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Response to "Being Classically Liberal"

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Willink Posted: Wed, Aug 13 2014 12:50 PM

Response to a post accessable here:

Now, a couple of Anarcho-capitalists wrote some angry responses saying I was utilizing a straw-man argument or that all my concerns have been adequately addressed. These claims are simply false. 

Accusing individuals arguing against you as being motivated out of anger, quite the feat of logic. The latter half of this portion (“claims are simply false”) is an assertion, not an argument.



I have [read] books, essays, journal articles, etc on anarcho-capitalism and how it would work from authors like Thomas E. Woods (whom I respect highly), Murray Rothbard (For a New liberty), Lew Rockwell, David Friedman (Machinery of Freedom), Bryan Caplan, etc. To say that I was utilizing straw-man arguments, or to say that I don't understand the arguments for anarcho-capitalism is plain ignorant.  


This is both an appeal to authority fallacy (look who I've read!) and red herring seeing as it simply reasserts the initial argument (I do in fact understand anarcho-capitalism) without materially addressing any of the criticisms entered previously toward his position.


I have had a completely open mind about anarcho-capitalism, otherwise I wouldn't have bothered reading a vast amount of literature on it. 




Furthermore, not a single comment actually addressed any one of my concerns.  


Materially false. See PDF links to Block's obligations toward children, or criticisms toward substance of natural law entered by multiple posters. Hand-waving is not a substitute for sound reason.


To assume that I haven't already looked these things up doesn't make sense to me.


Of course it doesn't, but it sure does seem that way to a number of posters who seem doubtful of your grasp of the aforementioned topics.


For example, Austrian economist Thomas DiLorenzo provides a convincing critique of the belief that telephone, cable, and electric utilities are natural monopolies. [1] However, it is also well documented that natural monopolies in general do exist. 


DiLorenzo argues that monopolies more generally are a creation of government privilege rather than creation of the free market. Clearly, the oil industry and pipelines more generally are largely state-cultivated creatures of regulatory privilege; according to FERC info being cited by Saidu the only requirement necessary for establishing a “natural monopoly” is control of a single pipeline. This market concentration IO theory of monopoly has been subject to intellectual criticism by myriad of economists since the mid 1970s; (see. Harold Demsetz, “Industry Structure, Market Rivalry, and Public Policy”, 1973). Either way, linking a PDF is not a refutation of an argument, and OP fails to elucidate on how Saidu's position answers to criticisms entered by DiLorenzo.


Lastly, I can find no evidence whatsoever that anarchy leads to better economic or social outcomes (such as rising incomes and life expectancy)


Seeing as there are no anarchic nations, I'm not sure why there would be this sort of empirical evidence in the first place.


For example, research finds that for developed nations, a government size of less than 25% of GDP maximizes economic growth.  


It's not clear how linking studies which detail how reducing government expenditures increase economic growth is an argument against reducing expenditures further still. The second linked PDF deals almost wholly with size of govt as measured by means of GDP growth, a methodological observation already subject to criticism by other posters in recent posts by OP which were magically brushed aside as “not addressing any one of my concerns”.


There's plenty of evidence that government boosts growth up to a certain point.


Unfounded assertion with no forwarded evidence.



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Willink replied on Wed, Aug 13 2014 1:11 PM

In reference to:


Furthermore, there are no animal rights, since animals are property. Which means that in the world Anarcho-Capitalists desire, people would be free to torture animals, leave them to starve, etc. There would simply be no legal responsibility to take care of them or treat them well.



Animals do not have rights because they are not concious actors. See:


 What's more, many people simply don't believe in the non-aggression principle. They think that it is moral to use the force of government to achieve "socially optimal" outcomes. 


Argumentum ad populum with no explanation as to what the moral nature of these claims by "many people" are. 


Morality is subjective, adherents of the NAP simply believe the principles of non-aggression are more moral than the principles of forced egalitarianism. While I am sympathetic to the NAP adherents, there is no one true and objective morality.


While certain theorists on this site would argue for objective morality, this is not even an argument. There is no explanation as to why NAP is an inferior moral position to take viz either "forced egalitarianism", or, in the author's case, any rationalization for state action or existence running contrary to principles of the NAP. 


Another thing to consider is the logical short comings behind the reasoning of the NAP. Ancaps believe people have a right to the fruits of their labor. But this is a non-sequitur. From where did they draw this conclusion exactly?


See Kinsella & HHH 


In fact, there is objectively no such thing as natural rights. In people's minds what constitutes a right is subjective, only in the context of law do rights actually exist, and they can be anything ranging from property rights to a right to health care.


This entire passage seems grossly ignorant of any of the philisophic consideration of the nature of rights (positive vs negative). The fact that there is no "objective" measure of natural rights does not mean there are not more or less convincing conceptions of rights that are capable of being articulated. Again, this is an assertion about the unintelligibaility of the argument without materially addressing any of the points raised by natural rights theorists. 


See for criticisms of positve rights, further see chpt 15 of Ethics of Liberty (which OP claims to have read) which discusses property vis postive rights. 


 The Non-aggression principle is objectively no more moral than the principles of egalitarianism (or as I like to call it, 'forced equality').


Continued use of straw-men argumentation. 


1. Nowhere was it submitted that the NAP is an "objectively moral" moral principle.

2. Clearly, I would argue, not forcibly coercing persons into governmental arrangements is certainly a more "moral" principle than egalitariansim, seeing as the latter rests on the forced coercion of vast portions of the population reduced to ant-heap existences. Egalitarianism is inherently anti-individual. Yet again OP has not explained in what manner NAP is less moral a principle to have but just repeats lack of objectivity. Interesting coming from someone whose method of argumentation consists of randomly linking "research" PDF's as if empirical evidence itself constitutes objective argument rather than an apriori assumption (logical positivism). 






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