terry_freeman on April 23, 2010, 12:49:20 pm
For the wannabe Heinlein devotees, a quote to ponder:

"I also think there are prices too high to pay to save the United States. Conscription is one of them. Conscription is slavery, and I don't think that any people or nation has a right to save itself at the price of slavery for anyone, no matter what name it is called. We have had the draft for twenty years now; I think this is shameful. If a country can't save itself through the volunteer service of its own free people, then I say : Let the damned thing go down the drain!"

Guest of Honor Speech at the 29th World Science Fiction Convention, Seattle, Washington (1961)

What Ancaps are saying is essentially this: not only is conscription too great a price to pay to defend a free country; the entire apparatus of state taxation and management are also forms of slavery, and destructive of freedom. Our so-called "protectors" have enslaved us in order to "protect" us from vague-to-nonexistent threats from outside. This recognized by free people as a "protection racket," a criminal fraud perpetuated to the advantage of the organizers themselves, which the rest of us pay for.

In addition to the deep moral problems with such a means of "protection", there are practical problems; since we have to effective means of resisting the growth of taxation, borrowing, and inflation, we cannot prevent the military-industrial complex from growing far past any legitimate need for defense. It grows like a cancer, ultimately sapping the strength of the host. Heinlein would have been smart enough to see the signs of looming financial crisis, but apparently some wannabe fanbois could not find a clue with a GPS and a military-grade floodlight.

quadibloc on April 25, 2010, 09:53:55 am
Our so-called "protectors" have enslaved us in order to "protect" us from vague-to-nonexistent threats from outside.
That, as a matter of principle, conscription and taxation are forms of slavery, is something I can't deny; it is true. My only argument is that they can be dilute and thus preferable to the alternative: genuine slavery.

But the claim that the threats which the United States currently faces from the outside are "vague to nonexistent" is something I can argue against. If it weren't for its impressive military strength, those who have no compunction about invading Georgia or bombing civilians in Chechnya, those who have no compunction about occupying Tibet or threatening Taiwan, and those who would throw the Israelis into the sea, would not suddenly discover morality and human rights in dealing with the United States.

We do live in a dangerous world, and that is no hoax.

nottheowl on April 25, 2010, 02:41:01 pm
Is Escape itself free of the misuse of terminology? Arthur Harris was never convicted of war crimes. Can he therefore be named a war criminal without qualification?
« Last Edit: April 25, 2010, 02:52:11 pm by nottheowl »

terry_freeman on April 25, 2010, 04:20:41 pm
The greatest dangers most of us face are from our own government. About one third of our efforts - our time - is confiscated by various taxing authorities.

The United States has more people behind bars, per capita, than any other country in the world. It may be true that our prisoners are better fed and have better health care, but prison is still prison.

There are many people who fear the police more than they fear random strangers in a dark alley. You can find more than a few youtube videos to explain why this should be so.

quadibloc on April 25, 2010, 04:39:55 pm
Is Escape itself free of the misuse of terminology? Arthur Harris was never convicted of war crimes. Can he therefore be named a war criminal without qualification?
In a war of aggression, he directly targeted a civilian residence. As he was legally executed on Ceres, presumably he was convicted of something, even if only of murder. (The Cereans may not have recognized the concept of "war", in the sense that marching about in a silly costume did not provide one with any protection against the usual penalties for initiations of force.)

In any case, while someone accused of a crime must be presumed to be innocent until he is convicted, he becomes in fact guilty at the moment he commits a crime. A trial is held for the purpose of determining guilt or innocence, not creating a guilt that does not previously exist.

nottheowl on April 25, 2010, 04:51:29 pm
Apologies for my ambiguity, quadibloc. I was referring to Sir Arthur Harris ("Bomber" Harris of WWII). He is an historical personage (like Jefferson) referred to quite casually as a war criminal, without reference to this being a matter of opinion.

SandySandfort on April 25, 2010, 07:05:56 pm
Apologies for my ambiguity, quadibloc. I was referring to Sir Arthur Harris ("Bomber" Harris of WWII). He is an historical personage (like Jefferson) referred to quite casually as a war criminal, without reference to this being a matter of opinion.

Would you be happier if I just referred to him as the murder of thousands of innocent men, women and children? They cannot even be considered "collateral damage" as they were his intended targets. He was of the opinion that killing thousands of children would terrorize the German populous into somehow making their government surrender.

Now the concept of "war crime" is fuzzy at best, but murder is not. I used "war criminal" as a short hand for "mass murderer." Does that help?

Since we are playing with words, let me remind you that if someone is convicted of a crime, that conviction is also a matter of opinion. So I don't think dismissing something as merely "a matter of opinion" brings anything new to the discussion.

Rocketman on April 25, 2010, 10:39:52 pm
Nightowl:  One more thing that Sandy didn't add.  In the future I would appreciate it if you didn't compare Harris who murdered thousands of innocent people to the man who wrote the Declaration of Independence in the same sentence.  Kind of like lumping Mother Teresa in with Adolph Hitler.   >:(  >:(
« Last Edit: April 25, 2010, 10:41:52 pm by Rocketman »

sams on April 26, 2010, 12:55:21 am
Nightowl:  One more thing that Sandy didn't add.  In the future I would appreciate it if you didn't compare Harris who murdered thousands of innocent people to the man who wrote the Declaration of Independence in the same sentence.  Kind of like lumping Mother Teresa in with Adolph Hitler.   >:(  >:(

Anita Dun did this completely stupid thing  >:(

If you launch a thousand bombs on civilians targets with no military value whatsoever, you are guilty of killing innocent people.

nottheowl on April 26, 2010, 03:21:50 am
SandySandfort;

I've never dismissed anything "as a matter of opinion", because all opinions matter to me.

A. Harris was responsible for the deaths of thousands of non-combatants. Have I suggested I think differenty? There are those who argue that he saved thousands by shortening the war (A. Speer for instance, a swine, but a logistical genius). Therefore I suggest that had a character made the comment about the fictional Harris, that would've been acceptable, since it would have been presented as a matter of opinion. But the word was used by the omniscient narrator, making it a fact.

To answer your question, no, because "murderer" is again a matter of opinion (only incidentally mine), and for the same reason.

Rocketman, I did compare Harris and Jefferson, didn't I? But then what is the opinion of "the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages" regarding the Declaration of Independence? I don't think they were asked at the time; nor indeed were several other "races". I admire Jefferson greatly, not least because of his suggestion that Native Americans be inocculated against European diseases (that was him, I think), but his name is on that document. Therefore I think the comparison not quite so jarring as that between Mother Teresa and Hitler (please read carefully, I am not comparing Jefferson to Hitler). Possibly the only crime of the Mother Teresa was that of failing to question her superiors' stance on contraception.

(Amendment; capital letters Mother Teresa)
« Last Edit: April 26, 2010, 03:24:00 am by nottheowl »

Heinlein Libertarian on April 26, 2010, 10:58:33 am

What Ancaps are saying is essentially this: not only is conscription too great a price to pay to defend a free country; the entire apparatus of state taxation and management are also forms of slavery, and destructive of freedom. Our so-called "protectors" have enslaved us in order to "protect" us from vague-to-nonexistent threats from outside.


You're right: Taxation is extortion, and conscription is slavery. The question that was asked in the "Armed Forces as a Distortion of AnCap Ideals" forum basically came down to: Can an AnCap society effectively defend itself against external threats? I said that it could not. I do not believe that the institutions upon which an AnCap society relies will work as well as the advocates suggest. I do not believe that an AnCap society will be able to defend itself against a foreign invader if that invader is even relatively competent or larger than the AnCap society. I proposed a very limited governmental system, similar to minarchy, that would provide for the common defense, police, and a court system while minimizing the amount of extortion and enslavement involved. I am willing to accept a tiny bit of both to prevent conquest by the real threats that exist outside our nation.

And a preemptive attack of my own: "He will sacrifice liberty for security..." does not apply here. Ben Franaklin voted for a Constitution that included a Navy and a Marine Corps. Apparently, he did not think these two organizations comprised some sort of overwhelming compromise of liberty. Similarly, the word "militia" as used in the Second Amendment generally meant (at the time,) "all able-bodied males aged 18 and up." British history is pretty clear on this point. Ben Franklin knew he was voting for conscription.

As to the question of real threats:

Were Germany and Japan nonexistent threats in the 1940's? Ask Poland and China. How about the Soviet Union during the Cold War? Ask anybody who lived next to the Soviets, and any of the millions of Americans who built bomb shelters. Are there real terrorist organizations out there that are seeking to attack this country? Ask any New Yorker or Tokyo subway patron.

There are bad individuals out there who will happily kill you for your wallet. For them, we have personal firearms. For bad countries, and foreign groups that seek to attack us, we need a military.

Heinlein Libertarian on April 26, 2010, 11:22:06 am

Will there are people who indeed sometime give rude answers, like ''statist'' ... or sometime condescention ... but it is because this is not our first internet forum debate and it almost always finish the same way

If you want to debate go for it, but don't try to dessesperatly win by putting the stacks higuers at each post or refusing to consider anithing else than what currently exist

The internet is a rough place, and everybody who posts on here should understand that their feelings might be hurt. Those people can go home and cry to their mothers.

What people can't get away with is double-talk. If somebody wants to claim to favor honest and open debate, and then dismisses every objection that is raised with "look it up," "never happen," or "Statist/agent-provocateur!" they are full of it. These are not arguments, they are attempts to skirt the issue and avoid dealing with the issues raised. It's misdirection, obfuscation, and ad hominem.

I expect it on the internet, and the only way to stop it is to call people on it and point out what they are doing.

As tot he question of hypothetical situations:

Since there has never been an AnCap society, the entire question is hypothetical. I am asking about hypothetical enemies that I argue the United States could defend against, and explaining why I don't believe that an AnCap society could do so. The discussion has not been limited to the Soviet Union/Genghis Khan with WMD's example, however. We included a discussion of a purely conventional conflict, conflicts involving terrorists, etc.

If you think a situation is unlikely, fine. This is a hypothetical discussion, not an argument about probability. Improbability does nothing to advance the argument for AnCap.

Brugle on April 26, 2010, 03:09:11 pm
Were Germany and Japan nonexistent threats in the 1940's? Ask Poland and China. How about the Soviet Union during the Cold War? Ask anybody who lived next to the Soviets, and any of the millions of Americans who built bomb shelters. Are there real terrorist organizations out there that are seeking to attack this country? Ask any New Yorker or Tokyo subway patron.

I think we can all agree that the Polish government's military failed to either protect the Polish people (its nominal purpose) or protect the Polish government (its actual purpose) in 1939.  I think we can all agree that the US government's military failed to either protect NYers or defend its HQ in 2001.  How do those facts support the idea that security can best be provided by a government military?

nottheowl on April 27, 2010, 01:15:07 am
Does Heinlein Libertarian mean us to consider how the alternative would have coped? An established military at least permitted a rapid and coordinated response, including the option to take that response overseas. Could an informal military have done this?

(I appreciate that the actual response was not so rapid and coordinated as it could have been. HL, excuse my presuming to speculate on your intention- please correct me if you intended otherwise.)

terry_freeman on April 27, 2010, 01:46:44 am
Now that Russia and China are selling portable missiles which can travel at mach 5.5 and destroy aircraft carriers and other warships the question is, can a socialist military force still project force against a wealthy AnCap society? Sure, it can lob ICBMs, but can it still engage in "shock and awe" tactics from a few miles offshore, when AnCaps can shoot back and destroy billions of dollars of hardware at a cost of a few million? We are no longer speculating about what hardware a wealthy AnCap society might be able to develop; this stuff is available at your Russian or Chinese Guns R Us mart.

 

anything