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I'm in a huge dilemma between Minarchism and Anarchism

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Novus Zarathustra Posted: Wed, Oct 21 2009 5:49 PM

Three years ago from now, I was a Liberal because I didn't even think that things may have been a different way. I just bought things as is, and figured Free Health Care would be nice and all. Then, after taking a class on Constitutional Law, I became a Conservative because I felt that small government, individual rights, economic freedom, and fiscal responsibility was a good idea. I mean I think anyone with the right mind(pardon the pun :p) can see that Social Programs are wasteful, and amount to nothing.

When I was a Conservative, I didn't feel like I was a bigot, or sexist like most GOP Conservatives, so I became a Moderate.

Upon the 2008 Election, I came upon Ron Paul(in 2007) from doing some research on all the candidates, then a huge change started to occur. I realized "Holy SHIT! He's right, even before I got into politics this is what I said about everything, I knew somewhere in my mind that this is how I wanted things to be, I hated being told what to do I loved my own individuality. I always questioned the way things were" after this, I became a Libertarian Minarchist, and then my journey here began.

I always questioned why the "rich get richer, and poor get poorer" as being a fundamental principle of Capitalism, when I was in High School I read Max Weber and realized it is MUCH different from what I can see now. Then, it hit me, there's somethign rotten in the money that wasn't present back then, and once again Ron Paul enlightened me on this issue, it was The Federal Reserve and The IRS.

This made me watch "America: Freedom to Fascism" by Aaron Russo.

Since reading Ron Paul's book I became curious of Mises, so I journied here, and found out about Murray Rothbard.

Recently, I've realized that The U.S Consitution only first gave rights to a select group of people, they were still slaves. I thought maybe the Colonization of America was an example of a "Monopoly on Force", where violence was used by the state to maintain control within the dominion of its borders, and that the same has happened throughout History with empires. It was Government that enlsaved people, maimed them, killed them tortured them.

I realized that maybe being a Constitutional Minarchist Libertarian makes me an American Nationalist, and by that I would have to love America and nothing else, and think illegal immigrants don't belong here. America is by no means the best country ever, and you realize this once you travel. It's nationalism, and the state that has led to wars and all of histories tragedies.


So, I like the idea of Private Property, and I thought maybe the only real answer is to abolish the state and abolish politicians. Even if I stay a Laissez-Faire Minarchist, my ideals may never be achieved because of shitty politicians, and even if they do, its unlikely they will stay that way. So, as of now, I am thinking about becoming an Anarchist.

 

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Democracy for Breakfast:
So, as of now, I am thinking about becoming an Anarchist.

It's not something to become.  If they are ideas you can embrace, which make good sense to you, and reflect your values and morality, then you can be an anarchist, or an ancap, or a voluntarist or an autarchist or anything you like. It is not some formal deal where you have to announce allegiance to an idea.

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
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Okay, well let me word it better then. There's still flaws on both sides that barrier which I can't completely embrace. Under Minarchism, a Government would enforce private property contracts and make general laws. However, how can you get it to stay that way? How do you stop politicians from enroaching The Constitution like they do now, and how would we even get to that level in the first place?

Under Anarchism, Natural Law would enforce all the individual and private property rights, but natural law is very unpredictable. Additionally, a state can rise easily out of  "Mob Rule" and from Rothbard's protection agency of Volunteers. However, we would be safe from corrupt politicians and a single entity acting for its own or against our interests.

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Democracy for Breakfast:
Under Minarchism, a Government would enforce private property contracts and make general laws.

Under anarchism, individuals would do the same.

Democracy for Breakfast:
However, how can you get it to stay that way?

You can't.  A monopoly is the sole arbiter of its own limitations.  If you want a monopoly state, then you can't expect it to control itself.  It has no incentive to stay small.

Democracy for Breakfast:
Additionally, a state can rise easily out of  "Mob Rule" and from Rothbard's protection agency of Volunteers.

So, if we try for something other than a state, the worst outcome is that we end up with a state?  Sounds like a no-risk proposition.

 

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
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Minarchism is self contradicting morally and it's always in danger of expanding. Pick the ideology most consistent with your beliefs and always try to achieve the closest possible to those beliefs (i'm an anarchist but I'd jump at the chance of minarchism)
"Lo! I am weary of my wisdom, like the bee that hath gathered too much honey; I need hands outstretched to take it." -Thus Spake Zarathustra
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Good post, DfB.

I'd say take the plunge. Follow the ethics and worry about the particulars later. Start checking out an-cap literature and economic literature (you can never read enough!) I think a fair amount of an-cap positions can be defended through economics. The possibility of private roads or police, for example.

Of course, take what I'm saying with a grain of salt, since I took about the same course as you did over about the same period of time. I certainly need to read up on a lot myself.

Democracy for Breakfast:
I came upon Ron Paul

Maybe he's the new Ayn Rand as far as popularizing libertarian principles. I would bet that a fair amount of Ron Paul supporters inevitably turn to anarchism.  

"Constitution worship is our most extended public political ritual, frequently supervised as often by mountebanks as by the sincere"
-James J Martin

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Sage replied on Wed, Oct 21 2009 6:52 PM

whipitgood:
Start checking out an-cap literature and economic literature (you can never read enough!)

For example, check out the reading list here.

whipitgood:
Maybe he's the new Ayn Rand as far as popularizing libertarian principles. I would bet that a fair amount of Ron Paul supporters inevitably turn to anarchism.

In thirty years, someone will write a book titled It Usually Begins With Ron Paul.

 

AnalyticalAnarchism.net - The Positive Political Economy of Anarchism

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troutndeer replied on Wed, Oct 21 2009 10:23 PM

whipitgood:

Good post, DfB.

I'd say take the plunge. Follow the ethics and worry about the particulars later. Start checking out an-cap literature and economic literature

I have been unable to take the plunge personally. While I consider myself Austrian and hve explored ANcap, there are still too many uncertainties. Mind you, there are just as many uncertainties I have have about keeping a state small enough to only enforce our rights.

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troutndeer:
While I consider myself Austrian and hve explored ANcap, there are still too many uncertainties.

I spent awhile hung up on uncertainties.  It was tough.  But then I realized I was looking at it wrong, as you stated, there are uncertainties with the state as well.  What isn't uncertain (or shouldn't be for a person of conscience) is that using coercion to force other people to act for your benefit is immoral.

Even if I don't have all the answers under anarchy, I have to believe that man can survive, that I can thrive and survive, without violence.  That mankind doesn't need coercion to prosper.

Then I felt a lot of peace.

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
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Liberty Student summed it up nicely. The uncertainties are what hold many back. I still struggle with how a state of anarchy can persevere (meaning how anarchy can withhold the emergence of a state), but once again I realize that anarchy is the only morally consistent position.

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I am an advocate in gradual institutional change - history has illustrated for us quite clearly that whenever the institutions of society are changed beyond the capability of individuals to know their consequences, and the capabilities of society to work according to the new institutional framework that disaster is not far behind. The entire "strike the roots" mentality is foolish for, to paraphrase Edmund Burke, only fools would think that society is carte blanche for them to scribble whatever they please.

Abstract liberty, like other mere abstractions, is not to be found.

          - Edmund Burke

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troutndeer replied on Wed, Oct 21 2009 11:35 PM

liberty student:
Even if I don't have all the answers under anarchy, I have to believe that man can survive, that I can thrive and survive, without violence.  That mankind doesn't need coercion to prosper.

I am not entirely sure that man can survive in a society without violence or coercion. If we, for instance, lived in a society where rape and theft were not enforced, then, I am afraid to say, there would be an awful lot of rape and theft. However, I understand that although most anarcho-capitalists suggest a society without a government, they do suggest that coercion should be provided only by private organizations.

Most people agree that violence, in the form of law enforcement, is neccassary but the question here is who should be given the power and under what circumstances.

Although I am not well versed in anti-AnCap stuff, on the surface, to me, I can see a few problems.

Firstly, how the hell do we get there? How do you convince people of supposedly "natural rights"

Secondly, if there is no monopoly on crime contol how on earth do private enforcers agree on what is to be the law? I notice disputes amongst An Caps all the time.

Thirdly, what is to stop an enforcement agency from becoming a state again?

Fourthly, wouldn't there be free rider problems?

I am open minded on this, so these are not arguments, but rather questions that I would like to see answered.

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drf1 replied on Wed, Oct 21 2009 11:38 PM

The problem with anarchy (the word means "no ruler") is that it represents both the best and the worst of society and most people cannot understand the difference.  Anarchy can result from a breakdown of law and order and therefore be violent and destructive OR it can be a society of peaceful and voluntary interaction.  Spontaneous order under common law rules of contract law and property ownership and economic coordination through the price system is the good kind of anarchy. 

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troutndeer replied on Wed, Oct 21 2009 11:40 PM

JackSkylark:
Liberty Student summed it up nicely. The uncertainties are what hold many back. I still struggle with how a state of anarchy can persevere (meaning how anarchy can withhold the emergence of a state), but once again I realize that anarchy is the only morally consistent position.

Perhaps my problem is that I don't hold those morals. While I think liberty is good, my classical liberalism comes overwhelmingly from my belief in its consequences.

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troutndeer:
I am afraid to say, there would be an awful lot of rape and theft.

Is law all that keeps you from raping and stealing?

troutndeer:
Secondly, if there is no monopoly on crime contol how on earth do private enforcers agree on what is to be the law? I notice disputes amongst An Caps all the time.

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

troutndeer:
Thirdly, what is to stop an enforcement agency from becoming a state again?

So the worst case scenario is that we have nothing to lose?

troutndeer:
Fourthly, wouldn't there be free rider problems?

The state creates more free riders than a free market would.

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
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drf1:
Anarchy can result from a breakdown of law and order and therefore be violent and destructive

What is violent and destructive, is a monopoly on law and order.  Anarchy is not the absence of law.  Even in the absence of a monopolistic law provider, individuals create their own contracts, their own local conventions and standards, and solve disputes overwhelmingly without violence.

When there is a monopoly provider like the state, then people use violence through the state to attack one another, because they dont have to bear the cost and consequences directly.  That is what taxation is.  That is what positive law like minimum drinking ages, anti-marijuana, patents etc. amount to.

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
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troutndeer replied on Thu, Oct 22 2009 12:02 AM

liberty student:

troutndeer:
I am afraid to say, there would be an awful lot of rape and theft.

Is law all that keeps you from raping and stealing?

No, quite obviously it does not. Culture, morality, empathy and religion, amongst other things, must play a role.  However, it is not difficult to see that if violence, theft or imprisonment was not a consequence of such vile activities, then many more people would commit them. Trusting stronger people not to steal without any consequences is a little like trusting an unlimited government to look after us.

liberty student:

troutndeer:
Secondly, if there is no monopoly on crime contol how on earth do private enforcers agree on what is to be the law? I notice disputes amongst An Caps all the time.

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

I will look at this later on tonight when I have time.

liberty student:

troutndeer:
Thirdly, what is to stop an enforcement agency from becoming a state again?

So the worst case scenario is that we have nothing to lose?

The point here is that I would imagine it would be very possible. Also, would it not be conceivible that a DRA could become big enough to become a state or too big for it's own briches? What is to stop DRAs from using Nuclear weapons/warfare.

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troutndeer:
However, it is not difficult to see that if violence, theft or imprisonment was not a consequence of such vile activities, then many more people would commit them.

And why would these things be lacking under anarchy?  If there was a demand for them to ensure peace and prosperity, I can't see why the market wouldn't provide for justice and self-defense.  The market does a mighty fine job already of providing women with the means to repel rapists in tasers and pepper spray and self-defense training.  Certainly superior to police protection [sic].

troutndeer:
I will look at this later on tonight when I have time.

You must.  It may change your life.

troutndeer:
Also, would it not be conceivible that a DRA could become big enough to become a state or too big for it's own briches?

Like I said, if our worst case scenario is that we end up back where we are, then how can that be an excuse not to strive for more?  It is essentially a no risk proposition.

troutndeer:
What is to stop DRAs from using Nuclear weapons/warfare.

What is to stop terrorists from flying a plane into a building?  What is to stop America from nuking Japan?

These threats to peace and prosperity are not exceptional consequences of anarchy.  State or no state, we live in an unsafe world.  The question is, are we going to support institutions that squander resources on making weapons like nukes?  Because right now, we do.

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
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http://mises.org/story/2909

 

Private property rights would be protecting people from aggression.

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Amadeus replied on Thu, Oct 22 2009 1:15 AM

Well, just be a minarchist. And let limited government put the monopoly on the monopoly that comes with the word government. And if that doesn't work, just let them put a monopoly on the monopoly on the monopoly.

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liberty student:
there are uncertainties with the state as well.  What isn't uncertain (or shouldn't be for a person of conscience) is that using coercion to force other people to act for your benefit is immoral.

True wisdom.

DFB, ruminating on that simple truth, plus perhaps a little grounding in Austrian Economics, is all you really need to take the plunge.

"the obligation to justice is founded entirely on the interests of society, which require mutual abstinence from property" -David Hume
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Lilburne:

liberty student:
there are uncertainties with the state as well.  What isn't uncertain (or shouldn't be for a person of conscience) is that using coercion to force other people to act for your benefit is immoral.

True wisdom.

DFB, ruminating on that simple truth, plus perhaps a little grounding in Austrian Economics, is all you really need to take the plunge.

I honestly have no clue where to start with Austrian Economics. I haven't even taken a basic Economics course at my College.

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A lot of the technical jargon in Economics, of whats mostly said on here and in things I read, goes over my head.

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Reading your post I was awed at how similarly I came to know Austrian economics and libertarianism as you did. There are levels of understanding that as stated frequintly begine with ron paul. I would agree with some of the others and say that anarcism is more consistant with libertarianism. Minarcism like any statism is a slippery slope. Watch Is limmited goverment an oxymoron ,tom woods from mises is in it,  RIP Arron Russo.

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Jordan22473:

Reading your post I was awed at how similarly I came to know Austrian economics and libertarianism as you did. There are levels of understanding that as stated frequintly begine with ron paul. I would agree with some of the others and say that anarcism is more consistant with libertarianism. Minarcism like any statism is a slippery slope. Watch Is limmited goverment an oxymoron ,tom woods from mises is in it,  RIP Arron Russo.

 

I don't see Aaron Russo talked of much on here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-2JDfX_68U

 

Watch it, amazing watch. Its not about The Federal Reserve as much as it is The IRS. The focus of the movie is a case against The IRS.

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Democracy for Breakfast:
I honestly have no clue where to start with Austrian Economics.

Hang out, ask thoughtful questions.  You'll pick up some basics.  Ultimately, you will need to read although the Austrian school is probably the most accessible form of economic thought, because it is not math heavy.

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
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I went through a similar transformation...I was a liberal but noticed the inconsistencies of liberals and conservatives both then I came across the crazy guy named Ron Paul..next thing I know Im reading all about austrian economics. I come across the topic of privatizing all education and it seems absurd to me but a few here on these forums quickly changed my mind..I continued to struggle with the concept of anarchism concerning roads, police, courts, etc and then next thing I know one drunken night I start argueing for the the privatization of roads with all of my conservative friends and yelling at each of them while telling them how big of hypocrites they are for being against private roads but for privatized healthcare...and thats when I realized I had finally been converted (took about 8 months). It trully is the only consistent political philosophy.

I do find it fun to debate anarchism/minarchism but it I find it somewhat pointless considering the stage of statism we are in right now..Once we get to minarchism THEN it will be worth debating. Like I said, I always love to debate the two and its definitely fun but right now were so deep into government it does not really matter.

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AJ replied on Thu, Oct 22 2009 6:19 AM

Re: the OP, the only question is are you for monopoly or are you against monopoly?

Re: learning Austrian Economics, an easy crash course is Irwin Schiff's comics (1st and 2nd links on the page - especially the 2nd one), Lilburne's comics (when they're done), and Tom Woods' YouTube videos. These only require a few minutes/hours. Then I'd read Economics in One Lesson (available in print form here). After that, you'll probably know what to read for further enrichment.

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Sage replied on Thu, Oct 22 2009 2:31 PM

laminustacitus:
I am an advocate in gradual institutional change

So was abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison: "Urge immediate abolition as earnestly as we may, it will, alas! be gradual abolition in the end. We have never said that slavery would be overthrown by a single blow; that it ought to be, we shall always contend.”

Remember that the existence of institutions depends on the support of public opinion (Boétie, Hume). So the process of institutional change comprises both the shifting of public opinion and the actual transformation of institutions. The former part will always be gradual; but the latter part can be gradual (e.g. political reformism) or more immediate/total (e.g. secession, seasteading.)

laminustacitus:
history has illustrated for us quite clearly that whenever the institutions of society are changed beyond the capability of individuals to know their consequences, and the capabilities of society to work according to the new institutional framework that disaster is not far behind.

Couldn't a case be made that market anarchy is a change within "the capability of individuals to know their consequences"? Moreover, what are the characteristics that distinguish institutional change that is within individual capacity to know consequences (e.g. American Revolution) and change that is beyond it (e.g. Cultural Revolution)?

laminustacitus:
The entire "strike the roots" mentality is foolish for, to paraphrase Edmund Burke, only fools would think that society is carte blanche for them to scribble whatever they please.

I think the Burke quote is actually an argument against top-down change and in favor of bottom-up change; both types can be either radical or reformist.

One of the interesting aspects of the seasteading project is the economics of frontiers. As Patri talks about in this talk (around 20 min), the frontier represents a new environment where individuals must adapt and innovate. Since the ocean is a frontier, it is a great opportunity for innovation and competition in social institutions. As Patri puts it, "the frontier was always a classic place where the slate was wiped clean."

AnalyticalAnarchism.net - The Positive Political Economy of Anarchism

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Sage:
So was abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison: "Urge immediate abolition as earnestly as we may, it will, alas! be gradual abolition in the end. We have never said that slavery would be overthrown by a single blow; that it ought to be, we shall always contend.”

Lam doesn't believe slavery should be overthrown with a single blow.  He has a different perspective on it.

I personally believe I must be as radical as I can be, for if I won't, who else will?

There are plenty of people willing to take baby steps.  Who will be waving them on from the horizon, assuring them the path ahead is safe?

 

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
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AJ replied on Fri, Oct 23 2009 10:17 AM

I think lam's objection can be answered by the details of whatever form the dissolution of the State takes. If it's by microsecession or gradual building up of panarchist legal associations, the change will be very different than if by some kind of direct overthrow.

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Giant_Joe replied on Fri, Oct 23 2009 10:40 AM

DFB, what got me started here was just reading the blog posts, day after day, and thinking about them. Then I went on to the multimedia, such as the half hour / one hour talks. Following that, all the tenets of the philosophy should become more apparent. After you get more comfortable with them through your exposure to these things, you'll start to get the who's who of AE, and you'll read some books by these people.

After a lot of reading and talking, you get to be as good as these guys.

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liberty student:
What isn't uncertain (or shouldn't be for a person of conscience) is that using coercion to force other people to act for your benefit is immoral.

I think you are forgetting your philosophy on ethics or did you have a change of heart?

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

 

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Democracy for Breakfast:

I haven't even taken a basic Economics course at my College.

Just a word of advice, you really should take 'real' economic courses in order to understand Austrian economics better. Peter Shiff and Ron Paul, though they follow policy advice derived from Austrian economists, are not economists themselves, and do not write truly economic literature. in fact, most popular austrian literature of the past decade is not really economic literature either (i.e. meltdown).

The neo-classical concepts they teach in schools are important because they offer you the opportunity to critically examine them. Same with Keynes. You can't rationally dismiss Keynes if you don't know why he is wrong (appeals to 'common sense' do not apply). It is invalluable to a budding economist to understand the innerworkings of many systems in order to come to their own conclusions. 

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Sage:

I think the Burke quote is actually an argument against top-down change and in favor of bottom-up change; both types can be either radical or reformist.

Have you read 'Reflections on the Revolution in France'? In it he applies the same concept to both top-down and bottom-up reforms.

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Spideynw replied on Fri, Oct 23 2009 11:39 AM

troutndeer:
However, it is not difficult to see that if violence, theft or imprisonment was not a consequence of such vile activities, then many more people would commit them.

You don't think there would be consequences without the government?

At most, I think only 5% of the adult population would need to stop cooperating to have real change.

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Laughing Man:
I think you are forgetting your philosophy on ethics or did you have a change of heart?

Confused

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
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Juan replied on Sat, Oct 24 2009 3:09 PM
LM, don't expect consistency from demagogues. LS and other amoralist 'philosophers' will talk about right and wrong if it suits them, and will add that "it's all subjective" if they 'feel' that invoking subjectivity will advance their non-arguments.

February 17 - 1600 - Giordano Bruno is burnt alive by the catholic church.
Aquinas : "much more reason is there for heretics, as soon as they are convicted of heresy, to be not only excommunicated but even put to death."

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Juan:
LM, don't expect consistency from demagogues.

The irony is enticing. 

From now on, I will refer to all forum members here as demagogues, because after all, we are all out to get one another in an effort to get the most Mises Points.

"Look at me, I'm quoting another user to show how wrong I think they are, out of arrogance of my own position. Wait, this is my own quote, oh shi-" ~ Nitroadict

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So If we do have anarchism, would the security/justice companies not decide what is coercion and what is not? Or rather, would in not be the consumers of security/justice companies voting with their dollars deciding what is coercion? Is that not the same as Mob Rule?

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