spudit on May 06, 2011, 09:01:18 am
Yep, ZAP as just one pipe in the scaffold, or is it a trellis.

Big chunks of the Ten Commandments, Bill of Rights, John Galt's radio address, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, The Sermon on the Mount, bits and pieces of Confucious, John Locke, Tom Paine, let's try them all. Good enough to learn from is good enough for the real world.
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J Thomas on May 06, 2011, 09:28:15 am
I think we've beat the Prior Appropriation bit to death. ZAP is great for homesteads, but you need a regulatory body for any sort of common resource management. Tragedy of the Commons must be avoided.

The tragedy of the commons is easily avoided:  Privatize the commons.

When we were hunters, we started to run out of animals, so we privatized the cattle and became herders.  Then the grass ran out, and we privatized the land.  If it was not for governments stopping us, we would have privatized the oceans by now, and probably will soon do so regardless.

This is the procrustean argument.

The ecosystem provided us with a lot of migrating birds. After a whole lot of their foraging area was turned into cropland, the birds ate crops and then flew away. And wherever they flew, people shot them and ate them. A transfer of wealth from farmers to whoever. The obvious solution is to shoot the wild geese and ducks etc into extinction, and then if people want to eat bird meat the farmers can raise chickens to sell to them.

Similarly, a lot of fish follow the currents around a whole ocean. They start out in fresh-water wetlands and then leave. How do you privatize them? Pay the wetlands owners to let them be born there? Sail around the ocean with them, protecting them from poachers until they are old enough to harvest? No, the easier approach is to fish out all the sellable fish from the oceans, and then raise fish in cages to sell.

Buffalo are far better adapted to the US plains than european or indian cattle. But it isn't easy to build a fence that a herd of buffalo can't get through, and then have a bad habit of going where they want and eating what they want. So it was easier to kill them off and then raise cattle which can't take the winters without human help, and can't digest the local grass as well, and suffer worse from local diseases etc etc etc, but which are far easier to own.

Once you decide that private ownership is the solution to all your problems, you limit yourself to ecologies and technologies which are easy to manage with private ownership.

J Thomas on May 06, 2011, 09:41:56 am
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Intent to harm was present.

Intent is crucial.

This is the catholic moral view. Or maybe I should call it ethical. It's an important distinction which you should carefully work out between yourself and your god.

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I can think of a situation in which initiation of force -- attempted assault and battery, with a very real possibility of injury and even death -- is not only acceptable but actually required, and even so does not violate the spirit of the ZAP, because the intent to harm is not there.

I tend to disagree, although I may agree with your examples. I don't see that you have any particular right to harm people just because you can make the case that you didn't intend to. You are responsible for the consequences of your own actions, whether you intended those consequences or not. It is your responsibility to foresee the consequences of your actions.

If you choose to do things which have the possibility of injury and even death, because you believe you are serving a higher good, and the result is injury and death, that is your responsibility whether or not you also prevented a worse result.

If you violate the ZAP and first-use force against someone because you think it will further a higher good, you are still responsible for your own actions.

As one possible outcome -- the people you violated ZAP against may have the right to damages from you, and the people you benefitted may choose to pay those damages. Needless to say, it is generally more practical to break the ZAP to help rich people than poor people, especially if you have a contract in which they promise to pay.

mellyrn on May 06, 2011, 10:01:15 am
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I can think of a situation in which initiation of force -- attempted assault and battery, with a very real possibility of injury and even death -- is not only acceptable but actually required, and even so does not violate the spirit of the ZAP, because the intent to harm is not there.

I tend to disagree, although I may agree with your examples.

Only one example, hon -- a dojo.



As to intent, I do care whether the person stepping on my toe did so accidentally or intentionally.  I will respond quite differently to each.  I'm probably not alone in that.

SandySandfort on May 06, 2011, 10:16:24 am
There are people who advocate the Golden Rule. And there are people who advocate ZAP. Assuming you don't like to be aggressed on, ZAP is a weaker form of Golden Rule. In either case, you can't expect to base a whole legal theory on just one simple moral principle.

Actually, to be a legal theory, it must be simple. What I think you meant was legal system. The ZAP is not a legal system. It is the basic legal/moral/ethical theory that may potentially underlie a legal system. Spudit's "barnacle" post says it very well.

BTW, this is true of the Golden Rule as well. It could never be the whole of the law, just the basic principle from which specific instances could be addressed. Taken to the reductio ad absurdum level, the Golden Rule "fails" because some people would have done unto themselves, what others would definitely not want done unto theirselves. Just because a guy likes to be butt fucked, does not mean doing that to others would be appreciated. But in general, we know what the Rule means and it's a pretty good first approximation. The ZAP is a better first approximation, but it too needs to be applied rationally to any give factual set of circumstances.

quadibloc on May 06, 2011, 10:24:54 am
If you choose to do things which have the possibility of injury and even death, because you believe you are serving a higher good, and the result is injury and death, that is your responsibility whether or not you also prevented a worse result.

If you violate the ZAP and first-use force against someone because you think it will further a higher good, you are still responsible for your own actions.

As one possible outcome -- the people you violated ZAP against may have the right to damages from you, and the people you benefitted may choose to pay those damages. Needless to say, it is generally more practical to break the ZAP to help rich people than poor people, especially if you have a contract in which they promise to pay.
I don't think the ZAP and utilitarianism mix well.

As I noted quite some time ago, forcing someone to be content with "blood money", or otherwise require people to limit themselves to "reasonable" damages, is, in my opinion, just the sort of "initiation of force" that you need to have a state for.

Somebody cuts in front of me in line? Right. Out of the goodness of my heart, I forbear to use deadly force. However, afterwards, I sue him for one billion dollars. And, of course, he must pay - because there is only one defence in such a case. And he cannot produce a document, with my signature on it, that said that I would permit him to cut in front of me in line for a sum less than one billion dollars. That's what being sovereign over my rights and person means.

The role of an arbiter is to determine that a ZAP violation took place - to determine guilt or innocence, like a jury. The victim is then judge and executioner.

Because people are human and make mistakes, of course they may choose to live in a more reasonable society. I'm not saying that's a bad thing to make such a choice. I'm just saying that when you do that, you've done, by whatever fancy mechanism, whether it's multiple arbiters or community standards, just the sort of thing that you've claimed you abolished that nasty old "government" thing so that nobody could do that thing. Try to put a different name on it, but it's still initiation of force by somebody.

If you call it "minarchy" and you do it with your eyes open, that's one thing. But if you initiate force and say that it isn't "really" the initiation of force, you're setting yourselves up to be blindsided by someone who will make himself your government. (This won't work for every wannabe tyrant - the ideology that would be imposed would have to be one that the community wouldn't object to or even really notice at first. To impose an ideology that isn't harmonious with community desires requires a big army of thugs.)

If initiation of force is a really dangerous thing, but you need a little of it in order to allow the community to function, the way to deal with it is to keep it very closely guarded. To instead initiate force but pretend you aren't - as opposed to not initiating force at all, which is what I argue you're not doing, even though you claim that's what AnCap is going to be - is to leave this potent devil lurking in the corners, hidden and unsupervised. Ready to jump out at you when you least expect it.

Actually, to be a legal theory, it must be simple. What I think you meant was legal system. The ZAP is not a legal system. It is the basic legal/moral/ethical theory that may potentially underlie a legal system. Spudit's "barnacle" post says it very well.

BTW, this is true of the Golden Rule as well. It could never be the whole of the law, just the basic principle from which specific instances could be addressed.
Of course, that addresses my objection quite nicely. Recognize that your legal system, of necessity, has to violate the ZAP rather than embodying it perfectly, and then minimize and control those violations, and have as a goal to continue to reduce them - and you're all right.

But if instead the society takes the view that while the ZAP is not the whole of the law, the law as a whole, such as the arbitration mechanism, whatever it is, is still perfectly consistent with the ZAP... I suspect the society will be mistaken. And that will turn around and bite it.

And, no, I'm not confident that, at least, it will take more than 200 years to happen.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2011, 10:30:04 am by quadibloc »

SandySandfort on May 06, 2011, 10:28:11 am
Look at the ZAP as part of a barest minimal structure, a scaffolding to support whatever grows.

That looks very good! I keep hearing people imply that unadorned ZAP is everything you need, and then they argue when I doubt that.

Perhaps you need to have your hearing checked.  ;)

I certainly would not have said such a thing, nor do I hear other supports saying such things. The implication seems to come from the anti-ZAPs (not you), who are injecting it as a way of "defeating" the ZAP.

SandySandfort on May 06, 2011, 10:33:31 am
I tend to disagree, although I may agree with your examples. I don't see that you have any particular right to harm people just because you can make the case that you didn't intend to. You are responsible for the consequences of your own actions, whether you intended those consequences or not. It is your responsibility to foresee the consequences of your actions.

Sure, but this is not a ZAP issue. Intent is a ZAP issue, unintended consequences of your acts are not. That comes under tort theory, not the ZAP.

quadibloc on May 06, 2011, 10:43:17 am
Sure, but this is not a ZAP issue. Intent is a ZAP issue, unintended consequences of your acts are not. That comes under tort theory, not the ZAP.
Negligence is not aggression, so the arbiters deal with it in a more kindly fashion? Sounds to me like you're initiating force and telling me what I have to put up with.

But rather than going off like that guy Ed gave advice to in the bar, because I really, really despise tree-spikers and the rest of the monkey-wrench gang, I'm willing to discuss this in a civilized fashion. Basically, what I'm going to propose is probably something like this - if you've got to do this kind of stuff, don't pretend you're not doing it, and don't impose Joe's Theory of Arbitration by fiat.

If you need to treat negligence in a different fashion than aggression to avoid somebody with a bomb trying to save the world from the Large Hadron Collider and so on... since that's an initation of force, even though it's a minor and edge-case one, put it to a vote. Know what you're doing rather than sweeping it under the rug.

SandySandfort on May 06, 2011, 10:44:27 am
Actually, to be a legal theory, it must be simple. What I think you meant was legal system. The ZAP is not a legal system. It is the basic legal/moral/ethical theory that may potentially underlie a legal system. Spudit's "barnacle" post says it very well.

BTW, this is true of the Golden Rule as well. It could never be the whole of the law, just the basic principle from which specific instances could be addressed.
Of course, that addresses my objection quite nicely. Recognize that your legal system, of necessity, has to violate the ZAP rather than embodying it perfectly, and then minimize and control those violations, and have as a goal to continue to reduce them - and you're all right.

Whoa Nelly! A ZAP-based legal system does not ever have to violate the ZAP. What I was discussing was the necessary discovery, interpretation and application of the ZAP with regard to specific factual situations. In all cases, the result must be consistent with the ZAP. No exceptions.

If you think you can come up with a situation in which a ZAP-based legal system would have to violate the ZAP, please elucidate. My guess is that you will be overlooking some crucial factor or definition.

J Thomas on May 06, 2011, 10:45:48 am
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I can think of a situation in which initiation of force -- attempted assault and battery, with a very real possibility of injury and even death -- is not only acceptable but actually required, and even so does not violate the spirit of the ZAP, because the intent to harm is not there.

I tend to disagree, although I may agree with your examples.

Only one example, hon -- a dojo.

It gets classified as practice, with prior permission, not actually battery.

Once in a police methods class this great big young guy said he'd do the throw on me real gently. He did it so soft that I kind of slid down him and broke two ribs on his kneecap. I was limited to practicing hand moves for several weeks. The next meeting he broke somebody else's ribs. I never saw him again after that.

In an aikido class we learned an aggressive move where you slip behind somebody and push down on his shoulders to plant his feet in place, and then gradually switch to pulling him back while you step out of the way. The girl I practiced with wasn't sure it would work if uke didn't know to go with it, and neither was I. We agreed to try it a few times when the other didn't especially expect it. She did it to me and I didn't fall quite right but not really badly, and the throw worked perfectly. I did it to her a couple weeks later while she was talking to her boyfriend who was in the class, and she rolled very well and said she couldn't have resisted it. Then we agreed not to do that any more.

Once a big guy didn't want to stay down. He got what he later called "frisky" and I was concerned if I pushed too hard I'd damage his elbow. I was rattled and touched his neck gently with my foot, and he stopped moving. Afterward he got up and started telling the other students, "Did you see that? Did you see what he did? He put his foot on my throat!". It was something we'd never practiced, and he made it plain he did not find it acceptable. In that dojo, doing the regular practice was not considered in any way a violation of ZAP but putting your foot on somebody's neck was.

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As to intent, I do care whether the person stepping on my toe did so accidentally or intentionally.  I will respond quite differently to each.  I'm probably not alone in that.

Sure. If he's hostile he'll probably do something else. It's a threat. But the damage he's already done is the same regardless of intent.

So there's a difference between hurting you, and hurting you with the threat to hurt you some more. But that doesn't make it OK to hurt you and act like it was an accident.

SandySandfort on May 06, 2011, 10:56:30 am
Sure, but this is not a ZAP issue. Intent is a ZAP issue, unintended consequences of your acts are not. That comes under tort theory, not the ZAP.
Negligence is not aggression, so the arbiters deal with it in a more kindly fashion? Sounds to me like you're initiating force and telling me what I have to put up with.

There are aspects of what is called "criminal neglect" that exist, but are not necessary for this discussion.

"Intent" is another word of art. For example, let us say you decide to punch a guy in the nose, but not in self-defense. You punch him with what would otherwise be a non-lethal blow, but he dies because he had an "egg shell" skull. You argue that even though you battered him, you did not intend to kill him, only hurt him. Sorry Buckwheat, you lose. You intended to harm him without right, so you are legally responsible for the consequences of your act, whether anticipated or not. So you may end up supporting his family for life.

So all of J. Thomas' "higher-good" crapola, is irrelevant. If you intentionally put forces into motion that you know, or should know, will batter innocent people, that is sufficient intent under the ZAP.

SandySandfort on May 06, 2011, 11:01:29 am
Once in a police methods class this great big young guy said he'd do the throw on me real gently. He did it so soft that I kind of slid down him and broke two ribs on his kneecap. I was limited to practicing hand moves for several weeks. The next meeting he broke somebody else's ribs. I never saw him again after that.

Blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah.

Really J Thomas, you have to learn how to be succinct. To Mellyrn dojo post, all you have to say is, "assumption of risk." We do not need to hear your life history.

All your blabbering detracts from any point you may have under the word pile.

mellyrn on May 06, 2011, 12:14:05 pm
"Assumption of risk", but of course.  It remains that  martial-arts teaching is a violation of the letter of the ZAP, without being in any way a violation of the spirit of it.

And my point is aimed at the lawyers:  if you seek to compose a verbal expression of a right, a law, a principle that will cover all possible conditions and situations, you will write a code that only an immortal will be able to read, and you'll still fail.  Here, one needful addendum was the "assumption of risk" phrase -- and a clever-enough lawyer, with a likeminded judge, will prove it insufficient.

So I'm thinking that, seeing as how it all always comes down to arbitration (by arbiter, judge, or, heck, just the involved parties when they're both grownups) in some form anyway, nothing is gained by enshrining a guideline in the term "right" or "law".

And people do live, day-to-day, by the ZAP, whether they call it that or not, spell it out or not.  Ain't nobody arguing for the ?right? to hurt first -- well, except for the US govt and its "preemptive strike" policy, and "government" is an attempted end-run around the ZAP anyway.

sam on May 06, 2011, 01:17:21 pm
The object is to win.  With as little risk as possible.  If your attacker believes you are armed and he still attacks, it will be with the belief his tactics and tactical situation will neutralize your weapon.

I have been attacked with deadly force while well armed, by a person who simply did not believe I would use my weapon, regardless of the provocation.    This peculiar belief seems common among young criminals.  I conjecture it is a selection effect.  Those who believe that they will be met by deadly violence, avoid provoking deadly violence, so one's encounters with violent people is going to be disproportionately those with delusive beliefs about the effectiveness and safety of violence.

Similarly, states that start wars have delusive beliefs about the effectiveness of military force.