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Anarchy is not an end in itself - the end is breaking the monopoly on law

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A GENERAL QUESTION:

 

Suppose you were given ten years to establish a libertarian community in some form.

How would you do it ?

 

A FEW ANECDOTES:

#1

I was working for a company and the manager of our department left and was replaced by a new manager.  The department had been losing money.  The new manager called everyone into his office and handed them each a sheet of paper.  On that paper was a business plan.  The business plan had various expenditures and incomes listed.  The total of all expenditures and incomes on the business plan resulted in a profit of one penny.

The idea was that if the business plan were carried out, the department would make a penny of profit.  I.e., in principle, the department would be profitable as opposed to unprofitable.

Our new manager explained that in the past, no one had actually sat down and devised a business plan that if it were carried out, would, in principle, result in profitability.   The previous manager had lots of "action items," and of course, each day was filled with various projects and with responding to various urgent matters ("putting out fires").  All these urgent actions, we had always implicitly assumed, had the goal of making money for the department.  But the department continued to lose money under the old manager. 

The new manager simply pointed out something that no one had realized until then:  there was actually no plan in place for profitability.

In other words, though all the actions our department were taking were urgent actions, none of them were designed so that if they were successfully carried out, a profit would result  !!

 

#2

It is common for beginners who have a great business idea to plan and envision every last detail of their business, except for the detail of how to sell their product to another person.   (I know this from experience)

They will spend days and weeks on elaborate marketing schemes, on choosing office furniture, on printing up stationery, on making lists of imaginary expenses that balance against imaginary incomes, and on finding the perfect office and warehouse location.    They will do all of these things first.

Then, once all the plans are made and the money is spent on all these things, and they are sitting in their newly rented office, they will come to the problem of how to actually sell their product to another person.

Unfortunately, selling the product to another person is probably the most important part of a business.  

The beginner with a grand business plan often makes the mistake of considering most important part of the business last, instead of first.

In effect, he acts as if selling the product to another person were the least essential aspect of his business, when in fact it is the most essential.

 

******

I think these anecdotes apply to the libertarian movement.

We all write blogs, articles, essays, and books, and we all debate and discuss.  We all have urgent "action items."

But are any of these action items actually designed so that if they are completed liberty will come about ?  Or are we just assuming liberty will result?

We also plan the grand details of a future libertarian society.   We plan all of the agencies and institutions this society will have, what their documents will say, who will interpret the documents, what the penalty will be for not following the rules, and who will administer the punishment.

We plan every single detail of this future except one:  how to actually obtain a state of liberty

We essentially plan the details of a future society under the implicit assumption that liberty has somehow emerged.   This has the effect of placing the question of how to actually attain a state of liberty as the last item for consideration (to be considered after all the details of the future society have been worked out in our plan) instead of the first item.

We don't have a credible plan for liberty.  We have daily action items which we assume will result in liberty.  But obviously this procedure needs to be questioned, since our action items continue to be completed (the books and manuscripts are piling high), but yet no liberty is emerging.

And what we do have that we consider a plan, is an intricate working out of all the details of an imaginary future society, that places the question of how to actually attain a state of liberty as the last item for consideration.

I submit that this is the reason liberty fails to materialize and statism continues to advance.

Libertarian minds are focused on the wrong problems and aimed in the wrong direction.

So the question is:

Suppose you were given ten years to establish a libertarian community in some form.

How would you do it ?

"It would be preposterous to assert apodictically that science will never succeed in developing a praxeological aprioristic doctrine of political organization..." (Mises, UF, p.98)

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Adam,

Good post man.  Before, I wasn't trying to play contrarian, I was genuinely confused, that's all.

As to an answer to your general question,  I think amassing non-monetary capital, and manipulating the extant political systems, and becoming an example of freedom in action are the keys to independence.  In short, grow a victory garden, buy property, run for office, and get to know your neighbors.

"What Stirner says is a word, a thought, a concept; what he means is no word, no thought, no concept. What he says is not what is meant, and what he means is unsayable." - Max Stirner, Stirner's Critics
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Jackson LaRose:

Uh, maybe, I'm still a bit confused about what you are proposing.

Not operating outside the framework of the state (like any business or club, or church, or non-profit)

Yet distinct from all of those pre-existing entities by operating independent of the state?

Jackson:

Paraphrasing your reply here, then something like this:

"Not operating outside the framework of the state on all issues..."

"Yet operating independent of the state on one or a few voluntarily chosen issues...."

Going back to the example:

(I'm going to keep using this example until either I think of a better one or someone else does)

Simply for the sake of discussion (since the particular kind of community is less important than the principle at issue) let's assume that a large number of people begin billing one another by e-mail attachment for a penny an hour for intellectual services.

This will be (will constitute) an independent wage and trade agreement reached voluntarily, independent of the existing compulsory wage and trade rules.

This will be (will constitute) an independent community.

If this were done, it actually would be a libertarian community.

I'm trying to get people to realize this.

 

*****

Once this is done, then things can evolve and grow from there.  The next issue can be addressed.  But then, things will be evolving from a situation where there is an actual libertarian community.

Now, debate and discussion, book and essay writing, can all occur in an atmosphere where there is an actual libertarian community to refer to, to debate and discuss, and to write about.

Then we can have meaningful discussions and exchanges with statists and other anti-voluntarists.

 

****

Again, maybe this idea is faulty in some way.  Maybe some other way is better. 

The idea is to somehow establish a libertarian community.

 

"It would be preposterous to assert apodictically that science will never succeed in developing a praxeological aprioristic doctrine of political organization..." (Mises, UF, p.98)

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Adam Knott:

Simply for the sake of discussion (since the particular kind of community is less important than the principle at issue) let's assume that a large number of people begin billing one another by e-mail attachment for a penny an hour for intellectual services.

This will be (will constitute) an independent wage and trade agreement reached voluntarily, independent of the existing compulsory wage and trade rules.

This will be (will constitute) an independent community.

If this were done, it actually would be a libertarian community.

I'm trying to get people to realize this.

I understand the premise, and this is illegal.  Communities such as this already exist.  Take for instance the thriving "under the table" labor offers, (formerly) prostitution, and barter community on Craigslist.  And as these communities grow and begin to make some actual waves, the state becomes more aware of the threat to their hegemony, and the are stopped, as Craigslist is beginning to, or Napster was.  Take the recent imprisonment of the founders of Pirate Bay.  As far as I'm concerned, this was just as much about the state feeling ignored or threatened than about protecting the IP of businesses.  I think this is why AJ mentioned civil disobedience a few posts back, because that's what this proposal is, essentially.  Call me a pessimist, but I think as soon as a community like this is large enough to matter, it will be snuffed out.  This may be cowardice, but I am already miserable living as a "free" person, I would really hate to be thrown in jail!

I prefer bending laws to overtly breaking them.  Staying squeaky clean helps to prevent the state from concocting some BS to nail you (Capone and tax evasion?).  Get in office, repeal as many laws as possible.  Let the people experience freedom, and if we are right, the statists will have a hell of a time bringing those laws back.

 

 

 

"What Stirner says is a word, a thought, a concept; what he means is no word, no thought, no concept. What he says is not what is meant, and what he means is unsayable." - Max Stirner, Stirner's Critics
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Jackson LaRose:

Adam Knott:

Simply for the sake of discussion (since the particular kind of community is less important than the principle at issue) let's assume that a large number of people begin billing one another by e-mail attachment for a penny an hour for intellectual services.

This will be (will constitute) an independent wage and trade agreement reached voluntarily, independent of the existing compulsory wage and trade rules.

This will be (will constitute) an independent community.

If this were done, it actually would be a libertarian community.

I'm trying to get people to realize this.

I understand the premise, and this is illegal.  Communities such as this already exist.  Take for instance the thriving "under the table" labor offers, (formerly) prostitution, and barter community on Craigslist.  And as these communities grow and begin to make some actual waves, the state becomes more aware of the threat to their hegemony, and the are stopped, as Craigslist is beginning to, or Napster was.  Take the recent imprisonment of the founders of Pirate Bay.  As far as I'm concerned, this was just as much about the state feeling ignored or threatened than about protecting the IP of businesses.  I think this is why AJ mentioned civil disobedience a few posts back, because that's what this proposal is, essentially.  Call me a pessimist, but I think as soon as a community like this is large enough to matter, it will be snuffed out.  This may be cowardice, but I am already miserable living as a "free" person, I would really hate to be thrown in jail!

I prefer bending laws to overtly breaking them.  Staying squeaky clean helps to prevent the state from concocting some BS to nail you (Capone and tax evasion?).  Get in office, repeal as many laws as possible.  Let the people experience freedom, and if we are right, the statists will have a hell of a time bringing those laws back.

Jackson:

OK  I won't argue with your preferences.  Before, you were saying you didn't understand.  Now, you're outlining all the reasons why you personally wouldn't want to take any concrete steps toward a libertarian society that weren't approved of by those who are explicit that they do not want to see a libertarian society.

Then I think we're back to square one.  There are things that are allowed (voting, book writing, debating, etc..), and there are things that are not allowed (various voluntary communities such as we've been discussing).   You and I can't work for one another for $4 per hour.

Your plan for liberty is, taking those forms of action that are fully approved and vetted by those who are explicit that they don't want to see a libertarian society, and from these, working toward a libertarian society.

You are basically saying you want to vote your way to liberty.

Going back to a point I made with AJ, the example I'm using assumes that one has already reached the conclusion that for structural reasons, it is highly unlikely that a person or a group of people can vote their way to liberty.

If we can write more books and have more debates, and then eventually vote ourselves into liberty, that sounds like an attractive and "risk free" plan.  Maybe something like that can happen.  If that can happen, why would any reasonable and peaceful person be against it?

The kinds of suggestions I'm making are based on the assumption that the forms of "allowable" behavior are somewhat crafted to prevent liberty from emerging.

And what I conclude from this is not that anyone become mad, hostile, hateful, or violent.  I conclude from this that the essential issue we are facing is whether or not the emergence of some nascent form of liberty will ever be "allowed".  

Maybe statist society will be dedicated to preventing liberty from emerging by altering the allowable forms of action toward that end whenever necessary. 

Maybe when you get in office, if liberty begins to emerge that way, the allowable forms of action will simply be changed again.

Here in Washington state, the voters voted, by popular initiative, for limits on tax increases.  The other day, the governor simply overturned the law.

Anyway, this gets into the whole debate about democracy which I assume most of us should be familiar with by now.  Please let's not debate whether democracy can turn itself into liberty.

My point is, assuming it can't, then what are the possibilities?   What can be done peacefully and consistent with libertarian principles?

(and, incidentally, I don't consider voting on the laws that bind strangers to be peaceful or consistent with libertarian principles).

Will we be content to be the chroniclers of the decline of our civilization?

Or will we exhaust every possible path and route that is peaceful to try to change the course of things?

My personal preference is this:

When someone asks me why I didn't do anything to change the situation, I am not going to reply to that person:

"I wanted to, but all the things I could think to do weren't allowed."

 

 

 

 

"It would be preposterous to assert apodictically that science will never succeed in developing a praxeological aprioristic doctrine of political organization..." (Mises, UF, p.98)

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Adam Knott:
OK  I won't argue with your preferences.  Before, you were saying you didn't understand.

I didn't realize that civil disobedience was what all that you were advocating initially.  Sorry for the confusion.

Adam Knott:
Now, you're outlining all the reasons why you personally wouldn't want to take any concrete steps toward a libertarian society that weren't approved of by those who are explicit that they do not want to see a libertarian society.

Yes, because even if we manage to solve 1,000 of the 10,000 issues in the way of freedom those who explicitly do not want a libertarian society will stop you at problem 9,000.  There is precedence for this sentiment (Waco, Ruby Ridge, the ones I referenced above).  Like or not, those with the biggest guns set the rules.  To not abide by them is eventual suicide.

Adam Knott:

Your plan for liberty is, taking those forms of action that are fully approved and vetted by those who are explicit that they don't want to see a libertarian society, and from these, working toward a libertarian society.

You are basically saying you want to vote your way to liberty.

Yes, but it is also important to act as a subversive influence.  Take growing your own tobacco for instance, or brewing your own beer.  If more people began to do this, the state would lose revenue.  I think self-sufficiency is one of the best methods I've considered for smashing the state apparatus.  I'm also OK with some civil disobedience, but it must be on a small enough scale to "fly under the radar" of the state.  Ultimately though, the only recourse I can come up with to remove the state is by utilizing the state's existing power structure against it via the electoral process.  Like Roderick Long says, it's sort of like flying into the Death Star to blow it up.

Adam Knott:
The kinds of suggestions I'm making are based on the assumption that the forms of "allowable" behavior are somewhat crafted to prevent liberty from emerging.

I would totally agree.  The way I see it, this indicates exactly why hijacking the legislative process is so vital.  You have to change the current paradigm of allowable behavior.  I just don't see how direct opposition can achieve that.

Adam Knott:

Maybe statist society will be dedicated to preventing liberty from emerging by altering the allowable forms of action toward that end whenever necessary. 

Maybe when you get in office, if liberty begins to emerge that way, the allowable forms of action will simply be changed again.

This is very true, but I think the state would loose a tremendous amount of credibility if they were to suddenly change the rules to suit their cause.  One of the greatest strategic moves of the state was to convince the population that the bureaucrats are the servants of the citizenry.  It is also a gamble though, because now they have to maintain that illusion by paying it lip-service.  If they were to suddenly and abruptly discard that lie, than they would have to deal with massive dissent.  Americans love the concept of freedom, no matter how perverted it becomes in the hands of the state.

Adam Knott:
Here in Washington state, the voters voted, by popular initiative, for limits on tax increases.  The other day, the governor simply overturned the law.

LOL, maybe I give the masses too much credit.  Is there any fallout resulting from that?

Adam Knott:
My point is, assuming it can't, then what are the possibilities?   What can be done peacefully and consistent with libertarian principles?

Maybe we could all quit our jobs, and drag the state down under our weight?

Adam Knott:
(and, incidentally, I don't consider voting on the laws that bind strangers to be peaceful or consistent with libertarian principles).

Yeah, it probably isn't, but hey, I don't really care about strangers anyways!

Adam Knott:
Will we be content to be the chroniclers of the decline of our civilization?

If you have guns and food, you can carry the torch of liberty until after the state rends itself apart.

Adam Knott:

When someone asks me why I didn't do anything to change the situation, I am not going to reply to that person:

"I wanted to, but all the things I could think to do weren't allowed."

A bit dramatic, but I see what you are saying.  When someone asks me why I didn't do anything to change the situation, I'll reply,

"Why didn't you?"

I'm not saying it's right, but I value living an imperfect life over martyrdom for a perfect one.

 

 

"What Stirner says is a word, a thought, a concept; what he means is no word, no thought, no concept. What he says is not what is meant, and what he means is unsayable." - Max Stirner, Stirner's Critics
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AJ replied on Thu, Mar 4 2010 3:39 PM

Adam Knott:

I'm referring to the general principle that each time a voluntary society is formed the state takes action.

There are a lot of voluntary societies that the state takes no action against, but apparently you mean voluntary societies that actually break state laws. If so, you'd be defining "voluntary society" to mean a group of people agreeing to ignore (and therefore sometimes violate) state laws. In short, a group of people that break state laws. Hence the above sentence would read, "I'm referring to the general principle that each time a group that breaks state laws is formed the state takes action."

Unless I'm misunderstanding you, the general principle seems to be simply that the state enforces its laws.

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Jackson:

I strongly disagree with your general notions.

I consider Rosa Parks and the civil rights movement to be exemplary, and I think they disprove what you say.

 

*****

"When someone asks me why I didn't do anything to change the situation, I'll reply:

"Why didn't you?"

 

Then that will be one perplexed ten year old living in a socialist paradise.

 

 

 

"It would be preposterous to assert apodictically that science will never succeed in developing a praxeological aprioristic doctrine of political organization..." (Mises, UF, p.98)

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Adam Knott:
I consider Rosa Parks and the civil rights movement to be exemplary, and I think they disprove what you say.

Sure, but you have to remember what happened to Rev. King when he began to question the government outright, rather than simply beg for equal treatment compared to the white thralls.

Adam Knott:
Then that will be one perplexed ten year old living in a socialist paradise.

If he's smaller than me, I'd probably shove him too.

"What Stirner says is a word, a thought, a concept; what he means is no word, no thought, no concept. What he says is not what is meant, and what he means is unsayable." - Max Stirner, Stirner's Critics
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AJ:

Adam Knott:

I'm referring to the general principle that each time a voluntary society is formed the state takes action.

There are a lot of voluntary societies that the state takes no action against, but apparently you mean voluntary societies that actually break state laws. If so, you'd be defining "voluntary society" to mean a group of people agreeing to ignore (and therefore sometimes violate) state laws. In short, a group of people that break state laws. Hence the above sentence would read, "I'm referring to the general principle that each time a group that breaks state laws is formed the state takes action."

Unless I'm misunderstanding you, the general principle seems to be simply that the state enforces its laws.

AJ:

If we're talking about a situation where there are coexisting communities, then why is it necessary to only refer to the "laws" of  only one of them, when discussing the fact that the two sets of laws are inconsistent?

In other words, if those in community A are in violation of the laws of those in community B, then why aren't those in community B in violation of the laws of community A in the case where those in community B initiate an action against those in community A?

In the quote of mine you provide, the emphasis is more on the idea that a voluntary community exists, and outsiders initiate some action against it.

Then, when you address the same issue, your emphasis is in terms of the coercive state as community, and the voluntary community as outsiders.

That is, your emphasis is on people breaking the laws of the state, with no corresponding emphasis on the state breaking the laws of the voluntary community.

Do you intend to make a value judgment on the ethical or moral superiority of one community versus the other?

 

 

"It would be preposterous to assert apodictically that science will never succeed in developing a praxeological aprioristic doctrine of political organization..." (Mises, UF, p.98)

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Jackson LaRose:

Adam Knott:
I consider Rosa Parks and the civil rights movement to be exemplary, and I think they disprove what you say.

Sure, but you have to remember what happened to Rev. King when he began to question the government outright, rather than simply beg for equal treatment compared to the white thralls.

Have you considered the implications of what you've just written, and you are willing to stand with this?

 

 

"It would be preposterous to assert apodictically that science will never succeed in developing a praxeological aprioristic doctrine of political organization..." (Mises, UF, p.98)

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AJ replied on Thu, Mar 4 2010 4:37 PM

Adam,

We were discussing whether the fact that your proposal is risky automatically means it is advancing liberty, or if it could just be risky and not advance liberty. Nothing about value judgments, only the question of material risks faced by members. Here again is the context of my comments above:

Adam Knott:
The point I was driving at was that it's only risky due to the fact that people believe libertarianism is being advanced.

We only call it something risky because we realize the situation: that libertarianism would be advanced, and that some people might try to stop it.

In your post you state that people will perhaps want to avoid risk, especially if they don't believe libertarianism is being advanced. 

But if libertarianism isn't being advanced, why would they believe there was risk ?

You seemed to abstract these ideas into this principle:

Adam Knott:

I'm referring to the general principle that each time a voluntary society is formed the state takes action.

I am simply saying that - given the sense in which you seem to be using the term "voluntary society" (i.e., only those that break state laws count) - this is tantamount to saying that the state enforces its laws, which seems uncontroversial. 

Being a member of a voluntary society that breaks state laws is risky not because it's a voluntary society, but only because it entails breaking state laws. You seem to be implying

(1) that the "voluntary society" aspect of your proposal entails additional risk (above and beyond the lawbreaking involved), and

(2) that this risk is proof that it is advancing libertarianism.

I don't see how either is the case, except perhaps at some point when and if this movement were to gain momentum. Hence how the movement would gain momentum seems to me the critical argument to be made, yet you have avoided that perhaps out of the desire not to make concrete speculations. Once again I ask, how do you get around that dilemma? I threw out some possible ideas on how above, but I'm interested in your take.

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Adam Knott:
Have you considered the implications of what you've just written, and you are willing to stand with this?

I dunno, are they dire?  I was merely relating why the civil rights movement isn't the greatest example of challenging the state monopoly outright and succeeding.

"What Stirner says is a word, a thought, a concept; what he means is no word, no thought, no concept. What he says is not what is meant, and what he means is unsayable." - Max Stirner, Stirner's Critics
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AJ:

Being a member of a voluntary society that breaks state laws is risky not because it's a voluntary society, but only because it entails breaking state laws.

 

You seem to be implying

(1) that the "voluntary society" aspect of your proposal entails additional risk (above and beyond the lawbreaking involved), and

(2) that this risk is proof that it is advancing libertarianism.

AJ:

I think we may have a simple difference of opinion here.

Recall my previous post:

If we take a series of voluntary associations that libertarians might form, not limited to my example, and if we take a series of actions that the state might conceivably take, each action referring to a specific law, then we would have something like this:

Libertarians establish voluntary association A.......The state takes action based on law W.

Libertarians establish voluntary association B.......The state takes action based on law X.

Libertarians establish voluntary association C......The state takes action based on law Y.

Libertarians establish voluntary association D......The state takes action based on law Z.

 

I'm trying to say something like, that the general principle involved is not breaking this or that law.  The general principle is doing something that another person doesn't want you to do.

There are various ways a person can try to prevent another person from doing that which he doesn't want him to do.  Enacting a law is only one means.  Other possible means could be simply physically restraining someone, morally shaming someone, killing someone, etc...

Thus I disagree with your characterization of the situation.

The general principle involved in statism is that a group of people A try not to allow another group B to do, that which group B wants to do.

If A could do this simply by nodding their head, waving a wand, or by moral persuasion alone, they may use those means.  Since they believe those means are ineffective, then they enact laws backed by the threat of force.

The general principle involved is one person's (A's) will that another person (B) not do what B himself wills, but instead what A wills.

The particular means of A are accidental, concrete, changeable, etc...

So with respect to what you write above:

You seem to be implying

(1) that the "voluntary society" aspect of your proposal entails additional risk (above and beyond the lawbreaking involved), and

(2) that this risk is proof that it is advancing libertarianism.

***

Yes, that is correct.

What I am arguing for and trying to illustrate, is that establishing a libertarian society will likely entail B (the libertarian) doing something that A (the statist) does not want him to do.   That is the general principle.  That is where the risk comes from.  It comes from A being upset, angry, mad, unhappy, etc., about what B is doing or plans to do.

You can see this easily, because A only gets angry when he doesn't want a particular law broken (when he doesn't want a particular thing done by B).  In cases where A doesn't care whether a particular law is broken (when he doesn't care whether B does the thing in question), he doesn't get angry with B, and thus takes no actions to enforce the law.

In other words, A is not primarily interested in what is written on a piece of paper in some building somewhere.  A is primarily concerned with what B is doing, and whether or not that accords with A's wishes.  That is the essential issue, not words in books.

Thus, the risk is in trespassing the will of another, not in breaking a law per se.    The risk is in doing what someone doesn't want you to do, not from doing something different than what is written somewhere.

And thus, in a political context, B doing that which A does not want him to do, is establishing a "risky" principle:

I.e., that B can and will do that which A does not want him to do.

(and, for libertarians, this always means peaceful exchange, voluntary cooperation, etc...)

It is risky because it is believed by B to trespass A's will.

It is risky by virtue of the presupposition involved: that A doesn't want me to do this thing.

Doing something is 'risky' based on the presupposition that A doesn't want me to do it.

Therefore, in doing X, I am automatically changing from a situation wherein I believe I am "safely" within the boundaries of A's will (and thus he will not be angry with me), to a situation where I assume I am "dangerously" outside the boundaries of A's will (and thus he will be angry with me).

 

So yes, as I am trying to argue, in a political context, the 'risk' associated with the voluntary community in the example, is proof, in principle, that a libertarian society is formed, since it is the establishment of a voluntary community as against the assumed will of another.

It is only risky because we assume it goes beyond the boundaries of what A wants.    What is written somewhere is of secondary concern, and is not the essential issue.

So my reasoning, and the example(s) I'm providing, are based on this.

They are based on the assumption that A (the statist) will not want B (the libertarian) to form a voluntary community.

If that is the case, and as long as that holds, then, what are our options?

 

****

 

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"In my opinion, Panarchism is primarily concerned with a political reality in which some or even most people do not want other people to have a political arrangement different from their own.  In other words, I view Panarchism as obligated to solve the problem of political change and political evolution in the case where some or most people subscribe to a monopolistic conception of government.  They subscribe to a monopolistic conception of government because this is the level of political development they have been able to attain (as our own conceptions of libertarianism or Panarchism constitute the level of political development we have been able to attain).  In my approach, each person’s political beliefs are assumed valid (for himself) and I assume that people’s political convictions will not change in the near future.

So my vision of Panarchism begins by assuming at least two incompatible political philosophies, and I assume that in the foreseeable future our culture will be one in which political monopolism and geographically based government will be the dominant culture.  I do not address a political future in which Panarchy might be “allowed” or agreed upon by a majority.  Proceeding from these assumptions then, I conceive of Panarchy more in terms of an ethical program or political technique, and less in terms of an envisioned legal structure. 

I believe this way of approaching things is appropriate.  Because if we are pursuing a theory of individual political choice, then we are pursuing a theory where the concrete structure of society is the result of individual choices, and not the result of a theorist’s social vision.  Thus, I don’t consider it my task to outline the structure of a future society.  Instead, I view my task as demonstrating that a different political future is possible in principle, and that it is possible to achieve it by adhering to a consistent libertarian or individualist ethic."


 

"It would be preposterous to assert apodictically that science will never succeed in developing a praxeological aprioristic doctrine of political organization..." (Mises, UF, p.98)

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AJ replied on Thu, Mar 4 2010 7:19 PM

Adam Knott:

It is risky because it is believed by B to trespass A's will.

...

So my reasoning, and the example(s) I'm providing, are based on this.

They are based on the assumption that A (the statist) will not want B (the libertarian) to form a voluntary community.

If B and C agree to work for each other below minimum wage, the primary risk is harm from the agents of the state, not from statist civilians (A). (Is this really controversial?) Moreover, the agents of the state will do it perfunctorily, usually even if they don't personally object to the civil disobedience, and even if no one else generally cares.

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AJ:

If B and C agree to work for each other below minimum wage, the primary risk is harm from the agents of the state, not from statist civilians (A). (Is this really controversial?) Moreover, the agents of the state will do it perfunctorily, usually even if they don't personally object to the civil disobedience, and even if no one else generally cares.

AJ:

OK  Now we've subtly changed the scenario, and we're talking about agents that have been dispatched to execute an order.

We're no longer talking about forming a voluntary community against the assumed wishes of another person.

Here, the assumed action is not "forming a voluntary community" but "dealing with some agents."

But again, within the context of such a face-to-face meeting, the only social risk A faces is if  B doesn't want him to do what he is doing or is planning to do. 

Person A faces no social risk if B is OK with what A is doing (for example, the agents show up, but they are actually sympathetic to A's cause, and so sit down and have a cup of coffee with A).

I don't think you've overcome this principle.

 

 

"It would be preposterous to assert apodictically that science will never succeed in developing a praxeological aprioristic doctrine of political organization..." (Mises, UF, p.98)

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AJ replied on Thu, Mar 4 2010 9:41 PM

Adam Knott:

Now we've subtly changed the scenario, and we're talking about agents that have been dispatched to execute an order.

We're no longer talking about forming a voluntary community against the assumed wishes of another person.

That was your scenario: agree to ignore minimum wage. What we are doing here right now - talking about libertarian strategy - is against the wishes of certain people already. So would be an agreement to form a society that hands out mises.org flyers and where everyone wears a T-shirt that says TAXATION IS SLAVERY. None of these things are illegal, but they entail plenty of social risk, yet apparently these don't fall under the purview of your proposal.

This seems to indicate that the key - in fact defining - element of what qualifies as a voluntary society within your proposal is that it breaks some minor state law, not that it is against anyone's assumed wishes. In fact, the example you chose seems specifically designed to minimize social risk, yet it bears fairly significant legal risk.

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AJ:

Adam Knott:

...

That was your scenario: agree to [ignore minimum wage law]. What we are doing here right now - talking about libertarian strategy - is against the wishes of certain people already. So would be an agreement to form a society that hands out mises.org flyers and where everyone wears a T-shirt that says TAXATION IS SLAVERY. None of these things are illegal, but they entail plenty of social risk, yet apparently these don't fall under the purview of your proposal.

This seems to indicate that the key - in fact defining - element of what qualifies as a voluntary society within your proposal is that it [break state  law], not that it is against anyone's assumed wishes. In fact, the example you chose seems specifically designed to minimize social risk, yet it [bears... legal risk].

AJ

What the degree of overlap is in what we are both claiming, or what the degree of difference is, I am not certain.

One could argue that it is the defining element of libertarianism as a movement, that it proposes future activities which are presently illegal.

I'm not sure if your criticism is that the e-mail invoicing idea is no different than any other libertarian proposal, and thus not unique, or, if your criticism is that it is different than other libertarian proposals in suggesting something illegal, and thus dangerous or irresponsible in your opinion.  I'm not sure which criticism you are intending.

*****

We may be utilizing slightly different theoretical or epistemological approaches, and this may constitute a large part of the difference in interpretations.

If this is a significant part of our disagreement, then this will take us further and further into the theory of action, and further away from any reference to the concrete proposal or suggestion we were originally discussing.  I'm not necessarily for or against that, but the thread would turn into a praxeology thread, whereas the e-mail invoicing proposal seems to be in line with the OP which mentions breaking the monopoly on law.

The praxeological and epistemological issues toward which our exchange is headed have to do with the bracketed, bolded, and underlined parts of your post above.  (I made minor changes for clarity)

These are the three specific characterizations of the original proposal or suggestion, and each one is of the same form.

First, there is reference made to an actor A who ignores, breaks, or bears something.

Then, there is reference made to the thing that actor A ignores, breaks, or bears:

Minimum wage law,   state law,   legal risk.

Those three things are the objects of A's action, as is indicated in your post.

In all three cases, we have A's action, and the object of A's action.  Exactly what that object is, depends on what your precise definition of a 'law' is.

Since we haven't been discussing praxeology directly, but only indirectly through concrete examples, then there has been no need, and there is no need, to make precise praxeological conceptual distinctions.

As things head toward the purely theoretical, then we would need to make the definitions more rigorous and precise.

I will say that from my working knowledge in the field, it will make a difference whether a particular and precise definition of 'law' includes or excludes reference to a second consciousness.

Here, I don't mean that any particular definition of law must do one or the other.  What I mean is, as, or when, in discussing the concept of law, we either refer to or omit, reference to a second actor (second mind, second consciousness, etc...), then the formal implications of this reference or omission change.  The implications of the argument are changed significantly if the concept in question does or does not refer to another mind.

What I propose is that if we are having these kinds of theoretical differences, we could either start another thread to discuss them, or you could write a paper or critique on some aspect you take issue with.  Or maybe there is no interest in pursuing it further.

Rather than let the discussion devolve or evolve into a discussion on praxeology, meanwhile dragging in left-over disagreements from a previous and more practical oriented topic, I would prefer to, so to speak "formalize" and make explicit whatever the issue is, as the beginning topic of a discussion, debate, or paper.  Then participants can each lay out their case explicitly and in full:  why this or that idea or theory is faulty; what is a better alternative, etc...

If that is agreeable to you, I would prefer to deal with the praxeological aspect that way.

****

As for the e-mail invoicing idea, I'm still open to discussing it if anyone wants to.

My intention and hope with respect to the e-mail invoicing idea was that it would lead to brainstorming in this direction, as opposed to the main gist of libertarian theorizing which is aimed at constructing a hypothetical libertarian society, in theory, "whole cloth" so to speak.

Maybe that kind of brainstorming will occur in the future at some point.  Maybe people haven't given these ideas much thought, and time is needed.  Or maybe they just disagree.

If you, or if anyone, believes the invoice idea is seriously flawed, then here would be another opportunity for a fresh discussion, debate, or paper topic:

"X idea has been proposed.  Here's why it's wrong, and here's a better idea."

Doing so may entail some social risk, but luckily for all of us, at least so far, it doesn't entail any legal risk.   : - )

Adam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"It would be preposterous to assert apodictically that science will never succeed in developing a praxeological aprioristic doctrine of political organization..." (Mises, UF, p.98)

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Adam Knott:
One could argue that it is the defining element of libertarianism as a movement, that it proposes future activities which are presently illegal.

Sorry to interject again, but this is sort of what I was driving at.  This is a quick summation of the proposals at hand as I understand them, utilizing this premise:

Adam: If we desire to engage activities that are currently illegal, then we should disregard the law, and pursue illegal activities.

Jack: If we desire to engage in activities that are currently illegal, then we should attempt to change the law, to make such activity legal.

I'm not really 100% sure what AJ is proposing as an alternative to your proposition, Adam, so I'll abstain from making assumptions on his behalf.

I think we are at the point where we can begin to discuss what the ultimate goal is, which method would be better at achieving it, and why.

 

"What Stirner says is a word, a thought, a concept; what he means is no word, no thought, no concept. What he says is not what is meant, and what he means is unsayable." - Max Stirner, Stirner's Critics
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Jackson:

Please.  You are contributing, not interjecting.

Here, I would like to ask for leeway so I can reply fully.  I don't want my reply to be taken as some kind of metaphysical journey or speculation.  At the same time, I'm having a hard time accepting this kind of characterization of the situation.

Your characterization is of the same basic form as AJ's:

"If we desire to engage activities that are currently illegal, then we should disregard the law, and pursue illegal activities."

You have a "we" which is me, you, or us.  Then you have an "illegal," a "law," and an "illegal."

This is the same exact form of analysis AJ used above if you will look at the three bolded, bracketed, and underlined parts of his post.

We can look at it this way, but I think doing so is masking some important insights.

"Illegal" and "law" are social terms, and they imply, to me at least, that there is a person behind them.  If not, then they are just words on paper.

I think we will understand the situation much more clearly as one in which we have what "we" want (A), and what "they" want (B).

I'm unwilling to grant any "ethical superiority," real or implied, to what B wants, as opposed to what I, A, want.

I start off from the assumption that what A wants and what B wants are equivalent, morally, ethically, ontologically, whatever....

In conceiving that A does something "illegal," and in leaving B out of the equation entirely, I think we may be inavertently introducing a negative moral or ethical connotation to A, while somehow implying that B is "neutral" or "good."

We keep saying that A is "breaking the law."  Whereas, I suppose what I'm suggesting, is that we say that A is doing something B does not want him to do.  In which case, we are forced to see that just as well, B is doing something A does not want him to do.

In my analysis, either we take out the moral connotation on A, or, we leave it in, and assign the same exact connotation to B.

There is what A wants, and there is what B wants. 

Then we say:   there are the consequences B states he will initiate if A doesn't do what B wants.  If we want to refer to those consequences as the "law," then fine.  Then in this case, let's refer to any consequences that A threatens in return as the "law."  (i.e, for analysis, let's assume that A can, in principle, do whatever B does-----A can form groups, write documents, call meetings, vote on actions, carry arms, initiate force, etc...)

The issue is the wants of B and the wants of A.  

What is written on paper is inessential.  B can write things on paper, and so can A.

Once we realize this, then we realize we have two sets of wants.  In this respect, they are ontologically, morally, and ethically equivalent.

This is not the same thing as what you and AJ are continually referring to.

What you are referring to has the effect, whether intended or inadvertent, of characterizing A's wants with a moral or ethical value judgment, and implying by omission, but not stating explicitly, that somehow B is "neutral" or "good."

If you do that, then I'm going to suppose that a voluntary libertarian community is formed, such that any moral or ethical value judgment you stipulate as applying to A for "breaking the law,"  I can then apply to B as well.   I.e., now that A is part of a community, then B is doing something "illegal" in threatening A.  Now B is "breaking the law."

Either both A and B act "illegally," or neither does.   I believe we can do it either way.

I think this may be what I'm reacting to.....

*****

Thus, there are the wants of A and the wants of B.

Both will utilize means to attain their wants.

B is a statist, so coercive means are deemed acceptable.   A is a libertarian, and in my assumptions, such means are not acceptable.

This is more than a moral intuition.  Coercive means are assumed off limits because A's using them transforms A into a statist.  (here, leeway, I'm not talking about a praxeological category)

So if you look at my example, you can see that it comprehends and already assumes two different sets of means of attainment:

B, as a statist, will threaten, or will resort to, coercive means, in order to get what he wants.

A, as a libertarian, will resort to peaceful means in order to get what he wants.

As I've written repeatedly, no hostile actions are required on A's part.

My example is realistic.  It assumes that B will try to use force.  And it assumes that A is trying to avoid doing so because he wants to adhere to the libertarian ethic of non-coercion (if you want, "NAP")

Given these two sets of moral or ethical means, how could things be structured so that a libertarian society might be brought about, assuming that B will threaten or resort to force, and, assuming that A will not........

Is there any conceivable path that can satisfy this "equation."  ??

My assertion is/was:  Yes, I think so.  It might be possible.

If enough libertarians engaged in a certain type of voluntary activity, it might be too difficult and too expensive to prevent, even if force is or was threatened or used.   This would allow, possibly, a libertarian society to form, that didn't entail libertarians transforming themselves into statists (i.e, utilizing coercive means to attain their political ends).  This wold allow, possibly, a peaceful way forward.

*****

To reiterate a few more underlying assumptions:

I assume here that things will continue on as they have for the last century, and society will continue to deteriorate as statism advances.

I am not assuming that things, politically speaking, will improve in the next thirty or forty years, let's say.

Under these assumptions, the choice isn't something risky now, versus something non-risky later.  The choice is, something risky now, versus a seriously deteriorated situation later. 

The assumptions I'm working with are that now is the time for peaceful action, and that waiting as things deteriorate will make things much more risky and dangerous later.

(I think this principle is widely recognized, since all libertarians see current society putting off all problems indefinitely into the future, and we know full-well that this will only make things worse)

If someone can make a convincing argument that society is nearing or approaching some kind of reversal or spontaneous outbreak of liberalism---even a gradual one--- my assumptions are not met, and my suggestion, or, the kind of thing I'm proposing has little use value.  If someone believes that libertarian scholarship is making serious inroads, and that debate and discussion are changing the tide, then I understand, and I even agree, that what I'm suggesting would seem unnecessarily "risky" or "dangerous."

Again, I'm assuming some kind of consensus that this optimistic scenario isn't playing out, and isn't likely to.  If I'm wrong, so be it.  Someone needs to make the opposite case.

I'm assuming that the solution cannot be a violent one, and that this would make things worse and not better.  That is included in the example.

I'm assuming that the solution must be radically different.  It can't simply be "I'm right, so my use of force is right."

There has to be a radical break from past methods and approaches.  Hence, Internet communities, voluntarily formed, nonterritorially, with absolutely no attempt to alter or abolish existing laws or institutions, and absolutely no hostile or aggressive actions taken toward members of other legal cultures.

This allows libertarians not only to adhere to and aspire to their moral and ethical code, but to simultaneously demonstrate it in action.

If this is mis-guided, then someone needs to make the opposite case.

I could go on with some other important assumptions, but Jackson will call me dramatic.

 

 

 

 

 

"It would be preposterous to assert apodictically that science will never succeed in developing a praxeological aprioristic doctrine of political organization..." (Mises, UF, p.98)

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Wade replied on Fri, Mar 5 2010 4:10 PM

 

I just wanted to jump into the discussion for a minute.

It may be the case where a libertarian community is the first panarchistic community;  And the primarily role of the community members may be to strategically do what others don't want us to do in a peaceful and non-coercive way.

Do libertarians want to abolish the monopoly on law or do libertarians want a world where they can do as they wish? 

The primary difference between attempting to abolish the monopoly on law and doing what others don't want us to do seems to be the means employed.  Unless I am misinterpreting the intentions of this idea, abolishing the monopoly on law involves using the monopoly against itself.  This implies using the same "means" that the monopoly uses to get things done.

How does abolishing the monopoly demonstrate that I may do as I wish as a libertarian?  Is it the case that it will be written into law that libertarians may now do as they wish, and then we can proceed to actually do what others don't want us to do?  What stops a statist from breaking this written law and reimposing another monopoly on law in some way?  (especially considering that this seems to be the dominate trend in social organization throughout history)  What would we do then?

On the other hand, doing things as if there were no monopoly on law involves participating in social exchange in a peaceful and voluntary way as if we were already in a world where the  monopoly on law had been abolished.  So by doing things as if there were no monopoly on law we are actually doing what is intended to be done "after" the monopoly on law is abolished.  At that point, the statist is in a position where he must take the initiative against us, rather than us against him.

How do the risks compare between these two courses of action?

I don't know if I see the necessity between abolishing the monopoly on law (in the proposed context) and doing what others don't want me to do.  Is it possible to skip that part and to start actually doing as we wish?  Is it time for a libertarian community to start emerging in some small way or must we keep waiting for something to happen that will "allow" us to have a libertarian community?

Only ideas can overcome ideas...

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AJ replied on Fri, Mar 5 2010 5:23 PM

Adam Knott:
One could argue that it is the defining element of libertarianism as a movement, that it proposes future activities which are presently illegal.

We've been discussing the workings of a practical strategy, not a movement.

Adam Knott:
I'm not sure if your criticism is that the e-mail invoicing idea is no different than any other libertarian proposal, and thus not unique, or, if your criticism is that it is different than other libertarian proposals in suggesting something illegal, and thus dangerous or irresponsible in your opinion.  I'm not sure which criticism you are intending.

What criticism? I've made the same points several times, and none of them were critiques of your proposal. You seem to be reading all sorts of profound abstraction into my very mundane practical questions. And now you want to bring in praxeology to tell me that it's my neighbor I have to fear if I break the law, more than the police?

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Clayton replied on Fri, Mar 5 2010 5:44 PM

Wow, this thread exploded while I was away...

Brainpolice:

AJ:

Sage:

ClaytonB:
After all, if we eschew collectivism, we eschew the very idea of trying to mold or model society to conform to our preconceptions of what it ought to "look" like.

Um, isn't this the whole point? Anarchists are trying to mold society to conform to our preconception that there shouldn't be a monopoly on law.

That doesn't determine how society will "look."

 

Not in terms of specifics, but I would say that it has some bearing on the structure (rather than content) of law. It certainly is a certain mode of the relationship between society and political institutions. In a sense, any political ideology, including libertarian anarchism, is inherently normative and has implications for how interpersonal relations function. This doesn't necessarily mean central planning, but it certainly is prescriptive and transformative towards society in an obvious and fundamental sense. The structure and function of law *is* a part of how society "looks", in that law is an aspect of society.

But the problem with normative ideologies is that they are ultimately aesthetic and no one's aesthetic can objectively supersede anyone else's. So, we're stuck back at square A with libertarian prescriptions being just one entry in the battle of equal opinions. But I think libertarian theory has a stronger case than this, not built on natural law (sorry Rothbard) or normative ideologies. I'm still fleshing this idea out as we speak (I put a first draft up on the Politcal Theory forum titled, "What Law Is" and I'm working on the next revision, I might have it finished in another 6 months or so).

I don't see why there should be a problem with admitting that libertarianism is, at a certain level, precisely about how society should function (in terms of the use of aggression and the structure of law). Such a prescription is exactly what libertarians do every time they advocate their goals, even if the very nature of this goal has a cut-off point beyond which the particulars are not explicitly determined. But something very general and structural *is* explicitly determined, namely, a certain standard or demarkation for the structure of the political in terms of aggression and law.

To propose something like a polycentric legal order *is* to make a certain kind of determination of society, and the temptation to portray oneself as saying absolutely nothing about the structure of society when one is talking about politics seems to be kind of dishonest (at least to oneself).

Well, I'm not trying to present myself as being value-free, here. I am making a value-based, normative prescription for the social order, namely, the abolition of territorial monopolies on law. That said, my prescription goes no further than this, that is to say, I am not prescribing a particular sort of legal order to replace the territorial law monopolies. That is what I meant when I said that it doesn't matter to me how society looks, that is, what sort of legal order emerges in the absence of law monopoly, so long as the law monopolies themselves are abolished. I do not think this is inconsistent with liberty and the human condition, either. Just as it is the nature of humans that we are characterized by tremendous individual diversity (Rothbard, Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature), so it is the nature of human relationships (of which human community and society is a subset) that they are characterized by at least as much diversity as individual humans. That means there is no One Right Answer to the problem of law just as there is no One Ideal Human or no One Right Economic Order. Yes, I have my aesthetic and moral preferences and I will, within my community and my sphere of influence, lobby for those. But, on a larger view, a world of human freedom must necessarily be characterized by a large degree of variation in social orders.

I do believe (and I think Hoppe says this somewhere) that a sort of "global standard" of law will tend to emerge in a natural order society and, I believe, that such a global standard would be almost completely rational. It is to this social order which I think the rational, natural law approach of Rothbard, Hoppe and others can be applied most beneficially. But I think local communities will tend to reject deductive arguments from natural law premises - even as a guide - in forming their own customs. The process which has always obtained, haphazard and ad hoc though it is, seems to me to be the most likely way that communities will always form and evolve their customs. On the global scale, I think that adjudicators will be most interested in the "cutting edge" of legal theory and are the most likely to conscientiously adopt natural rights arguments as a basis for adjudication.

Clayton -

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AJ replied on Fri, Mar 5 2010 6:14 PM

Adam Knott:
In conceiving that A does something "illegal," and in leaving B out of the equation entirely, I think we may be inavertently introducing a negative moral or ethical connotation to A, while somehow implying that B is "neutral" or "good."

By the way, I have been speaking 100% about the de facto law enforcement situation, using common parlance for brevity only, completely devoid of any such connotations. Really, I'm not big on connotation, and apparently you are, which must be why there's such a massive disconnect between what I'm writing and what you're seeing.

I don't soft close, I don't beat around the bush, and I don't hesitate to point out flaws. If I thought your proposal was flawed or too risky, I would've said so. It may be flawed, but I have no way of knowing until I understand it better. I have no expectations or estimations either way. I have no "growing feelings of doubt" about your proposal as I continue to post. What I have are growing feelings that I don't understand your proposal. And no, "I don't understand your proposal" is not a code-phrase for "Your proposal is wrong" - like I said, I don't do that.

Matter of fact, I think your proposal sounds fairly promising, which makes it all the more frustrating that I can't get you spell out how you think it might work - even just as a "proof of concept." Remember that this whole conversation started with me asking how you plan to convince people to do it.

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Clayton replied on Fri, Mar 5 2010 6:16 PM

AJ:

Brainpolice:
I think it reduces hyper-pluralism and relativistic emergentism to absurdity, in that it basically just says "let's push the restart button and whatever emerges emerges" (including states).

But the point was made in the OP that basically that's as good as it gets. You cannot impose your preferred system without some kind of minarchy. The RESET button may seem an absurd option, but that's the best we can do. In any case, it's not really pushing the RESET button, because that itself would take force. It's about educating people, and most everything the LvMI already does except for the objective ethical programs and other speculation that seems unwarranted to me and I think maybe you (correct me if I'm wrong).

Well, I think it's more than just pushing the reset button, for sure - education is part of it but even that is pretty limited since most people will never specialize in law, economics, political theory or any social science. However, there are very, very basic principles of human thought and social organization which are "hardwired" into humans - things like the principle of universalizability or the rule of first use, etc. - which governments actively and continually subvert. In fact, their very existence depends on the continued success of this subversion. I believe it is governments that are fighting gravity, not the other way around*. But I think the first order of business is debunking the territorial monopoly of law at the intellectual/academic level (LvMI is contributing to this battle) and exposing to the popular consciousness the ways in which the territorial monopoly violates those basic "hardwired' ethical principles, like universalizability, property, etc. The philosophers might view the choices between various theories of property as arbitrary reflections of aesthetics, but our biology says otherwise. Property is not arbitrary and what property rules operate in the real world are not a matter of choice. Even the most determined governments (e.g. Soviet Union) have been unable to revoke the rules of property and the laws of economics. Men can be influenced but humanity cannot be remade, even by ubiquitous threat of force and the most thorough brainwashing program.

Clayton -

*On first exposure to libertarian theory, it seemed to me that governments were the default and fighting them was like fighting gravity, the more I study, the less I believe this is the case, governments are at all times in a very precarious position and history actually bears this out when you realize that revolutions usually constitute the death of one government (even if followed by the birth of another.

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Clayton replied on Fri, Mar 5 2010 6:24 PM

Brainpolice:

AJ:

Sage:

AJ:
In any case, an anti-monopolist can sidestep all this by reducing his position from, "Let's break the monopoly on law and keep it broken" to "Let's break the monopoly on law and see what happens."

But doesn't this reduction also reduce the anti-monopolist position into nothingness? If the position is just "see what happens," then anything goes: you could break the monopoly on law and watch a monopoly on law arise again, and that would be "anti-monopolist."

No, the anti-state (anarchist) position is of course characterized by the belief that anarchy will work. To assume that "seeing what happens in anarchy" is not enough, or that it will result in Statism, is to cut the ground from underneath the anti-state position.

 

It seems to me that to take the attitude of relativism is to cut the ground from underneath the anti-state position. And a culture of anti-authoritarianism *is* the ground underneath the anti-state position, which is to say that anti-statism is just a conclusion and consequence of something else rather than an end in and of itself. Political conditions arise out of culture, not vice versa.

The idea of simply pressing the state collapse button and then being a shrugger about consequences from that point onwards is self-defeating. On the other hand, the idea of real-world preconditions for a sustainably free society is just realism. Yes, anarchy will work, but state collapse by itself and literally whatever "emerges" afterwards irrespective of norms isn't anarchy - it's anomie.

"The idea of simply pressing the state collapse button and then being a shrugger about consequences from that point onwards is self-defeating."

I think this is an implicit rejection that human society is naturally self-organizing, that is, that there are some cultures and societies which are capable of self-organization and others which are not. Of course, the cultural preconditions to statist society can, themselves, be seen as a regression in the condition of self-organization of society. That is, the emergence and spread of the cultural myths (such as the Hobbesian myth) which permitted states to form and consolidate their power in the first place show that human self-organization is a process which may be arbitrarily far from equilibrium at any time, not a state of affairs.

Clayton -

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Clayton replied on Fri, Mar 5 2010 6:33 PM

AJ:

Brainpolice:
Normativity itself isn't necessarily imposition. This is a fallacy that I see popping up over and over again - the conflation of the idea of normative preconditions for the realizability of a goal and top-down imposition or central planning. If I say that you won't achieve X without Y, that X emerges out of Y, and proceed to advocate Y, it doesn't follow that I'm proposing a top-down plan. The whole point is that the end in question can only be realized as a bottom-up consequence of normative preconditions. Freedom doesn't occur in a normative and cultural vacuum. A completely ungrounded anti-statism, with no larger context and sprinkled with normative relativism, is not "the best we can do", let alone a realistic concept of freedom.

Well, you're obviously not for forcing people to accept your system, but rather for winning them over to a normative viewpoint through argumentation. Yes, normativity isn't necessarily imposition, and it would be fallacious to assert otherwise. The reason I think Clayton wrote this post, and why I make the arguments that I do, is that there is a kind of undercurrent in the past few decades in libertarianism that seems to underemphasize the fact that in the end there can be no imposition of any concrete order. The argument is fleshed out powerfully by Adam Knott here.

As far as I can tell, the kind of normativity you are advocating is not meant to be taken to task by of any of these kinds of posts.

However, if all that is now cleared up, I would like to nudge that perhaps the most efficient use of resources (whatever those may be for each person involved) might be toward breaking the monopoly on law, as Clayton mentions. I think he's basically saying, and I agree, that everything else pales in comparison to issue of the monopoly on law. Moreover, once you eliminate the monopoly on law I bet just about everything you want to improve in a thicker libertarian program will come as an automatic bonus. And finally, I suggest that whatever changes wouldn't come as a bonus (if any) wouldn't be automatically forthcoming precisely because those aspects are firmly ingrained in human nature or in the culture of present society, so would be very hard to change. That said, the other benefits of lack of statism would surely facilitate you achieving those extra thick-libertarian goals far more easily. All in all, my position is one of fairly thoroughgoing optimism if we even once reach a state of statelessness.

Also note that statism has emerged most strongly in areas of the world with both strong individual social norms combined with social homogeneity. I'm not saying there is a causation here, only correlation (I think the Amish disprove causation), but I don't think that human self-organization depends in any important way on a large number of people having (correct) strong normative opinions about society. Of course, it is important what views the opinion-molding class holds but that is a battle that can only be fought with the pen.

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AJ replied on Fri, Mar 5 2010 6:36 PM

Wade:
I don't know if I see the necessity between abolishing the monopoly on law (in the proposed context) and doing what others don't want me to do.  Is it possible to skip that part and to start actually doing as we wish?  Is it time for a libertarian community to start emerging in some small way or must we keep waiting for something to happen that will "allow" us to have a libertarian community?

Doing what we wish in the open is called "civil disobedience" or "being a scofflaw"; to do it secretly is called "agorism." These things are already being done by others.

The million-dollar question is, how do these actions advance libertarianism? Or is there some specific way these actions can be taken or embellished/organized/harnessed so as to be more effective than the current practice of these things? What is the specific mechanism posited? These are not rhetorical questions; I'm actually saying that these are the questions to be answered before each person can choose the best course of action, or the proposal most likely to advance liberty.

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AJ replied on Fri, Mar 5 2010 6:50 PM

ClaytonB:
Of course, it is important what views the opinion-molding class holds but that is a battle that can only be fought with the pen.

That statement functions as a nice summation of the thread, and maybe also of the role of the LvMI.

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OK AJ   I hear you.

Here are some thoughts:

"By the way, I have been speaking 100% about the de facto law enforcement situation, using common parlance for brevity only, completely devoid of any such connotations. Really, I'm not big on connotation, and apparently you are, which must be why there's such a massive disconnect between what I'm writing and what you're seeing."

I would say implication as opposed to connotation.

"...every single word I write is chosen to try and maximize one thing and one thing only: clarity;"

A lot of what I wrote in the last few posts was devoted to clarifying the idea that when we refer to an idea such as "A breaking the law," that this can only have social meaning if "law" somehow refers to another person.  For example, consider "breaking the pencil".  Now the "social" meaning is gone.  Why? because we took out reference to another person.  Reference to another person is part of the concept of "law" in common parlance.  If the common parlance conception of law is just words on paper, then the idea of "breaking the law" becomes a version of "breaking the pencil."  I was trying to clarify that. 

Here is the relevant passage in Hayek's "The Facts of the Social Sciences"

"From the fact that whenever we interpret human action as in any sense purposive or meaningful, whether we do so in ordinary life or for the purpose of the social sciences, we have to define both the objects of human activity and the different kinds of actions themselves, not in physical terms but in terms of the opinions or intentions of the acting persons, there follow some very important consequences; namely, nothing less than that we can, from the concepts of the objects, analytically conclude something about what the actions will be.  If we define an object in terms of a person's attitude toward it, it follows, of course, that the definition of the object implies a statement about the attitude of the person toward the thing.  When we say that a person possesses food or money, or that he utters a word, we imply that he knows that the first can be eaten, that the second can be used to buy something with, and that the third can be understood--and perhaps many other things."

The idea here is that, for example, if we say "I see a statue," what we imply is that we see something not possessing a consciousness, whereas if we say "I see a person," we imply that we see something that does possess a consciousness.

The point I was trying to make in the previous posts was that when we say "I'm breaking the law," the social meaning of this is that I'm doing something that another will does not want me to do.   That is the social meaning of "I'm breaking the law."  Or at least, that is my argument....  I'm trying to clarify.

"I don't soft close, I don't beat around the bush, and I don't hesitate to point out flaws. If I thought your proposal was flawed or too risky, I would've said so. It may be flawed, but I have no way of knowing until I understand it better. I have no expectations or estimations either way. I have no "growing feelings of doubt" about your proposal as I continue to post. What I have are growing feelings that I don't understand your proposal. And no, "I don't understand your proposal" is not a code-phrase for "Your proposal is wrong" - like I said, I don't do that"

I'm not perfect.  Maybe I misunderstood you.  Maybe I'm so focused on my points I misinterpreted some of your questions as disagreements.

"Matter of fact, I think your proposal sounds fairly promising, which makes it all the more frustrating that I can't get you spell out how you think it might work - even just as a "proof of concept." Remember that this whole conversation started with me asking how you plan to convince people to do it."

Thank you AJ

Well, since I'm not really trying to advocate any particular plan, but more trying to advocate an idea about how libertarianism could come about consistent with libertarian principles, then here is another idea along the same lines.  Again, it might be faulty in different respects.  But it's just the principles concerned that I'm trying to illustrate.

Let's say a group of libertarians infringe each others copyrights, and then begin filing copyright infringement law suits against one another.  Tens of thousands of them.     Person A copyrights something, and B violates the copyright.  Person B copyrights something, and C violates it, etc....  And this is done on a massive scale, and each infraction is then reported to the authorities.

Eventually, the state passes a law to stop this practice.  Then, the same tens of thousands of libertarians now begin reporting each other under this new law, perhaps, in addition to continuing to file the original copyright lawsuits.

In other words, the idea is a massive "utilization" of the legal system we are compulsorily subjected to.

The state realizes that a definable group of people is doing this, i.e., libertarians.  

If they pass a law that discriminates against libertarians as a group, then they have formally recognized libertarians as a distinct political group. 

If they pass no law discriminating against libertarians, then as compulsory citizens of the same status as all other citizens, libertarians may utilize the legal system as they are entitled to under the law.

So the idea is to utilize the legal system to such an extent that the state no longer wants a certain group of people to be part of the state.

This is peaceful action.  It is simply utilizing the legal services that are available to us (in fact, forced upon us).  It does not entail altering or abolishing the legal system of any group.  It entails utilizing the system coercively imposed upon us, as we are entitled to do.

This does not involve any hostile or aggressive actions towards nonlibertarians.  Nor does it entail an attempt to change the mind or ideology of nonlibertarians.

It basically satisfies all the same points that the e-mail invoice idea did.  The difference is that instead of libertarians trying to form a new community, in this example, they try to get expelled from the community they are currently in.

As with the last example, the idea is not a wholesale expulsion, but rather focused one.  The idea is to demonstrate the principle of political pluralism with respect to a limited number of issues or laws, starting with ones that are purposely chosen to be peaceful and non-disruptive to nonlibertarians. 

The goal is to establish the principle of legal coexistence;  the principle of coexisting societies on a nonterritorial basis.

 

 

"It would be preposterous to assert apodictically that science will never succeed in developing a praxeological aprioristic doctrine of political organization..." (Mises, UF, p.98)

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Adam Knott:
Once we realize this, then we realize we have two sets of wants.  In this respect, they are ontologically, morally, and ethically equivalent.

If you assume that, then I would contend that civil disobedience violates the NAP as much as the statism.  You are forcibly violating the state's claim of property over your person.   Now, whether or not the state has the right to assert that claim is irrelevant if we are assuming that both positions are equal.

Given this, I can't think of any way to directly resist the state without violating NAP, whether you are attempting (futilely, IMO) to coerce the state, or taking advantage of the state's own coercive means (voting).

So, if every position (other than nothing) we can take includes some sort of coercive means (if we are still assuming statism and libertarianism are morally equivalent), we have to think who can better coerce the other.  As far as I can tell, the state has the bigger stick.

"What Stirner says is a word, a thought, a concept; what he means is no word, no thought, no concept. What he says is not what is meant, and what he means is unsayable." - Max Stirner, Stirner's Critics
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AJ:
By the way, I have been speaking 100% about the de facto law enforcement situation, using common parlance for brevity only, completely devoid of any such connotations.

Second

"What Stirner says is a word, a thought, a concept; what he means is no word, no thought, no concept. What he says is not what is meant, and what he means is unsayable." - Max Stirner, Stirner's Critics
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Adam Knott:
In other words, the idea is a massive "utilization" of the legal system we are compulsorily subjected to.

I batted that idea around on some other thread, but I was advocating massive unemployment compensation or welfare applications.  I like the frivolous lawsuit idea though.  The only problem is, this is how the state "expels you from the community":

"What Stirner says is a word, a thought, a concept; what he means is no word, no thought, no concept. What he says is not what is meant, and what he means is unsayable." - Max Stirner, Stirner's Critics
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AJ replied on Sun, Mar 7 2010 9:56 AM

Adam Knott:

Let's say a group of libertarians infringe each others copyrights, and then begin filing copyright infringement law suits against one another.  Tens of thousands of them.     Person A copyrights something, and B violates the copyright.  Person B copyrights something, and C violates it, etc....  And this is done on a massive scale, and each infraction is then reported to the authorities.

Eventually, the state passes a law to stop this practice.  Then, the same tens of thousands of libertarians now begin reporting each other under this new law, perhaps, in addition to continuing to file the original copyright lawsuits.

In other words, the idea is a massive "utilization" of the legal system we are compulsorily subjected to.

The state realizes that a definable group of people is doing this, i.e., libertarians.  

If they pass a law that discriminates against libertarians as a group, then they have formally recognized libertarians as a distinct political group. 

If they pass no law discriminating against libertarians, then as compulsory citizens of the same status as all other citizens, libertarians may utilize the legal system as they are entitled to under the law.

So the idea is to utilize the legal system to such an extent that the state no longer wants a certain group of people to be part of the state.

This is peaceful action.  It is simply utilizing the legal services that are available to us (in fact, forced upon us).  It does not entail altering or abolishing the legal system of any group.  It entails utilizing the system coercively imposed upon us, as we are entitled to do.

This does not involve any hostile or aggressive actions towards nonlibertarians.  Nor does it entail an attempt to change the mind or ideology of nonlibertarians.

It basically satisfies all the same points that the e-mail invoice idea did.  The difference is that instead of libertarians trying to form a new community, in this example, they try to get expelled from the community they are currently in.

As with the last example, the idea is not a wholesale expulsion, but rather focused one.  The idea is to demonstrate the principle of political pluralism with respect to a limited number of issues or laws, starting with ones that are purposely chosen to be peaceful and non-disruptive to nonlibertarians. 

The goal is to establish the principle of legal coexistence;  the principle of coexisting societies on a nonterritorial basis.

This idea is quite interesting, it seems clearer how it could play out. I wonder if this has been tried.

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Sage replied on Sun, Mar 7 2010 12:58 PM

Jackson LaRose:

The only problem is, this is how the state "expels you from the community":

When people talk about "unfettered markets," I like to use this picture to remind them what fettered markets really are:

http://www.diaspora.uiuc.edu/news1206/HandlerFig6.jpg

AnalyticalAnarchism.net - The Positive Political Economy of Anarchism

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Jackson:

In my examples, I'm assuming a political atmosphere of statism.

This means that people do not want a libertarian society to emerge, and are willing to resort to coercive means to prevent it. 

I make this assumption as my beginning assumption.   Then I try to see if there is some way that a libertarian society could conceivably be sought, that did not entail libertarians resorting to the same means to attain it.

But I don't mean to imply that they can avoid all social friction completely.  Doing something someone else doesn't want you to do, generally makes that other person mad, and then the other person may consider some sort of hostile action.  This is human nature.

If people are willing to allow libertarians to form their own social relationships without threatening them with force, then two things happen:

1.  There is no use for my examples and suggestions as I've outlined them.

2.  Such people are no longer statists, since they are "allowing" coexisting communities.

My suggestions for various ways that libertarianism may move forward beyond scholarship, are based on an assumption of statism, meaning, I'm assuming that these attempts to construct a libertarian society would be done in an atmosphere where other people do not want libertarian society to come about.

If my assumptions aren't met----if people are willing to "allow" libertarian society to emerge---then, as I mentioned, there is no need for ideas such as these, and also, such people would not be statists....

If libertarians can convince nonlibertarians to become libertarians, then there is no problem.  Then there is no use for the kinds of suggestions I'm making.  I'm only suggesting things that would apply supposing that nonlibertarians can't be convinced to become libertarians......

*****

Your plan is that libertarians should vote themselves into liberty.

Here's why I believe that in principle, this will never work.

Voting will entail the following scenario.

Person A will cast his vote, in which he expresses how he would like to utilize the social means of coercion.

A's vote will express A's desire about what the legal relationship between B and C must be, in order for them to avoid being on the receiving end of the coercion.

A's vote will always be an expression of his desire to use coercion to arrange the legal relationship between B and C.

That obviously means A wants to decide the legal relationship between B and C instead of B and C deciding the relationship between themselves.

That is exactly the situation we have now, and it's called statism.

 

******

For the purposes of debating, one could claim that libertarians billing each other online for a penny an hour (my first example), or, a legal "utilization" campaign (my second example) constitute coercion towards nonlibertarians.

For the purposes of debating, one can claim anything.

I'm more concerned whether myself and other like-minded people would consider it coercion.  I don't think we would.

If you did, that might simply mean you won't be joining or participating.  But I've already stated and implied that all of my suggestions are for people who would volunteer.

No person who does not want to participate must participate.

*****

I think you are continuing to provide a flawed analysis of the current situation.

You are continually using the same analytical form.  Here it is again:

 

"You are forcibly violating the state's claim of property over your person."

 

So here, again, you are identifying only one actor with the word "you" and "your."   You identify only one actor who will act.

Your very premise is totally unrealistic and inaccurate.

This actor will take an action that will, apparently, displease (anger, upset, make mad, etc...) someone else.

But you have not explicitly referred to another person in your phrasing.

Instead, when you come to identify what you only imply is a person (since A can only do something socially to another person), you habitually call that person the "state."

You are equivocating, because the "state" cannot be displeased, angry, upset, or mad.  Only a person can.   You imply that A will do something that will displease B, but you refuse to refer to B as a person.

Your analysis is flawed.

 

 

 

"It would be preposterous to assert apodictically that science will never succeed in developing a praxeological aprioristic doctrine of political organization..." (Mises, UF, p.98)

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Recently, someone posted a link to a good article where someone proposed that the way to attain a libertarian community was to make it too expensive for libertarians to be governed.

I think his idea was more along the lines of opening businesses that have the effect of helping people protect their assets from expropriation.

The idea above might have the advantage that the expense of operating the "businesses" (the agencies involved) are paid by the same people who are imposing these "businesses" on unwilling "customers."

Thus, the idea that the "customers" begin utilizing these services---as they are entitled to, as involuntary "customers"---in ways that are beneficial to them, and that help them to attain their goals.

Then, libertarians aren't trying to necessarily abolish or alter what they are involuntarily subjected to, meaning, they are not telling other people to abolish or alter those services----any more so than a person who shops at store A versus store B tries to alter or abolish store A or store B.

Someone says to me:  "You must utilize this service; I will not allow you to establish another."

Then I say to him:  "OK, until you allow me to establish another, I'm going to utilize this service."

 

"It would be preposterous to assert apodictically that science will never succeed in developing a praxeological aprioristic doctrine of political organization..." (Mises, UF, p.98)

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Wade replied on Sun, Mar 7 2010 6:48 PM

AJ:

The million-dollar question is, how do these actions advance libertarianism? Or is there some specific way these actions can be taken or embellished/organized/harnessed so as to be more effective than the current practice of these things? What is the specific mechanism posited? These are not rhetorical questions; I'm actually saying that these are the questions to be answered before each person can choose the best course of action, or the proposal most likely to advance liberty.

 

I guess each of us would have to determine which means would be the most advantageous toward achieving our ends.  I would say that some sort of civil disobedience that exposes the absurdity of someone not wanting me to do something that is completely peaceful and unimposing could possibly advance libertarianism.  That is, if this actually convinces those who don't want us to take these actions to accept the absurdity of it.

But what Adam is proposing here is very interesting and I think different from civil disobedience.  It appears that Adam may be suggesting another possible route in his last example which one might call concerted civil obedience of certain "allowed" actions.  I guess the idea here is that by acting in a way that is "allowed" by others but is also extremely inefficient and costly to them that they would start "allowing" us to do something else to avoid those costs.  At that point we have attained change through peaceful and non-coercive means.

These two methods are fundamentally consistent with libertarianism in the sense that they are courses of action that don't involve using the same means to achieve change that the statists are using.

To answer your question, I think that we have to compare the various means that could be utilized to advance libertarianism making sure that the mechanism we use is consistent with the fundamental principles of libertarianism in addition to being a practical way to advance libertarianism.  As for specifics, I think that as long we are both consistent and aware of the risks involved that we could experiment with all of them since there is really no way to know what will work.  All that we have in our power are the fundamental principles of libertarianism and our ability to think of new creative ways to bring about the change we want.

 

Only ideas can overcome ideas...

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Adam Knott:
Person A will cast his vote, in which he expresses how he would like to utilize the social means of coercion.

I think this is too simplistic of an analysis of voting.  What if you are voting in an attempt to dissolve the social means of coercion?

Adam Knott:
A's vote will express A's desire about what the legal relationship between B and C must be, in order for them to avoid being on the receiving end of the coercion.

I don't understand how this is any different than denying one use of your corporeal body by forcibly disobeying their desires (civil disobedience).  You stated elsewhere on this post that you and most on the forum would disagree that would be considered coercion, but that seems merely a statement of the aesthetic preference of some group.  If you are willing to accept that as valid, I don't understand why you would be concerned with abolishing the state, as it seems rather self evident that the aesthetic preference of a vast majority of humans is statism.

Adam Knott:
But you have not explicitly referred to another person in your phrasing

The statist.  The one who's livelihood depends on enforcing the "word on paper" known as laws.

Adam Knott:
You are equivocating, because the "state" cannot be displeased, angry, upset, or mad.  Only a person can.   You imply that A will do something that will displease B, but you refuse to refer to B as a person.

Simply replace "the state" with "a statist" or "a cop" or "national guardsman" in any of my statements.

 

"What Stirner says is a word, a thought, a concept; what he means is no word, no thought, no concept. What he says is not what is meant, and what he means is unsayable." - Max Stirner, Stirner's Critics
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Anenome replied on Mon, Sep 10 2012 6:37 PM
 
 

Clayton:

Since the defining feature of the State is its territorial monopoly on law, a stateless society - however envisioned - will certainly have one feature... no territorial monopoly on law. I find the focus on the hypothesized attributes of stateless societies (unless for fun) to be fruitless.

Can't agree, Clayton. I agree there is certainly a wide range of what a stateless society could look like, but I think it direly important that we begin building out philosophy into a working and actual system in writing. Such must occur before a society can come about in fact, and if a society goes stateless before we have at least one proposed workable system then that society will be under the gun trying to do intellectual work on the spot and the libertarians that society looks to for guidance will seem to be fools without any answers, thus giving ammunition to the statists and potentially leading back to a statist society, thus making the world's situation worse than before.

Clayton:
After all, a stateless society is necessarily more moral than a society subjugated to a State, no matter its cultural character.

True, but implementation likely has many blind alleys and sharp edges that need to be considered. It's like you're saying now that we know the principle of the steam engine let's not actually build one. Problem is, the first steam actual engines blew up. It takes time to mature a technology. And libertarianism is a political technology.

Clayton:

Rather, we (anti-statists) should focus our energies on exposing and explaining the crimes of State to which the law monopoly is accessory.

I don't think this is likely to ever work or ever result in broad change because we're doing it part time and they're doing it full time and by the millions, in the way of every greater and lesser intellectual running public schools and the organs of media generally. They are literally opinion crafters.

I was watching an episode of Adventure Time last night, and there's a section where the Princess literally invades a house and starts shoveling treasure into a bag like a thief. And the two homeowners come home and are surprised to see her and ask what she's doing. She says, "Collecting taxes" and the two say "Okay" and go about their business.

That's four and five year olds already indoctrinated into the system of coercive taxation as if it were perfectly moral and natural. We're completely outgunned in the intellectual arena and always will be. So again, good luck with that tactic.

No, I will give you a tactic I think will work far better.

We know that all states depend upon the sanction of their victims to continue operating, we call this their legitimacy. Governments use intellectuals to create legitimacy and in exchange give the intellectuals job security and power.

In any war of words then, the government will win, and a war of words is all we've been offering until now.

Because we accept the NAP and refuse to even consider violent revolution as a means to change or power, libertarians have tended to view education as the only means to fight statism.

But there is another way. The argument of action. If our argument is put in the form of an actual working libertarian free society, then people will be able to see results with their own eyes, to see the actuality of things like how a society would work without gov courts and police, to see that this system actually works, which they don't currently. I'm greeted by incredulous near hysteria currently when explaining libertarian concepts to ordinary people.

Probably because the indoctrination process begins at such a young age.

Show the world that societal problems can be fixed without resort to a coercive institution and the result will be their legitimacy will melt before their eyes, and nothing they say will be able to change that, because people will believe their eyes whereas they can very easily rationalize away -any- logical argument you give them.

Clayton:
Ultimately, the State is an alliance between criminals who need legitimacy and corrupt judges who want a coercive monopoly on jursidiction... the key to opposing the State, striking at the very root of evil, is to expose this alliance for what it is because, by virtue of what it is, it cannot stand exposure to the light of day.

We substantially agree, but I want to do it by comparison, something that cannot be easily ignored, and you want to do it by education, something which can be.

Clayton:
The case against the State is so easy, it only needs doing. It's like the first gold miners to strike gold in California, who were finding egg-sized gold nuggets right on the surface. We just have to do it.

I disagree that it's easy to change men's minds about the state; it takes a long chain of conceptual integration and consideration to come to the libertarian conclusion, even for people naturally inclined to philsophical thought.

But when I say to my non-political neighbor, hey, let's start a place with no taxes. He gets it right away.

 
Autarchy: rule of the self by the self; the act of self ruling.
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