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Anarchy v Minarchy

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Alex the Amused Posted: Sun, Dec 13 2009 2:14 PM

I'm having a debate with a friend of mine. I'm on the anarchy side. Does anybody have any comments on either of our points? Perhaps something one of us overlooked, a fallacy, some sort of jump in reasoning?

 

Alex House
An interesting thing I realized. If everybody has the same equal natural rights, then nobody has the right to claim anymore power then anybody else. There is no justification for anybody to acquire a monopoly on force, good intentions or bad. Secondly, government, by nature, grows. I would rather trust my security in what I can pay for in goldthen the wishes of any bureaucrat, judge, politician, or any government. If man is unable to exist without the threat of violence against each other, then man truly is not a rational being.

Care to make a rebuttal?
Yesterday at 8:44pm · Delete
The Friend:
Man is a rational being, but not all are moral rational beings. You will have the bad ones out there that would feel no remorse in initiating force any number of times. If there is no government, no laws, we would descend into nothing better than tribal warfare. A government using an objective code of rules that does not initiate non-retaliatory force for any reason is acceptable to me. The trick is to stop it from gaining power...
11 hours ago · Delete
Alex House
Alex House
How? And again, how does this group justify themselves having power. Do they have special rights? 

Secondly, what is wrong with hiring your own security? Security is a commodity just like anything else. I'd rather put trust in what my labor can buy over any governments idea of protection.

And really, no government would make us go into tribal warfare? The only thing keeping you from killing your neighbor is the threat of violence from the government? If man is capable of acting rationally, government is not needed (not to mention that it is immoral). If man was not capable of acting irrationally, government could not function anyway. The idea of anarchy=murder is just state induced indoctrination at best. 

"I'm perfectly trustworthy, but you better look out for that guy over there." That guys response to the same question: "I would never harm anybody, but you better watch out for that guy over there!"
11 hours ago · Delete
The Friend:
The government need not justify themselves. "Consent of the governed", goes a certain document based on the writings of John Locke. The man who wrote that was the last politician to have the point of view of "laissez-faire everything".

I never said there was anything wrong with hiring a private security force.

No government would certainly put us at risk. Think of the honest disagreements that take place each day. Think of the desperate criminal stealing and killing only for self-preservation. Think of the corrupt security force that could quickly move into an area and set up any sort of dictatorship they wish. Without an objective arbiter chosen based on a meritocratic method, these disputes could never be resolved. While there is bit more than a SWAT team keeping me from killing my neighbors, that doesn't necessarily mean everyone thinks that way.
11 hours ago · Delete
Alex House
Alex House
"I'm perfectly trust worthy, but my neighbor over there isn't".

Theres a simple solution to disagreements. Contracts with said security force. You want protection? Fine, don't X, or we will X.

A corrupt security force? Sounds lovely compared to a corrupt nationwide government, and less likely. 

Thirdly, governments nature is to grow. You can't contain it. It will never be as civil, as humane, as efficient, as moral, as anything compared to the free market.
56 minutes ago · Delete
The Friend:
A: "He stole my new car!"
B: "No I didn't! This is my car!"
A: "I'm hiring some people to take my car back."
B: "I'm hiring some people to keep your people from stealing my car!"
A: "I'm hiring some people to force your security out!"
B: "I'm hiring more security to make sure that doesn't happen!"

Tell me how that fight would ever end without some third party to investigate. A and B are sure they're right, so there's no way either of them would hire a detective.
15 minutes ago · Delete
Alex House
Alex House
Security forces making asses of themselves towards each other? Correct, that would be a very annoying problem. And I believe you mean A is sure its his car, and B is sure he stole it but doesn't want to admit that. You don't really accidentally steal cars.

So, we have two security forces that are about to go into full warfare, losing dozens of men and possibly millions of dollars, over one customer who hasn't even provided much evidence over this claim? And meanwhile, all their forces are being dragged off normal patrols, so the rest of the customers refuse to pay for a service they aren't receiving.

Warfare is not cost-effective. A man has moral issues with blowing up some guys house with no evidence or a person who doesn't even think about it twice would both be quite deterred by the loss of profit.

Now, when different governments clash over who owns property...
6 minutes ago · Delete
The Friend:
I mean A is certain the car is stolen, and B is certain he didn't. It doesn't matter who is correct for my purposes.
5 minutes ago · Delete
Alex House
Alex House
A rather interesting situation. B accidentally may or may not of stolen the car. Well, if either company can't get sufficient evidence, its in their interest to drop the claim, especially if it would end up in full war. Would be much more economical to negotiate with the parties involved. And I'm not sure how many people would want to hire a firm that considers who gets to the phone first to be sufficient evidence.

"Thats no law, thats just a sword. Happens I got one too"

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eliotn replied on Sun, Dec 13 2009 3:10 PM

Alex the Amused:
If there is no government, no laws, we would descend into nothing better than tribal warfare.

1. He assumes that law implies government, which is simply not true.

2. Non-sequitor assumption that lack of law implies tribal warfare.  It may or may not happen.

Alex the Amused:

The government need not justify themselves. "Consent of the governed", goes a certain document based on the writings of John Locke. The man who wrote that was the last politician to have the point of view of "laissez-faire everything".

The first claim is silly, do I not need to justify myself if I am the government?  Second, consent of the governed is icky, you should ask him to define consent.  The third statement appears to be a red herring.

Alex the Amused:

No government would certainly put us at risk. Think of the honest disagreements that take place each day. Think of the desperate criminal stealing and killing only for self-preservation. Think of the corrupt security force that could quickly move into an area and set up any sort of dictatorship they wish. Without an objective arbiter chosen based on a meritocratic method, these disputes could never be resolved. While there is bit more than a SWAT team keeping me from killing my neighbors, that doesn't necessarily mean everyone thinks that way.

1. He asserts that an objective arbiter/government is the only way to solve this.

2. If threat of force kept people from agressing, good defense solutions would incorporate this, such as PDAs.

 

 

Schools are labour camps.

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Thank you. I'l forward him this page. Any comments on my defense?

 

And heres the conversation up to date:

 

The Friend
Okay then, let's change the stakes a little bit. A and B are terminal cancer patients. A managed to obtain a cure for it, it does not matter what physical form the cure takes. A wakes up to find it missing, only to see B with a similar cure. B may have stolen it, then again, A may have accidentally destroyed or otherwise lost access to it and is trying to save himself by trying to obtain B's. Both parties could be certain that they are correct and the other is in the wrong, and this time, it is a matter of life and death. Sure, the security forces could realize the escalation and try to negotiate, but how would that work with two different security forces both trying to act as lawyers for their customer? Envision a courtroom where neither lawyer can properly object to anything.
about an hour ago · Delete
Alex House
Alex House
So, if its impossible to determine who stole this cure, how will your objective courts handle it? Secondly, what are the chances of a government getting to anything quickly?

And if there is literally no evidence in either direction, the security forces simply couldn't negotiate, and war isn't an option, so nothing would happen. 

A reasonable security force will win many more customers then a recklessly violent one, even if the company does occasionally have cases that end unfortunately.

Its also rather interesting that theres only one cure laying around, and that it can't be reproduced.
about an hour ago · Delete
Friend:
It's not necessarily impossible to determine what happened to the cure, maybe a third person C stole it from A and B is just an unfortunate bystander. It's just that A and B are so readily against each other that it would take an otherwise uninterested third party to properly check records to see if B purchased his cure, or to check A's garbage can. Also, this type of government would get around to it relatively quickly, as objective arbitrating is all it would do. Not a government as much as the ideal police force. Maybe an army if the neighboring countries aren't too receptive to the presence of a free market.
about an hour ago · Delete
Alex House
Alex House
If force is all thats keeping people from breaking into tribal warfare, then a court system must be very, very busy. Its quite possible for these patients to both die while the cure in question is in an evidence locker.

And a third uninterested party? Then why don't these two security firms both consult a third organization? Perhaps a group of private investigators, some form of consultants, anything as such.

None of this justifies government, but instead shows how government would be inferior, not to mention that rampant abuse of power that will occur with government over time.

"Thats no law, thats just a sword. Happens I got one too"

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Alex the Amused:
The Friend:
Man is a rational being, but not all are moral rational beings. You will have the bad ones out there that would feel no remorse in initiating force any number of times. If there is no government, no laws, 
1 - (i think this was already said) government does not equate law
2 - if there are bad people then why are people given power and control over others and it is ok for them to even initiate coercion upon others, and on top of it people vote them in to exercise this initiated physical aggression over others

"Do not put out the fire of the spirit." 1The 5:19
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Alex the Amused:
I'm having a debate with a friend of mine. I'm on the anarchy side. Does anybody have any comments on either of our points? Perhaps something one of us overlooked, a fallacy, some sort of jump in reasoning?
Other than his emotional appeals and blatant assertions which you've countered quite nicely: no.

 

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Knight_of_BAAWA:

Alex the Amused:
I'm having a debate with a friend of mine. I'm on the anarchy side. Does anybody have any comments on either of our points? Perhaps something one of us overlooked, a fallacy, some sort of jump in reasoning?
Other than his emotional appeals and blatant assertions which you've countered quite nicely: no.

 

Apparently, there is a down side to making a good argument. Theres less to talk about.

"Thats no law, thats just a sword. Happens I got one too"

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Sieben replied on Sun, Dec 13 2009 8:33 PM

Wow you know most people who ask for help on this forum don't know what they're talking about. Can I just say that so far you are doing quite a good job on him. Some things to point out:

Where you are losing:

He said there needs to be an objective law of the land. You don't really address this argument. There are two ways to go about addressing it: If people agree to the laws binding them, then they are legitimate even if they are not the same everywhere. For example I cannot swear on a christian forum and will be banned immediately. But I can swear on other forums, so there is no objective law. Is this a problem? No; because I have agreed to their rules by posting on their forums.

Alternatively you can say that a state is no guarantee of objectivity... just look at all the competing interpretations of law in America. I would say that there is less objectivity under state law than private law because the state has zero incentive to do anything for the general good. There are more laws written than any team of lawyers could ever read. The tax code is something like 125lbs. In a society where nobody knows what the rules are, there is chaos, and this is what we have right now.

The historic cases of private law like the law merchant yielded homogeneous and voluntary law. You can look it up somewhere on mises.

So objective law is possible under a state, but it isn't likely. It is also possible under anarchy that everyone will reach the same conclusions about law. But even if there were an objective standard for law, you would want people competing to interpret it better and better. Even very simple laws like the NAP are difficult to apply in weird circumstances.

Where you are winning:

Government will grow: Hammer this. Explain why it causes him to lose the argument. You just kind of say it but don't get any offense out of it. This is why he is ignoring it.

Private Firms will not do battle: Good defense. Now for offense. States are more likely to engage in conflict because they externalize their costs onto the citizenry. Nuff said.

Where you can go:

Ask him to point out specific historical examples of failed private law. If he can actually find one, research it to make sure there isn't something wierd about the region. Like Somalia is not what anarchy is supposed to look like for a good reason.

Ask him how he thinks he can check government, and even if you could, why would you want to risk it when failure is so catastrophic? Would he ever make a contract with someone else where they got to be judge in their own case?

Alex the Amused:
A rather interesting situation. B accidentally may or may not of stolen the car. Well, if either company can't get sufficient evidence, its in their interest to drop the claim, especially if it would end up in full war
Good response. But he's setting up a lose-lose scenario for you where no matter if the dispute is resolved for A or for B, there is a chance for injustice. Point out that grey area is a problem for any legal system, state or anarchical, and that you don't think government has very much incentive to even try to resolve these complex issues.

 

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Alex the Amused:
Apparently, there is a down side to making a good argument. Theres less to talk about.
The upside is the person will either STFU and quit bothering you about it because the person has no retorts, or will come to agree with you. I'm seeing nothing but win in either case.

 

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Ah, just beautiful Snowflake. A truly delicious amount of information. Excellent work! Sincerely, thank you.


Now, to figure out how to best modify my arguments...

"Thats no law, thats just a sword. Happens I got one too"

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eliotn replied on Sun, Dec 13 2009 9:56 PM

Snowflake:
I would say that there is less objectivity under state law than private law because the state has zero incentive to do anything for the general good.

sorry, but that is a non-sequitor.  Private law may try to be more or less objective than state law when it is implemented, it all depends on how people want their law interpreted.  Also, there needs to be a distinction between subjectivity between different law systems and within the same system.

Snowflake:
In a society where nobody knows what the rules are, there is chaos, and this is what we have right now.

People may not know the letters of every rule, but many have a general knowledge of the law.  Also, how much of the law you cite is actually enforced?  Can people get by when they ignore most of it?  This statement is an exaggeration of the truth.

I just wanted to clarify some errors that I noticed.

Schools are labour camps.

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Sieben replied on Mon, Dec 14 2009 7:38 AM

eliotn:
but that is a non-sequitor.
Maybe to rephrase: The state doesn't have any incentive to conform to a set of objective standards, like Justice or whatever.

eliotn:
Private law may try to be more or less objective than state law when it is implemented, it all depends on how people want their law interpreted
Objectivity is possible in both systems, but I think the private sector has a better chance at it.

eliotn:
Also, there needs to be a distinction between subjectivity between different law systems and within the same system.
Yes. Personally I don't take objective law too seriously. Any law is fine with me so long as its voluntarily agreed upon. Maybe this is my one objective law.

eliotn:
People may not know the letters of every rule, but many have a general knowledge of the law.  Also, how much of the law you cite is actually enforced?  Can people get by when they ignore most of it?  This statement is an exaggeration of the truth.
Well for day to day people, there is not very much uncertainty. You go into corporate law, tax law, patent law, then you start getting chaos. The mere fact that companies have to hire teams of lawyers reveals that common men are unable to follow these complex laws on their own.

This is insane! If I have a company, and everyone is trying their best to follow the law, we still probably do something illegal.

Oh well... thanks for your response. I get kind of annoyed too when people advocating what I believe in do it carelessly. Perhaps my rhetoric was too strong.

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FRIEND:
I must admit, I have been bouncing back and forth between minarchy and anarchy for some time, you very nearly have me convinced. Give me an example of how justice would be carried out in anarchy, step by step. Let's say a man robs a bank, what happens to him besides having the money returned to the bank by the bank's security once he has been tracked down?
2 hours ago · Delete
Alex House
Alex House
That depends, quite frankly, on the security force. One of the glories of anarchy is that you pick your security force, who you make contracts with, what nature your agreements will be of. This could play out in many different ways frankly.

The most expedient and clean route would be if that robber had a contract with the security force, or some other entity that if they robbed a bank, the money would be taken from them in addition to X reparations. I am unsure on what the morality of imprisoning a person would be.

There is indeed still a chance for injustice in any system. But in anarchy there is no giant centralized organization stealing from you or forcing you to follow its own idea of morality. You choose who you do business with, what you accept as tender, how to interact with others, and you control every aspect of your property. An interesting option lies in this actually. If a group got together, and decided that they would prefer a government of sorts, they could build a compound, give all the land to one leader, and that man, as leader, would be able to justifiably enact any law he wishes.

Anarchy, in short, is a clean slate. It allows every man to live to his maximum potential, to the farthest extent his nature allows him. He is the master of his own destiny.

I'l ask some blokes on the mises thread what they think of concerning the situation. The morality concerning punishment is still up in debate.
Mkay, thoughts on the issue at hand?

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AJ replied on Mon, Dec 14 2009 11:18 PM

Given where your friend is, I'd say this article would push him over the edge to anarchy. It also, importantly, explains why the better we can detail a justice system in anarchy, the more we argue for minarchy or central planning. So it's a situation where it's precisely because there are so many thorny questions to deal with that minarchy cannot work.

http://faculty.msb.edu/hasnasj/gtwebsite/MythWeb.htm

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AJ:

Given where your friend is, I'd say this article would push him over the edge to anarchy. It also, importantly, explains why the better we can detail a justice system in anarchy, the more we argue for minarchy or central planning. So it's a situation where it's precisely because there are so many thorny questions to deal with that minarchy cannot work.

http://faculty.msb.edu/hasnasj/gtwebsite/MythWeb.htm


I've only read about a 1/3rd of it so far, but I must say it is quite satisfactory. However, when he speaks of objective ruling he's referring specifically to ruling based on natural rights, which would be much harder to manipulate, in theory at least. Although I suppose in the declaration of independance we outlined natural rights that we said were being violated. Those were ignored almost immediately.

"Thats no law, thats just a sword. Happens I got one too"

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AJ replied on Tue, Dec 15 2009 9:55 AM

Yeah, I think you got the idea.

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You know I don't think we have ever got into a discussion about punishment specifically something like Block's 'reparations plus' theory or I *think* Roderick Long's 'Just reparations' [ I remember him saying in passing that equilibrating justice means returning the individual to the state he was before the crime took place ]

'Men do not change, they unmask themselves' - Germaine de Stael

 

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cpx replied on Wed, Dec 16 2009 6:19 AM

Personally, what kicked me over the edge was Hans-Hermann Hoppe. I would recommend you listen to his lecture series Economy, Society & History available here at mises. It's quite a lot of material, 15 hours spread over 10 lectures, but it's a magnificent treatise on the history of humanity. What defines us as humans, why property rights are natural rights, and why a coercive government is not needed in order to protect those rights. As I understand the argument, because they are completely natural to us, a monopoly on the arbitration of justice is not necessary in order to have a civil society.

But I think the most devastating argument he makes against the state comes in regard to common law. A common complaint about a society based on natural order (Hoppe's term for anarchy - has a nice ring to it doesn't it?) is that it would be impossible to achieve a system of laws that apply equally to everyone in society. But as justice would in effect be provided through insurance agencies, the market would eventually, as in all other cases on the market, homogenize, so to speak. That is, different insurance agencies would harmonize their contracts because it will simplify arbitration and thus make it more cost-effective for the agency. So even in a system completely devoid of any written law, the market is perfectly capable of providing arbitration of justice.

I could go on and on about this, because I think his work is so incredibly fascinating and revolutionary, and there's so much of it! :) There is much more to it than this, for instance how the time preference of justice arbitrators is affected based on whether they exist in a natural order society, a monarchy or a democracy. I think this is where he truly excels because he brings in the most fundamental concept of Austrian economic theory, time preference, and uses it to explain why it is more desirable to have a free market-based justice system than a monopolized one.

Sorry if I got lengthy, it's just a subject that excites me a lot :)

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VanDoodah replied on Fri, Dec 18 2009 2:14 PM

"...how does this group justify themselves having power? Do they have special rights?"

Governments are ELECTED. It's not a difficult concept to grasp. If you have a problem with democracy, then please feel free to go into more detail.

"Secondly, what's wrong with hiring your own security?"

Nothing. You are free to do so even in our current, rather illiberal society. However, not everyone can afford private security, so what you are proposing is actually security for the rich and the law of the jungle for everybody else.

"The only thing that keeps you from murdering your neighbour is the threat of violence from the government?"

No, but prison is certainly a major deterrent for me.

"The idea of anarchy=murder is just state-induced indoctrination at its best."

Somalia?

""I'm perfectly trustworthy, but look out for that guy over there.""

Yeah, there are no criminals in our society. They're a statist myth, right?

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VanDoodah:

Governments are ELECTED. It's not a difficult concept to grasp. If you have a problem with democracy, then please feel free to go into more detail.

Being elected doesn't mean that a politician actually represents someone. A better word for democracy is majoritarianism.

Some good stuff on this is Casey's The Indefensibility of Representation and the Hōppe fettschrift from Ch. 4/pg 235 of the PDF.

VanDoodah:
Nothing. You are free to do so even in our current, rather illiberal society. However, not everyone can afford private security, so what you are proposing is actually security for the rich and the law of the jungle for everybody else.

We can have private security to some extent (limited arms), but certainly not many aspects of private justice. States hold a monopoly on violence and justice. Purely arbitrary civil legislation creates uncertainty, as compared to more traditional forms of common law.

The Bill Gates/Hobbesian jungle fallacy is the overwhelmingly most common objection people have when faced with the subject of private security. These people would be trying to operate in the same manner as states, so the approach is the same.

 

 

Democracy means the opportunity to be everyone's slave.—Karl Kraus.

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Stranger replied on Fri, Dec 18 2009 5:44 PM

VanDoodah:

"The idea of anarchy=murder is just state-induced indoctrination at its best."

Somalia?

The prisoners of the Somali pirates are the best treated of any prisoners of any state. As far as I can tell they have not inflicted a single death so far.

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