wdg3rd on February 22, 2009, 09:18:45 am
Sandy, whose butt are those monkeys supposed to fly out of?  That can be a deadlock to progress on the project.

Cyberbard, I'm not a Libertarian either and never was (SEK3 and I [well, I helped at a couple of Worldcons and Westercons] held parties, we didn't join Parties).  I was a relaxed, complacent libertarian (if the government doesn't fuck with me, I won't fuck with them) until the day the IRS put me in the street.  That's when I became a full fledged anarchist and vengeance will be mine unless somebody else gets there first (my preference, as I am first and foremost a coward -- I'd rather cook chili than lurk [or sleep] in alleys).
Ward Griffiths        wdg3rd@aol.com

Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.  --  Denis Diderot

SandySandfort on February 22, 2009, 08:01:15 pm
Sandy, whose butt are those monkeys supposed to fly out of?  That can be a deadlock to progress on the project.

Hmm. I'll have to back to you on that.

Cyberbard, I'm not a Libertarian either and never was (SEK3 and I [well, I helped at a couple of Worldcons and Westercons] held parties, we didn't join Parties).  I was a relaxed, complacent libertarian (if the government doesn't frack with me, I won't frack with them) until the day the IRS put me in the street.  That's when I became a full fledged anarchist and vengeance will be mine unless somebody else gets there first (my preference, as I am first and foremost a coward -- I'd rather cook chili than lurk [or sleep] in alleys).

Okay gentlemen, it looks as though you are confusing "libertarian" with "Libertarian." Big L is usually reserved for the so-called Libertarian Party. Libertarian with the small L, is a social-ethical-political philosophy. The simplified explanation is ZAP, the  Zero Aggression Principle, promoted by our own L. Neil Smith. See, http://www.ncc-1776.org/whoislib.html

Leviathan on February 23, 2009, 01:04:51 am
Mark my words, you will be shocked and awed by the Enzee war of 2047.  When the practitioners of the Non-Aggression Principle go to war with the practitioners of the Zero-Aggression Principle.  The funny part is after they get done throwing pies, none of'em will admit to throwing the first one.  ;)

cyberbard,
Here's a question.  Under what circumstance is a group allowed to take an action that is immoral for any member of that group to take singly?  To put it another way, is there a circumstance where if I did something it would be immoral but if a government did it then it would be moral?

If you answer that there are no such things that become moral just because it's government doing them, then I recommend re-evaluating a lot of things we take for granted.  Taxation.  Arrest.  Imprisonment.  Speeding tickets.  Confiscation of assets.  The entire process of regulation, where generally money is demanded for violating a rule, and then if they refuse to pay assets are confiscated and the nice men with guns come and shoot you if you don't come along quietly.

If you answer that there are in fact things that government can do with complete morality that I cannot do and remain moral, I would have to ask what gives them that moral highground when no one else has it in society?

Just food for thought.

Rocketman on February 23, 2009, 10:06:19 am
Leviathan:  Nicely put guy.  :D  You might also note that they founding fathers were (at least on the Jeffersonian side) by what standard we use today largely libertarian.  Look at their writings and it's pretty obvious that is what many of them wanted this country to become.

cyberbard on February 23, 2009, 11:08:52 am
cyberbard,
Here's a question.  Under what circumstance is a group allowed to take an action that is immoral for any member of that group to take singly?

If an individual is consistently acting immorally, then the group is obligated to put a stop to that individuals actions.  Doing so may require the same patterns of behavior.  For example, the group (government) using capital punishment to end the immoral behavior of a serial killer or serial rapist.  That's the only circumstance that I can think of, and even it's a stretch.  Otherwise, there is no such circumstance. 

By extension, when the group (government?) is consistently acting in an immoral way, the other individuals in the society have the right - make that a responsibility - to put that group back on track.  Inside the law if possible, outside the law if absolutely necessary.

Quote from: Leviathan
Just food for thought.

You mean you're not trying to pick a fight?  That's a relief.   :)

Seriously, the libertarians I know in my home area (I work with some) are constantly trying to pick a fight.  They will use any opportunity to force feed their personal philosophy and try to brow-beat it into anyone who is even slightly sympathetic.  Such practices typically backfire, but they don't seem to know that.

As for me, I'll keep my own politics close to the chest for now.  But I will say that whenever I read libertarian literature, my B.S. meter goes off.  I'm curious as to why that is.  Or, I'm curious as to why some people subscribe to a philosophy that seems so "obviously" flawed.

That's why I'm reading and lurking.  Call me an armchair political scientist.  Or some type of anthropologist.  :D

SandySandfort on February 23, 2009, 05:14:51 pm
[If an individual is consistently acting immorally..,

Please define.

... then the group...

Please define. (I'm not trying to be annoying, but there can be no rational discourse without mutually understood terms. If your definitions are acceptable, we can discuss issues. If not, we first have to discuss terminology.)

.. is obligated...

What do you mean by "obligated" and why should anyone be obligated to do anything? What if they do not accept such obligation?

By extension, when the group (government?) is consistently acting in an immoral way, the other individuals in the society have the right - make that a responsibility - to put that group back on track.  Inside the law if possible, outside the law if absolutely necessary.

"Right, yes, but responsibility? Really?

Seriously, the libertarians I know in my home area (I work with some) are constantly trying to pick a fight.  They will use any opportunity to force feed their personal philosophy and try to brow-beat it into anyone who is even slightly sympathetic.  Such practices typically backfire, but they don't seem to know that.

I know what you mean, but so what? Do you judge a philosophical position on the bases of random nuts who supposedly favor it? I have commie and right-wing friends. They are nice people whose politics I abhor. As long as they don't try to put any of it into action, no problems. But just because my friends are nice, doesn't mean communism is. Just because some libertarians I know are wack-jobs, it says nothing about the merits of the philosophy.

But I will say that whenever I read libertarian literature, my B.S. meter goes off. I'm curious as to why that is.  Or, I'm curious as to why some people subscribe to a philosophy that seems so "obviously" flawed.

Sounds as though you need to get that meter in the shop. But seriously, if you have some specific flaws or BS in mind, let me take a whack at them. I predict that what you think of as "libertarian" either isn't or at least isn't a core value (like ZAP). In fact, I'd like to explore ZAP with you. [provocation_mode] I think it's bulletproof. [/provocation_mode]

Sean Roach on February 23, 2009, 05:16:24 pm
So many times, on these boards, I've seen someone compare government to a disease.  Remove the disease, and the patient has a better, more productive life.  Who in their right mind would want to go back to having a disease?

The problem is government isn't a disease.  It's a highly addictive drug.
Remove government, and far too many people would feel the sting of both having to think for themselves, and not having the handouts they have gotten used to, (be it daycare public education, ponzi scheme funded retirement benefits, social security, free security services, etc.

These people would install a new government just as fast as they could fall over themselves to do so.

I can't advocate the removal of all govenment until no one would be stupid enough, and yet successful, to reestablish it or something similar.

Please note.  I am the son of a teacher, and have the highest respect for teachers, at least those who value education...however, there are parents who scream loudly if the school has to have a snow day because suddenly they have to figure out what to do with the little brats.

As for the morality of government actions.  They are immoral.
If it was MY road, I could set the speed as I saw fit, but it's not MY road.  It's ours, and although plenty of people vote with their gas pedals, the govenment insists on using other methods of determining acceptable speeds, and then enforcing them as if we'd all agreed to them.  It's not the regulation that is immoral, in and of itself.  It's the forced monopoly that makes that regulation immoral as no alternative exists.
Of course, for the regulation of what people do in their homes or with their own bodies...that is immoral regardless.  Only socialized medicine could even hope to make that reasonable, (if the taxpayer is paying your medical bills....don't they get a say in how you acquired them?)

Note, reasonable, as in based on reason.  Not acceptable.

Scott on February 23, 2009, 05:23:17 pm
cyberbard:
Quote
Seriously, the libertarians I know in my home area (I work with some) are constantly trying to pick a fight.  They will use any opportunity to force feed their personal philosophy and try to brow-beat it into anyone who is even slightly sympathetic.  Such practices typically backfire, but they don't seem to know that.

I understand what you mean. Sometimes I think the biggest obstacle to spreading libertarian ideas are certain libertarians with poor social skills who put people off, or relative newbies who haven't studied the philosophy very deeply and find themselves defeated by simple arguments.

I've probably been guilty of doing both these things in the past, but with age I think I'm getting better.  ::)

And this is why I've chosen to propagate libertarianism via storytelling, mainly. Debating politics on-line or at parties tends to involve a lot of head-butting which just gives me headaches.


SandySandfort on February 23, 2009, 07:22:22 pm
... this is why I've chosen to propagate libertarianism via storytelling, mainly. Debating politics on-line or at parties tends to involve a lot of head-butting which just gives me headaches.

Scott and I have never spoken about this, but that is why I am enjoying writing fiction so much. Non-fiction mostly tries to convey facts. Fiction, on the other hand, is about truth. And the test of fiction is whether or not your readers believe your truth on a visceral level (and, of course, whether or not they are entertained, which is always job #1).

Frank B. on February 24, 2009, 02:52:13 pm
(and, of course, whether or not they are entertained, which is always job #1).

And as your publisher, I'm pleased to hear it.  ;D

Leviathan on February 25, 2009, 01:37:08 pm
If an individual is consistently acting immorally, then the group is obligated to put a stop to that individuals actions.  Doing so may require the same patterns of behavior.  For example, the group (government) using capital punishment to end the immoral behavior of a serial killer or serial rapist.  That's the only circumstance that I can think of, and even it's a stretch.  Otherwise, there is no such circumstance. 

This is a pretty decent logical foundation to start from for the discussion.  If it's moral when that government/group is ending the Dangerous Criminals(TM), why is it not moral for you to end them?

If it's moral for a government to provide laws, courts, defense, is it moral for that government to refuse friendly competition?  Namely, what happens if I don't like the rules the group has decided on (generally the rules a few politicians have decided on, and used the public vote as a justification for it being the group's opinion), and I write up my own set of laws, open my own court, and offer people citizenship in Agapeland?  Am I still subject to the first set of laws against my will?  Why is it moral for that group over there to be government and impose its will, but not me?

By extension, when the group (government?) is consistently acting in an immoral way, the other individuals in the society have the right - make that a responsibility - to put that group back on track.  Inside the law if possible, outside the law if absolutely necessary.

I'll quickly echo the sentiment earlier about obligations before proceeding.  Obligations are someone coming into your life and saying thou must do something.  Be very careful before saying "you must".  Even a trespasser has the choice to violate your property, at which point they've chosen to be shot.

In this case, Thou Must Restrain Government.  Rather a bit like saying Thou Must Stop This Avalanche in Its Tracks.  What restrains businesses is competition.  Governments are nothing but businesses that have managed through force, intimidation, indoctrination, and the resulting tradition to gain a long standing monopoly of those things government.  Without the ability and the will to say "I will not be subject to your laws!" and follow through on it, there is no restraint for government.  By defying it in the slightest regulation, you are a criminal.  As such, there isn't really a track for it to be on.  Just a temporary respite in some cases from the worst qualities of it.  And when it's taken that monopoly, there isn't anybody with the kind of clout left to significantly alter it.  Everybody with clout is already happy with the special status they get within government, with any allowance for those minor exceptions who don't usually retain that position very long if they try to go against what has helped them have the clout in the first place.

But let's turn it around, and ask, is there a possibility of having a moral government?  Remember my question earlier, under what circumstance is a collective right gained that is denied to the individual?  My answer is there should not be a double standard.  If I cannot demand money from you and take police action against you when it's not forthcoming without being immoral, neither should government.  If I can't drag you in front of a friend to pass judgement on a dispute between us, why should police be able to drag you before a judge?  If you put everything that is considered inherent to government in the terms of what an individual might do, in terms of the vile hated word vigilanteism, you get extortion (taxes), theft (eminent domain, tax seizure), murder (even putting aside the death penalty here, what else is pre-emptive war?), kidnapping (arrest and detainment)...  By its own standards I'd say it qualifies as an accessory to rape.  I mean, if you kidnapped someone and put them in a room with a known rapist, are you not aiding and abetting rape?  These are the basics of government.  You can't get around any of them except possibly finding a way to work around the consequences of dropped soap in prison showers, without getting rid of it being a government.  A government is always going to tax, because otherwise taking by voluntary means makes it a charity or a business.  It's always going to use threat (and actuality) of force to maintain its monopoly on any services provided by it, else there really is nothing compelling you into any given legal system and you get the right to switch voluntarily between them making it a legal business that provides services rather than a government.  Where do these inherent qualities of government ever become moral?  Where is the track government should be "put back onto"?

You mean you're not trying to pick a fight?  That's a relief.   :)

I usually try not to.  It's about as productive as writing your congressman, and the cathartic release of screaming obscenities at somebody staunchly pro-state is rarely worth the trouble.  Generally I try to argue the point.  And eventually give up if it comes down to "I have a right to enlist this agency to use force against you, because the anti-capitalism pro-status-quo media have headlines that say freedom doesn't work!" versus arguments about not using force preemptorily.

Seriously, the libertarians I know in my home area (I work with some) are constantly trying to pick a fight.  They will use any opportunity to force feed their personal philosophy and try to brow-beat it into anyone who is even slightly sympathetic.  Such practices typically backfire, but they don't seem to know that.

I do know.  One reason they may go for the catharsis is that they can't fight the state at this time.  So they end up wanting to fight somebody who is in favor of the state.

As for me, I'll keep my own politics close to the chest for now.  But I will say that whenever I read libertarian literature, my B.S. meter goes off.  I'm curious as to why that is.  Or, I'm curious as to why some people subscribe to a philosophy that seems so "obviously" flawed.

That's why I'm reading and lurking.  Call me an armchair political scientist.  Or some type of anthropologist.  :D

Two questions, which libertarian literature and what exactly is twigging the BS meter?

Philosophy guy on March 27, 2009, 05:00:46 am
     Well, because this seems the only appropriate place to speak about it, I'd like to air my silliness here.  First About the comic's aim bieng to entertain first, nonsence.  I have never seen a comic more dripping with agenda.  But I'm not saying that's a bad thing.  The author clearly has something to say which he'd like us to consider- that mostly bieng,  "Are y'all sure goverment (especially the U.S. as it currently stands)is what it's cracked up to be?" A question that deserves, Perhaps even NEEDS to be asked.  But please call a spade a spade.
     And we are presented with good, solid arguments for the position that goverment isn't what it's cracked up to be.  Truly absolute freedom can only exist in an anarchy.  government  contols ownership and use of land, mandatorily licences professions, and conrtols how many dogs you can own, and what shots you will give them.    If freedom is the ultimate good, then anarchy must follow.  Note, i wrote "if". Armies can easily attract the vicious and reputation hungry (or manufacture them) so if peace on a national scale is the ultimate good doing away with the armies is a good start.  I did write "if" again.  And our government (our current one, never mind the hyperbole in the comic) does force laws we repeatedly vote down upon us without the public consent.  It is also corrupt by virtually any standard, so if honesty is the ultimate good,  our goverment, at least, does not provide it. "If"
     Still, while anyone would agree that goverment needs reform, to replace it with nothing is dubious at best.  That would imply no public transit system (no highways or the sciene fiction equivialant) no federally funded hospitals, no health and welfare standards.  Snake oil salesman (at least the charasmatic ones) get free reign and there is no police force to solve a crime where the perpitraitor is not readily apparent, no army to defend your homes from the next (perhaps less enlightened) country. No legal system to mediate disputes, or enforce contracts.  No standardised coinage means counterfieters and metal debasers will be large problem.  The local person with the most cash to hire guns will be the closest thing to authority. If fairness and equality are your ultimate goods, anarchy is not for you.
   That's a lot of "ifs".  Where do they rate? Which one is in fact, Ultimate? Can there be some happy medium?  These are the questions that make the comic interesting, rather than just pretty colors and witty dialouge. The more we can consider the opinions of the author and form our own conclusions the happier we (and, I think, the author) will be.   But please don't hide that you have something to say!  I only wish I could find more that did.

Scott on March 28, 2009, 05:38:25 pm
Actually, Phil, (may I call you Phil?) we want to both entertain and make some points, and see the two goals as mutually supporting rather than at odds. Maybe we could do better, but we keep trying.

You have your vision of what an anarchist society would be like and we have a different one. We'll be presenting ours in some detail as the strip progresses and rely as much as we can on letting the story justify its world.

But if our dropping of the "A" word has upset you (as it has a few others), I suggest that you may enjoy the strip more if, whenever you see the "A" word, think "puppies" instead. "Yessiree Guy, what we have here is a functioning puppies."

Leviathan on March 29, 2009, 01:16:04 am
Actually, scott?  I'm not much of a dog person.  Saying "Imagine if instead of Anarchy the word was 'puppies'" would be likely to turn me off of the concept and potentially comic  :P  But, since I already like anarchy better than kittens, snakes, and rats (the three animals I actually really like), we'll let the equating of anarchy with puppies go for now  ;D  "Yessiree Guy, what we have here is a functioning python."

Philoguy,
Okay, if the aim was to preach anarchy and not entertain?  The strip would be very different.  I could rattle off the joyous wonders of anarchy all day and I wouldn't be telling an engaging story while I was doing it.  Which is why us anarchists read it.  Else it'd be just like reading someone's pro-anarchy blog or whatever.  Probably not enough to entertain us since we end up talking about it that way all the time.

Now, to correct some common misconceptions you demonstrated about anarchy?  At least anarcho-capitalism, since I don't know what the anti-property Marxists are smoking. 

Your "if" lines are some weirdness, for starters.  If freedom is the ultimate good?  How can slavery be the ultimate good?  How would that even work?  Being an owned, bound bit of state chattel can be a good thing in some worldviews?  If peace is the ultimate good thing?  So, what worldview isn't sociopathic where non-defensive murder of another human can be a good thing?  Since the only good resorting to conflict I can see is something that one does in self defense, if there isn't peace it's because somebody did a Bad Thing and picked a fight.  It means that would be the "bad state" that responding to it would be seeking to return to a state of peace.  Any attempt to deviate from peace involves slaughtering people, so how could that be a good thing?  If honesty were not the ultimate good, the use of fraud could be considered a good thing.  Using misleading tactics against an enemy that is seeking to kill you can be a good way to end the fight, but then one would be resorting to defense, not offense.  Again, it seems like the counter-condition of your ifs are all things that could only seem like a wonderful thing to a violent sociopath.

Now, past the "subjective" morality in a world where humans seem to share an objective reality.

The misconceptions about anarchy.  First, that government needs reform is not a universal among anarchists.  Not by a long shot.  To those like me, it's just reshuffling the seats and leaving us as bound chattel to whatever powers that be, dependent on their whim not to treat us serfs badly.  What point would there be in that? 

I believe this video (follow the bloody link in case that isn't clear) would answer the issue of roads without government better than devoting time to what is the most commonly raised objection against anarchy, and ironically one of the silliest reasons to say we need government.  Really, you would submit to slavery, thievery, kidnapping, violence, and wholesale slaughter called war just so roadways could be convenient and look like they're free?  Really?  This is the great idea that saves the state from being totally useless?  It's like agreeing to have your left leg amputated in order to get an aspirin for your headache. 

As for federally funded hospitals, we had charity hospitals before regulation and "welfare" destroyed them.  We had charities and mutual aid societies that were what made this country a great place to live even if you weren't rich.  Us, doing it directly without some politician stealing on our behalf and claiming it's for our own good.  And government has almost annihilated that.

Snake oil salesmen.  First, there's a little bitty bit of history people who think of this one are forgetting.  Snake-oil salesmen had another name: patent medicine salesmen.  They were artificially inflating their reputation using a government program.  Without that, if someone came into town and were selling some odd-tasting syrup that he claimed could cure all your ills, you'd take it with a grain of salt.  And most did.  The remainder were largely people who, knowingly or not, liked (even if "liked" means they got addicted) the effect of the morphine in most such "patented snake-oil" cures and kept taking it as a result.  A market solution to the problem of fraudsters selling morphine and other addictive drugs without saying what they were might have been a home drug testing kit, that you could eyedropper something in that changed color or fizzed if it was opium or cocaine or something.  Instead gov made the FDA, and has retarded the development of real cures for the last century without "protecting" us from a lick of quack.

This link contains a response to the question of police in anarchy.  This one is for defense.  Really they're the same topic, just on different scales.  One claims to protect you against the smaller, neighborhood and regional, criminal enterprises that aren't the government.  The other claims to protect you against the international, large-scale criminal enterprises that *are* the government but aren't any that claim they own you already.  First, the question of having a government to defend you against governments seems a bit...  stupid.  Here's a scenario.  You've been arrested for some crime.  Statistically?  Possession of marijuana is most likely.  They lock you up in prison, and some guy approaches you and says he's part of a gang that if you become their bitch, they'll protect you against prison rape by this other gang.  That's government military in a nutshell.  It's government saying it'll protect you against government, so you should accept government.  What?  Same thing for police, really.  In order to have police, you're subjecting yourself to thievery to support the police, they're almost as likely even in a "good" society like ours to kill you as any criminal is.  They'll harass you if you break any of the millions of rules that've been put up for them to enforce.  I'm having trouble finding anything a criminal could do, that police don't do in the name of enforcing the law.  Even rape, since it's not as common as fictionalized but still quite prevalent in prisons.  And who puts you in prisons?  So, I would say, yes, we'd have less crime perpetrated against us without police and military, because we would be getting rid of the biggest criminal faction!  But that doesn't mean we can't defend ourselves in a myriad of ways against the acknowledged criminals.  But as an anarchist, I can only tell you what people could do without police.  Not what they will.  I would suggest, however, reading The Probability Broach.  It has a decent defense and justice picture in what is a world where the populace was essentially conned into believing they had a government when they in fact didn't  :-X

No standardized coinage means that people would compete against each other to offer the best coins.  Making them is a service in a free market, as well as having a means of testing when the metal is uncertain.  But let's look at what happens when you have a state in control of the financial medium.  Huh, does it count as counterfeiting when the bills are printed without backing?  When the only value they have is at gunpoint, having forced banks to trade only in them, and demanding all taxes be paid in them?  It would be hard to be a worse debaser and counterfeiter of the coin than the state you say would be good at protecting us against that.  In fact, it's not the first time a state has done so.  It's common practice in many nations to debase the currency so they are paying debt back with less value than it was originally paid in.  So putting up the primary criminal responsible for the fraud of currency debasement as the protector against it is, pardon the term, psychotic.  Because it has never actually done so, and has been the primary violator of that role.  I've actually pointed out that the only reason we probably didn't lead the way to zimbabwean-level hyperinflation for the world is that the federal reserve isn't actually government, but a business whose interests require the money to retain most (but unfortunately not all) of its value from year to year.

I'm not telling you what to think.  And if some statist out there could find some reason that we actually need government, couldn't live without it, along with a way to keep it in only that role, I would probably change my mind.  It hasn't happened yet.

Just to defuse the inevitable minarchist response to that line, the idea that we will always have government, so let's make the best one, is not worth considering.  We'll always have, hmm, I'll use rape here.  We'll always have rape, does that mean we should try to aim for a kinder, gentler rape happening in the society?  And I don't believe the theorem, anyway, that it is inevitable.  Either rape or government.  Like all crimes, I think there will probably always be people who try to be government. 

I'm just sick of seeing the same tired refrain from minarchists.  Seriously, if I had to rattle off some of the top ten arguments I get from minarchists and other statists?  Police, firefighters, roads, military, justice, and "anarchy is impossible".  Not necessarily in that order of frequency.  They're the same arguments.  Like a proponent of evolution extremely bewildered by the creationist "argument", I am not impressed.  The closest to a new one today was the argument that we need a government to prevent debasement of the currency.  It's a new one, because I've never run into anyone who was unaware that governments are what debases currency, not prevents their debasement.

Philosophy guy on March 29, 2009, 09:24:20 pm
Thank you for the most excellent replies!  I hadn't thought I would recieve them! I'll chew on them a while and look foreward to speaking to you again.  I also hope you understand that the gist of my argument was not that the comic was overly agenda oriented ,but that the agenda (i found) to be the most fun part of reading the comic.

 

anything