Sunday, September 04, 2005

Anarchy?

PJ O'Rourke once suggested that the best short argument against an anarchist would be to send them to Beirut. Pretty swiftly, suggests O'Rourke, the former anarchist would be saying, "Ah, more police please."

The last week in New Orleans might do the same thing for some anarchists and anarcho-capitalists...

Labels:

36 Comments:

Blogger Yacap said...

But the problems in New Orleans are almost entirely government failure from beginning to end. If you just take a very shallow view of the surface of things, you might think it should convert anarchists into statists; but if you actually see what's really going on, it ought to convert you statist types into anarchists!

[But how is "Ah, more police please" relevant? Do you think anarchists wouldn't have police?]

9/04/2005 02:19:00 am  
Anonymous Tony said...

Yeah --this post glibly demonstrates both O'Rourke's and the posters basic ignorance of anarchy as a political philosophy. What is happening in New Orleans results from indifference, criminal negligence, and in some cases disastrous intervention by an extremely hierarchical State.

9/04/2005 09:24:00 am  
Anonymous Caskman said...

Yet again PC shows his ignornace of the difference between violent chaotic social disorder and the operation of the pure unhampered market.

9/04/2005 11:35:00 am  
Blogger Rick said...

The fellow is far from ignorant. But Anarchism, when one does the math, pans out to be the essence of what we're seeing in Orleans.

Perhaps if you Anarchy monkeys think you know something about it you might share it with the rest of the class? Or is it more the Anarchist style to call those who disagree with you ignorant and leave it at that?

Very mature attitude! And seeing good will and an handfull of hope is the only thread your proposed social system hangs by......it seems to me that Anarchy peddlers should be amoung kindest, gentlest, people on the planet (just like me).

So come on, show us what you're made of! Let's hear you try to trump libertarianism and then we'll see who's the ignorant one around here.

9/04/2005 12:28:00 pm  
Anonymous Liam Lynch said...

Good to see that some anarchists are happy to review their beliefs in the light of experience. Or not.

9/04/2005 02:55:00 pm  
Anonymous Liam Lynch said...

http://pc.blogspot.com/2005/05/cue-card-libertarianism-anarchy.html

9/04/2005 03:12:00 pm  
Anonymous Ruth said...

It pleases this woman's heart that so many of you people FINALLY realise the truth lies in the practical nuance, not the ideological theory ,as I never tire of saying.

Maybe NOW you begin to understand what it takes to win hearts and minds.

9/04/2005 03:46:00 pm  
Anonymous Caskman said...

Rick
I did not say PC was ignorant per se - simply that he insists on associating violent invasion of property rights (i.e. the more traditional lefty view of anarchy) with market anarchist theory which by definition excludes such action. Therefore he is either ignorant of the difference or purposefully misrepresents the position of market anarchists for his own political purposes. I suspect I know which it is.

For what it's worth I am not a market anarchist as I have yet to see how law and order could be effected under such a system to the extent that all property rights violations could be dealt with. I don't believe the peer-pressure approach of Robert Murphy et. al will be enough to force the guilty to agree to come to court voluntarily and accept punishment.
However, by the same token I have yet to hear you minarchists adequately explain how you will prevent your minimal state from growing to reach the same encompassing clutch of death that it currently does. I don't believe a simple constitution will do the job. As long as you have free elections and the concept that the state can violate property rights for purposes it defined as legal then you will have politicians selling future stolen property for political gain and the lobbying and favours begin all over again. Much as the anarcho-capitalist scenario requires the population to basically behave itself without Nanny telling it to, it looks to me like your minarchy relies on the very same good-will of the governed to keep government small by not voting themselves goodies at others expense. I see them both as equally unworkable in that respect.

And as we're on the subject Rick, if you are going to flap about mature attitudes then perhaps you yourself can refrain from such pathetically childish and imbecillic statements as 'you Anarchy monkeys'. It just demeans you.

9/04/2005 04:05:00 pm  
Blogger Yacap said...

What do you mean "try to trump libertarianism"? Anarchists (real ones -- not the lefty types) ARE libertarians. And real libertarians are necessarily anarchists.

What you're seeing in N.O. is the breakdown of statism; it has nothing to do with anarchy as a political system. [Of course, if the statists stayed away, it would eventually settle down to a stable anarchical state, but the cost would be high in the mean time]

Regarding police: in anarchy, police would most likely be provided by insurance companies (either as a division of the insurance company itself, or as an outside contractor), but as long as the police function is monopolized by the state, there's no great incentive for insurance companies to do that; a stable anarchy will not form unless there's a fairly high certainty that statists won't be butting in any time soon, so that people can actually start preparing t o take care of themselves. If they think the statists are going to take over before they're in a position to defend themselves, any such effort would be wasted. I think it could happen relatively fast (months) in the US, but could take decades in other parts of the world (Somalia, for example)

9/04/2005 04:29:00 pm  
Anonymous Caskman said...

Well if you guys are unable or unwilling to defend minarchy stability (or instability) can you recommend somewhere I *can* find the info?

9/05/2005 11:07:00 am  
Blogger Rick said...

Ruth,
realise the truth lies in the practical nuance, not the ideological theory ,as I never tire of saying.

One of these days somebody needs to take you to task on this here thing you keep on saying.

Casket,-
Well if you guys are unable or unwilling to defend minarchy
Keep your shirt on. If somebody else doesn't do it I'll spare 120 seconds to kick your ass. Either way, please stand by.

9/05/2005 11:23:00 am  
Blogger PC said...

Sorry, this from Caskman is amusing: "Yet again PC shows his ignorance of the difference between violent chaotic social disorder and the operation of the pure unhampered market."

Perhaps the chief difference between "violent chaotic social disorder and the operation of the pure unhampered market" is that the latter relies on the presence of the rule of law, whereas the former relies on its absence. I'll leave it for you to give a name to the system characterised by the absence of law.

But anarchy does have law you say? So you and David Friedman say, but this is only wishful thinking rather than sound argument -- a system of anarchy as Robert Bidinotto points out is characterised by both gang warfare and instability, and as the latter increases, so too does the former.

Read my Cue-Card on Anarchy here if you do want more argument on this, and do read the links as well to see why I ~can~ say what I've said, and why (contra Yacap) real libertarians are not anarchists, and anarchists are not libertarians. The instability of anarchy means that anarchy as such leads inexorably to ~something else~, and that is always something unpleasant, and not at all the anarchist nirvana preached so wistfully by anarchism's gurus.

9/05/2005 11:54:00 am  
Anonymous Caskman said...

"If somebody else doesn't do it I'll spare 120 seconds to kick your ass. Either way, please stand by."
Reinforcing that old aggressive Libz image again I see?

It was a simple question. It is one that no minimal govt supporters I have spoken to have ever been able to answer adequately. It does not require ass kicking - I would genuinely like to know the answer. You are quick to criticise anarcho-capitalist models, but it would appear to me that the very same criticism can be levelled at your own model. For what it's worth my instincts are libertarian but I'm looking for some consistency here. Yes anarchic models take liberty to the extreme and may very well be inherently unstable but they at least appear to have the benefit of consistency from which a workable approach may be developed. Minarchist models seem to be a mixed-market approach, potentially with the worst aspects of both (taxation AND instability).

The lack of initial response was as I expected. However if you are able to put together a reasonable (even if brief) case then I would appreciate it.

"Casket,-"
And *do* grow up a bit.

9/05/2005 12:02:00 pm  
Anonymous Caskman said...

Good - now we're getting somewhere

"Perhaps the chief difference between "violent chaotic social disorder and the operation of the pure unhampered market" is that the latter relies on the presence of the rule of law, whereas the former relies on its absence."
OK - that would be a good distinction. Or perhaps that the former is characterised by violation of individual rights while the latter is not.

I'll leave it for you to give a name to the system characterised by the absence of law."
Chaos? Free-for-all? Hell? - there are so many.

"But anarchy does have law you say? So you and David Friedman say,"
I am assuming it would run under natural law as that is the whole point isn't it? As discussed above, my problem with anarcho-capitalism is how violations of rights could be dealt with. If you assume that there are no rights to be violated or that violations cannot be dealt with then clearly you have the type of anarchy you are suggesting.

"but this is only wishful thinking rather than sound argument"
As is a stable minimal govt so far from what I can see.

"a system of anarchy as Robert Bidinotto points out is characterised by both gang warfare and instability, and as the latter increases, so too does the former."
Quite possibly.

"Read my Cue-Card on Anarchy here if you do want more argument on this, and do read the links as well to see why I ~can~ say what I've said,"
I have read it. Perhaps you miss my point. I am not defending anarcho-capitalism per se. My problem is that the primary objection minarchists put forward against anarcho-capitalism is that it relies on good-will to exist. Yet it would appear that the same charge can be laid against your own system. The result will clearly be different - in the same way you suggest that anarcho-capitalism will rapidly mutate into chaotic violent jungle law, why will minarchism not mutate into big government and authoritarianism as people try to control and steal from others via the force of the state?

9/05/2005 12:26:00 pm  
Blogger Yacap said...

And more importantly, why are there historical examples of anarchy working, and no historical examples of minarchy working?

9/05/2005 04:51:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

" And more importantly, why are there historical examples of anarchy working..?"

Um, there aren't. If you're talking about Ancient Iceland and Ancient Ireland, the two cases most often cited, then both were essentially a collation of 'chieftanships,' not dissimilar to pre-European New Zealand but without all the intertribal warfare.

If you're talking about present-day Somalia and similar examples, then I'll leave you to explain how what we see there is what anyone would call "working."

"...and no historical examples of minarchy working?"

Are you sure?

9/05/2005 05:06:00 pm  
Blogger Rick said...

Cask,-

refrain from such pathetically childish and imbecillic statements as 'you Anarchy monkeys'. It just demeans you.

Reinforcing that old aggressive Libz image again I see?

Not at all. That's me being charming. It's also how I show affection. Cheer up Monkey Man!


I have yet to hear you minarchists adequately explain

Please don't define libertarianism in terms of how far it falls from anarchism, that wasn't the hoop we were shooting for.

..how you will prevent your minimal state from growing to reach the same encompassing clutch of death that it currently does. I don't believe a simple constitution will do the job......Much as the anarcho-capitalist scenario requires the population to basically behave itself without Nanny telling it to, it looks to me like your minarchy relies on the very same good-will of the governed to keep government small by not voting themselves goodies at others expense.

Call me a lazy long-winded cheat, but I'm just going to cut and paste an analogue I wrote the other day....


What I want to say is that you appear to be looking for entrenchment of political victories, yes? Change New Zealand law to make sure tertiary associations can't do this to their institutions again? I don't agree to doing that.

At this time it is possible to set up mini dictatorships at universities and polytechs, where little Muldoons can rule the student lives of their helpless (but for us) victims. Yes, and vilely manipulate the sporting, cultural, professional, social and accademic student experiences while poisioning the alma mater with control of student press, while claiming the student voice by fiet, denying the oldest right of all- the right of exit and while asexually reproducing itself by shagging student politics as generations of these infected graduates take their place in industry. Bowl over this cancer and it grows back again, therefore kill it before it grows by dropping an act of parliament on it from a great height, right?

In my view this is a grave mistake, though certianly understandable given your background. For one thing NZ has a history of tit-for-tat legislating, if we nuke the forces of evil then down the track they can do the same to the prospects of the virtuous. But the main reason for not following up with legislative change is about character. If there is no alternative but to fight the battle on a student-political level then matters may truly be settled, not just in the result de jure but in the hearts and minds of the campus. If these such wars of ideas have to last years after our own time, or forever, then so much the better- it's the sign of a healthy campus. Laissez faire politics is good for the same reason as laissez fair economics.
Of course you realise that the price we pay is in our political groups on campus which have to be nourished with heads and stuff to fill them with. And it means activism, mobilising people to outvote, outdebate and outthink our misguided patriots at every turn on a recuring basis. Taking this direction requires ongoing vigilence as the cost of freedom, just like in real life. Very distracting, but very healthy, and the spectical is one unenjoyed for past two decades. The true munitions are attitudes and ideas, not hollow legislation, and so the focus needs to be in building up Young Nats, ACT on campus and like groups- making better people, not better laws.

As a matter of interest the direct opposite is occuring accross the Tasman where the Liberals are passing a bill to entrench VSM. The effect of this has been to rally all student unions in outrage! There's no opposition on campus, it's between students (ie unions) and John Howard's Government. This is phenomenally inept political opperating, it has polerised and unified the target forces- as it would in any country. Far better to have the New Zealand arrangement where every liberty is at stake and every liberty appreciated.

ps It is for these reasons I'm glad New Zealand has no constitution

Rick Out, TTFN!
--
Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed. - Anon

9/05/2005 07:11:00 pm  
Blogger Yacap said...

" And more importantly, why are there historical examples of anarchy working..?"

Um, there aren't. If you're talking about Ancient Iceland and Ancient Ireland, the two cases most often cited, then both were essentially a collation of 'chieftanships,' not dissimilar to pre-European New Zealand but without all the intertribal warfare.


I wasn't referring to either of those (although they are better examples than you claim). I was referring primarily the relationships between nations in the modern world, which exist without any overarching world government; also most of the day-to-day relations between people.

If you're talking about present-day Somalia and similar examples, then I'll leave you to explain how what we see there is what anyone would call "working."

There are things that work well there, and things that don't. There's still a lot of statist influence (the "Somali government" in Kenya trying to drum up support for an invasion, various heavies jockeying for power if a real government is reestablished, etc.), but it's rapidly getting better (the worst area is around Mogadishu, which is the area supposedly controlled by the Kenya-based govt). Give it another 10 or 20 years without an invasion, and then we'll talk again.

"...and no historical examples of minarchy working?"

Are you sure?


Can you think of one that lasted a dozen years?

9/05/2005 11:09:00 pm  
Blogger Yacap said...

Please don't define libertarianism in terms of how far it falls from anarchism, that wasn't the hoop we were shooting for.

Please don't define libertarianism as ... whatever you define it as that excludes anarchists (the political side of Objectivism, I suppose. Objectivists are not libertarians, and even if they were, they wouldn't be the only libertarians. There are many minarchist "libertarians", but it's an insane, inconsistent creed. Real libertarianism (cf. Murray Rothbard, Hans Hoppe) is necessarily anarchist)

9/05/2005 11:17:00 pm  
Anonymous Caskman said...

" Not at all. That's me being charming. It's also how I show affection. Cheer up Monkey Man!"
Clearly I expected too much.

"Please don't define libertarianism in terms of how far it falls from anarchism,"
I didn't. I haven't attempted to define liberatariaism anywhere. But since you mention it how would defining it that way be any worse than defining it in terms of how much better it is than some arbitrary level of state control as Libz does.

"that wasn't the hoop we were shooting for."
No, I understand that. I'm trying to understand how you define it and an essential part of that is where you draw the line. Obviously you don't agree with what yacap calls true libertarianism as you are still statists at the end of the day (of however mild a degree).

"Call me a lazy long-winded cheat"
I'll store that credit thanks :-)

"What I want to say is that you appear..." etc
With respect, that goes nowhere towards explaining why minarchy would be stable - it appears utterly unrelated. You and PC make no differention in definition between lawless chaotic society (where by definition violence is not an invasion of rights) and anarcho-capitalism which is certainly not lawless. That is how he and you can say that New Orleans is exactly how anarcho-capitalism would turn out. It's easy to say your system is better because in the other system everyone would be killing each other when you get to define that other scenario. That's why I said initially that PCs description of an-cap was dubious. I still argue that it is.

You can lecture all you want about the instability of your definition of 'anarchy', but I see no more stability in your solution and therefore cannot take it any more seriously than an-cap. It requires and relies upon the goodwill of the population not to vote themselves a bigger state - a handful of hope? Unless of course you ban elections, the mechanism by which the future stolen goods are auctioned. You will never have everyone happy with their lot - there will always be lobbying of the state for more or less of something that the state can achieve by force. As long as it benefits the politicians to provide favours to the lobbyists the state will grow. It is inevitable.

Your minarchy won't last long.

9/05/2005 11:41:00 pm  
Anonymous Caskman said...

Yacap

"I was referring primarily the relationships between nations in the modern world"

Remember PC and Rick (from my reading of the discussion so far) see anarchy as lack of law not a lack of govt. An-cap is the opposite which is why I disagree with them.

I would suggest that national relationships are a good example of a working form anarchy in principle - it seems to have been stable for a long time now (in that no single authority has yet emerged as world govt) and nations defend their autonomy ferociously. It would seem that the nation states rather like anarchy as a socio-political setup.

So perhaps the next question would be what locality level can that be brought down to. An-cap says individual - Libz says state.

9/05/2005 11:58:00 pm  
Blogger Rick said...

Morning Monkeys,-

you are still statists at the end of the day (of however mild a degree).
You take that back!

With respect, that goes nowhere towards explaining why minarchy would be stable - it appears utterly unrelated

Stability is overrated...

But come on! I thought you'd be happy. You inquired after constitutions and why 'our' bonsi government wouldn't turn into an Ent orgy. You've shifted the goal posts.
One thing at a time huh?

I said above, laissez faire politics is good for the same reason as laissez fair economics. Have no constitution! I bet you'd never figured that into what a libertarian would say.


make no differention in definition between lawless chaotic society (where by definition violence is not an invasion of rights) and anarcho-capitalism which is certainly not lawless.

That's right. And it's not an oversight I assure you.

It requires and relies upon the goodwill of the population not to vote themselves a bigger state - a handful of hope? ... As long as it benefits the politicians to provide favours to the lobbyists the state will grow. It is inevitable.

Handfull of hope eh? As I said above, freedom requires ongoing vigilence every day. That's not mere libertarian doctrine, it's the nature of freedom. It's a battle, and you can do battle in a parliamentary democracy or you can fight the same battles the way New Zealand did 200 years ago or Orleans has been- in blood.

As for it being inevitable that the bad guys win, that the state must grow, I'm too young and idealistic to believe that. It is their razzle dazzle against ours but we've got two things that tip that balance. One of them is truth.

9/06/2005 09:38:00 am  
Anonymous Caskman said...

"You take that back!"
It's called reality - you ought to try it sometime.

"Stability is overrated..."
Minarchists clearly believe so.

"You've shifted the goal posts."
I have shifted nothing. Minarchy is unstable in that you rely on people to voluntarily refrain from using govt force to achieve their desires at the expense of others, even when govt is offering to do it for them. The instability is that minarchy will immediately begin to move away from your ideal as people use the rights-violation facilities that are being offered to them. It is unstable in the same way that you believe an-cap is unstable in that it will rapidly become something else that you do not want.

"I said above, laissez faire politics is good for the same reason as laissez fair economics."
But it is not 'laissez faire'. It still has a state exerting force to violate rights which makes it different from it's full-blown authoritarian brethren only by degree. Laissez faire economics is based on voluntary association, unlike minarchy. The two are not comparable concepts and as such I fail to see how you can use that as the foundation of your socio-political system.

"Have no constitution! I bet you'd never figured that into what a libertarian would say."
I make no assumptions on what 'libertarians' should say.

"That's right. And it's not an oversight I assure you."
Exactly my point. If you choose the definition you can make it whatever you want. However if you recognise the concept of natural rights then you cannot logically deny the essential difference between an-cap and lawlessness.

"As I said above, freedom requires ongoing vigilence every day. That's not mere libertarian doctrine, it's the nature of freedom."
And what are you going to do when you realise (through your every day vigilance) that your minarchist paradise is turning away from the path of true enlightenment? What happens when others decide to use the power of the state to help themselves to your pockets? How do you regain the minarchist purity? Vigilance means nothing if you are not prepared to do anything about it. Perhaps you ought to use the power of the state to ban those people from despoiling your dream set-up. But then of course they can use the power of the state to ban you from banning them.

"It's a battle, and you can do battle in a parliamentary democracy or you can fight the same battles the way New Zealand did 200 years ago or Orleans has been- in blood."
Yes, very graphic I'm sure. But to continue your odd analogy, in providing the means (the state) and the opportunity (elections) you effectively hand your enemy (whoever that might be) the power to crush your setup. Your minarchy will be as ephemeral as you believe non-violent an-cap society will be.

"As for it being inevitable that the bad guys win, that the state must grow, I'm too young and idealistic to believe that."
That is your choice and your delusion. You are deluded because, as Yacap points out, minarchism is inconsistent. You want 'freedom' but want to 'protect' that freedom with the very institution that you allow to violate that freedom. Add a huge incentive for the state to violate rights in the form of elections and you have a guaranteed recipe for state growth and destruction of your minarchy.

"It is their razzle dazzle against ours but we've got two things that tip that balance. One of them is truth."
No - all you have is the hope that everyone else will be as ideologically pure as you and, given human nature, not much of that either. It smacks too much of the socialist whines that as long as everyone acted in everyone elses best interest it would all be perfect. Both are idealistic chimeras.

9/06/2005 11:50:00 am  
Blogger PC said...

Might I suggest that readers honestly interested in the arguments against anarchy (ie., the absence of government) and anarcho-capitalism (ie., the absence of government plus wishful thinking) go to the 'Cue-Card Libertarianism -- Anarchy' article down on the right-hand sidebar, and read the articles linked from there. The questions about anarchy and anarcho-capitalism, the wishful thinking of anarchists and anarcho-capitalists (hippies of the right), and the 'meta-instability' of the absence of government are all explained in those linked articles.

And those readers honestly interested in understanding why this libertarian understands that markets need the rule of law, property rights and protection of contracts--and that the absence of government can't provide these, and nor can competing governments--might find it worth their while reading through the rest of the relevant Cue Cards, or at least those presently on the site, down there on the right-hand sidebar.

Most questions asked so far have been answered in the Cue Cards.

One question that isn't answered there is the point made above that international relations take place in an anarchic framework. It hardly needs pointing out that 'International Law' has allowed over the last century the external aggressions of Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Mao, Saddam Hussein, Milosevic, Yasser Arafat--and those of assorted other sawdust caesars--and the internal aggressions of all of the above plus those of (amongst others) Castro, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, and assorted Sudanese, Somali, Sierra Leonean and Rwandan warlords.

That's what you call "stable for a long time now"? Sheesh. What's your idea of "a long time"? A week?

9/06/2005 12:23:00 pm  
Anonymous Caskman said...

"anarchy (ie., the absence of government)"
You've changed your defintion. You are as consistent as your doctrine.

"anarcho-capitalism (ie., the absence of government plus wishful thinking)"
Not really any different from minarchism in the wishful thinking stakes.

"Most questions asked so far have been answered in the Cue Cards."
Which one answers my original question? How will minarchy be maintained?

"One question that isn't answered there is the point made..."
No social system, government or anarchy, can *prevent* aggression. Simply saying that anarchy and its associated voluntary 'International Law' has failed because someone decided to violate those aggreements is (in principle) akin to saying that as soon as anyone violates a law in your minarchy the system has failed.
Are you saying that having govt prevents aggression? If so:
a) why do we still have violence at all levels of society despite a large and heavy handed state (and do you really think your little tinpot minimal govt can therefore do any better?)
b) why hasn't a world state arisen in order to prevent war? If it has it's very low key and would appear to be failing miserably.

'That's what you call "stable for a long time now"?'
In case you've missed it - it's still here. Despite all the aggression nation states have fought back to defend their status and the existing order. It has so far survived all the attempts of your would-be sawdust-caesars to form their own world dominating states. And why do nations defend the anarchy that you so despise? Because they want it to stay perhaps? Because, unlike you, they happen to think its a pretty good thing and the best they've found so far. It would appear that it is far more stable than you can imagine and at the very least likely to last much longer than a week.

9/06/2005 12:55:00 pm  
Blogger Yacap said...

Yes, PC, crimes will occur under anarchy. Believe it or not, crimes occur inside states, today, as well! How does government help?

Also note that all those people you list got where they did, and where able to commit the horrors they committed, precisely because they were in government. The very government you want to maintain!

As for your "cue cards"...wrong from the very first sentence: "Anarchy is the absence of government and law"; the rest follows in that vein. And you could drop all the ad-hominem "hippies of the right" crap. You're not "explaining" anything, you're just bashing anyone who's more consistent than you. And I love the last line: "explaining the concepts and terms used by libertarians", as if "libertarians" means "Libertarianz" (FYI, the first "Libertarian" political party (the US one) was co-founded by Murray Rothbard, an anarchist!)

9/06/2005 01:42:00 pm  
Anonymous Oog said...

I've found this discussion both enlightening and a little scary.

I was investigating voting libnz, but now I won't.

While I agree with the individual responsability and small state ideals, I don't like the personalities involved.

PC, you're rude. You disregard other people's opinions out of hand and you insult them without thinking. You're just as bad as Jordan Carter (http://jtc.blogs.com/just_left), who does the same thing at the other end of the political spectrum!

And when I read Lindsay write things like, "the child-molesters at the Ministry of Education"[1], it strengthens my belief that libnz should not be anywhere near goverment, small or otherwise.

Thanks for trimming the list by one party.

References:
[1] http://solohq.com/Articles/Perigo/The_New_Zealand_Election_-_Statism_or_Selfhood.shtml

9/06/2005 02:06:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

Oog, I'm sorry you found me rude--and particularly sorry that you find me as rude as Jordan Carter!--but I'm not really sure where I;ve been rude here?

Perhaps you have my comments confused with the somewhat, ahem, intemperate comments of Rick (who speaks for himself, not for me), which rather confuses the comments board here with irrelevancies and diversion. But that's what a comments board is sometimes for, isn't it?

Or do you have a problem with identifying the Ministry of Education as what they are: "child molesters of the mind"? But they are, aren't they? Don't you agree that "State education has been the playground of state-worshipping child-molesters-of-the-mind for decades"? Hasn't it? Do you disagree?

Or do you have a problem with me answering some young anarchists by referring then to other reading, anarchists who it seems want to be led by the hand rather then be referred to other reading which answers their questions?

As I said, I'm sorry if you found me needlessly rude. When I ~am~ rude to someone, I do at least like to do it consciously.

9/06/2005 03:34:00 pm  
Blogger Rick said...

By all means Oggster, don't make your choice so lightly. Libz have all kinds of tools in the shed, some of them more blunt than others but mostly just good people you'd find more to your taste.

And no, don't make any decisions on my account. I haven't put a Ziz suffix on my libertarianism for a few years now.

9/06/2005 04:40:00 pm  
Anonymous Caskman said...

"Or do you have a problem with me answering some young anarchists"
If you are referring to me then you assume too much. I am neither young nor an anarchist. I do not defend anarcho-capitalism in the posts other than to say it at least displays a certain consistency of creed.

I do however want to explore different viewpoints of libertarianism. I find a useful way of doing so is to ask questions of those who present various viewpoints when I can't find the information elsewhere. Thus far your dogged determination to not answer a simple question suggests either something about the question content or about your own attitude.

"by referring then to other reading"
The main reading you recommend is your own partisan rant on the subject which does not cover the question.

"anarchists who it seems want to be led by the hand rather then be referred to other reading which answers their questions?"
I cannot find any reference to the stability of minarchy in your links.

9/06/2005 05:48:00 pm  
Blogger Rick said...

Is this conversation going to take much longer?

I do however want to explore different viewpoints of libertarianism. I find a useful way of doing so is to ask questions

I respect that.

The instability is that minarchy will immediately begin to move away from your ideal as people use the rights-violation facilities that are being offered to them.


It is true that the same institutions that may guard our liberty may be used against it- but not inevitabally nor immediately by nature. Institutions are amoral, like a firearm. Why assume we would use them to destory ourselves inevitabally and immediately?

if you recognise the concept of natural rights then you cannot logically deny the essential difference between an-cap and lawlessness.

Some people think law is all in the books, some people think it is all in our hearts. As usual, it is between extremes. Either side of this happy medium (which libs have found and claimed) is lawlessness of howeversomany brands.
When we call anarchists a bunch of twats we do so intellectually, I assure you.

And what are you going to do when you realise (through your every day vigilance) that your minarchist paradise is turning away from the path of true enlightenment?

What does it look like we're doing? Those days are already upon us. View, for example, the Libertarianz home page- it's getting pretty good at beating the bastards back lately.

in providing the means (the state) and the opportunity (elections) you effectively hand your enemy (whoever that might be) the power to crush your setup

Freedom is a fragile thing. So what's your point?

You want 'freedom' but want to 'protect' that freedom with the very institution that you allow to violate that freedom...a huge incentive for the state to violate rights in the form of elections and you have a guaranteed recipe for state growth

That can only be true if you can guarantee that the people will be duped into voting their rights away. As I say, half seriously, I'm young and naieve and refuse to believe that result is immutable. There's an old Libz joke that goes something like this "We're only trying to get the people to use the mind's reasoning power that they use in so many other spheres of everyday life. Is that such a hard thing to do?".

Worth noteing- most libs would respond differently and say that rights need to be entrenched 'beyond the vote'. I don't go down that track, because then I think you'd be all over me.

all you have is the hope that everyone else will be as ideologically pure as you

Hope butters no parsnips, I'm not calling on hope. I'm calling on reasoned persuasion, the power of ideas. So do the anarchists. It's just that they're calling on the wrong ones.

9/07/2005 12:20:00 am  
Anonymous Caskman said...

At last - I finally get something akin to a sensible attempt at an interesting answer.
Thank you :-)


"Is this conversation going to take much longer?"

It wouldn't have if the pair of you had avoided all the childish name calling and posturing. If you refuse to engage in reasonable debate with someone who already fundamentally agrees with you (and I do) then what are you going to when you want to get your ideas across to people who don't?


"It is true that the same institutions that may guard our liberty may be used against it- but not inevitably nor immediately by nature. Institutions are amoral, like a firearm. Why assume we would use them to destory ourselves inevitably and immediately?"

OK - good point. The reason I suspect it will decay into something less desirable is that in the case you suggest shooting ourselves has obvious painful consequences so we don't do it. Using the force of the state to appropriate wealth for yourself at the expense of others is different in that those who receive the wealth do not usually see the expense. It is to all intents and purposes 'free' to them. They have no disincentive. In addition the state will encourage such behaviour as by necessity it increases the power and scope of the state. This effect will get worse as the size of the population grows - in smaller communities the effects on those who suffer the expense is likely to be more obvious to those who gain. In a society where you can anonymously gain free goods for yourself with no *apparent* disadvantage to anyone else why would anyone not do it? The long term effects wealth reducing effects of such behaviour do eventually become apparent but often the cause-and-effect is long since lost. It can be blamed on the markets, business, the 'rich', other countries, whatever but you can almost guarantee the state wont let itself take the rap.
This is why I see libertarian ideas as so crucially important - people need to understand that there are consequences to such behaviour. And if a minarchy could be established it would require people to be aware of and understand such consequences in order to *choose* to not abuse the system and to choose to not vote themselves big-government with big-benefits for their own pockets. This is where I view an-cap and minarchy as having a shared characteristic - they both require their respective populations to voluntarily choose to keep them stable (i.e. to continue existing in their desired form) against many very strong incentives not to do so.

"Some people think law is all in the books, some people think it is all in our hearts. As usual, it is between extremes. Either side of this happy medium (which libs have found and claimed) is lawlessness of howeversomany brands."

OK - I can understand that position.


"Freedom is a fragile thing. So what's your point?"

My point is that in choosing to diss an-cap you appear to miss your own identical weakness: other people and their lack of respect for your rights.

If freedom truly is so very fragile that as soon as people have freedom to choose less freedom for themselves and others they exercise that right, then it obviously raises the objection to 'allowing' others to legally choose to violate your rights. This would be my reading of the an-cap position: nobody can 'legally' violate rights.
So how would you discourage the flight to state? Education? I want to be able to defend libertarian ideas against the apparently warm & cosy but morally bankrupt collectivist ones but I haven't got an answer to this one yet, hence my questions here.


"That can only be true if you can guarantee that the people will be duped into voting their rights away. As I say, half seriously, I'm young and naieve and refuse to believe that result is immutable.

It would be nice to think it isn't. Agreed it may not be immediate, as at the very least you'd have to wait for the next election. But I think the rot would start at that election. It is difficult to imagine various parties campaigning on their ability to do nothing except maybe make the current minarchist service provision more efficient (and maybe lose the votes of the state employees). Rather they are going to want a genuine competitive advantage and how better to do that than to appeal to differently minded voters: "more police, socialised health, schools, etc". Yes that trend will be resisted if the majority of the voters can see the long-term benefits of freedom and their minarchy - but there again you rely on the voluntary goodwill of the electorate to maintain your set-up- just like an-caps do.


"There's an old Libz joke that goes something like this "We're only trying to get the people to use the mind's reasoning power that they use in so many other spheres of everyday life. Is that such a hard thing to do?"

But you know it's not that simple. If people were truly exposed to the consequences of their actions then you can bet your arse they'd start using that famed reasoning power pretty damned quickly. Because they don't face the costs, their reasoning tells them that the short term benefits outweigh both short-term opportunity costs and a far more uncertain longer term. Basic time preference stuff.


"Worth noteing- most libs would respond differently and say that rights need to be entrenched 'beyond the vote'. I don't go down that track, because then I think you'd be all over me."

Isn't that also the an-cap position? That natural rights are inviolable and therefore allowing the state to override them is simply not an option. That reduces state power to effectively nothing.
Your statement is basically similar to a discussion I've had with many collectivists. They claim that in order to stop people voting away their freedom you'd have to remove their freedom to vote and in doing so you become, in principle, an authoritarian. Do you see why this question cuts to the very core of consistent libertarian argument?


"Hope butters no parsnips, I'm not calling on hope. I'm calling on reasoned persuasion, the power of ideas. So do the anarchists. It's just that they're calling on the wrong ones."

Reasoned argument and the force of ideas carries the same importance in both cases, as does the role of hope. Hope that everyone else agrees with you that minarchy/anarchy is a cool way to live cos when others don't agree both systems are history. You are not as different as you like to pretend.

9/07/2005 10:47:00 am  
Blogger Yacap said...

A couple of points: there were humans before there were governments and law enforcement. The obvious corollary is that peaceful relations must have existed, not the chaos that minarchists claim is the only possible outcome, before anything like a government could have been organised; and therefore the minarchist argument is clearly unsound on its face. Consistent minarchists can't cope with the anarchy that exists between states, so are naturally led to calling for a single world government -- the ultimate totalitarian fantasy -- in the name of "minimizing" government.

Rick: "when we call anarchists a bunch of twats we do so intellectually, I assure you"

That seems to happen a lot more often than the other way around. Is there some reason minarchists often seem to be so consumed with hatred? And why pretend anarchist arguments against minarchy are any less "intellectual"? (In fact, I've never yet seen an "intellectual" argument against anarchy from a minarchist; they're all just ad homines and non sequiturs, redefining "anarchy" to mean "anomy" and attacking straw man arguments that follow from that...oh, yes, and "Roy Childs changed his mind" (wow, so he must have been right, then! Anyone who changes his mind is always 100% right afterwards! Especially if they die afterwards, so they can't change it again and make you look foolish...). Or they're hard-core Objectivists -- Her Holiness the Great and Infallible Ayn Rand (all praise her name!) didn't like anarchy, therefore anarchy is obviously Deeply Wrong)

9/07/2005 03:46:00 pm  
Anonymous Caskman said...

"there were humans before there were governments and law enforcement."

Rothbard makes a similar point that security forces are required as a consequence of violations of free-markets but are not a pre-requisite of market operation.

Cullen is of the same view as Libz that govt is required to make markets possible - who'd have thought it? Maybe there's coalition potential there... ;-)

9/07/2005 04:24:00 pm  
Blogger Yacap said...

Oog: While I agree with the individual responsability and small state ideals, I don't like the personalities involved.


AFAIK, voting just encourages the politicians and legitimizes whatever they end up doing; I'm not a believer in democracy ("two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner"). But if you're going to vote, you presumably have one of two beliefs: (a) that you "win" if you vote for the party that ends up governing -- you should presumably vote for whoever's rating highest in the polls near the election; or (b) that the vote count is what counts -- even if yours is the only vote for the XYZ party, that one vote can be seen as indicating that someone is in favour of whatever the XYZ policy is. If you vote for a second choice candidate because you think one vote for XYZ is a "wasted" vote, you only garble the signal. I don't agree with the Libertarianz, but from where we are now to where I want to go is the same road they want to go down -- eventually we'd have to part company, but for now we can walk together. So if I were going to vote, I'd definately vote Libertarianz. Let's face it, Libertarianz are not going to get anyone into parliament anyway (at least not this year), so you can safely vote for them even if you think they "shouldn't be anywhere near government".

9/07/2005 08:36:00 pm  
Blogger Rick said...

Hoy Crazies,-

A couple of points: there were humans before there were governments and law enforcement. The obvious corollary is that peaceful relations must have existed

That's not how they taught syllogisms when I went to philosophy school.
I'd like to PJ O'Roark you into a -200 year time warp so you could tell Te Rauparahau alllll about it. Over dinner perhaps, if you take my meaning.

forces are required as a consequence of violations of free-markets but are not a pre-requisite of market operation.

Great. Just great. But market operation isn't the prize. Free market operation is.
Is there some reason minarchists often seem to be so consumed with hatred?

Part of a boycotting class action against state regulation of fabric softners. It all comes down to itchy jocks...

If you refuse to engage in reasonable debate with someone who already fundamentally agrees with you (and I do) then what are you going to when you want to get your ideas across to people who don't?

Yell slogans 'til you bugger off. Regroup, drink piss. Go home. Then we write emails to each other about how pure and mighty we've been.
Beat that.

Using the force of the state to appropriate wealth for yourself at the expense of others is different in that those who receive the wealth do not usually see the expense. It is to all intents and purposes 'free' to them. They have no disincentive

It is not free to them and I don't think I have to tell you that, though I'm ready to.
Voter miopia exists, yes, but that term has always meant short-sightedness. It has never meant that there was nothing to be seen. On the contrary, there is a cancer to be seen which will- if left untreated- consume us all. There's your disincentive.

. In a society where you can anonymously gain free goods for yourself with no *apparent* disadvantage to anyone else why would anyone not do it?

Why? No reason I can see.
Which indicates to us that there is a role in our hearts and minds for defending freedom, that having the ideals printed in law books or constitutional documents ain't going to be enough. The ideals must be printed in our hearts and minds. ie 'The price of freedom is eternal vigilance'.
It is the role of patriots, ie libertarians, to make bloody sure that the great wopping "disadvantage" is ultra-frikin' "apparent"- as if our very lives depended on our doing so.

This is where I view an-cap and minarchy as having a shared characteristic - they both require their respective populations to voluntarily choose to keep them stable

Indeed so.
But where the anarchists go off the rails is that they offer a Ford Model-T kind of choice. Any colour you like as long as it's black, you know? The choice to preserve liberty offered by a libertarian state has an institution that can deliver on that choice.
Sure, anarchists have the menu- but the only thing coming out of their kitchen is a dish of chaos.

So how would you discourage the flight to state? Education? I want to be able to defend libertarian ideas against the apparently warm & cosy but morally bankrupt collectivist ones but I haven't got an answer to this one yet, hence my questions here.

Well now...I could not refuse a plea like that.
Ja, education.
Culture change.
Re-enlightenment.
The power of peaceful, reasoned persuasion.
There was a time when that was the cat's Pjamas, reason was tops and everyone believed that. Now there's only us.

you rely on the voluntary goodwill of the electorate to maintain your set-up- just like an-caps do.

Goodwill? Try this: We shall rely on voluntary rational self-interest.
If man has a lowest common denominator to which we can appeal it is this bare basis, and it is the most noble one we could ask for. And you don't need to hope so, nor have faith that it is so. You may trust that it is so. From voluntary rational self-interest all else follows- that man needs to be free, is fit to be free and is capable of being free.

"We're only trying to get the people to use the mind's reasoning power that they use in so many other spheres of everyday life. Is that such a hard thing to do?"
But you know it's not that simple.


I know nothing of the sort. All I know is that people get to a certain stage and they loose the light in their eyes grow old and cynical and dead pre-mortum.
It IS that simple.

Isn't that also the an-cap position?...similar to a discussion I've had with many collectivists. They claim that in order to stop people voting away their freedom you'd have to remove their freedom to vote and in doing so you become, in principle, an authoritarian. Do you see why this question cuts to the very core of consistent libertarian argument?

Completely. That's what I was trying to show by my post above re entrenchment of Voluntary Student Unionism in student politics. It's the same thing.
Both libertarians (save pro-constitution ones) and anachro-capitalists set up the right playing field. But then the ACs put it all to waste! Libertarians use their freedom to enstate institutions to secure and preserve their freedom.

You are not as different as you like to pretend.

The difference between liberty and chaos is more than pretend.

9/08/2005 07:16:00 pm  

Post a Comment

Respond with a polite and intelligent comment. (Both will be applauded.)

Say what you mean, and mean what you say. (Do others the courtesy of being honest.)

Please put a name to your comments. (If you're prepared to give voice, then back it up with a name.)

And don't troll. Please. (Contemplate doing something more productive with your time, and ours.)

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home