Long On Market Anarchism

Roderick Long has posted an excellent piece addressing Robert J. Bidinotto’s criticisms of Market Anarchism. He also points out a very interesting article I had missed wherein Bryan Caplan addresses the criticisms of Tyler Cowen. David Friedman also wrote a response to Cowen.

86 thoughts on “Long On Market Anarchism”

  1. how can markets exist before security? how does one produce and trade when knows a rival “defense company” will rob one blind?

    why didn’t market anarchism in all its libertarian glory appear in Somalia or in parts of Iraq?

    market anarchists put the cart before the horse. they ignore the rationality of markets and instead worship something called a “market” that exists outside time and space and hope that saying “market” as a magic word will dispel the irrationality of their arguments.

  2. “how can markets exist before security? how does one produce and trade when knows a rival “defense company” will rob one blind?”

    International markets exists in the absence of a common authority of nations.

    How is it that the Unitied States trades with Mexico when the United States has the power to take whatever it wants from Mexico by force?

  3. yes but international trading still takes place in specific areas under the control of soverign nation-states.

    trade between people in mexico and the US occurs because both those governments choose to recognize the contracts of the traders (or at least not rob them blind).

    that is the reason Americans choose not to trade with Somalia or other nations in anarcharism or civil war, as they can’t secure the contract (on the Somali side) from thieves, predators and bandits (i.e. “private defense agencies”).

    (and I do realize that many states ruling nations often become the bandits, predators and theives themselves; but that would not be what I mean by the term ‘government.’)

  4. “trade between people in mexico and the US occurs because both those governments choose to recognize the contracts of the traders (or at least not rob them blind).”

    And how would that be different if these people were protected by private agencies instead of public governments?

    There is international trade with Somalis, and I have little doubt that Americans participate.

  5. “And how would that be different if these people were protected by private agencies instead of public governments?”

    what standard would these agencies agree too? who would enforce this standard? do you really think that armed groups won’t shoot when faced with a conflict of standards?

    in the ned one agency would militarily defeat or dominate the rest and declare itself the “official state”.

    given the history of such takeovers, I doubt they would respect any social contract. Secondly, the prior armed conflict (civil war) would be terrible for liberty. For both these reasons anarchism is not only irrational, but destructive and anti-libertarian.

    “There is international trade with Somalis, and I have little doubt that Americans participate.”

    but not on scale of even tiny nations with functionaling nation-states! what little there is that is produced in Somalia (which Americans would trade for) is produced outside the threat of armed bandits, i.e. tiny enclaves of mini-states run by warlords. why would anyone produce anything of value in the no-mans lands of competing private thugs?

  6. “what standard would these agencies agree too?”

    That’s up to them.

    “who would enforce this standard? do you really think that armed groups won’t shoot when faced with a conflict of standards?”

    Sometimes they will. Why don’t the United States and Mexico?

  7. “That’s up to them.”

    just saying it so doesn’t make it so.

    “Sometimes they will”

    do you consider this conflict, war really, MORE libertarian?

    “Why don’t the United States and Mexico?”

    They have (1846-1848). And they would, if one state attempted to rule part or all of the other.

    Different nation-states live in a state of nature, as would the tribal struture you propose. Armed tribes are certainly possible (look at many wartorn lands in Africa, Iraq) but they are not better at facilitating liberty compared to limted government.

    And production and trade (necessary for markets) are nearly non-existant in states of nature (i.e. the jungle), as there isn’t any way of enforcing the social contract (which include property rights). Government is needed before markets, there is no way to put the cart before the horse!

  8. hobbes Ghost: And production and trade (necessary for markets) are nearly non-existant in states of nature (i.e. the jungle), as there isn’t any way of enforcing the social contract (which include property rights). Government is needed before markets, there is no way to put the cart before the horse!

    I couldn’t agree more.

  9. Mr. Kennedy: both, it both enforeces and is bound to the terms of the social contract. if it fails on either counts, by terms of the contract it should be replaced (see Declaration of Independence).

    Ms. Warren: are not relationships created?

  10. Relationships are created by the parties to them. They do not have to be created and imposed from outside. The claim that the State “created” the market is without merit. The market is a term describing the existing or potential relationships among all humans engaged in trade. It has existed since Caveman Ogg traded some antelope meat to Cavewoman Igg for a new loincloth.

  11. “Mr. Kennedy: both, it both enforeces and is bound to the terms of the social contract. if it fails on either counts, by terms of the contract it should be replaced (see Declaration of Independence).”

    So you are saying there is a contract which precedes government, even though government must precede all contract.

    That’s self-contradictory and thus necessarily false.

  12. Ms. Warren: The government doens’t create the market, it enforces the contracts that make the relationships possible.

    It ensures that if Cavewoman Igg decides to instead bash Caveman Ogg on head with a club and steal his meat (and violate the social contract) that she is held to that contract and punished.

    It would be unwise to underestimate this arrangemnt, as there are many who would rather steal from you rather than trade with you.

    “So you are saying there is a contract which precedes government, even though government must precede all contract.”

    Mr. Kennedy: No, I said there is an agreement between parties, which then becomes contract when it is enforced by a government (by defintion of a contract).

  13. “It ensures that if Cavewoman Igg decides to instead bash Caveman Ogg on head with a club and steal his meat (and violate the social contract) that she is held to that contract and punished.”

    What does an agreement with Igg have to do with this? Is it possible for Igg to not agree?

  14. Punishment of bad behavior in the market does not require a coercive State. Trade relationships are an iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma game. How many heads can Igg bash before nobody will trade with her anymore? Not many. Then perhaps Igg will choose to specialize in violence and start stealing from the whole tribe–and now Cavewoman Igg has invented the State. The State isn’t the nullifier of violent action in society, it is the enshrinement of it.

    Violence is risky and expensive compared to peaceful trade–which is why peaceful trade is the *norm* and violence the exception. Ghost, you talk like it’s the other way around. When one uses violence there is always the chance of losing the fight, there’s the chance that one wins the fight but is badly, even mortally wounded in the process, there’s the chance of destroying that which you were trying to get with the application of violence in the first place, and there’s the chance that others will learn of your violent tendencies and be ready for you when you come after the next victim. In almost every human situation, violence is inefficient in the extreme, especially when you have to deal with the same people over and over again. Generally, people do not have to be coerced into behaving in their own self-interest, and peacefully trade is much more likely to be in one’s self interest than is violence.

    Ghost, you seem to have an extraordinarily pessimistic view of human nature. If humans are as bad as you seem to think, how can any of them be trusted to wield the kind of power the State can put into their hands?

  15. The Serpent: …why do you believe the societal problems associated with Bad individuals will be eliminated by abolishing Good Individuals ability to band together (Society/government)?

    Good Individuals may band together however they like, but when they force other Good Individuals in the area to support their organization against their will, are they truly acting as Good Individuals?

  16. ” Is it possible for Igg to not agree?”

    Of course, by resisting arrest and risk being killed. If she decides to comply she essentially re-signs the social contract and will be punished under the terms (right to trial by jury, etc).

    Mr. Stedmen: I am not the Serpant! Though I agree with many of his points.

    As for Ms. Warren’s specific points, I disagree that the natural condition of human relations has been (or is) trade – outside a limited state. history has shown that it is violence! this isn’t pessimistic, it is REALISTIC and rational in the face of the evidence.

    so how we rational humans prevent violence? i have not seen evidence that anarchy is a solution (while I have seen limited government a solution).

    so do we trust the government? the answer of course is NO.

  17. “I’m asking if it is possible not to be party to your supposed social contract.”

    It is easy to do this, simply steal, assalt, trespass, rape, murder, etc. Sociopathic criminals withdraw their recognition of the social contract all the time.

  18. Ms.Warren: I don’t deny the State can be (and often is) the greatest violator of the social contract. but that does not invalide 1) that a just social contract exists and 2) a government is necessary to enforce it and 3) this is the best arrangement for liberty.

    Coercion is justified if it enforces the social contract. I am justified to use force to stop my neighbor from hurting someone else, as is the police.

    When did I say we should treat everyone as criminals? But it is irrational and immoral to pretend that without enforced rules people won’t be tempted to steal/kill/beat ones neighbor (witness a breakdown of civil order such as a riot or violent soccer match). In fact, it happens all the time WITH THE RULES.

    War isn’t always fought by states. It is large scale violence, the absense of law and order (i.e. a social contract and governemtn), what Hobbes called the State of Nature. It can be fought between tribes, clans, gangs, etc. (look at the genocide in Rwanda!).

    True, many unjust States intesify the violence. But it more just for the poor Tutsi if he was killed by a by a machete swung by a member of a Hutu’s private agency rather than by a publically-funded tank round?

  19. Virginia Warren: Punishment of bad behavior in the market does not require a coercive State.

    I disagree. You can call it what you want, but ultimately we are talking about a “government”.

    Virginia Warren: Trade relationships are an iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma game.

    It is naïve to think so.

    Virginia Warren: How many heads can Igg bash before nobody will trade with her anymore? Not many. Then perhaps Igg will choose to specialize in violence and start stealing from the whole tribe–and now Cavewoman Igg has invented the State. The State isn’t the nullifier of violent action in society, it is the enshrinement of it.

    How so? You are simply begging the question to arrive at the conclusion you want. I could just as easily assert that several other caveman form a “state” to go and kill Igg before she bashes any more heads and steals any more possessions. Ergo, the state is the nullifier o violent action in society.

    Essentially you are making the anti-gun argument.

    Guns cause some crime; ergo we should ban all guns.

    Government is responsible for some crime; ergo we should ban all governments.

    It is an extraordinarily naïve way of looking at the problem. In fact, you have entirely missed the actual problem completely in lieu of a convenient scapegoat.

    Virginia Warren: Violence is risky and expensive compared to peaceful trade–which is why peaceful trade is the *norm* and violence the exception.

    Really? How did you arrive at this conclusion? In nature I see nearly infinite examples of violence, and hardly any of peaceful trading.

    Virginia Warren: Ghost, you talk like it’s the other way around.

    Might makes right?

    Virginia Warren: When one uses violence there is always the chance of losing the fight, there’s the chance that one wins the fight but is badly, even mortally wounded in the process, there’s the chance of destroying that which you were trying to get with the application of violence in the first place, and there’s the chance that others will learn of your violent tendencies and be ready for you when you come after the next victim.

    Every battle is won or lost before it is ever fought. — Sun Tzu.

    Virginia Warren: In almost every human situation, violence is inefficient in the extreme, especially when you have to deal with the same people over and over again. Generally, people do not have to be coerced into behaving in their own self-interest, and peacefully trade is much more likely to be in one’s self interest than is violence.

    Then how do you account for the existence of our coercive government in the first place? Wasn’t Anarchy the original state? How was it able to evolve out of the peaceful and natural harmony of Anarchy? How did self-interest and peaceful trade allow our evil government to come into existence to begin with?

    Perhaps Anarchy is a far less natural state than you believe?

    Virginia Warren: Ghost, you seem to have an extraordinarily pessimistic view of human nature.

    I find this to be your oddest statement of all.

    Virginia Warren: If humans are as bad as you seem to think, how can any of them be trusted to wield the kind of power the State can put into their hands?

    If all humans are inherently Good then how can ANY government be corrupt? Conversely if you are NOT claiming that all humans are Good, then why do you believe the societal problems associated with Bad individuals will be eliminated by abolishing Good Individuals ability to band together (Society/government)?

    Isn’t the original reason Good individuals band together for mutual defense against Bad individuals?

  20. Ms.Warren. I am not Serpant! Please exend me the courtesy of addressing me by name!

    “The two are not synonymous.”

    untrue, the question is if the coercion is JUST or not.

    and my claim was not that EVERYBODY will bash skulls, only that EVERYONE is capable of it and many often do. how to you explain under your theory the countless wars, murders, rapes and beatings that have happened since the beginning of human life?

  21. “How is declining to do those things a contract?”

    Because you expect others to do the same.

    “Division of labor.”

    private armed gangs, even those you have on retainer, would rob you just as fast as any state (I would say faster). that is why I argue that “libertarian anarchism” is just a more subtle form of statism — and just as anti-libertarian.

  22. Virginia Warren: Trade relationships are an iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma game.

    It is naïve to think so.

    That is not an argument. Quoting Sun Tzu is not an argument, either. Do you think you can refrain from name-calling and address the content of my arguments? If you do not think that an iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma is an accurate description of the market, and I’d surely like to know why, what model do you think fits better?

    Virginia Warren: Violence is risky and expensive compared to peaceful trade–which is why peaceful trade is the *norm* and violence the exception.

    Really? How did you arrive at this conclusion? In nature I see nearly infinite examples of violence, and hardly any of peaceful trading.

    I was under the impression we were talking about human society, but have it your way. Even among non-human animals, there are numerous examples of “reciprocal altruism” (poorly named, I think) among animals of the same species. Also, much intra-species violence is characterized by threat displays which delay or mitigate actual fighting, since fighting is so risky and expensive. If two males fight for the chance to mate with a female, and the “winner” is too wounded to perform, he has gained nothing, at great cost.

    Virginia Warren: Ghost, you seem to have an extraordinarily pessimistic view of human nature.

    I find this to be your oddest statement of all.

    What the hell, Ghost? You’re the one who’s insisting that everybody will go around bashing skulls unless they’re forced not to!

    Ghost, you don’t seem to be able to conceive of non-coercive government. Of course there will always be government. Note that I have not been attacking “government”, I have been attacking the coercive State. The two are not synonymous.

  23. Virginia Warren: Do you think you can refrain from name-calling and address the content of my arguments?

    Nothing personal Ms. Warren. I certainly can, and I apologize if I caused any offense.

    Virginia Warren: If you do not think that an iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma is an accurate description of the market, and I’d surely like to know why, what model do you think fits better?

    Well for starters the “Prisoners Dilemma” deals with withholding information in attempt to avoid punishment whereas in a market economy the driving force is the attainment of rewards. In a way the two situations are opposites.

    When any two entities entangle (interact) there are three possible outcomes for each individuals, either the interaction is beneficial, it is neutral, or it is harmful.

    Now I agree with you in regard to reiteration; however, a trade relationship is a mutually beneficial entanglement where the free exchange of honest information is paramount. Whereas the prisoner’s dilemma is a coercive situation where the two entangled parties are only in indirect contact via a third party intermediary, and the two parties are BOTH try to avoid punishment. Whether the other benefits or not is of secondary concern. Also complete disclosure of all relevant information is counterproductive to the desired outcome for all individuals involved.

    Virginia Warren: Quoting Sun Tzu is not an argument, either.

    Quite right Ms. Warren, I just thought the quote was apropos for the situation.

    Virginia Warren: Violence is risky and expensive compared to peaceful trade–which is why peaceful trade is the *norm* and violence the exception.

    Serpent (previously): Really? How did you arrive at this conclusion? In nature I see nearly infinite examples of violence, and hardly any of peaceful trading.

    Virginia Warren: I was under the impression we were talking about human society, but have it your way. Even among non-human animals, there are numerous examples of “reciprocal altruism” (poorly named, I think) among animals of the same species. Also, much intra-species violence is characterized by threat displays which delay or mitigate actual fighting, since fighting is so risky and expensive. If two males fight for the chance to mate with a female, and the “winner” is too wounded to perform, he has gained nothing, at great cost.

    I agree with what you say here; however, I think you have missed my point.

    In nature the rule is Survival of the fittest. What is the specific difference between the position you are advocating (anarchy) and the Law of the Jungle? I perceive no substantial difference.

    Virginia Warren: Ghost [meant Serpent], you don’t seem to be able to conceive of non-coercive government.

    Actually I can conceive of a non-coercive government. The only challenge in establishing one is collecting the right Individuals to start with.

    Virginia Warren: Of course there will always be government. Note that I have not been attacking “government”, I have been attacking the coercive State. The two are not synonymous.

    Well once again I apologize Ms. Warren. I misunderstood and thought you were advocating Anarchy (or Anarcho-Capitalism (same thing, more or less)). I too support a limited non-coercive state. But like I said, I believe it is the height of naivety to assume that somehow (magically, mystically) people would be better off with no “government” at all.

  24. The basic political unit as an individual? how is that possible, as “politics” is by definition the interaction between two or more individuals?

    true the state can’t prevent violence, but it can raise the cost. and if you refrain from using violance and EXPECT others to do the same for you (claim a “right”) and use coercion to enforce that right, then YOU have agreed to the social contract.

    In anarchy, you may be spared the violence perpetrated by the State but you would be subject of the constant fear of violent SAVAGERY. such a condition is not conducive to liberty or trade. And what would protect you from other States? (or bandits, etc).

    as I said, you have freewill anytime to disavow the social contract and live as invidualized atom doing whatever you feel like (killing, raping, pillaging, etc). criminals, terrorists and nutjobs do it all the time. but you won’t like the results. and don’t you dare call it liberty.

  25. The Ghost: so how [can] we rational humans prevent violence? I have not seen evidence that anarchy is a solution (while I have seen limited government a solution).

    “We” can’t do anything. “We” can’t prevent violence. I can refrain from using violence, and I can resist the use of violence against myself and others. I’ve never claimed that anarchy will prevent violence. The State does not prevent violence either. It does make violence on a vastly larger scale possible, though. In anarchy, at least we are spared the violence perpetrated by the State.

    What makes you think the “goal” or “purpose” of anarchy is to eliminate violence, or that such a thing is even possible? “Anarchy” refers to the absence a coercive State, as “atheism” refers to the absence of god-belief; anarchy no more has a “goal” or “purpose” than does atheism.

    All present-day States are in a state of anarchy relative to each other, so we already have functioning anarchy of a type in the world today–unfortunately, the people in control of States can buy violence at below the market price through taxation and conscription. I merely seek the ultimate decentralization to government in which the basic political unit is the individual.

  26. Andy Stedman: Good Individuals may band together however they like, but when they force other Good Individuals in the area to support their organization against their will, are they truly acting as Good Individuals?

    In would depend on the specifics, but in general the (good/moral) majority can enforce a common code of behavior, but not a common code of thought.
    ———————
    The Ghost: so how [can] we rational humans prevent violence? I have not seen evidence that anarchy is a solution (while I have seen limited government a solution).

    That is my experience as well.

  27. I apologize, Ghost. When I saw that response, since it responded to what I had said to *you* I just thought it was you, and did not check carefully to see who had actually posted the comment.

    So, hey, Serpent, that was all addressed at you.

    Ghost: untrue, the question is if the coercion is JUST or not.

    I contend that the only just use of force is in self-defense. The State coerces everybody under its power, all the time. What justification is there for that, other than “might makes right”?

    Ghost: and my claim was not that EVERYBODY will bash skulls, only that EVERYONE is capable of it and many often do.

    So the solution to that is to treat everybody like a criminal? It is not true that “many often do”. There are very few genuine criminals in the world, both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of the population, even leaving aside the fact that many criminals are created by the State due to policies such as drug prohibition and trade restrictions.

    Ghost: how to you explain under your theory the countless wars, murders, rapes and beatings that have happened since the beginning of human life?

    Y’know, Ghost, I’m finding your comments increasingly perplexing to the point where I don’t know what you think “my theory” is.

    War is perpetrated always and only by the State. War is the case in which those in control of the State can buy violence at less than the market price by forcing others to pay for it (taxes, conscription, imperialism).

    Yes, some tiny proportion of the population has and will continue to perpetrate crimes on their neighbors–but the murders, rapes, beatings and burglaries perpetrated by individuals pale in comparison to the crimes committed by the State. Yes, without the State, we will have murders, rapes, beatings and thefts. With the State, we have murders, rapes, beating and thefts. The State killed at least 100 million people during the last century. Do you think that in the absence of the State, individuals would have committed an extra 100 million murders in the last century?

  28. true the state can’t prevent violence, but it can raise the cost. and if you refrain from using violance and EXPECT others to do the same for you (claim a “right”) and use coercion to enforce that right, then YOU have agreed to the social contract.

    I do not require coercion to enforce my one and only human right, I only require that others refrain from coercing me. If others coerce me, I exercise my human right to life and defend myself.

    Perhaps, as you claim, the State could raise the cost of violence, but it utterly fails to do so.

  29. “Of course, by resisting arrest and risk being killed. If she decides to comply she essentially re-signs the social contract and will be punished under the terms (right to trial by jury, etc).”

    A contract has moral force as a result of the agreement of the parties to it. I’m asking if it is possible not to be party to your supposed social contract.

    I have no agreement with you, therefore you cannot appeal to any agreement with me for moral purposes.

  30. “I do not require coercion to enforce my one and only human right, I only require that others refrain from coercing me.”

    Who do you make this claim to? How do you require it?

    “If others coerce me, I exercise my human right to life and defend myself.”

    Good for you. But the law of the jungle would require you do this 24/7. How would you produce and trade? How would you LIVE your life? WOULD YOU BE MORE FREE?

    “Perhaps, as you claim, the State could raise the cost of violence, but it utterly fails to do so.”

    Untrue, its very purpose is raise the cost of violence above any criminal or armed gang. Hence its vast armed forces (relative to others in the territory) that can enforce the social contract.

  31. Well for starters the “Prisoners Dilemma” deals with withholding information in attempt to avoid punishment whereas in a market economy the driving force is the attainment of rewards. In a way the two situations are opposites.

    I apologize, obviously it was not clear that I was referring to the general case of the Prisoner’s Dilemma (PD), that being any case where two players have an interaction in which they can choose to defect, or choose to cooperate, with the result being that if both cooperate, both benefit moderately, if both defect, both are harmed, and if one defects and one cooperates, the defector benefits greatly and the cooperator is harmed. Is it clearer now how this general case PD, iterated, is similar to trade relationships?

    There was a contest to write a computer program that would perform well in an iterated PD contest, and the best performer was also the simplest program–it was called Tit for Tat. It always cooperated, unless the other player defected, and then it would defect on the next turn.

    In nature the rule is Survival of the fittest. What is the specific difference between the position you are advocating (anarchy) and the Law of the Jungle? I perceive no substantial difference.

    If you see no difference, that it because you have already decided what I mean by anarchy, and are ignoring what I am actually saying. Your equation of anarchy with “survival of the fittest” or a “state of nature” is invalid. Again, anarchy does not mean “no rules” it means “no rulers”. It entails equality of authority. In general terms, “government” refers to any institutions humans use to regulate their affairs, and does not necessarily involve anything like a coercive State. A private arbitration, defense or insurance firm is a government institution in this sense, but one that does not have the power to compel anyone to buy its services. There will always be government in this sense, because these institutions are useful. This is the only form government I advocate.

    Upon thought, “survival of the fittest” is always the rule for any living thing, but humans have the advantage of being able to use their intelligence to change what being “fit” consists of. For humans, being “fit” is not necessarily about the power to hurt other humans! Violence remains the most risky, expensive and inefficient means for addressing human problems, so for humans, “survival of the fittest” entails finding better ways than violence to solve problems.

  32. Okay, Ghost, you can’t have it both ways. You keep saying things like:

    But the law of the jungle would require you do this 24/7. How would you produce and trade? How would you LIVE your life? WOULD YOU BE MORE FREE?

    You continually insist that anarchy = “the law of the jungle”, which is untrue. You keep saying that in anarchy everyone would have to defend themselves from violence all the time, but when I point out that you’re saying that you think everyone will suddenly start killing and robbing without a coercive State, you claim you don’t think that at all. Which is it?

  33. i think the burden of proof is on YOU to show how anarchy is NOT the law of the jungle.

    there are two answers to your question:

    1) it would be unwise for the weak to try to steal/kill from the strong in the jungle, they would probably bet on slavery and simply submit themselves to serfdom, as people did following the first state of nature (pre-5000 bc).

    2) anarchy is not stable — the timeframe depends on the level of technology, but eventually one gang will dominate the rest and the state will be reborn. if you are advocating anarchy in the US, I think this would happen rather quickly (and I don’t think the winning gang will give a shit about any social contract).

    #1 and #2 are more reasons on why anarchy is inherently anti-liberty.

  34. Technically you own it. At least while your consciousness occupies it. But in reality the entity that generates your body owns it – The Logical Goddess.

    The entity that generated my body is my mother, Serpent.

  35. The Serpent: In fact, if the drivers going the opposite direction have no idea of what traffic lights are, or what red lights mean, then traffic lights pretty much lose their purpose. Put another way, it isn’t the light itself that is causing you and the other drivers to stop or go, but a common knowledge (common information – common belief) that “red light” means STOP, and that “green light” means GO (and that “yellow light” means go very fast ;) If everyone just made up their own traffic rules because they didn’t want to be coerced into following anyone else’s rules you would have “Road Anarchy”.

    This nicely describes customs, not coercive law. Most people at work walk on the right side of the hallway and look before they step around blind corners. There is no law, or even company regulation, that says they must do this, yet we do not have “hallway anarchy” with people running backwards around blind corners with their eyes closed.

  36. Serpent, you continue to respond not to my arguments, but to claims I never made, and now you’re claiming I said the *opposite* of what I actually said. I’ve never said that anarchy entails society with no rules. Scroll up and see. I can’t have a discussion with you if you’re going to be this sloppy and/or dishonest.

    How is asserting that rules be mutually agreed to by the majority (i.e. a “Democracy”) the same as asserting the rules are “imposed from above”?

    YOU SAID: If there is no “ruler”, then what authority makes the “rules”?

    YOU are the one who claimed rules must be handed down from an authority.

    How can Democracy be distinguished from mob rule? They both amount to the case where a large group of people force a slightly smaller group of people to submit to the larger group’s will. That a large number of people have come to a certain conclusion has *absolutely no bearing* on the validity of that conclusion. The reason it is wrong to force other people to do what you want, no matter how many other people agree with you, is that YOU MIGHT BE WRONG.

    It’s even worse than mob rule as Democracy is practiced in the United States, because Alice would *not* have to convince the majority of people that hot pants are wrong to get them banned. Did the U.S. steel industry have to convince the majority of voters that there should be restrictions on steel imports to get tariffs passed? Do they have to bear the costs of these restrictions?

    How is the U.S. government voluntary? If I do not desire the services of the U.S. government, can I refuse to pay for them? I can try, but if I do, the U.S. government will send around thugs to kill me and steal my property. How can the U.S. government be distinguished from a criminal extortionist gang?

  37. Virginia Warren: What makes you think the “goal” or “purpose” of anarchy is to eliminate violence, or that such a thing is even possible? “Anarchy” refers to the absence a coercive State, as “atheism” refers to the absence of god-belief; anarchy no more has a “goal” or “purpose” than does atheism.

    I find it mildly amusing that you can even say this with a straight face while simultaneously not perceiving any inherent problem with what you are asserting.

    What is the point in believing in a thing when you have already conceded there is no purpose in believing it?

    Sounds like a violation of the Law of Parsimony to me … ?

  38. The Ghost: private armed gangs, even those you have on retainer, would rob you just as fast as any state (I would say faster). that is why I argue that “libertarian anarchism” is just a more subtle form of statism — and just as anti-libertarian.

    Preach it from the Mountain, my Brother! ;-)

  39. Virginia Warren: You continually insist that anarchy = “the law of the jungle”, which is untrue.

    You can’t just assert that it isn’t true you have to explain (articulate) why it isn’t true.

    Virginia Warren: You keep saying that in anarchy everyone would have to defend themselves from violence all the time, but when I point out that you’re saying that you think everyone will suddenly start killing and robbing without a coercive State, you claim you don’t think that at all. Which is it?

    Unless you are claiming that the State is the source of all violence and coercion, then what makes you assume that if the state vanished that society would be any less violent and coercive than it is right now?

    Its like I said yesterday, you and Mr. Kennedy are making the anti-gun argument. Except you are substituting “government” for “guns”, and saying that if we just banished all guns, all (or a lot) of our problems would be solved.

    But Governments don’t kill (or coerce) Individuals. Individuals Kill (or coerce) Individuals!

  40. Virginia Warren: There was a contest to write a computer program that would perform well in an iterated PD contest, and the best performer was also the simplest program–it was called Tit for Tat. It always cooperated, unless the other player defected, and then it would defect on the next turn.

    Yeah. Interesting how it was the simplest program that wins – don’t you think?

    Virginia Warren: [I see no difference between Anarchy and “the Law of the Jungle”? …] If you see no difference, that it because you have already decided what I mean by anarchy, and are ignoring what I am actually saying. Your equation of anarchy with “survival of the fittest” or a “state of nature” is invalid. Again, anarchy does not mean “no rules” it means “no rulers”.

    If there is no “ruler”, then what authority makes the “rules”?

    Virginia Warren: It entails equality of authority.

    Isn’t that called a “Democracy”?

    Virginia Warren: In general terms, “government” refers to any institutions humans use to regulate their affairs, and does not necessarily involve anything like a coercive State.

    I agree.

    Virginia Warren: A private arbitration, defense or insurance firm is a government institution in this sense, but one that does not have the power to compel anyone to buy its services.

    I agree.

    Virginia Warren: There will always be government in this sense, because these institutions are useful. This is the only form government I advocate.

    Yes, but I notice two things:

    1) You concede that “There will always be a “government” in a sense, because these institutions are useful”, and
    2) Your are still advocating some form of governance, which conflicts with your statement that Anarchy is the absence of ANY form of government or controlling authority.

    In short, unless you plan on living isolated – as a hermit – then you are ALWAYS going to have to deal with the potential that another individual (or group of individuals) may control your actions from time to time. That is the very nature of Individuality. You cannot simply wave the magic Anarachy wand and make it go away.

    Virginia Warren: Upon thought, “survival of the fittest” is always the rule for any living thing, but humans have the advantage of being able to use their intelligence to change what being “fit” consists of.

    To some degree, I would concur. (i.e. I think I follow your point)

    Virginia Warren: For humans, being “fit” is not necessarily about the power to hurt other humans!

    I agree, although ultimately “Power” is the ability to control another, and the ability to annihilate another Individual is at least, in some regard, an ultimate form of control.

    Virginia Warren: Violence remains the most risky, expensive and inefficient means for addressing human problems, so for humans, “survival of the fittest” entails finding better ways than violence to solve problems.

    Violence (Harm) is ultimately a self-defeating philosophy. According to the doctrine of Karma (cause and effect, or equal and opposite reaction), any negative energy expressed eventually and inevitably returns to its source magnified over Time.

  41. Andy Stedman: This nicely describes customs, not coercive law. Most people at work walk on the right side of the hallway and look before they step around blind corners. There is no law, or even company regulation, that says they must do this, yet we do not have “hallway anarchy” with people running backwards around blind corners with their eyes closed.

    Positive and negative reinforcement describes (defines) a lot more than just customs Mr. Stedman. It defines everything.

    It is simply a matter of perceiving the reality of it.

    What do you call someone who randomly and uncontrollably runs red lights?

    Do you know the difference between someone who is “Insane”, and someone who is “Evil”? … it’s simply a matter of self-awareness.

  42. Virgina Warren: People can and do voluntarily agree to rules that benefit them–one such rule being the non-initiation of force. Why do you insist that rules can only exist if they are imposed from above?

    How is asserting that rules be mutually agreed to by the majority (i.e. a “Democracy”) the same as asserting the rules are “imposed from above”?

    Virgina Warren: I think this is a hopelessly pessimistic and inaccurate picture of human nature, and characteristic of an infantile carrot-and-stick morality.

    You believe that the majority mutually deciding on the rules is pessimistic and a corruption of human nature? I would say that advocating NO RULES is a more pessimistic perversion of human nature. You seem to be advocating we live like animals – not humans.

    Virgina Warren (prev): : It entails equality of authority.

    Serpent (prev): : Isn’t that called a “Democracy”?

    Virgina Warren: I think not. The United States is supposedly a democracy, which amounts to mob rule in which a tiny proportion of the population uses the violent power of government to force their wishes on their neighbors.

    If everybody is equal (i.e. everybody gets one vote) then how can you claim:

    1) that the U.S. is NOT a Democracy?
    2) that our government amounts to “mod rule” where only a tiny portion are able to wield power?

    Why do you believe only a “tiny portion” of the population controls the government? Are you saying that somehow the majority are prevented from voting and expressing their wishes?

    Virgina Warren: Equality of authority means that I can’t force anything on you, and you can’t force anything on me, or, if you want to force something on others, you have to bear the costs of doing so yourself.

    Okay, so lets explore this idea of yours.

    If you can’t force ANYTHING on me, does that mean that you and your friends can’t force me to believe (or accept) that murder, rape, and robbery are wrong? Does that mean that it is just as acceptable for me to murder, rape, and rob as it is for you NOT to?

    In other words, if authority is really equal than how can you get me to accept that authority is equal? Why should I believe what you believe, especially since you basic premise is that you have no authority to make me believe what you believe?

    Virgina Warren: For example, let’s say there’s this lady Alice, who thinks people should not wear hotpants. With the coercive power of government, Alice can vote for “laws” against hot pants, and get armed men to hassle or imprison people who wear hot pants, with no risk to herself, and the hot-pants-wearing people who are getting hassled are forced to pay for it.

    Yes, but you neglected to mention how on Earth Alice was able to convince a majority of the Individuals comprising the Society to pass a law against “hotpants”. Obviously Alice must have made a more convincing case than you are willing to concede, because she was able to convince the majority that her way was correct, while you are only able to feebly assert that your way is correct.

    Virgina Warren: In the absence of coercive government, if Alice want to stop people from wearing hot pants, she’s going to have to do it herself–that is, Alice bears *all the costs* of her bias.

    Nonsense! Alice already has borne the cost it all by herself, because according to Your own words, Alice was able to convince the voting majority that “hotpants” were “bad”.

    You seem to want to assert that the majority should always bow down and obey your divine word. But if your logic is as sound as you believe it is, then why is it that Alice prevailed over you? Why was Alice able to convince the majority that her point of view was correct, and your was incorrect? Obviously her logic was superior to yours. You just don’t want to concede the point. You want your way regardless of how it effects other people.

    In other words, you are the one attempting to coerce – not Alice!

    Virgina Warren: Alice could try to talk people out of wearing hot pants, she could try to buy up all the hot pants in the world and burn them, she could even attack people who wear hot pants, but she would *personally* bear all the consequences of these actions.

    And suppose that Alice is the only person that believes murder, rape, and robbery are morally wrong? I guess in your “perfect world” it would be Alice’s responsibility to tackle those problems all by herself?

    Virgina Warren: I *never* said anarchy is the absence of ANY form of government. I said anarchy is the absence of a *coercive* State. I advocate voluntary government.

    So define “voluntary government”. Or better yet, explain precisely why you believe that Democracy isn’t a form of “voluntary government”?

    Serpent (prev): In short, unless you plan on living isolated – as a hermit – then you are ALWAYS going to have to deal with the potential that another individual (or group of individuals) may control your actions from time to time.

    Virgina Warren: That does not follow at all. To live in society does not require anybody controlling anybody else. It requires people to control *themselves*.

    What makes you assume that ALL Individuals are capable of controlling themselves? Are murderers, thieves, and rapists controlling themselves?

    And living in a society does imply Individuals controlling other Individuals by necessity. Unless you are claiming that there are no traffic lights under a system of anarchy?

    You are driving along in your car, and suddenly you come upon a red traffic light, so you stop your car and wait for the light. The reason you wait is because, you are being controlled by the other Individuals who have the “green light”. Now you can pretend that these other individuals don’t control you, and you can pretend that you have “free will” to run the light, but that is pretty much the argument you have been making here as best I can tell.

  43. The Serpent: I mean … look, technically you don’t even “own” your own body. You only have the use of it while your “alive”.

    Only if you redefine “own” to mean “having exclusive control or use of, even after one’s death”.

  44. Serpent, if you think that convincing someone to come around to your point of view is the same thing as forcing your will upon them, I don’t even know how to talk to you.

    The truth is that the overwhelming majority of people do not have to be forced to refrain from violence, because they realize that it is in their self-interest to refrain from violence, and will use it only in self-defense.

    No, Serpent, I don’t stop at red lights because of the “law” that says I have to do so or suffer sanctions from the State. I stop at red lights because of the probability that I’ll get pulverized by a car coming down the cross-street. I stop at a red light because if I don’t I will be punished by the laws of physics, not out of fear of the “laws” of the State. I stop at a red light because it is in my self-interest to do so, both because I don’t want to damage myself or my property and because I don’t want to damage others or their property.

    If I don’t own my body, who does?

  45. Virginia Warren: How can Democracy be distinguished from mob rule? They both amount to the case where a large group of people force a slightly smaller group of people to submit to the larger group’s will.

    Right … you mean like the large mob who believes that murder and rape are wrong so they force the slightly smaller group of individuals who believe that murder and rape are NOT wrong to submit to the larger group’s will.

    That is how you get laws. Otherwise everyone can just do whatever the hell they want to anyone else and everyone lives like animals – survival of the fittest.

    All you are asserting is moral relativism. In other words, there is no “right” and “wrong”, there is no “Good” and “Evil”. Everybody should just be free to do whatever they please. If I choose to be a murderer or a rapist that makes me no less moral than you, who are not a murderer or rapist.

    Virginia Warren: That a large number of people have come to a certain conclusion has *absolutely no bearing* on the validity of that conclusion.

    True, but by the same token you can’t simply assume that the murdering minority has it right either.

    In fact, if there is no well to tell who is right, the minority or the majority, then I would say you go with what the majority says, because it maximizes benefits. You on the other hand seem to be saying that we should always go with what the minority says because the Individual is sacred – even though you concede that not everyone else will believe what you believe, and you can’t make them believe what you believe (that the individual is sacred).

    Virginia Warren: The reason it is wrong to force other people to do what you want, no matter how many other people agree with you, is that YOU MIGHT BE WRONG.

    I agree in principle; however, if you are attempting to murder me and my family, I can assure you that I an not going to refrain from attempting to kill you first because I am concerned that I might be doing the “wrong thing”.

    But there are a lot of things that I am convinced I am not wrong about. And I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t try and force those beliefs onto people who do not accept them. If I am wrong in reality, then the person I am attempting to convince should have no trouble turning the tables and convincing (forcing) me to accept that I was the one who was actually wrong.

    I don’t see that as a bad thing.

    Virginia Warren: It’s even worse than mob rule as Democracy is practiced in the United States, because Alice would *not* have to convince the majority of people that hot pants are wrong to get them banned. Did the U.S. steel industry have to convince the majority of voters that there should be restrictions on steel imports to get tariffs passed? Do they have to bear the costs of these restrictions?

    I thought we were discussing a true democracy, not judicial activism?

    I am not in favor of judicial activism and I have not been advocating that position.

    Virginia Warren: How is the U.S. government voluntary? If I do not desire the services of the U.S. government, can I refuse to pay for them?

    Sure, it’s a snap. You just move to a different country.

    Virginia Warren: I can try, but if I do, the U.S. government will send around thugs to kill me and steal my property. How can the U.S. government be distinguished from a criminal extortionist gang?

    What you say is incorrect.

    While it is true that the laws of Physics physically prevent you from taking your land with you when you leave, the U.S. government itself has no desire to take what is rightfully yours. You can sell off all of your real estate and take it’s Energy with you when you go.

    The Money (your time, and effort – your Energy) are yours to keep, but technically the land belongs to the country. You only own the use of it while you persist here. That use has a value. That value is what you own – not the land itself.

    I mean … look, technically you don’t even “own” your own body. You only have the use of it while your “alive”.

  46. Andy Stedman: Only if you redefine “own” to mean “having exclusive control or use of, even after one’s death”.

    But that is exactly my point Mr. Stedman. When you permanently leave one country for another it is analogous to your Soul leaving one universe for another universe. Your Soul can make the journey with it’s ego and experiences intact (analogous to your assets or wealth), but your body (analogous to “the land”) remains behind.

  47. Serpent: If there is no “ruler”, then what authority makes the “rules”?

    People can and do voluntarily agree to rules that benefit them–one such rule being the non-initiation of force. Why do you insist that rules can only exist if they are imposed from above? I think this is a hopelessly pessimistic and inaccurate picture of human nature, and characteristic of an infantile carrot-and-stick morality.

    Virginia Warren: It entails equality of authority.
    Serpent: Isn’t that called a “Democracy”?

    I think not. The United States is supposedly a democracy, which amounts to mob rule in which a tiny proportion of the population uses the violent power of government to force their wishes on their neighbors. Equality of authority means that I can’t force anything on you, and you can’t force anything on me, or, if you want to force something on others, you have to bear the costs of doing so yourself.

    For example, let’s say there’s this lady Alice, who thinks people people should not wear hotpants. With the coercive power of government, Alice can vote for “laws” against hot pants, and get armed men to hassle or imprison people who wear hot pants, with no risk to herself, and the hot-pants-wearing people who are getting hassled are forced to pay for it.

    In the absence of coercive government, if Alice want to stop people from wearing hot pants, she’s going to have to do it herself–that is, Alice bears *all the costs* of her bias. Alice could try to talk people out of wearing hot pants, she could try to buy up all the hot pants in the world and burn them, she could even attack people who wear hot pants, but she would *personally* bear all the consequences of these actions.

    2) Your are still advocating some form of governance, which conflicts with your statement that Anarchy is the absence of ANY form of government or controlling authority.

    Serpent, again, you are attributing to me statements I have never made, and that I do not agree with. Either you are ignoring everything I’ve written in favor of some pre-conceived and unwarrented notion you have of what I think, or you are being dishonest, or you are being careless.

    I *never* said anarchy is the absence of ANY form of government. I said anarchy is the absence of a *coercive* State. I advocate voluntary government.

    In short, unless you plan on living isolated – as a hermit – then you are ALWAYS going to have to deal with the potential that another individual (or group of individuals) may control your actions from time to time.

    That does not follow at all. To live in society does not require anybody controlling anybody else. It requires people to control *themselves*.

  48. The Serpent: What do you call someone who randomly and uncontrollably runs red lights?

    Dangerous.

    The Serpent: Do you know the difference between someone who is “Insane”, and someone who is “Evil”? … it’s simply a matter of self-awareness.

    How can I tell the difference without direct access to their experience.

  49. Virginia Warren: The entity that generated my body is my mother, Serpent.

    It was your Mother’s Fate to be your Mother, just as it was your Fate to be her daughter. But your Mother did not create your body, just as the Goddess did not create your Soul.

  50. Serpent (previously): If you and I are the only entities to exist, and You believe that ”A” is True, and I believe that ”A” is NOT True (i.e. ”A” is False), and over time you manage to convince me that your point of view is more correct than mine and that ”A” really is True then you have used logic to control me.

    In other words, your perception of reality has modified (controlled, forced, coerced) my perception of reality.

    Virginia Warren: That is not true, because people can (and do) still choose to hold beliefs that can be logically shown to be false.

    Not in their own minds. Or perhaps I should say that no Individual ever makes a choice that he or she does not perceive as the option of maximum benefit (i.e. there is always a most logical option from the point of view of any individual).

    In other words, another individuals beliefs may not make logical sense to you, but you can be certain that they make complete logical sense to the person in question. You merely lack the same information, which the other individual possesses. Either that, or you possess information beyond that which the other individual possesses. It is this discrepancy in information that accounts for the sensation of subjectivity between the two of you. Whereas what you both perceive identically is objective (logical) between you.

    Virginia Warren: Also, logic is by no means an infallible system.

    I’m not sure what you mean by this statement?

    Virginia Warren: If I think A is true and you think A is false, and through discussion I persuade you that A is true, what has happened is that you have changed yourself based on input you received from me. And it could be the case that I was wrong all along and I have convinced you to accept a false belief.

    Never-the-less the only way you could use Logic to convince me of something false is if your logic was superior to mine. In other words, your logic may turn out to be ultimately false, however it still must have been superior to my pre-existing logic, or you would have never been able to convince me.

    But you see, that is the great thing about Logic. Because it doesn’t really matter how far fetched a notion appears to be, if that notion is true in reality (like a round Earth as opposed to a Flat one) then eventually (over time) it is far easier to convince people one way (in the direction of Truth) than it is to convince them the other way (in the direction of Falsity). To claim otherwise is akin to denying the reality of evolution, or education/maturity (self-improvement), or technological progress. Even animal consciousnesses are able to determine what is true over what is false given time.

    Virginia Warren: It is possible to make a rigorously logical argument that still leads to an false conclusion if it starts from false premises.

    I agree. In fact, if you start with a false premise every conclusion based on that premise will in some way also be flawed.

    Why do you think I am always on Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Stedman about Atheism and their belief in “free will”? It is the fundamentally flawed premise in their worldviews from which all of their other inconsistencies (false beliefs) manifest.

    Virginia Warren: Even worse, it is possible to make a rigorously logical argument that leads to a true conclusion from false premises.

    I don’t see how?

    The only way I could see an initial faulty premise leading to a True conclusion is if the individual is NOT rigorously applying logic (similar to two negatives multiplying and making a positive).

  51. Virginia Warren: Serpent, if you think that convincing someone to come around to your point of view is the same thing as forcing your will upon them, I don’t even know how to talk to you.

    Let’s cut out the semantics and speak honestly (bluntly) with each other Ms. Warren – Graviton to Graviton.

    If you and I are the only entities to exist, and You believe that ”A” is True, and I believe that ”A” is NOT True (i.e. ”A” is False), and over time you manage to convince me that your point of view is more correct than mine and that ”A” really is True then you have used logic to control me.

    In other words, your perception of reality has modified (controlled, forced, coerced) my perception of reality.

    Virginia Warren: The truth is that the overwhelming majority of people do not have to be forced to refrain from violence, because they realize that it is in their self-interest to refrain from violence, and will use it only in self-defense.

    I agree, and if ALL people believed as we do (as opposed to only the Majority) then we wouldn’t even be having this discussion. It would be redundant. The problem is with those specific individuals who do not agree with us.

    In other words, just like with guns, it isn’t the gun that is evil, but the person and the purpose that the gun is used for. Guns don’t kill people – people kill people. The same people that are acting as the wrench in the gears of this reality.

    Virginia Warren: No, Serpent, I don’t stop at red lights because of the “law” that says I have to do so or suffer sanctions from the State. I stop at red lights because of the probability that I’ll get pulverized by a car coming down the cross-street. I stop at a red light because if I don’t I will be punished by the laws of physics, not out of fear of the “laws” of the State. I stop at a red light because it is in my self-interest to do so, both because I don’t want to damage myself or my property and because I don’t want to damage others or their property.

    Okay, but there is nothing in the laws of physics that says the atoms in your car must stop when a red light is perceived. It’s all in your mind. In fact, if the drivers going the opposite direction have no idea of what traffic lights are, or what red lights mean, then traffic lights pretty much lose their purpose. Put another way, it isn’t the light itself that is causing you and the other drivers to stop or go, but a common knowledge (common information – common belief) that “red light” means STOP, and that “green light” means GO (and that “yellow light” means go very fast ;) If everyone just made up their own traffic rules because they didn’t want to be coerced into following anyone else’s rules you would have “Road Anarchy”. Which I suspect would be just about as successful as the more general variety of anarchy.

    Virginia Warren: If I don’t own my body, who does?

    Technically you own it. At least while your consciousness occupies it. But in reality the entity that generates your body owns it – The Logical Goddess.

  52. John Venlet: I think the elaboration, which you have just provided, removes the “meaningless” from my previous statement. Individual to individual is the simplest solution. Government, as we know it today, is prodigal and intrusive.

    You making an unnecessary rule about what manner of entanglements are “acceptable” is what is prodigal. There is no need for it. Individuals can entangle in ANY way they find as beneficial, and you have no right to tell them what they are allowed, or not allowed to do.

    The fact that Logic leads many of them to organize into a Democracy is just a natural evolution of Individuals working together in a mutually beneficial manner.

    According to you, there is no authority to stop them from organizing, so they organize.

  53. Serpent (previously): Yeah. Interesting how it was the simplest program that wins – don’t you think?

    John Venlet: This is very interesting. But it does not support your premises whatsoever. This point supports the very thoughts which you argue against.

    A nice assertion, but unfortunately unless you are prepared to elaborate as to why you believe this contradicts what I have been saying your statement is rather meaningless.

    BTW – The reason that it is the simplest program that performs the best is because of the Law of Parsimony. In other words, anything more than what is needed is superfluous and unnecessary – an inconsistency (an error, a shortcoming) in the system.

  54. Virginia Warren: Here’s a true conclusion logically derived from a false premise.

    P1: Socrates is a dog.
    P2: All dogs are mortal.
    C: Therefore, Socrates is mortal.

    P1 one is false, P2 is true, C is true.

    Okay, P1 and P2 are your premises, and C is the conclusion so essentially we have:

    P1 + P2 = C

    However, while P1 and p2 are premises for this syllogism, they are also both conclusions from previous syllogisms of there own. That is how you derived them as premises in the first place (in other words, it is a Hierarchy of definitions (of terms)). So your premise P1 was derived from a syllogism that may have looked something like this:

    P1(1): Socrates is a mammal.
    P2(1): All mammals are dogs.
    C(1): Ergo, Socrates is a dog.

    And then C(1) becomes your premise #1 (P1) for the syllogism you listed in your last post.

    But do you see what I am getting at? It is the syllogism that you used to derive P1 that was truly flawed. And as a result your conclusion (P1) ends up flawed, and then that flawed conclusion/premise cascades into your (second) syllogism and causes a similar flaw there.

    Like I said yesterday, once you have a flawed premise in the system (your worldview), ANY subsequent conclusions based on that premise will in some way be flawed.

  55. Do you know the difference between someone who is “Insane”, and someone who is “Evil”? … it’s simply a matter of self-awareness.

    I would contend that there is no practical difference.

    For example, whether a woman kills her child because she’s “Evil” and she hates the kid and doesn’t want to take care of it, or she kills her child because she’s “Insane” and she thinks the child is possessed by demonic spirits, the effect is the same–the child is dead.

  56. If you and I are the only entities to exist, and You believe that ”A” is True, and I believe that ”A” is NOT True (i.e. ”A” is False), and over time you manage to convince me that your point of view is more correct than mine and that ”A” really is True then you have used logic to control me.

    In other words, your perception of reality has modified (controlled, forced, coerced) my perception of reality.

    That is not true, because people can (and do) still choose to hold beliefs that can be logically shown to be false. Also, logic is by no means an infallible system.

    If I think A is true and you think A is false, and through discussion I persuade you that A is true, what has happened is that you have changed yourself based on input you received from me. And it could be the case that I was wrong all along and I have convinced you to accept a false belief.

    It is possible to make a rigorously logical argument that still leads to an false conclusion if it starts from false premises. Even worse, it is possible to make a rigorously logical argument that leads to a true conclusion from false premises.

  57. Here’s a true conclusion logically derived from a false premise.

    P1: Socrates is a dog.
    P2: All dogs are mortal.
    C: Therefore, Socrates is mortal.

    P1 one is false, P2 is true, C is true.

  58. Andy Stedman: [Insane vs. Evil …] How can I tell the difference without direct access to their experience.

    I would contend that you cannot tell by their words, but you can tell by their actions (over time).

  59. Serpent, earlier in thread, states the following, in regards to the simplest computer program winning a PD contest: “Yeah. Interesting how it was the simplest program that wins – don’t you think?”

    This is very interesting. But it does not support your premises whatsoever. This point supports the very thoughts which you argue against.

  60. Serpent (previously): Do you know the difference between someone who is “Insane”, and someone who is “Evil”? … it’s simply a matter of self-awareness.

    Virginia Warren: I would contend that there is no practical difference.

    I would say that an “Insane” individual lacks self-awareness. Or more aptly they lack an awareness (a knowledge (information)) regarding the rules of a system. For example someone who doesn’t know that “red light” means STOP. Whereas an Individual is “Evil” if they are fully aware of the rules of the system, but perceive a negative reinforcement as a positive one. In a sense their “charge” is reversed.

    Virginia Warren: For example, whether a woman kills her child because she’s “Evil” and she hates the kid and doesn’t want to take care of it, or she kills her child because she’s “Insane” and she thinks the child is possessed by demonic spirits, the effect is the same–the child is dead.

    I agree that from your perspective or mine that the result is the same, but I am talking about the motivation here.

    Obviously if someone runs a red light and plows into your car the effect is the same from your point of view regardless of the reason. But of the two types of entities (insane and evil), which is ultimately a greater threat to You, me, and Society as a whole?

    The insane person hit your car because they didn’t realize, or couldn’t remember that “red” meant stop. But they didn’t have any malicious intention of harming you.

    The Evil person saw the red light, and knew that it meant he was suppose to stop, but he ran it anyway, because he didn’t feel like waiting, or maybe he wasn’t particularly worried about being killed? Obviously if he isn’t worried about getting killed himself (he might perceive that as beneficial) then the odds are good that he will be even less worried about killing you, or me. Who knows, he may even find it beneficial to kill you or me? Even for no apparent reason at all.

    In summary:

    – A good person stops at the red light because he does not wish to inflict any harm on other individuals. Stopping is beneficial for all concerned.
    – An insane person either stops or runs the red light randomly because they don’t understand what the rules are.
    – An evil person runs the light because it is beneficial from his point of view. His benefit is the only concern, harming other individuals is inconsequential at best, and beneficial (to him) at worst.

  61. “However, while P1 and p2 are premises for this syllogism, they are also both conclusions from previous syllogisms of there own.”

    No, in this case P1 and P2 we not derived and she did not claim they were derived. They were assumed for the sake of argument.

  62. Serpent: BTW – The reason that it is the simplest program that performs the best is because of the Law of Parsimony. In other words, anything more than what is needed is superfluous and unnecessary – an inconsistency (an error, a shortcoming) in the system.

    I think the elaboration, which you have just provided, removes the “meaningless” from my previous statement. Individual to individual is the simplest solution. Government, as we know it today, is prodigal and intrusive.

  63. The Serpent: Individuals can entangle in ANY way they find as beneficial, and you have no right to tell them what they are allowed, or not allowed to do.

    I don’t think anyone here has a problem with voluntary “entanglements” of any kind. The problem you’re trying to get around by assuming a “social contract” is that you can’t justly vote dissenters into a democracy. When you say, “let’s vote on whether we should have a democracy or not,” you are assuming your result–that everyone is already in a democracy.

  64. John Kennedy: They were assumed for the sake of argument.

    Well if you just want to make irrational assumptions you don’t need to involve logic at all.

    You might as well just assume that “God” exists, or you could assume that you have magic “free will” powers.

    But in Logic, everything is a sequence.

    1 + 1 = 2
    2 + 2 = 4
    4 + 4 = 8
    etc …

  65. Serpent: You making an unnecessary rule about what manner of entanglements are “acceptable” is what is prodigal. There is no need for it. Individuals can entangle in ANY way they find as beneficial, and you have no right to tell them what they are allowed, or not allowed to do.

    I do not presume to make any rules. I simply stated my thought. You, as an individual, are free to interpret it as you will. Though I would submit that you misinterpreted my statement. I agree with you wholeheartedly that individuals are free to entangle in “ANY” way they desire, but, do we have that freedom under the governmental system in which we live today?

  66. Andy Stedman: When you say, “let’s vote on whether we should have a democracy or not,” you are assuming your result–that everyone is already in a democracy.

    This country was a Democracy LONG before either You or I arrived here.

    You and Mr. Kennedy, keep wanting to conveniently overlook this fact.

    But even that point aside. In the same way that Non-murderers are going to assert their right of self-preservation over murderers, people who inhabit a region and wish to cooperate for mutual defense and security are going to assert their right for self-preservation over those foolish enough not to want to cooperate for mutual defense and security.

    In other words, just because you are part of the minority that believes it is morally wrong to kill someone in self defense, doesn’t mean that the rest of the population will agree with you.

    Individuals living in a society are responsible for their public expressions to the members of that society. Waving the magical Anarchy want doesn’t change that. You can’t be an asshole and treat your neighbors like shit, and then pass a law that says you aren’t an asshole. Similarly you can’t be an asshole, treat your neighbors like shit, and then assume that just because you live under a system of anarchy that your neighbors aren’t going to consider you an asshole (and treat you like one).

    Besides, none of you are talking about Anarchy anyway. We are really talking about Feudalism. And I really can’t see how Feudalism is better than Democracy?

  67. The Serpent: This country was a Democracy LONG before either You or I arrived here.

    Actually, long before anyone alive today arrived here. Can people consent to anything on behalf of their descendents, or only democracy?

    The Serpent: In the same way that Non-murderers are going to assert their right of self-preservation over murderers, people who inhabit a region and wish to cooperate for mutual defense and security are going to assert their right for self-preservation over those foolish enough not to want to cooperate for mutual defense and security.

    Well of course, and they have every right to organize in any voluntary way, to defend themselves from me when necessary. What I am objecting to is the idea that they may justly force me to pay to protect myself. If they do so, they are not choosing to “cooperate for mutual defense and security”, they are choosing to compel cooperation (an oxymoron) for mutual defense and security.

  68. John Venlet: I do not presume to make any rules. I simply stated my thought.

    Then you should accept Democracy as a natural result of evolution.

    John Venlet: You, as an individual, are free to interpret it as you will. Though I would submit that you misinterpreted my statement.

    It is possible I misinterpreted your statement. But I think you would be in a better position to determine that.

    John Venlet: I agree with you wholeheartedly that individuals are free to entangle in “ANY” way they desire, but, do we have that freedom under the governmental system in which we live today?

    I would say that the reason we evolved into a Democracy (and the reason that Democracy is superior) is because Democracy maximizes the number of potentially beneficial entanglements and minimizes the number of potentially harmful entanglements.

    Two entities (Individuals):

    1) Both want to entangle
    2) One wants to entangle, the other does not.
    3) Neither wants to entangle.

    An example of #1 is two people having consensual sex.
    An example of #2 is a mugger and his victim.
    An example of #3 is a homosexual looking for a roommate, and a conservative Christian fundamentalist looking for a place to live.

    #1 is perceived as beneficial by both parties concerned.
    #2 is perceived as beneficial by one party and harmful by the other.
    #3 is perceived as harmful by both.

    Okay, what if two murderers want to entangle to commit a murder together (#1)? Do other Individuals have a right to stop them before they move on to #2?

  69. Serpent: Okay, what if two murderers want to entangle to commit a murder together (#1)? Do other Individuals have a right to stop them before they move on to #2?

    The two murderers in your supposition, regardless of Democracy or Anarchy, do have a right to entangle, and, neither Democratic or Anarchist systems can prevent their collusion. As to the question if “other Individuals have a right to stop them before they move on to #2,” my answer is no. To elaborate on my thought let’s say I overhear the murderers, #1, plotting, which is supported by your presentation of your question. I think I have a couple of choices. First, I can converse with them, informing them I know of their nefarious plan and my objections to it. This approach may be successful, meaning there is a probability my reasoning with them may dissuade them from proceeding, voluntarily. This approach may also be foolhardy, on my part, as the two murderers may choose to, also probable, add me to their list of targets. I accept that risk voluntarily with the understanding that I, as an individual, am prepared to protect myself.

    My second choice, under the assumption once again that I overhead the murderers entangling, could be to inform the intended victim of a possible impending danger to himself from the murderers. At that point the intended victim could prepare for the possibility of the murderers actually attempting to bring to conclusion their entanglement. The intended victim’s actions, to protect himself, could also include my assistance, voluntarily given, to provide security. If, at that point, the murderers chose to act, with an actual attempt on the intended victim’s life, I would, without compunction, react, forcibly, against them.

  70. Andy Stedman: [The pre-existence of Democracy in the U.S. …] Actually, long before anyone alive today arrived here. Can people consent to anything on behalf of their descendents, or only democracy?

    Once you and I and all of the other descendants have arrived here we can decide to have whatever type of society we want, and those who come along after us will have to deal with what we have left. My point is that it is absurd to try and ignore the notion of Continuity.

    Andy Stedman: [Mutual cooperation …] Well of course, and they have every right to organize in any voluntary way, to defend themselves from me when necessary. What I am objecting to is the idea that they may justly force me to pay to protect myself.

    Are you saying that the very existence of “bad Individuals” (i.e. murderers, rapists, and thieves) doesn’t already “force you to pay to protect yourself”? I don’t see how a prohibition on government is going to solve the problem of these “bad individuals” so I don’t see how prohibiting government is going to solve the problem of you being “forced to pay to protect yourself”?

    Andy Stedman: If they do so, they are not choosing to “cooperate for mutual defense and security”, they are choosing to compel cooperation (an oxymoron) for mutual defense and security.

    That is because if you are NOT playing the white pieces in a game of chess, I can only assume that you are playing the black pieces.

    Look, let’s say that You, Me, and half a dozen other families live in some isolated valley. The other 6 men and myself come to you and we say that we have formed a mutual defense league. If anyone of us is attacked, or our house is broken into then the others vow that they will come to the aid of that person.

    YOU cannot expect us to come and help you, if you are unwilling to help us.

    Now I realize that you are probably think “Yes, but you and the other 6 are not forcing me to pay”. Which is true, we are only forcing you to “pay” if you want our help in defending yourself. If you don’t want our help, then you are not part of our “league” – our society.

    The thing is as soon as the “bad guys” find out you’re not part of our league, you have made yourself an easy target for them. You are alone. That is unless you work out some kind of alliance with the “bad guys”, in which case you are the enemy of our society.

    The thing is I bet there are at least a few in the league that will assume your desire not to be a part of our league is actually your way of telling us that you are already allied with the bad guys. In which case you are already our enemy, in which case we have every right to treat you like an enemy.

  71. John Venlet,

    How do you reconcile your belief in a Deity with your rejection of authority?

    Do you label yourself as an Agnostic, or as a Deist?

    (and yes, I realize you dislike “labels”, but humor me for a moment if you don’t mind.)

  72. John Venlet: The two murderers in your supposition, regardless of Democracy or Anarchy, do have a right to entangle, and, neither Democratic or Anarchist systems can prevent their collusion.

    I agree.

    John Venlet: As to the question if “other Individuals have a right to stop them before they move on to #2,” my answer is no.

    Conspiracy to commit murder?

    John Venlet: To elaborate on my thought let’s say I overhear the murderers, #1, plotting, which is supported by your presentation of your question. I think I have a couple of choices. First, I can converse with them, informing them I know of their nefarious plan and my objections to it. This approach may be successful, meaning there is a probability my reasoning with them may dissuade them from proceeding, voluntarily. This approach may also be foolhardy, on my part, as the two murderers may choose to, also probable, add me to their list of targets. I accept that risk voluntarily with the understanding that I, as an individual, am prepared to protect myself.

    Okay, I’m with you.

    John Venlet: My second choice, under the assumption once again that I overhead the murderers entangling, could be to inform the intended victim of a possible impending danger to himself from the murderers. At that point the intended victim could prepare for the possibility of the murderers actually attempting to bring to conclusion their entanglement. The intended victim’s actions, to protect himself, could also include my assistance, voluntarily given, to provide security. If, at that point, the murderers chose to act, with an actual attempt on the intended victim’s life, I would, without compunction, react, forcibly, against them.

    As would MOST people, owing to the fact that most people are good and/or moral.

    But my entire point has been that the problem is with the NON-Moral (or immoral) individuals in a society. If the immoral individuals are the real problem, then how does banning “governments” solve that problem? It doesn’t seem to address the real problem at all which IS NOT “Government”, but “bad Individuals”!

    Like I said yesterday, this sounds an awful lot like the anti-gun argument. In other words, we realize that a gun (like a “government”) is only bad in the hands of bad individuals, but since guns (like “government”) can only be used for inherently evil purposes it only makes sense to ban all guns (or all forms of “government”).

    In my mind, government is (or can be) a force for Good if wielded by Good individuals, but if it is wielded by Bad individuals it is a force for Evil (as the anarchist contend).

  73. Serpent: But my entire point has been that the problem is with the NON-Moral (or immoral) individuals in a society. If the immoral individuals are the real problem, then how does banning “governments” solve that problem? It doesn’t seem to address the real problem at all which IS NOT “Government”, but “bad Individuals”!

    I agree that, as you say, the real, or more aptly the root, problem is immoral individuals and, in all likelihood, that will remain the root problem. Now, as to how this addresses the additional problem of government remains to be considered. History, I think, has shown us that when governments are formed they are, in most circumstances, coercive. Granted, governments cannot form unless individuals ban together, and initially when governments are formed by individuals they may be benign or only beneficial, such as the league you describe in the valley in your comments to Andy. The problem arises as the government, which comprises the individuals of which it is made up, decides to extend its reach beyond that for which it was originally formed. It becomes, as Hobbes would say, a Levithan and, more ominously, coercive. More to the point, the government becomes representative of only a percentage of individuals to the detriment of those individuals who do not wish to participate. History supports this in almost all instances. Thus, I think, banning government, in favor of private arrangements, is more conducive to living.

  74. Serpent, I am simply a human individual. The fact that I believe in a Deity, does not, in my opinion, need to be reconciled with my rejection of authority. The Creator does not require me to accept authority because He gave me, you too by the way, the authority over myself. I do not hold to any one individual’s interpretation of the unknowable, so I cannot accept any label posited by the various theological philosophers since the beginning of time.

  75. John Venlet: Serpent, I am simply a human individual. The fact that I believe in a Deity, does not, in my opinion, need to be reconciled with my rejection of authority. The Creator does not require me to accept authority because He gave me, you too by the way, the authority over myself.

    How so? Can a tool do other than that which it was created for?

    John Venlet: I do not hold to any one individual’s interpretation of the unknowable, so I cannot accept any label posited by the various theological philosophers since the beginning of time.

    Words are labels Mr. Venlet. And there is no need to fear Words. It’s the meaning behind the label that is important.

    Besides, what makes you assume that “God” is unknowable?

    Is Tlop (The Laws of Physics) also “unknowable”? (isn’t “unknowable” a “label”?)

  76. Serpent: “How so? Can a tool do other than that which it was created for?”

    Your question assumes that I accept that I am a tool. Which I do not. Cannot a hammer, created to pound nails, also act as a weapon?

    Serpent: “Words are labels Mr. Venlet. And there is no need to fear Words. It’s the meaning behind the label that is important.”

    “Besides, what makes you assume that “God” is unknowable?”

    “Is Tlop (The Laws of Physics) also “unknowable”? (isn’t unknowable a “label”?)”

    Words are labels, no doubt, and I have no fear of words. The meaning behind the label, I agree, is important, but, as Emerson wrote, “If I know your sect, I anticipate your argument.” I choose not to hid behind a label. Why do you choose to hid behind the label “The Serpent?” I’ll accept a label for myself. Either human or sovereign individual.

    My assumption on the unknowableness of “God” is simply an opinion, based on self knowledge, historical writings that I have consumed, and observation. “God” may very well be knowable.

    As to the Tlop, I have only a rudimentary knowledge of physics, so I cannot speak to their unknowableness or knowableness. I do know some of Tlop are known.

    Unknowable could be a label, but, I was using unknowable as a adjective.

  77. Serpent: “How so? Can a tool do other than that which it was created for?”

    Your question assumes that I accept that I am a tool. Which I do not. Cannot a hammer, created to pound nails, also act as a weapon?

    Serpent: “Words are labels Mr. Venlet. And there is no need to fear Words. It’s the meaning behind the label that is important.”

    “Besides, what makes you assume that “God” is unknowable?”

    “Is Tlop (The Laws of Physics) also “unknowable”? (isn’t unknowable a “label”?)”

    Words are labels, no doubt, and I have no fear of words. The meaning behind the label, I agree, is important, but, as Emerson wrote, “If I know your sect, I anticipate your argument.” I choose not to hid behind a label. Why do you choose to hid behind the label “The Serpent?” I’ll accept a label for myself. Either human or sovereign individual.

    My assumption on the unknowableness of “God” is simply an opinion, based on self knowledge, historical writings that I have consumed, and observation. “God” may very well be knowable.

    As to the Tlop, I have only a rudimentary knowledge of physics, so I cannot speak to their unknowableness or knowableness. I do know some of Tlop are known.

    Unknowable could be a label, but, I was using unknowable as a adjective.

  78. John Venlet: [Can a tool do other than that which it was created for?]
    Your question assumes that I accept that I am a tool. Which I do not. Cannot a hammer, created to pound nails, also act as a weapon?

    Let’s put aside the semantics for a moment if we can Mr. Venlet. When I am using the term “tool” here, I am simply implying that YOU did not create yourself.

    And if You were created by some other force (or entity) – and it appears you were — then isn’t it true that the force/entity which made you also preordained your Destiny (your purpose, your function, your abilities) to a far larger degree then what you can lay claim?

    I made a post to your Blog this morning. If you are interested (if you prefer) we can continue this discussion over there?

  79. Serpent –

    It would probably be wise to continue the discussion at my blog, but, let me address this, as posted by you above,

    “And if You were created by some other force (or entity) – and it appears you were — then isn’t it true that the force/entity which made you also preordained your Destiny (your purpose, your function, your abilities) to a far larger degree then what you can lay claim?”

    Though I do agree that some other entity created me, I do not agree that my destiny, or anyone elses, is preordained. Every individual is allowed free choice as to their purpose and function. As to the depth of individual ability, I do not have an answer.

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