Plane on January 01, 2011, 03:52:25 pm
A free society is a dangerous place to live.
No wonder I don't understand AnCap properly.

I had believed that a necessary condition that a society must fulfill in order to be free is to be utterly safe.




I utterly disagree, I think you have this backwards.

If I have no freedom to depart the orthodox I have no freedom of thought , if I have no freedom to risk my fortune I have no freedom in economic terms , if I must perform only the optimal behaviors for my health I have no freedom of action.

If I want to become a sky diver or a scuba diver , or if I want to found a sky and sea diveing school at the risk that I won't get a lot of paying customers , is this my business or my nannys?

I don't really take extreme risk frequently , but if I lost the right I would frequently miss the oppurtunity to decide for myself not to take a risk.

mellyrn on January 02, 2011, 11:16:14 am
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Quote from: mellyrn on December 27, 2010, 08:12:01 AM
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A free society is a dangerous place to live.
No wonder I don't understand AnCap properly.

I had believed that a necessary condition that a society must fulfill in order to be free is to be utterly safe.

Life isn't safe.  "It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it's not for the timid." -- one of the few things I ever liked about Q, or NextGen for that matter.

The state can't protect you from life.  It, too, is a part of life and thus just as dangerous as anything else.  But we set up states to give us a feeling of safety.  And a feeling of safety when the safety isn't there is far more dangerous than acknowledging the hazards you can and being mindful, with all the resource you can summon.

Sadly, the state often blocks your ability to meet threats (apart from being a threat in and of itself, I mean).  If someone invades my home, I'd better kill him outright; if I merely wound him, he may sue me for bodily injury -- thanks to the state.

terry_freeman on January 02, 2011, 11:35:58 am
How backwards! A society which is "utterly safe" - if such a society can exist - would be a society where one is very much not free. Sci-fi author Harry Harrison explored this topic in the context of robots who worked tirelessly to "keep man safe." No human was ever permitted to handle sharp objects, nor to bicycle, nor to drive an automobile. I read his novels as an allegory about the omnipresent State.

Today, the TSA claims that its goal is to keep us "utterly safe" - hence, we may not travel with pen knives, nail clippers, bottles of soda, nor anything else which might conceivably be used as a weapon. Taken to its natural limit, eventually the TSA will strip everyone, do a full cavity search, then lock all passengers into restraints so that they may not use brute force to harm others. This will be the price of "utter safety."

Who wants to live like that? If that be "freedom", I'll do without, thank you so very much not.

Freedom is when we are free to succeed, free to fail, free to defend ourselves and the people whom we care about. This does not mean a "dog eat dog" world. Ask someone who is in the habit of carrying a concealed weapon if he or she feels "unfree" as a result.

In reality, people who are prepared to defend themselves do not live lives of fear; they seldom need to use that capability. This is a lot like having a fire extinguisher in one's home - it might never be used in all one's lifetime, but it sure beats having to call 9-1-1 and wait for the fire company or the police to arrive.
 
I have cooked many a meal in kitchens equipped with fire extinguishers; I never felt un-free as a consequence; nor has my cooking experience been that terrible state of anxiety which quadibloc describes, waiting for the next fire to engulf me. Likewise, when armed, I am not anxious; life-and-death struggles are not so ubiquitous as statists and other alarmists would like us to think.

J Thomas on January 02, 2011, 12:33:21 pm

Sadly, the state often blocks your ability to meet threats (apart from being a threat in and of itself, I mean).  If someone invades my home, I'd better kill him outright; if I merely wound him, he may sue me for bodily injury -- thanks to the state.

Does it often turn out that way? I've heard of examples, but for all I know they could be like urban legends. Does it happen 10% of the time when homeowners shoot burglars? 1%? 0.1%? I suppose I should look it up but there's a strong chance that if I just ask the question somebody who has the info handy will provide a link.

A legal system that's based on competing lawyers will naturally provide bad results occasionally. Superb lawyers can sometimes subvert justice -- that's why they get the big bucks.

So, say we had an AnCap society with arbitration. If you let a wounded burglar survive, is there a chance he will call for arbitration on the grounds you had no right to sue him? He has the right to do that, doesn't he? And we assume that the arbitrator will laugh at him.

We would assume that a government court would make you pay if we hear about occasional well-publicized failures of justice. And we would also assume that if in some states the legal system makes that the deferred outcome.

So the big difference I see is that when a private arbitrator makes a judgement you don't like, you can tell everybody you know that he screwed you over and he's a bad arbitrator and he shouldn't get anybody's business. But if a government court makes a judgement you don't like there's nothing you can do about it.

terry_freeman on January 03, 2011, 08:47:45 am
I think government courts versus AnCap courts would tend to different outcomes along well-defined lines.

Government courts have a bias toward preserving their privilege. Hence, government officials, including police, prosecutors, and tax collectors tend to be favored; their victims get less than a fair shake. Courts in some jurisdictions have a definite bias against the use of guns by private citizens; in other jurisdictions, there is much less of a bias.

In AnCap courts, the courts themselves must compete in the marketplace; they have to strive to be as unbiased as possible. Of course there will be good and bad courts, but the bad courts will not have the advantage of claiming jurisdiction, since there will be no legal monopolies.

A large part of today's legal practice involves maneuvers to obtain the "right" venue; state X may be prone to hand out large punitive damages, for example. In an AnCap society, that maneuver will not be so effective, since the concept of geographical "jurisdiction" will be meaningless.

macsnafu on January 03, 2011, 11:03:18 am
A free society is a dangerous place to live.
No wonder I don't understand AnCap properly.

I had believed that a necessary condition that a society must fulfill in order to be free is to be utterly safe. If there are people who are threatening you with violence that you need to be concerned about, then you are not free - even if it is not the government that is your master.


Freedom and safety are complementary, to wildly reword Benjamin Franklin's old saying...It is because one has a degree of freedom that one can achieve a degree of safety.  In a similar vein, many people seem to think that the rules must already be in place before a market can develop, when in reality, the rules are developed at the same time as the market does.  It is a process that occurs over time, just as common law itself is a process, and not merely a set of laws.
I love mankind.  It's PEOPLE I can't stand!  - Linus Van Pelt.

quadibloc on January 03, 2011, 01:17:23 pm
Upon reflection, I think I do see my mistake.

I am free when I am not subject to coercion. This indifferently lumps together all possible sources of coercion, whether it be coercion from the State, or coercion from dishonest private individuals.

So, clearly, if I could not possibly be subject to coercion (hence, I was "utterly safe"), I would be the most free and the most secure in my freedom.

Of course, what applies to me also applies to everyone else.

Now then; if everyone else, just like me, is totally impossible to coerce... what, exactly, is stopping them from behaving badly and coercing me - or each other?

This perhaps is why I see a statist society as a natural way of achieving freedom. People are more likely to be subject to unjust coercion in a situation of chaos - when any group of thugs might try to make themselves the government - than when there is a strong government, but firmly under the democratic control of the people, so that it only does good things, not bad things.

Many posters in this forum have noted that what I am imagining to be the normal state of affairs in the Western industrialized world is, instead, but a fairytale.

And thus, the absence of an omnipresent constabulary is expected to leave room for occasional misbehavior - but that is the price of freedom, and in a free society, there will be less of a burden of taxes, and people will be free to defend themselves, so crime should be rare, rather than the commonplace that inspires panic and supports the ambitions of control-minded politicians.