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Online Comics => Escape From Terra => Topic started by: deliberatus on July 18, 2010, 07:51:28 am

Title: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: deliberatus on July 18, 2010, 07:51:28 am
So, in a society with NO government (besides this amusing hobby of King Reggie) there is no formal police force. So here we  have a nice dollop of organized crime, possibly definable as piracy, CERTAINLY as claim jumping. So how does this society, presented apparently as the ideal society, deal with these antisocial persons?

Assume nothing about the person writing this, i wear many hats as it suites the moment. I am married to NONE of them.  ;D
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: SandySandfort on July 18, 2010, 09:37:17 am
I don't know where to begin. This screed is brimming with "questions" predicated upon unwarranted assumptions. Let's begin with the Subject:

"Law and order where there is neither?"

What justifies the assumption that there is no law or order in an anarchy? There, of course, are no government laws, by definition. But the classic example of where "laws" arise where there is not government is pickup basket ball. A bunch of people meet at the court and decide to play a game. What government law determines the rules? Yet somehow rules are agreed upon and the game is played.

The second assumption is the most preposterous. That being there is no order if there is no government. Purely out of self-interest, people develop and adhere to orderly standards. Those that don't play by the rules are "out of the club." This is what business ethics is all about. Extremely sophisticated codes of behavior, such as the Lex mercatoria (Law Merchant) developed to avoid pissing contests between merchants and between merchants and their customers. With government, rules are made that do not enhance the market and lead to such disorder as police riots.

So, in a society with NO government (besides this amusing hobby of King Reggie) there is no formal police force. So here we  have a nice dollop of organized crime, possibly definable as piracy...

Interesting assumption. Please justify why you think there would be organized crime? As we all (should) know, organized crime flourishes where governments arbitrarily interfere with the market (prohibition of businesses such as alcohol, drugs, prostitution, scalping, gambling, etc.) Legalize all drugs tomorrow and the dope peddlers go out of business. At the same time, drug related crimes drop precipitously. Ditto for the other prohibitions of consensual activities.

Piracy? Please. There is plenty of piracy now, due in large part to the government laws that deny effective self-defense to merchant ships. The war ships sent to "protect" merchant ships are almost always too late to do anything meaningful.

... CERTAINLY as claim jumping. So how does this society, presented apparently as the ideal society, deal with these antisocial persons?

No need to be snide and inaccurate.   ;)

Nowhere has anyone suggested that anarchy is ideal. It's just better than government. As to your questions. Claim jumping is far less likely then you seem to image. In the Old West, essentially all claims were regulated and registered by private mining groups. Anti-social types would be handled pretty much based on how anti-social they were. We saw what Butcher Harris got; in the current arc, we are dealing with claim jumpers and pirates and thieves, oh my! Let's see how that turns out.

Assume nothing about the person writing this, i wear many hats as it suites the moment. I am married to NONE of them.  ;D

What?!   :o

You hand us a load of assumptions and tell us to assume nothing about you? That is just too rich. Thanks, but no thanks. My assumption is that you are wearing your shit-disturbing troll hat. Hey, good luck with that. You are dealing with some of the smartest forum members on the net. You are in over your head, my friend. Nice try though.  ::)
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on July 18, 2010, 06:48:25 pm
Thanks to the previous poster for answering the latest troll.

I'll just toss out one key idea for the infinite supply of doubters: the lack of a ruler ( which is what anarchy literally means ) does not mean a lack of law. This is not a hypothetical distinction; there are many, many examples of people creating workable laws as needed without having to rely upon governments.

Sandy recently posted this url http://www.ozarkia.net/bill/anarchism/faq.html

See in particular this refutation of the myth that "Government is the only way to solve problem X."

"This is the fallacy of government solipotence - the erroneous belief that only the State can solve society's problems. In fact, every valid service that governments now perform can be done more morally, and usually better, by voluntary means. Virtually every current government service has been done, at some time in history, by voluntary means. Private roads, private courts, police, and legal systems, cheap private health insurance, mail delivery, quality control certification, wildlife preservation, and so on have all been done privately."

Police, law, and courts have all been developed privately, and have worked quite well, in some cases for hundreds of years.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on July 19, 2010, 01:50:55 am
So, in a society with NO government (besides this amusing hobby of King Reggie) there is no formal police force. So here we  have a nice dollop of organized crime, possibly definable as piracy, CERTAINLY as claim jumping. So how does this society, presented apparently as the ideal society, deal with these antisocial persons?

The story hasn't yet described how this will work out.

But one way it could work in general, is that it is indeed a society. Get caught doing things that people generally disapprove of, and they will disapprove of you. They don't do business with you, or only at extra-high prices. It takes some pretty rich criminal pickings to do better than way than by being honest. And what if the place you're in gets hit by a meteorite and nobody comes to help you?

Why that approach fails in the USA is that we have multiple societies, and some of them are criminal societies. You get mafias when ethnic groups are discriminated against, and they don't see better opportunities. Then when each ethnic group gets assimilated and does get legitimate chances, the mafias dwindle. We had an irish mafia, an italian mafia, a chinese mafia, a korean mafia, a vietnamese mafia, etc. All of them still exist to some extent except perhaps the irish one which gets no publicity. Blacks have not been assimilated well and so it sometimes happens that black jurors will acquit blacks accused of crimes against whites, on general principle. Government is a contributing factor to the problems, but the central issue is multiple societies trying to coexist when some of them suffer economic discrimination.

I expect that in Sandy's story it will turn out that government agents believe they will not have to live with public disapproval. They can do their dirty work anonymously and then go home to earth etc where no one will know or care about their crimes. This has been the case for almost every crime that has been shown so far. An invading fleet. Two assassins. Etc. The one exception I noticed was a refugee who stole a meal in desperation, who then gladly accepted job offers.

By assumption, this is a society where there are more than enough opportunities to go around. Arrive as a refugee and get many chances. There is no need for a criminal underclass. There will be some people who do shady deals, but not enough to be particularly important. It's like, if you could make $100,000/year honestly or $125,000 working just as hard but doing things a lot of people would disapprove of, which would you do?

Could a society be built that depended on the collective will of the people to enforce the laws? Certainly! It's often been that way. Would it provide perfect justice? No. There would be powerful people who could safely do things you would consider wrong, things that less-powerful people could not do. That's always true, it's a big part of what it means to be powerful. Any society will give some people rights that other people don't get. But such a society could be reasonably orderly, reasonably safe, and could (but might not) provide a degree of justice better than what we have today.

If these claim-jumpers turn out to be government agents, Sandy's fictional society will presumably deal with them the way the leaders of the invasion force were dealt with, if they get caught. If they escape to Terra then presumably the society will collectively shrug and put the matter aside.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: dough560 on July 19, 2010, 03:22:40 am
See my posts on Natural and Situational Law.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on July 19, 2010, 01:15:44 pm
Why that approach fails in the USA is that we have multiple societies, and some of them are criminal societies. You get mafias when ethnic groups are discriminated against, and they don't see better opportunities.
Generalizing this a bit more, this is, to me, a big reason why it appears we need government.

In general, even in a "Wild West" situation, there is indeed a pretty broad consensus that things like stealing and murder and rape are wrong. So self-defense and vigilante justice may well be good enough - and, in fact, might even work better at ensuring public safety than governments are doing for us right now.

But a society with deep ethnic or religious divisions, on the other hand - like Yugoslavia or Iraq - seems to need a government to hold it together. I agree, though, that there is a better answer: partition them into smaller pieces. A small piece, with only people belonging to one faction, would be a society of people who want to work together, not kill each other. Even if there were still government, there would only be a need for a tolerable amount of it.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: WarpZone on July 20, 2010, 05:58:05 am
Guys, it's not that big of a deal.

The original poster is asking you to provide more information about a process he admits he doesn't understand because it's not explored in the comic.

These people aren't trolls.  These are ordinary people who are not familiar with Anarchy and are curious to learn more.

If you keep going "OMG it's a troll!" every time someone new asks a question, how do you expect us to learn anything?
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Azure Priest on July 20, 2010, 07:27:47 am
Sorry, Sandy. Making drugs legal will NOT "make dope peddlers go away." There are numerous instances where drugs ARE legal and YET "organized crime" comes into play.

Tobacco. While it IS legal to smoke in places like Canada and Alaska, police are shot, and killed every day by cigarette smugglers who undersell legitimate tobacco merchants.

Oxycontin. Yes, it is LEGAL to get Oxycontin with a valid prescription, but because of the dangerous side effects of the drug, (euphoria, chemical dependence, possible nerve deafness, etc.) it has to be dispensed with utmost care.

Many "back alley" merchants don't CARE about the side effects and CRUSH the pills either to concentrate the "high" of the narcotic effect OR to distribute the drug to people WITHOUT prescriptions for profit. These folks tend to shoot at cops, "clients," each other, and generally anyone whom they (in their paranoid drug dealer way) think MIGHT be a threat to their "profits."

And I happen to know this is true first hand because I work in a pharmacy and recently someone with a valid prescription tried to con our store and the police into getting a replacement "fill" because his script was "misplaced." (Turns out, after review of the security footage, the one who wanted a refill had "pocketed the pills" and hidden his prescription bag on the store shelves to make it look like he never got it.)

And for those who say "making drugs legal makes them 'safe.'" I should point out that there is a LEGAL version of Marijuana in California known as "spice." After its introduction, visits to the emergency room skyrocketed due to side effects, overdose, etc. from the legal "correct" use of the drug.

It should be pointed out that according to the history books I've read, Bert and Ernie's situation is the reason for the Town Sheriff being created as an entity seeing as the US Army couldn't effectively patrol the entirety of the "Wild West." (Hence the name.)
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: SandySandfort on July 20, 2010, 11:51:05 am
If that were the case, you trolls would be treated with more respect. However, your questions show little or no respect for the people whom you are asking. They are aggressive, often arrogant and based on faulty, unsupported assumption and/or faulty or shallow reasoning. If you really want to ask a question, ask the damned question, but don't start out with a screed as to why anarchy could not possibly work. Read the literature. You guys need to work on your people skills. Your manners are atrocious.

Guys, it's not that big of a deal.

The original poster is asking you to provide more information about a process he admits he doesn't understand because it's not explored in the comic.

These people aren't trolls.  These are ordinary people who are not familiar with Anarchy and are curious to learn more.

If you keep going "OMG it's a troll!" every time someone new asks a question, how do you expect us to learn anything?
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: SandySandfort on July 20, 2010, 12:35:32 pm
Sorry, Sandy. Making drugs legal will NOT "make dope peddlers go away." There are numerous instances where drugs ARE legal and YET "organized crime" comes into play.

Examples, please. The following situations do not support your thesis.

Tobacco. While it IS legal to smoke in places like Canada and Alaska, police are shot, and killed every day by cigarette smugglers who undersell legitimate tobacco merchants.

Please define, "legitimate tobacco merchants." Define "smuggler." From what you have stated, it would appear that the police who were shot were initiating force against the free market tobacco merchants and were shot in self-defense.

Oxycontin. Yes, it is LEGAL to get Oxycontin with a valid prescription, but because of the dangerous side effects of the drug, (euphoria, chemical dependence, possible nerve deafness, etc.) it has to be dispensed with utmost care.


Gee, I thought euphoria was a benefit, not a "dangerous side effect."  ;)
I live in Panama and I have lived in Costa Rica. Most drugs that require a prescription in the US are available over the counter in these countries. A friend of mine who was a medical practitioner in the US visited me in CR. We went into a pharmacy to get something and her jaw dropped when she saw what you buy without a prescription. "That will stop your heart!" she said as she point to one OTC medication, "and that one can induce seizures!" My response was, "And yet the streets are not filled with the bodies of the dead."

In general, Latin culture believes in personal responsibility. People damned well know they had better educate themselves before they go self-dosing. I was on a prescription medication in the US, but now buy it OTC in Panama. It can cause seizures if taken in excess, so I have titrated my dosage accordingly. Prescriptions are a form of initiation of force, because people are legally forbidden, with threat of fines, arrest, prison and death. There are no prescriptions in an anarchy.

Many "back alley" merchants don't CARE about the side effects and CRUSH the pills either to concentrate the "high" of the narcotic effect OR to distribute the drug to people WITHOUT prescriptions for profit. These folks tend to shoot at cops, "clients," each other, and generally anyone whom they (in their paranoid drug dealer way) think MIGHT be a threat to their "profits."

Like pharmacists don't sell their drugs for profit? Whom you buy from in an anarchy is your choice not some government's. Personally, when I was given illegal drugs in the US, I verified the source. If I didn't and got a bad dose, well, caveat emptor.

And I happen to know this is true first hand because I work in a pharmacy and recently someone with a valid prescription tried to con our store and the police into getting a replacement "fill" because his script was "misplaced." (Turns out, after review of the security footage, the one who wanted a refill had "pocketed the pills" and hidden his prescription bag on the store shelves to make it look like he never got it.)

When people will initiate force against sellers of a commodity, those that want it will not accept the orders of the thugs and will find a way. Good for your would-be customer. I wish more people were willing to resist tyranny.

And for those who say "making drugs legal makes them 'safe.'"

I don't say that; I don't think they are safe now. Fen-phen anyone?  ;D

It should be pointed out that according to the history books I've read, Bert and Ernie's situation is the reason for the Town Sheriff being created as an entity seeing as the US Army couldn't effectively patrol the entirety of the "Wild West." (Hence the name.)

In an anarchy, everyone is the sheriff and the army. By the way, the West wasn't all that wild. Violent crime rates were lower than in the East. I prefer the non-judgmental term, "Old West."

Now as everybody may recall, yesterday I said I would send trolls back to justify the facts and reasoning in their scenarios. Yet I have taken a good deal of time responding to Azure Priest. The reason? He is not a troll. It is clear he is speaking from personal experience and believes what he has written. It is clear he and I do not agree on the issue of drug prohibition. So be it; reasonable minds may differ. I respect Azure Priest because what he brings to the table is consideration, facts and reasoning. Trolls take note. This is how civilized discourse works,
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on July 20, 2010, 12:58:30 pm
Anybody who thinks the West was wild should google "not so wild west" and read the research; it was more peaceful in the absence of official government monopoly police than contemporary Eastern cities were.

Some escapees from New Jersey are shocked, shocked that people are permitted or even expected to pump their own gas in other states. It violates all common sense! Likewise, Pennsylvanians are shocked, shocked that it is possible to buy beer, wine, and liquor in grocery stores in other states. Visitors to Nevada are sometimes shocked, shocked to see civilians openly carrying handguns in holsters.

The reaction of statists to the ideas of anarchists must be filed under the same category: fear of the unknown. They fear that the absence of monopoly provision of law will lead to the lack of order. ( See the title of this thread ) This is the logical fallacy known as assuming one's conclusion.

Sandy has already mentioned that many Latin American pharmacies dispense meds over the counter which are deemed "too dangerous" for American to purchase without first going through an Official Gatekeeper and presenting ID and so forth. None of this "prescription" and "regulation" and "banning" folderol is needed to improve public safety; it's just a way to extend the power of the state and to provide work for bullies.

In my youth, tincture of opium was available over the counter; old-timers will recognize the brand name Paregoric. It was widely used for treatment of diarrhea and teething babies. We did not become a nation of opiumheads.

Nowadays, it is impossible to purchase sudafed without presenting ID and having one's purchases tracked. This has not reduced production of crystal meth to any significant degree, but it does reduce the freedom and privacy of every person who wishes reliable relief from nasal congestion. If crystal meth were legal, it would be produced by pharmaceutical companies using reasonable measures to protect the environmental. If we believe the propaganda of the drug warriors, freelance amateur meth labs are toxic waste dumps -  a direct consequence of the War on Some Drugs.

Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: NeitherRuleNorBeRuled on July 20, 2010, 03:56:26 pm
In general, Latin culture believes in personal responsibility. People damned well know they had better educate themselves before they go self-dosing. I was on a prescription medication in the US, but now buy it OTC in Panama. It can cause seizures if taken in excess, so I have titrated my dosage accordingly. Prescriptions are a form of initiation of force, because people are legally forbidden, with threat of fines, arrest, prison and death. There are no prescriptions in an anarchy.

I disagree, though I think Sandy misstated his point.  In an anarchy there is no requirement for a prescription to purchase drugs.  However, prescriptions (pieces of paper with the name of the drug and recommended dosage, as well as probably the name and contact information for the person who wrote it) will almost certainly exist, as long as physicians and pharmacists are separate individuals.  It's simply far too convenient to have one's medical adviser write down the name of a drug, the dosage, and the quantity (or duration) rather than write or remember it one's self (the former because spelling may be important).  Contact information is useful in case there's a question about what was written, so the pharmacist can sanity check it.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: SandySandfort on July 20, 2010, 04:21:13 pm
I think Sandy misstated his point.  In an anarchy there is no requirement for a prescription to purchase drugs.  However, prescriptions (pieces of paper with the name of the drug and recommended dosage, as well as probably the name and contact information for the person who wrote it) will almost certainly exist, as long as physicians and pharmacists are separate individuals.

You are, of course, correct. In Panama, when I visit a doctor, he does write out a prescription for medicines or tests he wants performed. When I go to the pharmacy or testing lab, I give them the piece of paper and they follow its instructions. It is a convenience. However, labs will draw your blood, examine stool samples, take buccal swabs or whatever you ask of them with or without a prescription. I have a friend who owns and operates a DNA testing lab. She will test for whatever you can afford to pay for. Paternity tests are very popular...
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: deliberatus on July 20, 2010, 06:48:29 pm
WELL, this HAS been a fruitful line of discussion. And no, I am not a troll.

I did indeed want to know how society without traditional methods of law enforcement would handle organized predatory behavior. As there is no 'law', it cannot in the common sense be termed 'crime'. But is most certainly is predatory behavior.

Mayhaps people will form mercenary groups to pursue such gangs, do something dramatic and permanent to them, and claim salvage rights as their reward? We shall see.
 ::)

Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: SandySandfort on July 20, 2010, 07:13:44 pm
WELL, this HAS been a fruitful line of discussion. And no, I am not a troll.

Uh, thanks for clearing that up.

As there is no 'law', it cannot in the common sense be termed 'crime'. But is most certainly is predatory behavior.

You really aren't paying attention, are you? You are again making assumptions, to wit, "there is no law [in an anarchy]." I have given the Law Merchant as an obvious example of a law without a government and, of course, there are many dictionary definitions that do not depend upon a state. One example, "13. a rule or principle of proper conduct sanctioned by conscience, concepts of natural justice, or the will of a deity: a moral law."

     http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/law?r=66 

Mayhaps people will form mercenary groups to pursue such gangs, do something dramatic and permanent to them, and claim salvage rights as their reward? We shall see.

Yes, that's one possibility. However, there are many other possible solutions. In fact, there is an enormous free market of ideas to address any problem in an anarchy.

Yup, you're a troll. No skin off my nose. You're the one who comes off looking obtuse. Usted es un troll sin vergüenza.   :)
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on July 20, 2010, 10:47:08 pm
quote: As there is no 'law',

Here we need a loud buzzer, as on the game shows.

Law does not require a government.

Law preceded the government.

Law existed independently of governments.

Law would continue to exist - and would be improved - if there were no government.

We have examples - you did google "not so wild west", I hope - of laws being created in societies which had no formal government. The government-free west was statistically safer than contemporary eastern cities.

As has been pointed out, prescriptions would exist in anarchy, but would not be required. In fact, prescriptions are not _required_ in some governments today; we don't have to speculate about whether the world would collapse if prescriptions were not required, since we have existing counterexamples.

When your reality check bounces,
consider that your assumptions might be wrong.

There are even examples in Europe where the entire set of assumptions underpinning traffic markings have been tossed out. No signals, no signs, no markings, no speed traps. Guess what? The streets are safer.

I am going to turn the question around. I challenge you to come up with a theory which explains why streets become safer when all signals, signs, and markings are removed and people are left to their own devices. Google up the relevant studies and tell us what you think.

Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: wdg3rd on July 21, 2010, 02:28:59 pm

Tobacco. While it IS legal to smoke in places like Canada and Alaska, police are shot, and killed every day by cigarette smugglers who undersell legitimate tobacco merchants.


The reason there are tobacco smugglers is that is a great disparity in tax levels on tobacco products between one state and another.  A truckload of Marlboros can be incredibly profitable if you can get it from Delaware to NYC (and avoid being killed by the Family members who claim a monopoly on that trade in that market area, or by their pet cops)..  Possibly not as profitable (and dangerous) as under total prohibition, but not small change either.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: wdg3rd on July 21, 2010, 03:14:37 pm
A possibly better known example of law without government enforcement would be the many variations of "Robert's Rules of Order".
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on July 21, 2010, 07:39:49 pm
There are even examples in Europe where the entire set of assumptions underpinning traffic markings have been tossed out. No signals, no signs, no markings, no speed traps. Guess what? The streets are safer.

I am going to turn the question around. I challenge you to come up with a theory which explains why streets become safer when all signals, signs, and markings are removed and people are left to their own devices. Google up the relevant studies and tell us what you think.

I found a collection of reports from Drachten etc from when the system first started. One was later and had actual data.

http://www.fietsberaad.nl/library/repository/bestanden/Evaluation%20Laweiplein.pdf

They looked at a single intersection that was converted to a roundabout. In 9 years before, they had 17 accidents, almost 2 a year. In 2 years afterward they had 1 accident, an average of 0.5 per year. Somebody claimed this was significant. But they were waiting for further data.

They looked at waiting times at their roundabout. They compared it to waiting times found by two grad students two years before, on a single day. Their theoretical model predicted it would be faster, but there was something wrong with the model and it was really faster than predicted. The traffic moved slower but waited less. This is entirely predictable. At a stoplight with equal times, you can expect to hit a red light half the time, and on average you'll wait half the time of the redlight. But at a roundabout you enter immediately unless it has too much traffic, and then you slowly travel around the circle until you reach your exit. So of course you wait less.

Let's back up. The idea of putting a gendarme at an intersection to say who can go dates back at least to Napoleon. When he was moving convoys of supplies etc he wanted movement through that intersection at maximum speed. His aim was not to minimise accidents, it was to get the bulk of the supplies to the battle as quickly as possible. Later we got traffic lights which are cheaper than traffic police but less flexible. You can wait at a traffic light whether there's anybody coming the other way or not, and you may have to pay if you disobey the light even when there is no chance of accident. But the implicit goal is still to maximise throughput and not to minimise accidents. Roundabouts reduce accidents by slowing everybody down. They may turn out to increase throughput too. But in the USA roundabouts are being phased out, replaced by exceptionally ugly and perverse intersections wih multiple lights. The official reason is that Americans are not used to roundabouts and have accidents at them.

Maybe I'll find more studies that actually reveal more, though I've put as much time into it as I intend to without feedback.

Here's my theoretical reason why there might be fewer accidents without traffic signs etc. It is that in the background assumptions, traffic engineers have tried to maximise throughput subject to an adequately low accident rate. They talk about reducing accidents but their job is to get people places with minimal delay. The number of accidents and particularly the number of bad injuries and deaths would be reduced if we slowed down the traffic. This is what happens without signs etc. Everybody slows down and gets more careful. In two of the early places they eliminated signs, they replaced the asphalt with cobblestones. Nobody goes fast on cobblestones, so there are fewer accidents and fewer severe accidents.

If you told people "We are going to reduce accidents by making sure you don't drive fast" they would strenuously object. But this approach sneakily gets that result without admitting it.

Some people truly do drive with impaired judgement. Drunk, or stressed out, or too sleepy etc. People who do that will not be deterred by a lack of traffic signs, any more than they are deterred by the presence of traffic signs. They are likely to have accidents, and if after an accident they are capable of driving, they are likely to do it again. Some sort of coercion might help. They could be sued to the point they can't afford a car. They could be jailed temporarily. They could be confronted by victims who say that if they personally see the perp driving again they personally will shoot him. If there are actually people with poor judgement running around, I doubt there's any foolproof way to keep them out of trouble. They might hurt themselves at least as much as everybody else, though.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on July 21, 2010, 11:33:54 pm
Try this theory on for size: traffic signals, stop signs, lane markings are an attempt by engineers to create a one-size-fits-all solution to improve both safety and throughput. These "solutions" are not adaptive; they do not use all available information; they are static, but the situation is dynamic.

What is the right thing to do if, for example, a truck spills a load in one lane? Route around it. Depending on time of day, it might make even sense to take over a lane which normally moves the opposite direction.

What happens when the outside instructions are removed? Drivers have to think for themselves. It turns out that most drivers are actually quite competent, when they need to be. These experiments encourage drivers to assume more responsibility, and they rise to the challenge.

There sometimes are accidents caused by signals; I have seen a few personally. Drivers, instead of thinking about "how to navigate this intersection safely" are thinking "how to beat this light."
 
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on July 22, 2010, 10:30:55 am
Try this theory on for size: traffic signals, stop signs, lane markings are an attempt by engineers to create a one-size-fits-all solution to improve both safety and throughput. These "solutions" are not adaptive; they do not use all available information; they are static, but the situation is dynamic.

Yes, that makes sense. However, we have to look at the goals. The public does not want to minimise auto accidents, they want to reduce them to the point that they aren't a big concern. When every year somebody you know dies in an auto accident, you'll see it as a problem. When it happens every ten years then it's just one of those things. And people want to drive without having to think about it a lot. When everybody follows the simple rules nobody gets hurt. When somebody is particularly thoughtless then an accident is likely. The public feels satisfied when they know who to blame it on.

A system where people have to think carefully would probably not seem like a improvement. When I have to be wary driving I slow down and give it a careful look. Set it up so everybody has to think carefully and drive slowly, and they might easily dislike that.

Quote
What happens when the outside instructions are removed? Drivers have to think for themselves. It turns out that most drivers are actually quite competent, when they need to be. These experiments encourage drivers to assume more responsibility, and they rise to the challenge.

There sometimes are accidents caused by signals; I have seen a few personally. Drivers, instead of thinking about "how to navigate this intersection safely" are thinking "how to beat this light."

I've seen traffic lights that flash the number of seconds until they turn red. I thought those were a big improvement but I haven't seen any recently. Were they too expensive? Surely a lot cheaper than the cameras that are going up at every intersection where I live. Maybe they didn't reduce accidents after all, even though it's predictable that they would?

I like your explanation. It goes way beyond the data I found, which can be explained simply by the new design resulting in slower traffic. But it could easily be right.

I cynically think that the US public might not like it. Your argument is that it reduces traffic accidents. But traffic accidents are at about the level the public wants. They would prefer cheaper insurance but not fewer accidents. What they want is for their driving to be over quicker. They want to go faster. Also, when there is an accident they want it to be obvious that it is not their fault. And they like to drive without having to think too much.

Your solution is not good for those. It isn't obvious that people could drive faster. They could adapt to dynamic situations, but they can't exploit new situations quickly because they have to understand it and think about it. The signs etc make it somewhat obvious who to blame. The guy who goes too fast, the guy who drives through the red light, etc. When it's necessary to look at just what happened instead of who broke the rules, then it's likely to turn out that everyone involved is somewhat at fault. Often accidents happen as a result of multiple mistakes that interact.

I'd like to be wrong. Maybe we'll see more signs taken down and maybe Americans will like it.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: SandySandfort on July 22, 2010, 11:10:46 am
he public does not want to minimise auto accidents...

Wow! A long, tiring post (elided) based on your totally baseless assumption about what "the public" wants. The mind boggles. Please find some evidence that supports your personal prejudice and bring it before us. Then we will listen.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on July 22, 2010, 11:21:44 am
he public does not want to minimise auto accidents...

Wow! A long, tiring post (elided) based on your totally baseless assumption about what "the public" wants. The mind boggles. Please find some evidence that supports your personal prejudice and bring it before us. Then we will listen.

Evidence? Simple, notice what "the public" complains about. Do they object that the traffic laws result in too many accidents? No, they object that there are too many drunk drivers.

Do they complain that the traffic laws treat them like children? No, they complain that their commutes too slow.

They don't like waiting at stoplights, but they don't object when roundabouts get converted into horrible stoplight intersections.

If you want statistical data supporting these assertions I expect it's available and I don't know that I want to dig it up. We're all here to have fun and that doesn't look like enough fun to me, particularly when it's predictable that you will reject my conclusions anyway. I'm willing to agree to disagree on the topic. I like your work and I like a lot of your opinions. Sorry to bore you in return, but maybe later I'll write something you enjoy.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: SandySandfort on July 22, 2010, 03:30:42 pm
Evidence? Simple, notice what "the public" complains about. Do they object that the traffic laws result in too many accidents? No, they object that there are too many drunk drivers.

The abstract concept of "the public" does not do anything, one way or the other. By any chance, to you mean people? If so, they complain about a lot of things. It looks to me like you are exhibiting a classic case of psychological projection. See:

  https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Psychological_projection

In any case, I wasn't referring to complaints about the traditional system of traffic control, but to the shared space concept of traffic control design. As far as I can tell, the only folks complaining about that, are town planning departments (duh) and self-interested "spokespeople" for advocacy organizations for the blind and other handicapped people. I wonder what ordinary blind people think about it. I guess no one has asked them.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on July 22, 2010, 05:36:06 pm
I wasn't referring to complaints about the traditional system of traffic control, but to the shared space concept of traffic control design.

I have missed any post in this thread where you referred to complaints.

Quote
As far as I can tell, the only folks complaining about that, are town planning departments (duh) and self-interested "spokespeople" for advocacy organizations for the blind and other handicapped people. I wonder what ordinary blind people think about it. I guess no one has asked them.

Wikipedia says the "Shared space" term was only invented in 2003, and it's mostly a european thing, so of course there aren't many Americans complaining about it yet. It's mostly off the radar except for libertarians who like the idea for ideological reasons.

The blind people I've known have done their lobbying pretty actively, they didn't join top-down organizations that told them what to want. I suppose it's possible that the people who say they have to retrain their guide dogs to guide them without sidewalks etc have made up the problem out of nothing for their own self-interested reasons, but it doesn't seem plausible. However, they don't say it's impossible, only that it will take considerable retraining.

Advocates of shared space say that accident rates are reduced, and they tend to make no bones of it -- accident rates are reduced partly because traffic speed is reduced.

From the Wikipedia entry on "shared space",

"When you don't exactly know who has right of way, you tend to seek eye contact with other road users... You automatically reduce your speed, you have contact with other people and you take greater care."

"The shared space philosophy distinguishes between the fine-meshed slow network, and the larger-meshed fast network. The slow network, which is the subject of the shared space treatment, is characterised as the street network which make public space vital and accessible. On the slow network motor traffic is welcomed as a guest, but has to adapt to certain social norms of behaviour. The layout of the road must make this clear. The fast or supra traffic network, which allows traffic to reach destinations quickly, and which is designed using traditional traffic engineering methodologies, is essential if the slow network is to function properly."

".... The re-opening of the street has led to a 93% reduction in motor vehicle trips (12,000 fewer per day) and lower speeds (to around 10 MPH), alongside an increase in cyclist and pedestrian usage (93% and 162%, respectively)."

"The result has been slower traffic, fewer accidents, and shorter trip times."

If you want to guess that US drivers will be delighted by a plan to go 10 mph and not know who has the right of way in order to reduce the number of fender-benders, go ahead. I disagree but I'm only guessing too.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: SandySandfort on July 22, 2010, 06:26:45 pm
I have missed any post in this thread where you referred to complaints.

You used it a couple of posts back. You wrote: "Do they complain that the traffic laws treat them like children? No, they complain that their commutes too slow."

Wikipedia says the "Shared space" term was only invented in 2003, and it's mostly a european thing, so of course there aren't many Americans complaining about it yet. It's mostly off the radar except for libertarians who like the idea for ideological reasons.

Don't be jingoistic, Americans are not the only people/public in the world. Seven years is way more than enough time for people to bitch about Shares Space and ask to have street signs put back. As far as I can tell, not enough people share your distrust in free systems enough to add an anti-Shared Space screed to Wikipedia. Sorry Bub, the facts don't support your thesis about what the public doesn't want.

If you want to guess that US drivers will be delighted by a plan to go 10 mph and not know who has the right of way in order to reduce the number of fender-benders, go ahead. I disagree but I'm only guessing too.

Bingo. Your are only guessing. My experience in driving in the States, tells me that Americans are smart enough and flexible enough to see the benefit, especially that throughput actually increases, while accident's decrease. What experience? Have you ever come to an intersection where the stop lights were down? I have seen that many times and never witnessed an accident or even aggressive driver. People are much smarter than you apparently think.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on July 23, 2010, 05:00:56 am
I have missed any post in this thread where you referred to complaints.

You used it a couple of posts back. You wrote: "Do they complain that the traffic laws treat them like children? No, they complain that their commutes too slow."

"In any case, I wasn't referring to complaints about the traditional system of traffic control, but to the shared space concept of traffic control design."

I was referring to complaints about the current system to get a sense of what values current US drivers tend to have. Of course they could change their values given new information.

It should be clear that US traffic engineers have traditionally valued speed primarily.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Context_Sensitive_Solutions
"Historically, the speed at which a vehicle can safely travel through the landscape has been regarded as a primary goal of transportation planning since it shortens travel time, saves money (time is money), and improves driver convenience."

Quote
Wikipedia says the "Shared space" term was only invented in 2003, and it's mostly a european thing, so of course there aren't many Americans complaining about it yet. It's mostly off the radar except for libertarians who like the idea for ideological reasons.

Don't be jingoistic, Americans are not the only people/public in the world. Seven years is way more than enough time for people to bitch about Shares Space and ask to have street signs put back.

Sure, but it's a tiny fraction of europeans who've had to deal with a lot of it too, so far.. The complaints Wikipedia reports have come from pedestrians and bicyclists who do not trust the automobile drivers. In some places drivers have "voted with their feet" ;) by avoiding the shared spaces. Since it's so few spaces, it's only drivers who have no better route who'd complain. I want to note that the complaints from blind etc pedestrians and from bicyclists involve distrust rather than a record of accidents. With experience they might find that drivers are usually more trustworthy than they think. There were some complaints about aggressive drivers, but of course you get that with traditional roads too.

Quote
As far as I can tell, not enough people share your distrust in free systems enough to add an anti-Shared Space screed to Wikipedia. Sorry Bub, the facts don't support your thesis about what the public doesn't want.

I expect that while shared spaces stay rare, complaints about them will be rare too. Shared spaces definitely have a place for upscale downtown areas, along with streets where no automobiles are allowed at all.

There's a question of values here. You place great value on freedom. I think that's a good thing too. I want to point out that the current system is based on other values that also have some use. It usually allows faster traffic. It requires less thinking from drivers. When there is an accident it is often easy to tell whose fault it is. We have a trade-off.

The free system sounds good when you're arguing for freedom. It ought to have fewer accidents, and there's some data that it does. There are people who argue that it can't work, and it's heartening that it does work.

The examples I've seen so far where it works are all small places where local traffic was going rather slowly anyway. For some of them the amount of traffic has since gone up with no obvious problems. For others the amount of traffic has gone down, sometimes by quite a bit, as drivers who want to get somewhere bypass the shared spaces. It works better for avoiding accidents, and worse for getting people places with maximal convenience. A trade-off.

Quote
If you want to guess that US drivers will be delighted by a plan to go 10 mph and not know who has the right of way in order to reduce the number of fender-benders, go ahead. I disagree but I'm only guessing too.

Bingo. Your are only guessing. My experience in driving in the States, tells me that Americans are smart enough and flexible enough to see the benefit, especially that throughput actually increases, while accident's decrease. What experience? Have you ever come to an intersection where the stop lights were down? I have seen that many times and never witnessed an accident or even aggressive driver. People are much smarter than you apparently think.

In my town, often at night the streetlights are partly down. They flash yellow in one direction and red in the other. There isn't a lot of traffic and there's no particular problem, and I don't have to wait (up to six minutes for a left turn!) at a red light when no one is coming.

Very occasionally the stop lights go out altogether. Then everybody slows down. I come to an intersection and stop and check whether I can go. At busy intersections it's obviously slower than having stoplights. But the stoplights sometimes stop people when there's no one coming the other way, a clear loss. I have seen aggressive drivers then, but not a lot of them. Not as many as zoom through almost-red lights. I avoid accidents from that by not starting when I get a green light until I'm sure all the sideways traffic has stopped.

I am not at all convinced that throughput goes up for high-volume traffic at intersections without stoplights versus with stoplights. I could easily believe that throughput is higher at high-volume roundabouts than at high-volume intersections with stoplights, provided drivers have sufficient experience with roundabouts. This is a traffic-engineering issue and not a freedom issue.

There's a former traffic circle near my home. They cut a straight path through the center for the road with more traffic. To make a left turn onto that road you go right onto the circle and then make an immediate left turn through the middle, when the first stop light lets you. If the second stoplight turns red then you wait inside the circle. The whole thing is incredibly clumsy. They wanted to get rid of the roundabout and they did.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: ContraryGuy on July 26, 2010, 12:22:22 pm
Wow, this is why nobody will willingly join your Anarchist cabal, Sandy.

(i didnt see the 'reply to' link, so this is a general reply.)

Whenever someone asks a question, you get all huffy and refuse to answer them.
You certainly refuse to answer me...., and this guy is no different.

If a random reader comes along and asks a question, you dont bother to answer their specific question(s), you merely tell them 'I've spent a decade reading up on this idea, and I cant answer your question until you've spent as much time reading as I have!  here are some fine books to get you started.  Now get out of here and stop bothering me!'

And then all of the other forum posters join in to deride and sneer at the hapless new reader/poster.

Way to turn off people!
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: SandySandfort on July 26, 2010, 01:09:32 pm
Wow, this is why nobody will willingly join your Anarchist cabal, Sandy.

"Anarchist cabal"? Methinks you are a bit unclear on the concept.  ;D

Whenever someone asks a question, you get all huffy and refuse to answer them.
You certainly refuse to answer me...., and this guy is no different.

Huffy? Sarcastic, yes, but rarely huffy. Anyway, I just looked back on this thread and I find no post from you. Makes it a wee bit difficult to answer, don't you think? So what was your question? (I think you need to change your meds. If you did post to this topics and I missed it, let me know so I can change my meds.)   :P

If a random reader comes along and asks a question, you dont bother to answer their specific question(s), you merely tell them 'I've spent a decade reading up on this idea, and I cant answer your question until you've spent as much time reading as I have!  here are some fine books to get you started.  Now get out of here and stop bothering me!'
Way to turn off people!

Is that, like an exact quote? Gee, I don't remember ever saying such a thing. Maybe I was having a senior moment. And for the record, I would never tell you to get out of here. You promise to provide too much comic relief, plus you give me the opportunity to unleash my anarchist, co-conspirator, attack dog posse to rip your arguments to shreds. Today ContraryGuy; Morgen die ganze Welt!
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on July 26, 2010, 10:25:03 pm
If a random reader comes along and asks a question, you dont bother to answer their specific question(s), you merely tell them 'I've spent a decade reading up on this idea, and I cant answer your question until you've spent as much time reading as I have!  here are some fine books to get you started.  Now get out of here and stop bothering me!'
If someone asks a question that presupposes that anarchy is necessarily lawless and violent, well people are apt to get hufffy.  Better to ask where will laws come from, or perhaps a more concrete question - like “what stops someone rich and powerful getting away with murder?”, rather than a question that presupposes that you are right and everyone knows it, and the anarchist is wrong, and knows he is wrong.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Azure Priest on July 27, 2010, 09:27:52 am
Sorry, Sandy. Making drugs legal will NOT "make dope peddlers go away." There are numerous instances where drugs ARE legal and YET "organized crime" comes into play.

Examples, please. The following situations do not support your thesis.

Tobacco. While it IS legal to smoke in places like Canada and Alaska, police are shot, and killed every day by cigarette smugglers who undersell legitimate tobacco merchants.

Please define, "legitimate tobacco merchants." Define "smuggler." From what you have stated, it would appear that the police who were shot were initiating force against the free market tobacco merchants and were shot in self-defense.

Oxycontin. Yes, it is LEGAL to get Oxycontin with a valid prescription, but because of the dangerous side effects of the drug, (euphoria, chemical dependence, possible nerve deafness, etc.) it has to be dispensed with utmost care.


Gee, I thought euphoria was a benefit, not a "dangerous side effect."  ;)
I live in Panama and I have lived in Costa Rica. Most drugs that require a prescription in the US are available over the counter in these countries. A friend of mine who was a medical practitioner in the US visited me in CR. We went into a pharmacy to get something and her jaw dropped when she saw what you buy without a prescription. "That will stop your heart!" she said as she point to one OTC medication, "and that one can induce seizures!" My response was, "And yet the streets are not filled with the bodies of the dead."

In general, Latin culture believes in personal responsibility. People damned well know they had better educate themselves before they go self-dosing. I was on a prescription medication in the US, but now buy it OTC in Panama. It can cause seizures if taken in excess, so I have titrated my dosage accordingly. Prescriptions are a form of initiation of force, because people are legally forbidden, with threat of fines, arrest, prison and death. There are no prescriptions in an anarchy.

Many "back alley" merchants don't CARE about the side effects and CRUSH the pills either to concentrate the "high" of the narcotic effect OR to distribute the drug to people WITHOUT prescriptions for profit. These folks tend to shoot at cops, "clients," each other, and generally anyone whom they (in their paranoid drug dealer way) think MIGHT be a threat to their "profits."

Like pharmacists don't sell their drugs for profit? Whom you buy from in an anarchy is your choice not some government's. Personally, when I was given illegal drugs in the US, I verified the source. If I didn't and got a bad dose, well, caveat emptor.

And I happen to know this is true first hand because I work in a pharmacy and recently someone with a valid prescription tried to con our store and the police into getting a replacement "fill" because his script was "misplaced." (Turns out, after review of the security footage, the one who wanted a refill had "pocketed the pills" and hidden his prescription bag on the store shelves to make it look like he never got it.)

When people will initiate force against sellers of a commodity, those that want it will not accept the orders of the thugs and will find a way. Good for your would-be customer. I wish more people were willing to resist tyranny.

And for those who say "making drugs legal makes them 'safe.'"

I don't say that; I don't think they are safe now. Fen-phen anyone?  ;D

It should be pointed out that according to the history books I've read, Bert and Ernie's situation is the reason for the Town Sheriff being created as an entity seeing as the US Army couldn't effectively patrol the entirety of the "Wild West." (Hence the name.)

In an anarchy, everyone is the sheriff and the army. By the way, the West wasn't all that wild. Violent crime rates were lower than in the East. I prefer the non-judgmental term, "Old West."

Now as everybody may recall, yesterday I said I would send trolls back to justify the facts and reasoning in their scenarios. Yet I have taken a good deal of time responding to Azure Priest. The reason? He is not a troll. It is clear he is speaking from personal experience and believes what he has written. It is clear he and I do not agree on the issue of drug prohibition. So be it; reasonable minds may differ. I respect Azure Priest because what he brings to the table is consideration, facts and reasoning. Trolls take note. This is how civilized discourse works,
My statements were examples of people "peddling" a legal product. Therefore simply making a substance such as heroin "legal" would not "make the peddlers go away." At least that's my position. Admittedly it is the subject of much debate.

Smugglers vs Legitimate merchants: In the Canada (and Alaska) case, this refers to people who buy cigarettes in large quantities in a low tax area, North Carolina, Tennessee, Florida, etc. then sneak across the border into Canada and sell them for a profit but lower than the local Canadian merchants who are doing so paying the fees, taxes, permits, and honoring the international trade agreements. These tobacco smugglers (as Canada sees them) treat the Canadian mounties (at least according to their testimony and court records) the same way people claim "crack" dealers treat  the police in the US. This means, you see anyone in uniform, shoot first, ask questions later. Tobacco is legal in Canada. "Crack" is prohibited in the US.

Legitimate pharmacy vs. Back Alley "pharmacist." In this case, I meant to say that the "back alley" merchant cares ONLY about profit. Pharmacists care a great deal about the patient's or customer's welfare. They WANT the customer to come back (those that do not, don't last very long.) BTW, that "would be customer" was trying to STEAL more pills, not buy them. He had already PAID for the prescription he claimed was "missing" and was trying to get a free "replacement. "It would be like the "runaway" you showed earlier going into the diner, buying a meal, hiding it in a backpack and then telling another server that she "never got her food." Did you say you'd applaud that?

Prescriptions are written for "non-dangerous" items too, aspirin, vitamins, etc.. They are decided not by "tyranny" but by medical evidence as to what dose for what duration works best given your specific medical needs. Ignore prescriptions, and doctor's advice at your own peril. That goes double for the instructions on OVC medicine.

"Euphoria" is a dangerous side effect when talking to about a medication because the term means an altered state of mind with reduced inhibitions, slowed reflexes, and a complete disconnect with the world around the patient. A state that could easily be a danger to himself and others. (Driving under the influence comes to mind.)

I never stated that you, Sandy, specifically stated that making illegal drugs legal would magically make them "safe." There are, however, quite a few posters here and elsewhere that have stated that belief. I wish to point out to everyone making that argument..

1.) The actual history of illegal drugs, Cocaine (Coca Cola anyone?) Aside from chemical dependence, cocaine as a vasoconstrictor (shrinks blood vessels) does have the side effect of causing heart attacks, and death.

2.) Current events showing legal versions of the drug. "Spice" vs Marijuana.

3.) You mentioned "Fen-phen." When it was found too dangerous to use, it was pulled from the market by law was it not?

Personally, I'm of the opinion that illegal drugs are illegal because they're dangerous, not dangerous because they're illegal.

Aside from those who want to abolish all laws except "natural law" (where every man is his own "sheriff"), I have personally encountered three types of people who want illegal drugs made legal.

1.) Driven purely by a misguided sense of "compassion," they think that removing the label "illegal" from the drugs will somehow magically cause all the problems associated with them to disappear. These folks claim that ending Prohibition ended Al Capone's organized crime, "why are we doing it again with drugs?" This completely ignores the facts that Al Capone was brought down by tax fraud, and booze was only one of his organization's many criminal enterprises. Most of which included violence and theft.

2.) Criminal users/ pushers who want to engage in their activity more freely. (Meth labs come to mind here.)

3.) Politicians who see a new tax base or voting block to exploit for their own ends.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on July 27, 2010, 12:16:05 pm

My statements were examples of people "peddling" a legal product. Therefore simply making a substance such as heroin "legal" would not "make the peddlers go away." At least that's my position. Admittedly it is the subject of much debate.

Smugglers vs Legitimate merchants: In the Canada (and Alaska) case, this refers to people who buy cigarettes in large quantities in a low tax area, North Carolina, Tennessee, Florida, etc. then sneak across the border into Canada and sell them for a profit but lower than the local Canadian merchants who are doing so paying the fees, taxes, permits, and honoring the international trade agreements. These tobacco smugglers (as Canada sees them) treat the Canadian mounties (at least according to their testimony and court records) the same way people claim "crack" dealers treat  the police in the US. This means, you see anyone in uniform, shoot first, ask questions later. Tobacco is legal in Canada. "Crack" is prohibited in the US.

Tobacco is legal in Canada, but it's taxed at a high enough rate to attract smugglers who're willing to risk their lives for the profit they can make by evading the tax.

If there were no taxes, this would not happen. In that case people who go to areas where prices are low and transport low-cost stuff to places where prices are high are not smugglers, they're merely merchants. It's government which puts high taxes on some things and then punishes people who don't pay the taxes -- punishes them to the point they're ready to shoot enforcers rather than accept that they've been caught.

I can't tell you precisely how to build a workable society with no taxes, but I'm not ready to say it's impossible.

Quote
"Euphoria" is a dangerous side effect when talking to about a medication because the term means an altered state of mind with reduced inhibitions, slowed reflexes, and a complete disconnect with the world around the patient. A state that could easily be a danger to himself and others. (Driving under the influence comes to mind.)

And some people are susceptible to addiction. Currently our society disapproves of addiction but has no workable strategy to deal with it. I have spent some time around some addicts, and I have a sense of how it works. When a person sees no way to get what he really wants but can get a cheap thrill, then it's easy to say "I can't have what I really want but at least I an have this.". And then when he gets habituated to the cheap pleasure he needs more of it to get the same result. When you want something for itself and it gets less rewarding, the natural thing is to go look for something better. But when you're doing it as a substitute anyway, chasing past that point of diminishing returns doesn't feel as stupid as it would otherwise. So people give up more and more of their property and their lives, and that doesn't seem so bad to them because after all they already believe they can't have the important thing they want.

Addicts make bad employees, and they can sometimes do a lot of damage before they're discovered and fired. So employers and religious folk etc want to eliminate addiction, and they try to do it with coercion, to prevent the market from functioning, and that doesn't work. The obvious way to reduce addiction is to have fewer people who feel like failures. But that's difficult too. If euphoriants were plentiful and cheap we could just live with that. People who wanted them might die of overdoses or disease or exposure before they felt the need to steal etc to get their drugs, and that might actually be less disruptive. Not ideal, but lacking an ideal solution it might be acceptable.

Quote
Personally, I'm of the opinion that illegal drugs are illegal because they're dangerous, not dangerous because they're illegal.

I think it could go either way. A drug which is not dangerous can become dangerous in some ways from being illegal. And it just makes sense to make dangerous drugs illegal. The most dangerous drugs can be thought of as poisons and can be used as poisons. Why make it easy for casual poisoners? That is not a victimless crime.

Quote
These folks claim that ending Prohibition ended Al Capone's organized crime, "why are we doing it again with drugs?" This completely ignores the facts that Al Capone was brought down by tax fraud, and booze was only one of his organization's many criminal enterprises. Most of which included violence and theft.

That's like saying you got rid of your biggest clump of crabgrass with a trowel, so....

To get rid of crabgrass you do better to change the environment to something where it doesn't thrive. Let the other grass grow higher, adjust the pH, etc. The end of prohibition removed an important source of income for organized crime. That was a good thing. On the other hand, poor people could get booze cheaper and were more likely than before to try to work drunk. That was a bad thing.

I think it would be good to be very cautious about sweeping new laws. Try to make sure the good outweighs the bad. For drugs, maybe reduce the federal prohibitions except to assist states that want them to be illegal. Watch what happens in states that relax their laws. Allow individual businesses to fire people for drug use, and to require employees to do supervised urination etc -- if you don't like it you can quit your job and find one that doesn't require that. It would be kind of nice if all employees including top management has mandatory testing if anybody does. Legislators particularly should be required to take regular drug tests and random sobriety tests and the results should be published. Their work is more important than airline pilots. Also police, and judges.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on July 27, 2010, 12:39:35 pm
azure+priest, straw man fallacy alert. Nobody is arguing that, if drugs are legalized, that drugs will disappear.

In fact, it is well known that opium used to be available over the counter, perfectly legal. In some parts of America, it is perfectly legal to purchase alcohol; in others, it is not. At one time it was illegal in all of America. I am reciting facts known to third grade civics students; forgive me if this bores you, but a dose of reality does help to ground a conversation. When these substances were legal, peddlers did not go away.

What did happen is that peddlers, no longer being outlaws, tended to behave in more law-abiding ways. How often do you hear of Rite Aid and CVS engaging in drive-by shootings? The argument is not that peddling will go away, but that many of  the negative consequences of attempting to prohibit voluntary transactions will
tend to go away. There will be fewer shootings; possibly fewer accidental poisonings; fewer corrupt police officers and politicians receiving kickbacks to overlook illegal activities. If what you are doing is perfectly legal, there is little incentive to bribe officers of the law, is there?

The kickback is, in fact, one of the major economic incentives for the continuation of the War on Politically Incorrect Substances. It's a glorified shakedown scam.




Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: SandySandfort on July 27, 2010, 01:12:46 pm
The argument is not that peddling will go away, but that many of  the negative consequences of attempting to prohibit voluntary transactions will
tend to go away. There will be fewer shootings; possibly fewer accidental poisonings; fewer corrupt police officers and politicians receiving kickbacks to overlook illegal activities. If what you are doing is perfectly legal, there is little incentive to bribe officers of the law, is there?

The kickback is, in fact, one of the major economic incentives for the continuation of the War on Politically Incorrect Substances. It's a glorified shakedown scam.

This was brought home to me when I read a bout a sheriff in Northern California (Mendocino County?) who offered to eradicate pot in his county for $100,000. Remember, the government is spending millions to find and eradicate marijuana plantations in Northern California. Did the government jump for joy? They did not. It would have obviated the need for their jobs-for-thugs welfare program.

Not possible, you say? The Sheriff's plan was simplicity itself. The Feds have a cannabis plantation in Alabama. His idea was to take the pollen from the male plants and dust areas where free-market pot farms are known to exist. Pollination stops the production of THC in the cultivated female plants. The quality of the pot drops precipitously and the farmers face minimal or even negative cash flow. "Problem" solved.

Instead of this elegant solution, the government continues to send in narc troops to find the farms, uproot the plants and burn them (while standing down wind, I would guess). Well, it keeps them off the streets.... the narcs, that is.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on July 27, 2010, 06:30:59 pm
An interesting case story of a very minimalist government:

http://consultingbyrpm.com/blog/2009/08/limited-government-in-post-invasion-iraq.html

When asked what they would do about a man who refused to take a voluntary stint as a "police officer" ( or we might say militia service ), the elders responded that it would be wrong to use force; each person has a right to live his own way; that such a person would be shamed for not contributing.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on July 28, 2010, 07:07:23 am
When these substances were legal, peddlers did not go away.
I've seen it claimed - by modern-day Prohibition advocates - that during Prohibition, there were far fewer incidents of the peace being disturbed by violent fights in bars, since speakeasies had to keep a low profile. And that public drunkenness was reduced. And that there was less domestic violence, which is often fueled by alcohol.

And, note that the end of Prohibition didn't make organized crime disappear. Instead, it moved to the drug trade.

So people could argue that:

if drugs became legal, the consequences of vastly more widespread drug abuse would be worse than those from the violence in the illegal drug trade, and

the criminals in the drug trade would not become respectable businessmen selling the same substances but with higher quality... instead, they would move on to other forms of crime, and thus cities that weren't suffering from protection rackets before would start doing so. (Since the initiation of force is bad, keeping the Mob's attention away from activities which require it to initiate force is a good thing - their initiation of force would be worse than that which is under the people's control, being carried out by their obedient elected representatives. Which, I know, seems ironic from an AnCap perspective.)
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on July 28, 2010, 09:26:50 am
When these substances were legal, peddlers did not go away.
I've seen it claimed - by modern-day Prohibition advocates - that during Prohibition, there were far fewer incidents of the peace being disturbed by violent fights in bars, since speakeasies had to keep a low profile.

So, speakeasies had to keep their bar fights quieter? That could be good or bad. Get it over with faster and quieter could be considerably more violent.

Quote
And that public drunkenness was reduced.

Fewer arrests for public drunkenness? I have a few old relatives who told me a little about it, and from their perspective public drunkenness was not reduced. You could get statistics on arrest, but what would they mean?

Quote
[And that there was less domestic violence, which is often fueled by alcohol.

Was there less drinking? How do they know? Was there less domestic violence? How do they know that? Fewer arrests for domestic violence, maybe?

Quote
And, note that the end of Prohibition didn't make organized crime disappear. Instead, it moved to the drug trade.

There will be organized crime as long as there are ambitious people cut out of more lucrative business and there are reasonably lucrative crimes to commit. If you want to get rid of that, get rid of the criminals or stop the discrimination against them or get rid of the opportunities. Ending Prohibition strongly reduced one opportunity, although taxes stayed high enough that some people still ran bootleg alcohol.

Quote
if drugs became legal, the consequences of vastly more widespread drug abuse would be worse than those from the violence in the illegal drug trade

That assumes that there would be vastly more drug abuse. I contend that some responsible people can use some alcohol and drugs without causing many problems. Some people become addicts, and when they are ready to become addicts they will become addicted to whatever is available to fill that role. If we want to reduce that we need to find ways to change their miinds. Or we could find ways to let them go to hell without causing so many problems to the rest of society. Trying to destroy all markets they could use to acquire something addictive looks to me unlikely to succeed.

Quote
the criminals in the drug trade would not become respectable businessmen selling the same substances but with higher quality... instead, they would move on to other forms of crime, and thus cities that weren't suffering from protection rackets before would start doing so.

It depends. If they can't be respectable then they must find something else. Likely not protection rackets which are difficult and dangerous to expand. But the drug trade would be taken over by "respectable" businessmen who would likely sell the same substances but with higher quality. At least it would likely have tamper-resistant seals, and the labeling would make it look like it was higher quality. Every now and then we have a scandal about regular pharmaceuticals....

Anyway, the way we could find out about the effects of legalization would be to try it in some test markets and observe the results. We can make logical arguments and likely leave out important interactions. And independent of the actual results, what will decide whether legalization gets extended will be public opinion. If public opinion is vastly in favor of legalization then the drug dealers and the pastors etc won't be able to stop it. But if public opinion is only mildly in favor then they can stop it. Completely apart from the evidence, it will depend on what voters want.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: deliberatus on July 28, 2010, 03:11:56 pm
Traffic signs are a general attempt to regulate (in the sense of 'define' or 'intelligently control') traffic patterns in different areas; stop signs, automated signals, yield signs, one way signs, all attempts to impose a complex set of patterns on traffic flow to minimize problems and maximize utilization of highway resources by the population. Without them, many drivers can still manage in the general- such as coming to a stop and waiting for safe conditions before turning right, yielding to oncoming traffic, driving to the right (or left in some countries) so as not to conflict with oncoming traffic. But when we try to improve utilization with more complex patterns, we find we need to have directions indicating what to do- and in some cases, when to do it. Thus we have electric automated traffic signals.

Does this HAVE to be done by government? Actually, no, most of it is done by contractors, and the traffic engineering is often done by contractors. But the AUTHORITY to do it comes from one source, state government and county government, and in some cases even city government, which avoids confusion by only granting authority TO one exerciser of it to regulate traffic- and so we do not have signals and signs (usually at least, and always is the goal) which conflict, or create traffic snarls.

While most drivers can handle most situations most of the time, it's the minority that really brings the gears of society to a stop. The fewer cases that fail intelligent resolution, the better it is for all of us.

Traffic engineering, traffic signals, road construction and maintenance have all been governmental functions in partnership with contractors to do a lot of the work for many years, usually with acceptable success rates- and when a problem with a contractor comes up, in time we replace them, if only after a certain amount of yelling grousing and complaining.

Likewise, government has done fairly well on fire department services; the fire 'company' is long dead, a thing of the past. Once, a homeowner or business owner contracted to have fire services and had a medallion on the front of the house/building, a 'shield' to indicate subscription. This shield indicated they were protected against fire by the fire company's services. It was not unknown to see a non subscriber standing in the street in front of a home in town haggling with the fire company chief while the house burned! This was simply not acceptable to the remainder of the community, as sparks could start other fires, and towns and cities started establishing fire departments of the government, and companies vanished slowly, but in name; the fire organizations were organized in 'companies' in the sense that the army is in companies.

Some things just work well as government operations. And some things DO NOT.

Charity. Go dig up a copy of Restoring the American Dream by Robert J Ringer. In the back is a study quoted with some startling statistics. It reports that it costs a specialized charity (Heart society, Cancer society, MD Society, Easter Seals) 29 Cents overhead to deliver a dollar or dollars of service to a recipient; it costs a church on the average 31 cents, and it costs THE GOVERNMENT $1.31 to deliver that dollar. That's a fine example of government NOT being the ideal solution to get the job done.

Now dig this: In many places, it is now illegal to collect rain water in a rain barrel. The good rain that falls from the sky is a crime to possess and hoard. Mosquito netting to keep out bugs be damned, you can't store it for your periwinkles for drought season. That's just insane.

I am not an Anarchist, I am a Libertarian. And government is out of control in the real world today, and needs to be placed on an exceeding short leashed and whipped until it whimpers and rolls over. But some people here seem to want to have no government at all, and that's a TOUGH sell.



Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on July 28, 2010, 04:15:08 pm
Traffic signs are a general attempt to regulate (in the sense of 'define' or 'intelligently control') traffic patterns in different areas; stop signs, automated signals, yield signs, one way signs, all attempts to impose a complex set of patterns on traffic flow to minimize problems and maximize utilization of highway resources by the population. <....>

Does this HAVE to be done by government?

I'm sure it does not. If a community of libertarians or anarchists decide that they want their traffic to be more efficient they can create a set of agreements and spread the word. Without coercion. (There might be some lawsuits after accidents etc.)

People can choose how much complication they're willing to put up with to allow faster traffic. And how many accidents they'll put up with. They can work it out. It is not a choice between freedom and tyranny. It's a technical choice that could be made freely.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on July 28, 2010, 07:01:23 pm
If a community of libertarians or anarchists decide that they want their traffic to be more efficient they can create a set of agreements and spread the word. Without coercion. (There might be some lawsuits after accidents etc.)


In anarchy, all roads are private in that a group that is substantially smaller than "everyone" has to look after them and maintain them.  I am part owner of some private roads, where the people on a road are responsible for maintaining them.  This costs far less than  paying taxes to a council to maintain them.  Sometimes you get problems between neighbors where some neighbors shirk.  Typically the people at one end of the road are far less inclined to maintain the road than people at the far end.

But by and large this works fine for suburban roads that feed dormitory suburbs and farm roads.  The world is full of non government roads, and on the whole they are as good as the equivalent city council roads, and way cheaper.   Non government roads, like non government law, are normal and common.

However, we don't see a lot of non government major roads.  Major roads are a problem for anarchists - not an insoluble problem, but a problem.  I discuss this problem at length in http://jim.com/anarchy/roads.htm (http://jim.com/anarchy/roads.htm)
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on July 28, 2010, 08:10:34 pm
Addicts make bad employees, and they can sometimes do a lot of damage before they're discovered and fired. So employers and religious folk etc want to eliminate addiction, and they try to do it with coercion, to prevent the market from functioning, and that doesn't work. The obvious way to reduce addiction is to have fewer people who feel like failures. But that's difficult too.
I have a solution to this.

I'm somewhat hesitant to even mention it, though, because it's really going to make me sound like a kook. If you think you AnCap guys have it bad in a society that can't imagine anything but statism...

Somewhere on this forum, it's been claimed that Utopias in fiction require that human nature be changed. That may be often true, but I don't think that it's a defining characteristic of the genre. That is, they might require a change in human nature to work in practice, but those proposing the Utopia intend it as a way to produce a good outcome with humans as they are.

We can think of Utopian Socialism as largely a reaction to the miseries of the Industrial Revolution. What was imagined was that if one eliminated factory owners getting very rich, and just had everyone living in communes with a reasonable amount of land and resources allocated to them, relative to the number of people in the commune, then with handicraft-level technology and fixed prices, everyone could have all their reasonable wants fulfilled, and thus only the rare sick individual - instead of the much more common individual who could be pushed into it by dire poverty - would be a criminal.

Competitiveness and ambition are real human traits, but I'm not sure that I can just assume that they're so strong that they're a full explanation to why Utopias don't work. I want to find the real reason, because it might let me do something about the problem.

Air. Water. Food. If you deprive a human being - or, for that matter, an animal - of any one of those, it will fight frantically to obtain access to them. No deliberate decision to act based on an intellectual recognition that these are essential to survival is required. Humans experience hunger and thirst: Nature makes sure that we don't forget about things that are essential to our survival.

For a certain level of population, our technology is competent enough to provide all of those to people. Given the triumphs of Norman Borlaug on the one hand, if we introduced meat rationing on the other (a la Francis Moore Lappe, and, yes, I know that's an initiation of force), every human on Earth could have an adequate diet now. Safe drinking water for everyone is also possible; if the Third World weren't wracked by wars and dictatorships, voluntary charitable donations would likely be sufficient to achieve this.

Our technology is such that we can also easily satisfy desires further up the Maslovian hierarchy. Electronic gadgets are so cheap these days that a private-enterprise funded charitable program plans to give a laptop computer, once a luxury reserved for the rich, to every schoolchild in the poor countries of the world.

What is there, almost as essential to human happiness as the basic necessities of life, that can't just be churned out cheaply on an assembly line in any quantities required by today's marvelous technology?

If you forget to breathe, in a few minutes you will be dead. So nature impels you to breathe.

If you forget to drink fluids, in a couple of days or so you will be dead. So nature subjects you to thirst.

If you forget to eat, in a couple of weeks or months you will be dead. So there is hunger.

Is there anything else that, if you don't do it, you will be dead? Perhaps on a slightly linger timescale.

Let's take 200 years.

What? Everyone alive now is going to be dead in 200 years, no matter what they do or don't do?

Quite right. But remember how evolution works. What happens if we substitute "eliminated from the gene pool" for "dead"? Now then, what other action will nature compel us to do with a force possibly comparable to hunger or thirst?

It compels us to mate.

Noting that, at birth, there are 105 males born to every 100 females, noting that political leaders, revolutionaries, demagogues, trade union activists, policemen, soldiers, and violent criminals are preponderantly or even overwhelmingly male - this has a simple hormonal explanation, of course; cultural sex roles don't explain why bulls are more dangerous than cows on a dairy farm - I think there's a clue here.

In short, "Love makes the world go 'round".

Not some insane compulsion to greed and envy and ambition - but competition with other males for mates, a basic pseudo-necessity - is what drives men to compete very intensely for a bigger share of the pie than can sustainably be allocated to everyone. It's like a game of musical chairs.

Because menopause robs women of their fertility, and hence of what men are selected to regard as physical attractiveness, the more successful men sometimes have more than one wife during their lives, born progressively later.

Women can be sexual assault survivors, with a tendency to be uninterested in mating as a result.

And women don't go into heat every month either; Elaine Morgan, in The Descent of Woman, explains why; rather well, I think.

So, if one's ambition is to build a William Morris style Utopia - or even a relatively free, relatively capitalist, somewhat mixed economy that is prosperous, quiet, and tranquil forever and ever (think of the 1950s and the Cleaver family), without an exponentially growing population size (men marry women on an average 2 years younger than they are, so population growth at 2% per year effectively increases the proportion of women by 4%)... then the solution is to "put something in the water" and alter the human sex ratio.

Then, without elaborate socialistic manipulations of everything else, without massive police coercion, you achieve the desired goal: only a tiny percentage of those rambunctious violent males "feel like failures", and whatever social order you choose otherwise hums along smoothly producing outcomes so good few people are tempted to think things would be fixed if only a completely different social order were put in place.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on July 28, 2010, 09:38:22 pm
We can think of Utopian Socialism as largely a reaction to the miseries of the Industrial Revolution. What was imagined was that if one eliminated factory owners getting very rich, and just had everyone living in communes with a reasonable amount of land and resources allocated to them, relative to the number of people in the commune, then with handicraft-level technology and fixed prices, everyone could have all their reasonable wants fulfilled, and thus only the rare sick individual - instead of the much more common individual who could be pushed into it by dire poverty - would be a criminal.

Competitiveness and ambition are real human traits, but I'm not sure that I can just assume that they're so strong that they're a full explanation to why Utopias don't work. I want to find the real reason, because it might let me do something about the problem.
The real reason utopias do not work is explained in my article "Why socialism needs killing fields" http://jim.com/killingfields.html (http://jim.com/killingfields.html)

Bastiat wrote at about the same time Marx wrote, and he wrote as if he and his readers had seen the killing fields of Cambodia, as if all intelligent people knew that socialists (in their arrogant confidence that they knew what was best for other people) intended a world of terror and slavery, that they intended to crush all who would not fit in to their grand vision, and would be genuinely and sincerely surprised that they needed to torture so many, when they only expected they would need to torture a few.

When the communists held the kulak's child in the fire to force the mother to reveal where the seed corn was hidden, all the good and the great, all the wise progressive intellectuals, told us the kulaks had it coming, and that the communists were benevolently bringing rationality to the benighted peasantry.

Lots of the good and the great, those eager to do good to humanity, visited Stalin's Russia, and reported on how wonderful it was.  Stalin showed them the Gulag Archipelago, and the White Sea canal project, and they loved it, revealing that as Bastiat realized, they always had intended to do good to humanity with whips and red hot irons, had always intended to hold the peasant's child in the fire while the mother was forced to watch, knowing in their wisdom, their goodness, and their greatness, that no lesser means could accomplish all the good that they intended.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on July 28, 2010, 10:07:06 pm
Lots of the good and the great, those eager to do good to humanity, visited Stalin's Russia, and reported on how wonderful it was.  Stalin showed them the Gulag Archipelago, and the White Sea canal project, and they loved it, revealing that as Bastiat realized, they always had intended to do good to humanity with whips and red hot irons, had always intended to hold the peasant's child in the fire while the mother was forced to watch, knowing in their wisdom, their goodness, and their greatness, that no lesser means could accomplish all the good that they intended.
It is certainly very tempting to regard H. G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw and Lincoln Steffens as evil men.

I certainly regard Stalin as a very evil man. But I can't seem to find F. D. R.'s killing fields on a map. And I wasn't talking about making socialism 'work' so much as making any system work.

Most people aren't committed to one or the other political philosophy. Rather than supporting a political system because of the soundness of its moral basis, they make their political choices based on outcomes.

Yes, they value freedom. Not only because they don't want to be bothered and bullied, but because they know the power of the vote in a democracy is a defense - against the tyrant stealing your property or your wife.

So, instead of arguing that socialism is more fair, or capitalism is more just, first I ask what people really want from a political system, and then enquire as to how best to get it.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on July 29, 2010, 02:19:43 am
Milton Friedman did a famous study of murder rates. They tend to decline, over long periods of time. During Prohibition, they rose sharply. The declined when it was repealed, and climbed when the War on Drugs began. People were getting seriously concerned in the 70s, the rates were so high. That was when states began liberalizing Concealed Carry laws, making permits more widely available.

Hoplophobes predicted bloodbaths in places like Florida where just about anybody who lacked a criminal record could obtain a CCW permit. Didn't happen.

Don't confuse the propaganda of pro-government folks for reality. They are very creative - and very wrong - when generating excuses to take away your freedom by force.

I have spoken with people who were there. They explained it this way: Organized crime revenues collapsed when Prohibition ended. When Henry Anslinger and his folks started the Drug War, it was like a transfusion for a dying man; it shot new life into the Organized Crime families.
 
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: KBCraig on July 29, 2010, 02:57:56 am
Addicts make bad employees, and they can sometimes do a lot of damage before they're discovered and fired.

I don't think you intended this as it actually came across, so let's clarify: problematic addicts make bad employees, because they either steal from the employer, or perform inadequately because they're under the influence.

Millions of alcoholics go to work every day and do their best and make their employers happy. Ditto for those addicted to prescription and/or illegal drugs. Addiction doesn't automatically make one a bad employee. I have co-workers who are clinically addicted to pain medication because of injuries they've suffered. Sometimes they're slightly impaired, and it's sad that their legal pain relief impairs them more than some illegal alternatives would.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on July 29, 2010, 11:08:10 am
Addicts make bad employees, and they can sometimes do a lot of damage before they're discovered and fired.

I don't think you intended this as it actually came across, so let's clarify: problematic addicts make bad employees, because they either steal from the employer, or perform inadequately because they're under the influence.

Sorry, agreed, that's exactly what I meant and did not say well.

People who can drink a little each day without being impaired can do OK. Similarly with oher drugs. They might like it or not, but they aren't a problem for society.

I note that tobacco is one of the most addictive drugs, but hardly any tobacco addicts are impaired to the point they can't work adequately.

Similarly coffee. There are lots of caffeine addicts who feel like they can't function without it, who don't take enough that they get the jitters and can't work. I believe there are long-term bad effects but I'm in a small minority in that, and employers generally have no objection to caffeine addiction and it isn't unusual for them to provide coffee to employees.

My concern is the addicts who can't handle it, who take more as they become habituated, who become unemployable and who likely cause damage to others as they decline. I don't know the word for them and used "addict" for it, a word that I think is often used for that by people who ignore the many caffeine, nicotine, alcohol etc addicts who keep it in reasonable bounds.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Archonix on July 29, 2010, 01:08:11 pm
I registered just to answer this (which is an odd thing to register for, but I've been lurking this thread in particular for a few days now).

The phrase you're looking for is "dependency addiction", or just a dependency. Addiction is when you consume or act out something regardless of need (which makes the phrase "addiction to oil" terribly amusing). Dependency is when you are physiologically unable to give up something. Dependency itself is not necesarily a bad thing - we're "dependent" on food, for instance - but if you're dependent on something that is detrimental to your health then it becomes bad.

An addict can quit given sufficient motivation; if they want to improve their health or think that the thing they're addicted to is bad for them, they can choose to stop. When you're dependent that choice is effectively gone; your body has adjusted to the point where you are physically and psychologically incapable of giving up your addiction no matter what the motivation. All the desire in the world isn't enough in that state and you will need other people to physically prevent your access to the object of your dependency.

A second point that seems to have been missed is the issue of purity and toxicity. Consuming pure alcohol is a very bad idea and in fact it's lethal in relatively small doses. Similarly caffeine is a potent carcinogen and highly toxic in its purified form; it's also a very powerful stimulant and just a spoon-full will get you high faster than you can say "gonzo journalism".

Cocaine is also a highly purified substance. In its unpurified natural form it makes a very refreshing tea-like drink that's a good cure for nausea, about as stimulating as a strong coffee and yet far less addictive. The dependency is in the purity. If you were to similarly purify the active substances in yerba mate you'd soon find yourself pilloried for creating a "new" street-drug, but it's consumed throughout south america as part of an infusion that I can attest is very, very tasty and very relaxing.

Dug pushers aren't interested in repeat purchase to the same degree as legal companies. They're trying to make big money relatively fast so they can avoid the wrath of the state, so they don't care about whether the stuff they're selling will kill their customers, and in any case they can always tout for more. They're the ultimate example of uncaring short-termism. A legitimate company would be careful to research the optimum dose for its product to maintain repeat buys without its customers randomly dying from overdoses. That would mean they'd probably have to make the dose very small; you don't see more than a few microgrammes of caffeine in a can of coke and you wouldn't seen more than a very tiny amount of cocaine in some sort of "coca tonic". Or Coca Wine perhaps. Look it up some time, and be shocked and dismayed at what people used to drink without ill-effect. ;)
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on July 29, 2010, 06:25:29 pm
The trade name Coca Cola derives from two agents in the original formula. The first of these was cocaine.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on July 29, 2010, 11:55:06 pm
Yes, they value freedom. Not only because they don't want to be bothered and bullied, but because they know the power of the vote in a democracy is a defense - against the tyrant stealing your property or your wife.
Voting is not freedom, nor is it a defense.  Your property has been stolen, and most young men today will wind up without a wife.

Consider, for example, the Financial Reform Bill.  It is two and a half thousand pages long.  No one has read it.  The Glass-Steagall bill was seventeen pages.

What effect can democracy possibly have on such a bill?

Further, Glass-Steagall laid down rules.  The financial reform bill grants power to lay down rules, and change those rules from moment to moment, and no one knows what those rules are going to be.  Most paragraphs in this vast document are not rules, but grants of power, thousands of grants of power each of which will itself lead to thousands of pages of regulations by people mysterious, unknown, and unaccountable.

Whether the financial system continues to piss away trillions of dollars, or stops, is entirely a matter of whether the
Financial Reform Bill contains, or does not contain, the LeMieux-Cantwell Amendment.  That amendment, passed by both
house and senate, fixes the biggest problem, and if that problem is not fixed, the financial system will continue to
leak money - yet somehow, despite everyone voting for it, has strangely failed to be included in the final bill, mysteriously disappearing from the bill by a process no one understands or can explain.

Government backing for the NRSRO's is, at the moment, still in place, despite a majority vote, the LeMieux-Cantwell Amendment,  in both the house and the senate to take it away, a majority vote that seems to have somehow failed to be reflected in law and  regulations - part of the wonderfully democratic tendency of representatives to vote for popular and sane laws and  policies, and then, mysteriously, the laws and policies  remain insane and unpopular, demonstrating democracy to be a mere charade.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on July 30, 2010, 12:00:32 am
The trade name Coca Cola derives from two agents in the original formula. The first of these was cocaine.
Back in the good old days, when cocaine was legal, we did not have any very obvious problem with cocaine addicts(http://jim.com/cocaine.jpg)
All drugs, recreational and medical, should be available the way alcohol and tobacco are today.http://jim.com/drug_peace.htm (http://jim.com/drug_peace.htm)
"Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms" should be the name of a line of convenience stores, not a government department.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Brugle on July 30, 2010, 09:09:39 am
All drugs, recreational and medical, should be available the way alcohol and tobacco are today.
Highly controlled and taxed?  No, people should be free to make whatever arrangements they agree upon.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on July 30, 2010, 10:37:09 am
Whether the financial system continues to piss away trillions of dollars, or stops, is entirely a matter of whether the
Financial Reform Bill contains, or does not contain, the LeMieux-Cantwell Amendment.  That amendment, passed by both
house and senate, fixes the biggest problem, and if that problem is not fixed, the financial system will continue to
leak money - yet somehow, despite everyone voting for it, has strangely failed to be included in the final bill, mysteriously disappearing from the bill by a process no one understands or can explain.
There is no mystery. This sort of thing happens all the time when bills go through committee.

In the American political system, members of the House and Senate are appointed to committees based on seniority. This means that a very senior Senator or Representative can always ensure Federal spending in his State or district, since, by being head of the right committee, he can ensure that bills don't get passed unless there is something in them for his consituents. This means that incumbent members of the House and Senate are virtually guaranteed re-election, leaving them a free hand in voting for unpopular measures desired by campaign donors (i.e. the DMCA).
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on July 30, 2010, 10:56:01 am
The phrase you're looking for is "dependency addiction", or just a dependency. Addiction is when you consume or act out something regardless of need (which makes the phrase "addiction to oil" terribly amusing). Dependency is when you are physiologically unable to give up something. Dependency itself is not necesarily a bad thing - we're "dependent" on food, for instance - but if you're dependent on something that is detrimental to your health then it becomes bad.

You've described a valid way to look at it, but it isn't what I want.

Try out this idea. Behavioral psychologists have the idea that when an action is reinforced less, it will happen less. If it stops being reinforced enough there will be "extinction", and the behavior will stop over a period of time. Some people do that. They can be addicted to cigarettes or candy or heroin and just keep taking the same amount, and when they get habiuated and it doesn't work as much then they do it less and wean themselves off of it. Or maybe they might keep taking it the same amount and just stay addicted.

But some people, when they get habituated and it doesn't work as much, they take more to keep getting the effect. And more and more until they get into serious trouble of one sort or another.

These people are the ones that have a problem, and they're the ones that are a problem. Ideally we could help them so they wouldn't do that. Failing a good way to rescue them, we should find ways for them to go to hell without dragging anyone else with them.

Quote
Dug pushers aren't interested in repeat purchase to the same degree as legal companies. They're trying to make big money relatively fast so they can avoid the wrath of the state, so they don't care about whether the stuff they're selling will kill their customers, and in any case they can always tout for more. They're the ultimate example of uncaring short-termism.

This is the sort of generalization that bothers me when people make it about blacks or libertarians or policemen etc. Drug pushers think they'll make so much money they'll retire before they need new customers? They think they'll go to prison soon? Each new customer is a risk, and an expense, just like for other businesses that depend on steady customers only more so. There can be very short-sighted drug pushers, but if it's the norm it's because they tend to be bad businessmen, or because they sample the stock too much or something like that.

When you deal drugs and you have a customer who knocks on your door at 4 AM because he wants more, who can't ever get quite enough, who builds up to more than he can afford but he won't go away.... And when he gets arrested for reckless driving or whatever, can you depend on him not to give them your name? He might even blackmail you. You want to stay out of jail more than he does, he doesn't care about anything beyond the next fix. If you don't satisfy him....

Surely drug dealers of average intelligence would prefer steady dependable customers that they treat right. But that isn't what you have here. It might be best for the whole society if he dies quick. And that's easy to arrange when he takes whatever drug you give him. In a good anarchist society there'd be a better way. The society would recognise that he's a bad customer and it's OK for you to cut him off and if he initiates violence you do whatever it takes to stop him. But when he can rat you out to the police it's harder.

Quote
A legitimate company would be careful to research the optimum dose for its product to maintain repeat buys without its customers randomly dying from overdoses. That would mean they'd probably have to make the dose very small; you don't see more than a few microgrammes of caffeine in a can of coke and you wouldn't seen more than a very tiny amount of cocaine in some sort of "coca tonic". Or Coca Wine perhaps. Look it up some time, and be shocked and dismayed at what people used to drink without ill-effect. ;)

http://wilstar.com/caffeine.htm

Milligrans per 12 ounce can:

Jolt                            71.2
Pepsi One               55.5
Mountain Dew         55.0
Diet Coke               45.6
Coca-Cola Zero     35.0
Coca-Cola Classic 34.0

You're off by 4 orders of magnitude. But that doesn't affect your argument which is a good one, and anyway what's 4 orders of magnitude among friends?
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on July 30, 2010, 01:25:32 pm
In the American political system, members of the House and Senate are appointed to committees based on seniority. This means that a very senior Senator or Representative can always ensure Federal spending in his State or district, since, by being head of the right committee, he can ensure that bills don't get passed unless there is something in them for his consituents. This means that incumbent members of the House and Senate are virtually guaranteed re-election, leaving them a free hand in voting for unpopular measures desired by campaign donors (i.e. the DMCA).
In this case, the measure is unpopular, because a handful of people understand it is likely to cause total collapse of our economy. In twenty five hundred page Financial Reform Bill, there were a dozen lines of actual reform, the LeMieux-Cantwell Amendment, and because it is not included, then Financial System is still going to go on doing what it has been doing.

Democracy has been failing for a long time.  This is an exceptionally serious failure.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Archonix on July 30, 2010, 05:24:19 pm
The trade name Coca Cola derives from two agents in the original formula. The first of these was cocaine.

My subtle point, you have made it. ;)

Quote from: J Thomas
You've described a valid way to look at it, but it isn't what I want.

Then I'm out of ideas. :D

Quote
You're off by 4 orders of magnitude. But that doesn't affect your argument which is a good one, and anyway what's 4 orders of magnitude among friends?

Unfortunately it's a significant enough error that some will be able to use it as an excuse not to read what I wrote. I'll have to be more careful about quantities, I guess. :)

Hey if anyone wants to see what the end-game of your current little political game with the left will be, look at Argentina. Down there they had a constitution very similar to the US (granted, differences can easily be found but in fundamental substance it was very similar) until it was systematically taken apart by the statists from whose ranks Péron ascended. Now the middle class has been all but eliminated by the redistributionist policies of the left, poverty has risen almost exponentially, and the country lives in near-permanent recession. It's a shame to see such a beautiful country reduced to penury.

Or look here in the UK. Our bill of rights wasn't quite perfect, since it had a very anti-catholic bias, but it guaranteed the right to bear arms, freely assemble, petition the government and all that. It's the ancestor of the US constitution. It's also been ignored completely for the better part of a century - most people don't even know it exists because they educational establishment decided to not teach about it some time in the 60s or 50s. Because it's been pushed in to obscurity the state has arrogated to itself the power to control every aspect of our lives (and subsequently handed most of that power to the EU, but that's another rant) and, without the knowledge of the limitations the Bill of Rights placed on Parliament, the people have not had the ability to defend themselves against this. I know your schools don't teach the US constitution very much, except in very general terms that allow the confusing use of the word "rights" as a catch-all for "desires". Another generation or two and you'll be like we are now.

In both cases, "law and order" are claimed as the sole right of the state, but the state has no ability to enforce order any more and violent crime has risen year-on-year for the last decade or two if I remember the stats right. As the saying goes, when seconds matter the police are just minutes away.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on July 30, 2010, 11:09:00 pm
Hey if anyone wants to see what the end-game of your current little political game with the left will be, look at Argentina. […]

Or look here in the UK. Our bill of rights […] guaranteed the right to bear arms, freely assemble, petition the government and all that. It's the ancestor of the US constitution. It's also been ignored completely for the better part of a century - most people don't even know it exists because they educational establishment decided to not teach about it some time in the 60s or 50s.

The Glorious Revolution also got edited out of British history, with all the changes that flowed from the Glorious Revolution being attributed to the French Revolution.  I think that today the average Britisher, if he has heard about the Glorious Revolution, thinks it was about the right to beat up Catholics and gays.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on July 31, 2010, 04:21:39 am
Democracy has been failing for a long time.  This is an exceptionally serious failure.
In fairness, I should point out that while I often throw bricks at the committee system in the United States, the alternative form of democracy, the parliamentary system, while it tends to produce somewhat better results in practice most of the time, is less resilient. It's highly vulnerable to being taken over by a would-be dictator, because a Prime Minister with a majority government is very close to one in power.

All that is needed is for the President or Governor-General or monarch to be on side with his program. (Or, as happened in Germany, to step down in his favor.)
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on July 31, 2010, 05:57:51 am
the parliamentary system, while it tends to produce somewhat better results in practice most of the time, is less resilient. It's highly vulnerable to being taken over by a would-be dictator, because a Prime Minister with a majority government is very close to one in power.

All that is needed is for the President or Governor-General or monarch to be on side with his program. (Or, as happened in Germany, to step down in his favor.)
To suppose that this matters, one has to suppose that present forms of democracy produce better results than one man, one vote, once democracy, which view is not supported by recent events, nor widely shared in this forum.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on August 01, 2010, 01:30:26 pm
To suppose that this matters, one has to suppose that present forms of democracy produce better results than one man, one vote, once democracy, which view is not supported by recent events, nor widely shared in this forum.
One man, one vote, once? I thought that the fact that present forms of democracy produce better results than that form of government was proven by the very existence of this forum.

Even if many here do feel that in the long run, it will end up as the same thing - as depicted in the future Earth of this comic.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Rocketman on August 01, 2010, 06:53:28 pm
As time goes by it doesn'r really matter if a nation has a democracy or a parliamentary system.  If the citizens of the country don't watch it closely and keep it from developing statist tendencies then eventually they all become either a dictatorship or an oligarchy.  Examples are all around us.   >:(  >:(  >:(  >:(  >:(
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on August 01, 2010, 07:14:41 pm
As time goes by it doesn'r really matter if a nation has a democracy or a parliamentary system.  If the citizens of the country don't watch it closely and keep it from developing statist tendencies then eventually they all become either a dictatorship or an oligarchy.  Examples are all around us. 

So, if a few people get a giant share of economic power, how can they be stopped from forming an oligarchy? Particularly if they control important communication lines....

If you can get the sort of government that can keep an oligopoly from turning into an oligarchy what's the chance it won't turn statist?

A big mass of relatively poor voters can make a difference, if there's some single big issue for them to focus on and if they have a good communications network. But when it's salami-slicing, one little travesty after another, they don't have the time. They have to spend a big part of their time making a living. So they lose.

Samuel 8:5-20 probably applies here too. (That's the verse where people in Israel came to Samuel saying they wanted a king. Samuel told them how badly a king would treat them, but they said they wanted a king anyway.)
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Brugle on August 01, 2010, 07:34:14 pm
So, if a few people get a giant share of economic power, how can they be stopped from forming an oligarchy? Particularly if they control important communication lines....
With a powerful government, it's relatively easy for a few people to get a giant share of economic power.  Without a government, it's essentially impossible.

A big mass of relatively poor voters can make a difference, if there's some single big issue for them to focus on and if they have a good communications network.
Like TARP, which was opposed by the American people by something like 10 to 1?  Like the communications which let Americans know that other Americans overwhelmingly opposed it?  That didn't stop Congress and the President from taking $700000000000 from the American people and giving it to their bankster friends.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 02, 2010, 03:58:20 am
A big mass of relatively poor voters can make a difference, if there's some single big issue for them to focus on and if they have a good communications network.
Observe that this had no effect on TARP, where the right did not want the rich bailed out because they hate bankers, the poor did not want the rich bailed out because they hate the rich, and the libertarians did not want the rich bailed out because welfare for the rich destroys incentive - in this case, the incentive to operate the financial system responsibly and avoid the next implosion.

Further, the financial reform bill was a great big issue that will tremendously affect every American, and few had much to say on it because few understand it - like most bills these days it is two and half thousand pages of incomprehensible gibberish, which does not set rules but rather grants power to bureaucrats to make future rules.  When bills are this big, democracy is irrelevant.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 02, 2010, 04:30:01 am
One man, one vote, once? I thought that the fact that present forms of democracy produce better results than that form of government was proven by the very existence of this forum.

That the republic produced better results than one man one vote once is demonstrated by the existence of this forum.  The republic, however, has been dead for some time.

Today western science is stagnant for the same reasons as it was stagnant from 1293 to 1648 – because it has been subordinated to religion.

“Scientists” complain that the government is interfering in “science” by denying them regulatory authority over other people’s economic activity.

Nasa’s primary goal is to make Muslims feel good about Muslim science.

In 1903 December 17, the Wright brothers flew.

In 1905 October 05, they demonstrated powered flight “of practical utility”

In 1908, they started making a profit.

In 1969 July 20, Commander Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, but the flight was not of practical utility.

So from the Wright brothers to the moon landing was 66 years, and from the moon landing to now has been forty three years – and in those forty three years, have been slowly giving up on manned presence in space, rather than developing rockets “of practical utility”.

Americans are already bailing out Greece, so will be bailing out California.  Add the unfunded state liabilities to the unfunded federal liability, there is no way the Federal government can make good on its debts.  We are not just up for the federal deficit.  We are up for the Greek and Californian deficit.

Every rising civilization was a lender, innovator, and investor, every declining civilization a borrower.  California used to be the place where the future was invented, but no longer.

America was the place where the future was created.  All the world depended on America for progress. It ceased to be that place under Clinton, and things got worse under Bush.

We cannot rebuild the two towers, we no longer have a human presence in space, and the next big thing on the internet, networked money that bypasses our legacy banking system, is coming from China, and, God-help-us, Africa.

Remember that in the 1950s, we were about to settle Antarctica, (but government swiftly stepped in and saved Antarctica from the evil humans)

I have seen the future, and it looks remarkably like Detroit and Liverpool – a barren wasteland of collapsed and disintegrating buildings where feral humans roam, murderously attacking at random.

A Chinese or a Russian is better able to do an internet mediated transaction than an America or European, and an African better able to do a cell phone mediated transaction than an American or European – because the government enforced and funded banking cartel is blocking progress.  Webmoney is Russian, because its western equivalents are in jail, or had their assets confiscated.

Similarly, we cannot rebuild the two towers, because to build anything, one hundred and one Brahmans need to be paid off, and they cannot agree amongst themselves on the distribution of payoffs, nor how much kow towing to our enemies is to be built into the new tower’s memorial museum. Dubai, however, can build high towers, because to build the tower, the builder only needs the permission of one religious authority.

That we cannot build a tower, nor transact through our cell phones, tells us why we cannot get into space.

An America that cannot rebuild the two towers, cannot possibly build nuclear power plants. If something is complicated, government cannot do it. If something is complicated and highly regulated by government, private enterprise cannot do it. Even if greenies were not determined to destroy western civilization, the US can no more build nuclear power plants than it can put a man on the moon.

Europe is crowded, yet a google earth view reveals vast expanses of unutilized or under utilized land, held out of use by greenies.

As the two towers demonstrate, the US has become the can’t do society.  This is the result of the dispersal of power between ever more numerous Brahmins.  To get anything done, you need an ever larger number of approvals and permits, which you are probably not going to get.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on August 02, 2010, 06:38:56 am
As time goes by it doesn'r really matter if a nation has a democracy or a parliamentary system.  If the citizens of the country don't watch it closely and keep it from developing statist tendencies then eventually they all become either a dictatorship or an oligarchy.  Examples are all around us. 
Absolutely.

After all, the man who wrote "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty" wasn't talking about ICBMs; they hadn't been invented yet.

So, if a few people get a giant share of economic power, how can they be stopped from forming an oligarchy? Particularly if they control important communication lines....

If you can get the sort of government that can keep an oligopoly from turning into an oligarchy what's the chance it won't turn statist?

A big mass of relatively poor voters can make a difference, if there's some single big issue for them to focus on and if they have a good communications network. But when it's salami-slicing, one little travesty after another, they don't have the time. They have to spend a big part of their time making a living. So they lose.
Of course, the same big mass of poor people who want to prevent an oligarchy are the dangerous ones who, at least under some circumstances, might be the ones to choose to bring in socialism.

I remember reading a magazine article about Brazil where a Brazilian was quoted as summing up his country's history as a series of military coups, brought about when an elected government seemed to be getting too ambitious in its plans to help the country's poor people.

The world's stable democracies went through a period where one needed to own land before one could vote. Something that combines stability with the gradual growth of freedom would seem to be exactly what a nation in Brazil's situation needs. And that could definitely include AnCap, as another way to combine freedom with keeping socialism off the table.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on August 02, 2010, 09:14:24 am
So, if a few people get a giant share of economic power, how can they be stopped from forming an oligarchy? Particularly if they control important communication lines....
With a powerful government, it's relatively easy for a few people to get a giant share of economic power.  Without a government, it's essentially impossible.

True.

Quote
A big mass of relatively poor voters can make a difference, if there's some single big issue for them to focus on and if they have a good communications network.
Like TARP, which was opposed by the American people by something like 10 to 1? 

Well, *sometimes* they can make a difference.

In this particular case a lot of politicians believed that TARP had to be done quickly to prevent a disaster, and they couldn't wait for the media to persuade the public with incessant explanations why it had to be done. They risked their re-election to do what they could plausibly say was their fervent belief was the right thing. There was a minority of voters who  believed it had to be done to prevent a catastrophe.

One of my neighbors believes that. He's about 70. He took some undergraduate economics classes, and a few graduate classes, and he lectures me about unregulated free enterprise and how it'is the only way that can work. He was convinced we were about to have a financial catastrophe that could have been worse than the Great Depression and TARP was absolutely necessary to prevent that. "We ducked a bullet that time, but can we duck the next one?" He looks at the government economic data every month and figures out patterns and tells me how close to the edge we are. He seems almost excited and happy at the thought of a depression that would wipe out his savings. I think maybe he's bored.

How does he square unregulated free enterprise with TARP? I think he's a bit confused. But when occasionally I ask pointed questions he accuses me of thinking I know more than the experts, and points out his graduate courses mean he knows what he's talking about.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on August 02, 2010, 12:36:48 pm
TARP did not "duck a bullet", it merely kicked it into a boomerang path; the consequences are yet to come, and will be quite severe. What happens when China, Japan, and other countries call in American debt?

There's a lovely youtube video about the European debt crisis, by an Australian comedy show.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thSTpGnWEAs

I am looking for a recent interview with Nicholas Tabib, of "Black Swan" fame. He cranked the numbers and concluded that the recent interventions make the financial system dangerously unstable.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: BMeph on August 02, 2010, 01:12:42 pm
If you can get the sort of government that can keep an oligopoly from turning into an oligarchy what's the chance it won't turn statist?

If your government can "keep" an oligopoly from turning into an oligarchy, isn't it already statist?

Not all states start off ruling everything they can get their sticky, grubby fingers on, just enough to get people comfortable with the idea of not resisting the state's rules.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on August 02, 2010, 03:11:18 pm
TARP did not "duck a bullet", it merely kicked it into a boomerang path; the consequences are yet to come, and will be quite severe. What happens when China, Japan, and other countries call in American debt?

I don't understand the details, and I tend to think it isn't necessary to understand the details to see that you're right. There might be something in the details that would give us a reprieve, but I hate to depend on miracles.

Quote
I am looking for a recent interview with Nicholas Tabib, of "Black Swan" fame. He cranked the numbers and concluded that the recent interventions make the financial system dangerously unstable.

The financial system was already dangerously unstable. That's why they could get away with it.

About TARP, I figure if somebody's bleeding out then sure they need a transfusion. But if you have limited units of blood available, the first priority is to stop the spurting wound, and the transfusion probably needs to come second.

Also, we might have done better to quick set up a hundred new banks that would be known not to be contaminated, and let them provide banking services while we sorted out how many of the obligations of defunct banks they could absorb.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on August 02, 2010, 08:11:05 pm

America was the place where the future was created.  All the world depended on America for progress. It ceased to be that place under Clinton, and things got worse under Bush.

I'd put the beginning of the end with Johnson who way overspent and lied about it. The economy got not only a great big burden but it had a lot of trouble planning. Hard to know how to allocate resources when you don't know from month to month what the inflation rate will be.

Nixon inherited a bad situation and made it worse.

Carter asked the USA to make short-term luxury sacrifices to get energy independence. He didn't convince them. Everything since then has sprung from that failure.

Reagan gave us lots of feel-good propaganda while he spent us out of recession. He temporarily handled the oil crisis by doing everything he could to keep the Iraq/Iran war going. It lasted from 1980 until just before the 1988 elections.

Bush I tried to be responsible and reduce the deficit by reducing government spending. But he couldn't get a consensus in Congress and wound up increasing taxes. He succeeded in reducing inflation and and interest rates, at the cost of recession and high unemployment that lost him the election. Because the economy did badly he was stuck with high unemployment insurance payments etc which left him with more deficit spending than ever.

Clinton faced a Congress that wouldn't let him do much. That was good for the deficit. And we had the internet boom -- rather similar to the dutch tulip boom, but with some vague rational reason for hope -- which made the economy look like it wasn't so bad. He didn't do anything about the fundamental problems.

Bush II inherited a bad situation and made it worse. Possibly he tried to do something constructive, perhaps he tried to control all the oil in Iraq to temporarily deal with the energy crisis. I think Saddam lied about his oil reserves. Whoops! How could anybody have guessed he might lie? Bush was left holding the bag and kept the economy moving with the biggest deficits ever.

Obama inherited a bad situation and it appears he has made a vigorous effort to avoid rocking the boat. If he does that well enough the economy will sink on a completely even keel instead of capsize.

I dunno. Government currently issues around 1/4 of the paychecks. Reduced government spending means a lot of people laid off. The best time to do that is when private businesses are ready to expand fast enough to take up that slack. It looks to me like Johnson had the last chance to do that, and he didn't try.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on August 02, 2010, 10:05:22 pm
Carter asked the USA to make short-term luxury sacrifices to get energy independence. He didn't convince them. Everything since then has sprung from that failure.
If I believed that in precisely the way you phrased it, I could say this was an argument in favor of government-controlled thermostats and against AnCap.

But don't worry; I'm not going to use what you've written that way.

Of course Carter failed to win the cooperation of the American people.

For one thing, he didn't stop the oil companies from hoarding oil. Ordinary Americans will not consider a call for personal sacrifice legitimate if large companies owned by wealthy people are free to engage in profiteering, particularly in ways harmful to the country's ability to function - i.e., the line-ups at gas stations. (The idea that it was "their" oil, after all, besides not being in the interests of ordinary people to consider, was somewhat debatable - it may in some cases have been the government's oil that they were allowed to treat as their oil to encourage them to develop it.)

For another, he didn't offer the American people hope. Temporary sacrifices? I'm sorry, but research on better insulation and solar panels (were they considering windmills back then?) would not end a future of 68-degree thermostats and constant sniffles in the winter for ordinary people - and everybody realized that.

If Carter had initiated a crash program of converting all fossil-fuel home heating to electricity, and all fossil-fuel electrical power generation to nuclear - such a program could have included a net increase in the United States' per-capita energy production. It could have included meaningful jobs at union wages for young people leaving high school, and the black people left stranded by the collapse of Detroit.

People will make sacrifices in order to attain victory. But you can't attain victory if you have not begun to fight.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on August 03, 2010, 05:32:12 am
Carter asked the USA to make short-term luxury sacrifices to get energy independence. He didn't convince them. Everything since then has sprung from that failure.

Of course Carter failed to win the cooperation of the American people.

You give good reasons why Carter failed. And I certainly don't want to defend him. My point is that he did fail, and no one since has even given the issue the lip service that he did. It's almost like politicians decided that Carter had shown that Americans aren't interested in energy independence so they should make it a low priority.

All the reasons for his failure -- lack of imagination, lack of charisma, inability to get bipartisan support, etc -- led him to fail. It was the critical moment when we were in enough trouble that the danger was plain but not yet too late to respond.

Carter's failure led us to where we are today. Now if Obama had a workable idea he'd be fighting with one hand and both feet tied behind his back. It would be hard for him to do anything effective even if he had an idea worth trying.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on August 03, 2010, 08:01:14 pm
The oil companies were not "hoarding oil" - they were prevented from selling it at market prices. Japan never had gas lines; America did, and resorted to rationing - people could buy gas only on certain days, depending ( if I recall correctly ) on one's social security number. The difference is that America fixed prices, Japan let the prices rise.

Carter ( like almost all politicians ) tried to blame the rising prices on greedy profiteers, hoarders, and so forth - anything but the real cause, which is the inflation of the money supply by the Federal Reserve and the banks. As Milton Friedman determined through extensive research, "inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon. "

Don't be giving Obama a free pass. He's not "keeping the boat on an even keel", he's doubling down on Bush's bad bets. These two clowns will go down in history, along with Helicopter Ben Bernanke, as the people who blew gigantic trillion-dollar-sized holes in the boat. This is not heroism, but hubris.


Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: SandySandfort on August 04, 2010, 08:22:25 am
The oil companies were not "hoarding oil" - they were prevented from selling it at market prices. Japan never had gas lines; America did, and resorted to rationing - people could buy gas only on certain days, depending ( if I recall correctly ) on one's social security number...

Actually, it was the last digit of your car's license plate. If the number was odd, you could only buy on odd days; even numbers on even days.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: bjdotson on August 04, 2010, 08:45:24 am
A point about smugglers underselling tobacco merchants. The only reason that this is economically viable, is that the tobacco merchants have to charge taxes which is close to 50% of the price of the product. Tobacco merchants selling at free market prices would not have this problem. Of course then the "smugglers" become rival merchants trying to get your business. Truly an example of the government being the problem, not the solution.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: bjdotson on August 04, 2010, 08:51:22 am
Sorry about the above. When I posted did not realize that there was 4 more pages of posts on this subject and that my point had already been made (and much better than I did)

Still learning how the forum works.

Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on August 04, 2010, 09:28:34 am
The oil companies were not "hoarding oil" - they were prevented from selling it at market prices.

In terms of national military strategy that makes sense. A policy of "Burn America First" wouldn't be good if we later had to face a serious war. But that's pretty much irrelevant by this point. Now, if we have a serious economic downturn and we allowed free trade in oil we could find ourselves becoming net oil exporters because US oil companies would need hard currencies. And the US economy would have to make do on whatever part of the domestic oil we could afford.

Quote
Japan never had gas lines; America did, and resorted to rationing - people could buy gas only on certain days, depending ( if I recall correctly ) on one's social security number. The difference is that America fixed prices, Japan let the prices rise.

Yes. Gasoline had turned into an economic necessity for most people, and at that point a free market would have been even more disruptive than rationing. If less-than-twice-minimum-wage people can't get to work regularly, it's a worse problem than those same people waiting in gas lines in their spare time. The last-digit-of-license thing was a sop to show they wanted to make the lines shorter.

Quote
Carter ( like almost all politicians ) tried to blame the rising prices on greedy profiteers, hoarders, and so forth - anything but the real cause, which is the inflation of the money supply by the Federal Reserve and the banks.

The immediate cause was foreign policy. In a moment of inattention Kissinger gave King Saud and the Shah permission to control the oil market. Then unconditional US support for Israel in the 1973 war gave them the political conditions to make it work. When the Shah fell and Iran's oil exports went way down, OPEC increased production but not enough, so there was a 4% shortfall. This would have been felt primarily in europe and the third world, but Carter honored our obligations to european allies and let oil that had been intended for the USA be diverted to them. Kissinger's promise to supply Israel with all the oil it needed was just a little blip on that.

If the US government hadn't diverted oil, the US oil shortage would have been just from the spot market and smuggling. But Carter wanted to save europe more serious troubles, and maybe it cost him the election. The third world of course took it on the chin.

Quote
As Milton Friedman determined through extensive research, "inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon. "

That's logically necessary. No matter what causes inflation, monetary policy can eliminate the inflation if you don't care about side effects. Government monetary policies can reduce demand until prices fall enough. And some people won't recognise it as government action, though a lot of voters will blame the government for whatever discomfort they feel, whether they think the government directly caused it or not.

Quote
[Don't be giving Obama a free pass. He's not "keeping the boat on an even keel", he's doubling down on Bush's bad bets.

I guess my damnation was too subtle. It's somewhat better for a boat to sink evenly than capsize, but for people who depend on it not to sink, that's not nearly good enough.

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These two clowns will go down in history, along with Helicopter Ben Bernanke, as the people who blew gigantic trillion-dollar-sized holes in the boat. This is not heroism, but hubris.

Probably Greenspan will share a lot of the blame. He spent a long time doing things that could not work in the long run, which were short-term pleasant. The media said he was a genius because he figured out how to get such wonderful results. Then when he reached the end of the line and there was no wiggle-room left, he quit and left it to Bernanke to face the consequences.

Now it isn't hubris, it's desperation. They don't see any adequate solution so they do whatever they can to put off catastrophe.

Perhaps they can find some way to declare a WWII style world war, and maybe this time draft everybody and nationalize the whole nation's resources -- everything -- for the duration, and when it's time to pick up the pieces things will be so different that nobody can figure out who owes what from the old days.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Gillsing on August 04, 2010, 11:46:19 am
Sounds like a plan. And maybe we can finally have a world government too, so that such a terrible war can never happen again. The people will demand it.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 04, 2010, 05:11:10 pm
In this particular case a lot of politicians believed that TARP had to be done quickly to prevent a disaster, and they couldn't wait for the media to persuade the public with incessant explanations why it had to be done. They risked their re-election to do what they could plausibly say was their fervent belief was the right thing. There was a minority of voters who  believed it had to be done to prevent a catastrophe.
Did they believe that, or did they believe that only the little people, people who are not well connected, should lose money and lose their jobs?

Consider, for example, the bailout of GM.  This was bailout of some creditors (the union) at the expense of other creditors, preserving some jobs (union jobs) and some car sellers, at the expense of other car sellers.  It was not stimulus, but primarily redistribution from the less connected to the more connected to preserve the wealth and jobs of the connected, at the expense of the wealth and jobs of the less connected.  Individual car resellers were punished or rewarded case by case, depending on each one's individual political connections and social class.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: wdg3rd on August 04, 2010, 08:55:40 pm
The oil companies were not "hoarding oil" - they were prevented from selling it at market prices. Japan never had gas lines; America did, and resorted to rationing - people could buy gas only on certain days, depending ( if I recall correctly ) on one's social security number...

Actually, it was the last digit of your car's license plate. If the number was odd, you could only buy on odd days; even numbers on even days.

Which was a real pain in the butt if you had a vanity plate without numbers.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: wdg3rd on August 04, 2010, 09:07:37 pm
A point about smugglers underselling tobacco merchants. The only reason that this is economically viable, is that the tobacco merchants have to charge taxes which is close to 50% of the price of the product. Tobacco merchants selling at free market prices would not have this problem. Of course then the "smugglers" become rival merchants trying to get your business. Truly an example of the government being the problem, not the solution.

The taxes are considerably more than half the price of the product.  April Fool's Day last year the federal tax on a pound of cigarette tobacco went from less than a dollar (retail in Pennsylvania was $11-14 with that tax) to just under $25 per pound.  A bag of cigarette tobacco is now about $40 in Pennsylvania.  (Let's not talk about the price in New Jersey).  So since that tax hasn't been extended to pipe tobacco (yet), that's what I make my cigarettes from.  When that tax happens (there are bills in committee) I guess I'll have to grow my own.  (Oh yeah, I could quit smoking, which is the official reason for these taxes, but I won't give the assholes the pleasure).
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on August 04, 2010, 10:34:49 pm


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Japan never had gas lines; America did, and resorted to rationing - people could buy gas only on certain days, depending ( if I recall correctly ) on one's social security number. The difference is that America fixed prices, Japan let the prices rise.

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Yes. Gasoline had turned into an economic necessity for most people, and at that point a free market would have been even more disruptive than rationing. If less-than-twice-minimum-wage people can't get to work regularly, it's a worse problem than those same people waiting in gas lines in their spare time. The last-digit-of-license thing was a sop to show they wanted to make the lines shorter.

Why must you ignore everything which is known about economics? When prices rise, people make choices to reduce their usage. We have seen this in recent times, when gasoline prices went as high as $4 per gallon. People found ways to economize - travel a bit less, share rides, use a bicycle or scooter, buy a hybrid, etc. The government stats showed about 5% less gasoline usage as a result.

Fixing the prices at artificially low levels prevented these adaptations from happening. This is what caused the shortages. There are thousands of years of examples of this process in many countries; it cannot be wished away by politicians or by people who prefer to ignore the laws of economics.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on August 04, 2010, 10:35:24 pm
For your amusement:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/hs115.ash2/39095_456137323551_572863551_6120831_2502034_n.jpg
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on August 05, 2010, 04:47:59 am

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Japan never had gas lines; America did, and resorted to rationing - people could buy gas only on certain days, depending ( if I recall correctly ) on one's social security number. The difference is that America fixed prices, Japan let the prices rise.

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Yes. Gasoline had turned into an economic necessity for most people, and at that point a free market would have been even more disruptive than rationing. If less-than-twice-minimum-wage people can't get to work regularly, it's a worse problem than those same people waiting in gas lines in their spare time. The last-digit-of-license thing was a sop to show they wanted to make the lines shorter.

Why must you ignore everything which is known about economics? When prices rise, people make choices to reduce their usage. We have seen this in recent times, when gasoline prices went as high as $4 per gallon. People found ways to economize - travel a bit less, share rides, use a bicycle or scooter, buy a hybrid, etc. The government stats showed about 5% less gasoline usage as a result.

I don't disagree with any of this. What you are ignoring is that when prices rise dramatically, poor people economize by doing without, and and somewhat-poor people economize by mostly doing without. Somebody has to use less -- it's them, the ones who can't afford it. Some don't use much less but do pay much higher prices.

If for some reason the government wants those poor people to have some of the limited-supply product, they can get that by rationing. That's hard to organize ideally, of course, and poor people who get more of the rationed product than they think they need can sell their excess on the black market.

The classic example of this is famine. Throughout history, when food supplies got tight the poorest people starved. And they started starving while there was still more than enough food, because there was more profit in supplying rich people with more than enough of luxuries that wasted food than there was in selling to the poor.

When governments got organized enough to do rationing, they reasoned that they could reduce the starvation that way and get more citizens past the temporary shortage. If everybody gets enough to survive, that's potentially a good thing even if it means that during the famine there are no fat pigs for the richest.

In practice that only works for mild famines. When there just plain isn't enough food and some people have to starve, then one way or another the poorest people will die regardless. Their ration cards get stolen, they get killed and their ration cards used, the ration system breaks down and most of the food goes to the black market, the government picks the people it considers least valuable to itself and denies them ration cards, there are lots of ways for it to fail.

During WWI and WWII many nations that had food shortages tried to do food rationing and most seemed to feel that it reduced starvation.

It works best as a short-term thing, to help poor people survive economic shocks when the economy is far from equilibrium. The longer it lasts the worse it breaks down.

It's hard to confirm how well it actually works. Would the bureaucrats who operate the ration system do more good if they were put into the fields with hoes to grow food? At equilibrium, yes. For a sudden shock, it's hard to measure accurately.

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Fixing the prices at artificially low levels prevented these adaptations from happening. This is what caused the shortages. There are thousands of years of examples of this process in many countries; it cannot be wished away by politicians or by people who prefer to ignore the laws of economics.

The oil shortage that Carter faced was caused by the revolution and various disruptions in Iran, followed by a lot of speculators hoping to make money fast. Sudden famines typically come from unusual bad weather. It's possible for a government to set things up so that there won't be enough food produced. In the most extreme case it could make farming illegal and kill anybody accused of farming. But when there is enough food 19 years out of 20 but this year there were heavy rains just before harvest and the grain rotted in the field, that might not have much to do with government.

And if you get a sudden shortage and wheat flour is $20/pound in December, that probably isn't going to get you a lot more wheat next season than if the price was only $5/pound. A temporary shortage followed by temporary rationing will probably not do that much to discourage farmers from farming.

You certainly have a point. I read that during WWII Nixon was a clerk in the price control office and he went through a time when no meat was shipped from Chicago to the east coast because the meat packers could not make a profit at the price they were allowed to sell. Maybe the war had gone on too long, and the government control was not flexible enough. Later Nixon phased in price controls and then phased them out again. I think maybe he wanted to show the public that he was trying to do something, and he couldn't think of anything else that would have such a visible effect.

There may be a better voluntary way to reduce the effect of big sudden shocks on poor people. If you can make a good argument for it, I expect a lot of governments would be interested. They get headaches from rationing that they'd likely rather avoid.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on August 05, 2010, 08:26:55 am
When prices rise, people make choices to reduce their usage.
This is true. However, if gasoline prices rise high enough that most people can't get to work, in cities where public transit has been designed around the assumption that almost everyone has a car... it isn't possible to commute from the suburbs on a bicycle.

The oil companies were not "hoarding oil" - they were prevented from selling it at market prices.
They were hoarding oil: they were failing to continue to produce and sell oil at full capacity at the price they were told they were allowed to sell it at.

Of course this involves a lack of respect for the property rights of the oil companies.

Essentially, the conduct most Americans expected of their government was to give maximum priority to keeping America's factories working at full capacity. So that they would be there to turn out tanks and airplanes to keep Russia at bay.

As the non-communist OPEC nations had treasonously acted in such a way to compromise American industrial capacity because of their petty quarrel with Israel, many Americans are probably surprised to this day why America didn't take all their remaining oil away as soon as the Cold War ended.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on August 05, 2010, 09:38:33 am
When prices rise, people make choices to reduce their usage.
This is true. However, if gasoline prices rise high enough that most people can't get to work, in cities where public transit has been designed around the assumption that almost everyone has a car... it isn't possible to commute from the suburbs on a bicycle.

Consider that the original oil shock from iran only reduced supply by 4%, after OPEC increased production to offset the problem somewhat. If the prices had come because of consumer demand, and everybody had chosen to reduce their oil use by a mere 4%, then the problem would have been solved. But somehow the structure of the market was set up so that prices rose very high. And that happened before the US government got the idea they had to do something and stepped in with their dubious plans.

Someone recently explained that speculators help to ameliorate this sort of thing. They buy while prices are still going up, and then sell when prices are higher, and this keeps prices from rising as high as they would have otherwise. Just imagine how bad that oil shock would have been without the speculators!

How could the oil companies sell so much oil at extremely high prices, almost as much as they sold at low prices? It appears that people did not reduce their consumption all that much, that's one thing. And also, since there was a little less oil to go around, and people desperately wanted it, on the international market the prices got bid up until third world nations just couldn't pay. We got high prices, they got great big shortages. Nobody had much pity on them, everybody else was busy looking out for themselves. Except the Saudis. The Saudis could have given them oil, or sold it to them at a low price out of charity. Instead the Saudis took some Saudi profits and gave it to their preferred third world nations to bid up prices and get some oil at the high prices.

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The oil companies were not "hoarding oil" - they were prevented from selling it at market prices.
They were hoarding oil: they were failing to continue to produce and sell oil at full capacity at the price they were told they were allowed to sell it at.

Of course this involves a lack of respect for the property rights of the oil companies.

Yes, if we suppose that oil companies should have total control of the oil that only they own, and they should do whatever they choose with it looking after their own self-interest, then nobody else has any right to tell them how to run their businesses. But that didn't seem completely practical under the circumstances.

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Essentially, the conduct most Americans expected of their government was to give maximum priority to keeping America's factories working at full capacity. So that they would be there to turn out tanks and airplanes to keep Russia at bay.

That idea was starting to look questionable. We had gone to a lot of trouble to stop the USSR if they chose to invade western europe. We had troops there, and a whole lot of equipment prepositioned with the idea we'd fly more troops over at short notice. Lots of money involved. Then in 1973 Israel got in trouble and we shipped them a whole lot of that equipment, including a whole lot of the tanks we were depending on to defend western europe. Russia did not invade. Russia asked europe for trade deals. We said, "You can't do important trade with the USSR! You'll be propping them up, and when you get dependent on their exports they can control you!" The europeans didn't believe us. Because when it was a choice between defending NATO and defending Israel we chose Israel, and nothing happened to europe after all. Americans also started to argue abou just how dangerous Russia was. That argument continued within the CIA until a few weeks after the USSR collapsed.

A whole lot of americans wanted to keep the businesses running at full capacity so they would not be unemployed.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on August 05, 2010, 09:59:27 am
The oil companies were not "hoarding oil" - they were prevented from selling it at market prices.
They were hoarding oil: they were failing to continue to produce and sell oil at full capacity at the price they were told they were allowed to sell it at.

....,

As the non-communist OPEC nations had treasonously acted in such a way to compromise American industrial capacity because of their petty quarrel with Israel, many Americans are probably surprised to this day why America didn't take all their remaining oil away as soon as the Cold War ended.

That brings up an interesting moral question. I don't want to claim that anybody actually lets moral issues affect their behavior except me, so it's kind of an academic question, but still.

Would it be right to take away the oil from foreigners who refused to sell for a low price when we wanted them to?

Would it be right to take away the oil from US oil companies who refused to sell for a low price when we wanted them to?
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on August 05, 2010, 10:33:58 am
Would it be right to take away the oil from foreigners who refused to sell for a low price when we wanted them to?
But those foreigners actually stole the oil from the British and French oil companies it belonged to back in October 1973. The United States went to war against Latin American countries that stole mineral resources owned by American companies under similar circumstances.  :)

I see Russia invading Georgia, and China oppressing Tibet, and thus I regret the terrible lost opportunity after the fall of the Soviet Union - to carry out a pre-emptive nuclear strike against China and then effect regime change there, followed by agreeing to provide massive aid to Russia during its economic turmoil in return for its permanent demilitarization. Russia and India wouldn't need nuclear arms to defend against China, Pakistan wouldn't need nuclear arms to defend against India, and so the only nuclear weapons in the world would be in the hands of the United States, Britain, France, and possibly Israel.

And the world would be peaceful and happy, forever and ever, because none of the bad nasty people who might start a war or even lock up political prisoners would have the ability to disobey or defy the world's peaceful democratic nations in any way.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on August 05, 2010, 12:18:35 pm
Would it be right to take away the oil from foreigners who refused to sell for a low price when we wanted them to?
But those foreigners actually stole the oil from the British and French oil companies it belonged to back in October 1973.

And it belonged to those companies because the colonial governments said it did? If conquest is an OK moral source for ownership, then if the local people can throw out the invaders then at that point they own it. And if you can take their country away from them, why give the oil to british and french oil companies? It's yours now.

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The United States went to war against Latin American countries that stole mineral resources owned by American companies under similar circumstances.  :)

Well, sure. If they aren't strong enough to hold onto it when we want it, why let them keep it? Somebody else will take it from them if we don't.

But shouldn't that apply to US oil companies too? If the US government wants them to sell at a loss and they don't, why should they get to keep the oil?

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I see Russia invading Georgia, and China oppressing Tibet, and thus I regret the terrible lost opportunity after the fall of the Soviet Union - to carry out a pre-emptive nuclear strike against China and then effect regime change there, followed by agreeing to provide massive aid to Russia during its economic turmoil in return for its permanent demilitarization. Russia and India wouldn't need nuclear arms to defend against China, Pakistan wouldn't need nuclear arms to defend against India, and so the only nuclear weapons in the world would be in the hands of the United States, Britain, France, and possibly Israel.

Definitely Israel. Israel already had nukes, and they'd manipulate us into a nuclear war with somebody else before they'd let us take their nukes from them. The USA is Israel's ally but Israel is not the USA's ally.

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And the world would be peaceful and happy, forever and ever, because none of the bad nasty people who might start a war or even lock up political prisoners would have the ability to disobey or defy the world's peaceful democratic nations in any way.

Sometimes I get a little satirical, but I can't hope to ever catch up with you.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on August 05, 2010, 04:36:24 pm
Sometimes I get a little satirical, but I can't hope to ever catch up with you.
Yes, I was laying it on a bit thick.

Obviously, a pre-emptive strike on China is starting a war, which is one of the reasons it didn't happen. But the invasion of Georgia showed, dramatically, that the hopes that many had when the Soviet Union fell are unlikely to be realized. Instead, powerful, hostile, and unfree nations will continue to create problems for the world's relatively free nations.

To me, the cause of the diversion of so much productive labor into weapons of war isn't the fault of our power-hungry politicians so much as the real foreign enemies that we actually do have to defend ourselves against. Russia and China have both been getting a lot stronger since 1990 or thereabouts, and that's the thing that has me the most concerned.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 05, 2010, 05:20:07 pm
How could the oil companies sell so much oil at extremely high prices, almost as much as they sold at low prices? It appears that people did not reduce their consumption all that much, that's one thing.

Observe that when Reagan ended price controls we immediately had an end of shortages, followed by falling prices.  Competition and private enterprise resumed, and competition cut prices.

The government initially controlled prices.  Shortages immediately ensued - in part because many people knew that price controls would result in shortages and rationing.  So the government, to deal with the shortages, immediately introduced an vast system of rationing and fuel allocation, sending fuel to one place and not to another place, favoring the well connected, and disfavoring the less connected.  This scheme meant that the way to get more wealth was not to produce more fuel, but to get in on government, with the result that shortages became more severe.

Government price controls lead to rationing and production quotas - socialism - government takeover of the production process.  Government does not produce fuel, only good intentions, leading to more severe shortages.

The fact that the crisis ended the way it did demonstrates the perverse effects of price control.  In the long run, and by the long run I mean a year or so, price controls not only produce shortages, but higher prices.

Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on August 05, 2010, 09:28:27 pm
Please edify me. Why, during the same period, did Japan have no shortages? Would not your hypothetical hoarders have even more impact upon Japan, which has no internal sources of oil?

I posit that the American price controls, and the lack of price controls in Japan, are sufficient explanation. Your theory requires magickal hoarders who differentially affect one country, but not others.

I only have a few thousand years of historical evidence to back my theory. What more would satisfy you?
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on August 05, 2010, 10:24:53 pm
Your theory requires magickal hoarders who differentially affect one country, but not others.
I'm sure that gasoline prices were quite high in Japan.

Why this wasn't a disaster in Japan, while it would have been such a disaster in the United States that it was felt rationing is necessary, ought to be obvious. Since Japan didn't have oil wells of its own, and due to its high population density, very few Japanese people were dependent on cars to go to work. They have those bullet trains there, for example.

In the United States, on the other hand, there is a high level of dependency on the automobile, and thus while adjustment to market prices for oil could eventually take place, there would have been disruption in the interim.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 06, 2010, 12:56:23 am
it would have been such a disaster in the United States that it was felt rationing is necessary, ought to be obvious.

Nonsense.  We have a thousand years of experience that price controls always cause disaster, never avert problems.  Observe what happened when Reagan ended price control.  The huge inconvenience and disruption of rationing went away overnight, price rises were slight, competition set in, and very quickly prices fell.

Government intervention to lower prices not only causes shortages, but also causes higher prices.

Most respectable economists explained that Reagan was a chimpanzee, a moron, and practiced voodoo economics, and that ending price control overnight at the stroke of a pen would cause huge suffering and disruption.  They were proven wrong immediately.  Reagan's economics was the economics explained in Hazlett's "Economics in one lesson".  You should read it. magnet:?xt=urn:btih:e87fbbd4b03cae20c3530107c0521151e3d68944&dn=economics_in_one_lesson.7z&tr=http%3A%2F%2Ftracker.openbittorrent.com%2Fannounce (http://magnet:?xt=urn:btih:e87fbbd4b03cae20c3530107c0521151e3d68944&dn=economics_in_one_lesson.7z&tr=http%3A%2F%2Ftracker.openbittorrent.com%2Fannounce)  Price control has always caused the disasters it is claimed to prevent, always has, always will - this has been happening over and over and over again for a long time.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on August 06, 2010, 08:03:52 am
How could the oil companies sell so much oil at extremely high prices, almost as much as they sold at low prices? It appears that people did not reduce their consumption all that much, that's one thing.

Observe that when Reagan ended price controls we immediately had an end of shortages, followed by falling prices.  Competition and private enterprise resumed, and competition cut prices.

Reagan also started a vast system of permanent deficit spending, and after the immediate improvement we got the Reagan recession. It's hard to separate out the various results if we look at the data. Start with one theory and it's easy to find data that supports it, but the other direction is far more difficult.

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The government initially controlled prices.  Shortages immediately ensued - in part because many people knew that price controls would result in shortages and rationing.  So the government, to deal with the shortages, immediately introduced an vast system of rationing and fuel allocation, sending fuel to one place and not to another place, favoring the well connected, and disfavoring the less connected.  This scheme meant that the way to get more wealth was not to produce more fuel, but to get in on government, with the result that shortages became more severe.

Putting aside the history of how it might have happened, I agree with you that all the things you say are plausible and predictable.

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Government price controls lead to rationing and production quotas - socialism - government takeover of the production process.  Government does not produce fuel, only good intentions, leading to more severe shortages.

So if there is a proper use for any of this, it's as a strictly temporary measure to handle a sudden shock. If there's a temporary food shortage then we can keep poor people from starving by one way or another getting them food during the crisis. Rationing and price controls might be useful after a crop failure, if it's plain they aren't going to affect next year's crop. If the crisis and the response are not both strictly temporary, it's no good.

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The fact that the crisis ended the way it did demonstrates the perverse effects of price control.  In the long run, and by the long run I mean a year or so, price controls not only produce shortages, but higher prices.

The traditional way to handle food shortage was for the government to stock up on food to feed the king and his court, and then talk about how sad it is that God has caused another famine. What else could they do? Government did not have a lot of technology available. I read that Lincoln handled his end of the Civil War with less than 50 clerks, who wrote in longhand.

Then we got the typewriter. The typewriter let clerks write faster so there were more papers to file. Starting with Rooseveldt, Washington DC grew faster than expected until the 1980's. By "faster than expected" I mean faster than sewage treatment plants could be funded and built. Each time they predicted the growth in population and built sewage plants to suit, the population grew more before the renovations were complete.

Typewriter-driven government was not fast enough to manage sudden shocks. By the time they got a bureaucracy set up to handle something like rationing, the shock was over and they were into "for the duration".

The welfare system is an obvious example. Starting in the late 1940's we started mechanizing agriculture in the south. As a result we didn't need many sharecroppers, and a whole lot of former sharecroppers got pushed off the land and wound up in northern cities. In the short run there were few jobs for intentionally-uneducated blacks, and it was a crisis that was worth doing something about. But what we got was a typewriter-driven bureaucracy that persisted for generations.

In the 1960's we started to get computer-driven government. Large numbers of people could collect data which could be entered into databases and which could then generate statistics which nobody knew what to do with. Economists argued about what the numbers meant.

Before we found out how to effectively use computers, we got the internet. How will internet-driven government work? How fast will government adapt?

There were a lot of complaints about government action after Katrina, but I noticed that a fair number of refugees were issued debit cards and told to look after themselves. Given the US economy that's probably cheaper and easier than setting up refugee camps.

I read part of a couple of books by people who played key roles in the Katrina recovery. I was struck by the efforts to figure out who was in control. Then the people who had authority each got buried under a giant load of requests for authorisation plus requests for assistance etc. Old-style.

Networking will eventually provide government with the opportunity to respond quickly, to do the wrong things fast and efficiently on a large scale.

It may also provide unknown opportunities for others.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on August 06, 2010, 08:40:18 am
Please edify me. Why, during the same period, did Japan have no shortages? Would not your hypothetical hoarders have even more impact upon Japan, which has no internal sources of oil?

After the 1973 oil shocks, Japan put a big effort into energy efficiency and reduced reliance on oil. They invested heavily in integrated circuits and other industries that didn't use much oil. When the later oil shocks came it didn't affect their economy nearly as much. They could pay for high-priced oil imports. (I don't know details about how they set up their oil sales and futures markets etc, so I can't comment about what was different that way. Do you know?)

Also, depending on the ideology, it could be argued that in a free market there can be no shortages. If you want something you can't pay for, tough. Without an immortality serum everybody currently alive will be dead within a century or so, and you can't buy one for any price. So there's no shortage. Everybody can have as much as they want of whatever they can pay for.

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I posit that the American price controls, and the lack of price controls in Japan, are sufficient explanation. Your theory requires magickal hoarders who differentially affect one country, but not others.

Your explanation is sufficient but not necessary. The USA was still paying for Vietnam, the situations between the two countries were vastly different in many ways. I think your idea is partly right, it looks to me like everything you say was going on and did have an effect, and it wasn't the whole story.

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I only have a few thousand years of historical evidence to back my theory. What more would satisfy you?

Do you have thousands of years of historical evidence? Perhaps somebody's doctoral dissertation that covers that history? When have there ever been effective price controls without modern bureaucracies?

There have been official monopolies for a long time, for example kings have traditionally run salt monopolies. People needed salt, it was hard to run a secret salt mine or evaporation pool, it was bulky to transport. So there was smuggling but not enough to keep it from being lucrative for kings.

But you have examples more than 1000 years old of kings setting an upper limit on prices and enforcing them?

As a side issue, you have inspired me to a new solution to the Drug War. Legalise the drugs and set up a maximum price and a rationing system. Issue ration cards to anybody who wants to buy, say, cocaine. They take their ration cards to anybody who wants to sell, and they can buy at the official price. Say, a gram of pure cocaine for 5 cents. Anybody who tries to sell for more can be turned in to the police by dissatisfied customers or by anybody who hears about it.

It might create cocaine shortages cheaper and easier than the current method.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 06, 2010, 01:19:44 pm
Government price controls lead to rationing and production quotas - socialism - government takeover of the production process.  Government does not produce fuel, only good intentions, leading to more severe shortages.
So if there is a proper use for any of this, it's as a strictly temporary measure to handle a sudden shock. If there's a temporary food shortage then we can keep poor people from starving by one way or another getting them food during the crisis.

On the contrary: The price controls stop "profiteers" from bringing food in, stop ""hoarders" and "speculators" from making food available.  The price controls prevent people from doing what it takes to prevent themselves from starving. A minor inconvenience becomes mass starvation.  The rulers find that they can buy food no more than those the rule, so they go around seizing food (just as during Carter's energy crisis when they seized fuel)   This shuts down food production, as happened in Chile under Allende, with the result that the food crisis rapidly escalates, just as the fuel crisis escalated. Allende guaranteed every child a certain amount of milk.  He printed money to buy that milk, the price rose, Allende imposed price controls, then set to stealing that milk, disrupting milk production, with the swift result that there was no milk to be had, unless you were well connected.  You needed political pull to get milk, and very soon needed political pull to get any food at all.  People starved in a completely man made famine.

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Rationing and price controls might be useful after a crop failure, if it's plain they aren't going to affect next year's crop.
If crop failures are likely to cause problems, people store grain.  Price controls means that stored grain becomes hidden grain.  Rationing means you send out the troops to shake down the peasants for hidden grain, which means no harvest next year.  Russian agriculture still has not recovered from the liquidation of the kulaks.

Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on August 06, 2010, 02:03:37 pm
Government price controls lead to rationing and production quotas - socialism - government takeover of the production process.  Government does not produce fuel, only good intentions, leading to more severe shortages.
So if there is a proper use for any of this, it's as a strictly temporary measure to handle a sudden shock. If there's a temporary food shortage then we can keep poor people from starving by one way or another getting them food during the crisis.

On the contrary: The price controls stop "profiteers" from bringing food in, stop ""hoarders" and "speculators" from making food available.  The price controls prevent people from doing what it takes to prevent themselves from starving. A minor inconvenience becomes mass starvation.
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It appears you have this worked out to the point you have stopped thinking about it.

If there is a local shortage and people are thinking about bringing in food, what price do they require? Of course if there are price controls that prevent them from legally selling except below cost, they will at best smuggle. Suppose the price is controlled at double the price in a good year. Will that prevent them from bringing in food? Only if there is also a shortage where they want to buy it too.

I can make an argument similar to yours for stoplights. Stoplights are bad because when the government makes all the lights in all directions red and leaves them red and arrests anybody who tries to drive through the intersection anyway, then the stoplight has no redeeming qualities at all.

Obviously, if the government mishandles a stoplight this badly then the result will be horrible. But usually stoplights are set up so there is always some direction that's green and it eventually turns green for anybody, so the damage is limited.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on August 06, 2010, 06:19:00 pm
On the contrary: The price controls stop "profiteers" from bringing food in, stop ""hoarders" and "speculators" from making food available.  The price controls prevent people from doing what it takes to prevent themselves from starving.
You are right, and so one of the things that happened very shortly after the October 1973 oil shock was that the price controls imposed to fight inflation were abandoned. But rationing and measures like that are not the same as price controls: they are measures which attempt to repair the damage caused by price controls.

Obviously, after the end of the oil embargo, the average American did not suddenly become incapable of commuting to work because of the increase in oil prices. Some limit to the price of gasoline might have been needed, but initially having too low a limit because of the anti-inflation program was a major cause of the crisis.

EDIT: I will add a further clarification.

Price controls, in themselves, always cause shortages. Those who remember the events of the time will know, however, that President Gerald R. Ford was handing out "W.I.N." buttons before October 1973. Thus, the problem was caused by bureaucratic inertia in not getting rid of the price controls fast enough, both so the politicians would save face, and because the OPEC nations threatened further price increases if the rest of the world attempted to lower oil prices by inflating the currencies in which they were denominated.

However, a government thug pointing a gun at the head of producers and forcing them to sell at the official price is not something that creates shortages. That is something that fixes shortages. It may still be wrong, but it doesn't cause shortages the way that price controls do.

When that graduates from "wrong" to "stupid" is when the producer is not capable of continuing to produce the good demanded while receiving only the official price for it, because he cannot both obtain needed inputs and survive if he does so.

This situation did not exist in the United States during the OPEC oil embargo. American oil companies did not face sudden huge increases in the cost of pumping oil out of the ground. Since those oil companies were huge, and hence likely to be government-created monopolies, at least as some people here claim, it's not clear that ethics does demand us to be too solicitous about their property rights.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 06, 2010, 11:28:38 pm
The price controls stop "profiteers" from bringing food in, stop ""hoarders" and "speculators" from making food available.  The price controls prevent people from doing what it takes to prevent themselves from starving. A minor inconvenience becomes mass starvation.

If there is a local shortage and people are thinking about bringing in food, what price do they require?

Whatever the price that they require, price control was applied because that price was higher than the government liked.

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I can make an argument similar to yours for stoplights. Stoplights are bad because when the government makes all the lights in all directions red and leaves them red and arrests anybody who tries to drive through the intersection anyway, then the stoplight has no redeeming qualities at all.

Any price control that sets the price lower than what would have been the market price means there will be shortages.  If the shortages are shortages of something vital, such as food or fuel, the effect is disastrous and frequently deadly.

Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 06, 2010, 11:49:16 pm
However, a government thug pointing a gun at the head of producers and forcing them to sell at the official price is not something that creates shortages. That is something that fixes shortages.

But you cannot force them to sell at the official price.  You can forbid them to sell at higher than the official price, but that does not force them to sell at the official price - quite the reverse.    You cannot even send the army in to stand over them and make them, because the army seldom has any idea what the producers are doing, and will merely get in the way.

The only way you can make them produce is the communist procedure of applying negative incentives for failure to make the quota:  Announce that the producers have voluntarily agreed to produce X amount, and then shoot one man in ten if X amount is not produced.  But this requires a similar system of negative incentives throughout the economy or else your producers mysteriously vanish away - requires full scale soviet style socialism, with guards everywhere, killing fields, barbed wire entanglements, internal passports, and facilities for the mass production of murder by specialized labor - Carter and Nixon were unwilling to do what it takes

Official prices, being official, fail to correspond to supply and demand.  Supposing that people actually sell at official prices, rather than wheeling and dealing, trading for influence, connections and favors, they will produce what is not price controlled, or what is price controlled to relatively higher prices, and stop producing what is price controlled to lower prices.

Absent a full scale system of slavery, terror, and mass murder, pointing a gun at someone's head and saying "You may not sell at higher than price X" does not mean he sells at price X.  More likely, when you return the next day to point the gun at his head again, you find he has called in sick, and is circulating his resume some place where he is less likely to get a gun pointed at his head.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on August 07, 2010, 06:11:22 am
The only way you can make them produce is the communist procedure of applying negative incentives for failure to make the quota:
Because the major American oil companies were fairly large and visible entities, monitoring their levels of production to ensure they didn't suddenly drop would not have required quite the level of enforcement that, say, getting food from Zimbabwe's farmers would have.

In general, I quite agree that we don't want a nightmare like Mugabe's Zimbabwe or Stalin's Russia. But to claim that it would take something like that to get America's oil companies to behave is not accurate - unless one means "like that" in moral principle, rather than like that in practical extent.

EDIT: While I do think it would have worked out quite well in the short run, of course in the longer run you could still be proven right. I'm not sure how good government bureaucrats would be at oil exploration, to develop new American oil supplies, after all.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on August 07, 2010, 06:30:38 am
There have never been effective price controls, period. Price controls disrupt markets.

This is economix 101; I am not going to waste any more electrons debating it with people who refuse to educate themselves.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on August 07, 2010, 06:34:32 am
I found this interesting observation on racism and the State:


From page 111 of the 1918-1919 Negro Year Book, published by the Tuskegee Institute and edited by Monroe N. Work:

Railroads Attack Validity
Separate Car Laws.
The Supreme Court of Tennessee in a decision rendered in March, 1918, relative to white and Negroes being served in dining cars upheld the validity of the separate car laws of the United States, providing separate cars for white and Negroes. In December, 1918, the validity of the Kentucky law for the separation of races on trains was attacked in appeals to the Supreme Court by the South Covington and Cincinnati Street Railroads and the Covington and Erlanger Railway Company. These companies had been convicted in the lower courts for failing to provide separate coaches or compartments for Negroes.


Note that the suit was brought against railroad companies, which objected to the extra expense required by law to accomodate the preferences of racists to have their own coaches or compartments.

I don't argue that racism would not exist in an AnCap society; but without State support, the impact would be greatly diminished. I am certain that there would even be some few people who fail to appreciate the beneficial impact of markets, and retain that old-time religious faith in statism, but without the State, their deleterious impact on the rest of us would be greatly diminished.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 07, 2010, 08:23:00 pm
The only way you can make them produce is the communist procedure of applying negative incentives for failure to make the quota:
Because the major American oil companies were fairly large and visible entities, monitoring their levels of production to ensure they didn't suddenly drop would not have required quite the level of enforcement that, say, getting food from Zimbabwe's farmers would have.
But the level of production did drop - not to zero, but in a thousand small ways - and in part dropped because they were being monitored, and this monitoring was burdensome and irksome, so that a thousand individual people in the company, in a thousand individual ways, were not contributing to production - the best simply left, the rest spent more time dealing with government, and less time dealing with oil.

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In general, I quite agree that we don't want a nightmare like Mugabe's Zimbabwe or Stalin's Russia. But to claim that it would take something like that to get America's oil companies to behave is not accurate

Experience is that they did not behave.  Britain and Australia had similar but larger scale crises in the late 1940s, ending in 1949, when the entire price controlled, rationed, and quota driven economy did not behave.  Britain was heading towards famine.  The lifts in the treasury building stopped working.  The British government considered full scale Leninist terror measures to make people behave, and laws for the widespread application of slave labor were drawn up, but recoiled from such measures, and instead backed away from postwar price controls, rationing, and production quotas, pronouncing that central planning was unBritish.

Similarly, Allende's economy collapsed, and he did proceed to move towards full scale Leninist terror measures.

These illustrate the Hayekian and Misean critique of central planning.  A capitalist economy is coordinated by price signals,  Screw up the price signals, bureaucrats have to coordinate, which as Mises points out results in chaotic tangle of red tape that strangles everything, and as Hayek points out requires terror and mass murder.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on August 07, 2010, 10:16:40 pm
Technocrats have this fantasy that, if "the right people" are in government and direct the resources of the economy, everything will be hunky dory.

For some reason, these religious zealots totally refuse to consider the problem of incentives. In a profit-and-loss enterprise, there is a positive feedback ( profits ) for delivering what customers want and keeping costs less than the value to the customers. There is a negative feedback if your costs are higher than the value - you lose money. If you keep on losing money, you go out of business. There is also competition with alternative suppliers and alternative goods, which encourage entrepreneurs to reduce their prices (and profit margins) to attract business from other alternatives.

Government bureaucrats do not have the advantage of these feedback loops. In fact, the incentives are perverse. The worse our schools get, for example, the more money we throw at the problem. Customers are offered a "free" good, but must pay a very steep price by the indirect route of taxation. Demand is higher than it otherwise would be, and there is little or no price discipline to increase the efficiency.

Contrast the USPS, where prices have been rising and service has declined for decades, versus the computer industry, where performance has improved and prices have fallen. 
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 08, 2010, 12:48:09 am
the incentives are perverse. The worse our schools get, for example, the more money we throw at the problem. Customers are offered a "free" good, but must pay a very steep price by the indirect route of taxation. Demand is higher than it otherwise would be, and there is little or no price discipline to increase the efficiency.
Which incentive system has been extended to the health care and finance sectors.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on August 08, 2010, 11:50:28 am
Technocrats have this fantasy that, if "the right people" are in government and direct the resources of the economy, everything will be hunky dory.

For some reason, these religious zealots totally refuse to consider the problem of incentives. In a profit-and-loss enterprise, there is a positive feedback ( profits ) for delivering what customers want and keeping costs less than the value to the customers. There is a negative feedback if your costs are higher than the value - you lose money. If you keep on losing money, you go out of business. There is also competition with alternative suppliers and alternative goods, which encourage entrepreneurs to reduce their prices (and profit margins) to attract business from other alternatives.

Profit and loss is not the only possible incentive system, but it's one that can expose activities which are not worth doing. Like, if you make a lot of ethanol to extend the gasoline but it turns out that the ethanol uses more oil to produce than it saves, profit-and-loss should tell you to shut that down. That feedback is definitely worth having. We should look for ways it gets subverted and prevent them.

Consider our giant government bureaucracies that function almost entirely without profit to the bureaucrats. They get the same salary no matter what a good job they do, they don't even get bonuses for superb work. They can get promotions into better-paying job categories where they might not do as well or they might eventually get fired.... Imagine that they could profit from their jobs. Say that the drug enforcers could get a slice of everything confiscated from convicted drug dealers -- cars, houses, ships, bank accounts -- imagine how they might behave in that case. No thank you.

But then, I talked to a woman who worked on Social Security cases. Her performance was rated by her throughput, by how many cases she completed per day. So her office had elaborate attempts to grab the easy fast cases and pass the difficult or slow ones off on somebody else. People tried every method they could to return slow cases to the pile without being held responsible for them. Wouldn't it tend to work the same way with a profit system? If they were paid by the completed case, they would preferentially work the easy cases and leave the unprofitable ones until there was nothing better to do. So the citizens who had complicated problems would receive late treatment or no treatment.

We could handle that with a market. Citizens put their cases up for bids, and see how much it costs to get a federal bureaucrat to look at it....

Now consider that giant private or publicly-traded corporations have their own bureaucracies, that mirror the government ones. It's sometimes possible to get year-end bonuses for great work, and it's sometimes possible to get special perqs if your supervisor likes what you do for him -- free xeroxing, sick leave when you aren't sick, etc -- but mostly the rewards are far distant from the behaviors rewarded. It doesn't take government to set up bureaucracies. Some people argue that the giant corporations compete the best so everything's fine. Some argue that it's only government which makes them competitive. I don't know how to test that without setting up a society without a government and see whether it develops giant corporations anyway. I would expect them to form around bottlenecks of all sorts, and to dissipate when each bottleneck is somehow widened despite them. But that's just my guess.

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Contrast the USPS, where prices have been rising and service has declined for decades, versus the computer industry, where performance has improved and prices have fallen. 

The computer industry has continuing new technology. Some companies make a whole lot of money while others go under. Because the new stuff is so much better we have a fairly high ratio of investments that do well compared to those that go bust, but it's still a crap shoot.

The Post Office is required to deal with old technology. They've innovated with cheap things like zip codes and more expensive things like OCR to sort mail. Some of their innovations came a little too soon and turned quite expensive -- I don't know how much that was because they were before their time and how much it was that USPO R&D contracts were too much like military R&D contracts. They weren't particularly allowed to go into email service etc.

Rather than compare the post office to the best capitalist industry, wouldn't it be better to compare it to a single bureaucratic corporation like, say Union Pacific or IBM? Or Delta?
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Bob G on August 08, 2010, 01:09:32 pm
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Imagine that they could profit from their jobs. Say that the drug enforcers could get a slice of everything confiscated from convicted drug dealers -- cars, houses, ships, bank accounts -- imagine how they might behave in that case. No thank you.

As opposed to today when our drug warriors are given a cut of assets seized from *suspected* drug dealers - unless and until the suspects in question can prove said assets are NOT proceeds of illegal activity?
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on August 08, 2010, 07:15:52 pm
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Imagine that they could profit from their jobs. Say that the drug enforcers could get a slice of everything confiscated from convicted drug dealers -- cars, houses, ships, bank accounts -- imagine how they might behave in that case. No thank you.

As opposed to today when our drug warriors are given a cut of assets seized from *suspected* drug dealers - unless and until the suspects in question can prove said assets are NOT proceeds of illegal activity?

Yeah. I don't like it. I'd strongly prefer those guys be on straight salary, or salary plus yearly bonus. You need them not to care too much about money -- if they're doing it for the cash, how can you possibly hope to pay them as much as the most profitable drug organization would?
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 08, 2010, 08:02:48 pm
Now consider that giant private or publicly-traded corporations have their own bureaucracies, that mirror the government ones. It's sometimes possible to get year-end bonuses for great work, and it's sometimes possible to get special perqs if your supervisor likes what you do for him -- free xeroxing, sick leave when you aren't sick, etc -- but mostly the rewards are far distant from the behaviors rewarded. It doesn't take government to set up bureaucracies. Some people argue that the giant corporations compete the best so everything's fine.

Giant corporations are joined at the hip with government - when you see these thousand page bills, a big part of the reason they are so long is because the big corporations were writing rules for their competition to obey - observe the revolving door between big companies such as Goldman and Sach, and the government's ever growing team of regulators.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on August 08, 2010, 08:11:12 pm
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Imagine that they could profit from their jobs. Say that the drug enforcers could get a slice of everything confiscated from convicted drug dealers -- cars, houses, ships, bank accounts -- imagine how they might behave in that case. No thank you.

As opposed to today when our drug warriors are given a cut of assets seized from *suspected* drug dealers - unless and until the suspects in question can prove said assets are NOT proceeds of illegal activity?

Yeah. I don't like it. I'd strongly prefer those guys be on straight salary, or salary plus yearly bonus. You need them not to care too much about money -- if they're doing it for the cash, how can you possibly hope to pay them as much as the most profitable drug organization would?


JThomas, now you know why there are two types of drug warriors: the corrupt who re in the pay of drug lords, and the zealots who do it for fun. Is this really something government ought to be doing?

You somehow, bright as you are, found a way to totally miss the point. Let's put it this way. If the goal is to, let's say, ameliorate the negative effects of drugs, a profit-and-loss system would either have shown results or gone out of business. Many different organizations would try many different approaches. Some would fail; some would succeed. Over time, those negative effects would be ameliorated more and more effectively. That's how markets work.

On the other hand, this great War on Drugs has been going on as long as I remember - which is about 50 years. In fact, it started even earlier, make it about 80 years. Can you say it is a successful program? You can drop someone into a city where he has never been before, and knows nobody, and he'll have some drugs within 24 hours, if he wants. This is in spite of the US of A having more people behind bars - largely for drug-related offenses - than any other country in the world.
This is an example of how government programs work: the worse they perform, the more money they get. As Reagan put it, we have discovered the secret of immortality: any government program.

How many times do you have to read the same simple, incontrovertible evidence, before it gets past your kong-sized mental filters?

Regarding the USPS - you know not whereof you speak. They do implement new technology. I have a brother who works for the USPS and keeps me up to date on these things. Nevertheless, they keep getting more and more expensive. The problem isn't the technology; it's the fact that the USPS will never die, no matter how much money it loses. Nobody has the power to pull the plug.

I forget who said that capitalism without the prospect of mortal loss is like religion without sin; there is no incentive to improve.

Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: dough560 on August 08, 2010, 10:21:49 pm
J Thomas.  Regan has been called the "Great Communicator" for a reason.  He took his arguments directly to the people in order to get his message out.  Even then the "Big Three" news agencies and the national "News" magazines insisted on telling people what he said, was not what he said. The disinformation he endured, did the socialists proud.

The Regan Recession?  Yes he inherited one from Carter.  Regan gets a lot of blame for the spending during his administration.  Did he raise government revenues while in office?  Yes, by shaming congress into lowering tax rates.  They got their thirty pieces of silver though.  In order to get the rate reductions, Regan agreed to expanded social programs and the elimination of many individual tax deductions.  Example: before this deal, you could deduct interest you paid on personal loans. 

Our military equipment of the time; leftovers from WWII, Korea and Vietnam.  New technologies were on the horizon but there was no money for production.  As a result we faced a very real probability of a land war in Europe.  The Soviets were outspending us 10 to 1 in development and production.  Without Regan's military rebuilding, we would have lost that war.  Regan not only shamed congress into rebuilding the military, but reinvigorated the civilian economy.  This resulted in the available industrial capacity to build new military equipment.  Result, the soviets went broke trying to match our technologies.  We did not have to fight a ground war that would have been extremely destructive and vastly more expensive.

Bush Sr. couldn't stop playing, "Let's Make a Deal".  Republicans were doing the best they could to give away the store.  While the Democrats were doing all they could to rob it blind.  As a result, we suffered. Government controls expanded.

Clinton gave us the largest tax increase in our history.  (Until the coming of the Obama Administration.) And a massive expansion in social spending and government control.  We also had massive suppression of civil rights, highlighted by Ruby Ridge and Waco.  Clinton and the Democratic party in general moved to open the door of our national security.

Bush Jr, with a country wanting change and real reduction of government; also played "Lets Make a Deal", Instead of getting out in front and leading.  Bush and the Republicans spent money hand over fist.  Also expanding government controls.  Yes we were fighting two wars, but the money spent went over and above what was needed.  Much of it to new social programs as Republicans tried to buy votes.  Again people wanted change.

The old saying, "Be careful what you wish for, you might get it."  With Obama, "We", "Got It", all right.  Banking, Automotive and Health Care takeovers.  Reductions and Restrictions on energy and trade still pending.  The pending reinstatement of the Clinton taxes and taxes associated with the new controls.

Fewer government controls without the current potential for abuse, sparked the revolution.

There are a great many other posts in these threads, covering these subjects and worth your time to look up.

Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on August 09, 2010, 01:04:35 am
The Regan Recession?  Yes he inherited one from Carter.

There's a saying that you're entitled to your own opinion but you're not entitled to your own facts. I get that you like Reagan (Regan worked for him) but you have your own facts here to the point that it's hard to communicate.

Maybe you could discuss this with your fellow Reagan fan Jamesd. He says that Reagan eliminated price controls with a stroke of a pen and immediately the problems went away. Who's right? Well, you come a lot closer.

There's a problem that under Reagan they changed the reporting. For example unemployment statistics pre-Reagan versus post-Reagan are not comparable, because they changed the rules for what it takes to be counted as unemployed. Now it's plausible that during a long recession the unemployment rate and the employment rate will both drop at the same time.... To talk meaningfully about economic statistics that cross Reagan's time you pretty nearly have to be a PhD economist who's specialised in that topic. Which I am not.

Here is a general background that tends to fit what the professionals say.

We had a lot of inflation. This had multiple causes. We had largely paid for Vietnam with deficit spending because people didn't want to be taxed for it. And there were the oil shocks. Pay more money for oil and you wind up paying more for everything. We had foreign trade issues beyond oil; Japan was eating our lunch. It can be argued that they were doing something stupid. It was something stupid that hurt them badly later, but first it hurt us and there was no good response for us to make. So, inflation. That didn't start with Reagan or Carter. It started with Johnson, and 8 years of Nixon did little to help.

Reagan wanted a great big military buildup. That was popular with voters. He also wanted extra money for social programs. That was popular with some voters and unpopular with others, so he tried to tell both groups what they wanted to hear. He claimed to believe in the Laffer Curve theory, which claimed that the US economy as of 1982 would grow so much from reduced taxes that tax revenues would go up. It was wrong, but tax cuts were very popular. So Reagan wanted to increase federal spending while decreasing taxes, with an economy that was already quite inflationary from previous expansion of the money supply and also from higher oil prices etc. Congress was always happy to increase spending, and Reagan telling them to spend more and tax less was like calling the hogs for dinner.

Meanwhile the Fed tried to stop inflation by reducing loans to US businesses (and consumers too, of course). Ugly.

Eventually we pulled out of it. Professional economists argue about how that happened, there's no consensus. I think a lot of it was the Iran/Iraq war which resulted in low oil prices. Reagan can take some credit for that war. Also the Japanese mistake stopped hurting us so much, they had a recession around 1984 and they pretended to get out of it with financial sleight-of-hand and an asset bubble. Lots of our bad debts got foisted off onto S&Ls etc which failed, and that cleared the books somewhat. Unprecedented deficit spending, and a lot of the military spending had to go to US companies because foreign companies would (and did) sell our secrets to the USSR. The Fed let interest rates fall.

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Regan gets a lot of blame for the spending during his administration.  Did he raise government revenues while in office?  Yes, by shaming congress into lowering tax rates.  They got their thirty pieces of silver though.  In order to get the rate reductions, Regan agreed to expanded social programs and the elimination of many individual tax deductions.

Oh please don' trow me into dat dere briar patch.
 
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Our military equipment of the time; leftovers from WWII, Korea and Vietnam.  New technologies were on the horizon but there was no money for production.  As a result we faced a very real probability of a land war in Europe.  The Soviets were outspending us 10 to 1 in development and production.

The Soviets had themselves an expensive Quaker cannon. There was no way in hell that they'd have invaded western europe, but back then you had to have access to secret intelligence to know that, since common sense is notoriously unreliable. Outspending us 10 to 1 in development and production? Like Kennedy's missile gap? You believe that?

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Without Regan's military rebuilding, we would have lost that war.

From every early we depended on tactical nuclear weapons to "defend" western europe. Our own theory said that tactical nukes would gradually escalate into global destruction. The russians promised they would never be the first to use nuclear weapons, and they said that the first time we used any nuke against them they'd immediately hit us with everything they had. Both sides officially believed that war in europe would result in extinction. Adding more conventional weapons would not have changed any of that, unless we got so strong we invaded eastern europe on the chance that the USSR would choose to lose a conventional war.

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Bush Sr. couldn't stop playing, "Let's Make a Deal".  Republicans were doing the best they could to give away the store.  While the Democrats were doing all they could to rob it blind.  As a result, we suffered. Government controls expanded.

This is vague and I agree in general.

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Bush Jr, with a country wanting change and real reduction of government; also played "Lets Make a Deal", Instead of getting out in front and leading.  Bush and the Republicans spent money hand over fist.  Also expanding government control.

Yes. I'm afraid this probably isn't anything new. For a long time politicians have made campaign promises and then did whatever they wanted and later blamed the lack of progress on their political opponents. "I didn't get everything we wanted. But I did bring home the bacon. Look at all this pork I got you!" The differences now are that it has gotten easier to see it, and that we're more at risk than we've been since roughly the war of 1812, and they're scraping the bottom of the pork barrel.

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With Obama, "We", "Got It", all right.

Yes. I voted for Obama because we needed a fundamental change and McCain looked tired, he looked like the status quo. But now Obama takes the path of least resistance every time. We can't keep going the way we've been, so I was ready to try something else, whatever he was ready to do. And instead he's like Bush. In spades. Just without the talk. I feel like a Johnson voter. They voted against Goldwater and then got the exact Goldwater policies from Johnson that they had voted against, without the good parts.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on August 09, 2010, 10:34:06 am
The Soviet threat was vastly overstated. As for Reagan, he sang a great tune about smaller government, but he brought us bigger government, including bigger military outlays.

I totally do not buy the nonsense about the Soviets outspending us. That never happened; it was a figment of the government's imagination, a deliberate disinformation campaign.

Anyone who is not obsessed with defending the idea of the American Empire can look at the numbers: American military spending exceeds that of almost all other countries in the wold combined. That means that Americans could fight against the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Mexico, China, France, Russia, North Korea, and the whole Middle East, and it would be a fair fight. We greatly outspend any conceivable enemy or combination thereof.

The Military Industrial Corporate Welfare Racket needs an external enemy to justify its expensive upkeep; the more nebulous and widespread and mysterious the threat, the better. Reagan swallowed that hook, line, and sinker. He may think he brought down the USSR, but it was already teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, and the American government is likely to follow, at the rate it is taking on debt.

It isn't external enemies who will destroy the American government; when they do arrive, they'll merely be administering an act of assisted suicide, aided by the colossal hubris of the Beltway Bandits.

 


Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 09, 2010, 09:16:20 pm
The Soviet threat was vastly overstated.

The theory had been that if we abandoned Indochina to the Soviet Union, they would be appeased.  Instead the reverse happened.   The dominoes were falling.   The Soviet Union boldly and rapidly spread Soviet domination further and wider.  This is what had people alarmed.

With containment discredited and unsuccessful, the only effectual strategy to deal with the Soviet threat was that which Reagan proposed:  Rollback.  As long as containment had seemed to work, it had been electoral suicide to advocate rollback.

Containment failed in Indochina.  As predicted, failure of containment set of a wave of falling dominoes. 

Momentum has significance.  The appearance was that the Soviet Union could win at any one place it chose.  So every nation sucked up to the Soviet Union for fear that they might be the next one place.  They all kissed ass in the hope that they would be the last to be devoured.

Suddenly rollback became popular among the voters.

The left claimed the Soviet Union was strong and winning, and that to confront it would be suicide.  Reagan claimed that the Soviet Union was weak and winning, and that confronting it would be easy.  As events proved, confronting it was easy.

The Soviet threat was the core of Reagan's campaign and program, and the center of his policy once
elected.

Rollback is what shattered the illusion of Soviet might, broke the will of the Soviet Union, and caused people to cease to fear it.  And when they ceased to fear it, that was the primary cause of the collapse.

The disaster in Vietnam had led to a world wide crisis of expanding Soviet power.  The bloodbaths had happened as predicted, the dominoes were falling as predicted, Soviet troops were now stationed on the mainland of Latin America.

Reagan proposed a solution to that crisis:  Rollback, instead of containment.

The people voted for it, Reagan implemented it, it worked.

Democrats were in denial about Reagan's campaign program, because they in denial about Soviet world domination, and the consequences of  the failure of containment.

Reagan was campaigning on the basis of what was actually happening in the world.

Carter and the democrats were campaigning as if things had actually turned out the way the opponents of the war in Vietnam had erroneously predicted they would turn out.  They were campaigning in the world that they wanted to imagine that they lived in.

I still today hear people in this newsgroup making scornful remarks about bloodbaths and dominoes, as if the bloodbaths had not happened, and the dominoes had not fallen.

By the standards that everyone had accepted and taken for granted in the period 1950-1970, what happened during 1976-1979 was a catastrophe, a cataclysm.

For twenty five years, for a generation, the US government had regarded any substantial Soviet advance as intolerable, as cause for spending vast amounts of blood and treasure to prevent.

In the four years 1976 to 1979 there were numerous major Soviet advances, any one of which would have been held to have been a major defeat, a crisis worthy of vast amounts of blood and treasure, during the period 1950 to 1970.

The seventies, were the high point of Soviet dominance, when it seemed that the Soviet Union was indeed riding the forces of history to a predestined triumph, and all the governments of the world were kissing up to them.

By about 1968 it became obvious to the most intelligent and best informed that the Soviet Union was going to win in Vietnam, and that following its victory many dominoes would fall.  In Australia, many thought this process would run right up to the shores of Australia, probably taking Indonesia, though probably not New Guinea.

By around 1970 it also became obvious that the attempt to transform humanity by non violent means -- voluntary communal living, participatory democracy, and consciousness transforming drugs, was a dismal failure -- that each one of these projects was an utter failure and complete disaster.  At the same time the world triumph of the Soviet Union appeared imminent.

This change in the hope for transforming man caused a change in the nature of the western left.  During the seventies treason, always a strong point of the movement, became the defining and critical element.  A grim and rigid ideological conformity became required.  Orthodoxy and utter humorlessness came to be required.  The internal organization of the left manifested a loss of faith in voluntary means for transforming mankind for the better, and the acceptance of harshly authoritarian program whereby the best people, ourselves, would make everyone else as virtuous as we were, by violent means.

In 1975 the dominoes began to fall, more slowly and less of them than many had feared or hoped, but still a tremendously impressive process, not at all disappointing. What we had long imagined was finally becoming real.   And as it became real, it became necessary to discard certain hypocrisies and double think -- for example it became obvious that the process was one of external conquest, not internal revolution,  The NLF were insignificant in the takeover of South Vietnam, and when their  usefulness as a propaganda tool for maintaining the pretense of revolution ended, they too were ended, were executed or imprisoned in camps from which few ever returned.  With perfect unanimity, the entire left, from moderate to radical, from supposedly non socialist to flaming socialist, defended the abrupt disappearance of a group they had a short time before loudly identified with and enthusiastically praised, and with glib confidence explained that external conquest really was internal revolution, for external conquest was what the people really willed.  With perfect unanimity we loudly focused on the quite genuine good intentions of those engaged in mass murder, and the benevolent purposes that regrettably required the wise and good to terrorize the entire population -- an argument that rapidly became distinctly unconvincing, particularly as some of those terrorized were distant relatives of mine.  The confident unanimity rapidly began to break down, particularly after George McGovern broke ranks, but while it held, it had a tone of extravagant certainty, the tone of confidentlyspeaking what everyone knows.

Because the process was of conquest and terror, not revolt, the dominoes fell more slowly than expected.   The process started to run slow, because each terror absorbed and held down a lot of troops and consumed lots of resources that the Soviet Union could ill afford.

By1980, five years after the fall of Vietnam, it became apparent that the Soviet Union had bitten off more than it could chew -- that world Soviet domination, though still perhaps inevitable, would take considerably longer than
expected.

By about 1985 those who were paying attention began to see that it was the Soviet Union, not the west, that was going to fall, and with that change in the perception came a change in the intellectual climate among the small but rapidly increasing number of people that were aware of what was happening, what was going to happen.

Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 09, 2010, 10:04:35 pm
I totally do not buy the nonsense about the Soviets outspending us. That never happened; it was a figment of the government's imagination, a deliberate disinformation campaign.


It is now apparent that the Soviets were spending about sixty percent of GDP on warfare and the military - which was not outspending us, since they were a lot poorer than reported.  But even though they were spending less than us, the important fact was that they were spending a lot more than they could afford, which meant that anything that upped the ante was likely to stress them to breaking.

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The Military Industrial Corporate Welfare Racket needs an external enemy to justify its expensive upkeep;

The Soviet Union really was our enemy.  After the Soviet Union fell, the case for a large military became a lot weaker.  We now have an external enemy, Dar al Islam, but it is not the kind of enemy that a large military is much use in dealing with.

Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on August 10, 2010, 12:04:04 am
The Soviet threat was vastly overstated.

The theory had been that if we abandoned Indochina to the Soviet Union, they would be appeased.  Instead the reverse happened.   The dominoes were falling.   The Soviet Union boldly and rapidly spread Soviet domination further and wider.  This is what had people alarmed.

There's a saying that you're entitled to your own opinions, but you aren't entitled to your own facts.

You have your own facts, and you aren't entitled to them. But I don't see how anybody can take them away from you.

What color is the sun for your planet?
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on August 10, 2010, 12:15:31 am
I totally do not buy the nonsense about the Soviets outspending us. That never happened; it was a figment of the government's imagination, a deliberate disinformation campaign.


It is now apparent that the Soviets were spending about sixty percent of GDP on warfare and the military - which was not outspending us, since they were a lot poorer than reported.  But even though they were spending less than us, the important fact was that they were spending a lot more than they could afford, which meant that anything that upped the ante was likely to stress them to breaking.

Likely they were stressed past breaking already. Chernobyl was a great big stress on top of that, probably more than our military buildup -- because we weren't going to invade them, so what did it matter how much we outspent them?

Various people believe that Chernobyl was a CIA plot. I have no credible evidence about that. I have only a joke, a riddle:

Question: How do you know that Chernobyl was not a CIA plot?
Answer: It blew up, didn't it?

We had Three Mile Island, Russia had Chernobyl. We had Vietnam, Russia had Afghanistan. Did we need a great big military buildup to finance the Islamists in Afghanistan? Probably not.

Quote
Quote
The Military Industrial Corporate Welfare Racket needs an external enemy to justify its expensive upkeep;

The Soviet Union really was our enemy.  After the Soviet Union fell, the case for a large military became a lot weaker.  We now have an external enemy, Dar al Islam, but it is not the kind of enemy that a large military is much use in dealing with.

That competition was kind of like a potlach. One side invades a third world nation and pays ruinous expenses to blow the place up while the other side supports the resistance. Then they switch roles.

And when the USSR had to drop out because they just couldn't afford it any more, we kept playing! Now we've pretty much bankrupted ourselves with no competitor to egg us on. A strange game indeed.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 10, 2010, 03:32:39 am
The Soviet threat was vastly overstated.

The theory had been that if we abandoned Indochina to the Soviet Union, they would be appeased.  Instead the reverse happened.   The dominoes were falling.   The Soviet Union boldly and rapidly spread Soviet domination further and wider.  This is what had people alarmed.

There's a saying that you're entitled to your own opinions, but you aren't entitled to your own facts.

And the facts are that following the fall of Vietnam: Cambodia, Laos, Ethiopia and Somalia immediately fell, and the most savage and dreadful wrath was unleashed upon their defenseless people.  Afghanistan, Grenada, and Nicaragua fell not very long afterward, though with less dramatic and horrifying brutality.

This scared the piss out of everyone, resulting ludicrously one sided votes in the UN as everyone kissed up to the Soviet Union, hoping to be the last to be devoured.

The facts are that the Soviets established a base in the Americas, from which to launch aggression upon the countries of central America, and had started to do so, to which most of Latin America, like the UN, responded by kissing up to the Soviet Union in the hope of being last to be devoured.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Brugle on August 10, 2010, 08:21:24 am
That competition was kind of like a potlach. One side invades a third world nation and pays ruinous expenses to blow the place up while the other side supports the resistance. Then they switch roles.

And when the USSR had to drop out because they just couldn't afford it any more, we kept playing! Now we've pretty much bankrupted ourselves with no competitor to egg us on. A strange game indeed.

Very nicely put.  I may use that analogy sometime.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Rocketman on August 10, 2010, 09:56:44 am
Yes Brugle nicely put.  I would add that the reason that we continue to do it is because some very major USA companies would go out of business if we didn't continue to find enemies everywhere, especially enemies that are no serious threat to us, and to keep the lumpin citizens in constant fear otherwise they might start getting the notion that we don't need all the firepower that we have.  An empire is costly to maintain after all.   >:(
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on August 11, 2010, 03:52:17 am
Back in 2001 I predicted how this middle east scenario would play out, and I have found no reason to change any of the major details.

Some of our readers may have come across a story about a tiny creature with no technological capabilities and a weapon equivalent to an injection of a tiny irritant, which destroyed a gigantic vehicle and four humoungous opponents, all of whom were heavily armed and trained in martial arts.

That creature was a wasp. It is more accurate to say that the human driver, in his efforts to avoid being bitten by the wasp and suffering a tiny irritation, lost sight of the road and destroyed himself and his passengers in the ensuing crash.

There may be, as Adam Smith once said, "a great deal of ruin in a nation", but when the American empire spends madly on a war against a tactic, which can never end, it is thereby hurrying down the road to ruin at a breakneck pace. In the same way that no enemy actually destroyed the USSR militarily, but the empire cracked up due to financial and economic stresses, the present USSA is creating stresses which cannot be sustained.

Statist apologists are trained to repeat mantras about percentage of GDP, for one simple reason: it obscures the total amount spent on corporate welfare.
Look at the dollar figures here http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/spending.htm

The USSA spends at least $623 billion on "defense", as of 2004. The entire rest of the world combined - which includes many allies - spent $500 billion. Dollar for dollar, the USSA could take on all the rest of the world, including Canada, Mexico, Great Britain, Germany, and France, and still outspend them.

This is not "defense" by any meaning recognized by people with a working BS detector. It is corporate welfare. You can wake up and stop being a shill for the state-corporate-welfare-machine anytime.

The cost of asymmetric warfare is going to get worse, not better. Consider the development of missiles which are capable of destroying super carriers. Cost of missile: millions. Cost of carrier: billions. If that doesn't spin your head around, what would?

If you are a so-called "military expert", you must have read the Art of War. Who wrote that book? Who is most familiar with the theory and practice? Over the long term, successful warmaking depends upon a robust economy. Our so-called "experts" have wed themselves to the failed theory of socialist planned economies, even as those who have real experience with the "economic calculation problem" are backing away from socialism and returning to their capitalist roots.

The downfall of the USSA is going to be a classic case of hubris - a failure to imagine that the self-absorbed Planners and Leaders - and their deluded Followers - might actually be totally wrong on a colossal scale.

If you think yourself to be an "expert" on military history, dig up an essay about the Spanish-American War. (I'll google it up sometime, I hope) - the gist is that America, in "winning" that war, transformed itself from a Republic to an Empire, which was essentially a victory for what we would now call the Empire meme, and a loss for America as it was conceived by the Founders, and imagined by many of those to this day who love America.

Under the mistaken theory that we "had" to transform ourselves into fascists to defeat the Nazis, the US government took control of much of industry. Under the mistaken theory that we "had" to nationalize the economy to compete with "Japan, Inc", idiots like New Gingrich promoted more government involvement in the economy. Under the mistaken theory that we "must" turn ourselves into a police state to win the "war on drugs" and "war on terror", the government has greatly increased the number of so-called "intelligence" agencies and police forces, ramped up the corporate-welfare "defense" budget, and shredded what is left of the Bill of Rights.

If this counts as "victory", we lost everything that matters. The Soviets won. We are become them. It is madness to take on not one, but several unwinnable wars. The War on Drugs is not winnable, and never was; it is an attempt to repeal the laws of economics. The War on Poverty is self-defeating; poverty is so defined that the war can never be won - the bottom fifth will always be with us by definition. The war on a tactic is likewise unwinnable by definition. As long as our military is breaking things and killing people, it will encourage a few terrorists to respond.

We have discovered a self-perpetuating machine at last: the Imperial Military and all their vast legions of self-deceiving dupes. For whatever reason, the dupes want to be fooled.   




Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 11, 2010, 06:13:29 am
The USSA spends at least $623 billion on "defense", as of 2004. The entire rest of the world combined - which includes many allies - spent $500 billion. Dollar for dollar, the USSA could take on all the rest of the world, including Canada, Mexico, Great Britain, Germany, and France, and still outspend them.
This really is not a significant problem.  Spending money on blowing stuff up far away does not harm me.  Internal spending is much larger, and does harm me, for example money spent on "education" is for the most part money spent on statist propaganda, money spent on "welfare" pays women to breed muggers, money spent on "health" imports Mexicans to vote for all of this stuff.

It is in the nature of government to grow - to tax ever more, to regulate ever more.  Every dollar spent on defense against real and imaginary enemies is a dollar not spent harming Americans.  If the government spent ten times more on defense - perhaps on blowing up imaginary martians - we would be far freer.

Money spent on "defense" is the most innocent of government expenditures, and the most plausibly legitimate.  It is after all the only substantial form of expenditure that the US constitution authorizes.  It is the nature of government to grow, but we would be far better off if the government only grew by expanding its legal activities.

Bomb the Muslims.  Or bomb the martians.  But for God's sake stop "saving" Detroit.  Let alone saving California.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on August 11, 2010, 09:30:47 am
First off, blowing up Moslims is objectively evil, unless done strictly in self-defense. Nobody should be doing this in my name or yours. Second, the $600+ billion spent on "killing people and blowing stuff up" is taken from us, whether directly by taxes or indirectly by borrowing and inflation; it diminishes our ability to do other things.

Lastly, I have never been one of those "if only we were not spending money to kill people and blow things up, we could instead have this fabulous government program to do X" statists; the alternative to spending on government program Y is not government program X, but private programs A, B, C ... all the things which we would do voluntarily if we and our property were left alone by the government.
Title: The Conquest of the United States by Spain (1899)
Post by: terry_freeman on August 11, 2010, 09:32:29 am
http://praxeology.net/WGS-CUS.htm

To defeat the enemy, we became the enemy; the enemy won.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on August 11, 2010, 09:47:29 am
Randolph Bourne said "war is the health of the State", and it is all too true. Not only are we being forced to pay to send men and bombs overseas, but we are also forced to pay for the Surveillance State. Washington Post recently did a series of articles; there are tens of thousands of "intelligence" agencies generating 50,000 "intelligence" articles every year to justify their existence. There are about 800,000 Americans with a Top Secret rating. If there are any secrets worth protecting, giving 800,000 people access to such secrets seems a poor way to do it. When I lived in Los Angeles, I frequently saw police forces, under the guise of "homeland security", performing warrantless searches of bags at transit stations. Everyone who has flown a commercial plane in the last ten years knows about the security theater endured by passengers. All of us know that resistance is futile - anyone who complains about the absurdity risks being frisked, delayed, missing a flight, or even being arrested.
Our emails are sniffed by NSA for references to possible terrorist acts, including bombs, explosives, drugs, money transfers, plots, cryptography, and other nefarious acts. We have no financial privacy - google up the bank "know your customer" regulations. People who carry large amounts of cash run the risk of being robbed not by freelance muggers but by police and TSA agents, who will demand proof that the money is not part of a drug transaction or terrorist plot.

http://flag.blackened.net/revolt/hist_texts/warhealthstate1918.html
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Rocketman on August 11, 2010, 10:35:17 am
There was a famous pogo comic strip back in the early 1970's (I think).  "We have met the enemy and he is us." that sums it all up.  What good is it to fight the "war on terror" if in order to win it we have to become what we are supposed to be fighting against?  We are now in the final stage of "empire" which started on 9/11/01 and the outcome will not be pleasent to anyone when this country suffers hyperinflation and collapses.  I just hope that whatever new countries that comes out of this mess learns their lessons for a while at least and realizes that empires are always unstable and show some hubris for their future actions.  :'(  :'(  :'(  :'(  :'(
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: MacFall on August 11, 2010, 10:53:19 am
It actually started after WWI. 9/11 was the onset of the fatal bout of convulsions.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on August 11, 2010, 11:06:54 am
Statist apologists are trained to repeat mantras about percentage of GDP, for one simple reason: it obscures the total amount spent on corporate welfare.
Look at the dollar figures here http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/spending.htm

It might be possible to run a government so that on average it does more good than harm. Various people say that's impossible but I'm not convinced it's impossible.

It's definitely possible to run a government as a sort of parasite that does so little harm that the economy and the society can afford it. There are a hundred real examples today.

But what the US government is doing cannot be maintained. It will have to change.

Quote
The USSA spends at least $623 billion on "defense", as of 2004. The entire rest of the world combined - which includes many allies - spent $500 billion. Dollar for dollar, the USSA could take on all the rest of the world, including Canada, Mexico, Great Britain, Germany, and France, and still outspend them.

Well, but it's a lot more expensive to wage war on the other guy's land, especially when he's halfway around the world. And yet it's also very expensive to run a home game. When somebody invades you, it costs -- but a lot of the cost doesn't show up in the military budget. So we spend trillions of dollars to fight them over there and not have to fight them over here. If we cut our military budget so far that somebody invaded us we'd be sorry. Of course, what kind of military spending would it take for somebody to invade us even if our military spending was cut way down? I guess it's more an emotional issue than anything else.

Quote
The cost of asymmetric warfare is going to get worse, not better. Consider the development of missiles which are capable of destroying super carriers. Cost of missile: millions. Cost of carrier: billions. If that doesn't spin your head around, what would?

In WWII carriers and submarines were what mattered. If you could destroy the other guy's carriers then his other surface ships were pretty much defenseless. We've carried that approach about as far as it will go, so now we have a giant investment in carriers. We will keep using them until they start getting sunk, because we have them and they're the obvious place for an admiral to park etc. Chances are we aren't going to make any more of them after the Gerald R Ford. Or maybe one or two more.

But it will be very expensive to build the sort of navy that can be useful without carriers. I don't know how it will work, but my guess is that some of them should be cheap with minimal crews and as much automation as possible, and capable of launching all their armaments quickly. One ship can do tremendous damage to a whole fleet and then it's expendable. Ideally it should also be very fast and good at hiding. If a cheap missile can kill it, then make it cheap too and put a lot of cheap missiles on it.

Quote
If you are a so-called "military expert", you must have read the Art of War. Who wrote that book? Who is most familiar with the theory and practice? Over the long term, successful warmaking depends upon a robust economy. Our so-called "experts" have wed themselves to the failed theory of socialist planned economies, even as those who have real experience with the "economic calculation problem" are backing away from socialism and returning to their capitalist roots.

You can't expect the military to decide how much military spending is good for the economy. So they provide a laundry list of everything they'd like to have, and the civilians decide how much of it to give them and how much extra they think the military should get to provide jobs in their districts. This isn't even a problem with bureaucracy, it's a problem with parliaments. Sometimes a whole bunch of individual legislators can get together and produce a solution that's better than any one of them alone would do. But it isn't the way to bet.

Quote
The downfall of the USSA is going to be a classic case of hubris - a failure to imagine that the self-absorbed Planners and Leaders - and their deluded Followers - might actually be totally wrong on a colossal scale.

Nobody is responsible for looking at the big picture -- except maybe the President. And he does have a veto. But we don't select our Presidents for the ability to look at the big picture, that isn't what gets them nominated or elected. And we don't give them much time to think, either. I wouldn't have begrudged Bush all his vacation days if I'd thought he was actually using them to get a grip on the things he didn't have time to think about following the usual schedule. But I see no evidence he thought things out much at all. Oh well, if things had gone a little different we could have had President Quayle to look at the big picture.

Quote
If you think yourself to be an "expert" on military history, dig up an essay about the Spanish-American War. (I'll google it up sometime, I hope) - the gist is that America, in "winning" that war, transformed itself from a Republic to an Empire, which was essentially a victory for what we would now call the Empire meme, and a loss for America as it was conceived by the Founders, and imagined by many of those to this day who love America.

Yes. So we had the Marines basicly enforcing monopolist control of latin america. The local monopolists got control and riches, enforced by the USA, provided they sold to us cheap. After WWII we were rich, and I don't know how much of that came from new technology, or from our controlled prices on international markets, or from belated investment in the US south. I like to think the new technology was central, because I read the claim and I want to believe it.

We got used to being rich. Now we aren't so rich and we don't know how to deal with it.

Quote
Under the mistaken theory that we "had" to transform ourselves into fascists to defeat the Nazis, the US government took control of much of industry. Under the mistaken theory that we "had" to nationalize the economy to compete with "Japan, Inc", idiots like New Gingrich promoted more government involvement in the economy. Under the mistaken theory that we "must" turn ourselves into a police state to win the "war on drugs" and "war on terror", the government has greatly increased the number of so-called "intelligence" agencies and police forces, ramped up the corporate-welfare "defense" budget, and shredded what is left of the Bill of Rights.

Yes. I want to argue that it's possible to have a good government. But what we actually have is a shining argument in favor of AnCap.

Quote
If this counts as "victory", we lost everything that matters. The Soviets won. We are become them.

I doubt they'd agree they won. Don't you hate it when you have to play a game where everybody loses?
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on August 11, 2010, 11:10:36 am
I have never been one of those "if only we were not spending money to kill people and blow things up, we could instead have this fabulous government program to do X" statists; the alternative to spending on government program Y is not government program X, but private programs A, B, C ... all the things which we would do voluntarily if we and our property were left alone by the government.

Government program X is a more plausible alternative than reduced goverment spending. And I'd like to believe that many government programs are less harmful than killing people and blowing stuff up.

But certainly reducing the rate that the deficit grows would be a great alternative.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on August 11, 2010, 12:32:44 pm
Great Britain is now reducing government spending. They have axed government programs. A few decades ago, New Zealand did likewise. The Soviets and the Chinese and Indians have already rediscovered the virtues of leaving entrepreneurs alone to do what they do best, which is to grow the economy.

Why can't the American government be as smart?
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 11, 2010, 06:42:07 pm
First off, blowing up Moslims is objectively evil, unless done strictly in self-defense.
Muslims think they are at war with us - or rather a few of them think they are at war with us and the rest are too frightened to speak up and contradict them.  Which means they are at war with us, so blowing them up is self defense.

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Second, the $600+ billion spent on "killing people and blowing stuff up" is taken from us, whether directly by taxes or indirectly by borrowing and inflation;
Taxes always hover around the Laffer limit.   More government spending on war means less government spending on other stuff.  The less the government spends harming foreigners, the more it spends harming Americans, and the more the government spends harming foreigners, the less it spends harming Americans.

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Lastly, I have never been one of those "if only we were not spending money to kill people and blow things up, we could instead have this fabulous government program to do X" statists; the alternative to spending on government program Y is not government program X, but private programs A, B, C ... all the things which we would do voluntarily if we and our property were left alone by the government.
It is the nature of government to grow until stopped.  To roll back government, cannot win elections.  Election and proposition outcomes have no effect, as recently demonstrated in California with proposition 8 (gay marriage) and proposition 209 (affirmative action), and in the US as a whole by the Bush/Obama regime - Obama merely continuing what began under Bush.  Every disastrous Obama program is a continuation of a Bush program. To roll back government, must delegitimize government, which means that one must condemn not the controversial expenditures (war) but the supposedly uncontroversial expenditures ("education", "health", and "welfare").
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 11, 2010, 07:17:17 pm
Randolph Bourne said "war is the health of the State", and it is all too true. Not only are we being forced to pay to send men and bombs overseas, but we are also forced to pay for the Surveillance State. Washington Post recently did a series of articles; there are tens of thousands of "intelligence" agencies generating 50,000 "intelligence" articles every year to justify their existence. There are about 800,000 Americans with a Top Secret rating. If there are any secrets worth protecting, giving 800,000 people access to such secrets seems a poor way to do it. When I lived in Los Angeles, I frequently saw police forces, under the guise of "homeland security", performing warrantless searches of bags at transit stations. Everyone who has flown a commercial plane in the last ten years knows about the security theater endured by passengers.

Yet strangely, Europeans, who have given up on war, are less free than Americans.

By and large, most foreign wars are proxy wars between the State Department and the Pentagon - and of the two of them, the State Department is by far the greater enemy of freedom.  So whenever I hear the Pentagon side criticized, I speak up in its defense, suspecting that I hear endorsement of the State Department side.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Brugle on August 11, 2010, 07:19:57 pm
First off, blowing up Moslims is objectively evil, unless done strictly in self-defense.
Muslims think they are at war with us - or rather a few of them think they are at war with us and the rest are too frightened to speak up and contradict them.  Which means they are at war with us, so blowing them up is self defense.
Absolute nonsense.  Most Muslims are opposed to Americans only because the US government's military continues to kill, main, torture, steal from, and destroy the lives of their families, friends, and neighbors.  They may be at war with you (if you support the US government's military), but they are not at war with me.

Taxes always hover around the Laffer limit.
I doubt that the Laffer curve can be calculated that accurately, but I am willing to be convinced otherwise.  Do you have a cite?

More government spending on war means less government spending on other stuff.  The less the government spends harming foreigners, the more it spends harming Americans, and the more the government spends harming foreigners, the less it spends harming Americans.
True in a trivial sense, but so what?  Different evils are not equivalent.  Mass murder (anywhere) is obviously worse than paying farmers to not farm.  Some government spending is not even harmful by itself, although the loss to society from the extraction of wealth (taxation, inflation, seizure) obviously is.

To roll back government, must delegitimize government, which means that one must condemn not the controversial expenditures (war) but the supposedly uncontroversial expenditures ("education", "health", and "welfare").
Of course, but when you spout inanities like those above it only helps the statists.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 11, 2010, 07:20:53 pm
And I'd like to believe that many government programs are less harmful than killing people and blowing stuff up.
I am sure that many government programs are less harmful to foreigners than killing people and blowing stuff up.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 11, 2010, 07:31:48 pm
Muslims think they are at war with us - or rather a few of them think they are at war with us and the rest are too frightened to speak up and contradict them.  Which means they are at war with us, so blowing them up is self defense.
Absolute nonsense.  Most Muslims are opposed to Americans only because the US government has (and continues to) kill, main, torture, steal from, and destroy the lives of their families, friends, and neighbors.
 
Then why Islamic terrorism in Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, and so forth? The Bali bombing preceded and provoked Australian involvement in Iraq, rather than being caused by Australian involvement in Iraq.

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They may be at war with you (if you support the US government), but they are not at war with me.
Muslims are required to believe all of Dar al Harb is one people.  If they are at war with me, they are at war with you

Dar al Islam is weak enough that it might be better to ignore them, like a big dog ignores a small yappy dog, but blowing them up, whether or not is necessary, is a lot more legitimate than most forms of government expenditure.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on August 11, 2010, 08:25:21 pm
First off, blowing up Moslims is objectively evil, unless done strictly in self-defense.
Muslims think they are at war with us - or rather a few of them think they are at war with us and the rest are too frightened to speak up and contradict them.  Which means they are at war with us, so blowing them up is self defense.
Absolute nonsense.  Most Muslims are opposed to Americans only because the US government's military continues to kill, main, torture, steal from, and destroy the lives of their families, friends, and neighbors.  They may be at war with you (if you support the US government's military), but they are not at war with me.
I guess I've drunk the Kool-Aid, but what I think is this:

We are at war with the Taliban and al-Qaeda. They aren't trying to kill Americans because we're killing some civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq by accident. Instead, al-Qaeda started killing Americans first, and the Taliban made an invasion of Afghanistan necessary by failing to extradite Osama bin Laden.

Osama originally attacked the United States because of his belief that in Sa'udi Arabia, Egypt, and several other countries, Muslims were languishing under corrupt governments that were put there thanks to the United States. U.S. support of Israel was also a motivator, but a secondary consideration.

If one accepts the statist paradigm that the moment one shows weakness, the vultures start hovering, then the U.S. had little choice but to respond, and it has little choice but to continue until al-Qaeda and other sources of the terrorist threat are wiped out.

Under the doctrine of the War on Terror as stated by George W. Bush, al-Shabaab has become a target in the War on Terror as well, as a "terrorist group of international reach", after the suicide bombing in Uganda.

Iran is a sponsor of terrorism, and it's about to acquire a nuclear weapons capability.

And then, of course, there's Pakistan.

Very few of the civilians getting killed in Iraq or Afghanistan are getting killed by American fire. The number is still too large, of course. But most of the civilians being killed there are being killed by the terrorists we're trying to stop.

Now, what about the statement that since the ordinary people are "too frightened to speak out", they're our enemy too? That doesn't apply to Iraq or Afghanistan now, because we have our own official governments there.

That doctrine does apply to the Gaza Strip - Israel was within its rights to treat it as though it were a nation at war against Israel - but I believe they have made a serious mistake in fully availing themselves of that right.

If the United States can bring massive forces to bear, it can protect the civilian populations of Iraq, Afghanistan, and any other countries (particularly Pakistan) which are or may be embroiled in this, and bring the conflict to a quick end.

If, however, Americans are sufficiently unwilling to go off and fight in the deserts of the Islamic world, just as their unwillingness to go off and fight in the jungles of Vietnam led to the tragedy of the boat people, then the war would have to be fought using clumsier means. Which would quickly end up making a sizable fraction of the world's Muslims enemies of the U.S..

I do not believe this is the case now. However, distressing news from places from Indonesia to Egypt does show a big fraction of the world's Muslims has one thing in common with the terrorists. They don't think that what's sauce for the Muslim is sauce for the non-Muslim.

This is evidenced by how non-Muslim minorities are treated in those countries.

Thus, the Palestinian refugee problem counts, while the previous attempts to drive Israel into the sea don't count.

This doesn't mean Islam is an "evil religion". Under Sharia law, they treat non-Muslims about like Americans treated black people under segregation. The problem is that people who are under intense scrutiny, and who need, for their own survival, to be easy for us to distinguish from terrorists... can't afford to behave like that.

If Africa had the atom bomb in 1920, it would have been pretty foolish of the United States to practice segregation, wouldn't it?

It isn't that we're making ourselves into their enemies. It's that they're making themselves into our enemies, and if they don't stop, there are terrible risks for them as this continuing conflict has the potential to expand.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 11, 2010, 11:09:23 pm
Now, what about the statement that since the ordinary people are "too frightened to speak out", they're our enemy too? That doesn't apply to Iraq or Afghanistan now, because we have our own official governments there.
To have our own official governments there, we would need to do imperialism after the style of Lord Cromer - which is considered unthinkably reactionary, capitalistic, orientialist, racist, and oppressive.

Karzai has never won a fair and free election.  He needs to be killed and the reason we are not killing him is because his replacement would likely be even worse.

As for Iraq:  They did have a fair and free election.  The moderates won a plurality, not a majority.  They are still trying to find an extremist faction to go into coalition with, but each extremist faction wants to kill all the infidels, and thinks the moderates are infidels.  Most of those elected are extremists, but the extremists are split on the questions of who is an infidel and which infidels need killing first.  It is thus impossible to form a majority coalition, an unstable situation which will end with a minority ruling by terror.

The program of exporting democracy is premised on the idea that most Muslims are moderate.  Since moderation is dangerous to one's health, it is hard to tell if this idea is true or not, but whether it is true or not, exporting democracy at gunpoint has failed.   We don't have our own official governments there. 

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That doctrine does apply to the Gaza Strip - Israel was within its rights to treat it as though it were a nation at war against Israel - but I believe they have made a serious mistake in fully availing themselves of that right.
The serious mistake was dragging the settlers out of Gaza.  As subsequent events proved, the Israeli government was not protecting the settlers, the settlers were protecting the Israeli government.  To fix the problem, let settlers back in, and kill as many Palestinians as required to make resettlement possible.  Since the present status quo is intolerable, the glaringly obvious solution is to return to the status quo ante, the imperialism of James Anthony Froude - which, like the imperialism of Lord Cromer, is today considered unthinkably reactionary.

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If the United States can bring massive forces to bear, it can protect the civilian populations of Iraq, Afghanistan, and any other countries (particularly Pakistan) which are or may be embroiled in this, and bring the conflict to a quick end.
Obviously the US cannot protect Muslims from each other, no matter how massive our forces, except possibly by using the highly successful methods of Lord Cromer or Sir Stamford Raffles, which methods are today considered unthinkable, and were controversial even in the nineteenth century  Even back in the nineteenth century it was bit of a toss up whether Raffles was going to get knighted for services to the British empire, or hung as a pirate and brigand.

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Which would quickly end up making a sizable fraction of the world's Muslims enemies of the U.S.
You seem to be under the impression that the majority of the world's Muslims are not already enemies of the U.S.  You also seem to imply that Americans should care whether Muslims are enemies or not.

The only times that Dar al Islam has not been making war on Dar al Harb was when we crushed them with overwhelming force, stole their land and resources, ravished their women, and treated their religion with contempt and repression - in particular the period from 1830 to 1960, which started with a near genocidal solution to the Barbary pirate problem.  As soon as the last Christian settlers were dragged off Muslim lands in 1960, Islamic terrorism resumed - analogous to what happened when Israel dragged the settlers out of Gaza.

One can reasonably argue that Muslims are weak enough to ignore - but they are hostile enough it is ludicrous to worry about offending them, and thirteen hundred years of history demonstrate this.  Doing bad things to Muslims always leads to less trouble, not more trouble.   Back when we really were doing all those dreadful things to Muslims that people allege we are doing today, everything was fine.  If Raffles had been in charge of the Iraq war, he would have put Baghdad to the sack for three days, would have ethnically cleansed Basra and brought in outside oil workers.  Lord Cromer would have stolen the oil.  And Raffle's dad would have thought Raffles and Cromer were politically correct softies.  And back when those guys were taking care of business, imperialism made a profit, and Muslims gave no trouble.

Perhaps we should refrain from such measures because they are immoral, but history shows it is the way to reduce trouble from Muslims, that being nice to Muslims is perceived as weakness, and weakness provokes attack.  The methods of the colonialists were successful, and not only profitable for the colonialists, but, like the Jewish settlers in Gaza, provided peace, safety, and prosperity for Muslims. Raffles did what we cannot do - protected Muslims and their property from each other.  Of course he did not protect them or their property from himself, but overall his depredations were considerably less serious than their depredations against each other.

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This doesn't mean Islam is an "evil religion". Under Sharia law, they treat non-Muslims about like Americans treated black people under segregation. The problem is that people who are under intense scrutiny, and who need, for their own survival, to be easy for us to distinguish from terrorists... can't afford to behave like that.
If Sir Stamford Raffles was in charge of our military program, they would need for their own survival to be easy to distinguish from terrorists (and even that would not always help) but the way things are now, it is a lot safer to be indistinguishable from a terrorist.

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If Africa had the atom bomb in 1920, it would have been pretty foolish of the United States to practice segregation, wouldn't it?  It isn't that we're making ourselves into their enemies. It's that they're making themselves into our enemies, and if they don't stop, there are terrible risks for them as this continuing conflict has the potential to expand.
Islam has always had a policy of chronic low level warfare, even when brief higher level warfare would have been more effective.  Westerners tend to escalate when the enemy escalates, Muslims tend to de-escalate, thus things are unlikely to blow up the way they have blown up from time to time in disputes within the west.

One can make a reasonable case that it would be a lot more cost effective to simply ignore them, but ignoring them will result them taking more forceful means to get our attention.  (Which would still probably end up cheaper)  However a policy of ignoring them would require the guts to ignore them - would require us to handle the fatwas and Motoons business, and similar events, more courageously than we did.

My recommended solution is to issue letters of Marque and reprisal - authorizing private enterprises to steal Muslim lands, Muslim oil, ravish the women, ethnically cleanse desirable lands, and so on and so forth - in short, legalize the likes of Benjamin Raffles who was doing such a good job in the late eighteenth century, the wholly private enterprise colonialism commended by James Anthony Froude.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on August 12, 2010, 12:45:29 am
The only times that Dar al Islam has not been making war on Dar al Harb was when we crushed them with overwhelming force, stole their land and resources, ravished their women,
No doubt my post has made me sound like the usual bleeding heart liberal.

However, despite my dedication to the principle that, whenever possible, we should minimize collateral damage, when dealing with Muslims or anyone else, it actually is true that I don't particularly like Muslims.

And there are three reasons for that. Their names are:

Saffiyah bint Huyeiy ibn Akhtab
Rayhana bint Zaid
Maria al-Qibtiyya

Remember those names.

They are those three, among the wives of Muhammad, who were women taken captive from groups of people he attacked. Two were Jews, who he directly chose; the third was a Coptic Christian, taken by another of his men, who gave her to him when he saw that he admired her great beauty.

If I could trust the government not to abuse the technology for other purposes (which, of course, no one can) I would welcome the day when every male child, shortly after birth, had a little chip installed in his brain so that any attempt on his part to have sexual intercourse with a woman without her full, freely given, and informed consent would result in immediate death.

It is not the women of the world who make the wars.

Any crime that can make the victim think that she is in some way less deserving of honor and respect is clearly a vile act of unnatural torture that deserves to be classed as a crime against humanity.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on August 12, 2010, 04:04:14 am
How about we do it this way, and condemn ALL government expenditures, and militarists can stop finding bizarre excuses to defend mass murder. Frankly, some of you folks couldn't find a conscience with both hands and a map.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: pendothrax on August 12, 2010, 09:11:56 pm
just a quote to reply to the muslims are evil trend:

So they sent twelve thousand warriors to Jabesh-gilead with orders to kill everyone there, including women and children.  "This is what you are to do," they said. "Completely destroy all the males and every woman who is not a virgin."  Among the residents of Jabesh-gilead they found four hundred young virgins who had never slept with a man, and they brought them to the camp at Shiloh in the land of Canaan.

 

    The Israelite assembly sent a peace delegation to the little remnant of Benjamin who were living at the rock of Rimmon. Then the men of Benjamin returned to their homes, and the four hundred women of Jabesh-gilead who were spared were given to them as wives.  But there were not enough women for all of them.  The people felt sorry for Benjamin because the LORD had left this gap in the tribes of Israel.  So the Israelite leaders asked, "How can we find wives for the few who remain, since all the women of the tribe of Benjamin are dead?  There must be heirs for the survivors so that an entire tribe of Israel will not be lost forever.  But we cannot give them our own daughters in marriage because we have sworn with a solemn oath that anyone who does this will fall under God's curse."

 

    Then they thought of the annual festival of the LORD held in Shiloh, between Lebonah and Bethel, along the east side of the road that goes from Bethel to Shechem.  They told the men of Benjamin who still needed wives, "Go and hide in the vineyards.  When the women of Shiloh come out for their dances, rush out from the vineyards, and each of you can take one of them home to be your wife!  And when their fathers and brothers come to us in protest, we will tell them, 'Please be understanding.  Let them have your daughters, for we didn't find enough wives for them when we destroyed Jabesh-gilead. And you are not guilty of breaking the vow since you did not give your daughters in marriage to them.'"  So the men of Benjamin did as they were told.  They kidnapped the women who took part in the celebration and carried them off to the land of their own inheritance.  Then they rebuilt their towns and lived in them.  So the assembly of Israel departed by tribes and families, and they returned to their own homes

Judges 21:10-24 NLT

i think a list on names of captured, raped, and enslaved women in not exclusive to the Quran......
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: pendothrax on August 12, 2010, 09:13:51 pm
P.S.  i believe there is something about a mote in your neighbor's eye, and a beam in your own???

Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on August 12, 2010, 09:44:03 pm
i think a list on names of captured, raped, and enslaved women in not exclusive to the Quran......
However, Jews really have stopped behaving like that these days.

In recent news, however, Coptic Christians in Egypt are being pressured to accept mediation, rather than criminal prosecution, for a Muslim schoolteacher accused of molesting a Christian child - while, elsewhere in Egypt, the result of a Coptic Christian being accused of raping a Muslim led to deadly riots.

This doesn't make Muslims more evil than white Americans. However, while Africa was militarily insignificant compared to the United States during the eras of slavery and segregation, and so the black people of the United States were defenseless, it is simply not true, in the present day, that the countries of the world where Christianity is widely professed are weaker, militarily or technologically, than the world's Muslim countries. Quite the reverse, in fact.

So it is surprising that this sort of thing is even tolerated.

Part of the reason is that, with World War II bringing an end to the previous colonial era, the realities of the Cold War made all the countries of the world, even small dictatorships, effectively sovereign - in whatever state they were in after the dust settled, so that didn't preclude Soviet rule of Eastern Europe, for example.

Because I don't think I can get the United States to stop collecting taxes or having a large military, I think the most effective way to prevent something very bad from happening to the Islamic world is for it to refrain from provoking the United States.


If the Islamic world follows these principles, it can ensure its own survival. If it doesn't, they're at risk, because the current situation can get worse in many ways.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on August 13, 2010, 02:40:52 am
Because I don't think I can get the United States to stop collecting taxes or having a large military, I think the most effective way to prevent something very bad from happening to the Islamic world is for it to refrain from provoking the United States.

Unfortunately your argument generalizes.

Imagine that somewhere in the world somebody creates an AnCap society.

Because I don't think I can get the United States to stop collecting taxes or having a large military, I think the most effective way to prevent something very bad from happening to the AnCap society is for it to refrain from provoking the United States by existing as an AnCap society.

Does your argument imply that before an AnCap society can survive the USA must cease to exist?
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Archonix on August 13, 2010, 04:58:06 am

i think a list on names of captured, raped, and enslaved women in not exclusive to the Quran......

Verse 25: And in those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.

A condemnation, though at first glance it might appear to be just a simple observation. In the original, the phrase translated as "every man did what was right in his own eyes" is a rather harsh critique of the fact that no man had any moral guidance. The entire book of judges is a description of how amoral and uncaring Israel had become, how they abused each other, stole from each other, without care for the property of the individual. The entire story of the last chapters of Judges is the story of how men of the tribe of Benjamin saw fit to ravish a poor woman to death, and men of the other tribes sought revenge; and how after slaking their blood-lust in random slaughter without justice they sought to try and redress the balance with equally immoral and random "recompense".

You can't read the book of Judges without seeing constant judgement of the people of Israel for their "sin" of ignoring the rights of their fellow men. That's why it's called Judges, as Israel was constantly being Judged for acts just like those described in the story of the wives of Benjamin.

As a libertarian you wouldn't do what is right "in your own eyes". You'd do what is right. Right doesn't mean killing random women, handing over other women to be "married" against their will, nor gang-rape of a woman just because she's from a different "tribe".

Don't make the mistake of assuming that descriptive is prescriptive. The koran prescribes the use of violence against the infidel. The bible simply describes the use of violence and often condemns it. The Koran prescribes constant war of conquest over the whole world. The bible describes set-piece wars, many of which carried subsequent  and often very negative consequences for the Israelites even though they were held up as the right thing to do at the time.

You can hold up and say that bible verse X is similar to that part in surah Y and claim that makes them the same but I only see one religion today who's scripture justifies the taking of prisoners for rape, murder and the conquest of the entire planet. Only one religion describes the methods by which others are justifiably conquered. Only one religion calls on its followers to "make war on the unbeliever" until all is dar al islam. This is often translated as "house of peace", but the very name ISLAM means "submission".

Look at it this way: Islam is the ultimate statist ideology. The state and Allah are inseparable. Every aspect of life under Islam is proscribed and limited by the words of the book. It is not merely a religion, as Shinto or Hinduism or Buddhsim are religions, but a political doctrine of conquest and domination. Its scriptures describe these things. No other religion describes the methods by which the entire world will be put to sword and conquered. Other religions may engage in "holy wars" but they are, if anything, going against their own tenants. Only Islam scripturally justifies war against unbelievers for the purpose of destroying or converting them.

The only other ideology that comes close to it is Marxism. The same disregard for individual property, the same disregard for life, the same demands that all opposition must be put to death or "subdued" until they accept the message. The same "glorious future" and the sane "new man" appear in both. And in both, the same central figure of  a self-entitled psychopathic oaf who managed to get a following.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on August 13, 2010, 10:29:35 am

i think a list on names of captured, raped, and enslaved women in not exclusive to the Quran......

Verse 25: And in those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.

A condemnation, though at first glance it might appear to be just a simple observation. In the original, the phrase translated as "every man did what was right in his own eyes" is a rather harsh critique of the fact that no man had any moral guidance. The entire book of judges is a description of how amoral and uncaring Israel had become, how they abused each other, stole from each other, without care for the property of the individual.

So when they chose a king things got better? Oy.

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Look at it this way: Islam is the ultimate statist ideology.

I'm sorry, but this is nonsense. Islam claims to tell people how to live, and then they're supposed to do that. There is essentially nothing in it about how to set up a government. There isn't even anything in it about how to set up a religious hierarchy to enforce the rules. It wouldn't be absurd to have muslim libertarians, who say that everybody has the right to live according to Islam on their own hook, without any state, and public opinion decides about observed crimes that have prescribed punishments. All that is lacking is a Koranic statement that forbids people from setting up governments, and you're there.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: SandySandfort on August 13, 2010, 11:10:28 am
Does your argument imply that before an AnCap society can survive the USA must cease to exist?

All we have to do is wait, and the USA as we know it, will cease to exist, much as happened to the Soviet "superpower." 20 years ago, I was telling people that in 50 years, the United States, as we know it, would no longer exist. Today, it looks as though I was way too conservative.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Brugle on August 13, 2010, 11:11:19 am
one religion today who's scripture justifies the taking of prisoners for rape, murder and the conquest of the entire planet. ... Only one religion calls on its followers to "make war on the unbeliever"
You can whine about interpretations of "holy" books, but what matters about religions are the actions of followers.  Most religions have relatively few followers who commit or support atrocities.  If we had to choose a traditional religion whose followers have committed the most mass murder and mass maiming and mass torture and other mass terrorist acts in the past few decades, I'm pretty sure that that religion would be Christianity.  I won't condemn Christianity for that reason, since many Christians oppose the atrocities committed by some Christians (just as many Muslims oppose the atrocities committed by some Muslims).

Considering belief more generally, I'd say that the belief that is most responsible for atrocities is statism.  Some might say that collectivism is more fundamental, but I consider collectivism (for most people) to be more of an outlook than a belief.

But I got sidetracked--what matters in this context is actions, not beliefs.  I oppose murdering, maiming, torturing, and otherwise terrorizing innocent people, whether committed by agents of the US government or agents of other governments or people who aren't government agents, whether motivated by statism or some traditional religious belief or anything else.  I would prefer to have people who also oppose atrocities as neighbors, but people who approve of atrocities (for any reason) could be good neighbors if they don't commit any.  Heck, it's even possible that you or quadibloc could be a good neighbor.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: macsnafu on August 13, 2010, 11:30:20 am

As for Iraq:  They did have a fair and free election.  The moderates won a plurality, not a majority.  They are still trying to find an extremist faction to go into coalition with, but each extremist faction wants to kill all the infidels, and thinks the moderates are infidels.  Most of those elected are extremists, but the extremists are split on the questions of who is an infidel and which infidels need killing first.  It is thus impossible to form a majority coalition, an unstable situation which will end with a minority ruling by terror.

The program of exporting democracy is premised on the idea that most Muslims are moderate.  Since moderation is dangerous to one's health, it is hard to tell if this idea is true or not, but whether it is true or not, exporting democracy at gunpoint has failed.   We don't have our own official governments there. 

No wonder the U.S. administration wanted to export democracy--not because they think it works but because they know it doesn't work.  Democratic gridlock is restricting Islamic extremists--as long as they continue to "play by the rules".   
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: MacFall on August 13, 2010, 11:36:30 am
So when they chose a king things got better? Oy.

No, and the Bible explicitly says otherwise.

The Judges were the solution to the problem of lawlessness in Israel, and it was a fairly anarchic solution. They came between the chaos that resulted from Israel emulating other nations (which had kings) and the time when Israel rejected God's prescription for a stateless society and insisted on getting themselves a king.

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Look at it this way: Islam is the ultimate statist ideology.

I'm sorry, but this is nonsense. Islam claims to tell people how to live, and then they're supposed to do that. There is essentially nothing in it about how to set up a government. There isn't even anything in it about how to set up a religious hierarchy to enforce the rules.

Furthermore, even Sharia law has good ideas about property rights and justice. Of course it's not perfect (making spousal rape a crime would certainly help), but it's not inherently statist either.

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It wouldn't be absurd to have muslim libertarians, who say that everybody has the right to live according to Islam on their own hook,

And I know several, including a few individualist anarchist Muslims. Of course some would say that they aren't True MuslimsTM, but that's basically the No True Scotsman fallacy committed by someone who doesn't even know any Scots.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on August 13, 2010, 01:36:15 pm
Since when does a Book - any Book - define the actions of quasi-adherents?

By this time, we know that the average Congressman who swears an oath to uphold the Constitution holds it in as much regard as a roll of toilet paper. There are examples on youtube of them laughing openly when told that the Constitution actually sets limits on their conduct.

We know that even fundamentalist Christians who claim to believe in every word of the Bible actually pick and choose; they do not kill children for sassing their parents, for example. The vast majority do not even pretend to respect every last word of the Bible.

So why now are we to believe that Islam is somehow special, that Moslims, alone among all other religions, take their Book 100% literally? What kind of unreasoning fanatics are you anti-Moslims?

Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on August 13, 2010, 07:13:47 pm
So why now are we to believe that Islam is somehow special, that Moslims, alone among all other religions, take their Book 100% literally? What kind of unreasoning fanatics are you anti-Moslims?
I don't know all of what is in the Quran, so I don't try to claim that Muslims anywhere follow every line of it.

I do know, though, that some Muslims are doing things I don't like, and whether they're getting their ideas from the Quran or just from some hadith or other is not a primary concern to me.

What kinds of things?

In Egypt, the Coptic Christian minority is not allowed to build new churches. They need special permission even to make repairs to their existing churches, and this kind of permission has not been forthcoming of late. No similar restrictions are placed on Muslims and their mosques.

In several majority-Muslim countries, non-Muslims are exposed to violence from Muslims, and lack adequate legal recourse when it happens. This does not mean that the violent acts in question are endorsed, advocated, or permitted by the Quran. Thus, the Quran explicitly condemns rape. But Islamic Law sets a high evidentiary standard for rape, and in addition places non-Muslims at a disadvantage in legal proceedings. These provisions of Islamic Law are in fact in place in several Muslim countries, they're not just theoretical constructs in holy books that no one reads.

So, the Quran says that if you find a female enemy civilian attractive, it is forbidden for you to just rape her: if you want her, you have to bring her home and take care of her. (Sura 4, verse 24) To us, this looks very peculiar; it seems more appropriate as a rule about puppies than a rule about women.

But if you want to say that the Muslims of the present day are not taking women captive when they fight wars, that may be true.

What is happening, though, is that they do operate a legal system where women who are victims of rape risk being punished for adultery (which carries the death penalty) if they seek legal recourse against their attackers. Muslim women.

Four Muslim male witnesses, or eight Muslim female witnesses, are required for a rape conviction under Islamic law. While a Muslim women counts as half as much as a Muslim man, non-Muslims don't count at all.

Of course, it doesn't say eye-witnesses, so one could have four Muslim doctors check every rape kit - if the intention was to prosecute rape as effectively as a Western nation while also complying with Islamic law. Such intentions are generally absent.

Every community will have some proportion of young punks, of teenage delinquents. Muslims aren't better or worse than the rest of us in that respect.

The problem is this:

An institutional setup is present that has, as its effective result, the subjection of non-Muslim minorities to grievous persecution - even though most Muslims are not involved in inflicting it, only in enabling it.

Ending that institutional setup would involve either abandoning Shari'a - unacceptable to a large segment of the population in most Muslim nations - or partitioning the nation involved so that the non-Muslim minority is now secure behind a defended national boundary. The latter, taking territory out of Dar al-Islam, is monumentally offensive to most Muslims.

As witness the efforts to throw Israel into the sea back in 1948 or thereabouts.

As long as the Western world says, no, we're not going back to the days when the Jews living in Palestine were, like the Copts of Egypt, or the Chinese and the Christians of Indonesia, huddled in fear under Muslim rule - we will be their enemies.

Now, it is true that the Jews of Israel would make very productive citizens in most Western industrialized nations, and so giving the territory back after an orderly evacuation might seem a better solution than continued fighting. So the United States could give Israel advance notice of an end to all its military aid, combined with an announcement that the Jews of Israel would be permitted into the United States as immigrants. I don't think that would happen, and I don't think it would be a good thing to happen. But I can understand the view that this might be the least bad solution.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on August 13, 2010, 09:28:27 pm

What is happening, though, is that they do operate a legal system where women who are victims of rape risk being punished for adultery (which carries the death penalty) if they seek legal recourse against their attackers. Muslim women.

I can speak to that. First, note that muslim societies are currently sexually repressed a whole lot like 1950's USA. That's in living memory for a lot of Americans, but it isn't easy to go back and actually remember what it was like.

I listened to a man who was raised in rural Iran. He told the following story, as well as I can remember it:

Whenever a man and a married woman were publicly known to have illicit sexual relations, there were two choices. Either the woman had committed adultery, and she should be stoned. Or the man had committed rape, and he should have his penis cut off. The court would determine which it was as best they could.

He thought there was a bias in favor of declaring it rape. People naturally believed that women were chaste and that men were potential rapists.

And he said that when he was ten years old a man was convicted of rape. They took him to the town square and publicly cut his penis off with a sword. He will never forget the sound of the sword thunking into the wooden chopping block, and about two seconds later the man's scream. He said he'll never ever commit rape, no matter what.

I was living in one of the Los Angeles beach towns then, and I'd walk along the beach some evenings and exercised. Once I met a woman there who seemed somewhat friendly, she was actually willing to talk to me some. Later I met my Iranian friend and mentioned that to him, and he told me to be very careful.

"I knew a man who met a woman on the beach, and they talked for awhile, and then she told him that he must pay her $200 or she would go to the police and tell them he raped her. And he paid it."

"He should have gone to the police with her. They have tests that could show whether he had had sex recently, and they could test whether she had had sex, and if anybody had reported her before for the same thing they definitely would not believe her."

"No." Pause. "He could not do that."

Something about the way he paused told me that he was not talking about some other man, but about himself. And I did not know whether he had in fact had consensual sex with her and so would not pass the tests, or whether he was utterly terrified at the thought of being accused of rape.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 14, 2010, 03:17:01 am
Furthermore, even Sharia law has good ideas about property rights and justice. Of course it's not perfect (making spousal rape a crime would certainly help), but it's not inherently statist either.

Sharia is fine, except for two big problems:  It is alarmingly liberal on rape, and, more importantly, makes unbelievers second class.  This immediately creates the problem of deciding who is an unbeliever, so you end up with a ruler deciding that.

And even if you do not wind up with a ruler deciding that (and you do not always wind up with a ruler deciding that) you are still apt to wind up with holy war.  Sharia, because it makes unbelievers second class, always winds up, not necessarily statist, but theocratic.  You wind up with the clergy exercising great power.  Of course, theocracies tend to be states, but even theocracies that are not exactly statelike in the Westphalian sense are rather obnoxious.  The clergy are a pain, and the system tends to drift into holy war.

Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 14, 2010, 03:32:39 am
So why now are we to believe that Islam is somehow special, that Moslims, alone among all other religions, take their Book 100% literally?

The old testament/Torah has a lot of stuff that is even more bloodthirsty than the Koran.  And to get out of that bloodthirsty stuff, the Jews had two solutions:  Get in a prophet with divine authority to blow off the bad stuff, or legalistically weasel their way out of it.

Those that got in a prophet with divine authority to blow off the bad stuff became the Christians.  Those that legalistically weaseled created a gigantic pile of legalistic weaseling, the Talmud, and became today's Jews.

Muslims have neither a Christ nor a Talmud.  Therefore war between Dar al Islam and Dar al Harb is inevitable and necessary.  It is a permanent condition.   The only times we had peace was when Western colonialists were settling their lands, stealing their stuff, desecrating their religion, molesting their women, and doing all the stuff we are now accused of doing.  Or worse.  Charles the
Great created a desert between Dar al Harb and Dar al Islam, that invading armies would have nothing to eat and nowhere to sleep.

if you create a "piss christ", not one Christian will raise a finger against you.  Not one out of biliions. But if you were to create a "piss mohammed", there will be riots and murders.  If you can easily be found, some Muslims will try to kill you, and every single Muslim, 100%, will at least passively support those efforts.  Not one Muslim will condemn such actions or separate himself from them.  Not one out of billions.


Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 14, 2010, 03:38:55 am
But if you want to say that the Muslims of the present day are not taking women captive when they fight wars, that may be true.
No, that is not true.  The Taliban massacres Harara men, children, and old women, and take the young women captive.  Iranians and Palestians forcibly "marry" infidel women to Muslim men.

Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 14, 2010, 03:43:38 am
And I know several, including a few individualist anarchist Muslims.
The individualist anarchist Muslims that I am familiar with propose that in order to receive protection, you would need to convert to Islam - that only Islamic protection organizations that preferentially protect Muslims would be permitted.

Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: wdg3rd on August 14, 2010, 08:45:55 am
And I know several, including a few individualist anarchist Muslims.
The individualist anarchist Muslims that I am familiar with propose that in order to receive protection, you would need to convert to Islam - that only Islamic protection organizations that preferentially protect Muslims would be permitted.

Most of the individualist anarchists I hang with tend to also be individualist atheists like myself.  Some were once Muslims, most (like myself) were formerly Christians of one sect or other.  While I know a few anarchists who profess faith, they tend to be in the minority -- most folks give up on God before they give up on government, which is probably a shame, since there are some fine anarchist lines in both the Bible and the Q'ran if you take them out of context (as the religious always quote out passages to me out of context, but at least with the Bible I can quote the context back at them, I've only read the Q'ran once and didn't memorize much of it, the Christian Bible I can quote cover to cover and that's storage space I could use for more useful information).
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 14, 2010, 06:05:32 pm
The individualist anarchist Muslims that I am familiar with propose that in order to receive protection, you would need to convert to Islam - that only Islamic protection organizations that preferentially protect Muslims would be permitted.

Most of the individualist anarchists I hang with tend to also be individualist atheists like myself.  Some were once Muslims,

Then no longer Muslims.  If your solution to the problem of Islam involves converting them all to progressivism, you have a long wait.  Ann Coulter's program - gunpoint Christianity, rather than gunpoint democracy, seems considerably more feasible.

Progressives were largely successful in converting the Jews and Christians because of total coercive control of schools and universities, with even private religious colleges coerced into teaching progressive doctrine.  That will not fly in a Muslim majority country, because they will shoot you.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 14, 2010, 09:58:57 pm
I wrote
Quote
If your solution to the problem of Islam involves converting them all to progressivism, you have a long wait.  Ann Coulter's program - gunpoint Christianity, rather than gunpoint democracy, seems considerably more feasible.

Progressives were largely successful in converting the Jews and Christians because of total coercive control of schools and universities, with even private religious colleges coerced into teaching progressive doctrine.  That will not fly in a Muslim majority country, because they will shoot you.

I realize my reasoning is unclear:  The underlying rationale is that you cannot beat a religion except with another religion, or something that is very like a religion, and progressivism is a theocratic religion.  However, being in denial about its theocratic character, it cannot use the ruthless and direct methods that Muslims cheerfully used, so progressivist theocrats wind up bringing a knife to a gunfight when they go up against Muslim theocrats.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on August 14, 2010, 10:43:04 pm
Progressives were largely successful in converting the Jews and Christians because of total coercive control of schools and universities, with even private religious colleges coerced into teaching progressive doctrine.  That will not fly in a Muslim majority country, because they will shoot you.
Nobody seems to be shooting schoolteachers in North Korea. So, just maintain that level of control over the Muslim world for a couple of hundred years.

Not very nice, but it's better than genocide, and much better than raping their women. (If we were doing the latter, I would start to think that al-Qaeda had a point.)
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on August 15, 2010, 01:20:12 am
So why now are we to believe that Islam is somehow special, that Moslims, alone among all other religions, take their Book 100% literally?

The old testament/Torah has a lot of stuff that is even more bloodthirsty than the Koran.  And to get out of that bloodthirsty stuff, the Jews had two solutions:  Get in a prophet with divine authority to blow off the bad stuff, or legalistically weasel their way out of it.

Those that got in a prophet with divine authority to blow off the bad stuff became the Christians.  Those that legalistically weaseled created a gigantic pile of legalistic weaseling, the Talmud, and became today's Jews.

Muslims have neither a Christ nor a Talmud.  Therefore war between Dar al Islam and Dar al Harb is inevitable and necessary.  It is a permanent condition.

I've tried to stay out of this, because I find your reasoning so annoying. You repeatedly say that there's only one or two ways things can go and then you talk about what's inevitable. I don't think you know what's inevitable. Things could happen that you do not expect. You talk about taking drastic action with all these krystal certainties and it scares me. Once the USA uses its overwhelming force -- its permanent overwhelming force, that must inevitably prevail -- we'll never know what might have happened if we hadn't done it. We do our experiments with no control group. So even if the actions have horrible results you can point to your firm conviction that the only alternative would have been even worse.

Quote
The only times we had peace was when Western colonialists were settling their lands, stealing their stuff, desecrating their religion, molesting their women, and doing all the stuff we are now accused of doing.  Or worse.

I find it disturbing to see what it is you consider to be peace.

I've met musims who believe that religions might have a sort of life cycle, and that Islam is around 500 years behind Christianity because it got a later start. Look what Christianity was doing 500 years ago! They were declaring each other heretics and having religious wars among themselves. Not so much the catholics and the greek orthodox, who had been split from almost the beginning like the sunnis and shias though without as much acrimony. But the Catholics and various protestants, new things. Even while the christians were fighting each other they were conquering rich new lands that were weak. But they didn't bother the muslims all that much, except to take back more of Spain.

If it were to go that way for Muslims in the coming century, we'd do well to have a strong defense, to not look like targets. But we wouldn't need to invade them and unify them against us.

As for muslims doing bad things to each other in their own lands, I say let them. It isn't our place to conquer everybody we disapprove of and force them to behave the way we want. That's -- difficult.

And for muslims treating minorities in their lands in ways we don't like? OK, we treat minorities in our own lands in ways that muslims don't like. Maybe we could set up some sort of underground railroad to help the victims escape to freedom.

I mean, just suppose we manage to set up an AnCap society where people mostly agree about how to behave. And we get a minority of statists who come in and do statist-type things, and when we ask them about it they say "I was only following orders". How much tolerance could we have for that? But we wouldn't want to build a big army and go ino the statist lands and defeat the statist armies and occupy them to prevent them from setting up a government whether they want to or not. If they're misguided enough to want a government in their own land we'd better let them. Similarly if they want a muslim nation or a catholic nation or whatever. If we can't live our own lives without forcing everybody else everywhere to do it our way, what good is it?

You come up with reasons why muslims are potentially a big threat to the USA. But when I look at what you advocate, you are a clear and present threat to the USA, right now. You want to remove a potential physical threat by turning the USA into a totalitarian government that opposes everything the USA used to stand for.

I don't know whether an AnCap society is possible. But I look at these people trying to set up a culture where people can be free. And I look at you arguing about who the government must inevitably kill so it won't be forced to nuke even more people. And I have no doubt whatsoever which side I hope will win.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 15, 2010, 04:14:52 am
Muslims have neither a Christ nor a Talmud.  Therefore war between Dar al Islam and Dar al Harb is inevitable and necessary.  It is a permanent condition.

I've tried to stay out of this, because I find your reasoning so annoying. You repeatedly say that there's only one or two ways things can go and then you talk about what's inevitable.

I have fourteen hundred years of evidence on my side.  We have always been at war with Dar al Islam, except when we were actually doing the dreadful things to them that they accuse us of doing, as for example during the colonial period 1830-1960.  Muslims have only ever been quelled by horrifying means.

Quote
You talk about taking drastic action with all these krystal certainties and it scares me. Once the USA uses its overwhelming force -- its permanent overwhelming force, that must inevitably prevail

We have used force far more overwhelming repeatedly in the last thousand years or so, and have not prevailed.  Short of the methods of the Spanish inquisition, there will never be peace, and never be victory.  We always win, then we always try to cash in our victory to make peace, and they just will not make peace, and eventually we get tired, and make concessions, land for peace, which results only in further attacks - what the Jews are now doing, has been done by the Christians over and over and over again, and will no doubt be done again and again.

Pretty soon the Jews will lose patience, and do something truly horrifying, and I suppose that sooner or later, probably later, we will lose patience and do something truly horrifying, but all of this has happened before.

Quote
we'll never know what might have happened if we hadn't done it. We do our experiments with no control group.

We have a control group.  Over the last thousand years we have tried concessions and tried mass murder and tried everything in between, with much the same results as the Israelis have been getting.  There has never been peace, there never will be peace, just varying degrees of low level war, occasionally interrupted by high level war.

Quote
As for muslims doing bad things to each other in their own lands, I say let them. It isn't our place to conquer everybody we disapprove of and force them to behave the way we want. That's -- difficult.

And for muslims treating minorities in their lands in ways we don't like? OK, we treat minorities in our own lands in ways that muslims don't like.

The rules you suggest are the rules of the Peace of Westphalia.

Is Thailand, seven percent Muslim, Muslim lands?  Are the Philippines?  Muslims think so.  Muslims demand supremacy wherever they are.  Islam never accepted the peace of Westphalia, and refuses to be contained within political boundaries.

The peace of Westphalia never included Islam, and is today even in the rest of the world stone dead and cannot be resurrected.  Attempting to solve our problems by appeal to the principles of the peace of Westphalia is like appealing to the principles of divine right monarchy.

Quote
I mean, just suppose we manage to set up an AnCap society where people mostly agree about how to behave. And we get a minority of statists who come in and do statist-type things, and when we ask them about it they say "I was only following orders". How much tolerance could we have for that? But we wouldn't want to build a big army and go ino the statist lands and defeat the statist armies and occupy them to prevent them from setting up a government whether they want to or not.

Quite so.  But how will an anarchist society deal with groups that are at war with the anarchist society collectively - whether because the anarchist society lacks the approved form of government, or the anarchist society lacks the approved religion?

Such outsiders will have to be dealt with by permanent military activity, operated at a profit - anarcho piratism, which differs from anarcho capitalism in its lack of respect for property, human rights, and human lives.

Charles the Hammer limited the ability of the Caliph to attack Christendom by destroying the Caliph's ability to govern Muslims in the lands adjacent to Christendom, without exposing himself to counter attack in unfavorable territory by himself attempting to govern those lands.  This operation was one of fairly regular raping, looting, and pillaging.

Similarly Charles the Great who only visited the Moorish Marches to loot and burn those cities overly loyal to the Caliph, and made no attempt to extend his rule to Saracen lands, instead fostering division, factionalism, and rebellion among the Saracens.

Until 1830, no state of Christendom ever attempted state building in Islamic majority lands, and when, during the colonial period, states of Christendom did attempt state building in Islamic lands, they did so only against enemies that had been thoroughly defeated and subdued. The crusader state building was in territories with a large Christian population - often, as in the Kingdom of Jerusalem, they attained a Christian majority by wholesale slaughter of the preceding Muslim majority and vigorously soliciting Christian migrants.

The first Islamic city to be utterly destroyed by Christians was Arles - which had been the marshaling grounds for two Islamic invasions of Europe. Charles the Hammer could not afford the troops to occupy it indefinitely, so he destroyed it so very thoroughly that it was unlikely to rise again for a long time.

Do you think the militia of a mostly atheist anarcho-capitalist country would react to the kind of stuff we have seen in France the same way the French have been reacting to it?

Monopolies underproduce and overcharge.  A government is a monopoly of legitimate violence.  Therefore, governments will underproduce legitimate violence and overcharge for it.

In a situation where we have an alarmingly great need for disturbingly large amounts of legitimate violence, private production of violence is likely to produce rather more violence than governments do.

In a situation where attempts to create an islamic  government creates a substantial demand by non Muslim private citizens for legitimate violence, militias would  produce more legitimate violence than governments - some of which might well look disturbingly similar to pogroms - to illegitimate violence.

The historical experience has been that in the holy war between Dar al Islam and Christendom, Islamic violence tended to go retail - applying widely distributed violence, that governments had difficulty meeting effectively. Governments, both Muslim and Christian,  that attempted to maintain their strict monopoly of force tended to lose - the most successful strategy being for government to seek to be the leading element  of loose cartel or franchise of force, as Al Qaeda aims to be the leading element of a franchise, despite its rhetoric about a Caliphate.

Charles the Great was successful in his strategy of  issuing the land going equivalent of letters of Marque and Reprisal, legalizing a Wild West social order in vicinity of Dar al Islam.  The frontier was pretty popular, both victorious over Islam, and attracting immigrants, so it seems to have worked well enough, but we do not have much information.

Quote
If they're misguided enough to want a government in their own land we'd better let them.

And what are "their lands"?  Anarcho capitalism is as unlikely to have well defined boundaries as Islam is.

Quote
Similarly if they want a Muslim nation or a catholic nation or whatever. If we can't live our own lives without forcing everybody else everywhere to do it our way, what good is it?

Seven percent of the population of Thailand want Thailand to be part of a Muslim nation, and to get their way, they are killing Buddhists by crucifixion.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Brugle on August 15, 2010, 11:14:53 am
jamesd,
Let's cut to the chase.  You appear to support atrocities (such as mass murder) against innocent people because you don't like their religion.  Is that correct?
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on August 15, 2010, 02:48:12 pm
Maybe we could set up some sort of underground railroad to help the victims escape to freedom.
That's definitely the AnCap answer.

Under the current statist order of things, which most people take for granted, refugees are generally turned back unless they are specifically targeted dissidents, who can then make a claim under the Geneva Convention.

That's because China, for example, is not a democracy, and we don't have room for one billion new citizens.

In fact, rather than having a free market and open borders, what most people want is the ratio of resources to people to be kept artificially high where they live, so that the wages of ordinary working people are above average.

So if some foreign country mistreats a minority, well, we might take X refugees temporarily, but ultimately we have to chop off some land from that country to ship those X refugees - or their grandchildren - back to. It's not as if we have any room to give away, or as if it's our fault they mistreated the minority, so we should pay for it from our resources.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 15, 2010, 05:36:53 pm
Maybe we could set up some sort of underground railroad to help the victims escape to freedom.
That's definitely the AnCap answer.
Regrettably not, because it assumes a well defined and adequately defended territorial boundary between the free land's and unfree lands - which is the statist solution - to be precise, the Westphalian solution.

If we are going to allow freedom of movement, which is the most basic personal freedom, we are not going to have well defined and adequately defended territorial boundaries, except on the scale of private property.

If your enemies want war, there is no anarcho capitalist peaceful solution. 

I read a few old books, many of them written in places and times when the peace of Westphalia was widely ignored,  The common pattern in dealing with religious conflicts was not that some lands would be defended, and other lands not defended, but that some people would be defended and other people not defended.

If the Rajah's son murdered one Christian and raped his wife and daughters, no problem.  If, however, he murdered another Christian, better connected to outside Christians, the Raja's son would get thumped by that Christian's friends, co workers, and employer.  If the Raja's son came back with his father's guards, and massacred that Christian's friends, coworkers, and employer, it might turn out that the employer was the local branch of a large company which then proceeded to hire a big bunch of mercenaries, who proceeded to kill the Rajah, his sons, his guards, and loot and burn the Rajah's city.  (Without worrying much which inhabitants of that city were Muslims and which were Christians)

Thus, for example, when Muslims set to attacking Christians in Ethiopia, Ethiopian Christians called on white co religionists for aid through the religious hierarchy - so that people of one sect came to be off limits for Muslims to attack - but it remained OK for Muslims to attack people of other sects - indeed it was often the case that the flock of one Bishop would have a private peace with the followers of one Muslim cleric, and others have war.

Over the last thirteen hundred years, the defense of Europe against Islam was about twenty percent statist, thirty percent anarcho capitalist, and fifty percent anarcho piratist.  Faced with a superior conventional Christian armies, Muslims went to small scale warfare to make it impossible for those armies to occupy and control Muslim majority areas, and engaged in continual small scale raiding of Christian majority areas to pressure Christians to move out, to pressure them to convert to Islam, and to increase Islam by taking female slaves.  The conventional Christian armies did eventually move out, often creating a desert behind them, and issued licenses to private adventurers to raid Muslims, steal their lands, and abduct their women.  So the warfare was for the most part Christian bandit or Christian vigilante or Christian settler posse versus Muslim terrorist, rather than Christian King versus Muslim Caliph.

Muslims fairly regularly lose in large scale conventional warfare against Christians (and in the last century, they have also been losing in large scale conventional warfare against Jews).  When they do, the result is not peace, but small scale unconventional warfare.  Large centralized Christian armies have always proved alarmingly ineffectual against small scale unconventional Muslim warfare, so the solution has always been either genocide or, more commonly, some form of small scale widely distributed decentralized Christian warfare that heavily relied on private force by Christian settlers, bandits, pirates,and adventurers.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 15, 2010, 05:50:34 pm
Progressives were largely successful in converting the Jews and Christians because of total coercive control of schools and universities, with even private religious colleges coerced into teaching progressive doctrine.  That will not fly in a Muslim majority country, because they will shoot you.
Nobody seems to be shooting schoolteachers in North Korea. So, just maintain that level of control over the Muslim world for a couple of hundred years.

Not very nice, but it's better than genocide, and much better than raping their women. (If we were doing the latter, I would start to think that al-Qaeda had a point.)

Maintaining that level of control is not easy, and I don't think it is better than raping the women. When the russians pacified Germany they used mass state sponsored rape, which quelled them very well.  East Germany permanently crushed the East Germans, who seem somewhat subhuman as compared to West Germans, and similarly, there is something seriously wrong with North Koreans as compared to South koreans.  The drastic methods used to pacify Germany seem to have made Germans somewhat less manly, but do not seem to have had any very terrible lasting effect on their character.  Prolonged Soviet rule, however, did have a terrible lasting effect on their character.

Further, we have had thirteen hundred years of attempts to maintain that level of control over Muslims, and they just have not worked very well.  We westerners are fortunately not very good at that sort of thing, and those Muslims are unfortunately highly resistant to it.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 15, 2010, 06:00:24 pm
jamesd,
Let's cut to the chase.  You appear to support atrocities (such as mass murder) against innocent people because you don't like their religion.  Is that correct?

No of course it is incorrect.  I support atrocities, such as Hiroshima and Dresden, to destroy people who endanger my life by persistently making aggressive war.   In war, one cannot separate the innocent from the guilty, because the innocent are under the control of the guilty, so one must kill them all.

In a war where what one is fighting is not exactly a statelike entity, for example the Taliban and Al Quaeda, this necessarily gets messy.  In a war where neither side is statelike, for example Afghanistan from 1992 to 2000, it gets very messy indeed.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: wdg3rd on August 15, 2010, 07:45:49 pm
The individualist anarchist Muslims that I am familiar with propose that in order to receive protection, you would need to convert to Islam - that only Islamic protection organizations that preferentially protect Muslims would be permitted.

Most of the individualist anarchists I hang with tend to also be individualist atheists like myself.  Some were once Muslims,

Then no longer Muslims.  If your solution to the problem of Islam involves converting them all to progressivism, you have a long wait.  Ann Coulter's program - gunpoint Christianity, rather than gunpoint democracy, seems considerably more feasible.

Progressives were largely successful in converting the Jews and Christians because of total coercive control of schools and universities, with even private religious colleges coerced into teaching progressive doctrine.  That will not fly in a Muslim majority country, because they will shoot you.

Where the F U C K did you get the idea that I'm a progressive (AKA liberal or socialist)?  I'm an individualist anarchist and a libertarian.  Yeah, I would also like to see religion abolished along with government, but I won't initiate force to do so, people have to learn to think for themselves.  I have no problem with the religious except when they insist I obey their rules on what I smoke or drink or who and how many I marry.  Then it's simple self defense  (Whoever throws the first stone gets the next bullet).
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on August 15, 2010, 08:42:26 pm
Maybe we could set up some sort of underground railroad to help the victims escape to freedom.
That's definitely the AnCap answer.
Regrettably not, because it assumes a well defined and adequately defended territorial boundary between the free land's and unfree lands - which is the statist solution - to be precise, the Westphalian solution.

If we are going to allow freedom of movement, which is the most basic personal freedom, we are not going to have well defined and adequately defended territorial boundaries, except on the scale of private property.

I keep running into your unstated assumptions. You talk like your assumptions are so obviously true that they should be accepted unquestioned.

Say you have a place where a lot of people live who have AnCap ideals. And also there are a significant number of people who live there who go around forcing other people to do what they want using violence and threats of violence. And nobody does anything about it. This is not a free place.

I repeat, if you have an AnCap society and people come in and successfully enforce through coercion something other than AnCap ideals, then you no longer have an AnCap society. If you can't arrange a defense against statists and bandits, then you lose.

This is compatible with freedom of movement through AnCap areas. Anybody can travel if he follows the simple AnCap rules. You get freedom of movement through other areas if the people who live there provide that freedom. Otherwise you buys your ticket and you takes your chances.

And you certainly don't need the borders to be well-defined. Any place that most of the people adopt AnCap ideals and can make them stick, is an AnCap area. Any place they change their minds or they get coerced more than they can handle, is not. How could an AnCap society make an agreement with a state about where the state's borders are? They would need to create an institution to make agreements with states! There is no need for any treaty or boundary. Wherever the citizens cannot be governed but do cooperate among themselves without coercion beyond the rules for how to avoid government and bandits, you have a libertarian area. Wherever the public can be governed, you do not.

Why do you think it has to be either goulash or Westphalia? Why do you claim there are only two ways it can go?
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on August 15, 2010, 10:24:34 pm
If the Rajah's son murdered one Christian and raped his wife and daughters, no problem.  If, however, he murdered another Christian, better connected to outside Christians, the Raja's son would get thumped by that Christian's friends, co workers, and employer.
This sort of messiness goes on today in places like Nigeria.

It's not good for people to have to live with that much violence.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on August 15, 2010, 11:02:38 pm
jamesD, I don't know what good you think you are promoting, but if it involves license to slaughter people by the hundreds of thousands because of your paranoid fantasies, it's not a very attractive form of civilization. The thought of insane people like you with the power to commit mass murder gives me chills. The sooner such holier-than-thou mass murderers are killed, the safer the rest of us would be.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: KBCraig on August 16, 2010, 04:06:44 am
If your solution to the problem of Islam involves converting them all to progressivism, you have a long wait. 

Where the F U C K did you get the idea that I'm a progressive (AKA liberal or socialist)?


I was waiting for that bomb to drop.  ;D
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 16, 2010, 06:11:55 am
Where the F U C K did you get the idea that I'm a progressive (AKA liberal or socialist)? 

Conversion based solutions to Muslim problem usually mean making Muslims into Christians, or making them into progressives.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 16, 2010, 06:36:19 am
Maybe we could set up some sort of underground railroad to help the victims escape to freedom.
That's definitely the AnCap answer.
Regrettably not, because it assumes a well defined and adequately defended territorial boundary between the free land's and unfree lands - which is the statist solution - to be precise, the Westphalian solution.

If we are going to allow freedom of movement, which is the most basic personal freedom, we are not going to have well defined and adequately defended territorial boundaries, except on the scale of private property.

I keep running into your unstated assumptions.

So state this assumption.  What am I assuming that you disagree with.

Quote
I repeat, if you have an AnCap society and people come in and successfully enforce through coercion something other than AnCap ideals, then you no longer have an AnCap society. If you can't arrange a defense against statists and bandits, then you lose.

But we cannot defend this place, for to defend a place implies an immigration department and customs officials and so forth.  We have to defend people, not places, which is generally done by engaging in retribution against those who harm those people.

An underground railroad implies a border.  On one side of the border, the bad guys can get at you.  Cross the border and they cannot get at you.  Anarcho capitalism is more a state of mind.  If you have certain affiliations, it is dangerous for the bad guys to get at you.  If you lack those affiliations, it is safe for the bad guys to get at you.

Islam does not have well defined territorial boundaries,.  Neither will anarcho capitalism.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on August 16, 2010, 07:40:20 am
I keep running into your unstated assumptions.

So state this assumption.  What am I assuming that you disagree with.

Quote
I repeat, if you have an AnCap society and people come in and successfully enforce through coercion something other than AnCap ideals, then you no longer have an AnCap society. If you can't arrange a defense against statists and bandits, then you lose.

But we cannot defend this place, for to defend a place implies an immigration department and customs officials and so forth.  We have to defend people, not places, which is generally done by engaging in retribution against those who harm those people.

An underground railroad implies a border.  On one side of the border, the bad guys can get at you.  Cross the border and they cannot get at you.  Anarcho capitalism is more a state of mind.  If you have certain affiliations, it is dangerous for the bad guys to get at you.  If you lack those affiliations, it is safe for the bad guys to get at you.

Islam does not have well defined territorial boundaries,.  Neither will anarcho capitalism.

There has to be a mass effect, short of things like Van Vogt proposed in _The Weapon Shops of Isher_. One lone libertarian defying the state, and they call in a SWAT team and he's gone. Likely as not they announce that he killed his family and then killed himself. A hundred libertarians defying the state and they call in the National Guard and announce it's a death cult and they have to save the children. A hundred thousand libertarians and they'll hesitate to send in the Marines. A million libertarians and your undefined borders are as safe as Albania.

If you have a million libertarians who for some reason are collectively safe from SWAT teams, then they can accept ten thousand refugees who take up the same customs that keep the others safe, and if the refugees do in fact become libertarians too then you have one million and ten thousand libertarians who are collectively safe from SWAT teams.

It doesn't have to involve defined borders at all, but it could be territorial. Somehow, a million libertarians have to collectively protect themselves or they have nothing. It could be a geographical thing though it doesn't have to be. And it could be a geographical thing without defined borders. Muslims who want to live among libertarians and follow the customs would presumably be welcome. People who live among libertarians and spread their religion through coercion would surely not be welcome.

It looks to me like you arbitrarily say it must be Westphalian or else it's street gangs that mingle everywhere but fight each other based on affiliation. As if those are the only two choices.

Like you suggest that Iran should give up any hope of having electric power 20 years for now, or else accept that they are forcing us to nuke them. You keep making up two choices where both of them are unacceptable and then telling us that we have to take one of them because the other one is unacceptable.

You say that given bad scriptures the only two ways to reform a religion are to paper it over with so much obfuscation that the meaning is lost, or else get a new prophet to declare the old scriptures invalid. And since the Muslims have not yet done either of those they are stuck with bad scripture.

Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on August 16, 2010, 09:44:42 am
Like you suggest that Iran should give up any hope of having electric power 20 years for now, or else accept that they are forcing us to nuke them.
Iran had a third choice. Fully comply with all IAEA inspection requirements. Prove that not one milligram of enriched uranium is being diverted.

Instead, they chased IAEA inspectors out of the country, and continued to enrich uranium without international inspectors present.

The way they can avoid being nuked is simple: do not build atomic bombs, and allow it to be seen that they are not building atomic bombs. By accepting all inspection requirements. By ceasing and desisting from having a missile program.

Unilateral disarmament and liberal democracy would help too, but let's not pile too much on the list, so that they have a realistic chance to avoid being nuked.

Iran can have electricity. Even without handing out foreign exchange to buy it from Russia. As long as we know there is absolutely zero chance of them attacking any other country, such as Israel, with a WMD.

This is unreasonable how? (Particularly from the viewpoint of an Israeli: they're people just like us, except we don't have to worry much about Indian uprisings these days.)
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on August 16, 2010, 11:49:39 am
Like you suggest that Iran should give up any hope of having electric power 20 years for now, or else accept that they are forcing us to nuke them.
Iran had a third choice. Fully comply with all IAEA inspection requirements. Prove that not one milligram of enriched uranium is being diverted.

Instead, they chased IAEA inspectors out of the country, and continued to enrich uranium without international inspectors present.

Note that Iran fully complied with IAEA rules until last October, and doing that got them nothing whatsoever.

Quote
The way they can avoid being nuked is simple: do not build atomic bombs, and allow it to be seen that they are not building atomic bombs. By accepting all inspection requirements. By ceasing and desisting from having a missile program.

Unilateral disarmament and liberal democracy would help too, but let's not pile too much on the list, so that they have a realistic chance to avoid being nuked.

Iran can have electricity. Even without handing out foreign exchange to buy it from Russia. As long as we know there is absolutely zero chance of them attacking any other country, such as Israel, with a WMD.

This is unreasonable how? (Particularly from the viewpoint of an Israeli: they're people just like us, except we don't have to worry much about Indian uprisings these days.)

From the POV of an Israeli, this is all shining golden truth. From the POV of an american statist imperialist it's quite reasonable.

Try looking at it from an Iranian point of view. It looks to them like the USA is waging covert war against them, and has been for a very long time.

If you look at the sanctions in the context of that war, it looks very very different. We imposed sanctions on Iraq, and (after an attempt at secretly building bombs that was discovered in plenty of time) Iraq fully complied with inspections, and we inserted spies among the inspectors to take GPS measurements at every site we might someday want to bomb. We insisted that Iraq was about to get nukes when the inspectors found nothing. We told  the inspectors where to look and they still found nothing. We invaded Iraq, and there was nothing the Iraqis could have done to avert that invasion. At one point Bush demanded that they give us Saddam and his sons to stop an invasion, and when it looked like they might do it he then piled on a bunch of new demands.

Now you say that Iran should take our word that all we want is proof that they aren't making nukes, and we'll be satisfied. .... When we've been doing covert war against them a lot longer than we did against Iraq.

If I was Iranian I would emphatically want to have the whole fuel cycle operating in my country. We have uranium to mine, we have everything we need, why should we artificially put a noose around our neck that foreigners can tighten whenever they want to? If we depend on foreigners for a vital step to make our reactor fuel then any time the USA can get sanctions imposed they can shut down our electricity. Why would any reasonable Iranian accept that?

I would want nuclear weapons. Compare the way the USA treats Iraq versus North Korea and Pakistan. When China got nukes they went from a pariah nation to having a place on the UN Security Council. If Iran gets nukes the USA will probably back off. Until then there's every reason to think the USA will continue its undeclared hardly-secret war.

I would want to arrange smuggling with Russia and China, and particularly with Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Pakistan -- none of whom have any big desire to aid the USA and all of whom have officials open to bribes -- to smuggle whatever sanctioned items are needed.

The US war against Iran isn't shared by a whole lot of nations, though they pay it some lip service. And there is no obvious way for Iran to end that war until the USA decides to end it for their own reasons -- the USA hasn't even given them any plausible way to unconditionally surrender. So the hope would be to just hang on, and if possible avoid getting bombed or invaded, and with luck the US economy will collapse before the Iranian economy does.

When you present your reasoned arguments they sound, well, reasonable. But if the USA is actually fighting a covert war like it did against Iraq, and giving in to US demands will result not in the end of the war but only in tightened pressure against a weakened Iran, what can they possibly have to gain by hurting themselves?

If the USA was serious, if all we wanted was to keep Iran from having nuclear weapons, we might suggest the following compromise:

Israel has nukes, and has threatened to nuke a non-nuclear nation, Egypt. They have made not-so-veiled threats to nuke Iran. We tend to assume that Iran can't be trusted with nuclear weapons, and we have solid evidence that Israel cannot be trusted with nuclear weapons. So let's make the entire middle east including Israel a nuclear-free zone with stringent inspections, and with videos of the actual inspections released to the world public.

Israel would be far better off with no nukes in the middle east than they are having nukes themselves. Everybody in the middle east would be better off.

And if the Israelis refuse to go along, then the USA has no obligation whatsoever to keep the people they talk about nuking from getting nukes also.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Brugle on August 16, 2010, 12:48:18 pm
Try looking at it from an Iranian point of view. It looks to them like the USA is waging covert war against them, and has been for a very long time.
Not only covert.  The Iran-Iraq war was started in 1980 by the Iraq government, extensively supported by the US government, including (later) US military attacks on Iranian facilities.  (The US government sold a few weapons to the Iran government, but that was nothing compared to its support for the Iraq government.)  Iranian casualties (killed and wounded) were about a million people.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on August 16, 2010, 02:49:12 pm
Try looking at it from an Iranian point of view. It looks to them like the USA is waging covert war against them, and has been for a very long time.
Not only covert.  The Iran-Iraq war was started in 1980 by the Iraq government, extensively supported by the US government, including (later) US military attacks on Iranian facilities.  (The US government sold a few weapons to the Iran government, but that was nothing compared to its support for the Iraq government.)  Iranian casualties (killed and wounded) were about a million people.

Sure, and also it isn't exactly an invalid viewpoint to think that Iran/Contra was not just about getting money for the Contras, but also about prolonging the Iraq/Iran war. We'd supported Iraq until the Iranians started getting too worn out to continue, and then we started selling hi-tech weapons to both sides instead of just one side....

Henry Kissinger had said "Too bad they can't both lose" and after Iran/Contra it wasn't unreasonable for them both to think we were trying to get them to both lose.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Brugle on August 16, 2010, 03:21:37 pm
... We'd supported ... we started selling ... we were trying ...
I had no part of those actions and did not support them, and my guess is that you didn't either.  Maybe it's picking nits, but I can't help feel that using collectivist language just plays into their hands.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on August 16, 2010, 04:11:18 pm
... We'd supported ... we started selling ... we were trying ...

I had no part of those actions and did not support them, and my guess is that you didn't either.  Maybe it's picking nits, but I can't help feel that using collectivist language just plays into their hands.

That makes sense.

I tend to think of myself as an American, and what the US government does with the passive support of its people as something that "we" do even when I'm personally deadset against it. Yes, that looks like a bad linguistic habit.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 16, 2010, 04:30:44 pm
It looks to me like you arbitrarily say it must be Westphalian or else it's street gangs that mingle everywhere but fight each other based on affiliation. As if those are the only two choices.

It looks to me as if you are looking for a way of fighting wars that does not involve killing people and breaking things.

Anarcho capitalists cannot practice the Westphalian system, any more than native Americans or Muslims can.  Therefore anarcho capitalist wars will look like non westphalian wars, such as the settler wars with native americans, and the war between Christendom and Dar al Islam, which do indeed wind up as street gangs that mingle, not everywhere, but nonetheless mingle a great deal, and fight each other based on affiliation.

This is the way the conflict between Christendom and Dar al Islam was usually fought.  Even when Christendom had a Holy Roman Emperor, and Dar al Islam had a Caliph, it was usually militias, adventurers, bandits, raiders, pirates, and terrorists, rather than large scale conflict between large conventional armies under the command of Kings and Caliph.

In the history of the conflict, Christendom has never successfully occupied any part of Dar al Islam for very long, nor Islam Christendom for very long, except by means of armed settlers, as for example the Jews in Gaza, and Christians in Algeria.  When the Israeli government pulled the Jews out of Gaza, it became obvious that Israeli government had not been protecting the settlers, rather the settlers had been protecting the Israeli government.  This kind of non Westphalian conflict is the way that anarcho capitalist wars will be fought - like the settles in Gaza, rather than like the Six Day War.

Quote
You say that given bad scriptures the only two ways to reform a religion are to paper it over with so much obfuscation that the meaning is lost, or else get a new prophet to declare the old scriptures invalid. And since the Muslims have not yet done either of those they are stuck with bad scripture.

Historically, that is the only way that worked.  We do not, in fact, have examples of religions casually ignoring their holy texts.  We also have examples of several new prophets and industrious obfuscators trying to fix up Islam, and the Islamic response, like the early Jewish response to the early Christians, has been to cut off their heads.  The early Jewish obfuscators worked a safe distance from Judea, and did not get any traction until after the Jews had been dispersed.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 16, 2010, 04:42:57 pm
(Particularly from the viewpoint of an Israeli: they're people just like us, except we don't have to worry much about Indian uprisings these days.)
And, of course, the reason we do not have to worry about Indian uprising is that we used methods less politically correct than the Israelis did.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 16, 2010, 05:59:48 pm
Henry Kissinger had said "Too bad they can't both lose" and after Iran/Contra it wasn't unreasonable for them both to think we were trying to get them to both lose.
Of course Reagan was trying to make sure they both lost.  Both Iran and Iraq were theocracies that wanted to unite Islam to make war on the west.  And they both did lose. 
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 16, 2010, 06:08:00 pm
If the Rajah's son murdered one Christian and raped his wife and daughters, no problem.  If, however, he murdered another Christian, better connected to outside Christians, the Raja's son would get thumped by that Christian's friends, co workers, and employer.
This sort of messiness goes on today in places like Nigeria.

It's not good for people to have to live with that much violence.
That is the level of violence you generally get along the bloody borders of Islam, any place where a substantial proportion of the population is Muslim.

Consider the news from Indonesia,  a "moderate" Islamic democracy, an "ally" in the war on terror.  http://www.jihadwatch.org/2010/08/each-time-we-pray-we-are-shadowed-by-terror-indonesian-christians-cant-pray-in-a-building-cant-pray.html (http://www.jihadwatch.org/2010/08/each-time-we-pray-we-are-shadowed-by-terror-indonesian-christians-cant-pray-in-a-building-cant-pray.html)
"each time we pray, we are shadowed by terror"

There will be war.

Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 16, 2010, 06:50:08 pm
Try looking at it from an Iranian point of view. It looks to them like the USA is waging covert war against them, and has been for a very long time.

Has been since the Iranian's started sponsoring terrorist movements that murder Americans.  Remember that as soon as Khomeini took power, he said that the US was the great Satan and took the US embassy hostage.  Very shortly thereafter, was sponsoring terror.

Dar al Islam is at war with us, whether or not we are at war with them.  Always has been, always will be.

The Peace of Vasvár, and a thousand similarly one sided peace deals, prefigured Oslo and the rest.

The reason the US is in trouble in Afghanistan is state building:  "Oh, the price of building a nation is our allies?  No problem. We want peace at any price."

Those who are willing to pay too high a price for peace will never know  peace.

As a result of the Peace of Vasvár the caliphate damn near took Vienna, which would have given them most of  Europe.  I predicted the price of our betrayal of our  friends in Afghanistan would in the end be very high, and lo and behold, it has been very high.

The reason we have war now is the usual reason that it has been for a thousand years, that we were too eager for peace, and our enemies will never agree to peace.

Always, over and over again, we win a victory, and expect peace.  No peace ensues.  So we concede land for peace, as at Vasvár  we abandoned our allies - and we get a war far more dreadful.

What usually happens is that the west wins an decisive and overwhelming victory, for example the six day war, the capture of Saddam, victory in Afghanistan, and then looks to cash in that victory, and then is distinctly confused and puzzled that it cannot find any teller to cash in the victory.

We generally think that the Battle of Vienna was the decisive turning point in the war of Islam against the west, and it was, but the reason that the Battle of Vienna was a decisive turning point and Battle of Saint Gotthard was not was that the Battle of Saint Gotthard was followed by the Peace of Vasvár, which gave away most of what had been won, similarly to the aftermath of the six day war, with the result that Vienna was almost taken in the Battle of Vienna, while the Battle of Vienna was followed by sixteen years of hard fighting, regaining everything that had been lost by the Peace of Vasvár.  The battle of Vienna was a turning point
because the victory was followed up, treated as a basis for war, rather than a basis for peace.

When Islam attacks, you have to keep fighting until they come looking for peace at any price.  You have not won until they do.  When the US made peace and dismantled the Northern Alliance, it was the Peace of Vasvár all over again.

We should have treated the fall of Kabul as the basis for utterly defeating the Pashtuns, rather than the basis for creating a friendly Pashtun government.  We got a government that is in cahoots with the Taliban, and our aid money funds the Taliban.

We gave the Pashtuns Afghanistan back, and put our allies in their hands, in return for bugger all.  For that, they despise us, and we deserve to be despised. It was a classic "what must we give you to get peace?" deal, resembling the the Peace of Vasvár and the end of the first American Barbary war.

The way to win against  Islam is to realize that there never has been peace and never will be peace, only higher and lower levels of war. 

And always, the level of war is lower in proportion to how much we are hurting them.  Only when we have settlers taking their lands, do we get a level of war that is quiet enough that for us scarcely distinguishable from peace.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on August 16, 2010, 09:17:14 pm
It looks to me like you arbitrarily say it must be Westphalian or else it's street gangs that mingle everywhere but fight each other based on affiliation. As if those are the only two choices.

Anarcho capitalists cannot practice the Westphalian system, any more than native Americans or Muslims can.  Therefore anarcho capitalist wars will look like non westphalian wars

Well, I can't argue with that. Classical aristotelian logic. It's either A or not-A, only two choices. So every war must be a Westphalian war or a non-Westphalian war, every nation is either democratic or non-democratic, every nation's population is either muslim or non-muslim and they either have a theocracy or a non-theocracy and their economy is either capitalist or non-capitalist.

I think we've carried this about as far as it's going.

Quote
When the Israeli government pulled the Jews out of Gaza, it became obvious that Israeli government had not been protecting the settlers, rather the settlers had been protecting the Israeli government.

Surely it had to be one or the other.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: wdg3rd on August 17, 2010, 12:59:26 am
Where the F U C K did you get the idea that I'm a progressive (AKA liberal or socialist)? 

Conversion based solutions to Muslim problem usually mean making Muslims into Christians, or making them into progressives.


I'm not into converting anybody.  And I consider muslims no more of a problem than christians.  (I'm an atheist, my son, and I've read every "holy" book around, from the KJV I was given for perfect attendance at Sunday School when I was eight to the Baghavad-Gita I was handed at the San Francisco airport when I was headed to Travis AFB and the Koran that came with the Encyclopedia Americana I bought from folks shilling in front of a Travis BX.).  And I'm sure as hell not a "progressive".  I'll defend myself and my loved ones from any religious or political idiot who threatens them (which is too damned many, and you act like one).
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: wdg3rd on August 17, 2010, 01:38:06 am
Henry Kissinger had said "Too bad they can't both lose" and after Iran/Contra it wasn't unreasonable for them both to think we were trying to get them to both lose.
Of course Reagan was trying to make sure they both lost.  Both Iran and Iraq were theocracies that wanted to unite Islam to make war on the west.  And they both did lose. 


Jimmie, Iraq had a more secular government than the US has.  While Hussein may have gone to church on the right days of the week (like US politicians) there was no religious rule in Iraq until Bush 2 declared an unjustified war with no declaration by Congress.  Iran is different, but both countries were dealing with governments installed by US (usually covert, but poorly hidden) action.  Jeez I cry, now you're gonna claim that we were defending a democratically elected regime in southeast Indo-China back in the 60s.

By the way, don't ever include me if you say "we" to collectively describe voters or politicians in the US.  I ain't neither.  While I've been known to vote, it's almost always against.  Only person I ever voted for in recent history was Ron Paul (and while I know for a fact he got at least two votes in Jersey in 2008, none were listed).
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on August 17, 2010, 10:01:20 am
jamesd prated: <quote>We do not, in fact, have examples of religions casually ignoring their holy texts.</quote>

On what planet have you been living? No religion pays slavish attention to every jot and tittle of their sacred holy texts. Even so-called inerrantists practice cafeteria <fill in the name of the -ism>.

The militantly hysterical anti-Islamists who claim, on the basis of their alleged expertise in the Quran, that 1.6 billion Moslims are a terrible existential threat to the rest of the world, never apply the same standards to the holy texts of Judaism or Christianity; otherwise, they'd be advocating the abolition of all three religions and their adherents, root and branch.

Can you spell "hypocrite" or "intellectual dishonesty" or "double standard?"
 
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on August 17, 2010, 05:20:28 pm
On what planet have you been living?
He did say "casually". As he explained, there was a painful transition for both the Jews and the Christians before they stopped waging violent wars against unbelievers.

For a more detailed discussion of this issue, this article (http://"http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-08-13/ground-zero-mosque/?cid=hp:mostpopular2"), which I saw mentioned in another forum (particularly its second page) might be of interest.

Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 18, 2010, 03:16:51 am
Of course Reagan was trying to make sure they both lost.  Both Iran and Iraq were theocracies that wanted to unite Islam to make war on the west.  And they both did lose. 

Jimmie, Iraq had a more secular government than the US has. 
That is Islamist propaganda, like the variious clerics piously proclaimed as being "moderate" despite being up their knees in the blood of innocents.

The Baath party fully funded and directly controlled Sunni Islam in Iraq.  All Sunni clerics were direct employees of the state, and the Sunni religion fully funded and operated by the state.  Shiite religious festivals that distinguished Shia from Sunni were forbidden. Shia were required to conform to Sunni religious practice and discontinue Shia practices.  Jews and Judaism were forbidden. Christianity was permitted, but had to be practiced inconspicuously.  Christian evangelism and proselytizing were forbidden.

That is not a secular state.  Saddam is well described as "Islamo fascist"

Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Brugle on August 18, 2010, 12:45:12 pm
Khomeini took power, he said that the US was the great Satan and took the US embassy hostage.  Very shortly thereafter, was sponsoring terror.
Yes, and how far did he get?  Just about nowhere.  Sure, people might cheer at a speech (especially if government goons are nearby), but your (and his) argument, that people should be hated and killed because of their religion, got essentially no traction.

But what happened when Bin Laden promoted terror primarily because of massive atrocities committed by the US government against Muslims?  Plenty of traction.  When people see family members and friends and neighbors killed, maimed, stolen from, made destitute, and tortured by US government agents and agents of other governments supported by the US government, then a significant fraction will be aroused to active opposition.  (Of course, the US government helped this along, such as by saying that an empty political gesture was worth the deaths--mostly from malnutrition and disease--of 500000 innocent Iraqi children.)  In addition, Bin Laden tried to use your hate-and-kill-people-of-the-wrong-religion argument, but (from all the intel that I've seen) opposition to the massive atrocities against innocent people was the primary motivating factor for Bin Laden's active supporters.

Note that I do not justify Bin Laden's actions.  His stated purpose was to get the American government to invade southwest Asia, causing massive opposition among Muslims and massive oppression of Americans (who would be forced to pay for the war), leading eventually to the collapse of American society.  After the 9/11 attacks, the US government followed Bin Laden's plan and appears determined to follow it to the end.  That would mean massive harm (including death) for many innocent Americans who opposed the atrocities and the war.  Those of us who do not share your (and Bin Laden's and Khomeini's) collectivism oppose harming innocent people (Muslim or not, American or not).

Saddam is well described as "Islamo fascist"
I suppose that depends on your definition of fascism--by most definitions that I've heard, the Iraq government (during Saddam's reign and since) could be considered fascistic.  This appears to be your justification for killing (and maiming and torturing and stealing from and making destitute) huge numbers of innocent people who are oppressed by the Iraq government.  Since the US government is (by those same definitions) more fascistic than the Iraq government, and since you haven't (as far as I know) justified the killing (and ...) of huge numbers of innocent Americans, the obvious conclusion is that you think it is OK to kill huge numbers of oppressed innocent people only when they profess a religion that you don't like.  That attitude is no more acceptable for an anti-Muslim advocate than it is for an anti-any-other-religion advocate.

I'll won't try any longer to argue you out of your bloodthirsty religious fanaticism.  I was a fool to try.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on August 18, 2010, 02:51:14 pm
But what happened when Bin Laden promoted terror primarily because of massive atrocities committed by the US government against Muslims?
That's the problem right there. Osama bin Laden is hallucinating.

Israel isn't committing atrocities against Muslims. Innocent Muslims are being caught in the middle because of a war of aggression that Hamas is conducting against Israel, yes. This is unfortunate, and it is understandable that the ordinary people of the Gaza Strip will blame Israel for this, as it's Israelis who are directly doing the damage, rather than Hamas.

None of this would be happening if originally the Arab countries around Palestine didn't try to drive Israel into the sea, after the U.N. had only given it the land on which Jews were actually living. Because they took it as affront that Jews should be able to rule themselves on their own land rather than remain as prey to abuse and violence from Muslims, they attacked - and this led to them losing territory, so that Israel could defend itself in future.

And then, in October 1973, the Arab world brought in an oil embargo against the Western world during the Cold War. This was treason against humanity, as it interfered with the effectiveness of the armed forces of the United States of America, which were all that stood between humanity and an eternal night of Communist slavery.

The Muslim world's petty quarrel with Israel is its own fault, not Israel's and not America's. They have no cause to blame the United States for the consequences of their own actions.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Brugle on August 18, 2010, 03:53:33 pm
Israel isn't committing atrocities against Muslims.
Talk about hallucinating!
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 18, 2010, 05:01:27 pm
jamesd prated: <quote>We do not, in fact, have examples of religions casually ignoring their holy texts.</quote>

On what planet have you been living? No religion pays slavish attention to every jot and tittle of their sacred holy texts. Even so-called inerrantists practice cafeteria <fill in the name of the -ism>.
Cafeteria interpretation of the Old Testament is authorized by Jesus Christ and Paul the apostle.  Cafeteria interpretation of the New Testament is not.   Judaism and Islam do not practice cafeteria interpretation at all.  Christians only practice cafeteria interpretation where authorized by the new Testament, as authorized by the new Testament.

Hinduism, on the other hand, is pretty much all cafeteria interpretation because their prophets and holy books accreted over the ages - they have had no end of prophets introducing a new version.  Sikhs also practice cafeteria interpretation to the extent that Christians do, and for about the same reason - they got in a new prophet and new revelation that radically contradicted the old - but they are pretty faithful to the new revelation - they do not do the cafeteria thing on the new revelation.

Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 18, 2010, 05:34:31 pm
But what happened when Bin Laden promoted terror primarily because of massive atrocities committed by the US government against Muslims? 

Terror is everywhere along the borders of Islam.  What atrocities have Thais and Filipinos been committing?

The US support for the house of Saud is only one of Bin Laden's complaints, and does not constitute "massive atrocities".

Bin Laden's indictment goes back to crimes near a thousand years old, and his demands conclude with Americans accepting Islamic law and Islamic supremacy in America.

We have always been at war with Dar al Islam.  We always will be at war with Dar al Islam.  We had a period of relative tranquility from 1830 to 1960 because colonists were taking the heat for us, much as the Jewish settlers in Gaza took the heat for Israel.

It is most small scale war, like the Somali pirates and the French New Towns, with occasional eruptions into large scale war, like the Yom Kippur war.

Quote
This appears to be your justification for killing (and maiming and torturing and stealing from and making destitute) huge numbers of innocent people who are oppressed by the Iraq government.

We build schools in Iraq and Iraqis blow them up with the children inside.  It is a funny way of making war.  I wish we were killing and maiming and stealing and making destitute, because that is how wars are won.  We should be blowing up Iraqi schools, but we are building them.

That is not how you win wars.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on August 18, 2010, 10:06:20 pm
Jamesd, if you believe that Jews don't practice cafeteria Judaism, you are living on a totally different planet, or perhaps you are simply too lazy to read the Torah in its entirety. Jews pick the stuff which seems reasonable. They seldom kill children for sassing parents, in this day and age. Enslaving women and children of neighboring countries is highly unusual.

The same is surely true of Islam. If you insist on beating every Muslim on the head for every last verse in the Quran, you're just a screwed-up Muslim fanatic, not a rational logician.

Either use the same standards for everyone, or stop making an ass of yourself about the Quran. Tell us how you really feel about the Torah in its entirety, warts and all.


Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on August 18, 2010, 10:31:06 pm
The statists among us may think their arguments are clever, creative, and original, but this is not so. Any intellectually honest statist - if such a creature exists - should study Negroes With Guns; it is not a long read.

The exact arguments were put forth by statist trash when Robert Williams created the Deacons for Defense in response to the KKK bullying his family and neighbors. He had appealed to the government police for help, but the same government police were confiscating negroes' guns by day and returning with sheets at night, so the government police were of no help to Mr. Williams; they were the problem.

He was accused of fomenting violence. He made it clear that he wanted nothing but peace. He was told that his effort to defend himself and his family and neighbors was futile, since he was out-numbered and out-gunned. It turned out that the white supremacist statist trash who were wearing sheets at night did not really want to risk their allegedly "superior" lives in anything close to a fair fight.

In Real Life, as opposed to the hysterical imaginings of the statist trash who opposed the Deacons for Defense, the KKK backed off when confronted with armed people who were willing to defend themselves. In Real Life, the Deacons for Defense did not go on a wild rampage against the statist trash. In Real Life, the neighborhood was more peaceful when people engaged in the AnCap method of defending themselves and their neighborhoods against aggression by voluntary means. No taxes were levied. No monopoly was created. No government was created. A voluntary organization of people chose to pool resources, purchased weapons, learned how to use them, and brought peace to their neighborhoods - against the opposition of statist trash naysayers of both parties and of all races.

Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on August 19, 2010, 12:29:17 am
We should be blowing up Iraqi schools, but we are building them.
That would make sense if we were at war with Iraq. Blowing up Syrian schools and Iranian schools - since the terrorists blowing up Iraqi schools are supported in those two countries - might make a sort of sense, at least as collateral damage while we're trying to destroy the ability of those two countries to support terrorists.

America didn't stop building American schools during World War II, and building schools in South Vietnam didn't lead to the loss of the Vietnam war.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on August 19, 2010, 01:48:11 am
We should be blowing up Iraqi schools, but we are building them.
That would make sense if we were at war with Iraq. Blowing up Syrian schools and Iranian schools - since the terrorists blowing up Iraqi schools are supported in those two countries - might make a sort of sense, at least as collateral damage while we're trying to destroy the ability of those two countries to support terrorists.

America didn't stop building American schools during World War II, and building schools in South Vietnam didn't lead to the loss of the Vietnam war.

Riddle: When a fool argues with a drunk, how do you tell which one is the fool?
Answer: Eventually the drunk will sober up. The other one is the fool.


Riddle: When a fool argues with an insane fanatic, how do you tell which one is the fool?
Answer: Usually the fool doesn't *sound* like an insane fanatic....
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 19, 2010, 03:31:16 am
Jamesd, if you believe that Jews don't practice cafeteria Judaism, you are living on a totally different planet, or perhaps you are simply too lazy to read the Torah in its entirety. Jews pick the stuff which seems reasonable.

The Torah is embedded in the Talmud.  The Talmud is a great pile of legalistic weaseling to weasel out of the disturbing parts of the Torah.  Jews don't just blow off the parts of the Torah they do not like.  They put tremendous effort into rationalizing, evading, complexifying, uglifying, and obfuscating.  It took them centuries to compose a Talmud that wriggled out from under the Torah.


Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 19, 2010, 04:05:47 am
We should be blowing up Iraqi schools, but we are building them.
That would make sense if we were at war with Iraq.

We are supposedly not at war with Iraq because we are nation building, trying to create an Iraqi nation, and blowing up schools is no way to build a nation.

We should not be trying to build an Iraqi nation, because Islamic moderates in Iraq only have a plurality, not a majority.  Similarly, Karzai is not an Islamic moderate.

We should not be trying to build nations, because no one knows how to build nations, while everyone knows how to break nations.

People forget how thorough and drastic the pacification of Germany was.  We did not let Nazis or neo Nazis retain any power, or organize, or preach, and we certainly did not allow them to form political parties and participate in elections.  We purged every Nazi from every form of organization and association in Germany. We should not have allowed radical Muslims to retain any power, or organize, or preach, let alone participate in Iraqi elections.  As long as any religious Muslim retains any coercive power, any political power, as long as people who preach the kind of Islam that disturbs us are still masters of their mosques, Iraq is still our enemy.

No preacher who rejects separation of mosque and state should have been allowed to preach, no congregation that rejects separation of mosque and state should have been allowed to assemble.

Because we failed to de-Islamize Iraq the way we de-Nazified Germany, Iraq and Afghanistan are still our enemies, as will become obvious a few years down the road.

If purging them of radical Islam is too horrifying and bloody, and I rather think it might me, then that does not necessarily mean we should make war on them until we so impoverish them as to render them incapable of doing us harm, but we certainly should not be providing them with aid.  If purging them of Islam is more bloody than we are willing to do, then making them into allies rather than enemies is more bloody than we are willing to do.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on August 19, 2010, 06:10:03 pm
Well, Jamesd, you admit that Jews wiggle out from portions of the Torah. Now, is it possible that there exists Moslims who do similar wiggling, or who do as many Catholics do in America, ( who simply ignore the weird bits such as "no artificial contraception?" ) Having been brought up Catholic, I can tell you that little effort is invested in finding sophisticated methods of wiggling out from under Catholic doctrine; most people simply follow the Nike slogan "just do it." Frankly, my Jewish friends seldom split Talmudic hairs; that's for rabbis and Talmudic students, not for normal people.


There are at least three well-known branches of Islam - the Sunni, Sufi, and Shia - and from this wikipedia page, it appears to be at least as complicated at the many branches of Christianity.

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

Hence, I am real suspicious of self-described "experts" who claim, on the basis of their dubious, uniformed and biased reading of the Quran, that all 1.6 billion Muslims are rabid enemies of Western Civilization.
 
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 19, 2010, 09:28:09 pm
Well, Jamesd, you admit that Jews wiggle out from portions of the Torah.

But they don't just blow off those parts.  They put a huge amount of effort into creating a rationale for evading them - the Talmud is gigantic pile of rationalization.  They don't just say "well, we don't like that, so we will forget about it."

Quote
Now, is it possible that there exists Moslims who do similar wiggling,

Indeed there are, lots, and look what happens to them.

There was one such in Afghanistan, who when the Americans occupied Afghanistan thought it would be safe to issue a Koran with commentary and interpretation, Talmud style.  I forget whether the Karzai government cut off his head, or merely threatened to.  Either way, the commented and interpreted Koran did not get issued.  They did not even wait to see what was in it, because they had a pretty good suspicion of what would be in it.  Jews around 30-70 AD responded to the Christians and the early re-interpreters of the Torah in the same fashion.

When the Americans flattened half of Fallujah, and set up a police state in Fallujah with the police largely composed of terrorists who had switched sides and signed up with the Americans, there was again a Fallujah based effort to start reinterpreting the Koran, but again, now that the Americans are withdrawing .....

In the nineteenth century under British occupation there were Iranian efforts to get in a new prophet to blow off the more revolting parts of the Koran - Bahai faith.  In Iran today, male Bahais are murdered, and the women forcibly "married" to Muslims.

Quote
The trouble is that the Koran, as it written, just like the Torah, as it was written, says to kill those who claim a new prophecy or an elaborate re-interpretation.  And in practice, they do kill such people, and we let them kill such people.

Any Muslim who is not a rabid enemy of Western civilization keeps his head down.  And if he sticks his head up, for example by issuing a commentary and re-interpretation weaseling out of the bloodier parts of the Koran, or even proposing to do so, Muslims cut his head off. 

And that includes supposedly moderate democratic Muslim governments like that of Indonesia who are supposedly our allies in the war on terror.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on August 20, 2010, 06:51:58 am
So let me get this straight, JamesD - our allies, people who are being encouraged with American dollars and manpower, are engaged in these brutal acts against moderate Muslims, and you are suggesting this as a productive method of reducing terrorism?

Are you really a Muslim fanatic, and your goal to increase Muslim fanaticism?

If your rational brain were briefly revived. you might notice that when a heavily armed invader starts shooting people, blowing up stuff, and otherwise creating great mayhem, all sorts of violent opposition is the usual response, and the opposition is often as irrational and nasty as the invasion, sometimes even more so. War is hell; it engages all sorts of nasty reptilian primitive parts of the human brain.

This process you are encouraging? Why?

American military and foreign "aid" are stirring up a pot of trouble. You, JamesD, would be happy only if the people who are being shot and otherwise maimed and killed were to throw themselves down en masse and say "Praise America, for we have sinned, and all of our lives are forfeit, do with our miserable carcasses whatever you will. " You take every sign of manly resistance as proof of your bizarre paranoid anti-Islam fantasies.






Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on August 20, 2010, 10:53:24 am
For the two-kinds-of-Islam folks, including JamesD, I encourage a look at the following article, which sums up the logical and historical problems with your stark raving paranoid fantasies.

http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig11/combs2.1.1.html
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on August 20, 2010, 12:57:20 pm
This is an example of how fair and just the Men in Blue in that great liberal city of Denver are:

http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/63930.html

A passerby offered to testify in court on behalf of a man who was stopped for allegedly running a stop sign. The police beat him up for his insolence - and it was caught on video.

This, we are told, is a great improvement over private security forces who could be disciplined by their customers for such abuses.

Several weeks ago, I challenged the statist apologists to find examples of private security forces engaged in similar misconduct. Since there are more private security forces in America than government forces, this request should be trivially easy to meet. What's the problem here? Time enough to troll, but too lazy to back up your imaginative theories?
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 20, 2010, 02:37:56 pm
So let me get this straight, JamesD - our allies, people who are being encouraged with American dollars and manpower, are engaged in these brutal acts against moderate Muslims, and you are suggesting this as a productive method of reducing terrorism?

No.  I suggest that killing our "allies" is a productive method of reducing terrorism.  I have repeatedly urged that Hamid Karzai should be dropped from ten thousand feet on the Pakistani presidential palace as a warning to Pakistan, and that making him president of Afghanistan was an act of betrayal and self hating defeatism similar to the Peace of Vasvár, which "peace" nearly led to the fall of Europe and the destruction of Western civilization.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on August 20, 2010, 03:11:21 pm
Several weeks ago, I challenged the statist apologists to find examples of private security forces engaged in similar misconduct. Since there are more private security forces in America than government forces, this request should be trivially easy to meet. What's the problem here? Time enough to troll, but too lazy to back up your imaginative theories?

I don't particularly consider myself a statist apologist, though it might look that way to you.

Once about 25 years ago I left the Food Lion in Birmingham about 1 AM, far later than I usually shopped there. I thought I was the only customer. There was a woman screaming on the sidewalk, the concrete walk all along the front of the grocery store, and a man was beating her. I was surprised. I ran toward them without thinking, I think I yelled 'What the hell' and the man turned to me. He was a rent-a-cop. I can recall what it looked like but when I see it now in the pale blue light I don't see whether he was holding his long flashlight or whether it was a club. He turned and waved it in my direction and I stopped. The woman scrambled off the ground and started half-running, half limping away. I thought she looked homeless from her clothes. There was some blood on them, probably from her face. It looked mostly black in the parking lot lights.

I was still holding my one small bag of groceries. I stood there while he came closer to me. He raised his club and I imagined throwing my groceries in hs face and running. He stopped five feet away and said "You got some problem?" I said, "No sir." "You ready to go right now?" "Yes sir." I went to my car and drove away.

I mentioned it to some of my friends. An old lawyer told me that places like that don't want any soliciting in their parking lots. He said they beat up homeless people on the slightest excuse. I was pretty naive. "I'd sue." "Not if you're homeless. And anyway, no, you wouldn't." "Yes, I'd sue if I had the money." "After you get a real professional beating you don't want anything to do with them at all. You don't want to see them in court or anyplace else." I figured he probably knew what he was talking about.

Since then I've talked with people who had been homeless in Washington DC or San Francisco. There are places they can be and places they can't be. They learn which are which by word-of-mouth and trial-and-error. There are stores which will take their money and stores that will not. Police and rent-a-cops both feel free to beat on them whenever it's reasonably private, and both can force them into private places. The authorities do not consider it a punishment to send them to jail, but a sort of treat. A quick working-over is cheap and easy.

Private citizens in good standing have more clout compared to a private security guard than they do compared to a police officer. When it's your word against theirs or the store security cameras can be subpoenaed, they don't have such a great big advantage. And when you're a customer their boss cares about. But when your status is low enough, the difference between real cops and rent-a-cops isn't so big.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on August 20, 2010, 03:36:45 pm
So government monopoly courts do not give as much credit to homeless as they do to "private citizens in good standing". Was that the point you were trying to make?

<quote>
Private citizens in good standing have more clout compared to a private security guard than they do compared to a police officer. When it's your word against theirs or the store security cameras can be subpoenaed, they don't have such a great big advantage. And when you're a customer their boss cares about. But when your status is low enough, the difference between real cops and rent-a-cops isn't so big.
</quote>

As for the rest of it, I think you have already conceded that rent-a-cops meet higher standards than government cops, when it comes to about 99% of the population. You have also admitted that even the homeless have discovered a way out: competition among providers. They avoid certain places and patronize others.

What happens when the State has a monopoly and you have no choice? Well, you get to accept whatever form of "justice" it chooses to mete out. You get to be tased if the Boys in Blue don't believe your cringing is sufficiently servile.

Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on August 20, 2010, 09:41:35 pm
So government monopoly courts do not give as much credit to homeless as they do to "private citizens in good standing". Was that the point you were trying to make?

No, you issued a challenge asking for examples of private police doing the sort of thing that public police occasionally get in the news for doing. (Note that this sort of thing is not generally considered acceptable for public police either,which is why it is treated as newsworthy. It doesn't get publicised often enough for it to be accepted as completely normal.)

I had something that I thought was an example. I never found out in detail why the rent-a-cop was beating the woman, and he gave me the impression that if I stayed to find out he'd beat me too. Possibly if I knew the details it wouldn't seem like abuse.

Quote
As for the rest of it, I think you have already conceded that rent-a-cops meet higher standards than government cops, when it comes to about 99% of the population. You have also admitted that even the homeless have discovered a way out: competition among providers. They avoid certain places and patronize others.

Sure, but you didn't ask for proof that rent-a-cops are just as bad as cops who are above the law. You asked for a single example and I gave you one.

How does this fit the bigger picture? Do we want professional police? Some societies have had the general public deal with criminals, including violent criminals. There are advantages and disadvantages to that. I tend to think it would be better than what we have now. And what we have now, with a crazy patchwork quilt of official police hired by different levels of government etc, is better than having them all organised by the federal government as it is in Iraq.

What would it be like in an AnCap society if we had private for-profit police forces and nothing else? It could go lots of different ways. What kinds of abuse you might get would depend on a lot of things like the details of the legal system. Private police would have to be ready to use coercion, since that's central to police work. They would have to do it in the ways they are hired to do without breaking the rules of the society which say that coercion must be appropriate coercion and not immoral coercion.

In any system whatsoever, you want to avoid being alone with four guys who're trained in violence and ready to use coercion, where afterward it would be your word against theirs assuming you wound up alive to tell your side.

I want to note that the private police hired by crack houses or by the mafia have a reputation for being tough on middle-class people who in any way are on the outs with their employers. But you can usually avoid the problem by avoiding them -- don't go to the crack house, don't start a small business where they demand protection money, don't get out of line in Vegas, etc. I don't think they'd be representative of private police where there was no government. They are doing things outside of any legal system, and usually things that people already agree are immoral.

In an AnCap society most people would agree on a morality and would have a legal system they approved of. There might still be groups doing things people thought were immoral, who had no access to the generally-approved legal system, who had only their own threats of violence to back up their agreements. But that probably wouldn't be the norm.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 21, 2010, 02:01:24 am
Once about 25 years ago I left the Food Lion in Birmingham about 1 AM, far later than I usually shopped there. I thought I was the only customer. There was a woman screaming on the sidewalk, the concrete walk all along the front of the grocery store, and a man was beating her. I was surprised. I ran toward them without thinking, I think I yelled 'What the hell' and the man turned to me. He was a rent-a-cop. I can recall what it looked like but when I see it now in the pale blue light I don't see whether he was holding his long flashlight or whether it was a club. He turned and waved it in my direction and I stopped. The woman scrambled off the ground and started half-running, half limping away. I thought she looked homeless from her clothes. There was some blood on them, probably from her face. It looked mostly black in the parking lot lights.

I was still holding my one small bag of groceries. I stood there while he came closer to me. He raised his club and I imagined throwing my groceries in hs face and running. He stopped five feet away and said "You got some problem?" I said, "No sir." "You ready to go right now?" "Yes sir." I went to my car and drove away.

If he was a state cop, you would not have dared pay any attention, and had you paid attention, you would find yourself doing time for attacking the cop's boot with your face

Walmart security often scuffle in the parking lot with shoplifters.  The shoplifters usually have it coming to them, and often suffer a bit of damage in the process.  If you see a state cop having a scuffle you will assume the state cop is totally justified - since you fear to act as if he is not justified.  But you see a walmart security having a scuffle with someone, you will assume it unjustified - since it is perfectly safe for you suspect it unjustified.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 21, 2010, 02:42:48 am
Private citizens in good standing have more clout compared to a private security guard than they do compared to a police officer. When it's your word against theirs or the store security cameras can be subpoenaed, they don't have such a great big advantage. And when you're a customer their boss cares about. But when your status is low enough, the difference between real cops and rent-a-cops isn't so big.

You may be happy that employees of the state get to treat you equally with a homeless racial minority, but I lack enthusiasm for that kind of equality.

Yes, in anarcho capitalism, homeless bums will have problems - how are they doing under the benevolent state?
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 21, 2010, 02:54:50 am
No, you issued a challenge asking for examples of private police doing the sort of thing that public police occasionally get in the news for doing. (Note that this sort of thing is not generally considered acceptable for public police either,which is why it is treated as newsworthy. It doesn't get publicised often enough for it to be accepted as completely normal.)
Google photographing police.   http://www.google.com/search?q=photographing+police (http://www.google.com/search?q=photographing+police)

Police have a de-facto privilege to act illegal towards ordinary people.  What are you going to do?  Call a cop?  Rentacops do not have such a privilege.  If you are a customer, and talk to a mall rentacop, he will treat you respectfully.  Indeed, the same is true of mafiosi - who are often rentacops whose job is protecting illegal activities such as drug trafficking.  Police, however, expect you to treat them respectfully, and do not expect to treat you respectfully.  If a rentacop behaves rudely, speaking to his employer is going to get you a lot better satisfaction than speaking to the cop's employer.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on August 21, 2010, 08:13:24 am
JThomas, if you read further back, you'll find the original unanswered challenge: evidence that private security is as bad or worse than government monopoly security, given that there are as many private security forces as there are government security forces.

You had to reach back 25 years for a single solitary example, and had to admit that homeless people are shafted by the monopoly government "justice" system, and that the same homeless people have developed ways to locate competitors who will treat them better.

That hardly counts as an unqualified success for the state apologia side of the debate. Frankly, you are making more arguments for the AnCap side than not.

Meanwhile, you can google up dozens or hundreds of instances of unwarranted police brutality; there are at least two current cases raging in Denver even as I type these words. Where is our Texas-basher? Isn't Denver supposed to be full of nice, liberal, earth-hugging types? What is it with these redneck government monopoly cops in Denver? Can we demand that they be replaced by Acme Security or somebody else with better customer service ratings? Weren't you raging against corporate monopolies? Why are corporate monopolies bad, but government monopolies good?


Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on August 21, 2010, 10:32:41 pm
JThomas, if you read further back, you'll find the original unanswered challenge: evidence that private security is as bad or worse than government monopoly security, given that there are as many private security forces as there are government security forces.

I certainly wouldn't say that under the current system private security has as much freedom as government police. Why would they? If they had all the perqs that police do, they would be police and would act like police.

Quote
You had to reach back 25 years for a single solitary example, and had to admit that homeless people are shafted by the monopoly government "justice" system, and that the same homeless people have developed ways to locate competitors who will treat them better.

Well, their methods to find places they are tolerated are a bit hit-or-miss, and they can get badly hurt by missing, but yes. I could give other examples but the first one I saw was particularly vivid for me.

Quote
That hardly counts as an unqualified success for the state apologia side of the debate. Frankly, you are making more arguments for the AnCap side than not.

Why wouldn't I? What we have is not very good. AnCap enthusiasts might quite likely develop something much better.

I don't see that our current rent-a-cops compared to police tells us much about what to expect in an AnCap society. It would be different.

What kind of legal system would it have? Would there develop a few businesses doing arbitration that everybody used? Hard to get an agreement to use your own arbitrator if he doesn't have a leading reputation. Would some arbitrating businesses develop a strong tendency to side with particular private police?

In any system, you're in trouble if violent people get you alone and afterward it's your word against theirs, unless their word is considered particularly bad.

Very hard to get a perfect justice system. If an AnCap justice system is something most people can live with most of the time, it could be a great big improvement over what we have now even if it has some big flaws.

Quote
Meanwhile, you can google up dozens or hundreds of instances of unwarranted police brutality; there are at least two current cases raging in Denver even as I type these words.

When I thought about it, a collection of ideas came together. Bear with me -- we get these cases publicised mostly when middle-class white americans get mistreated. There are thousands and thousands of cases where it's poor people or blacks and it isn't news then -- nobody really expects anything different. Except for a tiny handful of cases where it's somebody who's underprivileged getting hurt and they get clear documentary evidence that all gets dismissed, like Rodney King.

So it looks to me like what's going on here is that people are making a great big fuss because increasingly the police are deciding that they can treat middle-class white people like niggers. And the middle-class white people hate that.

And as we increasingly separate between an upper class that gets richer and a middle class that's sinking, it gets safer for the police to treat middle class people like niggers. We don't like it, but the poorer we get the less we can do about it.

And when I think of it that way, it occurs to me that there would be a very big difference between an AnCap society where most people were pretty well off, versus an AnCap society with a small upper class and a large lower class.

If you can't get work unless some rich person will hire you, and you're homeless unless a rich person will rent to you, you're pretty much living on their sufferance and you don't have a lot of rights. And if pretty much everybody is in that position.... If the rich people and their police all strongly believe in AnCap ideals that would make some sort of difference. An AnCap society that started out great could gradually slip into control by a rich minority, and pay lip-service to the ideals.

It makes sense to try for a good AnCap society, even though there's a chance things could turn bad after you make them good at first.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 21, 2010, 11:59:48 pm
If you can't get work unless some rich person will hire you, and you're homeless unless a rich person will rent to you, you're pretty much living on their sufferance and you don't have a lot of rights. And if pretty much everybody is in that position.
That is not an argument against anarcho capitalism, but an argument against capitalism and for socialism. 

So let us debate, not anarchism and government, but capitalism and socialism:

Observe what happens under socialism.  By and large, people starve and are homeless in proportion to the extent the government intervenes in the economy with the supposed objective of preventing starvation and homelessness.

In America, the government intervenes massively in the housing market, making it semi socialist, but this intervention varies from one city to another, giving us a natural laboratory:  Compare the homeless in San Francisco, with the homeless in Dallas.

Similarly, compare how many people starved in China when it had an "iron ricebowl", with the number that stave now that it does not.

Back in the days of communism, compare China with Taiwan, East Germany with West Germany.  Not only did communism need guards and barbed wire to keep people in, but within Europe, poor people move from the more social democratic parts of Europe to the less social democratic parts of Europe, leading to much outrage about "harmful tax competition".  Within the US, from the higher tax states to the lower tax states,
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on August 22, 2010, 06:28:49 am
And when I think of it that way, it occurs to me that there would be a very big difference between an AnCap society where most people were pretty well off, versus an AnCap society with a small upper class and a large lower class.

If you can't get work unless some rich person will hire you, and you're homeless unless a rich person will rent to you, you're pretty much living on their sufferance and you don't have a lot of rights. And if pretty much everybody is in that position.... If the rich people and their police all strongly believe in AnCap ideals that would make some sort of difference. An AnCap society that started out great could gradually slip into control by a rich minority, and pay lip-service to the ideals.
Basically, I think that if you have a society with a small upper class and a large lower class - presumably because of the bad actions of government - it won't directly become AnCap.

Presumably, such a society will be mostly oppressive government-assisted capitalism, but with a few concessions to socialism. The lower-class masses will not see any benefit in switching to AnCap, because what will be apparent is the immediate loss of the few socialist crumbs they're getting, and the possible improvement in their opportunities to better their position will be much less apparent, and thus less reliable.

Better a bird in the hand than two in the bush.

Instead, if there is a political change, it will be towards greater socialism. Or to a broadening of political representation: thus, the Second Reform Bill in England is an example of more freedom, not less, through mere political change. That England had a strong middle class, though, helped a great deal.

The great increase in freedom that came about between Europe and America was because of the expansion of physical resources that meant that those who settled in America, and their descendants for some time thereafter, weren't in the condition of a proletariat. They could always settle new lands on the frontier.

So in the South, they had the problem that they couldn't hire anyone to pick cotton at a wage low enough to remain competitive with India... hence, the expansion of slavery. The need to have slaves shows how well America had succeeded in making everyone else free.

Political forms don't increase the available resources - but some directly-related political decisions, like getting out of the way of lower-cost access to space, or getting out of the way of nuclear power, can help. Individual discoverers and inventors - like Norman Borlaug, noted here - can do so as well.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on August 22, 2010, 07:09:08 am
If you can't get work unless some rich person will hire you, and you're homeless unless a rich person will rent to you, you're pretty much living on their sufferance and you don't have a lot of rights. And if pretty much everybody is in that position.
That is not an argument against anarcho capitalism, but an argument against capitalism and for socialism.

Well, no. I'm not arguing for anything with this. I'm saying that it looks to me like an undesirable situation, when there are a few rich people who own everything and a lot of poor people who don't.

I think it's undesirable. I have no idea how to avoid it when it happens. It would be nice if we had a robust workable way to make sure that people get appropriate rewards for their contributions, and still have enough for everybody that people who don't have much can still get their chance to make big contributions they can get rewarded for.

But having a government that owns most things and doles them out to people does not look like a good way to do that. If it's a few people who have government connections who decide everything, they might as well be a few rich people for all the good it does. It's no improvement.

I see a possible undesirable situation. There may be no way to avoid it, and it's worth looking for ways to avoid it. The AnCap ideas I've seen look incomplete because they don't seem to imagine any way to avoid this potential problem.  But I don't have a great suggestion how to do it, and I don't consider it a fatal flaw or anything -- you can't expect to solve every possible problem before you actually start doing anything. Better to start an AnCap society that might someday fall into this trap, than not start at all.

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So let us debate, not anarchism and government, but capitalism and socialism:

Let's not. There have been a variety of capitalist societies, all of which have evolved into something with a degree of socialism. There have been a variety of socialist societies, many of which people could live with, and the ones that people have found acceptable have evolved to include a degree of capitalism.

Our inability (so far) to create a capitalist society that can maintain itself without adopting elements of socialism says to me that the ideal may be lacking something. People try it out and then vote with their votes for a degree of socialism. The socialist extreme also is lacking and people who can't find a better choice vote with their feet.

It does me no good to debate which extreme position is worse. So far, neither has been acceptable. And the combinations haven't been that great either. It's like our economies are badly-tuned engines that stutter and lurch, and we have lots of self-styled mechanics with no tools who argue about how to fix it. "This engine would run better without that muffler, throw it away!"
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on August 22, 2010, 07:45:46 am
And when I think of it that way, it occurs to me that there would be a very big difference between an AnCap society where most people were pretty well off, versus an AnCap society with a small upper class and a large lower class.

If you can't get work unless some rich person will hire you, and you're homeless unless a rich person will rent to you, you're pretty much living on their sufferance and you don't have a lot of rights.
Basically, I think that if you have a society with a small upper class and a large lower class - presumably because of the bad actions of government - it won't directly become AnCap.

I tend to think you're right. And if they do, it probably won't be the AnCap society I'd want to live in. However, Marx made predictions about which societies would turn communist, and he was wrong -- the big communist wins came in societies that were primarily agricultural and had lots of peasants. For a variety of reasons it was easier to organize against landlords than capitalists. You can't be sure ahead of time where a political philosophy will get its support.

But -- is there something about an AnCap society that would prevent it from turning into a rich minority and a poor majority? I haven't noticed anything to reduce the chance of that.

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Presumably, such a society will be mostly oppressive government-assisted capitalism, but with a few concessions to socialism. The lower-class masses will not see any benefit in switching to AnCap, because what will be apparent is the immediate loss of the few socialist crumbs they're getting, and the possible improvement in their opportunities to better their position will be much less apparent, and thus less reliable.

That makes sense. And it looks that way in the USA. A whole lot of people talk like they want less government, and they tend to elect politicians who talk that way. Then they re-elect politicians who bring lucrative government contracts to their districts while still talking up less government.

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The great increase in freedom that came about between Europe and America was because of the expansion of physical resources that meant that those who settled in America, and their descendants for some time thereafter, weren't in the condition of a proletariat. They could always settle new lands on the frontier.

Agreed. And guns were a tool-of-the-trade to frontiersmen, not a luxury.

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So in the South, they had the problem that they couldn't hire anyone to pick cotton at a wage low enough to remain competitive with India... hence, the expansion of slavery. The need to have slaves shows how well America had succeeded in making everyone else free.

Again, agreed! Of course, the south didn't absolutely need cotton. But it was the obvious way to get rich. Buy some slaves, grow cotton on some empty land that nobody's using, sell it and use the money for more slaves and also buy some on credit -- a few good years when prices are high and you're set. A few bad years when prices are low and you're bankrupt, but that's the risk you take.

As a side effect we got slaves, and slave revolts, and problems that have continued a good long time. What looked like a simple voluntary agreement between a plantation owner and a slave dealer, good for both of them, affects me 200 years later.

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Political forms don't increase the available resources - but some directly-related political decisions, like getting out of the way of lower-cost access to space, or getting out of the way of nuclear power, can help.

And agreed! Although I definitely don't want a poorly-run nuclear reactor. Not in my back yard. I'm not putting up with that unless I'm convinced it's safe. The US government did a very bad job of regulating reactor safety. They buried it in paperwork and second-guessing, and as a result we got expensive obsolete unsafe reactors. I don't know how to make reactors safe. That method didn't work, and I sure don't want unsafe ones.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Brugle on August 22, 2010, 06:41:13 pm
I certainly wouldn't say that under the current system private security has as much freedom as government police. Why would they? If they had all the perqs that police do, they would be police and would act like police.
Exactly.  In a free society, nobody would have the perqs that police now have.

Would some arbitrating businesses develop a strong tendency to side with particular private police?
If it did, nobody would use it in any dispute involving that "particular private police", and probably very few people would use it at all.  Would you agree to arbitration with any agency that had less than a sterling reputation?  I wouldn't.

mistreated. There are thousands and thousands of cases where it's poor people or blacks and it isn't news then -- nobody really expects anything different.
Exactly.  With government police, that's expected.  Repeat: with government police, that's expected.  Even people who (like libertarians) are outraged accept it as normal.

So it looks to me like what's going on here is that people are making a great big fuss because increasingly the police are deciding that they can treat middle-class white people like niggers. And the middle-class white people hate that.
Libertarians have protested police brutality for a long time (at least during my lifetime), but the recent more widespread interest has several causes.  It may be that police are, as you suggest, mistreating many more people who used to consider themselves safe from police brutality.  But there is at least one more significant factor at work: cameras (including in phones) are much more common, and the videos of police brutality can be seen by millions of people in a short time.  And (for some reason that I don't really understand) video evidence seems to affect most people more powerfully than even the most extensive written evidence.  So, more and more people are realizing what government power is all about, up close and personal.

The third major reason I have to think that people are becoming more aware of government police brutality, is that such brutality is becoming a lot more common.  I don't have any hard evidence, but it stands to reason.  Government is becoming much more intrusive into all aspects of people's lives.  Government police are becoming more militarized.  (SWAT teams are routinely used to arrest non-violent offenders in violent middle-of-the-night surprise raids.)  Courts and legislators are rapidly eliminating legal recognition of civil liberties and other protections of "civilians".

I don't know why I start writing this.  Why does it matter why more people recognize government police brutality?  It's a good thing, for whatever reason.

it occurs to me that there would be a very big difference between an AnCap society where most people were pretty well off, versus an AnCap society with a small upper class and a large lower class.
There's no reason for that.  In an AnCap society, there won't be a government that politically powerful people (who are usually rich) control.

Of course, in a AnCap society, people could avoid being poor easily.  Governments wouldn't take a large fraction of what is produced.  Governments wouldn't put major obstacles in the way of earning wealth.  Also, being poor wouldn't be so bad, since most goods and services would be much cheaper.  (Some labor-intensive personal services, such as maid service, would probably be more expensive, but those services tend to be consumed by the rich.)

the rich people and their police
Government police work for the politically powerful (who are usually rich).  In an AnCap society, there wouldn't be any government police.  Anyone who tried acting like a government police officer would be considered a criminal by everyone.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: wdg3rd on August 22, 2010, 07:42:04 pm

There are at least three well-known branches of Islam - the Sunni, Sufi, and Shia - and from this wikipedia page, it appears to be at least as complicated at the many branches of Christianity.


Terry, Sufi is much older than Islam.  Not related, just adjusted to survive in the same area.

As we also survive in nominally Christian countries.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on August 22, 2010, 08:35:26 pm
There have been a variety of capitalist societies, all of which have evolved into something with a degree of socialism. There have been a variety of socialist societies, many of which people could live with, and the ones that people have found acceptable have evolved to include a degree of capitalism.

Anarcho capitalism is the idea that we should privatize everything, justice and retribution included.  That economies are always mixed shows that government provision is not always unbearably dreadful.  But any time you make an argument for government provision of service X that is equally applicable to every service and every good, recollect what happened when such arguments were applied to every service and every good.

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Our inability (so far) to create a capitalist society that can maintain itself without adopting elements of socialism

"our"?

Government arises when some bandit makes himself supreme.

Government originates in a stationary bandit, a bandit king, a bandit so  successful he deters or exterminates all competition.  The government at  first consists of little more than the bandit himself.  Taxation  consists of him suggesting that the eminent give him and his boys land  and money, thus taxes, though capricious and erratic, are quite low.  Laws are few, verging on nonexistent, but enforced with brutal  efficiency, the main law being that no one else does any banditry.

All organizations tend to fall apart.  It is simply difficult to have a  large bunch of people efficiently coordinated into a single collective entity. Organizations that are  actually effective originate in intense competition, and sooner or later  are apt to decay - the Peter Principle, Parkinson's Law, etc.Absent intense competition, they decay very badly indeed.

Over time therefore the bandit's companions becomes a horde of bureaucrats.  Laws, taxes, quasi governmental organizations,  and regulations multiply like vermin. Eventually, laws, taxes and  meddling bureaucrats become a serious burden, and the bureaucrats face  the need to persuade everyone that a horde of bureaucrats is a good thing.

The left is the bureaucracy's PR apparatus - a collection of government  sock puppets, astroturf. Its mission is to persuade us that six hundred pounds of  fat is a healthy and handsome physique, and that government has never  been better, that more laws are good for you, the government is here to  help you, and more government will help you more.

Ever since the original bandit chieftain, government has moved ever further leftwards, and will always move ever further leftwards until checked by crisis and collapse, or reformed by internal totalitarian terror, "left" being whatever rationalization most plausibly justifies more government at the time.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on August 22, 2010, 11:40:37 pm
JThomas, you are still thinking like a statist, and a very thoughtless one.

Statist police don't get "perqs" - they get to behave in ways which would be considered criminal for anyone else. That is part of what it means to work for the State.

If Joe Security Guard runs down a couple motorcyclists while drunk, he doesn't get a free pass. When Joe Police does the same thing, his breathalyzer test is magically thrown out on a technicality. ( I am distilling a recent news report - google it yourself ).

You were observant enough to guess that the monopoly government courts don't give homeless people as fair a shake as the rest of us. Did it escape your notice that one of the "perqs" of being a police officer is that the Men in Blue are somewhat more equal than the rest of us? A fundamental axiom of the AnCap philosophy is that no one, regardless of who they work for, is ever exempt from the nonaggression axiom. I grant that a homeless bum might be scrutinized a bit more closely than a wealthy CEO, but nevertheless, the principle of equality is engrained in the soul of any AnCap society.

In every State, however, some form of the Sovereignty Principle exists to ensure that those who work for the State are exempt from major parts of the Law. From "James Bond, 007, licensed to kill" to the beat cop, all are "a little more equal" than the rest of us.

Mix in one more element to your thinking: everyone - including homeless guys - is armed and able to kill to defend their liberties. There would be no gun control laws; no hassling people for ownership of politically incorrect weapons; the only time you would get hassled would be for use, not ownership.

So, Mr. Security Guy, you want to encourage a homeless guy to move along. You know he is probably armed. Heck, he might be a veteran and at least as good a shot as you. Think you might try a more diplomatic approach, just to increase your own life expectancy? Does beating him up still sound like a good idea?

Or suppose you find two people in an altercation, as you described. You approach. Mr. Security Guy waves a club at you. You have a reliable firearm at hand, and you know how to use it. Would you feel better about standing your ground? Some men would.



Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on August 23, 2010, 12:59:23 am
Statist police don't get "perqs" - they get to behave in ways which would be considered criminal for anyone else. That is part of what it means to work for the State.

That's quite a perq there, huh!

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You were observant enough to guess that the monopoly government courts don't give homeless people as fair a shake as the rest of us. Did it escape your notice that one of the "perqs" of being a police officer is that the Men in Blue are somewhat more equal than the rest of us?

Yes, I definitely got that. If they do something that the police force considers wrong, they get punished by the force and not by the civilian courts. They present a united front to the world, and they tend not to admit to any wrongdoing by any of them unless that guy is about to get thrown out of the club.

I once lived in a dormitory with some prison guards. One of them liked to talk with me. Another -- across the hall from me -- got arrested for raping a 9-year-old white boy. My friend explained about it some. He pointed out the teenage runaway that had been sharing the guy's room. I hadn't understood about that, I'd just noticed the kid hanging around some. He said that one of the rights you give up when you become a policeman is the right to go to jail. If you get convicted of a jailable offense you never complete the term, somebody will kill you for being a cop. He told me that this guy was a dead man walking, that he should have thought of that before he did the crime.    But as it turned out, the guy was acquitted. He got his job back too, at least for awhile.


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A fundamental axiom of the AnCap philosophy is that no one, regardless of who they work for, is ever exempt from the nonaggression axiom. I grant that a homeless bum might be scrutinized a bit more closely than a wealthy CEO, but nevertheless, the principle of equality is engrained in the soul of any AnCap society.

That sounds good. Still, if there's anybody whose word will be accepted over yours, and if that person is willing to lie, you need to not get on his bad side. Currently the list of people like that includes the entire police force. With no government police force in an AnCap society it ought to at least be a shorter list. So even if the society is not perfect that way, it should be an improvement.

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Mix in one more element to your thinking: everyone - including homeless guys - is armed and able to kill to defend their liberties. There would be no gun control laws; no hassling people for ownership of politically incorrect weapons; the only time you would get hassled would be for use, not ownership.

That sounds good too. I can see various practical disadvantages, but the advantage you point out looks to me to far outweigh them.

I imagine it would be hard to keep a gun in working order while homeless, and anything of value -- not just the gun -- might be taken from you when you sleep. If there's a market for stolen guns .... And of course it's hard to hold onto that last valuable possession when you don't have food. Or for some people a drink....

But if some homeless people are armed that gives some protection for the rest.

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So, Mr. Security Guy, you want to encourage a homeless guy to move along. You know he is probably armed. Heck, he might be a veteran and at least as good a shot as you. Think you might try a more diplomatic approach, just to increase your own life expectancy? Does beating him up still sound like a good idea?

I like that thinking. Now turn it around, here's something that could be a problem. Say I'm homeless and hopeless and armed. I have nothing left to live for. The time comes when I meet somebody I don't like and I say to myself, "Today isn't a bad day to die and I can take at least one SOB with me.".

That might not be a problem. But here I am, a nice respectable armed citizen with a $500,000 job and a beautiful wife, and any homeless bum who has nothing can decide that my life isn't worth any more than his and shoot me. And there isn't much I can do to stop him, short of maintaining incredibly quick reflexes and shooting him first. (Unless I can get a great bulletproof vest etc, and then people who don't have them are second-class citizens?)

That doesn't have to be any disadvantage at all. Maybe we should all keep in mind today that anybody who wants to take the trouble can kill us, and we all live on each other's sufferance. I'm still getting my mind around the implications.

Well, I kind of like the idea that all the homeless people would have guns, but I like better the idea that there would be a permanent labor shortage and most homeless people could get good jobs and stop being homeless. That's a lot better.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on August 23, 2010, 01:48:42 am
And (for some reason that I don't really understand) video evidence seems to affect most people more powerfully than even the most extensive written evidence.
Written evidence is written by people. People can lie. Photographs and film are physical evidence.

While in the past, low-status people had fewer rights than they have now, I think there is an increase in police misbehavior and risky police tactics, like no-knock searches, directly because of court decisions limiting things like wiretaps. The police are losing investigative options that don't disturb law-abiding citizens, and so they're resorting to other ones.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on August 23, 2010, 06:39:39 am
JThomas, there's a saying to remember "An armed society is a polite society." If had followed my advice and googled up "not so wild west", you're recognize that it actually does apply in the real world; more guns lead to more crime only in hollywood movies and statist fantasies.

Regarding the incidence of homelessness and joblessness -- the bigger the state, the bigger those problems are. Real estate prices in California are crazy high not because of the operation of the free market, but because of the way the government restricts the market and stimulates demand. Reason magazine, among others, has documented the degree to which statist restrictions jack up the price of land by creating an artificial scarcity.

Some years ago, a prominent socialist asked why socialism didn't catch on in America. His conclusion: too much cheap land. I think you were the one who said that socialism did take hold in agricultural countries. I think you missed a very important nuance. The United States had a very large percentage of farmers at the same time.  The difference is that American farmers owned their land; most other farmers rented it. See "homesteading."

Throughout Europe, the State took vast quantities of land and gave it to nobles who then rented it at exorbitant prices to subsistence farmers. We call those nobles, and other recipients of State favors, "rent seekers."

Today's state police and prison guards are just rent seekers, taking advantage of the State "perqs."

If you are feeling energetic, wander over to the www.ij.org site and explore their work, which reduces state interference in the freedom to engage in voluntary consensual transactions. The IJ does more to enable people to live well than a ton of socialist regulations, any day of the week.

China and India have lifted millions of people out of poverty by the simple expedient of getting out of their way. You can look it up; google "economic freedom in the world" for an ongoing study by Fraser Institute.

Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Cinaed on August 23, 2010, 01:49:27 pm
1st post, just found the comic last week and caught up already.  As far as the topic of this current thread I would encourage the original poster to read Robert Heinlein's book "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress".  It describes how an anarchy can work.  (Yes I know in the book there is 'The Authority' but they don't run the day to day stuff that the average citizen would care about....take the case of the rapist being summarily shoved out of the nearest airlock withouth any government involvement.  The key to it's success is that all citizens must have the courage to become involved; and I think that the creators of EFT have proven that to be the case.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on August 23, 2010, 07:20:21 pm
JThomas, there's a saying to remember "An armed society is a polite society." If had followed my advice and googled up "not so wild west", you're recognize that it actually does apply in the real world; more guns lead to more crime only in hollywood movies and statist fantasies.

Did I say something that disagrees with this? There wasn't all that much recorded crime in the old west. Possibly some of the crime and punishment didn't get recorded anywhere, but I tend to believe there just wasn't that much of it. Someday when there are no more automobiles people might get the idea that we all did drag races every day and anytime you went driving somebody might play chicken with you.

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Regarding the incidence of homelessness and joblessness -- the bigger the state, the bigger those problems are. Real estate prices in California are crazy high not because of the operation of the free market, but because of the way the government restricts the market and stimulates demand.

People can have real estate booms and busts without much direct government influence, but we can't get away from indirect influences. And government is likely to make things worse even in the cases that government didn't start the whole thing.

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Some years ago, a prominent socialist asked why socialism didn't catch on in America. His conclusion: too much cheap land. I think you were the one who said that socialism did take hold in agricultural countries. I think you missed a very important nuance. The United States had a very large percentage of farmers at the same time.

Throughout Europe, the State took vast quantities of land and gave it to nobles who then rented it at exorbitant prices to subsistence farmers. We call those nobles, and other recipients of State favors, "rent seekers."

Exactly! And so, if employees go on strike and threaten a factory, it's easy to send in the Pinkertons or the police or the Marines and shoot everybody who doesn't run away. But if employees on a big plantation make it dangerous to run the plantation, it's much harder to kill them. That's been true in south america, russia, china, vietnam, etc. So when it came to violent revolution, the state could hold the cities where the capitalists were, but had more trouble backing up absentee landowners. This is independent of what sort of government or nongovernment the revolutionaries wanted. Communism won revolutions because at the time socialism was popular among revolutionaries -- who usually had not yet experienced it.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: wdg3rd on August 23, 2010, 10:51:10 pm
1st post, just found the comic last week and caught up already.  As far as the topic of this current thread I would encourage the original poster to read Robert Heinlein's book "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress".  It describes how an anarchy can work.  (Yes I know in the book there is 'The Authority' but they don't run the day to day stuff that the average citizen would care about....take the case of the rapist being summarily shoved out of the nearest airlock withouth any government involvement.  The key to it's success is that all citizens must have the courage to become involved; and I think that the creators of EFT have proven that to be the case.

Cinaed, I'm pretty certain that all of the writers and artists and most of the fans of the work around here are serious Heinlein fans.  Yeah, we know most of RAH's work by heart.  I know damned well I can quote about every word of "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress", "Glory Road", "Stranger in a Strange Land", "To Sail Beyond the Sunset" and most of the juveniles from memory.

Welcome.  I don't know enough Gaelic (My Welsh isn't that strong either) to know whether the name is male or female.  But read the other books (there are some good ones) here and you'll have a lot of fun.  "Roswell, Texas" is great and "Odysseus the Rebel" is my special favorite, since he's my kind of atheist (I'm not merely a nonbeliever, if there is a god, I'm opposed).

Ward Griffiths
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Cinaed on August 25, 2010, 10:22:22 am
Ward,  First, thanks for the welcome. 

From reading other posts I figured as much about people around here being fans of Heinlein, it just seemed that the original poster wasn't.  I figured it was my civic duty to point him in the right direction.  (Yes I am aware of the possible irony of 'civic' duty in a discussion of anarchy, but where else would it be more important?)

As for my name, Cinaed, it is male and should have an accent over the a but since I'm not smart enough to figure out how ta do it, this works. I'ts pronounced Kin-odd, it goes back to ancient Gaelic, possibly Pictish origins from what I can find out.  I'm a medieval reenactor whose persona is from that time period so it fits.

Cinaed
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: SandySandfort on August 25, 2010, 04:43:38 pm
As for my name, Cinaed, it is male and should have an accent over the a...

Like this? Cináed or Cinŕed?

(I cheated. I have a Latin American Spanish keyboard.)
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Cinaed on August 26, 2010, 08:34:36 am
Da first one is it!  Now....wonder where I can get one o' those keyboards in Indiana..... :D
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: SandySandfort on August 26, 2010, 08:48:08 am
Da first one is it!  Now....wonder where I can get one o' those keyboards in Indiana..... :D

Cináed,

Actually, you can create accented letters and other special characters (e.g., ż, ń) on your standard computer keyboard. See:

  http://www.starr.net/is/type/kbh.html#intl

That's my 2˘ worth...
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Cinaed on August 26, 2010, 09:24:51 am
Sweet!  Thánks!
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Rocketman on August 26, 2010, 09:37:56 am
Da first one is it!  Now....wonder where I can get one o' those keyboards in Indiana..... :D
Your a medieval reenactor from Indiana?  By any chance are you in Lafayette or Bloomington?  I'm here in Kokomo.  ;D
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: wdg3rd on August 28, 2010, 10:23:54 am

As for my name, Cinaed, it is male and should have an accent over the a but since I'm not smart enough to figure out how ta do it, this works. I'ts pronounced Kin-odd, it goes back to ancient Gaelic, possibly Pictish origins from what I can find out.  I'm a medieval reenactor whose persona is from that time period so it fits.

Cinaed

I was known as Griffith ap Griffith ap Griffith in the SCA for about a dozen years starting in AS8 (when I joined in the Barony of the South Downs), later active mostly in the Shire of Starkhafn and the Barony of Angels.  Dropped out when some of the political bullshit in Caid became too much of a pain to deal with.  I had an alternate persona, Brother Donald of the Monastery of Our Lady of the Evening.

So you and Rocketman are in Moonwolf territory.  One of my favorite filksingers.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Cinaed on August 30, 2010, 10:03:52 am
I haven't been an SCA member.  Myself and a couple of friends have been trying to start our own group based off the Markland Mercenary Militia from out Maryland way.  We looked into the local SCA when we were first getting started but the local SCA group treated my friends who went as noobs even though all three had years of fighting experience so we never went back.  There is a new shire starting up here tho so I'm going to check them out.

Haven't heard of Moonwolf, do ya have a link?
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: ContraryGuy on September 03, 2010, 01:12:00 am

Anarcho capitalism is the idea that

if there were no laws, no police, no "government", no social contract, that everyone would be altruistic and everyone would do that which is in their own best interest; such as being honest, holding true to the word and spirit of all contracts and dealings; never taking from another that which is not theirs...  basically it is another word for Utopia.

AnCap'ism is pushed by a few discontents who are tired of paying their taxes but who are too lazy to do the work to reform the system; which would include convincing enough people that their viewpoint ('no taxes') is the best one.

Some people here on this forum believe that if the the system were laissez-faire that all people would have honest dealing with one another, including Bernie Madoff and the Enron gang.
Because of course the absolutely free market is so amazingly self-correcting that laissez-faire capitalism would never reach its ultimate end of monopoly.

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we should privatize everything, justice and retribution included. 

Because that way is *so much* fairer and more impartial than the current system [/sarcasm]

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Government arises when some bandit makes himself supreme.

or when a group of people select one person to represent the group in dealings with other groups.

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Government originates in a stationary bandit, a bandit king, a bandit so  successful he deters or exterminates all competition. 
Wow; whats this guy been smoking and where can I get some?

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The government at  first consists of little more than the bandit himself. 

Because a government is that which provides those things which are not efficient for individuals to provide for themselves, a government of one is no government at all.

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Taxation  consists of him suggesting that the eminent give him and his boys land  and money,

This is not government, this banditry or brigandage; at the least, highway robbery.
In any area where this is possible, there are no eminences to rob, for the bandit king keeps any business from succeeding. 

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thus taxes, though capricious and erratic, are quite low.  Laws are few, verging on nonexistent, but enforced with brutal  efficiency, the main law being that no one else does any banditry.


Those are not laws, but whims.

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All organizations tend to fall apart.  It is simply difficult to have a  large bunch of people efficiently coordinated into a single collective entity. Organizations that are  actually effective originate in intense competition, and sooner or later  are apt to decay - the Peter Principle, Parkinson's Law, etc.Absent intense competition, they decay very badly indeed.

Of course all orgs fall apart, its called entropy.  Obviously this person has never been part of a large organization that is well managed.  Such an org is able to maintain internal cohesion for a long time merely on the basis of institutional inertia.
Not all orgs decay at the same rate; absent competition or the reason they were formed, some decay quickly, some coast for a loooong time.

I should like to point out here the goodness of Google: the Peter Principle states, in essence, that a person will rise to the level of their own incompetence, Parkinsons Law says that "work expands to fill all available time." I hardly see what that has to do with the decay rate of organizations.  If the OP had thought to use Google, such errors could have been avoided.

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Over time therefore the bandit's companions become a horde of bureaucrats. 

Really?  Saddam Husseins companions never bothered becoming bureaucrats; they remained thugs throughout. 
Please expand on this incredulous supposition.

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Laws, taxes, quasi governmental organizations,  and regulations multiply like vermin.

Not only do you need an actual government for this, you need a *stable* governemnt, and any government based on banditry and thuggery does not give rise to bureaucrats.
Bureaucrats must have some power to carry out the governments wishes, but anyone not a bandit is going to be too busy cowering and hiding to become a bureaucrat.  No bandit would trust someone he doesnt know, without wondering if that person will try to take the bandits power away.

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Eventually, laws, taxes and  meddling bureaucrats become a serious burden, and the bureaucrats face  the need to persuade everyone that a horde of bureaucrats is a good thing.

The left is the bureaucracy's PR apparatus - a collection of government  sock puppets, astroturf.

Gee, regurgitate Fox News much?

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Its mission is to persuade us that six hundred pounds of  fat is a healthy and handsome physique, and that government has never  been better, that more laws are good for you, the government is here to  help you, and more government will help you more.

And I suppose the rights mission of "demonize the other-if they dont have the right skin tone, the accent, the right family background, if they dont go the correct church, they must be hated and destroyed!"  is the proper way to go?

Why dont you just go back to your couch, and watch more Fox and let the grown ups handle the debate, OK son?  Thats a good boy.

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Ever since the original bandit chieftain, government has moved ever further leftwards,

Because banditry and terror are *such* lefty causes.  How can the OP watch  so much Fox and yet not hear a word they say?

 
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and will always move ever further leftwards until checked by crisis and collapse, or reformed by internal totalitarian terror, "left" being whatever rationalization most plausibly justifies more government at the time.

Wow!  I never knew Reagan, and both Bushes were such Stalin-like leftists!

Oh, I forgot!  Anytime the right expands government, its not bad, its the Right thing to do!

Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: SandySandfort on September 03, 2010, 08:43:04 am

Anarcho capitalism is the idea that

if there were no laws, no police, no "government", no social contract, that everyone would be altruistic and everyone would do that which is in their own best interest; such as being honest, holding true to the word and spirit of all contracts and dealings; never taking from another that which is not theirs...  basically it is another word for Utopia.

This sort of nonsense is why you are considered a troll by myself and others. You persist in defining anarchy in terms that are clearly contrary to fact. With that in hand, you show how anarchy cannot work. Quod erat demonstrandum.

In anarchy there are always, "laws," "police," some sort of voluntary governance and a "social contract." These may not conform to the restrictive sense you envision, but all these elements are there is some voluntary form or another. Try reading something about anarcho-capitalism and then come back and regale us with your "insights." It isn't as though we haven't given you plenty of citations.


Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on September 03, 2010, 09:43:01 am

Anarcho capitalism is the idea that

if there were no laws, no police, no "government", no social contract, that everyone would be altruistic and everyone would do that which is in their own best interest; such as being honest, holding true to the word and spirit of all contracts and dealings; never taking from another that which is not theirs...  basically it is another word for Utopia.

AnCap'ism is pushed by a few discontents who are tired of paying their taxes but who are too lazy to do the work to reform the system; which would include convincing enough people that their viewpoint ('no taxes') is the best one.

Reagan already persuaded the public to accept high government spending and low taxes. That was easy. The hard part is persuading the public to stop letting the government give them lucrative contracts. Also the public likes the government to coerce people they disapprove of.

It would be hard to change the system effectively even if the public agreed. These guys believe in the Austrian school of economics and want changes based on that. What would it take for the general public to understand and believe the Austrian school of economics well enough to make legislators do the right things?

Is it any wonder they instead want to start a new society of people who think like them? What's the harm in that?

And what do you get by coming onto their forum and sneering at them?

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Some people here on this forum believe that if the the system were laissez-faire that all people would have honest dealing with one another, including Bernie Madoff and the Enron gang.

We got those under the current system. Bernie Madoff came because a lot of people didn't do due diligence, right? I don't know what system could help people who choose to invest their money without paying attention. Enron manipulated government regulations. It would have to be different without a government.

If people tended to distrust guys who had a reputation for cheating, that might work at least as well as our current legal system to discourage cheating. I can imagine it might have some big flaws, but it would definitely be cheaper.

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Because of course the absolutely free market is so amazingly self-correcting that laissez-faire capitalism would never reach its ultimate end of monopoly.

It can be argued that industries tend to have a sort of life cycle, and that they settle into oligopoly late in that cycle in our current reality. Some of these guys argue that with free competition large companies would be inherently inefficient and could not compete. They suppose that things like brand names would not be so important, and it's only government that creates an environment where large corporations survive. One of them presented the cynical argument that if a big company actually did by whatever method outcompete all smaller competition, then it must be providing the best for its customers and so nobody should complain.

I myself say that the results will depend on the details of the society and we can't predict them ahead of time. There isn't much that's inevitable regardless of the details. Here are two possibilities that might tend to reduce monopoly in an AnCap society:

First, if they do not recognise limited-liability corporations and they wind up with a litigious society, one way for large businesses to avoid losing everything to litigants would be to split into smaller businesses.

Second, in an AnCap society composed of individuals who value autonomy, large businesses or even moderate-size businesses might tend to fragment into smaller ones due to personality clashes.

Some AnCap enthusiasts might have an almost religious belief that free enterprise will solve all problems. Or they might take that stand with trolls. A troll says "You want a new society and there's no way in hell it could ever work because of reason X". So they say "It cannot fail because free-enterprise/guns/personal-responsibility/etc prevents reason X and any other problem from ever occurring". It wasn't going to be much of a conversation anyway.
 
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we should privatize everything, justice and retribution included.  

Because that way is *so much* fairer and more impartial than the current system [/sarcasm]

It might wind up with some glaring flaws. I dunno. We won't find out until we actually try it out for a few decades, and then maybe we'll be ready for a second attempt in light of what we learn.

But when you want to compare to the current system you're setting the bar awfully low. Defending the status quo leaves you fighting with both hands tied behind your back.

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Government arises when some bandit makes himself supreme.

or when a group of people select one person to represent the group in dealings with other groups.

It's possible that small communities have often been run by village elders who were respected to the point they didn't neet tough guys to keep everybody else in line.

But larger groups have usually been run with a degree of force behind them.

Gilgamesh was the son of an important priestess and was genetically supposed to be 1/3 god. He was also the best wrestler in the city.

Samuel appointed Saul. Saul was the tallest man in Israel, a younger son of an unimportant family in the smallest despised tribe. The people proclaimed Saul king after he won a big battle against the Philistines. When the Philistines killed Saul, David was a mercenary working for the Philistines and he was the next king.

Sometimes when a king died one of his sons was peacefully declared king, and some of the other sons then were killed or had mysterious accidents. Sometimes the sons fought, and the winner depended on how the army split. The borders were set by skirmishing between the different kings' armies -- if you lived near the border your land was likely to be a battlefield occasionally. Which king you belonged to might change every few years and you didn't get any say in it.

Sounds like bandits to me.

The swiss and a few other places eventually decided they didn't like kings and threw out their kings. It took a lot of organization to keep kings from taking over, so they developed a way to organize themselves to stop that. They started with bandit governments too. It looks to me like agricultural societies tend to develop bandit governments as a sort of ground state. Something else could happen instead but it isn't the way to bet.

But bandit kings wind up trying to protect their people just like cattle farmers try to protect their cattle. Even if you're going to eat them, you don't want somebody else to eat them without your permission.

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All organizations tend to fall apart.  It is simply difficult to have a  large bunch of people efficiently coordinated into a single collective entity. Organizations that are  actually effective originate in intense competition, and sooner or later  are apt to decay - the Peter Principle, Parkinson's Law, etc.Absent intense competition, they decay very badly indeed.

Of course all orgs fall apart, its called entropy.  Obviously this person has never been part of a large organization that is well managed.  Such an org is able to maintain internal cohesion for a long time merely on the basis of institutional inertia.
Not all orgs decay at the same rate; absent competition or the reason they were formed, some decay quickly, some coast for a loooong time.

So, organizations should be designed with a clear pathway to take them apart when they fail, just as buildings and nuclear power plants should be designed with thought to how to tear them down when the time comes.

Perhaps it would be good to find ways to build organizations quickly, for specific purposes, with the intention of taking them apart when their task is complete or at a set time, whichever comes first. There's an overhead to building organizations and rebuilding them, but it's hard to measure the overhead of letting them fester.

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Over time therefore the bandit's companions become a horde of bureaucrats.

Really?  Saddam Husseins companions never bothered becoming bureaucrats; they remained thugs throughout.  
Please expand on this incredulous supposition.

?? Saddam wound up with a giant bureaucracy, didn't he? Complete with a giant collection of secret police informers. You could argue that he had thuggish companions who never got jobs as bureaucrats, but so what?

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The left is the bureaucracy's PR apparatus - a collection of government  sock puppets, astroturf.

Its mission is to persuade us that six hundred pounds of  fat is a healthy and handsome physique, and that government has never  been better, that more laws are good for you, the government is here to  help you, and more government will help you more.

And I suppose the rights mission of "demonize the other-if they dont have the right skin tone, the accent, the right family background, if they dont go the correct church, they must be hated and destroyed!"  is the proper way to go?

Why dont you just go back to your couch, and watch more Fox and let the grown ups handle the debate, OK son?  Thats a good boy.

You've reached bottom at this point. Left and right are like left and right hands of the same government. If one hand grabs you by the throat while the other one slugs you, do you really want to condescend about which one is worse?

The guy you're responding to made the same mistake, but that's no excuse for you.

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and will always move ever further leftwards until checked by crisis and collapse, or reformed by internal totalitarian terror, "left" being whatever rationalization most plausibly justifies more government at the time.

Wow!  I never knew Reagan, and both Bushes were such Stalin-like leftists!

He just explained what he was talking about. "Left" is whatever rationalization most plausibly justifies more government at the time. Which is what Reagan and the Bushes did. Right is the new left.

I guess I had fun responding to you. It doesn't seem like it was the best use of my time. I might do it again.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: MacFall on September 03, 2010, 09:50:59 am
blardy blarg lol blah

This sort of nonsense is why you are considered a troll by myself and others.

My favorite part was when he made the assumption that we're all right-wing, Faux News-watching neocons.  :D
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on September 03, 2010, 07:51:06 pm
My favorite part was when he made the assumption that we're all right-wing, Faux News-watching neocons.
While I have a great many issues with the sort of views that Fox News chooses to air, in my support of your nation's heroic efforts in the War on Terror, and my general acquiescence to the War on Drugs (even if I would prefer there to be less collateral damage in it), I still come rather closer to that stereotype than the supporters of AnCap here.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on September 03, 2010, 09:09:21 pm

My favorite part was when he made the assumption that we're all right-wing, Faux News-watching neocons.  :D

Well, the single person he was responding to did kind of sound that way in the particular sentences he was responding to at the moment.

When somebody starts talking about how horrible Republicans are but says nothing about Democrat flaws or mistakes he's likely to be a Democrat. If he says Hertz is awful he probably favors Avis. Etc.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: wdg3rd on September 04, 2010, 02:44:30 am
Statists suck.   (Badly).
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Archonix on September 04, 2010, 04:23:03 am
I can confirm that. My wife's a statist.



;D
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on September 04, 2010, 05:00:58 am
if there were no laws, no police, no "government", no social contract, that everyone would be altruistic and everyone would do that which is in their own best interest; such as being honest, holding true to the word and spirit of all contracts and dealings; never taking from another that which is not theirs...  basically it is another word for Utopia.

Police are not in the business of stopping criminals, but protecting them.  If shopkeepers relied on police to arrest shoplifters, no shoplifter would ever be arrested.

If someone shoplifts from Walmart in California, and he is detected, Walmart security wait for him to get in the parking lot, so as to avoid spooking the paying customers.  They then bag him in the parking lot.  If no police, the shop lifter would have a big problem.  If no walmart security, he would have no problem.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: ContraryGuy on September 04, 2010, 05:28:52 pm
blardy blarg lol blah

This sort of nonsense is why you are considered a troll by myself and others.

My favorite part was when he made the assumption that we're all right-wing, Faux News-watching neocons.  :D

The blah blah quote is not mine.  I did not assume all forum poster are Fox'ers, merely the post author.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on September 04, 2010, 07:23:14 pm
Government arises when some bandit makes himself supreme.
or when a group of people select one person to represent the group in dealings with other groups.
It is extraordinarily rare for governments to arise in such a fashion. 

The normal origin is that some bandit invades and makes himself supreme, for example William the Bastard, or people gang together under a great leader such as Romulus, not so that the great leader can "represent them in dealings with other groups", but so that they can kill members of other groups, steal their land and abduct their women.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: ContraryGuy on September 11, 2010, 01:16:51 am
My favorite part was when he made the assumption that we're all right-wing, Faux News-watching neocons.
While I have a great many issues with the sort of views that Fox News chooses to air, in my support of your nation's heroic efforts in the War on Terror, and my general acquiescence to the War on Drugs (even if I would prefer there to be less collateral damage in it), I still come rather closer to that stereotype than the supporters of AnCap here.

The 'War on Terror' is actually a War on Americans Privacy and Individual Rights.  And i denounce all of the Democrats who voted for it.
If you have acquiesced to the war on drugs then you are complicit in its statist actions.

So quadibloc, you *are* a Fox news watching neo-con?  Why?  Do you really hate America *that* much?
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: ContraryGuy on September 11, 2010, 01:33:29 am

Anarcho capitalism is the idea that

if there were no laws, no police, no "government", no social contract, that everyone would be altruistic and everyone would do that which is in their own best interest; such as being honest, holding true to the word and spirit of all contracts and dealings; never taking from another that which is not theirs...  basically it is another word for Utopia.

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This sort of nonsense is why you are considered a troll by myself and others. You persist in defining anarchy in terms that are clearly contrary to fact. With that in hand, you show how anarchy cannot work. Quod erat demonstrandum.

So show me how i am wrong.  Google 4chan and tell me how they fit into your classical anarchist society.
I say classical anarchy to separate it from popular, modern anarchy as seen demonstrated by the Eugene Oregon college students, or by lawless motorcycle gangs, or by the anarchist community known as 4chan.

Question:  in an anarchy, can there be such a thing as lawlessness?  Why?

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In anarchy there are always, "laws," "police," some sort of voluntary governance and a "social contract." These may not conform to the restrictive sense you envision, but all these elements are there is some voluntary form or another.

Can you link me to some of these examples?

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Try reading something about anarcho-capitalism and then come back and regale us with your "insights." It isn't as though we haven't given you plenty of citations.
Yes, you have.  And I have read them(no I havent bought all of those books *and* read them *and* put them through a critical analysis; I have a life you know), but I ave followed the links provided and I have read the articles and I *still* have questions.
Most of the articles cite ancient towns inside larger states or they are preaching to the converted.  The more recent articles have covered things we have already answered here in the forum.

And I still have questions.  And Sandy's Mutual Admiration Society still needs pricking.

Isnt most learning done through asking questions?

Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: ContraryGuy on September 11, 2010, 01:43:17 am

My favorite part was when he made the assumption that we're all right-wing, Faux News-watching neocons.  :D
When somebody starts talking about how horrible Republicans are but says nothing about Democrat flaws or mistakes he's likely to be a Democrat. If he says Hertz is awful he probably favors Avis. Etc.
So if i say that Hitler was a not-nice guy, do i mean that Stalin was a do=gooder?

I believe you are practising a logical fallacy.  I do not need to justify criticism of Republicans by balancing it with criticism of their opposition.
I am justly able to criticize Hertz if they do a bad job without favoring Avis.  perhaps I want them to improve their performance and I must point out to them where they are failing.

I realize that you have given up on whatever religion you practice in favor of worshipping Fox News, but please do not bring it into the forum.
Thank you.

Next time, you could ask me if i am a Democrat instead of making snide remarks.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: ContraryGuy on September 11, 2010, 01:49:19 am
if there were no laws, no police, no "government", no social contract, that everyone would be altruistic and everyone would do that which is in their own best interest; such as being honest, holding true to the word and spirit of all contracts and dealings; never taking from another that which is not theirs...  basically it is another word for Utopia.

Police are not in the business of stopping criminals, but protecting them.  If shopkeepers relied on police to arrest shoplifters, no shoplifter would ever be arrested.

Have you ever asked a policeman if they protect criminals?  Aside from fellow officers, I think they would have a different opinion than yours.

In Lakewood, WA, four officers were gunned down in public by a known(and released) criminal.
Go ahead and ask those officers families if those four died "protecting" the man who killed them.

If someone shoplifts from Walmart in California, and he is detected, Walmart security wait for him to get in the parking lot, so as to avoid spooking the paying customers.  They then bag him in the parking lot.  If no police, the shop lifter would have a big problem.  If no walmart security, he would have no problem.
[/quote]

And what do they do after they stop the shoplifter?  Does Walmart have its own jail and judge system?  this is the first *i've* heard of it.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on September 11, 2010, 03:35:16 am
And what do they do after they stop the shoplifter?  Does Walmart have its own jail and judge system?  this is the first *i've* heard of it.
If there were no police, there would be nothing stopping store owners from taking shoplifters, killing them, and selling the body parts to hospitals. Except public opinon. And since shoplifters are initiators of force, it isn't clear to me that public opinion would necessarily be against this sort of thing in all conceivable AnCap societies - even if it would be strongly against it in some or even most of them.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on September 11, 2010, 07:46:04 am

My favorite part was when he made the assumption that we're all right-wing, Faux News-watching neocons.  :D
When somebody starts talking about how horrible Republicans are but says nothing about Democrat flaws or mistakes he's likely to be a Democrat. If he says Hertz is awful he probably favors Avis. Etc.
So if i say that Hitler was a not-nice guy, do i mean that Stalin was a do=gooder?

I believe you are practising a logical fallacy.  I do not need to justify criticism of Republicans by balancing it with criticism of their opposition.

Logically, you are correct. However you have probably noticed that people practice bayesian thinking. Usually people who bash Democrat politicians but not GOP politicians think that the GOP is the answer. Usually if they aren't one-sided about it they'll bash politicians instead of just Democrats.

So if you prefer that people not make those statistical-type inferences which might after all be wrong, you do better to arrange your language so you don't encourage them into that thinking.

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Next time, you could ask me if i am a Democrat instead of making snide remarks.

Anyway, I'm kind of surprised that you are making this argument. From things that JamesD said about leftists, you assumed he was on the right. It's your own logical fallacy (but reasonable statistical inference) I was defending.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on September 12, 2010, 06:33:52 am
Quadibloc ranted: If there were no police, there would be nothing stopping store owners from taking shoplifters, killing them, and selling the body parts to hospitals. Except public opinon. And since shoplifters are initiators of force, it isn't clear to me that public opinion would necessarily be against this sort of thing in all conceivable AnCap societies - even if it would be strongly against it in some or even most of them.

In an AnCap society, shoplifters would be armed, just as everybody else is. Even if they had little support from public opinion, they'd be able to defend themselves. I'd lay odds that, over time, public opinion would tend toward an idea of appropriate justice, which would rule out killing shoplifters and selling their body parts, but would accept milder forms of abuse, more proportionate to the crime.

More to the point, shoplifting would decline in an AnCap society. There would be less hardship, since no government would be stealing ( taxing ) to support itself; nor would the government be restricting access to markets; people would have many more legitimate ways to put food on the table. The idea of entrepreneurs as faceless "exploiters" would lose popularity, as the government schools and government-supported media disappeared. There might be left a tiny core of people who shoplift not because they need to, but because it is an odd hobby. Those people might enjoy the risk of the occasional duel.

But, by and large, "an armed society is a polite society", and an AnCap society would not restrict ownership of personal weapons. Google "not so wild west" and lay to rest your lurid fantasies of shoplifters being slain for body parts. Observe that, in the ungoverned west, their was greater respect for private property than in the "civilized" East.

From an AnCap perspective, this makes perfect sense. Socialist production of goods and services, including the service of justice and defense of property, is inefficient compared to market production of the same. It is not at all surprising that, in a free market ( AnCap ) society, there would be more peace and justice and security, and less murder or theft, compared to a society encumbered with government efforts to provide security.
 
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on September 12, 2010, 07:46:08 am
http://www.marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2010/08/spontaneous-order-on-the-road.html

An interesting case study in what happens when we abandon the belief that people "must" be governed by traffic signals and signage. The result? Fewer accidents, shorter travel times, higher traffic flows. Self-organization works in the real world.

Notice how pleasantly astounded everyone is by this result.

Now, think about your experiences in shopping mall parking lots - privately-owned spaces. See any traffic signals? Any police regulating traffic? Any speed bumps? Amazing that it works at all, isn't it? Oddly enough, the same drivers who speed to get through a government-issue red light will almost always negotiate a peaceful way of finding a parking spot when there are no such regulators present.


Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Mr Bill on September 15, 2010, 12:37:12 am
http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700012086/Likeliest-site-for-hit-and-run-accident-Parking-lot.html

73% of the hit-and-run accidents in SLC, UT occurred in parking lots...
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: MacFall on September 15, 2010, 01:40:56 am
73% of the hit-and-run accidents in SLC, UT occurred in parking lots...

OH NO, MR. BILL!  :(
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on September 15, 2010, 05:29:22 am
http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700012086/Likeliest-site-for-hit-and-run-accident-Parking-lot.html

73% of the hit-and-run accidents in SLC, UT occurred in parking lots...

This is predictable. People are more likely to flee an accident when there are no witnesses, and there are more likely to be no witnesses when the victim's car is parked.

And there are more likely to be accidents involving parked cars where there are a lot of parked cars, and where people are parking cars beside parked cars.

It's predictable that accidents in parking lots are likely to be less serious than other accidents, because the speeds are slower.

This is one of the major reasons that city streets and intersections with no traffic control have fewer accidents and smaller accidents. Everybody goes much slower. Also, in some cases, people tend to avoid those streets so traffic volume is down.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: macsnafu on September 15, 2010, 08:36:43 am
[

Have you ever asked a policeman if they protect criminals?  Aside from fellow officers, I think they would have a different opinion than yours.


Their opinion is still just an opinion.  The job of public police is to enforce the law as created by legislators and upheld by judges.  And that means the rights of criminals are supposed to be protected--police are supposed to arrest criminals and let the justice system deal with them.  Admittedly, policemen may get frustrated with the law as it exists, and some will bend or even break the rules, but their official function includes protecting criminals.  This should hardly be a controversial point to make. 
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on September 15, 2010, 08:54:51 am
Agreed, hit-and-run accidents are more likely to involve parked vehicles than moving vehicles, and there are more parked vehicles in parking lots. ( Imagine that! )

Regarding people avoiding unmarked zones, etc. A town in the UK removed signals and markings, and saw a decrease in accidents and a higher rate of traffic flow. The intersection is now safer and more efficient. There is a youtube vid here: http://www.marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2010/08/spontaneous-order-on-the-road.html

One instance does not make a statistical generalization, but it is suggestive.

I find some of the comments on that video amusing. The gist is "It might work in the UK, but American drivers are different."

Reminds me of the reaction of some New Jersey motorists when they cross the border to Pennsylvania. "O my gawd! I have to pump my own gas? There's going to be a major explosion, I know it!"

In almost all cases, New Jersey drivers manage to successfully pump gas into the tank, without major mishaps. By their third time, it is a total non-issue. Then they return to NJ, where only duly-authorized gas station attendants are permitted to engage in this highly complex task.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: macsnafu on September 15, 2010, 09:15:07 am
If there were no police, there would be nothing stopping store owners from taking shoplifters, killing them, and selling the body parts to hospitals. Except public opinon. And since shoplifters are initiators of force, it isn't clear to me that public opinion would necessarily be against this sort of thing in all conceivable AnCap societies - even if it would be strongly against it in some or even most of them.

A strange post.  No police in AnCap?  No government police, obviously, but there would most likely be some form of private police or security forces available to deal with shoplifters.  Also, I think there would be something more than public opinion that would be against the killing of shoplifters.  The law, even if it is only common or customary law, would probably have something to say about it.  An important, but often overlooked implication of libertarianism is the idea that the punishment (in this case, restitution) should be appropriate to the crime.  It is difficult to imagine when death would appropriate for shoplifting, especially where they can catch the shoplifter with the goods.

Also, you seem to be engaging in some fudging with the phrase "all conceivable AnCap societies".  I imagine that almost anything is possible in "all conceivable Ancap societies", but I would prefer to concentrate on the more likely or more probable AnCap societies in order to have a meaningful discussion.


Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on September 16, 2010, 01:14:22 am
In Lakewood, WA, four officers were gunned down in public by a known(and released) criminal.
Go ahead and ask those officers families if those four died "protecting" the man who killed them.
Police do an excellent job of protecting police.  The problem is that they seem less enthusiastic about protecting anyone else.

Quote
Does Walmart have its own jail and judge system?  this is the first *i've* heard of it.
Walmart should have its own jail, but is forbidden from doing so.  This is part of the general problem that people, groups, and organizations are forbidden to protect themselves.  Police don't like people protecting themselves, but are not very energetic about protecting anyone except police.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on September 16, 2010, 01:34:41 am
A strange post.  No police in AnCap?  No government police, obviously, but there would most likely be some form of private police or security forces available to deal with shoplifters.  Also, I think there would be something more than public opinion that would be against the killing of shoplifters. 
See http://jim.com/anarchy/ (http://jim.com/anarchy/) in which I argue that most respectable people would belong to some association that would make trouble for walmart if it was to punish them capriciously.  However, a lot of shoplifters are not respectable people, and might not belong to any such association, in which case I suppose they might get sold for parts.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on September 16, 2010, 06:43:20 am
They may not be "respectable", but beggars (and shoplifters) do form societies. They'd find ways to protect their interests, as they perceive them. In old times, it was common for beggars and thieves to leave secret marks to indicate whether to avoid certain people or to seek others. Nowadays, even beggars may have cell phones. They might tweet each other, for all we know.

If you have plans to harvest body parts in a hypothetical AnCap society, you might find your photo and description broadcast widely in less "respectable" quarters, with a "shoot to kill" order.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on September 16, 2010, 10:19:29 pm
An important, but often overlooked implication of libertarianism is the idea that the punishment (in this case, restitution) should be appropriate to the crime.
This is the part that I don't understand.

If the basic principle of a society is that initiation of force is forbidden, and this is not only the first rule, it's essentially the only rule, then, to me, it seems to logically follow from that there is no central authority to say what Hammurabi said - since if you kill the man who killed your relative, a family feud might start, so, instead, you have to just take blood money and be content.

Since the owner of property is the only one who gets to define how important that property is to him, and the only one who gets to define what price he is willing to sell it for, it would seem that the conclusion is that someone who commits a crime or tort, by doing so, becomes the property of his victim if the victim so desires.

A corrupt government could collect taxes by hiring criminals to rob people - and then splitting the proceeds, and then giving the thieves a slap on the wrist. So the power to set a limit to the penalty for a crime is equivalent to the power to initiate force. (For this to work effectively, of course, one would also have to limit the ability of people to defend themselves, which is definitely not a part of AnCap.)

If I'm completely wrong about this, I would like to see how the power to limit penalties for crime to what is considered proportionate can be clearly distinguished from the power to initiate force, and is so distinguished in AnCap theory.

EDIT: One possible reply is that it is usually obvious what equitable restitution is - repairing the actual harm done in the case of a property crime. (Homicide - and, I would hope, rape as well - would still carry the death penalty.) So only imposing a less than equitable restitution would be equivalent to initiation of force, not limiting restitution to what is equitable.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on September 16, 2010, 11:08:08 pm
Retribution depends not only on the person wronged and the aggressor. You've fallen into the usual timeworn fallacy, the belief that a society with no government has no laws and no order; that it's all atomic 1 to 1 interactions.

This is 180 degrees from reality.

Did you watch the video of the intersection where the lights were turned off? What did you see? Mad races to get through the intersection, or an orderly pattern of traffic? In the Real World, people negotiate order when left free to do so. In the Real World, that voluntary order is more efficient than that imposed from without; traffic flow increased; safety increased.
 
Where do you see mad races to get through an intersection? Where there are traffic lights, especially with traffic cameras. ( I witnessed many such instances in Los Angeles, including a few accidents. )

Back to the problem: why would retribution be proportional? Why not kill everyone for the slightest aggression?

Answer: because no one would want to live in such a society. You might be happy to know that no one would dare lift even a piece of penny candy from your store, but you'd be unhappy to know that, if you are suspected of even a slight act of aggression, you'd be killed. On balance, it is better to live in a society where punishment is proportionate to the crime.

An AnCap society, over time, would evolve a body of customary law which would tend toward proportionate response; it would tend to protect against arbitrary responses, such as this hypothetical "murder and sell organs" response to "not paying for a sandwich" scenario.

In an AnCap society, you don't become a god with power of life and death merely because someone has wronged you. That's statist thinking, the thinking of a King or a politician. In an AnCap society, the accuser is still just a person, like everybody else. The accused person is still a person, not a subhuman with no rights.

What does anarchy mean? It means no ruler. You don't magically become a ruler by claiming that somebody aggressed against you. There are no rulers. There are no privileged people. Nobody is more equal than others. You don't get to kill people and sell their organs just because they didn't pay for a sandwich. Your response has to be proportionate, or you are guilty of an act of aggression.


Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on September 17, 2010, 01:34:05 am
I want to point out, in case somehow somebody missed it, that you are assuming not a complete anarchy but a society with a collection of social rules. It isn't that everybody does whatever-the-hell they want. Society enforces its rules in a variety of ways. There just isn't an official government.

It's entirely reasonable that a society could have a tradition of proportional response. And if you violate that and somehow don't notice, then when you go to an arbitrator and say what happened, the other guy is likely to say something like "I didn't do the thing you claimed you were retaliating for. But even if I had, your response was too much for that." And the arbitrator will agree and will take that into account.

Even governments tend to develop a tradition of proportional response. Because they all depend on the consent of the governed. If too many people withdraw consent there will be a revolution or a general strike or something, and that government cannot function. Governments that are known to do a lot of disproportionate result usually get foreign support which is more important to them than their own citizens' consent.

What if you kill somebody? He can't take it to arbitration. But his friends can.

What if he doesn't have any friends? Then his rights after he is dead are likely to be somewhat curtailed. It's that way now even with a government. If nobody cares about you, nobody will work hard to see that your rights aren't violated. It's just one of those things.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: MacFall on September 17, 2010, 01:51:56 am
In addition, there would also be organizations that act as surrogate "friends" for people who don't have any otherwise. They are called charities. And there's no reason why, in addition to taking care of their other needs, they shouldn't or couldn't act as the custodians of the rights of a person who was murdered. I can't imagine that many adjudicators would find it improper to order penalties paid to a charity of which a murder victim had been a client if he/she had no heirs. And even if that wasn't in the deal, a charity organization would still not take very kindly to their clients being murdered. The case would be heard.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on September 17, 2010, 06:49:48 am
That's all true.

If you have money, and somebody dead has money, it's only natural that his heirs whoever they are might want to accuse you of murdering him in the hope they'll get money from both.

And there could even be charities that try to get justice for people who had no friends and no heritable property. Still, it's likely nobody will look after his interests as well as if it was personal for somebody.

I don't regard this as a criticism of a hypothetical AnCap society. Wherever you go, it's good to have friends.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: SandySandfort on September 17, 2010, 08:31:31 am
I want to point out, in case somehow somebody missed it, that you are assuming not a complete anarchy but a society with a collection of social rules. It isn't that everybody does whatever-the-hell they want. Society enforces its rules in a variety of ways. There just isn't an official government.

Good post otherwise, but your implied definition of anarchy is wrong in the sense that market anarchist use it. We use it literally. "Anarchy" = "no ruler." Everything else is connotations added by others (almost always, statists), to discredit the basic concept by association with bomb throwers and such. Just remember a riot is not anarchy, it is disorder.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: macsnafu on September 17, 2010, 09:25:24 am
An important, but often overlooked implication of libertarianism is the idea that the punishment (in this case, restitution) should be appropriate to the crime.
This is the part that I don't understand.

If the basic principle of a society is that initiation of force is forbidden, and this is not only the first rule, it's essentially the only rule, then, to me, it seems to logically follow from that there is no central authority to say what Hammurabi said - since if you kill the man who killed your relative, a family feud might start, so, instead, you have to just take blood money and be content.

A c
If I'm completely wrong about this, I would like to see how the power to limit penalties for crime to what is considered proportionate can be clearly distinguished from the power to initiate force, and is so distinguished in AnCap theory.

EDIT: One possible reply is that it is usually obvious what equitable restitution is - repairing the actual harm done in the case of a property crime. (Homicide - and, I would hope, rape as well - would still carry the death penalty.) So only imposing a less than equitable restitution would be equivalent to initiation of force, not limiting restitution to what is equitable.

I think I see where your coming from, so let me see if I can answer your question adequately. 

First principle, as you noted, is that the initiation of force is wrong.  Defensive force (against an initiation of force) and properly-justified retaliatory force are okay, though.  Defensive force should be pretty straightforward--someone is in the act of attacking you or stealing your stuff, and you are justified in using force to stop him.  To use more force than is necessary to stop him is essentially a new initiation of force, not defense, because it was unnecessary.  Admittedly, in the heat of the moment, it can sometimes be difficult to tell how much force is necessary, but it's not always difficult.

When questions arise as to defense, and also when it comes to retaliatory force, it is best to utlize a third party for arbitration or mediation.  One good reason for this is to help determine restitution costs (to address  your question), but primarily it is so that any retaliatory force is recognized by the public as reasonable and justified. 

If, for example, a thief steals your television set, you may be morally justified in going to his place and taking it back.  But if someone else sees you doing it, how will they know that you are just reclaiming your own property, and that you are not, yourself, a thief?  A public process helps eliminate problems and misunderstandings of this sort, including feuds. Thus, I usually say "properly-justified retaliatory force", and not just retaliatory force

Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: MacFall on September 17, 2010, 10:27:07 am
Quote
Thus, I usually say "properly-justified retaliatory force", and not just retaliatory force

Which is another way of saying "due process for the accused".
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on September 17, 2010, 10:39:24 am
If, for example, a thief steals your television set, you may be morally justified in going to his place and taking it back.  But if someone else sees you doing it, how will they know that you are just reclaiming your own property, and that you are not, yourself, a thief?  A public process helps eliminate problems and misunderstandings of this sort, including feuds. Thus, I usually say "properly-justified retaliatory force", and not just retaliatory force.
This is another issue. I agree and acknowledge that after-the-fact response to an initiation of force, unlike immediate self-defence, requires a public process of some sort for the practical reasons you cite.

Maybe it's English common law that makes me perceive a limit on restitution to actual damages as being a consequence, like bankruptcy and usury laws, of the state's power to initiate force.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Brugle on September 17, 2010, 11:25:02 am
Maybe it's English common law that makes me perceive a limit on restitution to actual damages as being a consequence, like bankruptcy and usury laws, of the state's power to initiate force.
My understanding is that the English common-law practice of restitution preceded the state's involvement.  The gradual takeover of certain crimes by government courts (with the substitution of fines paid to the state for restitution) was done by Kings to increase their revenue.  (Similar to "asset forfeiture" in the US today.)

My reading on the subject has been quite limited, so I could easily be wrong.  Do you have evidence to the contrary?
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on September 17, 2010, 02:04:11 pm
We use it literally. "Anarchy" = "no ruler." Everything else is connotations added by others (almost always, statists), to discredit the basic concept by association with bomb throwers and such. Just remember a riot is not anarchy, it is disorder.

A market anarchist, however, has to explain where the rules come from - why it is in most people's interest to follow the rules provided most other people do so, why deviation from the rules is unprofitable or dangerous.  In "Lawmaking in Anarchy (http://jim.com/anarchy/law_in_anarchy.htm)"  I argue that:

Those offenses that would make any man use force in response will be illegal. Those offenses that would not make most people use force in response will be legal.

That use of force that most ordinary peaceable individuals are inclined to employ will be legal, and thus the activities they use it against illegal. That use of force that only weird, scary, dangerous, aggressive people are inclined to employ will be illegal.

And proceed consider various consequences of the interaction of armed, self interested, and mostly but not entirely well intentioned people.

Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: macsnafu on September 17, 2010, 02:49:46 pm
My understanding is that the English common-law practice of restitution preceded the state's involvement.  The gradual takeover of certain crimes by government courts (with the substitution of fines paid to the state for restitution) was done by Kings to increase their revenue.  (Similar to "asset forfeiture" in the US today.)

My reading on the subject has been quite limited, so I could easily be wrong.  Do you have evidence to the contrary?


A book by Charles Rembar, The Law of the Land,  provides a good overview of the history of English and American law.  Common law did predate the state's involvement.  The King's Law increased over time not so much for revenue as to increase the monarch's power over the originally powerful Dukes.  Note also that the King's Law said that crimes were crimes against the king or kingdom, so restitution to the actual victim became secondary under these laws.

Common law was also used in the early United States, but the states took over much common law, often simply adopting common law rulings as they then existed (and thus completely ignoring the process of common law) to the detriment of the citizens.  Bruce Benson's book, The Enterprise of Law,  covers a lot of ground about common and customary law, including specific examples of the state of New York taking over common law ground.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Brugle on September 17, 2010, 03:37:45 pm
macsnafu,
Thanks for the information.  I've put The Law of the Land on reserve at my local library.  I've read a bit by Benson online, but I prefer physical books.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: macsnafu on September 17, 2010, 03:46:32 pm
macsnafu,
Thanks for the information.  I've put The Law of the Land on reserve at my local library.  I've read a bit by Benson online, but I prefer physical books.


Be sure and get the one authored by Charles Rembar--apparently there is more than one book with the same title...
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on September 18, 2010, 04:54:20 am
JThomas: I want to point out, in case somehow somebody missed it, that you are assuming not a complete anarchy but a society with a collection of social rules. It isn't that everybody does whatever-the-hell they want. Society enforces its rules in a variety of ways. There just isn't an official government.

JTHomas, how can you be so bright and so WRONG?

Society without government will naturally develop "a collection of social rules." -- this is not anarchy plus a set of rules, this is anarchy, period, full stop. This is the natural way that any group larger than one individual will choose to organize its behavior. The rules may be and usually are informal; they usually have some wiggle room; but in an anarchy, there are no "superior" beings with badges which trump the rules; the rules apply to everybody. It is the lack of trump cards which makes it an anarchy, not the lack of rules.

Anarchy == no ruler.

You have confused this with "no rules" - which has nothing to do with anarchy.

I take back what I said about you being bright, since this point has been raised umpteen times; if you actually were bright, you would stop repeating the same fallacy after having been corrected.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on September 18, 2010, 05:24:06 am
Here is a URL with a discussion of the common-law antecedents to the 4th Amendment.

http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=2862

People tend to forget that professional police forces are a relatively new blot on society. Read the article. The first professional Police Force, as we know it, was created in New York City in the 1800s, America had done very nicely without for hundreds of years. The Mayor at that time took great pains to declare that the police would have no powers greater than those of ordinary citizens.

Under common law, you could not go on a fishing expedition to discover whether someone had committed a crime; you had to have evidence that a crime had already been committed, and had to get a warrant which described what you were looking for - "a knife used in the murder of Sally Blake" or something quite specific.

Under common law, if you abused your authority, you could be sued and punished for that abuse. None of this "sovereign immunity" nonsense which protects the government from the citizens.

This is much closer to an AnCap model than the fanciful inventions of "society without rules" naysayers.

Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on September 18, 2010, 06:15:11 am
JThomas: I want to point out, in case somehow somebody missed it, that you are assuming not a complete anarchy but a society with a collection of social rules. It isn't that everybody does whatever-the-hell they want. Society enforces its rules in a variety of ways. There just isn't an official government.

JTHomas, how can you be so bright and so WRONG?

I apologise. I thought it was worth pointing this out because naive people tend to not to notice it at first. You guys are not talking about "I want to do anything I want" but about a sort of sane society, as opposed to what we have now.

But it was useless for me to explain that when I am the most naive person here.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on September 20, 2010, 07:57:06 am
Society without government will naturally develop "a collection of social rules." -- this is not anarchy plus a set of rules, this is anarchy, period, full stop. This is the natural way that any group larger than one individual will choose to organize its behavior. The rules may be and usually are informal; they usually have some wiggle room; but in an anarchy, there are no "superior" beings with badges which trump the rules; the rules apply to everybody. It is the lack of trump cards which makes it an anarchy, not the lack of rules.
No doubt I've been brainwashed by statism to think this, but one of the conditions of living in a free society is that one should have no cause to fear the initiation of force against you by the State unless you break a previously written and formally defined rule. With taxes and conscription being "fair to everyone" exceptions.

Since here the community is the source of the rules people must obey, in your scenario the community is allowed to play it by ear - to punish people for breaking ex post facto laws, to impose arbitrary community standards without the possibility of judicial review for Constitionality... oh, dear, I'm beginning to get the vapors.

You can, quite reasonably, reply that you're advocating something better than we have now (and supply data to tell me that the existing system is worse than I think it is, or worse than a naive person who only knows what he reads in the mainstream media thinks it is) and not something that's supposed to be perfect.

But my reason for pointing this out is that you may be - or you may at least appear to be, in the opinions of many you would need to convince of the necessity for your proposed reform - leaving a door open to things getting far, far worse than what we have now. Which is basically the whole argument against AnCap or Libertarianism. Make law informal, you can get an internal dictatorship: we've seen how small towns have enforced conformity with religion in the U.S. on many occasions. Abolish taxes and conscription, you can get a successful foreign invasion: we've seen how well tanks and airplanes do against equine cavalry.

Oh, I'm sure you've seen this argument before. And you've countered it to your own satisfaction. But I think that you guys haven't the foggiest notion of just how well you will have to cover your bases before there will be majority support for what now seems like a giant leap into a vague unknown. On the other hand, incrementalism - getting America back to the principles of its Founding Fathers as a first milestone, at the least, won't run into that roadblock.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: SandySandfort on September 20, 2010, 08:50:43 am
Boundless Assumptions and Assertions

No doubt I've been brainwashed by statism to think this....

I know you mean this to be wry or sarcastic, but it is painfully true in your case. You lack either the ability or the will to think outside the statist box.

... but one of the conditions of living in a free society is that one should have no cause to fear the initiation of force against you by the State unless you break a previously written and formally defined rule. With taxes and conscription being "fair to everyone" exceptions.

The problem is that the rules are (a) arbitrary and (b) imposed on the majority by the minority. If the "previously written and formally defined rule" is that anyone using the handle "quadiblic" is declared to be an outlaw whom anyone may kill, it would certainly meet the limited criteria of your "free" society (which isn't free in part because of your "fair" exceptions). If a government has a "previously written and formally defined rule" that smoking dope is a crime, punishing that "crime" is still the initiation of force no matter how you slice it.   

Since here the community is the source of the rules people must obey...

False assumption (actually two). I leave the reason why this is so as an exercise for the student.

... in your scenario the community is allowed to play it by ear - to punish people for breaking ex post facto laws, to impose arbitrary community standards without the possibility of judicial review for Constitionality... oh, dear, I'm beginning to get the vapors.

Again, false assumptions. You really don't get it do you? You don't even understand how the government system is supposed to work. There is nothing constitutional about judicial review. Find it in the Constitution, I dare you. It was simply an unconstitutional power play by the judicial branch. If you believe in the Constitution, then, if you are intellectually honest, you cannot believe in judicial interpretation of constitutionality. Q.E.D.

But my reason for pointing this out is that you may be - or you may at least appear to be, in the opinions of many you would need to convince of the necessity for your proposed reform...

Who said anything about "reform"? Do you mean as "reform the system" or what? Market anarchists just want to be left the hell alone. In exchange we promise to leave you the hell alone. If everyone is left the hell alone, great, but forcing some sort of world change is not the goal we seek.

- leaving a door open to things getting far, far worse than what we have now. Which is basically the whole argument against AnCap or Libertarianism.

If your assumptions were correct, you would be right. Fortunately, they are not.

Make law informal, you can get an internal dictatorship: we've seen how small towns have enforced conformity with religion in the U.S. on many occasions.

Really? You say that as though you are quoting fact. Give me one documented historic example that didn't involve government force.

Abolish taxes and conscription, you can get a successful foreign invasion...

Really? How do you know? Where is your evidence that these things are necessary to defend yourself. Has any modern empire ever conquered Afghanistan?

we've seen how well tanks and airplanes do against equine cavalry.

Yes, but the Afghan still survive and a modern market anarchy would have the wealth to buy all the defense you can eat.

Oh, I'm sure you've seen this argument before.

Ad nauseum and always from people who shoot off their mouth without ever having read the literature to learn what market anarchy is. The just assume it whole cloth.

But I think that you guys haven't the foggiest notion of just how well you will have to cover your bases before there will be majority support...

We don't need the "majority" to be anarchist, we just need the majority to leave us alone. And guess what? For the most part, they do. It is just their government masters who are the problem. Most humans believe in live and let live, even if you don't.

... incrementalism - getting America back to the principles of its Founding Fathers as a first milestone, at the least, won't run into that roadblock.

Oh really? To quote Dr. Phil, "How's that working out for you?" The trend is in the opposite direction, Seńor True Believer. Freedom is decreasing, not increasing. The founding fathers couldn't keep government under control. Hey maybe government is the problem, not whose running it. Nah, not  to you and the other true believers.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on September 20, 2010, 10:14:12 am

... but one of the conditions of living in a free society is that one should have no cause to fear the initiation of force against you by the State unless you break a previously written and formally defined rule. With taxes and conscription being "fair to everyone" exceptions.

The problem is that the rules are (a) arbitrary and (b) imposed on the majority by the minority.

For the most part, the minority that makes the laws has a strong incentive to pay attention to what the majority wants. They don't pay enough attention to the laws of unintended consequences, etc. But they try to make sure that people don't object to their laws too much. The trouble is, by the time the administration interprets the new laws and makes directives etc, and the judiciary interprets the new laws their way, there's a certain arbitrary quality to the results. We have too many layers between the public and the legal system.

Quote
Make law informal, you can get an internal dictatorship: we've seen how small towns have enforced conformity with religion in the U.S. on many occasions.

Really? You say that as though you are quoting fact. Give me one documented historic example that didn't involve government force.

I think this kind of argument is futile. One guy quotes a generally-accepted stereotype. The other guy says to provide proof that it really happened. Many things that everybody knows are hard to document -- are they wrong, or are they only hard to document? Are there towns with speed traps, where they entrap visitors and make them pay unreasonable fines for traffic offenses they didn't really do? Are you really more likely to get a traffic ticket toward the end of the month? Have blacks been lynched for trivial offenses without being accused of actual major crimes? The towns have documentation that each of their traffic offenders broke the law. Daily traffic arrest records are not released. The large majority of lynchings were probably not published at all -- how would we find out about that unless we interviewed a lot of old people and believed what they said?

In general we have no way to prove whether "what everybody knows" is wrong or not. If you can prove it, it's science. Otherwise it's only history or law or something. Pick an authority and quote his "lucid" words. Argue that the evidence for what you don't want to believe is inadequate. It doesn't get anywhere. We might as well argue whether OJ did it.

There are certainly a lot of stories about small towns not leaving people alone, when those people are public about scandalous behavior. And in some cases practicing unusual religions has been considered scandalous. Often the local government has gotten involved in one way or another.

How about this -- in an ideal AnCap community, people would mostly leave each other alone. In a real AnCap society that might include lots of human beings with prejudices, those people might not leave alone the people who offend them. There's no ideal solution to this in any existing society so far, and there may not be an ideal solution in real AnCap societies either.

Quote
Abolish taxes and conscription, you can get a successful foreign invasion...

Really? How do you know? Where is your evidence that these things are necessary to defend yourself. Has any modern empire ever conquered Afghanistan?

Latest the USA. Previously, the USSR and Britain before them. Each of those conquests did eventually fail, as did all the ones before including the mongols and Alexander. Each of them added to the afghan gene pool.

Aghans suffered a lot in each invasion. Would they have done better with a better army? I don't particularly see that they would. When you keep a standing army to avoid getting invaded then you have all the problems of a standing army between invasions. And then when the invasion comes they're likely out of practice. To keep an army sharp they need actual hands-on experience at war, and between invasions they don't get that unless they invade somebody.

It's a problem when other people have armies, and I don't see a good solution. Having your own army may be the best you can do, or maybe it just isn't that good.

Quote
we've seen how well tanks and airplanes do against equine cavalry.

Yes, but the Afghan still survive and a modern market anarchy would have the wealth to buy all the defense you can eat.

I believe that hiring mercenary armies is not generally the solution either, but I can't prove it.

I say you don't have to know all the answers ahead of time. We've tried a bunch of statist approaches and we pretty much know what to expect from them. If you try something new then maybe we'll get a new result.

So if you set up a working AnCap society and then some state gets ready to invade and everybody runs around in circles screaming and then they decide they need conscription and taxes to stop the statists, what you you have? It was a good first effort.

And if you set up a second working AnCap society and somebody invades and they try some approach that doesn't work and the state takes over, what do you have? It was a good second effort.

If you keep trying, eventually you will find a way that works. You don't have to have all the answers before you start.

Behind our efforts, let there be our efforts.  Gene Wolfe, _Claw of the Conciliator_
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: macsnafu on September 20, 2010, 11:22:21 am

Since here the community is the source of the rules people must obey, in your scenario the community is allowed to play it by ear - to punish people for breaking ex post facto laws, to impose arbitrary community standards without the possibility of judicial review for Constitionality... oh, dear, I'm beginning to get the vapors.
...

Oh, I'm sure you've seen this argument before. And you've countered it to your own satisfaction. But I think that you guys haven't the foggiest notion of just how well you will have to cover your bases before there will be majority support for what now seems like a giant leap into a vague unknown. On the other hand, incrementalism - getting America back to the principles of its Founding Fathers as a first milestone, at the least, won't run into that roadblock.

You're quite right-for many people, we have to provide an exhaustive and unreasonable amount of support for our position, and even then they may not be persuaded.  This in spite of all evidence to the contrary. 

Which is why it seems to me that the best "persuasion" requires a change in culture--only then will the majority follow with a change in political views:  politics follows culture.

Thus: Escape from Terra, among other "attempts."


Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: MacFall on September 20, 2010, 12:02:50 pm
In addition to what has already been posted here in response to quadibloc, one of the most egregious examples of the inability to think outside the statist box is the assumption that a market anarchy will produce one "law of the land" in any particular area. That is a projection of a problem inherent in state-produced law onto a legal system without a state. If you can change legal orders as easily as you can change brands of socks, there won't be any petty tyranny for which "judicial review" might be considered as a remedy. If the legal code under which you find yourself is too burdensome, you make a phone call and you switch to one that better suits you. If your neighbor likes the one you left, he stays with them. If you come into conflict with your neighbor you go to a third party. Nobody forces anyone to participate in a way of life that they find intolerable; hence the only "law of the land" is "live and let live" or the Golden Rule or the non-aggression principle or some other, basically synonymous concept.

I think the problem here is an unwillingness rather than an inability to understand what market anarchists are actually talking about. Strawmen are just too tempting a target.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Brugle on September 20, 2010, 02:55:36 pm
For the most part, the minority that makes the laws has a strong incentive to pay attention to what the majority wants.
Only to the extent that it assists their rule.  As long as the populace as a whole accepts that they will be ruled, the rulers are satisfied.  Resigned acceptance by the populace is good enough, but the better the typical opinion of the rulers the more oppression will be tolerated.  The best situation (from the point of view of the rulers) is when the populace considers their oppression to be in their own interest, which is why governments concentrate on the propaganda apparatus such as schools and mass media.

I don't see a good solution
What a surprise!
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: SandySandfort on September 20, 2010, 05:03:21 pm
For the most part, the minority that makes the laws has a strong incentive to pay attention to what the majority wants.

The majority of Californians and most everywhere else, clearly want medical marijuana to be available. The vast majority of Americans want nothing to do with Obamacare nor Obama's wars in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan. But, the minority has the police and the army. What do they care what the majority want? So where is that "strong incentive to pay attention to what the majority wants"? I'm not seeing it.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on September 20, 2010, 05:35:38 pm
For the most part, the minority that makes the laws has a strong incentive to pay attention to what the majority wants.

The majority of Californians and most everywhere else, clearly want medical marijuana to be available. The vast majority of Americans want nothing to do with Obamacare nor Obama's wars in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan. But, the minority has the police and the army.
Also, affirmative action has been ruled illegal every time it has been put to the public vote.

Politicians continually woo and bribe the public, but pay little attention to them when it comes to actual policy.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: mellyrn on September 20, 2010, 06:36:53 pm
Government at its best is an attempt to write a program to cause all social action to proceed smoothly. #IF# X happens #THEN# respond with Y #UNLESS# Z . . . .

If society were a deterministic process, this might work.  If society were merely a chaotic process, some more sophisticated program might serve.  A program, a code (of laws), is meant to allow us to go to sleep, to let our attention lapse, to have the thing run on automatic, like a habit.  But reality -- including social reality -- is necessarily beyond our ability to model.  Really, the only thing we can do is ad hoc:  observe, pay attention, make our best guess, note the results (good or bad) and adjust accordingly, even though next time will/may be different and may even be different because of what happened this time. 

Life won't let you live on autopilot.  To the extent that your fellow humans are living beings and not droids, you can't live among them on autopilot, not successfully.  Not really live, either.

We have all kinds of ways we try to avoid being really acutely conscious of the world.  Government is one of them. 

Anarchists are awake.  They have to be.  Statists are just awake enough to fear what the wakeful ones might be up to.

And that's not even raising the "who protects you from your protectors?" issue.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Brugle on September 20, 2010, 07:50:29 pm
Government at its best is an attempt to write a program to cause all social action to proceed smoothly. #IF# X happens #THEN# respond with Y #UNLESS# Z . . . .
I don't see what that has to do with government.  People might attempt to follow detailed rules (for good and bad) in either an anarchistic or archistic society.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on September 20, 2010, 10:14:18 pm
Government at its best is an attempt to write a program to cause all social action to proceed smoothly. #IF# X happens #THEN# respond with Y #UNLESS# Z . . . .
I don't see what that has to do with government.  People might attempt to follow detailed rules (for good and bad) in either an anarchistic or archistic society.

I'm not sure what Mellr intended but to me it looks like when we give special powers to government agents we usually want to bind them with special rules to make it harder for them to abuse their authority. If they get in trouble when they're caught disobeying the rules, the good ones do less good and the bad ones do less harm. So we probably come out ahead.

Anarchists might try to follow detailed rules, but they wouldn't be government agents and they wouldn't *have* to follow the rules.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on September 21, 2010, 03:39:02 am
I don't see what that has to do with government.  People might attempt to follow detailed rules (for good and bad) in either an anarchistic or archistic society.

I think it likely that the difference between government criminal justice and anarchist criminal justice would resemble the difference between the small claims court and Visa arbitration - Visa arbitration is faster and less formal
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on September 21, 2010, 05:51:20 am
To quadibloc, and other statist-brainwashed folks, I suggest the study of the the history of the Congregationalists in New England. Their organizing principle was simple: every congregation was independent of every other; anyone could join any congregation. Initially, each congregation was quite strict - to the point of whipping people out of town for what we would consider to be trivial doctrinal differences. Yet, people could and did leave congregations - and over time, this led to the congregationalists becoming far more tolerant. Nowadays, if you can fog a mirror and are not in the habit of assaulting other people, you are welcome in these congregations.

The State insists loudly in One Law to Rule Them All, and demands that chaos would result if people were actually free to make choices. This is nothing but quasi-religious belief in the Divine State.

In the real world, customs, mores, and laws adjust to meet circumstances. I suggest you google up the origins of standard Time Zones for another example. If you imagine that only the State could bring about widespread agreement, you'd be a typical dupe of statism. In the Real World, Time Zones were created by voluntary agreement among independent railroad operators. The State then found a way to bollix things by imposing "Daylight Savings Time" by force.

To summarize: when uniformity is an actual good, people strive to obtain uniformity through voluntary interactions in the marketplace. When uniformity is not a good, it can be imposed by the State. Is the requirement to kowtow before the emperor a good? No matter; it was uniformly imposed by the State on all. Is the requirement to pay taxes to support trillion-dollar wars a good? No matter; it is uniformly imposed by the State.

The problem with statist shills is that they only speak of the few goods which the State accidentally manages to provide, and never of the ills. If a state-owned grocery store actually provides groceries, they laud the State, and claim that people would starve otherwise. The same is true for law; the statist shills claim that only the State could produce such a thing.

The only problem with this statist theory is that it ignores centuries of history with common law, which preceded state-produced law. One thing that states are extremely good at producing: ignorance.

Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: macsnafu on September 21, 2010, 09:31:45 am

I'm not sure what Mellr intended but to me it looks like when we give special powers to government agents we usually want to bind them with special rules to make it harder for them to abuse their authority. If they get in trouble when they're caught disobeying the rules, the good ones do less good and the bad ones do less harm. So we probably come out ahead.

Anarchists might try to follow detailed rules, but they wouldn't be government agents and they wouldn't *have* to follow the rules.


Funny--people under statist rule obviously feel like they don't have to follow the rules, either!
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: mellyrn on September 21, 2010, 10:52:28 am
Seems to me that the only "rule" an anarchist needs to check, very roughly stated, is: "Is the subject's behavior interfering with me or my interests?"

If the answer is "No", no action is specially called for (though it might be initiated, e.g., "Hey, can I play too?")

If the answer is "Yes", the anarchist does not blindly consult some prefabbed set of responses the way the statist must.  The anarchist has a huge range of options, up to and including reevaluating himself and his interests -- it is not impossible that the "interfering" behavior is actually more interesting than what he'd had going on before.  The statist, otoh, even if the "interfering" behavior is radiantly better than what it's interfering with, is bound to follow The Law, the code, and restore the state-us quo.

In short, the anarchist is free to engage the situation in realspace, not in modelspace.  Government tries to reduce life to rote and formula.

The anarchist is also free to have one set of "rules" with one neighbor, and an entirely different set with the other.  You see, his left-hand neighbor is a real tightass and his right-hand neighbor is so laid back we stick a mirror under his nose every so often to make sure he's breathing, and "what works" with the tightass entirely fails with the mellow fellow, and vice-versa.  The anarchist gets to employ "what works" on a case-by-case basis, even moment-to-moment.  It takes a lot of attention, but honestly it's a lot more fun.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Brugle on September 21, 2010, 02:31:33 pm
the anarchist does not blindly consult some prefabbed set of responses the way the statist must.
Again, I don't see it.  Sure, the ultimate in statism is "that which is not compulsory is forbidden", but most statists don't go that far.  I would expect the typical anarchist to be more flexible than the typical statist, but there's a lot of variation.  Most of my friends are statists, and some of them are more flexible than me in many situations.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: NeitherRuleNorBeRuled on September 21, 2010, 08:24:52 pm
You're quite right-for many people, we have to provide an exhaustive and unreasonable amount of support for our position, and even then they may not be persuaded.  This in spite of all evidence to the contrary. 

Reversing this question, can anyone recommend one or more "superior" defenses for the necessity of the State?  I have looked extensively over the years, and not found any, other than the one that Robert Nozick (Ayn Rand's is similar to his) provided in Anarchy, State, and Utopia, which I found ridiculously sparse (little more than a hand wave).

Personally, I don't know that one exists; however I don't have a proof of that; however, I would still like to seen one or more such defenses to test my reasoning against.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: MacFall on September 21, 2010, 10:40:34 pm
What would be the point? Statists do not argue from reason; they posit their beliefs and then call you crazy or stupid or evil or some combination of those things for disagreeing with their beliefs. Including their beliefs about what you actually believe.

At least those with whom you haven't already been conversing for a while. But if you've been talking to a statist for a while he's already heard all the arguments, but has not let them penetrate his belief.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: NeitherRuleNorBeRuled on September 21, 2010, 11:15:03 pm
What would be the point? Statists do not argue from reason; they posit their beliefs and then call you crazy or stupid or evil or some combination of those things for disagreeing with their beliefs. Including their beliefs about what you actually believe.

Most, but not necessarily all statists do not argue for reason.  Some argue from reason in general, but have flaws in their reasoning -- those flaws may be difficult to identify.  Others may argue from flawless reasoning but accept some axiom or axioms that I would not.  Since I cannot prove there is no compelling argument that a State is necessary, I cannot conclude in an absolute sense that it is not.

You mention "beliefs".  Beliefs are inherently non-rational; when one believes X one's critical thinking regarding X stops,  and opportunity for error creeps in.  This is dangerous, and can only be avoided by never actually believing anything (especially that one does not believe anything  -- this one is particularly tricky).

Although I find the evidence overwhelmingly seems to support the absence of any necessity for a State, I am willing to consider new ones.  Were I not, I could not reasonably expect anyone else to consider the possibility that no State is actually necessary.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: wdg3rd on September 22, 2010, 12:21:45 am
Seems to me that the only "rule" an anarchist needs to check, very roughly stated, is: "Is the subject's behavior interfering with me or my interests?"

I'm in the category of anarchist who will live (and possibly die) by the Zero Aggression Principle.  I don't give a rat's ass if somebody's behavior is "interfering with me or my interests" -- one of us might work for Costco, the other at Best Buy.  Obviously both of us interfere with each other's interest.  If no force is initiated, it fookin mox nix.  We call that free trade and an open market.  Sears-Roebuck didn't sent hit men after Montgomery-Ward or J. C. Penny, those stores failed without force.

Quote
The anarchist is also free to have one set of "rules" with one neighbor, and an entirely different set with the other.  You see, his left-hand neighbor is a real tightass and his right-hand neighbor is so laid back we stick a mirror under his nose every so often to make sure he's breathing, and "what works" with the tightass entirely fails with the mellow fellow, and vice-versa.  The anarchist gets to employ "what works" on a case-by-case basis, even moment-to-moment.  It takes a lot of attention, but honestly it's a lot more fun.

The Zero Aggression Principle is the only "rule" needed.  If one neighbor is a tightass, let him be unless he asks for some medicine for constipation.  If the other neighbor seems comatose, when you're checking his health make sure that mirror is clean per Leary's First Law.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on September 22, 2010, 01:49:22 am
http://www.lewrockwell.com/dilorenzo/dilorenzo195.html

Another study of the lazy statist authors who imagined that the West was wild, contrary to the evidence.

We had a little discussion about the consequence of not having One Uniform Law To Rule Them All. As it happens, the West was an excellent case study; many wagon trains drew up their own voluntary contracts to determine who owned what and who had the right to use what and how to divide property, should the team break up. The contracts were similar in many ways, but not identical. There are records of dispute resolutions; the settlers found practical ways to resolve matters which satisfied all parties.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: mellyrn on September 22, 2010, 08:55:58 am
Quote
The Zero Aggression Principle is the only "rule" needed.

Yes.  Thank you.  In a groggy way, that's more what I had in mind, and much better stated.

Though as to "interference" -- if your Best Buy sales interfere with my Costco sales, I do take an interest, because it does affect me.  I don't know why you brought in hit men; your sales interfering with mine are more likely reason for me to upgrade my store, my staff's competence, and the like.  I didn't say, and had no wish to imply, that if you interfere with me and/or my interests, I am then required to stop you at all, much less with deadly force.  The only thing I intended to convey is that, in response to stimulus, the anarchist is philosophically free to wing it.  Statists are supposed to play "by the book"; they don't always, because the "book" is so often inadequate.

Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on September 22, 2010, 10:35:05 am
To say that a state is necessary, first you have to say what result you want that it's necessary for. But whatever goal you choose for a state to achieve, people could argue that there might be some better way to achieve that goal. Unless what you want is a state.

Historically there's almost always been a government of some sort. There are a few examples that seemed to have none, like the Inuit. And a few examples where government seemed quite minimal, like old Iceland. Presumably government goes back to neolithic times. When you live in a village, that village belongs to somebody and whoever it belongs to can demand things from you for the privilege of living in his village. The farmland around it is his too. You can fight him supposing that the rest of the village doesn't interfere, or you can go do your farming somewhere else, either under some other village leader or by yourself, or you can knuckle under. It didn't have to be that way but pretty often it was.

There was some of that among the Inuit too. One man, or a few men, a good hunter and presumably a good killer, might run a village. People did what he said or they left. It was fairly easy to leave but uncertain whether anybody else would take you in. The places where anybody could live were not the places where people ate best. A good hunter could feed others when their own hunting didn't go well, and of course "Whips make dogs, gifts make slaves".

To my way of thinking, the best argument in favor of coercive government is that your current government protects you from the possibility of a worse government. If you can't keep governments out, decide whether what you have is better than average. Try to replace it if it's too bad, and hope you get something better next time. This assumes you can't keep them from taking over. If you can, then you have a choice whether you want to.

I think it would be a good thing to get multiple AnCap societies. Then you can look at them and decide whether you'd rather move to any of them over what you have. Given a choice between an AnCap society of fundamentalist christians versus an AnCap society of fundamentalist muslims, I'd hesitate to choose either one but it would depend on the details.

About starting one -- if it takes a lot of violence to get rid of the government, and you can't be sure what you'll get afterward, then I'd support it if the government is a lot worse than the usual. But unless a solid majority of the citizens are ready for AnCap that probably isn't what you'll get, instead you'll take pot luck for a new government. And if a solid majority is ready for AnCap you might get it without a violent revolution.


RA Heinlein mentioned something he called "rational anarchism". If you don't recognize the authority of the state, you can live as an anarchist even though there's a state extorting money from you and threatening you with police etc. You oppose them when it seems worth it. You let them impose on you -- without conceding their right to do so, only their power -- when it isn't worth the fight.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Brugle on September 22, 2010, 11:06:45 am
can anyone recommend one or more "superior" defenses for the necessity of the State?  I have looked extensively over the years, and not found any, other than the one that Robert Nozick (Ayn Rand's is similar to his) provided in Anarchy, State, and Utopia, which I found ridiculously sparse (little more than a hand wave).

There are several arguments for the state (and responses to them) in Section II of Anarchy and the Law: The Political Economy of Choice edited by Edward P. Stringham.  Arguments for the state are by (as you mentioned) Nozick (with responses by Roy A. Childs Jr. and Murray Rothbard), Tyler Cowen (with a response by David D. Friedman, a further argument by Cowen, a response by Bryan Caplan and Stringham, and a further argument by Cowen and Daniel Sutter), Randall G. Holcombe (with a response by Peter Leeson and Stringham), and Andrew Rutten (which is a response to an anti-state argument by Anthony de Jasay).  There are also anti-state arguments by Childs (in reponse to Ayn Rand's "The Nature of Government", which is not included in the book) and Alfred G. Cuzan.  (It is interesting that some of the pro-state authors consider government to be unnecessary but inevitable.)  I assume that the editors tried to include "superior" pro-state arguments, but I didn't find any of them persuasive.

I've read a bit over half of the book and am enjoying it immensely.  The other sections (on theory, history of thought, and historical examples) also contain many classic articles, so those of you with a better memory than me might want to skip some parts that you've already read.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: macsnafu on September 22, 2010, 11:47:21 am
Off-hand, the primary defenses I can think for the state are:

1) contractarian - the implicit contract with the state

2) inevitability - government is inevitable, for some reason or other

3) necessity - government is necessary to create the rules and conditions for property and market

A lot of the time, people just argue that anarchism is impossible or contrary to human nature.


Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: mellyrn on September 22, 2010, 11:56:03 am
Quote
Again, I don't see it.  Sure, the ultimate in statism is "that which is not compulsory is forbidden", but most statists don't go that far.

Hi, Brugle.  I do agree with you that statists, as actual flesh-and-blood people, rarely go that far.  It just isn't practical.  But it seems to me that the concept behind a state, written constitution, written laws (codes) with (codified, ergo artificial) consequences, is that the interactions of real flesh-and-blood people can and should be reduced to a formula.  In actual practice it works so badly that "if I do not laugh, I must weep for [them]".

Elsewhere (not anywhere in this forum) I have argued that the state is a kind of "Dumbo's feather".  You remember Dumbo, the Disney elephant that could fly only when clutching his "magic" feather?  Dumbo could fly just fine all on his onesie, but he believed he needed the feather, and that he would fall without it.  Most people go about most of their business with zero reference to any law about how to proceed, and get along just fine (there's a growing trend in European cities, so I hear, wherein all traffic laws are abolished -- no speed limits, no traffic lights, etc -- and in the cities where it's been implemented, accident rates have plummeted).  But suggest that we do away with the state and laws and law enforcers, and they seem to panic:   as if they believe that it's only the magic of Law that keeps them from driving their car across the sidewalk and into the mall, dressing in nothing but spray paint, and assaulting the mailman when there are no cookies in their mailbox.

For me, that's the chief reason it's hard to get a rational discusssion from someone who insists "government" is necessary.  I don't believe that they think government is necessary, but rather have a gut feeling that it is.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Brugle on September 22, 2010, 03:23:55 pm
But suggest that we do away with the state and laws and law enforcers, and they seem to panic:
...
I don't believe that they think government is necessary, but rather have a gut feeling that it is.
I agree.  When I suggest eliminating the state, I typically get a response like "Eek! Blood in the streets!" and nothing I say dispels that image.

it seems to me that the concept behind a state, written constitution, written laws (codes) with (codified, ergo artificial) consequences, is that the interactions of real flesh-and-blood people can and should be reduced to a formula.
You could be right, but I wonder how many people who emotionally cling to the idea of a benevolent state do so because they agree (consciously or not) with that concept.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: NeitherRuleNorBeRuled on September 22, 2010, 05:51:17 pm
To say that a state is necessary, first you have to say what result you want that it's necessary for.

That's encompassed in the axioms.

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About starting one -- if it takes a lot of violence to get rid of the government, and you can't be sure what you'll get afterward, then I'd support it if the government is a lot worse than the usual. But unless a solid majority of the citizens are ready for AnCap that probably isn't what you'll get, instead you'll take pot luck for a new government. And if a solid majority is ready for AnCap you might get it without a violent revolution.

By and large, most individuals are apathetic when it comes to government, as long as it isn't interfering too much with how they think they want to live.  Apathy generally favors the status quo, since change takes effort.  I am opposed to any significant violence in getting rid of government, since that tends to fall into the classic tyrant pattern; I certainly accept that a small amount might be necessary in some circumstances.  This isn't based on ethics, but on pragmatism -- I'm generally willing to grant amnesty to former government folks if it will get them out of the way efficiently.

However, the threat of violence may be useful; while I don't encourage it myself (nor have much power to influence those who would threaten it), I recognize that there are those who will do so.  They may be useful as an incentive for practicing statists to "negotiate surrender" with those who do not threaten it; this would follow the basic pattern engaged in by US Statists in dealing with those associated with Martin Luther King and to avoid the perceived threat of violence from those associated with Malcolm X.

Generally, I think the best option is to leverage the general apathy by simply convincing large numbers that the State does not really exist; rather it is a mass hallucination or illusion which, once folks cease to believe in it, ceases to exist.  Of course there is a real organization underneath the illusion, consisting of con artists and thugs attempting to perpetuate it.  I think of it as analogous to the classic Star Trek episode "And the Children Shall Lead" where attorney Melvin Belli played an alien who presented the illusion of being a "good angel", but when that belief was shattered, there remained an evil, manipulative, and very real (but far less powerful) creature.  A good friend of mine, Richard Boddie, prefers the more modern metaphor of the Matrix with the same idea.

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RA Heinlein mentioned something he called "rational anarchism". If you don't recognize the authority of the state, you can live as an anarchist even though there's a state extorting money from you and threatening you with police etc. You oppose them when it seems worth it. You let them impose on you -- without conceding their right to do so, only their power -- when it isn't worth the fight.

I have held this view for many years, and have not been able to counter it, although I picked it up from Harry Browne in How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World (well before his forray into politics).  It dovetails nicely with the "Government is Illusion" meme I propose as well.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: NeitherRuleNorBeRuled on September 22, 2010, 05:54:00 pm
can anyone recommend one or more "superior" defenses for the necessity of the State? 

There are several arguments for the state (and responses to them) in Section II of Anarchy and the Law: The Political Economy of Choice edited by Edward P. Stringham.  [...]  I assume that the editors tried to include "superior" pro-state arguments, but I didn't find any of them persuasive.

Thanks, Brugle; this is exactly the sort of response I was looking for.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on September 22, 2010, 06:20:08 pm
I'm in the category of anarchist who will live (and possibly die) by the Zero Aggression Principle. 

Zero aggression is impractically purist.  A more realistic program is zero aggression to people who deserve zero aggression and belong to groups that deserve zero aggression

Example:  Xenophon and ten thousand Greeks have to march across Asia to get home.  In between them and home are a bunch of groups who refuse to let them pass, and/or refuse to let members of their group sell anything to outsiders without permission or buy anything from outsiders without without permission.   

So what is Xenophon going to do?  You guessed it:  Rape, slaughter, burn and loot.  And when he got back to Greece some people complained about this behavior.  In the twentieth century he would have been accused of colonialism, imperialism, racism, and sexism.  To which accusation he made a famous defense.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: MacFall on September 22, 2010, 06:23:45 pm
It is certainly not "impractically purist". I have not initiated force on anyone since I became a libertarian in 2006, and I am pretty damn sure I will die without having done so ever again. I call people who cannot obtain to that standard "criminals", and I believe that they are a tiny minority of the human race.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: NeitherRuleNorBeRuled on September 22, 2010, 06:55:58 pm
[Zero aggression is impractically purist.  A more realistic program is zero aggression to people who deserve zero aggression and belong to groups that deserve zero aggression.

The set of people who deserve zero aggression are those people who have not aggressed against others. "Groups" are simply collections of people.

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Example:  Xenophon and ten thousand Greeks have to march across Asia to get home. 

...having aggressed against many of those who they will meet again on the return.  They weren't on a "pleasure trip" getting there.

Now the "zero aggression principle" is not sufficient; in addition, some form of "penal theory" is needed to determine appropriate and acceptable responses to aggression -- e.g., death would not generally be an appropriate response to bumping someone in a crowd.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: MacFall on September 22, 2010, 08:57:17 pm
Involuntary nuisances are not aggressions in the first place, so no, it certainly wouldn't. And the ZAP already implies proportionality in retribution, because any retributive force that exceeds proportionality is itself aggressive.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: NeitherRuleNorBeRuled on September 22, 2010, 09:10:23 pm
Involuntary nuisances are not aggressions in the first place, so no, it certainly wouldn't. And the ZAP already implies proportionality in retribution, because any retributive force that exceeds proportionality is itself aggressive.

Both of these depend on the precise definitions of "aggression" and the ZAP itself.  I've been following this since the ZAP was known as the NCP (Non Coercion Principle) and then the NAP (Non Aggression Principle) and I've never seen generally accepted definitions of these that would clearly imply that  "involuntary nuisances" are not aggression or that "retributive force that exceeds proportionality" is aggression.

Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: wdg3rd on September 22, 2010, 09:33:37 pm
I'm in the category of anarchist who will live (and possibly die) by the Zero Aggression Principle. 

Zero aggression is impractically purist.  A more realistic program is zero aggression to people who deserve zero aggression and belong to groups that deserve zero aggression

I never claimed to be practical.  I can not initiate force against anyone.  I can only react to aggression.  This is self-programming I have been doing to myself for almost forty years since I found out I'm a berserker (not the robots in the stories, but the sort you find in Celtic and Norse legends and history).

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Example:  Xenophon and ten thousand Greeks have to march across Asia to get home.  In between them and home are a bunch of groups who refuse to let them pass, and/or refuse to let members of their group sell anything to outsiders without permission or buy anything from outsiders without without permission.   

So what is Xenophon going to do?  You guessed it:  Rape, slaughter, burn and loot.  And when he got back to Greece some people complained about this behavior.  In the twentieth century he would have been accused of colonialism, imperialism, racism, and sexism.  To which accusation he made a famous defense.

Southern Europe never was my field of study (aside from math history) but I have to assume that Xenophon and his troops pissed off a lot of people on their way east before they had to turn around in failure and go back through ground they'd covered with corpses.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: MacFall on September 22, 2010, 10:18:14 pm
. . . I've never seen generally accepted definitions of these that would clearly imply that  "involuntary nuisances" are not aggression or that "retributive force that exceeds proportionality" is aggression.

It seems like you're trying to play a "gotcha" game here. I'm not playing. It's not too hard to figure out that an extraproportional response to aggression is something other than defensive or restitutive force, and since there's only one other kind of force (aggression), there's not much room for ambiguity, regardless of what your definition of aggression is. Unless one defines it so differently from its generally accepted definition as to render it meaningless, of course.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on September 22, 2010, 11:39:07 pm

Example:  Xenophon and ten thousand Greeks have to march across Asia to get home.  In between them and home are a bunch of groups who refuse to let them pass, and/or refuse to let members of their group sell anything to outsiders without permission or buy anything from outsiders without without permission.   

So what is Xenophon going to do?  You guessed it:  Rape, slaughter, burn and loot.  And when he got back to Greece some people complained about this behavior.  In the twentieth century he would have been accused of colonialism, imperialism, racism, and sexism.  To which accusation he made a famous defense.

Southern Europe never was my field of study (aside from math history) but I have to assume that Xenophon and his troops pissed off a lot of people on their way east before they had to turn around in failure and go back through ground they'd covered with corpses.


They got hired as mercenaries to support a coup in Persia (Iran). They did their job adequately but the coup failed anyway. Their employer was dead and nobody wanted them, except maybe as slaves. They chose to try to get out following a route they hadn't traveled before. But who wants a foreign mercenary army in their backyard? If they start breaking your laws and you tell them not to and they don't stop, you have to put up with it or fight them....

We could get a modern analogue. Say you join a mercenary outfit that gets hired for a coup in Zambia. You're in Zambia when the coup falls apart, and the government forces are hunting you. You run for the border, but your problems are not over when your force crosses into Angola, or the Congo, or Tanzania. It's worse nowadays because you need bullets and gasoline, and if you use those up and there's no more to be bought or taken, then you're broken. Xenophon had men holding sharp objects, and they could keep fighting while they could get food and water.

Bruce Chatwin wrote about being a tourist caught in a failed coup just like that, in Benin. He wound up imprisoned for being white, because he *could* be one of the mercenaries trying to get away. He shared a cell with a frenchman who had been hunting birds, wearing camouflage. Ouch. Luckily the prison commandant was shot for being on the wrong side, and so they were both released. Or something. It was hard to tell what was really going on. Probably in Xenophon's time whatever Greeks happened to be nearby got into a lot of hot water for possibly being escaping mercenaries. But they weren't Xenophon's problem.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on September 22, 2010, 11:51:04 pm
It's not too hard to figure out that an extraproportional response to aggression is something other than defensive or restitutive force, and since there's only one other kind of force (aggression), there's not much room for ambiguity, regardless of what your definition of aggression is. Unless one defines it so differently from its generally accepted definition as to render it meaningless, of course.

If you have a cohesive community where people are agreed about all the details, then it isn't hard to see what the agreement is.

Given different communities, all bets are off. In one community it might be a deadly insult to call someone a schmoo but calling him a boojum is completely OK, in a different community it could be reversed, while a third community might hold that nothing you *say* justifies physical violence.

When strangers meet and both have good will and a generous disposition, they can sort out this kind of thing and come to an agreement that works for them.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on September 23, 2010, 12:05:51 am
Seems to me that the only "rule" an anarchist needs to check, very roughly stated, is: "Is the subject's behavior interfering with me or my interests?"
That sounds like the wrong question to ask. "Is the subject's behavior violating my, or anyone else's, rights?" would seem to be the correct question.

I agree.  When I suggest eliminating the state, I typically get a response like "Eek! Blood in the streets!" and nothing I say dispels that image.
Is the state necessary?

I don't believe that all human communities require a governmental structure in order to function. If we're talking about twelve people stranded on a deserted island, to suggest that they should have elections for a representative assembly is ludicrous.

So, the idea of a frontier society existing with minimal government like the one in EFT isn't implausible to me at all.

The state does, though, seem necessary to me to achieve these goals:


That's it. Incidentally, I do also think that even if people can voluntarily organize to defend themselves in a crisis, a crafty state enemy can bide its time, and wait until people get bored with constant effort for no apparent reason.

It seems like you're trying to play a "gotcha" game here. I'm not playing. It's not too hard to figure out that an extraproportional response to aggression is something other than defensive or restitutive force, and since there's only one other kind of force (aggression), there's not much room for ambiguity, regardless of what your definition of aggression is.
To start with, since the purpose of defensive force is to prevent an aggression from being accomplished, proportionality does not apply. The limitation on defensive force is to ensure it doesn't hit innocent targets.

To distinguish restitutive force from aggression, I agree that community involvement of some sort is likely to be a requirement. That can bring in a requirement that the amount of restitution is proportional.

My question is whether such a requirement is consistent with the zero aggression principle.

Maybe this sounds silly to you. You appear to be starting from an assumption that excessive restitution constitutes aggression.

I do think that there is a good case for ensuring that excessive restitution cannot be demanded for inadvertent or accidental injuries to others, on the basis of the kind of society most people would want to live in.

But when it comes to a deliberate and intentional violation of another person's rights, I'm not so sure.

In some cities, there are laws against fortifying your dwelling place, because criminals running crack houses have fortified those buildings - giving them time to destroy the evidence when police come to search. Such laws would not exist in an AnCap society. So, we can agree that a potential robber's rights are not violated by building your house in such a manner that it is impossible for the robber to succeed in breaking into it.

If that is the case, how are a robber's rights violated by decreeing that the penalty for breaking and entering with intent to commit theft is death? If he wishes to live, he may choose not to rob. Increasing the severity of the penalty for robbing until it is unreasonable... is just another way of effectively making robbery impossible. It isn't quite as certain as fortifying every house, but it's a lot cheaper.

That, of course, is an example that presupposes the existence of a government, going around decreeing penalties for crimes. If you don't have a government, it would seem that a man's home is his castle.

Each sovereign individual has authority over that which is his. You may only have that which is his by voluntary agreement with him. Period.

So, if A steals from a sovereign individual, and B decrees that the sovereign individual may demand no more than X from B as restitution - then, A and B together have obtained something that belongs to that sovereign individual... for a decreed price of X without the necessity of the consent of that sovereign individual. The power to limit restitution for torts is, therefore, inherently equivalent to the normal state power to initiate force arbitrarily.

That's why I am insisting that, at least on a theoretical level, demanding proportionality flies in the face of the Zero Aggression Principle. That doesn't mean it's "bad", just that if you want to include proportionality in restitution as part of AnCap, you should write it into the definition explicitly. And some thought as to the cases where proportionality is "obviously reasonable" might help in determining how that principle might be written.

The problem is that a way to avoid abusively low definitions of proportionality is needed - good old quis custodiet again. Even an AnCap society can't seem to get completely away from it. But then, maybe that was admitted all along; I know, for example, that I've been, quite reasonably, chided for demanding that an AnCap society should do better than a totalitarian state at completely suppressing crime.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on September 23, 2010, 03:27:43 am
Example:  Xenophon and ten thousand Greeks have to march across Asia to get home.  In between them and home are a bunch of groups who refuse to let them pass, and/or refuse to let members of their group sell anything to outsiders without permission or buy anything from outsiders without without permission.   

So what is Xenophon going to do?  You guessed it:  Rape, slaughter, burn and loot.  And when he got back to Greece some people complained about this behavior.  In the twentieth century he would have been accused of colonialism, imperialism, racism, and sexism.  To which accusation he made a famous defense.

Southern Europe never was my field of study (aside from math history) but I have to assume that Xenophon and his troops pissed off a lot of people on their way east before they had to turn around in failure and go back through ground they'd covered with corpses.

As I said "when he got home".  He succeeded.    War is hell - but refusal to allow trade and free passage is justly grounds for war.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on September 23, 2010, 03:29:00 am
It is certainly not "impractically purist". I have not initiated force on anyone since I became a libertarian in 2006, and I am pretty damn sure I will die without having done so ever again.
And may well die without freedom.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on September 23, 2010, 03:36:39 am
The set of people who deserve zero aggression are those people who have not aggressed against others. "Groups" are simply collections of people.

OK:  Suppose you have an enemy group:  Any member of the group that trades with you will be executed by other members of the group.  If you travel through areas where that group is predominant, some members of the group, impossible to distinguish or separate from other members of the group, will kill you.  If you stay far away from areas where that group is predominant, they will make demands that you must submit to, and if you conspicuously fail to comply, will raid into lands where they do not have significant membership in order to kill you.  Those of the group travelling in far lands to kill you are not readily distinguishable from members of the same group that are not trying to kill you, and those trying to kill you will receive protection and quiet support from those that are not trying to kill you - perhaps that support is not always willing support, but support it is.

There is an anarchic solution to this problem, and it worked, worked rather well.  It was, however, far from zero aggression.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: mellyrn on September 23, 2010, 10:49:36 am
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That sounds like the wrong question to ask. "Is the subject's behavior violating my, or anyone else's, rights?" would seem to be the correct question.

Quadibloc, I don't believe in "rights".  But stay on the bus with me for a moment:

"Rights" exist only in community.  If you are Robinson Crusoe on your island, you have no "rights"; the very concept is irrelevant -- until Friday shows up.  "Rights", therefore, are things granted or conceded or otherwise respected by someone else, some person else (a tiger may contest your abililty to live, but he ain't gonna argue your 'right' to live).  Privileges are also things granted, conceded, or respected by someone else.  In practical terms, the only difference I see is the spelling of the term -- or whether or not they are backed up by the larger community, which gets us into "laws".

The closest I can get to "rights" is this:  we humans do have a sense of boundaries vis-a-vis each other.  I have many years' experience living with my own kind.  I can make a pretty good guess (though still only a guess even as I get to know you better) as to what behaviors of mine will be regarded as trespass.  If I knowingly engage in a trespassing behavior anyway, I really don't get to pretend to be surprised or offended when you defend your boundaries.

I can, and do, respect your boundaries, to the best of my ability to guess them.  It makes my life so much simpler, most of the time.  You may, if you wish, claim that you have a 'right' to my respect of your boundaries, which is a kind of demand, but the claim/demand alone conveys nothing except your emotional intensity about it.  I don't claim that I have a 'right' to your respect of my boundaries.  I assume you will do whatever it is you do, and if I want my boundaries respected, it's my job to fend you off, not go to sleep on the assumption that you will not trespass.  In my sanity, I will make it as easy as possible for you not to cross my boundaries.  It would be nice if you did the same for me, but I don't expect it and I certainly don't demand it.

("Excessive" restitution -- by the very use of the descriptor "excessive" -- crosses the recipient's sense of boundaries.  When we cross someone else's frontier uninvited, we aren't exactly going to get them cheerfully signing on to our team.  What outcome do you want?  If you want a cessation of violence & hostility, excessive restitution is counterproductive.  If you want an excuse to go on fighting, then by all means carry on, and you don't get to be surprised or offended when hostilities escalate, unless you're really, really new at being human.)

You can say, "These are my rights."  You can also say, "These are my boundaries."  Both phrases warn me that I am taking a risk in violating them.  I prefer 'boundaries', as being less mystical.

I realize that "rights" is a word heavily freighted with emotion, and that merely by suggesting it might be rather an empty word, I am inviting some hostility.  Please know that I am not offering any hostility myself; I'm just saying that I personally find no practical value in the term -- except, as hinted before, as an emotional marker as to how strongly the user feels about the activity designated as a 'right'.  I respectfully request that, before you begin your reply (if any), you tell me if I've even made any sense, here.

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I do also think that even if people can voluntarily organize to defend themselves in a crisis, a crafty state enemy can bide its time, and wait until people get bored with constant effort for no apparent reason.

The beauty of a decentralized system is that there may well be no need to 'organize' for defense.  I note how well a large and powerful state did not do vs the defenders of Vietnam (US), or of Afghanistan (USSR).  Have you read The Sovereign Individual, by Davidson & Rees-Mogg?  It's a fascinating look at violence in terms of when it's worth it and when it isn't.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Brugle on September 23, 2010, 11:03:50 am
The state does, though, seem necessary to me to achieve these goals:

  • to organize into a single entity an unnaturally large number of people, who are diverse rather than sharing common goals, and
  • to organize a continued and ongoing defense against the depradations of other states.

Regarding your first goal: converting everyone into a Borg unit would be useful to those who run that particular Borg, but some of us diverse unassimilated people have other plans.

The local library had a campaign a few summers back, something like "Wouldn't it be great if everyone read the same book!"  My first reaction was "how creepy!"  Some government employees must have liked the idea.

Regarding your second goal: in general, rulers do not defend their subjects from other states' depredations.  Rulers coerce their subjects into defending the rulers from other states--in particular, into retaining their rule over their subjects.  It might happen that the ruler and the subjects have a common interest in resisting another state, but that would be coincidental.  What would a typical ruler do, given the choice of a) give up power to avoid a war (for the benefit of the subjects) or b) fight a long and bloody war to retain power (with the subjects paying the cost and getting no benefit)?
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: NeitherRuleNorBeRuled on September 23, 2010, 04:39:48 pm
. . . I've never seen generally accepted definitions of these that would clearly imply that  "involuntary nuisances" are not aggression or that "retributive force that exceeds proportionality" is aggression.

It seems like you're trying to play a "gotcha" game here. I'm not playing. It's not too hard to figure out that an extraproportional response to aggression is something other than defensive or restitutive force [...]

I was not playing some sort of "gotcha" game; I don't trust the Potter Stewart standard ("I know it when I see it").  I've encountered some who argue that there is no (theoretical) need to limit the response to some level of proportionality (and what proportion?); I've also seen examples of people who are extremely sensitive to potential "aggression" -- looking at someone too long or too intently (according to their perception and interpretation), is considered aggression by many.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: NeitherRuleNorBeRuled on September 23, 2010, 04:49:08 pm
The set of people who deserve zero aggression are those people who have not aggressed against others. "Groups" are simply collections of people.

OK:  Suppose you have an enemy group:  Any member of the group that trades with you will be executed by other members of the group. [...]  If you stay far away from areas where that group is predominant, they will make demands that you must submit to, and if you conspicuously fail to comply, will raid into lands where they do not have significant membership in order to kill you. 

If I stay far away, how are they going to make such demands?  And once they begin  "raiding lands" that they do not own, is that not aggression? 
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on September 23, 2010, 06:48:36 pm

I was not playing some sort of "gotcha" game; I don't trust the Potter Stewart standard ("I know it when I see it").

When you depend on "I know it when I see it" then for many people it matters a whole lot who's ox was gored.

But we don't have any good alternative. When people try to make rules that will apply to every case ahead of time, it falls apart. Look at Talmud. Look at the US legal code. Probably there is some way to apply Goedel's theorem, to prove that any legal system which actually covers all the bases will contain contradictions. I haven't done the proof, though.

I say, when people of good will and generous disposition get into disagreements about this stuff, they will find a way to coexist, that's good for both sides. And when people who're looking for a fight or looking for a special advantage get into disagreements about whose rights have been violated then they'll probably end up in a fight. The winner will suffer some consequences to his reputation, people will think he's disagreeable and tough. I can't really predict the results, but he's likely to face more violence when he gets into other situations and people assume he'll be implacable.

It's better if people get a tradition that the right thing is usually to accept arbitration. Then whoever initiates violence instead, in front of witnesses, has some explaining to do. When there are no witnesses and only one survivor then his story might be the only one that gets told....

So, try to listen to the other guy and reach an agreement if you can. Try to agree on an arbitrator and be ready to explain your side reasonably to the arbitrator. If nothing works then you might have no choice but to fight him and he might not agree to any rules. If you won't stand up for yourself then maybe your friends or hid enemies or people who care about justice will stand up for you. Or maybe they won't.

You might think it ought to always be obvious to everybody what's right. I guarantee it won't always be obvious to everybody. If there isn't a final authority that everybody has to obey, then you work things out the best you can.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on September 23, 2010, 07:48:48 pm
The state does, though, seem necessary to me to achieve these goals:

  • to organize into a single entity an unnaturally large number of people, who are diverse rather than sharing common goals, and
  • to organize a continued and ongoing defense against the depradations of other states.

Regarding your first goal: converting everyone into a Borg unit would be useful to those who run that particular Borg, but some of us diverse unassimilated people have other plans.

The problem that Quadribloc is referring to is the largest public good problem of them all - "the common defense"

Anarchist common defense looks somewhat like guerrilla war, somewhat like high level banditry and piracy - it definitely fails to respect the zero aggression principle.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Brugle on September 23, 2010, 08:17:23 pm
Anarchist common defense looks somewhat like guerrilla war, somewhat like high level banditry and piracy - it definitely fails to respect the zero aggression principle.
Perhaps you need to look up the word "defense".

Government defense (of itself) is definitely banditry (to its subjects).  Why would you think anarchist defense would resemble government defense?

Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on September 23, 2010, 08:42:25 pm
OK:  Suppose you have an enemy group:  Any member of the group that trades with you will be executed by other members of the group. [...]  If you stay far away from areas where that group is predominant, they will make demands that you must submit to, and if you conspicuously fail to comply, will raid into lands where they do not have significant membership in order to kill you. 

If I stay far away, how are they going to make such demands? 
A few members of the group are everywhere in the world.  They are all expected to look after the group's interests.  Some of them do - all of them pretend to the group that they do, and to outsiders that they do not - examples being communists and Muslims.

The question you ask assumes the group is a westphalian state that respects westphalian boundaries - but not every statelike group is a westphalian state, and westphalian states do not always respect westphalian boundaries.

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And once they begin  "raiding lands" that they do not own, is that not aggression? 
  It is aggression by some members of the group - who cannot be distinguished from other members of the group.  Again, communists and muslims will cry repression, a complaint that always has some truth in it.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on September 23, 2010, 08:44:50 pm
Anarchist common defense looks somewhat like guerrilla war, somewhat like high level banditry and piracy - it definitely fails to respect the zero aggression principle.
Perhaps you need to look up the word "defense".

Perhaps you need to look at examples of successful defense by non state entities.  War is hell.  And in anarchy, defenders need to make a profit.

Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on September 24, 2010, 03:15:32 am
I realize that "rights" is a word heavily freighted with emotion, and that merely by suggesting it might be rather an empty word, I am inviting some hostility.  Please know that I am not offering any hostility myself; I'm just saying that I personally find no practical value in the term -- except, as hinted before, as an emotional marker as to how strongly the user feels about the activity designated as a 'right'.  I respectfully request that, before you begin your reply (if any), you tell me if I've even made any sense, here.
Oh, yes, you are making sense. You are expressing a point of view that others have expressed. It's one I don't agree with, but to defend my point of view, I will have to work quite hard, because despite the fact that my point of view which opposes yours on this issue is very widely accepted, that doesn't mean that there is much in the way of solid evidence in its favor.

Most religious creeds, the Declaration of Independence, and, for that matter, the Zero Aggression Principle, take it for granted that "right and wrong", or morality, have objective existence. Thus, a statement such as "Negro slavery was wrong", while it might be false instead of true, is clearly a statement with meaningful semantic content, despite being about morality, which is abstract - just as the statement "All the complex zeroes of the Riemann Zeta function are on the line 0.5 + iy where y is real" is either true or false, even if we don't, yet, know which one it is.

Mathematics, however, can be viewed as a pure application of the rules of logic. Since logic is a useful tool for dealing with the real world, and, for that matter, geometry, arithmetic, and calculus are useful in this manner, the accuracy of mathematical reasoning is, at least in some cases, susceptible to being checked.

There are two ways to think of behavior like lying, cheating, and stealing.

One way is to consider them to be behavior that will cause you not to be well-liked in your community, and that will weaken any society that tolerates them.

Another is to regard them as intrinsically wrong in themselves, period.

It is generally felt by many that the latter way of thinking about them is more useful for encouraging people not to be willing to resort to lying, cheating, and stealing whenever they feel they might not get caught. And so when people raise their children, they will tend to inculcate morality on the basis of the theory of natural rights - or on the basis of the moral code of a revealed religion.

Maybe this is an illusion which imprisons our thinking. However, I don't think just tossing it out, and not replacing it with a clearer view of morality which still leads to much the same place, constitutes progress. If people don't believe that anything is really "right" or "wrong" at bottom, then the only reason for not becoming a tyrant, able to use everyone else as an instrument to one's goals, is that one can't manage to pull it off. My reaction to someone like Kim Jong-Il isn't "Lucky stiff to have achieved what everyone else aspires to", and I don't think it would be a good thing if that was other people's reaction to him either.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on September 24, 2010, 08:19:51 am
<sigh> Always importing the "anarchy == chaos" lie, every chance.

Defense in an anarchic society isn't something we need to speculate about; it happens every time someone defends life, liberty or property without invoking the State. It is estimated that Americans use guns to defend themselves about one million times per year. The number of times defense happens with less vigorous tools and methods is probably much, much greater than that.

Why do hoplophobes know so little about self-defense? They assume that every act of defense must send someone on a one-way trip to the morgue. Therefore, they believe the number of acts of defense must be comparable to the number of deaths.

The reality is, over 95% of the time, defense does not require injuring or killing anyone. It doesn't require a fight, merely a credible declaration of intent. 

Anarchists don't need to utterly destroy would-be invaders; that's the collectivist way of thinking. It's easier ( and far more profitable ) to demonstrate two things: those who initiate force will suffer; those who engage in voluntary non-coercive exchanges will profit. This channels activity into voluntary exchanges which benefit both the would-be invader and the locals. What's not to like?

Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on September 24, 2010, 08:46:23 am

Most religious creeds, the Declaration of Independence, and, for that matter, the Zero Aggression Principle, take it for granted that "right and wrong", or morality, have objective existence. Thus, a statement such as "Negro slavery was wrong", while it might be false instead of true, is clearly a statement with meaningful semantic content, despite being about morality, which is abstract - just as the statement "All the complex zeroes of the Riemann Zeta function are on the line 0.5 + iy where y is real" is either true or false, even if we don't, yet, know which one it is.

Its meaningful semantic content, though is something like "I disapprove of Negro Slavery and I think everybody else ought to disapprove too.".

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Mathematics, however, can be viewed as a pure application of the rules of logic. Since logic is a useful tool for dealing with the real world, and, for that matter, geometry, arithmetic, and calculus are useful in this manner, the accuracy of mathematical reasoning is, at least in some cases, susceptible to being checked.

Mathematics starts from axioms, assumptions which are accepted as true. You can reason about what has to follow from your chosen axioms, and if you accept the axioms and the rules of logic, then the conclusions have to be true whenever the axioms are. Goedel's theorem shows that for any finite group of axioms that's "interesting", either there are some things which definitely cannot be proven true or false from those axioms, or there are some things which can be proven both true and false. We want to avoid the case where you can prove things true and false both. So we're left knowing that for things like the real numbers, we cannot find enough axioms to reason from to settle all the questions.

If you have a mathematical proof, and if you find a real-world example that does not fit the proof, that means either there is a mistake in the proof or else it means the axioms of the proof do not fit the real-world situation you want to apply them to.

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There are two ways to think of behavior like lying, cheating, and stealing.

One way is to consider them to be behavior that will cause you not to be well-liked in your community, and that will weaken any society that tolerates them.

Another is to regard them as intrinsically wrong in themselves, period.

I take the former view. Here is a quick explanation about lying: If you lie and  people find out, they will tend not to trust you again and there may be other consequences for you too. So that's not good. If you lie and you are believed, then you have led people into an alternate universe, they think they are living in a different reality but they are likely to bump into things they didn't know were there. It could hurt them in ways you can't predict ahead of time. This is not something to do to your friends, or potential friends. It might be a good tactic against your enemies. When people catch you lying they are likely to think you class them as your enemy.

Unless you are cultivating enemies, tell the truth as you know it. Sometimes the truth to tell people is "It's none of your business.".

This reasoning generalizes. Try not to tell people anything they won't believe, whether or not it's true. They will think you are lying. But if it's something they need to know then tell them anyway despite the cost to you, and do what you can to convince them.

On a deeper level, you don't know what the truth is. You wouldn't know the truth if it drilled through your skull. Pretty much everything you know is interpretation, and might in fact be poor interpretation. And it isn't a trivial exercise to copy an idea out of one head and into another. People usually do not get the same implications you do. The words don't mean the same things to them. Saying you have to tell the truth is like saying you have to avoid killing anything. You kill bacteria in the air with every breath, they stick to your mucus and die. You can no more tell the Truth than you can say the Word from the beginning the Word that is with God and that is God.

In the interest of telling people things they need to understand, you can't just do a core dump of what you know. To be successful you have to start with what you understand about them, and guess what approach they'd follow easily, and make up a kind of story that they'll like to listen to. Try to design it so they'll get the ideas you want to get across, and not something you didn't intend. I don't do that very well at all, I tend to write the sort of thing I'd read, without paying enough attention to my audience. Particularly I tend to write too long. I'll stop here.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: SandySandfort on September 24, 2010, 09:12:38 am
Anarchists don't need to utterly destroy would-be invaders; that's the collectivist way of thinking. It's easier ( and far more profitable ) to demonstrate two things: those who initiate force will suffer; those who engage in voluntary non-coercive exchanges will profit. This channels activity into voluntary exchanges which benefit both the would-be invader and the locals. What's not to like?

In my high school, there was a guy called, "Mick." He was smaller than average, but after one or two incidents, the bullies never bothered him. He was a tough little son-of-a-bitch and would never give up in a fight. To get him to stop fighting back you could either knock him out or kill him, otherwise he kept it coming, irrespective of how much you hurt him. Sure, a larger assailant could eventually put him out, but at what cost? Any "win" against Mick was a Pyrrhic victory. The bully left the field of battle, bruised and bloody. Bullies aren't stupid. It's always easier to find more passive victims. Now think about the Afghans against the British, the Soviets and now the US...

"No man in the wrong can stand up against a fellow that's in the right and keeps on a-comin."
 -- Motto of the Texas Rangers.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: mellyrn on September 24, 2010, 10:18:28 am
First let me say how much I like this forum.  This is a real breath of fresh air -- you guys think.


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There are two ways to think of behavior like lying, cheating, and stealing.

One way is to consider them to be behavior that will cause you not to be well-liked in your community, and that will weaken any society that tolerates them.

Another is to regard them as intrinsically wrong in themselves, period.

It is generally felt by many that the latter way of thinking about them is more useful for encouraging people not to be willing to resort to lying, cheating, and stealing whenever they feel they might not get caught.

What do those people say to their children when the kids ask, "But why is it wrong?"  When you were a kid, did you feel that "It just is" was a satisfactory answer?

When I was about 9, I did a bit of shoplifting.  My thinking was, "Sharing is supposed to be good; here's this guy with all this candy, and he's not sharing.  I know I am not supposed to just take it [but that was all I knew about it, 'not supposed to'] -- and I know he is 'supposed' to share."  When my kids were about 9, we played shopkeeping games, and they learned that the candy in the guy's store was not, in fact, his to "share".  We played with both large and small profit margins till they got the concept.  I told them that especially the little stores had pretty small profit margins, so a small loss amounted to a disproportionately large hurt.  I should go ask them, now that they're all grown, how it worked out -- though I will say (absolutely blushing with pride) that I once had a tent merchant grab her neighbor merchant to watch her stuff in order to chase me & spouse down to say "Thank you!" for how well our kids had behaved in her store.

My thought in child-rearing was to explain, as best I thought they could understand, why I wanted what I wanted of them.  And if I could not explain -- I revisited my own motives and principles to find out why I was asking for the thing in the first place.  Many times I dropped my request (and grew myself in the process).  This earned me the trust of my kids to the point that one time (ONE), when I was really really uncomfortable with something two of them wanted to do but I couldn't explain even to myself, I just said, "Please don't.  It just makes me really really uncomfortable".  And they didn't; they modified the original plan to something that accommodated both them and my insecurities.

I think people do better when they have a 'why'.  That's when they've made it their own.

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On a deeper level, you don't know what the truth is. You wouldn't know the truth if it drilled through your skull. Pretty much everything you know is interpretation, and might in fact be poor interpretation. And it isn't a trivial exercise to copy an idea out of one head and into another.

Sweet. 
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: macsnafu on September 24, 2010, 10:35:23 am
. . . I've never seen generally accepted definitions of these that would clearly imply that  "involuntary nuisances" are not aggression or that "retributive force that exceeds proportionality" is aggression.

It seems like you're trying to play a "gotcha" game here. I'm not playing. It's not too hard to figure out that an extraproportional response to aggression is something other than defensive or restitutive force [...]

I was not playing some sort of "gotcha" game; I don't trust the Potter Stewart standard ("I know it when I see it").  I've encountered some who argue that there is no (theoretical) need to limit the response to some level of proportionality (and what proportion?); I've also seen examples of people who are extremely sensitive to potential "aggression" -- looking at someone too long or too intently (according to their perception and interpretation), is considered aggression by many.


On a theoretical level, it's pretty straightforward.  You use enough defensive force to stop the aggression, or if after the fact, you use enough retaliatory force to restore or compensate the victim.  Anything more than that is obviously a new aggressive act, by definition.

On a practical level, I would agree that it can be difficult to tell what is an appropriate or proportionate level of force, but still, these things can usually be approximated.  Staring at someone too hard might indeed be considered "aggression" by some (although I would think it's just a matter of invasion of personal space), but would shooting someone for staring be considered appropriate by any reasonable person? 
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: NeitherRuleNorBeRuled on September 24, 2010, 04:19:49 pm

I was not playing some sort of "gotcha" game; I don't trust the Potter Stewart standard ("I know it when I see it").

When you depend on "I know it when I see it" then for many people it matters a whole lot who's ox was gored.

That's why I always try to use the POS/POVI (Principle of Symmetry/Point of View Invariance) principle.  One can derive the ZAP from it.  I also use it to evaluate penal theory.

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But we don't have any good alternative. When people try to make rules that will apply to every case ahead of time, it falls apart. Look at Talmud. Look at the US legal code. Probably there is some way to apply Goedel's theorem, to prove that any legal system which actually covers all the bases will contain contradictions. I haven't done the proof, though.

Both the Talmud and the US legal code were indirectly designed to be both inconsistent and impenetrable.  I say "indirectly" because neither was truly designed with these as the direct goal; rather there was a total disregard for consistency and clarity.  As Tony Hoare remarked (paraphrased), "A [thing] can be either so simple it obviously has no defects or so complex it has no obvious defects."  He was referring to computer programs, but this applies equally well to other systems.  In law especially, it's worth noting that the US Congress does not even work with the actual laws they are attempting to implement, but rather they work with "high level" descriptions of those laws.  In essence, they work on the design document and leave it to bureaucrats to write the code from them.  Of course, they don't even bother with any reviews to see if the code matches the design.

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It's better if people get a tradition that the right thing is usually to accept arbitration. Then whoever initiates violence instead, in front of witnesses, has some explaining to do. When there are no witnesses and only one survivor then his story might be the only one that gets told....

So, try to listen to the other guy and reach an agreement if you can. Try to agree on an arbitrator and be ready to explain your side reasonably to the arbitrator. If nothing works then you might have no choice but to fight him and he might not agree to any rules. If you won't stand up for yourself then maybe your friends or hid enemies or people who care about justice will stand up for you. Or maybe they won't.

I heartily approve of arbitration, but what principle(s) should be used in the arbitration -- especially in the case of making the aggrieved parties whole and the question of whether or not "punitive damages" should be included, and if so, how to determine them? 

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You might think it ought to always be obvious to everybody what's right. I guarantee it won't always be obvious to everybody. If there isn't a final authority that everybody has to obey, then you work things out the best you can.

This is entirely in agreement with my position that we need principles to cover penalties, rather than using the "Potter Stewart" approach.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on September 24, 2010, 06:50:25 pm
I think people do better when they have a 'why'.  That's when they've made it their own.
Oh, now, I do agree with that.

But a reason why something is wrong still leads to the conclusion that it is wrong. Whereas a reason why something is inadvisable leads to the conclusion that it is inadvisable.

The way I see it, morality can start with some basic first principles.

"You wouldn't like it if someone else hit you" can be used to derive the modest conclusion that hitting someone else without a good reason is inadvisable, or the more ambitious conclusion that it violates the other person's rights, and is therefore intrinsically wrong. So I'm not talking about not giving reasons for behavioral injunctions, but rather whether one couches those instructions in practical terms, rights-oriented terms, or moralistic terms.

One problem with practical reasons for good behavior is that they don't apply if you don't get caught. Another problem is that such language lacks... emotional intensity. Refraining from something because it's wrong, it's evil, it transgresses against another's rights - is something one is more firmly committed to than refraining from something because... it's inexpedient.

The basic principles of right and wrong, to my mind, are:

Not to do injury to others, except
- as a response to injury from those others (to oneself or an innocent third party), or
- a minimal injury required in an emergency (holding an infected person under quarantine, or a suspect in advance of trial)

To include damage to, or deprivation of, a person's property in the definition of injury.

Here, we look at how what belongs to no one can become something that belongs to the person who did work on it to make something out of it. (This is not an exhaustive definition of property, though; we have the right to breathe, even though we haven't improved the air - and, similarly, while you can take land away from trees and animals to make a farm from it, it does not follow that the hunting grounds of indigenous people may be treated in the same way.)

And where other rules are needed, they need to be made in a way that is fair; they can't be written to favor one particular person or group of persons unless there is some prior difference that justifies that.

Principles as basic as this don't really have a 'why'; they're the postulates of morality rather than its theorems.

(I should note, though, that this is a "why" in terms of deductive reasoning. There's also inductive reasoning. Thus, if you tell a child stories about people interacting with each other, treating one another with kindness or with cruelty, and these stories elicit an emotional response, the basic postulates of morality can be derived from these slices of life by inductive reasoning - they tell us about what we feel is right and wrong.)
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: NeitherRuleNorBeRuled on September 24, 2010, 07:40:48 pm
If I stay far away, how are they going to make such demands? 
A few members of the group are everywhere in the world.  They are all expected to look after the group's interests.  Some of them do - all of them pretend to the group that they do, and to outsiders that they do not - examples being communists and Muslims.

I'm going to ignore the "communist" and "Muslim" red herrings; they are both based on a flawed worldview promoted by those who wish to dehumanize some individuals, both inside and outside the sets of those who identify with the labels.

If some individuals demand, I decline, and watch for aggression.  If one or more individuals then attempts aggression, I respond.  If no one attempts aggression, I don't.  It may be that most or all of them won't.

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The question you ask assumes the group is a westphalian state that respects westphalian boundaries - but not every statelike group is a westphalian state, and westphalian states do not always respect westphalian boundaries.

I never said or assumed they were a westphalian state, other than the original scenario had their people "owning" some areas but not all. 

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And once they begin  "raiding lands" that they do not own, is that not aggression? 

  It is aggression by some members of the group - who cannot be distinguished from other members of the group.  Again, communists and muslims will cry repression, a complaint that always has some truth in it.
[/quote]

The folks I have a problem with are those who are aggressive.  Mere group membership is irrelevant to me.  If one does not aggress against me  or threaten to,  I have no problem with them.  Life's too short to create extra, artificial enemies, no matter how much some would like me to.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on September 24, 2010, 08:58:08 pm

I was not playing some sort of "gotcha" game; I don't trust the Potter Stewart standard ("I know it when I see it").

When you depend on "I know it when I see it" then for many people it matters a whole lot who's ox was gored.

That's why I always try to use the POS/POVI (Principle of Symmetry/Point of View Invariance) principle.  One can derive the ZAP from it.  I also use it to evaluate penal theory.

To the extent that this works, it's a good start for reaching agreement. I doubt anything will work all the time.

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But we don't have any good alternative. When people try to make rules that will apply to every case ahead of time, it falls apart. Look at Talmud. Look at the US legal code. Probably there is some way to apply Goedel's theorem, to prove that any legal system which actually covers all the bases will contain contradictions. I haven't done the proof, though.

Both the Talmud and the US legal code were indirectly designed to be both inconsistent and impenetrable.  I say "indirectly" because neither was truly designed with these as the direct goal; rather there was a total disregard for consistency and clarity.  As Tony Hoare remarked (paraphrased), "A [thing] can be either so simple it obviously has no defects or so complex it has no obvious defects."  He was referring to computer programs, but this applies equally well to other systems. 

My experience has been that tools which are so simple they obviously have no defects, allow *lots* of room for defects on my part when I try to use them. To make something truly foolproof you need to simplify your goals to the point that you never attempt any complicated result.

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[...]
It's better if people get a tradition that the right thing is usually to accept arbitration. Then whoever initiates violence instead, in front of witnesses, has some explaining to do. When there are no witnesses and only one survivor then his story might be the only one that gets told....

So, try to listen to the other guy and reach an agreement if you can. Try to agree on an arbitrator and be ready to explain your side reasonably to the arbitrator. If nothing works then you might have no choice but to fight him and he might not agree to any rules. If you won't stand up for yourself then maybe your friends or hid enemies or people who care about justice will stand up for you. Or maybe they won't.

I heartily approve of arbitration, but what principle(s) should be used in the arbitration -- especially in the case of making the aggrieved parties whole and the question of whether or not "punitive damages" should be included, and if so, how to determine them? 

I personally would start with the principles that people in some circumstances can reasonably assume that nothing bad will happen to them or their property but in other circumstances this assumption is not reasonable. That accidents happen. That people have a right to compensation for things that disadvantage them under some circumstances but not others. That it's better for people to provide compensation in a form they can afford, if possible. That it's better to find an arrangement everybody can live with if possible, but occasionally people can't live together in the same world and somebody has to die.

Nobody has to choose me for a mediator. If somebody else has different principles and they agree on him, that's fine.

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You might think it ought to always be obvious to everybody what's right. I guarantee it won't always be obvious to everybody. If there isn't a final authority that everybody has to obey, then you work things out the best you can.

This is entirely in agreement with my position that we need principles to cover penalties, rather than using the "Potter Stewart" approach.

If you get a group of people who agree on principles then that makes it easier when they deal with each other. They may occasionally disagree about how the principles should be applied.

You will inevitably find yourself dealing sometimes with people who do not agree with your principles. Then you can negotiate an arrangement with them that you both can accept, that might in some way seem to bend your principles or might not. Or you can get your group together and tell the other guy he has to live by your principles or your group will do something to him. Or you can live with him until he does something you can't accept and you choose to kill him. Or you can decide he's a menace or something, and kill him now.

Say you get your group together and tell him he has to agree to your legal principles when he doesn't want to. That looks like the start of a government to me. But if you don't do that, you *will* find yourself interacting with some people who don't agree to your principles. Maybe a lot of people. So I say, principles are nice when you happen to agree on them. And failing that, work out some way to coexist even without that agreement. And if you plain can't coexist, it's good if you can find a way to kill him that won't scare your other neighbors. Maybe your family will be better off if people think he wrongly killed you, than if they think you wrongly killed him. It doesn't have to go that way but it might.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on September 24, 2010, 10:37:51 pm
If I stay far away, how are they going to make such demands? 
A few members of the group are everywhere in the world.
If some individuals demand, I decline, and watch for aggression. 
So what did you do on "everrybody draw Mohammed" day?

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The folks I have a problem with are those who are aggressive.  Mere group membership is irrelevant to me.
So you treat Christian requests for respect exactly like Muslim demands for respect?  Riiiiiight.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: NeitherRuleNorBeRuled on September 24, 2010, 10:57:31 pm
If some individuals demand, I decline, and watch for aggression. 

So what did you do on "everrybody draw Mohammed" day?

I don't recall; I know I didn't draw Mohammed; I don't draw. 
[/quote]

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The folks I have a problem with are those who are aggressive.  Mere group membership is irrelevant to me.

So you treat Christian requests for respect exactly like Muslim demands for respect?  Riiiiiight.

Well, I've never had anyone both identify themselves as Muslim and demand respect; I would also tend to treat someone who demanded respect differently than someone who requested respect.  I do have a modicum of respect for Islam (they are only one step away from enlightenment and tolerate their gnostics, as opposed to Christianity who tried to wipe theirs out and probably as a result are  waay off in terms of enlightenment.  I've also experienced persecution by aggressive Christians, and none to date from Muslims (aggressive or otherwise).  Nevertheless, by and large I've not had difficulty dealing with those associated with either group, and have shown respect for them and received the same.

The problem with many Muslims is that they fail to differentiate between residents of the US and the government of the US.  But that's also the problem with many non-Muslims as well.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on September 24, 2010, 11:03:13 pm
The folks I have a problem with are those who are aggressive.  Mere group membership is irrelevant to me.  If one does not aggress against me  or threaten to,  I have no problem with them.  Life's too short to create extra, artificial enemies, no matter how much some would like me to.
This is very reasonable and just. One wishes to deal with people who are trying to harm you, not innocent people they happen to look like.

But could it not happen that this might not be good enough?

After all, it wasn't possible to determine, on September 11, 2001, that the hijackers were going to be hijackers when they were boarding their flights. So not letting people you know to be hijackers on airplanes... that policy was already in effect, but it didn't prevent the deaths of thousands of people that day.

On the other hand, if no one of Arab descent had been allowed on an airplane flying over United States airspace, the terrorist attacks on that day would have been prevented.

If one holds that for an innocent person to be barred permanently from flying over the United States is a minor inconvenience, while death is permanent irreversible annihilation, and thus the death of an innocent person is a horrible and unacceptable tragedy... then this seems to be an entirely reasonable precaution, which we were only prevented from taking because of hysterical extreme left-wingers who shout "racism" at every opportunity even when it makes no sense.

The sort of people who think it's "discrimination" to only allow male sports reporters into the locker rooms of male football players, for example.

The idea, basically, is that since the terrorists are willing to commit suicide in their attacks, punishing them after the fact won't deter them. To prevent a terrorist attack, we have to keep the terrorists away from their targets. But we don't know who the terrorists are. So we have to keep everyone who might be a terrorist away from those targets.

And then the bleeding-heart liberals come along and say, well, that's everybody, and so you would have to keep everybody away from everything.

But the fact is that while the risk of another Timothy McVeigh might be impossible to avoid without shutting everything down, the risk posed by terrorism associated with Islam is avoidable. (And that risk actually is higher, per passenger, in the case of people from that part of the world - otherwise, we could refuse to allow left-handed people to fly, in order to avoid the risk of airplane hijackings by left-handed people, which presumably we could also manage to do without.)

Besides the argument that the unfairness involved in that is miniscule compared to the unfairness of a terrorist attack to its victims, there's also the claim that there actually is justice in such a wide-scale restriction: because the Islamic world has failed to raise its children right, it didn't teach them to respect members of other faiths as equals, it taught them to think that God intends for Muslims to lord it over non-Muslims, and to fight against any attempt to overturn this natural order.

This sort of thinking, of course, comes naturally to those people who feel that no one - except a police officer, a security guard, or a trusted close personal friend - ought to be allowed in their presence with a firearm.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: NeitherRuleNorBeRuled on September 24, 2010, 11:39:18 pm
The folks I have a problem with are those who are aggressive.  Mere group membership is irrelevant to me.  If one does not aggress against me  or threaten to,  I have no problem with them.  Life's too short to create extra, artificial enemies, no matter how much some would like me to.
This is very reasonable and just. One wishes to deal with people who are trying to harm you, not innocent people they happen to look like.

But could it not happen that this might not be good enough?

After all, it wasn't possible to determine, on September 11, 2001, that the hijackers were going to be hijackers when they were boarding their flights. So not letting people you know to be hijackers on airplanes... that policy was already in effect, but it didn't prevent the deaths of thousands of people that day.

The problem here was that the hijackers failed to look at individuals rather than groups.

 They had a very legitimate case against members of the US government aggression  throughout the Middle East (setting loose numerous "Butcher Harris" clones).  While many strains of "penal theory" may find that this was a disproportionate response, it is worth noting that there were peaceful objections, then local attacks (Lebanon), and only later a response in the US.

Were I to think in terms of groups rather than individuals, I would have to find the hijackers' actions totally appropriate and acceptable, if largely unsuccessful.  However, I do not.  I do find them individually guilty of mass first and second degree murder of the crews and passengers of the flights, and those in the World Trade Center.

However I also hold many in the US government (now and in the past), as well as the puppet thugs they empowered in the Middle East equally culpable.

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On the other hand, if no one of Arab descent had been allowed on an airplane flying over United States airspace, the terrorist attacks on that day would have been prevented.

This is your proposed solution? Harm even more people in more ways?  Give the thugs even more power?   Reward the initial aggressors? 

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If one holds that for an innocent person to be barred permanently from flying over the United States is a minor inconvenience, while death is permanent irreversible annihilation, and thus the death of an innocent person is a horrible and unacceptable tragedy... then this seems to be an entirely reasonable precaution, which we were only prevented from taking because of hysterical extreme left-wingers who shout "racism" at every opportunity even when it makes no sense.

Orwell couldn't have said it better.

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\The idea, basically, is that since the terrorists are willing to commit suicide in their attacks, punishing them after the fact won't deter them. To prevent a terrorist attack, we have to keep the terrorists away from their targets. But we don't know who the terrorists are. So we have to keep everyone who might be a terrorist away from those targets.

No, the best way to handle it is to resolve the legitimate claims of those who become the "terrorists".  Gather up all the war criminals still alive in the US and turn them over to the victims (or their families in the case of those who were killed)., and let them stand for their aggression.   Where restitution is called for, fund it out of the property and estates of those who were guilty (starting with the Presidents and members of Congress, then the executive bureaucrats and military officers, then those in "middle management" down to the front lines, as needed).  Do that, and those who recruit terrorists will find it far, far more difficult to recruit, and the legitimate victims in the US (or their families....) will have the credibility to seek jjustice.

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Besides the argument that the unfairness involved in that is miniscule compared to the unfairness of a terrorist attack to its victims, there's also the claim that there actually is justice in such a wide-scale restriction: because the Islamic world has failed to raise its children right, it didn't teach them to respect members of other faiths as equals, it taught them to think that God intends for Muslims to lord it over non-Muslims, and to fight against any attempt to overturn this natural order.

This is neither point of view invariant, nor viewing individuals as such.  One could just as easily argue that the unfairness of the terrorist attacks was miniscule compared to that of the innocent victims in the Middle East.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: wdg3rd on September 25, 2010, 12:26:08 am
My experience has been that tools which are so simple they obviously have no defects, allow *lots* of room for defects on my part when I try to use them. To make something truly foolproof you need to simplify your goals to the point that you never attempt any complicated result.

If the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like your thumb.

Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: wdg3rd on September 25, 2010, 01:03:37 am

This is neither point of view invariant, nor viewing individuals as such.  One could just as easily argue that the unfairness of the terrorist attacks was miniscule compared to that of the innocent victims in the Middle East.

Sometimes, NeitherRuleNorBeRuled, I'm almost willing to cut my own throat.  We keep having to deal with individuals who insist on considering other individuals as members of groups rather than as individuals.  Or considering theirselfs as members of groups rather than as individuals.  The mind fucking boggles sometimes.

Your nom is similar to a slogan I adopted decades ago and I forget who originated it:  "I am no man's master and no man's slave".
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: wdg3rd on September 25, 2010, 01:16:09 am
Will somebody please stop the forum software from changing f u c k to f r a c k?  Everybody around here is an adult (or would be in a libertarian society).
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on September 25, 2010, 02:26:19 am
No, the best way to handle it is to resolve the legitimate claims of those who become the "terrorists".  Gather up all the war criminals still alive in the US and turn them over to the victims (or their families in the case of those who were killed)., and let them stand for their aggression. 

So what war crimes have Thais, Filipinos, Nigerians, Swiss, and so on and so forth committed against the terrorists?

Islam has been making war on infidels pretty much continuously for fourteen hundred years.  The only thing that provokes them is that we do not submit to Islam, and the only thing that has ever successfully stopped them was measures of quite horrifying brutality.  We are at war with Islam, not "terror".  You may not think you are at war with Islam, but Muslims think Islam is at war with you.  To stop Islam from making war on us, we have to commit substantially greater terror than they do.  In fourteen hundred years, it is the only thing that has ever worked.

The only time we have ever had peace from Islam was from 1830 to 1960, when there were western colonists on Islamic lands.  Just as the Gaza settlers protected Israel by taking the violence, those colonial settlers protected the west by taking the violence.

Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: mellyrn on September 25, 2010, 09:15:48 am
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On the other hand, if no one of Arab descent had been allowed on an airplane flying over United States airspace, the terrorist attacks on that day would have been prevented.

Quite apart from the possibility of stolen identities (http://archives.cnn.com/2001/US/09/21/inv.id.theft/), if no one of Arab descent had been allowed into the Murrah building in OK City, that attack would have gone right ahead.  (I got rather a kick, admittedly macabre, after OK City by sniping at my shorthaired clean-chinned friends:  Grow a beard, ya look like a terrorist!)

Forget your "bleeding-heart liberals" -- I dislike "racial profiling" because it's stupid:  it will only maybe stop that one sort of harm, while leaving the profiler open to a false sense of security.

There's a reason why a "land of the free" MUST be a "land of the brave" -- only the brave dare live free.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on September 25, 2010, 10:51:08 am
No, the best way to handle it is to resolve the legitimate claims of those who become the "terrorists".
The trouble with that is that there never were any such claims.

Jews came to Palestine, when it was under British rule (of course, I suppose one could argue about the legitimacy of that), and bought land through voluntary transactions.

Violence was instigated against them, and in response to the violence, the U.N. authorized the Jews of Palestine to separate the area in which they lived from the government of all Palestine, so that they could defend themselves through controlling movement into the areas in which they lived.

This resulted in the states surrounding the new nation of Israel descending on it to push it into the sea.

They failed - just barely. It is only after that failure that Israel grew to include areas where Arabs lived; Arabs who had moved out of the way to facilitate the attack on Israel. This is where the original Palestinian refugee problem came from.

So this is the great historic injustice about which the Islamic world complains to this day.

The Jews had the effrontery to deny us our God-given right to kill them and rape their daughters whenever we felt like it. We reacted to this by attempting to wipe them out, and they compounded their crime by pushing back. I'm sorry, but I have absolutely no sympathy for this complaint.

Look at how Coptic Christians are treated in Egypt, just as an example. We are dealing with a group where this kind of garbage is what is taught to the children... and hardly anyone dares to speak out. To deal with them as individuals instead of as a group, we would need to occupy the countries involved in order to break the back of the ability of the Islamic supremacists to intimidate everyone else into acquiescing to this doctrine.

Of course, this is the favored justification for colonialism. Sadly, neither the American Indians, nor the Australian Aborigines, nor the people of sub-Saharan Africa, had time to study the Treaty of Westphalia or the Geneva Convention (well, that hadn't actually been written yet) before the Europeans came, and so when defending their lands against intruders, they perpetrated a few excesses... which the colonists then used as the justification for almost wiping them out and taking nearly all their land.

Taking from a savage his "unimproved" hunting grounds is not unlike denying someone the right to breathe the air - so I don't buy Ayn Rand's facile attempt to justify the seizure of much of the world by European colonists. I'm just not sure that being revanchist on the claims of indigenous people would, at the moment, really lead to a better world. The existence of the U.S. may rest on a historic wrong - but it kept the Nazis and the Communists from world conquest, so I think we should keep it around for a little longer.

I know this makes me a cowardly person unworthy of freedom, but I have bigger worries.

Since Israel has now admitted as immigrants the Jews from poor countries that no one else would take, and the refuseniks from Russia... if the U.S. or Australia just accepted the Jews of Israel as immigrants, it would be a way to buy peace in the Middle East, even if it could be felt this rewarded bad behavior or was unjust. Take the other non-Muslim minority members out of there too, and build a big wall around the Islamic world so that one could just forget about it for a few centuries. That is what the most tempting solution is right now.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on September 25, 2010, 12:14:52 pm

Jews came to Palestine, when it was under British rule (of course, I suppose one could argue about the legitimacy of that), and bought land through voluntary transactions.

Violence was instigated against them, and in response to the violence, the U.N. authorized the Jews of Palestine to separate the area in which they lived from the government of all Palestine, so that they could defend themselves through controlling movement into the areas in which they lived.

Etc.

This is a moral fable designed to make one government look justified in whatever they choose to do.

Nasrudin was made a judge for his piety, but he didn't know much about law. On his first case, the plaintiff was so persuasive that Nasrudin stood up and said, "I believe you're right!" The scribe patted him back down. "Now now, Judge Nasrudin, you have to listen to the defendant first." So Nasrudin listened, and the defendant was so eloquent that Nasrudin stood up and said, "I believe you're right!" The scribe patted him back own. "Now now, Judge Nasrudin. They can't both be right, now can they?" Nasrudin stood up and said, "I believe you're right!"

Shouldn't you listen to the defendant first?

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The Jews had the effrontery to deny us our God-given right to kill them and rape their daughters whenever we felt like it. We reacted to this by attempting to wipe them out, and they compounded their crime by pushing back. I'm sorry, but I have absolutely no sympathy for this complaint.

This is not a very good parody.

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Taking from a savage his "unimproved" hunting grounds is not unlike denying someone the right to breathe the air - so I don't buy Ayn Rand's facile attempt to justify the seizure of much of the world by European colonists.

But you do buy it from Israel.

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Since Israel has now admitted as immigrants the Jews from poor countries that no one else would take, and the refuseniks from Russia... if the U.S. or Australia just accepted the Jews of Israel as immigrants, it would be a way to buy peace in the Middle East, even if it could be felt this rewarded bad behavior or was unjust.

I agree with that. I don't care if it "rewards" bad behavior. Not like other groups will see us rewarding Israelis and do the same thing hoping we'll reward them too. I'm a little concerned that if the more "moderate" Israelis come to the USA, that will leave a larger proportion of hotheads deciding about nukes when they feel desperate.

It would make a lot of sense to accept palestinians into the USA too. Compared to Palestine or Israel the USA is truly a land of opportunity. And there are plain too many people there for the water table to support. It would be too many people if it was only Israelis, and it would be too many people if it was only palestinians.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on September 25, 2010, 01:28:55 pm
Nasrudin was made a judge for his piety, but he didn't know much about law. On his first case, the plaintiff was so persuasive that Nasrudin stood up and said, "I believe you're right!" The scribe patted him back down. "Now now, Judge Nasrudin, you have to listen to the defendant first." So Nasrudin listened, and the defendant was so eloquent that Nasrudin stood up and said, "I believe you're right!" The scribe patted him back own. "Now now, Judge Nasrudin. They can't both be right, now can they?" Nasrudin stood up and said, "I believe you're right!"
I am concerned about how Palestinians are getting pushed aside for settlements in the West Bank too.

But this story reminds me of something unrelated when it comes to my political views.

The left winger comes to me, and tells me about the sad life of a child born to poor parents, and how poverty causes suffering to innocent children. And I say to the left winger, "I believe you're right!".

The conservative comes to me and tells me it is unfair for people who work hard, and have only a few children, to be taxed heavily, and thus be prevented from achieving their ambitions for their children, for the benefit of other people who chose to have many children, even though they didn't have the resources to support them. And I say to the conservative, "I believe you'r right".

And someone reminds me that these two views contradict each other. Here, while I acknowledge this is generally believed, I say that we can think outside the box.

So what the government should do is perform a vasectomy on every 10-year-old boy, and then reverse the operation for those who can prove financial responsibility when they are married later! (There was an author in Britain who proposed something sort of like that, but with an older age, back in the 'sixties.)

Both the left-wingers and the conservatives would, of course, howl in rage at this kind of government intrusiveness.

And then I can grin back at them and suggest, therefore, that they might consider reaching a compromise, since both their moral arguments are "right", but attempting to follow both at once is even worse than following just one and ignoring the other.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on September 25, 2010, 04:07:03 pm

....
And then I can grin back at them and suggest, therefore, that they might consider reaching a compromise, since both their moral arguments are "right", but attempting to follow both at once is even worse than following just one and ignoring the other.

Yes.

People generally have not thought much about these issues.

Once I wanted a cat, so I went to the local SPCA in San Francisco. They had cats each in a carpeted "apartment". About 100 square feet each, split-level with toys and swings etc. They wanted $200 for a cat, and they demanded to inspect my home to make sure it would be suitable for a cat, and to do a background check to make sure I would be a good cat-owner. They insisted that I promise I would keep the cat indoors all the time. All of their cats were neutered.

I didn't want a neutered cat. The woman explained that there were far too  many cats in the world and so they suffered. The pound collected lots of cats that could not get homes, and they had to kill them. Barrels and barrels of dead cats. Unless cats were neutered many more cats would be born to suffer.

I disagreed. I wanted my cats to have a chance to have kittens and I would try to find homes for them. I wanted my cats to be successful. She could not see that point of view, she insisted that it was irresponsible and she got pretty emotional about it.

I almost gave her the same offer, but out of practicality I didn't say it out loud. "Here's the deal. If you agree, I will take you home. You will never leave the house. I will feed you and pay for your collar and leash and kibble and everything you need. I will have you neutered. I will do my best to give you a pleasant life as my pet, and when you get too old I will have you painlessly euthanised. What do you say?" But I was concerned she might freak out while completely missing the point.

Cats are evolved to not be at the top of the food chain. They have four or five kittens a year, and in good years they have two litters. On average no more than 10% or so of them live to reproduce. These people want to subvert that, to catch as many wild cats as possible and convert them to neutered domesticated cats. They want the surviving cats to be the ones produced by human breeders.

I agree with RA Lafferty, "Ishmael into the Barrens". It's better to have a short life than no life at all. It's better to have a real life with some pain than to be irrelevant.

Trying to create utopia for cats is completely unworkable. One pair of unneutered cats can have 30 kittens over 3 to 6 years. It just does not make sense. Making a utopia for human beings where nothing bad can happen is similarly unworkable.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on September 25, 2010, 04:51:09 pm
So you treat Christian requests for respect exactly like Muslim demands for respect?  Riiiiiight.

Well, I've never had anyone both identify themselves as Muslim and demand respect;

You have certain had people identify themselves as Muslims and demand respect for Muslims.  You may practice methodical individualism, but you have to interact with people who do not.

I observe a lot of people in this forum speaking of Christians in ways that they would never dream of speaking of Muslims.  They are responding to menacing demands for respect, and conceding to those demands.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: NeitherRuleNorBeRuled on September 25, 2010, 08:16:13 pm
So you treat Christian requests for respect exactly like Muslim demands for respect?  Riiiiiight.

Well, I've never had anyone both identify themselves as Muslim and demand respect;

You have certain had people identify themselves as Muslims and demand respect for Muslims.  You may practice methodical individualism, but you have to interact with people who do not.

While those I've encountered who have identified themselves as Muslm, none has demanded respect for Muslims (either personally or others who identify as Muslim) in my presence.  Perhaps this is because I've never seen anyone show disrespect to them (or others) in my presence.  I cannot truthfully say that none of them have never made such a demand out of my presence.  I cannot truthfully say that any of them has made such a demand out of my presence, either.  To say otherwise would be to make assumptions -- such as assuming that I have met persons who meet both criteria,  I endeavor to avoid such assumptions, as they would diminish my credibility.

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I observe a lot of people in this forum speaking of Christians in ways that they would never dream of speaking of Muslims.  They are responding to menacing demands for respect, and conceding to those demands.

An alternate explanation is that they, as I, have directly encountered one or more people who identify as Christian, and have used force or credible threat of force (including indirect use by petitioning others in the form of "government") against me or others who have asked my assistance. I personally have encountered this numerous times with "Christians", but have yet to encounter the same with "Muslims".  I recognize this may be due to the number of "Christians" I interact with far exceeding the number of "Muslims";  however this is not certain, and to accept it would be yet another assumption.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: mellyrn on September 25, 2010, 09:12:53 pm
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Making a utopia for human beings where nothing bad can happen is similarly unworkable.

It is indeed.

My father-in-law used to send his kids out to clean up the family yard with the instructions, "Only pick up the big pieces of trash."  Half an hour later, they would be on the verge of fetching tweezers to get these tiny, tiny flecks of paper or plastic -- because, of course, once the very biggest pieces were removed, no longer available for comparison, they still saw "big" pieces to be picked up.

If nothing else, if you could arrange a utopia where the worst bad that could happen was a hangnail, the residents would be as deeply traumatized by the hangnail as a free hunter-gatherer would be by having his children eaten by bears.

The Cerereans live on the hairy edge.  They have to be brave to live there at all, ergo they are free.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on September 25, 2010, 09:15:16 pm
I observe a lot of people in this forum speaking of Christians in ways that they would never dream of speaking of Muslims.  They are responding to menacing demands for respect, and conceding to those demands.

An alternate explanation is that they, as I, have directly encountered one or more people who identify as Christian, and have used force or credible threat of force (including indirect use by petitioning others in the form of "government") against me or others who have asked my assistance.

Bullshit.  Give specifics of this remarkable event.

The preacher who threatened to burn a bunch of Korans is being fined two hundred thousand dollars.  Sure sounds like government force to me.  What is the guy who made piss Christ being fined?

I personally have encountered this numerous times with "Christians",

I find this hard to believe.  Give a concrete and specific example.

I think that what you have observed is that if you utter disrespectful words about Muslims you are likely to be punished, whereas it is easy and safe to utter hate filled words about Christians, demonize them to justify those that murder them - and so you condemn the people who are being attacked, and support the people who are attacking.

Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Tucci78 on September 26, 2010, 08:11:22 am

Cats are evolved to not be at the top of the food chain. They have four or five kittens a year, and in good years they have two litters. On average no more than 10% or so of them live to reproduce. These people want to subvert that, to catch as many wild cats as possible and convert them to neutered domesticated cats. They want the surviving cats to be the ones produced by human breeders.

--
Hm. The species we call Felis catus (the housecat) is rather less "evolved" over the past nine-and-a-half millennia than it has been bred to suit its role as domesticated animals, serving as companion critters and/or vermin control mechanisms (consider the intact tomcat's characterization as "the original ball-bearing mousetrap"). 

Because feral housecats are arguably an invasive species in many environments and themselves qualify as vermin, efforts have been made - often very stupidly, in my opinion - to remove them, exterminate them, or sterilize them and so reduce their impact in those environments. 

From the perspective of anybody trained in biology to any significant level, that's damned dumb.  For example, the U.S. Navy has from time to time spent tens of thousands of dollars to clear feral cats out of the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, but never to any long-term effect.  The presence of prey species within the twelve-hundred-plus acres of the facility draws hungry (or otherwise predatorily interested) cats the way a Form 1040 Schedule C draws the attention of an IRS agent.

Yet another predatory species classifiable as vermin, but that's neither here nor there....

The reproductive ability of F. catus is a species advantage only if it goes feral.  Note that it is emphatically not an individual advantage, as housecats tend not to cooperate in hunting or other activities when in the wild, and are instead intensely exclusionary in their territoriality.  Bearing kittens shortens the life of each fecund female housecat, to no objective benefit whatsoever, and the competition to sire them gets tomcats mutilated and killed.

Cats kept as pets can benefit indirectly through their ability to breed only as their humans value the kittens sired or delivered, but that's a whole 'nother matter. 

Lose a couple or three housecats to infectious diseases (like feline leukemia) picked up while roaming the neighborhood and the case for keeping them indoors becomes both apprehensible and persuasive.

If kept indoors away from such infectious disease risks, and without deliberate intent to breed them, what the hell does it matter whether a domestic pet cat is left intact or neutered to abate the nuisances of females in estrus and males scent-marking every vertical surface around them?
--
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: mellyrn on September 26, 2010, 08:43:58 am
Quote
[racial profiling] will only maybe stop that one sort of harm,

On reflection, it doesn't even do that much.  At best it only postpones trouble, and very likely increases the risk, as it is much like trying to cure a disease by suppressing a symptom.  It turns previously-neutral people hostile; it may even turn previously-friendly people hostile; either way, risk is increased.  It also lets your targets know what you are thinking.  If I intend you harm and I am visually distinctive by my "race" and I know you are "profiling" people who look like me, I am also bright enough to include as a line item in my "fools I will destroy you all" budget, "Hire agents from people who look like them."  Better yet, "Hire agents from people who look like my greatest enemy."  Bwahaha.  And I ain't exactly the brightest bulb on the string.

Racial profiling lets the profiler feel all warm and fuzzy about having Done Something towards reducing the threat even as he's increased his danger and reduced the number of friends he can call on.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: mellyrn on September 26, 2010, 08:46:41 am
Quote
Cats are evolved to not be at the top of the food chain.

What is at the "top" of the food chain?

Mosquitos?
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on September 26, 2010, 10:18:16 am
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Cats are evolved to not be at the top of the food chain.

What is at the "top" of the food chain?

Mosquitos?

Sorry, shorthand notation.

The usual terms here are "r-selected" and "K-selected". R-selected organisms have lots of offspring and most of them die before they can reproduce. K-selected organisms have a few offspring and many of them survive to reproduce.

Most human populations in modern societies are currently K-selected. We have infant mortality rates below 10% and the death rate goes way down from there. It's possible for a human woman to have 16 or so children. My grandmother lived in the mountains and she had 13 pregnancies including 5 who were stillborn or died before they were christened. But few postindustrial women do that by choice today.

Cats are set up to have rather more offspring than that. They tend to have 5 kittens per litter where humans usually have only one. They can have 2 litters a year, and seldom go a year without a litter. They are "designed" to have a high mortality rate. Whether that's from being eaten (not top of the food chain) or other reasons is not really the point
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on September 26, 2010, 10:39:19 am
The species we call Felis catus (the housecat) is rather less "evolved" over the past nine-and-a-half millennia than it has been bred to suit its role as domesticated animals, serving as companion critters and/or vermin control mechanisms (consider the intact tomcat's characterization as "the original ball-bearing mousetrap"). 

Most places, most times, people didn't breed cats. The cats worked out for themselves who to mate with. Humans did throw rocks etc at the cats they liked least, though.

Quote
The reproductive ability of F. catus is a species advantage only if it goes feral.  Note that it is emphatically not an individual advantage, as housecats tend not to cooperate in hunting or other activities when in the wild, and are instead intensely exclusionary in their territoriality.  Bearing kittens shortens the life of each fecund female housecat, to no objective benefit whatsoever, and the competition to sire them gets tomcats mutilated and killed.

Cats kept as pets can benefit indirectly through their ability to breed only as their humans value the kittens sired or delivered, but that's a whole 'nother matter. 

Lose a couple or three housecats to infectious diseases (like feline leukemia) picked up while roaming the neighborhood and the case for keeping them indoors becomes both apprehensible and persuasive.

If kept indoors away from such infectious disease risks, and without deliberate intent to breed them, what the hell does it matter whether a domestic pet cat is left intact or neutered to abate the nuisances of females in estrus and males scent-marking every vertical surface around them?
--

Well, in evolutionary terms, an individual who doesn't reproduce has not contributed genes to the next generation. Loser. So you aren't thinking in those terms, you're thinking about -- what? What the cat wants? What you think the cat wants?

So I like my metaphor. Women face dangers out in the workplace, and whenever they leave home they could catch diseases. And there are significant health risks to pregnancy. And their periods are messy. So wouldn't you want your daughter to be sterilized and kept inside my harem for the rest of her life where she won't have any of those risks and dangers? That's better for her as an individual, exactly as it's better for her cat.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: NeitherRuleNorBeRuled on September 26, 2010, 07:44:21 pm
I observe a lot of people in this forum speaking of Christians in ways that they would never dream of speaking of Muslims.  They are responding to menacing demands for respect, and conceding to those demands.

An alternate explanation is that they, as I, have directly encountered one or more people who identify as Christian, and have used force or credible threat of force (including indirect use by petitioning others in the form of "government") against me or others who have asked my assistance.

Bullshit.  Give specifics of this remarkable event.

Some friends of mine owned several strip clubs and adult bookstores.  A number of "Christians" led primarily by a group from Rod Parsley's World Harvest Church set about picketing these businesses (and thereby attempting to intimidate potential customers), and lobbied local "law enforcement" to find ways to shut them down (one of which was to bring state-sponsored civil suits to close them down -- these suits did not permit juries, thus ensuring that the predetermined decisions were made by the professional thugs).

I participated in a number of counter protests; at one of these I was nearly attacked by one of these self-identified "Christians" who did not like my heterodox interpretation of the Crucifixion of Jesus.   He backed down when one of his comrades pointed out that there were several witnesses including an attorney, who were not aligned with them.
[/quote]


Quote
The preacher who threatened to burn a bunch of Korans is being fined two hundred thousand dollars.  Sure sounds like government force to me.  What is the guy who made piss Christ being fined?

I have seen it suggested that (a) said preacher requested special protection, and (b) the "fine" was in fact a bill for that protection.

Quote
I personally have encountered this numerous times with "Christians",

I find this hard to believe.  Give a concrete and specific example.

I think that what you have observed is that if you utter disrespectful words about Muslims you are likely to be punished, whereas it is easy and safe to utter hate filled words about Christians, demonize them to justify those that murder them - and so you condemn the people who are being attacked, and support the people who are attacking.

I gave a concrete and specific example above.  I note that there was no one who identified as Muslim in the groups that tried to deprive honest, beneficial, sex-positive workers from engaging in consensual business. If they had, I would react differently.  Instead, there was a group of hate-filled, force initiating individuals who self-identified as "Christian"  doing so. 
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on September 26, 2010, 11:44:35 pm
I have seen it suggested that (a) said preacher requested special protection, and (b) the "fine" was in fact a bill for that protection.
I've seen (b) suggested without (a). In that case, the city shouldn't have a leg to stand on. Taxing people extra because you don't like their lawful actions is an initiation of force which even those who accept taxes and conscription in principle recognize as an infringement of freedom.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on September 27, 2010, 01:08:38 am
For all the 9/11 theorists who whine that all Muslims should have been strip-searched in order to avoid the hijackings, I suggest a far more practical solution, comprised of two parts:

1) the government should stop bombing Muslims in the name of America. This will greatly reduce the supply of potential terrorists.
2) everyone who boards a plane should be asked "9mm, .45acp, or .38?" as in "which caliber handgun would you like to carry?

Any terrorist wannabe would then be greatly outnumbered. End of problem.

I observe that, when the government wishes to recruit terrorist wannabes in order to entrap them and make the government look like a) there is a threat and b) something is being done about it, the government does not distribute pamphlets with selected Quran verses for recruiting tools. The government recruiters do not whine about miniskirts and freedom. No, the government recruiters choose to use a more effective approach: wads of money and complaints about the number of Muslims being killed by the government itself.

If Jamesd's theories about the Quran are correct, then he should persuade the American government recruiters to switch to a far more efficacious method, and to distribute his diatribes on the Quran. This will enable far more wannabes to be entrapped, if his theories are even approximately correct.
 
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Tucci78 on September 27, 2010, 02:30:01 am
Well, in evolutionary terms, an individual who doesn't reproduce has not contributed genes to the next generation. Loser. So you aren't thinking in those terms, you're thinking about -- what? What the cat wants? What you think the cat wants?

So I like my metaphor. Women face dangers out in the workplace, and whenever they leave home they could catch diseases. And there are significant health risks to pregnancy. And their periods are messy. So wouldn't you want your daughter to be sterilized and kept inside my harem for the rest of her life where she won't have any of those risks and dangers? That's better for her as an individual, exactly as it's better for her cat.

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Once a critter comes into domestication, they're effectively out of the evolutionary lottery altogether.  Think instead in those terms. 

The selection pressures upon any domesticated animal are not at all dependent upon the individual specimen's viability in a natural ecological niche, or its contribution to species survival - meaning reproduction - as a free agent, but rather how well its appearance and performance suit the desires of the sapient entities which have domesticated said critter.

But whether domesticated or feral, can a cat even be said to have "wants" in the same sense that one speaks of human beings electing options?  While animals such as cats, dogs, birds, and even fish can be conditioned to certain behaviors in response to stimuli, they lack the quality of moral agency, and for this reason they are treated as objects for legal purposes, not as entities capable of committing criminal acts.

A woman - being human and functioning without such mental impairment as to oblige certification as legally incompetent - is capable of moral agency.  She can sign a contract, enter into matrimony (in some states, even with a person of her own gender), foster and adopt children, commit felonies, seek and secure occupational licensure, sign mortgage papers, all that kinda stuff.

And my own personal daughter, with her third kid having entered Kindergarten this year, doesn't need to get herself sterilized.  After that last pregnancy, her husband elected to have himself a vasectomy, and assuming that marital fidelity continues, I'm not going to wind up with yet another grandchild on the birthdays-and-Christmas gift list.

There is a fatuous tendency to anthropomorphize animals.  This is, while excusable in small children and people dumb enough to believe that Barry Soetoro had been  born in a still-as-yet-unspecified labor and delivery unit in Honolulu instead of in Mombasa's Coast General Hospital, unacceptable in those who make a pretense at presenting themselves as capable of reasoned thought.

Your metaphor bites.
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Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on September 27, 2010, 09:54:42 am
Well, in evolutionary terms, an individual who doesn't reproduce has not contributed genes to the next generation. Loser. So you aren't thinking in those terms, you're thinking about -- what? What the cat wants? What you think the cat wants?

So I like my metaphor. Women face dangers out in the workplace, and whenever they leave home they could catch diseases. And there are significant health risks to pregnancy. And their periods are messy. So wouldn't you want your daughter to be sterilized and kept inside my harem for the rest of her life where she won't have any of those risks and dangers? That's better for her as an individual, exactly as it's better for her cat.

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Once a critter comes into domestication, they're effectively out of the evolutionary lottery altogether.  Think instead in those terms. 

It depends. We've bred most of our chickens to the point they probably can't survive in the wild at all. Likewise our corn. Lots of stuff can survive, depending on their environment.  And surviving under domestication is still survival.

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The selection pressures upon any domesticated animal are not at all dependent upon the individual specimen's viability in a natural ecological niche, or its contribution to species survival - meaning reproduction - as a free agent, but rather how well its appearance and performance suit the desires of the sapient entities which have domesticated said critter.

That applies more to animals that get bred by humans who choose which get to breed and which offspring to cull. Mostly humans have let cats handle that. Humans have tended to drown whole litters at once based on random factors rather than choose the cutest kittens out of a litter to survive. We have killed some adult cats based on our convenience, but that's true of all animals and plants we interact with. We have tended to create male deer with juvenile or deformed antlers by preferring to kill those with magnificent racks, for example. There aren't many "natural" ecological niches left on the planet if you care about that kind of thing.

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But whether domesticated or feral, can a cat even be said to have "wants" in the same sense that one speaks of human beings electing options?  While animals such as cats, dogs, birds, and even fish can be conditioned to certain behaviors in response to stimuli, they lack the quality of moral agency, and for this reason they are treated as objects for legal purposes, not as entities capable of committing criminal acts.

The central thing is that they don't know english to tell us about their moral agency. So we don't think of them as fellow citizens. That's an arbitrary standard, but it's what we use.

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There is a fatuous tendency to anthropomorphize animals.

And there is a cold-blooded tendency to treat animals as inanimate things. "They have no souls." "They can't feel pain." It's arbitrary either way.

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Your metaphor bites.

Your esthetic judgement is open to being judged by my esthetic judgement. I judge your morality according to my morality. And vice versa.

My original point was that the people who try to make sure that nothing bad every happens to any cat are being obviously silly, and the same applies to people who try to keep anything bad happening to US citizens -- for the same reasons.

I personally try to keep bad things from happening to my friends. I choose to think of my pets as friends, and it's fine for me to want good things (as I see things as good) for my pets. You choose to think of your pets as possessions that have no rights and whose lives have no meaning except as they please you. That's your privilege. I would not give you a kitten, just as you would not give me your friend's daughter.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: MacFall on September 27, 2010, 10:20:01 am
I find this hard to believe.  Give a concrete and specific example.

The Southern Baptist Convention's ardent support for the wars in the Middle East, the Patriot Act, and the war on drugs.

I'm a Christian myself, and I'm definitely in agreement with NRNBR. Many Christians in the USA (to my ongoing sorrow and frustration) believe that the American state is divinely appointed to do God's work on the Earth. Some of them believe that to that end there should be Christians in control of it. Of those who believe neither of those things, most are apathetic; even if they believe the state is "bad" they still believe we should accept it. A minority believe that the Church should reject political power entirely and seek non-political solutions to the world's problems - they are the ones who take Christ's command to love their neighbors seriously. Such Christians range from "apolitical" people who take no particular stance against the state in the abstract to anarchists (like myself) who consider the state to be antichrist, and something which we have a duty to tear down. But here in America, we are a minority within a minority. The heresy of state-worship is ubiquitous in this country.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Brugle on September 27, 2010, 12:11:58 pm
No, the best way to handle it is to resolve the legitimate claims of those who become the "terrorists".
The trouble with that is that there never were any such claims.
Innocent people who have been orphaned or maimed or tortured or raped or stolen from have no legitimate claims?  Sometimes you seem to make some sense, but this is idiocy.

So this is the great historic injustice about which the Islamic world complains to this day.
You (and some other people including some Muslims) may be obsessed with the past.  But most of us (including most Muslims) are more concerned with the present.

Large numbers of innocent people in the Middle East (many of them Muslims) have been (and are continuing to be) murdered, maimed, tortured, raped, stolen from, and impoverished by agents of the US government and by agents of governments supported by the US government.  This is a great present injustice about which the civilized world complains today.

Of course, many terrorists make the same mistake that you and other collectivists make.  You and they blame a group of people (such as Muslims or Americans) for the actions of some members of that group.  It's barbaric when they do it and it's barbaric when you do it.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Brugle on September 27, 2010, 01:11:01 pm
Taxing people extra because you don't like their lawful actions is an initiation of force which even those who accept taxes and conscription in principle recognize as an infringement of freedom.
I don't think so.  Those who accept taxes and conscription in principle have abandoned freedom in principle.  Once you recognize the state's right to dispose of your life and your wealth as it sees fit in principle, what reason can you have to oppose the state's disposing of your wealth as it sees fit in a particular case?
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Tucci78 on September 27, 2010, 01:29:33 pm
The central thing is that they [animals] don't know english to tell us about their moral agency. So we don't think of them as fellow citizens. That's an arbitrary standard, but it's what we use.
--
Not at all "arbitrary."  Throughout human history there has been a helluva problem with the treatment of human beings as the property of someone else, as "less than human," put under the command of some aristocracy or priesthood or monarchy or bureaucracy because they're not good enough to think and act for themselves.  Chattel slavery, serfdom, peonage, corvee labor, "bride price" and "cookstove accidents" resulting in unsatisfactory wives getting burned to death, castrati and other people involuntarily mutilated, human victims of religious sacrifice (which is how the gladiatorial combats of ancient Rome got started, remember), "life unworthy of living."

Do not bring up the subject of America's War of Northern Aggression as if it had anything but a mythological connection to slavery.  Considering that our legends hold that the first shots of that conflict were fired upon a customs post in Charleston Harbor, its more appropriate to call it "The War to Enforce the Morrill Tariff."

A lot of hard thought and dickering went into the development of the concept of moral agency as the touchstone of what is and is not a human being.  Americans not utterly crippled by having been run through the mulching machine that politicians and bureaucrats have made of the country's educational systems tend to have an adequate appreciation of what the philosophical Enlightenment entailed, and how the political product of that Enlightenment is our own United States of America, centered upon the concept of government as a service agency of defined responsibilities and powers, held "down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."

People who call "arbitrary" the distinction between non-sapient animals and human beings are  not only quite contemptibly stupid, but they're dangerously stupid. 

It's not that there's much risk in elevating Fluffy-Wuffy to the status accorded a human child when it's not a matter of push come to shove.  It's an indulgence that available resources make it possible to enjoy.  Sometimes.

But when faced with a situation in which your favorite pet is in the middle of the swimming pool along with a random wandering four-year-old child you've never seen before, your first priority had better be to get that kid out and safe and undergoing whatever resuscitation might be required.  To hell with Fluffy-Wuffy.

Is that an "arbitrary" discrimination?  Bullpuckey.
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Your esthetic judgement is open to being judged by my esthetic judgement. I judge your morality according to my morality. And vice versa.

My original point was that the people who try to make sure that nothing bad every happens to any cat are being obviously silly, and the same applies to people who try to keep anything bad happening to US citizens -- for the same reasons.

I personally try to keep bad things from happening to my friends. I choose to think of my pets as friends, and it's fine for me to want good things (as I see things as good) for my pets. You choose to think of your pets as possessions that have no rights and whose lives have no meaning except as they please you. That's your privilege. I would not give you a kitten, just as you would not give me your friend's daughter.

I repeat: "Bullpuckey."  It is emphatically not an "esthetic judgement."  It is a moral judgment. 

I am as prone to emotional investment in household pets as I suppose any other average American without experience in animal husbandry might be (the farm work I did in my youth dealt entirely with garden truck, orchards, and viniculture; we didn't even keep chickens).  Animal labs in college and med school were - literally - nightmares for me. 

But I wouldn't want a kitten from you or anyone else.  I've never sought pets.  That's always been the decision of dependents in my household, even though I'm the one who inevitably winds up responsible for feeding them, cleaning up after them, doctoring them when they fall ill, and burying them when they die. 

Behavioral biology - "animal psychology" - having been an interest of mine since adolescence, I've taken pains to learn how to provide any animal under my stewardship with the sorts of social cues to which their species respond with optimum levels of comfort and confidence, and thus far I've found that when rejected or neglected by their nominal owners, the pets in my household always seem to seek me out for emotional and physical succor. 

Your random kitten would be a helluva lot better off with me as its caretaker than you'd like to think.  I don't mistake cats for human beings, but adapt my comportment to suit their instinctual interactive behavior sets.  They sure as hell have only the most limited ability to reciprocate, and I have no unreasonable expectations that they could develop such.

They're not people.  Within their capacities, however, they can live in contentment and show affection. To impose upon them suffering or other hardship I can abate is something I mark as personally dishonorable.

Now, that's a matter of aesthetic judgment.
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Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Brugle on September 27, 2010, 01:34:58 pm
in evolutionary terms, an individual who doesn't reproduce has not contributed genes to the next generation. Loser.
Wrong.  In evolutionary terms, what matters is the (copies of) genes that get passed into succeeding generations, not where the (copies of) genes come from.  In general, the man who allows his 2 young siblings to die and raises his child to adulthood is an evolutionary loser compared to the man who raises his 2 young siblings to adulthood and allows his child to die.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Brugle on September 27, 2010, 01:45:20 pm
The central thing is that they [animals] don't know english to tell us about their moral agency. So we don't think of them as fellow citizens. That's an arbitrary standard, but it's what we use.
--
Not at all "arbitrary." ...

Thank you.  Your post is much better than what I would have written.

By the way, I enjoyed the entire post, but I agree with Sandy that you've been a bit verbose. ;) [I am guilty of verbosity at times.]
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on September 27, 2010, 02:54:01 pm
This is, while excusable in small children and people dumb enough to believe that Barry Soetoro had been  born in a still-as-yet-unspecified labor and delivery unit in Honolulu instead of in Mombasa's Coast General Hospital,
I take it you're referring to one Barack Hussein Obama.

It is unclear to me why there is any reason to suspect that he is not a native-born American citizen. None of the claims otherwise have come from any part of the respected mainstream news media, after all. Since Americans who dissent from prevailing views don't live in fear of being hauled away to slave labor camps in the middle of the night, surely this means that the mainstream press here isn't filled with lies and propaganda!

Of course, this could be a whopping case of the fallacy of the excluded middle. Maybe we just think we're free, but all the news organizations of any size have been co-opted. Because of my personal experience in knowing that people who say "Einstein was wrong" are themselves wrong, and so on and so forth, I'm not inclined to give any credence to people outside the mainstream - but what may be sound reasoning in distinguishing science from pseudoscience may not be equally applicable to politics.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on September 27, 2010, 03:07:45 pm
in evolutionary terms, an individual who doesn't reproduce has not contributed genes to the next generation. Loser.
Wrong.  In evolutionary terms, what matters is the (copies of) genes that get passed into succeeding generations, not where the (copies of) genes come from.  In general, the man who allows his 2 young siblings to die and raises his child to adulthood is an evolutionary loser compared to the man who raises his 2 young siblings to adulthood and allows his child to die.

You are right. Siblings each have on average half his genes, and his children have half his genes, it's two for one.

However, neutered cats don't get a lot of chances to aid the survival of their non-neutered siblings. They tend not to have non-neutered siblings, and they get little chance to contribute. So I believe the point I was making does stand.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on September 27, 2010, 03:56:25 pm
The central thing is that they [animals] don't know english to tell us about their moral agency. So we don't think of them as fellow citizens. That's an arbitrary standard, but it's what we use.
--
Not at all "arbitrary."  Throughout human history there has been a helluva problem with the treatment of human beings as the property of someone else, as "less than human," put under the command of some aristocracy or priesthood or monarchy or bureaucracy because they're not good enough to think and act for themselves.  Chattel slavery, serfdom, peonage, corvee labor, "bride price" and "cookstove accidents" resulting in unsatisfactory wives getting burned to death, castrati and other people involuntarily mutilated, human victims of religious sacrifice (which is how the gladiatorial combats of ancient Rome got started, remember), "life unworthy of living."

Yes. There has never been general agreement about these matters, and there is not general agreement about them today. Now we are tending in the USA toward prison labor, where the theory is that what happens to convicts is what they deserve because they have gone through the legal process.

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A lot of hard thought and dickering went into the development of the concept of moral agency as the touchstone of what is and is not a human being.

Yes, that's one way to do it. It did take a lot of dickering, and a large minority agreed to this particular compromise to decide which individuals are human beings who have rights, and which individuals have no rights.

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.... the political product of that Enlightenment is our own United States of America, centered upon the concept of government as a service agency of defined responsibilities and powers, held "down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."

That was a good compromise for awhile. I think you're right that one of the central failures to maintain that approach was education. A whole lot of kids got drilled into them that "It isn't a democracy, it's a republic" and they took that to heart.

Still, for a long time the system worked. The Constitution constrained the mass-murderer Andrew Jackson, it constrained Lincoln, and Grant, and Harding and FDR, it constrained Truman. It seems like it did a good job stopping all the mischief-makers before my time, and it just stopped working say, from Kennedy on.

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People who call "arbitrary" the distinction between non-sapient animals and human beings are  not only quite contemptibly stupid, but they're dangerously stupid. 

You're welcome to your stupid opinion. It should be obvious that the difference in sentience between humans and other mammals is a matter of degree.

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But when faced with a situation in which your favorite pet is in the middle of the swimming pool along with a random wandering four-year-old child you've never seen before, your first priority had better be to get that kid out and safe and undergoing whatever resuscitation might be required.  To hell with Fluffy-Wuffy.

Ah, the old "you can't save them both, which one do you save" ploy. In India it's considered proper to say that you would save your mother and not your wife. This is jarring to american women who marry indian men.

In practice I find that what people do when it comes to the crunch tends to be somewhat random. As soon as they make the decision that it's too urgent to stop and think it out, this is pretty much inevitable. So for example, I knew a guy (not me) who was coming back from a caving trip with his girlfriend. He was carrying the ropes. Suddenly she screamed and pointed at a rattlesnake he was about to step on. He panicked. First he threw the rope on the snake. Then he threw the girl on the rope. Then he ran away. She forgave him, but she still talked about it years later.

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Your esthetic judgement is open to being judged by my esthetic judgement. I judge your morality according to my morality. And vice versa.

My original point was that the people who try to make sure that nothing bad every happens to any cat are being obviously silly, and the same applies to people who try to keep anything bad happening to US citizens -- for the same reasons.

I repeat: "Bullpuckey."  It is emphatically not an "esthetic judgement."  It is a moral judgment. 

You are welcome to believe that moral judgements are more than esthetic judgements. But in reality you are wrong.

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Behavioral biology - "animal psychology" - having been an interest of mine since adolescence, I've taken pains to learn how to provide any animal under my stewardship with the sorts of social cues to which their species respond with optimum levels of comfort and confidence, and thus far I've found that when rejected or neglected by their nominal owners, the pets in my household always seem to seek me out for emotional and physical succor. 

Yes, same here. And yet we come to opposite opinions about what it means.

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Your random kitten would be a helluva lot better off with me as its caretaker than you'd like to think.  I don't mistake cats for human beings, but adapt my comportment to suit their instinctual interactive behavior sets.  They sure as hell have only the most limited ability to reciprocate, and I have no unreasonable expectations that they could develop such.

They're not people.  Within their capacities, however, they can live in contentment and show affection. To impose upon them suffering or other hardship I can abate is something I mark as personally dishonorable.

Now, that's a matter of aesthetic judgment.
--

Have you read Space Chantey by RA Lafferty? If so that's a shorthand we could use. Would you want to stay on Lafferty's Lotophage? Do you think you could tell which of your pets would want that?
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Tucci78 on September 27, 2010, 05:24:09 pm
It is unclear to me why there is any reason to suspect that he is not a native-born American citizen. None of the claims otherwise have come from any part of the respected mainstream news media, after all. Since Americans who dissent from prevailing views don't live in fear of being hauled away to slave labor camps in the middle of the night, surely this means that the mainstream press here isn't filled with lies and propaganda!
--
[sarc] Yeah, sure.  And hundreds of thousands of dollars out of the Obama Campaign funds paid to the law firm Perkins Coie alone - which has handled most of the procedural kabuki theater ritual that has thus far kept whatever Barry uses in lieu of a birth certificate out of the hands of a forensic documents examiner - since he stood up to perjure himself in taking the oath of office is nothing more than the usual-and-customary incidental expenditures expected in a political campaign that ended some twenty-three months ago. [/sarc]
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Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Tucci78 on September 27, 2010, 05:51:53 pm
Have you read Space Chantey by RA Lafferty? If so that's a shorthand we could use. Would you want to stay on Lafferty's Lotophage? Do you think you could tell which of your pets would want that?
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Haven't read anything by Lafferty for better than about forty years.  Didn't like his stuff then, don't have much reason to go back and re-read him now.

Have you ever read the definitions of the words "moral" and "aesthetic"?

Can you tell the difference?
--
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on September 27, 2010, 06:22:06 pm
Some friends of mine owned several strip clubs and adult bookstores.  A number of "Christians" led primarily by a group from Rod Parsley's World Harvest Church set about picketing these businesses (and thereby attempting to intimidate potential customers), and lobbied local "law enforcement" to find ways to shut them down (one of which was to bring state-sponsored civil suits to close them down -- these suits did not permit juries, thus ensuring that the predetermined decisions were made by the professional thugs).

Odd:  My observation is that opposition to strip clubs and so forth comes primarily from feminists and from nearby residents and businesses who are alarmed by a disturbing minority among the clients. 

A strip club should be inside a large fenced in parking lot, or at least put bushes around the parking lot. If it does not, it causes problems for people around it.  They don't need to be Christians to object.  Did your friend's strip club have an adequately secluded parking lot?  Or did it share parking facilities with other private businesses or residential streets?

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The preacher who threatened to burn a bunch of Korans is being fined two hundred thousand dollars.  Sure sounds like government force to me.  What is the guy who made piss Christ being fined?

I have seen it suggested that (a) said preacher requested special protection, and (b) the "fine" was in fact a bill for that protection.

I am pretty sure he did not agree to *hire* protection, for had he done so, he would have hired one of the many private protection services, not the government.  Further, my understanding is that he did ask for protection from the government and was repeatedly told he was on his own - that he would receive no protection from the government.

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I personally have encountered this

I think that what you have observed is that if you utter disrespectful words about Muslims you are likely to be punished, whereas it is easy and safe to utter hate filled words about Christians, demonize them to justify those that murder them - and so you condemn the people who are being attacked, and support the people who are attacking.

I gave a concrete and specific example above.

People can, and usually do, object to strip clubs near them for reasons entirely unrelated to Christianity.  You attribute this to wicked Christians, which you yourself have observed, but I have not observed.  How about we stick to events that have attracted sufficient news coverage that we can both know what the real facts are?

With events that attract such coverage, we do not see any Christian repression.  We do, however, see Islamic repression - and those that are outraged by this quite unobservable Christian repression, blandly smile and bend over for this Islamic repression.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: MacFall on September 27, 2010, 06:27:38 pm
You missed my post, didn't you?

There are plenty of examples of Christians promoting and engaging violence; they only prefer to do it through the state instead of directly. And why should it be newsworthy for a town to block the opening of a strip club, regardless of who is behind it?

But I can tell you, again from experience, that Christians have blocked the openings of strip clubs before. Because I was one of said Christians (this being before I became an anarchist). And no, there was no press coverage.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on September 27, 2010, 06:52:05 pm
But I can tell you, again from experience, that Christians have blocked the openings of strip clubs before.
I remember a news item where a relative of actor Charlie Sheen was harassing people who went to an adult video store by taking their photographs, in an attempt to drive it out of business; this was in the news.

Those who accept taxes and conscription in principle have abandoned freedom in principle.  Once you recognize the state's right to dispose of your life and your wealth as it sees fit in principle, what reason can you have to oppose the state's disposing of your wealth as it sees fit in a particular case?
Those who used the slogan "No taxation without representation" did have principles, even if they were different from yours. They put limitations on the powers they vested in the government.

Yes, they allowed the government to initiate force on their behalf to enforce cooperation instead of defection - with the idea to ensure everyone contributed his fair share, not to impose a disproportionate share of the burden on a few.

Surrounded by hostile state societies on all sides, they didn't have the time to work the kinks out of anarchy - and, as I've noted, I'm not convinced you've done so either. Because the stakes are so very high, taking a leap into the unknown is something few will agree to. But if there's ever a frontier again, people will have a chance to live with a lot less government.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on September 27, 2010, 07:07:37 pm

Have you ever read the definitions of the words "moral" and "aesthetic"?

Can you tell the difference?

If at some time you notice yourself choosing a moral stand that you hadn't thought out before, you will see that the body feel of moral judgement is just like the body feel of esthetic judgement. And if you look honestly at how you make moral judgements you will notice that it is the same as esthetic judgement. First you pick something that feels good, and later you come up with arguments to justify your choice.

The difference is that in our culture people are taught that esthetics is personal and variable -- de gustibus -- while morality is objective and universal. But in cultures where one form of art was considered sacrosanct, where for example good people all liked Socialist Realism and only bad people liked anything else, even that difference was gone.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on September 28, 2010, 12:29:28 pm
There are plenty of examples of Christians promoting and engaging violence; they only prefer to do it through the state instead of directly.

I do not see this.  You say you see it, but if it happened, it would happen with newsworthy events.  Point to one.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: MacFall on September 28, 2010, 12:50:04 pm
You say it would be newsworthy - but that simply isn't the case.

I can tell you from experience because I was a moral crusader before I became a libertarian. And I can tell you that nothing has changed since then, because I'm still a Christian, and I find myself CONSTANTLY struggling against pro-violence doctrine within the Church. I say doctrine and mean it. There are churches that will kick you out for speaking out against the military or police. Islam seems to give a greater leeway for violence than Christianity does, because Christ himself was not violent, while Mohamed certainly was. But that doesn't change the fact that the belief in the justice of legalized violence is just as strong within the Church as it is elsewhere.

I don't say this because I'm against Christianity - I AM A CHRISTIAN MYSELF. But I see state-worship and pro-violence doctrine to be the enemies of my faith, and denying that they exist would be naive and horribly irresponsible.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on September 28, 2010, 01:01:54 pm
Innocent people who have been orphaned or maimed or tortured or raped or stolen from have no legitimate claims?
Raped? I didn't think the Israelis did much of that.

I do think that the Palestinians displaced around 1948 do not have a legitimate claim against Israel for the loss of their homes. This happened because of the decision of the surrounding countries to drive Israel into the sea. Thus, their claim is against the governments of those countries, and not against Israel.

The residents of the Gaza Strip do have a legitimate claim against Hamas for the fact that they have not been able to live in peace. Had rockets not been launched out of the Gaza Strip, Operation Cast Lead would not have happened. If it weren't for the suicide bombers, Israel wouldn't have had to build a wall around the West Bank.

Yes, innocent people are adversely affected by Israeli military actions. But that's because others are refusing to allow the Israelis to live at the same standard of peace and safety as enjoyed by Americans or Britons or other citizens of democratic nations. So Israel has had to respond to these external threats.

If Israel were persecuting Arabs and Muslims for no reason, simply because they were different, because it wanted to impose an order in which Jews could abuse Muslims without recourse, then Israel would be at fault. But Israel didn't do that kind of thing. It is, instead, the Muslims who have in the past done that sort of thing to Jews - and still do that sort of thing to Coptic Christians in Egypt, for example.

You are welcome to believe that moral judgements are more than esthetic judgements. But in reality you are wrong.
If that is the case, then I have no real moral reason not to go ahead and impose my aesthetic judgements on everyone else by force.

Hence, even if you are right, that is irrelevant. Either there is some objective moral standard by which we are compelled to refrain from stealing from and enslaving our fellow human beings, or, if there is no such standard in reality, then imposing obedience to this imaginary moral standard by force is not wrong, because there is no such thing as wrong.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on September 28, 2010, 02:45:02 pm
I do think that the Palestinians displaced around 1948 do not have a legitimate claim against Israel for the loss of their homes. This happened because of the decision of the surrounding countries to drive Israel into the sea. Thus, their claim is against the governments of those countries, and not against Israel.

This looks like an interesting claim to examine from an AnCap perspective.

Imagine it. You are an AnCap who does not recognize the authority of governments, peacefully living in your home. But collections of armed gangs are roaming the area killing people who look like you, and they threaten to kill everybody who looks like you. They heavily outnumber the people in your AnCap town and they have better weapons, but most of you successfully run away. Then a couple of governments fight on your land. One of the governments wins. It announces that you cannot come home, they will stop you at the border. If you sneak across the border they will point guns at you and escort you out of their country, unless they shoot you.

Whose fault is it that you can't go home? Is it the government that lost the war, or the government that won the war and won't let you go home? Or somebody else?

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You are welcome to believe that moral judgements are more than esthetic judgements. But in reality you are wrong.

If that is the case, then I have no real moral reason not to go ahead and impose my aesthetic judgements on everyone else by force.

Hence, even if you are right, that is irrelevant. Either there is some objective moral standard by which we are compelled to refrain from stealing from and enslaving our fellow human beings, or, if there is no such standard in reality, then imposing obedience to this imaginary moral standard by force is not wrong, because there is no such thing as wrong.

Well, if you try to enslave me or my friends we will strenuously object. We disagree with that moral standard. We don't want you to enslave anybody. It's probably not practical for you to steal from us either, if we notice, because we will strenuously object to that too.

People like me aren't going to steal from you, nor will we try to enslave you. It offends our sensibilities.

I don't claim there's anything absolute about this. It's just the way we feel. But if you want to go out and coerce people when we think it's wrong, you'd better be strong enough to keep us from stopping you. Because we will try to stop you if we think we can.

If you are strong enough you can set up an authoritarian government. And if my best alternative to knuckling under is to die while accomplishing nothing, I just might knuckle under. You can search my house and neuter my cat. You can put my kids in counseling. You can require me to eat Wheaties in public. Whatever you choose, my moral or esthetic judgement has no force, because you have all the force. Lots of things happen in this world that I consider wrong, that severely offend my esthetics, that I put up with because I see no better choice. Sometimes I send email to my congressman. The bad things still happen.

Does it matter whether they are absolutely morally wrong or whether they just offend me and people like me?

I don't see that it makes any difference at all.

I don't see any way to tell whether my esthetics matches up with some absolute moral scheme. If you think you have an inside line on an absolute morality you're welcome to tell me about it and I'll tell you whether it appeals to me or not.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on September 28, 2010, 03:09:08 pm
Whose fault is it that you can't go home? Is it the government that lost the war, or the government that won the war and won't let you go home? Or somebody else?
I'd say that it depends on whose fault the war is. If it's the people who looked like you who were the ones who first started trouble because they didn't like the other people's looks - and the other people had to go by their looks to defend themselves effectively, because attempts to deal with people as individuals let the other side sneak attackers in - then I would say you should blame the other people who look like you more than the people who are actually barring your way home.

That's what I believe to be the situation with regard to Israel.

Does it matter whether they are absolutely morally wrong or whether they just offend me and people like me?

I don't see that it makes any difference at all.

I don't see any way to tell whether my esthetics matches up with some absolute moral scheme. If you think you have an inside line on an absolute morality you're welcome to tell me about it and I'll tell you whether it appeals to me or not.
Well, I can reassure you that I don't see visions of a divine spirit speaking to me that tells me that killing and enslaving people is OK if they don't bow down to me as their prophet.

I will agree that you shouldn't need some theory of absolute morality to protect you from feeling guilty when you defend yourself against people who try to kill and enslave you. But that's basically my argument - that even if you're right, it's irrelevant: if there is no absolute morality "from on high" that says it's wrong to perpetrate injustice, that doesn't mean we should either perpetrate it or put up with it.

But when we're raising our kids, as an example, it seems to help if we make them feel guilty about bullying others and things like that... even when they think they won't get caught. This, along, of course, with the history of the attempt to control people's minds known as religion, is why we tend to use moral language when talking about the issue of how we should treat each other.

I'm happy to use this language for much the same reason I use English - it's the language most of the people around me use, so I can say things without a lot of extra explanation.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on September 28, 2010, 04:38:27 pm
Whose fault is it that you can't go home? Is it the government that lost the war, or the government that won the war and won't let you go home? Or somebody else?
I'd say that it depends on whose fault the war is.

OK! Could it be that for you it depends very strongly on whose ox is gored? Since of course you believe that none of the wars were Israel's fault, then everything Israel has done during or after the wars was justified.

So, after WWII the USSR adjusted their border with Poland westward. They quite reasonably wanted a bigger buffer to prepare for the next war. Of course we all agree that the war was 100% the fault of Germany and 0% the fault of the USSR, so the USSR was 100% justified in what they did to Poland. Right?

And, when Yugoslavia broke up, the various ethnic groups that Titov had kept under control got loose and wanted to continue their fighting. This was the Balkans.... Some of the sides used institutional rape as a war tactic. We tended to blame the Serbians because they had gotten support from the Nazis during the war so we were predisposed to consider them the enemy. So anyway, let's decide whose fault it was they were fighting. After we decide which side to blame, then we can say that all the rapes by the other side weren't the fault of the rapists, they were the fault of the guys we think started the war.

You think Israelis didn't commit rape. That's something that tends to happen during wartime. While the US army was in France during and after WWII there were a few hundred reported rapes of french women. The US military's response was that we'd be glad to hang the rapists if we could find them, but we couldn't. So we offered for our medics to give the women free medical care. Of course we tried to minimize rape of french women, it was utterly against our policies and our interests.

After the war the soviet army raped a lot of women in east germany, pretty much anybody they wanted to. We say there wasn't much of that in the US-controlled areas, and I can believe it. The german rationing system had broken down and people were very hungry, and US soldiers had plenty. It usually doesn't take more than a few weeks of real hunger to get a woman to wear a "Will Frack For Food" sign.

We talk like there wasn't much rape during or after our Civil War. It was a time when southerners were very hesitant to talk about it when it did happen. Kind of like, say, arabs today. I have essentially no data about how much the Israeli army (or the paramilitary gangs) have raped, and you don't either. But if it someday turns out that there was pretty much and it was policy, I predict you will say it was the fault of the arabs who created a problem for Israel, and not the Israelis who responded with rape. That's consistent with your stand otherwise.

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Does it matter whether they are absolutely morally wrong or whether they just offend me and people like me?

I don't see that it makes any difference at all.

I will agree that you shouldn't need some theory of absolute morality to protect you from feeling guilty when you defend yourself against people who try to kill and enslave you. But that's basically my argument - that even if you're right, it's irrelevant: if there is no absolute morality "from on high" that says it's wrong to perpetrate injustice, that doesn't mean we should either perpetrate it or put up with it.

Sure. We come up with morality that suits us, and we enforce it as best we can. Quoting Discordian scripture, "Everybody I know who is right always agrees with ME"

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But when we're raising our kids, as an example, it seems to help if we make them feel guilty about bullying others and things like that... even when they think they won't get caught.

I don't think it's right to lie to children for my convenience.

And getting people to feel guilty is an important part of social dominance, but it doesn't seem to improve their behavior. People feel guilty to prove they're good people even though they continue to do bad things.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Brugle on September 28, 2010, 08:17:55 pm
Innocent people who have been orphaned or maimed or tortured or raped or stolen from have no legitimate claims?
Raped? I didn't think the Israelis did much of that.

Very interesting.  NeitherRuleNorBeRuled and I were referring to US government agents.  But, in both cases, when we mentioned atrocities, you immediately assumed that those atrocities were committed by Israelis.

Israel government agents do have a well-deserved reputation for wanton brutality, but I think you are a little hard on them.  Agents of other governments (as well as people who are not government agents) do commit some atrocities.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on September 28, 2010, 09:41:14 pm
Very interesting.  NeitherRuleNorBeRuled and I were referring to US government agents.  But, in both cases, when we mentioned atrocities, you immediately assumed that those atrocities were committed by Israelis.
Huh? It was the Palestinians who I was saying had "no legitimate claims", and so if I am asked if I think that people who were raped had no legitimate claims, I have to assume the querent is talking about rapes being committed against Palestinians.

I am aware that there are grounds for saying that Palestinians have had land stolen from them, though, so I guess you could say I have a bad conscience in that area.

Could it be that for you it depends very strongly on whose ox is gored? Since of course you believe that none of the wars were Israel's fault, then everything Israel has done during or after the wars was justified.

So, after WWII the USSR adjusted their border with Poland westward. They quite reasonably wanted a bigger buffer to prepare for the next war. Of course we all agree that the war was 100% the fault of Germany and 0% the fault of the USSR, so the USSR was 100% justified in what they did to Poland. Right?
In the case of Israel, it expanded because otherwise it would have been driven into the sea the next time it was attacked - and there certainly would have been a next time.

In the case of the USSR, the USSR is an evil dictatorship. Not a democracy. So it is not a regime that has any need to survive. And there was nothing for it to defend itself from. The United States successfully wiped out Nazism in the happy, peaceful German Federal Republic.

It is very important to avoid being biased about whose ox is gored when considering a conflict between equals - between two nations with democratic governments that represent their people. So, if there was a dispute between France and Israel, it would be very important to carefully consider the issue on its merits to avoid bias.

When it comes to one between the United States and the Soviet Union - the United States is automatically always right for the same reason that a store owner or a policeman is always right and an armed robber is always wrong. The very existence of a dictatorship is a profound violation of human rights.

The Western democracies may not be perfect, but lumping them in with tyrannies because they haven't made it to AnCap yet is just silly. Yes, we have fallen away from some of the original Constitutional limitations on government - but that's partly because we woke up to the need to repair the consequences of past violations of nonaggression in other forms, such as slavery.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on September 28, 2010, 11:01:56 pm
But that doesn't change the fact that the belief in the justice of legalized violence is just as strong within the Church as it is elsewhere.
But this is not because such support for violence was inculcated by Christianity, but through government, in particular through government schools, where, for example, "The grapes of wrath" is taught as documentary, rather than alternate universe fiction.

To argue that present day Christianity has a record comparable to Islam, is just nuts.  So to make the argument, you have to go back to  the Spanish inquisition and such like.  The Spanish inquisition in its entire history murdered fewer people than Che Guevera.  Yeah, the spanish inquisition, the condemnation of 1277, and all that, were very great wrongs - but compared to rest of the world, they were pretty Christian.
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Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on September 28, 2010, 11:04:10 pm
Could it be that for you it depends very strongly on whose ox is gored? Since of course you believe that none of the wars were Israel's fault, then everything Israel has done during or after the wars was justified.

So, after WWII the USSR adjusted their border with Poland westward. They quite reasonably wanted a bigger buffer to prepare for the next war. Of course we all agree that the war was 100% the fault of Germany and 0% the fault of the USSR, so the USSR was 100% justified in what they did to Poland. Right?

In the case of Israel, it expanded because otherwise it would have been driven into the sea the next time it was attacked - and there certainly would have been a next time.

I have read that Catholic doctrine says it isn't a sin to commit crimes if you really need to. Like, if you're hungry and you can't buy food, it's acceptable to steal food. Are you perhaps Catholic?

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In the case of the USSR, the USSR is an evil dictatorship. Not a democracy. So it is not a regime that has any need to survive.

Yes, definitely it's a matter of whose ox is gored. It looks like you're saying that good guys have the right to do whatever they need to. Bad guys have no rights.

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And there was nothing for it to defend itself from. The United States successfully wiped out Nazism in the happy, peaceful German Federal Republic.

It didn't take long before we were threatening to nuke them. We told our own people that our relatively small hi-tech military stationed in western europe could not invade russia. But of course they had recently experienced Germany's relatively small hi-tech military.

I guess it would be possible to say that the soviets were entirely paranoid to think that they might have to fight the USA, when there was no possibility of such a war. But Israelis were not at all paranoid, they faced an overwhelming threat. We could argue that similarly the Germans had been wrong to try to take foreign land to get defensible borders since they also had no credible enemies (and also they were bad guys who didn't deserve to have anything at all, much less defensible borders).

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It is very important to avoid being biased about whose ox is gored when considering a conflict between equals - between two nations with democratic governments that represent their people. So, if there was a dispute between France and Israel, it would be very important to carefully consider the issue on its merits to avoid bias.

But if one of them is a bad guy then the other one is automatically right?

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When it comes to one between the United States and the Soviet Union - the United States is automatically always right for the same reason that a store owner or a policeman is always right and an armed robber is always wrong.

You assert that a policeman is always right and someone accused by the police of a crime is always wrong. I am surprised. Perhaps I shouldn't be.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: MacFall on September 28, 2010, 11:08:34 pm
To argue that present day Christianity has a record comparable to Islam, is just nuts.

Well, good thing I'm not making that argument then. But your argument seems to be that Christianity doesn't have a violence problem, and I'm telling you that's not the case. Saying that to me would be like telling an oncologist who is in the process of operating on a tumor that his patient doesn't have cancer. The violent doctrine is obfuscated, but it is there, and it is ubiquitous and stubborn.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: mellyrn on September 29, 2010, 08:29:03 am
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But when we're raising our kids, as an example, it seems to help if we make them feel guilty about bullying others and things like that... even when they think they won't get caught.

I find it helps much more to teach them compassion. 

If I step on your toe, my feelings of guilt about it do exactly nothing for you:  they don't heal your toe, they don't relieve your pain, and if you know nothing about my guilt feelings, they don't even distract you from your suffering.  Even if I do express myself to you, you may choose to disbelieve me; if you did believe me, I doubt you'd consider my misery (guilt is supposed to feel bad) as sufficient compensation for yours.  Yet I may feel so bad that it inhibits my taking any action, such as to seek to heal your toe.  Otoh, if I am a compassionate person, I feel no guilt as such, but I do feel vicarious pain, and I immediately seek to remedy your pain just as if it were my own.

If I am "guilty", I am always and forever "guilty" -- I cannot un-step on your toe.  And I'll probably err again sooner or later; thus guilt accumulates.  How burdensome.  If I am compassionate, your real pain and my vicarious pain are undone together and, not incidentally, as quickly as possible, and we both can live more lightly.

If you wanted me to go on hurting, wouldn't that make you as much of a monster as someone who steps on toes on purpose?

If the kids can't learn compassion, no amount of guilt or shame will prevent them from "wrong" action.  It'll just keep them from enjoying it.

Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Rocketman on September 29, 2010, 10:52:56 am
We tended to blame the Serbians because they had gotten support from the Nazis during the war so we were predisposed to consider them the enemy.
If I remember correctly, I think that the serbs were on the side of the USSR during the second world war.  Your thinking of the Cheniks.  That spelling may not be right.

Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on September 29, 2010, 11:09:14 am
We tended to blame the Serbians because they had gotten support from the Nazis during the war so we were predisposed to consider them the enemy.
If I remember correctly, I think that the serbs were on the side of the USSR during the second world war.  Your thinking of the Cheniks.  That spelling may not be right.

Oops! You're right. I said that wrong.

OK, "We tended to blame the Serbians because they had gotten support from the USSR during the war so we were predisposed to consider them the enemy."
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on September 29, 2010, 11:24:01 am
You assert that a policeman is always right and someone accused by the police of a crime is always wrong. I am surprised. Perhaps I shouldn't be.
I may have misspoke. Police can indeed falsely accuse innocent people of crime and stuff like that. If the accused isn't innocent, though, and the officer isn't abusing his power, though, then the police officer is on the side of the ordinary people who want to do their noncoercive business in peace, and the robber their enemy.

But then I'm so brainwashed that I think that a government is more likely to give an accused shoplifter some due process than a merchants' protective association. And that the best plan lies somewhere in between the two. Of course, the government not being tough enough on some crime is a way to stimulate demand for more government power - turn criminals loose on strict rules of evidence, and use that to stimulate demand for gun control.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Brugle on September 29, 2010, 02:00:50 pm
Very interesting.  NeitherRuleNorBeRuled and I were referring to US government agents.  But, in both cases, when we mentioned atrocities, you immediately assumed that those atrocities were committed by Israelis.
Huh? It was the Palestinians who I was saying had "no legitimate claims",

Exactly.  That's what was interesting.

In NeitherRuleNorBeRuled's post, the only specific groups mentioned were the US government and the 9/11 hijackers.  You quoted his post and disagreed, and followed that with extraneous babble about mid-20th-century Palestine.  I quoted your disagreement with NeitherRuleNorBeRuled's post (but not the following babble) and disagreed with you (basically agreeing with NeitherRuleNorBeRuled).  Then you were surprised because you mistakenly thought that we were discussing only atrocities committed by Israelis.  I explained your mistake, and then (in the post I quote above) you act surprised because you mistakenly thought that we were discussing only atrocities committed against Palestinians.

Let me try to make it clear.  Not all atrocities are committed by Israelis.  Not all atrocities are committed against Palestinians.  Civilized people oppose all atrocities.

You and many terrorists make the same collectivist mistake: putting people into groups and justifying atrocities against innocent people who you consider to be in the same group as guilty people.  It is barbaric when terrorists do it.  It is barbaric when you do it.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on September 29, 2010, 03:02:12 pm

Let me try to make it clear.  Not all atrocities are committed by Israelis.  Not all atrocities are committed against Palestinians.  Civilized people oppose all atrocities.

You and many terrorists make the same collectivist mistake: putting people into groups and justifying atrocities against innocent people who you consider to be in the same group as guilty people.  It is barbaric when terrorists do it.  It is barbaric when you do it.

Well, what about guilty people. Is it OK to do atrocities on guilty people?

If you can't do atroctiies on people who deserve it, who *can* you do atrocities on?

We just have to figure out who's guilty enough to deserve it, and then we're set.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on September 29, 2010, 03:07:59 pm
Well, what about guilty people. Is it OK to do atrocities on guilty people?
Depends what you mean by an "atrocity". I agree with the Constitution's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment. On the other hand, just killing people only becomes an atrocity when the victims are innocent.

If it's true that only brave people can be free, then maybe the battle for freedom was lost in the United States in 1920, when the Nineteenth Amendment was passed. Despite the fact that Colt made men equal... and if that didn't include women, Derringer corrected the omission.

Since so many men are so much bigger and stronger than the typical young woman, and because at the moment, at least, getting schools to consider letting girls carry their concealed handguns to class seems out of reach, having a law in place that prevents any man ever getting drunk, so as to get into a state where he might act impulsively without considering the consequences of his actions... may seem like a very attractive reform.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Brugle on September 29, 2010, 03:55:19 pm
in our culture people are taught that esthetics is personal and variable -- de gustibus -- while morality is objective and universal.

Bullshit.

In my culture, people are constantly bombarded with propaganda that ethics is variable and arbitrary.  The primary lesson of government schools, enforced over and over again, is that people should obey government edicts, no matter how inconsistent, idiotic, or destructive.  The idea that people should look for and try to follow ethical truths is not considered, and if a student brings up the idea it is ridiculed.

Before you insist that government propaganda is correct in this instance, consider this: who gains from that idea?  Who gains when the choice of a) people keeping the wealth they produce or b) government officials taking that wealth for themselves and their politically powerful friends is considered an aesthetic difference?  Who gains when torturing innocent people is considered performance art?  Who gains when guilt or innocence is considered to be arbitrary and subject to official whim?

Have you ever rejected any government propaganda?  If not, this would be a good place to start.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: jamesd on September 29, 2010, 05:52:44 pm
This looks like an interesting claim to examine from an AnCap perspective.

Imagine it. You are an AnCap who does not recognize the authority of governments, peacefully living in your home. But collections of armed gangs are roaming the area killing people who look like you, and they threaten to kill everybody who looks like you. They heavily outnumber the people in your AnCap town and they have better weapons, but most of you successfully run away. Then a couple of governments fight on your land. One of the governments wins. It announces that you cannot come home, they will stop you at the border. If you sneak across the border they will point guns at you and escort you out of their country, unless they shoot you.


Let us suppose you are anarcho capitalists, members of group X.  Other members of group X are attempting to set up as state that will kill or subjugate all members of group Y.  It becomes apparent that members of group Y decline to be subjugated, so the objective gets redefined as killing all members of group Y, men, women and children.  Members of group Y win against members of group X, set up a state, throw you out. 

Why are they throwing you out?  Because they cannot tell you from members of group X that were trying to kill them all.  So if you are around, they reasonably suspect you will kill them.

Why can they not tell the difference?  Because when fellow members of group X were raping and murdering, you and your friends sat on your hands, at best saying and doing at nothing, at worst cheering on murderers and rapists.

If not all members of group X intend murder, they have an obligation to make that obvious by doing something reasonably effectual against members of group X that do intend murder.  In a somewhat anarchic situation, this would involve hanging objectionable members of group X from the lamposts.  In a less anarchic situation, this would involve condemning them as going to hell, publicly naming and shaming them, and ratting them out to enemies who intend to kill them - giving out their precise location in the expectations that hit teams or high explosives would soon be at that location.

Group Y is obligated to try to distinguish between hostile and non hostile members of group X - but group X is obligated to make them distinguishable.  In the common situation where bad guys hide behind women and children, it really is legitimate to kill the women and children.

Xenophon often used the tactic of burning the houses and crops and raping the women and children in order to force his enemies to appear and engage in a conventional battle.  This was legitimate, since they could have protected their women and their crops by allowing Xenophon free passage, and allowing members of their group to freely sell supplies to Xenophon's men.

Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on September 29, 2010, 06:42:05 pm
in our culture people are taught that esthetics is personal and variable -- de gustibus -- while morality is objective and universal.

Bullshit.

In my culture, people are constantly bombarded with propaganda that ethics is variable and arbitrary.

There may be some of that. I would tend to ignore it, while you would tend to ignore the reverse. I note that if there is a lot of that it's pretty much ineffective.

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The primary lesson of government schools, enforced over and over again, is that people should obey government edicts, no matter how inconsistent, idiotic, or destructive.

Yes, I remember. I was kind of a naive loudmouth back then, and I remember asking, "If I'm stopped at a red light and there's nobody else there, why shouldn't I just go ahead through? Who would it hurt?" And the teacher's answer was, "If you get caught you'll get a ticket." The consistent refrain was that it's *impractical* to disobey government edicts, because the government is stronger than you are.

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The idea that people should look for and try to follow ethical truths is not considered, and if a student brings up the idea it is ridiculed.

I didn't see that ridiculed when it was presented as Christian belief, but the christians with oddball beliefs tended to keep quiet. Maybe there's more ridicule now than there was then.

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Before you insist that government propaganda is correct in this instance, consider this: who gains from that idea?

Who gains if an idea is correct, is completely irrelevant to whether it is in fact correct. It's possible that you gain in the short run by persuading people that a correct idea is false. I assert that this approach is likely to backfire. It may let you win against a particular opponent, but your lie will haunt you -- you will continue to have dealings with people who believe your stupid lie and they will continue to get in your way.

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Who gains when the choice of a) people keeping the wealth they produce or b) government officials taking that wealth for themselves and their politically powerful friends is considered an aesthetic difference?

Let's think about that. Say for example that you are a corporate tax lawyer. You know a whole lot about tax law, and you argue at length with government tax lawyers. You and they both probably have the illusion that you are "producing wealth".

Say you are an MD. Look back at the medicine practiced in 1930. How much of that was valuable? Today the consensus is that it was all ineffective or actively dangerous, except for bonesetting. Try medicine from 1950. Ineffective or dangerous except for bonesetting and antibiotics. 1970? Perhaps 20% of what they did then is still considered useful. 1990. Sixty percent? There's every reason to think that in 80 years, pretty much everything that current MDs do will have been debunked. But they think they "save lives" and "produce wealth".

Say you are a real estate agent. You show people houses and convince them which one to buy. You think you are "producing wealth".

A life insurance salesman? A car salesman? A mattress salesman? A middle manager? Maybe you manage a hedge fund? You sell sophisticated financial instruments? Perhaps you work for the Army repairing military vehicles, producing wealth?

You are a building contractor and you have gotten a lucrative government contract to build a prison. Wealth production?

Perhaps you are a farmer. You use a collection of gasoline internal-combustion engines -- and you get a subsidy on the gasoline -- to plant and harvest corn. 40% of your income comes from shrewd bets on the commodity options market. Your corn uses 3 gallons of fossil fuel to produce 4 gallons of ethanol, which will be used as a contaminant in gasoline. Do you produce wealth?

It would not be at all surprising if the majority of the people who fondly believe they are "producing wealth" are in fact not doing so, and would not make money doing what they do without government intervention.

Is it only an esthetic question how much of the money the government gives to people for makework it takes back from them, and how much they keep? Yes.

On the other hand, there are some people who are actually producing wealth that supports the whole thing. Are you one of them? Possibly, but the odds are not strongly in your favor. We have a whole bunch of self-righteous fools who think they are productive citizens, who are not.

And yet, with a good system they could become productive.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on September 29, 2010, 06:55:20 pm

Members of group Y win against members of group X, set up a state, throw you out. 

Why are they throwing you out?  Because they cannot tell you from members of group X that were trying to kill them all.  So if you are around, they reasonably suspect you will kill them.

Why can they not tell the difference?  Because when fellow members of group X were raping and murdering, you and your friends sat on your hands, at best saying and doing at nothing, at worst cheering on murderers and rapists.

So, you have a strong obligation to speak out against US occupation of middle east nations, right?

And a strong obligation to oppose US support of Israel? We haven't been sitting on our hands, we've been actively supporting them.

What about Taiwan? They seem a lot more democratic than they used to, and they have some sort of right to independence. But it would be hard for them to stay independent, and they'll probably make a deal with China at some point. Ideally I think we should support them while they need it, knowing they might at any time make up with China -- we shouldn't consider that a betrayal when it happens.

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If not all members of group X intend murder, they have an obligation to make that obvious by doing something reasonably effectual against members of group X that do intend murder.

So, what will you do against US government foreign policy?

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In a less anarchic situation, this would involve condemning them as going to hell, publicly naming and shaming them, and ratting them out to enemies who intend to kill them - giving out their precise location in the expectations that hit teams or high explosives would soon be at that location.

Are you ready to go that far?
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Brugle on September 29, 2010, 07:42:01 pm
in our culture people are taught that esthetics is personal and variable -- de gustibus -- while morality is objective and universal.

Bullshit.

In my culture, people are constantly bombarded with propaganda that ethics is variable and arbitrary.

There may be some of that. I would tend to ignore it,

On the contrary.  It's obvious that you swallowed it hook, line, and sinker.

The consistent refrain was that it's *impractical* to disobey government edicts, because the government is stronger than you are.

Exactly.  The idea of considering whether an action is right is ignored, and if a student tries to bring it up the idea is ridiculed.

Who gains if an idea is correct, is completely irrelevant to whether it is in fact correct.

Not exactly true.

Who gains is very important when considering why someone is trying to persuade you.  If a disinterested and informed person suggests that an investment is safe, that may be valuable information.  However, the same suggestion from a person who would get a large commission if you make the investment is not nearly as valuable.

You buy into government propaganda that is highly advantageous to the government.  At the very least, you should go back and consider every bit of that propaganda skeptically, only accepting that which you have a good independent reason to think is true.  Even better would be to seek out at least a few competing views and consider them skeptically as well.

On the other hand, there are some people who are actually producing wealth that supports the whole thing. Are you one of them? Possibly, but the odds are not strongly in your favor. We have a whole bunch of self-righteous fools who think they are productive citizens, who are not.

And yet, with a good system they could become productive.

As we anarchists have suggested.

But what does that have to do with your assertion that moral decisions are just aesthetics?  Do you really consider torture to be simply performance art?
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: terry_freeman on September 29, 2010, 08:21:45 pm
"Still, for a long time the system worked. The Constitution constrained the mass-murderer Andrew Jackson, it constrained Lincoln, and Grant, and Harding and FDR, it constrained Truman. It seems like it did a good job stopping all the mischief-makers before my time, and it just stopped working say, from Kennedy on."

I'm sorry, were you being sarcastic? The Constitution wasn't much of a constraint, considering how many people were killed by the mass murderers whom you mention.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on September 29, 2010, 09:40:56 pm
"Still, for a long time the system worked. The Constitution constrained the mass-murderer Andrew Jackson, it constrained Lincoln, and Grant, and Harding and FDR, it constrained Truman."

I'm sorry, were you being sarcastic?

Yes, completely. I've got to stop doing that, people can't tell.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on September 29, 2010, 10:59:40 pm
Who gains if an idea is correct, is completely irrelevant to whether it is in fact correct.

Not exactly true.

Who gains is very important when considering why someone is trying to persuade you. 

If someone gives you information that you can't easily check for yourself, then his motives for telling you are important while you decide whether to believe him. Say for example one of your customers tells you that he saw your wife coming out of a motel room with your best friend. You'd certainly consider whether he'd have reason to lie, or whether he could be mistaken. If you ask your wife about it she might tell you she's having an affair, or she might have an innocuous reason, or she might deny it completely. The third case doesn't tell you much unless you know the way she denies reality versus the way she denies stupid false accusations, and can tell the difference.

But when it's an idea which you can check for yourself, it doesn't matter who tells you the idea. Check it and see. It might be interesting to think about why they would tell it to you, but that has nothing to do with whether it's actually true or not.

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If a disinterested and informed person suggests that an investment is safe, that may be valuable information.  However, the same suggestion from a person who would get a large commission if you make the investment is not nearly as valuable.

You should do due diligence in either case, unless you aren't interested enough to do anything.

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You buy into government propaganda that is highly advantageous to the government.  At the very least, you should go back and consider every bit of that propaganda skeptically, only accepting that which you have a good independent reason to think is true.  Even better would be to seek out at least a few competing views and consider them skeptically as well.

Yes! Consider as many competing views as you have time for.

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On the other hand, there are some people who are actually producing wealth that supports the whole thing. Are you one of them? Possibly, but the odds are not strongly in your favor. We have a whole bunch of self-righteous fools who think they are productive citizens, who are not.

And yet, with a good system they could become productive.

As we anarchists have suggested.

But what does that have to do with your assertion that moral decisions are just aesthetics?  Do you really consider torture to be simply performance art?

I don't like torture. And I don't like people who do like torture. They argue that it's a valid esthetic choice. I am not clear how often it's actually abuse. People in unequal relationships may not be capable of careful choice. It's possible for people to get so caught up in addictions of various sorts that they don't notice what they're doing to themselves. So while I accept it can be a sane, consensual choice, and it can be performance art, I am not comfortable with it. Yes, it can be highly erotic. But that is not necessarily an acceptable justification.

NSFW
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sadomasochism
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Archonix on September 30, 2010, 04:41:34 am
Are you sure you mean aesthetics and not ethics? Aesthetics is the understanding, appreciation and personal definition of beauty. It's what you like the look of. Ethics is the personal set of rules (separate from morals) that you use to make your way in the world.

I'm not sure you've got your definitions quite correct, to be honest, as you seem to be arguing that torture is a piece of art rather than an ethical choice made based on a given set of circumstances.

And then we could get into the difference between ethics and morals, I suppose...

But this talk about "esthetics" confuses me. It's not even a word.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on September 30, 2010, 09:34:06 am
But this talk about "esthetics" confuses me. It's not even a word.
The word "encyclopćdia" can be spelled in two different ways if you don't have the "ć" ligature on your keyboard. It can be spelled "encyclopaedia", or it can be spelled "encyclopedia". Most people spell it the second way. Similarly, fśtus can be spelled foetus, or it can be spelled fetus. As well, ćsthetics can be spelled either aesthetics or esthetics.

You and many terrorists make the same collectivist mistake: putting people into groups and justifying atrocities against innocent people who you consider to be in the same group as guilty people.  It is barbaric when terrorists do it.  It is barbaric when you do it.

The problem with many Muslims is that they fail to differentiate between residents of the US and the government of the US.  But that's also the problem with many non-Muslims as well.
This deserves a careful and intelligent reply. I am going to try and provide one.

Living in France or Poland in 1939, or Britain in 1940, or America in 1941, I wouldn't have the luxury of dealing with the people of Germany as individuals. If I have the might of a modern industrial state, comparable in power to the one I live in, bearing down on my own nation to take its land and enslave its people, I will have to resist by the means which are available to me that have a chance of working.

Weighing Dresden against Belsen, and Nagasaki against Nanking, it's hard for me to see criticism of the monstrous things the Allies did do in World War II as more than nit-picking. It was a fight for anything even remotely resembling freedom on this planet.

If all al-Qaeda had done was lump American civilians together with the American government... I would hardly have a complaint against them. The movie Red Dawn illustrated (not, of course, in detail: as popular entertainment, it was cleaned up, as it were) that if Americans faced an occupation by the Soviet Union, they would put up a fight that could teach Hamas or al-Qaeda some lessons.

Instead of "whose ox is gored", though, I ask the question "who started it". If Israel or the United States had decided one fine morning that they hated Muslims, and were going to steal their land and kill them off... with no opportunity for the Muslims to avoid this fate by choosing peace... armed resistance would be justified.

Lebanon was once a French colony, and Egypt and Palestine were British colonies. I suppose it could be said that we started it, unless you go back to before the Crusades. Neither Zimbabwe nor India nor Fiji has yet embarked on a project to wipe Britain off the face of the Earth, though: most people recognize that colonialism is something that's going to happen when Great Powers are contending with each other for survival... and lands at a far lower level of technology and military competence have resources that are useful in that struggle. It is beyond being redressed by force.

If we put British colonial control of Palestine outside the picture, which may be unfair, the picture of the Middle East conflict painted by what you may feel is the propaganda of the mainstream media is not really a false one.

Did it begin with a big Jewish army going through a swath of the Middle East, taking any land it could grab, even though the group it was taking land from had been peaceful before?

No. Instead, what we had was:

Jews bought land in Palestine. They were peaceful. Fanatics egged on some Muslims to commit massacres against them.

The U.N. partitioned Palestine. The Jews were only given the parts they were living on. This partition was intended to let the Jews keep any people bent on violence out of the places where they lived. The surrounding Arab nations descended on the new state of Israel to drive it into the sea.

Israel just barely managed to defend itself successfully, because the initial 1947 borders were hard to defend. As its neighbors had tried to destroy it, despite its having been peaceful, and as the Arabs of Palestine had largely run away, having been urged by Arab propaganda to get out of the way of the invading armies, Israel took control of all of Palestine. Arabs still living there were free to continue to practice their Muslim faith, they had the rights of citizens, and the additional privilege of being exempt from military service. In 1967, Egypt built up its military to the point where it could strike a devastating blow against Israel in a surprise attack - it did this through buying weapons from the Soviet Union and the Eastern European nations it had enslaved.

The pattern is obvious to me. Time after time, the Jews offer the choice to their neighbors of living side by side in peace. Their neighbors don't give Israel that choice - they attack them for the effrontery of being Jews who don't want to be ruled over and bullied by Muslims. (And I mean bullied - I'm sure you've seen the words "Shari'a" and "dhimmi" raised in debates on the Middle East conflict.)

One side wants to live in peace, but gets attacked. The other side commits aggression - and, as a result, suffers losses of territory - but it never seems to learn its lesson, and cut its losses, and start being peaceful.

And now, with 9/11, militant Islam has decided to involve the United States. Which happens to have a vast nuclear arsenal. Americans don't like it when their loved ones are suddenly killed by violent people. Like anyone else, they have very little patience with such things. And they have the power to do something about it.

People who are the victims of aggression may fight back.

People who created their own problems by aggression and obstinacy, and then continue to dig themselves in deeper by attacking a vastly superior power... are not only doing something wrong, but something stupid. The vast majority of the world's one billion Muslims aren't terrorists, but many of them - or, to be honest, many of their governments - are likely to be asked, in one way or another, whether they're going to cooperate in helping the Western World avoid further terrorist attacks, or choose the really stupid path of making things harder for us, and easier for those who are waging war against Israel and the United States.

Now, if someone had decided to use military force against the United States to end segregation, the shoe could easily have been on the other foot. The United States is lucky that its mistakes weren't punished by history the way.

The Islamic world isn't going to be attacked by the United States because we want to steal their oil or their land, no matter what they do or don't do. They have a choice. It's definitely not perfect - the Palestinians can't depose Fatah and Hamas with their bare hands, and few Muslim nations have democratic governments. The governments that survive have had to be pretty tough and nasty with those who try to depose them - and the very date of 9/11 reminds us that it isn't just "bad" regimes like that of Saddam Hussein that are tough and nasty this way, but also "good" regimes like that of Jordan's King Hussein - Black September.

All the tough nasty guerilla movements out there seem to be Muslim extremist ones, like Boko Haram or al-Shabaab.

So those who would join our side don't seem to have a faction with guns they can rally to, except where the government is already "moderate" or "pro-Western".

One could say that this isn't World War II, and 9/11 was but a pinprick on a national scale - so we have no excuse for war. Well, America isn't fighting a war, yet, except in Afghanistan - where the government refused to extradite Osama bin Laden - and in Iraq - which invaded Kuwait, was defeated, and then didn't abide by the treaties that ended the war, because it obstructed UN weapons inspectors.

Yes, this situation has a great potential for expanding into a war between the U.S. and a big chunk of the Islamic world, but if it does, it seems clear to me who will have started it - and it won't have been the U.S..
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on September 30, 2010, 01:03:11 pm
Are you sure you mean aesthetics and not ethics? Aesthetics is the understanding, appreciation and personal definition of beauty. It's what you like the look of. Ethics is the personal set of rules (separate from morals) that you use to make your way in the world.

Yes, I mean aesthetics. People can choose their ethics because some authority figure told them to and they aren't willing to choose for themselves.

But people who actually notice what they like, are doing it out of their esthetic sense. If the ethics you choose feel ugly to you, you are doing something wrong. When that happens you have missed something important and left yourself with an ethics you don't actually like.

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I'm not sure you've got your definitions quite correct, to be honest, as you seem to be arguing that torture is a piece of art rather than an ethical choice made based on a given set of circumstances.

Torture is ugly. If it resulted in the victim and the torturer giggling together and feeling wonderful and together they find a way to solve their mutual problems and tiptoe away among the roses and rainbows and such, people wouldn't mind it so much.

I tried to imagine why this seems controversial rather than obvious. Here's what I came up with. Maybe people think that their sense of beauty is arbitrary and capricious and irrelevant. So saying that this is what people base their ethics on sounds like saying that their ethics are arbitrary and capricious. Is that what it seems like?

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But this talk about "esthetics" confuses me. It's not even a word.

Sorry, American spelling.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: Brugle on September 30, 2010, 03:07:45 pm
Is that what it seems like?

No, it seems like you simply refuse to see the obvious.

A person may get much the same pleasant feelings from seeing something beautiful or from making a scientific discovery.  That is no reason to think that science is based on aesthetics.

A person may get much the same unpleasant feelings from seeing something ugly or from hearing about an ethical travesty.  That is no reason to think that ethics is based on aesthetics.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on September 30, 2010, 04:53:56 pm
Maybe people think that their sense of beauty is arbitrary and capricious and irrelevant. So saying that this is what people base their ethics on sounds like saying that their ethics are arbitrary and capricious. Is that what it seems like?
That's what it seems like to me. I can't speak for others, as one person who disagreed with you already said that wasn't what it seemed like you were saying to him.

My esthetic choices are my own business, not anyone else's; they're personal preferences that don't intrude on others.

I expect that if I try to steal from or enslave others, they will fight back. How should I respond to this knowledge? Should I try to figure out better ways to not get caught, or impose my will so that they have no recourse?

Most people have a preference for a society where people, instead of trying to take advantage of each other, leave their neighbors in peace to enjoy the fruits of their labor. It makes for less effort wasted on looking over your shoulder. So it's not just nicer, it's more efficient.

The forms of organized stealing - like taxation - that we've come to tolerate have generally been those which led to even more efficiency - in the business of waging war. There's a good book, The Parable of the Tribes, which talks about the problem of war and peace.

Several tribes are living in peace in proximity to one another. One tribe decides to become warlike. Once this happens, the other tribes don't have the option of just ignoring them, and having life go on as before. Instead, the alternatives become these:


And so the world today is composed entirely of those societies that met the third and fourth fates - all the major countries of the world are in the third category, and some of the indigenous people that we find in remote areas are those in the fourth.

So the societies of the world in which almost all of its people live are heavily structured around war, and yet the natural inclinations of human beings are far from being terribly aggressive.

Thus, history has taught us that the only way people can enjoy a long period of peace is if there is some strong over-arching authority that prevents any one group from choosing war, and thus imposing war on everyone.

In any case, though, getting back to where I was, since choosing to be peaceful, to cooperate, affects your neighbors and not just yourself, it is not a personal choice - it's a responsible choice. And when the concept of responsibility enters the picture, something resembling moral language will be used.
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: J Thomas on September 30, 2010, 06:04:59 pm

Living in France or Poland in 1939, or Britain in 1940, or America in 1941, I wouldn't have the luxury of dealing with the people of Germany as individuals. If I have the might of a modern industrial state, comparable in power to the one I live in, bearing down on my own nation to take its land and enslave its people, I will have to resist by the means which are available to me that have a chance of working.

But the germans felt they had already been enslaved for the crime of losing WWI. And they'd been through a long period where it looked like there was no way for them to get a better deal than raw force.

It looks like when we leave this sort of thing to governments, we're *likely* to get stuck with the kind of bad situation you describe.

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Weighing Dresden against Belsen, and Nagasaki against Nanking, it's hard for me to see criticism of the monstrous things the Allies did do in World War II as more than nit-picking. It was a fight for anything even remotely resembling freedom on this planet.

"Mommy, I know I did some bad things but Jimmy did so much worse that what I did shouldn't even count. And I didn't have any choice."

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Instead of "whose ox is gored", though, I ask the question "who started it".

Have you ever been in charge of children? If you don't keep them busy, or keep a close eye on them, pretty soon they'll get your attention by fighting each other. And if you listen to them say what happened, very likely one of them will tell you the other one hit him first. But the other one will say he got shoved before that. And the first one got tripped, that's why he shoved him. The first one stepped on the other one's foot and it wasn't an accident, he did it because .....

And if you stress that it's important to decide who did it first, they'll take turns pushing it back and back and back.

I've had he privilege of observing a zionist and an anti-zionist who were both very knowledgeable about history, argue about who did it first. They argued about pograms and sneak attacks into the early 1930's. It wasn't all arabs attacking jews, it went both directions and both felt they were making counterattacks because of earlier attacks. They went to the 1920's. I stopped paying attention around 1880.

When it's little stuff that gradually escalates, who started it? Does it even make sense to talk about who started it? Both sides escalated it.

Well, but how about big wars? When somebody starts a big war with no provocation, then they started it. Like the Germans started WWI. So, Israel started the 1956 war, no question. Except, Egypt did not allow free shipping for Israel and that's an act of war so Egypt started it. So what did Israel do to provoke Egypt to limit shipping? Is it all so obvious?

OK, Israel started the 1967 war, no question. Except, they had some reason to think that Egypt mght attack them if they didn't attack first. It isn't really a completely unprovoked attack if you think they're going to attack you, right? And what was it that got Egypt and Syria and Israel to mobilise their armies? Somebody did that with no provocation, right?

OK, Israel attacked first in the 1973 war, but there was no question that Egypt and Syria were about to attack. They'd been threatening to attack since 1972. They wanted peace negotiations, and Israel said there was nothing to gain by peace. They said arabs couldn't fight, so they didn't care whether arabs were peaceful or not. They said they had absolutely nothing to gain by making any kind of concession, so the arabs could attack if they felt like it, it wouldn't make any difference. When there was no attack in 1972 the Israelis laughed about it and said arabs couldn't fight, it was all a bluff.

Israel invaded Lebanon in 1978, no question. But there had been some little PLO raids from Lebanon into Israel, and vice versa. If you believe that Palestinians had no right to fight for their land, then they started it. The USA similarly invaded Mexico to go after Pancho Villa, and accomplished no more. International pressure forced the Israelis out after a few months.

Israel invaded Lebanon again in 1982, no question. But there had been continuing attacks back and forth, Israeli airstrikes, minor Palestinian raids, etc. Did anybody in Lebanon have a right to retaliate for the 1978 invasion? Did they have a right to retaliate before the 1978 invasion? Once you decide that Israel was right in 1948 then you can say everything they ever did since then was retaliation, because every arab counterattack was wrong while every Israeli counterattack was right.

This whole line of reasoning is bogus. All it's good for is, if you can find people who don't hear the other side then you can sway them with it. It will never lead to peace, all it gets you is dumb allies for your forever war.

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Did it begin with a big Jewish army going through a swath of the Middle East, taking any land it could grab, even though the group it was taking land from had been peaceful before?

No. Instead, what we had was:

Jews bought land in Palestine. They were peaceful. Fanatics egged on some Muslims to commit massacres against them.

This is propaganda. "They were peaceful." Sheesh.

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The pattern is obvious to me. Time after time, the Jews offer the choice to their neighbors of living side by side in peace.

We are pattern-making animals. It's built in.

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People who are the victims of aggression may fight back.

Yes, that't the pattern I see. Germans fought back against everyone who threatened them. They thought that Jews were conspiring against them, and they fought back. Surviving Jews continue to fight back against everyone who threatens them. They think Palestinians conspire against them and so they attack them. Palestinians are starting to fight back. L Ron Hubbard said "We are all of us victims and victims of victims." I don't have a lot of respect for him but he got that one right.

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All the tough nasty guerilla movements out there seem to be Muslim extremist ones, like Boko Haram or al-Shabaab.

It's because the others are weaker. Consider the Zapatistas in Mexico. They did not like the kleptocratic Mexican government. They tried to fight it. The USA gave Mexico lots of advanced weapons to fight their peasants. Many of the Zapatista families escaped to the mountains before they could be killed, leaving their farms behind. Now the survivors try to run a nonviolent campaign because they know they cannot beat the hi-tech Mexican army, and their leaders get assassinated as fast as they can be found.

But in arab countries we try to support governments that can't catch their revolutionaries no matter how much aid we give them. Perhaps that doesn't mean the revolutionaries are particularly tough, but that the governments are particularly weak.

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Yes, this situation has a great potential for expanding into a war between the U.S. and a big chunk of the Islamic world, but if it does, it seems clear to me who will have started it - and it won't have been the U.S..

Well, is there a chance it might get started by some nation the USA supports? If we support them then we can expect some blowback from our support.

So there's Jordan. They have a king. He appears to have a lot of support from his people but they don't exactly have free speech. I had a guy from Jordan living in my suite in grad school. After we'd known each other about a year I asked him what he thought about the Jordanian government. "I'm sorry but I don't know you well enough to talk about that."

There's Saudi Arabia. They have a king. He appears to have a lot of support from his people but they don't have anything like free speech. They torture political opponents if they can find them.

There's Kuwait. They have a king. He appears to lack support. They have no free speech and sometimes torture people who say things the government does not approve of.

There's Egypt. They have a king. (With a different name, but the only unkingly thing he's done is not have a son to pass the monarchy to when he dies.) He does not appear to have a whole lot of support but without free speech who can be sure? He gets a lot of "crowd control" equipment from the USA to help him control riots and demonstrations and such, but nothing that could be used to attack Israel.

There's Libya. They have a king. He's probably pretty popular because we used to be dead-set against him and we never managed to assassinate him or replace him. He might be less popular now that he surrendered to us.

There's Iraq. We are installing a moderate pro-western government but it's going slowly.

There's Tunisia. Tunisia is a republic. Their president was removed by a coup in 1987. The new president, General Ben Ali, has been re-elected in every election since, each time with 90% to 99% of the vote. He is very popular, but the USA has criticised the lack of free speech. Still, he does allow opposition leaders to live and to run for office. That's liberal of him.

Should I go on? These are the moderate leaders we support. And then there's Israel.

You want to say if a big war starts that we have no blood on our lily-white hands so it won't be our fault?
Title: Re: Law and order where there is neither?
Post by: quadibloc on September 30, 2010, 06:57:20 pm
Weighing Dresden against Belsen, and Nagasaki against Nanking, it's hard for me to see criticism of the monstrous things the Allies did do in World War II as more than nit-picking. It was a fight for anything even remotely resembling freedom on this planet.

"Mommy, I know I did some bad things but Jimmy did so much worse that what I did shouldn't even count. And I didn't have any choice."

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Instead of "whose ox is gored", though, I ask the question "who started it".

Have you ever been in charge of children? If you don't keep them busy, or keep a close eye on them, pretty soon they'll get your attention by fighting each other. And if you listen to them say what happened, very likely one of them will tell you the other one hit him first. But the other one will say he got shoved before that. And the first one got tripped, that's why he shoved him. The first one stepped on the other one's foot and it wasn't an accident, he did it because .....

And if you stress that it's important to decide who did it first, they'll take turns pushing it back and back and back.
Well, it is true that parents are pretty busy people, and the things children squabble over are trifles, and thus the triumph of expediency over justice in such cases is inevitable.

Given the stakes in a conflict like World War II, though, I don't see that treating it like a squabble between children is appropriate.

Russia wouldn't hav