Friendly Fire in the Science Fiction Wars

I didn’t want to write about this. Eric S. Raymond was one of my beta readers for Darkship Thieves, and has been a friendly acquaintance for a long time, even if we haven’t been in touch for a long time.

So I didn’t want to write about his article, because I … Well, it’s not even that I disagree with his views on the situation, it’s more like he’s looking at it upside down and sideways, so until we clarify that position, there’s nothing doing in terms of agree or disagree.

But everyone keeps sending me this, and it’s come to my attention that in terms of my making a living from writing, this is friendly fire (I don’t view ESR as an enemy) of the worst possible kind. It will put off the people who would enjoy my work and attract a lot of people who will be offended by it.

First of all, he puts the ELoE and the academic left in SF as equal and opposing forces, each wanting to take science fiction in its own direction.

This is wrong. Well, it’s entirely possible this is true of The Bannished One (name omitted to avoid trolls.) I don’t know. I haven’t read much of his work or blog. I know that his work at least from what I heard is not political. His blog is. I used to read it now and then back in the days when instapundit linked him, and I have to say that while I agree with him in some things (I agree with the other side in some things too.) I have as many if not more points of variance with him than the other side does. They’re different. His remarkable infatuation with Europe, for instance, makes someone who grew in Europe as a native facepalm and say, (as I do very rarely) “OMG, only an American would believe this.” The “askew” from “innocents abroad” permeates a lot of his writing from international politics to economy. Maybe it wouldn’t bother anyone else. Certainly it doesn’t bother the left who makes many of the same assumptions. But it drives me nuts.

Now, The Banished One is entitled to having whatever views he wants to have, and I’m the last person alive to say he must have mine or he can’t be a science fiction writer. (And it’s entirely possible he’s right and I’m wrong. I don’t think so, but we’re all colored by our past and our upbringing.) I’m just saying his blog rubs me wrong so often I haven’t done more than dip in and look at this or that when it relates to sf/me. So I haven’t a clue whether he wants to silence the left. (I object to calling them rabbits, as I understand that’s The Banished One’s term.) I haven’t a clue whether he wants to push them out of sf/f writing. I wouldn’t THINK so, but I don’t know for sure.

As for the rest of the ELoE, John C. Wright is more socially conservative than I am, but I don’t think he attempts to impose it except by proselytizing which is within permissible means. And Larry and I just want to write stories, make money and have fun. Sure, his view of government leaks into his books. And it leaks into my science fiction. But that’s because things written by someone tend to reflect that person’s opinion.

I know none of the three of us wants to “cleanse” science fiction from people of different political opinions. For one, I think, should we start, we’d find enough divergence amid the three of us to keep us fighting FOREVER.

The other side does want us to “shut up and go away” but since they are quite without the means to do so, now that there’s indie and while there’s Baen, I couldn’t care less what they think or want.

They remind me very much of when my kids were toddlers and throwing a fit and we’d laugh at them, which made them switch to “Shut up” and “Stop that.” Sometimes to the point of climbing on our laps and trying to hold our lips shut. It just made us laugh harder.

There is, and there will always be a place for the type of sf/f they want to write. It doesn’t sell much. (I know, my first fantasy trilogy, aka the Shakespeare trilogy was considered literary, and when the numbers came in, I was flabbergasted and talked to friends working in the same vineyard. It really doesn’t sell much. It used to get fairly high advances compared to sell through because prestige. More on that later.)

 

Second – I don’t oppose the left side of SF for ideological reasons. I oppose them because they bore me to death. My very favorite author, Terry Pratchett is an European-centrist which in American terms is kind of sort of left and kind of sort of a right we don’t have. (Right in the sense of respecting authority and constituted authority. Left in the way of viewing the individual as subordinate to society.) His views on gun control are funny. His views on monetary policy are hair-raisingly scary. And yet, I still read every book of his as soon as it comes out, even now when they’ve devolved into a sort of Pratchett fan-fic. Why? Because he’s not BORING.

However, I disagree with ESR about the idea that their leftism and what they write isn’t linked. Of course it is.

Look, Marxism is and has always been a narrow church. You have to agree with the current interpretation of the script (prestige and the fact most of the left in sf/f are academics plays into this too, but more on that later.) This is how all American communists about-faced when the Hitler-Stalin pact broke.

“But Sarah,” you’ll say. “These are not communists!”

Well, in fact a few of them are, admitted communists. There is a “young communists” club and it’s considered hip and cool. (Young as in their early forties. Poor rats.)

And even the ones who would squirm at being called “communists” will admit to socialist, and will defend communism and crush on “heroes” like Che Guevara, oblivious to the record to deaths the Marxist philosophy has left behind. (Read The Black Book of Communism, which I have reason to believe is soft pedaled.)

Now, it’s true that they don’t have “party discipline” as such, but it’s a mistake to think that what holds the left in lockstep is some kind of “party discipline.”

They are Marxist, many without realizing it, a few because they think it’s a good thing and valid, because they were taught to be Marxist. They were taught this was the social signaling for “cool” and that this is what makes them “smart.” Because of that they are as beholden for their opinions to the “party line” as the most slavish communist party member.

Because Marxism is internally inconsistent, the interpretation of it, and what is considered “the right” opinion changes every so often, sometimes abruptly. For instance, in the seventies it was believed that being gay was a matter of choice, and all leftists proclaimed this. (I think it was wrong, but that’s neither here nor there.) Now the idea is that it’s inborn. (I this this is also wrong, and it’s a combination of genetics and environmental factors, probably before the kid is even born. BUT that’s because I was born in a village and I have the benefit of centuries of family histories.) Proclaiming the wrong idea at the wrong time would make all the Marxists scream “fascist.”

This same type of mentality is why their novels neither surprise nor enlighten nor reflect anything about the human condition. Most of these people live in fear of saying the wrong word and being cast out into the outer darkness of the “conservative” and “uncool.”

This was not always so, and Eric has a point it is so now because the “cool” SF is a subset of academic posturing. I.e. these people are mostly college professors, and mostly they want to be admired by their kind. Having tumbled on to the fact that science fiction is not admired in academia, they’ve been trying to change that ever since… oh, the seventies at least.

It’s a doomed effort, because for mainstream writers, even those who in fact write science fiction but don’t call it that, science fiction is frozen in a fifties that never happened. No matter how many awards the left give to stories full of inchoate longing for awards, their colleagues will always view SF as “girl passed out in monster’s arms, pursued by robots.”

But good Lord, if they want to spend their entire lives in a futile endeavor, who am I to stop them?

They can’t stop me doing what I want, so who cares?

Other than the fact that they took over SFWA and made it even more useless than it needed to be, why should I care?

 

Third – But if I stop talking about my politics, they might then listen to me on the criticism front.

Oh, hell no. (Rolls eyes.)

Look, first, no, they won’t listen to me. I actually do have the credentials to critique them, having a degree in Modern Language and Literature from an excellent college and having read more, both literature and literary criticism, than you could shake a dried up stick of a college professor at. H*ll I ENJOY the stuff. It bewilders my STEM degree sons when I get excited over a poem, and I don’t think relationship with younger son ever recovered from my admission that Jorge Luis Borges is one of my favorite writers.

But that’s all besides the point. I’m not teaching English/Literature at a prestigious university. And h*ll, even if I were it would make no difference, because the minute I set myself up against what they’ve been taught is good/cool, I become one of the lepers. (Kind of like no one asks Dr. Sowell about economics, but they fall over themselves on that fraud, Krugman.) So, yeah, I could explain to them why their stuff, yay, indeed, sucketh mightily. But then they’d just call me fascist.

In fact, they decided I was “fascist” BECAUSE I opposed the drumming out of Malzberg and Resnick (neither of them men of the right, mind) for the crime of using the word “ladies” not because of my political opinions.

The second part of this is that I’m NOT going to stop expressing political opinions on this blog.

Look, for years my livelihood was dependent on keeping on the right (left) side of that list of things you must believe. If I deviated or expressed the wrong opinion even by implication, in a book, even in a way I didn’t notice, it meant I’d never work again.

Now, because writing is something that comes from who you are, it will in itself, reflect you. So I never cloaked well enough to get the promotion, the push and the prestige (“be one of the darlings” as we call it.) But I cloaked enough to stay employed. And it almost killed me.

When Darkship Thieves did well, and I got the possibility of going indie, it literally stopped me walking off. I’d had the talk with my husband that said “I can’t stand this anymore. I have to speak or burst. And I can’t watch myself all the time anymore.” We’d agreed after I delivered the two due books, I could walk off into the sunset and write fanfic or whatever. We were going to sell the house (we should have anyway) and cut our expenses, and I was going to see about starting some crafting business or something. Something that didn’t get in my thoughts and censor them.

I express my opinions – though rarely outright political, though I will admit to the fact this administration’s creepy combination of Marxism and incompetence and hippie-dippie pacifism is giving me the creeps – in this blog because I think it’s important. We are in a cold civil war at the heart of which is not the war for science fiction, but the war for civilization itself.

(This is another blog in itself, but the loss of cultural confidence by Western civilization after World War I as allowed horrors and barbarism to persist that should long since have been glared out of the face of the Earth. And yes, Western Civ has done some horrible things – but so have all other human civilizations and at least we no longer stone our adulteresses or kill people for being gay or the wrong religion. A little admission of our own accomplishments and values could go a long way.)

I will talk about what catches my mind. If it’s political, so be it. Because it’s painfully arrived at step by step on my own, it will often disagree with both sides. And then the left will proclaim me “fascist” because they’re the ones with the unbending, inflexible agenda. A lot of you reading this say “she’s to the left of me on—” but you don’t call me “communist” and storm off in a huff.

Of course, tarring their opponents with the same brush, and then calling them the most extreme thing they can think of is and has been a weapon and a tactic of the left across the world. In Europe social democrats get called “fascist” (people with whom they only have – sometimes – in common the nationalistic aspect of their ideology.) So do libertarians in the US, which is even crazier. Capital L libertarians aren’t even nationalists, and those of us – small l – who are are nationalist in a different way than anyone in Europe. Our loyalty is not to race, blood, and imagined genetic superiority, but to a bunch of documents that proclaim principles of life, liberty and pursuit of (individual) happiness. But we get called “fascist” because we oppose communism/socialism. Same as it’s ever been, all across the world.

 

Fourth – Why I had to write this, and why the whole thing matters to me: If I am anything definable in politics it’s “Heinlein libertarian” and even there I differ from him in some respects. (For instance while I think group marriages should be allowable, I also think they’re their own punishment.)

This does not define me as “right” in either the American or the European spectrum. Granted, it also doesn’t define me as left.

I don’t think people belong to the government, I think government belongs to the people and I am one small objective “equalite” (as defined as total equality, not equality under the law) from agreeing with the people who started the French revolution. (The people who finished it are more like the other side of the spectrum, including the mandatory atheism. Eh.)

I believe you need to have some very important COLLECTIVE reason – like mutual defense – to take money from people by force (all government is force, all of it enforced by guns, be they in the hands of the police or the army.) I don’t believe “to give to school administrators” is reason enough. (Though I do believe it’s in the general interest to make sure children know how to read, even those whose parents won’t teach them. Then again, this current system doesn’t do THAT, let alone anything else.) I don’t believe it is in the general interest to give money to companies (solyndra) to develop pie in the sky green tech and/or to put limits on what fuel we can burn. Yeah, the environment belongs to everyone. But my money doesn’t. And decisions made by scientifically illiterate people who have power over the army and police are not enough reason to confiscate the money I made.

In the same way, I believe marriage is an intensely private matter. To the extent it produces children, it might be of some interest to government, but I still don’t think that interest is important enough to justify taking from Paul to give to Peter. Look, there should be a better way to legalize/register unions than at the tender mercy of the government. And the tax breaks, etc (which are not nearly sufficient, anyway, as any family with kids will tell you) should go to families with children, not to people who just signed a paper/had a ceremony of their faith together.

And while we’re at it, no, I don’t care what you are, but you have no right to force a church to bless a union against their principles. If the little church of the united KKK doesn’t want to bless mixed race marriages, that’s THEIR issue, not yours. Yes, their beliefs might be repugnant (they would be, if they existed) but that doesn’t give you the right to infringe upon them. We either have freedom of religion or we don’t.

Now, do I expect my beliefs to come to be the dominant ones, absent massive disruption? Oh, heck no.

See where government is force. This means it normally attracts people who want to exert force. The chances of getting people who take over and leave you ruthlessly alone is not high. (And no, I’m not running. That’s what I threaten G-d with, when the book sales dip. Weirdly, they always come right back up after that. Yeah, yeah, I know. I’m also heretical. Such is life.)

 

The point is that being listed as a member of the Evil League of Evil amused me. I even have a mug with a portrait of me as a beautiful but evil space princess up on zazzle.

That’s fine, because it’s so ridiculous.

But it’s a problem when a neutral/sympathizer like Eric S. Raymond lends it credence. It’s a problem at both ends.

The minute someone gets it into their head that you’re “right wing” what they see is not “I don’t particularly like government, get out of my land or I shoot” – they see the image of the opponents of the left that the left has been pushing through its monopoly on entertainment, news and education for almost a century.

What they see is someone who is uneducated, not very smart (left is the PERSTIGE position) probably is both a millionaire and lives in a trailer park (this part they never seem to pin down. Evil rich or destitute? Eh.) hates working people, hates other races, thinks gays should be treated as the Taliban does indeed treat them, and is a fundamentalist Christian in a way that no fundamentalist Christian is.

None of the people they pushed into the ELoE fits that, not even the Banished One. But I stand perhaps on the extreme side from him as not fitting.

For one, both by skin color and religion and background, I would offend that cardboard cutout a lot. Possibly to the point of death. (Not that it matters, since I’ve yet to meet anyone on the right who IS like that.)

Again, the image is laughable, and that’s why I embraced it in fun. BUT when a friendly lends it credence, people are going to start looking at it as true, or more than likely true.

And while the idea the left has of the right is out of place, there are some points of slight contact.

Someone who reads about how I’m a “moralist” and a right winger is going to be very upset at A Few Good Men where the main character and the main romance are gay. Or even Witchfinder, where the secondary romance is gay. They just are. And the more upset at the excess of feminism, will take exception to the fact that Thena in Darkship Thieves is physically stronger than most men and takes no cr*p from nobody. (There’s a world building reason for that, and well, Thena has issues. – Shut up. She is TOTALLY not autobiographical.)

And then there’s my fantasies, which have no politics at all, and certainly don’t preach moral to anyone. Mine or the left’s.

And there’s the fact that while, if forced to write all literary fantasy all the time I’d slit my wrists, I’m not going to promise I’ll never write “literary” anything. (As soon as one promises not to do something in writing, it’s when one does it, of course.)

So this article by ESR worries me. It might very well scare away potential fans and bring in a lot of people who will get upset my opinions aren’t “pure” enough.

That said, I believe he meant well, and think his point about SF/F having been taken by the side that wants prestige over money is true.

I also don’t think we can do anything about it. Or need to.

Likely traditional publishing – other than Baen – will eventually become a prestige thing, a way to signal you’re among the ‘smart’ and ‘enlightened’ as defined by universities.

And the rest of us, who aspire more to the career of Dumas than of Gabriel Garcia Marquez (that friend of Castro!) what can we do?

Well, for years what we could do was “not publish.” But there’s an indie for that.

Yeah, we might not get the awards or the fawning upon. Like I care. My favorite expression of admiration for my work comes with “pay to the order of.”

So, other than making fun of them now and then (but “if you were a science fiction writer, my love” you’d be far less mockable) because they are so much fun to mock and because it might give other people the courage to say “I too don’t buy the entire lefty list of enforced beliefs”, I couldn’t in fact care less what they do or say.

They can continue writing and fighting for their little pool of true believers.

As for me and my people, we have worlds to create.

 

 

436 responses to “Friendly Fire in the Science Fiction Wars

  1. Once Eric gets an idea in his head, it can take quite a lot of C4 to dislodge.

    • Sometimes; but his idea about the “deep norms of the genre” feels right somehow. It needs some work to apply to fantasy, but it’s a good tool for explaining why certain SF-labelled stories are unsatisfying. (Along with Sarah’s Human Wave manifesto and Holly Lisle’s How To Write Suckitudinous Fiction explaining why some fiction in general is unsatisfying.)

      Note: ESR is the fellow who diagnosed the Kafkatrap, and has a long history of recognizing the baleful influences of Marxism in Western society. (It was from his blog I learned the term “Gramscian damage”, for example.) Read some of his recent genre reviews: the SF/F he wants to read is very much the same as the sort we want more of.

      As Sarah points out, he is an ally here. His main error seems to be in assuming that the Evil League of Evil exists even sufficiently to have shared goals. (Actually, this may even be a category error.) So if he shows up, let’s argue vociferously with him—but bring out the carp trebuchets, not the troll-poking sticks.

      • Joel, no worries, I’m a fan of Eric and have been for quite a long time. Many mutual acquaintances and interactions over the years.

      • I tried to bring Kafkatrap to the Blogfather’s attention, but got lost in the noise, until I mentioned it to Legal Insurrection, whereafter references to it really took off.

    • If one can see how something one made to explain something is right, it can be awful hard to see how it’s wrong because you’re comparing it to what you’re fixing, not needfully what’s there, especially if you don’t value stuff at the same level as the person who’s disagreeing with you.

      Sorry that’s so jumbled, it’s just something I’ve seen happen a lot– sometimes I’m the one who cannot see why on earth the problem they’re seeing with my description is a problem, and sometimes I’m the one saying “uh…. large problem you’re ignoring, HERE?”

  2. I do not read yout posts everyday but this one caught me. Buy, what is ELoE? I have read of The Banished One but not enough to form an opinion. Could you provide clarity?

    Thank you
    Brian

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      ELoE is Evil League of Evil. The “Banned One” was a gentleman who got thrown out of the Science Fiction Writers of America. Since Sarah choice to not mention his name, I’m not mentioning it here.

      By the way, I think the following is what Sarah is reacting to.

      http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=6085

      • also – FWIW – the banned one now lives in italy, and has for quite some time. comes across like germans I know who’ve come here and learned americans are very different than expectations, and have both some unique outside viewpoints and still-existing misunderstandings.

        • I know he does. But he still buys a lot of what Europeans say of themselves. It’s an American thing.

          • I get it – like I said – knew some german engineers who’d spent YEARS here courtesy of bosch. They “got” that americans weren’t what they’d heard, understood some of it, and even sometimes provided a good “outsider” viewpoint, but didn’t have the cultural background to understand other things, like the difference between our patriotism and euro-style nationalism in any way but intellectually at best.

            • Honestly, the only reason I understand America and rarely feel “you Americans” (though sometimes I do) is that I made a conscious effort to BECOME American and study everything about it. Of course I was predisposed to it, because well, Heinlein. And it meant cutting ties with Portugal including the local immigrant community, but I meant to live here and have American kids, so…

              • “Of course I was predisposed to it, because well, Heinlein.” Probably the best (BEST) use of that construction I’ve seen!

                • Also, I didn’t know about all this because I’ve been reading SF since the ’50s, and subscribe to ANALOG…as well as I don’t read much new SF.

                  • At some point I should get off my duff and write for Analog again. I broke my promise to Stan Schmidt that I’d send him something else before he retired. It’s just that the d*mn things (short stories) are so useful as loss leaders for indie.

                    • I started reading Analog just about when they changed their name from Astounding in 1960. Was a subscriber for many years. Dropped the subscription about 15 years ago when I realized that I no longer enjoyed most of what they published and was in violent disagreement with their book review selection and descriptions. I will pick one up now and again, but have seen no reason to change my mind as of yet.
                      I miss John W. almost as much as I do R.A.H.

                    • I, for one, would be most pleased to see this happen.

                      That way I won’t have to chose between Analog and the latest MGC story. -wide grin-

                  • I let my subscription to Asimov’s lapse, as I’ve mentioned before, but I’ve heard Analog is different. Is it?

                    • While they are sister mags, there is some difference between the publications.

                      I can only cite my own experience, but I got an issue of Asimov and Analog a month apart. When I got done with Asimov I noted that it had a roughly 1/3 spilt. 1/3 carried some “political/social message”, 1/3 were just fluff that I forgot as soon as I moved to the next story, 1/3 were okay. Then I picked up Analog and found a 50%, 25%, 15%, 10% break down. 50% were decent enough that I remembered them or flat out blew me away, 25% were okay, 15% had some “political/social message”, the other 10% was the Science article. Granted, this was only one issue of each but ended up with a subscription to Analog. (those Science articles are a huge driving factor. They may be way over my head at times, but I still love reading them.)

                    • That 15% are probably from younger authors who think that’s what you’re supposed to do, based on all the crap out there.

                    • Could be. Without digging that issue out, I can’t say for certain.

                      A couple of the recent issues have left me going Meh, but I’m still enjoying them overall so I know what I’ll be asking the paternal unit for at Christmas time. -heh, who do think introduced me to it in the first place (30 some years ago.) –

              • Sadly – I get the impression that either of my grandparents ( both left Lithuania, and came to the states just after WWII) were more american than many americans – at least of the “liberal” persuasion. That said, one was far more dedicated to freeing what he saw as his homeland, and fighting communism than cheering on American values, no matter how much he appreciated them. I “get” why he joined the Birchers, but in the end, after the curtain came down, he went back to Lithuania, finished out his life happily, and died there.

                The other had his name changed at Ellis Island (americanized “Vladas” to “Walter”) worked as an engineer, including several Apollo related programs, and stayed here in the states until he retired, and also died. He’s buried in Ct.

                One valued many of the same things, and even saw us as allies, but ultimately saw us as a wonderful refuge of convenience that he would be glad to finish out his years in if it came to that, but here was never quite “home”. The other stayed here.

                I also remember you hinting at the Euro thing on several occasions, that their press always puts the best spin on for their tribe and people, so they look at ours and think what our news shows really means it must be that bad or worse. They can’t imagine that people would hang out so much dirty laundry unless there was far worse.

                The point that some of it is selectively worse than reality (never mind different types of baggage for nationalism, patriotism, right, left, etc…) due to the elites in charge, who hold many not in the big cities in paternalistic contempt, certainly never crosses their minds, unless they live here a while (per said germans – and you)

                • I got to eb a *lot* more American after living in Germany — as much as I really do love Germany. But I’ve got Hungarian relatives who came here in 1956, in a helluva hurry. They’re more American than practically *anybody*.

                  • If anyone ever dared to let me teach high-school level world history, I’d seriously consider having “The Bridge at Andau” on the reading list.

                    • If the writing stops paying off, before taking up politics, I’d like to start an online school. And you’d so be hired.

                    • I, for one, wish I would have had you as a history teacher. (although I believe you are too young to have been my high school teacher) Why do they always hire someone who takes an inherently interesting subject, and has the skill to make it disqustingly dull?

                    • Those who do not make it dull have passion and truly are emotionally invested in both subject and student. Passion for history is actually destroyed by the PC du jour spin and emotional investment in the student is bankrupted by an uncaring bureaucratic machine that treats individuals like interchangeable widgets.

          • and frankly – part of our trusting what we say about ourselves is because we used to have a press/etc. that at least TRIED to be sort of objective, even if they did pick and choose what to be reported, and quite how.

            sadly – we now need to glean through everything with an eye towards “pravda” – and that’s not really a good thing.

            • The narrative of the ‘neutral press’ is a myth. It is a myth that the Liberal press told themselves, and believed as hard as ever they could, for a lomg time, but it is a myth based on the really somewhat bizarre partisanship of the late period Hearst press. Which sputtered on through the late 1960’s as I recall. Toward the end (I know that Hearst still exists as a company, but the ethos is dead) the Hearst papers sometimes seemed to be channelling the Birchers through a nasty case of DTs.

              So, compared to that the new Liberal press could tell themselves that they were neutral, and believe it. They weren’t, and never were. The Press cannot be neutral, and trting merely guts it of passion.

              • I’ve been a traditional print journalist. I’m not the only one who comes around (Patrick?), and I’m going to clue ya in on something.

                It’s virtually impossible to be unbiased when reporting a news story you actually give a damn about. I was interviewed a while back as a representative of the Libertarian Party on campus carry. The reporter was from a local television station, and we knew each other but knew each other more by reputation. In addition to me, he interviewed the police chiefs of both local college police departments. Two against one, right?

                Not really. You see, the report was structured so that I had the last word, so to speak. He chief voiced his concerns, then it cut back to me telling the reporter how off base they really were, then the report ended. It was actually a pro-gun news story, but both sides were represented. The reporter’s own politics lean right, and he’s a veteran reporter. A real pro, all things considered, so how did that happen?

                Simple. While trying to be as unbiased as possible, he talked to all sides. However, in his effort to get all the relevant information to the public, he felt it was vital that my blurb countering the chief’s claims be heard. Had he been anti-gun, he’d have not worried about it.

                So yeah, there is no unbiased media. We’d actually be a lot better off if the media took off the mask, admitted to their biases, and let people make up their own minds.

                • Well said. Without bias you are much less than human.

                  The problem with the left is not that they have bias but that they reject truth. A leftist reporting a story believes that simply telling the truth is not necessary when advancing the cause of the day.

                  Consider this, if you didn’t have the facts backing your position on campus carry, a story by an honest journalist would not have been to your liking.

                  • The problem is that a leftist reporting a story actually thinks they are telling the truth. They’ll just keep shopping for a “truth” that backs their position.

                    For example, someone else doing that same campus carry story (and having enough time), would have tried to find someone to counter my arguments – all in the name of being fair and balanced, mind you. Either that, or they would have simply chalked some of my comments as “irrelevant”, left them out, shown me talking, the chief responding, and ended the segment and been convinced they’d handled all sides.

                    The problem isn’t usually a willful effort to push an agenda. I do believe that the majority of my colleagues think they’re being unbiased. Some even succeed (a friend from high school who is a journalist covered religion for quite some time, had a good reputation amongst the resident clergy and religious conservatives, and never gave a hint that he was a progressive atheist). Most, however, simply fail at it because they don’t understand their biases enough to avoid them. They simply believe that their beliefs are actually truths, and then report according to those truths (which are totally not biases because everyone knows global warming/climate change/whatever-we’re-calling-it-this-week is real).

                    • You make a good point, but one who holds that truth is objective — or important — when confronted with appropriate facts will change his opinions.

                      My view would be that when facts are denied because they conflict with one’s worldview — a reporter dismissing your argument about CC — then that person isn’t interested in seeking truth.

                      If that person dismissed your argument because he honestly didn’t understand it, that would obviously not apply, but I think that there are too many gatekeepers who far more interested in advancing agenda than in seeking truth or even trying to be fair.

                    • It’s about the rationalization.

                      One journalist I respect is John Stossel. He, like me, came to be a libertarian from the left. In his case, it was reporting on various stories and seeing how government was the problem rather than private entities.

                      However, a lot have managed to rationalize away anything that questions their beliefs. Intellectual honesty, it ain’t.

                    • Stossel rocks. A good example of a great journalist, who it should be noted is upfront about his bias but gives the other side full and fair opportunity.

                      I put Brian Lamb in the category of great journalist in the classic “fly on the wall” sense.

                • Eamon J. Cole

                  I think there’s a bit of disconnect when people are talking about unbiased media. Most people don’t think in terms of sociology or psychology and don’t read the world from the perspective that “bias is inherent.”

                  Usually when somebody, say a manager, identifies a bias the ethical impetus is to work to negate the bias. While I’m not saying it always happens, the ideal exists. Most people have an expectation, perhaps unconscious, that professionals will work to neutralize identified bias.

                  After throwing that out there, I think what most people would really like to see is not an unbiased media, but a real stab at maintaining an objective media. While objectivity has many of the same obstacles as bias, I think an objective standard is more reasonable and certainly (largely) attainable.

                  I believe it’s perfectly natural for a reporter to have their political philosophy, and a bias derived from such. I really have no objection to the inevitable slant this will produce. Assuming, of course, they hold themselves to a standard of objectivity and truth.

                  When they willingly and knowingly set aside any attempt at objectivity, when they undertake to purposely lie to further a political agenda, when they defend their lies as necessary to tell a “deeper truth,” then… Well, then I think scorn and contempt should be the least of their worries.

                  I can abide a biased media. I cannot abide a party apparatus suborning the truth for political points while draping themselves in the “holy mission” of journalism.

                  • While objectivity has many of the same obstacles as bias, I think an objective standard is more reasonable and certainly (largely) attainable.

                    Yeah, you’re right. It is easier to be objective than to be unbiased. Of course, it’s not that anyone in authority over the media actually gives a damn unfortunately.

                    And, until the consumers of American media demand it, it’s not really going to happen. While they might hate the idea of a free market, they’re still subject to market forces.

                    • Eamon J. Cole

                      I’m not sure rational consumers are going to give them the chance to react to market input. There are powerfully compelling alternatives, covering a much broader range of philosophical bias, many of which aim for some degree of objectivity.

                      What can the media giants offer in the face of their competition?

                    • A glorious crash.

                      And that’s a market force too. 😀

                    • Eamon J. Cole

                      True. I’d enjoy a good crash, too.

          • It is. If it weren’t for being 1) very historically literate (and not the approved histories), 2) cantankerous and 3) observant, I’d swallow a lot of what “Europeans” say and write. Reading Rebecca West just as the 4th Balkan War broke out cured some of that, and time, experience, and an ornery refusal to trust translated news has shaken the rest loose.

            • Grrrr WordPress. After “it is”, insert “We Americans want to take people at their word until proved otherwise. Heck,” and continue from there.

              Bad WP, bad, bad. *shakes claw in direction of WP server*

          • Such as? Being a Canadian, I’m not really confident to evaluate what either Americans or Europeans say of themselves.

            • I’m NOT getting in a pissing contest with that particular blog, but if you’d like I can do a post on “things Europeans say (and by and large believe) about themselves that just ain’t so.”

              • Birthday girl

                I would like to read this, just for my general eddifyicashun …

                • Hell, I’d be interested, too.

                  I’ve not been far out of my little mountains- west to the Mississippi, north to NYC, south to FL and east to the coast is all. The differences between people in different states are big enough, I think. And similarities- I get along a lot better with upstate New York rural folk than Miami transplants any day.

                  Be interesting to see what’s what outside the U.S. sometime, perhaps. At least so long as I don’t have to travel. *grin*

            • Canadians, for reasons of proximity of both geography and culture, don’t get as utterly lost in describing Americans as do Europeans. Although they do share the characteristic of the more ‘sophisticated’ the person at subject, the farther afield in so describing they end up.

          • Hi Sarah. I decided I had to see for myself what the hullabaloo with the banned one was all about, so I checked out his blog at some length. (I thought the SFWA ban was asinine and haven’t changed my mind. FYI, I only read one sci-fi book by him, which I rather enjoyed.) Holy mother of pork…
            Look, I have a very strong stomach (even Tom Kratman just makes me chuckle) but… either this guy is deliberately posting flame-bait or he has serious issues, or a bit of both.
            And for the record, his remarks on a certain people (mine) having a “superiority complex” seem like classic projection in view of everything else I read there.

            • Yeah. I think it’s a mix of flame-bait and issues. And yeah. Being enough of your people for Hitler if not enough (provably. Family legend isn’t provable, though I understand Portugal is such a mess for that that if you say you are, then they accept you, because, well) I found that rather interesting too…
              I still think the SFWA ban is asinine, yes.

              • I remember reading the story (in Howard Sachar’s “Farewell Espana”, IIRC) of when the Grand Inquisitor proposed a yellow hat for Novos Cristaos in the 18th Century, and the next day the Marquis de Pombal came with three yellow hats: one for the king, one for the grand inquisitor, and one for himself. Needless to say, the plan was dropped 😉

                • yeah… the peninsula is … emulsified.
                  Grandma told me when I was 14 that her husband’s family was Cristaos Novos and I wasn’t to tell anyone because I could get in trouble. Of course, later I was talking to mom, and her younger sister walked in, didn’t know which family we were talking about, and said, “Oh, yeah, our branch of the Silvas is Cristaos Novos. Dad said that the name was Silver and we left England over the doctor’s plot” (Explaining why the close and much married to line is the Brites read “Britts?”) Mom looked at her like she had two heads. BTW on that side the family crisscrosses so many times the matrilineal and patrilineal lines are the same. Later on I was reading up on stuff grandma (dad’s mom) taught me as a child. There was this peculiar story of Leah and Rachel being twins. Turns out this story belonged to a peculiar Jewish sect, to which the Marques belonged. Tracing that line WAS fun. They ran from Portugal to France to avoid converting. Converted in France. Reconverted back, joined this weird sect that ended like Jim Jones cult, then ran to Portugal and reconverted to Catholicism. But kept the stories. Now, was in all this the mother-line kept Jewish? Who knows? On dad’s dad side probably. They had enough money to matter. On mom’s mom side, likely. They mostly married cousins. On dad’s mom’s side? Anybody’s guess. That line somehow got crossed with the old Bourbons, wrong side of the blanket, and what really happened there is anybody’s guess. (They’re the story tellers and a little loopy, anyway.) So… Probably not Jewish enough to count. Jewish enough, though, that I was contacted (due to surnames some of which are used as pen names) by a Jewish group asking if I wanted to know about the faith of my ancestors. It’s…. interesting 😉 But I suspect that means if things turn much uglier the komissars will figure it out, too.

                • Oh, in all this confusion, let it be said, the way things are turning out I’d rather be hanged with the Jews than survive with the anti-semites. It’s not a matter of choice. It’s the only thing I can do and remain me.

  3. A lot of this comes back to the theme that people want to put other people and their ideas into neat little boxes to categorize and ignore them. Sorting them out that way prevents them from having to actually logically think anything through. It’s just someone from Box 1A: Radical Right Winger’s. Quick he’s opening his mouth again, get the box!

  4. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    On the “party discipline thing”, I agree that it doesn’t exist. What the Lefties have is “group think” (which can be “wanting to be part of the cool people”).

  5. “The point is that being listed as a member of the Evil League of Evil amused me. …But it’s a problem when a neutral/sympathizer like Eric S. Raymond lends it credence. …It might very well scare away potential fans and bring in a lot of people who will get upset my opinions aren’t “pure” enough.”

    This is unfortunately a basic problem of humanity, in that all our survival instincts are oriented towards extremely quick “good?/not good?” reaction responses; this is a viable strategy on the savannah and when fighting the other tribe over the only waterhole within three days’ walk but is not enough in itself for maintaining an advanced and complex semi-pluralistic civilization. (One of the reason I sometimes think “Odds” make such trouble for themselves/ourselves is that in many issues they are capable of much more graduated and tailored evaluations than the general run of folk, but then on other issues they suddenly go into absolute rigid reflex black/white reactionism that can unproductively surprise both themselves and those they’re dealing with.)

    For what it’s worth, I think the attention span of Internet outrage is short enough that any negative effect Mr. Raymond’s article might have will be short lived — though it may be recurrent; the Internet never forgets but it never sticks with one topic for long, either.

  6. I’m not an author. I’m a reader – since about 1964 when Mrs Pennington put Rocketship Galileo in front of me.

    I don’t like Lit Fic. I don’t like 10 pages of psychological character development.

    I like Ringo and Niven and such where they layout a bare framework and let me impose my imagination on it.

    I like big ideas and big science like Armored Suits and Rocket Trees and Sunflowers….

    I like positive futures where humans press on into the murk optimistically.

    That’s why Baen and you Indies is where my money has been going for about a decade now.

    • masgramondou

      Yup. It’s why the real philosophical future of SF argument is between the Human Wave and the Gray Goo. The fact that for the most part the ELoE are Human Wave types and the Rabbits are Gray Goo ones may lead to confision.

  7. I read the article you mention, and figured the writer was stuck on the attitude that the best way to defeat the enemy is to be just like him but better.
    And I’m thinking that approach did so well in other areas of life and culture and politics in the last couple of decades.

    I would argue that the best way to defeat your opponent is to outperform them on your own terms, and would add that you have to do it on your own terms because if you do it on their terms you wind up being your opponent, and then what?

    Mark Twain is quoted as saying, “Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference”. This I discovered may be a restatement of Proverbs, which warns, Don’t argue with a fool in his own words, “lest you become like him”

    • Whatever else is right, it is utterly wrong to employ the argument that we Europeans must do to savages and Asiatics whatever savages and Asiatics do to us. I have even seen some controversialists use the metaphor, “We must fight them with their own weapons.” Very well; let those controversialists take their metaphor, and take it literally. Let us fight the Sudanese with their own weapons. Their own weapons are large, very clumsy knives, with an occasional old-fashioned gun. Their own weapons are also torture and slavery. If we fight them with torture and slavery, we shall be fighting badly, precisely as if we fought them with clumsy knives and old guns. That is the whole strength of our Christian civilisation, that it does fight with its own weapons and not with other people’s. It is not true that superiority suggests a tit for tat. It is not true that if a small hooligan puts his tongue out at the Lord Chief Justice, the Lord Chief Justice immediately realises that his only chance of maintaining his position is to put his tongue out at the little hooligan. The hooligan may or may not have any respect at all for the Lord Chief Justice: that is a matter which we may contentedly leave as a solemn psychological mystery. But if the hooligan has any respect at all for the Lord Chief Justice, that respect is certainly extended to the Lord Chief Justice entirely because he does not put his tongue out.

      Exactly in the same way the ruder or more sluggish races regard the civilisation of Christendom. If they have any respect for it, it is precisely because it does not use their own coarse and cruel expedients. According to some modern moralists whenever Zulus cut off the heads of dead Englishmen, Englishmen must cut off the heads of dead Zulus. Whenever Arabs or Egyptians constantly use the whip to their slaves, Englishmen must use the whip to their subjects. And on a similar principle (I suppose), whenever an English Admiral has to fight cannibals the English Admiral ought to eat them. However unattractive a menu consisting entirely of barbaric kings may appear to an English gentleman, he must try to sit down to it with an appetite. He must fight the Sandwich Islanders with their own weapons; and their own weapons are knives and forks. But the truth of the matter is, of course, that to do this kind of thing is to break the whole spell of our supremacy. All the mystery of the white man, all the fearful poetry of the white man, so far as it exists in the eyes of these savages, consists in the fact that we do not do such things. The Zulus point at us and say, “Observe the advent of these inexplicable demi-gods, these magicians, who do not cut off the noses of their enemies.” The Soudanese say to each other, “This hardy people never flogs its servants; it is superior to the simplest and most obvious human pleasures.” And the cannibals say, “The austere and terrible race, the race that denies itself even boiled missionary, is upon us: let us flee.”

      — G. K. Chesterton

    • One of my favorites, because the whole thing outlines a problem we all know….

      Do not answer fools according to their folly,
      lest you too become like them.

      Answer fools according to their folly,
      lest they become wise in their own eyes.

  8. Thank you for a well written and well thought out counter-point to a lot of what has been written about the “civil war in sf and f”.

    I believe you were just discussing the one article, but it applies to so much more.

  9. Sarah, I apologize for having implicitly put you in a box you didn’t want to be in.

    Frankly, though, I think you were going to wind up there anyway – condemned (in the eyes of the other side) by your own words. Revering *Heinlein*? How unforgivably reactionary of you…

    • oh, yes, eventually we all end up in that box for them, right? Because we’ve deviated in thought or did in some small amount.
      Again, this was not an attack on the article, but an explanation of how I view it, and an attempt to stop any miss-image propagated.

    • Clark E Myers

      With great power comes great responsibility. Time was /. had power, it’s not an unmitigated good to be instalanched and once upon a time Ziff Davis would bring the whole internet to its knees when PC Magazine was delivered and folks started downloads. Now it’s Armed and Dangerous – at least a sentiment to be applauded.

      The remarkable testimony to low carb brownies seen in the UNITED UNDERWORLD OF SFF (From Left to Right: Sarah Hoyt, John C. Wright, Larry Correia, and Vox Day) picture isn’t liable to achieve security by obscurity in any event though IMHO. In that sense I agree with “going to wind up there anyway.” Sadly the pledge of lives, fortunes and sacred honor is often made implicitly and so perhaps without full consideration. Never know who or what or when or how the pledge will be redeemed. Teresa and Patrick used Making Light to mock KduT too. Not bad company. Not sure where there is though?

      As I posted elsewhere I agree that the effects of literary status envy hurt literature locally. I disagree that there is any adequately defined literary box or alternative boxes. Nor do I agree that merit in either genre literature – or any other form of creative art – can be determined by early or late sales or Amazon ranking (e.g. Moby Dick – bring it out new in 4 volumes one per year and it might yet be a best seller).

      I am still shocked shocked to find that 90% of pink SF is very bad, no good. On the extreme of an alternate political view if you will I’d say The Turner Diaries is far better written than its thesis merits – it’s a good argument for going armed and dangerous though – maybe a reminder to send a contribution to JPFO. Just maybe the extra winnowing and extra effort required has reduced the proportion of crap in other than pink SF – and so opening the floodgates to bring us more speculative fiction after Ayn Rand would not bring forth more great literature nor yet more hack in a favorable sense work.

      Mary Jane Engh has reviews for Arslan that can only be matched hardly topped well earned reviews at that – and has written well on non-sexist language and women in history – and Arslan is as good as it’s touted to be. Her other books are pretty good even if Arslan is the best. Not much to show for sales though. Jo Walton has written well about Mr. Heinlein and his literary merits and at Tor.com – and I wouldn’t qualify anything Jo wrote about Mr. Heinlein as Yes, but; it’s yes and more.

      I suppose I should mention that I’ve shared a drink with Teresa and Patrick and Mary Jane Engh at my expense and I don’t remember whether Jo paid for her own (lemonade as I recall).

  10. Bruce Abbott

    Thanks, Sarah. Back before I gave up on National Public Radio, I listened to Peter Schickele’s musicology program Schickele Mix, which he started every week by quoting Duke Ellington, “If it sounds good, it IS good!” I feel the same way about all reading. If it is entertaining, holds my interest, keeps me guessing, I don’t give a rat’s posterior what the political leanings or personal failings of the author are. I have John Scalzi and Orson Scott Card sitting on the same shelf in my bookcase; no friction fires yet. The one transgression I will not forgive resulted in the banishment of Philip Pullman and all his works from my house; his advocacy for the burning of the books of C.S.Lewis.
    Book burning is a crime against humanity; it is an attempt to deprive our entire species for all time of the works in question. I do hope there is a special circle in Hell for all such, especially those who destroyed the Library at Alexandria.
    I forwarded that link to you from Glenn Reynolds, should have realized you would have seen it a hundred times. The author berated David Weber as a ‘hack’; well, I have purchased every one of that hack’s Honor Harrington novels, and I am not ashamed to admit that I wept at some point into every one of them. I also have laughed myself sick over every one of Pratchett’s Disc World series. I bought them because they entertain, not for the politics of the authors. I agree that the other side wants you expunged, and yours just wants to write, sell, entertain, and maybe laugh about the leftists. You’re right, they’re wrong; you’ll survive, and they will drown in their own bile.

    • You mentioned ESR calling Weber a hack. What exactly makes someone a hack? IMAO, Stephen King is a hack and a rich one to boot.

    • I don’t think eric meant “Hack” as a bad thing…

      • That is correct. There are competent hacks and incompetent ones; Weber and King are both competent.

        • Hey. I’m working at it!
          Out of curiosity, did you use a different IP? I’m wondering why it put you in moderation, again???

          • That’s odd. Both commends were posted from the same machine – and I have a static address.

            • Looks like your first post was done with name+email (guessing from the misspelling Eruc) while these posts came while you were logged-in in with your WordPress profile.

              “WordPress delenda est” is the usual phrase ’round these parts.

              (I don’t know if anything better is really available: Disqus and Livefyre are popular, but proprietary and you don’t control your data; G+ likewise but less popular; Discourse seems insanely overweight and doesn’t embed onto the page [BoingBoing uses it for comments, but it’s really a discussion system]—everybody seems to be re-implementing NNTP, badly.)

              • Wayne Blackburn

                WordPress sends people to moderation purgatory for something as simple as changing the display name on your account, so probably something like that, yeah.

            • Ah, well. WordPress is a thing of beauty. And by beauty I mean it must be killed with fire, of course. It’s just less trouble than rolling my own. Not much, but less.

              • Maybe we could add WordPress delenda est as a counter sign. (Yes, either at the door or on the wall behind the bar, under the odalisque.)

          • WordPress / Gravatar interaction. They almost play well together …

            • Heck, I’m still trying to figure a way to change my Gravatar image. It looks like my groin is aflame.

              • Eamon J. Cole

                It’s a stock WP fill-in. Set-up a Gravatar (gravatar.com) account and you can pick your own.

                Link it to the email address you’ve been using here and it’ll update. But WP may cast you into moderation initially.

        • Josh A. Kruschke

          esraymond,

          I took hack to mean that Weber was just writing to the lowest common denominator, and that he was unimaginative and uninventive. A backhanded compliment.

      • Hack can be the opposite of “literary genius”, sort of like G. Orwell’s calling Kipling a good-bad poet. Good because he is memorable, creative, and infections. Bad because Kipling’s ideology (such as it may have been) repelled Orwell and the ideas in the poems were not ones Orwell wanted to encourage. Hacks make money and don’t worry too much about their eternal literary reputation (see: stories about why Kipling was never Poet Laureate)

        • ” Hacks make money and don’t worry too much about their eternal literary reputation ”

          Funny dat.

          King, Weber, L’amour, Twain, Dickens, Scott, Kipling, Burroughs, Shakespeare, Heinlein; all hacks. Their eternal literary reputation may not be good, but then check out the ‘eternal literary reputation’ of those non-hacks, like…uhhh. Maybe an ‘eternal literary reputation’ is kinda like publicity?

      • Trust me, if you know Eric (and mind you, I haven’t run into him for over a decade), Eric NEVER views Hacking as bad. Mind you, he differentiates between Hacking (which is good, and the core of innovation) and Cracking (which is bad, trespass, illegal, etc. . .)

        To wit:

        http://www.catb.org/esr/faqs/hacker-howto.html

        If you haven’t already read it, strongly suggested. . .

  11. Now I understand why its been harder and harder for me to find new authors/books to read in SF and fantasy. I fell in love with SF when I discovered the Heinlein books in the middle school library back in 6th grade (many decades ago). I too have found myself reading books that happen to be from Baen and some indie publishers (now if indie publishers would just do a better job at editing, or the authors finding someone that can edit their books, even if just for typos, misplaced commas, grammar).

    Sarah, I agree with you, we don’t need to worry too much about the approved leftie SF, no one is buying much of that material. Downside is that many brick and mortar book stores have an increasingly smaller SF section, since I suspect sales in SF overall have been going down. Again, if one writes and publishes something people don’t want to read, then how do you think your publishing house will stay in business? Hoping to get a grant from the Obama admin for being the correct thinkers most likely.

    By the way, Sarah, I’m a fellow Coloradan.

    • If I didn’t love this state so much, I’d have left by now… Don’t lets let it go to h*ll on our watch, okay?

      • Hey, two recalls and a forced early retirement isn’t all that bad a start. Take control of the state back in November, rescind a few egregious, annoying, and totally unconstitutional laws passed not long ago, and it just might be worth living there again. Can’t beat the scenery, and the beer is cheap and plentiful if a bit on the weak side.

        • Hey, now. Thems fightin’ words! There are a lot of good microbrews here in CO. Coors was decent about 25 years ago but New Belgium at least makes up for that.

          Here’s hoping we can make things better in November.

          • If you look carefully, you can find the original Coors full strength not-light lager. Used to be you looked for “Banquet Beer” on the label.

          • Coors used to be worth loading up a semi, sending a trans am out to spot the cops, and hauling ass toward Georgia despite the risk of prison!

            Yes, I was born in the 70’s. Yes, I love “Smokey and the Bandit”. Sue me. 😛

            • Rob Crawford

              East bound and down, loaded up and truckin’…

              (Grew up in the ’70s and Dad was a trucker. As much as I hated it then, I was steeped in that stuff.

              Has Mannheim Steamroller ever played their first hit at a concert? Its title is “Convoy”.)

              • In fairness, it was Chip Davis, who with Bill Fries, did Convoy as C.W. McCall.

                Davis formed Mannheim Steamroller so it wouldn’t get tangled up with the C.W. McCall persona allowing him to play popular/classical fusion.

                Can you imagine a popular/classical fusion release from C.W. McCall? You’d need to be Kurt Vonnegut to do so.

                • That’s a 10-4 good buddy… Oh Noes! I now has Convoy in my brainses… Mind bleach! Urgent call for mind bleach!!!!!!

                • Ahhh Bearcat. As exquisitely bad Wolfcreek Pass is, it is not Round the World With the Rubber Duck.

                  If you should search for it, you could find it on YouTube. I would not advise linking to it however as such a deed would constitute a crime against humanity.

                  • Actually I very much like Wolfcreek Pass; while Round the World With the Rubber Duck (also known as Convoy II) is not only not that good of a song, but it is also not nearly as persistent an earworm as Wolfcreek Pass.

    • I am fast coming to the opinion that there is a desperate crying need for a service organization that consolidates, guides, and encourages budding indie authors, supplying everything from cover art/layout, copy edit, a basic mechanism for connecting authors with legal help, economic advice, and the like. Just the sort of thing you would expect something like SFWA to offer if they actually existed. Pity that the name has been co-opted by a bunch of idiot brown nose publisher lackeys infected with terminal political correctness.

  12. I think Eric is lamenting a trend that he sees as being destructive to SF as a literary genre. The history of social evolution is a progression from family unit, to clan, to tribe, to village, to city, to nation, and beyond. This wave threatens individualism with ostracism or extinction. The last Free Thinkers may have no choice but to leave the planet, and SF points the way. For me, this is it’s highest ideal. The corruption of SF by collectivist politics is indeed lamentable.

    • William O. B'Livion

      The history of social evolution is a progression from family unit, to clan, to tribe, to village, to city, to nation, and beyond.

      You mean like thee way the Czech Republic and Slovakia were formed out of Czechoslovakia? Or the way the Soviet Union became Russia, the Ukraine, and how many other little likeigiveafuqistans?

      I suspect strongly the age of the Westfailian Nation-State is about over, and we’re going back to small tribal states just as fast as they can be managed.

      The US, AU, NZ and CA might last a little longer since we weren’t really tribes to begin with, or we’ve mixed them up so much it’s hard to sort them out.

      • The US, AU, NZ and CA might last a little longer since we weren’t really tribes to begin with, or we’ve mixed them up so much it’s hard to sort them out.

        The Big Sort is taking care of that here in the U.S. People are moving to where they’re ideologically comfortable whenever possible. Barring something to disrupt that process, we’ll end up with two People’s Republics of Leftwingistan and The Republic of Flyoverland in the middle.

      • While the US may not have tribes in the classical sense, we do have easily discernible subcultures. The process of hiving off is already well advanced in some areas. Gangland culture, LA Raza are two examples of this. The yankee puritan strain is also well in evidence as they are the one trying to control every aspect of your life.
        Subculture may be stronger than tribe in the long run due to shared values.

        • William O. B'Livion

          La Raza are imports from a tribe (Mexico). So are most of the larger gangs (MS13 etc.).

          That Yankee Puritan strain is seriously cross cultural. My 1st generation Italian American relatives show a strong tendency that direction, as long as you let them have a glass (aka 16oz tumbler) of wine with dinner.

  13. The drive for ideological purity creates a need for political officers. Anything that requires commissars can count on having me for an opponent.
    I had thought that SciFi was dead to me as I could not stand to read what was published due to the base assumptions of human nature and political dynamics. I thank the Gods that I have found y’all, “blue” SF, and indie publishing.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      SF may not have commissars yet, but I can think of a few people among the Usual Suspects who wouldn’t mind wearing the uniform. Hell, some of them already act like commissars.

    • William O. B'Livion

      We have a solution for that:

  14. Our September theme is Military SF. Please nominate a book here:
    https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1942762-september-2014—-military-sf

  15. Sarah, always remember that while we disagree with the left, they hate and fear us. To them the world is a fixed pie, and every success we achieve through our methods is food snatched from their mouths.
    We’ve seen it time and again, to leftists peaceful coexistence is simply a period for them to marshall their weapons and set up for a sneak attack. Earily similar to the cease fires Hamas wanted with the Israelis in Gaza. We’ll stop fighting for a bit, rearm, and wait for you to look away, then bam.
    The lib/prog PC enamored leftists who have co-opted SFWA must see us crushed and defeated. Indie is freedom, and freedom is just another word for the readers aren’t forced to buy only their inferior crap. My fear is that we ignore them at our peril, else we wake up one day and find they’ve legislated our alternatives right out from under us. You know, sort of like taking over the IRS, EPA, and the Justice Department when no one was looking. Not that that could ever happen.

    • To them the world is a fixed pie, and every success we achieve through our methods is food snatched from their mouths.

      You know, I actually wish it was to some extent. I mean, I don’t wish that every sale for Sarah meant less money for Larry or anything, but it would tickle me to death to know that every purchase of one of my stories resulted in less money for one of them to pretend they actually mattered.

      However, you’re right, it doesn’t. The truth is, some of us write stuff that they’re not remotely interested in and never will be. It’s something I came to terms with a while back, and it’s made me much, much happier.

      • It’s both true and false. We’re after Joe’s beer money — and Joe like his beer — but by drawing more people to reading, we are inducing more people to buy more books.

      • The dirty little truth they simply cannot accept is that the PC drivel they have pushed on the buying public is in many ways the chief reason we are losing readership at an ever escalating rate. We (I include myself, I’m that old fat guy in the cheerleading section) offer the public what they want, not what we think they ought to want. In that regard we are the enemy of the PC, SJW, GHH, trad/pub, and the like. Every bit as much as video games, social media, and television. ie, a convenient scapegoat for their own failures.
        As Sarah and others have predicted that whole bunch are rapidly devolving into small ineffectual literary groups and will do so with or without us. This whole Hatchette thing is nothing more than a feeble dinosaur trying to eke out just a bit more time on earth by sucking the lifeblood of its enemy.
        What keeps me up late isn’t Ebola, or foreign nukes. We can deal with those. What scares me to death is that some sh!tb!rd legislator with in the interest of “fairness” craft a way for that mean spirited literary bunch to muzzle Amazon and Baen. That said, I usually sleep pretty well. After all the entire concept of the internet was to find a way for communications to get around roadblocks. It’s called the world wide web for good reason.

        • “After all the entire concept of the internet was to find a way for communications to get around roadblocks. It’s called the world wide web for good reason.”

          But, but, but, *splutters incoherently* that wasn’t what Al Gore intended when he invented it!

  16. Josh A. Kruschke

    As Reader I’m really getting tiered of people telling md what I should and shouldn’t like or be reading.

    I like stories. If the story pulls me along, that is all that matters to me. I read to be entertained. All care about is if a charators politics is consistant within the framework of the character, and if there is a shift in their motivations or politics there is a reason.

    I think picking stories to read by genre means you might miss something great just because it not where you are looking.

    Reading the same sytle over and over gets boring for me. I don’t want writers to play to the lowest common denominator, take calculated risks, sometimes turning a genre on it’s head is a good thing. Keeps us readers on our toes.

    • As a reader / moviewatcher / music lister, yeah, this. I operate on the “If I was entertained, then I got my money’s worth,” premise, and its up to me to decide on how much of my money’s worth I got.

      Good example: I walked into the theatre to watch The Devil’s Advocate thinking “legal thriller with Al Pacino and Keanu Reeves? This ought to be fun!’ with a couple of friends because the poster told us NOTHING – and while we were surprised on the horror turn, we still enjoyed the movie to consider having got our money’s worth- and my friends teased me about it later on.

      Anyway, that’s my two cents of thought. Off to do the day’s work (today it’s figure out Filter Forge!) and I’ll be back on my breaks.

      • After I left the theater I saw Devil’s Advocate at, I looked at my watch and went, what the – that movie COULD NOT have been two and a half hours long! The director, that master entertainer Taylor Hackford (White Nights, An Officer and a Gentleman) had made the movie as long as it needed to be to tell the story in the subtle, slow-building style he was using, and not a minute longer. It emphatically does not feel too long. A co-worker at the time had the same reaction, she looked at her watch and thought she had got the starting time wrong.

        • Oh yeah, definitely. You walked out of there and were then surprised it was that long. Wonderfully paced, and you were seriously sucked in. That was a master of storytelling in action!

          It’s one of the movie examples I like also because it’s different from Keanu Reeve’s usual acting (the other favorite of his I have is Something’s Gotta Give. Oh and The Lake House.) Maybe it’s because he acts WITH several very seasoned and very good actors in those two movies, plus they’re movies that demand more emotion not more action.

          Kinda want to watch those all again now… XD

          • A Scanner Darkly is great, and he gives a performance that is manipulated by the fact that filmed actors were turned into cartoon figures. And he’s pretty much gone to Slow D (the hideous drug the narcotics officers are fighting.)

    • Josh A. Kruschke

      Sorry, if there was any confusion.

      This wasn’t directed at the Sarah, but at those who want to dictate to writers and through them to the readers as to what they should be writing and what should be read.

  17. Eamon J. Cole

    Repeatedly, consistently the people I find common ground with are those so ruthlessly interested in not caring how I live my life.

    Oddly, setting aside the politics, so very many folks off leftward are of the same mindset. They have far more in common with me than with the shrill reactionaries they’ve aligned with.

    Whatever seductive lie is told to suck so many into a decaying orbit around a horrendous philosophy, it’s tragic.

    I have seen compelling, interesting and novel stories corrupted by the grafted on cause of the moment. Things like post-binary gender. I’ve seen bright and creative minds shackled, willingly, to dreck and crap and worse. It’s maddening and sad.

    In the end, though, our gracious host is right. I, and those hanging around the common ground, have no interest in silencing anyone. No desire to shout down opposing (or assumed to be opposing) views, nor any expectation or plan to cleanse the field.

    I would like to see those bright, creative minds shake loose of a stifling conformity born of the desperate power politics of a tiny repugnant few. I’d hope they would remember and embrace an individuality they once cherished and remove themselves from the company of a few haggard, bitter voices most interested in prestige and the admiration of a stagnant intellectual class best recognized for how well they’ve adapted their heads to serve the role of colonic polyps.

    I’ll happily read the interesting work of people who see the world in different ways. But I’ve no interest in plowing through the crap of people who’d presume to tell me of the only acceptable path, and assume the authority to castigate me for my failures to hold to their path and insist I bow my head in shame for the accident of my birth.

    • Wayne Blackburn

      But if you won’t read such things, how will you know what to think? Why, you might have to think for yourself! Are you mad?

      • And if you think for yourself, you’re likely to think the wrong things. And we can’t have that now, can we?

      • Eamon J. Cole

        Frequently, these days, I am quite mad.

        Oh, wait. Not what you meant. In the other sense, many would say so, yes. The cranial polyps almost definitely. The repugnant few — they’d likely say whatever they felt advanced their power.

      • “Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
        “How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
        “You must be,” said the Cat, “otherwise you wouldn’t have come here.”

    • Paraphrase –
      I have seen the greatest minds of my generation shackled to dreck and banal conformity borne of power politics.

  18. Karl Sandwell-Weiss

    I need to dig out my Mickey Spillane (Mike Hammer) and Donald Hamilton (Matt Helm) series and reread them.

    Now there were a couple of hack writers. I’m guessing they were C list by Larry’s rating system since they both had TV shows based on their books.

    Plus, to stay on subject, they would be considered far right by today’s political standards. But neither cared. They wrote what would sell since they were interested in putting food on the table, not pleasing English professors.

    • Somewhere I have a paperback of a Mike Hammer novel with an author photo of Spillane that is him in a wife-beater T-shirt with cigarette in mouth and Colt .45 Auto in hand, plinking in a field.

      • Christopher M. Chupik

        Spillane, he was *despised* by the leftie literati of his day. He was an evil, semi-literate fascist ruining literature by his very presence. But the public loved him.

        Any parallels to any author writing today are purely coincidental. 😉

      • Mickey Spinali bang out the first Mike Hammer “I, The Jury” in a couple of weeks. I believe he wanted to buy a house. The house was the first of many of the good things his pulp writing purchased.

    • Clark E Myers

      And movies. Don’t forget the movies – The Big Country is even a pretty good movie. And as with everything else there is a season. Perhaps part of the SFWA fight is simply age against youth. Donald Hamilton’s last published book had a small print run and smaller sale after a 46 year run. Like the late lamented Karres Ventures the last Matt Helm tentatively The Dominators seems to be lost to us.

    • The movie critic John Simon once said that Mike Hammer bothered him a lot less than James Bond — Hammer was a reactionary loner who fought for what he believed in, Bond a skirt chaser who killed whomever the government told him to kill, sometimes killing a woman soon after bedding her. And Spillane once actually played Hammer in a movie.

      • “The Girl Hunters.” And the fact that it was made in England (?) actually doesn’t damage it.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      Titan Books is reprinting the Matt Helm books, which has finally allowed me to read them. Just ignore the Dean Martin movies.

    • Sadly, Hamilton passed on a few years back. In addition to a number of western and adventure stories he left us with 27 tales of the adventures of Matt Helm, an agent who made James Bond look like a lightweight.
      Just fyi, there is a new book by Keith Wease – Matt Helm: The War Years which tells of his adventures during WWII which Wease pulled together from scattered comments throughout the 27 Hamilton books.

  19. “I know none of the three of us wants to “cleanse” science fiction from people of different political opinions. For one, I think, should we start, we’d find enough divergence amid the three of us to keep us fighting FOREVER.”

    This is essentially my biggest problem with the “Handmaid’s Tale” type of “impending Theocracy” hysteria of 2004-ish. Someone really thinks that The Catholics and Baptists and Lutherans might put up with it?

    It would be “the three of us … fighting FOREVER.”

    • I HATE the Handmaid’s Tale. Can’t tell you how sick I am of having people tell me that’s good science fiction. Would have been less insulted if they called it almost anything else.

      • Just point out that Atwood said it wasn’t science fiction at all. Maybe that’ll shut ’em up?

        As for Atwood’s assertion…well, that’s a whole other story.

      • You can tell the suggestors, “I read that society already. It was called ‘If This Goes On — .’ Written about 1940.”

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          A few thoughts about the comparison between “Handmaiden” and “If This Goes On”.

          1) Heinlein did a better job of “building” the society.

          2) Heinlein wrote about a successful revolt against that society.

          3) Heinlein must have been “smoking something bad” to think Nehemiah Scudder would have succeeded in the first place. [Sad Smile]

          4) The writer of “Handmaiden” was just stupid to think that society would come into being.

          • I think Scudder was based on Father Coughlin, who was apparently *very* popular back during the Depression. The idea of a theocratic coup wouldn’t have been as far-fetched as it seems today (to anyone not on the Left anyway).

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              Popular enough to completely take over? Popular enough to have complete control of the military in a short time? Popular enough to take over a majority Protestant nation?

              Cause big trouble yes but otherwise H*ll No.

              • If he’d gotten elected then yes. Given all the shenanigans FDR got away with, and President who rode a wave of religious revivalism into the White House could have done quite a bit of damage. Especially if he decided to govern with a pen and a phone…

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  “Religious revivalism” doesn’t mean that Protestants would blindly support a Catholic President. There were Protestants who had problems with JFK. Also, Nehemiah Scudder in less than eight years created a US Military completely loyal to him. That was completely unbelievable and it would be even harder for a Roman Catholic President to do the same.

                  • Clark E Myers

                    Nehemiah Scudder goes unmentioned between Logic of Empire and If This Goes On. I don’t know what happened under Nehemiah Scudder and how long it took to reach the society described with a successful revolt. There is a mention of Mormon participation but not much description of life in Utah or the mountain west in general – perhaps they figure in the unwritten tales and the stone pillow birth of the resistance. We join the story in medias res and what went before is indeed speculative including the timespan. The officers depicted are hardly under total control of the theocracy.

                  • Josh A. Kruschke

                    Paul,
                    😉

                    I guess I should hsve read a little farther down in my emails.

                    People forget that poeple used to nit identify as christian but as Baptist Protestant, Lutheran, Mormon (stil considered by sime as not cristianl), Catholic…. As Pual has stated be for I was feared that if a Chatholic became president they would inefect be a proxy of the Pope.

                • Josh A. Kruschke

                  Jabrwok,

                  JFK? What was the issue that almost kept him from getting elected?

                  • Not sure of the relevance. I’m pretty sure that Scudder wasn’t a Catholic.

                  • Supposedly my grandfather had to actually take several of the sawmill supervisors down to the church basement (they were from the next county over, and didn’t know he was Catholic, even though easily half the town was) and show them it had chairs, tables, coffee urns and Father’s whiskey stash…..

              • Popular enough to have nightmares about it, at least.

            • Rob Crawford

              “I think Scudder was based on Father Coughlin, who was apparently *very* popular back during the Depression.”

              Coughlin’s cast to the “right wing” these days, but in reality he attacked Roosevelt from the left — there wasn’t enough central control for his taste.

              I suspect he’d have been marching with OWS if he were still alive. Or reanimated and possessing free will.

              • “Coughlin’s cast to the “right wing” these days, but in reality he attacked Roosevelt from the left —”

                Kinda like Heinlein? He wasn’t a proponent of central control, at least later in life, but he certainly wasn’t right wing.

                • Heinlein seemed to leave the Central Control religion when he saw how very badly it was handled during the 40’s here and the utter incompetence of the UN. I think he also realized how truly poisonous central planning is to the traditional American character.

    • “Handmaid’s Tale” backfired on me. I took the lesson to heart that anyone who offers to protect me from something is not to be trusted, be it AGW, scary-black-guns, manly men, or fatty food. And there’s a lot more on the vileprog side offering to “protect” me than there are on the bitter-clinger side. Oops, sorry Margaret A.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      The Left seems to assume everyone else is as collectively-minded as themselves. Do they really think all the flavors of Christianity, from Catholicism to Mormonism could possibly agree to a single theocratic form of their faith?

      • That was pretty much the genesis of “separation of church and state”. It wasn’t some amazing concept of secular rule, but the fact that a lot of very religious people didn’t want the other guy’s religion in charge.

        Other than the classic figuring that anyone not in your own denomination is going to hell thing, (and why get upset about that when *you* know it’s really the other way around!) there’s not any significant amount of religious conflict in the US because the Catholics have no authority over the Lutherans who have no authority over the Baptists who have no authority over the Episcopalians who have no authority over the Presbyterians who have no authority over the Pentecostals who have no authority over the Catholics who have no…

        And it’s all, OMG Theocracy! And that only makes any sense at all from the point of view of people profoundly collectively-minded and ignorant to boot. Willfully so if you figure that a major feature of a large segment of liberalism (and a lot of libertarianism – I will be fair) is anti-religion *because* religion is the source of all conflict and evil…. but somehow, at the same time, will cooperate enough to OMG Theocracy!

        And Sarah’s comment made me think of that.

        So which one of the Evil League of Evil is going to get to make sure the others toe the line on ideology?

        And which other of the ELoE is going to allow it?

        • I tag the Banished One to ensure it. I mean, he’s the source of all evil, right?
          As for us letting him? Not only no, but h*ll no, and Larry has a lot of nice guns.

      • William O. B'Livion

        If one is utterly ignorant of history and christianity (or ignorant of christianity beyond one’s own sect) then why not?

        Trotskyites, Maoists, Communitarians and other assorted leftist nuckfuts manage to band together long enough to establish ruling coalitions in Europe and the Democratic Party here in the US. Why wouldn’t US Christians be willing to band together to force women back into the kitchen and ban everything the Left considers fun?

        Also remember how things were until the 1970s–communication was expensive and largely filtered through choke points. In the late 1970s the price of printing started coming down (dropping dramatically in the 1980s) and then the Internet happened. Also you had Rush Limbaugh start the Talk Revolution in the late 80s, which lent voice to the “other half”.

        • because most Christians today are a co-opted side of the left. Never mind. At least the mainstream churches.

        • Christianity wants to force women back into the kitchen? If you are going to criticize others of being ignorant of Christianity then don’t be ignorant of Christianity.

          • I think that was his point, that the Left is ignorant of Christianity and all its schisms, and believes that they would collectivize in order to force women back in the kitchen (barefoot and pregnant, of course). As he pointed out, Trotskyites, Maoists, etc. banded together to in both Europe and the US Democratic party; and since they absolutely don’t understand individualism, they believe that their natural inclination to collectivize regardless of principals (mainly because they don’t have any) is what the ‘other side’ will naturally do.

            Not that is what Christians will do, but what the Left BELIEVES Christians will do.

          • William O. B'Livion

            Do I need a sarc tag?

    • Wayne Blackburn

      Wait – isn’t that a knock-off of a Star Trek Original Series episode*?

      * The Alternative Factor, where a guy named Lazarus had opened a portal to another universe and when his ship was destroyed, was doomed to fight his mirror twin for eternity.

  20. There are two kinds of people in this world: those that want to control, and those that don’t.

    I side with the latter.

    • Slight aside:
      http://fatpita.net/?i=1952

      Personally I think both Orwell and Huxley got it wrong. We, the ordinary folk, can see though the BS.

      • Utopias and dystopias alike — outside genre SF dystopias, which are excuses for adventure — are written by people who impute a lot of power to the state.

        • Yes Mary, but the point is were Orwell and Huxley alive today they would both write for the Grauniad. One would be complaining about how Big Media force the proles to buy things they don’t need, the other bemoaning the police state he voted for. Both a pair of bien pensant tosspots.

          • Eh, I’m not sure about Orwell. If you read his Collected Letters and Essays, you will know he did two about-faces.

            In the first volume, he was writing from a pacifist line, that there were no significant difference between Fascism and Democracy, and therefore they should indulge in pacifist propaganda in war. War came. He recanted that position in “My Country Right or Left” and spent much of the next two attacking his very own old position in the very words he used to promulgate it.

            The second is more subtle, but reviewing Koestler, he objects to his works that make it seem like progress is impossible — you have to keep your faith in progress. In the fourth volume, he’s reviewing something and says there was a time when progress seemed possible, but that was a while back. He didn’t actually recant, but in the same review, he gives a hint by talking about how the writer praised Henry VIII as causing progress, and his reaction, yeah, because of him we can all smash ourselves to pieces with atom bombs.

            Posit a sufficiently large shock and I’d believe any number more, if he had survived.

      • Rob Crawford

        Ftumch? How’s Orgo?

        • Hi Rob, Orgo is fine. He’s baking cake, just for you. 😛

          • Oh! I googled myself. I get a mention on wikipedia. Awesome! I’m somebody now! Millions of people look at wikipedia everyday! This is the kind of spontaneous publicity – your name online – that makes people. I’m online! Things are going to start happening to me now.

            Just, whatever you do… don’t say my name three times.

    • William O. B'Livion

      Nah. Everyone wants to control other people, it’s just in what area they want that control.

      Heck, even I want schizophrenics and violent sociopaths kept in places they can only hurt themselves, don’t want children (we can quibble about the line) to be able to buy anything stronger than 3.2 beer (and certainly not heroin) or anything larger than .22lr/.410 shotgun shells.

      • well. Maybe I get it out of my system by controlling characters?

      • “or anything larger than .22lr/.410 shotgun shells.”

        Why? What exactly is wrong with a child buying 257 Roberts ammo? If he is deer hunting with it, obviously he is handling the ammo and shooting it, so why exactly shouldn’t he buy it? Unless you are positing that children should not be allowed to handle or use any guns larger than 22lr/.410 shotgun? If that is what you are positing, then I have a real problem with it.

        • William O. B'Livion

          That’s the “quibble about the line”.

          If you want to consider a 14 or 15 year old a “child”, then no, I have no problem with it. Do you want that same kid to buy a bottle of methamphetamines, a bottle of whiskey and two boxes of 9mm?

          The issue is that we all have lines we want drawn and stuff we want controlled. Some of us have lines that are rather far apart–for example I’m perfectly comfortable with 15 year old who’s been hunting with his family since he was 6 or 8 buying a box of rifle ammo for a deer gun.

          Other folks want to take that right away from me at over 3 times that age.

          But to reference the famous probably-not-churchill quote, “We’ve already established what you are, now we’re quibbling over price.”

  21. I strongly suspect Terry Pratchett votes for the Liberal Party, the same one John Cleese stumps for. A true centrist to old-fashioned liberal party from what little one can read about them in the US, something that does not really exist in the US.

    • As it happens, Terry Pratchett and I have been friendly acquaintances since around 1990, and I taught him how to shoot pistols back in 2003 when we were co-GOHs at Penguicon I. The conversations we had around the latter event gave me some insight into his politics.

      Terry likes guns. He is what passes for a libertarian in a political culture where questioning whether the National Health Service (etc.) should exist is beyond the pale.

      I suspect that he does vote Liberal Democrat, but wishes the party were more classical-liberal than it is – it has drifted leftwards a lot since 1910.

      • Josh A. Kruschke

        Some back ground that might help us Americans understad Terry.

        The way I see it as an outsider is the Liberal Party ( Classic Liberal not the way we in the US think of and use Liberal today.) was infiltrated and corrupted the Fabian Socialist just as the Progressives (socialists) did here in the US. Hell we even have a Socialist element within our own Libertarian Party (Social-Anarchists).

        Late 1980’s they merged with some other parties and became the Democratic Liberal Party with this mashup of seeming contradictory ideas (as Sarah pointed out); A belief in liberty and freedom (Locke) and this belief that the state is needed to provided a welfair safety net to exercise those freedoms (a socialist bent.).

        Just some FYI might or might not help.

        • “); A belief in liberty and freedom (Locke) and this belief that the state is needed to provided a welfair safety net to exercise those freedoms (a socialist bent.).”

          NO; that REALLY doesn’t help me understand anything.

          🙂

          • Josh A. Kruschke

            Bearcat,

            That’s probable a good thing the not understanding that bit of doublethink.

            🙂

          • William O. B'Livion

            The position seems perfectly logical to me, as long as Politicians and human nature are presumed to be held in check by something.

            It’s been demonstrated a few times, and seems consistent with what I see around me, that there’s about 2-3 percent of the population of any given society who just can’t cope, can’t fit in, won’t adjust to the norms. You also have a small percentage who are just too damaged, either from birth, accident or military service, to be productive members.

            There are also a small number who fall, and need something to bounce them back up.

            Having a society where the ~95% chip in a little something something to pay for the ~5% who can’t work would be perfectly fine with me, especially if was rationally apportioned.

            The problem is the nature of those who want political advantage, and will ever increase the size of those who are “disabled” and/or “can’t fit in”. It is also their nature to tug on the heart strings of those who can and do work to “make life better” for those poor souls.

            Which slowly expands the pool that must be cared for. This is as certain as gravity drags you down or pure sodium will react with water. The only way to prevent this is to chain the government so tightly that it can’t. Which is impossible in a democratic republic.

            • “Which slowly expands the pool that must be cared for. This is as certain as gravity drags you down or pure sodium will react with water. The only way to prevent this is to chain the government so tightly that it can’t. Which is impossible in a democratic republic.”

              Which is why I can’t imagine anyone would think it must be the government that provides for those people in the first place; if they believe in liberty and freedom. You are taking a percentage of my freedom by forcing me to pay for those who can’t support themselves. It has been well proven that when government DOESN’T provide, people are more than willing to be charitable and provide more than sufficiently for those people, while if government does provide, the more they take from me, the less I am willing to give to charity to support that, and government always wastes more than charities, is always unwieldy, uncaring, and inefficient; and always expands.

              • Josh A. Kruschke

                William, it’s not just the points Bearcat pointed out it runns a little (much) deeper for me.

                The way I see it. You are either free (responsible for your own life), a dependent (if chossen freely), or a slave (if forced into it). Just because you freely choose to be a dependent doesn’t mean you are free. (FYI: I believe this is the root of a lot of the desputes I’ve had on this site.) 

                I think of this as trying to have your cake and eat it too, and a form of Doublethink. We want the trappings of being free without any of the risk.

                As long as we do not come into conflict with the state this illusion of freedom is easy to mantain, but as soon as you do you see how much freedom you trully have. 

                State safety nets are the very definition of Moral Hazard writ large. Why take care of this myself when I can push it off on someone else.

                Also their seems to be a mistaken (IMO) belief the State is the only way to enforce the law and is the only fair arbiter there of that goes along with this belief that we need a State.

                Oh, well.

                • Eamon J. Cole

                  Couple of things, Josh:

                  In the absence of a state, or other authority, what laws will there be to enforce? In the absence of an authority, agreements between parties are just that, between parties.

                  It’s not that the state is the only way to enforce law, or to establish cooperative protections (legal and military), or create an arbiter for disputes. It’s that a few manifestations of the state are, so far, the only effective way to achieve those things and yet allow for individual autonomy. The degree of individual autonomy is dependent on the structure of the state and the involvement of the individuals, of course.

                  In the absence of the state, some other authority to handle cooperative defense and the arbitration of disputes at the barest minimum must arise. In the absence of a state, and the limitations on state activity established in founding documents, those other authorities tend to be autocratic and often brutal.

                  In the absence of any organizing authority, with a scattering of truly sovereign individuals… Some group with better organization will come along and divest those individuals of whatever they wish.

                  • Josh A. Kruschke

                    Eamon,

                    “In the absence of a state, or other authority, what laws will there be to enforce?”

                    The answer to this is found in having a very clear definition of what the law is and is not, and having a system in place that reflects this. For the definition I would look to “The Law” by Frédéric Bastiat, and for the system: http://jim.com/custom.htm . Ask these questions, What is the law, and where does the law derive it authority?

                    “In the absence of the state, some other authority to handle cooperative defense and the arbitration of disputes at the barest minimum must arise.”

                    Agreed. I’m against the state being the sole authority over multiple areas of interests. A true separation of powers is what I’m looking for.

                    Your arguement hangs on the idea that without a state we as a society will not develope social institutions to fill any vacuum left by not havung a State.

                    We do not needed a legeslative body to arbitrarily tinker with the law.

                    Why should the same institution The State be the final and sole arbiter in our lives.

                    “In the absence of a state, and the limitations on state activity established in founding documents, …”

                    In the absence of a state you don’t need to place limitations on state activity there is no state to limit. No overarching authority as each individual part would be separate and only responsible for it’s purview.

                    Dispute Resolution – Mediators.

                    And General Defense. We seem to be under the mistaken belief that we can’t have a professional army without a state. We can fund professional sports teams, but some how we wouldn’t be able to fund a professional army.

                    Those two areas you mentioned (Oh, and who will build the roads and infastructure? How about those that needed it and will use it.) are the ones most sited as to why we need a state, and I ask,  “REALLY?”

                    “…those other authorities tend to be autocratic and often brutal.”

                    What other authorities are we talking about? Are talking other less free or totalitarian States? And if so, I agree that out of control states are often autocratic and brutal. And I’m not advocating for less control, but having no state at all to be corrupted. For us as Americans who say we are for liberty an freedom to look at seeing if there is other ways of organizing, defending and settling internal disputes.

                    Side note: how did I get up here on this soapbox?

                    😉

                    • A well stated anarcho-capitalist position.
                      Speaking to defense, an invasion of a nation of devoted, armed free men would make ISOS and Afghanistan look like a church social. The only real problem I’ve run into is the projection of naval power to protect merchant shipping.
                      Furthermore such a nation would be a valuable neutral marketplace for mercenaries and arms dealers who would be inclined to, in their own self interest, to defend it.
                      Roads are easily paid for by those who use them whether by subscription or toll. Without nonproductive government sucking 8 out of every 10 dollars this would present no great burden.
                      Private investigators and professional arbitrators to settle civil conflicts means no police, qualified immunity or mandatory 24 hr waits to file missing persons.
                      Schools as they are, simply are ineffective and expensive. Parents are much better qualified and motivated to form cooperatives to actually educate their children. The internet makes this infinitely easier.
                      No government handouts, bailouts or onerous regulations puts the power back in the hands of the consumer. Selection in the commercial sphere would be red of tooth and claw. Boycotts would actually mean something.
                      True freedom of association would regulate interactions through social mores. If someone is an unrepentant offender, just do no business with him. Attitudes change and contrition is easily achieved when the offending party can buy neither food nor fuel.

                      L. Neil Smith illustrates how this might work in “The Probability Broach”

                    • Josh and jselvy,

                      “Dispute Resolution-Mediators”

                      Unless you consider Saint Browning a Mediator; this simply won’t work. Why should I accept the Mediators solution to the dispute, unless he can force me to? My solution is more advantageous to me, so I would prefer it. If the Mediator can force me to accept his solution; he is the de facto State.

                      “What other authorities are we talking about? Are talking other less free or totalitarian States?”

                      I believe he is talking about not only less free (obviously) and totalitarian States, but what is commonly referred to as Strong Man rule, which is a de facto State, and WILL arise if there is a vacuum of power.

                      “And General Defense. We seem to be under the mistaken belief that we can’t have a professional army without a state.”

                      If we can raise and support, or hire, a professional army we are a de facto state simply by commanding an Army.

                      Roads and infrastructure; while I agree that those that need and use them will build and maintain them (at least after a fashion) jselvy says, “Roads are easily paid for by those who use them whether by subscription or toll. Without nonproductive government sucking 8 out of every 10 dollars this would present no great burden.” Let me point out that being capable of forcing compliance with a subscription or toll would be coming very close to being a de facto State, sure you might be able to force compliance on the section of road crossing your property, but actually owning and enforcing your ownership of said property (in absence of a higher authority to do this for you, it WOULD be necessary, otherwise someone would simply take the property from you) makes you a de facto head for State, with the state encompassing the limits of the land you control.

                      “Private investigators and professional arbitrators to settle civil conflicts means no police, qualified immunity or mandatory 24 hr waits to file missing persons.”

                      Again, who is going to enforce any of this? Whoever does so is the de facto State.

                      “Schools as they are, simply are ineffective and expensive. Parents are much better qualified and motivated to form cooperatives to actually educate their children.”

                      This I can wholeheartedly agree with.

                    • Josh A. Kruschke

                      Bearcat,

                      “Again, who is going to enforce any of this? Whoever does so is the de facto State.”

                      You are and public opinion.

                      There is no single nany-state authority to cry to enforce your will. No one to farm out your violence to.

                      We no longer live a martial culture and no longer have the personal skills needed to resolve personal conflict in our daily lives.

                      When violence is personal, and you are sain, you don’t fight or go to war over stupid shit, because there is no guaranty that you will win, and even if you do “win.” Winning often is only a matter semantics, if you are crippled for life, or no one in the community is will to do business with you.

                      When going into mediation the goal is to win, but to win in such away that it doesn’t hurt your stabding in the community. It is as much to state your case to the public, to your peers.

                      Why do people just assume that there is no consequences for failling to holdup your end of any agreements in an anarcho-capitalist society. They the aggrieved party just might find the offense serious enough to attempt to kill you over.

                    • Because the consequences are minimal. The guy refuses to do business with people who don’t up hold? He better be strong enough to prevent them from taking it by force. Some won’t, but enough will to be a huge problem. Will his neighbors help? Why should they? What’s in it for them? Some might out of the gooey goodness of their hearts, most will go ‘not my stuff, not my problem.’ Why do you think people won’t remember violence in a hurry when constraints are lifted? Study your history, especially the westward expansion of the US.

                      The only people who can, in good conscience, advocate an anarchy have never seen one. I have. It’s far closer to hell on earth than war ever managed. Though war is usually what lets it perpetuate itself.

                    • Josh A. Kruschke

                      Wyrdbard,

                      “Will his neighbors help? Why should they? What’s in it for them?”

                      You either stand in defense of your neighbors rights, and your own by the way, or you stand alone when they come for yours latter.

                      According to a lot of you we be some selfish somesabitches. I believe can we be better than this.

                      Let us not forget the lessons learned from the past.

                      “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
                      Because I was not a Socialist.

                      Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out– 
                      Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

                      Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out– 
                      Because I was not a Jew.

                      Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.”

                      – Martin Niemöller

                      Plus, just because we farm out our violence to say the police or some other state agency, doesn’t mean it does happen or that we are not still reasonable for it. When the cops defend your rights or enforces the edict of the state, he’s not doing it with Care Bear Flower Power of Love.

                      Can you name one anarchy that has been responsible for something like any of this mentioned in this quote?

                      “Anarchists did not try to carry out genocide against the Armenians in Turkey; they did not deliberately starve millions of Ukrainians; they did not create a system of death camps to kill Jews, gypsies, and Slavs in Europe; they did not fire-bomb scores of large German and Japanese cities and drop nuclear bombs on two of them; they did not carry out a ‘Great Leap Forward’ that killed scores of millions of Chinese; they did not attempt to kill everybody with any appreciable education in Cambodia; they did not launch one aggressive war after another; they did not implement trade sanctions that killed perhaps 500,000 Iraqi children.

                      In debates between anarchists and statists, the burden of proof clearly should rest on those who place their trust in the state. Anarchy’s mayhem is wholly conjectural; the state’s mayhem is undeniably, factually horrendous.”

                      – Robert Higgs

                      What you describe is when the State loose control, not an institutionalized Anarchist system with law enforcement dispute resolution systems in place.

                      P.S. I’m not advocating that what I believe is the ideal is possible today, but only something that is worth striving for. We do not have the skills or mindset need to be able to live outside of the State system. We do not know how to live without are perceived safety net of the State.

                    • Eamon J. Cole

                      …not an institutionalized Anarchist system with law enforcement dispute resolution systems in place.

                      Institutionalized, with law enforcement and dispute resolution systems in place. This is a governing system. If it’s not a governing system, your law enforcement and dispute resolution can kiss my hairy bum.

                      If I have absolute freedom (anarchy) what are you going to do to constrain me? Not you and your buddies, that’s cooperative organization and in one fashion or another it leads to governing. Just you, as another absolutely free individual.

                    • Where does anarchy come from if not from the loss of an established system or the control there of? If it’s organized it’s not anarchy. Look into the history of the old west for the closest to what you call the ideal. Rarely I’d an area go more than 10 years without a codified government, often less. Look at the middle east and Africa. Look at Ireland and the Times of Trouble. Look into riots. I’ve already given you a time reference for one incident.

                      Not all humans are asses, but there are enough who are and enough who won’t stand up to them. The neimoller quote happens to this day. People ignore the problems of others every single day. Big problems little problems. There is a reason that all the first aid and CPR training I have had for the last 15 years says ‘don’t ask someone to call 911 while you resuscitate, pick someone specific. ‘ otherwise the default human response is ‘not my problem’.

                      You are acting like we will be able to change human nature across the board to such an extent that greed and apathy are nonexistent. Point to me a time where anyone has come close through mortal means.

                    • The same “it hasn’t been done before” argument was also quite popular in 1784. I’m glad it was ignored then.

                    • You are comparing apples and platypuses (platypodas?)

                      We are talking about a system that requires a fundamental alteration of human nature. We are not talking about a radically new way of governing, we are talking about doing away with governing constraints entirely.

                    • Eamon J. Cole

                      We are talking about a system that requires a fundamental alteration of human nature. We are not talking about a radically new way of governing, we are talking about doing away with governing constraints entirely.

                      Yes.

                      Or, perhaps more importantly, advocating anarchy while discussing other methods of governing. Bit of a disconnect, there.

                    • Indeed. This word… I do not think it means what they think it means.

                    • Eamon J. Cole

                      Consequence of evolving political philosophies and following them down the rabbit hole, I suspect.

                      Resolving individual sovereignty in the context of cooperative effort inevitably runs up against some degree of coercive organization. Individualism makes it inevitable, the goals will never perfectly align. Once coercive organization is necessitated things are on the road to governance.

                      There are far too many poli-sci examples undermining the ability of voluntary association, rational self-interest and cooperative agreement settling all social issues for me to accept the stability of anarchic societies.

                      So, while I trend constitutional libertarian/minarchist libertarian, the existence of people who disagree with me militates against any tendency to favor anarchism.

                      Well, that and walking around a few select streets in Iraq once upon a time.

                    • Or perhaps you like to be wearing the boot rather than under it

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Typical. When all else fails, the “Big L” Libertarian says that his critics want to be oppressors.

                    • I apologize. I let emotions get the better of me. Instead of making an argument I engaged in an impermissible attack. I ask your forgiveness.

                    • Eamon J. Cole

                      It’s a nicely barbed rejoinder, has a good sting to it.

                      But it doesn’t answer the underlying point. I’ve seen ungoverned locales, have you? I’ve cleaned up the fucking blood, have you?

                      So spare me the boot bullshit, huh? If you want to argue political philosophy, I’m cool with that. If you want to throw around implications of tyrannical impulse without any knowledge of me, my character, or my experience — I’ve got a couple of rude words for ya.

                    • I have seen the types of locales you mention. I would argue that it was not a lack of government but ineffective government and partial gornment smashed by an invader. Arguably as you were on the ground with force on your side, you were a direct representative of government trying to impose its will.
                      As for my ad hominem, I direct your attention to my previous apology

                    • Eamon J. Cole

                      Apology accepted.

                      Granted, times of invasion and war do not make ideal social laboratories. There was a period, post-invasion, where what we were seeing was the absence of government. Yes, as the invasion force we eventually moved forward with limited imposition of government will.

                      Noting that it’s an imperfect model, the things most compelling to me were the power dynamics between individuals. I don’t believe those people waiting to see what new government would form are particularly useful for evaluating any peaceful anarchy, they were conditioned for government. I do think the actions of individuals who rushed to take advantage of the power vacuum are informative, however.

                      It is precisely those individuals who are willing to exercise their power relative to their neighbors, to pursue their own advantage without respect to the consequences to those neighbors, that I find unaddressed in anarchic theory.

                      They function as individuals and in groups. They organize to coerce compliance from their neighbors. They willingly engage in violence for short-term gain without care for long-term consequence. They are volatile and corrosive within the society.

                      And they exist in every human society on the planet.

                      Without a compelling explanation for how sovereign individuals can be convinced to act cooperatively, consistently, to mitigate the effects of such individuals on other, unrelated, sovereign individuals I can’t see true peaceful anarchy surviving.

                      If I am a true sovereign individual, and I believe in the sovereignty of other individuals, where do I derive the authority to interfere in another sovereign’s affairs? If I don’t have such authority, my actions violate the non-aggression principle. If I do have such authority, sovereignty is called into question.

                      These aren’t novel questions, obviously. They’re raised in the affairs of sovereign nations regularly, and answered in various fashions. Rarely satisfactorily. Sovereign individuality simply multiplies the question (by large factors).

                    • Do not imagine there will be no boots. Thus the question becomes who will be the wearer, how that will be determined and how the wearer will be restrained.

                      In “Aufsteig und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny, Brecht & Weill ask:

                      “Denn wie mann sigt bettet so liegt Mann,
                      Es deckt einen da keiner zu,
                      Und wenn einer tritt, dann bin Ich es,
                      Und wird einer getreten dann bist du’s…

                      “Then as you make your bed so will you lie,
                      There’s no one to cover you there.
                      And when anyone kicks, then it’s me,
                      And if anyone gets kicked, then it’s you.”

                      Given the choice of being the booter or being the booted, which do you choose?

                    • We have similar sources of experience with Anarchy… though I think I may favor a bit more government than many here.

                    • Eamon J. Cole

                      [T]hough I think I may favor a bit more government than many here.

                      Care to expand? Genuinely curious.

                      And I think we have a fairly large cross-section of people in regards to level of government, so I doubt you’re terribly lonely in these parts. 😀

                    • I like my government hamster like — tiny and scared. Preferably not reproducing like hamsters, though.

                    • Eamon J. Cole

                      Tiny, scared and neutered then?

                      Sounds fine to me.

                    • First a caveat, I come from that state north of the red river from you, so… those political words… they do not mean what anyone here thinks they mean. Or they do not mean anywhere else, what they mean here, and our legislature and governer can’t seem to make up their minds if they’re schizophrenic or bi-polar (and the news isn’t making it easier to diagnose).

                      Mostly, the general trend is the more people you have the more government is likely to be necessary. 10 people don’t need a lot of governing regulation. 100 people need a lot more. New York City is going to have more to mediate than Hydro, Oklahoma. It’s also going to have some different kinds of issues that Hydro can ignore. Then again, New York isn’t going to need to regulate between the ranchers and the farmers to prevent feuds, either.

                      I think the government’s primary job is to be the guy that isn’t involved in everyone else’s disputes so he can actually get Joe Farmer and Jim Rancher to just fix the blankity blank fence and stop trying to shoot each other across the property line. It also handles all the things that cross big areas. Jim and Joe both have to accept coin of the realm even if they want to make their own so they don’t have to sell to each other.

                      Army, currency, And the base level of laws, basically all thing things that should be relatively standard across a nation require something to standardize them. We know roughly what the traffic laws are going to be like state to state. My money is good in all 50 states. My drivers licence is valid in all states. etc. Now where does that end? That’s a tricky question. Come back in a week and my answer may be different. Right now, I think the government is trying to regulate too much and is doing so haphazardly. I can agree with a lot of the stated goals of both sides. (Providing for those who need it is laudable, but I would prefer to see the government’s efforts more limited to making sure that private charities don’t commit fraud.) I think, as long as there is going to need to be civil court level arbitration in marriage, the government is going to, by necessity, have to determine what counts for division of property, but that they shouldn’t interfere with any church’s sacrament. (That is if a church says you must have 3 wives, the government can say only the first one counts on the tax or divorce forms as a wife, but that’s where it should stop.)

                      I’m of two minds about gun control. On one hand there are people I think should not be allowed near either fire arms or sharp objects, unfortunately I can’t think of any regulation that would keep such items away from a good chunk of these individuals that wouldn’t be either unenforcable, or cause way too much ‘collateral damage’, so the government should stay out of it except perhaps for serial number tracking for evidence. (That’s one of those points I could probably be persuaded on, I’ve heard evidence both ways useful/useless and have come to the conclusion I don’t know enough.) I sit like that on most issues. The government has a job. It’s supposed to be the neutral party. It’s supposed to be reigned in by individuals in various ways, and the checks and ballances in the system. It also is supposed to reign in individuals and corperations when they get out of hand and advocate for anyone they abuse. Same for person against person. I’m also for ‘lowest level possible’ government, but that goes back to my military days. UCMJ sets the basics, but you don’t go to your squad leader if your team lead can (and does) handle it. But it’s sure nice to have a company commander around to go toe to toe with the guy the next company over who’s a problem or deal with that one guy… YOu know that one. The one you’re not sure how he got the rank and position that he did but he did and he’s making everyone ELSE pay for it.

                      Most of what I’d like to see isn’t practical, which is why I am very fond of checks and balances.

                      The problem with most debate is most people agree the government should be only as big as necessary, but no one agrees on what’s necessary and what’s optional. 😉

                      @Mrs. Hoyt, I prefer a well trained (and appropriately leashed) dog to a hamster. You never know when the little nibbler will turn on you and if it’s that easy to feed to a snake then the snakes in the world will come eat your hamster and you’ll have to get rid of the snake yourself, without an organizing force. With the dog you can unclip the leash and tell sic him on the snake. He’s got his own problems, alas. Though I agree on the lack of reproduction… control the politician population! Get your government spayed or neutered today!

                    • Eamon J. Cole

                      I’m not seeing anything to send me screaming, or anything that puts you any significant degree outside the norm around here.

                      I’m sure we could sit down and hash out the details and find things to butt heads over. ‘Course, any two people of perfect accord can find things to butt heads over in politics!

                      The conceptual framework, however, works for me.

                      I still like the tiny, scared and neutered image of government, but concede some error in the metaphor. 😀

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Government needs to be strong & big enough to do the job we want it to do but needs to be prevented from getting stronger & bigger.

                      Now, how we do this is the question. [Wink]

                    • Bind him with the chains of the constitution – Thomas Jefferson

                      It needs a penalty clause

                    • That was ramblier than I intended. I hope it came out reasonably understandably.

                    • I disagree. The government of 1784 was rooted in the entirely new untried concept of “by and for the people.” This is merely the next derivation of that by reducing overhead.
                      I think the hangup may be scale. Anarcho-capitalism will not work on a continental scale. Neither does a constitutional Republic, as manifestly evident by observation. The requirements of so diverse a people cannot be met. All you can hope for is everyone is equally unhappy. A libertarian form will work on a much smaller scale and, contrary to the mantra, this nation is not indivisible.

                    • Not so much so new. It was a conglomeration of quite a few ideas. I am willing to concede that it was the first to put all of them together in that manner, but you can find examples in Jewish law (from which we pull quite a bit of our judicial procedure, including ‘innocent until proven guilty’.) The idea that the people don’t have to answer to a king if they don’t want to is one England haggled over for centuries. (The Magna Carta was a singularly unimpressive document when you look at most of what is in it… it is a VERY impressive document if you realize that someone made the KING do something and made it stick even briefly.) The Welsh and Scottish both challenged the English ideas and that history, as well as much of the history with the Irish shaped that document. They weren’t pulling it out of thin air or their fifth point of contact. The concepts existed prior to the Continental Congress. They were expanded and (accidentally I do believe) tested in colonial America in practice. They were codified as a system that had not been formally tried before, but it was based in a very practical understanding of history.

                      Anarcho-capitalism, on the other hand is, as far as anyone has been able to explain to me, including all the takes on it in this thread, capitalist socialism. No government, everyone happily swapping what they need with each other and playing nice in the sand box without ever having to agree to any pre-defined rules (because the minute you have pre-defined rules it’s not anarchy anymore). And it runs into the exact same problems. At groups larger than two it doesn’t have a prayer of working. And in groups of two it doesn’t always work. Someone’s always going to come along and not want to play nice, or not agree what the definition of nice is. At best you have to codify, bye bye anarchy you’re now something else, probably tribal or feudal. At worst they go ‘screw you’ and take what they want. When that happens, the play nice mantra isn’t going to be enough to pull things together without some form of leadership. After all if it’s all about the individuals a bunch of them will just walk away not their problem. Some will stick, maybe, depends on the group and how much they care about the individual in question. Once that leadership emerges, you have another form of government. It’s not anarchy anymore.

                      On enlightened self-interest. There is nothing ‘enlightened’ about self-interest, and most people have issues thinking long term unless they have been rigorously trained to do so, which is why you get soldiers going deep into debt after getting back from deployment. They have money and don’t think far enough ahead to realize it’s going to run out.

                      You’re postulating a system that requires everyone be perfect including those who do not participate in the system. It doesn’t work at any sustainable level, it automatically morphs into something else every single time. I’ve seen it tried at various levels. Comittees, families, small communities… I’ve seen anarchy be forcibly dropped on larger communities. The ‘deliberate choice’ set (though they usually don’t call it anarcho capitalism, they usually just call it ‘let’s not bother with rank and official positions’) explode every bit as spectacularly as the large communities (which tend to be war-caused, so are bloodier.)

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      There have always been people who think that they have “come up with this perfect idea that will really work” that nobody in the history of mankind has tried.

                      They often fail to understand that their “idea” has never been tried because people with practical knowledge rightly know that it would fail.

                      Any form of “political anarchism” will fail but these smart “fools” think they can make it work.

                      Sadly, none of them have gotten together to attempt to make it work.

                    • Enlightened self-interest exists and should be honored and encouraged where it is found whether in Charles Goodyear or Linus Torvalds or John Wanamaker.

                      However, lying, greedy, backstabbing bastards also exist and this must be recognized, and those advocating unrestrained markets seem to be unable to do so..

                      Two of the biggest examples as to where the libertarian model fails in the market is the sale of alcohol pre-1919, the abuses of which resulted in the disastrous 18th Amendment; and the sale of cigarettes, which in the mid-1960s led to two-thirds of the nation smoking, uncountable health probalems and a continuing backlash.

                    • I should have used more restrained phrasing on that part. I don’t advocate a true free-for-all market, but just as I’m leery of letting businesses go hog wild, I’m also leery about letting the government go hog wild with restrictions. We seem to (currently) have more of an issue with the latter than the former. The issue is, for an anarcho-capitalist system to work, there can be no constraints other than those imposed by the individual, or it ceases to be an anarcho-capitalist system and becomes something else. (I thought this thread was part of that, discussion so if I am accidentally tangenting, I apologize.)

                      On a side note: I would argue that generosity of spirit should be fostered, and often gets mistaken for enlightened self-interest. Enlightened self-interest implies that at least some of the greedy bastards will come to the conclusion that it is in their best interest to act /against/ their self-interest in favor of a long term return, even though there’s no reasonable guarantee of such a return.

                    • I think I’m pretty much in agreement with you on this one. I certainly can’t see any place where I’m not.

                      I think your observation about enlightened self interest vs generosity of spirit is very well taken.

                    • I must insist that its not the government’s job to protect me from the consequences of my own decisions. It never was and never will be.
                      That is where we fundamentally disagree.

                    • If the seller provides you with false or incomplete information should you have any recourse?

                    • Only if there is malice aforethought.

                    • You mean like if a cigarette company knew beyond doubt their product would lead to serious health issues?

                    • Abridged with certain emphasis added, here are relevant passages from the 1689 English Bill of Rights:
                      http://avalon.law.yale.edu/17th_century/england.asp

                      Whereas the late King James the Second, by the assistance of divers evil counsellors, judges and ministers employed by him, did endeavour to subvert and extirpate the Protestant religion and the laws and liberties of this kingdom;

                      By assuming and exercising a power of dispensing with and suspending of laws and the execution of laws without consent of Parliament;

                      By committing and prosecuting divers worthy prelates for humbly petitioning to be excused from concurring to the said assumed power;

                      By levying money for and to the use of the Crown by pretence of prerogative for other time and in other manner than the same was granted by Parliament;

                      By violating the freedom of election of members to serve in Parliament;

                      By prosecutions in the Court of King’s Bench for matters and causes cognizable only in Parliament, and by divers other arbitrary and illegal courses;

                      And excessive fines have been imposed;

                      And illegal and cruel punishments inflicted;

                      And several grants and promises made of fines and forfeitures before any conviction or judgment against the persons upon whom the same were to be levied;

                      And thereupon the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons, pursuant to their respective letters and elections, being now assembled in a full and free representative of this nation, taking into their most serious consideration the best means for attaining the ends aforesaid, do in the first place (as their ancestors in like case have usually done) for the vindicating and asserting their ancient rights and liberties declare

                      That the pretended power of suspending the laws or the execution of laws by regal authority without consent of Parliament is illegal;

                      That the pretended power of dispensing with laws or the execution of laws by regal authority, as it hath been assumed and exercised of late, is illegal;

                      That levying money for or to the use of the Crown by pretence of prerogative, without grant of Parliament, for longer time, or in other manner than the same is or shall be granted, is illegal;

                      That it is the right of the subjects to petition the king, and all commitments and prosecutions for such petitioning are illegal;

                      That the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law;

                      That the freedom of speech and debates or proceedings in Parliament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament;

                      That excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted;

                      That jurors ought to be duly impanelled and returned, and jurors which pass upon men in trials for high treason ought to be freeholders;

                      That all grants and promises of fines and forfeitures of particular persons before conviction are illegal and void;

                      And that for redress of all grievances, and for the amending, strengthening and preserving of the laws, Parliaments ought to be held frequently.

                    • Thank you. 🙂 Some very good examples of ‘not a new idea.’ My understanding of English jurisprudence is not as thorough as I would like.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      The writers of the US Constitution had more *practical* experience in what works and more knowledge of what works (and doesn’t work) than all of the modern “Big L” Libertarians. IMO very very little of what they included in the US Constitution had “never been done”.

                    • Josh A. Kruschke

                      Bearcat,

                      “If we can raise and support, or hire, a professional army we are a de facto state simply by commanding an Army.”

                      Even if you hold no teritory?

                      Is Al Qaida a state?

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      Do it as a thought experiment, presupposing no OTHER State where they are. Yes, they are a State.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      The problem I see with your argument regarding the establishment of “other authorities” is that it appears to me that you are assuming a larger cohesiveness to the population than is reasonable, based on human nature.

                      If you have no larger organization with the same functions as a State, then smaller groups will take power over people, forming those autocratic and brutal authorities mentioned, and in most instances, no one outside the group will do anything to help.

                      Also, you seem to have a false dichotomy. It looks like you’re positing either no State or a highly intrusive State as the only options. Am I misunderstanding this?

                    • Josh A. Kruschke

                      Wayne,

                      “The problem I see with your argument regarding the establishment of “other authorities” is that it appears to me that you are assuming a larger cohesiveness to the population than is reasonable, based on human nature.”

                      What hunan nature are are you referring to?

                      You seem to be suggesting that it’s human nature to dominate everyone around use. That we must have some outside force threatening us or we turn into the The Lord of the Fly Kids.

                      Who had to threaten you to not eat the mash potatoes with your hands or talk with your mouth full at the last dinner party you attended? Or did you choose to follow standard dinner party guest etiquette?

                      We voluntarily cooperate all the time 

                      Even our vaunted Constitutional Republic is built on the notion that people must able to self-Governance before we will be able to have limited Government. I’m just postulating that if we get to the point of being able to Self -Govern we will be at the point of not needing a State at all.

                      All states are on a scale some are more intrusive than other, and all are up in you business. Highly intrusive is subjective. As long as the State is intruding on things we want them to we are fine with it, and both sides do this.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      I’m referring to the human nature that there are always SOME people who want to lord it over everyone around them. Then there are others who willingly go along with those types of people and strengthen them. They build up a larger and larger cadre of followers, who help them to control more and more people, until they bump up against someone strong enough to stop their expansion.

                      This number is not terribly large, but it doesn’t have to be. There are always enough who are not willing to be always vigilant and stop these types before they get too big, to allow them to thrive, if there’s not an organization dedicated to it.

                    • Eamon J. Cole

                      Josh,

                      The rational cooperative anarchy you posit relies on all individuals being constrained by rational self-restraint derived of common cultural influences and social expectations.

                      It cannot rest simply on rational self-interest, by the way, because rationally (in the short term, long term social thinking is a function of trust) an individual has no reason to respect another individual’s property or life, in the absence of some consequence. Competitive advantage dictates.

                      You propose several situations that have as an underlying assumption social pressures, but in the absence of authority — who cares about social pressures? How effective will shunning be without organized enforcement? If you cannot drive an individual out of the community for infractions, what prevents that individual from taking advantage of his outsider status and simply taking what he wants as opportunity presents? He only has to deal with active resistance from the target, no larger organization will pursue him.

                      When a spontaneous, cooperative organization springs up to deal with this individual what subsequently disbands them? What prevents them from using their cooperative power to clean things up a bit and better enforce the social pressures?

                      How do you prevent people from forming cooperative groups to enforce their social and community standards to ensure individual’s do not merely pursue their short term interests without regard to others? If you do not prevent it, how do you avoid the formation of local governing bodies? How do you prevent those local governing bodies from taking action to defend their borders?

                      People will organize, people will delegate, and some governing authority will develop. The relatively peaceful organization I’ve laid out here is, not even a best case scenario, it’s a dream development. An idealized path.

                      As wyrdbard has mentioned, some of us have seen the more common path firsthand. True anarchy exists for a tiny moment. And then strength asserts itself and things get very unpleasant.

                    • “Unless you consider Saint Browning a Mediator; this simply won’t work. Why should I accept the Mediators solution to the dispute, unless he can force me to?”

                      Mediation in an anarcho-capitalist society is different from what we are used to. It is my understanding that our current “mediation” system was actually organized by the Normans to be deliberately antagonistic, to cement power with the king (by pitting subjects against each other, and also by setting himself up as Supreme Arbiter of Good Judgement).

                      Apparently, studies show that when mediation is used instead of this antagonistic system, both parties are more likely to agree that the outcome is just.

                      And don’t underestimate the power of Saint Browning as a mediator. If murder is legal, then people are going to be aware that (1) if you railroad someone bad enough, that person will likely want to kill you, and (2) if everyone else around you agrees that you were a horrible person for your railroading, no one is going to avenge your death (or the person who kills you will be able to settle the “debt” to your estate that arose from killing you with a surprisingly small amount…)

                      While we would imagine complete chaos without law (or even with less law), at least a couple of counter-examples have demonstrated that this isn’t the case: Medieval Iceland, and the “Wild Wild” West. In both cases, to the extent that it’s possible to estimate the murder rates, they are actually surprisingly peaceful, and particularly more peaceful than that of our society today!

                      (I would also add that neither society was “anarchic”, in that there were various forms of law; besides being a misnomer, I think it’s impossible for humans to exist without establishing some sort of conventions for things like “law” and “justice”. I just don’t buy into the notion that a State is necessary to to reach these things.)

                      (Furthermore, I have noticed that, for murder to be truly “legal”, you have to have either a State that turns a blind eye, or out-and-out endorses murder. Of course, in these cases, only murder of certain groups of people are approved…)

                      Having said all this, in order for anarcho-capitalist societies to exist, you need to have people with the right mindset. Even though I think everyone would be capable of living peacefully if all government disappeared overnight, I have no doubt that if that were to happen via magic wand, everyone who cared would re-establish governments, and elections, and so forth–and, given that we elected ourselves into the position we are currently in, where would we be after all this? (And this is why, while I understand that we have a duty for revolution, and while we may have passed the point of needing a revolution a long time ago, I do not advocate one, and would not, until I am convinced that a sufficient critical mass of society wants to live free again…)

                    • Eamon J. Cole

                      Alpheus,

                      You’ve come closer to articulating a viable system than I’ve seen so far in this thread. Of course, that’s helped by your statement regarding establishing conventions for law and justice.

                      Still, if murder is legal what prevents an individual from eliminating his business partner when it’s convenient? What brings two parties to mediation? What are the consequences if one party decides to forgo mediation in favor of assassination? Dispute resolved, no?

                      I think many people could live in a system without formal governance. Cultural expectations, family and religious training, innate good will, these would all allow many people to happily coexist.

                      I also think there is and always will be a percentage of people who will not be constrained by exterior conventions and who have no interest in interior constraint. They will prey on the others, and in the end formal governance will come about in an effort to defend society.

                      I also think all the discussion of “state” is a distraction, in the absence of clearly defined objections. I prefer to look to governing systems and see how they aggregate.

                    • To further develop Eamon’s point: try John C. Wright’s Golden Age, Phoenix Exultant, and Golden Transcedence. Libertarian government. The Council of Horators, however, as a private and voluntary group, designates certain individuals as exiles. Its power and reach are such that they are pariahs when it decides so.

                    • ” If murder is legal, then people are going to be aware that (1) if you railroad someone bad enough, that person will likely want to kill you, and (2) if everyone else around you agrees that you were a horrible person for your railroading, no one is going to avenge your death”

                      2. contradicts 1. You are free to railroad anyone who’s unpopular and murder him afterwards. Gonna be justice like the school system with jocks able to get away with assault, and the like.

                    • Eamon J. Cole

                      Josh,

                      What is a state?

                    • “2. contradicts 1. You are free to railroad anyone who’s unpopular and murder him afterwards. Gonna be justice like the school system with jocks able to get away with assault, and the like.”

                      Yes, this is true, but I think this is more of a problem with the Human Condition than it is a problem with so-called anarcho-capitalism. Indeed, I’m aware of at least one mystery where the detective figures out who committed the murder, in the process deciding that the victim was a jerk who deserved to be murdered, and covering for the person who committed the murder.

                      I would like to study Icelandic tradition (particularly Medieval Icelandic sagas) in more depth to understand how their society handled such cases. I do understand one aspect of their system, though: every so often families would get entangled in blood feuds; oddly enough, this may have actually lowered the overall murder rate of Iceland. (And it also means that you should probably be at least somewhat nice those around you: you probably won’t want to be such a jerk that even your friends and your family aren’t willing to avenge your death…)

                      Having said this, sometimes I have the impression that anarcho-capitalists expect the world to be perfect when such a culture is established, when it’s not going to be…and then opponents of the system criticize the idea because it’s not going to be perfect, or at least as perfect as anarcho-capitalists imply it will be. :.)

                      Incidentally, this is also a major reason I’m a staunch supporter of the right to keep and bear arms. You can’t always depend on the police to protect you–and above and beyond the fact that they can’t defend everyone, at all times, everywhere, is the fact that sometimes the police will either deliberately ignore your plight, or be actively engaged in committing grievances against you.

                    • Yes, this is true, but I think this is more of a problem with the Human Condition than it is a problem with so-called anarcho-capitalism. Indeed, I’m aware of at least one mystery where the detective figures out who committed the murder, in the process deciding that the victim was a jerk who deserved to be murdered, and covering for the person who committed the murder.

                      So?

                      What has that got to do with promoting a system that’s built to make it OK to kill someone who’s a jerk if you can get a big enough mob, rather than one that at least tries to stop that?

                    • Josh A. Kruschke

                      Foxfier,

                      How is this any different than what we do now? Do this or I will sick the largest mob of all on you.

                      And we can get the joy of joining the Largest mobs of all. The Democratic Mob or the Republican Mob.

                    • How is this any different than what we do now?

                      If you honestly can’t see that the unpopular are not being legally, publicly murdered by mobs, because they are not popular, then your view of reality is simply too far from what is objectively true to be worth discussing this with you.

                    • Josh A. Kruschke

                      Foxfier,

                      The social conservitives will put you in jail, take away your liberty and posible your life if you resist for things you do in the privacy of your bedroom between consenting adults just because they don’t like that what you are doing. That looks like mob rule to me.

                      For any number of liberties being infringed on by the left see any nuber of tyraides on this blog by guests commenters and the hostess.

                    • How do you figure that?

                    • Clark E Myers

                      I would like to study Icelandic tradition (particularly Medieval Icelandic sagas) in more depth to understand how their society handled such cases.

                      Interesting to imagine how a writer with some experience of the current system of laws in the U.S. of A. would view the systems as described in the assorted sagas.

                      Despite modern impressions to the contrary, there was a highly-developed legal system in Dark Age Scandinavia, from which these Edda tales spring. Courts, compromise, and the reduction of injuries to money payments were the tools of the Law.

                      But that was the Law. Laws are made by society and applied by society. It’s the Law that puts a killer back on the street because he was of unsound mind when he raped and slowly murdered the child selling Girl Scout cookies. Unlike our own civilized place and time, the Vikings also had a system of Justice.

                      Justice carried a sword.

                      Dave Drake

                      Maybe a t-shirt Bring back the Courts of Equity? Edward Hall in The Silent Language has a nice discussion of 2 different cultures applying the same laws to the same people in the same place in 2 different ways.

                • We need a State because other people have states, and would use them against us if we didn’t.

                  • Josh A. Kruschke

                    Dr. Mauser,

                    This augument only holds water if you believe the only way to field a professional army is to have a state.

                    • I’ll argue that fielding a professional army is a definition of a state.

                    • Josh A. Kruschke

                      But! Bearcat is it the only way?

                    • Good answer. Something with an organized armed force that can impose its will on others, is agrugably a state.

                    • Josh A. Kruschke

                      Bill,

                      Is a gang in East LA a State?

                    • They are a form of state. The gang leader exercises the powers of rulership over the gang. It is a tribal form, rather than a codified government, but yes, in this use they are a state, and the most primitive form thereof. They are also what humanity defaults to when other authorities are removed, whether it is a wealthy landowner in the old west, a tribal shiek in the middle east, or a gang leader in LA. The shiek is probably the most advanced of those examples, because there is typically a long standing tradition behind him.

                      True anarchy is impossible to maintain for long, people will group together, and there will be leaders, which means, locally there is no anarchy any more, you have a tribal or feudal system depending on how the leader organizes things.

                      And while it all gets sorted out, life is one step shy of Hell. (not a joke). You want an example if modern anarchy, look into Sadr City around 2008.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      Actually, yes. It’s a Stongman Rule form of State.

                    • OK, I just went to the dictionary so it is fair to say that a gang in East L.A. is *arguably* a state as per “A political body, or body politic; the whole body of people who are united under one government, whatever may be the form of the government” https://accordingtohoyt.com/2014/08/03/friendly-fire-in-the-science-fiction-wars/?replytocom=189631#respond

                      However, you can find other definitions regarding government which would discount the idea of an East L.A. gang as being a state.

                      I think I would take the position that they are not a state as their armed forces are not strong enough to overcome competing armed forces (LAPD) that claim rule over the same territory in imposing its will on others when push comes to shove.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      I see your point Bill but because of the politicians preventing the police from “taking down the gangs”, the gangs are mini-states for all practical purposes.

                      There are plenty of recognized “states” in the world that could not prevent a larger state from taking them over.

                    • Lichenstein. 😛
                      Oh, and Portugal

                    • If you don’t have a state, then what you have is a private army. (Assuming you mean professional as in full time and paid for it). Don’t conflate that with a Militia.

                      Then ask yourself, what would Bill Gates DO if he used his wealth to put together an armed body of men?

                    • Josh A. Kruschke

                      Dr. Mauser,

                      “Don’t conflate that with a Militia.”

                      I wouldn’t dream of it. But the Militia (Armed Populace) is a check against a military uprising.

                      Where does the National Guards fit into your equations

                      To the Bill Gates question.

                      1) Your assuming that Bill Gates would know what to do with an army if he had one.
                      2) Personally would want to take over by using military force. Wars are costly and hurt your bottom line. Much more cost effective ways of getting what you want, and…
                      3) That the officers of said army are Bloody minded and mercanary enough to go along with it.

                      Can you tell me what keeps our current military from taking over and setting up a military dictatorship?

                      Patriotism? 

                      You also assumed, and I didn’t make myself ckear, I was talking of private armies or security firms. I was talking publicly funded comunity based defense force. Funded through donations and possible a business collected sales tax.

                       Hmmm…

                    • If you don’t have a state, you can’t have a “National” guard.

                      And how would you collect sales taxes if you don’t have a State to set and enforce the tax?

                    • And furthermore, I didn’t say what form a State using its might against an disunited, stateless group of people would take.

                    • Josh A. Kruschke

                      Dr. Mauser

                      What other might or force is there that a State can employ that doesn’t require an armed force to enforce their edicts?

                    • The Vatican — indisputably a state — uses excommunication.

                      The Amish — maybe not a state but an organized community of people — use shunning.

                    • The gangs use cries of “racism” against the police. it works.

                    • That’s an interesting concept. A state that enforces its will on the basis of shamming via political correctness.

                      Of course, in the U.S.political correctness is ultimately backed up by the gun.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Nit, IMO there’s a difference between Vatican City, which is a recognized state, and The Vatican which is the administrative center of the Roman Catholic Church.

                      IIRC Vatican City has a police force for dealing with crimes within the City and doesn’t excommunicate criminals (unless they are Catholic and violate Church canon) within the City.

                      Excommunication is punishment of violations of Church canon not violations of the Vatican City criminal codes.

                    • Hey Sarah, I still have a comment in moderation from Aug. 3. Just curious, it was the first thing I posted on the board.

                      If you want to kill it, it doesn’t matter as the conversation segued and you have a great site.

                    • I haven’t seen it at all. As we say around these parts “WordPress Delenda est” (thus spake Cato the great.)

                    • Tis a pity as what I said was totally brilliant and would have probably changed the world for the better in a myriad of ways as the insight spread throughout our culture.

                      But I forgot what it was.

                    • Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaad man.

                    • True about Vatican City.

                      Now, is the Holy See a state? How does it enforce its authority?

                    • It is certainly a government, which means it cannot be in a state of anarchy. It usually enforces it’s will through the clergy and various associated orders.

                    • That’s my thinking, and the clergy is without authority to exercise physical force.

                    • Might want to look into some of those orders before you say that, and the church has been quite effective at raising armed forces in the past…

                    • I was kind of limiting things to our lifetimes (and our parents and grandparents lifetimes.)

                    • One, you didn’t say so. Two, you cannot discount the deep history of a government such as the Catholic or Orthodox church (the various Protestant sets are a varied lot at best when it comes to their governing). Those centuries of authority lend the present government of those churches authority that has out lasted their army. We can watch some of that erode today. It is also a voluntary participation group, which has different premises. Day to day human management doesn’t work. The ones who don’t want to join the club are going to do things their way, if you’re lucky they’ll leave you alone. Odds are really good a noticeable chunk won’t.

                    • The subject of this discussion is whether there is some other might or force that a State can employ that doesn’t require an armed force.

                      The Holy See is a state that exercises authority other than through an armed force.

                    • Bill, that is why I switched terminology. The Vatican does not rule a geographic area. It governs a block of people that are scattered throughout many nations, states, and regions. It’s influence on the geographical region is directly in proportion with what it’s members are willing to do and put up with in that region. Study how orthodoxy and Catholicism did in the Soviet era in Russia. Compare and contrast to the conflict between the Pope and Henry VIII.

                    • OK, is it a state or not a state?

                      Me, I’d argue that it is a state in that other nations recognize it as such.

                      Obviously that is not some definitive debate ending claim so others can credibly take the opposing view.

                      However, as I’m arguing that it is a state and has no armed forces (bodyguards don’t count) and that it what it does has consequence, I’ll cite it as an example of a state that exercises authority without a military.

                      Now if you want to say that it is not a state — I thought you were agreeing with me on that point though — OK.

                      If we are going to agree that it is a state then you have to agree that it is wields power and influence without a military.

                      Regarding temporal disputes involving Popes, consider the one between Catholic King of Spain and Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and Pope Clement VI in which the troops of Charles sacked Rome and tried to kill the Pope. Granted the troops were mutinying as they hadn’t been paid, and Charles was kind of embarrassed as to how things went down, but it did get the Pope off his back.

                    • To a degree I do agree with you, but only to a degree. There is a wide gap between power and influence, as well as between power voluntarily submitted to, and the power to deal with the people who will not submit (such as criminals).

                      The ‘Holy See’ (Protestant here so quotes are since I probably got it wrong.) wields a great deal of influence, but only has power over those who choose to let it. States have the ability to punish those who step outside the laws of the land no matter how loud they shout ‘you’re not my boss.’ A catholic may be excommunicated, but if he’s going ‘look I’m agnostic.’ The Catholic church might try and ignore his wedding performed by a justice of the peace, but he’s unlikely to show up at mass so refusing him communion is out. Most of the other services rendered by the church are going to be of no interest to him so denying them is no punishment once he’s not participating. On the other hand if a thief is arrested and thrown into jail saying ‘hey, I wrote off the US ages ago, why do I care?” is not going to get him out of jail or save him from the legal consequences of his actions.

                      The Holy See was, at one point, a true state. It could raise armies, it could enact punishments that meant something to everyone, not just those participating. It no longer seems to be from my knowledge (I saw the articles on how it’s ‘officially’ viewed, and I can see the point from both sides. It’s hard to shake off that many centuries of influence, which was part of my origional point). There are some fuzzy areas, and a lot of it depends on how you deal with voluntary participation organizations. It is, you might say, a fallen state. (pun intended please do not pelt me with carp dipped in holy water. It’s a waste of good holy water.) It is a governmental body, where that means ‘a body of people who lead other people according to rules’. It is transitioning from one state of being to another (Pun also intended.) which is why I don’t think we can define it without taking its past into careful consideration.

                      I could get into theological debates on the subject as well, but this post is getting long enough as it is. (I’m finally back at my keyboard rather than trying to type from my phone!)

                    • OK, is it possible to have a state without the ability to compel behavior via force of arms?

                      If you say no, then the Holy See is not a state.

                      If you say yes, the Holy See could be an example of one (although there may be other grounds not to declare as such)

                      So is it possible for a state to exist without the ability to compel by force?

                      You can take it a step further — to avoid any semantic argument about the meaning of “state” — and ask if a governed society can exist without the ability to compel via force. The Amish might be an example.

                      Galt’s Gulch would be an example albeit that is fiction.

                    • Eamon J. Cole

                      You can take it a step further — to avoid any semantic argument about the meaning of “state” — and ask if a governed society can exist without the ability to compel via force.

                      No. For odd definitions of force in a few cases, but still no.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      On the Amish, I don’t see them as a separate “governed” society and I suspect that if a shunned individual caused problems for them, they would be willing to get the local sheriff (non Amish) involved.

                    • I wouldn’t call the Amish a ‘state’. They have other means of ‘force’ than just shunning. Withholding of resources for example, so we might make a case for intermediate-state for them as well.

                      Governed societies can exist without the ability to compel by force, only in the context of a society that does have the ability to compel by force. For example, a Library Social Club has a treasurer. They have rules, they have officers. They can do a limited amount to punish members that break the rules (throw them out of parties, kick them off the committee or out of the club, etc.) But if the treasurer absconds with the majority of funds they lack the governing authority to do anything about it so they call the police. I’d say the ‘top tier’ or perhaps the top couple of tiers depending on how large the system is require the ability to use force not only for themselves to function as governing bodies, but for all the smaller systems under them to work when the fecal matter hits the rotary air impeller.

                    • OK, for clarity let’s restrict “force” to “force of arms” or violence.

                      You’re saying that it is basically impossible for a community to survive without some understanding that violence will be resorted to at some point in any dispute.

                      I’m inclined to agree.

                      The Amish survive here due to the respect for their rights the outside community has. They didn’t survive in Russia, for instance.

                    • Very, much so. Not because everyone in the world is vile and evil, but because just enough people are and disorganization tends to increase body count and decrease survival rates, either literal or metaphorical. It takes something very powerful, and usually outside the human to push people past the basic survival cycles. (Which may get us back to theology.)

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      No. The Holy See can only say “if you disobey canon law, then you are only longer a member”.

                      It’s “power” depends on members of the Catholic Church wanting to continue to be members.

                      Since I’m not familiar with the inner workings of the Catholic Church, I can only guess at how it works the Catholic clergy.

                      However, (for example) if a member of the Catholic clergy has a monetary benefit from being a member of the clergy, then the Holy See might have the power to “remove” that benefit if the individual violates canon law.

                    • OK, so you’re taking the position (I think) that The Holy See is not a state because it cannot exercise physical force.

                      My position is that it is a state because it is recognized as such by other states and that it is an example of a state that exercises real influence and authority without the use of physical force.

                    • Eamon J. Cole

                      Bill, I’m unclear on where you’re headed with the contention.

                      Vatican City is a recognized city-state with a governing body and police force and a cooperative agreement with Italy for defense. It has a mechanism to enforce it’s laws, and a mechanism to use force in its defense.

                      The Holy See exercises influence, certainly, but not as a state. It’s influence is derived from its religious authority.

                      So — now what?

                    • It’s the Holy See, not Vatican City, that is recognized as a state by the international community regarding matters of diplomacy.

                      If the Holy See is a state as per the diplomatic community, then it is an example of a state that exercises authority without a military.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Interesting.

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_See#Status_in_international_law

                      Quote

                      The Holy See has been recognized, both in state practice and in the writing of modern legal scholars, as a subject of public international law, with rights and duties analogous to those of States. Although the Holy See, as distinct from the Vatican City State, does not fulfill the long-established criteria in international law of statehood—having a permanent population, a defined territory, a stable government and the capacity to enter into relations with other states[11]—its possession of full legal personality in international law is shown by the fact that it maintains diplomatic relations with 180[12] states, that it is a member-state

                      End Quote

                      Oh, my earlier statement does seem to be in error.

                    • In all fairness, it is not entirely in error. This Wiki link has the Holy See itself denying that it is a state: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_status_of_the_Holy_See#Self-perception_of_the_Holy_See

                      OTOH, others insist that ti is a state (or being wrongly recognized as one): http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/1123295?uid=3739592&uid=2&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=21104456693567

                      I guess I’m taking the position that if you want to call it state you can and if you do it is one that exercises authority without resorting to military power.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Here’s the full wiki (usual rules about wiki apply) article on the legal status of the Holy See.

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_status_of_the_Holy_See

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      I’m going to try to clearer.

                      Vatican City is a recognized *state*.

                      The Holy See (otherwise known as the governing body of the Roman Catholic Church) is not a recognized *state*.

                      It is a recognized Non-Governmental Organization thus is not a State.

                    • Trade restrictions.

                    • Paul, as I said “arguably” ::-)

                      Anyway regarding strong states vs weak states, when the strong state claims the same territory as the weak state it is not the weak state that is the state in that territory.

                    • “if you believe the only way to field a professional army is to have a state.”

                      It’s the only sane way. Otherwise half the people on the street have one, half have the other, and things get ugly.

                      Here’s an amusing hypothetical picture of one:
                      http://www.scifiwright.com/2010/01/a-hypothetical/

                    • I like to ask leftists who hate business activity but love government: Was American slavery business or government?

                      If you think of the slaves as inventory to be amortized or marketed then you will consider it a business.

                      If you think of the slaves as human beings coerced to do things against their will via the threat or use of force you will consider it government.

                      It kind of like a Rorschach test.

                • William O. B'Livion

                  The way I see it. You are either free (responsible for your own life), a dependent (if chossen freely), or a slave (if forced into it). Just because you freely choose to be a dependent doesn’t mean you are free. (FYI: I believe this is the root of a lot of the desputes I’ve had on this site.)

                  So where do you put someone with (as I noted previous) with advanced MS, or the 15 year old kid who’s mom gets sideswiped by a drunk driver and winds up a borderline vegetable?

                  We can look at the 40 year old alcoholic who needs a liver transplant to continue functioning and say “suck it up butter cup, you made your choices”, but a person who was born with the umbilical cord around his neck and is now only slightly smarter than Nancy Pelosi?

                  Dependent? Certainly. Slave? No. Choice? No.

                  I think of this as trying to have your cake and eat it too, and a form of Doublethink. We want the trappings of being free without any of the risk.

                  That depends on how you define “subsistence level”. Think of eating school cafeteria food and sleeping on a twin sized bed in a barracks style room with a shared bathroom and the only thing like a lounge is a set of (monitored) computers that let you do job training, job searching or send and receive email. (Take that as a paradigm, not a strict proposal).

                  But you’ve touched upon why this sort of scheme doesn’t work. If we were to implement the above you’ wouldn’t like it because there’s not enough “risk”. The other side would scream about it being “unfair”, “draconian” and “cruel”. Leave aside that we house our soldiers like that for months at a time (at least when I was in) between field assignments and deployments.

                  But still no one I know wants to live like that, and there’s certainly incentive to get out.

                  As long as we do not come into conflict with the state this illusion of freedom is easy to maintain, but as soon as you do you see how much freedom you trully have.

                  Freedom flows from the barrel of a gun. You have as much freedom as you have the power to take. You want to be free? Buy a couple thousand acres of land *anywhere* and go be free on it. You can do pretty much whatever you want on that land that doesn’t clearly threaten your neighbors. As long as you don’t go throwing it in the face of the government (and you pay your property taxes) they’ll leave you alone.

                  You want to be free and still interact with society you got to fit in.

                  State safety nets are the very definition of Moral Hazard writ large. Why take care of this myself when I can push it off on someone else.

                  The hazard in the “safety net” is that some people are power/control hungry, and most people have heart strings that are easily tugged. This isn’t a moral hazard, it’s being human.

                  Also their seems to be a mistaken (IMO) belief the State is the only way to enforce the law and is the only fair arbiter there of that goes along with this belief that we need a State.

                  You’ve got two different things in there. In a functioning society the government is an organic part of the society, and the two together are the state (there might be some definitional differences here, but you should be able to see what I’m getting at). In this case anyone who has the power to actually enforce laws IS the state. But also in this, the “general will” (and yes, I know how fraught with peril those two words are) won’t let laws that most people feel are unjust continue to exist.

                  The other side is the “fair arbiter”. We’ve done a lot better *with* civil courts to resolve disputes than before. And yes, binding arbitration (um, who makes it binding) would be better for many disputes than the court system.

                  But in this we come up against the two biggest problems with Anarchy or extreme Minarchy (both positions I am fond of, but not for the usual reasons). Those problems being (a) tribalism and (b) non-violent Sociopaths.

                  People have a rather bothersome tendency to support THEIR tribe members even when wrong over the member of another tribe. As I’ve said before, the guys in MY tribe are discriminated against and have bad luck. The guys in your tribe are lazy good for nothings. My tribe is full of affectionate and loving women. Your tribe is full of sluts.

                  The other Sociopath problem is that many of them are highly charismatic and utterly unconcerned with the truth. They can build a tribe around them that are utterly loyal to them.

                  Between these two problems any sort of “binding arbitration” that doesn’t involve clear threats of force is going to fail.

              • William O. B'Livion

                Understand that I *do not* believe that the government can be in any way constrained over time–note the “Politicians and human nature are presumed to be held in check by something.”

                But is *perfectly logical* that a society create a “safety net” for those who legitimately cannot take care of themselves. The problem is that the people who propose that are *generally* disingenuous as hell–they want the camel’s nose under the tent, and fully intend to get the rest of him in there all the way.

                To someone with a European education and upbringing the natural organization to do this is the government since it is their job to organize almost everything.

                Again, logical. And seriously not the best way of doing things.

                Heck, I wouldn’t *mind* living in a society that provided a sustenance level[1] living to people who flat out could not work. I don’t mean Cobol programmers who don’t want to learn Java, plumbers who can’t shovel any more but don’t want to work at home depot, or people with mild addictions to various chemicals, but folks who have advanced MS or quadriplegics who literally *cannot* work.

                It would be a far better solution than what we have now.

      • masgramondou

        Google “Orange Book Liberal” and you’ll get an understanding of what I believe Sir Pterry’s political position is.

        FWIW the default ELoE British political party is probably UKIP – though I suspect the “dryer” more Eurosckeptical wing of the conservatives might also work – while the rabbits can choose between the Labour party, the Greens and “wetter” parts of the Conservaite & Liberal parties.

  22. OK, more online checking, Cleese is Liberal Democrat, “slightly left of center” and approves of coalition with the Tories. Abandoned the Labour Party many years ago and seems to think they are bonkers. That sounds like where Pratchett might be.

  23. Has anyone here noticed that the typical tactic of the ‘left’, in any endevour, is always to silence everyone else? I think this is what basically makes them un-American. The American ideal is supposed to be the ‘marketplace of ideas’ where the best idea wins out. The ‘Left’ knows that their ideas can not win out on merit alone, so whenever they get involved in anything, all other opinions or voices must be silenced; dissent is not allowed and competition is right out.

    • William O. B'Livion

      Yup, they want to have a conversation as long as you agree with them.

      Otherwise:
      Racist
      Sexist
      Fascist

      • Don’t forget “Privileged” and “Terrorist” (I’ve been called the latter because I opposed government-provided health care–heck, because I opposed ObamaCare).

        I’m sure other “-ists” can be thought of as well. Funny enough, “Socialist” and “Communist” aren’t among the epithets.

  24. “And the tax breaks, etc (which are not nearly sufficient, anyway, as any family with kids will tell you) should go to families with children…,”

    It appears that is how it was up through the Korean War time frame, but cratered by the 60’s. You could raise a fair sized family, and buy a house, without your wife having to work to make ends meet. The tax base needed to pay for a socialist nation makes that a very difficult situation, so the numbers that fit into those categories drop precipitously. Once the typical wife needs to work, (and it is actually to pay all the many taxes the family is saddled with, when you take even a quick look at the numbers) the number of children drops. This will never recover, as long as the socialist are in power, and I don’t think it can be fixed. Historically, I don’t know if any nation has ever turned around, after embracing socialism.

    • Of course, one problem is that to the Second Wave feminists, the wife needing to work outside the home was not a bug, but a feature. Re-rigging the tax system so that people could not afford to raise families was a Good Thing, because it liberated Womyn from the Evil Patriarchy which wanted to turn them into Baby Machines. It was an evil day when that ideology captured the reins in Western civilizations.

    • Well, we’re a nation of firsts. It’s about time socialism died, and it had to die here.

    • It’s going to be fixed. One way or another.

      After all if you have a population of twenty couples, one of which has ten kids, two of whom have three kids, one of whom has two, two of whom have one — you’ve replaced the population. Fourteen couples have been wiped off the board by evolution. And half the next generation comes from the first couple, and an additional third from the next two. That’s going to change things.

      • That’s been the theory for a while, that liberals will (not) breed themselves out of existence. But that’s a mistake of projecting the conservative life cycle on Liberals. They don’t reproduce their own young. Like parasitic wasps, they lay their eggs in another species’ young, and exert mind control over them. Hence their emphasis on taking over the schools and media/entertainment/news. They don’t have to have their own kids, they just have to convert ours to survive.

  25. I read the blog post in question a few days ago, and there were a few things I disagreed with, including the author’s understanding of message fiction. Yes, many of us would like to see message fic get nuked from orbit (it’s the only way to be sure), it’s important to understand what message fiction really is.

    Message fiction is heavy handed crap that puts the message first and the story (if they even bother with a story) second, if not further down the list. It’s all about expressing a position rather than telling a story.

    Fiction with a message is a different matter entirely. In that, the story is first and any message is a bit further down. It’s still there, and often unmistakable, but the story comes first.

    You see, while many of us disagree with message fiction, and many of us will disagree with the message in some “fiction with a message”, we’ll at least read the latter, and possibly even enjoy it.

    Basically, many of us aren’t fighting over the political heart and soul of the genre, but the artistic one. We’re fighting because we think you have to tell a good story in order to entertain readers. Challenging them, questioning their assumptions about the world, and telling them how much they suck can only get you so far unless you entertain them first. You do that, and do it well, they’ll take all kinds of abuse from you. Don’t, and they won’t give a damn what you have to say.

    • There is a reason ancient Bards, Poets, and Skalds told the follies of legendary figures rather than directly the king in front of them making the same mistake. The King (or young kid about to go out and do something stupid) in front of them is usually unlikely to listen to ‘hey, you’re being an idiot!’ but the tale of how Ilya Murometz buried himself alive by trying to pick up Mikhael’s pouch (Only Mikhael could carry it…), because he wouldn’t listen when he was told that it wasn’t a strength matter and he had the wrong skills for that (It was a faith thing) would catch their imagination and attention which would be ultimately more effective.

      Honestly I think that’s why they’re so scared of real storytellers. There is a power in wrapping a seed of truth into a well told story.

    • Hmmm… totally off subject, as I am catching up on the comments… but I think it’s time to show the kiddo “Alien”. And its (only) sequel.

  26. Don’t have time to read the comments, so apologies if someone has already made this point, but you said,

    ” and will defend communism and crush on “heroes” like Che Guevara, oblivious to the record to deaths the Marxist philosophy has left behind.”

    I don’t believe it is so much that they are oblivious to the millions dead, as it is that the ignore them, because while they believe those killed were justified and those dead as a consequence of making the ‘right’ decisions and policies are acceptable collateral; they don’t have a good defense that would stand up well in current society. So they ignore it rather than attempting to defend something they would have trouble defending.

    • Rob Crawford

      I think they are neither oblivious nor ignoring the millions dead, but dreaming of bringing about such a butcher’s bill on their own.

  27. Well said Lady! And IMHO so much of what is out there is pure blather as they attempt to cause an uprising within the readers to ‘come back home’ to the left’s PC works… I frankly don’t care what they say, since I’m a VERY small fish in a very big pond. I’ll write what I want, if people buy it, so much the better. I don’t ‘do’ SF, and after watching the ELoE dust up over the last year, I wonder if I even want to try… Thanks for a well though out and cogent post!

  28. masgramondou

    I think there’s on eother thing worth highlighting in ESR’s essay. Namely the sense of humor divide. The rabbits don’t seem to have a sense of humor – if it wasn’t surgically removed at birth they had it removed when they went to university. The ELoE on the other hand have the sort of sense of humor that gets them thrown out of places for laughing or joking inappropriately.

    • masgramondou

      Another way to look at it, which I thought of while running.

      The ELoE are Dinsdale Pinanha’s heirs. ( “He used… sarcasm. He knew all the tricks, dramatic irony, metaphor, pathos, puns, parody, litotes and… satire. ” )

      The Rabbits can just about get to hipsterish snark, when going downhill with a following wind. They tend to come unarmed to a battle of wits (though they do rather better at a battle of half-wits).

      • They also fall into something CSLewis described in The Screwtape Letters. They don’t go to the trouble of making a joke which is difficult. They just act as if a joke was made.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Well, the Rabbits have a “sense of humor” (of sorts).

      IMO there are at least two problems with their “sense of humor”.

      First, they can’t “laugh at themselves”. We can laugh at ourselves.

      Second, they are more into mockery and ridicule of others and consider that as “humor”. Of course, since they can’t laugh at themselves, they react poorly when the tables are turned.

      Personally I have “problems” with “mockery & ridicule” as being part of humor *but* part of “laughing at ourselves” is self-mockery and self-ridicule.

      If “sense of humor” is not taking one’s self too seriously, they often lack it while we can see the humor in our own behavior.

      • Supreme Dark Lord

        That is because the rabbits have one, and only one, joke to tell: “See that guy over there we don’t like? He’s so stupid!” That is the basis for all of their “humor” and explains why they can’t direct it at themselves.

        It’s rather remarkable to see an old “Mock the Week” show. Seeing seven left-wing comedians repeat and repeat and repeat that “George Bush is so dumb” and making faces to indicate as much not only isn’t funny, it makes all of them look like they have 80 IQs themselves. And yet the audience actually laughs!

  29. I’m still trying to figure out what college literature departments are for. The more I read about what they teach the more I think they were created to give fans of obscure authors a job. Why would any serious writer care what they think?

    • That’s easy. College literature departments are a place to put failed authors, where they can assist others in becoming failed authors, to train the next generation of college literature professors.

    • Not sure, but I seem to remember reading somewhere a while back that Sam Delany was used as a required text for a Uni course…. a quick google proves inconclusive….

      I do remember many years back an interview with an SF writer who complained that James Joyce Ulysses had been read by next to no one, ie, mostly by people doing an Eng Lit course. I would agree. Lord of the Flies was required for basic GCE in my day. I’ve never met anyone who bought a book by the guy who didn’t have to study it.

      • Isn’t the academic definition of literature “a book I wouldn’t read unless you’re threatening my GPA?”

        • GPA = grade point average at a guess. yes, no. maybe

          I brought up Lord of the Flies, and it opens a can of worms in my brainses. ESR is right that there are those who would take SF and make it literature (words to that effect), but he’s wrong in not recognising that Literature is largely defined by Leftists anyway.

          To explain: LOTF is a parody of Coral Island, a novel about a bunch of boys who get marooned on a coral island (whoda thought that?) and have adventures. At the end, Coral Island is a book about self-reliance and the value of friendship. LOTF is the opposite, and is based on a falsehood. By which I mean, Goulding was a school teacher who once told his kids to play a game, and there were no rules. He witnessed brutality, and this influenced his thinking with the book. (Milgram experiment anyone? There was a rule in Goulding’s game: his rule that there were no rules.) In the end, LOTF is about how great authority is. Oh yes!

          • Sorry I wasn’t clear. Yes, GPA = Grade Point Average that’s what I meant by academic definition. Thus you hold my grades hostage in this school until I read this pile of crap.

            • No worries. I am English, we never used such things in my day and I home educate my son, so it’s by the by…. 😀

              If you look at my point above: Coral Island is a story, with an implicit ideal; LOTF is a dystopic vision of humanity. There, right there is the history of SF over the last 40 years.

          • I hate Lord of the Flies. If it were true, then when the lights went out in NYC a year (?) after 9/11 chaos would have ensued. Instead, people walked home, helped other people, etc.
            Yes, yes, there are tales like the Kitty Genoese tale, but it turns out apparently it’s a media creation and what happened was not as described. I know, you’re shocked.

            • I would have to confess that I actually read Lord of the Flies on my own, and that I found it somewhat intriguing. When I look back on it, though, I’m not sure if I was ever fully convinced by its premise–that boys would automatically degenerate into savages, if left to their own devices–and now that I’ve gone full-fledged anarcho-capitalist, I’m that much more disinclined to believe the premise.

              I also remember the essay written about the book found at the end of the book, how it was observed that while the Navy guys who found them were angry and disappointed with the boys because of their savagery, they were participating in their own savagery on the high seas…which, if you think about it, is a little ironic: the point of the story is that we need civilization, yet the civilizing forces of this world are just savages themselves…

              In any case, I remember that essay saying “there has never been a comprehensive study on symbolism in this work”, and thus being determined to be the first person to do so; that I never did (for that matter, I never got around to taking an English class in college–I tested out, via AP) is probably an indication that, subconsciously at least, I understood the dangers and potential silliness of such an endeavor…

              • Heh. I just skimmed over the Wikipedia article for “The Coral Island”, particularly focusing my attention on the part near the end, where it is given as inspiration for “The Lord of the Flies”. I think it would be an interesting experiment to read “The Coral Island”, and then re-read “Lord of the Flies” in that context…

                • I just did the same:

                  “Despite having enjoyed The Coral Island many times as a child, Golding strongly disagreed with the views that it espoused, and in contrast Lord of the Flies depicts the English boys as savages themselves,[67] who forget more than they learn, unlike Ballantyne’s boys”

                  Just how do you forget like this? Did the boys have Alzheimer’s?

            • Have you seen James Burke’s Connection series? I mean the original as broadcast by BBC circa 1979/80 (I know 2 later series were made for the US market). It opens with a relay blowing at a power station and a power outage in New York. That sets the scene for his series; that a small, seemingly insignificant event can have larger consequences. But what struck me was the stories of the people in NY in the blackout… they helped one another… whodathought that? I mean, the 70s was full of stories of environmental dread, over-population, nuclear war, und so weiter. The notion that a catastrophe can happen and people didn’t just start eating people seemed(seems?) absurd.

              While I agree with Sturgeon where culture is concerned – that 95% of everything is crap – I would say that the opposite is true for humans themselves. Let’s call this Ftumch’s Law: 95% of people are essentially awesome, the rest are politicians and murderers and petty crooks.

              Re: Kitty Genovese… dog bites man don’t sell newspapers, man bites dog does.

        • Just leaving this here as it might shed some light on the whole ‘literary merit’ thing. A computer geek’s take on literary merit… via math. It also explains how some entertaining literature creeps through in spite of best efforts to slay it.

          http://www.ninja-xing.com/comics.php?c=6

  30. Josh A. Kruschke

    Moving this down here, and Crap I go to sleep for 6 hours I’m so far behind in this discussion I’m never going to catch up 😦 :

    Josh,

    What is a state?

    – Eamon

    The three different definitions or ways we look at or define State: As it comes to political organization. 

    The State:(Googled definition)

    state
    stāt/
    noun

    2.
    a nation or territory considered as an organized political community under one government.
    “Germany, Italy, and other European states”
    synonyms: country, nation, land, sovereign state, nation state, kingdom, realm, power, republic, confederation, federation More

    As defined under international law:

    http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/291011/international-law/233509/Spatial-definition-of-states 

    “The most commonly used definition is Max Weber’s,[7][8][9][10][11] which describes the state as a compulsory political organization with a centralized government that maintains a monopoly of the legitimate use of force within a certain territory.[12][13] General categories of state institutions include administrative bureaucracies, legal systems, and military or religious organizations.[14”

    – from:

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_(polity)

    I’m not against Organizing together or the law. I’m against a states belief in that they should or have the right of being a monopoly on the legitimate use of force. That a State has extra authority not granted to the individual.

    People keep arguing that without a state we will devolve into chaos and for places that do not believe in Life, Liberty, Property or the Pursuite of Happiness sure you will get tribalism and strongman rule.

    Here a funny thing is every single one of us could decide to go out right now and try to murder everyone around us, and the State would be powerless to stop us. So what stops us, it’s not the State. We individualy choose not too, to self-govern, to live peacefully with our fellow man.

    Wyrdbard,

    Somalia and places like that only know tribalism and strongman rule. And even if they pull it together and get a viable State government going it will be based on tribalism and strongman rule because that is all that they know.

    Pointing at these failed States would have more of an impacted if they had devolved from strong Societies that valued freedom an individuality and still choose tribalism and strongman rule. 

    I’m for more Rulers and ways of Organizing ourselves not less. I’m Anti-State Monopoly on Force. If the law draws it’s just power from the individual than the law should only have those powers/rights of the individual, and no more.

    If State could do this, and not gobble up power unto itself, then the belief in a State would have some merit(IMO), but even a lot of our Founding Fathers believed we would just be reseting the State every so often.

    This is obviously where we are at in our quest for freedom and liberty, are we or are we not ready to take that next step in self-governing without relying on the belief that we only self-govern because of a fear of the State or that the State forces us to behave. 

    Are we, or can we become if not, a morally strong people that can live with Personal Responcibility and Freedom or are we destined to always be dependent on and dependents of a State in some form or other?

    As to the volume of responses; I ‘m going to go through all the high-points and give a single response, if I can there is a lot there. I seem to have hit a nerve.  Or if not, if there ever is a gathering of the Huns, that I’m invited to, I’ll set up a corner booth of my own; as, this really is one of those long drawn out conversation best had over drinks and food, and as we are discussing possibilities there is no way to come to a definitive conclusion.

    Everyone. Sorry I want to give everyones counter points a considerate response, but I’m only one man on a cell phone.

    🙂

    Sarah, Sorry! I seemed to have highjacked another thread with my personal obsession.

    😦

    • Sarah, Sorry! I seemed to have highjacked another thread with my personal obsession.

      😦

      There is a way to stop that. Such as saying “That is a discussion best served another day — preferably when you are buying the drinks.”

  31. Josh A. Kruschke

    Moving this down here, and Crap I go to sleep for 6 hours I’m so far behind in this discussion I’m never going to catch up 😦 :

    Josh,

    What is a state?

    – Eamon

    The three different definitions or ways we look at or define State: As it comes to political organization. 

    The State:(Googled definition)

    state
    stāt/
    noun

    2.
    a nation or territory considered as an organized political community under one government.
    “Germany, Italy, and other European states”
    synonyms: country, nation, land, sovereign state, nation state, kingdom, realm, power, republic, confederation, federation More

    As defined under international law:

    http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/291011/international-law/233509/Spatial-definition-of-states 

    “The most commonly used definition is Max Weber’s,[7][8][9][10][11] which describes the state as a compulsory political organization with a centralized government that maintains a monopoly of the legitimate use of force within a certain territory.[12][13] General categories of state institutions include administrative bureaucracies, legal systems, and military or religious organizations.[14”

    – from:

    en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_(polity)

    I’m not against Organizing together or the law. I’m against a states belief in that they should or have the right of being a monopoly on the legitimate use of force. That a State has extra authority not granted to the individual.

    People keep arguing that without a state we will devolve into chaos and for places that do not believe in Life, Liberty, Property or the Pursuite of Happiness sure you will get tribalism and strongman rule.

    Here a funny thing is every single one of us could decide to go out right now and try to murder everyone around us, and the State would be powerless to stop us. So what stops us, it’s not the State. We individualy choose not too, to self-govern, to live peacefully with our fellow man.

    Wyrdbard,

    Somalia and places like that only know tribalism and strongman rule. And even if they pull it together and get a viable State government going it will be based on tribalism and strongman rule because that is all that they know.

    Pointing at these failed States would have more of an impacted if they had devolved from strong Societies that valued freedom an individuality and still choose tribalism and strongman rule. 

    I’m for more Rulers and ways of Organizing ourselves not less. I’m Anti-State Monopoly on Force. If the law draws it’s just power from the individual than the law should only have those powers/rights of the individual, and no more.

    If State could do this, and not gobble up power unto itself, then the belief in a State would have some merit(IMO), but even a lot of our Founding Fathers believed we would just be reseting the State every so often.

    This is obviously where we are at in our quest for freedom and liberty, are we or are we not ready to take that next step in self-governing without relying on the belief that we only self-govern because of a fear of the State or that the State forces us to behave. 

    Are we, or can we become if not, a morally strong people that can live with Personal Responcibility and Freedom or are we destined to always be dependent on and dependents of a State in some form or other?

    As to the volume of responses; I ‘m going to go through all the high-points and give a single response, if I can there is a lot there. I seem to have hit a nerve.  Or if not, if there ever is a gathering of the Huns, that I’m invited to, I’ll set up a corner booth of my own; as, this really is one of those long drawn out conversation best had over drinks and food, and as we are discussing possibilities there is no way to come to a definitive conclusion.

    Everyone. Sorry I want to give everyones counter points a considerate response, but I’m only one man on a cell phone.

    🙂

    Sarah, Sorry! I seemed to have highjacked another thread with my personal obsession.

    😦

    (Note: Posted without the second link working, so Sarah doesn’t have to worry about pulling the other one out of moderation.)

    • Here a funny thing is every single one of us could decide to go out right now and try to murder everyone around us, and the State would be powerless to stop us. So what stops us, it’s not the State. We individualy choose not too, to self-govern, to live peacefully with our fellow man.

      Nope. For a lot of people, it’s fear of incarceration or execution that keeps them from killing people. Yes, they make a decision, but it is one motivated by the presence of the state. Eliminate the state, and eliminate their reasons for restraint.

      Are these people the rule? Not necessarily, but they don’t have to be.

      Up thread, you mention mediation for dispute resolution. Let me ask you this hypothetical. I’m going to give you a situation, and ask you how your ideal society would address the issue.

      I break into your home while you’re away and steal your television set. You have security cameras and recognize me, including knowing where to find me. How does this get addressed?

      • “Nope. For a lot of people, it’s fear of incarceration or execution that keeps them from killing people.”

        Shortage of places to hide the bodies.

        • I live in Nevada and the desert is full of people with bad attitudes, to quote a movie.

          On another note: I posit that faith has a great deal to do with the functioning of a society and its attendant government. Not necessarily religion but that sometimes plays a part. Divine Right and the Mandate of Heaven are examples of this. I’m thinking it’s the same kind of faith that makes you flip the light switch a couple of times when the lights don’t come on.

        • fear of looking at myself in the morning. I watch myself ALL THE TIME.

      • For a lot of people, it’s fear of incarceration or execution that keeps them from killing people.”

        Nyah. Too much bother, too many what need killin’ and I don’t have time for that along with everything else. Retail killing on a planet with six billion is like spitting in the ocean. For example: Shooting bad drivers does nothing to improve their driving, and even if you shoot ten a day there will be plenty left..

      • Josh A. Kruschke

        T.L.,

        “I break into your home while you’re away and steal your television set. You have security cameras and recognize me, including knowing where to find me. How does this get addressed?”

        One several ways, and this gets to a lot of the problem I have in this debate. I ended up arguing against what people believe an anarchy to be vs How I believe an anarchistic society can be organized function.

         A lot of people think of Anarchy as just lawlessness and Chaos. Often we are coming from two different points of view with no reference points to work around.

        But to get back to your question.

        The long answer:

        http://jim.com/anarchy/

        The short answer is not to dissimilar from what you do now. (I wrote this in response to some one asking a similar question. The answer is given in the context of the link provided.)

        To start with unless you are willing to go Jeremiah Johnson there will be a general understanding of what is acceptable in conflict resolutions.

        Most people are reasonable, they are not going to do anything that might jeopardize their standing in the community. With no laws forcing anyone into doing business or providing work; i.e., a completely at will business environment. People will be inclined to not want to piss-off those around them.

        Public perception.

        Mr, Smith finds something is missing.

        First, he will determine if it was stolen & not just misplaced. Was it locked up. Is there evidence of a brake-in. Is there evidence of who did it; finger prints security video footage, witnesses & the like. Some of this he can do himself or he might call in a Security Firm that handles investigations. There might all ready be one involved that was supposed to secure the property. This evidence might lead to a Mr. Jones.

        At this point Mr. Smith could then reprisent him self by going to Mr. Jones to request his stuff back, or he could take this evidence to a Mediation firm. Who would check the validity of the evidence and write up a claim against Mr. Jones. Remember the more reasonable Mr. Smith seems the better his reputation in the community will be.

        Mr. Jones would then collect any evidence as to why he couldn’t have done it, witness alibi & the like. He could either represent himself or go through his own or the same mediation firm.

        Mediation firms are not an inforcer of the common law, but a layer to be used to insalate the parties from having to go to war to settle their dispute. War is expensive in loss of reputation, of property & of life.

        At this point a settlement between the parties involved could be reached. Either Mr. Smith realise that maybe the evidence isn’t as strong as he thought and with draws his claim or Mr. Jones try to make restitution with an assertion that it was a laps in judgement that will never happen again, all to try keep his name from being drag through the mud.

        If a settlement couldn’t be reached jury from the community would be formed. All the details of the case would be known & both parties reputations are at stake. If Mr Jones losses he could find it very hard to live with in the communite plus a recognized legal debt owed to Mr. smith.

        Will there still be unreasonable people yes. Will small groups still go to war over stuff yes, but to me this is much preferred [IMO] than the state level of war.

        No easy answer to your question.
        🙂

        • ” How I believe an anarchistic society can be organized function.”

          Without even reading the rest of your comment, I’ll point out that this right here is the problem, and why we have this big drawn out arguments. YOU CAN’T FLIPPIN’ ORGANIZE AN ANARCHISTIC SOCIETY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IF IT IS ORGANIZED IT ISN’T ANARCHISTIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          I just posted definitions below, and refreshed to see this comment by you.

          • And *this* is why I hate the term “anarcho-capitalism” for the idea that we don’t need a formal State to have reasonable government. In so-called anarcho-capitalist societies (the two or three that have been known to exist), there is a strong cultural norm of respect for the “law” (even if “law” is determined between two parties via contract), combined with a strong respect for life, liberty and property.

            So, inasmuch as anarcho-capitalism has law, it isn’t really “anarchy” as we tend to think of the term; and inasmuch as capitalism is a Marxist epithet for Individualist societies, implying “He who has the gold makes the rules” (whereas in free-market societies, we have strong aversions to rules that violate life, liberty and property of the innocent), I’m not sure that anarcho-capitalism is all that “capitalist” either.

            I have no idea what to call such a government philosophy, though. Self-organizing Individualism, perhaps?

            • (I should add that, even during the Medieval Icelandic “anarchic” period, Icelandic people were very law-abiding, and they still are to this day…)

        • Okay, now that I replaced the gasket I just blew. 🙂 I’ve come back and read the rest of your comment. Sounds amazingly like a government to me, we have mediation/arbitration (court system) judged by a jury of the community, who when they find somebody guilty they create a legal debt (fine).

          A. how is this not a ‘State’? To clarify this, since we seem to have problems with definitions, I define a State as a governing body capable of enforcing rules and decisions on its constituents.

          B. What is to stop Mr. Jones from telling Mr. Smith to sit and spin when Mr. Smith wants to go to Mediation? Sure he may get a bad rep for refusing, at least in some portions of society. But will it be a worse rep than going to Mediation and either having proven or admitting that he stole Mr. Smiths property? Also, while he may get his reputation dragged through the mud in polite society, stealing from Mr. Smith and getting away with it will elevate his name in the criminal side of society; and facing Mr. Smith down and admitting that he did so (bragging) while proving that Mr. Smith can’t do anything about it will elevate it farther. Now if there is a body capable of enforcing punishment on Mr. Jones for thieving, that body is governing and is thus a State, meaning we don’t have an anarchistic society any more.

          • Josh A. Kruschke

            Bearcat,

            You are conflating Government with State. Lots of societal organizations of governing bodies that make and enforce rules. It doesn’t 
            make them States.

            A) Because most Anarchist view a state to also make the claim of having a monopoly on the use of forces. As an example would you consider Google as being a State it meats your definition. Has a governing Body capable of enforcing it’s rules on it’s employees.

            B)

            “B. What is to stop Mr. Jones from telling Mr. Smith to sit and spin when Mr. Smith wants to go to Mediation? Sure he may get a bad rep for refusing, at least in some portions of society. But will it be a worse rep than going to Mediation and either having proven or admitting that he stole Mr. Smiths property?”

            What stops Mr. Jones telling the cops under our current system to piss off? Supposedly it’s the threat of violence, but if yhat was true no one would steal anything today. Because you say that like criminals in to days society don’t alrwady tell those in authority to piss off. The cops, as the enforcement arm of the State, under our curent system our expected to enfource your rights and die for you if needed. In Anarcho-Capitalist system we just take out the middleman by expect you to provide for your own enforcement.

            If your property is not worth you risking your life to retreave or punish the offender, is it worth risking a cops life for it on your behalf?

            • “Because most Anarchist view a state to also make the claim of having a monopoly on the use of forces. ”

              Huh? No wonder everybody views Anarchists as nutjobs, no State EVER has had a monopoly on the use of force. They may have had a monopoly on certain types of force, like say Abrams Tanks or nuclear attack subs, but they have never had a monopoly on the use of force.

              • Josh A. Kruschke

                Bearcat,

                Oh, I agree with you on this. It is the State that makes this claim not I.

                Take the example of the stolen TV.

                Under the current System I must go to the State and ask them to intervene on my be half because the State claims I do not have the right to use violence/force in the retrieval of my own property. If I was to do so what would the state do, if I killed Mr. Jones retrieving my property.

                The Anarcho-Capitalist believes that  a process would still need to be in place to show evidence of what happened to reasure the communite at large that you had just cause. That is if the community at large doesn’t already have a bad opinion of Mr. Jones and shrug their sholders going oh well he finaly got what he deserved.

                We in the US may say we have the right to defend Life, Liberty and Property (depending on state) but it often doesn’t workout that way.

        • Actually, I’m very familiar with anarcho-captialism and anarchy itself. Please note, I’m a libertarian blogger whose been at that game since 2009. I’ve looked at every possible flavor of libertarianism and anarchy.

          Now, your mention of mediation is actually what I suspect you would say. It sounds grand. Yet here is the next stage in the hypothetical.

          I stole the TV, so there’s no way I can prove I didn’t. Your mediation firm has found me guilty and wants me to return the television.

          I simply say “no” and reject any authority they claim. What now?

          (Yes, I know there are always unreasonable people, but please bear with me as I try and make this point)

          • Josh A. Kruschke

            T.L.

            I have a choice to make.

            Now that I have a recognized debt owed to me by them I have to decide how far I want to take this.

            1) Is the value of the property worth the time and effort to try and collect it? Is it worth going to war over? Is it worth risking my life or others lives, because there is no guaranty winning is it worth the risk? 

            2) If no, I write it off as a learning experience and wait for the wheel to come around. If this is the type of person they are then they’ll make a mistake get themself shot and killed.

            3) If yes, Do I try to collect myself? Do I pay someone else to help me collect? Do I present my case to their employer, if they have one? Again I have to ask how far am I willing to go? If I take it to far I could risk myown good standing. If go to war and it starts to adversly effect the community, I could be seen as part of the problem. Is the answer still yes?

            But what ever I do it’s up to me, and how much I’m personally willing to risk.

            • OK, you really only have two choices. Yes or no.

              If you decide to do nothing, then I win. That means I also “know” I can take whatever I want from you whenever I want and you won’t do a thing. (Now, you and I know this isn’t necessarily the case, but someone who would steal your TV? Will they think that’s the case? Not necessarily) As a result, you will find yourself a favorite victim.

              Now, let’s say you decide that doing nothing would just make matters worse. FWIW, in the real world, I agree with you. You decide to come after your TV.

              Here are your choices as outlined in #3.

              Do I try to collect myself? I meet you at the door with a gun pointed at your face, offering to shoot you for trying to take “my” TV. What then?

              Do I pay someone else to help me collect? And if they take your TV for themselves until you pay additional fees? You can argue that this won’t happen, but since we run into businesses doing similarly today, color me skeptical.

              Do I present my case to their employer, if they have one? He tells you to piss up a rope. I’m a good employee and he doesn’t know you for crap.

              But what ever I do it’s up to me, and how much I’m personally willing to risk.

              It’s not just what you are willing to risk. Bullets have a nasty habit of going in straight lines. They don’t really care who you want to shoot. Bystanders get shot far to often. Are you willing to risk their lives as well?

              Here’s the problem with anarchy. It suffers from the exact same problem as communism, believe it or not. It requires everyone to agree to play by the exact same rules. All it takes is one person who wants to play differently to upset the whole damn thing. In communism, it’s someone who doesn’t want to pull his weight. In anarchy, it’s someone who doesn’t want to play well with others.

              It’s Utopian. If such a “state” (it’s in quotes so as to not be taken literally, so don’t get hung up on the word) were to exist, it would be a paradise. Until someone figured out that they really could do what they wanted and screw the consequences. There are so many holes in anarchy that are only dispelled by handwavium, it’s not even funny.

              You even acknowlege some of the problems. Today, someone steals your TV, you call the cops. They find the person and arrest them, getting your TV back. They’ve violated your property rights, and they’re being punished for it. Even if it’s a gang, the cops simply have more firepower to bring to the fight.

              Now, most anarchists and anarcho-capitalists I know will keep on talking about cooperation and all that, but cooperation only works to some extent. I can make an anarchist society work…if I got to select the participants. But I can do the same with communism.

              In either case, though, it’s only on a small scale and all it takes is one bad apple to screw the whole thing up.

              • Josh A. Kruschke

                T.L.

                “…As a result, you will find yourself a favorite victim.”

                If mistaken assumption works to my advantage, the next time it might not go so well for them and that’s there problem. I have no problem with them miss reading the situation and underestimating me.

                “I meet you at the door with a gun pointed at your face, offering to shoot you for trying to take “my” TV.”

                There are some assumption in this statement. And that is that I would walk up to your door and knock and politely ask for my stuff back. We are already beyond the politely asking for my stuff back phase that was what the mediator was for. I’m going to hit you when you are not expecting me or when you yourself are not at home. And if you try to stop me, one of use is not going to be happy with the out come. So you yourself needed to be asking is my stuff worth dying for, because at this point in time I’ve already determine it is. People forget violence is a two way street. If you are asking someone else if they are willing to die for their stuff or beliefs or what ever, you need to be asking yourself the same question.

                “And if they take your TV for themselves until you pay additional fees?”

                There is some assumptions in these as well.

                1) That I would go to or use some that I didn’t trust completely.
                2)If it is their job to do so, I’m going to have what the fees are up front and in writing. If their future jobs rely on people trusting them, my stuff would have to be very, very valuable to want to throw that away.
                3) Are they really willing going to go down the same road that I’ve already demonstrated I’m willing to go down, with the first guy?

                “He tells you to piss up a rope. I’m a good employee and he doesn’t know you for crap.”

                Is after I show him the video of you stilling my stuff that won me the judgement in my favor with the mediators. If so, I now know not to trust or do business with your boss. 

                “It’s not just what you are willing to risk.”

                You are correct It’s not just personal risk but how much liability amy I willing to take on for any damage to property or lose of innocent life that might occur.

                “It suffers from the exact same problem as communism, believe it or not. It requires everyone to agree to play by the exact same rules.”

                You say this as if this isn ‘t true of all societies including our own here in the US of A.

                And it not actually exactly true, I don’t care if you agree to the basic understanding that disregarding the rights of others has consequences. That it is just in your best interest to do so, because when you come into contact with someone willing to defend their rights it not going to go as you expect. It’s just much easier and less dangerous to just respect the rights of others. Your more likely to live a longer life that way.

                Crime goes down in an armed society, this is statistically supported. Why and this is my belief that it is because petty crimes are no longer petty.

                “Today, someone steals your TV, you call the cops. They find the person and arrest them, getting your TV back.”

                Really? I never said they would do anything only that we were expected to call and ask them risk their lives for your stuff. Because if no one was hurt while stilling your stuff, it’s going right to the very bottom of their todo list.

                “Even if it’s a gang, the cops simply have more firepower to bring to the fight.”

                Really? 

                Do you know the ratio of police to average citizens in the US?

                It’s roughly 2.3 officers per 1000 residents.

                http://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=tp&tid=71

                Gangs stats comes out to  2.5 per 1000 residents.

                m.fbi.gov/#http://www.fbi.gov/news/speeches/a-united-front-against-transnational-gangs

                Citizens that lawfully carry permits comes out to 25 per 1000 citizens.

                en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concealed_carry_in_the_United_States

                The is 5 times as many people that have received license to carry as police and Gang members combined. 

                My2Cents

                P.S. One bad apple only ruin a barrel of apples if you allow it to stay in the barrel. You remove the bad apple and go on about your marry way. Problem solved. 

                😉

                And I’m going to go to sleep now.

                • Josh,

                  Every argument you have laid out is premised on the idea that the majority of people will play by the same rules. Frankly, it’s really pretty naive.

                  As you point out, there are people who do not play by the rules now. That’s despite Stand Your Ground laws and law enforcement there to deter them. I live in one of those states after all, and we still have plenty of crime.

                  Yet, you’re telling us that we can deal with in in a manner that will be at least as effective as what we currently have, but absent the State. Really?

                  Here are some things you fail to understand about people.

                  First, most people are non-confrontational. This may not have always been the case, but it is today. For better or worse, it is. That’s the reason gangs control the territory they do. The people in those neighborhoods simply opt to not get involved because they do not want the confrontation. This happens in states that have strong Stand Your Ground laws, where they actually could use lethal force to defend themselves.

                  Second the predatory types of people don’t give a damn what society thinks of them. They can exert control over a geographic area and demand “respect”. Your pie in the sky notions of controlling and dealing with these people will never actually work, simply because they have no reason to fear anything. As it is now, their fear of incarceration or death at the hands of law enforcement only marginally keeps them from exerting too much control.

                  Third, as a gun guy, I’m going to clue you in on something. The vast majority of the gun carriers out there? They’re not itching to pull the trigger. They want to avoid confrontation as well, though they’ll draw when they have to. Why does this matter? Because you’re acting like a pile of armed vigilantes are the secret to our salvation in your fantasy world. They’re not.

                  You ever shot anyone, Josh? Have you even drawn down on a living human? I’ve done the latter, my finger mere millimeters from ending the life of another person. You think that’s just all peaches and cream? Really?

                  Don’t worry about answering any of those questions though. I thank you for your previous answers, however. I’m done with discussing this with you. Like so many anarchists, you simply believe that everyone will pull together and cooperate and fail to understand how to deal with the actual evil that exists now, much less will exist in your world.

                  Frankly, after years of having these same discussions and not one satisfying answer from a single anarchist or anarcho-capitalist, I’m simply done with the whole thing.

                  I just rest easy knowing what you imagine will never come to fruition.

                  • Josh A. Kruschke

                    T.L.

                    Every argument you have laid out is premised on the idea that the majority of people will play by the same rules. Frankly, it’s really pretty naive.

                    You asked me how Anarcho-Capitalist Society would or could function.  Not if I think it is possible today which it is not. We are to brainwashed to look to and depend on the State for our sense of security and to protect our rights.

                    I described exactly what would be need and the mindset to achieve it. I never said it would be pleasant or a utopia those where other peoples words. All I showed was how to live as a Free man and not as a dependent of the state, scrabbling around for those perceived freedoms that the State allows you.

                    At no point did I say I was or would look forward to or enjoy having to defend myself. But with out a State it’s you, ultimately, or no one.

                    First, most people are non-confrontational. This may not have always been the case, but it is today. For better or worse, it is.

                    Yes, I understand this, and again why  an AC society is not possible today.

                    That’s the reason gangs control the territory they do. The people in those neighborhoods simply opt to not get involved because they do not want the confrontation. This happens in states that have strong Stand Your Ground laws, where they actually could use lethal force to defend themselves.

                    Sounds like a personal problem. Because it not that they can’t defend themselves it’s that they won’t do so. That is their community their responsibility not mine. They can standup for themselves or not. Not my flying monkeys not my flying circus.  Just as the Ukraine is not our problem or what ever is happens in Idontgiveafuckastian.

                    “Second the predatory types of people don’t give a damn what society thinks of them. Not true. See following.

                    “They can exert control over a geographic area and demand “respect”.” Please make up your mind. Do they not care or do they want society to respect them?

                    “Your pie in the sky notions of controlling and dealing with these people will never actually work, simply because they have no reason to fear anything.” I have not advocated controlling anybody. Those that can control themselves (self-govern) will influenced by social norms and social pressure (Social Violence). There are only two options avalible when non-rational actors that are prone to violence (Asocial Either Resourse or Process Preditors) to get what they want, is to set bonderies and when those bonderies are crossed either submit or resist. If you resist and they are trying to kill you, you better be willing to kill them right back or what is the point of resisting.

                    “As it is now, their fear of incarceration or death at the hands of law enforcement only…” Wait… what? I thought you said they have no reason to fear anything? If they fear death then letting them know death is on the table if they don’t give your stuff back is a viable option.

                    “They’re not itching to pull the trigger. They want to avoid confrontation as well, though they’ll draw when they have to.” Holy Shit, that was why physical confrontation was the last thing tried. I gave him every chance to resolve things peacefully to return the property.

                    “Why does this matter? Because you’re acting like a pile of armed vigilantes are the secret to our salvation in your fantasy world. They’re not.” This funniest part do you not understand that in an Anarcho-Capitalist society there is no such thing as vigilantism. You are the ultimate authority responsibly for the defense of your rights.

                    “You ever shot anyone, Josh? Have you even drawn down on a living human? I’ve done the latter, my finger mere millimeters from ending the life of another person.” All personal. And are appeals to emotion.

                    “You think that’s just all peaches and cream? Really?” No I don’t think that’s just all peaches and cream. But it is what I believe mentally and psychologically would be needed on top of any physical skills to live in an AC society and deal with the, very small and I mean a fractions of a percent of the population that are, Asocial Predators and non-rational actors.

                    “Like so many anarchists, you simply believe that everyone will pull together and cooperate and fail to understand how to deal with the actual evil that exists now, much less will exist in your world.” I’m confused you took offense at how I handle (theoretically) getting my stuff back. And you seem to be under the impression that, assuming that the attitude I put forth is the common attitude needed for an AC society to thrive, AC society would just let evil fester and not kill it and kill it with fire. I believe a stander for taking action could be something like the preponderance of the evidence must show that your actions where justified (that is the stander for Stand Your Ground) should satisfy most  communities.

                    Under our current system you will suprised how many of the trully heavy hitters and recognized evil walk because it’s hard to prosecute. Wouldn’t want to mess up the lawyers win ratio.

                    “Frankly, after years of having these same discussions and not one satisfying answer from a single anarchist or anarcho-capitalist, I’m simply done with the whole thing.” This is probable do to us giving you consistently the same answers. You are correct you probable should stop asking how an AC Society could work if after you explain the errors of our ways we don’t change are minds.

                    Take care it’s been fun.
                    😉

                    • No, it is not that your utopia is not possible today… it is that your utopia is not possible with the human species as they have domeonstrated themselves to work for all of recorded history. You utterly and completely ignore the logical progression of your scinarioes.

                      You get your stuff back by force. He comes after you to get it back because you ticked him off. Some’s dead, say it’s him. His brother is now ticked off at you and comes to pay you back for killing his brother he doesn’t care why. You wind up dead, with others in your house hold hurt or dead because he doesn’t care. Now your son goes after him and wants pay back, and you wind up with more dead bodies. People in the area start taking sides. Hatfields and McCoys would be the most mild result. For the most extreme? Look at the middle east. You assume humans are basically reasonable, but you involve emotions and the gloves come off on a decent percentage which will shatter your entire system. THAT is what anarchy ends in. Governments aren’t great because they’re made up of humans but THAT kind of insanity (which I have seen. Cultures that hold grudges for 7 generations. Wars between tribes because 6 generations ago someone stole their cousin’s camel and they’re still at it.) is why governments keep getting established. Unless you can fundamentally change the human animal, your ideal society will never be possible, and never is not a word I use lightly. It has very little to do with people being socialized to governments.

                      (note for the other conversation I’m in, give me a few I’m finding citations.)

                    • Cultures that hold grudges for 7 generations. Wars between tribes because 6 generations ago someone stole their cousin’s camel and they’re still at it.)

                      Side-effect of a VERY Christian culture.

                      It took me years to get my head around the idea of “eye for an eye” being a proscription on vengeance, not a prescription.

                    • I figured that one out, intellectually, after reading some of the myths and legends from that area… but it took 9 months in Iraq to really wrap my brain around the kind of culture the Old Testament was set in.

                    • Eamon J. Cole

                      The ME does serve to clarify the idea of long-standing feuds, doesn’t it?

                    • Josh A. Kruschke

                      Foxfier Yes. You only use the level of force used against you. If they are using deadle force you can use deadly force to stop them.

                      If someone is only poking you in the chest you don’t get pull your gunn and shoot them to get them to stop.

                      Though there is an expectation in Hameraby’s Code (? spelling don’t care 🙂 ) that if someone is trying to kill you that it’s ok to try to kill them right back.

              • To be fair, the problems being discussed with anarchy–about how you enforce the return of a TV that’s been stolen–are the same as with our current system.

                Let’s face it. If someone breaks into your house and steals a television, 9 times out of 10, you file a police report, and you never see your television again. Even if you could find the person who did it, the police probably aren’t going to care enough to get the television back, and there are going to be people uncooperative enough that they’ll even shoot back if the police did come. And the DA, for whatever reason, may decide that it’s not worth the effort to put the guy in jail for what he did.

                Is this all that different than what might happen in an anarcho-capitailst society? Probably not.

                Both cases are different from communism, though: under communism, you don’t own the TV, so there’s no point in figuring out who stole it. That, and you probably don’t have electricity anyway. :.)

                (As a home-schooling parent, it annoys me when someone says something like “How will a child learn proper socialization?” without considering that our public schools aren’t all that great at teaching proper socialization as it is! At best, we throw a bunch of kids together, and hope they figure things out on their own…)

            • Eamon J. Cole

              Josh,

              I’m going to take the thread (various threads) in aggregate. First I’m going to refer you back to some comments I’ve already made to avoid repetition. It’d be arrogant of me to say RTWT… 😀 But my pull quotes might gain something in context so I’ve provided link info.

              To avoid moderation I’m going to provide one full link, in the subsequent comments only the final number need be changed in the original link:

              https://accordingtohoyt.com/2014/08/03/friendly-fire-in-the-science-fiction-wars/#comment-189725

              You propose several situations that have as an underlying assumption social pressures, but in the absence of authority — who cares about social pressures[?]…

              When a spontaneous, cooperative organization springs up to deal with this [recalcitrant] individual what subsequently disbands them? What prevents them from using their cooperative power to clean things up a bit and better enforce the social pressures?

              #comment-189878

              Without a compelling explanation for how sovereign individuals can be convinced to act cooperatively, consistently, to mitigate the effects of such individuals on other, unrelated, sovereign individuals I can’t see true peaceful anarchy surviving.

              If I am a true sovereign individual, and I believe in the sovereignty of other individuals, where do I derive the authority to interfere in another sovereign’s affairs? If I don’t have such authority, my actions violate the non-aggression principle. If I do have such authority, sovereignty is called into question.

              #comment-189842

              Resolving individual sovereignty in the context of cooperative effort inevitably runs up against some degree of coercive organization. Individualism makes it inevitable, the goals will never perfectly align. Once coercive organization is necessitated things are on the road to governance.

              For me, those are unresolved issues.

              But a couple of points came up in your last round of comments that I’d like to address. Situations that may be more dangerous and insidious.

              Point 1:
              You mention reputations, and you make a particular point that if enough of the community had a dislike for the recalcitrant criminal they’d shrug and decide he finally got what he deserved. But what if he wasn’t a criminal? What if he was just unlikable? What if he spurned the affections of a high status woman 20 years ago in high school and she’s poisoned the well since? What if the circumstances of his “crime” are manufactured and his bitter independence has gained him no allies in the community?

              I’d prefer to live in a society that protects the unlikable, the marginalized, the awkward and unsocial. At the very least, I’d like to think the society stands for them when they’ve been wronged. I acknowledge that is imperfectly done currently, but it is far better than many on this rock get.

              Point 2:
              Still looking at reputations, and social condemnation. Your property has been taken, you seek recompense. The man you accuse is charismatic and engaging. He’s gregarious, well-liked. He knows everybody, has helped many of them, drinks with a fair number of them. He’s also a psychopath.

              You’re an average guy, liked by some, disliked by a few, hated by a tiny minority (You shouldn’t have kissed his girl at the prom. You really shouldn’t have left with her.). You go to mediation, they agree to the case and set a date. The man you accused doesn’t show. If the mediators have any integrity, and ultimately any value, they won’t hear a case in his absence. What now? Well, you’ve got the video, proof of his malfeasance. You’ll take it to the TV station, broadcast it and demand recompense before the public. Except — His brother-in-law owns the stations. Okay, you’ll put it on the internet, and the whole world can judge. Oh, yeah, the guys at the ISP, drinking buddies. Shady dealings. They’ve got a filter up.

              Concept:
              Properly constituted, government does not exist to protect those who can protect themselves. It does not serve to provide influence for the influential. It has no role in arbitrating disputes between people who can come to agreements on their own. Properly constituted a government serves to protect the weak, represent the marginalized and arbitrate the intractable dispute.

              People will come into conflict, societies must have a way of resolving those conflicts. Formal governing principles offer us the best (so far) solutions. Of course, this doesn’t mean we don’t have issues in the current system.

              But we can look to those very same issues to see how any anarcho-capitalist society would devolve.

              Or so I believe.

              • Yup.

                It is often overlooked that once upon a time, we all lived without government. if that state was so paradisaical, we would not ever have started to have them.

              • Josh A. Kruschke

                Eamon,

                Damn it I was going to go to sleep than I read this.

                To point 1.

                I provided evidence that he did do it.

                He might want to provide evidence or an alibi as to why he didn’t do it.

                My comment was not meant to show why it might be in your best interest to stay in the communities good side.

                I do feel it is in the communities best interest to insure a murderer is not killing people without cause, but should members within the community risk life and limb to avenge said person, if it can not be shown that he was innocent of the crime. And this is the same standard as in our current system with relying on a third party exclusively.

                I was not acting without showing cause. Just as the State say they need evidence to act.

                Do think people are not framed in our courts today?

                “The man you accused doesn’t show. If the mediators have any integrity, and ultimately any value, they won’t hear a case in his absence.”

                On to point 2.

                One of the ways to counter act this would be to bring back dueling.

                But before that, the town hasn’t liked me for twenty years and I haven’t moved why? A glutton for punishment I guess.

                Is what the guy stole worth his or my life, because if I determine it is, and he has left me no recourse, he might want to remember desperate people do desperate things.

                But the nom-violent solution to your problem is and agrement between mediators, that they will not mediate new desputes while old ones case are unresolved. So that individual would lose access to moderation.

                Or the trial still goes on the plantif is allowed presents their evidence and no judgment is reached until the defendent counters.

                The assumption that AC comunities that they want adapt or adress problems as the arises. That all we care about is might & help those around us.

                😉

                P.S. I’ll address the others latter if I get the chance.

                P.S.S I’m really going to bed now.

                • Eamon J. Cole

                  Josh,

                  I’m not sure you’re taking the point. In any community, regardless of organizational principle there will be the marginalized and the admired. Relying on the community to fairly adjudicate those cases is expecting them to act against their established judgement in the absence of any intermediary advocate.

                  By the by, calling out corruption and error in the current formally organized system does not argue for less corruption and error in an informally organized system. I know what we have isn’t perfect. I also know how much worse it can be, and is in many places. But the same people corrupting these systems will be working to corrupt anarcho-capitalism.

                  As to another assumption you keep intimating, you are not the baddest mother in the valley. There are some very dangerous people walking around. I’ve known some, I’m not laying odds on you taking matters into your own hands against them. And there are people who would have no compunction about sticking you in a shallow hole if you looked likely to inconvenience them.

                  Government serves to aggregate the legitimate power of individual’s to defend themselves and their rights. This aggregate carries more weight in the face of the highly dangerous and the highly immoral. In the absence of your ability to assemble a comparable group of sovereign individual’s who agreed to act on your behalf — I’ve known too many people who are capable, physically and mentally, of ending you or I without qualm.

                  You use the word proxy with reference to the police, proxies for an individual using the threat of violence in his stead. It’s almost right.

                  Police exercise the aggregated legitimate power of individuals, yes, but not as proxies of the individual. They are proxies of the society. This stems from the recognition that damage done to you is (potentially) damaging to the society.

                  Aggregate protections benefit all members (ideally), individual protection benefits the individual (maybe).

                  • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                    I almost wish Josh had to deal with the SOBs that I had to deal with growing up. He might then understand why we’re so concerned with the Rogues of society and how the Rogues would ruin his perfect little world. [Frown]

        • Josh, the fundamental problem is this. This word (anarchy) does not mean what you think it means. Anarchy means NO organization. The minute you organize it is something that is NOT anarchy. It is something else. Anarchy means the wheels are off and each individual decides EVERYTHING for themselves with no organization at all, no conventions. What you are actually discussing is Communalism or a very primitive form of socialism, with the same issues. It requires either a desperate situation “we all work together with near 100% effort or we DIE horribly and soon” or perfect people. The former situation rarely lasts. The latter isn’t happening through human effort. Even in communalism a leader usually emerges if the emergency lasts more than a short period of time and you wind up in that tribal and/or feudal state. Look at early Russia and some parts of Hungary. You’re not talking about anarchy; you’ve just renamed an extant system that has failed.

          Societal pressure is a form of organization, it’s not anarchy. Note: Anarchy means you have NEITHER a state NOR a government just a bunch of individual running around doing whatever they want.

          • Young idealists usually have an assumption that laws and government are the most important way of organizing society. It is not. Culture is the most important i.e. the consensus on what is good and bad, beautiful and ugly without force of law being involved.

            Law, however, flows from culture.

            The more people who in their heart of hearts truly believe that we are supposed to love our neighbor and do unto others as you’d have them do unto you and that there is a final authority beyond government force the less government force will be needed and personal freedom will be maximized

            The smarter leftists — and leftist believe there should be nothing beyond government force — understand this, and this is why they hate religion..

            • Indeed, it’s also why I keep emphasizing human effort. Unfortunately, the shift in culture required to remove codified government entirely is a second coming level change. The result still isn’t anarchy, because it requires a cultural accord rather than being purely based in the individual.

              Theologically, I have always found it interesting that one of the strongest condemnations of Israel in the Old Testament is ‘And each did what was right in his own eyes.’ it’s part of why I’m leery about anything that gets too deep into the ‘let them sort it out on their own’.

              • I disagree with you on that one 🙂 That might be my favorite verse. Israel was fine being guided by its own eyes. It was when they demanded a king is when they got in trouble.

                • You might want to re-read those passages, especially the since they accompany some of the biggest screw ups in Israel. Micah’s idolatry for one (Judges 17:6) mass kidnapping (Judges 21:25). It is point blank condemned in Proverbs (12:15 and 21:2). The former giving it as a definition of folly, the latter giving it as a definition for anarchy. And forbidden in Dueteronomy (12:8). And that’s just the cursory survey I can manage from my phone.

                  • The biggest screw-ups were not in the days of Judges but in the days of Kings — the division of the nation, Jezebel and Ahab, the placing of idols in the Temple, the murders by Manasseh, the exile to Babylon etc.

                    If God did not approve of the circumstances of the time of Judges, why did He object to the demand for a king? (1 Samuel 8)

                    There were more people in the days of Judges that did what was right in their own eyes and got it right than in the days of Kings when a strong ruler could, and did, corrupt just about all. Remember, it’s God that weighs the heart.

                    • That’s because the kings lasted a lot longer than the judges.

                    • No, it’s because when Israel chose a King they as a nation rejected God. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Samuel+8&version=NIV

                    • Just because God didn’t want them to put a king before him doesn’t mean he approved of what they were doing without one.

                      Side note, I have responses but they, and citations will have to wait until work lets me go. It may be a few hours. May not be until I get home. I am not ignoring the discussion.

                    • Of course He didn’t approve of what was going on before, just like He doesn’t approve of a lot of things that happen in this country.

                      But I am convinced that He wants us to live free — doing what’s right in our own eyes — rather than under a king or some modern equivalent i.e. some social service commission, that lets us have an excuse to avoid decisions regarding morality.

                      Israel under Judges was not an anarchy. There was a set of rules with rather draconian consequences for those who did what they thought was right but got it wrong.

                • Good heavens, did you just read that verse and not the bloodbath that preceeded?

          • Josh A. Kruschke

            Wyrdbard,

            Anarcho-Capitalism isn’t a philosophy that that I made up.

            Capitalism Is Anarchy = Anarcho-Capitalism

            Your belief that Anarchy means one thing and only one thing doesn’t necessitate I believe the same.

            Would it help if I just called myself an Absolute Laissez Faire Capitalist were no single State holds a monopoly on force, and that the state doesn’t try to grant itself extra athourity not held by the average citizen.

            This argument about what Anarchy means has been going on a very long time, just know not everyone use the it the same way you do. This just leads to No True Scotsmen Arguments. 

            econfaculty.gmu.edu/bcaplan/def.htm

            I’m not going to try to tell you what Anarchy should mean to you. I can only tell you what it means to me.

            • The old ‘what is wrong for you is not wrong for me’ argument. Words have meaning. If you can redefine what the words mean to suit yourself then you might as well not bother communicating. I know ‘anarcho-capitalist’ is not something you came up with on your own. It does not change what you are advocating. Nor does it make it anarchy. You are not the first person I have had this argument with. I have given you countries to research, I will have to contact a few people to get more specific time frames for you, but you keep going ‘anarchy works because individuals do the right thing and if they do not it is no one’s problem but mine!’. Then you talk about mediation and things that invalidate the whole premise of the system you claim to espouse. the functional descriptions you give more closely resemble collectivism/communalism and low end socialism than anything anarchic, and your only defense is that you can define words however you want. Color me unmoved.

          • No, it mean “no rule” not “no organization.” voluntary organizations are certainly allowed — how would you stop them?

            • If you have organization, you have leadership in some form and standards of some kind. This is a form of rule and political system and government.

  32. From far above
    If the Holy See is a state as per the diplomatic community, then it is an example of a state that exercises authority without a military.

    Tell that to the Swiss Guard.

    Additionally, the original was without *force.* Tribes don’t have a “military” either– but that doesn’t mean the thugs they send hurt less. Israel is being attacked by “civilians,” but that doesn’t make the threat any less.

  33. “What you describe is when the State loose control, not an institutionalized Anarchist system with law enforcement dispute resolution systems in place.”

    Institutionalized Anarchist system? WTF!?

    I think we really need to agree on some definitions, because from where I am coming from you CAN’T HAVE an Institutionalized Anarchist system, if it is Institutionalized it isn’t Anarchist, by definition

    Merriam-Webster definition of anarchy:

    1

    a : absence of government

    b : a state of lawlessness or political disorder due to the absence of governmental authority

    c : a utopian society of individuals who enjoy complete freedom without government

    2

    a : absence or denial of any authority or established order

    Merriam-Webster definition of institutionalized:

    to cause (a custom, practice, law, etc.) to become accepted and used by many people : to establish (something) as an institution

    Those two just don’t work together.

    I agree with your view that anarchy would be a utopia, where we disagree is that I look at reality and human nature and say, “yes anarchy would be utopia; that is because it can never succeed this side of heaven.”

    • Institutionalized Anarchy is easy to envision.

      For to see mad Tom of Bedlam
      Ten thousand miles I’d travel
      Mad Maudlin goes on dirty toes
      For to save her shoes from gravel

      Chorus:
      Still I sing bonnie boys, bonnie mad boys
      Bedlam boys are bonnie,
      For they all go bare and they live by the air
      And they want no drink nor money

      I went down to Satan’s kitchen
      For to get me food one morning
      And there I got souls piping hot
      All on the spit a-turning

      Chorus

      Me staff has murdered giants
      And me bag a long knife carries
      For to cut mince pies from children’s thighs
      With which to feed the fairies

      Chorus

      This spirit’s white as lightning
      Would on me travels guide me
      The moon would shake and the stars would quake
      When ever they espied me

      Chorus

      And when that I have murdered
      The man in the moon to a powder
      His staff I’ll break and his dog I’ll shake
      And there’ll howl no demon louder

      Chorus

      For to see mad Tom of Bedlam
      Ten thousand years I’d travel
      Mad Maudlin goes on dirty toes
      For to save her shoes from gravel

      Chorus

  34. “The chances of getting people who take over and leave you ruthlessly alone is not high.”

    Ha! Sad but true.