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Guest jdr18

Anarchy / Minarchy / Competing Governments

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I'll give a brief reply which I may elaborate on later.

First point: A private institution can subvert the law too. They can pass it off as "updating" the law, as a government may do.

Second point: What if a government isn't allowed to expropriate wealth?

 

Suppose a private institution passes a law says "only we can wield force, save for self-defense". This institution does not permit you to hold protection plans from multiple agencies at once for reasons of efficiency (their very ability to protect you). If you don't like it, that's fine, you just won't receive protection anymore. You can stay right where you are. Is this improper or a subversion of your rights?

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There are some premises that I would begin with in order to sort the issue of Anarcho-Capitalism vs. Objectivist Minarchy:

 

1) All rights apply to all individuals. There are no special rights for some, and not others.

 

2) Groups do not exist as entities - they are mental collections, not objects. Individuals are objects.

 

3) The right to self defense, like all other rights, is an individual right, not a group right. It is the individuals in the group that have the right of self defense - as individuals.

 

If I start there, I conclude that the Anarcho-Capitalists win the debate, because no one may claim a monopoly on enforcement and no one may claim a monopoly on legislation.

 

How then should a large group of people (theoretically starting from scratch) proceed to a civil society?

 

I think they need a constitution, the first rule of which is that all the rules apply to all the individuals.

 

They can then use majority rule to create all other rules, including rules for how they will enforce their own rules. Without that first rule, they are doomed. With it, they have a very good chance at a moral and practical society.  The key is to separate rules from (a special set of) rulers / enforcers.

 

The key to understanding what is wrong with both the Objectivist / Minarchist view, and the American Constitution is that that first rule is not in place. Instead we are offered a ruling elite which promises to be good.

Edited by howardofski

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What if that rogue agency instituted a law that states that its customer base is not allowed to leave? At that point, any agency which would protect people who live, would risk going to war. As you just explained, they wouldn't do that. 

 

So that customer base would be left entirely at the mercy of that rogue agency. In fact, everyone would be left at the mercy of their own agencies, because, just like in capitalism, competing companies would do everything in their power to keep their customer base.

 

Well, for one thing, it would not be legal for an agency to do this. Their customers would be bound by nothing except a voluntary contract, which they would have a right to terminate at will. Using force to prevent them from leaving would be an act of aggression.

 

I don't think it would be practical for an agency to declare war on another agency just to reclaim its former customer base. As long as every one of their former members knew their rights, there would be enough of them leaving to make it impractical to use force to keep all of them. Especially since they would all likely be going to different agencies, meaning that in order to use this tactic a rogue agency would have to declare unilateral war on literally every other agency in existence. And they wouldn't last very long.

 

Even if this did become a credible threat, the worst case scenario would be that refugees fleeing from rogue agencies would have to pay higher premiums, and in this a market would emerge in insurance programs to cover this risk.

 

 

At greater risk of what? Why would such a "federation" even allow any agency to refuse to sign? There would be no rule against this federation simply forcing everyone to sign. Thus making this federation into a dictatorial government, run by oligarchs.

 

Only if the members of the federation are willing to pay the cost of fighting a war of aggression. And even if this did become a credible threat, agencies that wanted to remain free would have a right to form an alliance of their own, and customers would be free to do business whichever faction they believed was most likely to protect their freedom.

 

 

What is the assumption that this federation is more likely to play by some unwritten rules than a democratically elected government is to play by the written rules of its Constitution, based on? History shows that the opposite is true, and that the democratically elected, constitutionally bound governments tend to be the least oppressive.

 

Why couldn't the leaders of the agencies be elected by its consumers, if that became a concern? Plus a free market in provision of justice would essentially be a de facto democracy anyway, since people would be free to vote with their dollars, just like in any free market.

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Suppose a private institution passes a law says "only we can wield force, save for self-defense". This institution does not permit you to hold protection plans from multiple agencies at once for reasons of efficiency (their very ability to protect you). If you don't like it, that's fine, you just won't receive protection anymore. You can stay right where you are. Is this improper or a subversion of your rights?

 

That would be perfectly fine. As you said, if someone doesn't like it, they can leave.

 

 

How then should a large group of people (theoretically starting from scratch) proceed to a civil society?

 

I think they need a constitution, the first rule of which is that all the rules apply to all the individuals.

 

They can then use majority rule to create all other rules, including rules for how they will enforce their own rules. Without that first rule, they are doomed. With it, they have a very good chance at a moral and practical society.  The key is to separate rules from (a special set of) rulers / enforcers.

 

I have considered this system before, and there are arguments for it. However, giving the legislature itself the authority to hold a monopoly on the use of force will always end badly. And even under the system you propose, there is still the possibility that a majority of the people could elect a government which would subvert the constitution in a way which would benefit them at the expense of a minority. (For instance, a faction could decide, as some left-anarchists believe, that private property is illegitimate, and that as a result using force to defend private property is a violation of the NAP -- whereas eithout the existence of a single legislative authority, the minority would still have recourse through their private defense agencies, which protect their rights using force, if necessary.)

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Why couldn't the leaders of the agencies be elected by its consumers, if that became a concern? Plus a free market in provision of justice would essentially be a de facto democracy anyway, since people would be free to vote with their dollars, just like in any free market.

Are you suggesting that dollars could not purchase tyranny (rather than justice) by such 'de facto democracy'?

Edited by dream_weaver

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What would be the incentive for anyone (Other than maybe a few fanatics) to spend the money to support an agency which would use force to impose tyranny on their neighbors, given the added cost that they'd have to pay for perpetual warfare? And as for the people who would be willing to spend this money, they would be few enough that they could be easily crushed.

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Why do democracies lead to dictatorship? If the voters thought think voting for delegating that the public largess should lead to monies being directed toward their interests, are they really concerned that the consequences might lead to the impoverishment of their neighbors?

 

Edited: before, after.

Edited by dream_weaver

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That would be perfectly fine. As you said, if someone doesn't like it, they can leave.

There you go, that's a government as far as I'm concerned. It has all the essentials of what a government is. Nothing about a government must imply seeking out and forcibly stopping you from making an institution that doesn't do that. I think it's irrational to have any other rights protector, but if you feel safer doing your own thing, go ahead. No where have I seen Rand say or imply the government will hunt down and imprison anarchists, only that an anarchist should not expect his or her rights to be protected. The monopoly on force is for its own jurisdiction, and if you are not part of the government (say if you seceded), then you are not at all in its jurisdiction. If you come into the jurisdiction, burglarize a house, then the government would seek you out to arrest you regardless of if you consented to its rules.

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There you go, that's a government as far as I'm concerned. It has all the essentials of what a government is. Nothing about a government must imply seeking out and forcibly stopping you from making an institution that doesn't do that. I think it's irrational to have any other rights protector, but if you feel safer doing your own thing, go ahead. No where have I seen Rand say or imply the government will hunt down and imprison anarchists, only that an anarchist should not expect his or her rights to be protected. The monopoly on force is for its own jurisdiction, and if you are not part of the government (say if you seceded), then you are not at all in its jurisdiction.

 

I agree with you on all of this, in terms of the political rights implied.

 

 

If you come into the jurisdiction, burglarize a house, then the government would seek you out to arrest you regardless of if you consented to its rules.

 

What if my defense agency objects to the procedure used by the government to justify arresting me? If the government has acted unjustly (For instance, by using an improper procedure to obtain an arrest warrant), does my agency have a right to treat my arrest as an act of aggression?

 

And, assuming my agency is willing to turn me over if there is probable cause that I have committed a crime, would you object to the government working with my agency to secure my arrest?

 

Edited to add: In reply to your point about it being irrational to join a competing agency, I would agree if the United States government currently fuctioned as the Founding Fathers intended, and remained the most powerful force in the territory. Under present circumstances, however, I would much prefer to do business with a different entity.

Edited by Eamon Arasbard

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Well, for one thing, it would not be legal for an agency to do this.

What do you mean "legal"?

1. Who would write this law?

2. Who would enforce it?

 

 

 

I don't think it would be practical for an agency to declare war on another agency just to reclaim its former customer base.

They wouldn't "declare war" on anyone. They would go to the house of whoever leaves, and burn his house down. Or cut off his fingers. Or rape his children. Whichever works best.

 

What wouldn't be "practical" is someone getting involved in that, to try and stop them. There would be no profit in that.

Why couldn't the leaders of the agencies be elected by its consumers, if that became a concern?

Well, for one, private property means that the owners choose the leaders of a business, not the customers.

Second, the leaders of these agencies would kill anyone who tries to organize elections to replace them.

Edited by Nicky

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Edited to add: In reply to your point about it being irrational to join a competing agency, I would agree if the United States government currently fuctioned as the Founding Fathers intended, and remained the most powerful force in the territory. Under present circumstances, however, I would much prefer to do business with a different entity.

That's a basic logical contradiction: under present circumstances, you want to do something the present circumstances don't allow for (unless I missed something, and the US government is willing to allow you to sign up at a private law enforcement agency).

But, of course, what you're suggesting instead, is that you want to CHANGE the present circumstances. In which case, the question stands: why do you want to change the circumstances into anarchy, instead of laissez faire capitalism?

Edited by Nicky

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I have considered this system before, and there are arguments for it. However, giving the legislature itself the authority to hold a monopoly on the use of force will always end badly. And even under the system you propose, there is still the possibility that a majority of the people could elect a government which would subvert the constitution in a way which would benefit them at the expense of a minority. (For instance, a faction could decide, as some left-anarchists believe, that private property is illegitimate, and that as a result using force to defend private property is a violation of the NAP -- whereas eithout the existence of a single legislative authority, the minority would still have recourse through their private defense agencies, which protect their rights using force, if necessary.)

Your reply leads me to suspect that I did not make my own position clear.

1) I am suggesting that there be no legislature - that all laws are voted on by all individuals - including children. This is sometimes referred to as "direct democracy".

2) I am suggesting that all individuals have the right to enforce all laws - including children.

In other words the, functions of legislation and law enforcement belong to everyone equally. The primary constitutional law which says that all laws apply to all individuals, would preclude the possibility of a majority making laws to exploit a minority.

Arguing that this won't work since the majority may decide to change the constitution in their favor, is an argument that applies to all political systems.

I believe the system I am proposing would result in a very few, permanent laws instead of the steady supply of ever-changing new laws we now see. If every law applied to every person, very few laws would gain majority favor.

The important aspect of this system is that there is no ruling elite - no official positions of power or privilege, with all the corruption that such positions promote.

Edited by howardofski

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For purposes of clarity, I define anarchy as 'no rulers', not 'no rules'.

If monarchy does not mean 'one rule', then anarchy does not mean 'no rules'.

Anarcho-Capitalism certainly does not mean chaos or no rules. It is essentially the Objectivist political position without coercive monopoly - without a ruling class.

BTW, older dictionaries define anarchy as I do. The anarchy=chaos definition is more recent and promoted by statists.

Edited by howardofski

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Howardofski, how do you square "no-rulers" with majority rule?

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What do you mean "legal"?

1. Who would write this law?

2. Who would enforce it?

 

The law could either be a constitution which would be written once, then remain constant, and dictate terms for resolving all future disputes without resorting to legislation, or a set of social customs based on objective principles, which would be commonly accepted as absolute. It might even be somewhere in between, with a set of pre-existing social rules codified on paper for everyone's convenience. But they would be unchangeable. If someone tried to re-write the laws, and the new version was unjust, then these laws would be dismissed as illegitimate. If the new laws were just, they would still be dismissed as unnecessary, because a just set of laws would already exist.

 

Everyone would have the power to enforce the law, as long as they followed the rules of due process.

 

 

They wouldn't "declare war" on anyone. They would go to the house of whoever leaves, and burn his house down. Or cut off his fingers. Or rape his children. Whichever works best.

 

What wouldn't be "practical" is someone getting involved in that, to try and stop them. There would be no profit in that.

 

The person's new defense agency would have a contractual obligation to protect them. And it would be completely impractical for someone to use this policy, because again, as soon as they tried that they would face retaliation from that person's defense agency, and likely others who saw it to be in their interests to crush them.

 

 

Well, for one, private property means that the owners choose the leaders of a business, not the customers.

 

Not necessary. Private property can also mean joint ownership by multiple individuals, and there's nothing stopping a bunch of people signing a contract establishing common ownership over a defense agency's resources, enforced by whatever organizational procedures are established in the contract.

 

 

Second, the leaders of these agencies would kill anyone who tries to organize elections to replace them.

 

That already happens in many countries with a state. Having competing agencies would make this less of a risk, because people would be free to leave any time they wanted.

 

 

That's a basic logical contradiction: under present circumstances, you want to do something the present circumstances don't allow for (unless I missed something, and the US government is willing to allow you to sign up at a private law enforcement agency).

But, of course, what you're suggesting instead, is that you want to CHANGE the present circumstances. In which case, the question stands: why do you want to change the circumstances into anarchy, instead of laissez faire capitalism?

 

Yes, I should have been more specific. I want to have the right to withdraw allegiance to the U.S. government, given its current practices.

 

 

Your reply leads me to suspect that I did not make my own position clear.

1) I am suggesting that there be no legislature - that all laws are voted on by all individuals - including children. This is sometimes referred to as "direct democracy".

2) I am suggesting that all individuals have the right to enforce all laws - including children.

In other words the, functions of legislation and law enforcement belong to everyone equally. The primary constitutional law which says that all laws apply to all individuals, would preclude the possibility of a majority making laws to exploit a minority.

Arguing that this won't work since the majority may decide to change the constitution in their favor, is an argument that applies to all political systems.

I believe the system I am proposing would result in a very few, permanent laws instead of the steady supply of ever-changing new laws we now see. If every law applied to every person, very few laws would gain majority favor.

The important aspect of this system is that there is no ruling elite - no official positions of power or privilege, with all the corruption that such positions promote.

 

You are making a good point. I'll have to think about it, and bring it up with some of my ancap friends to see what their thoughts are.

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The law could either be a constitution which would be written once, then remain constant, and dictate terms for resolving all future disputes without resorting to legislation, or a set of social customs based on objective principles, which would be commonly accepted as absolute.

What do you mean by "commonly accepted"? 51% of the population would accept them? 99%? Everyone?

Also, my original question was who would write them, not when.

Everyone would have the power to enforce the law

What would this "power" consist of, more specifically?

Also, my original question wasn't who would have the power to enforce the law, my question was, who WOULD enforce it.

as long as they followed the rules of due process.

Who would determine what "due process" is, and who would prevent people from ignoring this due process?

 

The person's new defense agency would have a contractual obligation to protect them.

Why would anyone agree to a contract to protect someone who is about to be attacked by his former agency? Why would anyone risk going to war over one customer?

In reality, profit driven defense agencies, like any other insurance agency, would assess new customers' risk factors, and turn away any customer that brings more risk than money to the table. This is NOT SPECULATION on my part. This is fact, easily observable in the world today. This is how the insurance market works.

And it would be completely impractical for someone to use this policy, because again, as soon as they tried that they would face retaliation from that person's defense agency, and likely others who saw it to be in their interests to crush them.

The notion that wars can be won that easily is naive at best. What if this defense agency has nuclear weapons? Can it still be "easily crushed"?

Does your whole theory rest on the assumption that well intentioned groups will always "easily crush" otherwise intentioned groups?

I seriously doubt it. For instance, there are currently 1 billion or so Muslims in the world. At least a quarter of them, fanatics. You really think that if those 250 million Muslims were given the opportunity to form their own "defense association", and enforce their own laws, they could be "easily defeated" once they decide they also want to impose those laws on others?

Edited by Nicky

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Competing defense agencies are different from feudal fiefdoms , how again? By slapping the words competing and profit onto sentences with those other words in them?

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Howardofski, how do you square "no-rulers" with majority rule?

Good question.  I use 'Ruler' to refer to an authority with power over others - a person or small group with different rights than those they rule over.

 

By Majority rule I mean everyone having an equal say - no one having more power to decide than anyone else.  It does of course mean that a majority can overrule a minority, but no individual has more power than any other, and to me, that is the important issue and what is meant by no rulers.

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Nicky asks:

"Who would determine what "due process" is, and who would prevent people from ignoring this due process?"

My answer is that everyone has equal rights to engage in all functions of law making and law enforcement. So everyone would vote on the rules of due process and everyone would have the right to enforce those rules.

"Who" questions all have the same answer: everyone has an equal right to perform those functions.

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Competing defense agencies are different from feudal fiefdoms , how again? By slapping the words competing and profit onto sentences with those other words in them?

They would not make the law. They would offer the service of security within the law. Such agencies exist now. I happen to be in Ecuador right now, and there are very few police - the government just can't afford many - they are a rare sight. But there are plenty of private security guys standing, for instance, at the entrance to a bank or large store, with serious-looking shotguns. They tend to be very polite. They don't need to be called, They're there.

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The monopoly on force is for its own jurisdiction, and if you are not part of the government (say if you seceded), then you are not at all in its jurisdiction.

You say that sounds like government, but I say that just sounds like market anarchism.

I think the defining feature is monopoly. If customers are allowed to secede peacefully then you have free competition, ie, a market.

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Nicky asks:

"Who would determine what "due process" is, and who would prevent people from ignoring this due process?"

My answer is that everyone has equal rights to engage in all functions of law making and law enforcement. So everyone would vote on the rules of due process and everyone would have the right to enforce those rules.

"Who" questions all have the same answer: everyone has an equal right to perform those functions.

Well then "who" questions don't have an answer, because "to vote" is not the same thing as "to write", and "has a right" is not the same thing as "does". Everyone has the right to cure cancer, too. And I bet that if you put it to a vote, the referendum to cure cancer would pass with quite a booming majority. And yet, cancer is conspicuously not cured.

I guess I'll repeat the question: Who ACTUALLY DOES come up with this due process, and who ACTUALLY DOES enforce it?

Edited by Nicky

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I guess I'll repeat the question: Who ACTUALLY DOES come up with this due process, and who ACTUALLY DOES enforce it?

Anyone who chooses to.

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The rich comes up with what is considered to be law. We vote the people into congress. Who comes makes the law based  on who contributed to their campaign. Then our local law enforcement agencies enforce those laws.

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What if my defense agency objects to the procedure used by the government to justify arresting me? If the government has acted unjustly (For instance, by using an improper procedure to obtain an arrest warrant), does my agency have a right to treat my arrest as an act of aggression?

 

And, assuming my agency is willing to turn me over if there is probable cause that I have committed a crime, would you object to the government working with my agency to secure my arrest?

Not any more than two government's working together if that's the case. And if the other side objects, it may start a war. I don't see how this is any different than all human disagreements on a deep level, in particular about rights. 

 

As long as taxation isn't enacted by force, and as long as the monopoly on force is in a well-defined area, that would be a government. Since this is on a forum pertaining to Objectivism, that's all Rand said about a proper government. Aside from "proper government", all governments are a type of protection institution in a specific area.

 

Except that happens to be what is probably the best kind. That's why it gets a special term. Anarchy is a bad term to use because in this case, there is a well-defined legal institution that does not overlap. If an institution said you could use force in addition to self-defense, I'd view that as horrible and get as far away from that as possible. Still, any rights violations ought to be pursued regardless of who violated the right. But if someone doesn't initiate force against me, and I'm a citizen of the government, I really have no reason to care about what you do.

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