"

Of course you don’t talk to your kid like that. But the kid still has a philosophy (and so do you, even if you don't like that word), even if it’s piecemeal, partially formed and partly irrational. If you’d like, I’ll spell out for you possibilities based on his love interest, his interest in accounting, and various assumptions.

Dave: “If, under anarchy, you pointed me to (a rights-respecting agency), I'd give you an answer. Maybe it intends to be good, but would be overrun by the gang on the next block tomorrow.”

Stephan: “Why do you automatically assume this? And further, why do you assume a similar critique can't be made of a minachist state?”

It could happen in either. It’s just that it’s far more likely to happen in anarchy. Minarchy discourages it; anarchy encourages it. More details on request.

Dave: “It depends on relative power structures there. Or maybe tomorrow it would be bought out by a guy who doesn't particularly care about rights.”

Stephan: “What if the minarchist state is "bought out" -- say, by bribes--in the same way?”

In theory it could happen. And in theory the sun could explode tomorrow as well.

Dave: “Or maybe next week the board of directors votes that rights are good, except for an occasional gang rape. Maybe the next time they save you they'll decide to borrow your wife for a while. ‘Oh, didn't you get our newsletter yesterday that we liberalized our policy?’”

Stephan: “What if the legislators of the minarchist state votes that rights are good this week, and next week they decide to enact conscription?”
A clear constitutional provision would prevent this.

Dave:"And again.....(I'll just keep repeating this at the end of every post until you answer it.): "Is a gang that murders but doesn't allow competition and "owns" a square mile of turf a state?"

Stephan: “I dunno. It sounds criminal, whether it's a state or not. Does not seem to fit the definition of a state, since it does not appear (as you describe it) to be *viewed as legitimate* by those whom it rules. Why do you ask? What does it matter? There are different types of aggression; nothing wrong with opposing them all.”

I ask because you prefer anarchy because it anti-state, but it only substitutes one type of state for another. Further, (for reasons previously stated) the situation you want encourages far more aggression than the one I’m in favor of. This shows up contradictions in your position.



Comment #94

Tuesday, January 10, 2006 at 22:41:21 mst
Name: Stephan Kinsella
URL: http://www.StephanKinsella.com

Dave Harrison:

>Stephan: " But organized crime is not institutionalized--this latter implies the agency is viewed as legitimate, as our state is today."

Viewed by whom as legitimate? And to what extent?<

Enough for it to get away with it, of course. Who knows what the critical mass is or what its details are. Who cares? Enough people have been bamboozled into thinking the state is "necessary" or "legitimate" that it is able to continue.

Stephan: “I oppose, like Rand did--aggression.”

>Then do you support, like Rand did �" liberty? Or do you support the anarchic view of liberty, where someone is free to kill you and you’re free to live in constant terror or free to die?<

"someone" is free to kill me now. What are you talking about? Do you really think guarantees are possible?

>Stephan: “So I and 1000 or so other inhabitants of an area hire Acme Defense Agency to defend them. Someone breaks into my house; Acme catches them and holds a trial, the jury finds them guilty, and the agency punishes this criminal. What justifies your state's forcibly preventing my agency from doing this?”

>Preservation and protection of that person’s individual rights. Just because some obscure “agency” (gang?) and “jury” might feel he’s a criminal doesn’t mean he is one.<

Well, just because your minarchist state might feel someone's a criminal does not mean they are one, either, does it, now?

>Dave: “There's no moral difference. I don't even know why you call certain agencies "good." Because they respect rights and liberty? You may like rights and liberty personally, but your philosophical system obviously doesn't care.”

Stephan: "No, my system doesn't care, that is true. Systems don't 'care.'"

Okay, your nihilism, your chaos, your non-system, your anti-system. Whatever.<

No, nihilism, chaos, non-systems, and anti-systems, don't "care" either. I thought only sapient beings cared.

>Of course you don’t talk to your kid like that. But the kid still has a philosophy (and so do you, even if you don't like that word)<

I don't dislike the word! But I am not impressed by its robotic over-use.

>, even if it’s piecemeal, partially formed and partly irrational. If you’d like, I’ll spell out for you possibilities based on his love interest, his interest in accounting, and various assumptions.<

Spare me, Jesus. Next thing you know, you'll "prove" for me that it's actually rational after all for me to be benevolent. Gee, I didn't know I needed permission! I didn't know I was supposed to feel guilty until I read The Proof of it.

>Dave: “If, under anarchy, you pointed me to (a rights-respecting agency), I'd give you an answer. Maybe it intends to be good, but would be overrun by the gang on the next block tomorrow.”

Stephan: “Why do you automatically assume this? And further, why do you assume a similar critique can't be made of a minachist state?”

It could happen in either. It’s just that it’s far more likely to happen in anarchy. Minarchy discourages it; anarchy encourages it. More details on request.<

I think it's just an assertion of yours, about likelihood; in fact, I think it's wrong. And even if it were not wrong, does your mere guess at the relative likelihoods suffice to justify institutionalized aggression?

>Dave: “It depends on relative power structures there. Or maybe tomorrow it would be bought out by a guy who doesn't particularly care about rights.”

Stephan: “What if the minarchist state is "bought out" -- say, by bribes--in the same way?”

In theory it could happen. And in theory the sun could explode tomorrow as well.<

HA HA HA HA HA HA. Yeah, the idea that a state could succumb to--gasp!--bribery is as unlikely as the sun exploding tomorrow. HA HA H AH AHAHAHAHA. You Objectivists crack me up.

>Dave: “Or maybe next week the board of directors votes that rights are good, except for an occasional gang rape. Maybe the next time they save you they'll decide to borrow your wife for a while. ‘Oh, didn't you get our newsletter yesterday that we liberalized our policy?’”

Stephan: “What if the legislators of the minarchist state votes that rights are good this week, and next week they decide to enact conscription?”

A clear constitutional provision would prevent this.<

Whew! That's a relief! Hey, you've convinced me! All we need is the right Constitution, then all will be fine.



Comment #95

Wednesday, January 11, 2006 at 6:48:59 mst
Name: Dave Harrison

Dave:"And again.....(I'll just keep repeating this at the end of every post until you answer it.): "Is a gang that murders but doesn't allow competition and "owns" a square mile of turf a state?"

Stephan: “I dunno. It sounds criminal, whether it's a state or not. Does not seem to fit the definition of a state, since it does not appear (as you describe it) to be *viewed as legitimate* by those whom it rules. Why do you ask? What does it matter? There are different types of aggression; nothing wrong with opposing them all.”

Dave: "I ask because you prefer anarchy because it anti-state, but it only substitutes one type of state for another. Further, (for reasons previously stated) the situation you want encourages far more aggression than the one I’m in favor of. This shows up contradictions in your position."

Stephen: (no response)

Please show why these are not contradictions in your position.



Comment #96

Sunday, January 15, 2006 at 18:16:56 mst
Name: Stephan Kinsella

Dave: "I ask because you prefer anarchy because it anti-state, but it only substitutes one type of state for another. Further, (for reasons previously stated) the situation you want encourages far more aggression than the one I’m in favor of. This shows up contradictions in your position."

I don't "prefer anarchy". Rather, as I have repeatedly said, my position is that aggression is unjustified; that the state necessarily employs aggression (even minarchy); and that the state is therefore unjustified. There is no contradiction in this position.

What I "want" is a situation in which both private crime, and public/institutionalized aggression, are eliminated or minimized. If there were no state, then there would be no institutionalized aggression; as aggression is unjustified, this seems to me ceteris paribus to be a good thing. I of course disagree that you have come anywhere close to showing that lack of institutionalized aggression "encourages" aggression. You have simply made assertions about what you imagine a private, free society would devolve into.



Comment #97

Monday, January 16, 2006 at 8:33:19 mst
Name: Dave Harrison

Dave:

"I ask because you prefer anarchy because it anti-state, but it only substitutes one type of state for another. Further, (for reasons previously stated) the situation you want encourages far more aggression than the one I’m in favor of. This shows up contradictions in your position."

Stephan:

"I don't "prefer anarchy". Rather, as I have repeatedly said, my position is that aggression is unjustified; that the state necessarily employs aggression (even minarchy); and that the state is therefore unjustified. There is no contradiction in this position."

Then are you in favor of an Objectivist-type minarchy or not? If not, throughout you have not advocated anything whatsoever that either eliminates or reduces a state or aggression. You have just traded one type of state for another and one type of aggression for another both of which are potentially far worse than said minarchy.

If you nevertheless somehow "like" these, or somehow think we'll be better off regardless, then we'll just have to agree to disagree.

Stephan:

"What I "want" is a situation in which both private crime, and public/institutionalized aggression, are eliminated or minimized. If there were no state, then there would be no institutionalized aggression; as aggression is unjustified, this seems to me ceteris paribus to be a good thing."

I agree. However, for reasons I gave above, you have presented in essence no solution. In other words, you have made no proposal that would reduce either the state or aggression. The state would merely be broken up into many smaller states, in toto probably far larger than a minarchy, many of which would use aggression as they see fit.

So it appears that you're arguing against yourself.

Stephan:

"I of course disagree that you have come anywhere close to showing that lack of institutionalized aggression "encourages" aggression. You have simply made assertions about what you imagine a private, free society would devolve into."

There is nothing I have to add here that would not sound repetitive. My position is as I have stated.



Comment #98

Monday, January 16, 2006 at 22:07:32 mst
Name: Stephan Kinsella
URL: http://www.StephanKinsella.com

Davester:

>SK: "What I "want" is a situation in which both private crime, and public/institutionalized aggression, are eliminated or minimized. If there were no state, then there would be no institutionalized aggression; as aggression is unjustified, this seems to me ceteris paribus to be a good thing."

>I agree. However, for reasons I gave above, you have presented in essence no solution. In other words, you have made no proposal that would reduce either the state or aggression.<

Well, for one, I abhor blurring the distinction between truth and strategy, so I never claimed to prsent a "solution". I don't actually think we'll achieve liberty, if you want me to bet or predict. Maybe in a billion years. Who knows. But in a sense I have: the problem is aggression; the "solution" is for people to choose not to commit it. This includes both private and public aggression. If there were no public aggression, there would be no state (so it would be "reduced"), and since there might still be private aggression, but public aggression would be gone, there would be a reduction in aggression.

> The state would merely be broken up into many smaller states, in toto probably far larger than a minarchy, many of which would use aggression as they see fit.<

Well, states always use aggression as they see fit, even if--or perhaps more so--they are big. You continue to evade the essential natureof the state which is that it employs aggression; and to therefore equate aggression-wielding states with non-aggression wielding private agencies. Why you simply assert that agencies that don't use aggression are states, I have no idea; nor why you simply assert that "many" defense agencies "would" employ aggression--all the while presupposing that a minarchist state would be "guaranteed" not to do so. It's really bizarre.



Comment #99

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 at 10:53:28 mst
Name: Dave Harrison


Stephan:

"The problem is aggression; the 'solution' is for people to choose not to commit it. This includes both private and public aggression."

Agreed.

Stephan:

"If there were no public aggression, there would be no state (so it would be 'reduced'), and since there might still be private aggression, but public aggression would be gone, there would be a reduction in aggression."

I disagree. On the contrary, any switch out of a minarchy would most likely increase aggression, for reasons I've given before; and more below.

Stephan:

"You continue to evade the essential nature of the state which is that it employs aggression;

And states will always exist in one form or another; states are made up of individuals; and individuals can be corrupt and some of these will aggress. Therefore there will always be aggression to some extent. My position is that an Objectivist-type minarchy has laws to minimize aggression; therefore said minarchy is likely the best of all possible governments.

Stephan:

"To equate aggression-wielding states with non-aggression wielding private agencies (is an error)."

As I've said, any private "rights-respecting" agency can become quite corrupt. For example, said agency can, "off the books" be into protection rackets, shakedowns, taking bribes, blackmail, as well as possible rights-destroying clashes with other agencies.

Or it could be bought out by criminals, changed by the Board, and so forth.

Further, the natural tendencies of said agencies will be to grow. Grow how? By acquisition, merger, murder/executions, theft, extortion and any other ways your imagination can conjure up.

Stephan:

"Why you simply assert that agencies that don't use aggression are states, I have no idea;"

On the contrary, I've explained numerous times that any government can include individual bureaucrats who are corrupt, and might therefore tend to aggress. There would be laws to help minimize this.

Stephan:

"Nor why you simply assert that 'many' defense agencies 'would' employ aggression"

Not necessarily, though.

Stephan:

"All the while presupposing that a minarchist state would be "guaranteed" not to do so."

Minimize; not guarantee. Please stop misquoting me.

Finally, I note that I've answered many of your questions more than once. Please try to keep your replies limited to new questions/comments, or we might as well quit.



Comment #100

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 at 21:41:50 mst
Name: Stephan Kinsella
URL: http://www.StephanKinsella.com

Dave:

"And states will always exist in one form or another; states are made up of individuals; and individuals can be corrupt and some of these will aggress. Therefore there will always be aggression to some extent. My position is that an Objectivist-type minarchy has laws to minimize aggression; therefore said minarchy is likely the best of all possible governments."

I think your error lies in this statement: you simply posit the minarchist state "has laws to minimize aggression". Why can't a private justice agency "have laws that minimize aggression"? Why does "having [such] laws" require the entity to commit aggression in eliminating other agencies? It makes no sense. Just because an agency does not have, or forswears, the use of aggression against other agencies, does not prevent it from having laws or rules that limit its commission of aggression.

>As I've said, any private "rights-respecting" agency can become quite corrupt. For example, said agency can, "off the books" be into protection rackets, shakedowns, taking bribes, blackmail, as well as possible rights-destroying clashes with other agencies.

Or it could be bought out by criminals, changed by the Board, and so forth.

Further, the natural tendencies of said agencies will be to grow. Grow how? By acquisition, merger, murder/executions, theft, extortion and any other ways your imagination can conjure up.<

Sorry, are you talking about states here? It seems like you are making the anarchist case. :)

>On the contrary, I've explained numerous times that any government can include individual bureaucrats who are corrupt, and might therefore tend to aggress. There would be laws to help minimize this.<

You continue to evade my essential point that even if a minarchy has no corrupt people, it commits aggresion by its nature. I am not speaking of abuses or excesses. I am speaking of what it does by its very function. You want it to use force to shut down other agencies, to prevent citizens from employing their services, despite the fact that none of these recipients of your state's violence have committed aggression.

>"All the while presupposing that a minarchist state would be "guaranteed" not to do so."

Minimize; not guarantee. Please stop misquoting me.<

So you favor minarchy because it has X% of respecting rights, while anarchy has only Y% where Y


Comment #101

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 at 8:45:23 mst
Name: Dave Harrison

Stephan:

“I think your error lies in this statement: you simply posit the minarchist state ‘has laws to minimize aggression’. Why can't a private justice agency ‘have laws that minimize aggression’?”

It could. But by being part of an active marketplace in agencies, gangs, militias, mobs and what have you, it’s much more susceptible to all kinds of change in its laws, structure, ethics, etc. on a short-term basis, therefore heightening the risks of everyone.

Stephan:

“Even if a minarchy has no corrupt people, it commits aggresion by its nature. I am not speaking of abuses or excesses. I am speaking of what it does by its very function. You want it to use force to shut down other agencies, to prevent citizens from employing their services, despite the fact that none of these recipients of your state's violence have committed aggression.”

The “force” you speak of is preventative/retaliatory force, in order to keep potential aggression by agencies and gangs at bay. I went into great detail about this before; I hope I don’t have to repeat myself.

(Your last answer was cut off).



Comment #102

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 at 9:45:04 mst
Name: Stephan Kinsella
URL: http://www.StephanKinsella.com

Dave: >“I think your error lies in this statement: you simply posit the minarchist state ‘has laws to minimize aggression’. Why can't a private justice agency ‘have laws that minimize aggression’?”

>It could. But by being part of an active marketplace in agencies, gangs, militias, mobs and what have you, it’s much more susceptible to all kinds of change in its laws, structure, ethics, etc. on a short-term basis, therefore heightening the risks of everyone.<

But this is just your guess; it's no argument or proof. Moreover, you are assuming the "marketplace" for liberty has gangs and mobs alongside "good" agencies. Why assume this? Do you assume your minarchist state is the only good state in a world of tyrannies--? and if so, why is it not "susceptible" to changes too? Look: don't you agree, that if ever did achieve even minarchy, it would have been after a process of continual improvement in the average person's understanding of economics and rights? That is, the only way we'd have a night-watchman state (minarchy), or withered-away state (anarchy), was after a process in which most people became libertarian. The only way to have your minarchy would be for most people to be very libertarian. Same with anarchy. In that case, of course one would expect "just" agencies to dominate the entire scene, and for mobs etc. to be regarded as private criminals and as aberrations and exceptions, not as "just another player on the scene".

>“Even if a minarchy has no corrupt people, it commits aggresion by its nature. I am not speaking of abuses or excesses. I am speaking of what it does by its very function. You want it to use force to shut down other agencies, to prevent citizens from employing their services, despite the fact that none of these recipients of your state's violence have committed aggression.”

>The “force” you speak of is preventative/retaliatory force, in order to keep potential aggression by agencies and gangs at bay. I went into great detail about this before; I hope I don’t have to repeat myself.<

No, you don't, but your assumption that your previous reply answered anything is false. You are in favor of aggressive force, even if you want to cover it with the word "preventive". It is NOT retaliatory at all; it is a preemptive or preventive measure against those who are not aggressors and not even threatening to aggress.



Comment #103

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 at 13:22:31 mst
Name: Dave Harrison

Stephan: “I think your error lies in this statement: you simply posit the minarchist state ‘has laws to minimize aggression’. Why can't a private justice agency ‘have laws that minimize aggression’?”

Dave: "It could. But by being part of an active marketplace in agencies, gangs, militias, mobs and what have you, it’s much more susceptible to all kinds of change in its laws, structure, ethics, etc. on a short-term basis, therefore heightening the risks of everyone."

Stephan: "But this is just your guess; it's no argument or proof."

You are the one who is making a political situation a politico-economic one. My "guess" is inductive, from observing and studying economics, politics and psychology for decades. Too much to put into a post. If you don't trust me on this one, we're at an impasse.

Stephan: "Moreover, you are assuming the "marketplace" for liberty has gangs and mobs alongside "good" agencies. Why assume this?"

There's little to stop them from proliferating.

Because there would be no laws dissuading them; little to stop them from proliferating. Sure, you have your agency, "protecting you." But they have theirs.

Stephan: "Do you assume your minarchist state is the only good state in a world of tyrannies--?"

For the sake of argument I will assume this.

Stephan: "...And if so, why is it not "susceptible" to changes too?"

It could change. But with one Constitution whose main purpose is to preserve and protect individual rights, and with the citizenry observing the benefits of this firsthand, I think any significant changes would be rather difficult, to say the least.

Stephan: "Look: don't you agree, that if ever did achieve even minarchy, it would have been after a process of continual improvement in the average person's understanding of economics and rights?"

Agreed.

Stephan: "That is, the only way we'd have a night-watchman state (minarchy), or withered-away state (anarchy), was after a process in which most people became libertarian. The only way to have your minarchy would be for most people to be very libertarian."

I disagree. Without a sufficient understanding of what liberty is and why liberty is important, a leap from a rights-respecting Objectivist-type minarchy to anarchy would be quite problematic. Rights do not have a significant role in anarchy. If they would, you'd have to have a minarchy to preserve and protect them. Preferably one that occupies a large geographic area and has sufficient strength in its military and police.

Stephan: "Same with anarchy. In that case, of course one would expect "just" agencies to dominate the entire scene, and for mobs etc. to be regarded as private criminals and as aberrations and exceptions, not as "just another player on the scene"."

I disagree. A mob or gang would be the exception in a minarchy; the rule (along with "good" agencies" in anarchy. This is because you have the rule of law and overall preservation and protection of individual rights in minarchy; these are not an essential part of any definition of anarchy that I'm aware of.

Stephan(1): “Even if a minarchy has no corrupt people, it commits aggresion by its nature. I am not speaking of abuses or excesses. I am speaking of what it does by its very function. You want it to use force to shut down other agencies, to prevent citizens from employing their services, despite the fact that none of these recipients of your state's violence have committed aggression.”

Dave(1): "The 'force' you speak of is preventative/retaliatory force, in order to keep potential aggression by agencies and gangs at bay. I went into great detail about this before; I hope I don’t have to repeat myself."

Stephen(2): "No, you don't, but your assumption that your previous reply answered anything is false. You are in favor of aggressive force, even if you want to cover it with the word "preventive". It is NOT retaliatory at all; it is a preemptive or preventive measure against those who are not aggressors and not even threatening to aggress."

Analogy: A law preventing the carrying of an Uzi. The carrier may have only the best of intentions but the law cannot get inside the mind of the carrier to verify this. Therefore it enacts a preventative measure as a practical solution. Same as driving with an open can of beer.



Comment #104

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 at 14:49:50 mst
Name: Steve D'Ippolito

"Analogy: A law preventing the carrying of an Uzi. The carrier may have only the best of intentions but the law cannot get inside the mind of the carrier to verify this. Therefore it enacts a preventative measure as a practical solution. Same as driving with an open can of beer. "

To summarize all of this up to this point, it's a matter of whether a government can justly pass laws that constitute "prior restraint."--a law which makes it illegal, not to do a specific thing, but to merely be in a position to do that thing. I know that most libertarians who are *not* anarchists say the answer is "no". I am not sure what Ayn Rand would have said.

A slightly different issue are laws against creating a hazard--drunk driving being one of those. (A sober person carrying an Uzi is not this--the Uzi needing a conscious act to go off--unless he is walking around with his finger on the trigger, at which point tripping over a crack in the sidewalk could have nasty consequences.) As long as you made it home without hitting anything, the only thing you did was create a hazard. Again I am not sure what Ayn Rand would have said regardting this but I suspect she would uphold such laws.



Comment #105

Thursday, January 19, 2006 at 16:42:50 mst
Name: Stephan Kinsella
URL: http://www.StephanKinsella.com

Dave:

>You are the one who is making a political situation a politico-economic one. My "guess" is inductive, from observing and studying economics, politics and psychology for decades. Too much to put into a post. If you don't trust me on this one, we're at an impasse.<

Yes; but it's more than that; you base your case on your guess, or prediction, almost in consequentialist fashion. I do not. I oppose aggression since I believe it is immoral. Period. My case is principled.

>Stephan: "Moreover, you are assuming the "marketplace" for liberty has gangs and mobs alongside "good" agencies. Why assume this?"

>There's little to stop them from proliferating.

Because there would be no laws dissuading them; little to stop them from proliferating. Sure, you have your agency, "protecting you." But they have theirs.<

You seem to be confusing things (you are confusing me). There are two issues: the prevalence world-wide of good or bad agencies; and the likelihood of a given agency's becoming corrupt.

In anarchy if we had a good agency, yes, it would be in a world of other agencies. I don't think it makes sense to expect most of them to be bad. The USA region is relatively homogenous in values and if one area became libertarian enough that the state withered away, and the rest of the area too, then why expect there would be a proliferation of bad agencies? It makes no sense. The state withers *because people deny it legitimacy* -- because they become more freedom loving. For the same reason, gangs would not have legitimacy and would just be gangs--seen as outlaws. Just criminals. Which have to be dealt with in any world.

>Stephan: "Do you assume your minarchist state is the only good state in a world of tyrannies--?"

For the sake of argument I will assume this.

Stephan: "...And if so, why is it not "susceptible" to changes too?"

It could change. But with one Constitution whose main purpose is to preserve and protect individual rights, and with the citizenry observing the benefits of this firsthand, I think any significant changes would be rather difficult, to say the least.<

The problem is you simply do not see that this is the same with the state. Any given agency will have "one Constitution" that defines the agency's ambit and mission and guiding principles. Why assume these are unlibertarian when you assume your state's are not?

Is your basic problem one of granularit? that is, you think maybe a one-world state would be ideal, but barring that, 200 or so large-ish states will also work; but 200 million defense agencies just can't? Is that your basic concern? 200 is not too much, but 200 million is?

>Stephan: "That is, the only way we'd have a night-watchman state (minarchy), or withered-away state (anarchy), was after a process in which most people became libertarian. The only way to have your minarchy would be for most people to be very libertarian."

>I disagree.<

Hold on. YOu do agree that for the large modern state to start to shrivel and shrink, requires "a process in which most people became libertarian. The only way to have your minarchy would be for most people to be very libertarian." -- right? You just object that they would take the next step, to anarchy. Right?

>Without a sufficient understanding of what liberty is and why liberty is important, a leap from a rights-respecting Objectivist-type minarchy to anarchy would be quite problematic. Rights do not have a significant role in anarchy.<

I think anarchy happens *because* and to the extent people respect rights!

> If they would, you'd have to have a minarchy to preserve and protect them.<

question begging.

>Stephan: "Same with anarchy. In that case, of course one would expect "just" agencies to dominate the entire scene, and for mobs etc. to be regarded as private criminals and as aberrations and exceptions, not as "just another player on the scene"."

I disagree. A mob or gang would be the exception in a minarchy; the rule (along with "good" agencies" in anarchy. This is because you have the rule of law and overall preservation and protection of individual rights in minarchy;<

? by definition?

> these are not an essential part of any definition of anarchy that I'm aware of.<

What? Anarchy is the state (no pun) in which a sufficient majority of people are so libertarian and so-rights-respecting that they won't condone even the fairly minor aggression a minarchist state needs to commit in order to survive. Anarchy is just the *absence of institutionalized aggression*, or, the *absence of institutionalized violation of rights*. Of COURSE part of its "definition" (really, its nature) is respect for rights.
>Analogy: A law preventing the carrying of an Uzi. The carrier may have only the best of intentions but the law cannot get inside the mind of the carrier to verify this. Therefore it enacts a preventative measure as a practical solution. Same as driving with an open can of beer.<

Well, yes, but inapt analogy. The only difference between the state and a (good) private agency, is that the state is willing to use force to outlaw competition (or tax people). There is no reason the private agency cannot have the same commitment to fair procedures and respect for individual rights that the minarchy has. So what, exactly, justifies the state attacking a given PDA? The PDA does NOTHING that the State does not do; in fact, the obverse is true. The minarchy and PDA both respect rights etc; but the minarchy presumes to be able to forcefully shut down the PDA merely because it is a competitor. If the PDA started taxing people or shutting down its competitors, would it then garner the respect of the minarchy? I guess so, since most of you minarchists don't seem to say any minarchy has a right to invade another minarchy simply because it jeopardizes the first minarchy's nice, neat monopoly.

Steve D'Ippolito:

>To summarize all of this up to this point, it's a matter of whether a government can justly pass laws that constitute "prior restraint."--a law which makes it illegal, not to do a specific thing, but to merely be in a position to do that thing. I know that most libertarians who are *not* anarchists say the answer is "no". I am not sure what Ayn Rand would have said.<

Well, I believe Rand, to her credit, would oppose prior restraint; OTOH, she would not admit that a minarchy invading a PDA would be prior restraint. She would use a tack similar to what Dave is doing: he says "preventive" force is okay; without admitting that it is aggression (but without showing that it is responsive).



Comment #106

Friday, January 20, 2006 at 19:35:59 mst
Name: Dave Harrison


Stephan: "You base your case on your guess, or prediction, almost in consequentialist fashion. I do not. I oppose aggression since I believe it is immoral. Period. My case is principled."

You are guessing there will freedom for (practically) all under your scenario. urther, you say you believe aggression is immoral, yet you propose a scernario that will essentially guarantee it.

My case is both principled and practical, for reasons already stated. It would be irrational to focus on one or the other.

Stephan:"There are two issues: The prevalence world-wide of good or bad agencies; and the likelihood of a given agency's becoming corrupt."

Separate yet related.

Stephan:"In anarchy if we had a good agency, yes, it would be in a world of other agencies. I don't think it makes sense to expect most of them to be bad."

Why not?

Stephan:"The state withers *because people deny it legitimacy* -- because they become more freedom loving."

If they were really freedom-loving they would want an overarching minarchy to preserve and protect their freedoms.

Stephan:"For the same reason, gangs would not have legitimacy and would just be gangs--seen as outlaws.

Outlaws? Out - what laws? Whose laws? Would not rights-respecting agencies be outlaws from the viewpoint of a gang who believes that a woman who commits adultery should be stoned to death?

Stephan:"The problem is you simply do not see that this is the same with the state. Any given agency will have "one Constitution" that defines the agency's ambit and mission and guiding principles. Why assume these are unlibertarian when you assume your state's are not?"

Many of their so-called "constitutions" will be formed for the very purpose of putting other people in harms way if that's what it takes to get what the members want. Mine will be essentially protected, at least by law and threat of punishment for violation of such.

Stephan: "Is your basic problem one of granularit? that is, you think maybe a one-world state would be ideal, but barring that, 200 or so large-ish states will also work; but 200 million defense agencies just can't? Is that your basic concern? 200 is not too much, but 200 million is?"

The smaller, the less they (say a tiny minarchy or agency) will be able to protect their citizenry from the mob on the next block or across the river.

Stephan:"You do agree that for the large modern state to start to shrivel and shrink, requires "a process in which most people became libertarian.
The only way to have your minarchy would be for most people to be very libertarian. -- right?"

Wrong. I believe that those who become "libertarian" in the proper way would want the state to shrink to a minarchy, but no more, because they want their freedoms preserved and protected. What good is such an ersatz-"freedom" when its short-term survivability is completely unpredictable and/or has the life expectancy of a housefly and/or evaporates as a popsicle on a hot sidewalk? I'll tell you: No good at all. "Well, a good day today! I was free!" "What about tomorrow?" "Oh, don't bother me with such trivialities."

My freedom includes sleeping well at night.

Stephan:"Anarchy is the state (no pun) in which a sufficient majority of people are so libertarian and so-rights-respecting that they won't condone even the fairly minor aggression a minarchist state needs to commit in order to survive."

Right. They prefer to put up with the massive and more deadly aggression that would take its place.

Stephan:"Anarchy is just the *absence of institutionalized aggression*, or, the *absence of institutionalized violation of rights*. Of COURSE part of its "definition" (really, its nature) is respect for rights."

This is all self-contradictory. If they did want these things, they'd also want preservation and protection of it; the only proper way (as I've explained) is with an Objectivist-type minarchy.

Dave:"Analogy: (re a law against competing governments) A law preventing the carrying of an Uzi. The carrier may have only the best of intentions but the law cannot get inside the mind of the carrier to verify this. Therefore it enacts a preventative measure as a practical solution. Same as driving with an open can of beer."

Stephan:"Well, yes, but inapt analogy. The only difference between the state and a (good) private agency, is that the state is willing to use force to outlaw competition (or tax people). There is no reason the private agency cannot have the same commitment to fair procedures and respect for individual rights that the minarchy has."

An agency of seven men of the utmost moral and political stature could very well be a good thing within limits. Limits including the seven gangs in the surrounding area, each consisting of 50 members and a host of high-powered weapons. I will give you that that good agency has the fairest procedures that the human mind can conceive of. But somehow I'm still not comfortable...

Stephan:"So what, exactly, justifies the state attacking a given PDA? The PDA does NOTHING that the State does not do; in fact, the obverse is true. The minarchy and PDA both respect rights etc; but the minarchy presumes to be able to forcefully shut down the PDA merely because it is a competitor. If the PDA started taxing people or shutting down its competitors, would it then garner the respect of the minarchy? I guess so, since most of you minarchists don't seem to say any minarchy has a right to invade another minarchy simply because it jeopardizes the first minarchy's nice, neat monopoly."

Your problem is that you've got myopia. You're focusing only on a "good" PDA completely out of context. Look at the rest of the forest and you'll see what I mean. I've explained this and related issues many times thus far. And your "lone minarchy" is not an analogy, because of reasons I've already given as well.

I think you'd better save hard copies of our discussion; you appear to have issues with remembering things.



Comment #107

Monday, January 23, 2006 at 0:53:31 mst
Name: Stephan Kinsella
URL: http://www.StephanKinsella.com

Dave:

>Stephan: "You base your case on your guess, or prediction, almost in consequentialist fashion. I do not. I oppose aggression since I believe it is immoral. Period. My case is principled."

>You are guessing there will freedom for (practically) all under your scenario. urther, you say you believe aggression is immoral, yet you propose a scernario that will essentially guarantee it.<

Not at all. My "scenario" is the absence of institutionalized aggression. Are you in favor of institutionalized aggression? How does removing one major source of aggression "guarantee" aggression?

>My case is both principled and practical, for reasons already stated. It would be irrational to focus on one or the other.<

Well, we certainly don't want to be "irrational." That would be, um, irrational.

>Stephan:"In anarchy if we had a good agency, yes, it would be in a world of other agencies. I don't think it makes sense to expect most of them to be bad."

Why not?<

Dude, have you ever read the Market for Liberty, or Rothbard, or Benson, anything on this? Because for one, if we ever got there, as I have repeated umpteen fricking times now, it would be because the populace had become more freedom loving. So there would be little support for the legitimacy of criminal gangs. Moreover, you do believe that freedom is more efficient and productive, right? The "bad" agencies would bear costs that would make them uncompetitive. Lower cost to resolving disputes by negotiation than by war.

>Stephan:"The state withers *because people deny it legitimacy* -- because they become more freedom loving."

If they were really freedom-loving they would want an overarching minarchy to preserve and protect their freedoms.<

Could be. Sure. Could well be. But that does not change the fact that that anarchy would commit aggression. So all you are saying here is if people are "rational" they will, along with you, be in favor of aggression (that needed by the minarchy to exist qua minarchy). Why not just come out with it, dude?

>Stephan:"For the same reason, gangs would not have legitimacy and would just be gangs--seen as outlaws.

Outlaws? Out - what laws? Whose laws? Would not rights-respecting agencies be outlaws from the viewpoint of a gang who believes that a woman who commits adultery should be stoned to death?<

Are you a positivist? Do you believe law *is* simply what the monopolistic state decrees? I don't. I thought Randians didn't.

Are you a relativist? I'm not. I don't equate the desires and viewpoints of criminals with those of rights-respecting individuals.

>Stephan:"The problem is you simply do not see that this is the same with the state. Any given agency will have "one Constitution" that defines the agency's ambit and mission and guiding principles. Why assume these are unlibertarian when you assume your state's are not?"

Many of their so-called "constitutions" will be formed for the very purpose of putting other people in harms way if that's what it takes to get what the members want. Mine will be essentially protected, at least by law and threat of punishment for violation of such.<

Ah. So it's all settled then. Okay, let's go ahead and have our organizational minarchist meeting.

>Stephan: "Is your basic problem one of granularit? that is, you think maybe a one-world state would be ideal, but barring that, 200 or so large-ish states will also work; but 200 million defense agencies just can't? Is that your basic concern? 200 is not too much, but 200 million is?"

The smaller, the less they (say a tiny minarchy or agency) will be able to protect their citizenry from the mob on the next block or across the river.<

Right. So is there and "objectively, rational" optimal number? Is it 1? 10? Six Hundred and Sixty-Six?

>Stephan:"You do agree that for the large modern state to start to shrivel and shrink, requires "a process in which most people became libertarian.
The only way to have your minarchy would be for most people to be very libertarian. -- right?"

Wrong. I believe that those who become "libertarian" in the proper way would want the state to shrink to a minarchy, but no more, because they want their freedoms preserved and protected.<

? hunh? You just repeated what I said. Why you say "wrong", kemosabe? Me no capito.

>What good is such an ersatz-"freedom" when its short-term survivability is completely unpredictable and/or has the life expectancy of a housefly and/or evaporates as a popsicle on a hot sidewalk? I'll tell you: No good at all. "Well, a good day today! I was free!" "What about tomorrow?" "Oh, don't bother me with such trivialities."<

I think you utterly misunderstand--purposefully or not, I cannot say--what I am saying.

>My freedom includes sleeping well at night.<

But you can't sleep at night if you run around advocating institutionalized aggression. YOu would feel too guilty. Sort of like those Objectivists who like to be benevolent and charitable but feel guilty about it. :)

>Stephan:"Anarchy is the state (no pun) in which a sufficient majority of people are so libertarian and so-rights-respecting that they won't condone even the fairly minor aggression a minarchist state needs to commit in order to survive."

Right. They prefer to put up with the massive and more deadly aggression that would take its place.<

Ho-kay. You sound Orwellian to me. If you remove the major source of aggression--institutionalized aggression--that means there is more aggression. As Rand would say: blank-out!

>Stephan:"Anarchy is just the *absence of institutionalized aggression*, or, the *absence of institutionalized violation of rights*. Of COURSE part of its "definition" (really, its nature) is respect for rights."

This is all self-contradictory. If they did want these things, they'd also want preservation and protection of it; the only proper way (as I've explained) is with an Objectivist-type minarchy.<

No; the only way is with a Constitution written on parchment, in black ink, in English, with less than 5,000 words. Everyone knows that.

>Stephan:"Well, yes, but inapt analogy. The only difference between the state and a (good) private agency, is that the state is willing to use force to outlaw competition (or tax people). There is no reason the private agency cannot have the same commitment to fair procedures and respect for individual rights that the minarchy has."

>An agency of seven men of the utmost moral and political stature could very well be a good thing within limits. Limits including the seven gangs in the surrounding area, each consisting of 50 members and a host of high-powered weapons. I will give you that that good agency has the fairest procedures that the human mind can conceive of. But somehow I'm still not comfortable...<

Thanks, -- so-- you are with me now in opposing states? Or do I misread you? :)

>Stephan:"So what, exactly, justifies the state attacking a given PDA? The PDA does NOTHING that the State does not do; in fact, the obverse is true. The minarchy and PDA both respect rights etc; but the minarchy presumes to be able to forcefully shut down the PDA merely because it is a competitor. If the PDA started taxing people or shutting down its competitors, would it then garner the respect of the minarchy? I guess so, since most of you minarchists don't seem to say any minarchy has a right to invade another minarchy simply because it jeopardizes the first minarchy's nice, neat monopoly."

Your problem is that you've got myopia. You're focusing only on a "good" PDA completely out of context.<

Oh, I was waiting for the "context-dropping" criticism. Man.

>I think you'd better save hard copies of our discussion; you appear to have issues with remembering things.<

Mayhap. But at least I don't advocate aggression; and I don't equivocate about what I believe. I state it plainly like a man. You are plainly in favor of aggression but you refuse to acknowledge it. It's very simple, really. Any force that is in response to initiated force is not aggression. Force that is used against someone which is not in response to aggression is necesarily aggression. It's sort of a logical thing: force is divided into aggression (initiated force), and non-aggression (force in response to aggression).

You have admitted that your minarchy has to use "preventive" force against competing agencies; that this force is not in response to aggression. So it is necessarily itself initiated force. For you to say, "no, it's preventive force" is not a denial. It does not matter whether the force you advocate is "preventive" or not--the question is, is it in response to aggression, or is it not? If it is not, it is itself aggression. Period. It may be preventive. It may even be *justified*. Go ahead and try; give it a shot. But it *is* aggression. You may think it's necessary, since without this little bit of aggression, greater aggression will occur. That's an understandable and respectable argument and position; why not come out with it, plainly and honestly, like a man? Don't be afraid to accurately state your real view, just because you are afraid other reindeer--I mean, Randians--will say you are a "compromiser" or something. Just my advice. Free. Kay?



Comment #108

Tuesday, January 24, 2006 at 8:48:44 mst
Name: Dave Harrison

Dave: “You are guessing there will be freedom for (practically) all under your scenario. Further, you say you believe aggression is immoral, yet you propose a scenario that will essentially guarantee it.

Stephan: “Not at all. My "scenario" is the absence of institutionalized aggression.”

No it isn’t. Your scenario fosters proliferation of gangs, which aggress.

Stephan: “Are you in favor of institutionalized aggression?”

No.

Stephan: “How does removing one major source of aggression "guarantee" aggression?”

Question begging. Please restate.

Stephan:"In anarchy if we had a good agency, yes, it would be in a world of other agencies. I don't think it makes sense to expect most of them to be bad."

Why not?

Stephan: “Dude, have you ever read the Market for Liberty, or Rothbard, or Benson…”

Some Rothbard; otherwise, no.

Stephan: “(Have you read) …anything on this?”

Cite the work and I’ll tell you.

Stephan: “Because for one, if we ever got there, as I have repeated umpteen fricking times now, it would be because the populace had become more freedom loving.”

However, since freedom-loving in a rational sense implies desire for preservation and protection of freedoms and individual rights, which can only be adequately supplied in a minarchy, as I have repeated umpteen fricking times now, we will never “get there” (i.e., to your scenario), unless and to the extent your so-called “freedom-lovers” are irrational.

Stephan: “So there would be little support for the legitimacy of criminal gangs.”

Oh, I’ve no doubt they’ll be disliked.

Stephan: “Moreover, you do believe that freedom is more efficient and productive, right?”

Certainly not your brand of ersatz-freedom.

Stephan: “The "bad" agencies would bear costs that would make them uncompetitive.”

Such as…?

Stephan: “Lower cost to resolving disputes by negotiation than by war.”

”Give us $5,000 protection money for the month plus your wife for the weekend or we burn down both you and your little agency in 24 hours.” Yeah, I guess that seems pretty low-cost.

Stephan:"The state withers *because people deny it legitimacy* -- because they become more freedom loving."

If they were really freedom-loving they would want an overarching minarchy to preserve and protect their freedoms.

Stephan: “Could be. Sure. Could well be. But that does not change the fact that that anarchy would commit aggression.”

Anarchy fosters aggression. And now you agree?
Stephan: “So all you are saying here is if people are "rational" they will, along with you, be in favor of aggression (that needed by the minarchy to exist qua minarchy).

No; they will be in favor of an Objectivist-type minarchy because they will recognize that that minimizes aggression because it maximizes preservation and protection of individual rights.

Do I need to repeat this another dozen times for it to get through?

Stephan:"For the same reason, gangs would not have legitimacy and would just be gangs--seen as outlaws.

Outlaws? Out - what laws? Whose laws? Would not rights-respecting agencies be outlaws from the viewpoint of a gang who believes that a woman who commits adultery should be stoned to death?

Stephan: “Are you a positivist? Do you believe law *is* simply what the monopolistic state decrees? I don't. I thought Randians didn't.”

Of course not. Law should consist of that which protects individual rights.

Stephan: “Are you a relativist? I'm not.”

I’m not either.

Stephan: “I don't equate the desires and viewpoints of criminals with those of rights-respecting individuals.”

Neither do I.

Stephan: "Is your basic problem one of granularit? that is, you think maybe a one-world state would be ideal, but barring that, 200 or so large-ish states will also work; but 200 million defense agencies just can't? Is that your basic concern? 200 is not too much, but 200 million is?"

The smaller, the less they (say a tiny minarchy or agency) will be able to protect their citizenry from the mob on the next block or across the river.

Stephan: “Right. So is there an "objectively, rational" optimal number?”

One world-wide minarchy would be optimal.

Stephan:"You do agree that for the large modern state to start to shrivel and shrink, requires "a process in which most people became libertarian.
The only way to have your minarchy would be for most people to be very libertarian. -- right?"

Wrong. I believe that those who become "libertarian" in the proper way would want the state to shrink to a minarchy, but no more, because they want their freedoms preserved and protected.

Stephan: “? hunh? You just repeated what I said. Why you say "wrong", kemosabe? Me no capito.

Define “libertarian” then.

My freedom includes sleeping well at night.

Stephan: “But you can't sleep at night if you run around advocating institutionalized aggression. You would feel too guilty. Sort of like those Objectivists who like to be benevolent and charitable but feel guilty about it. :)”

If I ever decided to advocate institutionalized aggression, I’ll try to make sure that you’d be the first to know how guilty I felt.

Stephan:"Anarchy is the state (no pun) in which a sufficient majority of people are so libertarian and so-rights-respecting that they won't condone even the fairly minor aggression a minarchist state needs to commit in order to survive."

Right. They prefer to put up with the massive and more deadly aggression that would take its place.

Stephan: “Ho-kay. You sound Orwellian to me. If you remove the major source of aggression--institutionalized aggression--that means there is more aggression. As Rand would say: blank-out!”

Seriously…do I really have to explain this one all over to you? Perhaps you can’t find success against my ideas, so you’re going for a real weakness…my hand-fatigue from typing and re-typing the same thing over and over. If the latter is the case, I’ll happily declare that you’re the winner. Okay?

Dave: "An agency of seven men of the utmost moral and political stature could very well be a good thing within limits. Limits including the seven gangs in the surrounding area, each consisting of 50 members and a host of high-powered weapons. I will give you that that good agency has the fairest procedures that the human mind can conceive of. But somehow I'm still not comfortable..."

Stephan: “Thanks, -- so-- you are with me now in opposing states? Or do I misread you? :)”

Notwithstanding your grin, well, there is a little implication in my comment. Let me know if that’s gone over your head and I’ll spell it out for you. (sigh) For the umpteenth frickin time.

Stephan: “At least I don't advocate aggression.”

No; you just advocate an open, dirty wound. You can’t help what festers and grows there.

Stephan: “You are plainly in favor of aggression but you refuse to acknowledge it. Any force that is in response to initiated force is not aggression. Force that is used against someone which is not in response to aggression is necessarily aggression. It's sort of a logical thing: force is divided into aggression (initiated force), and non-aggression (force in response to aggression). You have admitted that your minarchy has to use "preventive" force against competing agencies; that this force is not in response to aggression. So it is necessarily itself initiated force. For you to say, "no, it's preventive force" is not a denial. It does not matter whether the force you advocate is "preventive" or not--the question is, is it in response to aggression, or is it not? If it is not, it is itself aggression. Period. It may be preventive. It may even be *justified*. Go ahead and try; give it a shot. But it *is* aggression. You may think it's necessary, since without this little bit of aggression, greater aggression will occur. That's an understandable and respectable argument and position.”

I don’t see a law protecting people from aggression as aggression. If you insist on calling a law preventing people from shouting “fire” in a crowded movie theatre as aggression against those people, I couldn’t care less. Call it whatever you want. The essence and purpose here, however, is that people are protected by this law and to focus on a sole psychopath’s “lack of freedom” here is not a rational consideration (insert violin dirge for the psychopath here). This is ersatz-freedom and therefore the preventative measure might be an ersatz-aggression, but no more.

The fact that a given person shouting “fire” may have done so innocently (say his cinnamon candy was too hot for him and he jokingly shouted “fire” without thinking) is irrelevant. The rule is rational, because it is in place to protect people. Even a bad perp himself is protected, although he may not know it. As with the beer can or Uzi examples, the others will just have to put up with it. If they don’t like it, they’re free to leave the country.



Comment #109

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 at 9:34:10 mst
Name: Dave Harrison

Stephan:

Thanks for a fascinating and civil discussion. I'm out of here. If you'd like to continue, my e-mail is open.

Dave



Comment #110

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 at 23:54:25 mst
Name: Stephan Kinsella
URL: http://www.StephanKinsella.com

Dave-- okay, sounds good. I think we've flogged this one to death. I'm just glad you finally admit I won. :)

Seriously, let me just thank you for admitting, "One world-wide minarchy would be optimal."

Until the next battle of the titans, I am, yours etc., --