NotDebonair on September 09, 2009, 01:18:19 am
Posting five pages of good art every week, week after week, amazing!  Good writing, too.

As for the libertarian assumptions in the story, while I quite disagree that it is the one ideal way for people to live, in frontier societies it will just happen.  If you want to build stories around a specific set of technologies that will make a libertarian society ideal for everybody every where, I can suspend disbelief to enjoy.  I do it all the time with Iain Banks galactic socialist government, too.

KBCraig on September 09, 2009, 03:54:26 am
++ on the art and the story.

It's entertaining, without patronizing.

It's my favorite BHP story so far, although Roswell, Texas comes pretty close. As does The Probability Broach, of course.

I think EFT works so well because both the art and the storylines fit the web-based comic forum perfectly. Too many comics stick to the portrait orientation found in dead-tree versions. I always appreciate a story that takes advantage of horizontal layout.


SandySandfort on September 09, 2009, 07:49:15 am
Posting five pages of good art every week, week after week, amazing!  Good writing, too.

Music to our ears!

As for the libertarian assumptions in the story, while I quite disagree that it is the one ideal way for people to live, in frontier societies it will just happen.  If you want to build stories around a specific set of technologies that will make a libertarian society ideal for everybody every where, I can suspend disbelief to enjoy.  I do it all the time with Iain Banks galactic socialist government, too.

Actually, in anarcho-libertarianism people live in a bewildering array of different ways. The difference from all other social structures is that no one may force others to bend to their will. So it is the reality of Mao's "Let a hundred flowers bloom." (Of course, in his case it was a fraud used to get "dangerous elements" to expose themselves so the could be silenced.) So in an AL society, your Muslim neighbor, for example, is free to try to persuade you to convert to Islam as long as he does not initiate force.

Truly, why would anyone want to live in a society where the initiation of force is considered a legitimate way to force others to act as you believe they should? Libertarians will leave you alone to live as you wish. They only ask that you leave them alone too. What is there to disagree with about that?

SandySandfort on September 09, 2009, 07:55:20 am
... It's my favorite BHP story so far, although Roswell, Texas comes pretty close. As does The Probability Broach, of course....

Damn! In your face, Neil!

(Actually, I love what we are doing, but L. Neil Smith has inspired me ever since I read his book, The Probability Broach all these many years ago. He is the Man.)

Jtuxyan on September 09, 2009, 12:07:57 pm
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Actually, in anarcho-libertarianism people live in a bewildering array of different ways. The difference from all other social structures is that no one may force others to bend to their will. So it is the reality of Mao's "Let a hundred flowers bloom." (Of course, in his case it was a fraud used to get "dangerous elements" to expose themselves so the could be silenced.) So in an AL society, your Muslim neighbor, for example, is free to try to persuade you to convert to Islam as long as he does not initiate force.

Truly, why would anyone want to live in a society where the initiation of force is considered a legitimate way to force others to act as you believe they should? Libertarians will leave you alone to live as you wish. They only ask that you leave them alone too. What is there to disagree with about that?

The fact that it has never worked that way. Ever. Never ever. It would be great if humans ticked that way, but we don't. We are not a species mentally geared to accept a fair society.

When the man upstream of me is pumping radioactive waste into the water and is not open to suggestions he discontinue this practice, I'm left with a choice between using force to dissuade him and accepting that my water may kill me. If I choose the former, he is left with a choice of giving up -- or of calling upon whatever support he can muster to "force" me right back. Soon we have two groups shooting at eachother. People die, there are hard feelings, grudges form -- the violence continues long after the radioactive waste plant is nothing more than a bombed out shell.

Of course, such things don't happen every time. But they only have to happen a tiny fraction of times to turn the society around them to shit. And history has shown that while everyone around them *could* band together to stop this madness, they don't. Humans tend to sit back and do nothing, pretending it isn't their problem until it's much too late to stop things.

I like Escape from Terra, but as I've said before, I think it could not be more wrong. As the above poster, I like it for the same reason I might like Atlas Shrugged, or any of the socialist Utopian novels, even though those are completely wrong.

SandySandfort on September 09, 2009, 03:16:01 pm
...When the man upstream of me is pumping radioactive waste into the water and is not open to suggestions he discontinue this practice, I'm left with a choice between using force to dissuade him...

Your argument is a straw man. Under the Zero Aggression Principle, radioactive man is the aggressor. You certainly may use force in self-defense. However, I am a bit mystified why you think every such scenario will end in blood vendettas and violence. That is not the way it works in the real world. People do talk about mutual problems, you know. If they cannot agree, they usually seek third-party resolution. Why? Because nobody wants to get in a shootout. This is in stark contrast to our world of governmental force where polluters can get pollution permits from the EPA which give them the power to pollute your property and takes away your say in the matter.

Jtuxyan on September 09, 2009, 03:33:50 pm
If he doesn't consider it attacking me, the situation is upheld. A better analogy might be if he's putting a chemical into the water which he believes to be harmless and I believe causes cancer. He insists that the water is *fine* and I can't persuade him otherwise, whereas I insist that he's making my house unliveable. And no, they don't usually seek third party resolution, they usually seek to force the other person to comply with their will by some form of coercion. The only reason that third party appeal is the standard is because we *have* reliable public bodies that serve as third parties, called governments.

...When the man upstream of me is pumping radioactive waste into the water and is not open to suggestions he discontinue this practice, I'm left with a choice between using force to dissuade him...

Your argument is a straw man. Under the Zero Aggression Principle, radioactive man is the aggressor. You certainly may use force in self-defense. However, I am a bit mystified why you think every such scenario will end in blood vendettas and violence. That is not the way it works in the real world. People do talk about mutual problems, you know. If they cannot agree, they usually seek third-party resolution. Why? Because nobody wants to get in a shootout. This is in stark contrast to our world of governmental force where polluters can get pollution permits from the EPA which give them the power to pollute your property and takes away your say in the matter.


As an amendment to my above post, I'd point out that the EPA doesn't take away my say in the matter. If there was no government, my say in the matter would be: "I can persuade you. I can bribe you. I can threaten you. Or I can appeal to a third party to do one of those three things." I can still do all of those if the EPA gives him a pollution permit.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2009, 04:20:34 pm by Jtuxyan »

ObscureDragom on September 09, 2009, 11:02:46 pm
Use a realistic Analogy,

City A uses the local river for sewage and drinking water.  City B does the same.  A simple dispute arises due to the nearness of the Cities.

City A claims the distance is sufficient for the sewage to settle, degrade and otherwise become as safe to drink as any river water can be.

City B claims this simply isn't the case.

One option is to vastly upgrade City A's sewage treatment plant and City B's water treatment plant.

Another option is to extend City A's sewage system to hook into City B's sewage system.

Both of these solutions do however cost money.

Who should pay?

What if City A simply refuses to admit a problem exists.

What if citizens in City B start to die of Cholera and similar diseases related to poor drinking water.

If City A moves from refusing to admit there is a problem because of the cost and the genuine belief to refusing to admit there is a problem because they don't want to feel guilty about the deaths, then war is perhaps the only way for City A to be corrected.

And correction in the instance is necessary.

terry_freeman on September 10, 2009, 01:43:00 am
Historically, the government used "pollution regulations" to reduce your protection against trespass-by-pollution - for the "greater good", of course. Because most people are educated by way of government-approved texts, this is seldom part of one's knowledge - just as a great many other inconvenient facts which refute common "justifications" for government misconduct are conveniently dropped down the memory hole.

In common law, riparian rights protect the quality of water. If you have a drinkable water supply, you have a right to expect that nobody will introduce poisons into your water. This right is perfectly compatible with libertarian society.

In a politicized society, whoever has more political pull than you can take away that expectation at will - allegedly to create jobs and all "for the greater good" - and damn you for objecting, the government will throw you into jail if you cause any trouble.

Insane on September 10, 2009, 02:56:34 am
I like the web comic because its very entertaining, is an interesting example of how a libertarian society might function and remind me to some extent of Robert Heinlein's novel 'The moon is a harsh mistress.'
Is the comic in some way inspired by that novel?

SotarrTheWizard on September 10, 2009, 06:52:03 am
Truly, why would anyone want to live in a society where the initiation of force is considered a legitimate way to force others to act as you believe they should? Libertarians will leave you alone to live as you wish. They only ask that you leave them alone too. What is there to disagree with about that?

My guess ?  Because humans are pack animals, and all too many have not developed to the point where:

 (1) Enough of us are able to act AS individuals and remain operating that way.  We still tend to attack the "pink monkeys", be they another race, religion, or other differentiator.  Not sure if/when we'll evolve out of that sufficiently to allow large-scale libertarian societies to exist peacefully.

(2) The current system tends to prevent differing too much from the norm, and gives incentives for leaders to keep us in the herd.

In my opinion, the ONLY reason the US formed a significantly more libertarian culture, at least initially, was that technology made the US sufficiently distant in time and effort from the old-style cultures of Europe.  As technology decreased travel time and eased trade and contact, libertarian aspects of American society began to wane, leading us to the situation today.  I'm convinced of this sufficiently to argue it over the adult beverage of any opponent's choice. . .    ::)

EFT is believable because the Ceres society operates at a significant distance in time and space from the United World.

SandySandfort on September 10, 2009, 08:21:13 am
... And no, they don't usually seek third party resolution, they usually seek to force the other person to comply with their will by some form of coercion.

Unsupported and unsupportable nonsense. Do you really go shoot your neighbor if his oak tree dangerously overhangs your house? No, you talk to him about it first. If that doesn't work you seek a third-party resolution. In San Francisco, that often means "Community Boards" which are private mediation/arbitration services provided by member of the community for free. Other places, courts are used. Neither is necessarily that reliable, but we use them for another quite important reasons. Dispute resolution agencies provide closure. Often, any resolution is better than no resolution at all. How many times have you heard comments like, "Well, I think the judge was wrong, but I had my day in court, so I accept his decision"? People do not want to fight. That is why every government everywhere uses real or fraudulent pretexts to whip people up. Essentially every war the US has been involved with used some pretext to fan people's passions sufficiently to get them to fight. A future EFT will examine a very telling example of people's usually non-aggressive inclinations. It happened during WWI...

The only reason that third party appeal is the standard is because we *have* reliable public bodies that serve as third parties, called governments.

Otherwise we would just shoot the fuckers? This sounds suspiciously like the anti-gunners standard line, "If we allow people to carry concealed weapons, there will be carnage in the streets. Of course, in every instance where US states have issued more concealed carry permits, violent crime has decreased. You seem to share the anti-gun liberal premise that people cannot be trusted to act rationally in their own best interest and need someone to beat them into line. (Thus putting guns and the power to use force only in the hands of our moral inferiors.)


Jtuxyan on September 10, 2009, 09:36:13 am
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Unsupported and unsupportable nonsense. Do you really go shoot your neighbor if his oak tree dangerously overhangs your house? No, you talk to him about it first. If that doesn't work you seek a third-party resolution. In San Francisco, that often means "Community Boards" which are private mediation/arbitration services provided by member of the community for free. Other places, courts are used. Neither is necessarily that reliable, but we use them for another quite important reasons. Dispute resolution agencies provide closure. Often, any resolution is better than no resolution at all. How many times have you heard comments like, "Well, I think the judge was wrong, but I had my day in court, so I accept his decision"? People do not want to fight. That is why every government everywhere uses real or fraudulent pretexts to whip people up. Essentially every war the US has been involved with used some pretext to fan people's passions sufficiently to get them to fight. A future EFT will examine a very telling example of people's usually non-aggressive inclinations. It happened during WWI...

Irrelevant. No, of course I talk with him first. And yes, a vast majority of disputes would be reasonably resolved that way ("Look, everyone knows your chem-lab is killing the groundwater. Quit it."). The problem is when one party denies that a problem exists and refuses to take action on that basis. Ultimately, it doesn't matter how many third parties I get to glare at someone --  harsh words never made anyone do anything. To get a determined person to stop doing what they're doing, you have to either use bribery or force. And since few people would be willing to steadily pay someone off not to pollute their groundwater, that realistically means force.

Now, if the entire neighborhood thinks the guy is a jerk, that works out fine. But if it's split 50/50? Or if he has friends with more guns? This is when the situation spirals out of control. And as I said before, I don't feel all cases or even a majority of cases would go this way. But only a very small fraction of disputes have to end in violence for a society to turn to shit. That stuff snowballs.

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Otherwise we would just shoot the frackers? This sounds suspiciously like the anti-gunners standard line, "If we allow people to carry concealed weapons, there will be carnage in the streets. Of course, in every instance where US states have issued more concealed carry permits, violent crime has decreased. You seem to share the anti-gun liberal premise that people cannot be trusted to act rationally in their own best interest and need someone to beat them into line. (Thus putting guns and the power to use force only in the hands of our moral inferiors.)

While I'm aware I am the exception and not the rule, I ask which you think terrifies me more:
  • Having to go to the cops for assistance against a belligerent neighbor-- who could conceivably hand down an unfair ruling, use the power of government to restrict my options, or just be obstructionist and not help me.
  • Having to go to my neighbors for assistance, who are for the most part alcoholic and belligerent themselves, and who really don't like me or mine due to us being the one's who go and collect dues for the neighborhood association.

Who has guns in this situation is irrelevant. The cops and government may have their problems, but for forcing someone who won't budge to cease harming you, my choices are essentially a group of Occasionally Unreasonable Professionals or a group of random people with all the intelligence of a mob, many of whom don't like me. This isn't a statement about guns, it's a statement that I don't trust my neighbors to resolve the situation reasonably.

Sean Roach on September 10, 2009, 02:12:47 pm
Then why are YOU living there?
I want neighbors I can trust.  With my lawnmower.  With my back.  With my kids.

Personally, I'd invite him over for lemonade.  Let him get about half way through the pitcher and inform him it was made with well water.  But it's okay, because he swears the stuff is "safe".
Lots of things are "safe" for others.

Jtuxyan on September 10, 2009, 02:44:53 pm
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Then why are YOU living there?

Because it's near my work and classes and affordable.

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I want neighbors I can trust.  With my lawnmower.  With my back.  With my kids.

And I want a zeppelin.

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Personally, I'd invite him over for lemonade.  Let him get about half way through the pitcher and inform him it was made with well water.  But it's okay, because he swears the stuff is "safe".
Lots of things are "safe" for others.

He shrugs and goes "Okay." And finishes the lemonade.

If he's just going "It's safe for others." He's violating the premise by knowingly harming another. If he *honestly believes it is safe*, then there is a problem.