sam on May 06, 2011, 01:25:24 pm
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.

Most previously existent anarchic or semi anarchic societies gave people the option of blood for blood - they provided a wide set of circumstances where you could kill offenders without paying blood money, and even if those circumstances did not apply, you could always kill the offender, publicly announce you had done so, and pay blood money for him.  A lot of the sagas gain their drama from people taking that option.

quadibloc on May 06, 2011, 02:20:33 pm
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.
No doubt I am overlooking something. But I will admit that I'm not quite claiming that ZAP is a paradox - I am not so much saying that a legal system has to violate the ZAP, as that the kind of "reasonable" ZAP-based legal systems apparently advocated here involve a choice to not follow the ZAP completely.

I'm assuming that the ZAP prohibits the "initiation of force".

Taxes and conscription are examples of the initiation of force. So is gun control. So is the enforcement of laws that say flush toilets have to have such small tanks that they clog easily.

So government regulation, in addition to highway robbery and so on, violates the ZAP.

So, when the Government of Canada says that a woman who uses bear spray to prevent herself from being raped is a criminal, that violates the ZAP.

Now, then. For one example which does come close to saying the ZAP is paradoxical... someone is convinced that the Large Hadron Collider is going to make a microscopic black hole that will eat the world. So he decides to blow it up.

In point of fact, he is deluded, and so he is the one who is violating the ZAP. But who gets to decide what is reality? Whoever has that power could make a mistaken decision, and violate the ZAP that way.

For another example, I presume that in any reasonable society, the fact that you've been delayed in getting to an appointment by a jaywalker... doesn't give you the right to do to the jaywalker the sort of things that one might consider appropriate to do to Rhonda.

Again, this hardly seems like it breaks the ZAP - it seems like it upholds it. But whoever or whatever has the power to set that kind of limit can turn around and, for example, give members of criminal gangs impunity to terrorize the population... as long as they're under 18. Because it isn't "reasonable" to hold the little dears fully responsible for their actions.

I'm not trying to say that AnCap can't work here. I think the best way to decide these edge cases is likely to be in a town hall meeting - but what you really, really mustn't do is say "oh, well, these things don't matter much; I'll let Joe here take care of them, because he seems to understand the ZAP really well".

My claim is that imposing reasonable limits to liability, or to punishment for aggression; determining what actions do or do not cause or threaten unjust injury - and other things like that, are, inherently, impositions that, at least in a strict technical sense, constitute initiations of force. Someone is saying - use these rules instead of those rules for picking an arbitrator, for example.

So to keep an AnCap system healthy, I think it has to be recognized that these are little initiations of force that could have the potential to grow into something bigger - if the danger isn't recognized. Review them at town hall meetings instead of letting some arbiter make them up as he goes along, be conscious that these things are impositions that should be minimized - and it will be just fine.

With an armed populace, of course, the kind of insidious takeover that leads to a bunch of armed thugs imposing an ambitious arbiter's will is going to be stopped at the point of its becoming visible. Instead, I see the danger as one of the same kind of slow decay that our representative democracies have - with popular consent, the rules of "reasonable" arbitration get more extensive, until eventually something a lot like government is imposed by popular demand... without people realizing what they were doing to themselves, because they were told this was all 100% in accordance with the ZAP.

J Thomas on May 06, 2011, 02:46:35 pm

I don't think the ZAP and utilitarianism mix well.

Agreed, not at all. You can agree to things you think will be good for other people and bad for you, but it has to be your own personal choice.

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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.

Well, as I understand the theory, you can talk to him and make your demand. If he pays, then it's done.

If you let it go to arbitration then you promise to go by the arbitrator's answer. You can still do anything you want but if you break your word you may have consequences.

You can do anything you want without arbitration, but if you do things that other people think are unreasonable you may have consequences from that.

Anywhere there are other people, you can get consequences from other people for your own choices.

So I think Jack Sparrow got it right.
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The only rules that really matter are these: what a man can do and what a man canít do.

You have the freedom to do any of the things you can do. You do not have the freedom to do any of the things you can't do. That's pretty much end-of-story. Except that after you do whatever you choose, other people have the freedom to do any of the things they can do also. ZAP is a philosophical argument about what they ought to let you get away with and what they oughtn't to let you get away with. They can choose to follow ZAP if they want to.

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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.

I don't think many people accept that. Because they don't want to.

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Try to put a different name on it, but it's still initiation of force by somebody.

You do whatever you choose, that's in your ability. Your understanding of ZAP may help you predict what other people will choose to do in response. Sometimes. Other people will not always follow ZAP, which is why you might get shot in the back at any moment somebody is behind you. There's nothing you can do to prevent that, but usually it won't happen. You might not always follow ZAP. After that, other people might not act predictably, but the prediction is they might do something you won't like.



quadibloc on May 06, 2011, 02:57:27 pm
You can do anything you want without arbitration, but if you do things that other people think are unreasonable you may have consequences from that.

Anywhere there are other people, you can get consequences from other people for your own choices.
I'm raising a different issue, though.

People are, in certain cases, expected to go to arbitration because attempting to deal with the situation by themselves directly will be taken as a violation of the ZAP - because it's hard to tell about things after the fact, and the immediate necessity of self-defense is not there.

That's fine and dandy - I'm not saying it's "bad".

What I'm saying is that since the rules for arbitration, whatever they are, can only be imposed by an initiation of force, this needs to be recognized. If it isn't, instead of the community deciding on any change to those rules, in, say, a town-hall meeting, eventually the arbiters will be left to make "minor, technical" changes to those rules.

And, after a while, because no one ever thought that imposing those kinds of rule on people was also an initiation of force, some combination of the community and the arbiters is now imposing enough rules that one has a government - although no one yet calls it that - which has already gone beyond even a minarchy. Every little change seemed reasonable at the time.

If it is consciously and openly acknowledged that a requirement for arbitration derives from a limited community power to initiate force, which it is desired to use to the minimal extent possible, people will be careful. But you can't expect people to be careful of a danger which isn't even acknowledged.

J Thomas on May 06, 2011, 03:13:24 pm
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.

For one example which does come close to saying the ZAP is paradoxical... someone is convinced that the Large Hadron Collider is going to make a microscopic black hole that will eat the world. So he decides to blow it up.

In point of fact, he is deluded, and so he is the one who is violating the ZAP. But who gets to decide what is reality?

Here's a more reasonable version of that -- say that lots of people get to have small nuclear reactors which are usually perfectly safe, but which, through malice or incompetence could be turned into bombs. I say it's wrong to tell people they can't have these reactors because they might not be completely safe.

At the same time, I claim the right to demand that anybody who has them and fiddles with them must be competent to repair them. It is absurd to say I have no right to complain about anything he does with his own reactor on his own property until after he blows himself up and takes me with him.

Is it a real danger? If most people think I'm just a crackpot, then probably I should move to my own asteroid and just stay away from them until somebody explodes one and proves me right. If lots of people share my concern then we should be allowed to deal with the threat one way or another, whether our demands for public safety are a technical violation of ZAP or not. Prove you know what you're doing or convince us you will not fool around with your reactor.

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Someone is saying - use these rules instead of those rules for picking an arbitrator, for example.

You don't have to agree with somebody else's rules for that, if you can agree with your opponent about what the rules should be. If the two of you can't agree, you might try using both sets of rules at once, and reject everybody who is disqualified under either ruleset, and see whether they agree about somebody. If you can't find an arbitrator then you give up the benefits of arbitration. And it's possible that the wide collection of other people who might give you consequences might give worse consequences to the guy who insisted on his own special rules for picking an arbitrator, rather than the one who accepts the usual rules. But no guarantees.

dough560 on May 06, 2011, 03:47:07 pm
KISS.

ZAP is a guiding principle.  Basis for a legal system.  

Arbitration is an agreement to settle a dispute.  How the dispute is settled depends on the individuals who entered into a contract to do so.  The arbitrator is a facilitator having no POWER to enforce a decision.  Settlement depends on the individuals and "implied self interest" to uphold their contract.

I can see an arbitrator posting the contract, testimony and decision to an open access data base.  Along with the results of the resolution.  Other arbitrators may (Not have to.) refer to these postings for guidance in resolving other disputes.  Regardless of prior resolutions, each dispute stands alone.  The settlement is facilitated by the arbitrator, agreeable to the involved parties.  Similar contracts do not have to have identical results, but must be acceptable to the litigants.  For in each   case, they are the only ones who matter.

Professional associations will establish requirements for membership and skills verification.

J Thomas.  The home reactor is an extreme example, but not unrealistic.  There will always be some fool somewhere who is out to save a dime or thinks he knows more than the experts.  The fool eventually screws-up and causes problems for everybody.  How would you (your methods affecting only you) try to minimize potential damage? Remember, you don't have the right to force your standards on another, but may establish a group to which your standards make sense.  Also remember you do not have the power to force your group's standards on the general public.  If you both survive the stupidity, then its a matter for arbitration.  If you don't, it doesn't matter and with any luck his stupidity means he won't be around to cause further problems.

J Thomas on May 06, 2011, 03:49:09 pm

People are, in certain cases, expected to go to arbitration because attempting to deal with the situation by themselves directly will be taken as a violation of the ZAP - because it's hard to tell about things after the fact, and the immediate necessity of self-defense is not there.

I dunno. Arbitration should give you a certain amount of cover. An arbitrator you both agreed to, tells you what to do and you do it. If you get a bad result, well, you agreed to it ahead of time and it isn't anybody's fault except your own. Or if people think this arbitrator gave you a bum deal then they'll be less likely to choose him for an arbitrator later.

Now, say the arbitrator says that somebody owes you his printing press but he doesn't hand it over. Who's going to enforce that decision? You have a choice. You can tell anybody who'll listen that your debtor has refused to pay his debts and blacken his reputation. Or you can go collect, yourself.

So you show up at his place with some sort of flatbed to take the printing press. Will he resist? It's your property that he's keeping from you, the arbitrator said so. If he resists and you kill him it's his fault. If he kills you, that's his fault too.

But if you decide without arbitration that he owes you his printing press (or something else weighing several tons that isn't easy to maneuver) and you go onto his property to take it and he resists, whose fault is it then? You could then agree on an arbitrator to decide, assuming you both survive.

If one of you decides not to accept arbitration, and then a murky situation develops where it isn't clear who's right? The one who refused arbitration probably will get a lot of the blame.

If no arbitrator thinks it's important enough to rule about, but then you get into a big fight, whoever started the fight or escalated it is to blame.

But nothing is getting enforced. It's all the implicit threat of reactions by future socially-responsible individuals who are likely to think they stand to lose by interacting with crazy people. What if you do lots of crazy things that make you seem bold and courageous and the sort of guy people write folk songs about? Maybe it won't hurt you at all. Who knows?

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What I'm saying is that since the rules for arbitration, whatever they are, can only be imposed by an initiation of force, this needs to be recognized.

The central rule is that you promise to abide by whatever your arbitrator decides. Then there may be various customs for choosing arbitrators, which you do not have to follow. Any selection method that the parties to the dispute can agree on is OK.

It looks to me like that's it. Anybody can be an arbitrator if the disputants agree on him. He doesn't have to follow any precedents when he makes his decision. The disputants don't actually have to follow his decision but there *might* be consequences to them from not doing so.

My immediate thought for a way that could fail, is the society could develop customs that reduce the freedom of arbitrators so they feel obliged to give certain results which might not particularly fit ZAP etc. And then there could arise a bunch of people who enjoy murder, who do elaborate setups to kill people who have refused arbitration or refused to accept the result. So you accept arbitration or get killed (by amateurs). You accept the result of arbitration or you get killed. The arbitration is unjust and unfair and there's nothing you can do about it.

I don't see anything that requires it to go that way, that's just one bad possibility.

J Thomas on May 06, 2011, 04:06:18 pm

J Thomas.  The home reactor is an extreme example, but not unrealistic.  There will always be some fool somewhere who is out to save a dime or thinks he knows more than the experts.  The fool eventually screws-up and causes problems for everybody.

Yes, it can happen. With a lot of reactors and a lot of fools, it *will* happen.

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How would you (your methods affecting only you) try to minimize potential damage? Remember, you don't have the right to force your standards on another, but may establish a group to which your standards make sense.  Also remember you do not have the power to force your group's standards on the general public.

My view is that if there have not been enough accidents to get people other than me concerned, my best bet is to be a hermit. Go somewhere far enough away from the other fools (besides myself) that I survive.

If there have been enough accidents, people will not put up with more. They will insist that fools who lack the proper skills must not fool with reactors near them, and they will enforce it by whatever methods come to mind, and if they don't come up with a method that satisfies ZAP then ZAP be damned.

ZAP is not a suicide pact.

I made up a story where the reactors were always safe, unless somebody fooled with them. Given that story, people might agree to buy only reactors which broadcast an alarm whenever anybody starts to fool with them. So before you do, you announce to everybody that you're about to, and you say whatever you think will reassure them, and if any expert is not reassured he might offer to assist you. Or if he thinks you're a fool he might warn you not to, or else.

It could be argued that if you threaten to make changes to your reactor and someone does not think you are competent to do that, you are in fact threatening to blow them up and so you are violating ZAP.

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If you both survive the stupidity, then its a matter for arbitration.  If you don't, it doesn't matter and with any luck his stupidity means he won't be around to cause further problems.

This is a reductio ad absurdum. I've heard this argument for allowing drunk drivers to drive. The more we let them drive the more they'll kill themselves off and stop being a bother for the rest of us. But too often they kill innocents with them. It's a whole lot worse for reactor fools. If we lose 1000 innocent AnCaps to kill one fool, it's too bad a ratio. Let them do that kind of thing on their own isolated rocks, and not close to other people.

NeitherRuleNorBeRuled on May 06, 2011, 04:44:17 pm
"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.

Sandy, I suggest you are stating this too strongly.  While some (legal) systems may not differentiate between intent to harm vs. intent to kill, I can certainly conceive of other systems which do make such a differentiation without internal contradiction.  I can even conceive of such systems being compatible with ZAP.

I suspect that you have an unstated assumption, such as "Assume a system derived from English Common Law", and that not stating it muddies the waters a bit.

sam on May 06, 2011, 08:06:38 pm
Now, then. For one example which does come close to saying the ZAP is paradoxical... someone is convinced that the Large Hadron Collider is going to make a microscopic black hole that will eat the world. So he decides to blow it up.

In point of fact, he is deluded, and so he is the one who is violating the ZAP. But who gets to decide what is reality? Whoever has that power could make a mistaken decision, and violate the ZAP that way.

In Saga period iceland, edge cases were resolved by killing people who needed killing, and then paying blood money for them Ė or at least that is what happens in the sagas, which may not be typical of everyday life.

Sandy Seyfourt doubtless has a more peaceable and legalistic theory of how edge cases might be resolved, but I don't believe it.

One stabilizing effect in Saga period iceland is that people who kept using violence right at the boundary of what was legally OK usually got away with it, but became feared and unpopular, so when someone finally killed the man who was stretching the boundaries, there was not a whole lot of enthusiasm for prosecuting and punishing the killer, even though killing the man who was pushing the boundaries of what was legal was clearly illegal, while the violence of the man pushing the boundaries was arguably legal.

Sandy's theory is that edge cases will be arbitrated, and the possibly capricious and hair splitting arbitration accepted.  My theory is that edge cases can get you killed, so people will decline to try them out.

sam on May 06, 2011, 08:17:53 pm
Here's a more reasonable version of that -- say that lots of people get to have small nuclear reactors which are usually perfectly safe, but which, through malice or incompetence could be turned into bombs. I say it's wrong to tell people they can't have these reactors because they might not be completely safe.

At the same time, I claim the right to demand that anybody who has them and fiddles with them must be competent to repair them. It is absurd to say I have no right to complain about anything he does with his own reactor on his own property until after he blows himself up and takes me with him.

Is it a real danger? If most people think I'm just a crackpot, then probably I should move to my own asteroid and just stay away from them until somebody explodes one and proves me right. If lots of people share my concern then we should be allowed to deal with the threat one way or another, whether our demands for public safety are a technical violation of ZAP or not. Prove you know what you're doing or convince us you will not fool around with your reactor.

Your grounds might be justified - but people are always inventing grounds to exercise power over other people.  So your argument should not be accepted until there have been a lot of nuclear accidents, and these accidents have produced demonstrable, rather than hypothetical harm.

If we allow people to sue for hypothetical injury, we wind up, as in the US, with lots and lots of court cases in which evidence is produced similar to that produced in witch craft trials, where a supposed authority in witch smelling pronounces guilt and discovers invisible injuries..

Consider the recent Japanese reactor accident.  If you flew from New York to Japan, then hung around at the gates of the reactor building, you would get a lot more radiation from your flight than from the reactor.  Similarly, Chernobyl killed no more people than coal mining accidents that happen all the time.

Even if your fears turn out to be entirely justified, if you are able to sue for hypothetical harm, there will be, as in the US, ten thousand civil lawsuits that are completely unjustified.

SandySandfort on May 06, 2011, 09:06:07 pm
What I'm saying is that since the rules for arbitration, whatever they are, can only be imposed by an initiation of force, this needs to be recognized.

You have not been paying attention. Let's do it by the numbers:

1. You and your neighbor, Mr. Rogers, get into a dispute as to exactly where the line is between your property and his. It is not a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

2. You and he grouse about it for a couple of weeks and tempers begin to rise.

3. You suggest you settle it by arbitration and you both agree to abide by the arbiter's decision.

4. You and Rogers kick it around for awhile and decide that Captain Kangaroo, who lives up the road, is a mutually acceptable arbiter. Other people have found him to be wise and honest. So the often use the services of Kangaroo Court.

5.Capt. Kangaroo agrees to decide your land dispute for 5 grams of gold to be paid 50/50 up front by you and Mr. Rogers. He visits your properties and listens while you and Mr. Rogers state your reasons for placing the line where you each think it should be.

6. Capt. Kangaroo asks who planted the hedge separating your two properties. You both agree that it was the work of Mr. Rogers with the help of Mr. Greenjeans, who laid the line for the hedge. "Did you object at the time of the planting?" asks Kangaroo. "No," you admit. "I thought it was about where the property line was at the time. It wasn't until later that I remembered the old fence line being closer to Rogers' house, before we agreed to remove it."

7. Capt. Kangaroo ponders for a moment and says, "Well, Mr. You, the time to raise the issue was back when Mr. Rogers started planting the hedge. So you are estopped from complaining now under the equitable doctrine of laches. I am setting the property line 10 centimeters towards your house from the centerline of Mr. Rogers' hedge. This does not, however, create an easement for the continued growth of Roger's hedge. You may cut any branches or roots that extending beyond this property line.

8. You are pissed and decide to not honor his ruling. In your opinion, the hedge lies on your property. So in a pique you cut the hedge down.


Now, there are all sorts of remedies Mr. Rogers can seek, but whatever he does, Captain Kangaroo is out of it. He did his job, he got paid and the rest is up to you and Mr. Rogers who had agreed to abide by the ruling of the Kangaroo Court. We can discuss Mr. Rogers' options, but with regard to Captain Kangaroo, he has no power to initiate force to get you to comply to his ruling (unless you both had agreed to that; in which case he would have undoubted charged a lot more). If his moral suasion was not sufficient, it's no skin off his ass if you don't comply.

So, your statement was in error due to your assumptions about how arbitration would work in a free society. However, the question of enforcement is still in play. I would encourage you to take some time and think through what Mr. Rogers might, and might not, do in light of the ZAP.

SandySandfort on May 06, 2011, 09:18:16 pm
I suspect that you have an unstated assumption, such as "Assume a system derived from English Common Law", and that not stating it muddies the waters a bit.

Actually, I have stated it numerous times. English Common Law is redundant. All common law was derived from English legal principles (too bad they lost touch with it in England). The differences between English common law, Anglo-American common law, Anglo-New Zealand common law, etc. are few, though there are some major exceptions. Libel/slander being a big one.

For the purposes of reading and discussing EFT, just assume Anglo-American common law, as it is probably the least statist of the common laws.

spudit on May 06, 2011, 10:17:18 pm
If I understand Sandy's explanation, could the arbiter be considered a profesional stating an expert opinion?

He says right or wrong on this issue, the MD says the lump is just a lump, the building inspector says you have dry rot, the lawyer says you can't sue IBM with a $300 budget and hope to win. Now do you freak out about the lump anyway, ignore the rot and try to win a war of attrition against IBM with pocket change. That is your call.
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SandySandfort on May 07, 2011, 01:16:13 am
If I understand Sandy's explanation, could the arbiter be considered a profesional stating an expert opinion?

He says right or wrong on this issue, the MD says the lump is just a lump, the building inspector says you have dry rot, the lawyer says you can't sue IBM with a $300 budget and hope to win. Now do you freak out about the lump anyway, ignore the rot and try to win a war of attrition against IBM with pocket change. That is your call.

I'm not entirely sure what you are asking, but as is often case in arbitration today, the arbiter is often selected by the litigants because he has expertise in the field in question. Assuming, for example, that two land owners on a hill have a dispute. Soil subsidence from the higher owner causes damage to the lower owner's property, I would think that a civil engineer or geologist would make better rulings than Captain Kangaroo. Anyway, that decision would be up to the two parties.

Having said that, if the litigants both want Captain Kangaroo, that is nobody's concern but their own.