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On the whole neurosis about delineating what a state is and isn't

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alsdjfalsdjfos Posted: Fri, Sep 14 2012 6:17 PM

Let's say we have  a private security agency that enforces rules in the territory in which it owns. Anyone who doesn't agree with the rules is free to leave (emigrate) at any time. How is this "private security agency" (or whatever term you prefer) substantially different from how most governments in the world currently operate?

You can say that current governments don't legitimately own the land they hold according to your chosen criteria (inheritance through first use/first improvement principle, etc). But if that's so, why don't you hold all current property deeds illegimate, since virtually no one who owns property now actually acquired it through these channels?

Take Dodge City. It's supposedly anarchocapitalist according to Mises.org. But it had a local government that collected taxes and had a legal monopoly within its own territory. It wasn't part of the US federal government, but it met all the normal, political science, non-Randroid definitions of a state. How can you make that distinction?

Anyway, IBTL.

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Malachi replied on Fri, Sep 14 2012 6:47 PM
Let's say we have  a private security agency that enforces rules in the territory in which it owns. Anyone who doesn't agree with the rules is free to leave (emigrate) at any time. How is this "private security agency" (or whatever term you prefer) substantially different from how most governments in the world currently operate?
Governments do not own all of the territory that they enforce rules upon.
You can say that current governments don't legitimately own the land they hold according to your chosen criteria (inheritance through first use/first improvement principle, etc). But if that's so, why don't you hold all current property deeds illegimate, since virtually no one who owns property now actually acquired it through these channels?
they dont own the land for a variety of reasons, firstly because they dont even claim to own the land. Furthermore, you ignore the fact that ownership is transferable.
Take Dodge City. It's supposedly anarchocapitalist according to Mises.org.
Reference?
But it had a local government that collected taxes and had a legal monopoly within its own territory. It wasn't part of the US federal government, but it met all the normal, political science, non-Randroid definitions of a state. How can you make that distinction?
Oh ok. You arent even aware of the different normal, political science definitions of state. So I guess I could type some out for you to not read, and if you were making an attempt at honest discussion, that would move the conversation forward. So you can explain to yourself why I havent done that.
Anyway, IBTL.
if you anticipate a thread lock, maybe you should explain why. Are you planning on violating the forum rules?
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Clayton replied on Fri, Sep 14 2012 7:23 PM

 

I'll reproduce my reply to kylio (you?) on another thread:

 the government itself repudiates ownership of the roads. I've discussed this in another post which I can't seem to find right now. Basically, the government wants the best of both worlds - rents from owned property with non-liability for unowned property. So, the government insists on treating roads and all public lands in this quantum superposition between owned and unowned. The parks are "your public lands", so that's why you have to pay for their upkeep and you can't sue the government if you are injured there. You are the owner, after all! Yet you will be fined for violating any ordinances regarding the use of the park.

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Governments do not own all of the territory that they enforce rules upon.

Clayton: ... the government itself repudiates ownership of the roads.

Semantics. If the government never repudiated ownership (which would probably involve giving up eminent domain), it would still be practically indistinguishable from one of those private security agencies.

It's just a particular private security agency that you want to dismantle because it has some rules that you don't like.

 

 

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Wheylous replied on Fri, Sep 14 2012 8:15 PM

How is this "private security agency" (or whatever term you prefer) substantially different from how most governments in the world currently operate?

It's not. /Thread

Also, if you're gonna begin with "IBTL", then please don't bother posting here any longer.

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It's not. /Thread

So that means "anti-statism" is actually just an attack on a legitimate private enterprise.

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cab21 replied on Fri, Sep 14 2012 8:27 PM

most governments try to enforce rules on land the government does not own, so that is different from enforcing rules on land one does own.

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Wheylous replied on Fri, Sep 14 2012 8:28 PM

So that means "anti-statism" is actually just an attack on a legitimate private enterprise.

If an enterprise is using force against property owners then it's not legitimate.

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If an enterprise is using force against property owners then it's not legitimate.

The federal government isn't doing that. It's requiring individuals within its territory to follow certain rules. If they don't want to follow those rules, they can leave the territory.

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Anenome replied on Fri, Sep 14 2012 8:33 PM
 
 

alsdjfalsdjfos:
Let's say we have  a private security agency that enforces rules in the territory in which it owns. Anyone who doesn't agree with the rules is free to leave (emigrate) at any time. How is this "private security agency" (or whatever term you prefer) substantially different from how most governments in the world currently operate?

Your security agency in this example has legitimate control over their own property and can exclude others at will and make ultimate decisions over their property. However, governments claim jurisdiction even over things they do not own, and thus use coercion illegitimately. This is the salient difference between them.

alsdjfalsdjfos:
You can say that current governments don't legitimately own the land they hold according to your chosen criteria (inheritance through first use/first improvement principle, etc). But if that's so, why don't you hold all current property deeds illegimate, since virtually no one who owns property now actually acquired it through these channels?

Libertarians would deal with existing title conflicts thus:

1. If the title was stolen and the owner or their descendants can be found, the property should be returned to the owner.

2. If the title was stolen and the owner cannot be found, then one of two things happens:

2a. If the current owner was the thief and the owner cannot be found, then he cannot be allowed to profit from his theft and title would be given to the first person to make new use of the land (in practice this would probably be the person/agency who was able to prove it in court or make the complaint).

2b. If the current owner was not the thief and the owner cannot be found, but is rather the descendant of the thief or someone the thief sold to, then that person is not guilty of the theft and can be considered to have homesteaded it as the first user of unowned property and now legitimately owns it.

3. If the thief sold the property to someone, and the owner can be found, then the property is returned to the owner and the last owner has a claim against the thief for selling "stolen goods" that he could not legitimately sell.

In the current world, the vast majority of property, even real estate, falls into the 2b category and thus not much would change were libertarian principles effected into law. However you would see restoration to the indians of a good deal of property, but certainly not the entire US as some imagine.

 
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Malachi replied on Fri, Sep 14 2012 8:36 PM
Two replies, but nothing for me? So sad....
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Your security agency in this example has legitimate control over their own property and can exclude others at will and make ultimate decisions over their property. However, governments claim jurisdiction even over things they do not own, and thus use coercion illegitimately. This is the salient difference between them.

Not necessarily. For example, if you agree to live within a government's territory - semantics aside, for all practical purposes governments have always claimed at least partial ownership of nearly everything in their territory by possessing an underlying right to eminent domain - you agree to turn over your tax money. If you disagree with this rule, you have to leave the territory. If you leave the country and take your property with you, the government will leave you alone (apart from some rare instances when it goes overseas for things like World War II; no institution is perfect).

This is no different from a private homeowner's association requiring you to pay fees as long as you own a house in the neighborhood.

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Anenome replied on Fri, Sep 14 2012 8:55 PM
 
 

alsdjfalsdjfos:

Your security agency in this example has legitimate control over their own property and can exclude others at will and make ultimate decisions over their property. However, governments claim jurisdiction even over things they do not own, and thus use coercion illegitimately. This is the salient difference between them.

Not necessarily. For example, if you agree to live within a government's territory - semantics aside, for all practical purposes governments have always claimed at least partial ownership of nearly everything in their territory by possessing an underlying right to eminent domain - you agree to turn over your tax money.

Sure, you could do that. Basically you're asking if the situation changes if a person subjects themselves to the state voluntarily. The answer is yes, it changes and becomes moral. However, states would have to abandon the presumption of citizenship for the young for instance, upon reaching adulthood, and make such voluntary acceptance explicit, and allow you to opt out, which they currently really do not. And, and this is important, the state's territory and influence could only extend to property they'd purchased and own 100%, not to anyone new's property who simply agrees to their jurisdiction. And if that new person seceded, the "state" could not keep claiming jurisdiction.

If states were willing to be more honest in that way it would be a move forward, but states are not willing to be honest. Also, states would have to abandon their monopoly on controlling the court that decides suits against them. Even in that scenario any suit should be brought to a 3rd party court, and this too states are not willing to do.

alsdjfalsdjfos:
If you disagree with this rule, you have to leave the territory.

If someone agreed to that up-front before joining, then fine. However state's don't do that.

alsdjfalsdjfos:
If you leave the country and take your property with you, the government will leave you alone (apart from some rare instances it goes overseas for things like World War II; no institution is perfect).

No, it wouldn't be leaving the country, because the state could only do this on land they actually had title to. They could similarly eject people living as renters on their land. But people who do own land and simply join their system could secede at will and stay in place without the state, and no state currently is willing to allow that.

alsdjfalsdjfos:
This is no different from a private homeowner's association requiring you to pay fees as long as you own a house in the neighborhood.

Homeowner's associations are actually illegitimate as currently implemented because the title to property is transferred burdened by the HA which cannot be gotten rid of. In practice if a HA wants to do that, it must retain title to all the property and lease them out conditionally. They could not be legitimately considered sold if they're sold conditionally.

So, it's not quite the same thing.

Similar illegitimate laws currently burden property all around the US, and in the past were used to racist intent, forcing owners not to sell to minorities for instance.

But the dead cannot retain control of a property and thus force the choices of future generations. The right to control property is a heritable right, and once the owner has died his right passes on to the next owner, regardless of what he wrote into the deed, and the new owner should be able to change that at will, having now inherited full title.

 
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Wheylous replied on Fri, Sep 14 2012 9:01 PM

 It's requiring individuals within its territory to follow certain rules. If they don't want to follow those rules, they can leave the territory.

And what claim does it have to the territory?

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If states were willing to be more honest in that way it would be a move forward, but states are not willing to be honest.

So you would actually be okay with states if they

1) formalized the citizenship process (although I think immigrants already go through this, guess the government can make rules that apply to them)

2) took formal ownership of all land, as is done in Hong Kong, or some similar measure to legitimize tax revenue

and

3) there were independent courts somewhere which would still allow it to collect taxes, but would prevent it from invading Iraq and such

Alright, I get this. I'm just saying that it would still allow countries to go full communist as long as they gave criminals a choice to run off to the brigand colonies in Australia.

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And what claim does it have to the territory?

Merely the fact that it possesses territory.

territory

2. the land and waters belonging to or under the jurisdiction of a state, sovereign, etc.

Also, ctrl+F: eminent domain.

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Wheylous replied on Fri, Sep 14 2012 9:35 PM

I can claim that I own Asia. Does that make me the owner? Should it?

Also, slaveowners claimed they owned people. So...?

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cab21 replied on Fri, Sep 14 2012 9:40 PM

so a person owns land, then a state claims to own the land. the legitmate landowner is not the state, the legitimate landowner never consented to be part of the state. the state is making war on the legitimate landowner.

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Wheylous replied on Fri, Sep 14 2012 10:10 PM

cab21 - side question:

It seemed like you initially came here and you disliked the ideas presented on here, but as of late you have been posting what appears to be pro-market posts. Have you had a change of mind or is this a really subtle joke?

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Anenome replied on Fri, Sep 14 2012 10:15 PM
 
 

alsdjfalsdjfos:

So you would actually be okay with states if they

Let me say up front the overall principle, that I would be okay only with a state that eschews all institutional forms of aggression. Since the state is generally defined by at least three particular forms of aggression:

1. Forced monopoly of police protection.

2. Forced monopoly of judicial services, including using its own judges in disputes involving itself.

3. Compulsory taxation.

and also sometimes 4. Assumption of territorial ownership/jurisdiction despite lacking legitimate title.

The only "state" I'd be okay with could hardly be called a state at all, but rather a free association with not taxation but voluntary subscriptions. The road you're walking down will likely lead to the same conclusion if we follow it far enough and if you do so consistently to the idea's logical conclusion.

alsdjfalsdjfos:
1) formalized the citizenship process (although I think immigrants already go through this, guess the government can make rules that apply to them)

Not merely formalized but allow free association. That is, states could only claim jurisdiction over land they personally had title to. Those entering their land would then agree to certain malum prohibitum on the basis of choice, with the penalty of being kicked off state land should they break prohibitum. Any conflicts would have to be solved by third party disinterested jurists.

alsdjfalsdjfos:

2) took formal ownership of all land, as is done in Hong Kong, or some similar measure to legitimize tax revenue

Not merely take formal ownership, they'd have to actually purchase it. No entity could possibly buy entire countries at this point so that precludes the idea for now. And if they did buy a plot of land, they could contract with individuals to stay on that land for a set fee, sure, but that would not in fact deserve the label 'taxation' since it would be an agreed upon sum and involve no element of coercion. It would become mere rent.

alsdjfalsdjfos:
3) there were independent courts somewhere

Independent courts outside itself, yes.

alsdjfalsdjfos:
which would still allow it to collect taxes, but would prevent it from invading Iraq and such

No, such courts would probably not allow it to collect taxes or conduct war, since both are immoral aggressions. No more can any business collect taxes or conduct war.

That is, such a society would be based on the non-aggression principle and forced cooperation in the form of taxation or conscription would be impossible.

alsdjfalsdjfos:
Alright, I get this. I'm just saying that it would still allow countries to go full communist as long as they gave criminals a choice to run off to the brigand colonies in Australia.

Aha, now here you have an interesting statement. Because the funny thing is you're right, that it would allow the creation of independent, self-regulating communes where the people lived there by free association. That's one of the virtues of such a rule of law.

But it would also prevent those communes from spreading their jurisdiction illegitimately.

I'm working on writing out a legal code to effect just such a libertarian ideal society in practice, under the label of 'autarchy', and it involves self-regulated communities that join together on the basis of similar individually-accepted legal principles. Thus, all the communists could very easily join together and create a commune, yes, perfectly possible without violating the NAP.

What the communists could not do is to effect policies of forced redistribution of income. No, it would have to be voluntary. Nor could they prevent the property of an owner therein from seceding. So, in contrast to now where cities have their boundaries set in stone for all time effectively, in a libertarian society the size of any individual self-governed region (let's call them tuath / tuatha), each tuath would grow or shrink according to the property of each individual joining it or leaving it.

 
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Clayton replied on Fri, Sep 14 2012 11:10 PM

So that means "anti-statism" is actually just an attack on a legitimate private enterprise.

If the State were just another private entity, then it would be possible to ask the State to explain why we must obey its rules when driving on public roads but yet we cannot sue the State for deaths that occur on its (our?) roads.

We could ask the State to prove its claim to any of our income, whether called "taxes" "extortion" "unlawful seizure" or whatever.

So, why don't you explain to us why this supposedly private entity cannot be even asked to explain - let alone justify - its behavior?

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Anenome:
Not merely take formal ownership, they'd have to actually purchase it. No entity could possibly buy entire countries at this point so that precludes the idea for now. And if they did buy a plot of land, they could contract with individuals to stay on that land for a set fee, sure, but that would not in fact deserve the label 'taxation' since it would be an agreed upon sum and involve no element of coercion. It would become mere rent.

While this stipulation would be valid, it would effectively dismantle the state, because the state cannot "purchase" anything legitimately because all of their money was taken coercively. There are four main ways for the government to generate revenue: through taxes, inflation, budget cuts to other programs, or borrowing. 

Taxes and inflation are illegitimate because they both involve coercion. 

Budget cuts would also fail to work because if you eliminate taxes, there is nothing to cut because there is no money to cut from one program into the purchasing of land.

You could say that they could borrow the money from the people (either foreign or domestic) but the only way they could do so was on their own credit. Since the government has no way to raise money (as just stated) they would have to borrow the money on the credit of its domestic people. For this, they would need the consent of every citizen in the nation. This is impossible, therefore they cannot borrow the money. 

There is perhaps a fifth and sixth method. Fifth would be voluntary donations form the people. I think there is a good reason this hasn't been tried - very few are willing to voluntarily give to the government, which is why they just take it by force. The sixth would be to start up an enterprise (like the post office), and generate money in open competition of the market. If you reduced the government's revenue growth to these two means, it would, again, cease to be a state because it would essentially be functioning the same way that any private citizen does: either he earns his money by competing or offering his services on the market, or it is given to him through charity. This is why I don't understand when people claim that we need a government but to make sure it is moral, taxes will be voluntary. What? This is not a government. This is not a state. This is not what we are against.

Hope this cleared some things up for you.   

 

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Anenome replied on Sun, Sep 16 2012 11:11 AM
 
 

The Texas Trigger:

Anenome:
Not merely take formal ownership, they'd have to actually purchase it. No entity could possibly buy entire countries at this point so that precludes the idea for now. And if they did buy a plot of land, they could contract with individuals to stay on that land for a set fee, sure, but that would not in fact deserve the label 'taxation' since it would be an agreed upon sum and involve no element of coercion. It would become mere rent.

While this stipulation would be valid, it would effectively dismantle the state, because the state cannot "purchase" anything legitimately because all of their money was taken coercively.

Well, naturally :P I think most libertarians would agree the state cannot exist and remain moral, and if you remove the elements from the state that are immoral and try to create an ethical state, what results is no longer a state.

I should know, I tried it, tried building a state without institutional forms of aggression as a system, and the result is no longer a state. It's a free association just like libertarians wants. A free society ruled by voluntaryism.

The Texas Trigger:

There is perhaps a fifth and sixth method. Fifth would be voluntary donations form the people. I think there is a good reason this hasn't been tried - very few are willing to voluntarily give to the government, which is why they just take it by force.

The sixth would be to start up an enterprise (like the post office), and generate money in open competition of the market. If you reduced the government's revenue growth to these two means, it would, again, cease to be a state because it would essentially be functioning the same way that any private citizen does: either he earns his money by competing or offering his services on the market, or it is given to him through charity. This is why I don't understand when people claim that we need a government but to make sure it is moral, taxes will be voluntary. What? This is not a government. This is not a state. This is not what we are against.

Hope this cleared some things up for you.  

Nah, I agree completely. I was just tyring to get the OP to realize the same :P

 
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