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Walter E Williams on What's Rule of Law

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I'm saying the argument for a monopoly on force to provide security holds true for knowledge as well.  If the latter is evil then the former also is for the same reason, i.e., that monopoly is evil.  But in fact we sanction a monopoly on force while allowing for a right to bear arms, so in the same manner a monopoly on knowledge allows a similar right to self education.

 

We need government to act as policeman and librarian or we need neither service, for the greater social danger would be to regulate force but not literacy.

Your mistake is presuming that government monopoly of force can be evaluated and held to the same standard as government monopoly on anything else. Objectivism holds that only coercive monopoly (as opposed to de facto monopoly through productive enterprise) of anything other than force is evil. And furthermore, Objectivism holds that the government's monopoly on force cannot properly be used to initiate force. When government coercively monopolizes the use of anything else, it must initiate force to hold that monopoly. Conversely, no initiation of force is required for government to hold its monopoly on force. All it needs to maintain its monopoly on force is a big enough army/police force and powerful enough weapons, and there's no reason that these things cannot be paid for voluntarily by private citizens. True, that's not how it has worked in the entire history of man, we've always paid for armies and police with coercive taxation, but that doesn't mean it is the only way to have a government. Anyway, the point is if a government has enough police or military power backing it and the people trust it to administer justice fairly and objectively, then most people will rely on the government's force to protect them and they'll set aside their weapons.

Edited by NewbieOist

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Your mistake is presuming that government monopoly of force can be evaluated and held to the same standard as government monopoly on anything else...

 

Perhaps, but I have yet to see anything presented as to how it is fundamentally different by argument from a government monopoly of education in the context of taxation, i.e., the public sanctioning and payment for a public service.  I began my investigation in response to softwareNerd's assertion:

 

"The reason the U.S. economy is hindered by all the laws we complain about is that there is solid voter support for the underlying principles. The GOP voter is to blame for this, just as much as the Democrat. And, when they create memes that imply that they're somehow free-market, they're compounding the problem. The typical GOP voter is getting all upset about 'common core', or wants to move toward more vouchers, but does not want to break the basic premise where one person subsidizes education of another. Redistribution... just, more efficient, and with more choice." ~ softwwareNerd, post #12

 

I take this to mean that the coercive taxation of one person to provide education for another is a flawed premise, but as a flawed premise how is it different than the coercive taxation of one person to provide security for another?  If you, as others, assert that private schools are inherently better than public schools, then it seems to me that you are then logically bound to recognize that private security is also inherently better than public security for essentially the same reason.  Consider the following statements:

 

"In a fully free society, taxation—or, to be exact, payment for governmental services—would be voluntary. Since the proper services of a government—the police, the armed forces, the law courts—are demonstrably needed by individual citizens and affect their interests directly, the citizens would (and should) be willing to pay for such services, as they pay for insurance." ~ Taxation, ARL

 

"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." ~ John Adams, 1785

 

The first statement argues for the government to provide security and the second to provide education, and in both cases the public are expected to pay for it because the service is of benefit to the whole society.  So how, pray tell, does a flawed argument allowing for public education become an acceptable one that allows for public security?  Both cases seem to accept free riders, or dismiss them because "everyone" wants the service.

 

My point is, this is clearly an either/or choice for a Capitalist. Consistency supports better security and education by private means where free riders and flawed arguments are dismissed for the same reason, and yet Objectivists support a public service for security and a private service for education.

 

Go figure.

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Government and education are different along the lines of privatization, precisely because of the use of force issue. If I recall, it was the Libertarians in her time that had put forth the notion of allowing for competing governments to offer security. In terms of government, this does not and cannot work. From the CUI Appendix:

If physical force is to be barred from social relationships, men need an institution charged with the task of protecting their rights under an objective code of rules.
This is the task of a government—of a proper government—its basic task, its only moral justification and the reason why men do need a government.
A government is the means of placing the retaliatory use of physical force under objective control—i.e., under objectively defined laws.

 

Now while private security can and is purchased under a framework of a government, it cannot substitute and serve as such function in a fully privatized sense..

The moment your neighbor, subscribing to 'government A', calls to report a perceived infraction of yours, while you belong to 'government B', is A, or B creating the objectively defined laws? If you pay for 'government B', are you beholden to 'government A' regulation?

 

The argument for privatization fails when applied to security in this manner in a way the argument for privatized education should not.
 

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Which society is more likely to develop, understand and maintain an objective code of rules, a literate or illiterate one?  Voting, i.e., the public sanction of government activities, depends on an educated vote.  How many uneducated voters are you willing to tollerate to sanction the use of force??

 

My point is, You can't ever get to the point of an objective code of rules applicable to society at large until society at large is educated enought to understand and apply them objectively.

Edited by Devil's Advocate

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How many uneducated voters are you willing to tollerate to sanction the use of force??

If people don't want to educate themselves, how will the government's guns force them to? Force and mind are opposites. As for lack of opportunity, a truly laissez-faire capitalist society would provide more opportunities for quality education than what we have now.

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Except that avoids responding to who pays for it.  Our present system, the historic model if you will, collects taxes to pay for the service of justice and education for all.  How exactly does your truly laissez-faire capitalist society accomplish the same?

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My point is, You can't ever get to the point of an objective code of rules applicable to society at large until society at large is educated enought to understand and apply them objectively.

This is a false alternative. You assume that if people are not publicly educated then they will be uneducated.

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I assume that if they are publicly educated, they (society at large) will understand what the objective rules are for their society.

That may be a nonsequitur. There are publicly educated individuals who are illiterate.

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Except that avoids responding to who pays for it.  Our present system, the historic model if you will, collects taxes to pay for the service of justice and education for all.  How exactly does your truly laissez-faire capitalist society accomplish the same?

In the U.K. the model collects taxes to pay for the service of justice, education and health. How do you propose to accomplish the same?

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In the U.K. the model collects taxes to pay for the service of justice, education and health. How do you propose to accomplish the same?

I think this question strikes at the heart of the issue.

The essential issue of politics, philosophically speaking, is the initiation of the use of force. If force is completely reserved for retaliation/self-defense according to objective law, then that satisfies the requirement for just governance, as far as I can see it. People may thereafter arrange education as they'd like, including sending around a large (voluntary) collection plate and setting up "public" schools.

So long as force continues to be completely reserved for retaliation -- so long as no compulsory taxation or mandatory attendance or other anti-liberty feature rears its head -- then I don't see such an approach running afoul of any philosophical principles to which I subscribe. Whether this would be the best approach for achieving/maintaining a just government is a question for political science, I believe, and a separate question altogether.

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In the U.K. the model collects taxes to pay for the service of justice, education and health. How do you propose to accomplish the same?

 

With the recent SCOTUS decision to endorse individual mantates within government's role to tax and spend, you needn't jump over the pond to add health care to the mix.  My response here is essentially the same as when you added welfare earlier: teach a man to fish...

 

The issue is whether education is fundamental to security and therefore in the interest of a society of Objectivists to provide for in the same manner and for the same reason security is.  I say it is, or at least I don't see how whatever argument you make for one doesn't apply to the other as well.  You object to a redistribution of wealth where one person pays for anothers education, but are apparently OK with one person paying for anothers security because that's just different somehow...

 

Education precedes security as a necessary means of developing and understanding an objective rule of law, so you could argue that education is funded privately by default prior to the establishment of a government to provide security.  In which case since private education is adequate to develop objective law, how does private security become inadequate to enforcing it?*  However since a government is apparently necessary to provide for everyones security and security depends on education, it follows that government ought to provide for everyones education as well...

 

Unless the actual goal of forming and paying for government isn't to secure everyone.

--

*  Yes, I read dream_weaver's post #78.  If the law is objective then it shouldn't matter who enforces it any more than it matters who teaches math and english.  Does objective law imply various correct applications of security?  I don't see how, any more than I see how rules of math and grammer imply various correct applications of literacy.  An argument for or against one applies to both.

Edited by Devil's Advocate

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Except that avoids responding to who pays for it.  Our present system, the historic model if you will, collects taxes to pay for the service of justice and education for all.  How exactly does your truly laissez-faire capitalist society accomplish the same?

People voluntarily pay for what they value in a laissez-faire society. Simple as that. What don't you understand?

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Individual mandates aside, I understand that if people voluntarily pay for security as they would for insurance then security would be limited to the policy holders.  So much for justice for all...

I would change the word "security" to "government protection of rights". "Security" sounds like you're talking about rent-a-cops or bouncers. But we're talking about government here, and why do you assume that a voluntarily financed government couldn't protect the rights of all?

Edited by NewbieOist

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I said a voluntary tax wouldn't be able to afford subsidy and I believe my response is supported by the subject of taxation in ARL.  A voluntary tax based on purchasing insurance implies coverage limited to policy holders according to the historic model, and the ARL implies we will be using that model for the foreseeable future.  That being the case, purchasing security policies transforms justice for all to justice for sale and only secures the right to life for those who can afford such coverage.

 

Am I missing something?

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I said a voluntary tax wouldn't be able to afford subsidy and I believe my response is supported by the subject of taxation in ARL.  A voluntary tax based on purchasing insurance implies coverage limited to policy holders according to the historic model, and the ARL implies we will be using that model for the foreseeable future.  That being the case, purchasing security policies transforms justice for all to justice for sale and only secures the right to life for those who can afford such coverage.

 

Am I missing something?

I believe that Ayn Rand, in her essay "Government Financing in a Free Society," proposed that a system of voluntary tax would be sufficient to fund the necessary and proper functions of government, not alone for those who pay that tax, but for all citizens. Or at least that this is true in principle -- the further, actual details being a matter of political science.

If you're asking about those political science details -- "how specifically could this be managed?" -- the answer I have, at least, is: I don't know. I could come up with some ideas, perhaps, but I wouldn't have the expertise necessary to argue for them with any particular vigor.

But certainly the government Rand argued for provides "justice for all," and is funded voluntarily.

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Thank you DonAthos, that being the case we can then presume free riders will exists in both systems of taxation.

 

I will amend my response to dream_weaver to, I dunno.  We cannot begin to guess whether more or less free riders would occur by system since we would be essentially comparing apples to oranges where oranges remain undefined until some future date.  And now I suspect softwareNerd of pulling my leg by proposing that one person paying for anothers government service is a flawed premise, since we apparently have no other working premise to compare to.

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2 Years free community college education for students that can maintain a 2.5 gpa: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/01/08/president-proposes-make-community-college-free-responsible-students-2-years

 

This was just announced by President Obama as a proposal he will address in the upcoming State of the Union.  I may end up hating this idea, but it is the kind of tax funded access to education that I've been suggesting is related to security in so far as it promotes greater access to jobs for those who otherwise can't afford to continue on to college.

 

Thoughts?

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quote name="Devil's Advocate" post="332358" timestamp="1420766926"]Thoughts?Soon to be followed by food, health-care, and cell phones.

Oh! check, check check. All done. Clothes and homes should be next on the list. Just don't call it capitalism or the Christians will rebel thinking it is atheism.

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Just finished watching the movie The Book Thief. I recollect that the movie All Quiet On The Western Front captures an aspect of this as well.

 

Education at the hand of the state. Both movies illustrate in a somewhat dark way, that some folk can still develop a spark of individualistic thinking in spite of the odds against them. Granted, these portray dramatizations generated at an extreme end of the spectrum. Then again, privatized education is viewing it from a different extreme, perhaps one that has few islands of empirical data* from which to draw upon, thus making it difficult to concretize what could, should or ought to be. (*are there periods in history where privatized education existed?)

 

Most community colleges are already beholden to the (local) government for subsidies. As the supposed bastions of free thought, critical thinking skills are probably encouraged - as long as the results don't offend the sensibilities of those holding the purse strings.

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That was a rather large portion of red meat to serve you. Let's see if I can break it into smaller bites for you to digest. First off, we are agreed that the ideal payment for securing rights is voluntary and that coverage includes everyone. This kind of blanket coverage is necessary for maintainig a free society, i.e., free from aggression.

 

Secondly, a voluntarily financed, free society can choose whatever goals it wants to pursue. If having a literate society is beneficial and education can be paid for and provided to everyone like security is, a Objectivist wouldn't fault the members of that society for doing so. Chew on that for a bit and I'll get back to you.  I need to do some research on the impact education has on crime reduction; I suspect quite a bit. If so, then the corrolation of education to security should become apparent.

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Isn't this method of thought an example of rationalism? The reasoning is as follows: the government's job is to extract force from society, properly educated people are less likely to initiate force, therefore it's the government's job to educate citizens. You can see the logic of the argument, except all sorts of relevant context is missing, like what a government has to do to the private citizens in order to provide free education and what make a government different from other institutions in society.

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