macsnafu on January 06, 2012, 09:11:21 am
As with anything else it does, a business will use force when the benefits of doing so are perceived to outweigh the risks. A state's monopoly on the legal use of force usually makes it too costly for a business to use force. As far as I am aware, there are no polities with well-developed economies where the state does not have a monopoly on the use of force, however, so whether or not businesses would use force in the absence of a state prohibition is an open question.

A business is in the business of making a profit.  Homeowners' associations exist to further the common goals of the homeowners.  The outright use of force is expensive, which is why big business likes having a government around to do the dirty work for them.  It's cheaper because the government socializes the costs of enforcement through taxation.  Without a government, businesses cannot shift the costs and effort of violence onto some other organization.  The costs of using force eat into profits, so, while you may be right that they will turn to force if it furthers their goals, to a large degree it will *not* further their goals.  This is especially true if their customers decide that they do not want to do business with a criminal organization that is so willing to use force.  Thus, such force as most businesses will be willing to use will be minimal, and hidden as much as possible to minimize the damage to their reputation.

As for homeowners' associations, what goals could they have that would be furthered by force?  They may want to minimize crime in their area, certainly, but that would be justified force, for the most part.  They may want to stop some people in the housing edition from doing certain things, but I can't see force as being necessary except as a last resort, and thus not used very often.  Contractual arrangements and requirements would be easy to set up for anyone who wants to move into the edition, and persistent violators of the contract will usually find it easier to straighten up or move out long before the last resort of force ever comes up. 

In short, your assumptions are true, under certain circumstances.  But those circumstances are generally not going to be commonplace under anarchy.  If anything, it is the existence of government that increases the chances of the use of force.
I love mankind.  It's PEOPLE I can't stand!  - Linus Van Pelt.

macsnafu on January 06, 2012, 09:39:27 am

There is no meaningful difference between how institutions which can and cannot use force function. Both of them are institutions designed to achieve goals, and they will adapt to achieve those goals by their very nature. A homeowners' association is no different than a town council -- both seek to further certain interests. The homeowners' association seeks to further the interests of its members; a town council seeks to further the interests of the people who elected it. And in seeking to further those interests, all institutions will inherently seek to expand the scope of their powers which ultimately means seeking the coercive powers. The trend has always been towards greater centralization, more hierarchical structures, and greater scope of authority. It is very rare for any institution to willingly surrender power.

Even if the homeowners' association has rules requiring that it approve use changes, or even a blanket prohibition on the property owner can simply quit the association because it is completely voluntary. The association can have no power over him in and of itself because membership is completely voluntary. It can pass resolutions, censures, form picket lines and what have you, but in the end all of its permitted actions will have as much effect as a typical UN General Assembly resolution.


You continue to say funny things--at least they seem strange to me.
You act as if contractual agreements are coercive and in violation of the NAP (or ZAP if you prefer).
Also, you seem to forget that even without government, there still exists other people and organizations in society that will not approve of everything that some people and organizations choose to do. 

If a homeowner's association does not have ownership or control over the housing editions they serve, then yes, their power to enforce certain rules will be limited.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, especially if the people in those editions value more freedom in their personal lives than otherwise. 

On the other hand, some people do prefer more order in their personal lives, and would prefer a situation that has more rules on their neighbors.  A gated community, or a housing edition where the HA has more control, will be more preferable to SOME people.  If people are required to obey certain rules when moving into a particular housing edition, this is not a violation of the NAP.  It's just another contractual arrangement.  And such a contractual arrangement calls for certain rights and limits on the HA as much as it does for the individual homeowner or renter.   

This is still a far cry from a government or state. 
I love mankind.  It's PEOPLE I can't stand!  - Linus Van Pelt.

mellyrn on January 06, 2012, 10:22:11 am
humorous (I hope) "homeowners association" story --

The little town nearest me has a Historical association, and all buildings in town are required to conform to historical -- approximately Colonial -- design strictures.

So this hippie couple bought a run-down ex-garage, made a tidy little house of it, and painted the tin roof a gorgeous, rich purple.

Naturally, the Town got all up in arms, aghast at the purple roof --

-- until the hippies showed how they'd taken that exact color from the "acceptable Colonial colors" brochure of the Association itself.


It is very purple.  I love it.

Killydd on January 06, 2012, 01:08:03 pm
As with anything else it does, a business will use force when the benefits of doing so are perceived to outweigh the risks. A state's monopoly on the legal use of force usually makes it too costly for a business to use force. As far as I am aware, there are no polities with well-developed economies where the state does not have a monopoly on the use of force, however, so whether or not businesses would use force in the absence of a state prohibition is an open question.

A business is in the business of making a profit.  Homeowners' associations exist to further the common goals of the homeowners.  The outright use of force is expensive, which is why big business likes having a government around to do the dirty work for them.  It's cheaper because the government socializes the costs of enforcement through taxation.  Without a government, businesses cannot shift the costs and effort of violence onto some other organization.  The costs of using force eat into profits, so, while you may be right that they will turn to force if it furthers their goals, to a large degree it will *not* further their goals.  This is especially true if their customers decide that they do not want to do business with a criminal organization that is so willing to use force.  Thus, such force as most businesses will be willing to use will be minimal, and hidden as much as possible to minimize the damage to their reputation.

As for homeowners' associations, what goals could they have that would be furthered by force?  They may want to minimize crime in their area, certainly, but that would be justified force, for the most part.  They may want to stop some people in the housing edition from doing certain things, but I can't see force as being necessary except as a last resort, and thus not used very often.  Contractual arrangements and requirements would be easy to set up for anyone who wants to move into the edition, and persistent violators of the contract will usually find it easier to straighten up or move out long before the last resort of force ever comes up. 

In short, your assumptions are true, under certain circumstances.  But those circumstances are generally not going to be commonplace under anarchy.  If anything, it is the existence of government that increases the chances of the use of force.

The use of force is not that expensive:  if it was, bars wouldn't have bouncers.  Admittedly, it can become expensive if resistance occurs, but the first bit is cheap. 

Now let's look at this HA:  a gang starts vandalizing the area.  The HA decides it would be cheaper to hire a couple of security guards than to clean up after them.  To fund this decision, they levy a fee on the homeowners, which they all agree to because their own property is being damaged.  Okay, maybe some disagree and don't sign on to the new contract so part of the area is protected and part isn't.  But suddenly, by moving into the area, you are now part of a state with a police force and taxes.  Or by being born into it. 

Homer2101 on January 06, 2012, 02:22:49 pm
As for the ZAP, it runs into the same definitional problems as any other ethical system, and everything turns on the exact definitions which you use, so of course my assumptions might be questionable. If your version of the ZAP only prohibits unwarranted physical force, then the outcomes will be different than if everyone subscribes to a ZAP which also prohibits non-physical force. The stock ZAP as I understand it treats any nonconsensual impact on a person on his property as force, but that's unworkable in practice...

This is what in informal logic is called a straw man argument. First, you make up a false definition, then "defeat" it. Read the third-party literature. This subject comes up regularly in the Forum. I don't know if you can search the postings (never thought about it), but if so, you can read how the ZAP is used in EFT.
I brought up that particular definition of the ZAP because you mentioned physical force in a previous post. As I said in the quoted post, there are multiple ways of construing the ZAP, some of which make more sense then others. That particular one quite didn't make sense to me, because it seemed to lead to an absurd outcome, but I could be wrong. 

I haven't been able to find anything specifically on how the ZAP or similar doctrine is used in the EFT universe, but will keep looking.

Anyways, I usually assume that when someone refers to ZAP or similar doctrines, they mean a ZAP which requires meaningful harm to justify force, and requires the responding force to be proportional. If that assumption is wrong, then please correct me.

Mostly wrong. Read the third-party literature. Start with Wikipedia. I have problems with the ZAP article, but it frames the issue well enough to to begin discussion. Start there then let's talk. Without an understanding of the ZAP, it is pointless to discuss how it applies to home owners associations and the Occupy movement.

Quote from: Wikipedia
Aggression, for the purposes of the NAP, is defined as the initiation or threatening of violence against a person or legitimately owned property of another. Specifically, any unsollicited actions of others that physically affect an individual’s property, including that person’s body, no matter if the result of those actions is damaging, beneficiary or neutral to the owner, are considered violent when they are against the owner’s free will and interfere with his right to self-determination, as based on the libertarian principle of self-ownership.
Essentially, self-defense (which presumably is force of some kind) is justified in response to (1) unsolicited (2) actions which (3) physically affect (4) a person's person or property (5) regardless of whether or not the action is harmful. That's the Wiki definition. Not sure if it's the one you're looking for, but I used it in the previous post. I dislike such an approach because it justifies a response for any unsolicited action regardless of whether or not it's harmful, but it could work if the response at least must be proportional to the harm. And most of its terms are vague and subject to interpretation, specifically "unsolicited," "actions," and "physically affect." But vagueness is a problem with any rule when applied to real society. It is not an insurmountable problem in our society because the court system consolidates differing interpretations and more or less distills a "social consensus," though that consensus still changes over time as new cases arise and society changes. It is a bigger problem for an an-cap society which relies on social consensus for enforcement, as some here have suggested. 

Which is the point I was trying to make -- saying that a society follows the ZAP is like saying that a society follows the Ten Commandments, or any other list of rules. Eventually someone will disagree about the meaning of "honor" and say that an grandparent is neither a "mother" nor a "father." Rivers of ink have been spilled litigating every single word in the tax code's definition of "income." Since the day after the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified, people have been arguing about what is incorporated into "due process." Even something as apparently straightforward as "murder" can be made amazingly murky when dealing with real people in real circumstances. So why would something as broad as "aggression," "contact," or "harm" be any different in a ZAP-based society, considering that the meanings some of those words have been litigated in Anglo-American courts for centuries?

As I've explained earlier, if a society relies solely on peer pressure to enforce an ethical code, then it need social consensus, where the vast majority of the population agrees on the meanings of the terms of the ethical code, or ethical homogeneity. Social consensus requires ethical homogeneity at least on that particular ethical rule you're seeking to enforce. Otherwise someone who deviates from the postulated ethical code will not actually be a deviant because a significant part of the society will support him. If there is no social consensus, for example if half the population thinks that gay marriage is okay and the other half thinks that it is wrong, then the pressure on a homosexual couple to not marry is not going to be nearly as high as it would be in an ethically homogeneous society where virtually everyone thinks gay marriage is wrong. Gay marriage may be replaced with anything else, but the broad principle should hold true.

That is why relying on peer pressure alone is unworkable in a diverse society, to go back to a much earlier issue. In a fairly small community like EFT's Ceres, or small-town America, social pressure can be very effective against individuals. As someone said earlier, the costs of moving tend to be rather high in reality, so a person is usually "stuck" with the community within which he lives. If that community is small and most people agree on what is and isn't appropriate, then deviating from the norm and risking exclusion for most people is too expensive. But in a diverse community that process breaks down because people will disagree on what is and is not acceptable, especially if there is religious diversity, since religion almost always carries its own set of ethics which may or may not be congruent to the ZAP. But even if everyone broadly adheres to the ZAP, there will still be divergence of opinion which will increase over time. I am not questioning whether a society based on the ZAP which is enforced through social pressure could exist, but whether it could survive over time except in some limited circumstances. That is, can that system work for a diverse city like New York, or is it limited to small and homogeneous communities.

My argument is not that the ZAP is bad, but that relying solely on peer pressure to enforce it will not work in the long run without making some fairly questionable assumptions or postulating a homogeneous community where everyone agrees to what specifically the ZAP allows and prohibits.

From what I understand, an-cap society also punishes rule-breakers through contractual enforcement, and by allowing claims for personal injury against unwilling participants. Neither are perfect solutions and both arguably have significant problems in practice that to me outweigh their benefits.

Compensatory justice has fairly self-evident problems, which I won't go into here.

Freedom to contract is a meaningless phrase, and has two major problems. The first is that for most people, their "freedom" of contract extends to signing at the dotted line and no further. Most contracts involving private individuals are not negotiated, because of the asymmetry of power between the author of the contract, which is usually a business, and the individual. The individual usually needs what the contract-writer offers much more than the contract-writer needs the individual. Thus unskilled workers almost never negotiate their contracts, consumers do not negotiate their software agreements, and none of us have negotiated the terms of service for these forums. We do not have meaningful choice in most contracts, except to either accept or reject the contract, which is no different from having a choice to accept a town's laws or move elsewhere. And such a regime is in practice no less coercive than what we have now.

The second problem is that under an unrestricted freedom of contract, an individual may be forced to agree to almost anything, and not just because the language of most contracts is illegible to the average person. A choice to become functionally an indentured servant or to starve is no choice at all. This is the kind of outcome unrestricted freedom of contract invites when combined with strict contractual enforcement. An-cap's guarantee of personal autonomy is meaningless when a person can be forced or induced to sign it away.

These might not be seen as problems, of course. For a very long time the U.S. Supreme Court barred states and ccities from regulating wages, working conditions or any other terms of a labor contract on the theory that freedom of contract was a fundamental right protected by the Constitution, for example. Or society can deem that unconscionable and exploitative contracts are a reasonable price to pay. 

To bring up a final example, take honor killings. Some people think they're no different from murder; some people think they're fine and dandy. From what I understand, that's the sort of disagreement which causes mellyrn to throw up her hands and say "do what you want." Which I don't like, but understand why it's a choice some would make. I can see two ways of the ZAP applying to an honor killing, but correct me if I'm wrong.

(1) The straightforward approach would be to label the killer as aggressor, which would justify the use of physical force against him. Who would be justified in doing so is a different question. Under the scheme of compensatory justice which most here seem to endorse, if the deceased was in no ongoing economic relationships then only her family would have standing to sue, and only if the family either derived economic benefit from the deceased's existence or if compensatory justice also allows compensation for loss of companionship. In quite a few cases honor killings are endorsed by virtually the entire family, and the pressure to conform with the majority would be quite strong because a deviant could well be killed by the majority, so such killings could well be deemed "victimless" because no-one has standing and is willing to file a claim against the killer.

(2) If I take Sandy's advice and use the Wiki version of the ZAP, then I could quite easily argue that the deceased was the aggressor, depending on how "effect" is construed, and whether the ZAP applies only to people or also to organizations. It becomes even easier if we use common sense and require harm rather than mere "effect" in order to avoid the golf-ball problem I raised earlier. The family can say that dishonoring the family caused harm, and the only rational response was to kill the person dishonoring them. This is not a "straw man" argument -- people have made similar arguments in murder cases involving cheating spouses, for example. And if you insist on unnamed "third parties" as authority, someone will simply cite the third party supporting their position.

Definitions are very important to an ethical system, because how a term is defined determines whether certain actions are acceptable. 

Homer2101 on January 06, 2012, 03:21:18 pm
Quote
you seem to assume that businesses are fundamentally non-violent creatures, or at least abhor the use of force.[...] Corporations and businesses use all the means at their disposal to achieve their goals

You seem to assume that states are fundamentally non-violent creatures, or at least abhor the use of force.
Not at all, and I acknowledged as much in the very post you quoted. A state, like a business, has interests it will advance by any means it deems appropriate, up to and including force. Sam implied that businesses were fundamentally peaceful; I dismissed that notion as patently silly. Throughout history, individuals and profit-seeking enterprises have used force whenever the benefits of doing so outweighed the costs, just like states, although states are motivated by more than just profits. And some violence is motivated by fear, religion, or any number of other factors which have nothing to do with profits and where traditional cost-benefit analysis breaks down. So removing the state will not somehow eliminate or even reduce organized violence. In those cases where the state has lost its monopoly on the use of force, the result has almost always been widespread violence, rather than peace.

Under some conditions, the EROEI (energy return on energy invested) on violence is positive.  In other circumstances it is negative.  An agent (business, state, individual human, wolf, bacterium) that makes a bad call suffers a net loss of energy; if it makes enough bad calls (or a sufficiently bad one), it fails/dies.

Corporations, businesses, AND STATES (as well as individuals) will use violence if they think the net return will be positive.  An armed citizenry is an effort to make state violence against individuals yield a negative return.
Agreed. Although people tend to overstate the effectiveness of an armed citizenry, especially against a determined entity, whether it is a state or a business. The Chechens found out to their regret that some states do not care about casualties or atrocities, and will not hesitate to level entire cities to keep what they deem is theirs. But businesses are not dissimilar, and history abounds with examples of for-profit enterprises and profit-seeking individuals committing all the same atrocities, albeit usually on a smaller scale.

To argue for a state is to argue that we'll ALL be safer when a few of us have a better return on violence than the most of us.  Or, if you think that the citizens' power to vote, say, exercises sufficient restraint on the officials, it's to argue that we'll all be safer when we're each holding the leash of our neighbor in a big circle.

(Most state apologists seem to write as if "the state" were an entity unto itself, capable of action, and forget that "the state" is only a phrase, shorthand-speak for "all the various human individuals holding some sort of government office" -- i.e., the very creatures, humans, who are supposedly in need of being governed.  Anarchists are people who get this joke.)
Human institutions behave similarly in some ways to living beings, and it's easier to write about them as such, than to spend time specifying how the interests of a state's component parts affect what the state does. Does anyone actually want to read that? (Does anyone read what I write at all, for that matter?). Anyway, the "state" at its broadest encompasses all the people who have a voice in its decision-making process, not merely those who hold government office or are in its employ.

And I think therein lies our disagreement -- what is a state and how it behaves. I treat states as nothing more than human institutions, no different in their core behavior from any "voluntary" association, and so I do not buy the argument that a voluntary association by its nature could never become a state, could never become coercive, and would never expand the scope of its powers if allowed to do so. I especially do not accept such an argument if the proposed society allows for coercive mechanisms against individuals who cannot give meaningful consent.

I also do not accept the argument that a state will inevitably restrict the rights of others, just as I have never argued that other human institutions will inevitably become more state-like, merely that both are probable outcomes without a very positive view of human behavior. A true democratic state is fundamentally responsible to all of the people within it, no different from how a homeowners' association is responsible to all of homeowners within it. If the people within either allow expansion of power, or give their respective organizations more duties, then both the state and the association will inevitably expand. This is why good homeowners' association bylaws and good constitutions limit the scope of authority granted.

There is no theoretical or practical reason for why a state of very limited authority could not produce a society with all the same personal freedoms people claim an-cap society would allow. And no-one so far as offered a reason as to why an an-cap society wouldn't eventually develop institutions with coercive power and the ability to use them, except to say that "the people" wouldn't allow it.




sam on January 06, 2012, 08:43:11 pm
The use of force is not that expensive:  if it was, bars wouldn't have bouncers.  Admittedly, it can become expensive if resistance occurs, but the first bit is cheap. 

Aggressive force is expensive, because if one submits to aggressive force, worse force is likely to follow, so victims of aggressive force are apt to escalate radically.  It is also expensive, because if one uses aggressive force it makes you a threat to everyone, so everyone is apt to start using extreme measures against someone who uses aggressive force.

A state is a body of men, wherein other people accept their right to use aggressive force.  To get into that position however, typically requires dreadful and extraordinary means.  Sherman's march to the sea is about a mild as it gets.

A state, which is to say a monopoly of force, once established is very profitable, but it is extremely costly to establish.

sam on January 06, 2012, 08:50:49 pm
And I think therein lies our disagreement -- what is a state and how it behaves. I treat states as nothing more than human institutions, no different in their core behavior from any "voluntary" association.

The state claims the right, and genuinely believes it has the right, to use aggressive force.  Normal people don't, and if they make that claim, other people kill them.

sam on January 06, 2012, 09:05:27 pm
a gang starts vandalizing the area.  The HA decides it would be cheaper to hire a couple of security guards than to clean up after them.  To fund this decision, they levy a fee on the homeowners, which they all agree to because their own property is being damaged.  Okay, maybe some disagree and don't sign on to the new contract so part of the area is protected and part isn't.  But suddenly, by moving into the area, you are now part of a state with a police force and taxes.  Or by being born into it. 

No you are not.  If you agree to fund the defense forces, they give you a decal, which tells the gang that if they vandalize your house, the defense forces will come after them.

If you don't have a decal, you might put up a sign announcing you are armed and dangerous.  If  a lot of people feel as you do, you and they might form your own defense association.

You have heard the saying, when seconds count, police are only minutes away.  Maybe not having a decal is not such a big problem.

mellyrn on January 07, 2012, 07:32:20 am
Quote
self-defense (which presumably is force of some kind) is justified in response to [emphasis added]

Self-defense, while (often) force, is not aggression.  It is not the initiation of force.  ("Preemptive" self-defense, otoh, is Orwellian for "aggression".)

Quote
where traditional cost-benefit analysis breaks down

Entropy never breaks down.  Even a state can expend energy unsustainably.  If it makes a sufficiently bad cost-benefit analysis (i.e., disregards entropy), it will fail/die.  Period.  The USSR did.  I believe the USA and EU are in their death throes because we are entering conditions that put large centralized entities at a relative energetic disadvantage.

Cheetahs pursuing gazelles don't break out calculators to decide whether to keep chasing.  A "cost-benefit analysis" is not necessarily conscious and deliberate, not even by humans or human states (and even when it is, it isn't always right).  But the inexorable energy relationship exists nonetheless.

Quote
people tend to overstate the effectiveness of an armed citizenry, especially against a determined entity, whether it is a state or a business. The Chechens found out to their regret that some states do not care about casualties or atrocities, and will not hesitate to level entire cities to keep what they deem is theirs

I suspect that in Chechnya, the rebels reached their entropic limit before the state did -- but that doesn't mean the state must always win just because it doesn't care about atrocities.  I wonder how close the state was to its entropic limit?  A slight change in parameters, and the rag-tag ad hoc revolutionary army defeats the world's then-greatest army at Yorktown.  The American colonists did make imperial control prohibitively expensive for George III.

Quote
if the proposed society allows for coercive mechanisms against individuals who cannot give meaningful consent.

I'm open to defining a state as an association that does exactly that, or at least including that in the definition.  Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan breaks down if the sovereign cannot force people.  When the homeowners' association can forbid me to move away, or make moving away prohibitively expensive (such as, I can't take any of my own wealth -- such as it may be -- with me), it's become a state.

Sam put it so succinctly.

Quote
And no-one so far as offered a reason as to why an an-cap society wouldn't eventually develop institutions with coercive power and the ability to use them, except to say that "the people" wouldn't allow it.

Well, right now we're up against the prevailing meme that we humans "need" government, that we need to be governed; thank you Thomas Hobbes.  At least you, sir, are merely arguing that government is functionally inevitable, instead of necessary, for which I do indeed thank you (now that I'm clear on it). 

We're also up against 5000 years of history, which has mostly been the story of states, the way we tell it.  Let us not underestimate the power of the stories a people tells itself -- no wonder states look inevitable to you.

Only, now, here, some new stories are starting to arise.  Here's this fictional one of Sandy's, which will help loosen the grip of the stories of states on the imaginations of at least some of his readers, who may then go on to write their own, in an ever-growing new genre.  There is what's happening in Fairbanks -- a guy whose rather unusual name keeps escaping me; I knew I shoulda bookmarked the youtube videos -- where an alternative court system, very like EFT's mediations, is in place, not overthrowing the state system but hoping to simply make it obsolete.

People brought up to believe they need to be governed will certainly allow a state to form out of a voluntary association.  People brought up to believe in their own sovereignty may be the ones to impose that state on them.  People brought up to believe in everyone's personal sovereignty -- well, hmm?

There are those who argue that everything -- rocks, birds, comets, electrons -- exist because we believe they do.  That's a bit extreme, if you ask me -- but as for things than we humans create?  Of course we create things we believe in (insofar as we can); how could it be otherwise?
« Last Edit: January 07, 2012, 09:47:41 am by mellyrn »

sam on January 07, 2012, 07:27:36 pm
I suspect that in Chechnya, the rebels reached their entropic limit before the state did -- but that doesn't mean the state must always win just because it doesn't care about atrocities.  I wonder how close the state was to its entropic limit?  A slight change in parameters, and the rag-tag ad hoc revolutionary army defeats the world's then-greatest army at Yorktown.  The American colonists did make imperial control prohibitively expensive for George III.

Sometimes the state wins, sometimes it does not:  A recent example being the Russians in Afghanistan.

rah on January 09, 2012, 06:49:11 am
The Very Model Of a Modern Major cypherpunk In-joke, Number 667: Public Exploder.

Heh.

Killydd on January 09, 2012, 11:45:29 pm
Mellyrn:  I suppose my view is closer to that some form of a government will exist regardless of attempts to banish it.  It may indeed become less formal and more natural if an effort is made in that direction, but it will still exist.  There will always be the people adapting and interpreting the rules to specific circumstances which may be changing, whether it is an autocrat, a group of elected officials, or just people that have earned respect and a reputation for being wise.  The amount of trust said rulers place in people will however give the range of results you suggest:  a great deal of trust will yield rules that allow for great personal freedom and responsibility, whereas a low amount of trust will become quickly codified into few choices.

As far as your definition of a state, I can without excessive difficulty move into a different state with different laws.   Does this mean I am not part of a state? 

Sam, as far as being part of a state in that example, let's assume that to keep funding stable, the contract to fund it is established in perpetuity, or at least for a long time scale so that it would be part of selling a property as well.  Which solution is chosen depends partly on the character of the people that live in the area. 

Of course, as far as personal armed response goes, you might be hours or even days away from being able to respond to a threat to your property.

And I think therein lies our disagreement -- what is a state and how it behaves. I treat states as nothing more than human institutions, no different in their core behavior from any "voluntary" association.

The state claims the right, and genuinely believes it has the right, to use aggressive force.  Normal people don't, and if they make that claim, other people kill them.

So if they believe they have the right to aggressive force, why is it always (in the "civilized" world) made with an attempt to justify it as being in the defense of others?

sam on January 10, 2012, 02:58:38 am
Sam, as far as being part of a state in that example, let's assume that to keep funding stable, the contract to fund it is established in perpetuity

Land does not fight, people fight.  So a defense contract needs to  be established wiith the person, not the land.

Contracts with land are make sense for drains, and fences and suchlike.  The new owner of the property inherits from the previous owner the obligations resulting from drains going under his land and suchlike.   It does not make sense that he inherits the obligation to defend the people the previous owner is obligated to defend, and it may well be hard to make him do it.

As I remarked previously, establishing that sort of one sided deal always requires something at least as bad as Sherman's march to the sea - mass destruction of civilian property and artificial famine, and usually requires mass destruction, mass murder, artificial famine, and mass state sponsored rape.

If a monopoly of force is inevitable, it is not because such monopolies come into being quietly and easily.

The state claims the right, and genuinely believes it has the right, to use aggressive force.  Normal people don't, and if they make that claim, other people kill them.

So if they believe they have the right to aggressive force, why is it always (in the "civilized" world) made with an attempt to justify it as being in the defense of others?

The state only makes the defense of others argument when attacking the subjects of other states.  It considers it has every right to do as it pleases to its own subjects.

Consider the Kelo case.  Did they bother explaining they were defending someone?  The state claims the right to attack any of its subjects for any reason or no reason at all, and is genuinely indignant and outraged should such unprovoked attacks be resisted.


« Last Edit: January 10, 2012, 03:25:16 am by sam »

mellyrn on January 10, 2012, 07:18:30 am
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Mellyrn:  I suppose my view is closer to that some form of a government will exist regardless of attempts to banish it.

At the moment, all I can make of your view of "some form of a government" is almost an equation with "some form of society".  Humans always live in society (the few exceptions, hermits and mountain men, are extremely rare and are looked upon with one form of awe or another).  The society will have rules.  Will the rules forcibly (and enforced by my neighbors) require me to refrain from certain actions, actions that actively harm my neighbors?  Of course.  Will the rules forcibly, and enforced not by my neighbors but by specially-appointed agents, require me to take certain actions, and/or refrain from actions that actively benefit (or please) me & mine and which don't harm the neighbors?  Well, now we're getting into what I might mean by a state.

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As far as your definition of a state, I can without excessive difficulty move into a different state with different laws.   Does this mean I am not part of a state?

I wasn't pinning "forcibly prevent relocation" to "state" so much as "forcibly prevent relocation", with the relocation issue just an example. A HA that made living there so attractive I couldn't possibly want to move would be quite another matter.  :)  I apologize for the distraction.

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Of course, as far as personal armed response goes, you might be hours or even days away from being able to respond to a threat to your property.

If you are that far away, in what sense is it "your" property?  Ah, well, states are good for enforcing that level of, hmm, abstraction, hey?

Out in the asteroid belt, maybe Bert & Ernie could find a chunk of ice and stick a "claimed" sign on it.  Perhaps I come out and, before they can get back to it, carve up all the ice and sell it.  I'm not entirely certain a mediator would find me in the wrong, here:  the ones who found it, found it when they couldn't do anything about it (for whatever reason); I found it when I could make use of it; maybe "first" only matters to three-year-olds and "actually able to use it" matters more.  Possibly Bert & Ernie only hoped their sign would impress next-comers.  All I'll say for myself is that I have no business expecting my similar signs to be respected, and I'd think myself a hypocrite if I put one out.

But under a state, a good lawyer could sue the dickens out of me -- and, likely, take most of the money, with just enough going to Bert & Ernie to keep them playing the lawyers' game.  Perhaps you consider that that game will always arise -- that people will always be chumps? -- but, I dunno:  let's give new stories, memes, a millennium or so to spread and see where we go.

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So if they believe they have the right to aggressive force, why is it always (in the "civilized" world) made with an attempt to justify it as being in the defense of others?

The very act of justification means that the justifier doubts, at least on some level, that the act is in fact good.  The state justifies its use -- even its abuse -- of force in order to convince onlookers that it did indeed act correctly and not abusively.  I could get shrinky and say that the justification is also done to convince the enforcers of their own rightness.  I might also say that (up to a point, at least) the worse the act, the louder the justification.

When we do things that we genuinely perceive as right, we don't bother to offer an explanation.  Who "justifies" (without being asked for a justification, I must note) helping a friend move, offering a sweater to someone who is cold, setting out free tomatoes or zucchini in the break room at work?

 

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