The Perils Of Partisan Politcs

In a nutshell, playing in electoral politics encourages you to make a raging asshole of yourself, like most of the other participants do. Like this guy here:

So, Gore has decided to call me a Digital Brown Shirt because I’m a blogger who looks for the truth, eh? Well, fine then! Here’s an icon for all my fellow bloggers. Display it proudly on your site! Claim the title of Digital Brown Shirt!

Here’s an even less tasteful take. Look quick, though, ’cause the memory hole appears to be getting used full-time on this one. Also look over the links there at the bottom: those are the sorts of folks who hate the Democrats more than they do their own self-imposed association with this:


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Above: An old-school analog brown shirt valiantly battles “Idiotarians“.


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131 thoughts on “The Perils Of Partisan Politcs”

  1. This is certainly worse than calling bloggers Nazis! These Digital Brownshirts need to be stopped! Now they are even ADMITTING they are brownshirts!

    I hope Al Gore, Moore, Chomsky and his ilk win the battle (along with libertarian support) and lock these NAZI blogggers up!

  2. It’s a classic blunder. I hear Magneto was drunk off his ass when he decided it would be funny to call his team the Brotherhood Of Evil Mutants. He never lived it down.

    And oh yeah, veterans of the Whitewater group won’t forget the self identified Lying Socialist Weasels…

  3. Sharp,
    I don’t hate Dems & don’t love the Pubs. Sorry to ruin a perfectly assinine argument.

    You’ve missed the point, I’m afraid: you’re trying to do Gore one better by being one worse. Get it? You’ve just lost the moral high ground to Al Gore.

    Congrats.

    Walsingham,
    The “Digital Brownshirt” was satire recognized as such by everyone whose purpose wasn’t served by intentionally missing that point. Like you.

    I recognize it as satire. Particularly tasteless and unfunny satire. Perhaps your subtle Democrat-bashing is lost amidst the visions of book-burning and Jew-beating that the image of the SA invokes among people who aren’t wide-eyed politico-zombies. Or to make the point another way: you’re trying to drain the sewer by drinking it.

    Bottoms up.

  4. Walsingham,

    That said….you have the most interesting masthead graphic I have seen in a while. The guy in the red hat I know…but I don’t know the eye and it looks vaguely familiar. Where is that from?

    No Treason’s logo was produced by our own John Sabotta.

    Those are the two faces of the state: Santa Claus and Big Brother. There’s a link to their campaign banner right below their image.

  5. Cool, the best you can do is “asshole”. If I didn’t respect other people’s privacy I’d send you some more creative emails I’ve received.

    I don’t hate Dems & don’t love the Pubs. Sorry to ruin a perfectly assinine argument.

  6. Sharp,

    Since you construed this from Gore…

    The Administration works closely with a network of “rapid response” digital Brown Shirts who work to pressure reporters and their editors for “undermining support for our troops.”

    …as referring to you, it sure sounded like you were copping to be more or less working with the Administration.

  7. That said….you have the most interesting masthead graphic I have seen in a while. The guy in the red hat I know…but I don’t know the eye and it looks vaguely familiar. Where is that from?

  8. Not even a good try.

    The “Digital Brownshirt” was satire recognized as such by everyone whose purpose wasn’t served by intentionally missing that point. Like you.

    There is no “memory hole”. The post still stands.

    You want tasteless? Try this.

  9. Well – what do YOU suggest?

    I’ve been accused of being the sort of person who would murder, torture and lock up people who disagree with me – or even people who don’t disagree, but are ‘different’ in ways that don’t even matter.

    I deeply resent that accusation, particularly coming from the party that advocated the shooting of a high-ranking government offical (Google the St. Petersburg Gabbler, St. Petersburg Democrat Party).

    Mockery is one way to combat these vicious falsehoods. A class-action lawsuit against Mr. Gore for defamation might be another.

    Or do you think we just quietly take it? Ain’t gonna happen; not an option.

    Mr. Gore’s statement is an unfair, vile falsehood that tarnishes me personally and worse, diminishes the very real evil that the Nazis and brownshirts were.

    You think you’re so smart and so superior – fine. YOU start putting a stop to this sort of nonsense, and you do it now.

  10. You think you’re so smart and so superior – fine. YOU start putting a stop to this sort of nonsense, and you do it now.

    The best way to put a stop to politicians being stupid is to ignore them.

  11. OOooooooo Nooooooooo . . . that’s a strong statement, John T. Kennedy, and it really requires a week’s worth of a response. The short version: “Gee, that’s an awful grim viewpoint. I think most people can rise above it in practice, although the current fashion is, as you suggest, to be as obnoxious and destructive as possible.”

    I’d like to see the style of discussion change, tho.

  12. I certainly wouldn’t object if Al Gore and the St. Pete Democrat party (and others of similar ilk) take a permanent vacation from politics, although it seems a little drastic. It would be sufficient if they would simply be civil.

    Civility requires a permanent vacation from politics because democracy is by it’s nature a decidedly uncivilized undertaking.

    There is no civilized way to play Who Gets To Ram What Down Someone Else’s Throat.

  13. I certainly wouldn’t object if Al Gore and the St. Pete Democrat party (and others of similar ilk) take a permanent vacation from politics, although it seems a little drastic. It would be sufficient if they would simply be civil.

    But if you can convince them to take that much-needed vacation, please do.

  14. It’s not a style of discussion, it is the essential nature of democracy. It doesn’t matter how you sugar coat it, the whole point of the democratic process is to decide Who Gets To Ram What Down Someone Else’s Throat. What the hell do you think you’re voting on?

    I have risen above it and you could too.

  15. I am forced to wonder if you are related to THE Kennedy clan, since you apparently believe that popular elected government’s purpose is to give power to people who will force what you want down other people’s throats, rather than vice-versa.

    I’m sorry, does that make me a “democrat hater”?

    It demonstrates cluelessness.

  16. “those are the sorts of folks who hate the Democrats more than they do their own self-imposed association with this:”

    By which I am forced to conclude that you:

    A) believe that Al Gore’s comment about “Digital Brownshirts” is, in fact, accurate

    B) don’t have a grasp on the concept of satire

    C) believe that the current administration is the reincarnation of Nazism

    or

    D) Some combination of the above.

    In association with this quote:

    “…the whole point of the democratic process is to decide Who Gets To Ram What Down Someone Else’s Throat”

    I am forced to wonder if you are related to THE Kennedy clan, since you apparently believe that popular elected government’s purpose is to give power to people who will force what you want down other people’s throats, rather than vice-versa.

    I’m sorry, does that make me a “democrat hater”?

    Yet you claim that you have “have risen above it.”

    I fully understand “Ugly TRUTH’s” belly-laugh. I suspect that you do not.

  17. Kevin,

    By which I am forced to conclude that you:

    A) believe that Al Gore’s comment about “Digital Brownshirts” is, in fact, accurate

    B) don’t have a grasp on the concept of satire

    C) believe that the current administration is the reincarnation of Nazism…

    A): Al Gore is a raving dipshit (props to Beck for that summary). Those yammerhead conservatives spouting this “brownshirt” crapola are merely one-upping that raving dipshitism.

    B): As I noted, it’s particularly tasteless and unfunny satire. I’m sure that the ghosts of Dachau are having a real good laugh now about this, Kevin.

    C): Bush and Co. are doofuses, not Nazis.

    I note that you aren’t displaying the digital brownsirt logo on your site, Kevin. Why not?

  18. Because I found it satirical, but I’m not a blogger who fact-checks general politics.

    I’m specific in my area of interest.

    Oh, and I DO “give two flips about the War On Terror,” John.

    While we appear to agree that our choices in government are between a wedgie (the Republicans) and castration (guess who?), I am not suffering under the illusion that elimination of The State will result in a superior condition for man. Nor do I suffer under the illusion that it’s going to happen any time soon, either.

    Oh, and the doofuses sure seem to be outsmarting the brilliant, don’t they?

    Hell, the raving dipshit came that close to being President.

    Thank jeebus for doofuses.

  19. Because I found it satirical, but I’m not a blogger who fact-checks general politics.

    There isn’t any “general politics” about this, Keith. It’s simply a matter of common decency (now an almost oxymoronic phrase) and taste. People with taste don’t voluntarily paint themselves as “brownshirts” in an attempt to make Al Gore (Al Gore!) look bad. That’s the whole point about “perils” – this is exactly the sort of gutter-scraping nonsense that electoral politics encourages.

    You hate Gore so much that you’re coming to the defense of the indefensible, just to try and hold some nebulous political ground against “The Left”. It’s just plain shameful.

    Oh, and I DO “give two flips about the War On Terror,” John.

    Bully for you. Now if FedGov would simply step out of your way, you might be able to make a useful contribution to the Terror War.

    While we appear to agree that our choices in government are between a wedgie (the Republicans) and castration (guess who?), …

    Wrong again. The only difference is that the Democrats come out and say that you’re their food, while the Republicans lie to your face. For which voting conservatives thank them. See They All Ought To Shut The Fuck Up About How “It’s Your Money” Until They Actually Mean It.

    …I am not suffering under the illusion that elimination of The State will result in a superior condition for man.

    You can trip on over to Catallarchy if you want an explication of how free markets are better from the practical standpoint, Keith. Here’s my filter: The World’s Most Direct Political Quiz.

    Nor do I suffer under the illusion that it’s going to happen any time soon, either.

    And neither do I, but I’ll bet you think you’ll see some improvement via political means in your lifetime.

    Oh, and the doofuses sure seem to be outsmarting the brilliant, don’t they?

    Who’s Bush outsmarting?

    Hell, the raving dipshit came that close to being President.

    <shrug>

    So what? There’ll be worse, soon.

  20. “It’s fundamental principal was the defense of individual rights -…”

    No, because government is not possible by that principle.

    “So far, the only means available is the formation of government,…”

    That simply acknowledges you are at the disposal of The People.

  21. John, check your reading comprehension. You seem to have a problem with that, too.

    First, it’s KEVIN, not “Keith.”

    Second, the “gutter scraping nonsense” has been getting more intense for several years. On this we agree. It would appear from what I’ve been seeing that sooner rather than later the fringe elements are going to start doing more than hurling verbal barbs. It’s gotten that bad. You’re offended by some people taking the “Brownshirts” vitriol lightly instead of with righteous anger? I thought you were decrying the people who handled it with (admittedly tastess) humor. But then you guys advise detachment from the political process. Different strokes, I suppose. If you’re so detached, why the hell do you care?

    Third, I don’t hate Al Gore. I pity the guy, and I’m glad as hell he didn’t end up in the White House, though.

    Fourth, my “useful contribution” to the War on Terror(ists) is to try to keep myself informed on what’s going on so that I can harrass the useless pustules that supposedly represent me in Congress if I see something that really pisses me off. Other than that, I let the people fight the war without joggling their elbows while I make a living and contribute to the national economy to help pay for it all. See, I accept that I’m a citizen of (an admittedly flawed) society, not some detached observer that simply suffers the ignorant fools around me while using the infrastructure that society has built and maintains. At least Ted Kaczynski moved into a little cabin in the woods without utilities when he bitched about how the world was going to hell.

    Fifth, our form of government works only so long as enough people are willing to do the work required to keep it in check. Both the Republicans and the Democrats have done a marvelous job of using bread and circuses to distract a lot of us, but not all. I think that if you ever accepted the concept of a democratic Republic at all, you’ve rejected it because it doesn’t meet your standards for perfection. There’s no such thing as an ideal government, which brings me to point six.

    Free markets are wonderful. But they don’t protect you from people who are willing to strap bombs on their bodies to kill you because you don’t pray towards Mecca five times a day. They don’t stop people organized under other political models who arm up and come marching to kill you and take what’s yours. Idealism doesn’t work in the real world. Our system, flawed as it is, has built the most creative, most productive society ever to have existed on the planet. Unfortunately our success seems to have contributed to our decay. That appears to be normal, though, if you study history much. I’m willing to defend the system that was constructed over 225 years ago because it worked – and as broken as it is today, it still works.

    But you want to smash it all and try something new because your theory says it’ll be wonderful. Marx’s theory looked wonderful, too. But your theory shares a common problem with his: You both seem to ignore human nature. The Founders did not. They were simply unsuccessful in figuring out a way to keep the hands of the power hungry off the reins. Thomas Jefferson recommended small rebellions from time to time to keep the public servants aware of their duties. Unfortunately, we had a really big one that has seemed to put us off rebellions for so long it just might be too late for one to do any good.

    Point seven: I don’t expect to see improvement in the political system in my lifetime. I’d like very much to hold the status quo, though, rather than sliding further into socialism. You, however, seem to advocate for anarchy. I don’t consider that an improvement over where we are now, particularly looking at the rest of the world who wouldn’t be joining us on our little journey into a pure free-market society, and who might have other ideas on how to take advantage of our situation.

    Point eight: Who’s Bush outsmarting? Gore, Chriac, Saddam, Schroeder, Annan, and McAuliffe to name a few. People just seem to keep misunderestimating him, it seems.

    Hey, you’re a “glass half full” kinda guy apparently. I’m not. Here’s a lemon. Why don’t you suck on that while I make some lemonade with mine.

  22. First, it’s KEVIN, not “Keith.”

    Ouch. Sorry.

    See, I accept that I’m a citizen of (an admittedly flawed) society, not some detached observer that simply suffers the ignorant fools around me while using the infrastructure that society has built and maintains.

    Who built infrastructure, Kevin? “Society”?

    <blink>

    And you have an Ayn Rand quote at the top of your site, too. Jesus. “Society” is like “the public” – an ambiguous collective. It’s undefined and undefineable, and it’s inevitably used when someone wants to crush “The Smallest Minority” under the treads of their personal value-tank. Un-fucking-real. That quote at the top of your site is true, and it’s an affirmative endorsement of anarchism, Kevin. Not lukewarm conservatism, not old-school Constitutionalism, but 200-proof straight-up individualism.

    She couldn’t get around the conflicts inherent in her application of her philosophy, Kevin, not never. Can you see why your endorsement of government is a contradiction with that quote? I’ve deleted everything else, because this one point is that important. You endorse the individual, yet at the same time you endorse sacrificing that individual to the needs of “society”. You can’t eat you cake and then have it, too.

    So, which is it that you want: collectivism, or individualism?

  23. A history of the most free and most productive society in recorded history. That’s a pretty good justification if you acknowledge that governments are a necessary evil. You don’t acknowledge that.

    No. A “necessary evil” is self-contradictory. If evil is necessary, why term it evil?

    And that makes it different from every other government… how, exactly?

    Not different at all, Kevin. Every band of robbers and murderers is eager to rob and kill “The Smallest Minority” to enrich themselves – that’s what makes them robbers and murderers.

    Here’s how: It’s fundamental principal was the defense of individual rights…

    No it was not, Kevin. Go think about what a “tariff” is, and what it implies. Then, come back and tell me how that “defends individual rights”.

  24. “The Founders might be forgiven for thinking that a piece of paper could overcome human nature, but after better than 200 years of steady decline, what justification can be given for the idea of a Constitutional Republic?”

    A history of the most free and most productive society in recorded history. That’s a pretty good justification if you acknowledge that governments are a necessary evil. You don’t acknowledge that.

    “A government that doesn’t fund itself coercively doesn’t deserve the title…”

    I’m glad we both acknowledge that.

    “That’s what the US government does, Kevin: it robs and murders to support itself.”

    And that makes it different from every other government… how, exactly? Here’s how: It’s fundamental principal was the defense of individual rights – and it’s done that job better (though absolutely not remarkably well) than any other government in history. Two hundred and twenty-eight years of decay have certainly made it worse and it’s still orders of magnitude better than any other government going, IMHO.

    “(W)hat I want is to find a means for an individual to defend his production from the mob.”

    So far, the only means available is the formation of government, with all the evils that entails. I repeat myself: You’re an idealist. But we live in the real world.

  25. Anarchy (as you apparently promote it) is an ideal system – and because all ideal systems apparently ignore human nature, so, like socialism it won’t work.

    Let’s be perfectly clear, Kevin: I am an anarchist. I’m not ignoring human nature, either. It’s human nature to be corrupted by power over other human beings (think: The Milgram Experiment). The Founders might be forgiven for thinking that a piece of paper could overcome human nature, but after better than 200 years of steady decline, what justification can be given for the idea of a Constitutional Republic?

    Spooner was wrong about the illegitimacy of government.

    Governments are formed by men to allow groups to accomplish what individuals cannot. All concentrations of power risk (I’d argue guarantee) abuse of that power. But a government (as Randy Barnett argues) is legitimate so long as it works to guarantee the rights of the individual. Individuals cannot do that effectively themselves.

    I have Barnett’s book, and he fails to answer Spooner. Heck, he doesn’t even make an attempt at most of Spooner’s arguments. A government that doesn’t fund itself coercively doesn’t deserve the title, and the Constitution most certainly includes provisions for the government to fund itself by stealing from folks. If your organization robs and kills people for its support, that makes your organization a band of robbers and murderers, as Spooner pointed out. That’s what the US government does, Kevin: it robs and murders to support itself.

    I’d agree that individuals can’t effectively guarantee their rights. I’d also agree that individuals can’t effectively produce a lead pencil, either. That does not mean that the proper solution to the Lead Pencil Problem is to coerce money from people to pay for lead pencils for them.

    Anarchy is a system that cannot work because people will always form groups so that they may protect what is theirs from those who would take it from them. Government in some form is inescapeable so long as humans associate with each other.

    I think you misunderstand what anarchy is, and what government is. Voluntary cooperation is fine, involuntary servitude is not.

    I want a collective of people who respect the rights of individuals. That’s how the Founders set the system up.

    One might argue that their intent was to set up such a system. A simple contemplation of what “tariffs” imply blasts the notion of “respect for individual rights” out of the water, unless your conceptualization of individual rights does not include keeping the product of your labor.

    In any case, Spooner’s devestating closure of No Treason No. 6 stands:

    But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain—that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.

    You want a homogeneous population, all believing in those same rights,…

    No, what I want is to find a means for an individual to defend his production from the mob. If the mob can’t get his stuff, or even find out what he has, it matters nothing what they think his rights to it are.

  26. Sorry about the delayed response, John.

    In “deleting everything else” you deleted this, too:

    Free markets are wonderful. But they don’t protect you from people who are willing to strap bombs on their bodies to kill you because you don’t pray towards Mecca five times a day. They don’t stop people organized under other political models who arm up and come marching to kill you and take what’s yours. Idealism doesn’t work in the real world. Our system, flawed as it is, has built the most creative, most productive society ever to have existed on the planet. Unfortunately our success seems to have contributed to our decay. That appears to be normal, though, if you study history much. I’m willing to defend the system that was constructed over 225 years ago because it worked – and as broken as it is today, it still works.

    Anarchy (as you apparently promote it) is an ideal system – and because all ideal systems apparently ignore human nature, so, like socialism it won’t work.

    The Declaration of Independence states: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed….” Given the title of this blog I see you’re devotees of Lysander Spooner. The Founders were incorrect in their assertion of the “consent of the governed,” but Spooner was wrong about the illegitimacy of government.

    Governments are formed by men to allow groups to accomplish what individuals cannot. All concentrations of power risk (I’d argue guarantee) abuse of that power. But a government (as Randy Barnett argues) is legitimate so long as it works to guarantee the rights of the individual. Individuals cannot do that effectively themselves.

    Ezra Taft wrote an essay on The Proper Role of Government. In it he said “In order for man to prosper, he cannot afford to spend his time constantly guarding his family, his fields, and his property against attack and theft, so he joins together with his neighbors and hires a sheriff. At this precise moment, government is born.” I disagree with much Taft had to say in his essay, but that point is accurate.

    Anarchy is a system that cannot work because people will always form groups so that they may protect what is theirs from those who would take it from them. Government in some form is inescapeable so long as humans associate with each other. The trick is to keep the abuses of government minimized.

    Jefferson recommended small periodic rebellions and constant review of the Constitution. He might well have been right, but he too ignored human nature.

    Most human beings value security, and freedom is dangerous. That is why freedom is such a rare commodity in this world. By maximizing individual freedom through anarchy, you also maximize risk – and most people won’t go for that.

    You asked, “So, which is it that you want: collectivism, or individualism?” I want a collective of people who respect the rights of individuals. That’s how the Founders set the system up. It’s suffered 228 years of decay, chipped away at by the power-hungry who are aided and abetted by the safety-seekers, but it is, at its core, the best system of government ever established. You want a homogeneous population, all believing in those same rights, so that no government is necessary. That’s a pipe-dream.

    I hold no illusion that we can exist as human beings without some form of government. So long as some group is willing to form, that group will be able to exert overwhelming force against individuals, violating their rights. And they will. And by doing so, they will force others to join together and form their own governments to resist that violation.

    Human nature demands it.

  27. “How would you prevent your free market judges from selling themselves to the highest bidder?”

    By patronizing other judges when they do. How would you prevent your politicians from selling their services to the highest bidder?

    How would you prevent a hostile government from taking over your free market system, without forming a government yourself?

    By being too expensive to govern profitably.

  28. John, you wrote, “I’ve stopped playing in politics and started looking for another solution.” Yet you haven’t found one. You espouse an idealistic fantasy of an ideal society, yet you acknowledge that “the lazy and stupid voters vastly outnumber the intelligent and principled ones.” Those are the people who live around you and who will form a mob so that they can come take what’s yours. After all, taking what’s yours is easier that making it themselves. As I pointed out before that’s why governments form.

    One more time I will repeat: Free markets are wonderful. But they don’t protect you from people who are willing to strap bombs on their bodies to kill you because you don’t pray towards Mecca five times a day. They don’t stop people organized under other political models who arm up and come marching to kill you and take what’s yours.

    You reject government because it is, by its nature, coercive. But you cannot offer an alternative that will work. My rejection isn’t emotional, it’s logical – I accept that government is an inevitable byproduct of the association of human beings. I accept that human beings are, in the majority, venal and weak, and will accept the appearance of security over the risks of freedom. Thus I recognize that “(w)orking to keep government in check is hard,” but I see that work as worth doing and you don’t. You see it as futile, while I see your anarchistic idealism as loony. Hell, the ideal of Constitutional Repubicanism is, given human nature, a bit looney, but it created the most productive and most free nation ever.

    The closest thing to anarchism you can point to is primitive tribespeople. Even there someone is in charge and makes decisions for the collective. Sorry, but I’ll take the benefits of civilization that government makes possible, and I’ll contribute both to its support and to its restraint.

    The success of any social system is determined by the percentage of the society that buys into the common fundamental delusion. When enough peasants believe that the “royalty” is royal and rules by right, then the system “works” for that society. When they don’t , they revolt, and that system fails. Our common fundamental delusion is that our government protects our rights. It’s becoming more and more apparent that the government is not doing so. Perhaps some time in the future, we’ll revolt again, but I have absolutely no doubt that we will attempt to return to the delusion that the job of government is to protect our rights – “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” If I’m going to live under a government – and I am – that’s a pretty damned good delusion for my society to have.

    And I have absolutely no doubt that the overwhelming majority of people will reject your delusion of the superiority of Anarchy.

    You quote Billy Beck: “Under every stack of government paperwork is a loaded gun.” Mao said much the same thing: “All political power grows out of the barrel of a gun” is quite correct. It’s also why my personal hobby-horse is the right to arms. I recognize that I live under a government, and that all governments hold the potential to turn really, really bad. Under anarchy, I am wholly responsible for the protection of myself, my family, and the fruits of my production. Under the society in which I live, my government may bear some of that burden. But it, like the mob, can also turn on me.

    So long as I and enough of my fellow men hold the tools of resistance and the willingness to use them, we act as a check on the mob and against the excesses of government. What it means in reality is that I hold the ultimate choice in “choose(ing) a more complicated form of my own murder at the hands of the government” but I can make that choice hurt – and the government knows it. There is a gun under that stack of paperwork. And as long as I’ve got a gun, too, I can do the hard work required to keep that stack of documents from becoming simple summary execution orders.

  29. Mr. Kennedy:

    While you assert that government is not possible by the principle of defense of the rights of individuals, I assert that a government that recognizes the concept of individual rights is going to be far superior to one that does not.

    Hopefully you are not another binary thinker as Mr. Lopez seems to be. There is a vast spectrum of bad when it comes to governments, and on that scale ours has been and remains the least invasive and the most protective of those rights.

    Do I acknowledge that I am “at the disposal of The People”? Were I living in a state of anarchy, my choices – should the mob decide to take what was mine – would be different how? Yield or die, correct?

  30. Good question. It’s an expression. When you have two choices and one is less bad than the other, but neither is what you’d ideally want, you choose the “lesser of two evils.” If there’s a deadly and highly infectious disease that you have a vaccine for, but the vaccine itself will kill one in ten-thousand people, what do you choose? Getting the disease and dying, or taking the vaccine and risking that 1:10,000 chance? Which choice is the “good” one?

    Neither choice is evil in your example, but stealing from your neighbors because you can’t think of a safer way to live is evil.

  31. “A ‘necessary evil’ is self-contradictory. If evil is necessary, why term it evil?”

    Good question. It’s an expression. When you have two choices and one is less bad than the other, but neither is what you’d ideally want, you choose the “lesser of two evils.” If there’s a deadly and highly infectious disease that you have a vaccine for, but the vaccine itself will kill one in ten-thousand people, what do you choose? Getting the disease and dying, or taking the vaccine and risking that 1:10,000 chance? Which choice is the “good” one?

    Here the choice is anarchy or government. In a state of anarchy, the individual alone is responsible for protecting himself and his production from the mob. With a government there is (or at least can be) a system to help him do so. The American system, arguably, does that better than any other. As I noted above, human beings want security more than they want freedom, so they always choose government.

    Which brings up another point. People like you were the pioneers and explorers of history – the ones who couldn’t bear to live under the rules and regulations inherent in any system of government, and so would hie off to the hinterlands to live life on their own terms. That option is now pretty much closed. There are, essentially, no hinterlands to go to anymore. You could, I suppose, slip across the border and go to Northern Canada and try to be a modern mountain man, or off to South America to live in the deepest recesses of the Amazon rainforest, but instead you choose to live here in America and bitch that the system is illegitimate and that we aren’t living in a perfect state of freedom.

    My point is that you choose to live here and accept the benefits and endure the infringements on your rights (you do pay taxes, I assume?) Yet you’ve decided to detach yourself from that system and do essentially nothing more than bitch about how “unfree” it is. I said, several posts above, “our form of government works only so long as enough people are willing to do the work required to keep it in check.” You’ve added yourself to the list of people no longer even attempting to keep the government in check.

    You have a binary vision of the world. Government=bad (which we agree on)but also, Freedom=Anarchy. There is no middle ground for you. You equate the government of the United States – because it recognized the need to fund its activities and decided to do so through tariffs – with, oh, for example, Stalinist Russia.

    Let’s see: One government taxes trade. The other murders hundreds of millions as a matter of policy.

    I’m sorry, but you just exposed yourself fully as a loon.

    Thank you for not voting.

    Have a nice day.

  32. In New Guinea anarchism is/has been practiced in the old time manner of family clans. It is important to note that people naturally ally with their relatives under ALL known historical examples, unless forcibly taken away from their people. Individualism to the exclusion of family is NOT human nature. In New Guinea about one-quarter of the male population is murdered, usually to steal property or a woman, or for revenge.

    Anarchism has been tried. It no more succeeds than does communism.

    John, Kevin is not advocating a mob forming to take your property. He’s predicting it, and proposing a Constitutional Republic as the fairest known way to allow you to keep most of your property, rather than having all your property seized and yourself be made into property.

    I recommend you notice that you have an informed, intelligent and experienced opponent in Kevin. You are going to have to go beyond the first level arguments, and maybe the second level as well.

    Yours,
    Wince

  33. “… you acknowledge that “the lazy and stupid voters vastly outnumber the intelligent and principled ones.” Those are the people who live around you and who will form a mob so that they can come take what’s yours. After all, taking what’s yours is easier that making it themselves.

    Listen to what you’re saying. Do you realize what a bizzare argument that is for approving of a process by which they will vote on the disposition of my person and property?

    As I pointed out before that’s why governments form.”

    Sure, because that’s what governments are intended to do. And your’s always has.

    You are advocating taking what’s mine because you think it’s easier than the alternative – you think it will be too hard for you to survive without coercive taxation.

  34. John, Kevin is not advocating a mob forming to take your property. He’s predicting it, and proposing a Constitutional Republic…

    …which will take my property.

    What is the upper limit on the amount of my property this Constitutional Republic will be entitled to take as the need arises?

  35. “John, Kevin is not advocating a mob forming to take your property. He’s predicting it, and proposing a Constitutional Republic as the fairest known way to allow you to keep most of your property, rather than having all your property seized and yourself be made into property.”

    Thank you, Wince. That’s pretty accurate.

    “Do you realize what a bizzare argument that is for approving of a process by which they will vote on the disposition of my person and property?”

    Do you realize you’ve missed the point entirely?

    “You are advocating taking what’s mine because you think it’s easier than the alternative – you think it will be too hard for you to survive without coercive taxation.”

    No, I am recognizing that “government” will always exist in some form or other, and that government must practice coercive taxation (no way around it, as noted above: “A government that doesn’t fund itself coercively doesn’t deserve the title.”) I submit, again, that human nature requires formation of governments – it’s how we’re wired. I am therefore interested in a system of government that minimizes such coercion. A Constitutional Republic built on a recognition of individual rights appears to be that system. It suffers from the same problem all successful governments do: entropy. Eventually the power-hungry acquire access to the levers of power and proceed to wreck the system for their personal benefit. Generally, the more individual freedom in the system, the faster it gets wrecked, but ours has held on far longer (and far more free) than most, under conditions of truly awe-inspiring and fast-paced change.

    It’s a system I’m willing to fight to maintain, even if I believe we cannot reverse the damage already done. I believe that the system will eventually fail. History indicates that all governments eventually fail, and the signs appear evident. But I believe the eventual failure of our system has two possible outcomes: Either the world will plunge into another Dark Age (where real anarchy will occur – and not the rosy image you & yours seem to predict) or the nation will be reborn under the ideals it was originally founded on, and we’ll get to try again. And the cycle will continue. (Third option, Alexander Tytler might be right, and we’ll get a couple of centuries of dictatorship, but only if they manage to disarm “The Smallest Minority” before the collapse.)

    I’m not holding my breath on Option II.

  36. Good question. It’s an expression. When you have two choices and one is less bad than the other, but neither is what you’d ideally want, you choose the “lesser of two evils.” If there’s a deadly and highly infectious disease that you have a vaccine for, but the vaccine itself will kill one in ten-thousand people, what do you choose? Getting the disease and dying, or taking the vaccine and risking that 1:10,000 chance? Which choice is the “good” one?

    But that’s a blatantly false analogy: the government doesn’t, ala a vaccine, affect just you. Your government affects everyone it can reach. Including me. Further, freedom isn’t a “deadly and highly infectious disease”.

    Here the choice is anarchy or government. In a state of anarchy, the individual alone is responsible for protecting himself and his production from the mob. With a government there is (or at least can be) a system to help him do so.

    “Here the choice is anarchy or government. In a state of anarchy, the individual alone is responsible for providing his food, clothing, and shelter. With a government there is (or at least can be) a system to help him do so.”

    Individuals cooperating in a free market seem to be doing a bang-up job providing themselves with food, clothing, and shelter, Kevin – certainly light-years above and beyond every effort that any government has ever made towards those.

    The American system, arguably, does that better than any other

    So, help me out here: are you pointing to the ample supply of safe streets and crime-free neighborhoods that our most government-infested areas (Chicago, Detroit, LA, DC, NY) have as a posititve towards government-provided security?

    As I noted above, human beings want security more than they want freedom, so they always choose government.

    I don’t choose government, Kevin, so that absoulte “always” is false. Y’see, most people choose the promise of security over freedom. Which is why the vast majority of them want socialized medicine.

    Which brings up another point. People like you were the pioneers and explorers of history – the ones who couldn’t bear to live under the rules and regulations inherent in any system of government, and so would hie off to the hinterlands to live life on their own terms. That option is now pretty much closed. There are, essentially, no hinterlands to go to anymore. You could, I suppose, slip across the border and go to Northern Canada and try to be a modern mountain man, or off to South America to live in the deepest recesses of the Amazon rainforest, but instead you choose to live here in America and bitch that the system is illegitimate and that we aren’t living in a perfect state of freedom.

    If the option is indeed “pretty much closed” and there are “essentially, no hinterlands to go to anymore”, then why are you complaining about my “bitching”? You “suppose” I could go to Northern Canada or the Amazon, but you’d likely have “supposed” that a white seperatist ought to go where there weren’t any black folks, or that a disaffected American Muslim ought to go live in the Mid-East.

    Those options, needless to say, didn’t go too well for Randy Weaver or John Walker Lindh. The government came after them anyhow.

    I have no obligation to choose a more complicated form of my own murder at the hands of the government in an attempt to please your sense of propriety.

    My point is that you choose to live here and accept the benefits and endure the infringements on your rights (you do pay taxes, I assume?) Yet you’ve decided to detach yourself from that system and do essentially nothing more than bitch about how “unfree” it is.

    I do choose to submit to robbery (taxes) rather than be killed (have the law “enforced” on me). As you yourself noted above, there is “essentially” nowhere else to go. In any case, the fact that I happen to live in a neighborhood controled by a powerful criminal gang, in no way means that I consent to that gang, or that it’s robbery of me legitimizes that gang.

    It’s the gang that’s illegitimate, Kevin. Not “The Smallest Minority”.

    I said, several posts above, “our form of government works only so long as enough people are willing to do the work required to keep it in check.” You’ve added yourself to the list of people no longer even attempting to keep the government in check.

    Working to keep government in check is hard, Kevin. But voting yourself a free lunch is easy. So what d’you suppose most people do? Work hard to keep government within its “delineated powers”, or pay fuzzy attention and vote for whichever candidate promises the most “free” goodies? It’s a losing game, and the steady, constant decline of freedom coupled with the steady increase in government “benefits” (Y’see, your arguments about “security” can be applied quite nicely to “health care” and “jobs”, too) is ample proof that the lazy and stupid voters vastly outnumber the intelligent and principled ones.

    But everyone’s vote counts the same.

    So I’ve stopped playing in politics and started looking for another solution.

    You have a binary vision of the world. Government=bad (which we agree on)but also, Freedom=Anarchy. There is no middle ground for you.

    That’s right, Kevin. Freedom means anarchy, because “freedom” means freedom for everyone, even “The Smallest Minority”.

    You equate the government of the United States – because it recognized the need to fund its activities and decided to do so through tariffs – with, oh, for example, Stalinist Russia.

    The only difference is in degree, Kevin. Would FedGov kill you any less dead for skating around a tariff (should you ignore their “fines” and “warrants”) than the collective-farm guards would kill a serf who tried to escape? Again, how do you square your purported defense of “The Smallest Minority” with a system that explicitly robs from and kills that selfsame Minority? How can you square the instantiation, in the form of a tariff, of the principle “The Greatest Good For The Greatest Number” with the idea of defending an individual’s rights?

    I encouraged you to think about what a tariff implies, Kevin, and you haven’t yet brought yourself to do so. So imagine what happens to a man who decides that his production is his own, and decides to snub the “tariff”. Sooner or later, FedGov is going to come down on him. At first it’ll be a threatening letter, perhaps, but sooner or later, Kevin, armed men are going to come for him. Those will be real guns, Kevin, and will kill that “Smallest Minority” dead, should their users choose to do so. And they will, if that’s what’s necessary to enforce that “tariff” you toss off so lightly.

    “Under every stack of government paperwork is a loaded gun.” — Billy Beck

    I’m encouraging you to think about the matter, Kevin, because you appear capable of doing so. This “loon” stuff is simply the ‘Net equivalent of running away screaming with your hands over your ears – an emotional rejection rather than an intellectual one.

  37. John:

    You wrote: “What is the upper limit on the amount of my property this Constitutional Republic will be entitled to take as the need arises?”

    Wince wrote that the Constitutional Republic is “the fairest known way to allow you to keep most of your property.”

    That’s the whole trick to any form of government, isn’t it? How much does the government get to take before the people “alter or abolish it, and institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

    The “upper limit” is the point where you – personally – choose the “form of my own murder at the hands of the government”. If there’s enough who choose to join you, you might win instead.

    And what do you get then? A new government. Not anarchy.

    As to your last question, you’re being deliberately obtuse.

  38. John,

    The free market rests on property rights protected by a government. I have given you a counter-example, New Guinea, where people, organized in families, protect their own property. The death toll is extreme. When one those folks protects his family by killing the man attempting to steal his wife and he is in turn killed for revenge I fail to see how his human rights are protected.

    Show me this free market without the judges to settle claims and the sherriffs who enforce those settlements. How would you prevent your free market judges from selling themselves to the highest bidder?

    I must admit, I would be interested to see your free market in action. Vernor Vinge has written at least one fascinating tale proposing such. Of course it pretty much required a deus ex machina to prevent takeover by a hostile government. How would you prevent a hostile government from taking over your free market system, without forming a government yourself? And would your free market resort to coercive taxes to raise the money to defend itself? If not, why wouldn’t the hostile government, which happily would raise taxes enough to win, prevail?

    Yours,
    Wince

  39. “So you’re proposing, as the solution, institutionalizing and ritualizing the process of the mob taking my stuff?”

    No, I’m recognizing that the “institutionalizing and ritualizing (of) the process of the mob taking (our) stuff” has already been done and cannot be undone. Everything else proceeds from there. You acknowledge that government has “stomped all over” your free market solution. And it will continue to. Why do you ignore this FACT?

    If your solution cannot be implemented, it is by definition an unattainable ideal.

  40. The “upper limit” is the point where you – personally – choose the “form of my own murder at the hands of the government”. If there’s enough who choose to join you, you might win instead.

    So then there is no theoretical moral restraint on a government? Nothing that it ought not to do?

    As to your last question, you’re being deliberately obtuse.

    No, he’s cutting to the heart of the matter, Kevin. You’re claiming this:

    I submit, again, that human nature requires formation of governments – it’s how we’re wired.

    Thus, you’re claiming that you need to live via coercion, and that you need to be coerced.

  41. No, I’m recognizing that the “institutionalizing and ritualizing (of) the process of the mob taking (our) stuff” has already been done and cannot be undone. Everything else proceeds from there. You acknowledge that government has “stomped all over” your free market solution. And it will continue to. Why do you ignore this FACT?

    I’m not ignoring this fact. I’ve acknowledged that a) the government is in place, b) I can’t control it – my vote is worthless, c) it’s far too incompetent to protect me. That leads to a conclusion that further dealings with it are fruitless, and that I need to look elsewhere.

    Further, the “cannot be undone” could have been said about the concept of “the divine right of kings”. Yet, it was undone.

    If your solution cannot be implemented, it is by definition an unattainable ideal.

    Can you attain your goal of “restraint” of government? No? The it’s an unattainable ideal.

  42. John, you wrote, “I’ve stopped playing in politics and started looking for another solution.” Yet you haven’t found one. You espouse an idealistic fantasy of an ideal society, yet you acknowledge that “the lazy and stupid voters vastly outnumber the intelligent and principled ones.” Those are the people who live around you and who will form a mob so that they can come take what’s yours. After all, taking what’s yours is easier that making it themselves. As I pointed out before that’s why governments form.

    So you’re proposing, as the solution, institutionalizing and ritualizing the process of the mob taking my stuff?

    One more time I will repeat: Free markets are wonderful. But they don’t protect you from people who are willing to strap bombs on their bodies to kill you because you don’t pray towards Mecca five times a day. They don’t stop people organized under other political models who arm up and come marching to kill you and take what’s yours.

    You reject government because it is, by its nature, coercive. But you cannot offer an alternative that will work.

    Yes, I can, Kevin. It’s called the free market. Just because FedGov has stomped all over the market for private solutions to protection to terrorists doesn’t mean that such a solution is not possible. And let me note as an aside that government protection from terrorism is likely about as effective as government-provided protection from criminals – y’know, the sort of thing that provides us with the bounty of safe streets we enjoy in this age.

    In any case, the argument that your need to live by coercion outweighs “The Smallest Minority’s” right to his stuff is truly bizarre.

    …The closest thing to anarchism you can point to is primitive tribespeople.

    No, Kevin: the closest thing to anarchism I can point to is the free market, a “system” that you trust to feed, clothe, and house you, yet you fail to trust to protect you from other threats.

    Sorry, but I’ll take the benefits of civilization that government makes possible, and I’ll contribute both to its support and to its restraint.

    Help me out here: government (coercion) makes “civilization possible”, yet it needs “restraint”. Why does government need restraint if it alone makes civilization possible? Did the Revolutionary War cause civilization to collapse, a civilization that came back only when the Constitution was written?

    Once again, “How can you square the instantiation, in the form of a tariff, of the principle “The Greatest Good For The Greatest Number” with the idea of defending an individual’s rights?”

    You can square those two ideas, can’t you Kevin?

  43. But the majority of humanity is more interested in security than in freedom, and because of this the establishment of governments is the norm.

    You need to recognize that circumstances can exist such that the majority cannot have it’s way. The internet, for instance, is not governed by majority rule. There are many things on the internet that the majority are effectively powerless to stop, though they would if they could at an affordable cost.

    The US government is trying to ban online gambling right now and most online gamblers hardly notice. The guy who just won the $5 million prize for the World Series of Poker won his entry into the tournament in an online event that many government officials will tell you is quite illegal.

    The majority doesn’t have an effective (affordable) say in whether online gambling will continue.

    Understanding the circumstances in which the majority cannot have it’s way is the key to understanding how individuals can shield their persons and property from government.

  44. As it is obvious that we’re talking past each other, we’re being repetitive, and we’re not going to alter or affect the other’s position, this will be my last entry here. You’ve both asked the question about my comment that “we’re wired that way.” You assure me that you are not.

    I believe you.

    I also recognize (and did several posts ago) that you are a rarity, and that people like you were the pioneers and explorers who left the societies that they found chokingly restrictive for the freedom of the frontiers. But the majority of humanity is more interested in security than in freedom, and because of this the establishment of governments is the norm. So long as there is a coercive government (a redundant redundancy) it will be more powerful than “free market forces” because it commands greater resources and can concentrate those resources. The only viable opposition to the power inherent in a coercive government is another coercive government. And people will yield to government if they believe that protection will be afforded to them by it. You might not, but you will be outnumbered. The only choice left to you is “yield or die.”

    You ask: “So then there is no theoretical moral restraint on a government? Nothing that it ought not to do?” That depends on the government, doesn’t it? What moral restraints were on the Huns? The Chin? The Romans? The Khmer Rouge? None but what they placed upon themselves. You note: “Further, the ‘cannot be undone’ could have been said about the concept of ‘the divine right of kings’. Yet, it was undone.” Indeed, but you have insisted that there is no difference between a government of “the divine right of kings” and a Constitutional Republic, since both are coercive. You’re the one who apparently equated “trade tariffs” with “mass murder as political policy.” Are you now insisting that there has been actual improvement in the human condition? You’re arguing my side, then.

    Government ought to defend the rights of individuals, but because we live in a less than ideal real world the fact remains that governments do this imperfectly at best if they do it at all. If you’ve studied history then you know that there’s been a slow and erratic path from less individual power to more individual power through history. When individuals have and exercise power, they secure their rights, but they quite often infringe on the rights of others. That’s how “the divine right of kings” got started in the first place – large men with swords told other men without them what to do. Yield or die. As more people acquire power governments are forced to be more accomodating to those people, yet governments yeild power only grudgingly, and often only at the business end of a weapon. Thus “all political power grows out of the barrel of a gun” is our modern truism. The free market invented the sword. Coercive government controlled the power inherent in that invention. Nothing could stop that power except another coercive government, similarly armed, but the armed yeomanry had more rights than the unarmed peasants.

    You attempt to equate my inability to restrain government with my dismissal of the Anarchist model because both are unattainable ideals – yet you acknowledge that the lot of the individual under most modern governments is better than it was under “the divine right of kings.” Here’s the difference: The rights of individuals have been growing, spreading, throughout history. We are unquestionably more free today than our ancestors were a thousand or ten thousand years ago. This has been because the power of the individual has grown, and part of that is his political power. I recognize the cyclic nature of history. I understand that the more freedom that is afforded under any government, the more susceptible to internal decay it is. I recognize that the less freedom there is under any government, the more susceptible it is to destruction from the outside. I recognize the broad spectrum of human natures, from those such as yourself who desire unbridled freedom, to those who wish to rule the world with an iron fist. In order for your ideal to work, all must be equally powerful and/or disinterested in power for power’s sake.

    That’s the flaw. Those people don’t exist. There is no Procrustean Bed on which to make them, either. In order for my system to work – flawed as it is – you only need a few idealists. We started off with a few hundred in 1776 and built this nation – a nation that has freed (in my estimation, if not in yours) literally millions of people, even though it’s a coercive government. But you have to have those idealists, and they must be engaged in the political process. They must be in positions of power. This government, like all governments, will eventually fail. I think the evidence shows that we are in a decline, but I’m not going to take my ball and go home. I’m not going to sit on the dike and bitch at the people trying to stop the leaks because they don’t acknowledge the futility of it all, and besides those dikes were built by coerced labor and are therefore illegitimate.

    It’s been an interesting exchange, and I thank you for it.

  45. You ask: “So then there is no theoretical moral restraint on a government? Nothing that it ought not to do?” That depends on the government, doesn’t it?

    No, Kevin. That depends on the mature of reality. I’m not speaking of “is”, here. I’m speaking of “ought”. This is an attempt to get you to judge things according to a standard.

    You note: “Further, the ‘cannot be undone’ could have been said about the concept of ‘the divine right of kings’. Yet, it was undone.” Indeed, but you have insisted that there is no difference between a government of “the divine right of kings” and a Constitutional Republic, since both are coercive. You’re the one who apparently equated “trade tariffs” with “mass murder as political policy.” Are you now insisting that there has been actual improvement in the human condition? You’re arguing my side, then.

    Again, no. Perhaps I’m being unclear, but my noting a change is the general perception of what is possible (“But we’ve always had a King! We couldn’t live without one…”) isn’t an endorsement or a condemnation of that change.

    You’re flailing, here.

    Government ought to defend the rights of individuals, but because we live in a less than ideal real world the fact remains that governments do this imperfectly at best if they do it at all.

    Given that you have admitted that the very nature of government requires violating the rights of individuals, how can it possibly purport to defend them?

    You very clearly think that you support individual rights, but your resounding silence when I press you on the issue demonstrates otherwise. I judge that you’d like very much to say “Here’s why you’re wrong, John: I can coerce the individual and still respect his rights at the same time because of X.” But there is nothing that anyone can produce that can untangle that contradiction, so you’re left with precious little rational argumentation to support your position.

  46. John Lopez,

    Your example of the illegal drug trade makes MY point rather nicely. It may be completely free, but it is murderous beyond belief. It seems that your parasites serve a purpose. And it is exactly the purpose Kevin and I said it would be, protecting people from the local mob, that is some gang protecting its “turf”.

    It seems that your anarchistic sytem will produce anarchy, with all the lawless behavior for which anarchy is noted. I don’t think having the kind of murder rate associated with the drug trade is an acceptable trade off. Ahh, but you are searching for a way to allow individuals to sheild their production from the group. Hmmmm. A method is known for this. It’s called a government. It isn’t perfect. I hope you find your governmentless method, but until you do, this discussion is every bit as theoretical as counting angels dancing on the head of a pin. And once you have it, it will spread like wild fire without anyone’s approval if it’s cheap enough (that is, cheaper than taxes), and maybe even provoke one or more revolutions.

    I would say that your system of free market judges does little to protect the customer of a judge formerly thought honest, but whose whose price merely had not been reached, until his opponent reached it. All judicial systems of which I am aware had the government backing the judge, and at least some governments make a strong effort to keep their judges honest.

    Ah, better go produce.

    Yours,
    Wince

  47. Your example of the illegal drug trade makes MY point rather nicely. It may be completely free, but it is murderous beyond belief. It seems that your parasites serve a purpose.

    Lopez flatly refuted your assertion the free market rests on property rights protected by a government.

    The murder in the drug has been introduced by your parasites. Without the immoral violent interference of your state the heroin trade would be no more violent than the sugar trade.

  48. The free market rests on property rights protected by a government.

    A simple contemplation of the fact that the market for illegal drugs flourishes quite nicely in the absence of that “protection” blows that idea out of the water.

    How would you prevent your free market judges from selling themselves to the highest bidder?

    The same way I’d “prevent” free-market farmers from selling their food to the highest bidder: I wouldn’t. The market for law is currently a coercive monopoly, and I fail to see how it would remain so in the face of competition.

    I must admit, I would be interested to see your free market in action.

    It’s around you every single day. Think: the vast majority of the people go about their daily affairs without constant resort to “government”. They live anarchy, Wince, whether they realize it or not. As do you.

    And the ones that can’t behave themselves? Well, they do so in spite of this vast parasitical government law-complex, now. That certainly isn’t an argument for government law.

    How would you prevent a hostile government from taking over your free market system, without forming a government yourself?

    I’d imagine that the conditions necessary for individuals to free themselves from government would effectively prevent another government from forming. Let’s be clear, here: I’m not in any way counting on converting untold millions of people to my political philosophy – I’m searching for a way to allow individuals to shield their production from the group.

    And would your free market resort to coercive taxes to raise the money to defend itself?

    Again, if coercive taxation were impractical to implement in the first place, it’d be moot.

    If not, why wouldn’t the hostile government, which happily would raise taxes enough to win, prevail?

    Because people will pay for the things they think they need, Wince, including killing hostile neighbors.

  49. We seem to be trading assertions without proof on the drug trade, probably since we have no current examples of a drug trade without government regulation or black market price pressures, to see what would happen to the murder rate. I think I should point out that I do not support the Drug War, personally. I’d like full legalization, with taxes to pay to treatment centers. Less government, but still government.

    You have a strange idea of refutation, sir. Perhaps this example will help. I do recall that there was little regulation of patent medicines, back in the day. I seem to recall few murders, but lots of patent medicine salesmen whose wares were smashed and they were run out of town on a rail. I’m not seeing this is an improvement either in human rights terms (including property rights), or medical terms. I’m afraid the government did little to protect patent medicine salesmen, who were all to eager to avoid being charged for fraud. Little was done for the patients, who were mainly getting alcohol, opiates and cocaine, not cures. Care to explain New Guinea?

    Ebay is governed by a great deal of contract law, all of which can be enforced by judges and therefore sheriffs. I doubt that international trades are well protected, but U.S. trades are quite well protected by law. The payment methods (PayPal, checks, etc.) are all governed by considerable law, as are the shipping methods, insurance, damages, etc. And check those mail fraud regs. I’m afraid that the number of laws, regulations and court decisions governing each Ebay transaction number in the hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands or more, depending how far back you go on precedents, and how much stuff like DOT, EPA and OSHA regulations you consider. Ebay has almost no presence in Africa, where the legal infrastructure does not exist to support it. (Shipping and long distance payments are, well, really unreliable in Sub-Saharan Africa. Doing business there is a challenge.)

    Try digging deeper on your examples. Ebay was a complete no show. Allow your mind to boggle at the hugh numbers of bureaucrats, the vast numbers of law enforcement officers, the incredible number of judges, baliffs, court reporters and jury members. They may be parasites, they may add value, but they have been around since Sumer, and they have had their fingers on every aspect of civilization since then. I’m not sure you can find your free market examples, except for black markets (with all those pesky murders), but bring ’em.

    Yours,
    Wince

  50. I said Ebay was an example of a market that doesn’t require government enforcement to function, not that it was not under regulation.

    Can you think of a reason why Ebay wouldn’t function without government enforcement?

  51. You have a strange idea of refutation, sir.

    You said: >> The free market rests on property rights protected by a government.

    I replied: > A simple contemplation of the fact that the market for illegal drugs flourishes quite nicely in the absence of that “protection” blows that idea out of the water.

    Where’s the problem?

    There’s no bloody point “digging deeper” if you’re just plain unable to see straight.

  52. Your example of the illegal drug trade makes MY point rather nicely. It may be completely free, but it is murderous beyond belief. It seems that your parasites serve a purpose. And it is exactly the purpose Kevin and I said it would be, protecting people from the local mob, that is some gang protecting its “turf”.

    Do you concede that the free market can exist without government-enforced property rights? Yes or no?

    It seems that your anarchistic sytem will produce anarchy, with all the lawless behavior for which anarchy is noted. I don’t think having the kind of murder rate associated with the drug trade is an acceptable trade off.

    “Lawless behavior”? What exactly do you mean?

    Ahh, but you are searching for a way to allow individuals to sheild their production from the group. Hmmmm. A method is known for this. It’s called a government.

    Have you heard of the IRS? How does the government sheild me from that?

    I would say that your system of free market judges does little to protect the customer of a judge formerly thought honest, but whose whose price merely had not been reached, until his opponent reached it.

    Do you think your job would be more profitable should you decide to start cheating your customers? Why or why not?

    Bottom line: you’ve had the same opportunity than Kevin has to explain how you can attack an individual and still respect his rights. You’ve given the same amount of substantial reasoning: zero.

    That leads to the conclusion that your political positions aren’t as well thought-out as they ought to be.

  53. John T Kennedy,

    Ebay does not function in Africa because there are no mechanisms for reliable shipping and payment. Such mechanisms have never existed in an environment without government, and during periods of anarchy they are among the first things to break down. Caravans (shipping) have always fallen prey to bandits in places where the government is not strong.

    John Lopez,

    No, I don’t concede that a free market, at the level of complexity that our current system exists, can exist without government enforced property rights. It hasn’t been tried. We can extrapolate from clan based systems like they have in New Guinea, but extrapolation is not an existence proof.

    Lawless behavior: Murder, theft, rape, fraud, mobs joining together to steal your stuff/women, cattle raids. That sort of thing.

    John, the government does not shield you from the IRS. We’ve been over this. Government uses coercion to obtain taxes. The best government possible is a minimal one, with a constitutional commitment to protecting individual rights. Anarchy, when it briefly exists, has always been the larval phase for rule by a strong man. You will be coerced, unless you are he. (See Somalia, for example.) But the best government possible so far (and many close facsimiles) does a reasonable job of protecting you from thugs, at the cost of forcing you to pay taxes. Imperfect, but we can’t build a perpetual motion machine either. Given that your ideal system is impossible, my best system is NOT unethical. It maximixes your rights. It is more ethical than your anarchy, because anarchy has always led to slavery.

    My job would not benefit should I cheat my customers. But my customers don’t come in pairs, each pair in a zero sum struggle, with the incentive to cheat if they can get away with it. Corrupt judges who take care to favor the rich and powerful don’t usually have a hard time of it. Even a free market, where the judge would suddenly get no more business, is susceptible to one big bribe just before retirement.

    Saying that our arguments aren’t substantial does not make them ghosts. Ignore all of history if you like, but it does not support your case, or you would have given me historical examples by now. I don’t find your arguments persuasive at all. You are looking for a new way or ways to protect the individual from the mob. Until you find them anarchism won’t work. If you do, your arguments will become extremely persuasive, because your existence proofs should start springing up all over the world. (Everyone hates taxes, tarriffs, tolls and bribes.) So don’t stop looking, but don’t expect me to try to advance your political ideas until your have such protection. Till then, your best bet is private space travel, and it would be a very good bet indeed to maximize both freedom and responsibility. Right now, the jungles of the Amazon probably provide the most suitable frontier.

    Yours,
    Wince

  54. John Lopez,

    We’ve cross posted, but your refutation via the market for drugs still falls short. I disagree that it flourishes quite nicely, since I don’t think the murders that accompany it are an acceptable side effect. You claim that these murders are all the result of government interference, but we have no proof of this or of the opposite contention that it is because of the lack of government intervention.

    We have only two examples here. We have a free market for items which are illegal. We have a regulated market for items which are legal. We don’t have a free market or items which are legal or a regulated market for items which are illegal. So the market for illegal drugs fails to instruct.

    I am frustrated by your apparent inability to see my points as well.

    Yours,
    Wince

  55. John T Kennedy,

    We went from a regulated market for a legal item to a free market for an illegal item. We never had a free market for a legal item. The murder rate went up, but since neither system was anarchy we can’t draw any conclusions about anarchy. It’s pretty obvious that the regulated market for a legal item was superior to the free market for an illegal item. That’s why I take my stand on illegal drugs.

    But we aren’t discussing libertartianism under a Constitutional Republic. We’re discussing anarchy. How do we know that if we went from a regulated market for a legal item to a free market for a legal item that the murder rate wouldn’t also go up? It’s pretty high in New Guinea.

    Yours,
    Wince

  56. No, I don’t concede that a free market, at the level of complexity that our current system exists, can exist without government enforced property rights.

    That wasn’t what you said, nor what I asked. You’re weaseling, and it’s rather unbecoming.

    Saying that our arguments aren’t substantial does not make them ghosts.

    Huh? “Aren’t substantial” = “Insubstantial” = “Ghostly”. In any case, they are certainly incoherent:

    You can’t consistently claim to support individual rights while you support attacking the individual.

    Period.

    I don’t find your arguments persuasive at all. You are looking for a new way or ways to protect the individual from the mob. Until you find them anarchism won’t work. If you do, your arguments will become extremely persuasive, because your existence proofs should start springing up all over the world.

    Exactly! As I said, I don’t seek to persuade (ala a Karl Marx or a George Bush) the untold millions of wild-eyed zombies of the sort that inspired this post, waaay back up at the top, of anything whatsoever. There’s a very, very few who can be reached by rational argumentation. Most folks have untold decades of absolute nonsense piled so high inside their heads that they’ll never be able to envision doing anything except herding themselves down to the polls each November and hoof-marking a ballot.

    Me? I’m gonna keep telling them that “freedom” means no state cops, no NASA, no FDA, no Social Security, that “liberty” means that they’ll have to live like that for the rest of their lives. If (as is typical), the emotional damage-control doors slam shut and they run away hands-over-ears screaming, too bad.

    No loss.

    I’d suggest those “Featured Articles” there to your <— left, should you want to learn more.

  57. John Lopez,

    You’re insulting, and it isn’t becoming either. I had already given an example for a primitive society, living in a free market, without government protected property rights. Thus the qualification. But I don’t believe a more sophisticated free market can exist without government protected property rights, because I know of no historical examples.

    I’m not atttacking the individual. Your claim “You can’t consistently claim to support individual rights while you support attacking the individual” is incorrect. Period. It depends on perfect conditions, which don’t exist. Consider it a paradox and deal with it. Your system is unethical, since in invariably leads to rule by strongman for sufficiently sophisticated societies. I don’t believe in slavery, just because some idealist has an unsupportable theory which he admits won’t work until he discovers some undreamed of method to protect the individual. I’m afraid your ideas have more in common with those of Marx than you realize.

    Go find that method and the world will change.

    Yours,
    Wince

  58. Your claim “You can’t consistently claim to support individual rights while you support attacking the individual” is incorrect. Period.

    Then refute it: “John, I can attack you and still respect your rights because of X“. Fill in the X, Wince.

  59. John,

    I did. No one has the right to the impossible, which is perfect freedom without ever employing coercion or being coerced. Were it possible it could be a right. As it is not possible, it is not a right. It’s like saying everyone has the right to a good job, or perfect health care.

    Some technologies which might help your method to protect the individual: Perfect lie detectors. Contracts which bind the will. The idea is certainly worth exploring.

    Yours,
    Wince

  60. No one is asking you to deliver perfect freedom, but is it possible for you as an individual to refrain from employing coercion or collaborating in it? If that’s possible then Lopez’s point still stands and you need to explain how you can coerce Lopez while respecting his rights or admit that you violate his rights.

  61. John T. Kennedy,

    No, it isn’t possible for me as an individual to refrain from collaborating in coercion. I am responsible as a citizen for my government which coercively collects taxes. So are you. I maintain you ARE asking me to deliver perfect freedom from coercion.

    Yours,
    Wince

  62. Because he lives under that government and does not rise up in rebellion against it? Because, when faced with the choice of “submit or die” he chooses “submit.” If he’s living in America, paying taxes to the American government, then he’s paying that government which is using that money to coerce others. He’s part of the system that he hasn’t willingly consented to, but has consented to nevertheless. The choice is pretty damned stark. He’s not responsible for what Mexico does, or what Pakistan does, but he is responsible for what the U.S. does, in some tiny measure.

    He helps pay for it, in some tiny measure.

    I would argue that not doing anything (e.g. voting) to restrain that government represents tacit consent as well.

    Sorry, Wince, had to throw my 2¢ in.

  63. I am responsible as a citizen for my government which coercively collects taxes. So are you.

    If you, as an individual, imagine some minute portion of responsibility for what your government does that’s one thing. Even so, how do you figure John is any more responsible for the actions of a government he doesn’t consent to than, say, a Mexican is responsible for what the Pakistani government does?

  64. Caravans (shipping) have always fallen prey to bandits in places where the government is not strong.

    The caravan shipping company could use their own money to hire some guards. Or they could buy an insurance policy, and the insurance company would then be motivated to secure the shipping lanes.

    Point is, they’d be using their own money to defend the property of their customers. I don’t understand the statist premise that problems can best be solved by putting everyone’s money in a big common heap and then arguing about how to spend it.

  65. What’s the distinction between consent and willing consent Kevin? Do you consent to be mugged if you don’t fight to the death over your wallet when the mugger has the drop on you? Do you consent to what he does with the stolen money?

    The Declaration of Independence says that just powers are derived from the consent of the governed. You’re saying that the mere fact one draws breath demonstrates that one consents to whatever anyone else has imposed upon you by force.

  66. You consent to being mugged if you don’t fight to the death to stop the mugger.

    Let’s be perfectly clear: “mugging” really isn’t a crime, since the whole activity is consentual by all parties?

  67. *sigh*

    I knew I shouldn’t re-engage.

    John, according to some, yes. You consent to being mugged if you don’t fight to the death to stop the mugger. Hey, I’m trying to be as extremist here as you are.

    WRT the Declaration of Independence, if you’ll look a few postings above you’ll note where I explicitly said, quote: “The Founders were incorrect in their assertion of the ‘consent of the governed,’ but Spooner was wrong about the illegitimacy of government.”

    As I said, it’s been interesting, but this isn’t going anywhere. You’re advocating a utopian system that even you admit you don’t know how to make work. I’m advocating taking a known bad but functional system and making it as painless as possible.

  68. As I recall, caravans in the middle ages did hire and provide for their own defense. Quite necessary, as the only difference between many nobles and the comon highwayman was that the noble’s retinue was better equipped.

  69. Kevin, for some reason, your two cents has not suffered any inflation since the founding of the Republic. Jump in anytime. Your summary of how we all consent to and collaborate with taxation was dead on.

    John Lopez, mugging is a crime. Collecting taxes is not. You have been working under the premise (which up to now has not been challenged) that coercion is always unethical. I do not operate under that premise. I operate under the premise that lawful authority may use coercion for lawful purposes. You are correct that mugging and taxes only procede via coercion.

    John T. Kennedy, collecting taxes is not robbery. But advocating that Kevin and I not collaborate with taxation is utopian, until you develop your method of protecting the individual from the mob.

    Patrick, people have been using those methods to protect caravans for a long time. In Bulgaria there are two sources from whom you can buy car insurance. The first is a relatively normal insurance company. The second is the mob. The mob’s insurance is generally believed to be more effective, although the keys of your car may change if your car is stolen. Even so, these methods add noticable cost to shipping and do not necessarily reduce risk. If you can’t trust your shipping company because you can’t enforce a judgement on it, how will involving an insurance company and hired guards, both of whom can also be corrupt and whom you also can’t enforce a judgement on improve things? But the result is that shipping is so expensive that Ebay is no longer practical.

    David, what makes you think these methods still aren’t being used, somewhere on the globe?

    Yours,
    Wince

  70. I don’t know what makes Wince and Kevin think they’re on the same page. On his site Kevin concedes that the state is evil because it takes the product of your labor by coercion – essentially conceding it is theft, which Wice denies. (Kevin’s contention here in this thread doesn’t square with his admission of why the state is evil.)

    Wince baldly claims it is _not possible_ for him as an individual to refrain from collobrating in coercion. This destroys the very notion of choice, he claims there is no choice.

    It thus also destroys any notion of morality. If there’s no choice then what does Kevin think is evil about government?

  71. Wince, I only pointed out one time period. Merchants still buy protection, whether with free coffee for the police, hiring a security firm, or buying politicians – err,uh – I mean hiring lobbyists.

    You argue that the government provides protection. I am merely pointing out that historically there is no correlation between government and effective provision of protection. I much prefer a more polycentric legal system where I can choose another if I am unhappy with the one I have without changing my residency.

  72. I operate under the premise that lawful authority may use coercion for lawful purposes.

    Then you would have no objection whatsoever to anything whatsoever as long as it was “legal”?

  73. Whether or not most want to sacrifice liberty for security 1) is irrelevant as a matter of principle since that wouldn’t tell you whether it was moral to join them, and 2) not even decisive as a practical matter because even the majority can’t always get what it wants. It’s not the case that something must or will happen simply because most people want it.

  74. Wince says:
    will you ever acknowledge that human beings (especially women), as a group, love security and will sacrifice freedom and allow themselves to be coerced to get it?

    More accurately stated, many human beings (especially women and guys like yourself), as a group, seek security at high cost and entreat government to force others to pay for what they arbitrarily deem is necessary to secure such security.

    Wince, a big problem with signing on to that code of behavior is that it leaves you with no ethical or moral leg to stand on when your own rights, such as property rights, right to bear arms, and the right to raise your kids as you see fit, are subsequently abridged by your government in the name of necessity.

    Lopez and Kennedy are simply asking if it’s possible that you, individually, not take part in stealing their property. You don’t have to stop paying taxes to stop advocating taxation and you certainly don’t have to go to jail.

    So, again, why is it beyond your ability end your part in the shakedown?

  75. John T. Kennedy,

    Kevin and I are in basic agreement, but we are using our terms a little differently. In addition, I don’t know about Kevin, but I’m flying seat of the pants here, so course corrections should be expected. Too much taxes is repressive and is therefore non-optimal, but you can call that evil if you like. Too little taxes and the government will fail in its duty to protect and adjudicate our rights, and is therefore also non-optimal, but you can call that evil if you like.

    Ahh, you are correct. I was mistaken. It is possible for me to rebel against the government so as not to coerce you. I should have said ‘immoral’ or ‘unethical’ or ‘stupid’. The best way for me not to collaborate in taxation is for me to refuse to pay taxes. (The chief way most of us collaborate is to fund the coercion.) Then I go to jail. This throws both me and my family on the public dole. This increases your taxes and is profoundly irresponsible. Are you writing from jail, John? Or have you just avoided being caught?

    As usual, unbending utopian ideals which don’t match human nature and human needs, when applied, end up grieviously hurting the humans they are supposed to benefit.

    BTW, will you ever acknowledge that human beings (especially women), as a group, love security and will sacrifice freedom and allow themselves to be coerced to get it? If not, you are showing that you are not interested in actual human nature, but only in some utopian ideal.

    Yours,
    Wince

  76. John, I follow Randy Barnett on the subject of lawful authority. Have you read Restoring the Lost Constitution? I’m in the third chapter. I believe in very specific and strict limits on what is legal.

    Lynette, oh, I explained that already. It’s because I don’t want to be a slave, or my children to be slaves, or even to own slaves. Slavery is always the follow on to anarchy. I’m sorry you and John and John want me to be a slave. I’m not sure why you want to be slaves. Were you perhaps interested in owning slaves? I’m afraid I’m not interested.

    David, sure they do. It’s still good business. There never has been a ‘polycentric legal system where I can choose another if I am unhappy with the one I have without changing my residency’. I prefer to live in a state of constant, unending bliss. We can wish in one hand and, well, that isn’t a polite saying.

    We’re starting to go round and round again. Maybe we could work on that method to prevent the slavery after the anarchy. If we could come up with a good design and a way to implement it, alot of objections would go away… If we can’t this is an exercise in wishing games.

    Yours,
    Wince

  77. John T, but Kevin and I aren’t talking about utopian principles. We are talking about human nature. That’s the reality you either have to work with or overcome. If you don’t acknowledge the reality your sytem will be fatally flawed.

    David, I don’t believe that maximum liberty is the same as maximum security. But more liberty than we have now would be more secure.

    Yours,
    Wince

  78. Wince,

    On your site you say you believe the right to bear arms is a human right. Do you think it’s a human right regardless of what most people want? What if someone says “But Wince, most people are willing to trade your “right” to arms for what they perceive as their security so you’re not dealing with reality…”?

  79. Have you read Restoring the Lost Constitution? I’m in the third chapter.

    I’m annotating my copy.

    I believe in very specific and strict limits on what is legal.

    Based on what standard?

  80. Wince,

    We actually live in a semi-polycentric legal system – certain activities can legally be governed and adjudicated by multiple bodies. Nor am I interested in only what was. If we only considered what was, we would still be living in caves. I will consider what is possible. If it helps, we can twist the meanings of words and suggest that I prefer “subscription government”. There is no reason why a legal system (or any other government service) must be a monopoly.

    Understand that when I use the term “liberty” I mean one is able to do anything that does not harm another. The first rule of security is that if a measure inconveniences the “user” then said user will find a way to work around it – i.e. create a security hole. Add in that what inconveniences each person is a subjective matter and the necessary conclusion is that security measures must be tailored to each of the individuals being protected. The only way to do that is for each individual to provide his own security* – which is maximum liberty. In practice providing security will never be perfect.

    *by providing his own security I include hiring or otherwise joining up with others to assist.

  81. John Lopez, I would enjoy seeing your annotations. Right now I use the original meaning of the Constitution as my standard, but I am informed by my faith in God and belief that the Bible is his Word.

    John T. , I believe the right to bear arms is a right regardless of the majority. It is not an absolute right, none of them are. But I understand the majority’s human motivations for wishing to deny our rights.

    Ahhh! Duty calls. I’ll be back.

    Yours,
    Wince

  82. Wince: “BTW, will you ever acknowledge that human beings (especially women), as a group, love security and will sacrifice freedom and allow themselves to be coerced to get it? “ (emphasis mine)

    This is a contradiction in terms. A woman can no more allow herself to be coerced than she can allow herself to be raped. Whether she struggles or not, if she wants it it’s charity/consensual sex, and if she doesn’t it’s theft/rape.

  83. Wince,

    Isn’t it utopian to speak of rights when in the real world most people are willing to violate rights in return for perceived security?

    And if rights aren’t absolutely *something* then how can any action absolutely be a violation of rights?

    A man robs, rapes, and murders a woman. To say that is a violation of her rights is to say that at some level she has an absolute right to her property and person. If she doesn’t then we have no real standard by which to conclude that any violation of rights has occurred.

  84. Wince: I believe the right to bear arms is a right regardless of the majority. It is not an absolute right, none of them are.

    So if it’s regardless of the majority, who does have the right to curtail that right? Where does the right to curtail the rights of others come from? A better-armed minority?

    I’m sorry, Wince, but I’ve read everything on this thread trying to figure out your point, but it appears that you’re just being evasive. Your core ethic seems to be that you’re willing to put the sword to anyone to get them to comply with the state because you believe it’s expedient. But not only that–you’re happy to twist the meaning of words to make it appear righteous. Please correct me if I’m mistaken.

  85. I would enjoy seeing your annotations.

    My summary judgement of the book is that Barnett reasons (logically enough) that his intended audience won’t bother to fact-check what Lysander Spooner actually wrote. Kim Du Toit, for example, once characterized Spooner as “The ultimate libertarian moonbat”, with a side sneer at “unsigned Constitution”, in comments here.

    Not that he was able to actually refute Spooner, or anything.

    That’s Barnett’s likely audience — folks who pointedly refuse to think. Barnett’s book is wonderful for folks who want to feel better about their preconceptions. And that category includes roughly, oh, 100% or so of voting conservatives, sitting around scratching their arses and wondering why Things Ain’t Whut They Used To Be. None of them want to hear that their precious Constitution, Bill Of Rights and all, is so much hot air. Their delusions are just too tender to be poked with a sharp truth. Look upthread at what started this discussion. D’ya think self-labeled “Digital Brownshirts” have *any* *ability* *at* *all* to deal with logic?

    But I’m rambling: No, you wouldn’t enjoy my annotations. Not at all.

  86. “None of them want to hear that their precious Constitution, Bill Of Rights and all, is so much hot air. Their delusions are just too tender to be poked with a sharp truth.”

    Not true, John. Not that the whole thing isn’t a delusion – it is. But it’s a shared delusion. Like money, it has value so long as enough people believe it has value.

    Because if enough people lose their faith in the delusion, we devolve back to the age in which the world is only ruled by large men with weapons, and our illusions of “rights” vanish.

    I think I’ve pegged the difference between our worldviews. You actually think that there are such things as “individual rights” that exist outside the belief systems of any culture. I don’t. But I’m all for maintaining the mass delusion, and improving it whenever possible. At a minimum I want to slow the decay of the delusion, because I think what actually happens over time is that the actions of the power hungry lead to the disillusionment of the masses, and the whole house of cards comes crashing down.

    Freedom is magic, John. It works only so long as we believe.

  87. And the system can exist with you and people like you in it, so long as there are enough who share the delusion you scorn and spurn.

    The problem is, as I see it, that you believe (I think delusionally) that there is something better that will work – and I do not. There’s evidence (history) that I’m right, and you’re not. I look at history and see that the delusions have been trending (cyclically) towards more and more individual freedoms and recognized rights. I think we’re on a decline in this particular cycle, personally, but still…

    You think there’s some ultimate nirvana of individual freedom to be achieved. I see that as utopist. You denigrate the belief in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, yet you believe in a “right” to be left alone. Got news for you: That’s a delusion, too. And it always will be, because it takes a society to protect “rights” and individuals such as yourselves cannot – by definition – form a society. Thus your “rights” won’t be recognized by the societies that will form, and you have a classic Catch-22.

  88. You actually think that there are such things as “individual rights” that exist outside the belief systems of any culture.

    Yeah. But I also recognize that pinning my hopes on the goodwill of my fellow humans is a losing strategy. That’s why I’m harping on about finding a better solution than electoral politics, Kevin. A permanent solution to the problem doesn’t depend on anyone’s goodwill – only their rational self-interest.

    The problem is, as I see it, that you believe (I think delusionally) that there is something better that will work – and I do not.

    This is the best you can imagine for yourself?

    …and individuals such as yourselves cannot – by definition – form a society.

    This must be some new definition of “society” that I haven’t run across before. What’re you talking about, here?

  89. “But I also recognize that pinning my hopes on the goodwill of my fellow humans is a losing strategy.”

    Why? Look at history. Over the long haul, “pinning my hopes on the goodwill of my fellow humans” has been a winning strategy. I’d much rather be living now than in Pharoic Egypt. Wouldn’t you?

    “This is the best you can imagine for yourself?”

    At this point in this cycle, yes. Oh, I can imagine better, but it’s not attainable for me, or even my immediate descendants. I expect things will be better a few cycles along. I won’t be around to see it, though.

    “This must be some new definition of “society” that I haven’t run across before. What’re you talking about, here?”

    A few posts above there where I reference Ezra Taft Benson (left his last name out in the original post) where he wrote: “In order for man to prosper, he cannot afford to spend his time constantly guarding his family, his fields, and his property against attack and theft, so he joins together with his neighbors and hires a sheriff. At this precise moment, government is born.” That society. The association of people so that they may protect what is theirs better than they can accomplish alone, and so allow them to increase their productivity. That results in government, and as we both admit, government is – by definition – coercive. If you will not form such government, others will and you will not be able to resist them if they choose to initiate force against you.

    And they will, you know. Because you can’t depend on the goodwill of your fellow humans – unless your fellow humans share the same beliefs as you.

    And those beliefs are all delusions – that work so long as they are shared by enough members of the society, and correspond enough with reality to prevent systemic failure.

    Your attitude strikes me as that of a teenager’s who has just come to the conclusion that Mom & Dad don’t know everything and have lied to him. Therefore everything Mom & Dad believe must be a lie! You have rejected, out of hand, the American society because you’ve found that it stands on a delusion. But all societies are formed around shared delusions. You protest that what’s happening is “herding sheep-men”. I assure you, I’m not a sheep. Undoubtedly that epithet is accurate for some members of society, and the sheep-herders are most definitely the ones sitting in high office, but a surprising number of us are quite aware of the shared delusion and support it actively because it’s a damned good system and beats anything else available.

    We understand, in our bones that the system is a sham, and – should it become necessary – we’ll turn on the system if it exceeds a level of oppression we’re willing to withstand. It’s quite a ways from that level, in my case, but I can see it coming. But I also understand what is, in fact, left to me is merely the “last great act of defiance.” I’m OK with that.

    This is overly simplified, but essentially accurate as I see it.

  90. Why? Look at history.

    I am. Liberty is the exception rather than the rule, and usually due to historical accident at that.

    …so he joins together with his neighbors and hires a sheriff. At this precise moment, government is born.

    Not quite. It’s when he gets the sheriff to go after the neighbors who don’t pay for or want the sheriff that government is born.

    That society. The association of people so that they may protect what is theirs better than they can accomplish alone, and so allow them to increase their productivity. That results in government,…

    You’re ignoring the vital element of coercion: clapping The Gun against someone’s head to compel them to pay for your stuff. Else, you’re simply describing the division of labor.

    Because you can’t depend on the goodwill of your fellow humans – unless your fellow humans share the same beliefs as you.

    But your fellow humans mostly share your belief that we’re all rightfully picking each others’ pockets. Are you simply saying that you can depend on them to continue?

    … but a surprising number of us are quite aware of the shared delusion and support it actively because it’s a damned good system and beats anything else available.

    So you’re actively supporting a mass lie, because you can’t think of anything else to do, even though you recognize that the thing is broken beyond repair, and that you’re on track to get eaten alive by it. OK.

  91. John Lopez,

    Actually, as long as I remember to be amused at your condescending attitude, complete with the utterly absurd notion that you are among the thinking few and that none of your opponents are bothering to think, I probably would enjoy your annotations. Spooner was one of Barnett’s main inspirations, so I’ll be reading hair-splitting detail oriented arguments between people who mostly agree. My favorite kind!

    I divide people into four camps:

    1. Neither I nor my opponents are idiots.
    2. Both I and my opponents are idiots.
    3. I am not an idiot, but my opponents are.
    4. I am an idiot, but my opponents are not.

    Group one is the correct optimists. Group two is the correct pessimists. A member of group three is just plain mistaken and will continue to make tactical and strategic errors based on the mistake until he moves into group one or two. I’ve never met anyone in group four.

    Yours,
    Wince

  92. Anything Lopez is doing is bound to be more effective than bundling himself into a voting stall and and pretending to cast magic.

  93. “Anything Lopez is doing is bound to be more effective than bundling himself into a voting stall and and pretending to cast magic.”

    And this constitutes an argument? The internet equivalent of crossing your arms and turning your back?

    “More effective” at what? Bringing the whole system crashing down? John has stated that he’s disconnected himself (as far as possible) from the system, yet he denegrates any attempt to slow the decay because the system is A SHAM! It’s FLAWED! It’s all a LIE! Which tells me he’d like to see it collapse, even though he admits he has nothing better with which to replace it, just this vague idea of free-market anarchy that will somehow, magically self-organize afterward.

    I’ve said that what I’m doing goes beyond merely standing in a voting booth, but you’ve obviously missed that. I’ve said that what I’m doing is tilting at windmills as I fight entropy. But you and yours cling to some idealistic system that will somehow arise from the ashes – though history has shown that your ideal system always is destroyed by coercive governments due to its incoherence.

    Anarchists cannot form large, complex organizations. It’s axiomatic. And large complex organizations can be formed through coercive means. History has shown this. Why can you not grasp these simple facts?

  94. “Liberty is the exception rather than the rule, and usually due to historical accident at that.”

    I’m glad you recognize that. It means that there is some hope. But I don’t think it’s “historical accident.” I believe it’s more due to the historically increasing power of the individual to say “NO!” and make it hurt. That’s something you as an Anarchist should recognize, I think.

    “Not quite. It’s when he gets the sheriff to go after the neighbors who don’t pay for or want the sheriff that government is born.”

    Precisely. And those neighbors are outside the society, aren’t they? That’s the part that’s inevitable. And unless those people can say “NO!” and make it stick, they get – coercively – absorbed into the first society. Or killed. There is no guarantee that the first society will grant them any “rights” either, is there? Much less accept them as full members.

    “You’re ignoring the vital element of coercion: clapping The Gun against someone’s head to compel them to pay for your stuff. Else, you’re simply describing the division of labor.”

    I’m ignoring nothing. I’m trying to get you to understand that “the division of labor” only works in a very small population. At some point you get coercive government out of it, because one group will always disagree with another group over something. So unless everyone in the society is equally armed (never gonna happen) and equally willing to shoot (never gonna happen) coercion will work. As I said far above, “In order for your ideal to work, all must be equally powerful and/or disinterested in power for power’s sake. That’s the flaw. Those people don’t exist. There is no Procrustean Bed on which to make them, either.” That’s the vital element you’re ignoring.

    “But your fellow humans mostly share your belief that we’re all rightfully picking each others’ pockets. Are you simply saying that you can depend on them to continue?”

    In a word, “yes” though you’ve oversimplified. In this society I try to work to ensure that the overwhelming majority of us who accept the delusion that we’re “rightfully picking each other’s pockets” also understand that the socialistic delusion of “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs” is a system sufficiently disconnected from reality that it doesn’t work, and that there is some level of taxation above which our system doesn’t work. Therefore keeping that pickpocketing at a minimal level is in the best interest of all of us. You, on the other hand, would be delighted if you could throw a monkey wrench into the pickpocketing mechanism, and to hell with the consequences.

    “So you’re actively supporting a mass lie, because you can’t think of anything else to do,”

    No, because there’s nothing better to support.

    Nothing.

    That mass lie has produced the most free, most productive society in history. Period. It’s a pretty damned good mass lie. And when the society as a whole loses the delusion, the result will not be an improvement for the individual.

    “… even though you recognize that the thing is broken beyond repair, and that you’re on track to get eaten alive by it.”

    We’re back to the parable of the thief. The King could die, the horse could die, I could die. Or who knows? Perhaps the horse will learn to sing!

  95. “Anarchists cannot form large, complex organizations.”

    Nonsense. The Catholic Church is an example of a large complex organization sustained without coercion. I’m not saying that the church has never employed coercion but if you removed even the possibility of cercion that large complex organization would endure. It’s not the case that large complex organizations require coercion.

  96. I believe it’s more due to the historically increasing power of the individual to say “NO!” and make it hurt.

    As I said, freedom will only come when individuals are able to defend their production from the group. During the 1800’s they could move West and simply escape, but there aren’t any more frontiers.

    That leads me to conclude that the state has to be made impractical to implement, somehow.

    You, on the other hand, would be delighted if you could throw a monkey wrench into the pickpocketing mechanism, and to hell with the consequences.

    Exactly so.

    Perhaps the horse will learn to sing!

    Are you saying that you are imprisoned and forced to vote or die? That’s obviously not the case.

    You’re on track to be eaten by it, too. But you’re doing nothing to prevent it. Nothing at all.

    Let’s assume that the sum total of my effort is a sneer at the whole circus. Your vote is a distraction – you admit it’s ineffective deception. You’re pouring your time down a proven rat-hole – you’re reaching for absurd parables to justify your continued participation. It’s not like you’re advocating bribes, ballot-stuffing, blackmail, or some other action that might actually do something.

    What does your vote prevent? Nothing. But it takes up an enormous amount of your time – it’s a net negative.

  97. OK, John. I think this time we’re really, really done. We are using the same words, but certainly not communicating.

    As I said before, it’s been interesting. Useless, but interesting.

  98. “Anarchists cannot form large, complex organizations. It’s axiomatic. And large complex organizations can be formed through coercive means. History has shown this. Why can you not grasp these simple facts?”

    In the words of the she-devil (kidding!), check your premises.

    We cannot grasp these simple facts because these simple facts are flagrantly wrong. Large, complex organizations formed through non-coercive means are all around us, everyday. Chances are, you are probably a member of quite a few of them.

    Ever heard of the NRA? The AARP? Churches? Synogogues? Health Clubs? Insurance companies? The AAA? Ebay? Private schools? Homeowners Associations? Apartment complexes? The NBA? Harvard? …

  99. Hell is real enough. It may be hard to believe in the hope of Heaven or of God, but the machinery, the theory and practice, the very architecture of Hell – that’s easy enough to discern.

    “Why this is hell, nor am I out of it.
    Thinks’t thou that I, who saw the face of
    God,and tasted the eternal joys of heaven,
    am not tormented with ten thousand hells
    in being deprived of everlasting bliss! O
    Faustus, leave these frivolous demands,
    which strike terror to my fainting soul.”

  100. “leave these frivolous demands,
    which strike terror to my fainting soul.”

    Would that only Kevin’s IRS, in lieu of holding a gun to my head, merely threatened me with eternal damnation if I didn’t cough up for them.

  101. Excommunication and the threat of eternity spent in Hell isn’t coercion.

    Riiiiight.

    No, Kevin. Lon Horiuchi blowing off the side of Vicki Weaver’s head as she stood there holding her baby would be an example of coercion.

    See the difference, there?

  102. Spooner was one of Barnett’s main inspirations, so I’ll be reading hair-splitting detail oriented arguments between people who mostly agree. My favorite kind!

    That demonstrates my point perfectly. You’re simply not even aware of the enormous gulf that exists between Spooner and the concept of the Constitution. Like I said, Barnett’s book will appeal to folks who won’t bother to check up on him. And I judge you won’t, for reasons I’ve already stated.

    My advice: don’t worry about it. Just keep re-reading Barnett.

  103. “Anarchists cannot form large, complex organizations. It’s axiomatic. And large complex organizations can be formed through coercive means. History has shown this. Why can you not grasp these simple facts?”

    Because: I, Pencil

  104. *sigh*

    “We cannot grasp these simple facts because these simple facts are flagrantly wrong. Large, complex organizations formed through non-coercive means are all around us, everyday. Chances are, you are probably a member of quite a few of them.”

    Yes. And each and every one exists because a structure of LAW – supported and enforced by coercive government exists. Without that support, small complex productive organizations will be consumed by large, complex coercive organizations.

    Or so history indicates.

    All of it.

  105. And each and every one exists because a structure of LAW – supported and enforced by coercive government exists.

    Labor unions were formed when they were illegal, Kevin. Religious minorities have also organized throughout history, even when they were outlawed.

    If people can organize themselves in spite of government, why do you say that government is necessary for them to do so?

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