NemoUtopia on June 12, 2010, 05:09:18 pm
The alternative will make the "Black Ages" and the "Inquisition" look like kids in a play pen. 

Actually, the Black Ages and the Inquisition will still look like irresponsible whiny brats given sharp knives while no parents are in the neighborhood. The alternative of which you speak IS children in the playpen: a nicely walled off, safe environment where those unarmed meek ones trying to grow are trapped, atrophying and led to believe it's all for the best even as they move closer and closer to true un-living.

Because I'm an analogy freak and bored at work...

dough560 on June 17, 2010, 12:24:22 am
As good a reason / reply as any.  It never ceases to amaze, what otherwise intelligent individuals will do, as they grab for power.  Generally, those who play with sharp objects, end with a lasting and telling impression.

quadibloc on June 23, 2010, 07:24:45 pm
How many falsehoods can you pack into a single post?
It's certainly true that he responded to a number of points, to which you had counter-responses.

The Fortune 500 may not be what you expect to see existing in an Anarcho-Capitalist society. But because they have money and market power, and government regulation is visibly seen, at times, as reining in some misbehavior on their part, it is a natural conclusion that people will come to that Big Business would be the immediate beneficiary of any diminution of the government's ability to regulate... and whatever positive effects the change proposed might have for ordinary people are seen as much more speculative.

There is a famous quote that is appropriate here, to remind those who would improve human freedom by doing away with much of the power of governments, of the uphill battle they face:

"It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out nor more doubtful of success nor more dangerous to handle than to initiate a new order of things; for the reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order; this lukewarmness arising partly from the incredulity of mankind who does not truly believe in anything new until they actually have experience of it."

terry_freeman on June 23, 2010, 11:05:37 pm
The Fortune 500 have always been the biggest beneficiaries of the Regulatory State. Anybody who thinks otherwise is so deluded that his or her speculations about economics would be less useful than tossing darts at a ouija board. There is a reason why the Fortune 500 spend so much on politicians; they ( the Fortune 500 ) are used to getting what they pay for.

 

quadibloc on June 24, 2010, 07:29:52 am
The Fortune 500 have always been the biggest beneficiaries of the Regulatory State. Anybody who thinks otherwise is so deluded that his or her speculations about economics would be less useful than tossing darts at a ouija board.
That may be. But the leap from "the only proper purpose of government is to protect people from fraud and the initiation of force" to "the duty of government is to suppress the rabble" is not as far a leap in practice as it is in theory.

Classical liberalism, after all, was claimed to be the reigning principle of politics - during the Industrial Revolution.

People trust what they've seen happen in real life more than they trust arguments that seem to contradict their personal experiences.

So they see going into business for themselves as an impossible dream because of the large amount of money required - and zoning bylaws and business permits as only minor obstacles in comparison.

They see employers as would-be tyrants due to their advantage in market power - instead of people providing opportunities to translate labor into wealth for which gratitude is appropriate.

They see that people in South Korea and Taiwan and Red China are paid a lot less than they are - so they expect that only disaster can come from competing with them on a level playing field.

It is America's unparalleled prosperity in the past that kept the country out of the destructive "class struggle" mindset. If you have economic growth like in the early 1960s, then there is no problem in convincing people that free enterprise is working.

Brugle on June 24, 2010, 09:04:21 am
the leap from "the only proper purpose of government is to protect people from fraud and the initiation of force" to "the duty of government is to suppress the rabble" is not as far a leap in practice as it is in theory.
In theory it is no leap at all, not even a minor hop.  Your feeling that initiating force (using aggressive violence and threatening aggressive violence) is "proper" only for certain purposes doesn't carry much theoretical weight.  Once you concede that it is legitimate for a government to initiate force, any limits on its power are (in theory) arbitrary and (in practice) easily changed.

terry_freeman on June 25, 2010, 07:11:17 am
I have spoken with many people who actually started businesses; the amount of capital required is seldom large. Smart entrepreneurs bootstrap whatever capital is available.

Would-be entrepreneurs always, however, must swim upstream against strong regulatory currents. Check out www.ij.org - one organization whose purpose is to defend the little guy against the regulatory state. The big players can afford a roomful of experts in "how to seem to comply with regulations"; the little guy is spread too thin.

Most wannabe critics of "free markets" are too lazy to do anything but endlessly recycle sixth-grade civics "lessons" based upon novels such as Upton Sinclair's The Jungle and other bastions of "Truth" as revealed by the temple priests at their government propaganda camps.

A few minutes spent chatting with real-world entrepreneurs will disabuse you of these pro-coercion fantasies.
 

SandySandfort on June 25, 2010, 09:19:37 am

The big players can afford a roomful of experts in "how to seem to comply with regulations"; the little guy is spread too thin.

Damn it all to hell! I just had a long reply, full of citations, "disappeared," probably by Firefox. The Forum tab just disappeared. This is the second time this has happened and I am ready to kill.

Nevertheless, the really short version is that I spoke to a publicity person at Sea Launch to ask how they could possibly comply with all the onerous regulations including ITAR, since Sea Launch included foreign nationals and the technology was exported out of the States for every launch. She proudly proclaimed, "Oh we have an entire department to comply with regulations."


"I'm sorry Mr. Wright, we cannot possibly issue you and your brother a launch license until you have filled out this 42 page launch license application, which includes financial disclosures, your affirmative action plan, company policies on sexual harassment, etc. We also need for you to file an environment impact statement, received an OSHA certification, a certificate of airworthiness and so on."

 

Rocketman on June 25, 2010, 09:34:46 am
The big players can afford a roomful of experts in "how to seem to comply with regulations"; the little guy is spread too thin.
Terry:  You are sooooooo right there.  In fact you can apply that to a number of other dealings with the government.  For example the USA has used its considerable clout to eliminate almost every other countries "money for citizenship program" with just two exceptions.  The two hold outs are the island nation of Dominica (not to be confused with the Dominican Republic) and St. Kitts/Nevis.  And even these two are extremely expensive, basically beyond the financial abilities of an average worker.  They don't think of you as a citizen, they think of you as a subject.  Subject to their every whim.

Gillsing on June 25, 2010, 03:51:08 pm
Damn it all to hell! I just had a long reply, full of citations, "disappeared," probably by Firefox. The Forum tab just disappeared. This is the second time this has happened and I am ready to kill.
Did you accidentally press Ctrl+W instead of Shift+W? Because Ctrl+W will close a tab, or shut down Firefox if only one tab is open. (I use Opera, and I've mapped Ctrl+W to one of my auxiliary mouse buttons to facilitate my browsing. Though I mostly use it to quickly close down TWC vote windows after speedvoting for almost 100 webcomics a day.)
I'm a slacker, hear me snore...

NemoUtopia on June 25, 2010, 05:06:17 pm
the leap from "the only proper purpose of government is to protect people from fraud and the initiation of force" to "the duty of government is to suppress the rabble" is not as far a leap in practice as it is in theory.
In theory it is no leap at all, not even a minor hop.  Your feeling that initiating force (using aggressive violence and threatening aggressive violence) is "proper" only for certain purposes doesn't carry much theoretical weight.  Once you concede that it is legitimate for a government to initiate force, any limits on its power are (in theory) arbitrary and (in practice) easily changed.


I'm shocked that you even consider using this fallacious argument. It is very much a theoretical leap, if only a minor stroll uphill slope in practice. Since you have an obvious bias problem in this, I'll give you the direct counter-example: would you even CONSIDER listening to someone who said 'Once you concede that personal firearms may be used / are necessary, any limits on the use of these weapons are arbitrary and easily changed' ? Weapons are [a form of] power, and the initiation of force as a means of self-defense only is a limit on that power and its propriety. If you ascribe to the Zero Aggression Principle (or use it as an argument) or any variation thereof, you have just stated that there are proper limits on the use of power and that reasonable human beings can recognize these and abide by them. If you want to argue either political theory or practical reality, you cannot start with an assumption that places people who agree [or are under another set of criteria] with you in a moral, ethical, or otherwise behavorial superiority than those who do not agree / are no-fault ignorant as though there is some genetic surety thereof. Either people can/do, or they can't/don't, so please for the love of whatever you deem holy and/or humanity in general stop shooting yourself in the foot with this argument that cuts the position you're trying to support as deeply, if not moreso, than the one you are debating against. Unless you want a sociology dissertation, in which case go right ahead. I just don't get enough excuses to write essays, don'chya know.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2010, 05:08:01 pm by NemoUtopia »

SandySandfort on June 25, 2010, 05:46:46 pm
Did you accidentally press Ctrl+W instead of Shift+W? Because Ctrl+W will close a tab, or shut down Firefox if only one tab is open. (I use Opera, and I've mapped Ctrl+W to one of my auxiliary mouse buttons to facilitate my browsing. Though I mostly use it to quickly close down TWC vote windows after speedvoting for almost 100 webcomics a day.)

I think I found the problem. As usual, it's my fault (damn it!). I have a McDell (Dell running Mac OS). I use a full side keyboard, which partially overlays the webbook's keyboard. I think I had it placed in such a was to unintentionally press some buttons beneath the full-size key board. So, I have created an expedient solution that raises the external keyboard above the McDell. So far, so good.

Brugle on June 25, 2010, 07:10:24 pm
would you even CONSIDER listening to someone who said 'Once you concede that personal firearms may be used / are necessary, any limits on the use of these weapons are arbitrary and easily changed' ?

Yes.  I like to listen.  I might think that I had misunderstood.  It's possible that (even if we didn't end up agreeing) one or both of us might learn something.

However, as far as I can tell, your example is not analogous to what I said.  I may have been unclear, so I'll expand my argument.

Consider "the only proper purpose of government is to protect people from fraud and the initiation of force".  To keep it simple, I'll ignore the "fraud" part.  This expresses the idea that initiating force is the basis for determining any action to be a crime.  In other words, for a some value of "law", "don't initiate force" is the fundamental law.

However, government is the institution that has a legal monopoly on the initiation of force.  (An institution that did not support itself through the initiation of force and that did not suppress competing institutions through the initiation of force would not be a government.)  Therefore, when a government exists, laws are not universal--most people are required to obey the fundamental law, but some people (government agents) are not.

Once you concede that some people are above the law, I don't see how you can theoretically justify limits to their power (at least in their dealings with us mundanes).  If you can, I'd like to read it.

NemoUtopia on June 25, 2010, 08:47:54 pm
However, as far as I can tell, your example is not analogous to what I said.  I may have been unclear, so I'll expand my argument.

Consider "the only proper purpose of government is to protect people from fraud and the initiation of force".  To keep it simple, I'll ignore the "fraud" part.  This expresses the idea that initiating force is the basis for determining any action to be a crime.  In other words, for a some value of "law", "don't initiate force" is the fundamental law.

However, government is the institution that has a legal monopoly on the initiation of force.  (An institution that did not support itself through the initiation of force and that did not suppress competing institutions through the initiation of force would not be a government.)  Therefore, when a government exists, laws are not universal--most people are required to obey the fundamental law, but some people (government agents) are not.

Once you concede that some people are above the law, I don't see how you can theoretically justify limits to their power (at least in their dealings with us mundanes).  If you can, I'd like to read it.

You're right...because you're wrong. I understand the real world position you're coming from, I really do, but the assumption that anyone is above the law is a flaw, as well as your extremely selective definition of initiation of force since such a definition is not understood or enumerated among political theories or actual governments. By enumerating (or even implying) 'above the law' you are arguing against a Straw Man who is easily felled: you loaded the question with a fallacious condition that relies on 'slippery slope.' In other words, the only person conceding 'above the law' is you. Additionally, the only support provided by the general public for a government or governmental agent to be above the law is a lack of resistance based on fear, anonymity, or ignorance of the political process. Such true immunities are specifically carved out by lawmakers without the actual consent of the governed and go directly against Magna Carta thinking (which is supposedly what modern democracies and republics are founded upon). This is not an argument against the existence of any government whatsoever, but about the structure of that government (such as term limits, transparency, and accountability), the (im)propriety of enacting and asserting such laws, and for eduction (i.e. an informed, involved public).

This is not to mention that the assumption that all laws can be and are enforced by prison or armed coercion, when any study of modern law shows that clauses on the extent and enforcement of judgement are included...and that its own seperate, can of beans. For example: I'm vehemently against 'minimum sentences,' which is argument about the extent of sentencing, not the existence thereof. I would never use minimum sentences and overly permissible enforcement thereof as an attempt to argue against the existence of sentencing, much less courts themselves, which is precisely analogous to your argument of using an extremely selective and biased defintion of both 'law' and 'initiation of force' which are not practically appropriate to argue against the very existence as opposed to the extent.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2010, 08:51:20 pm by NemoUtopia »

Brugle on June 26, 2010, 12:59:40 pm
You're right...because you're wrong.
If that's a cultural allusion (a fried of mine often drops bits from the original Star Trek into his conversation), I don't get it.

If that's supposed to mean something intelligible on its own, I don't get it.

I understand the real world position you're coming from, I really do,
I doubt that.  Assuming that you're using the term "real world" like most people do, I didn't express a real world position.  quadibloc made a statement about the difference between theory and practice, and I disagreed with the theory part.

But maybe I underestimate you.  If you really can figure out my "real world position" from what I've expressed, I'd like to hear it.  Please, describe what you think my "real world position" is, and I'll tell you how close you are.  This could be fun (however it turns out).

the assumption that anyone is above the law is a flaw,
That was my point.  We agree about something.

your extremely selective definition of initiation of force
I'd guess that most statists would consider a definition like mine to be overly broad.  Your interpretation is new to me.  How do you consider it to be overly selective?

such a definition is not understood or enumerated among political theories or actual governments
It (or something like it) is quite common among political theorists.  I'm pretty sure that quadibloc meant something like I did.  If you don't like that definition, what is your definition?  (Note: like many words, there are several ways to use the word "force".  This isn't a problem for people trying to communicate, as long as the meaning is clear to all parties.)

I don't want to have an argument about definitions.  If you don't like how I use the word "force", once I get your definition I'll either adopt it or stop using the word when addressing you.

I find it amazing that you would suggest that actual governments should "understand or enumerate" word definitions.  I remember reading about the French government's attempts to control the French language, but as far as I could tell, most people (including most French people) considered that laughable.

By enumerating (or even implying) 'above the law' you are arguing against a Straw Man who is easily felled:
If you think so, please describe the straw man argument.  Then fell it.

you loaded the question with a fallacious condition
If you think so, please identify the condition.  Then show how it is fallacious.

relies on 'slippery slope.'
There's nothing wrong with a slippery slope argument.  Since "slippery slopes" in various areas are common, it is reasonable to try to avoid them when the results of sliding down the "slippery slope" are bad.

However, I was not making a slippery slope argument--quadibloc was.  (Once again, I wasn't disagreeing with slippery slope arguments in general, I was saying that it wasn't applicable in this case.)  The context of the argument was that the initiation of force is bad.  quadibloc said that allowing government agents to initiate force (in order to combat the initiation of force) was good in theory, but in practice it is likely to slide down the slippery slope into badness.  I said that there was no slope, that allowing government agents to initiate force was bad in theory.

the only support provided by the general public for a government or governmental agent to be above the law is a lack of resistance based on fear, anonymity, or ignorance of the political process.
Not that it is relevant to the discussion, but there are numerous other reasons for people to accept (or even welcome) their oppression.  While I enjoy reading about psychology, I really don't know much, so I suggest you research them yourself.

Such true immunities are specifically carved out by lawmakers without the actual consent of the governed and go directly against Magna Carta thinking (which is supposedly what modern democracies and republics are founded upon). This is not an argument against the existence of any government whatsoever,
Without the italicized word, that would make more sense.  If you are interested in the US government under the constitution, read Lysander Spooner's No Treason, especially No. 6.

This is not to mention that the assumption that all laws can be and are enforced by prison or armed coercion,
Huh?  Let's say that a peaceful person is targeted by government agents for running her business on a forbidden day.  The first action by those agents might not be to assault her and lock her in a cage, but if she continues to run her business on the forbidden day she will eventually be subjected to that or similar aggressive violence.  And if she tries to defend herself from their aggression they will probably kill her.

All government edicts are backed by the threat of aggressive violence, including death.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2010, 01:10:08 pm by Brugle »

 

anything