ContraryGuy on May 12, 2011, 12:42:15 pm
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Seatbelt use is going up, and I don't think it's about seatbelt laws or insurance that doesn't pay for people who didn't wear seatbelts. If we had cars that would not start unless seatbelts were fastened, people would get around it. The use is going up because people actually think it helps on average. (emphasis added)

Funny, that.  Sounds almost like anarchy.

On a different note, while I don't mind thread topic-creep, I find thread topic-bifurcation a little jarring.  This one has "principles of anarchy/gov't" for one, and "historical trends in socialism" for another; Pedo Bear Strike has Darwin/Lamarck, how to organize companies, and public executions.  Huh. 

No, it sounds like rational decision making arising out of education and experience.

A society of disorder and chaos has nothing to do with it.

ContraryGuy on May 12, 2011, 12:44:08 pm
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Seatbelt use is going up, and I don't think it's about seatbelt laws or insurance that doesn't pay for people who didn't wear seatbelts. If we had cars that would not start unless seatbelts were fastened, people would get around it. The use is going up because people actually think it helps on average. (emphasis added)

Funny, that.  Sounds almost like anarchy.

Sure. When people are rational, depending on them to do the rational thing on their own is the best choice.

But if you know a particular time when you are going to be less rational, it makes sense to arrange ahead of time that you don't make important decisions then. If possible, make those choices now, while you are in your right mind.

If I drank, and I was the sort of drunk who goes out and does exciting things, I would try to limit that ahead of time. Lock up the power tools and get a neighbor to keep the car keys.

I don't want an authoritarian government where some corruptible individual decides for me. But it also does not make sense to imagine that everybody will be rational all the time. Should we let everybody do whatever he wants first and hold him responsible afterward? Or is it better to do some minimal amount of prevention? I think both extremes are bad, but we find ourselves walking between two slippery slopes.


Wow, those last two sentences sound like *gasp!* anarchy!

quadibloc on May 12, 2011, 03:15:35 pm
No, it sounds like rational decision making arising out of education and experience.

A society of disorder and chaos has nothing to do with it.
I'm sorry, they meant "anarchy" in the technical sense of a government not being around forcing people to do things against their better judgment (such as fastening lap belts on cars without shoulder belts - that under many circumstances increases the risk one faces in an accident).

So "sounds like anarchy" was correct in the context of the discussions here.

J Thomas on May 12, 2011, 04:26:12 pm
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So given three obviously bad choices, I want to try a degree of control by machine for awhile.

Where people are actually harmed for a choice that's only potentially (if I speed to work, I might have an accident; I'm not guaranteed one) bad?  You first.

Even so, what you're asking is for a machine to remove uncertainty -- you want to determine, ahead of time, that outcomes will all be good ones.

I already explained that. You can't guarantee there will only be good outcomes. The best you can do is to improve the average.

Traffic engineers, after human-centuries of study, believe that on average automobile speeds which are too high will have bad outcomes. Most people, most of the time, agree with them. But every now and then we get into a bind. We're running late. We don't care about other people's outcomes, we just want to improve our own outcome this one time. The chance that I will get to work on time seems far more imporant than the small chance that I will have an accident in which my car is totaled, and maybe unknown other people suffer in unknown ways. Who's the better judge? Many human-centuries of traffic engineers or me, stressed out and hoping for a special reward after I didn't start my journey early enough to get it without speeding?

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We see this in the news, when people who live in Tornado Alley are interviewed over the wreckage of their neighborhood and sobbing, "How could such a terrible thing happen?"  I'm compassionate enough to be sorry they lost their home, and still want to kick them in the butt.  Hey, that's life in Tornado Alley.  It's life even in my far-from-the-Alley neighborhood.

http://www.google.com/search?q=tornado+alley&hl=en&safe=off&prmd=ivnsu&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=607MTcD0C8re0QGizrGiBA&sqi=2&ved=0CEYQsAQ&biw=1024&bih=584
Here are some maps to help you decide where Tornado Alley is. If you think you live in Tornado Alley you should definitely move somewhere else.

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But by all means, try your machine.  The machine's own existence will create exceptions, edge conditions, that can't even be imagined ahead of time.

May be. What did you think about the free-market economist's idea of putting spikes on the dashboard in place of airbags, to encourage drivers to avoid head-on collisions?

All of economics is based on the idea that people respond to incentives and disincentives. If they don't, maybe we should rethink the whole thing.

What if it turns out that every new product creates exceptions and edge conditions that can't be imagined ahead of time?

quadibloc on May 12, 2011, 06:19:23 pm
We're running late. We don't care about other people's outcomes, we just want to improve our own outcome this one time. The chance that I will get to work on time seems far more imporant than the small chance that I will have an accident in which my car is totaled, and maybe unknown other people suffer in unknown ways. Who's the better judge? Many human-centuries of traffic engineers or me, stressed out and hoping for a special reward after I didn't start my journey early enough to get it without speeding?
This is true enough, but the problem with enforcing speed limits automatically is obvious - getting people to hospital in an emergency. Just as seat belts that prevented cars from starting if they were not fastened left people vulnerable to robbers.

On average, such systems might indeed save more lives than they harmed. But they would directly injure specific people, while those they saved would be invisible averages. This is a problem in public relations, Catholic moral theology, and law.

In any case, freedom isn't about optimizing average outcomes - at least not directly. In the UW, they can make sure that Winston Smith does his calisthenics in the morning. But we know perfectly well from history that when one gives a central authority more and more power to control people's lives, such power tends to be used for the benefit of those who control it, rather than for the benefit of the population being controlled.

On the other hand, as cities become more crowded, I also think that at some point things like speed governors on cars will become a necessity. Individual freedom and practical considerations like public safety have to be balanced - and when interdependence increases, the balance tilts.

The problem is that when things tilt, they can also fall over. While I don't share the level of pessimism about democracy that many AnCap advocates seem to have, I do think that there is a level of crowding at which there are no good solutions - the degree of freedom required to avoid the system becoming a dictatorship might also be, at the same time, genuinely reckless and suicidal to permit. The only solution is not to get so crowded - because, of course, it is also reckless and suicidal to permit a dictatorship.

J Thomas on May 12, 2011, 10:29:21 pm

In any case, freedom isn't about optimizing average outcomes - at least not directly. In the UW, they can make sure that Winston Smith does his calisthenics in the morning. But we know perfectly well from history that when one gives a central authority more and more power to control people's lives, such power tends to be used for the benefit of those who control it, rather than for the benefit of the population being controlled.

Freedom definitely isn't about optimising outcomes. Freedom is about letting people do whatever they want and outcomes be damned.

On the other hand, I don't see anybody being real interested in freedom. Consider for example Sandy Sandfort's hypothetical idea -- you have a place where absolutely everywhere is owned by somebody. And whenever you are in a place that somebody else owns, you do whatever they say, or you don't go there. But whenever anybody else is in a place you own, they do whatever you say.

Would you consider that a lot of freedom?

quadibloc on May 13, 2011, 08:32:36 am
On the other hand, I don't see anybody being real interested in freedom. Consider for example Sandy Sandfort's hypothetical idea -- you have a place where absolutely everywhere is owned by somebody. And whenever you are in a place that somebody else owns, you do whatever they say, or you don't go there. But whenever anybody else is in a place you own, they do whatever you say.

Would you consider that a lot of freedom?
I guess that depends on how much land I can afford to own.

He at least claims that there will be freedom, because it isn't in the interest of shopping mall owners to make rules that would have the result of no one wanting to come to their malls and shop, and as far as the rest is concerned, one's fellow hardy pioneers would be like-minded to oneself in desiring freedom.

Compared to Earth, where the rules are not subject to choice - you have a government, and other countries don't want immigrants.

So he basically discounts elections as a way to make rules reasonable - because he observes that in the democratic U.S., a lot of unreasonable rules have accumulated, most people know they're unreasonable, but they haven't been able to vote them away. I do agree he's being simplistic - overly optimistic about how his preferred system will work and overly pessimistic about how his less preferred system is working.

I don't think, though, that it's a fault to say that what we have isn't working well, and to look for alternatives. Looking for alternatives and convincing other people to take them are two different things, though. He is doing a great job of doing the first and making people think. But when it comes to the second, I don't think he is doing so great.

But just because I'm not confident AnCap will work out well, I'm not sure it's going to work out badly either. I think it has lots of potential to work out well under appropriate circumstances.

mellyrn on May 13, 2011, 08:50:41 am
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What if it turns out that every new product creates exceptions and edge conditions that can't be imagined ahead of time?

Note to self: swallow tea before reading anything.   :D

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Would you consider that a lot of freedom?

Compared to what?

Also, Sandy didn't say that you do what the owner says, only that you don't do what the owner forbids.  While that's still a limitation on your right to act, it's waaay more freedom than having your actions limited to whatever the owner actively demands.

Tacitly acknowledging that freedom is not an unlimited quantity isn't the same as "[not] being real interested in freedom".

But maybe you were asking q and not me.  (btw, thanks, q, for noting my use of the term "anarchy" vs CG earlier.  I appreciated that!)

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I think it has lots of potential to work out well under appropriate circumstances.

I think the way we behave is the way we behave, and that Cerereans don't really behave any differently than we do here.  Even with laws & contracts & all (out the wazoo, more than even the most dedicated lawyer can read), we still interpret and reinterpret until no one knows what the laws mean anyway.  Most of us try to do well by each other most of the time, and the only ones unrestrained by the laws are the ones the laws are intended to restrain AND who are cleverest at "hacking" the system.

The Belt has no System to "hack", so everyone is on equal footing, hackers and nonhackers alike.  And the Belt has no central power to usurp or otherwise abuse, so everyone is on an equal footing in that way, too.

Do we behave better under a system of laws than we would out from under?

Q:  is there any crime under a state?

A:  well, obviously.  The very best claim for a government must therefore be that conditions would be much worse without one.  The only evidence for this is what happens when the machinery of a state is abruptly removed.

But the state of humans in a condition of sudden disruption cannot possibly be considered the state of humans au naturel.

If you prune a peach tree as it grows year after year, and then one year suddenly cease pruning, it will not spontaneously assume its natural form and flourish; in fact it may very well die prematurely.  This in no way means that peach trees must be pruned or they will not thrive.

J Thomas on May 13, 2011, 09:16:05 am
On the other hand, I don't see anybody being real interested in freedom. Consider for example Sandy Sandfort's hypothetical idea -- you have a place where absolutely everywhere is owned by somebody. And whenever you are in a place that somebody else owns, you do whatever they say, or you don't go there. But whenever anybody else is in a place you own, they do whatever you say.

Would you consider that a lot of freedom?
I guess that depends on how much land I can afford to own.

;) Thank you! That's refreshingly honest.

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He at least claims that there will be freedom, because it isn't in the interest of shopping mall owners to make rules that would have the result of no one wanting to come to their malls and shop

Well, let's consider that. Imagine for a moment that 90% of the people are black, and they tell the mall owner that they strongly prefer a mall with only blacks in it. You however are white. The mall owner who prefers that 90% of his customers remain, tells you to go elsewhere.

So you make a new mall that anybody can come to. You have far less economy of scale than the other mall, and a limited range of businesses -- smaller businesses prefer to operate only in the other mall. But now many of your customers come to you and say they are offended when they see people with tattoos in your mall and they want you to get rid of them. It's only 5% of the people who come to your mall that have tattoos. And you, you got one on your forehead during a drunken spree in your teens. Do you cater to the 90% of customers who will leave if you allow tattoos, or what? You could of course sell creams people can use to cover up their tattoos. Or you could throw in the towel and sell kits so your customers can go to the other mall in blackface....

So you start a third mall that is open to anybody. You find that you are heavily catering to immigrants who used to belong to biker gangs. The biker women saunter through your mall with their breasts exposed, and some of the other customers are offended. But the bikers are 90% of your business. How many new customers would come to you if you made the biker babes cover up? And a delegation of bikers tells you that if you want to keep their business, you have to make all the women show their boobs. Not just the women who work there, every broad who comes in....

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Compared to Earth, where the rules are not subject to choice - you have a government, and other countries don't want immigrants.

I can understand the appeal of free-market government, where each man is king of his own domain and anyone who rents or visits must follow his rules, and you can shop around for the autocracy you want, and then find some path you can brave through other autocrats' nations to get to him. But remember the three rules of real estate? Location....
« Last Edit: May 13, 2011, 09:38:03 am by J Thomas »

sam on May 14, 2011, 07:30:40 pm
On the other hand, I don't see anybody being real interested in freedom. Consider for example Sandy Sandfort's hypothetical idea -- you have a place where absolutely everywhere is owned by somebody. And whenever you are in a place that somebody else owns, you do whatever they say, or you don't go there. But whenever anybody else is in a place you own, they do whatever you say.

Would you consider that a lot of freedom?

Places that are open to the public, such as malls, generally want public to visit them.  So they don't impose harsh conditions on the public, and avoid doing stuff that spooks the public.  I am pretty sure that Walmart security busts a hell of a lot shoplifters, and their method for busting shoplifters is to follow them out onto the parking lot, so that fewer customers will see the bust.,  Doubtless, some shoplifters, in sight of their getaway car, and knowing that rentacops have no special privelige to use deadly force, resist, yet I never see Walmart security show up on youtube looking bad, while police regularly show up on youtube looking bad.

So when you are in an anarcho capitalist shopping mall, you would usually have a lot more freedom than on a state owned street - though no freedom to look weird and scare other customers.

ContraryGuy on May 20, 2011, 08:47:42 am

In any case, freedom isn't about optimizing average outcomes - at least not directly. In the UW, they can make sure that Winston Smith does his calisthenics in the morning. But we know perfectly well from history that when one gives a central authority more and more power to control people's lives, such power tends to be used for the benefit of those who control it, rather than for the benefit of the population being controlled.

Freedom definitely isn't about optimising outcomes. Freedom is about letting people do whatever they want and outcomes be damned.

On the other hand, I don't see anybody being real interested in freedom. Consider for example Sandy Sandfort's hypothetical idea -- you have a place where absolutely everywhere is owned by somebody. And whenever you are in a place that somebody else owns, you do whatever they say, or you don't go there. But whenever anybody else is in a place you own, they do whatever you say.

Would you consider that a lot of freedom?

I may already said this, and if so, I apologize; but, no, that is no freedom whatsoever. That is autocracy.  Or dictatorship.
Freedom is a complex interweaving of different ideas, compromises, allowances and etiquettes.

 

J Thomas on May 20, 2011, 09:36:06 am

So when you are in an anarcho capitalist shopping mall, you would usually have a lot more freedom than on a state owned street - though no freedom to look weird and scare other customers.

Words have meanings. Sometimes. Words have some meanings to some people.

Anyway, to me what you are talking about here is not freedom but privileges. Shopping mall managers may choose to grant you greater privileges than someone else would.

SandySandfort on May 20, 2011, 10:02:24 am

So when you are in an anarcho capitalist shopping mall, you would usually have a lot more freedom than on a state owned street - though no freedom to look weird and scare other customers.

Words have meanings. Sometimes. Words have some meanings to some people.

Anyway, to me what you are talking about here is not freedom but privileges. Shopping mall managers may choose to grant you greater privileges than someone else would.

Plus one man's weird is another man's wonderful. If I lived in the Belt, I might open the "San Francisco Theme Mall." My fondest memories of SF are the weirdos--Pink Hard Hat Lady, Turn-around Man, the Twins, Dykes on Bikes and the various marches including various flavors of communists with their brave little red flags, and Iranian students chanting, "death to the Shah!" And from a previous era such entertaining kooks as Emperor Norton. Why not encourage that carnival-like atmosphere in a shopping mall? The patrons might look weird to sam and scare him, but he would always be free to take his business down the street to the "Failed Empire Mall," where embittered "estate" denizens can shop for bowlers and brellies, with a stiff upper lips. "Nothing weird to scare you here, folks."  ;D

Anarchy is the real "diversity" of human aspirations, desires and lifestyles.

quadibloc on May 20, 2011, 06:44:24 pm
Anyway, to me what you are talking about here is not freedom but privileges. Shopping mall managers may choose to grant you greater privileges than someone else would.
The freedom comes in at another level; one can shop around for a different shopping mall, whereas one can't shop around for a different government.

The fact that you have a vote doesn't always mean you're "safe" in a majority-rule democracy. You could belong to a minority.

We do have a Constitution that doesn't let the majority do certain things, limiting its power. The idea is to improve that, by limiting the government's power to zero - hence, no government: anarchy. The assumption - no, the intent - is that this doesn't lead to the available territory being carved up into corporate-ruled enclaves, but that it instead lets individuals be sovereign.

Instead of being an assumption that might be wrong, it is an intent that it is expected those establishing the community will take care to implement. How they manage it in a sufficiently non-coercive fashion is a question to me, but I will accept that dystopia is not their goal.

J Thomas on May 21, 2011, 12:38:22 am
Anyway, to me what you are talking about here is not freedom but privileges. Shopping mall managers may choose to grant you greater privileges than someone else would.
The freedom comes in at another level; one can shop around for a different shopping mall, whereas one can't shop around for a different government.

Yes, this is because somehow governments have mostly chosen to keep captive markets rather than compete for citizens. And the citizens have let them get away with it!

The USA has varied on that. Sometimes we let lots of immigrants come in. Other times we try to shut them out. We're usually pretty good about letting our citizens choose other nations, if they can find other nations that will take them.

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The fact that you have a vote doesn't always mean you're "safe" in a majority-rule democracy. You could belong to a minority.

Yes indeed. There's a theory that you shouldn't object to that because you win some and you lose some. But when you are part of a minority ethnic group you might feel like you don't win any.

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We do have a Constitution that doesn't let the majority do certain things, limiting its power. The idea is to improve that, by limiting the government's power to zero - hence, no government: anarchy. The assumption - no, the intent - is that this doesn't lead to the available territory being carved up into corporate-ruled enclaves, but that it instead lets individuals be sovereign.

When people's choices conflict you still need some way to decide who gets the freedom. One way is to let them fight it out. You aren't free to get everything you want, but you are free to die like a man instead of buckling under. This is an unalienable right -- you can do it even under a totalitarian government. Live your life, and when they come for you then you go down fighting. Live free and die free.

And you can try to negotiate. Find out what the other guy wants, tell him what you want, find a way that both can choose to coexist and get enough of what they want to satisfy them. No guarantees, but it works sometimes.

And you can depend on community standards. The whole community will lean on anybody who gets too much out of line in ways they don't like. If they are dedicated anarchists then they will lean on anybody who tries to make them do things. They will show him he can't get away with that. What else will they enforce? Whatever they agree to enforce. Kind of like a -- government, but without anybody officially in charge. Whoever is best at molding public opinion will have more influence, but only to the extent he succeeds at that.

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If a man can resist the influences of his townsfollk, if he can cut free from the tyranny of neighbourhood gossip, the world has no terrors for him; there is no second inquisition”
John Jay Chapman
« Last Edit: May 21, 2011, 12:40:38 am by J Thomas »

 

anything