SandySandfort on April 30, 2011, 10:48:45 pm
This example actually does seem plausible to me. But I don't think it in any way challenges the ZAP. It might challenge some people's limited appreciation of ZAP.

   ::)

If the defendant refuses, then he has refused arbitration. He may find things getting interesting afterward. He may find that a dozen thugs arrive to shave his head in public, and if he resists them he'll face serious arbitration. Because everybody except him agrees that this is the sort of thing he should not resist, and he refused arbitration before.

"Everyone" agrees, only because you asserted that as part of your totally implausible scenario. If you can assert with a straight face that is would be totally likely that an entire dwarf planet's population would share such a silly belief, I will know you have lost touch with reality. That is why I asked for a realistic scenario without "everybody agrees" hand waiving. I though of a great one myself, but I think I will let you twist in the wind for a bit more.

It's quite likely that an arbiter can be found who will accept the case. Nobody wants a disgusting mophead running around in public. And depending on public opinion, which the arbiter is likely to agree with being part of the public, the plaintiff's bond may be safe.

Do you really think rational people give a flip about someone else's dandruff to the point where they would actually go to court or arbitration? As far as I know, this has come up nowhere in the world or even on the International Space Station. Please, J Thomas, do not embarrass yourself further, trying to make this dead bird fly. Saying that people would care and then building an elaborate rationalization for clearly aberrant behavior on the part of the man in the street and arbitrators is beneath you.

If I give an example that you think is plausible, you will agree with me that ZAP is operating correctly in that example. It's only because you don't think of dandruff as aggression that you balk at my example.

Your example is the height of stupidity, since it is completely out of touch with reality. Find an example that happens, or realistically could happen, in the real world, then we can talk. Something that should keep in mind, however, is damnum absque injuria, okay?
« Last Edit: April 30, 2011, 10:55:46 pm by SandySandfort »

quadibloc on May 01, 2011, 02:27:39 am
Your example is the height of stupidity, since it is completely out of touch with reality. Find an example that happens, or realistically could happen, in the real world, then we can talk.
I was going to reply to the post in question with a similar, although milder, criticism.

Because I can clearly see the point he was trying to make, but I did feel that by using a silly example, he made it likely that others would miss his point.

The point is: if you have the ZAP, and "aggression" means causing harm to humans without a just reason, then you have to define "harm" and "humans".

For defining "humans", take abortion or Negro slavery.

For defining "harm", take the recent controversy about the age of consent in another thread.

Living among "a community of people who believe in the ZAP" may avoid the issue being raised.

The issue is, perhaps, this: despite people in the United States almost overwhelmingly sharing the value of wanting to be left alone by government to live their lives in their own way, history showed - long before Franklin Delano Roosevelt ever darkened the doors of the White House - that it was pretty easy to persuade people to hunt witches, outlaw homosexual behavior between consenting adults, ban polygamy, shun recusants (people not showing up at church on Sunday)... and even outlaw the manufacture and importation of beverage alcohol.

Self-selection notwithstanding, AnCap is not expected (nor, in fact, unless I miss my guess, does it even attempt) to change human nature.

So the argument is intended to show that AnCap isn't really any better than the government system in preventing people from imposing their bigotries on others. The mechanism of how they do so will only be a little different, that's all.

sam on May 01, 2011, 03:47:25 am
The point is: if you have the ZAP, and "aggression" means causing harm to humans without a just reason, then you have to define "harm" and "humans".

For defining "humans", take abortion or Negro slavery.

For defining "harm", take the recent controversy about the age of consent in another thread.

In the old west, the three most common grounds for hanging people were horse stealing, cattle rustling, and “insulting a woman”.

“Insulting a woman” not only meant hitting on a woman in an unwelcome and intimidating manner, it also meant hitting on a woman in a manner that ought to be unwelcome if she was as chaste as she was supposed to be – for example hitting on someone else's wife, or courting someone's daughter without paternal permission.

The dandruff example is, of course, ridiculous.  “Insulting a woman” is not ridiculous.   Hanging men who “insult” a woman sounds like a good idea to me.   It did not sound like a good idea to Saga period icelanders, indeed it would sound as outrageous to them as it does to many in this forum, but it sounded like a pretty good idea to people in the old west, where virtuous women were in rather short supply.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2011, 03:53:00 am by sam »

J Thomas on May 01, 2011, 06:07:18 am

This is sort of what happened in the era of westward expansion in the US. A lot of criminal types, went west to avoid punishment for crimes they committed in the East. Also a lot of them ended up the guests at necktie parties, when they resumed their wayward practices in the West. In some senses you can run, but you cannot hide--from your own nature.

People have been claiming here that the "wild, wild west" just didn't have much crime. Now you claim that there were a lot of lynchings.

Time for that remedial reading class. I did not claim there were a lot of hangings. I claimed that a lot of the criminals who committed crimes were hanged. Not the same thing at all.

If 1000 criminals went west and 100 "resumed their wayward practices," (i.e., committed new crimes) and of those 100, 80 ended up dead for their troubles that 80 compared to the 900 criminals who did not resume a life crime, or the hundreds of thousands of other people in the West, is not a lot. 80 out of 100 is a lot, however. Get it?

OK. I didn't think of 1000 criminals as "a lot" or 10% of them as "a lot". No big deal.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2011, 06:58:16 am by J Thomas »

J Thomas on May 01, 2011, 07:17:47 am

"Everyone" agrees, only because you asserted that as part of your totally implausible scenario. If you can assert with a straight face that is would be totally likely that an entire dwarf planet's population would share such a silly belief, I will know you have lost touch with reality.

I came up with this example from David Gerrold's book, Jumping Off the Planet in which he makes it seem quite plausible. YMMV.

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That is why I asked for a realistic scenario without "everybody agrees" hand waiving.

You want an example where there is considerable difference of opinion about the rules? Where, for example, a lot of people think it's rape and a lot of people don't think it's rape? How come?

I looked at Jamesd's claim that on Vanuatu men think rape is OK. A couple of europeans who have lived there said that a whole lot of Vanuatu men believe that if they find a woman alone, that is evidence that she has given consent. If she didn't want to have sex with the first man who found her, she wouldn't be alone now would she? They also believed from western movies that western women have sex with lots of men on short acquaintance or no acquaintance.

We could make up a story about a space station where half the men were from Vanuatu, but what's the point? I don't have a point about that. Of course ZAP depends on social consensus about what's aggression and what isn't. How could it be otherwise?

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It's quite likely that an arbiter can be found who will accept the case. Nobody wants a disgusting mophead running around in public. And depending on public opinion, which the arbiter is likely to agree with being part of the public, the plaintiff's bond may be safe.

Do you really think rational people give a flip about someone else's dandruff to the point where they would actually go to court or arbitration?

Gerrold's book didn't go that far. He had a character explain to his children that on their space stations it was considered the height of rudeness not to be bald, and that they should follow the local customs to be polite, so they did. The place they visited had a lot of tourists who didn't, and nobody sued them. He didn't have any mention of lawsuits about it, but, well, read the book and see what you think.

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If I give an example that you think is plausible, you will agree with me that ZAP is operating correctly in that example. It's only because you don't think of dandruff as aggression that you balk at my example.

Your example is the height of stupidity, since it is completely out of touch with reality. Find an example that happens, or realistically could happen, in the real world, then we can talk.

OK. How about somebody who chews tobacco and spits indoors, not only on the floor but also on tabletops where people eat and on doorknobs, menus, and trays of utensils. To remove a side issue, have him chew not tobacco but something that's not known to be poisonous.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2011, 08:24:42 am by J Thomas »

J Thomas on May 01, 2011, 07:51:07 am

The dandruff example is, of course, ridiculous.  “Insulting a woman” is not ridiculous.   Hanging men who “insult” a woman sounds like a good idea to me.  

As usual, you assert that the customs you are familiar with are right and proper, while other people's customs (hypothetical or not) are no good.

Don't get out much, do you?

quadibloc on May 01, 2011, 08:31:43 am
To remove a side issue, have him chew not tobacco but something that's not known to be poisonous.
Unless the germ theory of disease has suddenly become controversial, it is unclear to me how that would change any issues.

As usual, you assert that the customs you are familiar with are right and proper, while other people's customs (hypothetical or not) are no good.

Don't get out much, do you?
Aggression against women is against the ZAP, just like any other kind of aggression.

Your point, after all, doesn't require an assertion of moral relativism to be made effectively, so this line of discussion only obscures that point - which, I presume, is that the ZAP doesn't itself incorporate a definition of aggression. So to actually work, it requires a population who share similar customs and cultural assumptions.

The best way to illustrate that is with cases where it can be seen that there are two clashing viewpoints that are plausible. Using outrageous examples, as we've seen, causes people to focus on the unrealistic appearance of the example rather than the issue of reconciling divergent basic views.

And it's when you have a population that doesn't share similar customs and cultural assumptions that the government system works badly, and there are bloody civil wars instead of elections, because each ethnic group fears being dominated by the other. Which seems to imply that AnCap doesn't really solve any of the really important problems.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2011, 08:38:49 am by quadibloc »

J Thomas on May 01, 2011, 08:54:23 am
I was going to reply to the post in question with a similar, although milder, criticism.

Because I can clearly see the point he was trying to make, but I did feel that by using a silly example, he made it likely that others would miss his point.

Actually, one of my major points was that they would miss the point.

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So the argument is intended to show that AnCap isn't really any better than the government system in preventing people from imposing their bigotries on others. The mechanism of how they do so will only be a little different, that's all.

Yes, but on the other hand there's no reason to expect that AnCap would be worse about that. And it's only a problem for us when we disagree about what is being imposed. When we agree with the goal it doesn't look like an imposition at all. It looks like the people who do things we don't like are aggressing against somebody or other, and maybe we ought to get involved.

SandySandfort on May 01, 2011, 10:17:27 am
The point is: if you have the ZAP, and "aggression" means causing harm to humans without a just reason, then you have to define "harm" and "humans".

No, no, no. It means the initiation of force (threat of force, fraud). This is ZAP "black letter law." Your formulation leads to all sorts of false "problems" that are only artifacts of fuzzy, wiggle-word definitions.

For defining "humans", take abortion or Negro slavery.

I have never seen anyone who seriously took the position that fetuses or black slaves were not human, just that they had few or no rights as such for whatever reason.

A fetus, while unequivocally "human," is only an inchoate or potential human being. As such, its human rights are inchoate or potential as well. When does that status change? Well, if you would like to start a topic on that subject, be my guest, but it is beyond the scope of this topic, here

With regard to slaves, their enslavement was predicated upon their being inferior humans, not non-humans. (Just to head off the "3/5 of a man" BS, it had nothing to do with their humanity, but with their states' representation in Congress. The Southerners wanted them counted 100% for the purpose of having greater representation. It was the non-slave states that wanted them not to be counted at all. 3/5 was a compromise negotiated between the two sides and had nothing to do with the slaves' humanity.)

For defining "harm", take the recent controversy about the age of consent in another thread.

Fortunately, the ZAP has nothing to do with "harm," only the initiation of force. This a perfect example why the prerequisite for critical thinking is definitional clarity.

The issue is, perhaps, this: despite people in the United States almost overwhelmingly sharing the value of wanting to be left alone by government to live their lives in their own way, history showed - long before Franklin Delano Roosevelt ever darkened the doors of the White House - that it was pretty easy to persuade people to hunt witches, outlaw homosexual behavior between consenting adults, ban polygamy, shun recusants (people not showing up at church on Sunday)... and even outlaw the manufacture and importation of beverage alcohol.

Yes governments have been very good at using their stolen money to fool people into doing, or accepting, stupid things. Your other examples were isolated aberrations or primitive thinking. I think it is obvious that a true ZAP society would be less tolerant of homophobia, for example, than under government systems. Most governments have various homophobic laws on the books and still enforces them to one extent or another.

Self-selection notwithstanding, AnCap is not expected (nor, in fact, unless I miss my guess, does it even attempt) to change human nature.

Bingo-plex! Every attempt by government to change human nature has failed. The ZAP accepts human nature and does not try to change it. Like governments, it does try to modify behavior, but instead of using force it uses other negatives incentive to a minimum and positive incentives to the greatest extent possible.

SandySandfort on May 01, 2011, 10:19:58 am
In the old west, the three most common grounds for hanging people were horse stealing, cattle rustling, and “insulting a woman”.

I'm afraid that just as with your 7-year old age of consent, I am going to have to call bullshit. Citations please.

J Thomas on May 01, 2011, 10:34:51 am
To remove a side issue, have him chew not tobacco but something that's not known to be poisonous.

Unless the germ theory of disease has suddenly become controversial, it is unclear to me how that would change any issues.

Tobacco includes nicotine, a deadly poison, among other things. It has been used effectively as an insecticide. People will naturally object to having poisons come in contact with things that their food might touch.

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As usual, you assert that the customs you are familiar with are right and proper, while other people's customs (hypothetical or not) are no good.

Don't get out much, do you?

Aggression against women is against the ZAP, just like any other kind of aggression.

Agreed.

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Your point, after all, doesn't require an assertion of moral relativism to be made effectively, so this line of discussion only obscures that point - which, I presume, is that the ZAP doesn't itself incorporate a definition of aggression. So to actually work, it requires a population who share similar customs and cultural assumptions.

And people who use ZAP may have customs and cultural assumptions you don't agree with. In that case, moral absolutism says that they are wrong and you are right, while moral relativism says they have the right to use ZAP in their own community the way they choose.

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The best way to illustrate that is with cases where it can be seen that there are two clashing viewpoints that are plausible. Using outrageous examples, as we've seen, causes people to focus on the unrealistic appearance of the example rather than the issue of reconciling divergent basic views.

Well, see, plausibility is entirely an individual esthetic judgement.

Consider issues of water quality. In the old days, people often used the rule of thumb that moving water purifies itself every 500 feet. So if your downstream neighbor complained that your outhouse was too close to the creek, you could count off the distance and if it was more than 500 feet it was none of his business. And experience proved this right -- if you got typhoid there was a strong chance he would not get it from you.

But now, in my state we have government standards for water quality. If an open stream has more than 1000 coliform bacteria per 100 ml of water, it is in violation whether there is any disease involved or not. And standards for drinking water are even higher. We simply do not put up with as much of other people's shit in our water as we used to.

Does it make sense that sanitation standards might continue to improve? It does to me. Standards in space would depend on the engineering. If each person has a sleeping area that is 1000 cubic meters or more, and air cleaning is so thorough that it uses 50,000 watts per individual, then we probably won't have any concerns.

If sleeping areas are more like 3 cubic meters
http://www.yesicanusechopsticks.com/capsule/IMAG0354.JPG
and life support runs closer to the edge, then we will.

Meanwhile, we have no known examples of diseases spread by dandruff, except perhaps dandruff. (Smallpox virus has been detected in dandruff, but nobody has ever proven it can spread that way. And it's temporarily extinct anyway.) We have tended not to look for disease spread that way either, since we assume it doesn't happen. We do have things like mononucleosis spread by saliva. So the two examples are objectively somewhat different by current medical knowledge.

But if you wait until people are eating and then you point out that they are eating little bits of other people's skin flakes in their food, they will usually lose their appetite. They don't want to be reminded of that. It's currently the custom to ignore it because there's nothing you can do about it, except for basic precautions like to require cooks and food servers to wear hats or hairnets.

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And it's when you have a population that doesn't share similar customs and cultural assumptions that the government system works badly, and there are bloody civil wars instead of elections, because each ethnic group fears being dominated by the other. Which seems to imply that AnCap doesn't really solve any of the really important problems.

Of course, even if AnCap doesn't solve that problem, I haven't seen anything to say it makes it worse than governments make it. It might be better. Without a government for an ethnic group to dominate, things might go somehow smoother.

J Thomas on May 01, 2011, 10:59:16 am
The point is: if you have the ZAP, and "aggression" means causing harm to humans without a just reason, then you have to define "harm" and "humans".

No, no, no. It means the initiation of force (threat of force, fraud). This is ZAP "black letter law." Your formulation leads to all sorts of false "problems" that are only artifacts of fuzzy, wiggle-word definitions.

For defining "harm", take the recent controversy about the age of consent in another thread.

Fortunately, the ZAP has nothing to do with "harm," only the initiation of force. This a perfect example why the prerequisite for critical thinking is definitional clarity.

OK! Now we're getting somewhere! I didn't understand this subtlety before.

So, say that somebody goes to an arbitrator and says of somebody else, "Here's how his actions harm me." And he shows how he is harmed. The arbitrator might say "You have no right to not be harmed. You only have the right that he not initiate force. He can do whatever he wants, harming you or not, as long as it isn'r forceful."

And so, for example, say that a food handler does not wash his hands and he smears some of his excrement on your food. He has not initiated force against you, and he has not violated any of your rights. However, he has a contract with the restaurant owner that he will not do such things, and he has broken his contract. The owner has the right to fire him, and perhaps even sue him for breach of contract.

And if someone shits in public places? Unless he is carrying a disease he has not even threatened harm to anybody. He has not done force, he has not threatened, he never promised not to.    But there are no public places! Every place is owned by somebody, and that somebody has a right to throw people out of their property if they don't want them there. Do things the owner doesn't want and he can throw you out and then forbid you entry.

So if you don't own property yourself, and you happen to offend all the landowners, you can get yourself thrown from one to another right to the airlock.... Nobody is forced to allow you to be on their property, so if you rent and you offend too many people, you're toast. No arbitration required. "Is there anybody here who wants to keep this guy? If so, tell us and then come and get him. Otherwise, out he goes." Very similar to one of the abortion approaches!

Or if you own land you can huddle on your own property and never go anywhere.

This ZAP stuff is a lot more subtle than it looked at first sight.

SandySandfort on May 01, 2011, 11:31:26 am
OK. How about somebody who chews tobacco and spits indoors, not only on the floor but also on tabletops where people eat and on doorknobs, menus, and trays of utensils. To remove a side issue, have him chew not tobacco but something that's not known to be poisonous.

What is your question? What does this have to do with the ZAP? Spits indoors where? In the guy's own house? No ZAP issue there. On someone else's property? Easy. They tell him to cut it out or leave. No ZAP issue there. QED. This topic is about the ZAP. Please come up with examples that actually involves the ZAP.

BTW, this also applies to your dandruff example. In a market anarchy, everyplace belongs to someone, so it is someone else's call as to what they permit on their property. You guys really have to stop thinking in collectivist terms. In the Belt, there is no "community" property, water or even air. It all belongs to someone. As a result, cutesy little scenarios that require some sort of collective space, just won't fly. So how about back to the ZAP?

SandySandfort on May 01, 2011, 11:49:14 am
And so, for example, say that a food handler does not wash his hands and he smears some of his excrement on your food. He has not initiated force against you...

Of course he has. Carelessly having dirty hands is one thing; we can addresses it separately, if you want, but how is intentionally smearing feces on food not the initiation of force? That is about as pure as it gets.

Just out of curiosity, who on the list actually agrees with JT that smearing feces on food is not the initiation of force? Damn, I hate sea lawyers. >:(

J Thomas on May 01, 2011, 12:13:15 pm
And so, for example, say that a food handler does not wash his hands and he smears some of his excrement on your food. He has not initiated force against you...

Of course he has. Carelessly having dirty hands is one thing; we can addresses it separately, if you want, but how is intentionally smearing feces on food not the initiation of force? That is about as pure as it gets.

Just out of curiosity, who on the list actually agrees with JT that smearing feces on food is not the initiation of force? Damn, I hate sea lawyers. >:(

It isn't force. Unless he is sick he has not harmed you. He has not initiated physical force. He has not threatened force, he has not communicated with you. He has not committed fraud except for the implicit assumption that he wouldn't do such a thing, since your esthetic sense would not encourage you to let him touch your food unless you thought he wouldn't do that.

But it's fraud between him and his employer. His employer surely doesn't want that.

Handwashing is part of the job of foodhandling. Whether it's incompetence or malice, if he doesn't do it he just isn't doing the job. This is a social expectation. He is supposed to wear a hairnet and he's supposed to wash his hands. Also he doesn't spit in the food. There's nothing on the menu etc that says he won't, and unless he is diseased there's no big harm done, but people feel they have the right to assume he won't.

As you explained, not part of ZAP.

 

anything