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A Redefinition of Terms in the Anarcho-Capitalist Paradigm

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AJ Posted: Tue, Jun 16 2009 4:33 PM

Socialism, Communism, Minarchism, Statism, Anarcho-Capitalism. To line up such words side-by-side is to imply a fallacy. To quote the eminent scholar Cookie Monster,

"One of these things is not like the other things. One of these things just doesn't belong."

That's easy, you may say. It's obvious that the first four advocate a state power and the fifth advocates no state power.

But there is another difference that, while surely understood, the conventional use of terms does not respect: All forms of statism seek to decree something. Anarcho-capitalism, despite being an "-ism," seeks to decree nothing.

Therefore, all development of the AnCap theory, all discussion, is based around a fundamentally different question than the discussions of any statist political theory. The question statists aim to resolve is

"How should we make things be? (using the monopoly power of the state to "ordain and establish")

But the question Anarcho-capitalists aim to resolve is

"How will things be?" (as a result of individuals acting in the absence of a state monopoly on force)

For instance, Socialists argue that the state should tax the rich to benefit the poor, but AnCaps argue that in a state-less society people will not categorically agree to be taxed, that in a truly free society a different system will most likely emerge organically on the free market. AnCaps then give interesting theories as to what systems might come up on the free market to help the poor, but naturally there is no acter designated to decree such systems.

This may seem a trivial and obvious distinction, but I aim to show that there is something insidious going on here, severely undermining the argument for Anarcho-capitalism.

To state the problem directly, AnCap is an entirely new paradigm, fully divorced from and incompatible with the paternalistic* superstition that has fooled so many generations into thinking that the State is beneficial or necessary. Yet we persist in using the terms that originated in, and were born out of, the old statist paradigm.

*Perhaps the paternalistic superstition came about via theism (rule by God as paternalistic overseer) --> monarchy (rule by the King as paternalistic overseer (initially ordained by God)) --> state (rule by elites legitimatized by voting and/or (pseudo-)scientific authority (the new "God")).

In AnCap discussion, these terms are obsolete and muddy the waters immeasurably. They keep us semantically locked in the old paradigm, constantly having to fight off the inconveniences and ambiguities of discussing something simple using needlessly complex and inherently pro-state terms. I contend that, given what's at stake, we do not have that luxury.

Take the word "state"* for example. In the AnCap context, where private firms are likely to provide all security and adjudication, we recognize (correct me if I'm wrong) that if any firm were somehow allowed to grow large enough - however unlikely that may be - the firm would become a de facto "state." Along the power continuum, it's clear enough that the more power the firm gains, the more its incentives shift from offering its services toward forcing its services (and forcing payment, called "taxes" in the old paradigm).

*Casting aside for a moment the debate in the other thread about state vs. government

Why use the word "state" at all, when we really mean "monopoly (security and adjudication) firm"? Sure, "state" is more succinct, but I contend it's far less elucidating. We can nitpick and say that "state" means it has legitimacy in the eyes of the people, but inevitably a monopoly firm tries to - and often achieves - the same aim. Plus, many current "states" are not seen as legitimate, even in the eyes of the majority.

And look how much easier it is to argue using the concept of "monopoly" rather than that of "state." For instance, which is more illuminating?

"Minarchists want to limit state power to those things for which it is absolutely necessary."

Vs.

"Minarchists want to limit monopoly power to those things for which it is absolutely necessary."

The first seems reasonable, the second seems almost hilariously irrational. And yet neither tell a lie. It's simply that words like "state" were formed to be convenient and elucidating within a context of superstitious belief in the need for a government.

Should it surprise us that these terms keep coming back to bite us? All the more pernicious they are for the fact that they go unnoticed. This is especially ironic given how just about every word the government uses is some kind of semantic contortion: "welfare," "enhanced interrogation," "USA PATRIOT* Act."

*Short for, get this,  "Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism"

Next on the list is "private" vs. "public." The whole dichotomy again implies a fallacious premise, that there is a set of people (the state) that works for the good of the general population, rather than being interested only in their "private" gain. But in fact, the government is just as "private" as any private company, with one exception: it claims that it's not (and people believe it). Let's take up minarchy again:

"Minarchists want to limit public power to those things for which it is absolutely necessary. Anarcho-capitalists would like these dangerous functions to be in private hands."

Vs.

"Minarchists want to limit monopoly power to those things for which it is absolutely necessary. Anarcho-capitalists would prefer not to enforce a monopoly on these dangerous functions at all."

Better?

This brings me to the term "Anarcho-capitalism" itself.

First of all, correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the term "capitalism" was coined by Marx to distinguish from the means of production being publicly vs. privately owned (or rather, monopolistically vs. non-monopolistically owned). Sure, capital will be "privately" owned as a result of having free markets, but that's a consequence of freedom of exchange, rather than the essence. It's bad enough that the enemies of free markets get to call freedom an "-ism" without sounding obviously ridiculous, but why ought we perpetuate such loaded terminology among ourselves?

That last sentence also applies, mutatis mutandis, to "anarchism." Although the dictionary definition of an "-ism" doesn't necessitate coercion, the categorization of anarchism as an "-ism" makes it sound like it would be imposed on everyone, just like all other political schemes. This I see as heavily disadvantageous and confusing from an outsider's perspective.

To be accurate, wouldn't we have to concede that Anarcho-capitalism is simply a theory (however probable it may be) about what would happen if there were no "state" monopoly on power? Aren't the non-aggression principle and natural rights simply what we theorize (however correctly) that people would naturally adopt if there were no monopoly (maybe with the help of a little education)?

If so, instead of Anarcho-capitalism, how about "anti-monopolism"? Still an "-ism" but I don't see a way around that, and even in a libertarian society I assume imposing coercion would be acceptable as an act of self-defense if it were necessary to remove a monopoly on force.

"Anti-monopolism" is something just about any layperson can agree with prima facie, and all the arguments flow naturally from there with a minimum of confusion. Any time the person brings up a statist-loaded term, I suggest bringing it back to the reality of monopoly. Keep it simple - that's the way to win debates.

Take even a difficult topic like the environment.

Statist: "But without the EPA, oil companies will pollute worse and there'll be more oil spills, and...and..."

AJ: "Why does the EPA exist?"

Statist: "Because people care about the environment, and demanded that government do something."

AJ: "...with their tax dollars."

Statist: "Yes, because most people are willing to pay for such an important cause."

AJ: "Good point, Statist. I totally agree. Since so many people are willing to pay for that service, if there were no EPA, some companies would want to provide that service to get a share of the money."

Statist: "Yeah, good thing we have the EPA."

AJ: "Yeah, good thing we have a monopoly on environmental protection services."

This approach at least seems to set the discussion on a good footing, rather than letting loaded terms slip in through the backdoor. The Statist is from thereon on the defensive, as they should be. The burden of proof is on them to justify monopoly, as it should be. That is the central issue, and then as a bonus there's the inefficiency of government - which just about everyone acknowledges - to throw out there as an ancillary point.

In short, I think it is monopoly that AnCaps really oppose, and from that naturally falls all the other things we theorize about (NAP, natural rights, etc.) - and if those things do not come naturally, then our theories (of what practices will actually be adopted) are, by definition, wrong*.

*Education and setting good examples that people want to imitate can of course change that outcome

There's a host of other questionable terms I believe would benefit from re-examination, but I don't want to belabor the point here. Suffice it to say that I think it's time for AnCap to come into its own, to stop being fettered by residual paternal-monopolistic verbiage, and to reach out to the people and prove itself by shining the light of reason on the superstitious pro-state notions of the past.

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Conza88 replied on Tue, Jun 16 2009 10:45 PM

Great post! It has a lot to do with tactics & strategy.

I make the point of rejecting the false left / right paradigm. (The statist paradigm which keeps everyone in a box) Libertarianism is neither left or right. And you gain a lot of credibility by rejecting both, the average person - as far as I am aware - is in the middle, because they naturally think - communism failed, but unregulated capitalism is also dangerous, so I am an "independent" in the "middle", not realising they are still a socialist and there is an actual alternative to it all.

As long as this false paradigm persists I don't think we'll see Liberty. I also make the point, depending on the recipient, of not associating myself with defunct labels. 'Anarchism' is a general peeve. Why associate yourself with traditional socialists, who break the non aggression axiom (principle) and violate private property by rioting in the streets. Anarchism has been tarnished by state propaganda, but also by those calling themselves anarchists (generally vandarchists). Instead, I'll use non-archist, voluntaryist or ancap  - and I now like the anti-monopolist bent.

Other suggestions; 'against the redistribution of wealth' (to minarchists, conservatives etc.) - Taxation is a redistribution of wealth.

Another example that irks me, and shows the (left wing socialists) ability with words - "progressives". Nothing they support has anything to do with progress. They are "regressives".

I think Libertarians / free marketers / ancaps etc. need to pay more attention to the words we use and to avoid falling into the traps. As it is, "we" focus on the arguments, but too "our" detriment - not the best ways of marketing of them.

 

Ron Paul is for self-government when compared to the Constitution. He's an anarcho-capitalist. Proof.
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I think this is pretty good what you two wrote. I am tired and haven't been reading economics much recently so let me get my potentially dumb thing to say out of the way first:

Is "monopoly" always bad? I thought there is no issue for natural monopolies, or those not aided by aggression.

I guess this sort of disarms the "evil monopolistic capitalist" thing when you point out that stuff like letter carrying is monopoly by decree. Of course you will get the free rider complaints and worries that everyone will die of thirst with no "public" water. So, it should be a noble pursuit to keep better outlining how and why market results will be better.

Anyhow, Block has a couple good articles about language then there is a more detailed one on "social justice":

http://mises.org/story/406

http://mises.org/story/385

http://www.lewrockwell.com/block/block37.html

I know there is some huge thread on what AnCaps should call themselves, but I haven't read it. I don't yet understand quite what exactly the difference with voluntarism is. It seems like it is just one of strategy, to not want to use political processes for reform at all. At least, I had read one voluntarist piece that excoriated Rothbard's strategy, calling his approach Leninist. I think voluntarist definitely sounds better.

 

Democracy means the opportunity to be everyone's slave.—Karl Kraus.

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AJ replied on Tue, Jun 23 2009 1:25 AM

Conza88:
I make the point of rejecting the false left / right paradigm. (The statist paradigm which keeps everyone in a box) Libertarianism is neither left or right. And you gain a lot of credibility by rejecting both, the average person - as far as I am aware - is in the middle, because they naturally think - communism failed, but unregulated capitalism is also dangerous, so I am an "independent" in the "middle", not realising they are still a socialist and there is an actual alternative to it all.

The left-right paradigm always annoyed me, but it's been so hard to wrench people out of it that I'm beginning to wonder if it mightn't be more efficient to redefine "left" as love-based and "right" as hate-based, the two being sides of the same coin. In other words, Socialists are on the left because they are ostensibly motivated by love, but of course are like some kind of Mother Teresa-turned-Rambo because they must use violence to force charity. Under this definition, small government conservativism wouldn't be on the right, because it is not hate-based (hate-based would be the Nazis, for example). Then we could call ourselves Centrists because we do not advocate legislated love (wealth redistribution), nor legislated hate (Naziism), but rather the rule of natural law - which protects only the fundamental rights of life, liberty and property.

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jodiphour replied on Fri, Jul 6 2012 11:06 PM

You might consider me a statist, but this is very well written and a very cool take on terminology and how to refocus the debate. Great work! Keep it up! I think you are on to something!

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acft replied on Sun, Jul 8 2012 12:23 AM

But the question Anarcho-capitalists aim to resolve is

"How will things be?" (as a result of individuals acting in the absence of a state monopoly on force?

As an acncap, I don't agree that this is the fundamental question ancaps try to resolve. First, you are making many generalizations about what ancaps want or think that are not necessarily true throughout this work. To me anarcho-capitalism is a statement of a preferred socioeconomic environment and not a prediction. Furthermore, since you use the term 'us', I assume you consider yourself an anarcho-capitalist as well, correct me if I am wrong.

Take the word "state"* for example. In the AnCap context, where private firms are likely to provide all security and adjudication, we recognize (correct me if I'm wrong) that if any firm were somehow allowed to grow large enough - however unlikely that may be - the firm would become a de facto "state." Along the power continuum, it's clear enough that the more power the firm gains, the more its incentives shift from offering its services toward forcing its services (and forcing payment, called "taxes" in the old paradigm).

First, I don't think it is likely that private firms will provide all security. Personally, I would simply form a militia and buy security cameras and/or a dog if I felt threatened. Me at home with a gun is enough security for me. Iw ould hapily volunteer for some kind of "regional" defense service. I would liek to note here, that there are forms of companies that are not private for profit, and also not statist, but can serve social needs. Non-profits, Co-ops, Trusts, community oriented enterpises to name a few. I have friends and business allies that would come to my aid, physically if need be.

Furthermore, a firm becoming large does not necessarily mean it will become a monopoly. Even if we grant that a firm has a monopoly, it is a jump to say it will become a monopoly enforced by violence or coercion. Economically speaking, monopolies are supposed to arise naturally in a free market if they have the most efficient product that meets consumer needs at the lowest price. In this way, a natural monopoly is not something bad, but something good in that it reflects a company fulfilling the people's desires perfectly.

I think your argument would be clearer if instead of saying ancaps are supposed to be against monopolies, you say they are against theft, or perhaps the use of violence to force a population to give an entity money. What you define as a monopoly is organized crime whereas what I would define as a monopoly(in a free market) is a company that serves its customers so well everyone voluntarily patronizes it.

But in fact, the government is just as "private" as any private company, with one exception: it claims that it's not (and people believe it).

I think there are more significant exceptions other than the government claiming that it is not private and people believing it. I think there should be a massive footnote pointing to the hordes of armed goons and advanced military technology poised to kill anyone who disagrees and demonstrates that disagreement.

First of all, correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the term "capitalism" was coined by Marx to distinguish from the means of production being publicly vs. privately owned (or rather, monopolistically vs. non-monopolistically owned).

It is my understanding that this statement is accurate.

Sure, capital will be "privately" owned as a result of having free markets, but that's a consequence of freedom of exchange, rather than the essence. It's bad enough that the enemies of free markets get to call freedom an "-ism" without sounding obviously ridiculous, but why ought we perpetuate such loaded terminology among ourselves?

Private property is absolutely essential to free markets and freedom of exchange according to some Austrian authors I have read, mises and hoppe, for example. Without private property, what exactly is being exchanged? Without private losses and gains, how is one going to determined where one should invest?

Also, are you suggesting we drop the term capitalism because the enemies of free markets are too lazy or too stupid to crack open a dictionary or encyclopedia? It would seem like giving the enemy too much leverage, where when they mis-understand a term we just redefine ourselves to fit their whims.

Although the dictionary definition of an "-ism" doesn't necessitate coercion, the categorization of anarchism as an "-ism" makes it sound like it would be imposed on everyone, just like all other political schemes. This I see as heavily disadvantageous and confusing from an outsider's perspective.

First, I would say that indeed, many anarchists and minarchsits have an open desire to impose their position on everyone. They often talk about a day when the world will be anarchist and they plan ways to change 'society'. The Ron Paul movement should be a case in point. I am not one of those people, but this sentiment is pervasive among the loosely termed 'community' as far as I have observed. Secondly, for something to be disadvantageous, there must be some kind of end. What is your end and how is using that term (anarchism) disadvantageous with regard to acheiving that end. I would assume, based on context clues, that your end is to convert outsiders? If this is the case, from what I have observed, changing a term will not really help you convince, say, a statist that they should switch.

To be accurate, wouldn't we have to concede that Anarcho-capitalism is simply a theory (however probable it may be) about what would happen if there were no "state" monopoly on power? Aren't the non-aggression principle and natural rights simply what we theorize (however correctly) that people would naturally adopt if there were no monopoly (maybe with the help of a little education)?

Anarcho capitalism is, as far as I understand it, a political ideology that some people believe is the best way to organize a given society. I don't see it as a predictive theory about future human behaviors, rather I see it as a prescription for the types of human behavior that will be the most mutually beneficial in terms of economic gain and personal liberty of those involved.

Furthermore, the NAP and natural rights are separate. A person who believes in no rulers and no coercive non-voluntary hierarchy (anarchy) and also happens to believe that people should respect private property and private ownership of the means of production (capitalism) does not necessarily hold the NAP or Natural rights in high regard. An atheist does not necessarily hold NAP and natural rights in high regard either. Atheism is the lack of a beleif in a deity (roughly defined) it does not have any moral implications. I would define Libertarianism (which does indeed imply the NAP) and anarcho-capitalism as separate ideologies.


If so, instead of Anarcho-capitalism, how about "anti-monopolism"? Still an "-ism" but I don't see a way around that, and even in a libertarian society I assume imposing coercion would be acceptable as an act of self-defense if it were necessary to remove a monopoly on force. "Anti-monopolism" is something just about any layperson can agree with prima facie, and all the arguments flow naturally from there with a minimum of confusion. Any time the person brings up a statist-loaded term, I suggest bringing it back to the reality of monopoly. Keep it simple - that's the way to win debates.

Again, monopolies don't necessarily use coercion and are not necessarily bad. An example would be a good prostitute in a small town. Everyone chooses her over the others and she gets all the business. Therefore, the other prostitutes get a different job. Now she is the only provider and thus had a monopoly. Unless she is actively killing all the other prostitutes, she has a monopoly without using force. (coercive force :D)  If her service started to suck  :D, other hos could come :D into the market.

Furthermore, I do not agree that winning debates means anything. Winning a debate with a guy who has a gun to your head does not mean he will remove the gun. He might just say "Oh... I guess you're right, I guess this is illogical..." and keep the gun to your head. Many statists often openly concede that the state fails at everything, but they are in the position of power and the position to benefit from it. No matter how logical your arguments are, they have the power and, in my view, until ancaps gain power (financial and organizational) they will remain marginalized.

The Statist is from thereon on the defensive, as they should be. The burden of proof is on them to justify monopoly, as it should be.

Whether they justify it or not, they have  gun to your head.

Have a look at this site : ancapfreethinker.info,  and let me know what you think, even if privately (pm system) Also, this reply is not meant to be an attack, but a critique.

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gamma_rat replied on Sun, Jul 8 2012 11:00 AM

The left-right paradigm always annoyed me, but it's been so hard to wrench people out of it that I'm beginning to wonder if it mightn't be more efficient to redefine "left" as love-based and "right" as hate-based, the two being sides of the same coin.

I like to use "guilt-based" and "fear-based" for left-wing and right-wing rhetoric respectively.

"The history of the world is the history of the triumph of the heartless over the mindless." - Sir Humphrey Appleby
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Minarchist replied on Wed, Jul 11 2012 12:26 AM

Interesting.

In my opinion, there are far greater handicaps facing anarcho-capitalists than the use of verbiage that was intended for discussion of States.

(This is all from my own experience, I don't mean to characterize all or even most anarcho-capitalists this way, just a fair number that I've met.)

1. Many an-caps *seem* (and whatever your real views, what they seem to be matters if your goal is to persuade others) to set the abolition of the State as a goal unto itself. But that just makes you an anarchist, not an an-cap. The goal should be a libertarian society, which I will define as a society which adheres to the NAP to the greatest extent possible.

2. As a corollary to the point above, many an-caps seem to just assume (if they have reasons, they aren't always well presented or presented at all) that a stateless society means a libertarian society. It does not. That is, it may, but it is not necessary that a stateless society be a libertarian society. The only real argument I've heard is that libertarian law would be more price-competitive than non-libertarian law in a free market for dispute resolution services, but as we should know price is not everything.

3. Occasionally, one comes across strains of an-cap thinking to the effect that a free market for law means everyone gets to choose what kind of law they'll be operating under. Of course this is absurd. Unless you only plan to associate with people who share your legal views, you may end up in a dispute with someone of different legal views, with a different firm than yours with operates in accord with those views, and someone's going to be disappointed: i.e. one and the same case cannot be decided (finally, on the last appeal let's say) in terms of 2 contradictory legal principles.

4. Note also that the idea of "a law for every taste" contradicts the idea of uniform libertarian law.

....I could go on.

Anyway, as I said, I don't mean to criticize an-caps too broadly, but there are definitely some views floating around the community which, even if they're proven right in the end, are in the meantime detrimental to the effort at persuading others (without which...what's the point of any of this?)

Ah, that reminds me:

5. A disdain for participating in politics: See "without which...what's the point of any of this?"

EDIT: Actually, I will agree with the OP that the use of "State" is a bit of a problem, but not for the reasons he cites. If you define State vaguely as some institution which engages in more or less organized aggression or some fairly large scale, and then you set the abolition of the State as a given, and ask, "what will society be like," well then of course (by definition) you have a highly libertarian society. But that only begs the question. It's like saying, "in a society without organized aggression, there won't be any organized aggression." Well, super, but how do we create one?

EDIT2: Incidentally, these and other (let's call them) "methodological differences" are exactly why I don't call myself an an-cap, even though I'm an advocate for a stateless society.

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gotlucky replied on Wed, Jul 11 2012 12:44 AM

Minarchist:

1. Many an-caps *seem* (and whatever your real views, what they seem to be matters if your goal is to persuade others) to set the abolition of the State as a goal unto itself. But that just makes you an anarchist, not an an-cap. The goal should be a libertarian society, which I will define as a society which adheres to the NAP to the greatest extent possible.

Well, if we define "libertarian" as communist, and then use your argument, I don't think it makes sense to say that our goal should be a libertarian society, as we do not want a communist society.

Minarchist:

2. As a corollary to the point above, many an-caps seem to just assume (if they have reasons, they aren't always well presented or presented at all) that a stateless society means a libertarian society. It does not. That is, it may, but it is not necessary that a stateless society be a libertarian society. The only real argument I've heard is that libertarian law would be more price-competitive than non-libertarian law in a free market for dispute resolution services, but as we should know price is not everything.

If we define "price" as "everything", then you have made a blatant contradiction in your argument here.

Minarchist:

3. Occasionally, one comes across strains of an-cap thinking to the effect that a free market for law means everyone gets to choose what kind of law they'll be operating under. Of course this is absurd. Unless you only plan to associate with people who share your legal views, you may end up in a dispute with someone of different legal views, with a different firm than yours with operates in accord with those views, and someone's going to be disappointed: i.e. one and the same case cannot be decided (finally, on the last appeal let's say) in terms of 2 contradictory legal principles.

If we define "associate" as "avoid", then your argument is quite strange.

Minarchist:

....I could go on.

So could I.

As anyone can see, if we just insert our own definitions into other people's arguments, we can easily demonstrate that they are unsound. And since Minarchist has stated that he believes this is a valid technique, he is "estopped" (ty Kinsella) from bitching about this post.

I don't expect to do this again, as I think I've made my point.

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Minarchist replied on Wed, Jul 11 2012 12:52 AM

Is "monopoly" always bad? I thought there is no issue for natural monopolies, or those not aided by aggression.

Ethically, there's nothing wrong with a natural monopoly. Standard market economics suggests that one cannot exist. That's certainly not true, a natural monopoly can exist in theory, it's just that the situations in which one could potentially exist are not at all likely to arise. For example, there is a deposit of Unobtainium found in one small region of Oklahoma. This entire regions happens to already be owned by Fred the rancher when the deposit is discovered. Fred now has a natural monopoly on the production of Unobtainium. A more practical example might be water utilities. There aren't absolute barriers to entry as in the case of Fred and his Unobtainium, but the barriers are very high, and in all likelihood there would be a single provider. I also have a personal contention that there can be and almost inevitably will be a kind of natural monopoly in legal services. Put simply, the reason is that there must be a final arbitrator in every dispute, and there's reason to believe it will be the same firm over and over again, making it effectively the last word in dispute resolution within its area of operation. This has to do with the special nature of law, namely, that it's confrontational and not all "consumers" of law (aka disputants) can have their demands satisfied with respect to the kind of law they want to be followed in their legal disputes. Put differently, it's a zero sum game. But I digress....

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@gotlucky

LOL....

As anyone can see, if we just insert our own definitions into other people's arguments, we can easily demonstrate that they are unsound. And since Minarchist has stated that he believes this is a valid technique, he is "estopped" (ty Kinsella) from bitching about this post.

Let me correct you:

if we just insert our own definitions into other people's arguments demonstrate that the premises of other people's arguments are false, we can easily demonstrate that they are unsound

In the other thread, I stated that Rothbard's definition of will/body (a premise of his argument) is false. Hence, despite his argument being valid, the argument is unsound. I didn't insert my own definition into his argument and call it unsound on that basis. You are simply confused.

EDIT:

For bystanders, here's the thread in question:

http://mises.org/Community/forums/t/29644.aspx

EDIT2:

Final comment, your criticism seems to revolve around some idea that definitions cannot be challenged. Now, if we were talking about stipulative definitions, that would be true. But Rothbard's definition is not a stipulative definition (definition arguendo), it is a real definition (i.e. a proposition which can be true or false).

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Papirius replied on Wed, Jul 11 2012 2:10 AM

Socialism, Communism, Minarchism, Statism, Anarcho-Capitalism.


That's easy, you may say. It's obvious that the first four advocate a state power and the fifth advocates no state power.

frown

Actually, the first one is a economic system (can be applied with or without the state), the second one is a social system that is by it's definition stateless, the third one is a type of the fourth one.

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AJ replied on Wed, Jul 11 2012 7:45 AM

Oh look, it's my first post from three years ago. I think I made some interesting points and I still stand behind the main thrust about definitions, but I no longer agree with every last detail and nuance of the OP.

Especially: Rather than anti-monopolism, my current stance is that humans evolved for small tribal living and now the tribes (states) are way too large, resulting in all the problems of the modern superstate. Just like we aren't adapted to handle the modern selection of readily available junk food, we aren't adapted to have useful intuitions about how large of a tribal authority to respect or what behaviors to condone and condemn (price gouging, etc.). The state is simply an artifact of evolutionary maladaptation.

Learning Austrian economics seems to be the best way to readjust people's intuitions so that they become extremely skeptical of those aspiring to become "tribal elders" of large populations (like, more than a few hundred people), and become a lot more accepting of intuitively anti-social economic activities (like price gouging during a disaster).

I happen to think that populations educated in economics would tend to support very strong property rights and a tremendous increase in personal liberty, but I make no claims of being an absolute propertarian or even an absolute libertarian or voluntarist (in terms of total adherence to the Non-Aggression Principle). Rather, I think the more natural order that would come about in the absence of massive states would include common law (customary law) conventions that are generally libertarian, voluntarist, or "ancap-like" without conforming perfectly to any theoretical construct.

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Papirius replied on Wed, Jul 11 2012 8:13 AM

Didn't even see the date of the OP blush

Suum cuique
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gotlucky replied on Wed, Jul 11 2012 10:23 AM

LOLOLOLOLOLOL

Minarchist, the proper response to my post is:

Minarchist:

Touche

FTFY.

Minarchist:

In the other thread, I stated that Rothbard's definition of will/body (a premise of his argument) is false. Hence, despite his argument being valid, the argument is unsound. I didn't insert my own definition into his argument and call it unsound on that basis. You are simply confused.

lolwut? Just insert into Rothbard's argument the phrase "control over the mind and body" everytime you see the word will. That is what he is talking about. If you want to define that phrase as dog instead of will, so be it. If you are attached to the word "will" to mean whatever it is you want it to mean, so be it. Definitions are not right/wrong. You should see Autolykos' debate with kropotkinbeard in that other thread.

You are cute. A/S/L? Wanna exchange phone numbers?

Btw, I thought you were never going to respond to me again?

Btw2, if you want to continue this lovely conversation, I humbly request that you bring it to the appropriate thread.

Btw3, I'm still highly amused that you think definitions have truth values.

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Moved to other thread....

apiarius delendus est, ursus esuriens continendus est
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