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So, what happens then? Does or doesn't New Hampshire secede?

Sorry, I thought you understood me. The property owners that want a separate country leave the union. The property owners that want to remain part of the U.S. stay. Think of it as emigration without moving.

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Sorry, I thought you understood me.  The property owners that want a separate country leave the union.  The property owners that want to remain part of the U.S. stay.  Think of it as emigration without moving.

Funnything is that I thought a bunch of states tried to do just that back in 1861. Leave the Union I mean. Four bloody years later, the Federal government proved they were wrong.

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Sorry, I thought you understood me.  The property owners that want a separate country leave the union.  The property owners that want to remain part of the U.S. stay.  Think of it as emigration without moving.

Answer the question, Charlotte. Does or doesn't New Hamshire secede? You're the one who brought it up.

Fred Weiss

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NOTICE

I have just decided to secede from the United States. My new country will be called The United States of Bryan (USB). So far it only has one state, New Denver, whose total land area consists of the size my room (approx. 150 sq ft. or .00000538 sq mi.). I'm going to ask my roommate to join my country tomorrow. If she agrees, the total area for my country will more than triple, as it will then contain her room and the common living area of our apartment. I will begin drafting a constitution in the coming weeks. If anyone is interested in joining my country please e-mail or send me a PM.

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Funnything is that I thought a bunch of states tried to do just that back in 1861.  Leave the Union I mean.  Four bloody years later, the Federal government proved they were wrong.

Wrong? Actually, what the War Between the States proved was that the Constitution didn't work. Despite the fact that the Founders insisted that the union was voluntary, despite the fact that no article in the Constitution prohibited secession, one group of states was able to prevent by force another group of states from assuming "the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them."

Answer the question, Charlotte. Does or doesn't New Hamshire secede? You're the one who brought it up.

It has been answered, Fred. The Republic of New Hampshire (consisting of those property owners who want independence) secedes. The rump State of New Hampshire (comprised of anti-secessionist loyalists) remains in the union. Yes, I did bring up New Hampshire's secession, but I never endorsed the collectivist idea that everyone in the state must go either one way or the other.

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It has been answered, Fred.  The Republic of New Hampshire (consisting of those property owners who want independence) secedes.  The rump State of New Hampshire (comprised of anti-secessionist loyalists) remains in the union.  Yes, I did bring up New Hampshire's secession, but I never endorsed the collectivist idea that everyone in the state must go either one way or the other.

So, the state hasn't seceded. All that's happened is that a bunch of people - actually even one person apparently if they so declare - has not only seceded from the Union, but from New Hampshire itself.

And when a New Hamshire police officer goes to arrest this secessionist for committing a crime under the laws of New Hamshire and is confronted with armed resistance, what happens next? The secessionist presumably announces that they have no authority to arrest him since he has seceded from New Hampshire and that he (with or without the support of his "protection agency") will resist with force to defend "his rights". Is that it?

Fred Weiss

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So, the state hasn't seceded. All that's happened is that a bunch of people - actually even one person apparently if they so declare - has not only seceded from the Union, but from New Hampshire itself.

Actually, that may not be the case. Just as we presently have the British Virgin Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands, we may well end up with the Republic of New Hampshire and the U.S. State of New Hampshire.

And when a New Hamshire police officer goes to arrest this secessionist for committing a crime under the laws of New Hamshire and is confronted with armed resistance, what happens next?

The same thing that happens when a Canadian citizen steals your car and drives to Montreal with it. Do the Canadian Mounted Police offer armed resistance when they receive an inquiry from a police department in New York?

The secessionist presumably announces that they have no authority to arrest him since he has seceded from New Hampshire and that he (with or without the support of his "protection agency") will resist with force to defend "his rights". Is that it?

That is entirely possible. But no less possible is the chance that the Canadian who stole your car might similarly declare that he will resist with force any attempt by you, the New York police or the Mounties to take the disputed car away from him. Bear in mind, please, that making one's property sovereign and independent does not immunize one to the repercussions of committing a felony.

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Bear in mind, please, that making one's property sovereign and independent does not immunize one to the repercussions of committing a felony.

Why not? Are you assuming that there is a single monopolistic legal entity which determines which acts are legal, one which has the power to decide whether a law has been broken, and which uses force to enforce those decisions? Where do these supposed "felonies" come from? Who sets the standard for deciding what evidence is needed to establish that a felony was comitted?

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Why not?

The fact that Japan was a sovereign and independent nation did not immunize it from the repercussions of bombing Pearl Harbor.

Are you assuming that there is a single monopolistic legal entity which determines which acts are legal, one which has the power to decide whether a law has been broken, and which uses force to enforce those decisions?

No, but we may assume a constitutional framework of sorts. Such a constitution does not require a monopoly government to enforce it. The Law Merchant, for example, evolved without government legislation and enforcement. Nor must it be a written document. As Roderick Long has noted, "Such paper prohibitions are neither necessary (look at Britain) nor sufficient (look at Soviet Russia) for actually operative restraints."

Where do these supposed "felonies" come from?

Generally from the felons who commit them.

Who sets the standard for deciding what evidence is needed to establish that a felony was comitted?

Again standards can arise in an industry without government legislation and enforcement. The mortgage and insurance industries, to take just two examples, have developed detailed inter-company standards without the involvement of government.

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The fact that Japan was a sovereign and independent nation did not immunize it from the repercussions of bombing Pearl Harbor.

You can't compare a nation to an individual in this context. By this logic, if somebody wrongs me (as the U.S. was wronged by Japan) than I have the right to personally act as judge, jury and executioner against the person who wronged me.

QUOTE (DavidOdden @ Sep 15 2004, 01:02 PM)

Where do these supposed "felonies" come from?

Generally from the felons who commit them.

I believe what Mr. Odden meant was that a felony is only a felony when it is defined as such by a government entity. A crime that is recognized as a felony in one state could be recognized as a misdemeanor in another. In your example, a person who is sovereign and independent could only commit a "felony" if he defines his action as a felony under a set of laws.

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No, but we may assume a constitutional framework of sorts.

Assume all you want, the basic question is, where does this constitution "of sorts" come from, and exactly what does it say? As I mentioned in another post today (today seems to be whack-Charlotte day), the nature of penalties, duration of copyright, and very many things about procedure are not derivable from first principles pertaining to protection of rights. The specific details are only partially determined by the purpose of the law.

Such a constitution does not require a monopoly government to enforce it.
Let's leave that issue to the side for a few minutes, because the more important question is determination of what the law actually is. The primary question is "What is the law"; the secondary question is who determines what acts are to be performed to enforce the law; the tertiary question is who performs those acts. Do you agree that the answer to the first two questions is "the monopoly government"? If not, you've made an error that has to be fixed.

The Law Merchant, for example, evolved without government legislation and enforcement.

Yeah, well, that's more than I feel like taking on at the moment. I reserve the right to disagree with the claim or to point out its irrelevance when I have more free time.

Nor must it be a written document.
True: it could be online, or even memorized as the Vedas are memorized by devout Hindus. The important point is that it have known and definite content.

As Roderick Long has noted, "Such paper prohibitions are neither necessary (look at Britain)

Yes, let's. Britain does in fact encode its laws in definite paper form (not sure about online form). Whether or not there is capital punishment for murder in the UK is a statutory matter -- it is outside the domain of the comon law.

nor sufficient (look at Soviet Russia) for actually operative restraints."
I'm horrified: are you chanelling for Sollars? What could anyone here have ever said that would even marginally suggest that the act of writing words on paper thus constitutes "living by objective law"?

Generally from the felons who commit them.

Ho ho ho! Very droll! Point taken: let me restate the question: who determines what constitutes a felony? Now please answer the question.

Again standards can arise in an industry without government legislation and enforcement.
Quite true, and I'm involved in areas of competing standards. However, we're talking about a special domain -- where you can lose your property, liberty, or even life through the use of force (in response to a supposed bad act). I consider Intel/Windoze/Word to be the "standard" for computational issues; but I won't kill or imprison someone for violating that standard.

The mortgage and insurance industries, to take just two examples, have developed detailed inter-company standards without the involvement of government.

Not exactly: to the extent that these standards actually determine what people will and must do, they are codified through contracts which are enforced subject to the rules of a specific monopoly government. My most recent mortgage agreement stated in section 9 that disputes would be adjudicated according to the laws of the state of Rhode Island. I invite you to show me a mortgage contract or insurance policy that does not state a specific state's laws as being the final arbitrars.

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You can't compare a nation to an individual in this context.

\

Why? Do states have the right to retaliate while individuals do not? That would mean that there are certain rights that only collectives, but not individuals, could enjoy. If that is the case, then we would have to reject large portions of the Objectivist ethics.

By this logic, if somebody wrongs me (as the U.S. was wronged by Japan) than I have the right to personally act as judge, jury and executioner against the person who wronged me.

Because your rights to your life and property are inalienable, you always have a right to recover your property -- regardless of whether the state that asserts power over you agrees. If we accept the state as final arbiter then we would have to assess any claims by the victims of the Soviet gulag as illegitimate.

I believe what Mr. Odden meant was that a felony is only a felony when it is defined as such by a government entity.

\

I will acknowledge that “felony” does have a very specific (albeit varied) meaning under current U.S. federal and state law. However, I reject the notion that only the ruling government can define what is criminal. If that is the case, then all of Mao’s murders and torture during the 50’s and 60’s would have to be treated as legitimate.

A crime that is recognized as a felony in one state could be recognized as a misdemeanor in another.  In your example, a person who is sovereign and independent could only commit a "felony" if he defines his action as a felony under a set of laws.

Actually my position is that rights violations can take place regardless of what laws in a locality specify. For example, I regard our federal government’s actions against Martha Stewart as ethically illegitimate and therefore criminal. The fact that “our” government leaders believe in the campaign to jail Ms. Stewart and deprive her of her livelihood, does not mean that the government’s actions are in any sense proper or consistent with a rational ethical standard. Allow me to reiterate: declaring oneself a sovereign and independent government does not immunize one from the repercussions of rights violations.

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Assume all you want, the basic question is, where does this constitution "of sorts" come from, and exactly what does it say? As I mentioned in another post today (today seems to be whack-Charlotte day), the nature of penalties, duration of copyright, and very many things about procedure are not derivable from first principles pertaining to protection of rights. The specific details are only partially determined by the purpose of the law.

Where does the U.S. Constitution’s empowerment of Congress to “lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises” come from? What are the “first principles” that justify seizing unearned wealth (implied by levying taxes and duties)? If the “first principles” must pertain to the protection of rights, what part of the U.S. Constitution protects the rights of the owners of those “Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises”? In other words, precisely why should we engage in support of the current U.S. government?

Let's leave that issue to the side for a few minutes, because the more important question is determination of what the law actually is. The primary question is "What is the law"; the secondary question is who determines what acts are to be performed to enforce the law; the tertiary question is who performs those acts. Do you agree that the answer to the first two questions is "the monopoly government"? If not, you've made an error that has to be fixed.

I do not agree that “law” and “monopoly government” must necessarily be one and the same. Nor do I agree that a single institution must enforce the law. Ancient Iceland is an example to the contrary.

Ho ho ho! Very droll! Point taken: let me restate the question: who determines what constitutes a felony? Now please answer the question.

Be it a republic or free market anarchism, ultimately it is the opinion of the majority of those citizens who choose to be actively involved in such questions that shapes political institutions.

Quite true, and I'm involved in areas of competing standards. However, we're talking about a special domain -- where you can lose your property, liberty, or even life through the use of force (in response to a supposed bad act). I consider Intel/Windoze/Word to be the "standard" for computational issues; but I won't kill or imprison someone for violating that standard.

The fact that criminal justice is a more serious matter than computer operating systems is not particularly relevant to how the system evolves. Standards can still emerge and be enforced independently of a governmental authority.

Not exactly: to the extent that these standards actually determine what people will and must do, they are codified through contracts which are enforced subject to the rules of a specific monopoly government. My most recent mortgage agreement stated in section 9 that disputes would be adjudicated according to the laws of the state of Rhode Island. I invite you to show me a mortgage contract or insurance policy that does not state a specific state's laws as being the final arbitrars.

Just because most contracts use a tax-subsidized means of adjudication does not mean that government is the ideal means of adjudication. The Law Merchant provided methods of conflict resolution entirely independent of the state. Our own government regularly tosses out venerable contracts on the grounds that they violate newly minted rules of political correctness.

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Where does the U.S. Constitution’s empowerment of Congress to “lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises” come from?

Article I, Section 7 Clause 1 "All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives". Try a different tactic, please. I take your comment to be somewhat sarcastic, and that you're implying that the existence of objective monopolistic law which empowers theft is proof that objective monopolistic law is bad. If that is your argument, you do not understand the pont. A law has to be good, in order to be good. In addition it needs to be known and unique. If that isn't your point, then your question is irrelevant, unless it literally meant that you were ignorant of the fact that the US Constitution allows taxation.

What are the “first principles” that justify seizing unearned wealth (implied by levying taxes and duties)?
As I mentioned above (nonexhaustively). Law reduces specific actions to principles, and those principles can be good or bad -- we've identified a few of the bad principles, and there has been some (admittedly tenative) discussion of how to craft a better constitution that would only allow proper laws). Next time the topic comes up, feel free to join in in the search for good principles. The question is not whether we should support the taxation policies of the US government, and you should not try to make it be so. The question is plain and simple whether there should be a monopoly on law.

I do not agree that “law” and “monopoly government” must necessarily be one and the same.

You have that right under the US constitution (I assume you're aware of that). But your disagreement is not an argument. An argument is what counstitutes an argument. Do you have a reason for disagreeing? Do your reasons address to objections to a system of unknowable subjective law?

Be it a republic or free market anarchism, ultimately it is the opinion of the majority of those citizens who choose to be actively involved in such questions that shapes political institutions.
Ahah! So you are actually a supporter of mob rule? You think it's a good idea to let the legality of an action be determined post hoc by whichever mob is bigger and angrier? Or are you silently agreeing that there does indeed need to be a monopoly on law, while trying to make it seem like the different possibilities for forming a government invalidate the necessity of a law monopoly?

The fact that criminal justice is a more serious matter than computer operating systems is not particularly relevant to how the system evolves.  Standards can still emerge and be enforced independently of a governmental authority.

Yes, by magic, it could happen that a single standard of law would emerge by pure reason, if for example, all people embraced Objectivism as their philosophical basis. But there is no reason to believe that such a miracle will happen. In fact, in the same idyllic scenario where standards automatically emerge like spring flowers, we can even assume that there will be no protection agencies, because people simply would never violate the rights of others and would never break contracts.

Just because most contracts use a tax-subsidized means of adjudication does not mean that government is the ideal means of adjudication.
Red herring alert!! Read some of the writings of Rand on the topic of taxation.

Our own government regularly tosses out venerable contracts on the grounds that they violate newly minted rules of political correctness.

I was not aware of that happening -- under my understanding of law, that would be impossible. Can you give me a concrete example (e.g. cite a particular decision)?

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Article I, Section 7 Clause 1 "All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives". Try a different tactic, please. I take your comment to be somewhat sarcastic, and that you're implying that the existence of objective monopolistic law which empowers theft is proof that objective monopolistic law is bad. If that is your argument, you do not understand the pont. A law has to be good, in order to be good. In addition it needs to be known and unique. If that isn't your point, then your question is irrelevant, unless it literally meant that you were ignorant of the fact that the US Constitution allows taxation.

Fine. Now, go one step further and show that the “knowability” of laws is an attribute unique to monopoly government. Nothing in what you’ve written precludes law enforced by private companies from being known, objective and rational.

As I mentioned above (nonexhaustively). Law reduces specific actions to principles, and those principles can be good or bad -- we've identified a few of the bad principles, and there has been some (admittedly tenative) discussion of how to craft a better constitution that would only allow proper laws). Next time the topic comes up, feel free to join in in the search for good principles. The question is not whether we should support the taxation policies of the US government, and you should not try to make it be so. The question is plain and simple whether there should be a monopoly on law.

And I’m still waiting to hear an argument showing why a society is better served by a monopoly in defense and criminal justice services than a 100% free market. Questions about where the constitution of an anarcho-capitalist society comes from and exactly what it says may also be directed at those proposing minarchist capitalism

You have that right under the US constitution (I assume you're aware of that). But your disagreement is not an argument. An argument is what counstitutes an argument. Do you have a reason for disagreeing? Do your reasons address to objections to a system of unknowable subjective law?

The reason I disagree with the claim that “law” and “monopoly government” must necessarily be one and the same is because it is obviously untrue. Western civilization has an extensive history of law existing independently of the state. We can start with the example of medieval Iceland, but there are many more. Click here:

http://osf1.gmu.edu/~ihs/w91issues.html

Ahah! So you are actually a supporter of mob rule? You think it's a good idea to let the legality of an action be determined post hoc by whichever mob is bigger and angrier? Or are you silently agreeing that there does indeed need to be a monopoly on law, while trying to make it seem like the different possibilities for forming a government invalidate the necessity of a law monopoly?

I suspect that you are sophisticated enough to recognize the difference between descriptive and normative statements. My comment about political structures being ultimately determined by the active involvement (or acquiescence) of the majority is a frank recognition of historical reality. That rulers must to some degree have the cooperation of the masses is a truism, recognized by a variety of political analysts, from Etienne de la Boetie to Ludwig von Mises.

Yes, by magic, it could happen that a single standard of law would emerge by pure reason, if for example, all people embraced Objectivism as their philosophical basis. But there is no reason to believe that such a miracle will happen. In fact, in the same idyllic scenario where standards automatically emerge like spring flowers, we can even assume that there will be no protection agencies, because people simply would never violate the rights of others and would never break contracts.

Strawman. Feel free to argue manfully against positions I haven’t expressed. Free market anarchism is not based on the idea that everyone in a community must be in 100% agreement on every point of philosophy. (I expect you’ll be able to find the odd communist or fascist in any society.) The vital point is whether the key principles of the law are accepted (actively or passively) by the vast majority of people. If so, then there will be a market for providing for the enforcement of those principles. If not, the society is ripe for some other political arrangement. The need for popular acceptance is no less necessary under a monopoly government, be it Objectivist or Bolshevik. A certain critical mass must go along -- or the government falls.

Red herring alert!! Read some of the writings of Rand on the topic of taxation.

I have. Rand’s proposed “voluntary” contract enforcement insurance is in effect not voluntary at all. True, one has the ostensible right not to buy the insurance. However, since one is not allowed to insure a contract by any means other than the monopoly, one is forced to pay tribute to the state or potentially suffer loss of assets -- which, of course, is a rights violation.

I was not aware of that happening -- under my understanding of law, that would be impossible. Can you give me a concrete example (e.g. cite a particular decision)?

The U.S. Supreme Court took up the matter of racially restrictive covenants in the 1948 case, Shelley v. Kraemer. Lawyers for the plaintiff, a black family, contended that racially restrictive covenants in residential deeds violated their rights under the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. The Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and held that enforcement of racially restrictive covenants was unconstitutional.

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Bear in mind, please, that making one's property sovereign and independent does not immunize one to the repercussions of committing a felony.

But there are only repercussions if they are recognized in the law and there is a means for enforcing them. You're blithely - and arbitrarily - assuming that all "competing agencies" will recognize the same principles. In fact, it would clearly be to the perceived interest of criminals to sign up with agencies - such as the Mafia - which do not recognize them. In fact, if "competition" is the operative principle of the law - not rights - than agencies will offer all sorts of variations of governance to appeal to the "market" for any and every type of irrationality, including slavery, theft, rape, etc. The marketing campaign of Agency A might very well include building a large army to conquer surrounding territory and sharing the loot with its customers.

The fact that gov'ts have engaged in such practises is why we need a rational gov't based on individual rights, not an argument against gov't, per se. But a governing system merely based on competition has no such basis or objective. It is in effect "anything goes" so long as there is a market for it. That is an appropriate principle in an economy but not in a gov't. A gov't must be based on rights, which are objective and definable - and once identified and defined there is no basis for competition. One doesn't compete about which of our rights a gov't should uphold. A gov't must uphold them - all of them. If it doesn't, then one must act to change it. If one were to secede from a gov't therefore it could only be to uphold rights, not on some primary of "competition". If the primary were competition, then one could compete on the basis of *not* upholding rights, e.g. as the South attempted in the Civil War.

And in any event, even allowing for such secession (for the sake of argument) it is still in the form of an alternate *gov't*, with the power of enforcement. It is not some private entity which people could choose or not choose to obey. One cannot choose or not choose to uphold rights. It is a precondition of living in society that one chooses to uphold them. Not upholding them is not an option. Such an option by its very nature is the end of society.

Look, this has already been explained to you and all you are doing now is engaging in endless sophistry to evade the issue. I for one don't have the patience to continue this much longer. I've also been down this endless road with you and other anarchists many, many times before and it is always totally futile because you are defending a system which exists only in your fantasy and with absolutely no basis in reality. So, you'll claim it'll work this way or that way but you have absolutely no evidence to support your claim. It's a total floating abstraction based on pure rationalism. (Which is why no one with any understanding of Objectivism would ever argue for it and why the vast majority of anarchists are vehement opponents of Objectivism, esp. its leading spokesmen, e.g. Rothbard, Friedman, etc.)

Fred Weiss

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But there are only repercussions if they are recognized in the law and there is a means for enforcing them.

Just as the U.S. had statutes against attacks on its military bases and acted on those laws to punish the nation that bombed Pearl Harbor, so your defense agency will have clear and knowable prohibitions against the theft of its clients’ cars.

You're blithely - and arbitrarily - assuming that all "competing agencies" will recognize the same principles.

In the absence of a coercive monopoly there is likely to emerge a framework of principles that will be widely accepted. Will there be perfect unanimity on every point of law? No. But, for that matter, there is no unanimity even in the U.S. with its more and more centralized government. Do all law enforcement agencies in this country recognize the same principles in regard to medical marijuana? Do all legal systems in this country recognize the same principles on gay marriage?

In fact, it would clearly be to the perceived interest of criminals to sign up with agencies - such as the Mafia - which do not recognize them.

But the Mafia has already done this under our present monopoly government. The mob has created its own councils of “Dons” and its own in-house enforcement agency (“wise guys”) who operate independently of local, state and federal laws to deprive citizens of life and property.

In fact, if "competition" is the operative principle of the law - not rights - than agencies will offer all sorts of variations of governance to appeal to the "market" for any and every type of irrationality, including slavery, theft, rape, etc.

Again, under current monopoly government, there are already “agencies” (or gangs) that recruit participants to engage in aggression against others. If the purpose of monopoly government is to eliminate any possibility that a group of individuals would conspire to commit aggression on a regular basis, then we must say that the present monopoly has failed.

The marketing campaign of Agency A might very well include building a large army to conquer surrounding territory and sharing the loot with its customers.

This has been the pattern for years in Afghanistan. (Note that it continues despite the presence of a U.S. army of occupation which is purportedly there to bring about “freedom” and “law and order.”)

The fact that gov'ts have engaged in such practises is why we need a rational gov't based on individual rights, not an argument against gov't, per se.

If your government is truly based on individual rights, then it will not initiate force against me. It will not interfere with my right to provide for my own self-defense.

But a governing system merely based on competition has no such basis or objective. It is in effect "anything goes" so long as there is a market for it.

There is a demand for the protection of life and property against aggression. And there is a demand for seizing what rightfully belongs to other. If ever the latter demand were more prominent in a society than the former, then there would be no civilization and no political arrangement of any kind -- not minarchism, not anarcho-capitalism, not even the welfare state. Experience shows that the vast majority of people are not rapists, thieves or murderers. Thus, Crime Inc. is not going to enjoy widespread support within any population. And crime is less likely to thrive when the forces of capitalism are unleashed against it.

That is an appropriate principle in an economy but not in a gov't. A gov't must be based on rights, which are objective and definable - and once identified and defined there is no basis for competition. One doesn't compete about which of our rights a gov't should uphold. A gov't must uphold them - all of them.

If a government restricts my right to contract for the best self-defense available, then the government is not based on rights.

If it doesn't, then one must act to change it. If one were to secede from a gov't therefore it could only be to uphold rights, not on some primary of "competition".

But all along I have said that secession is justified only when it upholds rights better than the present arrangement. And David Odden agreed with me on this point. In my oft-cited example, the secession of North County from South County would allow the northern residents to uphold rights better through a more efficient use of resources against the criminal element.

If the primary were competition, then one could compete on the basis of *not* upholding rights, e.g. as the South attempted in the Civil War.

Let me point out that the federal government did not invade the South because of slavery. Lincoln had made it very clear that he would preserve slavery if that is what it took to preserve the union.

And in any event, even allowing for such secession (for the sake of argument) it is still in the form of an alternate *gov't*, with the power of enforcement. It is not some private entity which people could choose or not choose to obey.

This point is not in dispute. Nonetheless, secession is a method for securing a more representative and responsible government.

One cannot choose or not choose to uphold rights.

Actually they can. Predators both inside and outside of government trample on rights everyday. But on the ethical question of whether people should uphold rights, my answer is “yes.”

It is a precondition of living in society that one chooses to uphold them. Not upholding them is not an option. Such an option by its very nature is the end of society.

Here we agree. I’m very much in favor of bringing back the ancient Greek custom of banishment. Felons would be exiled to the remote corners of the earth.

Look, this has already been explained to you and all you are doing now is engaging in endless sophistry to evade the issue.

Unproven assertion.

I for one don't have the patience to continue this much longer.

That would be my loss. :lol:

I've also been down this endless road with you and other anarchists many, many times before and it is always totally futile because you are defending a system which exists only in your fantasy and with absolutely no basis in reality. So, you'll claim it'll work this way or that way but you have absolutely no evidence to support your claim.

I say historical evidence argues otherwise. But if precedent is all-important, what is the precedent for a limited government which has consistently upheld individual rights?

It's a total floating abstraction based on pure rationalism. (Which is why no one with any understanding of Objectivism would ever argue for it and why the vast majority of anarchists are vehement opponents of Objectivism, esp. its leading spokesmen, e.g. Rothbard, Friedman, etc.)

Our arguments would be “pure rationalism” if we offered no empirical evidence. In fact, market anarchists have provided numerous examples of law enforcement and justice operating outside the state. David Friedman, for example, has written extensively about Iceland. So the “pure rationalism” charge amounts to just another strawman for Objectivists to waste their time tilting at.

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In fact, market anarchists have provided numerous examples of law enforcement and justice operating outside the state.  David Friedman, for example, has written extensively about Iceland.  ....

You mentioned medieval, anarcho-capitalist Iceland several times. I have questions about that.

(1) How much competition among agencies was there in each Icelandic settlement, typically?

(2) If Icelandic anarcho-capitalism was so successful, why did it come to an end? Did the "customers" change their minds? Foreign invasion and imposition of a government?

(3) More generally, why does there seem to be -- based on the examples of anarcho-capitalist societies you have mentioned in the past weeks -- an inverse correlation between technological development and anarcho-capitalism? Or have I misunderstood? Was medieval Iceland actually a fountainhead of technological and other cultural progress?

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Just as the U.S. had statutes against attacks on its military bases and acted on those laws to punish the nation that bombed Pearl Harbor, so your defense agency will have clear and knowable prohibitions against the theft of its clients’ cars.

You're revealing that you don't understand the problem. The laws of a geographically defined nation are knowable. They are public, and you know that you are subject to US law when you are in the US. This is why ignorance of the law is no excuse. But if I interact in any way with a second party (under your agencyy-relative system of "law"), I am subject to the laws dictated by the other guy's defense agency, and I have no way of knowing what his defense agency is, or what their laws are (insert the expression "proprietary information" in an appropriate place). Furthermore, there is no reason to expect that a person can only hire a single agency to "protect" them, so simply by hiring three separate agencies, I could be subjecting people to interact with me to three contradictory sets of laws, making ratoinal interaction between people impossible. In a system of uniform publically known law, the burden on the citizen is minimized, and you can safely interact with any citizen without fear of hidden legal repercussions.

The agency-relative version of copyright law would be worse, since an "interaction" does not even have to involve a physical encounter between me an another person. I would have to know what person holds the copyright, and what agency's laws I have to obey to lawfully acquire or disseminate a work. Worse, I would have to know whether about his current agency and any past agencies, since it is not just possible but probable that a contract between a person and an agency to protect a piece of IP would extend for some period beyond the end of the contract.

In the absence of a coercive monopoly there is likely to emerge a framework of principles that will be widely accepted.  Will there be perfect unanimity on every point of law?  No.  But, for that matter, there is no unanimity even in the U.S. with its more and more centralized government.  Do all law enforcement agencies in this country recognize the same principles in regard to medical marijuana?  Do all legal systems in this country recognize the same principles on gay marriage?

It's so strange that you can't see why these problems arise -- because there is not a monopoly on what the law is (in the Mary Jane case). Because in Oregon, there are two conflicting laws, one by the state and one by the federal government. There is no monopoly! A prime argument against competing laws, if there ever were one. As for the gay marriage question, I think you're just confused about the facts. There is no US law prohibiting same-sex marriage; and it's not a principle of monopoly law that one jursidiction has the right to impose its laws on an autonomous jurisdiction.

Your whole argument boils down to saying that since it's possible to have bad laws, then it doesn't matter that the rule of whim would result in bad laws. You're engaging in the fallacy of perfection -- since no system is guaranteed to be perfect, it doesn't matter what system you use. My point is that even though monopoly law is not perfect, it is superior to a system of random and unknown laws, as you advocate (and won't even recognize that this is what you advocate). Individually-determined law has all of the problems that monopoly law has, and nobody has denied that fact: but individually-determined law has additional problems, fatal problems, that monopoly law does not have.

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Fine. Now, go one step further and show that the “knowability” of laws is an attribute unique to monopoly government.  Nothing in what you’ve written precludes law enforced by private companies from being known, objective and rational.

Before I do that, show me how it is necessary under individually determined law that the law imposed by a defense agency be known and that I am guaranteed of knowing which agency's law I am subject to. Geography does not tell you anything, as it does with monopoly law.

And I’m still waiting to hear an argument showing why a society is better served by a monopoly in defense and criminal justice services than a 100% free market.
What is this nonsense about society being better served? The goal is not the greatest common good, it is protection of rights and especially having a system where reason can be used as your means of survival. Reason cannot tell you what arbitrary restrictions a randomly selected protection agency will impose on me, in case I encounter one of their customers. Reason will not tell me what agency I need to be afraid of, when I encounter some guy on the street.

Strawman.  Feel free to argue manfully against positions I haven’t expressed.

Since you haven't actually articulated a definite position and keep evading the issues, I'm reduced to guessing what your system really is. Whether that's a female thing, I wouldn't care to conjecture.

The U.S. Supreme Court took up the matter of racially restrictive covenants in the 1948 case, Shelley v. Kraemer. Lawyers for the plaintiff, a black family, contended that racially restrictive covenants in residential deeds violated their rights under the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.  The Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and held that enforcement of racially restrictive covenants was unconstitutional.

Since you're familiar with that case, then you should know that the Missouri convenant was signed on February 16, 1911. What you may not know is that the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified on July 28, 1868; so the May 3, 1948 SCOTUS decision actually postdates the existing law by only a few days less that 80 years. This is not a case of post-hoc invalidation of a contract. In addition, let me remind you that you said "Our own government regularly tosses out venerable contracts...", and while this may seem like a nit to pick, the Missouri covenant is not a contract (note that it binds non-signatories, thus it has the forcer of a statute, not a contract), and the petitioners had no knowledge of the covenant (to be bound by a contract, you must agree to the contract, which was not the case here). Similarly, in the Detroit case, the purchasers did not agree to the covenant, and therefore there was no contract.

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You mentioned medieval, anarcho-capitalist Iceland several times. I have questions about that.

In a discussion awhile ago on hpo Richard Lawrence (I believe) raised a number of questions about whether Iceland in that period even represented the kind of "anarcho-capitalism" which Friedman has alleged it did.

I also don't think it's coincedental that the only purported example of these principles have to be dredged up from some highly isolated and relatively short-lived society 100's of years ago.

The other examples are uncontroversial association and trade agreements which beg the question since no one maintains that private individuals cannot have agreements that people voluntarily abide by without the necessity of legal enforcement (in order, for example, to maintain their professional or business reputations). They do not address the concerns of how one deals with cases that fall outside of those agreements.

Fred Weiss

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I was a Libertarian, or at least I thought I was at one time. The war in Iraq and the party's platform against that war led me to dig deeper. I went to the Ayn Rand Institute and purchased a book and tape that examined the Libertarian party. What I discovered (and from my personal experience with some of the party's leadership backed it up) made me loath the party. I would rather vote for a communist than a libertarian (Rand once said the same thing.)

The Libertarian party was founded by a bunch of left leaning hippies. They really do not have a rational platform. While many of their ideas are immensely appealing to someone who considers them self either a classical liberal or objectivist, I assure that these ideas are a facade of what really lies behind the party.

The party, its leadership and many of its members are pure anarchists. Which makes them in way deceptive communists. They are for the destruction of governments and almost always it is the United States they target. When South Vietnam fell to the communists, many Libertarians cheered. They reveled in the destruction of the South Vietnamese government (ally to the US.) There was no reflection upon the murder, torture and utter loss of liberty that would follow. They were just happy for that brief shining moment that a government backed by the US fell.

The party continues its ways today. I posted on one of the party's chat boards vociferously objecting to the party's taking part in the anti-war protests. I was not only appalled by their objection to the war, but also the fact that they would side against the United States with the leftist groups many of which are pure communist. I was thoroughly disgusted by the anti-US sentiment that ran rampant. I was even more horrified when they started to trash the Constitution. Do some digging and you will see the delight they take when something happens in Iraq. It is utterly perverse.

Things aren't always as they appear. The Libertarian Party and its leadership want to see the destruction of the United States government and the imposition of what would amount to an anarcharistic corporate slave state void of liberty. Which would be far from the radical capitalism of Rand.

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