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A widely-existing, working modern private law system today

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Wheylous Posted: Mon, Jun 11 2012 11:46 AM

Referees in sports games. They sure could get bribed, but they know that if they do make bad calls they will not get called back and the public will see their mistakes on TV.

Most calls are right and if all refs are bought out by some large player then the public will no longer care for that league and they will form a new league with better market regulation.

This was a quick thought I had today. Has this been analyzed before to draw possible analogies to the market for law?

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I had a similar realization a few months ago at a referee seminar (ice hockey).

Referees must be recertified every season (via attendance of a seminar and examination(s)) and are often times watched by superiors while officiating games. Referees are meant to punish those who cause an infraction with a penalty judged in response to the severity of the infraction (all penalty durations have a set length in time). Referees are meant to keep a cool head and remain polite to anyone who engages them (including the blowhard who stands with one foot on the boards intending to intimidate the official; just kindly ask him to speak at your level if he seriously expects to elicit any response). 

Serious infractions, such as kicking a player (keep in mind: with ice skates on), are dealt with by a meeting in fornt of a board and suspensions range from a single game to 30 days if there is no hearing (if there is a hearing, the suspension can be extended in duration according to the results of the hearing).

More experienced officials are able to officiate games requiring greater athletic ability, patience, and personability whereas games with younger and more inexperienced players may allow for younger and more inexperienced officials (minimum age is, I think, 12 years old).

I'm glad this subject has come up.

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Clayton replied on Mon, Jun 11 2012 3:35 PM

Personally, I dislike the referee analogy because I think that's actually a lot how the State's judges think of themselves. Within a particular league, referees are a lot like national judges in the sense that they are a "monopoly" within that league. Of course, this is like the monopoly a restaurant has over serving food on its premises but the point still stands that the analogy doesn't capture the 'wide open competition' nature of the market.

A better analogy might be marriage counseling. You have marriage counselors who can, in some cases, help couples resolve their disputes or get a handle on them. But there is no coercive power binding the parties to attend at all. The counselor is merely an advisor and cannot ever begin a sentence with, "I am ordering you to ..." Even a referee can give orders - ever heard of a technical foul in basketball?

True, free-market law is law that is based on human nature and reason to such an extent that disputants will voluntarily consult the services of an arbitrator in a way similar to the way married couples seek counseling and dispute-resolution services from marriage counselors. Just like marriage counselors, arbitrators in a free-market in law would have absolutely zero binding authority. And, just like a marriage counselor's advice, the advice of an arbitrator could always begin with the phrase, "If you want to have peace and settle your arguments, then ... "

To build on this analogy further, there is a significant difference between a married couple and random participants to a business transaction - repeated dealing. And I think this is one of the false "benefits" of the State... it reduces the costs of random business transactions by making the relationship between everyone within its territorial borders more like that between married couples. That is, we're all "locked" into a binding relationship with each other by virtue of our citizenship and by virtue of the complete information that the government has about each and every one of us. There's virtually no escape and resistance is futile. This means that businesses must spend less money protecting themselves against fraudsters, etc. The cost, however, is that now you have Leviathan. Hobbes and Bentham thought it was a great idea but ... Stalin and Hitler agreed.

The solution is simple - let people be responsible for their own security. If you want to ship a product, you need to be aware that it can be stolen or lost and purchase the requisite insurance (and follow the guidelines required to qualify for the insurance coverage). The market will the direct people to the right level of "boundness" for a given type of transaction. One of the riskiest sorts of transacting is international tourism - tourists are at tremendous risk to local fraudsters, extortionists, local police corruption, etc. Yet, somehow, the international tourism industry rolls on without the UN regulating it (yet). People stay in safe places (brand-name hotels), and consult known-good local guides who help keep them out of trouble. The same kind of thing is needed in law to help people form relationships that have the right level of binding - not too much so you have Leviathan and not too little where the other guy can just walk off with your stuff.

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bloomj31 replied on Mon, Jun 11 2012 3:42 PM

Clayton:
  arbitrators in a free-market in law would have absolutely zero binding authority.

Unless the market participants gravitated towards arbitration services that offered binding resolutions, right?

I don't know about you but I know I'd like a service that promised a binding resolution.  I'd want to know that that particular arbitration service contracted with a protection agency that would unconditionally attempt to enforce a resolution.  I wouldn't want to give my money to anyone who offered anything less.  I wouldn't be satisfied with a blacklist or anything like that.

Clayton:
 A better analogy might be marriage counseling.

The other thing to consider here is that both parties involved have presumably gone to the marriage counselor voluntarily whereas in a criminal situation one or both parties may disagree about who they should go before.  When I'm searching for a private protection agency, I'm going to want one that can promise me that they'll bring the counterparty to the proceedings whether he/she wants to be there or not.

As to the OP: in the (unrelated in my opinion) analogy of a sports referee, the referee's jurisdiction is essentially absolute within the context of whatever game they're refereeing because they're contracted by the sports league and the players all play for teams who agree to play by whatever rules the sports league makes.  So the issue of multiple questions of jurisdiction and competing authorities is never approached, everyone has already agreed to be ruled by the referees by the time they step foot on the field/court/pitch/cage etc.

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Clayton replied on Mon, Jun 11 2012 4:24 PM

 arbitration services that offered binding resolutions

No, I don't think this is the correct answer because it takes an overly narrow view of the circumstances in which conflicts can arise. In the Friedmanite model (as best I understand it), for any two people who get into a conflict, they are either members of the same PDA (in which case, their dispute is resolved according to the "law" of that PDA) or they are members of different PDAs, in which case, the dispute is resolved according to the rules of the "binding" contract between those two PDAs.

I have a theoretical beef with this model because it introduces the division of labor into the situation before analyzing the matter prior to division-of-labor. What happens when somebody with a PDA gets into a dispute with someone without a PDA? Perhaps the lone individual is better armed than the PDA itself or is just "hard to kill". The problem is that rights have been "decontextualized" to borrow a term introduced by another poster, though I've forgotten the nic.

And what makes something "binding"?? To me, it just means that one party claims that they will physically fight for it - a claim that may or may not be true! Bindingness is extremely fuzzy because it's actually game-theoretic. How binding something is depends on the threats attached to it, and the bindingness of those threats depends on their credibility, which is not just a function of funding, manpower, etc. but basically of "everything." A white man living in an all-white and highly racially-sensitive neighborhood might commit a crime against a black man that he could never get away with under the rules of his PDA or the PDA of the black man but is counting on his "buddies" throughout the community to watch his back. The "binding" agreements between the PDAs become moot at this point. In fact, the fuzziness of what it means for something to be binding can be thought of as the space in which politics resides.

My view is that a free market in law is a market in which voluntary producers of dispute-resolution services compete on reputability and effectiveness without the need for "binding", which is costly. Obviously, this won't work for international gold shipments... the two parties can't exactly go to "marriage counseling" over a multi-hundred-million dollar shipment of gold disappearing mid-ocean. So, for large-cap stuff, you need more "binding" in the agreement. Perhaps the CEOs of the respective partners each travel to the other's site to be held as surety for the shipment until it has completed its voyage and the check for the shipment has cleared. But this is just a security question, there's really no "ought/should" aspect to it, which is where law comes in.

Introducing guns into a transaction in order to secure it definitely makes sense. Basically, I want to buy a million dollars of gold from you and you want to sell a million dollars of gold to me. So, I go over to your side and your PDA holds me at gunpoint and you come to my side and my PDA holds you at gunpoint until the transaction has cleared. But I don't think this describes the world we live in at all. We live in what I term a "threat-based social order". Division-of-labor itself is dictated by command. This is a problem for obvious economic reasons. But more importantly, people constantly confuse this with securitized transacting, which it is not. If we both live under an extremely powerful State, that is not the same thing as you and I independently securing our respective ends of a risky transaction. 

Where this becomes obvious is when you look at the political component. If you're the governor's son, all of a sudden, the entire dynamic has shifted... I'm actually helpless and you have all the guns. But even if you're not the governor's son, you could be buddies with his son. And so on. So the incentive is for everyone to clamber over each other in a mad rush to get closer to the Leviathan so they are better secured in transacting with anyone else. This is madness, not social order.

By eliminating PDAs from the first analysis, I think you get a cleaner analysis. Sure, there will be PDAs, of course. Large-cap transactions require more guns to make sure nothing goes wrong or that things can be handled tactically if they do go wrong. But not everything will necessarily involve a PDA. In fact, PDAs are costly (so are public defense agencies, i.e. States) so those are poor or who have very little capital will generally do without them or find other ways (e.g. employment contracts) to get the benefits of PDAs without paying for them directly. And it is precisely in this "social substrate" or "pre-law" where most social norms arise.

one or both parties may disagree about who they should go before.  When I'm searching for a private protection agency, I'm going to want one that can promise me that they'll bring the counterparty to the proceedings whether he/she wants to be there or not.

I guess it all just depends on how you look at it. I prefer to analyze PDAs and law as "unbundled" services not because I believe they can't be bundled but because I believe they would likely exist in both bundled and unbundled forms in an unhampered law/security market and, therefore, the most general analysis is the unbundled case. Basically, if you steal my TV, I'll send you a letter saying, "You have stolen my TV. I have security video footage showing you stole it. You must return the TV with a check for $X (the customary amount) by such-and-such date (the customary time for making whole) or appear for arbitration of the matter. If you choose not to respond at all, I will ask my defense agency to recover the funds forcibly. This action is justifiable in a court of law, please see case John Doe vs. Joe Blow."

If you don't respond in the allotted time, I will call my defense agency and explain to them that you stole my TV and would they please go recover the appropriate amount of property to cover the awards that would have been given in a court-of-law (perhaps by seizing your car or something). The "binding" is in the bullets of my defense agency (that is, in my own bullets which I have delegated to the defense agency). All security begins and ends with the self, with your own fists and your own brain. All else is just delegation thereof.

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Anenome replied on Mon, Jun 11 2012 4:35 PM

Referees would be akin to private judges, as in arbitration.

Where the analogy breaks down is that both sides have to be willing to come to the table. Private law cannot compel one party to the suit to attend, thus there remains a need for a court-of-last-resort which has power to compel attendance.

Basically you're talking about civil suits between contractual parties. In such suits, both will typically be willing to come to the table. In criminal suits, one party is often unwilling. You don't see much arbitration done for criminal complaints :P

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Anenome:
both sides have to be willing to come to the table.

Why?

If someone doesn't show up to a trial in which he is a party, then he doesn't receive the best representation. If he's convicted, he's convicted. The question I have is how someone can be compelled to serve his sentence.

 

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Clayton:

Personally, I dislike the referee analogy because I think that's actually a lot how the State's judges think of themselves. Within a particular league, referees are a lot like national judges in the sense that they are a "monopoly" within that league. Of course, this is like the monopoly a restaurant has over serving food on its premises but the point still stands that the analogy doesn't capture the 'wide open competition' nature of the market.

A better analogy might be marriage counseling. You have marriage counselors who can, in some cases, help couples resolve their disputes or get a handle on them. But there is no coercive power binding the parties to attend at all. The counselor is merely an advisor and cannot ever begin a sentence with, "I am ordering you to ..." Even a referee can give orders - ever heard of a technical foul in basketball?

In addition, and while the following objection may not be based in logic, I feel you will often hear the objection from people that "You are free to play hockey, therefore any sort of rules a referee may enforce are, of course, totally voluntary as far as your adherence to them. We do not pick what country we live in, therefore we cannot leave the law to private firms. It's totally different." And, in some ways, they would be right that it is different. You can not pick what country you are born in, but you can choose wether or not you play hockey.

I also think you will hear "The rules of hockey will not effect anyone outside of the (hockey) game in either a negative or positive way. Therefore the rules of the game are, in the grand scheme of things, unimportant. Whereas in a nation, the laws effect everyone, therefore you cannot leave law to the hands of greedy capitalists." Now, of course, you can turn this argument right around on them and say, "How can you leave the power of creating the law in the same hands as those who enforce it? That seems like a deck stacked against the common man, if there ever was one."

To me, if there was ever any kind of private law that existed that I can't believe isn't even more regulated than it is, it would have to be parenting. You don't need any sort of license, and in the US, mostly, you can raise them how you like, barring public school and and their crazy new eating laws that we have seen as of late. This kind of private law is the whole "if you live under my roof, you will do what I say. It is authoritarian at its finest, yet it seems to work, as most people in the world turn out to be relatively well-adjusted, and productive members of society; unlike the children who come out of long years of child-protective services. It is from this example where I derive that socialism is, at times, a perfectly reasonable system to use if in the right context. The modern family unit is a socialism in the sense that there are those who produce (the parents) and those who consume without producing anything (the children), and everyone shares in this wealth. The major difference, however, is that the producer is also the dictator of the socialism, which may render the family unit as not a socialism. However, so long as everyone consents to the socialism (I'm talking true, individual consent; not some nebulous social contract), then I am sure socialism would work better than it does in the coercive cases we have seen throughout history, as in China and in Russia. This brings me to another faux-authoritarian system called the home owners association.  

if the parenting example is too specific, then take the homeowners association. That is true voluntary government as a whole, and this includes private law as well. If the association does not like yellow mailboxes, then, by God, they aren't allowed, and this is perfectly legitimate because you consent to the rules set by the association. DO you have to like it? No. I don't like that my ice cream shop down the street refuses to sell cookies and cream, but I'll get over it or set up my own shop. Anyway, the home owners association always throws people for a loop on the private law question; in my experience at least.      

Anyway, just some thoughts.    

 

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Anenome replied on Mon, Jun 11 2012 7:12 PM

ThatOldGuy:

Anenome:
both sides have to be willing to come to the table.

Why?

If someone doesn't show up to a trial in which he is a party, then he doesn't receive the best representation. If he's convicted, he's convicted. The question I have is how someone can be compelled to serve his sentence.

Let's say he's convicted, what then? Now you're back to using force on him. Who orders that force? A private law court cannot use force, only one with the force of law behind it can. Voluntary courts excel in civil disagreements and virtually fail when one party is not willing to come to the table.

Without a legally sanctioned enforcement mechanism, the party left to enforce the ruling is the injured party. That just leads to fights and war and more problems.

Rose Wilder Lane points to this same problem, saying one of the major problems of the Saracens civilization--about as close to a libertarian society as has existed--is they had no civil law (see Discovery of Freedom p110).

 

 

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Nielsio replied on Mon, Jun 11 2012 7:33 PM

Professional Sports and Private Arbitration (NBA)

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Clayton replied on Mon, Jun 11 2012 11:39 PM

there remains a need for a court-of-last-resort which has power to compel attendance

Nope. Outlawry is a perfectly workable alternative and has been used in more than one culture (It is still in use in Somalia) as the last resort. No Leviathan needed. This doesn't prove that private law is superior but it does prove that the "but we have to have Leviathan in order to have social order" argument is false.

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Anenome replied on Tue, Jun 12 2012 12:16 AM

Say someone sues Google for whatever reason and Goog refuses to come to court. Summary judgment against them, the other party wins a judgment.

No one else cares. The winner cannot enforce his judgment against Google. Where's your outlawrey in that and similar situations.

Somalia's not exactly a modern economy.

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Clayton replied on Tue, Jun 12 2012 1:41 AM

No one else cares. The winner cannot enforce his judgment against Google. Where's your outlawrey in that and similar situations.

If no one cares, why should anyone care? A person and a "judge" can "award" anything they like between themselves. So what?

Somalia's not exactly a modern economy.

As I said, the existence of outlawry as a "prod of last resort" does not prove that private law is superior, only that it is possible to have social order without Leviathan. We can go into more depth if you want but I ask that you read Hoppe's writings on the subject first.

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Anthony de Jasay writes a lot on this also.  See in particular Against Politics, Political Philosophy Clearly, Social Contract Free Ride, and The State.

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Anenome replied on Tue, Jun 12 2012 2:31 AM
 
 

Clayton:

As I said, the existence of outlawry as a "prod of last resort" does not prove that private law is superior, only that it is possible to have social order without Leviathan. We can go into more depth if you want but I ask that you read Hoppe's writings on the subject first.

Thanks I'll check it out. I think in this case, possible is also greatly sub-optimal. It is, for instance, possible to live on nothing but potatoes... :P

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Clayton replied on Tue, Jun 12 2012 12:36 PM

possible is also greatly sub-optimal

The comparative outcomes of different social orders is a separate debate. First, let's get the "it's impossible!" argument out of the way. It's not impossible. Having established that it's not impossible to have social order without Leviathan, the next issue is what kinds of social order arise under Leviathan or without Leviathan.

To give you a hint, the most common mistake in these debates is that Leviathan advocates overlook the overwhelming incentive to abuse of power and to use legalism, bribes, lobbies, propaganda and so on to work around any sort of formal limits on the abuse of power, precisely because the incentive to do this is so overwhelming. I don't generally like Molyneux but he can be pithy from time to time... as he puts it, the most profitable business of all time by far is the business of human farming, aka operating a government.

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Anenome replied on Wed, Jun 13 2012 3:26 AM
 
 

Clayton:
the most common mistake in these debates is that Leviathan advocates overlook the overwhelming incentive to abuse of power and to use legalism, bribes, lobbies, propaganda and so on to work around any sort of formal limits on the abuse of power, precisely because the incentive to do this is so overwhelming.

In an autarchist republic, no one has power over anyone else. All power is voluntarily granted and can be withdrawn at any time. So, I don't think the same incentive structure towards corruption exists. It is the socialist-ethic which says that majority-rule should override individuals wills on X issue that allows corruption for it allows the aggression of majority rule to force laws on the majority dissenters.

Clayton:
I don't generally like Molyneux but he can be pithy from time to time... as he puts it, the most profitable business of all time by far is the business of human farming, aka operating a government.

I like that analogy :) awful.

It's hard to come here and argue for autarchy and be accused of being a statist. I hate the modern abuses of the state as much as anyone. But I think there's another way that might redeem the state. A way that we haven't seen before essentially because for autarchy to exist in a practical form we require modern technology such as computers, the internet, and geolocation systems.

In a world without the internet, the only way to rule a massive society was via representation. Which meant the socialist-ethic of majority rule was ingrained in society as the only viable system. An autarchic society can reject majority-rule because we no longer need representatives like we used to. Distance and time mean almost nothing to a modern person.

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Autolykos replied on Wed, Jun 13 2012 8:55 AM

Anemone:
It's hard to come here and argue for autarchy and be accused of being a statist. I hate the modern abuses of the state as much as anyone. But I think there's another way that might redeem the state. A way that we haven't seen before essentially because for autarchy to exist in a practical form we require modern technology such as computers, the internet, and geolocation systems.

As far as I'm concerned, you are a statist but you try not to look like one.

Why do you think the state needs to be redeemed at all?

Anemone:
In a world without the internet, the only way to rule a massive society was via representation. Which meant the socialist-ethic of majority rule was ingrained in society as the only viable system.

How do you define "society"?

Regardless though, there's a difference between representatives with plena potestas (Latin for "full power") and representatives which are merely delegates, i.e. chosen to give an answer to something on behalf of others. Back in the late Middle Ages, monarchs started requiring delegates to have plena potestas for the assemblies they held. This meant that, legally speaking, whatever agreements the delegates made were binding on the people who had selected the delegates. In other words, those people had effectively already consented to any such agreements. Add to that the notion of majority rule, whereby an agreement was binding on all delegates if a majority of them favored it, and you essentially have the notion of representation that persists to this day.

The keyboard is mightier than the gun.

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Anenome replied on Wed, Jun 13 2012 5:20 PM
 
 

Autolykos:

Anemone:
It's hard to come here and argue for autarchy and be accused of being a statist. I hate the modern abuses of the state as much as anyone. But I think there's another way that might redeem the state. A way that we haven't seen before essentially because for autarchy to exist in a practical form we require modern technology such as computers, the internet, and geolocation systems.

As far as I'm concerned, you are a statist but you try not to look like one.

Well, duh, you're the who's accused me :P However, statism as a label is properly applied to one who seeks state control and centralization of power--two things which an autarchic republic do not feature. So I consider it a complete misnomer in my case, and a mistake on your behalf. You'd be much more correct to accuse me of minarchism, though I don't like the label because of its inclusion of the term 'anarch.'

Autolykos:
Why do you think the state needs to be redeemed at all?

My motive isn't to redeem the state. Rather I don't think anything like a private-law based society without a legal structure of any kind is tenable or can be maintained over a long period of time or can successfully prevent a new statist regime from being created in its midst. If I was convinced that some private-law anarchic scheme were possible I'd be all for it. I pursue essentialism, which contains a minimal role for the state because I don't think it can be done away with entirely, unlike the anarchs.

The suggested non-state replacements for what the essential minimal needs of what a government can do don't seem viable to me, or couldn't be applied to a mass society successfully. I think this accounts for the failure of history to show any anarch society in actual practice. The closest we have ever come historically to an anarch society always had some minimal role for government. We may never be able to get away from some minimal role for government. Specifically in terms of dispute resolution both civil and criminal, which is the main need, and for national defense generally.

Autolykos:
Anemone:
In a world without the internet, the only way to rule a massive society was via representation. Which meant the socialist-ethic of majority rule was ingrained in society as the only viable system.

How do you define "society"?

Any self-identified group of people in the main. All I meant was that when people abandoned kings and moved to democratic republics, they didn't have the technologies of communication that would allow any other system to work except elected representation, which then necessitates the socialist-ethic of majority rule. Today, via technology, we could easily 'represent' ourselves directly. Thus, autarchy is possible now and wasn't then.

Autolykos:
Regardless though, there's a difference between representatives with plena potestas (Latin for "full power") and representatives which are merely delegates, i.e. chosen to give an answer to something on behalf of others. Back in the late Middle Ages, monarchs started requiring delegates to have plena potestas for the assemblies they held. This meant that, legally speaking, whatever agreements the delegates made were binding on the people who had selected the delegates. In other words, those people had effectively already consented to any such agreements. Add to that the notion of majority rule, whereby an agreement was binding on all delegates if a majority of them favored it, and you essentially have the notion of representation that persists to this day.

True, and I think ad hoc representation would still have a role in an autarchic society, but it wouldn't necessarily be plena potestas as you say. The early American colonies did a similar thing, electing representatives with more or less power to negotiate on their behalf for important issues.

 
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Autolykos replied on Mon, Jun 18 2012 8:52 AM

Anemone:
Well, duh, you're the who's accused me :P However, statism as a label is properly applied to one who seeks state control and centralization of power--two things which an autarchic republic do not feature.

So you say. I've critiqued this claim about your "autarchic republic" at length in another thread - which you seem to have ignored.

Anemone:
So I consider it a complete misnomer in my case, and a mistake on your behalf. You'd be much more correct to accuse me of minarchism, though I don't like the label because of its inclusion of the term 'anarch.'

A minarchist is still a statist, if you ask me. However, I don't see how "minarchism" includes the term "anarch".

Anemone:
My motive isn't to redeem the state.

In your last post you wrote: "But I think there's another way that might redeem the state." Those are your words. For you to claim that your motive isn't to redeem the state in the face of what you wrote earlier is disingenuous at best.

Anemone:
Rather I don't think anything like a private-law based society without a legal structure of any kind is tenable or can be maintained over a long period of time or can successfully prevent a new statist regime from being created in its midst. If I was convinced that some private-law anarchic scheme were possible I'd be all for it. I pursue essentialism, which contains a minimal role for the state because I don't think it can be done away with entirely, unlike the anarchs.

Again, I've critiqued your position at length in another thread, namely the one originally about Rand Paul endorsing Mitt Romney. But I'm happy to engage you on it here - and anywhere else.

Anemone:
The suggested non-state replacements for what the essential minimal needs of what a government can do don't seem viable to me, or couldn't be applied to a mass society successfully.

How do you define "viability" and "success" in this context?

Anemone:
I think this accounts for the failure of history to show any anarch society in actual practice.

I consider that to be irrelevant. Adhering consistently to the self-ownership and non-aggression principles requires opposing the state per se. Since you claim to adhere to these principles, yet you don't oppose the state per se, I consider you to be inconsistent at best.

Anemone:
The closest we have ever come historically to an anarch society always had some minimal role for government. We may never be able to get away from some minimal role for government. Specifically in terms of dispute resolution both civil and criminal, which is the main need, and for national defense generally.

I honestly don't care if we may never be able to get away from some minimal role for the state. That is the goal that I will continue to work towards on an intellectual level.

Regarding "national defense", just what do you think is a "nation"?

Anemone:
[I define "society" as a]ny self-identified group of people in the main.

In that case, would you consider a sports team to be a society? How about a chess club? Those are self-identified groups of people, aren't they? How does "in the main" qualify self-identification?

Anemone:
All I meant was that when people abandoned kings and moved to democratic republics, they didn't have the technologies of communication that would allow any other system to work except elected representation, which then necessitates the socialist-ethic of majority rule. Today, via technology, we could easily 'represent' ourselves directly. Thus, autarchy is possible now and wasn't then.

I think you're barking up the wrong tree. One could also say that today, with our more advanced technology, tyranny and totalitarianism are easier to implement.

As I see it, the question isn't about the "viability" of different forms of government. The question is about the principles that we adhere to (or claim to adhere to) and the logical implications of those principles.

Anemone:
True, and I think ad hoc representation would still have a role in an autarchic society, but it wouldn't necessarily be plena potestas as you say. The early American colonies did a similar thing, electing representatives with more or less power to negotiate on their behalf for important issues.

Where the governments of the early American colonies had representatives, those representatives were most definitely considered to possess plena potestas. The Virginia Colonial Assembly is the classic example here.

The keyboard is mightier than the gun.

Non parit potestas ipsius auctoritatem.

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Anenome replied on Tue, Jun 19 2012 1:34 AM
 
 

Autolykos:
So you say. I've critiqued this claim about your "autarchic republic" at length in another thread - which you seem to have ignored.

Remember what it was called? I'll look it up.

Autolykos:
However, I don't see how "minarchism" includes the term "anarch".

Lol, okay.

Autolykos:
Anemone:
My motive isn't to redeem the state.

In your last post you wrote: "But I think there's another way that might redeem the state." Those are your words. For you to claim that your motive isn't to redeem the state in the face of what you wrote earlier is disingenuous at best.

Surely you don't claim to know my motive by that statement, and surely you understand a difference between a consequence and a motive. I think a state could be built that would not be aggressive in any sense. Were that to turn out to be true, one would have to say that it redeems the idea of the state, or should do so, in the eyes of those who, like you, have continually accused it of being only capable of aggression in the long term.

Where's my intention in that statement? My intention is to create a free society without aggression.

As I said, and as you ignored, if I were convinced we didn't need some minimal form of societal cooperation then I wouldn't advocate for one.

Autolykos:
Again, I've critiqued your position at length in another thread, namely the one originally about Rand Paul endorsing Mitt Romney.

Not sure how I missed that, I'll look it up.

Autolykos:
Anemone:
The suggested non-state replacements for what the essential minimal needs of what a government can do don't seem viable to me, or couldn't be applied to a mass society successfully.

How do you define "viability" and "success" in this context?

It depends on the particular non-state replacement being advocated. As an example, the idea that those who breach contracts will be ignored and thereby punished, the ostracism method, strikes as particularly laughable. It relies on a small, insular community with whom cooperation is far more useful than would be betrayal, thus on incentive to remain honest.

In a large society, where one could meet a hundred new strangers for the rest of the days of your life, I see no incentive to not cheat, because that person can simply walk away to cheat another day.

It also seems to me that such a solution creates incentive for a particular kind of what you might call honesty-arbitrage. The incentive would be to build up as much faith as possible, such as say a banker. In the ostracism method, the owner of a bank could simply wait until everyone trusts him, then walk away with a couple billion in reserves, that one act making him wildly rich to the point where anyone's ostracism means nothing to him--he doesn't intend to conduct business anymore. Ignore him all you want.

Only a court of last resort, with the ability to force a wealth transfer out of his private accounts back to the wronged parties can provide justice in that situation.

But, iirc, I've said all this to you before. So.

Autolykos:
Anemone:
I think this accounts for the failure of history to show any anarch society in actual practice.

I consider that to be irrelevant. Adhering consistently to the self-ownership and non-aggression principles requires opposing the state per se. Since you claim to adhere to these principles, yet you don't oppose the state per se, I consider you to be inconsistent at best.

You keep saying that, but not explaining why in principled terms. I counter that the NAP provides ways that coercion can be used ethically, so it remains theoretically possible for a state to not aggress. Which seems to invalidate your per se argument. Yet you've never followed up on this thread that I know of.

Autolykos:
I honestly don't care if we may never be able to get away from some minimal role for the state. That is the goal that I will continue to work towards on an intellectual level.

That's fine, really doesn't bother me. You may yet find some argument I consider compelling enough to abandon my idea.

Autolykos:
Regarding "national defense", just what do you think is a "nation"?

It's questions like this that make it hard to take you seriously. If your point is that nations are simply groups of people, just make the point and let's skip the asking for a definition stage.

Autolykos:
Anemone:
[I define "society" as a]ny self-identified group of people in the main.

In that case, would you consider a sports team to be a society? How about a chess club? Those are self-identified groups of people, aren't they? How does "in the main" qualify self-identification?

Yeah, those are examples of 'societies,' they often use this term explicitly in fact. They are also entitled to defend themselves as a group, say, were the chess club attacked by the football team.

Autolykos:
Anemone:
All I meant was that when people abandoned kings and moved to democratic republics, they didn't have the technologies of communication that would allow any other system to work except elected representation, which then necessitates the socialist-ethic of majority rule. Today, via technology, we could easily 'represent' ourselves directly. Thus, autarchy is possible now and wasn't then.

I think you're barking up the wrong tree. One could also say that today, with our more advanced technology, tyranny and totalitarianism are easier to implement.

They are, but that didn't suddenly make tyranny possible. Tech suddenly does make autarchy possible.

Autolykos:
As I see it, the question isn't about the "viability" of different forms of government. The question is about the principles that we adhere to (or claim to adhere to) and the logical implications of those principles.

If you could refute my NAP-argument for an ethical role for governemnt you would've done it by now :\ I've yet to see it. IIRC, your typical feint has been that all governments must eventually coerce. However, my parry is to talk about locus of control and the abandonment of the socialist-ethic of majority rule which is innately aggressive, and without which a society may not in fact be innately aggressive or tend towards aggression at all, but the reverse.

Autolykos:
Anemone:
True, and I think ad hoc representation would still have a role in an autarchic society, but it wouldn't necessarily be plena potestas as you say. The early American colonies did a similar thing, electing representatives with more or less power to negotiate on their behalf for important issues.

Where the governments of the early American colonies had representatives, those representatives were most definitely considered to possess plena potestas. The Virginia Colonial Assembly is the classic example here.

I did not disagree: "electing representatives with more or less power to negotiate on their behalf."

 

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Autolykos replied on Tue, Jun 19 2012 8:59 AM

Anemone:
Lol, okay.

Is there a need for this snide response? Let me rephrase what I said: could you please point out just where the term "minarchism" includes the term "anarch"? Because I see no more "anarch" in "minarchism" than I see "I" in "team".

Anemone:
Surely you don't claim to know my motive by that statement, and surely you understand a difference between a consequence and a motive.

I see no reason to even bring up the notion of redeeming the state unless that was at least part of your motive. You're more than welcome to (try to) refute this.

Anemone:
I think a state could be built that would not be aggressive in any sense. Were that to turn out to be true, one would have to say that it redeems the idea of the state, or should do so, in the eyes of those who, like you, have continually accused it of being only capable of aggression in the long term.

Hence, you think the state can be redeemed. Furthermore, since you clearly want to build a state that would not be aggressive in any sense, it follows logically that you want to redeem the state. QED.

All that aside, I see that you're repeating the strawman argument that I and others have continually accused the state of being only capable of aggression in the long term. I don't believe for a second that I or anyone else has said that. What I've said is that the state must employ aggression, and that it must do so systematically, and that it must do so by definition. None of those statements asserts or implies that the state is only capable of aggression. Do you understand? Please do not put words in my mouth.

Anemone:
Where's my intention in that statement? My intention is to create a free society without aggression.

And as I noted above, that intention is equivalent to the intention to redeem the state.

Anemone:
As I said, and as you ignored, if I were convinced we didn't need some minimal form of societal cooperation then I wouldn't advocate for one.

Where did I ignore that? Please point it out for me and everyone else.

Now it seems that you're equating "the state" with "societal cooperation". Is that accurate? If so, do you really think that the state is the be-all-end-all of social cooperation? What about all market phenomena? Apparently that's not social cooperation in your book, which puts you at complete odds with Austrian-school economists as well as libertarians. I'm really at a loss to comprehend how you can believe that, without the state, no one would ever cooperate with anyone else.

Anemone:
It depends on the particular non-state replacement being advocated. As an example, the idea that those who breach contracts will be ignored and thereby punished, the ostracism method, strikes as particularly laughable. It relies on a small, insular community with whom cooperation is far more useful than would be betrayal, thus on incentive to remain honest. [Emphasis added.]

You say that this is an example, yet it's clear to me that you base your entire argument against anarcho-capitalism/voluntarism per se on this one, single example. That's highly disingenuous, if not full-on dishonest.

Anemone:
In a large society, where one could meet a hundred new strangers for the rest of the days of your life, I see no incentive to not cheat, because that person can simply walk away to cheat another day.

So why don't most people cheat? Do you really think it's only ever because people are afraid of being arrested, imprisoned, etc.? That notion strikes me as particularly laughable.

Anemone:
It also seems to me that such a solution creates incentive for a particular kind of what you might call honesty-arbitrage. The incentive would be to build up as much faith as possible, such as say a banker. In the ostracism method, the owner of a bank could simply wait until everyone trusts him, then walk away with a couple billion in reserves, that one act making him wildly rich to the point where anyone's ostracism means nothing to him--he doesn't intend to conduct business anymore. Ignore him all you want.

Only a court of last resort, with the ability to force a wealth transfer out of his private accounts back to the wronged parties can provide justice in that situation.

The banker would be clearly committing theft by walking out with all those reserves. I'd consider his (former?) depositors to be well within their rights to forcibly reclaim their deposits.

Why must there be "a court of last resort", i.e. a single one? Just because law is (more or less) the same over an area doesn't mean there must be a single court to resolve disputes using that law.

Anemone:
But, iirc, I've said all this to you before. So.

Yes, which means either I'm failing to communicate to you the shortcomings of your arguments, or you have ulterior motives here. I'm starting to lean toward the latter, and I have an idea of what the ulterior motive could be: gaining supporters - especially financial supporters - for your pet projects.

Anemone:
You keep saying that, but not explaining why in principled terms. I counter that the NAP provides ways that coercion can be used ethically, so it remains theoretically possible for a state to not aggress. Which seems to invalidate your per se argument. Yet you've never followed up on this thread that I know of.

Okay, what are you using as your definition for "coercion"? Is it the same as mine, namely "the use or threat of physical force"? I feel like I've asked you this before, but I could be wrong.

Anyway, if you're using the same definition as me for "coercion", then surely you agree that not all coercion is necessarily aggressive, because not all use or threat of physical force is aggressive. With this in mind, I'd like you to explain to me just how aggressive coercion - that is, aggressive use or threat of physical force - can be ethical under the non-aggression principle. Thanks in advance.

Anemone:
That's fine, really doesn't bother me. You may yet find some argument I consider compelling enough to abandon my idea.

Perhaps, but I'm not holding my breath, because right now I have doubts about your honesty.

Anemone:
It's questions like this that make it hard to take you seriously. If your point is that nations are simply groups of people, just make the point and let's skip the asking for a definition stage.

Hey, I can play that game too. It's responses like this that make it hard to take you seriously, because apparently you refuse to think about the question I asked. It wasn't really rhetorical. It was partly to point out that people (like you, apparently) use words without imputing any definite meaning to them, but nevertheless acting as though they're objective categories about the world. The other part of my point was that nations are arbitrary. That is, the have no separate objective existence. Technically, a nation is a group of people sharing a common ancestry, but where do you draw the line there? Again, it's arbitrary. There is no objectively proper line to draw.

Anemone:
Yeah, those are examples of 'societies,' they often use this term explicitly in fact. They are also entitled to defend themselves as a group, say, were the chess club attacked by the football team.

So then you must allow for the existence of multiple overlapping "societies". Furthermore, you must allow for the same people to be members of such multiple overlapping "societies". So which of these "societies" is the "real" or "true" one? Or would you say they all are?

Anemone:
They are, but that didn't suddenly make tyranny possible. Tech suddenly does make autarchy possible.

I don't see how. Your assertion here seems to belie your implicit reference to an arbitrary collection of land, people, etc. labelled by the term "the United States of America". I ask you to stop using that context, as I'm not using it.

Anemone:
If you could refute my NAP-argument for an ethical role for governemnt you would've done it by now :\ I've yet to see it.

I think I have done it. You're either not getting it or you're ignoring it. At this point, my money's on the latter.

Anemone:
IIRC, your typical feint [sic] has been that all governments must eventually coerce. However, my parry [sic] is to talk about locus of control and the abandonment of the socialist-ethic of majority rule which is innately aggressive, and without which a society may not in fact be innately aggressive or tend towards aggression at all, but the reverse.

The aggressive nature of the state has nothing necessarily to do with majority rule. Do you agree with that or not? If not, why not?

Your single - and therefore monopolistic - court of last resort will either use aggression to suppress, if not eliminate, competitors within its claimed territorial jurisdiction, which will make it a de facto state in my book, or it will allow competitors, at which point it ceases to be a single court of last resort. Do you see a middle way in there? I sure don't.

Anemone:
I did not disagree: "electing representatives with more or less power to negotiate on their behalf."

It sure looks to me like you did disagree. Plena potestas doesn't mean "more or less power". It means "full power". Do you see the difference?

The keyboard is mightier than the gun.

Non parit potestas ipsius auctoritatem.

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Anenome replied on Tue, Jun 19 2012 7:24 PM
 
 

Autolykos:
Anemone:
Surely you don't claim to know my motive by that statement, and surely you understand a difference between a consequence and a motive.

I see no reason to even bring up the notion of redeeming the state unless that was at least part of your motive. You're more than welcome to (try to) refute this.

I brought it up because you're so keen to demonize the state out of hand, not because of any motive to 'save' it on my own part. If indeed some minimal state mechanism is necessary to the function of a free society, then your unreasoned demonization of it is counterproductive to the creation of such a society.

Autolykos:
Anemone:
I think a state could be built that would not be aggressive in any sense. Were that to turn out to be true, one would have to say that it redeems the idea of the state, or should do so, in the eyes of those who, like you, have continually accused it of being only capable of aggression in the long term.

Hence, you think the state can be redeemed. Furthermore, since you clearly want to build a state that would not be aggressive in any sense, it follows logically that you want to redeem the state. QED.

If it were possible to build a non-aggressive state, there would be no points to accuse it on. That is all I suggest.

Autolykos:
All that aside, I see that you're repeating the strawman argument that I and others have continually accused the state of being only capable of aggression in the long term. I don't believe for a second that I or anyone else has said that. What I've said is that the state must employ aggression, and that it must do so systematically, and that it must do so by definition. None of those statements asserts or implies that the state is only capable of aggression. Do you understand? Please do not put words in my mouth.

Yes, fine, you're right I've continually made that error and only recently did you make that clear to me and I should not have repeated that thought again here.

However, there's a very fine line between "must eventually employ aggression" and "only capable", which is to say that the state must eventually become an aggressor should it last long enough. So, for thousands of years, apparently, the state could be a non-aggressor, yet you would maintain that it must eventually aggress, and therefore is unqualifiably evil and to be done away with.

So, the question is, under what circumstances must the state eventually aggress, according to you? And what necessitates systematic aggression? And please elaborate on this by definition aspect.

It seems to me that I have been attacking you 'by definition' label of the state as aggressor, since I've been able to define an autarchic state incapable of aggression. One that would be systematically unable to aggress, and that need not aggress eventually.

I may however be wrong and so I will listen readily to your answer. Finally we get to a point I wanted you to speak to months ago when we first started talking.

Autolykos:
Now it seems that you're equating "the state" with "societal cooperation". Is that accurate? If so, do you really think that the state is the be-all-end-all of social cooperation? What about all market phenomena? Apparently that's not social cooperation in your book, which puts you at complete odds with Austrian-school economists as well as libertarians. I'm really at a loss to comprehend how you can believe that, without the state, no one would ever cooperate with anyone else.

Of course not. I've repeatedly referred to the NAP and an autarchic state as using responsive coercion, in terms of civil and criminal courts and of national defense--all coercion related aspects of governance.

In an ideal society the government would allow a maximization of societal cooperation without getting in the way.

Autolykos:
Anemone:
It depends on the particular non-state replacement being advocated. As an example, the idea that those who breach contracts will be ignored and thereby punished, the ostracism method, strikes as particularly laughable. It relies on a small, insular community with whom cooperation is far more useful than would be betrayal, thus on incentive to remain honest. [Emphasis added.]

You say that this is an example, yet it's clear to me that you base your entire argument against anarcho-capitalism/voluntarism per se on this one, single example. That's highly disingenuous, if not full-on dishonest.

Hah, yet you don't offer another example. I attack this one particularly because it's the one everyone seems to continually raise as a primary solution. Go ahead, offer another. The others are even worse, I'm sure.

Autolykos:
Anemone:
In a large society, where one could meet a hundred new strangers for the rest of the days of your life, I see no incentive to not cheat, because that person can simply walk away to cheat another day.

So why don't most people cheat? Do you really think it's only ever because people are afraid of being arrested, imprisoned, etc.? That notion strikes me as particularly laughable.

It's not a question of most people. That's what you don't get. Of course most people will retain their integrity, laws and police or not. The question is how a society will deal with those who will cheat no matter what. If a society cannot deal with those, it fails. I don't suggest people don't cheat because of threat of punishment, but neither is this suggestion of yours an answer to my statement.

Autolykos:
Anemone:
It also seems to me that such a solution creates incentive for a particular kind of what you might call honesty-arbitrage. The incentive would be to build up as much faith as possible, such as say a banker. In the ostracism method, the owner of a bank could simply wait until everyone trusts him, then walk away with a couple billion in reserves, that one act making him wildly rich to the point where anyone's ostracism means nothing to him--he doesn't intend to conduct business anymore. Ignore him all you want.

Only a court of last resort, with the ability to force a wealth transfer out of his private accounts back to the wronged parties can provide justice in that situation.

The banker would be clearly committing theft by walking out with all those reserves. I'd consider his (former?) depositors to be well within their rights to forcibly reclaim their deposits.

So you support a return to barbaric concepts of justice, where the injured party exacts his pound of flesh without the intervention of disinterested 3rd parties who can do so in a measured way. You would create civil wars and gang violence as your notion of justice. How would that be a societal advance? That's a return to barbarism.

Autolykos:
Why must there be "a court of last resort", i.e. a single one? Just because law is (more or less) the same over an area doesn't mean there must be a single court to resolve disputes using that law.

I use the term in general fashion and will now be more specific.

In the system I would setup, there would be a local, that is a city-state, court with the force of law to achieve things that can only be achieved via use of responsive-coercion, such as obtaining money from private accounts that don't belong to a person.

Should one like to appeal a ruling against them, they could appeal to the courts of nearby city-states to get objective rulings, drawn ad-hoc fashion from nearby judges, up to something like a national supreme court. And should one still not agree to the ruling, your recourse is to secede and start your own thing.

So, while there is a jurisdictional monopoly on law, as there must be for law by its nature must have a jurisdictional monopoly, it need not be the only jurisdiction one can appeal to. That is one check upon judicial power.

In actual practice, I expect most people would default to a private court before appealing to a state court of last resort, the judges of which would likely still be drawn ad-hoc fashion from private judges of the region.

Autolykos:
Anemone:
But, iirc, I've said all this to you before. So.

Yes, which means either I'm failing to communicate to you the shortcomings of your arguments, or you have ulterior motives here. I'm starting to lean toward the latter, and I have an idea of what the ulterior motive could be: gaining supporters - especially financial supporters - for your pet projects.

Here you go casting aspersions on motives again :P Don't worry, I won't be asking for anyone's money. Geez dude. I like the idea, I'd like to see it catch on, I think more and more it's a good one as it has been matured by fire, and I intend to build an autarchic republic at some point on the ocean, but we're talking a decade off at least. I'm working on another project at the moment.

You really think your reasoning is so godlike that the only possible reason I haven't accepted it is because of ulterior motives. Honestly.

Autolykos:
Anemone:
You keep saying that, but not explaining why in principled terms. I counter that the NAP provides ways that coercion can be used ethically, so it remains theoretically possible for a state to not aggress. Which seems to invalidate your per se argument. Yet you've never followed up on this thread that I know of.

Okay, what are you using as your definition for "coercion"? Is it the same as mine, namely "the use or threat of physical force"? I feel like I've asked you this before, but I could be wrong.

Sure, I'll accept your definition, and thank you for actually suggesting one so we can shorten the back and forth a bit.

Autolykos:
Anyway, if you're using the same definition as me for "coercion", then surely you agree that not all coercion is necessarily aggressive, because not all use or threat of physical force is aggressive.

That is the heart of my argument, yes. And I propose a state which systematically uses no aggression, only responsive-coercion to stop aggression.

Autolykos:
With this in mind, I'd like you to explain to me just how aggressive coercion - that is, aggressive use or threat of physical force - can be ethical under the non-aggression principle. Thanks in advance.

You've skipped a step. It's the step where you show, in principle, where a state must eventually use aggression. I envision an autarchic republic which only uses responsive coercion, no aggressive coercion at all. It mystifies me why you keep skipping this step.

Honestly, I think it comes down to your assumption that all states must operate via majority rule--a practice which I will agree with you is innately aggressive. I think you further assume that no state without majority rule is possible, though this may not be a conscious assumption. However, the autarchic republic I propose abandons majority rule.

Autolykos:
Anemone:
That's fine, really doesn't bother me. You may yet find some argument I consider compelling enough to abandon my idea.

Perhaps, but I'm not holding my breath, because right now I have doubts about your honesty.

You have no basis for such doubts. I have not asked anyone for money, you have merely accused me of wanting too. Attacking motives is the typical way to assassinate someone's character. Check your own motives.

If I were to proceed along such lines, I'd likely start a foundation or somesuch, establish a website and produce an actual body of literature for it, then build business-plans to present to Peter Thiel and his like, to get a pilot off the ground. I've discussed with ACTF the possibility of starting a pilot as a profit-seeking venture. I can imagine manufacturers of various stripes liking the idea of a floating business district just offshore free of rent and property tax.

There's also specialist industries that would be viable, such as biofuel production which may have advantages offshore, and of course various kinds of floating fisheries whcih are just becoming viable.

So my motive? Primarily to make sure I'm not making a huge mistake philosophically before I commit energy to such an idea :P

Autolykos:
Anemone:
If your point is that nations are simply groups of people...

...nations are arbitrary. That is, the have no separate objective existence. Technically, a nation is a group of people sharing a common ancestry, but where do you draw the line there? Again, it's arbitrary. There is no objectively proper line to draw.

National ancestry is not essential to the definition of a nation. But that's besides the point.

In the autarchy I propose, there would be an objective line, it would be the property boundaries of those whom self-identify as a nation. National defense would then be the group organizing to defend itself as a group, against a foreign aggressor group.

Autolykos:
Anemone:
Yeah, those are examples of 'societies,' they often use this term explicitly in fact. They are also entitled to defend themselves as a group, say, were the chess club attacked by the football team.

So then you must allow for the existence of multiple overlapping "societies". Furthermore, you must allow for the same people to be members of such multiple overlapping "societies". So which of these "societies" is the "real" or "true" one? Or would you say they all are?

Yes, there are many overlapping societies. How is the relevant? If I speak of a family, that is a certain kind of group relationship. If I speak of a nation, that is a certain kind of group relationship.

I tend to use 'society' and 'nation' interchangeably. Is your point that I shouldn't do so? I assume it is. I don't know why you would attack such a usage, but okay. In an autarchic republic, any society could decide it wants to be a nation and secede and become one. Thus, there is no 'true' society, and all is voluntary.

Autolykos:
Anemone:
They are, but that didn't suddenly make tyranny possible. Tech suddenly does make autarchy possible.

I don't see how.

Can you imagine trying to get 100 million people in the same room or even area to hear a speech or vote on something? Not feasible. But could you text 100 million people at the same time, or televise a speech? Sure. Tech makes things possible that weren't previously possible. Direct representation is possible such as it never was before.

An autarchic republic is very much like direct representation, and it would be facilitated digitally.

Autolykos:
Anemone:
If you could refute my NAP-argument for an ethical role for governemnt you would've done it by now :\ I've yet to see it.

I think I have done it. You're either not getting it or you're ignoring it. At this point, my money's on the latter.

To my knowledge, you've never addressed why a state must eventually aggress necessarily. You've said it must several times, however without supporting rationale.

Anemone:
IIRC, your typical feint [sic]

You do snotty things like this. I suppose I need to define 'feint' for you?

Did you perhaps assume 'feint' has a 'g' in it? That would be 'feign' meaning to fake, whereas I wrote 'feint' as in something akin to a parry, as in your typical conversationaly parry, ie: a metaphorical description of how we've argued in the past. Where exactly is the '[sic]'? If you're going to do something as elitist as put a '[sic] in someone's quote, at least make sure you're right about a misspelling or misusage.

Autolykos:
The aggressive nature of the state has nothing necessarily to do with majority rule. Do you agree with that or not? If not, why not?

It has everything to do with it. That's the only inherently aggressive and systematic form of aggression I can find within current nations. Absent majority rule you might have a state free of systematic aggression.

Autolykos:
Your single - and therefore monopolistic - court of last resort will either use aggression to suppress, if not eliminate, competitors within its claimed territorial jurisdiction

Finally some meat to your argument. So let's analyze this.

A. It's a court of last resort, meaning it already is assumed to have many private competitors in the form of private courts and arbitors.

B. Since its jurisdiction is made up of only those whom accept its jurisdiction, a new city-state could spring up next-door over which is would have no legal authority and could not stop in any way from competing with it. Neither can it stop citizens from leaving its jurisdiction, as secession is constitutionally protected.

C. It has no police force at its command. It's coercive power would be typically used purely for remedy, such as retrieving stolen funds from a private account, in a way that can only readily be done with a court order, as businesses are not in a position to adjudicate conflicts.

I think you're falling back on age-old reasoning without thinking it through again. This reasoning doesn't seem to apply to my proposal, though I agree it would apply to current states generally.

Since each jurisdiction is created by consent of its founding member(s), the consequent court will not have used aggression to establish its position, nor to maintain it.

Autolykos:
which will make it a de facto state in my book, or it will allow competitors, at which point it ceases to be a single court of last resort. Do you see a middle way in there? I sure don't.

Sure, the middle-way is to allow there to be more than one jurisdiction and to have jurisdictions compete for citizens and to grow and die as they attract citizens or not.

This is the great problem that this idea of an autarchy seems to solve, how you can reconcile the inherent monopolistic nature of law with the potential abuses of a monopoly on coercion and the desirability of a purely voluntary society.

This requires a new way of thinking about jurisdictions in an autarchy. No longer are jurisdictions entities designed to last forever along permanent boundaries, but living, growing entities much like a business is a living, growing entity whose existence is not permanent but dependent on demand for its services.

The City of Los Angeles (my city) will continue to exist no matter how many people hate it. In an autarchy, its existence would be contingent on voluntary association with it of the people whom are in it.

Autolykos:
Anemone:
I did not disagree: "electing representatives with more or less power to negotiate on their behalf."

It sure looks to me like you did disagree. Plena potestas doesn't mean "more or less power". It means "full power". Do you see the difference?

Yes, but when I wrote "more" I subsumed within that statement the idea of plena potestas.

Autarchy: rule of the self by the self; the act of self ruling.
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Autolykos replied on Wed, Jun 20 2012 9:07 AM

Anemone:
I brought it up because you're so keen to demonize the state out of hand [sic], not because of any motive to 'save' it on my own part. If indeed some minimal state mechanism is necessary to the function of a free society, then your unreasoned demonization of it [sic] is counterproductive to the creation of such a society.

In other words, I'm standing in your way of getting what you want. That's fine by me. I feel no obligation to help you to complete your pet projects.

Now then, back to the debate. I stand by what I said previously. To recap, you wrote here that you think there's another way to redeem the state - namely to establish a state that's incapable of aggression. It's clear to me that you wish to establish such a state, which logically means you wish to redeem the state, since "establishing a state that's incapable of aggression" is a kind of "redeeming the state". Throw however many accusations at me as you want - it does nothing to refute the logic here.

Anemone:
If it were possible to build a non-aggressive state, there would be no points to accuse it on. That is all I suggest.

As I believe I've noted before, we're clearly using different definitions for the word "state". I can't recall anytime recently where you've actually given your own definition. If you have, please point it out.

However, if I define "state" such that systematically aggressing is part of the definition, then talking about a non-aggressive state makes as much sense as talking about a married bachelor.

Anemone:
Yes, fine, you're right I've continually made that error and only recently did you make that clear to me and I should not have repeated that thought again here.

Your use of the word "fine" implies a reluctance to admit an error on your part. Why is that?

Anemone:
However, there's a very fine line between "must eventually employ aggression" and "only capable", which is to say that the state must eventually become an aggressor should it last long enough. So, for thousands of years, apparently, the state could be a non-aggressor, yet you would maintain that it must eventually aggress, and therefore is unqualifiably evil and to be done away with.

No, there isn't a very fine line between those phrases. "Only capable of aggression" means the same thing as "incapable of non-aggression". "Must eventually/ultimately employ aggression" says nothing about capability of non-aggression. Instead of a fine line between those two terms, I see a yawning chasm.

Keep in mind that I consider at least some threats to constitute aggression. So a state may not have to actually use force to maintain its monopoly - it may only have to threaten force. I would certainly consider such threats themselves to be aggressive.

Anemone:
So, the question is, under what circumstances must the state eventually aggress, according to you? And what necessitates systematic aggression? And please elaborate on this by definition aspect.

The state does not allow free competition within its jurisdiction. Any disputes that are resolved without explicitly resorting to the state are considered by the state to nevertheless implicitly resort to it. In other words, disputes that are resolved privately are done so at the state's mercy. Since the state qua the state must at least threaten (some) competitors as a matter of policy, the aggression it employs is systematic.

Anemone:
It seems to me that I have been attacking [your] 'by definition' label of the state as aggressor, since I've been able to define an autarchic state incapable of aggression. One that would be systematically unable to aggress, and that need not aggress eventually.

As far as I can tell, in order to "define an autarchic state incapable of aggression", you have to use a different definition of "state" from the one I'm using. However, I also think that having one and only one "court of last resort" necessarily renders your "autarchic state" completely capable of aggression, because some form aggression must be employed for there to be one and only one "court of last resort" to always exist.

Anemone:
I may however be wrong and so I will listen readily to your answer. Finally we get to a point I wanted you to speak to months ago when we first started talking.

I've been giving you the same answer over and over for months. You've either ignored it or not understood it.

Anemone:
Of course not. I've repeatedly referred to the NAP and an autarchic state as using responsive coercion, in terms of civil and criminal courts and of national defense--all coercion related aspects of governance.

Earlier you wrote: "As I said, and as you ignored, if I were convinced we didn't need some minimal form of societal cooperation then I wouldn't advocate for one." For one thing, you still haven't pointed out where exactly I've ignored that. Second, it's clear to me that you're substituting "societal cooperation" for the term "state" or "government", which means you equate those terms. If you don't equate those terms, then why did you write what you wrote? What other interpretation do you expect me to make from it?

Anemone:
In an ideal society the government would allow a maximization of societal cooperation without getting in the way.

This is quite different from what you wrote before.

Anemone:
Hah, yet you don't offer another example. I attack this one particularly because it's the one everyone seems to continually raise as a primary solution. Go ahead, offer another. The others are even worse, I'm sure.

Whether I offer another example is irrelevant to my point. I hereby accuse you of making a red herring argument. Now I demand that you actually address my point rather than try to distract me away from it.

Anemone:
It's not a question of most people. That's what you don't get [sic]. Of course most people will retain their integrity, laws and police or not. The question is how a society will deal with those who will cheat no matter what. If a society cannot deal with those, it fails. I don't suggest people don't cheat because of threat of punishment, but neither is this suggestion of yours an answer to my statement.

It's quite an answer to your statement, because you said: "In a large society, where one could meet a hundred new strangers for the rest of the days of your life, I see no incentive to not cheat, because that person can simply walk away to cheat another day [emphasis added]." How does that not mean that you think most (if not all) people would cheat in a "large society"?

Anemone:
So you support a return to barbaric concepts of justice, where the injured party exacts his pound of flesh without the intervention of disinterested 3rd parties who can do so in a measured way. You would create civil wars and gang violence as your notion of justice. How would that be a societal advance? That's a return to barbarism.

I consider it legitimate for an individual to "take the law into his own hands". But notice that doesn't mean do whatever he wants - the term "the law" is in there. If he oversteps the law, then the other party now has a cause of action against him. Even the term "pound of flesh" implies measured (and hence limited) retribution. Call it "barbaric" all you want. I refuse to consider myself obligated to always ask permission (and from who?) before doing what I think is right.

Anemone:
I use the term in general fashion and will now be more specific.

In the system I would setup, there would be a local, that is a city-state, court with the force of law to achieve things that can only be achieved via use of responsive-coercion, such as obtaining money from private accounts that don't belong to a person.

Should one like to appeal a ruling against them, they could appeal to the courts of nearby city-states to get objective rulings, drawn ad-hoc fashion from nearby judges, up to something like a national supreme court. And should one still not agree to the ruling, your recourse is to secede and start your own thing.

So, while there is a jurisdictional monopoly on law, as there must be for law by its nature must have a jurisdictional monopoly, it need not be the only jurisdiction one can appeal to. That is one check upon judicial power.

In actual practice, I expect most people would default to a private court before appealing to a state court of last resort, the judges of which would likely still be drawn ad-hoc fashion from private judges of the region.

The fact that courts are hierarchical in your "autarchic state" doesn't obviate my point whatsoever. There is still one and only one court system (I shouldn't have used "court" before, as that's ambiguous), and for it to continue being the one and only one court system, it must resort to a policy of coercion (again defined as "the use or threat of force") against free competition within its claimed jurisdiction. I consider that policy of coercion to be aggressive.

Anemone:
Here you go casting aspersions on motives again :P Don't worry, I won't be asking for anyone's money. Geez dude. I like the idea, I'd like to see it catch on, I think more and more it's a good one as it has been matured by fire, and I intend to build an autarchic republic at some point on the ocean, but we're talking a decade off at least. I'm working on another project at the moment.

You really think your reasoning is so godlike that the only possible reason I haven't accepted it is because of ulterior motives. Honestly.

If by "godlike" you mean "clear", then yeah, pretty much at this point. Honestly. I stand by what I said before.

Anemone:
That is the heart of my argument, yes. And I propose a state which systematically uses no aggression, only responsive-coercion to stop aggression.

As I've explained I-don't-know-how-many times already, your proposal is flawed.

Anemone:
You've skipped a step. It's the step where you show, in principle, where a state must eventually use aggression. I envision an autarchic republic which only uses responsive coercion, no aggressive coercion at all. It mystifies me why you keep skipping this step.

I can only surmise that you're accusing me of skipping a step because either you really have no idea how your "autarchic state" would still be capable of aggression, or again this just serves the ulterior motive you may have (getting me out of your way so you can attract more supporters for yourself).

Once again, if I define "state" such that eventual/ultimate employment of aggression is a part of that definition, then saying "a state eventually/ultimately employs aggression" is tautologically true. There's one principle. You apparently define "state" differently, such that eventual/ultimate employment of aggression is not part of your definition. Since all definitions are arbitrary, that's fine. But I have no good idea just what your definition of "state" is.

On the other hand (still once again), a necessarily single "court system of last resort" must employ aggression to maintain itself as such. Why is that? Because coercing against free competition constitutes aggression. The only other alternative is to consider this "court system of last resort" to actually own the territory that it claims as its jurisdiction - but that would mean anyone who thought he owned part of that territory himself has been either defrauded or outright robbed. So there's another principle.

Anemone:
Honestly, I think it comes down to your assumption that all states must operate via majority rule--a practice which I will agree with you is innately aggressive. I think you further assume that no state without majority rule is possible, though this may not be a conscious assumption. However, the autarchic republic I propose abandons majority rule.

This is entirely unfounded. I make no assumption that all states must operate via majority rule. Nor do I assume that no state without majority rule is possible. Let me be clear: I consider majority rule to be entirely superfluous to my definition of "state".

Anemone:
You have no basis for such doubts. I have not asked anyone for money, you have merely accused me of wanting too. Attacking motives is the typical way to assassinate someone's character. Check your own motives.

My own motive is to convince you of the flaw in your idea. But that presumes that you're being honest. If you're not being honest, then my motive is to point out your dishonest to the fullest extent I can, and to not let you get away with it. If you want to call that "character assassination", so be it. It makes no difference to me.

Anemone:
If I were to proceed along such lines, I'd likely start a foundation or somesuch, establish a website and produce an actual body of literature for it, then build business-plans to present to Peter Thiel and his like, to get a pilot off the ground. I've discussed with ACTF the possibility of starting a pilot as a profit-seeking venture. I can imagine manufacturers of various stripes liking the idea of a floating business district just offshore free of rent and property tax.

There's also specialist industries that would be viable, such as biofuel production which may have advantages offshore, and of course various kinds of floating fisheries whcih are just becoming viable.

So my motive? Primarily to make sure I'm not making a huge mistake philosophically before I commit energy to such an idea :P

Giving you the benefit of the doubt - at least for the moment - I'll say that I think you are making a huge mistake philosophically. That's been my whole point all this time.

Anemone:
National ancestry is not essential to the definition of a nation. But that's besides the point.

To speak of "the definition" is false. There is no necessary definition for any word. By "technically", I meant "referring to the established etymology". The word "nation" comes from a Latin verb meaning "to be born".

Anemone:
In the autarchy I propose, there would be an objective line, it would be the property boundaries of those whom self-identify as a nation. National defense would then be the group organizing to defend itself as a group, against a foreign aggressor group.

It seems here that the only thing essential to your definition of "nation" is sovereignty. Do I have that right? If so, then what about the notion of individual sovereignty?

Anemone:
Yes, there are many overlapping societies. How is the relevant? If I speak of a family, that is a certain kind of group relationship. If I speak of a nation, that is a certain kind of group relationship.

I tend to use 'society' and 'nation' interchangeably. Is your point that I shouldn't do so? I assume it is. I don't know why you would attack such a usage, but okay. In an autarchic republic, any society could decide it wants to be a nation and secede and become one. Thus, there is no 'true' society, and all is voluntary.

Part of my point is that using "society" and "nation" interchangeably is inconsistent with your definitions for those terms, as they're not the same (apparently - you haven't laid out your definition for "nation" just yet).

On the other hand, the fact that you said any society could secede means that there must be two or more individuals seceding. In other words, individual secession is not allowed. Why is that?

And finally, as I've said before, all is not voluntary in your "autarchic republic/state".

Anemone:
Can you imagine trying to get 100 million people in the same room or even area to hear a speech or vote on something? Not feasible. But could you text 100 million people at the same time, or televise a speech? Sure. Tech makes things possible that weren't previously possible. Direct representation is possible such as it never was before.

An autarchic republic is very much like direct representation, and it would be facilitated digitally.

That begs the question - why must there be 100 million people hearing a speach or voting on anything? Why do you assume that the "autarchic state" must have such a large number of people?

I'll also note that even direct voting on things constitutes majority rule if the vote is not unanimous, yet nevertheless considered binding on everyone (perhaps even those who abstain).

Anemone:
To my knowledge, you've never addressed why a state must eventually aggress necessarily. You've said it must several times, however without supporting rationale.

I know I've addressed why before, in at least one thread (the one originally about Rand Paul endorsing Mitt Romney).

Anemone:
You do snotty things like this. I suppose I need to define 'feint' for you?

Did you perhaps assume 'feint' has a 'g' in it? That would be 'feign' meaning to fake, whereas I wrote 'feint' as in something akin to a parry, as in your typical conversationaly parry, ie: a metaphorical description of how we've argued in the past. Where exactly is the '[sic]'? If you're going to do something as elitist as put a '[sic] in someone's quote, at least make sure you're right about a misspelling or misusage.

Here's the Wiktionary entry for the noun "feint". I see the first two definitions as being applicable here. Notice that both of those definitions imply dishonesty. Also, the word "feint" comes from the same roote as "feign". In other words, I concluded that you were accusing me of being dishonest, which I wasn't being - and that's why I added "sic" in quoting you there.

Anemone:
It has everything to do with it. That's the only inherently aggressive and systematic form of aggression I can find within current nations. Absent majority rule you might have a state free of systematic aggression. [Emphasis added.]

I see the part I emphasized above as a big problem. Why do you restrict yourself to current nations? I see no reason to do that.

Anemone:
Finally some meat to your argument. So let's analyze this.

A. It's a court of last resort, meaning it already is assumed to have many private competitors in the form of private courts and [arbiters].

Irrelevant. Those private courts and arbiters operate at the mercy of the court of last resort.

Anemone:
B. Since its jurisdiction is made up of only those whom accept its jurisdiction, a new city-state could spring up next-door over which is would have no legal authority and could not stop in any way from competing with it. Neither can it stop citizens from leaving its jurisdiction, as secession is constitutionally protected.

The court of last resort is actually the "federal" one, isn't it? So this is also irrelevant. New city-states are able to spring up next door only at the mercy of the court of last resort, which exists and operates at the "federal" level (i.e. over all of the [potential] city-states).

Anemone:
C. It has no police force at its command. [Its] coercive power would be typically used purely for remedy, such as retrieving stolen funds from a private account, in a way that can only readily be done with a court order, as businesses are not in a position to adjudicate conflicts.

To be consistent here, it must allow free competition within its claimed jurisdiction, which removes its status as court of last resort.

Anemone:
I think you're falling back on age-old reasoning without thinking it through again. This reasoning doesn't seem to apply to my proposal, though I agree it would apply to current states generally. [Emphasis added.]

I think you're mistaken. See above. Also, why again do you refer only to "current states"? Why limit yourself like that? It's things like this which make me question your motives.

Anemone:
Since each jurisdiction is created by consent of its founding member(s), the consequent court will not have used aggression to establish its position, nor to maintain it.

This ignores the "federal" court, which is the real "court of last resort", as you mentioned at times in the past.

Anemone:
Sure, the middle-way is to allow there to be more than one jurisdiction and to have jurisdictions compete for citizens and to grow and die as they attract citizens or not.

You're really referring to sub-jurisdictions, given your earlier assertions that your proposed system is "federal" in nature. The sub-jurisdictions are just parts of a greater whole, which does not allow free competition.

Anemone:
This is the great problem that this idea of an autarchy seems to solve, how you can reconcile the inherent monopolistic nature of law with the potential abuses of a monopoly on coercion and the desirability of a purely voluntary society.

I see another way to reconcile it - recognize the law as something that emerges from people, rather than being imposed upon them. People will adopt common law as they adopt common language. That in no way means that actually resolving disputes must be monopolized.

Anemone:
This requires a new way of thinking about jurisdictions in an autarchy. No longer are jurisdictions entities designed to last forever along permanent boundaries, but living, growing entities much like a business is a living, growing entity whose existence is not permanent but dependent on demand for its services.

Except at the "federal" level. If you've done away with that, then please state so explicitly.

Anemone:
The City of Los Angeles (my city) will continue to exist no matter how many people hate it. In an autarchy, its existence would be contingent on voluntary association with it of the people whom are in it.

Please prove that the City of Los Angeles will always and necessarily exist in the future. (My point is that you can't.) If in an "autarchy", its existence would indeed be contingent on voluntary association, then there's no guarantee whatsoever that the City of Los Angeles will continue to exist forever.

Anemone:
Yes, but when I wrote "more" I subsumed within that statement the idea of plena potestas.

My point was that, as far as I'm aware, representatives in the American Colonies never had less than plena potestas.

The keyboard is mightier than the gun.

Non parit potestas ipsius auctoritatem.

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