The Problem with Anarchy

atlascott's picture
Submitted by atlascott on Tue, 2008-10-07 11:25

Can an Anarchist explain how two people who have different conceptions of property rights, and a dispute involving property rights, might ~justly, reasonably, and logically~ settle their dispute in their Anarchic utopia?

The reason I asked the question I did is because I wanted to know whether an Anarchist could figure out how to justly, reasonably, and logically settle their dispute.

I understand that you either fight, acquiesce or compromise.

What I am after is how you ~justly, reasonably and logically~ settle the dispute. The only way to do that is by reference to objective principles. And with different conceptions of the principle forming the basis of (or solution to) the dispute, the answer is, you can never have JUSTICE, unless, by pure happenstance, the stronger is also the just (holder of the principle and also acted in accordance with it).

If you dispute that a man can have a pre-disposition towards one view or another, but that he is still capable of putting that aside and using his reasoning ability and integrity to do his best to remain true to the principle in question, rather than his emotional preference or allegiance to a party in dispute, that says some quite negative things about your estimation of man's cognitive ability, a shortcoming that, the anarchist holds, magically disappears **when the judge is one of the parties in dispute!** ~~And even when parties cannot agree on the objective principle which guides the situation, or even IF there is an objective principle.~~

Do you see the problem with that thinking?

Even if you assume a more or less Objectivist-influenced society, you can still have matters of interpretation, definition, and legitimate differences of opinion even amongst rational and intelligent people. Interested parties are not notorious for their cool heads, especially when violence or a death has occurred.

To say nothing of what happens when an unscrupulous person with power comes around. His morality is the only check to his use of force against you, as long as he can get away with it.

Again, a government is an aggregation of individuals. Why assume that every government actor is a rotten power monger, but then assume that every free trader holds values similar to your own and will act rationally and with a cool head in a crisis situation? Blank out.

Reality provides us with copious examples of what gangs of people do. They shoot stab and beat one another. When offered an opportunity at an education, many pass and embrace "might makes right." Girlfriend looks at another guy? Fistfight, turns into a riot, turns into a stabbing, turns into a shooting. Acknowledging that this happens does not damn human nature.

Ignoring these realities is more unicorn hunting and fairy world building that we have seen from anyone else on this topic and it is a serious shortcoming which remains unaddressed by any Anarchist.

So the question then becomes: what sort of freedom do you have if there is no justice? What sort of freedom do you have if it cannot be protected based upon objective principles, regardless of whether you are wealthy or poor, strong or weak, well known or a newcomer? Is freedom, then, only for the strong? The wealthy?

The root cause of ALL the problems we have with government now are MAN MADE. And they can also be MAN SOLVED, in the context of our government. Power hunger and greed, as old as mankind, explain why our politicians have sold us out to special interests, have passed useless law after useless law beyond their mandate, the whole mess.

The efficacy of an objective legal standard has been partially answered by an Anarchist as follows:

"An objective moral standard gives third parties a basis on from which to apply reason to the question of their own involvement as weighed against their own interest in safety, security, and justice."

What happens when you are one of the parties: the weaker, dealing with someone who does not share your values? You can apply reason all you want, but your recourse has nothing to do with reason or justice. It has to do with relying on allies and getting more guns. Or allowing a stronger foe to steal from you, or harm you, even when it is objectively wrong.

"An objective legal standard gives the stronger side the false moral cover of "impartial" unreasoning process, absolving them of responsibility for any injustice committed in its name."

Legal standards are meant to be moral, logical and proper. Perhaps they are sometimes not. But that is a rule problem, not a government problem, and our legal system provides for changes in legal rules when they do not reflect the appropriate principle properly. An objective legal standard gives both sides a yardstick by which to measure their claim and consider expedited settlement. Or, they can have the Judge decide.

There can be no freedom without justice.

You can accuse me of trying to win this argument from fear, but that's exactly what anarchists are doing--fear of government exceeding its mandate.

I have evidence of the efficacy of anarchy. War zones and inner cities. Bosnia, Kosovo, the list goes on and on. Lots of free agents of force. Slow or no police repsonse, and people solving their disputes themselves. Lots of shooting. No law, no rules, kill or be killed, winner take all. Not too much trade going on, what with the "running for your life" and all. I do not think I'd like it one bit. Anarchists cannot answer the question that, if people are disposed towards cool heads and rational discourse in personal disputes, why doesn't this happen in reality? Why has it never gone on in the history of the human race? The reason is that even geniuses cannot escape emotionalism and subjectivity, and without an objective standard to guide, and a neutral force to enforce, there is no chance of regularly seeing justice out of free agent force wielders. Government fulfills this essential role, creating an environment without which, freedom will die at the hands of thee first bully or thug who comes along.

What Anarchists want is to opt out of a government's control of them. Which ~really~ means, the ability to opt out of anyone else's judgment of their use of force. Which ~really~ means their opting out of having objective principles applied to their use of force. In essence, avoiding objective principles. A dangerous evasion.

They do not acknowledge and would not like the consequences.


( categories: )

DRO Anarchy??

sam26100's picture

Sharon, first of all if you trully believe in Anarchy then the concept of a DRO having any laws or replacing the legal system in any way is already a contradiction in your beliefs.

It is not true that a government needs to manipulate currency in order to exist. It is true that it has in the past, but I don't think you are giving legitimate concideration to the Objectivist's proposed system of voluntary funded government functions (courts, national defense).

You can't say that it's not possible to have a government that is vountarily funded because it has never been tried, and you can't say that we advocate FIAT money over a free market on money because that simply isn't true. You're so carried away with accusing us of having our heads in the sand about Anarcho-Capitalism that you have failed to notice that you don't understand some of the most fundamental facts of our position. We are NOT for taxation. We are FOR either the gold standard or whatever other money the free market ends up choosing as the most efficient medium of exchange.

If you are arguing that any government is a monopoly, then I assume you mean it is a monopoly on LAW, not on force, since any private individual can use force the only question is whether that force is concidered legal or not. I ask you then: Do you think you would like to live in a society with no laws whatsoever? If the answer is: "no, but the DROs will have private courts and laws to which the members will have to adhere" then you are not an anarchist. Also, DROs cannot exist fundamentally in an anarchy because to be a member of a DRO you have to have a contract with them. But a contract cannot exist unless there is a court system already in place to make sure that you honor your contract, and that the DRO will honor it as well. The DRO has more guns and more power than you, so who will try to stop it if it becomes abusive? or engages in favoritism? any contract with them is meaningless if there is nobody to make sure that the contract is honored. Thus DROs and anarchy are incompatible. I suggest you check all your premises

Sharon

Leonid's picture

"As I have already argued: It is difficult to fathom the logic that in order to protect the citizens from a group that might overpower the population, we need to sanction a group that has already overpowered the population.”
This is not a problem which State represents. The real problem to which you relate by presenting the State as "a group that has already overpowered the population.” is that contemporary State is stark violation of Identity Law. Like alleged God, the State is undefined, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient non-entity. It tells us what to eat and drink what medications to take, what to wear, how to conduct our sex life, how to bake a loaf of bread and how to build a house. It takes care even on such an event of cosmic proportions as alleged global warming. The only way to take these powers from the State is to create iron-clad basic Law which will define proper State function-and that exactly what Objectivists are aiming for. In such a State DRO's and other social institutions will have their rightful place and will function according to objective laws endorsed by State. Without that the multiplication of the State powers by giving them to the majority will simply multiply State abuse. In this particular case the size doesn't matter and 50 million Americans could have been as wrong as 400 congressmen.

Brant

sharon's picture

People generally make two mistakes when confronted with the idea of dissolving the State.
The first one: believing that the State is absolutely necessary because evil people exist.
The second one: the belief that, in the absence of a State, any social institutions (such as DROs) will inevitably take the place of the State.

It has been argued that Dispute Resolution Organizations (DROs)--insurance companies and private security forces--are all considered potential problems which will rise up and overwhelm the body politic.

As I have already argued: It is difficult to fathom the logic that in order to protect the citizens from a group that might overpower the population, we need to sanction a group that has already overpowered the population. It is akin to the argument about private monopolies: citizens should create a State Monopoly because they are afraid of a private monopoly.

If social institutions are trying to expand their power and enforce their wills on others—if that is a bad thing--then by that very argument a centralized State cannot be permitted to exist.

This is but one example of intellectually insanity, a piece of contradictory nonsense that Objectivsts have trouble with.

Sharon

Leonid's picture

" Well, why can’t other men—those other people aside from the men who assumed power--do that? "

But I said already they can-by assuming power during election process. I said as well that you as anarchist not suppose to assume any power and offer any government services since Anarchism negates the very idea of government as such. So the contradiction is yours. You cannot be anarchist and government the same time . Law of Identity doesn't permit that. If you want to compete with government on service delivery and to assume POWER-you are not anarchist. Government has monopoly on force and it's limited by rule of law and by the fact that people who assumed this power are very small minority and could be easily removed from the office-by election or any other process. Inspite all these limitations government is guilty of countless abuses which you yourself rightfully listed. However you suggest that this power should be given to majority and it use shouldn't be limited by any objective laws. That will cause such a level of abuse that current situation would look like realm of justice and freedom. Somali which is run by warlords is good example.

The Philip Fear, small government guy:

sharon's picture

"So you can see then that the DRO model will lead to a monopoly?"

It is difficult to fathom the logic that in order to protect the citizens from a group that might overpower the population, we need to sanction a group that has already overpowered the population. It is akin to the argument about private monopolies: citizens should create a State Monopoly because they are afraid of a private monopoly.

Man, we are a heavily propagandized civilization, immersed in State worship of various degrees. Once the propaganda fogs lifts, you can see that they are intellectually insane and defy logic.

Philip,

sharon's picture

"So if you want to start your own DRO then your company must be accepted by whoever owns and updates the database, right? Seems to me then that a monopoly could occur quite quickly; the owner of the database would hold all the power."

In order for any government can expand, it needs to take control of the money supply so that it can bribe citizens and the educational system (in order to indoctrinate children). A great percentage is dedicated to propaganda. This is how governments expand and maintain their power.

DRO

Brant Gaede's picture

What does "DRO" mean here? It's not in the Urban Dictionary.

--Brant

Thanks for transfering this debate.

Kasper's picture

Sharon, dear, you have not addressed my post - sweetie.

"This is hardly a striking blow against anarchism and the DRO model. You seem to insist upon the erroneous conclusion that only a centralized government can implement a *rational code of morality*--which is, in essence, the nucleus of objective law."

You would have just as much trouble in DRO's with corruptibility as you would have in government.

The point of my post was that the government is an organized institution with a blanket infiltration over all society. It is required to be transparent and to treat citizens equally by the very definition, laws and constitutions which constitute its very function.

DRO's simply do not have this advantage. - honey Sticking out tongue

Freedom requires objective laws that apply to everyone. Also something the DRO's cannot achieve. Not the objective part but the homogeneity of the laws to all human beings including their application.

"As it exists now, Kasper, a poor person doesn’t have equal access to the law courts as does a wealthy person." We are not living in a society with limited form of government. Your statement is not applicable.

Philip,

sharon's picture

"So you can see then that the DRO model will lead to a monopoly?"

You are smarter than this. You know, as an Objectivist, how monopolies are created and maintained. It has nothing to do with the free-market. And where such “monopolies” exist, it is by merit, not force. That is the government.

gregster

sharon's picture

"A stupendous shambles is what you propose and that's without touching upon the unwieldiness of there being multiple case law precedents to follow, side by side, street to street."

I don't agree.

The Marxist and communists use to argue that a free market society would be a chaotic shambles and that a “planned scientific economy” was needed. Why, who decides how many shoes or nails or any other commodity to produce. It will be out of control! Your argument echoes this.

So you can see then that the

PhilipD's picture

So you can see then that the DRO model will lead to a monopoly?

LOL

sharon's picture

Phill, sweetie.

I find it rather fascinating arguing with Objectivists who support a centralized government that holds a monopoly on force—which they champion—and all they can seem to muster up is an argument against the DRO model is that it will lead to a monopoly. Well, if that is such a bad thing, why are you supporting the current paradigm?

Molyneux: '...if you cancel

PhilipD's picture

Molyneux: '...if you cancel your DRO insurance, your name goes into a database available to all DROs.'

And if your name is on that database, Molyneux says, a so-called rogue '...can’t take a bus – bus companies won’t take rogues, because their DRO will require that they take only DRO-covered passengers, in case of injury or altercation. Want to fill up on gas? No luck, for the same reason. You can try hitchhiking, of course, which might work, but what happens when you get to your destination and try and rent a hotel room? No DRO card, no luck.'

So if you want to start your own DRO then your company must be accepted by whoever owns and updates the database, right? Seems to me then that a monopoly could occur quite quickly; the owner of the database would hold all the power.

Any thoughts, Sharon? ( no need to call me, honey- it makes me feel queasy)

Perfection

Brant Gaede's picture

The search for perfection always leads to rejection. Perfection is static and impossible save possibly in a material creation, a computer, a work of art? Not in any kind of government. If you don't fight for your freedom you'll lose your freedom. In Utopia, anarchistic or otherwise, there's nothing to fight for. Just go out and make things, make money, make love. What is needed is not perfection, but the premise of defaulting to freedom--that is, moving on principle to more and more freedom. People have to be much more rational than they are for that. Since formal education is failing us here, reality is going to hit hoi polloi upside the head big time. Stunned and desperate, hoi polloi might go for a little bit of rationality and education then. However, until then we best save our own asses.

--Brant

Naturally determined

gregster's picture

Sharia: "this little bit of historical determinism." [Btw: it's not a great debate - is your debating informed by Nick Otani?]

Except it's not. It is applying historical observation. Free enterprise and the nature of traders who will gravitate to the most exploitative methods. (Not necessarily a bad thing, of course.)

The DROs will merge. They are quasi governments anyway. A stupendous shambles is what you propose and that's without touching upon the unwieldiness of there being multiple case law precedents to follow, side by side, street to street.

The great debate continues:

sharon's picture

The great debate continues:

I have stated to Jeffery: Now, I understand that you are a small government guy, is that correct? You do understand that all your arguments against DROs apply to your political stance, do you not? Anything you can muster in the way of a coherent argument against the DRO model can be stapled upon “small government”, but more so actually. If you disagree, I am all ears as to how “small government” is immune from corruption. If, however, you do not argue that...then why do you support a small government system?
You obviously lack the ability to comprehend what you read.

His response was: “If you had understood what I was saying, you would know that was my exact point (expressed of course in reverse)--the exact same problems we have with government today would appear with your thrice-blessed (that a euphemism) DROs.”

This is a vacuous response. Jeffery is merely repeating his assertion without backing it up with any empirical examples or logical argumentation. It is an assertion left hanging in mid-air. It has the whole “got it from Jesus” thunder to it.

I also stated to Jeffery: Anyway, if you insist that any proposed system must be without corruption as an absolute, an iron-glad guarantee as a law of nature, and that if it cannot offer this, it is therefore invalidated—then it is you, not I, that is the utopian dweller.

His response was this: “I'm not saying that. I'm saying that your scheme is subject to the same corruption as the present system of governments, and therefore there's no reason to adopt it. Why go through all the trouble just end up where we are now?”

Again, he merely repeats the same baseless assertion. He knows, damn it, he just KNOWS that the DRO system is inherently subject to the same corruption that are standard with modern governments because his crystal ball told him so. But this gal has carefully observed what point Jeffery is purposefully alluding. The point I have made—and will repeat here—is this:

a given DRO (if it is rotten) does not have the same means open to it to enforce or spread its devastation to the degree and scale that a modern government does--by the fact that it does not have the exclusive monopoly on force. Plus, the DRO relies on its customer base, not pilfered funds.

To this, he simply asserts that I am “flat-out wrong”. Behold the Jeffery Smith philosophical acumen.

He says that I just keep asserting my assertions. Talk about projection.

Jeffery continues on: “Free competition can not be relied on to keep the DROs in line because the DROS, being the mechanism that ensures the competition can take place freely, are placed exactly where they would need to be to suppress free competition against themselves. And being composed of human beings operating out of self interest, it is reasonable to expect a significant number of them to suppress competition against themselves, and for the rest to go along with it. They will become organizations that have a monopoly of force, they will operate on pilfered funds (I assume you mean taxes or the equivalent thereof).”

You see, that is it. Jeffery consulted his crystal ball and was informed of this little bit of historical determinism.

To sum up: I don't like government, big or small, but I have never seen any scheme that doesn't have the same problems. And at least constitutional small government has formal mechanisms that offer some hope of keeping the problems at bay, unlike your thrice blessed DROs.

Call the DRO modal a “scheme” all you want. I know where I stand on the issue—and the principle issue is morality. It is the non-aggression principle. It is about rationality and freedom. This is really what you are making an argument against, Mr. Smith.

Sharon

Leonid's picture

"The mixed economy is the government's doing based on the curious mix of respect for individual rights and altruism."
The government's doing is not a cause but a consequence. The cause is dominant philosophy which is altruism. As long as the government is not a dictatorship it cannot act against people's whishes and believes.

Jeffrey

sharon's picture

In a free society, there are established ways to deal with disputes
between individuals and established ways to deal with people who try to
coerce the market.  Whoever makes sure those things happen is the
government.

I wanted to deal with this argument between you and I before it becomes too old for recall.

 

I will refer you to this Youtube presentation, seen below.

 

Please don’t consider it a copout for the following reasons: I am in large agreement with this philosopher’s thoughts; so much so that I have become a student of his, in a manner of speaking. Sometimes he takes the words right out of my mouth, and sometimes he gives me further things to think about.

 

And so instead of me typing out every answer and blurring your eyesight (LOL) sit back and listen to the man and consider it my answer—or a answer—to the challenges presented to Anarchists. 

 

Would Anarchy Create Governments?

 

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIgHO8SZJdI 

 

 

The way I understand it:

Kasper's picture

If you agree with Rand on metaphysics then you agree with her axiom that underpins her philosophy. Existence exists.
Man exists as a rational animal possessing a consciousness. His identity is a rational animal of volitional consciousness. He functions by making decisions about values which are something to gain and/or to keep. This factor i.e that man is a rational animal possessing a volitional consciousness is the essential common denominator to the concept man. This necessitates the fact that all human beings must have rights.

Rights to property include individual rights too. The idea that all men are equal under the law is an objective law that is necessitated from the learned fact that man's mind, his only tool of survival, cannot operate under force.

Rights are laws that keep men free from the initiation of force either from a government or from other men. In order for these rights to be recognised and protected an institution is required. A government is required. Governments that are appropriately limited to their bare functions in accordance with objectivist theory are able to be held accountable by individual bodies and other institutions. Institutions such as lawyers, media and the public’s right to protest. The laws constituting a limited government are orientated to do just that. Limit the government and make it accountable to scrutiny.

Taking your idea of no government where would you get the required homogeneity of law throughout a nation to uphold the idea that all men are equal under the law? In any criminal breach of law a man must be treated the same as any other in that same breach. How would you get this in a scenario of competing law enforcement bodies?

Who would hold the law enforcement bodies accountable? How would they do so? Where is the objective measure of justice that one can judge all other human actions in an anarchic society?

Sharon

Kasper's picture

You have just sent me galavanting through all your posts on this thread. I am frustrated and irritated it appears to have been a waste of my time. The word Somalia only comes up once and not by you. Where have you addressed Somalia's situation yet alone three times?

Brant

sharon's picture

 

Government is a methodology of redistributing wealth and power from those who have it to those who don't. Government is primarily a controlling mechanism. Most of that is wrong--that is, rights' violating.

That's right. Now you're getting it.

The government doesn't do anything. It's people. 

That’s right. The “government” is an invalid concept, but I use the word for the purpose of communicating in a common language. The “government”, I agree, is nothing but an aggregate of individuals. I said that before.  

Your world of purely good people and bad government doesn't exist. 

I never said all people were good. You said I say that. I don't. That’s a big difference. Still, let me know about any "good governments," won't you? The mechanism of government is not “for the people”; it is inherently evil…even if the representatives within can said to be “good people” when judged as individuals. The system of government, however, is nothing other than a predator parasite, a giant con game, feeding on the productive while propagandizing a duped populace that they seek to serve and protect.

 

Is it any wonder that the government took control of schooling? “We seek to bring prosperity and order and peace to the people!" Bla, bla, bla. The bullshit never ends. That is the sales pitch, the power rhetoric and slime linguistics. No Brant, it is not just bullshit that the Nazi or communist government(Drunk fed the people—it is the nature of government. Repeat after me--any government.

The basic questions are what are rights and how can they be protected?

 The perennial and tragic error is to believe that the government will bring this. Anarchists of my ilk are offering a fundamental alternative.  

 

Sharon

Brant Gaede's picture

The government doesn't do anything. It's people. Your world of purely good people and bad government doesn't exist. Government is what people make of it. Government is what people tolerate. Government is a methodology of redistributing wealth and power from those who have it to those who don't. Government is primarily a controlling mechanism. Most of that is wrong--that is, rights' violating. The basic questions are what are rights and how can they be protected?

--Brant

Kasper

sharon's picture

 

Kasper, again you are the guy walking in on the middle of the movie, more like towards the end. I have already dealt with the Somalia thing at leaat three times now.

 

 

Leonid

sharon's picture

 

The mixed economy is the government's doing based on the curious mix of respect for individual rights and altruism. That would be more exact. But my original statement stands: It's the government's doing; we don't have mixed economy because of capitalism.

 

 

Sharon

Kasper's picture

Somalia has a government but its power is really bugger all. Could you please explain how a country like Somalia with effectively no government protection of individual rights is not a good example of the results of anarchy.

Sharon

Leonid's picture

"And to what do you attribute the cause of this? The mixed economy is the government’s doing."
No. That exactly other way around. As you yourself mentioned before, politics are derivates of ethics. And ethics belong to philosophy. The current dominant philosophy is altruism. The result is mixed economy and coercive government.

" The government is an end in itself in which a free society makes possible."-that you said,not me. What I said is that only in the free society government can fulfil its proper function. I said nothing about government's flourishing or government as an end in itself. Your conclusions have no connection whatsoever with what I said.

Leonid

sharon's picture

 

“We are living in semi-free society which is based on mixed economy. Such a society is in the permanent state of civil war between different gangs. This situation doesn't allow use of objective laws.”

And to what do you attribute the cause of this? The mixed economy is the government’s doing, for Christ's sake! It is not a phenomenon that came ready-made (let alone borne by the unfettered market) rendering the “proper functions of government” problematic.

Only in the free "social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned" (AR definition of capitalism) government would be able to function properly.

Oh, I see. So we must first have a truly free society so that governments can flourish. The government is an end in itself in which a free society makes possible. This is the most inverted, convoluted logic chopping I have ever come across. 

Lord help me. (And I'm an atheist!) 

 

 

 

Sharon

Leonid's picture

"Yeah, god knows the government doesn’t do anything like that."
Ask yourself "why?". We are living in semi-free society which is based on mixed economy. Such a society is in the permanent state of civil war between different gangs. This situation doesn't allow use of objective laws. Only in the free "social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned" (AR definition of capitalism) government would be able to function properly. Your anarchistic model spells death sentence to such a society since it brings gang warfare back.

  Sharon

jeffrey smith's picture

But now then, what are you speaking of when YOU speak of “government”?

I'll go back to an earlier comment of mine on this thread

In a free society, there are established ways to deal with disputes
between individuals and established ways to deal with people who try to
coerce the market.  Whoever makes sure those things happen is the
government.

Which is the familiar idea that government should provide courts, police and military defense (not military offense!); but in a larger sense includes all the institutions that allow us to trade, including interbank clearing of checks and the stock exchanges (which were of course around long before they became formal institutions).

Monopoly of force has always been a byproduct of this, but there's no logical reason that it must be there, only practical reasons.  As an aside, I think the practical effect of your DRO scheme would still fall under the monopoly of force rubric, the monopoly being incarnated in the way the super DROs and rating organizations operate in relation to the rest.

Is that clear enough for you to work with?

Jeffrey

sharon's picture

 

Much of our communication sprang from the fact that I thought we were arguing from Rand’s definition of government, which does include monopolization on the use of force. And DROs do not fit into that description.

Ok, fine, you don’t agree with Rand’s definition of government. This debate as been just as frustrating as if arguing over theism with a pathiest.  You twist yourself out of shape arguing over the existence of “God”, the supernatural—only to discover that what he means by the word “God” is nature, the sum total of that which exists. It's like "hello, why use the word GOD then? Argh! 

In pantheism the universe, or nature, and God are alike. What a frustration for both sides. What a waste of debate time.  

We fell into a similar verbiage-definition linguistic ensnare.

But call a DRO or government what you want, indeed. I speak of “governments” in the now—as they do in fact exist. I also speak of DROs (there is much more than what I have thus far indicated though) as they exist one foot in reality and the other in philosophical abstraction.

 It is therefore possible to think of a government that does not collect taxes and does not monopolize force.

But now then, what are you speaking of when YOU speak of “government”?  

 

More later on your post.   

 

 

 

Sharon

Brant Gaede's picture

"Private politics, market politics...without a gun in the room."

Not clear to me how I misrepresented you. Maybe we're both being a little too cryptic.

--Brant

Sharon

jeffrey smith's picture

there's a guy in the kitchen who cooks the food for the restaurant customers. Does it matter whether we call him chef or cook?

I have a Hebrew name as well as a English name. Am I a different person when I use the Hebrew name?

DROs and a truly limited government are one and the same thing. They do the proper work of government. Just because you refuse to use the word "government" in reference to them does not change their nature. They arbitrate disputes and protect from and penalize coercive attempts on the market. You can call them Galloping Noodle Brigades for all I care: they'll still be government.

I'm not at all saying that government is good.
I'm saying that the functions of government are necessary to a free society, even if you don't use the term "government".
The question to be asked is how to make sure that the entities which perform the functions of government stay in their proper places. In my view, the DROS are just as liable to become foci of power abuse and rights violations as any government existing in the real world, and competition won't restrain them. They are the ones who safeguard the integrity of competition, and therefore they are the ones who will be exactly placed to make sure that no one competes with them. Therefore we will have the exact same problem with them as we do with any existing government.

And remember it's not just war and taxes: government is also the city council telling you what trees you can plant in your back yard and what color you can paint your house.

Brant

sharon's picture

 

 

"Without a gun in the room."

This is not a proper quote from me. Read my post again. Thanks.

 

Oh

Brant Gaede's picture

"Without a gun in the room."

I assume somebody with a gun is at the door to make sure no one comes in with one.

--Brant

Now you are getting it.

sharon's picture

 

The fact that all governments in history have collected taxes and tried to monopolize force does not meant those two things are essential elements of government.  It is therefore possible to think of a government that does not collect taxes and does not monopolize force. [italics mine]

Oh yes, I agree....it's called the DRO model, short of calling it a government. But I can be generous. ;]

 

 

round and round we go!

sharon's picture

 

In a free society, there are established ways to deal with disputes between individuals and established ways to deal with people who try to coerce the market.  Whoever makes sure those things happen is the government.  In your system the DROS and allied institutions are the government. 

The government is the government....and....and DROs are government. Rightyo!  Oh, how I love these semantic circular arguments. Let’s see if I can unravel the fortune cookie here: Government in the first instance is GOOOOOOD, and DRO government in the second instance---BAAAAAD.  

 

 

Jeffrey

sharon's picture

 

The problem is not what we replace government with; the problem is how to do make sure that the people who perform the proper functions of government as I stated them in the first paragraph don't abuse their position to become a government that violates individual rights. 

Why, Lord above, can’t the same thing be done with DROs? Can’t you see that the investment of a singular and exclusive use of a giant physical force into the small handful of men *is* the very means of so much destruction?

Look at it from this perspective: When a company makes bad investments, say, suffering under the tutelage of bad management and unsound business practices causing it into bankruptcy and liquidation—it effects only the customer base (but who are free to shop elsewhere) and their employees (who are free to take jobs elsewhere) but when the government messes up in their "management of the people"—they effect millions of people in the worse way--and in many cases, in irreparable ways. The damage is all the greater and wider spread.  

This is why I make such a big stink about the “monopoly on force.” And I do stress the word FORCE, because the government is not a business offering goods and services. It is, as an Objectivist would say, that “institution that keeps the use of retaliatory force under objective control”—but they at least recognize it as FORCE. Now, Jeffrey, what is your intellectual block that you can’t see the elephant in the room—or, in this case, the gun in the room.   

 

 

In a free society, there

jeffrey smith's picture

In a free society, there are established ways to deal with disputes between individuals and established ways to deal with people who try to coerce the market.  Whoever makes sure those things happen is the government.  In your system the DROS and allied institutions are the government. 

Collecting taxes is not an essential part of government.

Monopoly of force is not an essential part of government.  

The fact that all governments in history have collected taxes and tried to monopolize force does not meant those two things are essential elements of government.  It is therefore possible to think of a government that does not collect taxes and does not monopolize force.

If you can't get that idea into your head, then any discussion with you is useless.  DROS and modern governments are simply two aspects of the same thing.

The problem is not what we replace government with; the problem is how to do make sure that the people who perform the proper functions of government as I stated them in the first paragraph don't abuse their position to become a government that violates individual rights.  You think DROs and the competition between them will provide the answers.  I think that your answer wouldn't work because the DROs would be able to suppress any competition.

Jeffrey

sharon's picture

 

Our difference is much more basic.

You are stuck on the idea of "monopoly of force".  I am not. 

 

 Well, good for you, I suppose—but I’m not. I am “stuck” there, that’s right. I’m an empiricist, honey, and historical verifiable facts tell me that when you give a small handful of men (calling themselves “the government”) absolute power—and the government has absolute power as backed up by their physically enforcing thugs—the police and army—nasty things happen. It is a fact. It is a universal fact. It happens at any time in history and anywhere on the globe where it is tried. This is not a theory! It happened and it is still happening. A fundamental alternative has to be considered to this bloody disaster. From where I stand, commerce and the free–market are hardly on the scale of destruction that is wrought by governments. I don’t understand why my point isn’t clear.  

You are caught on a superficial thing: I am trying to focus on the function of government itself.  Government in our society is supposed to do certain things. (I'm talking about the limited government ideal, not the actual government).   

Stop right there! Oh, Jeremy, deal with empirical facts. Supposed-supposed-supposed! The government is a cancer—fact—and you don’t “cut-back” cancer and “limit" it—you cut it right out.  

Whatever does those things, is the government. It doesn't matter if there's a formal constitution and set of laws, or if there's truly free competition between the various entities.  Whether it "takes taxes" or not is irrelevant.  Whatever does those things is government.  In your scheme, that would be the DROS and allied organizations.  

Again, Jeremy, DROs do not takes taxes at the point of a gun. It is not irrelevant. There is a fundamental difference between force and voluntarism.

 

And what are "those things" that a government does?  You don't say. And whatever you set forth, how is that achieved?

 

 

 

 

 

Sharon

jeffrey smith's picture

Our difference is much more basic.

You are stuck on the idea of "monopoly of force".  I am not.  You are caught on a superficial thing: I am trying to focus on the function of government itself.

Government in our society is supposed to do certain things. (I'm talking about the limited government ideal, not the actual government).   Whatever does those things, is the government.It doesn't matter if there's a formal constitution and set of laws, or if there's truly free competition between the various entities.  Whether it "takes taxes" or not is irrelevant.  Whatever does those things is government.  In your scheme, that would be the DROS and allied organizations.

The question is, what is the best way of making sure the entities that form the "government" don't become violators of individual rights.  You think competition is the answer; I think competition won't be the answer, because these entities would be a unique case.  They would be the entities who ensure that competition flourishes, and therefore would be ideally placed to ensure that no one can actually compete with them.

They won't collect taxes: they'll collect dues and fees, and any choice you have in the matter will be illusory, and any input you have on how the money is spent will be equally illusory and minimal.  They may not wage wars, but they can sure violate individual rights on a continual basis, just like state and municipal governments do now.

I'll also note Grant's post earlier today/last night about the Utopian quality to your ideas and the near impossibility of achieving your scheme in real life.  And I'll note again that it will be as much as we can do to roll back government to the place it had in early twentieth century, much less any better end state.

Jeffrey

sharon's picture

 

This profit loving murder mad DRO---and this would be kept secret from their voluntary customer base?

They would have no need to keep it secret.  Just like the government has no need to keep it secret when it takes your money as taxes.

TAKES your taxes are the operative words. If a DRO "takes taxes" it will be a government, and we have the same problem all over again.

As a bussiness--not. Is that our misunderstanding?

Do you see the customer base continuing to support that DRO? Or will that DRO takes taxes?

What remains--all my points against the government, and Jeffery feeling he was right after all. ;]

 

 

sharon

jeffrey smith's picture

Actually, it's your assertions that would hang in thin air.  You are asserting that competition would be a sufficient rein on the DROs.  But you ignore two facts:

1)The DROs, like any other business, would have every motivation to limit competition.

2) The DROs, unlike any other business, would have the means to suppress competition. The DROs, unlike any other business, would have nothing to make sure they compete only by ethical means.

Who guards the guardians? It was an old question even before Juvenal asked it.

This profit loving murder mad DRO---and this would be kept secret from their voluntary customer base?

They would have no need to keep it secret.  Just like the government has no need to keep it secret when it takes your money as taxes.

  Don't leave out which

sharon's picture

 

Don't leave out which politics?

Private politics, market politics...without a gun in the room.

 

 

Don't

Brant Gaede's picture

Don't leave out which politics?

--Brant

What ethics? What means?

sharon's picture

 

 

Brant, I can’t respond to your post in the way it richly deserves just yet, but I will address one aspect: which ethics you ask? A rational objectively verifiable ethics—the very same value-life based ethics Objectivists would advocate, or even yourself—except, I submit, anarchism is the full and consistent application to it on a politico-social context. Philosophy first, politics second. I know that.

 

Oh, dear!

Brant Gaede's picture

"Ethics and means of enforcement would be present in an anarchist DRO society."

What ethics? What means?

What do you think of the various aboriginal cultures in North America before the infusion of Europeans?

What do you think of those cultures in Central America before the Spaniards?

Doesn't true tyranny come out of agricultural then agricultural-industrial societies? The tribes got bigger so the depredations greater?

Philosophy, Sharon--some philosophy--is trying to rein in the monster. With critical thinking, actually. You are up in the clouds with your Utopia--you can't actually get there from here because there is no there there--arguing about how what goes on up there in your head has some kind of relevance to people who aren't up there with you too.

You have not one ounce of data, but you do have a simple, clean world you can get your brain around, while we struggle with what we've got.

"Fight! Fight for your freedom!" This is the essential appeal of Ayn Rand: a world where you don't have to do that. A world where the fighting is done. You are her soul-mate on this the deepest psychological level. Somehow--"The Strike!"--get rid of the politics and the way is clear to go "back to the world." Galt did nothing. Randian contempt for collectivism meant Randian impotence to fight it. 50 years after Atlas Shrugged all we get in politics is Alan Greenspan doing the job the statists couldn't get John Galt to take even under torture. John Galt lived in spite of our sins, but aside from that he was Jesus Christ.

Why was Galt's speech delivered at the end of AS? Because it was irrelevant to most of whom it was delivered to. No interest in hoi polloi. Not smart or moral enough. What comes next after the corrupt and stupid and human flotsam gets flushed away, albeit sprinkled with the speech's asseverating toilet water, is going to be "the rule of the airmen." ("Things to Come.")

She sweated bullets to write great novels for the sake of freedom--the freedom not to have to write great novels to save the world because freedom once achieved--kudos to her right philosophy--takes on a life of its own sans people who only benefit from freedom and do great things, but otherwise eschew politics which, in the greatest irony means eschewing philosophy and ultimately Rand herself who then evaporates into the ascension of the next tyranny because the bastards who fuck up the world every chance they can get DON'T NEED PHILOSOPHY!

The struggle for freedom can never end whatever the stage. AS had a point to make and it made it, but the message needs to be transmogrified from impotence to potence not only in private life but public life--i.e., government. It's out there and it's within us--it was even within Ayn Rand. Alan Greenspan knew this and went to Washington with very unfortunate results but with her blessing. In the idea of human perfectibility she denied the reality of her own humanity and left her followers with nothing to do and no place to go--except D.C. You see, government, like the bull in the ring, has to be fought, but the bull-fighter is not the government, AG confused the two or was simply corrupted or both. The bull is slain, but there is always the next bull.

--Brant

  The only self creating

sharon's picture

 

The only self creating and sustaining entity I'm aware of is God(for theists) and the universe (for atheists).  Free markets don't spring out of the ground like the warriors of Cadmus, ready from day one to do their job.  Certain conditions need to be met, and if those conditions cease, so does the free market.

Ah, but we covered this. Freedom is the condition. Ethics and means of enforcement would be present in an anarchist DRO society.

 

 

 Your assertions hang

sharon's picture

 

Your assertions hang empty in thin hair. I can do that:

 

There was a little boy who was brought up badly and he became a bully. Nobody was looking so he went from town to town and broke every factory window he came across. When he became age nine, he learned how to operate a window cleaner’s pulley and broke every window of every skyscraper in every major city. His parents never knew of it. His teachers never knew of it. It was his little secret.

 

 But I’ll bite: This profit loving murder mad DRO---and this would be kept secret from their voluntary customer base? Do they have some secret means like the nine year-old?

 

 

 

of course it can

jeffrey smith's picture

So, as a business, a DRO can tax others at the point of a gun?  Or
declare war against Iraq.  Or print all the money they want with my own
central bank.

It could because it would have no effective check on it (except, I suppose, the military personnel of the Iraqi DROs).   The people who would staff it would act according to their own self interest, and if violating individual rights is beneficial to them, they would violate individual rights.

Sharon

jeffrey smith's picture

Jeffery, you realize that a DRO (all of them) depend upon their
voluntary customer base to remain in existence—unlike a government? You
also understand that reputation is next to everything in business and
if word got out of evil Nigi executives and accountants blowing up
existing competing DROs would not bode well?


But tell me, how—exactly—could a
business--a competing DRO that depends on the free-market to
flourish—ever gain the type of power a government has?  (Oh, this has
got to be good!)

Because they won't compete.  You are asking the police to police themselves.  Whereas all of human nature and history suggests that they will form an old boys network that will make sure no one gets to compete effectively with them. They'll make sure that their volunatry customer base remains their customers by making sure they won't have a choice.  A word in the ear to the heads of those rating agencies about the new guy in town who's not playing along and I guess he needs to be cut down to size...etc.

Your faith in the virtues of competition iamong the DROSs touching, but it's thoroughly misplaced.   And it is faith because there is not a shred of evidence in its favor (since we've never had anything even close to it in operation) and much evidence against it--mainly the vast majority of human history. If the DROs collude and refuse to accept honest competition, they will have the power to suppress any honest competitoin.   In other words, they will be just like the governments we have today.  So what is the point?

Sharon

jeffrey smith's picture

Government is the set of institutions which provide the
conditions on which individuals can trade. The less those institutions
interfere with individual rights, the  freer the market.  Monopoly of
force is a byproduct of that; by itself bring government into being.


No, you are just wrong on this. All you have to offer is negative values.

 

Where is there a negative value in that statement of mine you bolded? The stock exchanges are part of the institutions which provide the conditions on which individuals can trade.  So is the system that allows you to write checks that can be cashed at any bank (theoretically) in the country.  Do you want to abolish them?  I'm assuming not.  But you need to remember that when I say government, I don't just mean the official government;  I mean the institutions on which the free market depends on its existence as a (in our day, somewhat) free market, some of which may not even have a legal existence.

The free-market is a self-creating and sustaining entity 

The only self creating and sustaining entity I'm aware of is God(for theists) and the universe (for atheists).  Free markets don't spring out of the ground like the warriors of Cadmus, ready from day one to do their job.  Certain conditions need to be met, and if those conditions cease, so does the free market.

Jeffrey

sharon's picture

 

What you fail to see is that what applies to officially organized governments--the abuse of power--would also happen with DROs under your scheme.

 

So, as a business, a DRO can tax others at the point of a gun?  Or declare war against Iraq.  Or print all the money they want with my own central bank.

 I just want to make sure we are on the same page here.

Sharon

jeffrey smith's picture

I'm curious, what is then? And what do you consider a definition of
'essential'? Answer as you will, but for me, of course it an essential
element. What other insititution holds the monopoly on force? 

You think it's essential part of the definition: I think it's not.  

You've said a couple of times that you think Rand's political theories were wrong.  Why then do you accept her definition of government.?  Why is that right and the rest (or at least much of the rest) wrong?

I'm definiing government in a whole different way, as a set of institutions which perform specific functions.  Monopoly of force may appear in all of them, but it's not the essence of government.  Oxygen supports life, but supporting life is not an essential element in defining oxygen.  And furthermore, in my view, since those functions are a basic element in human society, government has always existed in human society, even if there were no tangible entities on whom the term could be parked.

Sharon

jeffrey smith's picture

the US under the Articles of Confederation? Nice little garnish there.
Yes, we are speaking of the American revolution, the grand USA? LOL.
This is your example? However noble the attempt, history shows that
“absolute power absolutely corrupts” and it was a very short period of
time before the erosive powers of the state grew and grew and grew into
the individual eating, taxing, war drafting monster it is today

1) But wouldn't you be glad if we could even roll things back that far? Wouldn't you agree that even under that government, we would be far better off than we are today?

2) What you fail to see is that what applies to officially organized governments--the abuse of power--would also happen with DROs under your scheme.  There is no effective check  on them.  (More on that point in another reply. I'm doing short replies tonight instead of one long one.)

 "The appearance of

sharon's picture

 

"The appearance of criminals necessitated "common sense" laws prohibiting murder, assault, theft, fraud, etc., police to enforce these laws, and courts of justice to prosecute criminals objectively. Letting individuals retaliate against criminals on their own proved destructive because it fostered lynch mobs and mafia-style policing

Yeah, god knows the government doesn’t do anything like that. The people who comprise any government are morally flawless in their execution of objective moral justice. Every charge hurled at anarchy is merely a boomerang at your paradigm.

 

You realize that the only way to make government contribute positively to human life -- to actually do good and be good -- is to severely restrict its power...  

Well, good luck with that lofty little goal. Try turning the Mafia into the PTA while you are at it—that is a much more smaller goal.  ;]

 

What is Good Government

Leonid's picture

"The appearance of criminals necessitated "common sense" laws prohibiting murder, assault, theft, fraud, etc., police to enforce these laws, and courts of justice to prosecute criminals objectively. Letting individuals retaliate against criminals on their own proved destructive because it fostered lynch mobs and mafia-style policing, all leading to anarchy...And whenever somebody advocates slowing down the growth of government, the "humanitarians" scream that such actions attack the "needy." Sacrificing the "haves" to the "have nots" has become a moral absolute few dare challenge...Finally, you realize that the government has become a massive agent of destruction. ...Instead of protecting individuals from criminals, it has become the leading agent of criminal action...You realize that the only way to make government contribute positively to human life -- to actually do good and be good -- is to severely restrict its power to that of protecting each individual's right to his "life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness."
Please read the whole article http://www.capmag.com/article....

The absolute tragedy

Brant Gaede's picture

of the American Revolution is that it led to the French Revolution and the rise of Napoleon and then the whole statist European culture that led to Marxism and the bloody 20th Century. As a bonus, we in America got Prussian education designed to produce robots for business, industry and the military. We are in the middle of a great flux centered, ultimately, on ideas and the power of ideas. We simply need better ideas than the bad ones that have done so much harm. And ever heard of critical thinking? They don't teach that. Quite the contrary.

--Brant

 I maintain what I had

sharon's picture

 

I maintain what I had stated: all governments the world over, and for
all time, where there have been governments, have been a plague and
predicator on the citizenry.

Well, for a first approximation, the US under the Articles of Confederation.

the US under the Articles of Confederation? Nice little garnish there. Yes, we are speaking of the American revolution, the grand USA? LOL. This is your example? However noble the attempt, history shows that “absolute power absolutely corrupts” and it was a very short period of time before the erosive powers of the state grew and grew and grew into the individual eating, taxing, war drafting monster it is today. My point still stands.

 

 

saying it a dozen times more.

sharon's picture

 

The core problem is that some entities are able to violate individual rights without suffering negative consequences.  In the real world, that is government.  In your fantasy scheme, that would be the DROS.

Yes, Jeffrey, I am aware of your repeated assertion, the one that is not backed up by anything other than being repeated—as if that makes your case.

 

 

  I'm curious, what is

sharon's picture

 

I'm curious, what is then? And what do you consider a definition of
'essential'? Answer as you will, but for me, of course it an essential
element. What other insititution holds the monopoly on force? 

I've already said this twice: monopoly of force is not an essential element of government.  Government can exist which is not a monopoly of force (think of federal/state/local divisions in the US).

The state and local divisions answer to a “higher power” which is that institution that holds the monopoly on force.

Monopoly of force can exist without government, if the force monopolizer chooses not to do what governments normally do.

Is this theoretical? Or can you provide an answer?  

 

 

 

Government is the set of

sharon's picture

Government is the set of institutions which provide the conditions on which individuals can trade. The less those institutions interfere with individual rights, the  freer the market.  Monopoly of force is a byproduct of that; by itself bring government into being.

No, you are just wrong on this. All you have to offer is negative values. (e.g. I WON'T smash your teeth out). The free-market is a self-creating and sustaining entity distinct from government, which is just a predator and parasite on the productive energy of free people—which the government “allows” them to be for the plunder.

 

 

Jeffrey

sharon's picture

 

Jeffery, you realize that a DRO (all of them) depend upon their voluntary customer base to remain in existence—unlike a government? You also understand that reputation is next to everything in business and if word got out of evil Nigi executives and accountants blowing up existing competing DROs would not bode well?

 

But tell me, how—exactly—could a business--a competing DRO that depends on the free-market to flourish—ever gain the type of power a government has?  (Oh, this has got to be good!)

 

 (Side note: Your arguments are silly. And be advised I no longer consider this a serious intellectual debate. I am just merely amused by all of this, and I do hope there are plenty of people viewing this discussion and are considering anarchist ideas. Speak to your audience, if you wish).   

 

 

 

Sharon

jeffrey smith's picture

Wait, I'm reading this again: No effective way in my scheme to keep it
from attaining that monopoly on force....hmmm, so then you admit that is a problem, eh?

I don't.  I was merely using your phrasing to answer your question.

The core problem is that some entities are able to violate individual rights without suffering negative consequences.  In the real world, that is government.  In your fantasy scheme, that would be the DROS.

So you believe that a DRO (a single one among all competitors) could
inflate the money supply, launch a war, impose tariffs, toss people
into prison for victimless crimes, tax the country, etc?   

Of course it could, because, uniquely in a world purportedly organized as a totally free market, it will be able to supress any competition.  Its purpose is to support competition, but there will be no recourse when it suppressed competition against itself.  And you are assuming that the other DROs would inflict negative consequences on a rogue DRO when in fact, being staffed by individuals who seek profit like any business person (and incidentally power, because that goes along with money), they would be more likely looking for ways to follow the rogue's example.

Sharon

jeffrey smith's picture

I maintain what I had stated: all governments the world over, and for
all time, where there have been governments, have been a plague and
predicator on the citizenry.

Well, for a first approximation, the US under the Articles of Confederation.

And the fact that you believe you were stating the literal truth betrays an astounding ignorance of history.  Also, you're ignoring the fact that small scale governments, while they can't start wars, etc, are very effective loci of rights violations.   So what if  DRO doesn't start a war with some other DROs? It could still violate my rights pretty effectively.

LOL. Another slippery evasive answer. What you said stands alone. It is what it is. You meant that negative value: 

It does not mean what you assert I said.   You seem to be in a habit of reading meanings into statements that don't actually mean what you say they mean.  That is detrimental to rational thinking.

I'm curious, what is then? And what do you consider a definition of
'essential'? Answer as you will, but for me, of course it an essential
element. What other insititution holds the monopoly on force? 

I've already said this twice: monopoly of force is not an essential element of government.  Government can exist which is not a monopoly of force (think of federal/state/local divisions in the US). Monopoly of force can exist without government, if the force monopolizer chooses not to do what governments normally do.

Government is the set of institutions which provide the conditions on which individuals can trade. The less those institutions interfere with individual rights, the  freer the market.  Monopoly of force is a byproduct of that; by itself bring government into being.

Free-market business DRO vs. Government

sharon's picture

3)could a competing DRO among others ever wreck havoc to the same extent and same way as an institution that holds the exclusive monopoly on force?

Of course it could, because there is no effective way in your scheme to keep it from attaining that monopoly of force.

So you believe that a DRO (a single one among all competitors) could inflate the money supply, launch a war, impose tariffs, toss people into prison for victimless crimes, tax the country, etc?  

edit:

Wait, I'm reading this again: No effective way in my scheme to keep it from attaining that monopoly on force....hmmm, so then you admit that is a problem, eh?

 

Jeffrey

sharon's picture

 

1) Do I? Give me an example

(slaps head) Don't tell me you actually believe your overheated rhetoric?!

 

Slap yourself silly, Jeffery. This is evading the question. What rhetoric? It was a simple, straightforward question. I maintain what I had stated: all governments the world over, and for all time, where there have been governments, have been a plague and predicator on the citizenry. You stated that this is not true. Very well, give me an example. That’s my question. You made the assertion, now back it up. 

  

2) You mention how much a government would or could allow me my freedom? News Flash: My freedom is not theirs—or anyone else’s—to allow. Allow? Are you really serious?

 

 

LOL. Another slippery evasive answer. What you said stands alone. It is what it is. You meant that negative value: If someone said that they’ll abstain from knocking your teeth out, I doubt you would consider this a positive value; in fact, you would be entirely in the right to still suspect this person as possible threat.

 

The free market is like an organic being: certain conditions must be present for it to survive and flourish; it must have a suitable habitat.   

Yes, freedom.   

Chief among these are the basic freedom to trade unimpeded,  with something in place to protect it from the use of force; and some way to impartially decide disputes among the traders. 

Yes, DROs.

I don't believe that monopoly of force is the essential element of government, merely a byproduct.)  

I'm curious, what is then? And what do you consider a definition of 'essential'? Answer as you will, but for me, of course it an essential element. What other insititution holds the monopoly on force?  More later on the rest of your post.    

 

 

for Sharon (Taking them in order)

jeffrey smith's picture

1) Do I? Give me an example

(slaps head) Don't tell me you actually believe your overheated rhetoric?!

2) You mention how much a government would or could allow me my freedom? News Flash: My freedom is not theirs—or anyone else’s—to allow. Allow? Are you really serious?

"Allow" in the mechanical sense.  The presence of oxygen allows you to survive. Your muscles and skeleton allow you to stand upright.

The free market is like an organic being: certain conditions must be present for it to survive and flourish; it must have a suitable habitat.    Chief among these are the basic freedom to trade unimpeded,  with something in place to protect it from the use of force; and some way to impartially decide disputes among the traders.  The institutions that provide the protection and dispute adjudication are in one or another "government", and calling them DROs does not change their nature.

(BTW, I used the word "violence" because I misremembered the phrase. I don't believe that monopoly of force is the essential element of government, merely a byproduct.)

3)could a competing DRO among others ever wreck havoc to the same extent and same way as an institution that holds the exclusive monopoly on force?

Of course it could, because there is no effective way in your scheme to keep it from attaining that monopoly of force.

But bear in mind that the evil governments do is not confined to launching wars and other stuff we associate with nation states.  When the city codes forbid me from planting whatever tree I want wherever I want on my property, and limits my choice of color in painting my house to certain officially approved colors (as is the case with the city where I live), that is also a violation of my rights, is it not?  And there is nothing to keep the DROs from that sort of rights violation in your scheme.

Bear in mind that I'm not defending government.  I'm simply saying that no one has ever come up with a scheme which would do away with the flaws of government. The DRO scheme doesn't; it simply changes the format and the names, but the real problem--the inability to check abuse of power--remains.  

what's in a name?

sharon's picture

 

 

But the DROs in anarchist society are really the government, and just calling them something else won't make it them any less a government. And it will be subject to the same problem as government now is subject--that individuals will abuse it for their own gain.

Ok, tomato or Tomoto semantics aside. Call DROs a governments if you wish. Knock yourself out. But let me ask you this: could a competing DRO among others ever wreck havoc to the same extent and same way as an institution that holds the exclusive monopoly on force?

 

 

serious stuff? Ok!

sharon's picture

I don't really go along with the "monopoly of violence" definition.  To me, government is the set of institutions which allow the market to function, and the more freedom those institutions allow, the freer the market is. 

Is violence the wrong word? Do you agree that governments hold the exclusive monopoly on force?

You see, Jeffery, your language gives you away. You mention how much a government would or could allow me my freedom? News Flash: My freedom is not theirs—or anyone else’s—to allow. Allow? Are you really serious? Now you are starting to sound like Scott, using the implicit slave language of a state loving patriot. I do not accept the premise that my freedom is theirs to “allow” me. Listen to yourself: In principle, it is no different than if I told you that I allow you to keep your paychecks this month, with the implicit idea that if you were to turn into a recalcitrant you would be dealt with accordingly.  

 

 

Jeffrey

sharon's picture

Re: Government evil:

>>Although the historical and empirical fact shows that for all time and everywhere it has been a bloody disaster. 

That's an extremely broad generalization that is not true and you know it.

Do I? Give me an example.

 

And your point is....?

sharon's picture

 

LOL. You are too much, Gregster. Did you even bother to read his book on ethics—or this critique for that matter? Probably not, and yet you have "scare" quotes here. You know, Rand has her share of critics as well. So what?

 

 

Molyneux

gregster's picture

One person's critique of his "ideas" on morality.

Sharon

jeffrey smith's picture

First off, there's nothing to read between the lines; I'm saying flat out what I think. However, if you insist on it

___________________________________

Here is something to read

___________________________________

Smiling

Now the serious part.

I have two arguments with you.  One I've mentioned but not really emphasized, but it is this: between you scheme and the idea of limited government there is a difference of vocabulary only: it's just two sets of terms of for the same idea.  DROs will do in anarchist societies what governments do now. The second point is that there is nothing to keep DROs from going bad in your scheme, just as there is not anything now existing to keep government from going bad. But to stick to the first point for a bit longer:  I don't really go along with the "monopoly of violence" definition.  To me, government is the set of institutions which allow the market to function, and the more freedom those institutions allow, the freer the market is.  They provide fora for dispute resolution and enforcement/investigation to deal with those who attempt coercion.  The monopoly of violence is a byproduct of this, and is not essential to the definition.  But the DROs in anarchist society are really the government, and just calling them something else won't make it them any less a government. And it will be subject to the same problem as government now is subject--that individuals will abuse it for their own gain.  

As to the second point: I concentrate on non saints in my view of anarchic society because if there were enough non-saints in anarchic society, the whole would succumb.  A non trivial number would turn the DROs to their own ends, just as a non trivial number now turn government to their ends. And given the certainty that there would be such a non trivial number, your scheme is therefore doomed to fail.  Or more exactly, is destined to produce the same problems we have now.   So why would I be interested in switching?

To quote you:

That is where corruption has always taken place, and is given the means to do so

It is my contention that exactly the same problem will remain with the DROs under your scheme.

And, ahem:

Although the historical and empirical fact shows that for all time and everywhere it has been a bloody disaster. 

That's an extremely broad generalization that is not true and you know it.  Besides,we have enough bombast and rhetorical heat from Mr. Perigo on this site. No need to add more Smiling

Jeffrey

sharon's picture

 

I read your post once, twice and now three times, trying to read between the lines.   

You are stacking the cards in favour of the government. I’m not an idiot. I can see your roundabout ways.

You speak of the government as not being “intrinsically evil” (my words) and, by implication, that a beautiful landscape of citizens and government can perhaps walk hand-in-hand after all! (Although the historical and empirical fact shows that for all time and everywhere it has been a bloody disaster. But we can brush that aside because it's not "intrinsic". To think otherwise? An astounding bit of naivete). ;]

And when you want to cast a downbeat look on an anarchist society you speak of the non-saints or non-philosopher kings--which is not where I am coming from at all. Why is it all of sudden "intrinsic" that evil will flourish in this society?

You see, you are stacking the deck in your favour. Very cute.

There is nothing inherent in government that makes it inevitable that millions of people will be killed and trillions worth of property will be expropriated or otherwise wasted.

But in an anarchist society, it is intrinsic? If you aren't saying that--good! We are getting somewhere.

An astounding bit of naivete.   Your scheme in effect depends on DROs being run by a group of saints or philosopher kings. 

No, you got me wrong. There are no saints and I am well aware of "human nature" (your cute pejorative in the use of that term) and that is why it is immensely dangerous to give an individual (or a small group of individuals) the exclusive monopoly on force. That is where corruption has always taken place, and is given the means to do so. As an anarchist, I fully realize the human capacity for corruption--and that is why I'm an anarchist.

 

 

Sharon

jeffrey smith's picture

Granting the premise that collusions would take place in a fully free and consisted anarchist society with DROs in place—and I don’t

An astounding bit of naivete.   Your scheme in effect depends on DROs being run by a group of saints or philosopher kings.  It would only work if there was a fundamental change in human nature itself, on the lines of what the Prophets say will happen in the Messianic Era.  And from your scattered comments, you apparently don't believe in the Messianic Era, do you?

I can’t take you at all serious if you are suggesting there would be no
improvement. How does your description of vicious competition compare
to that of which governments have perpetrated? Do you need a run-down
of what governments do and the degree and extent they do it? 

There is nothing inherent in government that makes it inevitable that millions of people will be killed and trillions worth of property will be expropriated or otherwise wasted.  There is notihng inherent in government that makes it inevitable that any single human right would be violated. Remember, taxation is not the only option available to fund a government.  It's only people allowing the individuals who staff government to abuse their powers, individually and collectively, that that makes such results happen.

But further to that, the vicious DROS which would inevitably come to pass if you scheme was ever actually put into practice would go down the same road; and if they stay virtous by some miracle, then they would be indestinguishable from a government that stayed  truly limited.

Brant

sharon's picture

 

Freedom begins in the mind of men. If you are free from the delusions of God and government—from the illusions of it all---then you are living the life of an anarchist (notwithstanding the government). As for the physical, every time you engage in a material or spiritual transaction free from force, you are living the life of a free man. Anarchy is in the mind and lives of men who are free, to whatever extent.

 

 

Anarchy

Brant Gaede's picture

is in your head. Otherwise there is no anarchy (out) there.

But government? All over the damn place!

We don't have the government we want because those who have anarchy in their heads are vastly outnumbered by the brainless who do.

It's not government yes or no it's what we'd get if more of us wanted less of it--much less.

--Brant

 I see no reason to

sharon's picture

 

I see no reason to exchange the current system for yours, because there will be no improvement. 

 

 

Granting the premise that collusions would take place in a fully free and consisted anarchist society with DROs in place—and I don’t—I can’t take you at all serious if you are suggesting there would be no improvement. How does your description of vicious competition compare to that of which governments have perpetrated? Do you need a run-down of what governments do and the degree and extent they do it?

 

 

 

Sharon

jeffrey smith's picture

I think you still don't quite get my point. (But at least we're not talking past each other.)

Collusion doesn't work as long as the market is allowed to operate freely. 

Since the DROs will be the mechanism by which the market ensures that it operates freely, there exists nothing to be a counterweight  against collusion by the DROs, if the choose to collude.   If they forcibly drive off the competition, there will be no negative effects on them, and a good deal of positive effects to boot.  Blowing up offices will be a way to ensure their profits (although they won't necessarily need to resort to that sort of obvious violence most of the time), and there will be nobody in a position to effectively punish them if they do. People will be free to try to compete with them, but they will be free to suppress those attempts in whatever way they choose.

Jeffrey

sharon's picture

 

Ah! Now I understand what you are saying. You went the long way about it, honey. What you are presenting is the typical "collusion" argument which is often used against the free market by Leftist intellectuals. It can’t happen: collusion among companies (DROs included) raises the profits of breaking that collusion---and, if I understand human nature at all, PROFIT is much more appealing to people than blowing up offices.

 

From Wiki: Collusion is an agreement, usually secretive, which occurs between two or more persons to deceive, mislead, or defraud others of their legal rights, or to obtain an objective forbidden by law typically involving fraud or gaining an unfair advantage. It is an agreement among firms to divide the market, set prices, or limit production. It can involve "wage fixing, kickbacks, or misrepresenting the independence of the relationship between the colluding parties.

 

I would suggest you read 'Economics in One Lesson' Henry Hazlitt for a full refutation against collusions. If you disagree...your bitch is against this most brilliant man, not so much me. ;]

 

 

 

Sharon

jeffrey smith's picture

I'm trying to phrase the matter in the plainest English possible.

Your DRO scheme relies on unimpeded competition among DROs.   You are ignoring the fact that the DROs will have every motivation to impede competition, and there will be nothing to stop them from impeding it, because in your scheme they are the agents responsible for making sure competition is unimpeded.  If they indulge in coercion, there is every reasonable expectation that they will get away with it--since it is in the interest of other existing DROs to allow them to do so. Competition does no good if the existing competitors are able to keep others from competing.

Say John Doe starts up a new DRO.  The Association of Local DROs will make him a proposition: either join in their cabal and take the cut they assign him, or they won't allow him to stay in business: and if he refuses, they beat him up, blow up his office, force potential customers to avoid him, etc. etc.  And there will be nobody whom John Doe will be able to effectively engage on his behalf as counterweight to this.

Your scheme can only work if the people who manage and staff the DROs are uniformly ethical, and stay ethical throughout their whole career.   I don't think that's realistic, given human nature.

You are relying on competition itself to keep the free market free, which I think is not plausible.  This isn't physics, where we know that under local Newtonian conditions an action will produce an equal reaction, and objects will remain in their state of motion if nothing exterior intervenes.  There's no "First Law of Competion" in that sense.  If someone decides to manipulate the market (that is, use coercive means), certain definite entities are in place to prevent that, and we judge them as failing when they do that.  In your scheme, that is the DROs, which is fine.  But if any DRO decides to manipulate the market, even locally, there is nothing in your scheme which can be counted on to prevent that.

As far as your last paragraph goes, you don't understand me correctly.  Perhaps it would be better to say that there are things which can't be treated as economic goods. Justice and freedom can't be bought and sold and rationed, or they are not justice and freedom.

But my basic point is simply this: the problem with government is that we can't restrain them.  In my view, the same problem exists with DROs in your system.   There is nothing that can be counted on to restrain them.  And in that case, I see no reason to exchange the current system for yours, because there will be no improvement. 

Jeffrey

sharon's picture

 

The weakness of your plan is simply this: there is nothing in it that is capable of restraining DROs from obstructing free competition against themselves. 

I am having trouble understanding your meaning.

A DRO will have every incentive to impede competition by fair means and foul, same as any business.  Under your scheme, there is nothing that can actually stop them from using foul means.

Foul means? Could you give an example?

The free market is not some self aware being making sure that it operates the way it's supposed to; we rely on mechanisms to do that: but the mechanisms are not entirely self regulating, either.

 What "mechanism" do you have in mind? Please be more specific. Your post is so indistinct.

 

A separate question: Do you ascribe to the "invisible hand" when it comes to the free-market?

If I understand you correctly, your worries are similar to the old socialists who thought that an “unplanned economy” would be disastrous—anarchy! Who is going to decide how much toilet paper, or nails, or tooth paste, or door handles (etc, etc) to produce? What if there is over production--or underproduction—of a given commodity? Do you I understand you correctly?  

 

 

Sharon

jeffrey smith's picture

The 90% of ''great, kind, nice people'' are not going to give their
money to a murdering company--unless they are forced to which is the
business of the State.

Let me rewrite that to make my points (and Scott's) clearer:

The 90% of "great, kind, nice people" are not going to give their money to a murdering company--unless there is no viable alternative, a situation that can easily arise.

The weakness of your plan is simply this: there is nothing in it that is capable of restraining DROs from obstructing free competition against themselves. 

The same exact problem with government.

A DRO will have every incentive to impede competition by fair means and foul, same as any business.  Under your scheme, there is nothing that can actually stop them from using foul means. If the DROs are the ones responsible for seeing the free market remains free, who will be responsible for the free market among DROs remaining free?  

The free market is not some self aware being making sure that it operates the way it's supposed to; we rely on mechanisms to do that: but the mechanisms are not entirely self regulating, either.   You are assuming that they are, whereas everything in human experience testifies that they are not.

 

Being that your scheme has the same crucial flaw as "limited government",  there is no reason to adopt it.

 

The problem with (political) anarchy

Brant Gaede's picture

is it's all talk or violence. The problem with government is it just keeps getting bigger and older, if not more dangerous, like many people. Ideas are for people, not government--apply them to you own life and do not fail to flee Germany.

--Brant

 Scott: Anarchy will not

sharon's picture

 

Scott: Anarchy will not stamp out the 10 ruthless percent who will psychopathologically pursue profit at the expense of the flesh of innocents.

Yes, this is the history of governments. A centralized State is the first place those 10 percent migrate to either directly--through politics, or indirectly--through lobbying. The government, as you know, is a gun, a fist, physical force. And that is where you find people who wish to profit at the expense of the flesh of innocents. For an Objectivist, you are argue like a socialist.  

Scott: Did you know insurance companies have lobbied (and succeeded) in LIMITING your ability to sue an insurance company in Court for their bad fail in dealing with you in the case of a claim--even if they LIE to you or out and out CHEAT you?

Proof that the current insurance system is nothing even resembling a free market; lots of government, no justice.  And this is just more proof that the State is just as prone to corruption as a DRO (but much more). The fundamental difference being this: you can choose not to pay a DRO. And I would further argue that DROs would compete to offer what other companies don’t. Are you a student of the free-market at all? (And argue all you wish, no all insurance companies are vampires. I have made successful claims).  

Scott: With no Courts, no Judges, no laws, no consequences, what chance do you stand against a multi-billion dollar organization. It will come to blood and extermination of anyone who stands in their way, because there is no law, no consequence beyond what you can muster. And if you are dead, what objection are you going to muster?

This whole "good companies will be rewarded by the free market" deal is hogwash, when it is the powerless little guys getting screwed, and the powerful, well-monied corporations controlling public opinion via for-profit news sources.

These same concerns pertain the DRO's. They are for-profit enterprises. They can and will be bought by the highest bidder, and the poor and wronged unpopulat individual will be mowed down.

 

Says who? All DROs? All of big bussines? Are you an Objectivist? Do you ascribe to the free-market, to capitalism? What's the deal here, lefty? ;] 

The 90% of ''great, kind, nice people'' are not going to give their money to a murdering company--unless they are forced to which is the business of the State. I think the point is clear. It's pathetic to be called a utopian when you write something like this:

You have to have a mechanism by which an individual's money and power do not bend the truth to their bidding. A for profit DRO has a lesser chance at giving the poor a fair shake than a government employee who is principled, educated, and has integrity--AND ISN'T GETTING PAID BY THE GUY OR CORPORATION WHOSE CASE THEY ARE JUDGING!! And who is guided principally by a Constitution protecting even a poor, unpopular fellow's rights as a human being.

Jesus, are you in la-la land?

 

 

Insurance?

atlascott's picture

As someone who sees it every day, you CANNOT use private insurance as an example of a model of fair dealing.

Insurance companies screw their insured every day. They do it because they wield greater money and power and education and information. They dispute claims for reasons of their bottom line.

Prominent, well-regarded companies do this every day. They use their ill-gotten gain to advertise on television about how reputable they are.

Then, when you make a claim--denial. Sometimes for a specious reason, usually for no reason at all. Not every claim, obviously. The exact number an accountant told them to deny because it serves the bottom line, without regard to the equities and facts involved.

This whole "good companies will be rewarded by the free market" deal is hogwash, when it is the powerless little guys getting screwed, and the powerful, well-monied corporations controlling public opinion via for-profit news sources.

These same concerns pertain the DRO's. They are for-profit enterprises. They can and will be bought by the highest bidder, and the poor and wronged unpopulat individual will be mowed down.

You have to have a mechanism by which an individual's money and power do not bend the truth to their bidding. A for profit DRO has a lesser chance at giving the poor a fair shake than a government employee who is principled, educated, and has integrity--AND ISN'T GETTING PAID BY THE GUY OR CORPORATION WHOSE CASE THEY ARE JUDGING!! And who is guided principally by a Constitution protecting even a poor, unpopular fellow's rights as a human being.

Did you know insurance companies have lobbied (and succeeded) in LIMITING your ability to sue an insurance company in Court for their bad fail in dealing with you in the case of a claim--even if they LIE to you or out and out CHEAT you?

With no Courts, no Judges, no laws, no consequences, what chance do you stand against a multi-billion dollar organization. It will come to blood and extermination of anyone who stands in their way, because there is no law, no consequence beyond what you can muster. And if you are dead, what objection are you going to muster?

Are you a student of human history at ALL? It may be true that 90% of humanity are great, kind, nice people. Anarchy will not stamp out the 10 ruthless percent who will psychopathologically pursue profit at the expense of the flesh of innocents.

Go re-read Lord of the Flies. Go read the history of Liberia.

These characters aren't fucking John Galt you're dealing with. They want your profit, even if it means your blood.

Without laws and any hope at a disinterested adjudication of that is proper--and enforcemnet of same? Forget about it.

Anarchists are the worst sort of utopians. It's like someone who learns what the word "oxidation" means and then refuses to breathe oxygen.

Scott DeSalvo

www.desalvolaw.com
FREE Injury Report and CD Reveal the Secrets You Need to Know to Protect Your RIGHTS!

Sharon

Leonid's picture

"Governments are more of a threat to the life and property of the citizen than any private criminal."-Yes, at present and in the past. It doesn't have to be like that. Government is a tool, and I agree, could be dangerous tool like motorcar or nuclear power station. But it is very useful tool as long as it has all needed safeguards. Private sector can contribute a lot for crime prevention, but when crime already committed you have to administrate justice according to objective laws and that cannot be done by private company. If government with all its checks and balances is still dangerous tool and can abuse its power, one can only imagine what private court, which doesn't have all needed restrictions, could do.

gregster

sharon's picture

 

What's to make the parties agree on a DRO? 

Nothing other than their own free-will. What’s to make parties sign a contract at present?  

Signing on with a DRO is not mandatory. But it will be to one’s great self-interest, and that’s why people have insurance for various things—all of it separate form governmental dictates. However, suppose you have done business with someone for 20 years or so, and you wish to venture into some small business enterprise and have decided that a hand-shake is suffice because there is minimal risk and trust has been long established, that is fine. It is called voluntarism, free-will, mutual self-interest and commerce. You need not submit every case to a DRO ruling.

 

The government's functions would not resemble anything like those we see today.   

Huh? What government do you speak of?  

 

 

 

Tricky customer

gregster's picture

Putting up moving targets at once, I'd need one of your mate B Beck's shotguns.

What's to make the parties agree on a DRO?

And you're employing your own straw man.

The government's functions would not resemble anything like those we see today.

Its actions would be limited so that its agents acted for constituents. Servants.

from Scott's article:

sharon's picture

 

"...To say nothing of what happens when an unscrupulous person with power comes around. His morality is the only check to his use of force against you, as long as he can get away with it."

Unscrupulous person with power--or persons--calling themselves 'the government' is one good example. That is the living reality we have now.  

 

 

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