The Tragedy of the Commons and Society – Bill Reader

The Tragedy of the Commons and Society – Bill Reader

 

            I consider myself to be a patriotic libertarian. But in the circles I move in, I may as well bill myself as a red-hot snowman or an honest politician. There are many libertarians… really, mostly Libertarians… who feel that a belief in borders, let alone national pride or a national character, is antithetical to the entire philosophy. This post is addressed to them.

I would first like to lay out, for the sake of clarity, what I see to be the main drivers of this belief and most particularly the vehemence with which it is held. The first and most obvious contributor is the idea, central to all libertarian thought, of valuing the individual. Whenever people are treated as a homogenous group, it is thought that the individual loses some of their relative value… that some minority opinions will be trampled. I think all libertarians are especially sensitive to this point because we have, often, spent our entire lives being politically marginalized, and it will leave certain characteristic scars whether we choose to admit it or not.

I will address the point briefly. It is absolutely true that thinking of people as faceless mobs rather than individuals has caused, and continues to cause, untold harm. Too often, decisions by the collective are decisions by a few power brokers. Identity politics is this exactly. And from it we know further that reinforcement by in-grouping is as destructive as the more obvious problem of trampling the minority. The prior, more than the latter, is what makes Orwellian futures so grim. It is likewise true that the very act of establishing and maintaining a state requires some kind of collective action. Unless a sufficiently large number of people in an area are willing to assert, in common, that an area is a state, within whose bounds certain rules apply; unless they are willing to commonly put teeth in that claim when it is tested, a state does not exist.

You may think I’m going to say that the collective idea of the United States manages to avoid these problems. But the fundamental principle the United States is based on is destructive of some individual views. Yes, you read that correctly. Because the fundamental principle behind the United States is “mind your own business”. This is, we are graphically reminded every time Obama opens his mouth, very much at odds with those individuals who want to mind everybody’s business. Their opinion is absolutely squelched in a free society, and we made no bones about that fact when we kicked out the king. In theory, it could even be defended too zealously and make everyone’s life difficult with those same old shades of Orwell. But if you’re listening at your neighbor’s door for signs of insufficient freedom, I’m wondering if you might not be minding your own business. In any case, people who think a libertarian society looks like a never-ending stream of McCarthian witch-hunts (I’m looking at certain penny-ante philosophers in the game industry who believe they are much smarter than they are) seem to be confused about whether libertarians want a bigger or smaller central government.

And here we move on to my broader point. Many libertarians see the dissolution of borders as a necessity of carrying libertarian thought to its natural conclusion. By that I mean that, as a general rule of thumb, we believe less government is better. Obviously, then, absolutely no government would be best, right?      And this is where I bring up the tragedy of the commons.

The tragedy of the commons, in the very unlikely case that you have not heard, explains the problem of resource management, usually with the example of grazing animals and farmers. A grazing area where there are no property rights tends to turn into, say, the Sahara desert. The farmers have every incentive to graze as much as they can and no incentive to seed or maintain the land when it will just get trampled in the process. If the farmers parcel the field, and each own part of it, however, then the land stays in much better shape. Each farmer has reason to get more out of the land in the long run, rather than only getting whatever resources he can grab now. He has incentive to maintain rather than strip the property.

I think of that as the most basic case of the tragedy of the commons. But it applies to countries as well. And in a richer and more complex way, because a country is not merely a landmass and the set of resources it is on, but a unifying principle that the people on that land are bound by. Many countries use ethnicity (or more accurately, the culture associated with an ethnicity, since melanin and facial features are infertile ground for agreement), or religion (like most of Europe and some of the middle East). Some, where that would be impossible, use a common history (this is India’s excuse, as near as I can tell). And most every failed state on Earth can’t decide (giving you the rest of the middle East, most of Africa, much of South America… it’s a popular choice). All of these things except the last are shorthand for a set of ideas, encapsulated by the ideals of a certain culture, the teachings of the religion, or the lessons of the history. In the last, people agree to disagree, and they do it with Kalashnikovs. And then there is America, one of a select few founded explicitly on ideas, cherry picked and synthesized with intent. Certainly the only one I know of that hasn’t torn itself apart… yet.

To explain how the foundational principles of a country relate to the tragedy of the commons I’d like you to go back to the scenario of the parceled land. Let’s suppose these farmers live in a governmental vacuum. There is no place to register the claims. When a perfect stranger comes along, who is not privy to the pact, he’s as likely as not to accidentally graze the pasture, unaware there’s any reason not to. How do you stop him? You can put up fences, of course, and stand armed shifts around the land. This deals, at least, with unintentional vandalism.

But with the solution comes other problems. For the sake of argument we’ll say that this is mighty juicy farmland we’re sitting on here. Now that you’ve prevented casual intrusion, rustlers become the major problem. So the land doesn’t just need people constantly on guard, it needs a lot of them. But the farmer has other duties. There are two directions he can go.

One is to get together with his family and muster enough people to handle all the tasks. You can post the teen boys and young adults on guard duty, have the older people at home to raise the kids, and the younger people tend your cows. What you’ve formed now is a tribe: a group held together by family ties and designed to secure the property of that group while still allowing people to do the necessary work to help it grow and thrive.

The other is to get together with your neighbors and find some common ground on which to build partnerships to get this work done. You could base it on a common set of values, a common religion, or just on common enemies if things are bad enough. As long as the deals are struck, their actual basis is secondary. Now you pitch in for a somewhat larger, more imposing fence around the whole pasture, and build smaller fences on the inside, mostly to denote property lines since you know everyone who’s in there. Everyone’s got sons manning that wall, and you’ve become a very basic city-state. This is how cities like Rome started (Well, mostly. Most city-states start out semi-demi tribal. But in practice that just means tribes rather than individuals get together as described.).

Unlike a tribe, city-states are flexible. You don’t have to exert any effort just to add people to the group (though you might take a shot at it on your own time anyway). You don’t have to worry about inbreeding. All you have to do is find someone trustworthy, add to the wall to enclose some extra land, and voila. Of course, if you have any idea how human nature works, you figure out pretty quickly that you need to make some extra provisions. “Trustworthy” means something to you and something different to your friend. You need some clear accounting of the rules, because the grandchildren of friends of friends of friends are more than likely going to need a refresher. You start needing internal rules to moderate how rules are made. And in the same vein, you quickly need to start putting in provisions regarding who can come in.

Our city-state farmers and our tribal farmers alike have a bigger problem, too. Rustlers can make arrangements of their own, mirrored to their prey. That could be the barbarian horde or the Barbary States, for example. Such groups represent credible threats even to well-armed city states. Another problem is fellow ranchers, who look next door and see territory they’d like to get a piece of. How do we respond to these problems? Well, when we start getting up the level of armament needed to maintain a city-state, we’re talking about enough raw force to maintain control of a lot more than just a little walled compound. Not as effectively, to be sure. But land between city-states doesn’t take as much of a commitment to control, because there’s usually no one to say you can’t have it. You just need enough minimal force to patrol it. Then you concentrate forces anyplace a threat rises.

A lot of libertarians don’t like this bit of the story. Once land starts being taken over by people who don’t actually have any immediate use for it, it’s arguably not being used in the best way possible. It has a landlord, but the landlord is absentee. Superficially, it seems hard to dispute. The US seems to have entire states worth of land it’s not doing much with. That’s to say nothing of national parks, which we’re proud of not doing anything with. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

There are, in fact, a number of reasons why borders must be established at this point, and why land must be controlled even if it is not being used. The most basic reason, underlying the more tangible ones, is that nature abhors a vacuum. It may not seem as though that’s a justification, and it wouldn’t be, if it were possible to reason with a Julius Caesar or Genghis Kahn. But as brutish as it sounds to say “If we don’t do it, someone else will”, the world is full of people who (shock!) never bother to build an ethical case before they do things. If there are practical advantages to owning more land, therefore, and a city-state has the capacity to, it will do so. And as it happens, there are advantages, both in resources and in trade.

The need for resources is obvious. So obvious, in fact, that it is easy to overstate. Nevertheless, our resident ranchers have by now brought a great many people into the fold. They have gunsmiths for the boys on the wall, tanners and tailors to make things from dead cows, cooks and butchers to make food from dead cows. These people, in turn, want metal, wood, various chemicals, various machines, spices, of course the dead cows… and the list goes on and on. Some of these, the raw materials, can be found at home. Strategically, there’s a drive to get as much as you can at home, too, so that the potentially-unfriendly neighbors don’t have it.

But there are all sorts of limits on this. Where do the best craftsmen work? Where are the best places to get raw resources? Where are the best techniques used? The answer isn’t going to be “at home” for everything. Our cow farmers need trade. They’re fortunate. Their neighbors need trade too! At least, they need trade as long as they can’t just come in and take things. And that’s the rub. That’s the other reason you need territory… it establishes buffer zones. When you own the land around yourself, and can enforce that ownership, it’s a lot harder for other states to come knocking at the door to demand you hand things over. You may laugh at that idea, but having forewarning and space to prepare if an assault comes over the border is beyond strategically valuable. If you need an analogy, I have heard that some Japanese forts were built with open doors and a clear hall all the way to the head honcho. The assumption was that invaders would get in. The point was to control how they moved and fought in the long, long journey inwards. Similarly, an invader crossing into the territory of another nation must travel some distance to reach its capital, space in which the invaded country has opportunities to defend itself before it is truly desperate

This, more than the raw materials extracted from the land itself, is what makes owning the additional land valuable. The land could be the most barren, boiling, salted, oil-free desert on earth and still be more valuable than the richest temperate farmland, if it provides a nation the leverage it needs to defend itself and hence enables it to trade with its neighbors rather than be overrun by them. The state establishes ownership of a territory and in the very act of doing so derives value from it. It may not be exploiting it in the optimal industrial or agricultural manner, but so long as it is enabling the industry and agriculture in other places, what it is doing is valuable.

This gives us some idea of how modern states form. Now let us pull the camera back again and reflect on the lessons of this journey. Many Libertarians frame the world as a contrast of reason and force. They support the free market, and voluntary cooperation among individuals in general, because it derives from reason. Since the state is undeniably force… the ability to force compliance of others with borders and the ability to force compliance of its own with the ground rules on which the city-state is based… they oppose the state as a philosophical entity entirely.

They forget that while exchange is based on reason, it is only vouchsafed by the threat of force. Very few pay for what they can take without consequence… that is human nature. And there is no way to prevent people from grouping together in some way, because the first group to do so will be at a disproportionate advantage relative to those around them. You will find few advocates of individual human achievement stauncher than I, but I like to think I’m also rational. It is romantic to imagine there could be one individual so industrious and so smart that if a tribe sent a hundred people or a nation-state a thousand to claim the land he lives on, it would be rebuffed. In reality, the larger group will probably hardly notice him among the individuals it routes. People will organize because it’s effective and relatively easy.

Note that this does not mean the state is somehow owed all money merely because it enables all economic activity. A state is fundamentally derived from the consent and cooperation of the governed. This is true even in empires, though “the governed” may frequently represent more than double the number who consent and cooperate. Should the society be dominated sufficiently by people who do not consent and do not cooperate, the society will fall, as indeed empires do, most frequently by encapsulating too much dissent under too little force. To put it in another light, the state is a tool derived from the cooperation of individuals, but not an entity onto itself, any more than a club has independent agency from its owners. The requirements leaders of states levy on their constituents are therefore justifiable only when they are necessary to maintaining the state and its borders. And hence the definition of “necessary” is first expanded, and then finally ignored by the dishonest politicians of the left, who have sunk to using terms like “tax expenditures” for letting you keep your own money. Be wary of the man who thinks of the state as independent of you, and your master, rather than as existing at your pleasure (A brief side note to Halbig trolls. When you whine about the ruling meaning corporations are people, this explains why you’re inverting it entirely. You are, yourself, thinking that because people form a corporation they are superseded by it… that they are, essentially, subservient to their own institution, restrictions upon which dictate the restrictions upon them. And for the most part this explains your regrettable view of the role of government.).
The progression from the classical tragedy of the commons to the level of complexity expressed in the modern state hence explains the necessity of borders. Moreover, it makes the case for the ownership of land by governments, even land that is not being commercially exploited, as a good for those within the domain of said government.

From the foregoing, and in closing, it should be noted that the discussion also explains the fundamental problem with illegal immigration. States may be capable, if their people so wish, of performing humanitarian functions. But they are not, intrinsically, humanitarian organizations. The campus Democrats may meet to discuss how the terrible humanitarian situation in South America gives people from South America a right to come here. So why don’t they invite all of the city’s homeless to their weekly meetings, paying any damages or fees incurred in the process? I wonder, would they say it’d be disruptive and distracting from the club’s actual business?

Nation-states, as I said, have underlying their laws some kind of grander, simpler pact. There is something that brings people together to agree in the first place. The laws are the fine details. Britain, people are fond of pointing out, is a country founded on an ethnicity and its associated culture. They are hence paying a price… economic, and legal… for frantic multiculturalism and lenient immigration. And is it because the new immigrants are upset that their fellow Brits can’t tan as well? Or are they enraged because they came into the country with a different idea of what society should be based on, one that cannot ever be reconciled? A liberal decides it’s the prior. A conservative can see the patent problem, that people who believe vehemently that society should be based on the Qur’an (And it is the Qur’an. London’s Catholics, for example, are not beheading guards and demanding independent neighborhoods run according to cannonical law.), cannot be good citizens of Britain, a country whose whole motivation and justification is founded in British cultural traits. Instead of bringing in Brits with the misfortune of being born abroad, they’ve brought in any refugee who could get together the paperwork. No doubt, these people come from desperate circumstances, but that in itself does not qualify a person for immigration (An aside: I am being a little unfair to Brits. I don’t think they have a common idea of what being British is, anymore. Since the empire fell, the principles that used to be Britain… uneasy constitutional monarchy, jingoism, understatement, relative personal freedom checked instead by rigid and complex social rules… are thought of as silly or antiquated. And I wouldn’t argue they’re ideal, certainly. If I thought that, I’d apply for a visa. I will argue that without them, or some other common raft of ideals binding society together, Britain will suffer injury worse than would ever be caused by the flaws in its own history and nature.).
Illegal immigration goes one step beyond even that. At least Britain’s wounds are self inflicted. It is monstrous to suggest we, as a nation, should have no say in who becomes a citizen, when the basis of our society is entirely a philosophy. Children from South America haven’t the slightest idea what the underlying principles of America are, nor do they care. We have enough trouble getting American high-schools students to learn them, and many of them never manage, as the existence of the DNC proves. In that, illegals represent a basic societal threat, especially now. We are bringing into the country people used to living under a strong-man government, right as the Democrats choose to test the limits of the constitution to the breaking point. It doesn’t take any great leap of imagination to suppose they will do what other immigrants have done when allowed into a country whose society they fundamentally disagree with, and continue to hold and exercise their own beliefs. But a strong-man government happens to be antithetical to the basic principles of freedom the country is based on. I do not believe Democrats can be ignorant of this fact. I think they mean to drive the needle of consent among the governed towards centralization of power… their power… and in doing so destroy America’s heart and soul.

And the whole while, they will accuse us of being anti-humanitarian… as they work to destroy the basis for a country whose existence has done more for the well-being of mankind than all the refugee camps in history.

242 responses to “The Tragedy of the Commons and Society – Bill Reader

  1. Well said sir, and you are absolutely correct… Homogeneity ONLY works when all participants have the same beliefs. As soon as outside ‘influence’ is introduced, divisions start. And no, the dems would never invite those homeless refugees into ‘their’ enclaves. NIMBY and all that…

  2. MAGNIFICENT. One of the finest pieces I’ve ever read on nations and cultures and the need for things like governments and borders.

  3. Josh A. Kruschke

    This is going to be a long reply.

    😉

  4. So the issue is getting those now in charge out of power, so we can remake our basic society on the original premises.
    I’m afraid the means to do that will be similar to the original means used.

    As a great American once said, Water the Tree Boys! (or words to that effect)

  5. A borderless society is an ideal. It’s a nice ideal. It’s a sweet dream.

    Then there is reality.

    If Coahuila was akin to Maryland and Texas was akin to Pennsylvania I’d support an open border.

    But then there is reality.

    With that said, the issue is not an unfenced, unguarded border. The issue is WE. DO. NOT. ENFORCE. OUR. JUST And NECESSARY SOVEREIGN LAWS.

    Actually, it’s worse than that. WE ACTUALLY REWARD PEOPLE FOR BREAKING THEM.

    Rather than taking on open border friends and libertarians directly, use jujitsu. Tell them an open border might be a peachy keen idea somewhere along the line but in the meantime how about we require all government social service agencies and public schools to use EVerify to screen applicants so we can shrink the cost of government and get the onus of enforcement off the small pizza shops and landscapers?

    (Bizarre concept of the day to mull: Why are pizza shop owners expected to enforce law but not local police?)

    You can even take it a step further and suggest that libertarians start demanding libertarian reforms in mind-boggling corrupt Mexico and Honduras and Guatemala before advocating for an open border here.

    You know, if Mexico had a Second Amendment the drug cartels would be vastly weakened.

    • Josh A. Kruschke

      Bill L.,

      This has already happened, certain liberty minded individuals, self-deported back to Mexico and started Militias in their communities. And it was the Mexican government said they couldn’t do that.

      🙂

  6. And it’ll continue until the public treasury runs so dry that it doesn’t _matter_ how the proles vote, they’re _not_ getting any more largess.

    Then expect riots in cities all across the US, when those who have been protected all their lives from the virtues of prudence and temperance realize that the ATM just _won’t_ give them any money at 12:05 a.m. on the first of the month.

  7. Jordan S. Bassior

    I do not believe Democrats can be ignorant of this fact. I think they mean to drive the needle of consent among the governed towards centralization of power… their power… and in doing so destroy America’s heart and soul.

    And the very great likelihood that said radical Democrats will receive a very unpleasant surprise about the likely identity, origins and nature of the “strong men” who will come to power is at best only schadenfreude from the point of view of the rest of us, who will wind up living under dictatorship.

    I had a friend about a decade ago who, when I told her about my American Mandate future (in which America fell into Empire on the Roman model) pointed out that there would be a lot of radicals in places like Berkeley and San Francisco who wouldn’t be cool with that. Um, yeah. I’m sure that their yelling, sign-waving and even rock-throwing would prove a serious obstacle to the power-armored, heavily-armed legions of the ruthless tyrant. You get back to me from Iran or North Korea and tell me how well that works, okay?

    • Or just look up how poorly Berkeley did when they tried to kick the Marine recruiters out a few years back. That barely rated as a scuffle on the Marines’ radar.

      • Jordan S. Bassior

        Many on the Left seem to imagine that the mild and reasonable attempts our authorities usually engage in to keep riots under control constitute genuine ruthless oppression. They don’t get that against true ruthless oppressors, their demonstrations would be dispelled by the proverbial “whiff of grapeshot” (automatic weapons and mortar fire in this case).

        Look at the reaction to the incident at Kent State. Yes, the Left is outraged by it to the present day — but the important part is that a volley of rifle fire that killed a total of 4 people and wounded 9 more worked. It ended the riots. And it terrified the Left so badly that they abandoned the strategy of violent opposition to the authorities on campuses.

        An event which caused 13 casualties in a nation of around 250 million is trivial on the scale of rebellions. The way in which the Left backed down shows that they are deeply not serious about rebellion. The equivalent for our time was the farce of the Occupy movement, in which the bold rebels held out until it got a bit cold and the blankets ran out.

        Their chance of contributing anything to resistance against a real dictatorship is pretty much nil.

        • I know a place where a woman regularly posts every year her indignation and her unwillingness to forgive Kent State every year.

          The idea that if you attack someone with lethal force, they have the right to defend themselves.

        • I always thought the lessons of Kent State was universally applicable: Don’t Throw Rocks At People With Guns.

    • Ah, but you see your common free range radical is by nature a hypocrite of the worst stripe. They will demand rule of law when such serves to shield them from the natural results of their very violation of those same laws.
      Riot in the streets? Well of course, we were upset, it’s our right to run and scream and destroy private property. But should the owners of said property attempt to defend their houses, stores, goods and inventories well that’s simply uncalled for. Demand that the state disarm those evil fat cats, and take them to court and sue for compensation for the scratches you got while breaking their display windows to steal the merchandise.

      • Demand on, demand on; ’tis all in vain!
        You throw the sand against the wind,
        And the wind blows it back again

      • More dangerously, where that big fire is still burning up in Washington they’re charging professional but not hired at the time fire fighters for… fighting fire.

        They set some back-fires, after being told by paid fire fighters not to, because the paid guys were on structure defense.

        Of course, said paid guys were sitting and waiting for permission to fight, which never did come… including in some cases where they watched their homes burn while the fire fighters were there, and some where neighbors managed to get alerted AFTER the fire fighters were sitting there, get equipment, and get there in time to save the homes.

        Keep in mind, the whole thing wouldn’t have happened if not for the Federal employee who denied the on the clock fire team permission to put out a grassfire they found and were worried about. Twice. On the public radio, scanners for which are at least one per three households, probably more if you don’t count the vacation homes.

  8. I saw a FB meme with a picture of a cute little white girl, and the caption read “would we still deport the children at the border escaping poverty and violence if they looked like this?”.

    My reaction was this.

    • Yes, we would. Also most of the people coming in are teens. LATE teens. “Children” only in law.

    • also ask them if they are all in favor of encouraging people to send their kids on a journey that is likely to entail the kid being raped and molested along the way.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      Romulus summarily executed his own twin brother, Remus, his only full sibling, for a similar crime.

      I don’t care any for people merely of my own ‘ethnicity’.

      I care some for relatives. A good chunk of that is actions, not blood.

      I suspect that if a close relative committed a capital crime, that they would be dead to me.

      Enemies come over the walls, friends come through the gate.

      • Enemies come over the walls, friends come through the gate

        And family comes through the kitchen door.

        (Several ways to read the way I was always taught it– including “family knows you well enough to come in to the heart of your home in a time and manner that will not result in them sporting one or more of your good kitchen knives in vulnerable spots.”)

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          I read a book by a Brand called Roman Military Law.

          As you might imagine, the Roman military punished certain kinds of infractions harshly. Commanders had a lot of discretion as to what kind of capital punishment they could impose, and not much red tape tying their hands.

          It was a capital offense for soldiers to enter or leave Roman fortifications by any means but the gates. Assaulting someone else’s walls was one thing, your own another.

          ‘Enemies come over the walls, friends come through the gate’ is what I recall of the English for what the book said was the Roman’s guiding legal principle for such matters.

          According to myth, Remus jumped the walls Romulus built.

          That same book mentioned a Roman commander who executed his own son for disobeying orders.

          • Sounds pretty Roman to me.

            Like many Roman things, the iron needed some additions to make it strong and flexible…..

          • That same book mentioned a Roman commander who executed his own son for disobeying orders.

            Not just that. He executed his own son for winning the battle by disobeying orders. And this story (which may be entirely fictitious in origin) was held up to generations of young Romans as an example to be followed and highly honoured.

            • BobtheRegisterredFool

              The one I’m been thinking of, son was instructed to scout, and not to engage in battle. While out scouting, he killed some enemy warchiefs or something, and brought back loot.

              Killing just those few was probably not why the military force was in the field, and sending out scouts.

              The commander I’m thinking of had also, the story goes, held the DA cognate hostage so that the state would drop the equivalent of child abuse charges against his father.

              • OK, different story, then. Still, the fact that the other story existed, and that the Romans considered it the very finest model of military behaviour, tells you rather a lot about those Romans, and it isn’t exactly complimentary.

    • Yes, unfortunately they do deport Polish, and other East-Western Europeans that come here illegally. I’ve read about it more than once.

  9. Libertarian Paradise is like “True Communism” … they work great in theory but will never ever work in that nasty thing called reality.
    Like I like to tell folks who think it is the way to go: Imagine your ideal libertarian world … now imagine a George Soros has decided to cause trouble.
    Then I tell them to read “Freehold” and the “Darkship” stories

  10. Christopher M. Chupik

    Funny you should mention McCarthyism and Libertarianism. Over the past few years, the Left has become increasingly paranoid about Libertarians. I’ve lost count of all the out-of-nowhere swipes against Libertarians on message boards. I was on a comic board recently where someone launched into a rant against a comic writer whom he merely *suspected* of being Libertarian, based on very thin evidence and a misunderstanding of the philosophy. We’re not the paranoid McCarthyists: they are.

    • “Over the past few years, the Left has become increasingly paranoid about Libertarians. I’ve lost count of all the out-of-nowhere swipes against Libertarians on message boards.”

      I was going to say that that seemed like an odd stance to take, given that most libertarians I’ve read tend to agree with or at least have no objection to many leftist social planks, until I remembered the two big points of disagreement: 1) taxes and the welfare state, and 2) the Second Amendment. Still, even that sounds like something to be annoyed over, rather than paranoid about.

    • Over the past few years, the Left has become increasingly paranoid about Libertarians.

      Two possible reasons:
      1) Libertarianism can be described, in a manner that is pretty good as predicting results go, as conservatism reverse engineered by a liberal; it strikes at the biggest weakness of the Left, reality. (ie, lots of casual sex with strangers does not result in happy, healthy, empowered women as a matter of course)
      2) A lot of Libertarian activists are really open about how they need to take over an existing party, rather than try to make their own. The Left’s are more vulnerable to this because… well, it worked for them, didn’t it?

      • Two thoughts- First, the traditional left may be reacting to what seems to be the most popular social theory on college campuses for those who are interested in rebelling against authority these days. The Left is The Man in academia, and those who wish to rebel and have half a brain must conclude that going all lefty will just make them look like their professors, while going libertarian makes their professors get all red faced and blustery.

        Second thought: The left may believe the libertarian joke about ruthlessly seizing power and then leaving everyone alone. Being left alone to face all the scary responsibilities of adulthood and threats from an unfriendly world is pretty much the left’s worst nightmare, so their paranoia and extreme reaction to that threat is pretty predictable.

        • Joke? What joke. That is my plan — I seize power then go off and write novels and leave everyone ruthlessly alone.

          • Well, leave them alone except for the occasional Carp.

            • What’s a fish or two between friends?

              • Eamon J. Cole

                Is it one or two? Because one fish between friends might be an appetizer, whereas two could be a nice meal.

                Or are we talking tuna? ‘Cause then one’s enough. And you can have the leftovers. Do you have a truck?

                • Let us not speak of tuna tonight, please. I found a tuna steak in the freezer. My hand to bog, it grew as it cooked. I could have done with lesser tuna.

                  • Eamon J. Cole

                    Spiritually connected to the Ur-Tuna, as it warmed a little essence leaked through and magnified the portion.

                    So, are you looking at tuna for a week? Or just one more meal than you’d like?

                    • I’m thinking tuna salad tomorrow for dinner, and tuna in a box of paella mix for supper, and tuna bits in green salad for dinner on Saturday with the left over paella, and tuna sundaes for supper, and tuna surprise for Sunday dinner. (OK, maybe just two more meals, but sheesh.)

                    • Sounds like the miraculous zucchini!

                    • Eamon J. Cole

                      I was interested until you hit tuna sundaes. Why would you do that to good tuna?

                      It’s worth noting: I haven’t had supper, as of yet, so I’m more amenable to multiple tuna dishes than I would normally be. And, still, that’s too many.

                  • You’re not attuned to your needs.

                  • I could have done with lesser tuna.

                    This is the lament oft heard when one accidentally picks up hyperdimensional frozen tuna steaks at the local mini mart. Instead of maintaining mass as it warms, the thermal inputs jigger open the microportals and the darn thing expands while gaining it’s tasty crust.

                    Whatever you do, don’t put the leftovers in the freezer – that stress on the microportals could tear things wide open, and the next thing you know you’d have a 200 lb tuna next to your ice cream. Refrigerate only, please.

                    • (Replying to the wrong comment on account of no “reply” link left to the one I WANTED to reply to…)
                      Actually, I did once do a tuna sundae. OK, more of a smoothie, and it wasn’t for me but my wonderful cat of blessed memory. He was very sick, and he couldn’t keep solid food down. I would take tuna and puree it in the blender, with some kitty vitamins, to keep him alive. *He* seemed to like it, anyway…..

                    • Petronius! Stinky tuna.

                    • Eamon J. Cole

                      Okay, I can get behind that tuna sundae. We do crazy (and wonderful) things for our friends.

                • Wayne Blackburn

                  Some of the carp I’ve seen would easily feed a fairly large gathering. My friend caught an 18-pounder while I was fishing with him, and I’ve seen pictures of larger.

        • Josh A. Kruschke

          FlyingMike,

          “The left may believe the libertarian joke about ruthlessly seizing power and then leaving everyone alone.”

          What joke?

          😉

          • Shhhh! As long as some of them think it’s a joke, they will think they can co-opt the eventual power grab and get jobs as libertarian enforcers.

            If they twig to that as the actual plan, they’ll fight all the harder.

        • Does anybody else recall the siren song of Liberaltarianism a few years back, the great Liberal-Libertarian fusion that would unify us all in a happy license to live in comity, peace and happiness, savoring the sweet scent of unicorn farts?

          The Left is viewing Libertarians with the same temper as a rejected suitor, as apostate. Something the Left hates more than conservatives is apostates.

  11. Eamon J. Cole

    Hm. Some of those arguments sound familiar, particularly of late.

    😀

    Much appreciation, Mr. Reader, for the post.

  12. BobtheRegisterredFool

    I would quibble some.

    I think your explanation of ethnic factions has some flaws.

    Start with a society with an extremely strong family institution. Where the family is the primary political unit, unit of business, and first loyalty. That is a organization with a shared something.

    Ethnicity seems to be a weaker sense of that same shared something.

    Ethnic factions being weaker is tied to how trustworthy corporations, contracts and other legal institutions are. If they aren’t, there is less reason to do business outside of one’s family.

    • If you conflate ethnicity with culture, then you could still get the strong bonds, even if the affiliation is via nebulous shared ancestors and “shared history of oppression” instead of true family-clan-lineage organization.

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        Yeah.

        Many of us were raised to think we choose our politics, instead of being born with them. This isn’t necessarily universal. Assuming is is can go poorly.

        I really need to work on my writing. I screwed up that comment. First I meant to suggest that people who care strongly about family and ethnicity will tend to prioritize family over ethnicity. The second was intended to be about what variations in society influence where people set their priorities as far as family is concerned.

        • No biggie. It’s hard to get coherent, tight comments just right, especially if there’s other stuff going on. I’ve just been spending so much time in Eastern European history recently that “national heritage” and “culture=race/ancestry” stuff kinda jumps out at me.

          • BobtheRegisterredFool

            What one inherits from learning and what one inherits from blood are distinct, but easy to confuse as there is a confounding factor. We’ve never really figured out a system for the very important early bits of education that is better than the family.

  13. Thanks for writing this. I wish everyone understood and internalized its lessons.

  14. Musing on the tragedy of the commons– it’s a state that can’t exist without over-sight. Unless someone is actually enforcing a “this is the commons,” SOMEBODY is going to improve the area– and smack folks who damage their improvements.

    So for the Tragedy of the Commons to happen, there has to be a structure in place that is enabling freedom (“use this area anyway you want”) without authority (you can’t stop people from destroying what you do) or responsibility (you won’t face anybody if you damage something they improved).

    In reality, I’ve seen these kinds of Commons work, even with the no authority and no responsibility thing. It lasts just as long as someone is willing to do the work required to improve stuff faster than those who won’t do anything can damage it. (I was in charge of the coffee mess– self appointed, because I like having nice things. I brought cookies and snacks until whoever was stealing donations got too greedy, and then I stopped. If he could’ve, pretty sure the thief would’ve taken the coffee, too.)

    • In the commons I’m most familiar with – grazing commons – oversight came from commons users, either through force of tradition that had congealed/fossilized into unwritten laws enforced by those with rights to use the land, or by informal mutual consent in order to keep the commons out of the Feds’ attention while the Territorial government turned a blind eye to things. And that only worked until you had the Feds show up and poke around.

      • *nod*
        You can avoid formal oversight if folks agree on all the important things– and “important” is defined by what a big enough portion agrees is important.

        If there’s too much disagreement, and/or it’s too violent, there has to be formal laws.

        • That is the republican principle in play. We allow (encourage) like-minded individuals to group together, organize themselves according to their understanding of how the world spins, and permit resident dissenters (and like-minded outsiders) to migrate. This only works so long as the uber-government (aka: the Fed) restricts itself to only those functions which States cannot readily perform: common defense, common currency, record-keeping for comparison purposes and (in what we hope are only very limited circumstances) intervention in defense of inalienable rights.

          It makes no never mind to me if San Francisco wants to ban children or mandate housecats — so long as I am not called upon to live there or underwrite their peculiarities. If the good folk of Utah want to ban sale of alcohol and caffeine within their state, so long as I don’t have to live there nor finance it, nor hold dissenters imprisoned within their state, it ain’t my concern.

          Libertarianism too often looks at the destination without sufficient consideration of the route and whether it actually gets you to the gates of Utopia or those of Hades. In this they share common confusion with Liberals and Conservatives.

    • Coffee from coffee messes is constrained to be good enough not to cause riots but not good enough to steal. Even with a crew of well-compensated engineers. It’s depressing.

      • My mom at one point sat me down and explained that there are two groups who will steal from you– the ones who feel that their lack entitles them to what they see, and those who believe that what they are taking is of so little value that it doesn’t matter.
        (Condensed and translated, I was something like six when she explained this.)

        The folks who won’t steal are the ones who do not believe they’re entitled to what they see and recognize the value of a thing to others.

    • I wish more folks understood the matrix of rival/non-rival and excludable/non-excludable. It was one of many things that I learned in economics that drastically altered the way I looked at the world.. Of course, that professor also gave some great examples of how resources could often be saved by taking them out of the commons.

  15. Very well said and explained.

    I especially liked this line.

    “the world is full of people who (shock!) never bother to build an ethical case before they do things.”

    A few of them even wind up in prison.

    ‘Nation-states, as I said, have underlying their laws some kind of grander, simpler pact. There is something that brings people together to agree in the first place. The laws are the fine details.’

    This also illustrates the cultural problems that are now have at various levels.
    At a national or international level, this is why organizations like the UN or League of Nations fail. There are no underlining fundamental principles between representative democracies, hereditary tyrannies or religious theocracies. Each has vastly different ideals and goals that seriously interfere with their ability to communicate much less reach useful agreements

    ‘Because the fundamental principle behind the United States is “mind your own business”.’

    This fundamental principle may be changing. I hope not, but it could be. There have always been busybodies. Are there a sufficient number of them today that they are able to use the power accrued by the state to mind your business. Instead of using informal social disapproval and ostracizing we are using formal law to punish those outside, not just social norms, but those who fail to reach social ideals.

    It’s not just a matter of having the right opinion on of the social justice cause de jure you have to have it at the right time, place and approved degree or face the consequences.

    Personally you can hate or love whatever you want as long don’t rob, kill, destroy or bother me. If you do rob, kill, destroy or bother me, I don’t care what your motive is, I want it to stop and I want you leave me the hell alone.

    To quote Ben Rumpson –
    ‘It’s the one place where people can look civilization in the eye and spit! You don’t have to please anybody, and you don’t have to love thy neighbor. You leave the bastard alone! lt’s wild, human and free,’

    • “G-d made the mountains, G-d made the sky/
      G-d made the people . . . G-d knows why.
      He fixed up the planet the best that He could . . .
      And then come the people and gum it up good!”
      From “The First Thing you Know” aka the Gospel according to Ben Rumpson.

    • At a national or international level, this is why organizations like the UN or League of Nations fail. There are no underlining fundamental principles between representative democracies, hereditary tyrannies or religious theocracies.

      Also known as treating Brass and Gold as equivalent and interchangeable. Eventually the money supply will be naught but Brass*.

      *Any similarity to Quantitative Easing is purely fortuitous accident.

  16. Josh A. Kruschke

    Bill,

    The Tragedy of the Commons is only made possible by not teaching our youth morality and to be virtuous.
    And by morality and virtue I mean How to determine what is in their and those around thems best long term interest. To know what truly is in your best interest. To know what is and isn’t your business. To know how to determine what is the “Goal” within any situation and how to work towards it. To know how to make decisions based on accurate interpretations of the world around us; to look for 2nd and 3rd tier effects of our decisions.

    All societies have an underlying morality that their culter is based on this allows them to function, some better than others, and if they are to last must work to promote and educate the youth into the Morality and Virtue of that Society.

    “The only foundation of a free Constitution, is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People, in a great Measure, than they have it now. They may change their Rulers, and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting Liberty.”

    John Adams, letter to Zabdiel Adams, June 21, 1776

    and other quotes:

    http://www.liberty1.org/virtue.htm

    We often conflate Morality and the state imposed Law. That because the Law codifided by the State is suposed to be based in morality of it’s people, that this then make the law moral. We then no longer think interms of right and wrong, but in is this legal.  Allowing the law to be used by unscruple-less men to use the law as a means to legal plunder. But Locke and others realized that the Law and Morality have their true base in the Nature of Man; not the State or other ways we might organize ourselves (Tribalism). And that to be virtuous one must not and can not go against this Natural Law.

    Any poeple that live virtuous life; i.e.,  by a morality (by natures law) that respects those around them does not needed this morality imposed on them and by it’s very nature it can no be imposed on them from outside the self; it must be instill in them as children and must be the heart of the Culture the society if that society is to thrive and grow. 

    The problem I see with the example of tragity of the commons is it only believes we are capable of making decisions on short-term implications and that we are not capable of seeing long-term effects and how they ultimatly effect us good or bad. That we some how need a State to tell us what is in our best interest (Which is the same justification as the Socialists. To me you just seem to be fighting over matters of digrees and where to put the line.). We end up looking outside of ourselves determine if our actions are moral and virtuous. This is how you get mob rule.

    There have been many studies that show one of the leading determiners of leading a successful life is the ability to postpone short-term gratification for long-term gain. This is a learnable skill.

    Yes, we can be and often are short sighted and ignorant, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn to be viruous. (Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues) And the goal of society and the culture we build around it should be to teach our youth how to be virtuous. Not to rely on or look to a State or any other group we join tell us what is right.

    I want everyone around me happy content. And I believe I have a duty to myself and those around me to help bring this about, because this is in my ultimate long-term self-interest.

    Why anyone would choice to live in a dog eat dog culture, and not try to change it, does so for one of two reasons, I think.  One, they don’t know any better it is the cultuure they were raised in or… Two, if they’re aware of the benefits of cooperation makes me want to say, they are just insane. Why, because I can’t see any rational person making that same choice. It’s just easier and less dangerous to just try to get along with your neighbors and those around you. Not to say we want come into conflect, but to have a cultural and sociatal understanding of the best ways to resolve desputes. 

    “The progression from the classical tragedy of the commons to the level of complexity expressed in the modern state hence explains the necessity of borders.”

    Really? The last part of that statement confuses me, because it is a little circular. States are complicated so we need States to Manage it.

    Beyond that though to me boarders are meaningless because they are a poor physical representations of societal and cultural identity. Ideas and Culture are not contained with in boarders but within people. Neither boarders or a State insure Societal and Cultural cohesion. Are you an American because you believe in Life, Liberty and the Pursuite of Happiness, or are you an American because you were born in San Francisco?

    We, those that believe in Life, Libiery and the Pursuit of happiness, are lossing because we are fighting a political battle over what kind of Nationstate to institute. And the otherside is propgating their Culture and Beliefs better than we are.

    The vaunted Republic doesn’t insure our Liberty and our Rights. “We the People” are suposed to do this. How ever we decide to organize ourselves. And to do this we must start talking about and teaching the ideas of Locke, Henry, Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, Bastiat, Sowell, Mises, Hayek, Rothbard, Hazlitt… too many name… of Liberty! 

    To remain free we must teach what it means to be free, not rely on some man mad fiction that some how is suposed to insure our liberty for us.

    My2Cents.

    • Eamon J. Cole

      Josh,

      Man, you just keep wearing it out but you never answer the basic question of how you’re going to stop somebody from kicking your teeth in and taking your stuff, either on the individual or aggregate level.

      Because, please try and believe me, those people exist. They exist now, have existed through human history, and will through humanity’s future.

      Not to mention where all these wonderfully rational, remarkably enlightened, incredibly selfless people are going to come from to populate your stateless paradise.

      Try some Hobbes, he drew somewhat different conclusions than Locke, working from a state of nature forward to a workable state. You need not agree with his conclusions, I don’t, but you might wonder why he proposed the solution he did. What led him to say “nasty, brutish and short”? Inadequate acculturation?

      • Josh A. Kruschke

        Eamon,

        I have answered your question, and it is the same way as the state will stop them from taking your stuff.

        Violence and Force the same as the State.

        You seem to be asking for a guaranty, and there is only one guaranty in life. You seem to belooking for some guaranty that bad people will not be able to harm you?

        The answer is… You just resist, and you are either victorious or you are not. This goes for the petty tyrants and bullies all the way up to the State level.

        Not like this answer doesn’t mean I haven’t answererd your question. 

        Answer this if the State protects your Life, Liberty or  Property, how is their any Murder or theft, and why do we have the highest incarceration rate of any country.

        The State doesn’t have any superpower that magically makes people act as it wishes or as you might wish them to. All it has is the threat to harm you.

        Yes, there are force in this world more powerful than me. An yes they might role right over me. But I’m going to leave bight marks on their ankles if nothing else.

        If we can not even manage the little bullies, how are we to right The Ship of State?

        • You have entirely missed the main question. You, yourself, are not the biggest baddest guy out there. You have (finally) admitted that. How do you expect to have a functional anything beyond subsistance level in that environment? Technology? Requires cooperation. Infrastructure, requires cooperation. You might get tiny groups together that cooperate and start building, then some big group that’s stronger because they organized differently is going to roll right over them, take their stuff and keep on going leaving them a greasy splotch on the page of history. THAT is the point you have steadfastly refused to even acknowledge.

          • Josh A. Kruschke

            Wyrdbard,

            “You have (finally) admitted that.

            Finally… *Sigh* You guys ask how to stop someone. I didn’t relize you were also asking for a guaranty of victory. 

            “How do you expect to have a functional anything beyond subsistance level in that environment? Technology? Requires cooperation. Infrastructure, requires cooperation.”

            I guess you agree with Obama when he said, “You did not build this!” Because what you just said sounds a lot like what he put out there in his speech. 

            Or are you implying that the only way we cooperate is at the barrel end of a gun. Acquiring resources through plunder does not produce more resources it is an inherently self-destucting act and produces nothing.

            Have we, also, forgoten that the basic principle of a free-market is mutual cooperation for mutual benefit. Or did someone have to force you at gun point to get up and go to work. (Even though we don’t live in a free-market any longer, we aren’t forcing anyone to work yet.)

            You guys keep making the claim that we can not enter into mutualy benifitial agreements for defense other than at the State level. Why I have every reason to go to my neighbors aid because I would want them to come to mine. Because if I do not the next time it could be me and if I didn’t than no one will help me next time. That the goal of self-defence is to raise the cost of victamizing you and your community so high that they are are unwilling to pay the price. The beginning of The Wild Bunch was a trap and a message to future bank robbers (based on an actual event). Switzerland was able to stay neutral because the price to conquer them would be to high. Not that they couldn’t be conquered, but that no one has been willing to pay the price to do so. You want those that might try victimize you to think, “Shit, let’s look for an easier target.”

            You actually believe that our default mode of getting what we want is through violence. Violence is one of those activities that the law of averages really comes into play. It’s one of those activities where you can have a catastrophic win.

            In Bushido, really in all martial cultures, there is s concept call keep death in mind. Death is fickle capricious bitch and you do not enter into her presence without good cause. Do not put off for tomorrow what you can do today. You might not get a tomorrow. Because violence knows no loyalty, it’s much safer to try to come to a mutually beneficial arrangement.

            Wyrdbard, I pointed out the two strategies that work for discouraging people from trying to victimize you.  1) Be to expensive to, and… 2)Be uninteresting… have nothing the other wants.

            I’m coming believe that, “I haven’t answered your question.” just means, “I haven’t answered the question as you wanted me to.”

            Yes, the State can muster quite a considerable amount of force, and It could do so in the defense of the Common Well-Fair…

            But, You asked me how do I protect myself from someone more powerful than me taking mystuff, but what if that someone is the State?

            My answer is the same for both. Resist… “…the worst that they can do is kill you.”

            • No, I’m saying you can’t sustain it. Your system can’t exist beyond ‘this is me, this is mine’. Again, look at the history of the old west. It happened over, and over and over and over and over again. People moved out to the middle of no where, did fine on their own for a while. Someone stronger moved in, They banded together, appointed leaders instituted laws, chose people to enforce those laws, including against themselves! They ceased to be free agents and formed a government. None of them were completely independent for more than about 10 years, most didn’t make it that long.

              As for ‘keep death in mind’. Do you honestly think I don’t know that? Like Eamon I’ve been out there. Different job. 9 years US army, including a deployment under my belt. He’s spent more time in the sandbox than I have and we can tell different horror stories. Human nature is not cleanly cooperative, especially when you get people with different goals in mind. Even TINY differences can and do lead to bloody wars and bloody feuds. The ONLY reason you are free to be making the idiotic claims you are making is because other people who are loyal, not to you, but to something bigger than you are willing to get up every day and die for you, and for people who hate them and call them names. I’ve seen the ones you are discounting. I’ve seen the ones who will cold-bloodedly murder thousands because it’s convenient. I’ve seen the ones who will walk down the streets with a severed head in each hand, heads of people who came to bring her grandchildren food. I’ve seen the ones who will kill simply because ‘they’re not us’. I’ve seen all the irrationality and hatred and violence the human race is perfectly capable of, and I have seen the ones who pull the strings. Your idyllic little world doesn’t enter their equation and you don’t take them into account. You don’t take into account that people can and do ignore things that aren’t happening directly to them, unless someone calls them together. Then you’re not anarcho-capitalistic anymore, you’re tribal or feudal or something else.

              THOSE are the ones that will tear your system to shreds, because you won’t organize until it’s too late. You won’t organize until they’re already on top of you and killing. And hoping harder and screaming that we just don’t get it isn’t going to make those people less real, less of a threat, or your side less wide open and vulnerable and an easy target because you aren’t organized in advance because you don’t care because ‘people aren’t like that’. “Resist, the worst they can do is kill you.” And when they’ve killed you, your entire anarcho-capitalist system is gone and obliterated and you’re dead nothing but a dead fool. Your side can’t water the tree of liberty, because you’re so crazily individualistic that unless someone ELSE waters your liberty tree. We’re not the ones expecting someone else to guarantee our liberty. You are, you’re so enamored of this pet idea of yours, you’re not willing to pay the price for your freedom. Part of the price is organization and constant vigilance.

              I”ll address technology later. Right now I’m late for work.

              • How very true.

                If we could manage just fine without government, we would never have invented it.

                Hunting and gathering societies are the most violent on Earth. It’s their small population that disguises it.

                • You (and others, don’t want to pick on you specifically, you comment just fits best) seem to be inadvertently promoting a straw man argument. It’s a common misunderstanding of libertarian or anarcho-capitalist ideals, so you’re not necessarily to blame.

                  No one except outright left-wing anarchists (Not Anarcho-capitalists, they hate them to the point of engaging in wikipedia edit-wars over the term) are suggesting no government at all. The ideal being discussed is minimizing, or ideally removing the monopoly of force by one single government at the national level. i.e. having multiple providers of the services the current monopoly provider in most areas has been established to accomplish.

                  This is already happening to some extent when allowed, with private arbitrators replacing virtually non-functional public court systems in many ways, with private delivery services replacing the Post Office, etc…

                  It’s not about go back to a time before government was invented, it’s about inventing a better form of governments with complete respect for individual rights and choices, requiring individual responsibility and avoiding the trap of tyranny of the majority.

                  • And still you have not proposed one way these little governments that have no power will NOT get crushed by something stronger.

                    • Nor how it differs from the concept of mumble* as embedded in the US Constitution. Nor why it is necessary to reinvent this particular wheel rather than replace some of the spokes and change the rim.

                      *Catholic term escapes memory, regarding decentralization of power; in this instance it anticipates strong local government, middlin’ state government and weak federal government.

                    • I’m not a central planner by nature, so of course I’m not going to explain how I’d dictate every solution to everyone. That would be worked out by individuals participating in a market for security services.

                      But just because you’ve never researched them, doesn’t mean plenty of solutions don’t exist.

                      Here’s the historical case of Iceland: http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Academic/Iceland/Iceland.html or you can read themachinery of freedom: http://www.daviddfriedman.com/The_Machinery_of_Freedom_.pdf for a theoretical analysis based on economics.

                      I personally prefer an insurance/underwriter model, with individual sovereign security companies agreements backed up and assured by underwriter companies and by their agreements with other companies for mutual aide and contract enforcement.

                      Having written an entire book series on the concept (See http://www.amazon.com/Sharper-Security-Sovereign-Company-Novel-ebook/dp/B00A9CI3GM)I don’t think it’s really fair for you to say I haven’t proposed even one way it could work…

                    • Having written an entire book series on the concept (See [REDACTED])I don’t think it’s really fair for you to say I haven’t proposed even one way it could work…

                      And wyrdbard was supposed to know this just how, ere this? Did you reference it in a prior post and I just missed this?

                      In other words, it does little to enhance your rhetorical ethos to answer a challenge to your unsupported remarks with snarky assertion of authority, impugning unfairness for failure to acknowledge facts not submitted in evidence.

                      Allow me to amend wyrdbard’s challenge: “you have not — in this discussion — proposed one way these little governments that have no power will NOT get crushed by something stronger.”

                      It ain’t as if you are commenting here under your authorial name, with links embedded, is it Thomas?

                    • Not being at the level of popularity as an author you are, RES, I certainly don’t expect anyone to necessarily associate me with my work automatically. It’s been at least a year since anything I have out was “pimped” on this blog, after all, and I’m sure most folks immediately forgot about it. 😉

                      I was just pointing out a fact that wyrdbard was apparently unaware of. Obviously, if he was already aware of it, he wouldn’t have been so quick to complain that no one provided any ideas. I mean, it’s not like Google and wikipedia have any references available to the extensive literature on the topic.

                      That said, for you, of anyone here, to complain about someone’s supposed snark certainly takes the cake, doesn’t it? There will be cake afterwards, won’t there? I’m sure I was promised cake at one point…

                      As to this discussion, I have elsewhere in the conversation given a brief summary of my preferred theoretical system, but it’s all theory at this point. Time will tell empirically the best way for it to work out. I don’t have the hubris to think I could perfectly predict how people working together in a market for services will ultimately end up best arranging their affairs, simply point to some possible ways it could work out (i.e. an Icelandic style private legal system, or an insurance underwriter-style model of competing companies, or a snow-crash oriental-like system of allegiances, or whichever model out there you want to consider, there are entire blogs and subreddits about discussing them, after all…) There are plenty of people’s ideas just a Google search away, I’m just in favor of not preventing, heck even encouraging, some tests where we can see the results and plan accordingly.

                      In the meantime, I’ll happily join you and the other fine folks who hang out here on occasion in advocating for more freedom, liberty and responsibility in our current governmental arrangements. We have a long way down that path to travel before we need to have a knock-down-drag out fight over if we should still be going even farther in that direction. By then I’m sure we’ll have even more empirical evidence to inform the discussion.

                    • Perhaps I’ve forgotten, but I don’t believe I’ve ever cited my not previously referenced work as defense against criticism. I notice you neatly sidestep that particular criticism.

                      As I do not rely upon ethos for my arguments to have bite, so the snark I employ does nothing to undercut my rhetoric. What you apparently miss is that my criticism was of your rhetorical strategy, and not of the snark per se. Personally, I enjoy a generous hand with the snark, as I do with hot pepper, but it can mix badly with some dishes.

                      It might have been more effective for you to have directed wyrdbard’s (and others’) attention to your published fantasies for an expression of how your themes work out, but that was not the route chosen, eh? I may not be the audience you are trying to persuade (or sell to) but I confess the attitude displayed did not incline me to spend my highly limited time and money on reading your arguments at length. Not that I think you relied upon that, nor feel much loss, but when you require people to invest energy in your ideas it is probably best to do it in as engaging a way as possible. Surely there is a surfeit of pedantic SF/F from the mainstream?

                      I’ve noticed that it can be very easy to make complex ideas seem to work in works of fiction; even Marxist societies seem viable when fictional. While I enjoy Heinlein’s exploration of “Free Love” and “Open Marriage”, for example, I am still quite unconvinced my own relationships would benefit from following such examples.

                    • My work wasn’t presented as a defense against criticism of a specific idea, nor as an attempt to cite authority, it was merely referenced as an example contradicting the suggestion that no one has ever presented a case for how such a society could work.

                      I’m sorry if I’m not being serious enough for you, but the whole situation is like someone suggesting that what we really need in the comments is a debate about if a fetus is a living baby or not, as if if no one has ever discussed it before, when in reality there are multiple existing established schools of thought around it. I can easily summarize my preferred philosophy related to abortion here, but to really do the arguments on each side justice, it’s probably better to go do some serious reading and consideration of available sources on your own. At best I’d point you towards some starting points.

                    • I am going to address a few points from several posts before I head out. A full detailed response is unlikely until monday, if I decide you now enough to actually bother to debate with. Jury’s still out on that.

                      1) You are in a debate. You cannot, should not, and must not expect your opponent to make your arguments for you. It is incumbent on you to cite sources and make your own arguments. You may support your arguments with other works, but it is incumbent upon YOU to actually present those arguments.

                      2) Switzerland and Iceland both are highly geographically isolated with some pretty substantial geological aspects in their favor. Basically no one but the Icelanders WANTED Iceland.

                      3) The far eastern familial aliances (which seem to be what you were referencing, you were far less than specific, a repeated failing in your advancment of your rhetoric.) are based in 2 things. First: Confucianism. Second: Loyalty to the emperor or king or what would eventually become the Damayo (and in turn the Emperor). I can go into more detail of the cultural identities of China, Korea, and Japan if you like, though I will touch most lightly on Japan and most heavily on Korea since I know the most about that country and least about the other.

                      4) If we were discussing abortion, I would expect the discussion to substantially revolve around the debate of the personhood of the unborn child. That is the actual point on which all other arguments hinge. If an unborn child is a person there is no other word for abortion but murder. If an unborn child is not yet a person then it cannot be murder. Your analogy does a great deal of damage to your actual case, and does not fill me with any confidence that your arguments will be particularly well considered.

                      5) Organization of forces for the same population value is actually quite critical to defensive capabilities. Reference: The first crusade. It was decreed because Europe was getting their ass kicked, and when the Francs slowed the advance the Pope was the only one who could drag in the other countries from their ‘not my problem’ attitudes. (very crude summary, I have to leave in about 5 min.)

                      In summary, you seem very willing to conflate unlike things, cherry pick without taking in the totality of a situation, and ignore important criticisms of your theory. You are also disinclined to actually defend your position and want us to do that for you. My question now is, why should we? And why should we listen to you if you can’t be bothered to present your own case?

                    • I’ll address your individual points (out of order), as you so politely summarized them for me:

                      1. You actually seem to mean I’m not debating on your terms. I’m not in a debate about the merits. There isn’t room in a blog post comments section to conduct a serious debate of the merits, when entire books and schools of philosophy exist around the nuances of the ongoing debate about the various merits. At best I can suggest some summary ideas here for anyone who is actually interested enough to research. It’s not physically and time-wise possible to reproduce them whole for you here in enough detail that they’ll magically convince you, so why try to take that path?

                      4. The above is the point I was trying to make with the abortion reference. I’m pro-life and believe a fetus is alive with the rights of a baby. Personally, I only see abortion as justified if the baby isn’t going to live anyway (For example, because the mother is going to die first and he won’t develop) _and_ you can get a foreseeable benefit from the abortion (such as saving the mother’s life), and even then I’d be iffy about it, because we don’t usually have perfect knowledge. People I know to be logical, rational beings are able to argue otherwise, especially where exactly to draw the line in a line-drawing exercise such as that.

                      Wherever you fall in that argument, while we can exchange positions and some pithy summary references to established arguments, it’s really not possible to do much more than assert what we believe here. I’m not going to be able to explain in detail how the philosophical underpinnings of my religious beliefs relating to our relationship with God inform my beliefs about individual freedom and also about abortion, for example, even though that’s probably the strongest detailed case I could make to support those beliefs to someone with a shared underpinning and an open mind.

                      2. You asked for an example and you got one. The system lasted longer than the U.S. has so far, so obviously it had at least some stability. It’s certainly not exactly how I’d personally suggest we organize for freedom, but while my suggestions would be theoretical in nature, I feel a need to base theory on real life events and natural experiments. Please don’t be more interested in the “debate” rather than the search for truth. I’m happy to be informed by new and/or novel arguments and evidence, but I usually don’t claim that none exist just because I may not have heard of them before.

                      3. The point was that there are many examples of what you were seeking. Do the details of each individually really matter for the purposes of this discussion around if anyone has any examples? Obviously, I didn’t think so, which is why you complain about a lack of specificity.

                      5. Yep, it is. Based on available evidence for how comparatively effective they are across many different aspects of services and life, I’ll bet my life on freedom, market efficiencies and individual choices and responsibility over government monopoly rule by “elites” every time. Once upon a time, the draft was considered the only possible way to have a decent army. Technology and understanding about how to best create military force changes over time. That process marches on…

                      In summary, if you see my responses more along the lines of amused vs. serious, its because you haven’t put forth any important criticisms of my theory, as you seem to be wholly ignorant of it, as well as the state of debate and literature around it. I apologize for my apparent condescension. I am disinclined to defend my position in detail, preferring to simply point to places like Wikipedia and Google where you can have a starting point to do some research to inform yourself about the current state of the debate and the important points on each side. I’ve tried to reference free or inexpensive sources as much as possible in order to make that easier. You shouldn’t listen to me as if I am going to produce a magical argument in some blog comments which will instantly persuade you to believe the opposite of what you currently believe. We both know that’s not going to happen because that’s not how most people learn and decide, their minds tend to be made up already, at whatever level of knowledge they have, so my best course of action is going to be to give enough information and references that you (or anyone else) can go research and read the existing arguments and debates to your hearts content, making it much more likely you will learn something. If what you learn doesn’t agree with what I believe to be true, then there is plenty of room in the debate for new ideas. I’m certainly open-minded enough to consider whatever you have to say and I don’t feel the need to argue with you about it. If you’re on the side of individual freedom and truth, then we’re on the same side. That’s more important to me than scoring cheap rhetorical points off of you.

                      I can likely present the case against anarcho-capitalism (or voluntarism) better than you can, because I’m at least familiar with the overall debate. Besides the scalability of spontaneous order organizations (which seems to be your main argument) have you considered principal/agent issues? Moral hazards inherent in insurance-style contracts? The profit motive and how it interacts with contractual enforcement?

                      Why should you listen to me? I’m not here for a fruitless debate. That’s a waste of our most precious resource, time. If you are interested in learning some fascinating ideas around the cutting edge of theory around freedom and economics, I can at best humbly offer my own services to help save you some time and effort in your learning by pointing you toward material I’ve learned from. If you aren’t interested in learning anything, because you believe you already know everything, then you shouldn’t listen to a thing I may suggest, it’ll only confuse you at best.

                    • Eamon J. Cole

                      Sharper,

                      The thing to understand is, you’ve chosen to make your introductions in the midst of an ongoing debate spreading over more than one post’s comments section. By doing so you’re subject to the same frustrations and expectations as the previous debater, and you’re in the position of backing up the points in some degree of detail. I won’t claim it’s fair, but on the other hand, this is where you chose to step in.

                      From points you’ve made so far, I suspect you can put forth reasonable, concrete examples in specific (they don’t have to be the only solution, just one viable solution would be novel{and people will, of course, feel free to disagree}). But, remember, this has been hashed out for a while now, and things like Iceland have already been brought up and discussed.

                      The last pertinent point, there’s only a few of us engaged enough to directly address this debate, and our ranks are thinning as some of us grew tired of head-banging this particular wall. But the audience is full of Huns, and this is, once again, your introduction to the community. Nobody here expects anybody else to fall into lock-step agreement about the right cookies for the BBQ, much less about other, less important things. 🙂

                      How you handle your argument, and your opponents, will be noted, though.

                      And now I’m off to address one of your points in another spot.

                    • This isn’t my first introduction to the community, I just haven’t had time to be very active in the comments section for about a year now.

                      That said, if anyone wants to read a discussion about the provision of public goods (including defense) by private means, some good starting points on wikipedia are http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_defense_agency, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Myth_of_National_Defense:_Essays_on_the_Theory_and_History_of_Security_Production . There are several other books out there as well (perhaps Google private provision of public goods, as defense is just a specific example of a public good), you can find essays like https://mises.org/journals/scholar/Sechrest7.pdf, the topic has certainly been done repeatedly. I could pretend that I’ll contribute something new to the debate in some blog comments, but really, how likely is that? After all, it took me an entire fiction book just to poorly try and get people used to one idea of how it might work while attempting to entertain them along the way.

                    • Non-participation over about a year equates to being new. In a community as vibrant and volatile as the Huns there will be many new participants during a year and many of the longer term participants will have moved beyond “whatever happened to?”.

              • “That unless someone else waters your liberty tree, you’re just watering the grass in the middle of your field and your own pride.”

              • You are right. If everything falls apart the first thing people will do is band together, and almost certainly behind a rather authoritarian leader.

                If everybody was a perfect Christian, of course, there would be no need for worldly authorities. While this is a nice thing to consider, as there is no such thing as a perfect Christian in this realm it is rather foolish to make the concept the basis of society.

                • ” It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. “

                • As the old saw goes. “There was only one perfect man, and look what happened to HIM!” We have laws and people enforcing laws because man is imperfect and what is right in his own eyes is not necessarily right in either an objective or godly sense.

                  (On an aside, it is so nice to be in a place, I can say ‘man is imperfect’ without fear of the feminist cries of either ‘what about women’ or ‘see? we knew it was their fault!’)

                  • It’s bizarre but the grief-mongers can’t comprehend that the universal “Man” is an unambiguous declaration of sexual equality. “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”

                    Male or female we are made in the image of God.

                  • If someone tries to insist on man and woman, ask him if he intends to exclude children. Come to think of it, if children, does that exclude babies and adolescents?

              • Josh A. Kruschke

                Wyrdbard,

                You seem to have me confused with a Social-Anarchist Pacifist.

                I’m an Anorcho-Capitalist

                “No, I’m saying you can’t sustain it. 

                Quite possibly, but the US is not on a sustainable path either. 

                “Your system can’t exist beyond ‘this is me, this is mine’. Again, look at the history of the old west. It happened over, and over and over and over and over again. People moved out to the middle of no where, did fine on their own for a while. Someone stronger moved in, They banded together, appointed leaders instituted laws, chose people to enforce those laws, including against themselves! They ceased to be free agents and formed a government.

                To start if we are going to continue this We are going to need some understanding & agreement how we use certain words. Not all Anarchist believe the same things just as there are different flavors of Conservatism and Socialism.

                “Brief explanation of anarcho capitalism

                1. The free market is efficient and just.
                2. People have the right to forcibly defend their property, and part of their property rights is the right to travel, to move goods about, and to make deals with those who are willing to make deals.
                3. Freely competing groups without territorial monopoly can uphold justice and defend people. Enforcement should protect person and property, and not redistribute wealth, etc.

                Anarcho Capitalists argue that private enterprise can provide law enforcement, and the market place can resolve disagreements about what the law is and what the law means. 

                Anarchists are not opposed to leaders and leadership, nor to law and laws – What anarchists oppose is that certain leaders should have a special privilege to use force, a privilege to coerce, to compel others to submit to their leadership, to use force in ways that would be impermissible for other people to use force. Anarchists favor there being more leaders, not no leaders – as many leaders as can find followers. Similarly, anarchists do not oppose law, but rather oppose the existence of any body of men with the power to make law by merely decreeing it to be law.”

                From:   jim.com/anarchy/

                “None of them were completely independent for more than about 10 years, most didn’t make it that long.”

                My understanding is that new arrivals brought the American government (State) with them.

                “As for ‘keep death in mind’. Do you honestly think I don’t know that? Like Eamon I’ve been out there. Different job. 9 years US army, including a deployment under my belt. He’s spent more time in the sandbox than I have and we can tell different horror stories. Human nature is not cleanly cooperative, especially when you get people with different goals in mind. Even TINY differences can and do lead to bloody wars and bloody feuds. The ONLY reason you are free to be making the idiotic claims you are making is because other people who are loyal, not to you, but to something bigger than you are willing to get up every day and die for you, and for people who hate them and call them names. I’ve seen the ones you are discounting. I’ve seen the ones who will cold-bloodedly murder thousands because it’s convenient. I’ve seen the ones who will walk down the streets with a severed head in each hand, heads of people who came to bring her grandchildren food. I’ve seen the ones who will kill simply because ‘they’re not us’. I’ve seen all the irrationality and hatred and violence the human race is perfectly capable of, and I have seen the ones who pull the strings.”

                1) I’m an Fist Gulf War vet. Navy.

                2) Well our Government and current and past Administrations might want to start “Keeping Death in Mind” because they keep getting us embroiled in Wars they have no plan for winning. This just waists lives for little gain, and…

                3) You seem to have an over estimation of the American Governments ability to project force. We have a bad habit of starting shit then not finishing it. (See following…)
                a) Vietnam.
                b) First Gulf War 1991. We felt Saddam was so bad that we felt it in “our best interest” to Help kick him out of Kuwait. But did we finish the Job? Fuck No! All we did was smash his army leaving him in a weekend position where had to use ever encressing barbarity against his own peopleto stay incontrol. Initiated santctions that only really harmed his people. Spent billions and billions trying to police him from the Air with a no FlyZone. And played Chicken with him for 12 years with UN weapons inspectors.
                c) Al Qaeda. Instead of dealing with  Al Qaeda the 1st time they tried to blow up the Twin Towers 1993. Did we deal with them in Somalia 1993? The 1998 Embassy bombings? The Cole in 2000? No we just let it fester until…
                d) Afghanistan. We waited untill they actually killed three thousand people then invaded (Justifiably) Afghanistan to take out their Government who were aiding them. (But didn’t do the same to Pakistain so what was the point?) After taking out the Taliban we turned over control to regonal drug lords before allowing a corrupt Karzai to take over. And we have now been policing that Shit… lovely area of the world going on 13 years.
                e) Gulf War 2.0 (2003). Instead of finishing what we started in Afghanistan we decided to stop playing musical chairs with Saddam. Issue an Ultimatum then invade. Do we have a plan for what to do when we are in-control. Fuck no!
                f) Gulf War 3.0 (2014 ?) Instead of dealing with ISIS when they where no nothing little organization, we brilliantly wait until they have acquired the military hardware to be a threat.
                 
                “Your idyllic little world doesn’t enter their equation and you don’t take them into account.

                Wyrdbard, your idyllic view of how effective we are dealing with some very bad international actors is interesting. What enters into their equations is that the US Government doesn’t have the political will to win or even finish what it starts. They know we win battles but lose wars. They know all they have to do is hunker down and wait us out. We will leave.

                “You don’t take into account that people can and do ignore things that aren’t happening directly to them,…”

                This sounds like you are describing our current and former foreign policy. 

                …unless someone calls them together.

                You don’t think we will come together to help our neighbors without someone telling us or forcing us to? 

                “Then you’re not anarcho-capitalistic anymore, you’re tribal or feudal or something else.”

                I would appreciate if you would start arguing against what Anarcho-Capitalist actually believe vs just conflating it with your general understanding of what you think Anarchy theory is. I’m not sure what your political leanings are, but if you Stated you were a Fiscal Conservative with Strong Librarian leanings, I would not build by arguments around what I think the failings of Social Conservatives are, just because you both call yourselves conservative. I would hope I would build my arguments around what you actual say you believe. Using any links you provide as to help me understand your position.

                “THOSE are the ones that will tear your system to shreds, because you won’t organize until it’s too late. You won’t organize until they’re already on top of you and killing.”

                Such certitude. Seeing as we often fail to deal with current situations until arguably it’s to late to deal with them effectively you have a point. But this is a failure of character not intrinsic and unchangable within human nature. This is not a failing of a possible AC society but of how we curently educate our young and prepare them for dealing with the world. Will an AC society effectively deal with this issue, who knows. But I do know they will have less to no bureaucracy to get in they way.

                “And hoping harder and screaming that we just don’t get it isn’t going to make those people less real, less of a threat, or your side less wide open and vulnerable and an easy target because you aren’t organized in advance because you don’t care because ‘people aren’t like that’.”

                I didn’t say you don’t get it I’m saying you are not actualy arguing against my position but what you think my position is.

                If “‘ poeple aren’t like that’,” then why do people join the military today? Is it to fight for their government or is it to defend their way of life and to protect their homeland? To protect the Founding Prenciples that our culture and Society is built on. Do you not think that maybe people that band together to form an AC society might feel the same way?

                I guess according to you without a state to tell use what to do and who our enemies are we will just stand around with our thumbs up our butt, because we won’t feel any pride in ourselves and culture or feel any need to protect the AC way of life.

                ““Resist, the worst they can do is kill you.” And when they’ve killed you, your entire anarcho-capitalist system is gone and obliterated and you’re dead nothing but a dead fool.”

                First off “the worst they can do is kill you” is the end line of a Heinlein quote. 

                Second, This would be true if AC society would be based off of One Man or a strong man society; Say like Alaxander the Greats Empire Broke Apart. Just as one man dying to defend the current system doesn’t cause it to collapse, a single individual dying to defend himself and those around him shouldn’t collapse an AC society. If it does then you would be correct that AC society was to week to survive.

                “Your side can’t water the tree of liberty, because you’re so crazily individualistic that unless someone ELSE waters your liberty tree. We’re not the ones expecting someone else to guarantee our liberty.”

                WTF… I’m calling for people to take personal resonsibility for their own security and self-defense, but some how that is translated into asking others to die for my freedom and liberty? 

                “You are, you’re so enamored of this pet idea of yours, you’re not willing to pay the price for your freedom. Part of the price is organization and constant vigilance.

                Payed that price, and yes it is. And our current Government might actualy want to think about Winning a few of these Wars if keeps getting us into.

                FYI: Working toward my ideal is not mutually exclusive and does support minimizing and keeping the current US government as small as posibble. I’ll state this for the revord again. I’m not for purposefully collapsing the current system (I do think it will collapse on it’s own.) I would like to see an AC society develope from the ashes, but most likely we will reset the Republic if we are lucky if not we will get something else until it colapses.

                Read this it’s short:

                http://jim.com/anarchy/defense_against_states.htm

                For reference on what I think an AC foreign policy would need to be think Alan Naumann from Michael Z. Williamson’s Freehold Series. So please do not mistake me for a pacifist.

                • I’ve never accused you of being a pacifist. A fool yes. A pacifist no. You and all of yours would go down guns blazing, but you’d go down and you’d go down hard and fast while the people you were counting on ran screaming into the night. The effect is the same greasy splotch on the pages of history. You still have not proposed one single way for leadership to work, for laws to be decided upon and enforced, and still be anarcho-capitalist even by your own stated definitions (No, I have not yet gotten to the Freehold series so the reference is useless). I am arguing the positions you have stated and the arguments you’ve made. I don’t care what you call yourself. I am arguing against the stances you, yourself have made in the name of anarcho-capitalism. I have been using the term as YOU have used it. If you are not successfully arguing what you actually believe, then you might want to revamp your argument and actually explain yourself. You still refuse to answer the point. At no point have you demonstrated you actually even understand what I’m talking about, nor any understanding of the human spirit.

                  I don’t think enough of you will come together. I don’t think you have anything strong enough to hold more than a handful. You haven’t given a single reason why anyone else should care about you and yours other than you think they should. And yes, you are asking others to die for you. There will always be other systems, and other ways of doing things. Unless you’re willing to conquer the world and impose your views on others you can’t prevent that. Which means when push comes to shove, you’re going to be asking anyone repelling those invasions to die for you, just as if the invasion came from somewhere else they’d be asking you to die for them.

                  You don’t understand people. You don’t understand the bat shit crazy things they can and willingly do. The worst of our crazies are kindergarten bullies compared to some of what’s out there, today right this minute. I’ve seen the amazing things people can and will accomplish together, and I have seen the depths of depravity of which they are capable of committing. You assume no one will give in to temptation. You haven’t addressed how any group will deal with criminal activity or even how they’ll define it. You haven’t addressed any actual salient point that has been raised about the problems that actually arise when human beings deal with one another. And since you’ve carried that trend on for two threads without any indication you actually have a foggy clue what you’re talking about, like Eamon, I am done.

                  • Josh A. Kruschke

                    Wyrdbard,

                    “I’ve never accused you of being a pacifist. A fool yes. A pacifist no. You and all of yours would go down guns blazing, but you’d go down and you’d go down hard and fast while the people you were counting on ran screaming into the night.”

                    No? You just accused me of not standing up and only allowing others to protect me and fight for me. Sounds like you were calling me a pacifist to me. You also stated, I don’t know what it takes to stand up to bad people or be willing to self-sacrifice for an ideal greater than myself. 

                    “The effect is the same greasy splotch on the pages of history. You still have not proposed one single way for leadership to work, for laws to be decided upon and enforced, and still be anarcho-capitalist even by your own stated definitions (No, I have not yet gotten to the Freehold series so the reference is useless).

                    Once you get past the provocative language meant to elicit an emotional responce from me; Yes, I have proposed how I and others believe laws will be agreed apon and enforced. You either were not paying atention or just didn’t think it valid; workable solution, that is not the same as having proposed nothing. 

                    I will provided the link to Customary Law again:

                    http://jim.com/custom.htm

                    I am arguing the positions you have stated and the arguments you’ve made. I don’t care what you call yourself. I am arguing against the stances you, yourself have made in the name of anarcho-capitalism. I have been using the term as YOU have used it. If you are not successfully arguing what you actually believe, then you might want to revamp your argument and actually explain yourself.

                    You keep making the argument that we won’t organize for our own defenses (because we are to individualistic), this is not the same as being ineffective; which you have now changed the goal post to. The only Anarchist that believe that we should have no governing bodies at all are the Social Anarchists.  

                    “You still refuse to answer the point. At no point have you demonstrated you actually even understand what I’m talking about, nor any understanding of the human spirit.

                    Wyrdbard, you keep pointing out that there are really bad people in the world and that I am not taking them into account.

                    Reporting and Sampling bias.

                    I’ve tried, I’ll admit poorly, to point out there are more good (as defined as not willing to use violence to get what they want) people than bad (those willing to use violence to get what they want). If all you hear about is all the bad you start to think the wold is a lot more violent than it is. 

                    And if you delve into world wide Violent and Non-violent Crime Stats and Deaths Caused by War some interesting patterns emerge.

                    The short of it is again there are more good guys than bad. Yes, there are really really bad people out there. And they have learned that it is safe to use violence to get what they want, because to many people crumble and appease them instead of attempting to kill them.

                    Some cultures are more prone to violence than others. The safer one feels that there will be no negative consequence and the weaker, laking either the tools or the will to defend themselves, the victim pool is the greater the incidence of violence used as a means to an ends.

                    Because desperate people do desperate things don’t back people into corners and help as many learn self-sufficiency so they can stand on their own two feet. 

                    This is why I suggest learning to become Self-Sufficient.

                    “I don’t think enough of you will come together. I don’t think you have anything strong enough to hold more than a handful.

                    Read:
                    Max Velocity’s book “Contact.”
                    “A Failure of Civility” by  Jack Lawson & Mike Garand.
                    “When All Hell Breaks Loose” by Cody Lundin, Russell L. Miller, Christopher Marchetti

                    It’s much easier to be prepared than to risk your life try to take someone else’s stuff.

                    You haven’t given a single reason why anyone else should care about you and yours other than you think they should. And yes, you are asking others to die for you.”

                    Let me ask you this, Why do you care about your follow Americans and the US Constitution? You obviously do. Why do you find it so hard to believe that those that believe in an AC society would be welling to fight for and die to defending it as you and other were and are willing die to defend America and our way of life?

                    I said it’s in their best interest to defend each other, just as you and others have pointed out there  is safety in numbers.  

                    There will always be other systems, and other ways of doing things. Unless you’re willing to conquer the world and impose your views on others you can’t prevent that.

                    Nor would I try. I wish the State would give us the same courtesy

                    “Which means when push comes to shove, you’re going to be asking anyone repelling those invasions to die for you, just as if the invasion came from somewhere else they’d be asking you to die for them.

                    I look at it this way, if some attacks my neighbor it is in my interest to help him defend his property; because if I don’t, the over all defensive capability of the whole comunity is weekend if he falls. The next attack could be at my place and I could not be strong enough own my own to repel the attack without his help. If my meighbor doesn’t help when I’m attacked; then, he will be excluded from the community, and to the monkey mind (our social mind) exclustion means death. This is the same social dynamic that allows soldiers to fight and die for one another. I’m not asking anyone to die for me, but to fight by my side. I’m not asking them to risk anything that I’m not.

                    Which is not the same as asking someone to risk their life and possible die for you, because you are not willing to do it yourself.

                    “You don’t understand people. You don’t understand the bat shit crazy things they can and willingly do. The worst of our crazies are kindergarten bullies compared to some of what’s out there, today right this minute. I’ve seen the amazing things people can and will accomplish together, and I have seen the depths of depravity of which they are capable of committing.”

                    A restament of earlier points that I have addressed. To reiterate a point on this; the batshit crazy people, even within the religion of peace, only get away it because the moderates and the ones that just want to live their lives tolerate it, capitulate and try to appease them. 911 back fire on Al Qeada because we didn’t react like we had before. 

                    “You assume no one will give in to temptation.

                    Quite the contrary I believe in the fundamental goodness that lies within human nature, that it is how we learn to socialize a deal with conflict as youths that determines how we will deal with it as adults. This is why the  power inherent in the State and it’s control of the education system is so damaging and is to tempting a corrupting force to be trusted.

                    “You haven’t addressed how any group will deal with criminal activity or even how they’ll define it.

                    Emmm… Not sure, but were you not paying attention but the debate that Eamon and I were having started with this question?

                    Google Origin of English Common Law.  Hint; the State co-opted Customary Law and now we have Two Court Systems (in the US in the UK I believe they have four.) Criminal and Civil.

                    “You haven’t addressed any actual salient point that has been raised about the problems that actually arise when human beings deal with one another.

                    Again have dressed the salient points just not to your satisfaction.

                    “And since you’ve carried that trend on for two threads without any indication you actually have a foggy clue what you’re talking about, like Eamon, I am done.”

                    And on this note, take care.

                    • Jordan S. Bassior

                      I look at it this way, if some attacks my neighbor it is in my interest to help him defend his property; because if I don’t, the over all defensive capability of the whole comunity is weekend if he falls. The next attack could be at my place and I could not be strong enough own my own to repel the attack without his help. If my meighbor doesn’t help when I’m attacked; then, he will be excluded from the community, and to the monkey mind (our social mind) exclustion means death.

                      And if evil violent people were willing to never go beyond small raids this mode of defense would work.

                      Here, let me describe to you another possible mode of attack. I called it “Slaughter, Plunder, Rinse, Repeat” when I first described it, and I’ll call it that here.

                      I am an evil man. I want stuff and I’m not too squeamish to hurt people to get it. Let me rephrase that. I love hurting people to get it. There’s a certain joy in raping a man’s twelve year old daughter right in front of him while he can’t do anything about it, then killing them both, which cannot be gotten in ordinary life. Plus, I want stuff, and I don’t want to work for the stuff.

                      Now, how do I get to enjoy my chosen way of life?

                      I gather about me some nasty unscrupulous types — they don’t have to be as evil as me, just evil enough to follow me — and we go find ourselves a good place to hide out in the wilderness.

                      Then I descend on a farmstead. They’re busy farming so they are caught unawares when we kill some of them, round up the rest. We take their treasure — a mother will tend to tell where they keep their cashbox when you start cutting off her baby’s fingers one by one. Then we kill the survivors and abscond with the loot. We use the loot to buy more and heavier weapons in addition to whatever necessities we didn’t get from the raid. Plunder, slaughter, rinse ….

                      Repeat. Now we have better weapons and we attack another farmstead. And we get their goodies.

                      More desperate types are attracted to my cause. (Heck, maybe I even make up a cause now so that I get some of the more violent dumbass idealists to follow me — it’s worked for any number of Third World bandidos). So I have a bigger force. More raids, more goodies. Slaughter, plunder, rinse repeat.

                      Why haven’t I been killed by the angry and nobly-combative neighbors of my victims? Well, maybe I’m smart enough that I choose my targets carefully — isolated farms far enough from the neighbors that by the time they know what I’ve done, I’m already getting out of there. Why don’t they come kill me where I live. Well, I don’t tell them where I live. That’s the meaning of having a “hideout.”

                      But I’m about to graduate beyond that point. Now I have enough guys and enough weapons that I attack an actual village. I pick one that’s very far from the other villages. And this time, I intentionally don’t kill everyone — I kill just enough of them, and in sufficiently nasty ways, that the survivors beg to be allowed to live and I let them live, provided that they supply me regularly.

                      Congratulations. I’m a warlord now.

                      How do I enforce my lordship over my new serfs? Well, let’s think about it. Whom did I kill in my first appearance? Why, those brave enough to fight back. Whom (if anyone) do I kill when I come back? Those who fought back, or just didn’t submit fast enough. It’s not too long for me, by a psuedo-Darwinian selection, to imply that I have compliant serfs.

                      There are other ways. I can take hostages. I can engage in disproportionate retribution. (“You called me a nasty name when I was raping your daughter? Well, I’ll kill your duaghter and cut your tongue out so that you — and everyone else in your crappy little village — have something to remind you why you do not offend El Gordo the Greasy!”) That sort of thing.

                      Slaughter, plunder, rinse, repeat.

                      Eventually, I get strong enough that I don’t need a hideout any more. Instead, I occupy one of the largest and most defensible of the villages I’ve taken and fortify my position. Now, when you and your noble neighbors come to try to evict me, I kill them — then I march over to your place and kill, maim or enslave your family too.

                      Congratulations, noble neighbor. You’ve become a living example of terror that cements my power.

                      Do things really work like this? Oh, hell yeah, in any place unfortunate enough to enjoy the blessings of anarchy.

                    • Josh A. Kruschke

                      Sarah,

                      May I respond?

                      😀 Please.

                      “When you poke me. Do I not respond?”

                    • Josh, no. You’ve said everything you can say at length.
                      It would help if you didn’t remind me of me of in my early thirties. And of Reg Shoe in Pratchett’s Nightwatch. And no, I’m not insulting you. I’m saying you are … too ardent to see when they’re making valid points. I woke up with 9/11. I hope nothing ever wakes you like that.
                      Your utopia is possible, yes. In space, where there’s a long distance between colonies, and the perfect libertarian one is hidden.
                      Work towards getting us to space.

                    • I hope I’m not poking at things I shouldn’t, but I feel like I at least need to make this observation…

                      @Jordan S. Bassior: “Do things really work like this? [ie, the development of warlords] Oh, hell yeah, in any place unfortunate enough to enjoy the blessings of anarchy.”

                      I’d like to know why this didn’t happen in Medieval Iceland…but then, I’d also like to know what those wacky Medieval Icelanders did to become so-called anarcho-capitalists in the first place…

                    • Jordan S. Bassior

                      Medieval Iceland had a strongly clan-based culture, so a retaliatory force would assemble against brigands, and its social world was small enough that it was difficult for a brigand to conceal his identity and location or to recruit followers. Having said that, if you’re talking about early medieval Iceland it also had some noxious customs such as blood feuds and thralldom, both in part rendered practical mainly by that same clan-based culture.

                      And there WAS a government, the Allthing. It was a sort of parliament, dominated by the clan chiefs.

              • Jordan S. Bassior

                Yes, and in spades. The problem with anarchism is that it ignores the reality that those who want to dominate their fellow men, for WHATEVER reason (there are sadly so many possible motives for this) will organize to do so. At that point, they will attack the anarchic society one individual at a time. And even if that individual is a brave heroic manly man with combat training, he will go down because the bad guys will come at him with numbers and by surprise.

                The anarchic society has two choices. It can organize against the violent, in which case it becomes a GOVERNMENT, or it can sit passively and watch, in which case it is conquered by the violent and finds itself under THEIR government. There are no other possibilities.

                • The problem with anarchism is that it ignores the reality that those who want to dominate their fellow men, for WHATEVER reason (there are sadly so many possible motives for this) will organize to do so.

                  Among them, “stop raping my relatives,” “stop taking my stuff” and “stop trying to kill me.”

                  Or even, simply, “keep your side of the deal we made.”

                  Those are all examples of controlling someone, after all, since it limits their choices.

                  • Franklin’s crack about liberty and security is often cited as if they were necessarily opposites. As if the security to leave your apartment without fear of being gunned down were not necessary for a lot of freedoms.

                    • People seem to overlook that the word Franklin employs in that little adage is deserves. That old moralist Franklin wouldn’t carelessly use a word like that.

                      I don’t reckon to speak for anybody else, but for myself I am very grateful that life hasn’t given me what I deserve.

                    • Folks always drop the modifiers, too.

                  • Jordan S. Bassior

                    Well yes, that’s right. Even acting in defense of one’s rights against the evil or dishonorable means dominating them. Which is why the would-be anarchy must institute a state or go under to those who would attack them.

            • Wayne Blackburn

              Finally… *Sigh* You guys ask how to stop someone. I didn’t relize you were also asking for a guaranty of victory.

              No, they’re asking for a reasonable outline for a plan for how to keep your stateless society from being destroyed or taken over from the types we know will use your lack of unity to do so. That is to say: There are people (and always will be) who will build up their own State, and will use the collective might of that State to take what you consider yours, whether you like it or not, and will build up enough that it would take a miracle for the level of cooperation you have described (small) to be able to stop it.

              • Eamon J. Cole

                So — I’m not speaking in an obscure dialect of Texan known only to four?

                I had wondered.

                • Nope. I’m an Okie and while I can handle the main Texan dialects, the obscure ones elude me.

                  • Eamon J. Cole

                    I am viciously strangling the inclination to make an Okie joke. Brutal, mean squishing going on over here.

                    • We take them better from Texans than Californians.

                    • Eamon J. Cole

                      Yeah, but you give them better, too. And I’m not sure my wit is up to a sharp rejoinder from the resident geologist today.

                      🙂

                    • Speaking of resident geologist… I owe people rock write ups. Cliffs… and the ‘Climate Change, Geology Edition’ is going to be long… very long (and for the record neither for nor against at this point, just explanation of rocks) so probably is getting broken up. Looks like I”m starting with eustatic sea level change cycles.

                    • Eamon J. Cole

                      I would suspect (after a quick check on terminology) that eustatic changes are one of those phenomenally complex mechanisms that are likewise phenomenally difficult to capture and assess. What with carbon and thermal sinks, reflectivity of ice, effect of current thermal transportation, glacial gas sequestration, etc.

                      It is the understanding of the degree of interelatedness that kicks my skeptic in the nose.

                      So when ya gonna be done? 😀

                    • Actually the biggest are relatively easy to track. It’s when you get down to some of the smaller ones that are hard to track. The biggest are techtonic related. There are orbital factors as well. Simply put, when all the contenents are smooshed together, sea level goes down because there’s more ocean volume. When you have a lot of mid ocean ridges then parts of the ocean floor are shallower and so sea level rises. There’s a third order set that they think are probably related to astronomical phenomena but they’re not sure. They occur at regular intervals but too often to be techtonic, and not often enough to be climatic. Then you get down to the climatic changes (did you know we’re missing 30 meters of sea level from where we should be?). I’m hoping to have the first one out sometime this coming week. Unfortunately the more I research the more there is to research. *shifty eyes* I probably shouldn’t ramble too much here… But… but… rocks.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      Unfortunately the more I research the more there is to research.

                      But that’s exactly why science rocks. (I seem to be doing a lot of running today. Wonder why?)

                    • *chases and takes all the rocks*

                    • Eamon J. Cole

                      See, Wayne, when you run with rocks you’re slow. And geologists chase you and take your rocks.

                      I just hope you didn’t lose all your stones…

                    • Geology… surprisingly full of accidental innuendo.

                    • Eamon J. Cole

                      I can’t imagine anyone here is going to get too bent out of shape by someone exercising an intellectual passion.

                      Sea level accounting I can see tracking, various eustatic mechanisms related to global temperatures, and the close prediction there of has me — curious.

                    • The hard part is when you get to resolutions below which the rock record can record well. The last glacial maximum was only 20,000 years ago. Most of that is still in soil rather than rock. Mind you Glaciers leave distinct erosion features, but other things aren’t necessarily going to get preserved. A great deal of the climatic research comes from drilling cores in the Greenland and Antarctic ice caps. Glacial ice is amazing for preserving atmospheric composition. But the shorter a time distance you get the harder it is to distinguish and all this is indirect observation, which means there is a lot of work that has to go into ‘was this a local change or was it actually world wide?’ especially when you start getting into the finer resolutions where the data are harder to distinguish to start with. Direct observations have only been going on in detail for 100 years or so. So the data are sketchy sometimes and there are gaps we need to fill in. We also don’t have a reliable way to track the difference in effect (short of direct observation) of short term atmospheric impact (such as a massive volcanic explosion) and long term atmospheric impact (such as the industrial revolution) and calibrate them to one another. And the factors are constantly changing. I’m finding more about how other folk are answering these questions and issues, but it’s going to be a huge amount of digging and I’m only scratching the surface of the question.

                      And I have to research the ancestor of Krakatoa… because. Boom. Boom is fun to study.

                    • Eamon J. Cole

                      Here comes the boom? Ready or not?

                      Hm.

                    • Well… study from a safe distance. Geologic booms tend to be hazardous to the health.

                    • Eamon J. Cole

                      Sorry. Silly song reference.

                    • Link? (Or song name will work too)

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  Well, I’m not a Texan but Josh hasn’t understood what I’ve said to him. [Frown]

            • Eamon J. Cole

              Josh,

              We’ve already swamped at least one comments section with the neverending argument, so I’m going to address one last thing and let it go. Probably. I’ll try really hard.

              You guys keep making the claim that we can not enter into mutualy benifitial agreements for defense other than at the State level. Why I have every reason to go to my neighbors aid because I would want them to come to mine. Because if I do not the next time it could be me and if I didn’t than no one will help me next time.

              I have, more than once now, said set the “State” thing aside, and asked you for the concrete organizing principle that brings sovereign individuals together in mutual defense and aid. I’m not talking about a state.

              It is not as simple as “I will aid my fellow because it is in my interest to do so, as I hope he will aid me.” The reason it’s not that simple is because, following the same considerations as the tragedy of the commons, some of your neighbors will decline to aid you. For all kinds of wholly individual reasons. One of them, a huge motivating factor in many such situations, is appeasement.

              The value of the aggregate force of the state, as opposed to — say, a farmer’s co-op, is that it collects those willing to do violence and risk violence and directs their energies to the protection of all citizens, not just their neighbors/town/valley. It is the value of large scale aggregation and projection.

              This allows most people in a society to dedicate themselves to something other than professional violence, or even enforcement of standards and agreements. It frees people for highly individualized pursuits.

              You have not, to my knowledge, established the mechanism wherein a stateless society of sovereign individuals enter binding mutually beneficial agreements (it is not to my benefit to die, you know) to maintain their sovereignty against violent threat.

              I leave it with that.

              • Where there is a market for protection services, providers will organize themselves in order to offer their services. It’s basic specialization and comparative advantage. You might as well as for the mechanism in which a society of individuals will feed or clothe themselves.Surely they can’t all be farmers and weavers, let alone fashion designers…

                The most efficient relationship between these providers, and the one in the best interests of their customers (who are providing them with the resources they use) is one which maximizes customer happiness and security and minimizes war/violence, etc… which is very expensive and which the vast majority of people do not desire. The contract enforcement mechanisms can be wholly private in nature. It’s been done in the past, see for example Iceland for hundreds of years.

                You can claim that the market for protection services will result in a natural monopoly, but as people’s social institutions have progressed (hate using that word, but it’s the best fit) over time, the most successful ones have been those which preserve individual liberty, resist tyranny and require individual responsibility. This is just the next obvious iteration of that, a way to avoid the tyranny of the majority inherent in most of the current versions.

                • As I recall, the Danes had a thriving market selling protection services to the Brits a millennia or so ago. Before that the Saxons had the market cornered. I forget how that worked out.

                  Didn’t the Russ hire Viking princes to run government for them? I forget what resulted from that.

                  • Seems like there was a thriving market in protection services in the bigger cities, primarily in the Eastern US, too.

                    • There is still a big market in protection services in the U.S… see for example Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, several generations of Hoffa, many former federal government freelancers who are happy to lobby their former comrades to get your company special treatment, etc…

                    • I read that as “projection services” and having read the news I was going to say “oooh, boy. we pay for that?”

                    • Every time one of Obama’s friends in the media decries Republican “racists” who oppose his agenda for the world we end up paying (indirectly) for their “projection services”, as they apparently can’t imagine that an opponent of his ideas wouldn’t care about the President’s “race” (As if he has only one???) in the slightest, rather than making it his defining characteristic.

                      But yeah, a feature of our current monopoly government provider is that we get to pay for all sorts of things we wouldn’t necessarily fund on our own. It’s certainly a point of debate as to how much that’s a feature vs. a bug, though.

                      Apparently, because “tragedy of the commons” it’s a feature, because we are required to all be collectively coerced into responsibility for the commons, rather than just splitting a commons into individual ownership/responsibility and in the process making agreements amongst ourselves how we will act towards it and each other.

                      But then, I’ve never seen an actual commons-style issue which couldn’t be solved by utilizing modern technology like private property, responsibility and enforceable rights to solve, so I’m probably a bit biased here.

                  • How do you think most of the governments in history got started, anyway? Many started literally like protection rackets where the boss decided it was more profitable to keep the peace and take some off the top. The eventual convenient theory was that God gave them their special right to collect their tribute. Nice job if you can get it, I suppose.

                    If you’re actually interested in the history of legal systems in Iceland, start with http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Academic/Iceland/Iceland.html for a good ($ free) academic coverage.

                    • Iceland? Now there’s a diverse heterogeneous society, occupying a wide landscape and enjoying a broad economy competing in multiple dimensions! With a population of almost 400,000 it can probably serve as a model of good governance to many small towns in America.

                      It no doubt has a long history of fending off territorial encroachment from its bordering states, too, providing lessons in realpolitik from which the Swiss could learn.

                    • As I said elsewhere in the thread, I prefer the insurance/underwriter model for protection services. That way you don’t have so much power concentrated in one company/individual, but you have enough coordinated and contracted military power to fend off a larger attacker.

                      Please note also that your issue with a population of 400K is an issue with the military value of a population of 400K, not with how they organize their affairs. They’re going to have a similar overall class of total military potential/deterrence based on their population and technology level whatever system they use to organize it. However, there’s a good argument to be made that, like other things monopoly governments do, defense could be done more efficiently in a market-based system rather than a single-provider-no-competition-allowed system.

                      The U.S, military is a monster of inefficiency, it’s just that other countries tend to be either smaller and/or even more inefficient and corrupt for it to matter on the battlefield.

                    • Eamon J. Cole

                      I’m going to move ahead on this point, though you seem to be indicating in other areas an unwillingness to address specific counterpoints. Ah, well.

                      You’ve mentioned private security companies in a couple of places, and then the topic appears to have broadened to military concerns, raising some points.

                      The biggest concern I see is you appear to be moving from these private protection agencies to cooperative agreements between those agencies to effect military services. This runs rather quickly up against the reality that police and military tasks are not the same, the training is not the same and they are not interchangeable.

                      The U.S, military is a monster of inefficiency, it’s just that other countries tend to be either smaller and/or even more inefficient and corrupt for it to matter on the battlefield.

                      The Department of Defense is monstrously inefficient. You shouldn’t take that as an indication that the force projection of the U.S. military is likewise monstrously inefficient, nor that “it’s just” other countries’ size or inefficiency that decides conflicts in our favor. I strongly believe rational changes could be made to the system to reduce DoD costs significantly, and improve training opportunities and readiness for the combat arms. There’s ridiculous waste in the system. But, we have a professional fighting force of rather awe-inspiring power and efficacy despite the inefficiencies. Something that cannot be duplicated with an equal number of police officers shifting to the military role.

                      In modern geopolitics, a standing military deterrent has proven necessary for the security of free people. That the U.S. has maintained that military in the stead (or largely so) of other countries does not negate the fact. As has been shown in various studies and polls, the majority cannot be counted on to be willing to fund such a military venture of their own will.

                      I’ve not seen a proposal for a privatized military that will adequately fill the existing roll. And I see no way for a cooperative agreement between privatized police forces, nor even private military contractors, to fill this roll.

                      I’d be interested if you have a more specific picture in mind.

                    • Personally, I prefer a model of private competing police providers, including private court systems, based on on an insurance/underwriting model in order to achieve scalability. Think of private police along the model of insuring you against crime, with incentives to provide deterrence, retribution, collect compensation, etc…. As you note, police and military functions are very different, while at the same time, it wouldn’t be cost effective to pay for a police level of protection when some larger entity could thumb their noses with impunity because they have a military and your group doesn’t. At the same time, your local police organization isn’t going to be cost effective funding a military all by themselves. Market forces are excellent at preventing unnecessary duplication and waste like that.

                      A likely market outcome would be that groups of competing specialist soldiers (Tank regiment, fighter wing, bomber wing, infantry company, artillery group, combined arms division, whatever works out as most efficient and effective for the money) would be funded by many smaller police organizations who contract with them together as well as provide the necessary funding to ensure they are equipped, maintained etc… Similar to how regular insurance covers the cost of regular catastrophes, but pays a percentage of the premiums to another entity with different resources so that if a larger catastrophe hits which exceeds their resources, their clients are still covered. Is there an incentive there for some of those military companies to band together, go rogue and try and take over in order to centrally run things into the ground for all their friends and neighbors? I suppose there’s always some risk, but with higher tech weapons and modern technology that can be significantly reduced and its a similar risk to a military coupe which could occur in any monopoly government, except with a distributed military services model, you probably have a better chance to keep significant forces on the other side.

                      If an outside entity, say China, threatens the system, then it’s in the best interests of all of those funding police and military services to ensure they have at least the minimal resources necessary to defeat a Chinese invasion, or at least be enough of a credible deterrence. Enlightened self-interest, you might call it.

                      As a side note, yes, I include the tail portion of the military as where most of the inefficiency occurs. The weapons design and procurement process especially, but that’s not unusual, it’s typical of how a monopoly government works. Think NASA processes vs.Space X. Much used to be made about the threat from the old Soviet Union, but despite spending themselves into the poor house with military priorities trying to keep up with the West, the reality was that a significant percentage of their more sophisticated military equipment would have flat out not worked in the event of an actual war. In that kind of intergovernmental market, the U.S. is doing very well, but as you say, there is certainly a lot of room for improvement, mostly in the areas where private firms tend to have better results than government monopolies without a profit incentive.

                    • I marvel that you presume to know “that [my] issue with a population of 400K is an issue with the military value of a population of 400K, not with how they organize their affairs.

                      It is nothing of the sort. As stated, that is the population of a mid-size American city. The social dynamics, the ability for primary actors to be known by the community, are vastly different from a country ten times that size, much less one a hundred times so large. The legal structures and institutions operate at a very different scale — in America, after all, 400,000 is a single Congressional district, in Iceland’s case somewhat equivalent to Montana.

                      Military had squat to do with my dismissal.

                    • I’m sorry for misunderstanding you. It didn’t occur to me you might be arguing a centralized government was more efficient and effective at managing and coordinating things than a free market would be. Was that your argument instead?

                      I could point to some counter-examples, if you like…

                      If you were really just saying that centralization of power and control requires centralization of power and control…well, I thought that’s what the discussion was about, if that’s what is actually required for effective personal defense.

                    • I’m sorry for misunderstanding you. It didn’t occur to me you might be arguing a centralized government was more efficient and effective at managing and coordinating things than a free market would be. Was that your argument instead?

                      Given such a massive mischaracterization of RES’ stance and arguments, it appears that responding to you is and was a waste of time.

                      Hopefully you’ll manage to read what people have actually written and understand it enough to be able to restate it instead of building an exceptionally stupid strawman at some point.

                    • My argument is that a homogeneous population of 400,000 does not scale up neatly to a diverse population of nearly 400 million. The experience of Iceland is scarcely relevant to the United States.

                      It is so obvious a point that your inability to grasp it leaves me doubtful of any other arguments you make.

                      Nothing was said about centralized government, nothing about power or control. Nothing about efficiency or effectiveness.

                    • I’m going to step back a bit in order to see if we are talking about the same things.

                      I believe we agree that individuals need military defense and police services and we agree that we wish to maximize individual liberty in that context.

                      That leaves the central issue in the discussion as the best method of arranging for, paying for, providing and coordinating those services. The competing ideas are:
                      1. The proven to work (arguably with a few flaws) current model of a centralized monopoly government taxing those who live in its territory and using its centralized control and political subdivisions to coordinate those activities.
                      2. A (mostly) theoretical model of individuals using market-based mechanisms to purchase and coordinate defense and police services over a wide area, without a central monopoly government.

                      If I’ve mischaracterized your position as supporting #1 over #2, then please correct my misunderstanding by expounding the defense and police services model you favor and how it differs.

                      Iceland is given as a real life example of similar services being privately managed and enforced via a market mechanism. This is only important because #2 is still largely theoretical and so it takes the theory in #2 and serves as a basic real life example of practicality. I wouldn’t contend that it proves the complete practicality of #2, but rather informs the theory, because while similar in nature, Iceland was a long time ago and wasn’t exactly like how anyone who supports #2 would actually decide to implement #2 in theory. Anyone who supports #2 and claims they know exactly how it would work out with today’s technology and knowledge is fooling themselves into a false surety, because by the nature of the idea, it’s individuals participating in a market for those defense and police services who would ultimately decide how it works. Essentially the Catallaxy decides how it actually ends up working.

                      Thus your argument “that a homogeneous population of 400,000 does not scale up neatly to a diverse population of nearly 400 million.” boils down to a contention that model #1 (in use today) is a more effective method of serving/coordinating larger, more diverse groups of people than model #2 (a version of which was in use in Iceland, currently proposed as a future potential model). That model #1 scales better than model #2.

                      Hence, I see the fundamental characteristic of your current argument is that the centralized model of #1 inherently scales better than the market model of #2.

                      You say that nothing was said about centralized government, power or control, but isn’t that the current alternative which you are defending? If you’ve suggested a different model in the discussion somewhere that I’ve missed (and I certainly could have), then a quick pointer would be appreciated.

                      As a note, as this is a comment on the Internet, easily misunderstood, I’m serious in thinking that we’re talking past each other somehow, which is why I’ve taken the time to lay the whole discussion out as above. I would like you to point out the discussion you believe we’re having and where the central disagreement is, if it isn’t about #1 above vs #2 above.

                    • You must think I have an unlimited quantity of time to expend on the reading impaired.

                      You have striven mightily to miss my point: Iceland is not compatable to the United States. Period. Full stop. End.

                      You have also twisted yourself into a knot to reduce the discussion to police and military model, as if that is all that comprises a culture.

                      You have further dumbed down the issue to a single binary issue, ignoring multiple alternative arrangements by which the balance between the two goals you assert can be protected. For starters, you completely ignore the Federal Republican system designed by this nation’s Founders (and which many have sought to abuse and corrupt ever since.)

                      Given your obvious inability/unwillingness to engage points actually made (in favor of points you wish had been made) and my unreasonable* disinclination to spend any more time addressing you, this is the last statement I am inclined to make on this issue.

                      *The reading impaired will please interpret this word as if written SARC unreasonable /SARC

                    • You’ve been invited repeatedly to clarify your position. You’ve been given the benefit of the doubt as to your motives and invited to engage in an actual discussion.

                      Instead, you seem to believe insulting someone is the way to convince them, as if any two-bit kindergartner couldn’t toss off better insults while playing in the sandbox.

                      I actually believed you may be smarter than that, and that you might be able to see the consequences of your arguments. You’ve at least managed to prove that wrong. Bravo for the amateur troll. You’re apparently more interested in some sort of immature point-scoring contest conducted in your head than in actually having an honest discussion and potentially learning something from others.

                      Someday, if you live long enough, you may learn a little wisdom. Until then, you’re going to be missing out on a lot of interesting conversations the adults are having somewhere over your head.

                      P.S. An assertion isn’t an argument, nor a point.

                      P.P.S. The blog post we’ve been commenting on was about the tragedy of the commons and its implications for defense of property related to libertarian ideals. The comment thread we’re in related to that post is specifically about maintaining “sovereignty against violent threat”, to quote the commentator I originally replied to. For you to think we aren’t discussing military and police models and defense is baffling. You really should get those eyes (and probably memory) checked.

                    • Why makes you imagine I care about convincing you of anything? Especially as you have demonstrated a thorough lack of reading comprehension, imputing a wide variety of content that plainly WAS NOT IN the comments made.

                      It is wholly unnecessary to address issues of police and military models to support my assertion that Iceland does not serve as a comparable model for the United States. Just so is it unnecessary to engage in detailed analysis of financial and tax policies to decide nothing about the Icelandic experience applies to the United States. Your inability to recognize this is why you are reduced to adolescent snark while ostensibly protesting my insulting manner.

                      Others can well guess my indifference to your estimation of my intelligence and wisdom; I have no confidence of your so doing. Far from being “interested in some sort of immature point-scoring contest” I have been curious as to your refusal to recognize my simple point that Iceland’s history is irrelevant.

                    • Iceland’s history is relevant as an example of a working privately enforced legal and defense system. It’s only relevant to the discussion in that it disproves the prior suggestion that no such potentially successful model has been suggested or referenced. Theoretical models are fine, but you can easily argue about if they’d work or not, so it’s useful to point to one which did work as a starting point.

                      You made a big deal about how Iceland couldn’t scale to deal with the size and diversity of the U.S. I haven’t, in any of my comments on this post (or anywhere else), suggested that Iceland’s specific legal system nor culture would perfectly fit the U.S. In fact, I’ve explicitly said elsewhere in these comments that no one is suggesting medieval Iceland is the best model to follow in modern times. In a previous reply to you, I also said “while similar in nature, Iceland was a long time ago and wasn’t exactly like how anyone who supports #2 would actually decide to implement #2 in theory.”

                      If that’s your whole point, that Iceland’s previous system isn’t perfectly suited as a drop-in replacement for the U.S. in modern times, then we’ve been agreeing this whole time.

                      We have much more knowledge now about technology, economics, legal theory, etc… Iceland’s primary value is to inform the theoretical discussion about what would be a good model and to show that once upon a time, a version of a privatized model has worked before. Of course it would have to be changed extensively to fit the modern world and a different, larger community.

                      If your point regarding Iceland is about the broader discussion, suggesting that a private market-based legal system doesn’t scale to the population level of the U.S., well, I keep asking you to confirm that’s what you believe or not, but you keep avoiding answering the question.

                      If your point isn’t mean to be about the broader discussion of this thread, then why bring up something you believe irrelevant?

                      Also, you seem to read snark into everything, even (or perhaps especially?) when it isn’t present. Try reading what’s actually said in the words instead and consider they are meant seriously. I’m not going to claim a little sarcasm hasn’t existed here and there in the argument, but you seem to read it in bunches even when you are being apologized to.

                    • Quoth Sharper:
                      “If you’re actually interested in the history of legal systems in Iceland …”

                      Responded I:
                      Iceland? Now there’s a diverse heterogeneous society, occupying a wide landscape and enjoying a broad economy competing in multiple dimensions! With a population of almost 400,000 it can probably serve as a model of good governance to many small towns in America.

                      Translation: insular, mono-cultural Iceland does not provide a good comparison for a diverse, heterogeneous, sprawling, multicultural polity such as the US.

                      Seems pretty obvious. No need to engage in detailed discussion of the matter.

                      Therefore the problems and solutions it has experienced in attempting to establish legal systems provides about as much insight into how America might address those questions as the governance of Provo, Utah, does for the city of Los Angeles. Or, for that matter, attempting to apply insights gained from operating a 1965 VW Beetle to the requirements of a 2011 BMW.

                      As for the issue of who is snarkier, I am willing to leave that to the general public (such as it is here) in recognition that people often tend to focus on the mote in the other person’s eye while dismissing their own comments as good-natured joshing. But then, I haven’t been the one complaining about snark, I’ve merely pointed out its effect on diminishing your rhetorical ethos.

                    • And that’s what makes the USA exceptional. Europe (and the rest of the world) is a product of history. America is a product of philosophy.

                    • I agree, which is why I cited most and many in my comment. The U.S. is also the designed government which has fared the best among them. France’s revolution didn’t work out nearly as well as ours did, for example. We could spend an entire comments section discussing why not, and there are plenty of other examples to inform the discussion.

                      So while we work to restore that original design as much as possible (You’d agree it’s been twisted and bent quite a bit over the years, I hope, especially with the introduction of administrative law and the justification of all sorts of unconstitutional power grabs), I don’t think it’s unreasonable to look towards experiments and theorizing performed by willing participants in how we could organize with new technology (including economic and philosophical knowledge) in ways that would assure even more individual freedom and responsibility.

                    • Your points are quite reasonable and most certainly should be considered.

                    • It’s from Margaret Thatcher 🙂

                    • Iceland was also notorious for feuds.

                      Meanwhile, here’s a lawyer putting his thumb on the weak spot of competing justice providers.
                      http://www.scifiwright.com/2010/01/a-hypothetical/

                    • Iceland during the time period in question was notorious for feuds, mostly because they tended to glorify them in their history. When you break down the actual statistics, they also had a much more peaceful society than the other countries at the same time, with less crime, including theft, murder, etc…

                      Jump down to the conclusion of section V in http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Academic/Iceland/Iceland.html : “During more than fifty years of what the Icelanders themselves perceived as intolerably violent civil war, leading to the collapse of the traditional system, the average number of people killed or executed each year appears, on a per capita basis, to be roughly equal to the current rate of murder and non-negligent manslaughter in the United States”

                      In terms of the link you gave, it postulates a very simplistic version of competing private legal systems. His post betrays a lack of understanding as to what has been proposed.

                      Would you, as a consumer, purchase a contract with a private defense provider and legal system which wasn’t able to make agreements with at the very least the other established providers in the area to determine how disputes between their members would be resolved? How jurisdictional disputes would be resolved? That didn’t offer some sort of standardization of basic legal rules for you to understand so as to follow?

                      Surely the location of the alleged crime (something he leaves out) would factor into a jurisdiction agreement. You wouldn’t go to Tijuana without knowing at a rough level what legal quirks they may have.

                      As violent conflict is exactly what you’re paying your private provider to prevent you from having to experience, why would you sign a contract which exposed you to that? Your reputable provider would have in place standard agreements with other providers, wherever they might interact, designed to govern that interaction. For example, a simple rule in the case of a dispute would be that each person has the right to a trial by their own provider. If they lose that, they’re done. If they each win and the two providers are in conflict, then they agree ahead of time on a method for selecting a third-party to arbitrate (likely another provider they both trust) and the rules and laws which will govern that third-party arbitration.

                      If a provider refuses to abide by their prior agreements, then their customers will desert them and the other providers won’t have any reason not to band together against them. Natural consequences in a market economy means that providers who don’t provide the protection services people want go out of business.

                • Eamon J. Cole

                  There are reasonable conversations to be had following from the (very loose) base you have established, and as something like a Constitutional libertarian I’m quite willing to explore the sliding scale between privatization and .gov on services rendered. We can compile any number of lengthy lists of things the .gov has stuck it’s fleshy members in and which it ought be kicked back out of. Or things where the modern market can clearly better serve. And I’d not argue, perhaps quibble here and there but generally agree. In fact, in a properly constrained federated system, little laboratories of experimentation could be popping up all over and we wouldn’t need to argue the finer points. We could observe them in real time and adjust as needed.

                  That’s not been the conversation to date.

                  I am not willing to throw over the Constitutional system in order to eliminate a boogie-man State so the next logical iteration AC society might spring from the hearts of free men everywhere.

                  That is far closer to the conversation to date.

                  You see, this isn’t a “conservative” community (though there are a number of traditional conservatives, sharp minds worthy of respect whose points need be considered) resisting the logic of privatization or the power of the market. No one here is particularly enamored of big government or a powerful fed. This is a free market of ideas, with sharp elbows, hard heads and a distinct prove it attitude.

                  To date, prove it has been distinctly lacking in favor of “why wouldn’t AC spring up in the place of the State, and thrive.”

                  So, I appreciate your points, and I hope you’ll stick around and weigh in with your perspective in future. Really.

                  Quibble point, why would anarcho-capitalists adopt “anarcho” if they truly wished to set themselves aside from anarchists of various flavors? It does them no favors.

                  • Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I may not be representative of whomever you’ve argued with over this in the past, as I’m more interested in empirical results than dogmatic purity.

                    I’m not one who thinks the U.S. government should be suddenly overthrown in favor of a new experimental system. I’m happy to work with libertarians, minarchists and conservatives wherever we have common ground of moving towards less government monopoly in any part of our lives. I’d be ecstatic to see a return to the level of central government control of the Jefferson administration, for example, but even that is likely out of our reach for a long time, because that’s not what most people want right now.

                    I’m more interested in developing best practices for assuring individual freedom, for which the U.S. Constitution has clearly been the best example for a long time. I do think with 20/20 historical hindsight we could do a bit better, primarily because of the ways it’s been twisted out of recognition to what was originally intended, but that’s the nature of a monopoly government.

                    No, I’m more interested in pushing an agreed return towards individual freedom here in the U.S. while supporting experiments where people can see how they really turn out. But then, while I like theory when it comes to government, I’m an engineer by trade and there’s no substitute for empirical proof.

                    Seasteading, free trade zones, privatization, special economic zones, minimizing taxes and spending, etc… there will be plenty of opportunities to test various theories and see what works and how we can get to a better governmental system based on free market principles. Right now, we can at best theorize and look for places to test those theories. In the meantime, I’m happy to work with wonderful people like those on this blog who believe in more freedom, liberty and responsibility than we’re currently being allowed by the tyranny of the majority. I’ve actually been around a long time,just not had time to do much but lurk for the last year or so.

                    As for the term anarcho-capitalist, I have no idea. I was one long before I knew there was an established group of them (as much as libertarians form groups), but it (and also “voluntarism”) have become somewhat the standard,so at least it gives folks an idea to research more of what the label means.

              • Jordan S. Bassior

                Also, brigands are mobile and the terrain is not wall-to-wall farms with heavily armed farmers. There is nothing preventing the brigands from basing from and/or moving through semi-wilderness to raid farms, nor is there anything preventing them from deliberately picking the weak and isolated farms over the strong ones surrounded by friendly neighbors.

                Think of it in a First World context. Does the mugger go after the 6’6″ body builder carrying a handgun, or the unarmed little old lady? Even if the armed body builder has more money, he knows it’s far safer to go after the unarmed little old lady — he’s more likely to get what he wants without getting hurt and escape to mug another day.

            • I will address your argument of ‘mutual cooperation for mutual benifit’ and technology at once since they are inter-related. Again you miss a fundamental point with this.

              What does technology require to advance? (In no particular order)

              1) Time to actually fiddle.
              2) A way to propagate ideas.
              3) A willingness to propagate ideas.
              4) Resources

              A culture where you have to constantly watch and ware about whether someone is going to smash your fence and take your stuff leaving you starving through the winter is not conducive to scientific advancement. This is why for a very long time scientific advancement was very slow, then became the prerogative of the rich and of the church. They were the only ones with time to devote. Now either group could sponsor people with their money to do interesting things but you had to convince them your ideas were cool enough. A sufficiently ranking anyone could look at his novitiates or servants or apprentices or whatever and go “We are going to experiment with pea plants. we must hand pollinate the peas. Come with me.”

              A feudal lord that’s constantly worrying about the Huns or the Mongols or just the next war with the French isn’t going to be really thinking about things like why pea plants come in different colors. He might come up with a more efficient way of killing the other guy or keeping his people alive. His blacksmith might figure out he can apply the same whatever to some other task. He’s not going to be inclined to share what he’s figured out with anyone he doesn’t have to… after all if the other guy gets his hand on his nifty new killing device, say a Crossbow, how long before they use it on him? So he keeps it quiet so the guy the next castle over who has a blacksmith who’s figured out itty bitty winches and could make an even more awesome crossbow doesn’t find out about it until the castle needs his troops. Time and unwillingness to communicate.

              So the time factor. If you have to man watch on your borders every night or die, are you going to have time to do everything ELSE you have to do? Work a farm even with automation and odds say no. The Blacksmith has stuff to trade you for your food, but he’s also got to worry about someone smashing his shop, after all this is all about independence and self reliance. He can’t count on you to actually do diddly squat to stop people coming from, self-reliance. So rather than concentrating entirely on his business with some basic precautions for you getting over run (like having enough heavy swingable objects about for all his apprentices to swing at any intruders) he’s also assigning shifts and taking one himself. If someone volunteers to guard everyone so people can sleep at night, he’s at the mercy of everyone else’s generosity. If they decide they don’t want to feed him or pay him, that’s his problem. He doesn’t have to guard them, but if he doesn’t guard them the people he does guard will suffer, but there’s not enough of them to keep him fed through the winter so why should he bother to guard any of them rather than go get his own farm and screw everyone else.

              Now we have touched on the willingness to share information, why should any of these people want to associate one another. They might start that way, but everyone makes mistakes and sooner or later everyone gets screwed over. Most people become more cautious in entering into relationships with others. Why should the blacksmith take apprentices? The last one stole his best idea and nearly stole all his customers leaving him to starve. He’ll train his own son and screw everyone else, however talented. His craft is his only way of sustaining himself, and only two of the people he traded with stayed loyal to him even knowing the other guy stole the invention. Why should he feel any obligation to them beyond what got him his daily bread or the iron for his forge? The same will go for the carpenter and any other craftsman. Their ideas are their life, and with no one but themselves to call on why should they trade ideas between one another? The potential of being supplanted is going to very often be a greater fear than potential benefit of brainstorming with another skilled professional. Why is it in their, individual, best interest to actually trust these others, especially if they want to remain independent of one another? How are they going to protect themselves from one another? If they start setting forth and formalizing rules and ways of enforcing them, then you have a guild structure which is a form of government.

              And if you don’t think that yo’d be back to hand tools in a hurry, where are you going to get the techies? Where are you going to get the people who maintain roads, or build skyscrapers? Power plant workers? All the people that go into building and keeping things going. If they have a looming worry about personal security beyond ‘I might be mugged’ they’re either going to get smooshed, or be spending their time surviving because they can’t count on anyone else either, which means a lot of the necessary jobs in an industrial tech base aren’t going to get done. It’s either that or they have to take someone else’s word that they’ll get paid for their work even though they’re not directly dealing with any individual that can pay them. Either that or they’re going to beat feet to the guy up the way who’s organized everyone and has his military worrying about the thugs and the techies and maintenance personnel just have to worry about the odd mugger that gets through security. There are still some worries about their brilliant idea being stolen, but some of those pressures are relieved and a lot of time is freed up because there are individuals dedicated to making sure they don’t have to worry about barbarians, the next kingdom over, or other things, and there are others catching the muggers that do sneak through, so a computer geek might have to kick butt once or twice in his life, but it’s not going to be a constant worry unless he does something idiotic. So you create an environment where it’s an effort of persuasion to convince someone that it’s in their best interest to take a leap of faith in you feeding them… By the way this is the patronage system. Yet if there’s nothing binding between you, it’s on you if you ever bother to pay him, or he ever bothers to do any real research. Not really a good environment for innovation and advancement.

              Side note, it wouldn’t even take rampaging barbarians to take over your little Utopia. Just an organized group next door trying to guard their flank. They might say ‘hey join us, we have better weapons, better agriculture, our blacksmiths work together and are figuring out neat stuff, and we have people dedicated to keeping the crazy people off everyone’s back. The catch is you have to live by our rules.’ You say no. The band of plundering brigands comes through, attacks you. The guy next door decides to be nice and beats them back and goes ‘do you want to join me now?’ You still say no. It happens a second time, and he either lets you fry or beats them off, and then turns and conquers you. You can fight back, but for the same reason you were an easy target to the other guy you’re an easy target to him. In fact you’re an EASIER target for him, because he’s deeply organized. He has a trained army rather than a cobbled together one. They fight as a unit rather than a mob. They don’t worry about having to loot their pay or food, and their families are safe back in HIS territory. All they have to worry about is flattening you. He’s seen what you’ve got, knows what tactics will work against you. Knows that some of you will fight, others will turn tail and run. Some of them may have joined him voluntarily by now. Most of his soldiers aren’t likely to object to conquering you, especially if they’re going to be expected to defend you anyway. If he lets you fry, the bandits sweep in, take your stuff. He sweeps in and flattens the bandits, and takes the land, anyone left alive from your group can leave or join him. No they can’t have their stuff back if they don’t join him. Yes, they can if they do.

              There is a balancing act to be done. There will always be a ballancing act between the need to restrain the malice of the individual and the need for the individuals to restrain their restrainer. It is the tension between the two that keeps both sides honest and society functioning.

        • Eamon J. Cole

          Josh,

          Your insistence that this is an answer is indicative of willful ignorance or profound naivete.

          Leave your fascination with the “State” out of the way, for the moment. In the absence of an organizing principle how do you ensure sovereign individuals feel enough investment in other sovereign individuals’ welfare to put their own lives on the line to resist the neighbors who aren’t averse to organizing under the principle of “kick your teeth in and take your stuff”? No, let’s make it more direct, more clear: In the absence of some organizing principle who’s willing to die so you might live?

          You know what magical superpower the state has? Aggregate force under an organizing principle.

          Some people resort to violence to achieve their goals, short- and long-term because it’s easy. Aggregate force under an organizing principle makes it harder. It doesn’t eliminate threats or make the world rosy and safe, no. But it significantly alters the cost/benefit analysis and allows for the wonderful world around you that gives you the luxury to dream up the impossible.

          And listen, I know you’re not trying to be deliberately provocative, but I’m not looking for any guarantees and I’m sure not hoping one will keep the bad guys away. I signed on a dotted line once upon a time and offered my life in service of this particular state. I wasn’t oblivious to the possibilities, I knew, intimately, that my life was now a token to be spent in service of the nation. And I spent the better part of four years in Iraq, in uniform and out, backing that signature up. It was not a safe and secure little vacation, okay?

          There are people who did far more than I (several of them in this community). Why? Why do so many think it’s necessary? Do you really think it’s because they’ve been indoctrinated to believe they need daddy .gov to take care of ’em?

          • Josh A. Kruschke

            Eamon,

            “In the absence of some organizing principle who’s willing to die so you might live?”

            I’m not asking anyone to risk their life or die for me, if I’m not willing to share in that risk. Quite the opisite infact. What do you think I mean by to many rely on the State to inforce their rights and are unwilling to do it themselves.

            “Aggregate force under an organizing principle.

            So, will we or will we not volunteer to protect our neighbors? To defend our neighbors or to defend our government (State)? First Principles of Natureral Rights? And I believe same people that volunteer to defend this nation would volunteer to help defend their neighbors even without a State to organize under.

            These Aggregate Forces often are used to suppress those rights. I’m often reminded of the metaphor of holding a Tiger by the tail.

            As to this:

            “There are people who did far more than I (several of them in this community). Why? Why do so many think it’s necessary? Do you really think it’s because they’ve been indoctrinated to believe they need daddy .gov to take care of ‘em?”

            The reason I’ve kept my language broad referring to all States is I’m trying not to sound like I’m beating up on America; as, America has been better than most at insuring freedom for as many as possible. But it stepped over a line into tyranny (a soft tyranny) of Fascism/ Corporatism of nanny-state welfarism along time ago. I’m trying to keep my comments focused on the over arching general principles and not directed at anyone specific, though I have failed several times to live up to that goal in this conversation. I’m not trying to criticizes anyones personal choices. I only know around 52% receive done form of government assistance. We were just  bitching about. How the culture is changing in another post and kids are being punish for defending themselves and not turning to a teach authority figure, that will often do nothing, to solve are problems. 

            An aside: Of the two founding documents I find the first one, The Declaration of Independence, the more important of the two.

            • “These Aggregate Forces often are used to suppress those rights.”

              Yeah, well, history shows that having one force you need to appease is better than having to appease every warband that comes along.

              • Josh A. Kruschke

                Mary,

                This isn ‘t an argument for freedom, but of keeping your mastets numbered at one.

                Appeasement what a horable word an idea to put forth in a descution about liberty.

                • The liberty to be robbed and murdered by every warband that comes along is rather less valuable than you think.

                  • The Anarcho-Capitalist argument against government is akin to the argument made against fire — that it is too dangerous to employ, entails too much risk and threatens to get out of control.

                    Still, it is a useful tool.

                    Government is too useful to discard, and the proper topic for debate is how best to control it lest it burn us. It is a bad master but a good servant, and properly constrained protects liberty beyond the capacity of well-intentioned individuals.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      An Anarcho-Capitalist who understands that is somebody worth listening to even if I disagree on the details of his ideas.

                      Some Anarcho-Capitalists may “mouth agreement” with that idea but show in their other words that they don’t understand that idea.

                    • It is too easily over-looked that the requirements for keeping government in check are basically the same as those needed to maintain an Anarcho-Capitalist society. The difference being that in the first instance you get the positive benefits of government as compensation.

                    • Josh A. Kruschke

                      RES,

                      Anarcho-Capitalist are not individualist at the expense of all else. Everyone is focused on the Anarchy part but forgetting the Capitalist part of the moniker.

                      Anarcho-Capitalists are anti-State not anti-government. The more governments the better. we are anti-monopoly.

                       Instead of organizing under a single State that claims and insist on a monopoly of Force. We as free men have the right to organize as we see fit under a Laissez-faire capitalist system.

                      We want to brake the State up and keep governing bodies as small as possible and at the local level.

                      Anarcho-Capitalist believe in the law but not arbitrary laws made up by legislative bodies. Not as a means of legalized plunder. But as a collective understanding of everyones rights and responsibilities.

                      AC there is this general misunderstanding that we are just loners that can’t stand being told what to do. Not true. We believe in leaders the more the better. If you can get people to voluntarily follow you, more power to you (metaphorically speaking.).

                      As long as Sarah allows me I’m going to try to adress the points brought up even if this is beyound my ability.

                      I want to say just read this book to everyone:

                      http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B003NSC5XQ

                       if you are really interested. If you already haven’t.

                      I’m going to get some sleep come at this with new eyes in the morning.

                    • Suppose you wanted your back shed cleaned out and you hire a willing party at agreed upon wages to do it.

                      Now, you don’t tell this party that your shed is filled with radioactive wastes and poisonous insects, which is the stuff you really want out. You just give him a pair of cheap gloves and a wheelbarrow and say get to it.

                      Your hired hand gets sick and dies from the radioactive wastes and poisonous insects.. Should you be liable for anything? If so, who exactly is going to impose this penalty on you?

                    • I don’t suppose you realize how utterly incoherent and internally contradictory that is? Calling one thing The State and a similar thing Government is a distinction without a difference, akin to asserting an a–hole is not a sphincter.

                      Further, the whole Anarcho-Crapitalist idea you describe has already been put in effect, under the American Constitution, with its systems of checks and balances and attempts to limit governmental reach. Unless you can make the argument that the current system is damaged beyond repair it is asinine to demand it be chucked out rather than re-tuned.

                      ALL government is fallible — it is, after all, comprised of people. Any system which does not use that fallibility to control against abuses is doomed to turn tyrannical, sooner rather than later; a system such as America’s balance of self-interests may, may, with care, survive several generations.

                      You can no more defeat the Human Condition than you can revoke Gresham’s law or escape Entropy — your only possibility is restraining the forces in play.

                    • Josh A. Kruschke

                      RES,

                      A State is comprised of A government that controls land and has a cultraly simualer people that claims Sovereignty over all other groups and governing bodies uder it; clames a monoply on force as a means to enforce rulings on those under it.

                      A sphincter is a hole but not holes are sphincters.

                      Last one I promis turning of my phone.

                    • Your statement about what constitutes a state fails to distinguish it from a government.

                      It is also invalidly narrow. Max Weber’s definition is definitely not universally (nor even authoritatively) accepted.

                      There is no academic consensus on the most appropriate definition of the state. The term “state” refers to a set of different, but interrelated and often overlapping, theories about a certain range of political phenomena. The act of defining the term can be seen as part of an ideological conflict, because different definitions lead to different theories of state function, and as a result validate different political strategies.

                      The most commonly used definition is Max Weber’s, 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. General categories of state institutions include administrative bureaucracies, legal systems, and military or religious organizations.

                      Weber’s definition of state places empirical characteristics such as a legal monopoly on force and territory as key factors for a group to form a state. However other theorists such as international scholars give priority to the juridical rather than the empirical attributes of statehood. For example, Ian Brownlie, a British legal scholar, describes the state as a legal person, recognized by international law, with the following attributes: (a) a defined territory, (b) a permanent population, (c) an effective government, and (d) independence, or the right “to enter into relations with other states. Such definitions reflect the importance of jurisprudence and international law over empirical attributes. Many groups like the Kurds in Iraq, Abkhazians and South Ossetians are considered stateless nations, therefore do not gain the rights of states such as membership in the United Nations. In contrast, many developing countries lack many empirical attributes of Weber’s definition, even a monopoly of force, yet they persist as members of the international society of states.

                      According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a state is “a an organized political community under one government; a commonwealth; a nation. b such a community forming part of a federal republic, esp the United States of America”.

                      Confounding the definitional problem is that “state” and “government” are often used as synonyms in common conversation and even some academic discourse. According to this definitional schema, the states are nonphysical persons of international law, governments are organizations of people. The relationship between a government and its state is one of representation and authorized agency.
                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_(polity)

                      You should stop digging.

                    • Jordan S. Bassior

                      And yes, this was a stupid long-term move for you, because your hired hand is now dead and you can’t hire him again. You also may acquire a bad reputation as a boss.

                      Does any of this enable the hired hand to spring back to life?

              • Jordan S. Bassior

                Indeed. A government that rules you will tax you once, and try to keep the level of taxation sustainable — at a point where you can still survive. In an anarchy with roaming brigands, even if Brigand A is merciful and just takes a little cash, Brigand B may take all your crops, and Brigand C may torture you to death because you didn’t give him anything after Brigands A and B took everything you had. This is hardly just theoretical — this is how life works and has worked, often, in the wake of major governmental collapses.

    • Josh,
      When has any society ever managed to teach its youth morality and to be virtuous? Heckfire, most can barely be taught to wipe their bums!

      And once taught (miracle dieu!) how do we teach the next generation? As Yossarian replied: “Then I’d be a damn fool to think any differently.”

      • Josh A. Kruschke

        RES,

        I guess we’re just left watering the tree.

        😦

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Yeah, I’m all for “needing to teach the children well” there will always be youths who reject the message and there’s always the problem of being unable to “live up to the message”.

        Of course, there’s also the problem of “does everybody in the society agree about what should be taught”.

        • Josh A. Kruschke

          Paul,

          This where Parents come into the equation and often fall short on their responsibilities.

          😦

          • Even good parents cannot make their children civilized; they can only offer the teaching, just as bad parents cannot make their children be likewise.

            Free will happens.

            • Josh A. Kruschke

              Foxfier,

              The problem isn’t they fail. It’s they don’t even try.

              • Josh, that doesn’t make sense.

                You say it’s a matter of kids not being taught to be moral and virtuous, RES points out that teaching kids to be moral and virtuous has a history of failure as long as we’ve got records, Paul points out that there will always be kids who reject the message, you say that’s where parents come in, I clarify the point that no quality of parents can MAKE kids be ‘good,’ and you come out of left field saying that it’s not a matter of teaching kids to be good?

                I think you lost the chain of conversation.

                • Josh A. Kruschke

                  Foxfier,

                  Yes, their no guaranties in life but one. The point is to try, that is the responsibility of the Parent. To Try!

                  Your more likely to get the result you are looking for if you put in some effort.

                  If it doesn’t matter, because the kids can reject any instruction then why are we bitching and worried about the Lefts control of the public education system?

                  There is some truth that youth are rejecting the left, but if OWS is they are rejecting it for Social Anarchy.

                  That really would turn us into a feral society.

                  “One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen.”

                  – Robert A. Heinlein

                  • Josh,
                    No one is going to convince anyone. Stand down or we don’t introduce you to the respectable cousins. (You’d have to read the comments to Sunday’s post to get that. Might not hurt you. Give your mind a different toy.)

                  • Josh, please bother to read what I actually said, not what you expect to read.

                    Your theory requires everyone to have a quality which cannot be transmitted at 100%; you’ve somehow shifted over to insisting that conditions aren’t optimal for it, rather than answering the problem that even in the absolute best conditions it does not transmit at 100%.

  17. Pingback: What we have in the commons…. | Be Swift, Be Precise

  18. From above
    RES commented on The Tragedy of the Commons and Society – Bill Reader.

    in response to wyrdbard:

    And still you have not proposed one way these little governments that have no power will NOT get crushed by something stronger.

    Nor how it differs from the concept of mumble* as embedded in the US Constitution. Nor why it is necessary to reinvent this particular wheel rather than replace some of the spokes and change the rim.

    *Catholic term escapes memory, regarding decentralization of power; in this instance it anticipates strong local government, middlin’ state government and weak federal government.

    Subsidiarity?

    Basically, “do things at the lowest practical level.”

    Being a prudential thing, it mostly just has folks yelling at each other when it’s brought into a debate, but it’s a very important principle.

    • “Subsidiarity?”

      Jah, danke schoen.

      Such principles have the advantage of being important, simple and dispositive, which is why so many people avoid them when engaging in online argument.

  19. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Ok, this a general comment (not responding to a specific poster).

    Some Libertarians talk a lot about “private security forces”/”private protection forces” and talk about “no monopoly of use of force by the State”.

    IMO the problem with “private protection forces” is authority or better said “legitimate authority”.

    Generally, society sees that a property owner has the “legitimate authority” to question “why are you on my property” or to say “you can’t do that on my property”.

    Thus a private protection force working for the property owner is acting as an agent of the property owner and thus has the same legitimate authority as the owner when they are acting on the property owned.

    Thus a “Mall Cop” has legitimate authority on Mall property but lacks legitimate authority outside Mall property.

    Then we come to “private protection forces” acting in the “common” area of a community.

    If a traffic cop wants me to stop and pull over, I’d do so because he has the legitimate authority to ask me to do so. His reasons to ask me to do so may be “in error” but he still has the legitimate authority.

    If I was driving in Colorado Springs and a member of the “Hoyt Protection Force” asks me to stop and pull over, it’d be reasonable to question his legitimate authority to do so.

    What happens when the “Hoyt Protection Force” tell me to stop and pull over but the “D’Almeida Protection Force” (also on the scene) tells me that I didn’t need to stop and pull over? Who do I obey?

    Going along with this, if a “private protection force” insist that they are the only “private protection force” to operate in a given area, do they flight it out with other “private protection forces” who want to operate there or is there a group with the “legitimate authority” to tell them “no you aren’t the only force” to operate there.

    I suspect everybody here won’t see a problem if a person hired a “private protection force” to assist in his right of self-defense (although we may wonder why he sees the need for a large force instead of just carrying a handgun).

    Yet what happens if the person decides that the “best defense is a strong offense” and uses his personal protection force to attack a person or group that he “thinks” threatens him? Who has the “legitimate authority” to tell him that he’s going too far?

    So far I’ve been talking mostly about “internal private protection forces”, but what about protection from external dangers?

    Can the “private protection force” compel actions by the community in order that the community is protected from an external foe?

    If there are several “private protections forces” all claiming to protect the community, which of the “private protection forces” has the legitimate authority to compel the community?

    Private protection forces can have a role in protection of people and the community from both internal threats and external threats, but there must be a Legitimate Authority that they must answer to.

    IMO that is the role of the Official Police and the Official Armed Forces.

    Hey where did this soap box come from????? [Very Big Grin]

    • Another issue about “Private protection forces”, which I have not seen addressed in either of the comment sections currently being swollen by this subject, but which I admit I may have missed, is what happens to those who won’t or can’t pay their share of the “insurance” premiums?

      Does the protection service merely choose not to protect those people? Do they force them to leave the community? Or do they come onto their property and take some of the person’s possessions of whatever approximate value they assign as being equivalent to their payment?

      If they refuse protection would they then be authorized to enter the property of that person? If not, what happens if someone commits a crime and then goes into the house of one of the unprotected to hide? Since they’re not being protected, does the protection service invade the home to capture the criminal? If so, why should the homeowner not meet this invasion with deadly force, since at the moment they are not legitimate in his eyes? Or, if they invade the home, and in the course of apprehending the criminal, manage to kill one of the homeowner’s family, would they be held at fault?

      If they try to force the person to leave the community, on what basis? It’s his property, after all. Yet, to avoid the complications in the above scenario, it may be necessary. And again, why should an attempt to remove them not be met with deadly force?

      The scenario of coming in and appropriating property equal to the value of the payment may be the least potentially damaging, yet that still opens up a huge can of worms, especially in the sense that the protection service may value items far lower than the property owner does.

      • Josh A. Kruschke

        Not Addressing this to anyone.

        The reason I have been linking to other authors Essays on AC is I’m having a hard time finding a balance between answering the question in as few words a possible while giving enough context to be understood and recreating all of the literature of AC thought. (P.S. like Jim.com he’s takent time to put all of the realivet peaces together.)

        Pual & Wayne,

        To answer your questions about Security Agencies general…

        1) They are business (Think how many different types of Burger Joints providing different levels of services and quality.) The best price is if you contract with them before hand.
        2)You can’t think of Security Agencies without including there counterpart Mediation firms. Security is inforcement & Protection. Mediators specializes in resolving desputs and determining aplicable Customary Law.
        3)If Security Agencies come into cunflict and they don’t already have an understanding between themselves can call in a mediator that specializes in resolving Security Agancy desputes.

        3) If the comunity want or finds a common area needs protection. They can set up a Non or Not for profet entity Authorized to mantain up keep. Think PBS, St. Johns Hospital, Girl-Scoots…

        Here something I’ve been working on. 

        This modeled off of sports teams and leagues.

        Turn national defense into the National Past Time.

        Have junior leagues, Anature or retired leagues, Simi-Professional Individual comunity Militias put forth a Mascot team that generates revinue that suports the Militia and I believe that the ‘National’ standing deffense force a league of it’s own.

        Each Army would field a smaller Army to war Game televised to support the larger Army.  There could be sponsors

        • “If Security Agencies come into cunflict and they don’t already have an understanding between themselves can call in a mediator that specializes in resolving Security Agancy desputes.”

          Why?

          Who would make them if they refused?

          • Josh A. Kruschke

            Mary,

            Can you tell my why they would not?

            To answer your question; No One, but the alternative is war, and you will have too determine if what you will gain will cover the cost in life, equipment, damage property and reputation if taken that far.

            The only people I know of that think war is a good first option are those who have never been in one or don’t care if they die because they believe they will get a reward in the next life.

            War is one of those options that comes into play after you exhaust all other options and the prize hast to be worth it.

            War is an all or nothing endeavor.

            Security Companies are also not fighting for personal honor. They also have other clients to think about.

            So! Why not?…  call in a third party mediator.

            I read the link. Lawyers make the law to complicated. There is a reason we have jury trials.

            😉

            Sorry, Sarah, I couldn’t help myself.

            • Jordan S. Bassior

              To answer your question; No One, but the alternative is war, and you will have too determine if what you will gain will cover the cost in life, equipment, damage property and reputation if taken that far.

              The only people I know of that think war is a good first option are those who have never been in one or don’t care if they die because they believe they will get a reward in the next life.

              History strongly suggests that your theory that nobody thinks of war as a “good first option” is false. There are several obvious reasons why this is false:

              (1) War against a foe who can’t fight back effectively can be good clean fun from the POV of sufficently callous warriors.

              (2) Usually war isn’t the “first option.” The “first option” is to demand the other side yield.

              (3) The people making the decision to fight are rarely the ones who are fighting under the bad conditions that make war not-fun.

              As for “cost” in reputation, that’s only if you lose or put up a poor fight. If you win and fight very effectively in the process, you have improved your reputation, especially if you live by being a mercenary fighter — which is how your Protective Services are living.

              • “It is too true, however disgraceful it may be to human nature, that nations in general will make war whenever they have a prospect of getting anything by it;” John Jay

                A fact alas well backed up by history.

  20. From Above

    In reply to:
    1) You are in a debate. You cannot, should not, and must not expect your opponent to make your arguments for you. It is incumbent on you to cite sources and make your own arguments. You may support your arguments with other works, but it is incumbent upon YOU to actually present those arguments.

    sharper13 | August 17, 2014 at 11:17 am |
    I’ll address your individual points (out of order), as you so politely summarized them for me:

    1. You actually seem to mean I’m not debating on your terms.

    No, she means that you’re not bothering to actually make arguments. You allude to where they could be found, eventually, and consistently fail to respond to the arguments the other person makes. You seem to much prefer dismissing them and suggesting people should have already read and accepted whatever it is that you’ve read and accepted, which does not work in a debate.

    Basically, you’re trying to instruct like a teacher or lecturer, not persuade people who are already informed on the subject and have actually the statements you commented to defend.

  21. I have just finished reading (and in many cases skimming: conservatives and libertarians can write *very* long comments!) the various inevitable arguments for and against anarcho-capitalism. I suppose this is to be expected, because as a so-called anarcho-capitalist myself, I couldn’t help but feel that the post was a tad anti-anarcho-capitalist…but I would like to make a few observations orthogonal to these debates, that even relate to this post!

    First, to be fair, anarcho-capitalists have a few things going for them, that communists do not: they respect life, liberty, and private property, and are supportive of the (individual) pursuit of happiness; they favor gradual conversion over mindless revolution, and indeed, realize that revolution to establish “anarcho-capitalism” would fail unless you have the hearts of the people in support of you; unlike communism, there have been societies, and in fact entire countries! where their approach has, to some degree or another, actually worked.

    To go back to the gradual conversion aspect: it was a weird day for me, when I realized that I could organize my own neighborhood representation society, show up at city councils on a regular basis, and actually get recognition from the City Council. I wish more libertarians in general realized we could do things like this! Oddly enough, I have the impression, though, that Libertarian Party types are convinced that we need to win the Presidency first, and then seats in the House and Senate, and then in the State government, and finally the local governments, when in order to succeed, they actually have everything backward: we need to win the local governments first, and then work up from there.

    Second, being an anarcho-capitalist and favoring strong borders isn’t exactly mutually exclusive. L. Neil Smith (as strong an anarcho-capitalist as I can imagine) once expressed a very strong preference for borders: after all, we need a way to keep Statists out of our hair! Whether we need a State to do this, or how that State might be organized, is a different matter entirely. It is a debate I don’t wish to embroil myself into at this time. :.)

    Third, I want to embrace everyone who comes here, legal or illegal, law-abiding or even criminal, and absorb them into our way of life. I really do! If I had my way, I would welcome every person into our country, hand them a pamphlet or a book describing how this is the greatest country on Earth, you could do anything if you work hard and find ways to serve others, avoid welfare because it sucks out your soul, etc; heck, I would like to give this pamphlet to Californians and New Yorkers fleeing their States (particularly to places like Utah, Colorado, Florida, etc!). But we aren’t doing that, and that’s going to be a problem, because there’s going to be a tendency that everyone who comes here–particularly the illegals–are going to find themselves on the Government Teat, and become a part of the base that’s consolidating power for anti-government services.

    What’s worse–and this thought makes me sick–our Government is putting billboards in Mexico, advertising welfare benefits to those who come to the United States. And people who come to the United States illegally, seeking welfare benefits, aren’t going to be voting for the Party of Freedom and Cutting Benefits!

    And come to think about it, this is even worse than “the tragedy of the commons”. It’s as though our government is deliberately destroying our way of life, just so they could bend the needle of power a little bit towards giving more power to those who are already in power!

    • ” It’s as though our government is deliberately destroying our way of life, just so they could bend the needle of power a little bit towards giving more power to those who are already in power!”
      What do you mean “It’s as if.” It’s exactly what it is.
      As for Bill’s opinions — he has the same dream we all have. If he could find a way to make anarcho capitalism (the extreme form with no state) work, he’d do it. He and I have had HEATED arguments about HOW to privatize sidewalks (the need to do it being a given, okay?) It’s just… I still think the only way is to go to space. Oh, and have strong defenses.