Rocketman on September 11, 2009, 10:20:43 am

"People need to be kept in line by force when there isn't enough to go around. So the solution to crime, and the way to avoid a harsh repressive regime, are the same: plan ahead, make sure this situation does not arise. "

Quadibloc your leaving out one teenie tiny thing.  The reason that is "not enough to go around" is because the government controls, taxes and regulates everything to death.  From minimum wage laws to enviromental regulations to business taxes, there is almost nothing that they don't have their hooks into.  It's like the old saying that government breaks your leg, gives you a crutch and then expects you to be grateful to them for giving you the means to walk.

Brugle on September 11, 2009, 12:05:58 pm
It is such an attractive idea
Some of us find it attractive, but many people don't.  I find it puzzling why so many people (including most of my friends) find the idea of large-scale voluntary cooperation unattractive, since they voluntarily cooperate with a wide variety of people in their day-to-day lives.  I've heard several plausible explanations, but I don't understand psychology well enough to judge them.

J Thomas on September 11, 2009, 03:28:03 pm

"People need to be kept in line by force when there isn't enough to go around. So the solution to crime, and the way to avoid a harsh repressive regime, are the same: plan ahead, make sure this situation does not arise. "

Quadibloc your leaving out one teenie tiny thing.  The reason that is "not enough to go around" is because the government controls, taxes and regulates everything to death.

That's certainly a factor. But how much is enough? A whole lot of people in india get by with what we would consider sub-poverty standard of living -- no meat, barely enough grain, polluted water, inadequate shelter, etc -- and many of them don't feel particularly deprived. They are used to a high population density and we are not. It helps that they live in a place where it gets too hot but not so cold....

People naturally tend to divide whatever resources there are and then use them up. And there are usually some who will have enough children to make the population increase, up until the resources for more people just aren't there.

If we had a world where there were enough resources for everbody to get 2000 calories a day, there would always be people who arrange to collect enough rocket fuel to get into space.

It isn't just government. But government is a great big factor.

quadibloc on September 11, 2009, 07:46:13 pm
Historically, the government used "pollution regulations" to reduce your protection against trespass-by-pollution - for the "greater good", of course.

Absolutely right.

And the government makes other kinds of "pollution" possible as well.

A bank can lend money to a business - and when the business runs into trouble, the bank gets to call in its loans, and get its money back first, whereas creditors of the business, who were not in as good a position as the bank to know the company was having trouble, are left holding the bag.

These two things come from the same source. If government didn't give permission for pollution, it would be as illegal for you to put carbon monoxide in the air I breathe as arsenic in the tea I drink - so no one could drive a car. Without laws that protect banks, and stockholders in limited liability companies, we wouldn't have big factories that could build tanks and airplanes.

So the armies of some country less solicitous of individual liberty would come along... and the libertarian experiment would suffer the same fate as the American Indian.

terry_freeman on September 12, 2009, 03:41:26 am
Is this one of those "you are required to pay nearly half your income in order to defend your liberty" jokes passed off as "truth" by the great political pundits? I find it amazing that so many people actually take this seriously.

Even a poor country like Afghanistan is perfectly capable of making life miserable for a large, well-funded invader. Have you ever turned that around and ask how well a rich country such as America could do against a less rich invader?

This EFT strip gave a bit of an updated illustration of the thesis. Big, well-funded battleship crippled by the equivalent of the family car equipped with a mining laser. In Afghanistan today it's cheap IEDs crippling multi-million-dollar tanks.

What tools would a free people devise  in their defense? We'll never know because first, half of our wealth is taken from us to "defend our freedom", and secondly because we're not free to devise firearms and explosives. We're basically free to be helpless victims. Do you envision this as a desirable outcome?

As the guy said, I carry a gun because I can't carry a cop. Freedom except where prohibited is not freedom. A recent article mentioned that the prices of AK-47s in Iran have risen from $250 to $450. Here in "the land of the free", we who-are-wards-of-the-State can't legally buy an AK-47 at any price, but we are enslaved in order to export freedom to other countries?

Shouldn't we keep some for ourselves and export the surplus?

Gillsing on September 12, 2009, 10:55:46 am
IEDs may be dangerous, but have they really stopped the invaders? Aren't the invaders still there, trying to force their democracy upon the locals? And what if these invaders were as brutal and determined as the Soviets? I don't know for sure, but weren't the locals getting crushed by HIND gunships? That is, until someone gave them Stinger missiles. Which are hardly improvised explosive devices, and certainly not produced or invented by the locals. It may actually take a big government to stop another big government. Or: "Every country has an army; its own or someone else's!"

A government might indeed be the top criminal in any given nation, and there's a reason for that. Because if there were no government, someone would eventually take power and create their own government. If you give everyone freedom, some people will use that freedom to restrict your freedom. You may die trying to stop them, as many people have in the past, but eventually a group of people with better weapons, better training, better tactics, and/or better politics will come out on top and enforce whichever laws they can get away with. And peace through supreme firepower leads to more powerful societies than societies where everyone is constantly training for battles due to the need to defend themselves from the rest of society.

Spending resources on weapons and spending time on training with these weapons is costly, and there's only a net gain of resources if you actually use your weapons and training to acquire more resources than you spent. The less resources you spend on defense, the more you'll have to spend on developing new technology and infrastructure. And the more of that you build up, the better your society will be, at least from a material standpoint. And when it comes to future power struggles with other societies, the material standpoint carries a lot of weight, as many unfortunate societies have found out during the history of our world.

Thus I claim that while we may not need a government to tell us how to live our lives, we do need one to tell certain other people not to ruin our lives. And whether or not we need a government, one will eventually come to exist, much like life appeared on this planet. Much like molds appear in the shower if you don't scrub them away. It's simply a natural evolution of a society.
I'm a slacker, hear me snore...

deadasdisco on September 12, 2009, 12:16:08 pm
Alright, I know we abandoned the original thrust of the thread some time ago to quibble about the usual political points (I don't think its not important, I just don't think reasoning has ever persuaded anyone of anything, its too emotional, but if it makes you happy to shout at the wind, go right ahead...), however, since I only get on the net once a week at best, so you'll have to excuse my necroposting...

Anyway, whether I believe what the author does isn't important to me as a writer, only that the author believes it.  See, if you want to get into what I believe,I believe that a writer has to write what's in him if he's going to be worth a damn.  Granted I'm not a writer myself, but I am an experienced reader, and I can tell when the passion is there.  If EFT is a fun strip, then that's because Scott, Sandy and LEE! are having fun with it.  Fiction's a weird thing, on the one hand, we know it's made-up, but we can also tell when its not being Honest, and its one of the few places where the two aren't mutually exclusive...  If libertarianism's (or socialism or whatever else...) in the writer then it will be in the writing, somewhere, under the surface, and SHOULD be, IMHO.

Besides, I can't imagine how small and boring a universe I would live in if I only read stuff that agreed with  me, even I get tired of my POV sometimes...  ;)

(See, this is why I should never post before lunch)

quadibloc on September 12, 2009, 01:12:45 pm
Is this one of those "you are required to pay nearly half your income in order to defend your liberty" jokes passed off as "truth" by the great political pundits? I find it amazing that so many people actually take this seriously.

Even a poor country like Afghanistan is perfectly capable of making life miserable for a large, well-funded invader. Have you ever turned that around and ask how well a rich country such as America could do against a less rich invader?

Given that the most likely invaders of the United States have ICBMs with nuclear warheads in their posession, and the ones the U.S. has are the results of its being able to carry out taxation, I manage to find your position difficult to take seriously. Big armies really do make it possible for a nation to live in peace, hold on to its wealth, and concentrate on productive activity - instead of fighting a guerilla war against a conqueror. And wars aren't only fought to steal wealth - countries that mistreat people within their borders have a tendency to start wars against countries in which the people might disapprove of such behavior.

I suppose a libertarian society is even less likely to invade foreign countries as part of a moral crusade... but just as Northern disapproval of slavery led to the Civil War, American disapproval of Japan's behavior in China led to Pearl Harbor. Free people, by their very existence, are a threat to evil men.

quadibloc on September 12, 2009, 01:22:26 pm
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?

As I've noted, there is the practical objection that perhaps some outside threat - whether floodwaters or foreign armies - needs a response, and the only way to mount an adequate response is for everyone to do his share. If individuals are free to allocate their resources to their own concerns, and to the pressing external crisis, even if they agree the crisis is real, one can have a Tragedy of the Commons.

But there is another fundamental objection. A government without the power to initiate force is a logical contradiction.

Don't slaughterhouses initiate force against beef cattle?

Didn't some Nazi propaganda suggest that Jews weren't... quite... human?

So if you have a government with the power to react to others who initiate force, presumably at least when it was founded (it is possible to have a Constitution that can't be amended) it had to be agreed against exactly whom we're prohibiting the initiation of force.

One could say this is a trifling or unserious objection, not likely to occur in practice, since we all know who people are. We could leave out the issue of parents being able to discipline their children. We could say that all the past mistakes like the treatment of black people, or of women, as less than full persons are behind us.

But then I can point at the abortion issue to show that who are the people who have rights is not a perfectly settled question, even today.

quadibloc on September 12, 2009, 01:25:47 pm
If EFT is a fun strip, then that's because Scott, Sandy and LEE! are having fun with it.

It is a fun strip, and that's why, although in the past I've taken some part in political debate, I've tended to hold back somewhat in presenting the... usual... criticisms of Libertarianism. It seems ungrateful or ungracious. As it happened, though, in a post in this thread, the point came up.

dough560 on September 12, 2009, 07:09:14 pm
The story is FUN!  It's well told and shows a hope for the future.  Maybe our idealized culture can only exist on a frontier.  Maybe not.  We'll just have to wait and see.

A point about Gun Control:  IT IS NOT ABOUT CONTROLLING GUNS!

It is the direct attempt to control individuals and prohibit civil rights.  Not just the ownership and use of firearms, but association, speech, religion, health and property.  The Socialist Ideal was introduced into our colleges in the early 1900's.  With the growth of college socialist influence, individualism has been degenerated and socialist group think and power have been advanced.  This movement has been advancing for 100+ years.    Free Speech and the rest of our civil rights are dead on college campuses.

CIVIL RIGHTS, ONLY EXIST WHERE THEY ARE NOT PROHIBITED.

Exercise them at your own risk!

quadibloc on September 12, 2009, 08:19:39 pm
The Socialist Ideal was introduced into our colleges in the early 1900's.  With the growth of college socialist influence, individualism has been degenerated and socialist group think and power have been advanced.

I thought that black people in the U.S. were unlucky because by the time their equal rights in law became a practical fact, in the 1970s, the economy had gone down the tubes, and so without the economic conditions of the early 1960s, it was not possible for them to achieve economic equality from legal equality.

Now, I see it is worse than that. Apparently freedom was on the way out in the United States before they managed to get a fair share of what there was.

J Thomas on September 12, 2009, 09:05:42 pm
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?

As I've noted, there is the practical objection that perhaps some outside threat - whether floodwaters or foreign armies - needs a response, and the only way to mount an adequate response is for everyone to do his share. If individuals are free to allocate their resources to their own concerns, and to the pressing external crisis, even if they agree the crisis is real, one can have a Tragedy of the Commons.

We don't know what the only way is. It might be possible to set up a society that uses minimal force against its members and still responds forcefully to outside threats. It's potentially useful to think about how to do it, although actually belling that cat looks pretty hard.

Quote
But there is another fundamental objection. A government without the power to initiate force is a logical contradiction.

Don't slaughterhouses initiate force against beef cattle?

It's worse than that. When you try to stop people from using force against each other by using force against them, there is room for lots and lots of gray areas. How do you document that the force they initiated against somebody justified the force you used against them? Who will review the evidence and decide what to do about it?

Without a bureaucracy to enforce rules, it turns into a question of custom and tradition, and the more inflexibly you establish customs and traditions to limit initiation of force the harder it is for the society to adapt to new circumstances.

However, arguing that we can never have a perfect utopian society is kind of beside the point, right? If at some time and place we get a large group of people who agree on a set of libertarian ideals, they might do themselves a whole lot of good for awhile. Even if there are various injustices, even if they are muddled in their thinking, they might have a good time until the situation changes so far that they can no longer make their ideals work well enough to keep going.

A bunch of people who agree on their ideals might make a better society for awhile almost no matter what the ideals are. I think I'd like to visit a libertarian society and maybe live there, and if it failed to prevent me from ever getting dominated by somebody who had better social standing and advanced firepower -- well, what else is new?

Amendall on September 13, 2009, 01:17:01 pm
Well, hell, son, I can build you a zeppelin.  Or, at least, a dirigible - don't know if I can mount enough LEDs on it or use the name.

Not sure where Sandy can go to find trustworthy neighbors.  Pallas, maybe, after kicking the UN out.

Boston in 1774 was a free city without a central state.  They kicked the Brits out shortly after the tea party in December 1773 and Bostonians ran their own city until the Brits arrived with 8,000 or so troops in October.  You might enjoy reading the diaries and letters of people who lived there, then.  They were all impressively civilized and pleasant to their neighbors.

For most of human history, North America has been run without a central state.  Trade and commerce flourished in its absence, both while the natives were running their own lives and when the frontierspeople were running theirs. 

Somalia currently persists without a central state.  And they have hundreds of years of culture favoring smaller government, mostly ad hoc.  No standing courts to send pigs around to demand you obey stupid traffic laws.  When the Somalis need a court, they form one, and when the case is resolved, they dissolve the court.  Same for militia, so they don't have a standing army.

The history of the world is replete with examples of people running their own lives and not paying obeisance to a central state.  The problem with statists is, their pubic schools never learn them how to read.  lol

wdg3rd on September 13, 2009, 06:45:49 pm

My claim, which I do not want to substantiate,


Jeez I cry, you must really want to "work" for the government.
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