J Thomas on September 18, 2010, 06:15:11 am
JThomas: I want to point out, in case somehow somebody missed it, that you are assuming not a complete anarchy but a society with a collection of social rules. It isn't that everybody does whatever-the-hell they want. Society enforces its rules in a variety of ways. There just isn't an official government.

JTHomas, how can you be so bright and so WRONG?

I apologise. I thought it was worth pointing this out because naive people tend to not to notice it at first. You guys are not talking about "I want to do anything I want" but about a sort of sane society, as opposed to what we have now.

But it was useless for me to explain that when I am the most naive person here.

quadibloc on September 20, 2010, 07:57:06 am
Society without government will naturally develop "a collection of social rules." -- this is not anarchy plus a set of rules, this is anarchy, period, full stop. This is the natural way that any group larger than one individual will choose to organize its behavior. The rules may be and usually are informal; they usually have some wiggle room; but in an anarchy, there are no "superior" beings with badges which trump the rules; the rules apply to everybody. It is the lack of trump cards which makes it an anarchy, not the lack of rules.
No doubt I've been brainwashed by statism to think this, but one of the conditions of living in a free society is that one should have no cause to fear the initiation of force against you by the State unless you break a previously written and formally defined rule. With taxes and conscription being "fair to everyone" exceptions.

Since here the community is the source of the rules people must obey, in your scenario the community is allowed to play it by ear - to punish people for breaking ex post facto laws, to impose arbitrary community standards without the possibility of judicial review for Constitionality... oh, dear, I'm beginning to get the vapors.

You can, quite reasonably, reply that you're advocating something better than we have now (and supply data to tell me that the existing system is worse than I think it is, or worse than a naive person who only knows what he reads in the mainstream media thinks it is) and not something that's supposed to be perfect.

But my reason for pointing this out is that you may be - or you may at least appear to be, in the opinions of many you would need to convince of the necessity for your proposed reform - leaving a door open to things getting far, far worse than what we have now. Which is basically the whole argument against AnCap or Libertarianism. Make law informal, you can get an internal dictatorship: we've seen how small towns have enforced conformity with religion in the U.S. on many occasions. Abolish taxes and conscription, you can get a successful foreign invasion: we've seen how well tanks and airplanes do against equine cavalry.

Oh, I'm sure you've seen this argument before. And you've countered it to your own satisfaction. But I think that you guys haven't the foggiest notion of just how well you will have to cover your bases before there will be majority support for what now seems like a giant leap into a vague unknown. On the other hand, incrementalism - getting America back to the principles of its Founding Fathers as a first milestone, at the least, won't run into that roadblock.

SandySandfort on September 20, 2010, 08:50:43 am
Boundless Assumptions and Assertions

No doubt I've been brainwashed by statism to think this....

I know you mean this to be wry or sarcastic, but it is painfully true in your case. You lack either the ability or the will to think outside the statist box.

... but one of the conditions of living in a free society is that one should have no cause to fear the initiation of force against you by the State unless you break a previously written and formally defined rule. With taxes and conscription being "fair to everyone" exceptions.

The problem is that the rules are (a) arbitrary and (b) imposed on the majority by the minority. If the "previously written and formally defined rule" is that anyone using the handle "quadiblic" is declared to be an outlaw whom anyone may kill, it would certainly meet the limited criteria of your "free" society (which isn't free in part because of your "fair" exceptions). If a government has a "previously written and formally defined rule" that smoking dope is a crime, punishing that "crime" is still the initiation of force no matter how you slice it.   

Since here the community is the source of the rules people must obey...

False assumption (actually two). I leave the reason why this is so as an exercise for the student.

... in your scenario the community is allowed to play it by ear - to punish people for breaking ex post facto laws, to impose arbitrary community standards without the possibility of judicial review for Constitionality... oh, dear, I'm beginning to get the vapors.

Again, false assumptions. You really don't get it do you? You don't even understand how the government system is supposed to work. There is nothing constitutional about judicial review. Find it in the Constitution, I dare you. It was simply an unconstitutional power play by the judicial branch. If you believe in the Constitution, then, if you are intellectually honest, you cannot believe in judicial interpretation of constitutionality. Q.E.D.

But my reason for pointing this out is that you may be - or you may at least appear to be, in the opinions of many you would need to convince of the necessity for your proposed reform...

Who said anything about "reform"? Do you mean as "reform the system" or what? Market anarchists just want to be left the hell alone. In exchange we promise to leave you the hell alone. If everyone is left the hell alone, great, but forcing some sort of world change is not the goal we seek.

- leaving a door open to things getting far, far worse than what we have now. Which is basically the whole argument against AnCap or Libertarianism.

If your assumptions were correct, you would be right. Fortunately, they are not.

Make law informal, you can get an internal dictatorship: we've seen how small towns have enforced conformity with religion in the U.S. on many occasions.

Really? You say that as though you are quoting fact. Give me one documented historic example that didn't involve government force.

Abolish taxes and conscription, you can get a successful foreign invasion...

Really? How do you know? Where is your evidence that these things are necessary to defend yourself. Has any modern empire ever conquered Afghanistan?

we've seen how well tanks and airplanes do against equine cavalry.

Yes, but the Afghan still survive and a modern market anarchy would have the wealth to buy all the defense you can eat.

Oh, I'm sure you've seen this argument before.

Ad nauseum and always from people who shoot off their mouth without ever having read the literature to learn what market anarchy is. The just assume it whole cloth.

But I think that you guys haven't the foggiest notion of just how well you will have to cover your bases before there will be majority support...

We don't need the "majority" to be anarchist, we just need the majority to leave us alone. And guess what? For the most part, they do. It is just their government masters who are the problem. Most humans believe in live and let live, even if you don't.

... incrementalism - getting America back to the principles of its Founding Fathers as a first milestone, at the least, won't run into that roadblock.

Oh really? To quote Dr. Phil, "How's that working out for you?" The trend is in the opposite direction, Seņor True Believer. Freedom is decreasing, not increasing. The founding fathers couldn't keep government under control. Hey maybe government is the problem, not whose running it. Nah, not  to you and the other true believers.

J Thomas on September 20, 2010, 10:14:12 am

... but one of the conditions of living in a free society is that one should have no cause to fear the initiation of force against you by the State unless you break a previously written and formally defined rule. With taxes and conscription being "fair to everyone" exceptions.

The problem is that the rules are (a) arbitrary and (b) imposed on the majority by the minority.

For the most part, the minority that makes the laws has a strong incentive to pay attention to what the majority wants. They don't pay enough attention to the laws of unintended consequences, etc. But they try to make sure that people don't object to their laws too much. The trouble is, by the time the administration interprets the new laws and makes directives etc, and the judiciary interprets the new laws their way, there's a certain arbitrary quality to the results. We have too many layers between the public and the legal system.

Quote
Make law informal, you can get an internal dictatorship: we've seen how small towns have enforced conformity with religion in the U.S. on many occasions.

Really? You say that as though you are quoting fact. Give me one documented historic example that didn't involve government force.

I think this kind of argument is futile. One guy quotes a generally-accepted stereotype. The other guy says to provide proof that it really happened. Many things that everybody knows are hard to document -- are they wrong, or are they only hard to document? Are there towns with speed traps, where they entrap visitors and make them pay unreasonable fines for traffic offenses they didn't really do? Are you really more likely to get a traffic ticket toward the end of the month? Have blacks been lynched for trivial offenses without being accused of actual major crimes? The towns have documentation that each of their traffic offenders broke the law. Daily traffic arrest records are not released. The large majority of lynchings were probably not published at all -- how would we find out about that unless we interviewed a lot of old people and believed what they said?

In general we have no way to prove whether "what everybody knows" is wrong or not. If you can prove it, it's science. Otherwise it's only history or law or something. Pick an authority and quote his "lucid" words. Argue that the evidence for what you don't want to believe is inadequate. It doesn't get anywhere. We might as well argue whether OJ did it.

There are certainly a lot of stories about small towns not leaving people alone, when those people are public about scandalous behavior. And in some cases practicing unusual religions has been considered scandalous. Often the local government has gotten involved in one way or another.

How about this -- in an ideal AnCap community, people would mostly leave each other alone. In a real AnCap society that might include lots of human beings with prejudices, those people might not leave alone the people who offend them. There's no ideal solution to this in any existing society so far, and there may not be an ideal solution in real AnCap societies either.

Quote
Abolish taxes and conscription, you can get a successful foreign invasion...

Really? How do you know? Where is your evidence that these things are necessary to defend yourself. Has any modern empire ever conquered Afghanistan?

Latest the USA. Previously, the USSR and Britain before them. Each of those conquests did eventually fail, as did all the ones before including the mongols and Alexander. Each of them added to the afghan gene pool.

Aghans suffered a lot in each invasion. Would they have done better with a better army? I don't particularly see that they would. When you keep a standing army to avoid getting invaded then you have all the problems of a standing army between invasions. And then when the invasion comes they're likely out of practice. To keep an army sharp they need actual hands-on experience at war, and between invasions they don't get that unless they invade somebody.

It's a problem when other people have armies, and I don't see a good solution. Having your own army may be the best you can do, or maybe it just isn't that good.

Quote
we've seen how well tanks and airplanes do against equine cavalry.

Yes, but the Afghan still survive and a modern market anarchy would have the wealth to buy all the defense you can eat.

I believe that hiring mercenary armies is not generally the solution either, but I can't prove it.

I say you don't have to know all the answers ahead of time. We've tried a bunch of statist approaches and we pretty much know what to expect from them. If you try something new then maybe we'll get a new result.

So if you set up a working AnCap society and then some state gets ready to invade and everybody runs around in circles screaming and then they decide they need conscription and taxes to stop the statists, what you you have? It was a good first effort.

And if you set up a second working AnCap society and somebody invades and they try some approach that doesn't work and the state takes over, what do you have? It was a good second effort.

If you keep trying, eventually you will find a way that works. You don't have to have all the answers before you start.

Behind our efforts, let there be our efforts.  Gene Wolfe, _Claw of the Conciliator_

macsnafu on September 20, 2010, 11:22:21 am

Since here the community is the source of the rules people must obey, in your scenario the community is allowed to play it by ear - to punish people for breaking ex post facto laws, to impose arbitrary community standards without the possibility of judicial review for Constitionality... oh, dear, I'm beginning to get the vapors.
...

Oh, I'm sure you've seen this argument before. And you've countered it to your own satisfaction. But I think that you guys haven't the foggiest notion of just how well you will have to cover your bases before there will be majority support for what now seems like a giant leap into a vague unknown. On the other hand, incrementalism - getting America back to the principles of its Founding Fathers as a first milestone, at the least, won't run into that roadblock.

You're quite right-for many people, we have to provide an exhaustive and unreasonable amount of support for our position, and even then they may not be persuaded.  This in spite of all evidence to the contrary. 

Which is why it seems to me that the best "persuasion" requires a change in culture--only then will the majority follow with a change in political views:  politics follows culture.

Thus: Escape from Terra, among other "attempts."


I love mankind.  It's PEOPLE I can't stand!  - Linus Van Pelt.

MacFall on September 20, 2010, 12:02:50 pm
In addition to what has already been posted here in response to quadibloc, one of the most egregious examples of the inability to think outside the statist box is the assumption that a market anarchy will produce one "law of the land" in any particular area. That is a projection of a problem inherent in state-produced law onto a legal system without a state. If you can change legal orders as easily as you can change brands of socks, there won't be any petty tyranny for which "judicial review" might be considered as a remedy. If the legal code under which you find yourself is too burdensome, you make a phone call and you switch to one that better suits you. If your neighbor likes the one you left, he stays with them. If you come into conflict with your neighbor you go to a third party. Nobody forces anyone to participate in a way of life that they find intolerable; hence the only "law of the land" is "live and let live" or the Golden Rule or the non-aggression principle or some other, basically synonymous concept.

I think the problem here is an unwillingness rather than an inability to understand what market anarchists are actually talking about. Strawmen are just too tempting a target.
Government is not, as is often believed, a "necessary evil". Rather, it is a plain evil of such power that it has been able to convince people of its necessity.

Brugle on September 20, 2010, 02:55:36 pm
For the most part, the minority that makes the laws has a strong incentive to pay attention to what the majority wants.
Only to the extent that it assists their rule.  As long as the populace as a whole accepts that they will be ruled, the rulers are satisfied.  Resigned acceptance by the populace is good enough, but the better the typical opinion of the rulers the more oppression will be tolerated.  The best situation (from the point of view of the rulers) is when the populace considers their oppression to be in their own interest, which is why governments concentrate on the propaganda apparatus such as schools and mass media.

I don't see a good solution
What a surprise!

SandySandfort on September 20, 2010, 05:03:21 pm
For the most part, the minority that makes the laws has a strong incentive to pay attention to what the majority wants.

The majority of Californians and most everywhere else, clearly want medical marijuana to be available. The vast majority of Americans want nothing to do with Obamacare nor Obama's wars in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan. But, the minority has the police and the army. What do they care what the majority want? So where is that "strong incentive to pay attention to what the majority wants"? I'm not seeing it.

jamesd on September 20, 2010, 05:35:38 pm
For the most part, the minority that makes the laws has a strong incentive to pay attention to what the majority wants.

The majority of Californians and most everywhere else, clearly want medical marijuana to be available. The vast majority of Americans want nothing to do with Obamacare nor Obama's wars in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan. But, the minority has the police and the army.
Also, affirmative action has been ruled illegal every time it has been put to the public vote.

Politicians continually woo and bribe the public, but pay little attention to them when it comes to actual policy.

mellyrn on September 20, 2010, 06:36:53 pm
Government at its best is an attempt to write a program to cause all social action to proceed smoothly. #IF# X happens #THEN# respond with Y #UNLESS# Z . . . .

If society were a deterministic process, this might work.  If society were merely a chaotic process, some more sophisticated program might serve.  A program, a code (of laws), is meant to allow us to go to sleep, to let our attention lapse, to have the thing run on automatic, like a habit.  But reality -- including social reality -- is necessarily beyond our ability to model.  Really, the only thing we can do is ad hoc:  observe, pay attention, make our best guess, note the results (good or bad) and adjust accordingly, even though next time will/may be different and may even be different because of what happened this time. 

Life won't let you live on autopilot.  To the extent that your fellow humans are living beings and not droids, you can't live among them on autopilot, not successfully.  Not really live, either.

We have all kinds of ways we try to avoid being really acutely conscious of the world.  Government is one of them. 

Anarchists are awake.  They have to be.  Statists are just awake enough to fear what the wakeful ones might be up to.

And that's not even raising the "who protects you from your protectors?" issue.

Brugle on September 20, 2010, 07:50:29 pm
Government at its best is an attempt to write a program to cause all social action to proceed smoothly. #IF# X happens #THEN# respond with Y #UNLESS# Z . . . .
I don't see what that has to do with government.  People might attempt to follow detailed rules (for good and bad) in either an anarchistic or archistic society.

J Thomas on September 20, 2010, 10:14:18 pm
Government at its best is an attempt to write a program to cause all social action to proceed smoothly. #IF# X happens #THEN# respond with Y #UNLESS# Z . . . .
I don't see what that has to do with government.  People might attempt to follow detailed rules (for good and bad) in either an anarchistic or archistic society.

I'm not sure what Mellr intended but to me it looks like when we give special powers to government agents we usually want to bind them with special rules to make it harder for them to abuse their authority. If they get in trouble when they're caught disobeying the rules, the good ones do less good and the bad ones do less harm. So we probably come out ahead.

Anarchists might try to follow detailed rules, but they wouldn't be government agents and they wouldn't *have* to follow the rules.

jamesd on September 21, 2010, 03:39:02 am
I don't see what that has to do with government.  People might attempt to follow detailed rules (for good and bad) in either an anarchistic or archistic society.

I think it likely that the difference between government criminal justice and anarchist criminal justice would resemble the difference between the small claims court and Visa arbitration - Visa arbitration is faster and less formal

terry_freeman on September 21, 2010, 05:51:20 am
To quadibloc, and other statist-brainwashed folks, I suggest the study of the the history of the Congregationalists in New England. Their organizing principle was simple: every congregation was independent of every other; anyone could join any congregation. Initially, each congregation was quite strict - to the point of whipping people out of town for what we would consider to be trivial doctrinal differences. Yet, people could and did leave congregations - and over time, this led to the congregationalists becoming far more tolerant. Nowadays, if you can fog a mirror and are not in the habit of assaulting other people, you are welcome in these congregations.

The State insists loudly in One Law to Rule Them All, and demands that chaos would result if people were actually free to make choices. This is nothing but quasi-religious belief in the Divine State.

In the real world, customs, mores, and laws adjust to meet circumstances. I suggest you google up the origins of standard Time Zones for another example. If you imagine that only the State could bring about widespread agreement, you'd be a typical dupe of statism. In the Real World, Time Zones were created by voluntary agreement among independent railroad operators. The State then found a way to bollix things by imposing "Daylight Savings Time" by force.

To summarize: when uniformity is an actual good, people strive to obtain uniformity through voluntary interactions in the marketplace. When uniformity is not a good, it can be imposed by the State. Is the requirement to kowtow before the emperor a good? No matter; it was uniformly imposed by the State on all. Is the requirement to pay taxes to support trillion-dollar wars a good? No matter; it is uniformly imposed by the State.

The problem with statist shills is that they only speak of the few goods which the State accidentally manages to provide, and never of the ills. If a state-owned grocery store actually provides groceries, they laud the State, and claim that people would starve otherwise. The same is true for law; the statist shills claim that only the State could produce such a thing.

The only problem with this statist theory is that it ignores centuries of history with common law, which preceded state-produced law. One thing that states are extremely good at producing: ignorance.


macsnafu on September 21, 2010, 09:31:45 am

I'm not sure what Mellr intended but to me it looks like when we give special powers to government agents we usually want to bind them with special rules to make it harder for them to abuse their authority. If they get in trouble when they're caught disobeying the rules, the good ones do less good and the bad ones do less harm. So we probably come out ahead.

Anarchists might try to follow detailed rules, but they wouldn't be government agents and they wouldn't *have* to follow the rules.


Funny--people under statist rule obviously feel like they don't have to follow the rules, either!
I love mankind.  It's PEOPLE I can't stand!  - Linus Van Pelt.