quadibloc on May 21, 2011, 11:19:08 am
When people's choices conflict you still need some way to decide who gets the freedom.
I don't argue with that. I feel that forswearing taxation and conscription is dangerous in the world as we live in it, and you have seen my arguments that limits on recovery for crimes and torts also constitute "initiation of force", so that AnCap hasn't really excluded what it is its goal to exclude.

The replies to those arguments have, in some ways, left me a bit perplexed as to what AnCap actually means. If using force to respond to an initiation of force sufficiently after the fact as not to be direct self-defence is prohibited as apparent initiation of force, but what one is supposed to use instead is not connected with the arbitration system, which I still don't understand either...

But, even so, I like the idea of more freedom. To complain that this freedom would be just for the rich, or those quick on the draw with good aim, I would regard as ill-tempered, however; if the heroic example of frontiersmen can set limits to the rapaciousness of the governments under which tamer spirits live, that will have been a noble service, even if the AnCap adventure is not for everyone.

J Thomas on May 21, 2011, 12:08:34 pm
When people's choices conflict you still need some way to decide who gets the freedom.
I don't argue with that. I feel that forswearing taxation and conscription is dangerous in the world as we live in it, and you have seen my arguments that limits on recovery for crimes and torts also constitute "initiation of force", so that AnCap hasn't really excluded what it is its goal to exclude.

The replies to those arguments have, in some ways, left me a bit perplexed as to what AnCap actually means. If using force to respond to an initiation of force sufficiently after the fact as not to be direct self-defence is prohibited as apparent initiation of force, but what one is supposed to use instead is not connected with the arbitration system, which I still don't understand either...

I think different people have different concepts of it. Here's mine:

You can do anything you want, but you can face consequences. The big consequences are supposed to come when you violate ZAP. In practice, they come for whatever people choose. So if people choose to impose consequences mostly when you violate ZAP, that's how it will be.

Any time somebody doesn't like you, he can refuse to do business with you. The more people that don't like you, the more inconvenience that will be. You might, if you want, try to get them to do business with you at gunpoint. The you are violating ZAP and there will be consequences for you, probably the same sort of consequences you just threatened for them refusing to serve you as the ZAP allows.

If you want to get along in this particular hypothetical society, you will probably try to resolve disputes with arbitration. An arbitrator can tell the world that the issue is settled and you are an OK guy. Or the arbitrator can tell the world that you failed to cooperate and a bunch of stuff is your fault, and people are then less likely to cooperate with you.

But if you feel like someone has called for a frivolous lawsuit, you can choose to just ignore them. Maybe people will realize that you are right and the other guy is wrong, and will ignore it.

Or the two of you can agree on an arbitrator, and then the arbitrator might decide ahead of time that it's a frivolous suit and just throw it out, probably charging money to the plaintiff and not to you.

So, you have an incentive to agree to arbitration because if all goes well it will clear your name, but you don't have to. You can do whatever you want and take the consequences, just like IRL except the consequences may be different.

Maybe somebody tries to commit violence on you, and he gets away with neither one killed. Ideally you should take it to arbitration and give him a chance to resolve the issue peacefully. What's to lose, if you can get it resolved peacefully? If you go after him he might kill you. He might feel like he has some issue with you since he went after you in the first place. You're better off it it actually gets settled. But say instead you do go looking for him and you find him and kill him. His family can try to arrange arbitration with you. They are better off if it gets settled to their satisfaction. Or instead one of them can hunt you down and kill you, and then your family can try to arrange arbitration with him. Arbitration is a possible way out, but nobody has to take it. If his whole family manages to hunt you down and catch you alive, and they tie you to a chair, announce your crimes on tanglenet, and shoot you, probably nobody will stop them. Or maybe somebody will stop them, and that somebody who chose to get involved then might get the chance to go through arbitration to get it settled....

See, it isn't that people don't violate ZAP. It's that when they violate ZAP and then agree to arbitration, the arbitrator will take it into account along with everything else. And if they don't agree to arbitration then when somebody violates ZAP on them, if there's arbitration about that one the arbitrator will take it into account. And public opinion will think whatever public opinion thinks about it all.

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But, even so, I like the idea of more freedom. To complain that this freedom would be just for the rich, or those quick on the draw with good aim, I would regard as ill-tempered, however; if the heroic example of frontiersmen can set limits to the rapaciousness of the governments under which tamer spirits live, that will have been a noble service, even if the AnCap adventure is not for everyone.

I figure there are lots of ways it could go. Some of them I'd like, some of them I wouldn't. Some very different systems can get the same description, without even needing a whole lot of hypocrisy.

If I get the chance to help develop a community that looks good to me, I will.

If it stops looking good then I'll leave, provided they let me. One of the things I like about AnCap proposals is that they always say they'll let people leave, except for debtors. One thing I don't like so much is there's always some exception....

sam on May 21, 2011, 09:31:16 pm
I feel that forswearing taxation and conscription is dangerous in the world as we live in it

The production of violence is a public good, and anarcho capitalist societies will therefore underproduce violence.  A lot of people here seem to think that violence is really bad, and therefore like a system that will under produce violence, such as anarcho capitalism.  They think America would have been fine had we sat out World War I, World War II, and the Cold War, and they do not believe we are at war with Islam.

I am inclined to agree with you that due to the fact that there are lot of bad people around, the optimum level of violence is quite high - indeed I probably think that the optimum level of production of violence against bad guys is higher than you think it is.

However, while governments can produce public goods at optimum levels, in practice they seldom do.

Governments may underproduce some public good, because they are just horribly inefficient, have other concerns, and refuse to allow their subjects to compete with them by producing the public good for themselves, or they may overproduce the public good, because producing the public good creates a lobby group or voting block, which agitates for more of the public good.  Both may happen simultaneously, in that the production of the public good becomes a handout to the lobby group, which fails to actually produce much of the public good.  So the public good is overproduced as measured by expenditure, and underproduced as measured by results.

An extreme example of government under-producing the production of violence was the Roman Empire in the West abandoning Greeks and Britons to genocide.  The Empire disarmed their subjects, and suppressed any martial organization, then abandoned them at the worst possible time.

Another more recent example of government under-producing the production of violence was the destruction of Detroit.  The government declined to defend white occupants of Detroit, and forbade them to defend themselves.

In the west, there have been a number of incidents where Muslims were successfully imposing Islamic law on infidels, without government restraining them, and were restrained by illegal private violence.  There are many more incidents where Muslims have successfully imposed Islamic law on infidels with government neither resisting that imposition, nor allowing infidels to resist that imposition, but such incidents seldom attract publicity.

I support anarcho capitalism not because I believe that it can produce the levels of violence that are needed and that government can produce, but because today's governments are not producing the violence that they could, and should, while simultaneously overproducing things like overseas military bases.  We need more killing and less concrete pouring.

« Last Edit: May 24, 2011, 04:12:54 pm by sam »

J Thomas on May 22, 2011, 03:27:55 am
I feel that forswearing taxation and conscription is dangerous in the world as we live in it

I am inclined to agree with you that due to the fact that there are lot of bad people around, the optimum level of violence is quite high - indeed I probably think that the optimum level of production of violence against bad guys is a higher than you think it is.

However, while governments can produce public goods at optimum levels, in practice they seldom do.

Governments may underproduce some public good, because they are just horribly inefficient, have other concerns, and refuse to allow their subjects to compete with them by producing the public good for themselves, or they may overproduce the public good, because producing the public good creates a lobby group or voting block, which agitates for more of the public good.  Both may happens simultaneously, in that the production of the public good becomes a handout to the lobby group, which fails to actually produce much of the public good.  So the public good is overproduced as measured by expenditure, and underproduced as measured by results.

....

I want to point out that your thinking in this post is logical and self-consistent. People may choose to disagree with your assumptions and your goals. I somewhat disagree myself about a lot of it. But I cannot at all fault your logic.

mellyrn on May 23, 2011, 06:33:09 am
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I am inclined to agree with you that due to the fact that there are lot of bad people around, the optimum level of violence is quite high - indeed I probably think that the optimum level of production of violence against bad guys is higher than you think it is.

The optimum level of violence is not a constant, but a variable.

Engaging in violence, like engaging in any other activity, costs energy.

No matter how "bad" you are, you will only engage in violence (or any other activity) when you perceive, correctly or not, that you will at minimum "break even".  (Humans can regard, say, posthumous honor as a "gain"; ref. kamikaze pilots.)

The ability of your target to retaliate is only a partial factor; if you believe (correctly or not) that you can "get away with it", retaliation gets struck off the ledger.  If you can, or think you can, outfox your target, retaliation gets struck off the ledger.

Entropy rules, even in the application of violence.

Q:  what circumstances lead to a high EROEI for violence, and what lead to a low or even negative one?

sam on May 23, 2011, 05:27:13 pm
No matter how "bad" you are, you will only engage in violence (or any other activity) when you perceive, correctly or not, that you will at minimum "break even".

This is true for individuals, and for groups of people with a single individual holding the reins, such as corporations or monarchies.  The CEO is answerable to the board, and the monarch is sometimes answerable to the aristocrats, but he nonetheless has full power to make decisions, and full responsibility for the results of his decisions, which a president, or even a president-for-life, seldom has.

It is not true for party states, such as communist party states or even Baath party states.  It is even less true for democracies.  Groups of people are more prone to madness than the individuals that compose them.  Insanity is the normal condition of committees.  The president of the United States cannot fire the guy in the Social Security administration who embarrassed him by handing out social security money to assorted grotesquely fat deadbeats.

Collective entities may be more peaceful than is sane (observe our reaction to the victory mosque at ground zero) or less peaceful than is sane.  (Communist party states, Muslim democracies)

A Muslim is supposed to love death more than infidels love life.  Of course he does not but he is supposed to.  So they tend to vote for death (for example voting for suicidal war)  The individual vote demonstrates his virtue to himself and others, without altering the individual voter's chances of actually getting killed, since his vote is just one in millions.   Thus Muslim monarchies are reasonably peaceful, Muslim dictatorships less so, because dictatorships tend to be party states, and Muslim democracies are apt to be really bad, Hamas and FIS being particularly horrid examples.

Similarly, the Allende administration, in its internal debates, embraced policies that were intended to destroy the middle class economically, even though they were aware that these policies were destroying the government and the country economically, aware that the government could not possibly afford these policies, adopted these because a good socialist wants to destroy the middle class, regardless of the cost to himself.  It is probable that Allende thought that this was crazy, but he went along with his party, for if any party member were to disagree that member would be reactionary.

Similarly, an environmentalist believes the world is better off with substantially fewer people, so is apt to support policies that lead to the deaths of very large numbers of people, possibly including himself, even though he is disinclined to kill himself individually.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2011, 05:45:51 am by sam »

J Thomas on May 24, 2011, 05:35:36 am
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I am inclined to agree with you that due to the fact that there are lot of bad people around, the optimum level of violence is quite high - indeed I probably think that the optimum level of production of violence against bad guys is higher than you think it is.

The optimum level of violence is not a constant, but a variable.

Engaging in violence, like engaging in any other activity, costs energy.

No matter how "bad" you are, you will only engage in violence (or any other activity) when you perceive, correctly or not, that you will at minimum "break even".  (Humans can regard, say, posthumous honor as a "gain"; ref. kamikaze pilots.)

One exception comes when people get frustrated. Given a complicated problem which does not appear to be soluble, after sufficient time wrestling with it people are likely to just lash out and destroy things. Afterward they may have a simpler problem to deal with. Perhaps just as insoluble, but at least different. I don't think they reason out that they are likely to be better off or unlikely to be worse off. They just get frustrated and act instinctively.

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The ability of your target to retaliate is only a partial factor; if you believe (correctly or not) that you can "get away with it", retaliation gets struck off the ledger.  If you can, or think you can, outfox your target, retaliation gets struck off the ledger.

That's true too.

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Q:  what circumstances lead to a high EROEI for violence, and what lead to a low or even negative one?

One thing that makes a big difference is secret treaties. If A is stronger than B, A may think B should give in. If B expects help from C but A does not expect C to intervene, then they are more likely to fight. Private assurances of support are more likely to result in war, whether or not they actually result in support.

In a recent conflict, it looks like Georgia expected more support from the USA against the USSR than they actually got, and so resisted more than they would otherwise. But the USA has been crystal clear about Israel. If anybody attacks Israel, the USA will give Israel whatever support is useful including the threat of nuclear attack. If Israel atatcks anybody, the USA will give Israel whatever support is useful. As a result, nobody ever attacks Israel, and Israel attacks whoever they want.




quadibloc on May 24, 2011, 07:05:53 am
As a result, nobody ever attacks Israel, and Israel attacks whoever they want.
In 1948, 1967, and 1973, the objective was to "drive Israel into the sea" - or, more accurately, place the Jews there under Muslim rule. The first two of these instances resulted in territorial gains by Israel.

I don't recall Israel ever attacking any other country the way Iraq under Saddam Hussein attacked Kuwait, or Germany under Hitler attacked Poland - to gain territory and seize resources. Instead, any attacks Israel made, such as in 1967, when it upset the schedule for the knockout blow Egypt was preparing to deliver, or in 2007, when it attacked a nuclear plant in Syria, are similar to the attacks of the United States on Afghanistan, or Iraq, or Pakistan.

J Thomas on May 24, 2011, 08:33:52 am
As a result, nobody ever attacks Israel, and Israel attacks whoever they want.
In 1948, 1967, and 1973, the objective was to "drive Israel into the sea" - or, more accurately, place the Jews there under Muslim rule. The first two of these instances resulted in territorial gains by Israel.

I don't recall Israel ever attacking any other country the way Iraq under Saddam Hussein attacked Kuwait, or Germany under Hitler attacked Poland - to gain territory and seize resources.

1956, Israel attacked Egypt and took the Sinai. They argued that they had a good excuse, rather like Saddam argued he had a good excuse.

1967, Israel attacked Egypt and took the Sinai, and attacked Syria and took the Golan. They argued that they were about to be attacked. The facts on the ground do not support them, but they might have actually believed it. Lots of wars have involved faulty intelligence.

In 1973, Egypt and Syria did attempt to take back the sinai and the golan. Israeli counterattacks did go beyond the sinai and golan, but Israel retreated to those lines after the fighting and did not attempt to hold more land than they had at the beginning of that war.

Israel has repeatedly attacked Lebanon, but has not tried to keep any of Lebanon and has never argued that any part of Lebanon belonged to Israel except for insignificant border adjustments.  They merely ran a 22 year occupation, without actually moving in israeli civilians to replace the displaced arabs or trying to integrate the area into the israeli economy. Keeping part of Lebanon for 22 years is different from trying to keep part of Lebanon, right?.

mellyrn on May 24, 2011, 10:07:26 am
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I don't think they reason out that they are likely to be better off or unlikely to be worse off.

I don't think they reason it out, either.  Cheetahs on the chase certainly don't.  The lashing-out?  The restraint of trying to do the frustrating thing slowly and carefully -- and mindfully -- is tiring, so some nonrational, possibly instinctive "last dash" program kicks in, not unlike a cheetah putting on one last burst of speed.

Diplomacy is hard, tiring work, too, and not nearly as satisfying as bashing their heads in.

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I don't recall Israel ever attacking any other country the way [examples]

You wouldn't.  You've as much as said that you think Israelis are superior beings, not mere humans like the rest of us.

ContraryGuy on May 24, 2011, 11:54:35 am
As a result, nobody ever attacks Israel, and Israel attacks whoever they want.
In 1948, 1967, and 1973, the objective was to "drive Israel into the sea" - or, more accurately, place the Jews there under Muslim rule. The first two of these instances resulted in territorial gains by Israel.

I don't recall Israel ever attacking any other country the way Iraq under Saddam Hussein attacked Kuwait, or Germany under Hitler attacked Poland - to gain territory and seize resources. Instead, any attacks Israel made, such as in 1967, when it upset the schedule for the knockout blow Egypt was preparing to deliver, or in 2007, when it attacked a nuclear plant in Syria, are similar to the attacks of the United States on Afghanistan, or Iraq, or Pakistan.

Just because you never knew why Israel kept the Golan Heights or the West Bank territory doesnt mean Israel didnt take those places for those very reasons.
Israel took and held Golan for two reasons, one they shouted about and one they whispered about.

The obvious reason was security; he who hold the high ground wins.
The other reason was water.  The Golan Heights are able to restrict downstream water supply to eastern Israel.
These are the same reasons why they took and held the West Bank.  It is also why they keep encroaching on more West Bank territory every day.  Prime farmland.

So, yes, the Israelis have waged battles of aggression over resources.  They continue to wafge a silent war against the Palestinians in the hopes that the Palestinians will starve, die, and go away. Thus ending the problem.

It is, you might say with a touch of historical irony, the Israelis "Final Solution" to the "[Palestinian'] Problem".

sam on May 24, 2011, 05:45:27 pm
1956, Israel attacked Egypt and took the Sinai. They argued that they had a good excuse, rather like Saddam argued he had a good excuse.

The difference being that they actually did have a good excuse.

1967, Israel attacked Egypt and took the Sinai, and attacked Syria and took the Golan.

You neglect to mention that Syria had been shelling Israel from the Golan heights starting in 1966.  Egypt and Syria were allied.

So it looks to me that Syria, with Egyptian support, attacked Israel in 1966.

They argued that they were about to be attacked.

Rather, they argued that they had been attacked, and that when they responded to Syria, Egypt would join in.  The war was pre-emptive with respect to Egypt, but reactive with respect to Egypt's ally, Syria.


mellyrn on May 25, 2011, 06:47:27 am
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The difference being that they actually did have a good excuse.

Everybody always thinks they have a good excuse for war.  (Who ever argues, "Hey, I think I'll attack someone because it would be a stupid thing to do"?)

So, we attack because we think we have good reason.  Then, our friends agree that we did have a good reason, and our enemies say we didn't.

So when you speak up saying, "Yes, Soandso did have a good excuse", you're not exactly proving that yes they did so have a good excuse!, but only whose side you personally are on.

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You neglect to mention that Syria had been shelling Israel from the Golan heights starting in 1966.

Moshe Dayan, speaking in an interview in the late '70's:
"Never mind that [when asked that Syrians initiated the war from the Golan Heights]. After all, I know how at least 80 percent of the clashes there started. In my opinion, more than 80 percent, but let's talk about 80 percent. It went this way: We would send a tractor to plough someplace where it wasn't possible to do anything, in the demilitarized area, and knew in advance that the Syrians would start to shoot. If they didn't shoot, we would tell the tractor to advance farther, until in the end Syrians would get annoyed and shoot. And then we would use artillery and later the air force also, and that's how it was. I did that, and Laskov and Chara [Zvi Tsur, Rabin's predecessor as chief of staff] did that, Yitzhak did that, but it seems to me that the person who most enjoyed these games was Dado [David Elzar, OC Northern Command, 1964-69]."

"The thesis that the danger of genocide was hanging over us in June 1967 and that Israel was fighting for its physical existence is only bluff, which was born and developed after the war." --Israeli Major-General Matityahu Peled [member of the General Staff during the Six Day War of 1967], Ha'aretz, 19 March 1972

"In June, 1967, we again had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai did not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him." --Menachem Begin, 8 August 1982

"Motti Golani [a historian at Haifa University] argues convincingly that prior to the attack of June 1967, the Israeli High Command organized a 'silent' putsch, blocked up all political solutions for the crisis and launched the war in order to expand." --Shraga Elam [Haifa-born israeli journalist], 14 February 2003

(emphasis added in all the above)

Go argue with them.


sam on May 25, 2011, 05:15:32 pm
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You neglect to mention that Syria had been shelling Israel from the Golan heights starting in 1966.

Moshe Dayan, speaking in an interview in the late '70's:
"Never mind that [when asked that Syrians initiated the war from the Golan Heights]. After all, I know how at least 80 percent of the clashes there started. In my opinion, more than 80 percent, but let's talk about 80 percent. It went this way: We would send a tractor to plough someplace where it wasn't possible to do anything, in the demilitarized area, and knew in advance that the Syrians would start to shoot. If they didn't shoot, we would tell the tractor to advance farther, until in the end Syrians would get annoyed and shoot.

How outrageous.  Jews provoked people to kill them by attempting to plough their own land.  Such disgusting Jewish behavior.  They know perfectly well it would provoke people to kill them, but went ahead anyway  :-)