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Capitalism and the Proper Role of Government

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Playing devil's advocate again, this doesn't seem to be a very effective line of argument against anarcho-capitalism at all. The reason why countries don't fight is merely because of their jurisdiction? Well, again, what about because it's not in their rational self-interest to fight constantly? And secondly, the libertarian will point out that defense agencies on the market too have jurisdiction. Jurisdiction did not come into existence just because of governments, surely they evolve alongside any political authority, market-based or otherwise. For what is jurisdiction, is it magical? No, it is simply the power or authority to administer legal matters. Saying that this can only exist with the state would be to beg the question and define yourself into victory without argument. The libertarian would point out that jurisdiction comes from individual rights, and insofar as jurisdiction has a specific geographical area to it, it comes from private property, the very conditions which provide the basis for the free market. There is no reason to assume it has to be "pre-specified" as in planned out in advance by one single agency. There is no reason to assume jurisdiction just has to be one given chunk of geographical area, when it can be a patchwork of different jurisdictions within one area. That is, after all, what the world is, and you don't seem to be calling for one world government.

There is thus no problem with some kind of nebulous "lack of jurisdiction" that we could point to, for those legal institutions that would have jurisdiction would be voluntarily chosen judges and arbitrators, selected under free competition for their reputation for objectivity and wisdom in applying rational principles to the law and the facts of the case. Defense agencies would then not be "agencies without jurisdiction" any more than you are a "person without jurisdiction."

So it does not seem to work to ask that "...can Timmy's agency of force prevent Joe's agency of force from crossing a border?" Why, yes, maybe. Are they trespassing? Whose border is it, where, why, etc. It also doesn't seem to work to point to modern street gangs, because that example might just backfire. Why couldn't it be that what the street gang does is what a government does, that is, take over some "turf" and say "this is our turf" or "pre-specified geographical area" and "that over there is your turf," then why wouldn't street gangs be more like governments taking over areas and assuming jurisdiction in defiance of the voluntary and independent decisions of private property owners within that area?

Edited by 2046
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I did not ignore it. I told you why it was illogical and incomprehensible. It is gibberish because it is incomprehensible, it is incomprehensible because the similarity does not exist, or the analog

Not presuming to speak for Mr. Miovas, but he said that one cannot rely on "men's rationality, or good-will, or good intentions to secure legal objectivity" (as you put it). Instead we need a governme

Yes, that doesn't change the point at all. He's saying that "we would have to rely on men's rationality, or good-will, or good intentions to secure legal objectivity" under market defense, and since h

But you couldn't have that under private security agencies, because there wouldn't be any jurisdiction -- no pre-spelled-out jurisdictions. If there were, it would become a government.

I don't have much more to add, but this is how I come down on the matter. If a protection agency had a delimited jurisdictions (or specific areas of property which it protected), then that is pretty much a government. If multiple agencies covered the SAME areas, I could see problems arising. Unfortunately, I don't have that many reasons to make that claim. Mainly, I just see issue of how to deal with crimes if in the same geographic area where a crime is committed under one set of laws, yet not considered a crime under another set, what exactly would you do?

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An Objectivist, a rationalist and a subjectivist gather in a room. The Objectivist knows that when reality is the standard, and reason is the means of adhering to it, that truth will prevail.

The rationalist and subjectivist do not adhere to this principle. What they do seem to know though, is that reason is their mutual enemy, and may be willing to set their differences temporarily aside.

When the sheep sit down with the wolves and coyotes to discuss what is for lunch, the outcome is usually predictable.

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The bottom line is this: One cannot rely on the good will, benevolence, good intentions, or even the rationality of the force wielders. The force wielders must be kept under objective guidance and objective rules of engagement and operations. Otherwise, it will quickly come down to some agency of force running amuck and trying to take over with force. This has been true for the entire history of the world and every place there has not been an objective government. The force wielders cannot be trusted to do the right thing without clear rules put in place before they are given their guns and their ammunition. Even if they say they are for individual rights and will not abrogate them, they need to be watched carefully and spell out how they will handle different situations requiring retaliatory force -- and then they must be held to it. Effectively, this type of jurisdiction is a government; and without a government, he with the most fire-power and is the most ruthless with their force wins. So, no, it cannot be left in private hands, but must remain under control to protect individual rights. This is the sole purpose of a legitimate government. This is also why it must remain a monopoly on the use of retaliatory force -- to be able to keep it under control.

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The bottom line is this: One cannot rely on the good will, benevolence, good intentions, or even the rationality of the force wielders. The force wielders must be kept under objective guidance and objective rules of engagement and operations. Otherwise, it will quickly come down to some agency of force running amuck and trying to take over with force. This has been true for the entire history of the world and every place there has not been an objective government. The force wielders cannot be trusted to do the right thing without clear rules put in place before they are given their guns and their ammunition. Even if they say they are for individual rights and will not abrogate them, they need to be watched carefully and spell out how they will handle different situations requiring retaliatory force -- and then they must be held to it. Effectively, this type of jurisdiction is a government; and without a government, he with the most fire-power and is the most ruthless with their force wins. So, no, it cannot be left in private hands, but must remain under control to protect individual rights. This is the sole purpose of a legitimate government. This is also why it must remain a monopoly on the use of retaliatory force -- to be able to keep it under control.

More genius.

The Founders saw this and gave us the Bill of Rights to help make sure the force wielders get in line and stay in line.

We've shirked the task, of course and have contracted away most, if not all, our rights to the federal government; but the idea remains... sort-of.

"The Great Object is, that Every Man be Armed." -- Patrick Henry

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By "force wielders" I do not mean just the government, but anyone who wants to use force to settle arguments or to retaliate against someone who supposedly violated their rights. So, it applies even to those who carry arms to protect themselves. A man has the right to self-defense, and can use his gun in self-defense in an emergency situation, but otherwise must have the government take care of the bad guys, or else force runs amuck in the streets. Anyone who wants to use force against another must be carefully guarded against, least he operates off of passion and not reason and self-defense. This doesn't mean gun control, but rather objective laws stating when and where and under what circumstances one can retaliate on one's own without having to wait for the police to show up.In other words, the principles stated above about controlling the force wielders applies to everyone.

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Negative.

The people can arrest bad guys and bring them to the courts. In my career, I arrested hundreds of bastards and brought them before the court.

The real meaning of the 2nd Amendment in the Bill of Rights is to empower the citizens to use force against the government when they get out of line. It has nothing to do with "protecting himself in an emergency", though that is a good, perfectly legitimate and logical use of force against others.

The government shall not have a monopoly on the use of force, now or in the future. The people, if they have any brains at all, will not surrender such powers to the police or the military.

We can't stand around like dummies and watch hoodlums (including cops) violate our rights and wait for the cops to show up and deal with it. Government isn't going to clean itself up or regulate itself. That is the job of the people.

The police are under no legal obligation whatsoever to protect you or your property.

"Guard with jealous attention the public liberty; suspect anyone who approaches this jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will protect it but downright force; whenever you give up this force, you are inevitably ruined." -- Patrick Henry

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Negative. The people can arrest bad guys and bring them to the courts. In my career, I arrested hundreds of bastards and brought them before the court.

Anyone can make a citizens arrest, especially if one is in security; but the fact that you brought them to court and did not act as judge, jury, and executioner, means that you do accept that the government has the final say over the use of force. The only exception, which I mentioned earlier, is that if the country becomes a dictatorship, leaving no other options but to take the government down by force.

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"especially if one is in security"? Would you care to explain that?

Government does not have the final say over the force. The jury, i.e., the people do (yes, there are those these days, particularly judges, who want to be rid of juries -- a matter for another discussion, perhaps).

If the government is left unchecked and grows into a dictatorship, what means then will be available to the people to "take the government down by force"? It must be done before government becomes a dictatorship -- long before.

Also, I assume you mean that you would want to take the tyrannical government down and install a just government. We can't take government down. You said yourself, and I agree with you, that we need it.

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What I meant by "especially if one is in security" is that dealing with the bad guys is dangerous and better left in the hands of the professionals who have special training. Yes, you can make a citizen's arrest, but I don't recommend going around and doing that without some training ahead of the attempt. Trial by jury means that the people have a say in their government and a means of directly participating, but the jury doesn't get to operate the guns or the jails or the executions (for capital crimes). Regarding taking down the government, yes I meant installing a just government by forcefully ousting the rouge government that violates individual rights. However, if one does this before it becomes a dictatorship and while there are still a peaceful means of making the correct changes (elections and freedom of speech), then one is guilty of usurpation before the fact of dictatorship, and the government ought to prevent that from happening. Besides, before I would side with you or anyone else wanting to oust the current government by force, I would want to know ahead of time what you had in mind and how you were going about doing it. In other words, I would be highly against it without full disclosure as to what you wanted to install. And without the right philosophy in place to support you in general in the populous, it wouldn't last long anyhow, as the people would vote themselves back into dictatorship. So, spread the right ideas before you talk of revolution.

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I'm not talking of revolution; you are.

What I advocate is more @ restoration. And it should be done about every twenty years or so as a matter of purpose and also immediately, whenever the need arises. It gets rid of the bad blood and the bad seed, as opposed to waiting forever to do the right thing, as we clearly have done, and must now play hell to reel in the evil and get our government back in shape. Better to see a few bad seeds weeded out and hung or shot at the firing squad or their careers ended and their fortunes lost than to protect them and make our children pay for their tyranny.

In fact, it is clearly too late already and we aren't going to get it back. The blood that has already been shed and the blood that is to be shed over this is unthinkable and it is not necessary. It was never necessary. But it will happen just the same and we are going to have to start over.

"God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty.... And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure." -- Jefferson

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I'm not talking of revolution; you are. What I advocate is more @ restoration. And it should be done about every twenty years or so as a matter of purpose and also immediately, whenever the need arises. It gets rid of the bad blood and the bad seed, as opposed to waiting forever to do the right thing, as we clearly have done, and must now play hell to reel in the evil and get our government back in shape. Better to see a few bad seeds weeded out and hung or shot at the firing squad or their careers ended and their fortunes lost than to protect them and make our children pay for their tyranny.

You are advocating using force against a few politicians, that the people ought to rise up and kill them or run them off with direct threats to their lives. I am against this line of thinking as such politicians who violate individual rights were voted into office peacefully, and need to be voted out peacefully. It is ideas that drive a government and its people, and without the right ideas being accepted, one may kill off a few "bad seeds" as you put it, but dictatorship would grow in its place due to the general ideas being accepted today. So, instead of advocating what you are advocating, you ought to become a voice for reason and capitalism by writing essays while you still have free speech. Without the underlying right ideas, you are just advocating letting force be the deciding factor, and I am wholeheartedly against that line of approach. I agree with Jefferson (who you quoted), but one must remember that during his time the people understood liberty and reason and that it was reason that would lead to freedom. We don't have that philosophy prevalent today, and need to get that intellectual base back first. And it was Jefferson who understood that the American Revolution began decades before war was fought against England, in the streets and halls of the intellectuals. Without the right ideas being there in the culture, you have nothing. That's one reason Miss Rand recommended going on strike rather than taking up arms against the government (at least until the right ideas took hold). Killing a few bad seeds would set a very bad precedent -- that if one doesn't like one's politicians, then it is OK to use force to get rid of them, which should not be encouraged in these days of unreason. Seat reason firmly in its place, and the rest will take care of itself.

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Thor replied to my post, but I don't see it up here and therefore cannot quote from it. But basically, you are going to have to make yourself more clear. Do we have remedies for getting rid of bad politicians other than voting? Yes, we do have the court system and can bring them on trial for acting against current law. For example, it would be possible to bring the EPA to trial for violating existing law in the Constitution (to find the EPA rulings unconstitutional). or we could have recall elections, or advocate against a position until they get driven out of office by resigning, etc. As for treason, it is clearly spelled out in the Constitution as taking up arms against the United States. and while one can make an intellectual case that the commerce department is acting against the very idea of liberty, I think one would be a bit hard pressed to say they are taking up arms against the United States. As to taking them to trial, in that case you are relying on the people of the jury to understand your position and to be for liberty and reason. Most of that has been eroded away due to bad philosophy and bad education. So, unless we advocate and present the right ideas clearly and they are accepted, then we would be hard-pressed to take certain people to court for violating liberty and laws that support liberty. But please make yourself more clear as to what you have in mind, because one could construe your statement of firing squads and hangings to be a lynch mod instead of taking them to trial for treason.

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The bottom line is this: One cannot rely on the good will, benevolence, good intentions, or even the rationality of the force wielders. The force wielders must be kept under objective guidance and objective rules of engagement and operations. ... The force wielders cannot be trusted to do the right thing without clear rules put in place before they are given their guns and their ammunition.

Again, the anarcho-capitalst, not to speak for all of them (surely there are plenty of subjectivist retards), but they wouldn't necessarily disagree with this desired goal, just would question why such things as objective guidance and objective rules of engagement and operations are denied to the market in your argument without substantiation. You have argued, if I can boil it down, that the market would lack legal objectivity basically. You still haven't substantiated why taking justice off the market by a forcible monopoly into the hands of one single agency will secure, or have better incentives to secure, that end. Saying "because there will be gang warfare" doesn't help. Why will there be gang warfare? "Because there won't be legal objectivity." Why can't there be legal objectivity on the market? "Because there will be gang warfare." You see the problem? I'm only trying to help us Objectivists respond better.

Also, you say we have to rely on men's rationality, or good-will, or good intentions to secure legal objectivity, but again, it's not clear how this is any different from government. Having a government doesn't free us from having to worry about men's intentions and rely on them, especially when we democratically vote them into power for a period of time. And it would seem to be even more dangerous given that they can shut down all competition if that agency turns into a gang, or that there would be gang warfare over who gets to control the one monopoly agency of force. So this is an unsatisfying answer. It's not as if government is famous for its objectivity and freedom from any kind of whim.

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Also, you say we have to rely on men's rationality, or good-will, or good intentions to secure legal objectivity, but again, it's not clear how this is any different from government.

Not presuming to speak for Mr. Miovas, but he said that one cannot rely on "men's rationality, or good-will, or good intentions to secure legal objectivity" (as you put it). Instead we need a government of objectively defined laws protecting rights, objectively identified, a government delimited to its proper function.

Again, the anarcho-capitalst, not to speak for all of them (surely there are plenty of subjectivist retards), but they wouldn't necessarily disagree with this desired goal, just would question why such things as objective guidance and objective rules of engagement and operations are denied to the market in your argument without substantiation. You have argued, if I can boil it down, that the market would lack legal objectivity basically. You still haven't substantiated why taking justice off the market by a forcible monopoly into the hands of one single agency will secure, or have better incentives to secure, that end.

[my bold]

What market? You're implying that there's a market prior to the existence of government. Is there? (And what makes you think that at least some anarcho-capitalists "wouldn't necessarily disagree with this desired goal"? What is their desired goal?)

"Anarchism vs. Objectivism" by Harry Binswanger

The most twisted evasion of the "libertarian" anarchists in this context is their view that disputes concerning rights could be settled by "competition" among private force-wielders on the "free market." This claim represents a staggering stolen concept: there is no
free
market until after force has been excluded. Their approach cannot be applied even to a baseball game, where it would mean that the rules of the game will be defined by whoever wins it. This has not prevented the "libertarian" anarchists from speaking of "the market for liberty" (i.e., the market for the market).

Saying "because there will be gang warfare" doesn't help. Why will there be gang warfare? "Because there won't be legal objectivity." Why can't there be legal objectivity on the market? "Because there will be gang warfare."
[my bold]

Again, what market?

Why are there warring gangs now, such as with drug dealers or cartels? Why were there the turf wars in Chicago, for instance, during prohibition? Because the government does not or would not recognize the legitimacy of competing governments?

Having a government doesn't free us from having to worry about men's intentions and rely on them, especially when we democratically vote them into power for a period of time. And it would seem to be even more dangerous given that they can shut down all competition if that agency turns into a gang, or that there would be gang warfare over who gets to control the one monopoly agency of force. So this is an unsatisfying answer. It's not as if government is famous for its objectivity and freedom from any kind of whim.

True.

"It's the Spending, Stupid" by Dr. Hurd:

In the end, politicians are evading what Americans by and large don’t want to face. It’s easy to blame and condemn politicians. But the politicians who know it’s career suicide to address spending are right. This wouldn’t be true if the majority of Americans were willing to face the truth.

The government we have is a reflection of the philosophy dominating our culture. A government cannot stand in opposition to the dominant philosophy of the culture. There is no way to design one that can do so. This is the fundamental flaw of Libertarianism, of taking Rand's non-initiation of force principle as some self-evident axiom (i.e., "most [even if not all] people agree that initiating force is wrong") as the only basis required for a proper government, denying the need of moral philosophy (which rests on metaphysics and epistemology) in order to have a proper government and society. (See Peter Schwartz's "Libertarianism: The Perversion of Liberty")

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Not presuming to speak for Mr. Miovas, but he said that one cannot rely on "men's rationality, or good-will, or good intentions to secure legal objectivity" (as you put it). Instead we need a government of objectively defined laws protecting rights, objectively identified, a government delimited to its proper function.
Yes, that doesn't change the point at all. He's saying that "we would have to rely on men's rationality, or good-will, or good intentions to secure legal objectivity" under market defense, and since he thinks we cannot (or should not) rely on that, then instead we need a single monopoly agency for a government. And so the counter-argument goes that we do already in fact rely on that now, and having a government does not remove you from having to rely on that. Indeed this is the case in any legal system, including limited government, so this argument fails.

[my bold] What market? You're implying that there's a market prior to the existence of government. Is there? (And what makes you think that at least some anarcho-capitalists "wouldn't necessarily disagree with this desired goal"? What is their desired goal?) "Anarchism vs. Objectivism" by Harry Binswanger

The most twisted evasion of the "libertarian" anarchists in this context is their view that disputes concerning rights could be settled by "competition" among private force-wielders on the "free market." This claim represents a staggering stolen concept: there is no
free
market until after force has been excluded. Their approach cannot be applied even to a baseball game, where it would mean that the rules of the game will be defined by whoever wins it. This has not prevented the "libertarian" anarchists from speaking of "the market for liberty" (i.e., the market for the market).

Yes, so this is another bad argument against market provision of defense, I think. This is kind of the "chicken or the egg" argument reformulated. What Binswanger is referencing is the argument made by David Kelley in his 1974 essay "The Necessity of Government." So the argument basically goes like this: Look, you libertarians say that you want to provide defense services through the market, but what market? A functioning market presupposes that force has been excluded, and so this presupposes that there has been a functioning legal order already in place. A market presupposes that there are stable titles to property that are exchanged, and that can't be the case unless property rights are already generally protected, and that can't be the case unless you've already got a functioning legal order, and therefore before you can have a free market, you already need to have a legal order in place, and therefore a legal order can't be produced through the market.

But the problem with this argument is that the reverse argument would also work on the same grounds, that you can't have a functioning legal order without a functioning economic order. Where is the legal order going to get the money and the resources to do its thing? A government requires resources, after all, so there already has to be people growing food, clothing, shelter, making tools, and producing various kinds of economic goods and services in order for you to even have a legal order. The actual people resolving disputes and producing and enforcing the law can't be spending all their time in agriculture and hunting, so there must be some existing thing already going on.

So what is the problem here then? There is a mistake in thinking that "requiring" and "presupposing" mean that "something has to be there already" in a temporal sense. It is certainly true, the anarchist could say, that you can't have a functioning market without a functioning legal order of some kind, and also that you can't have a functioning legal order without a functioning market of some kind. But it's an equivocation to then ask "well, which one came first, or has to come first?" It is the same kind of rationalistic nonsense implied in the "chicken or the egg" question. I think the solution to the paradox is that a functioning market and a functioning legal order arise together. Certainly this would make historical sense. If we look at primitive societies, there is some primitive market order and some primitive legal order there at the same time. People are growing things, hunting things, exchanging, and at the same time there is always a way of resolving disputes. You can't really imagine a society without one thing or the other, and they just kind of evolve simultaneously and go through various iterations throughout history. So you can see that we don't need one or the other in order to get to the fully free society. We don't need a fully-formed free market to burst onto the scene right at the same time as a capitalist limited government, nor one to come before the other; they evolve from more primitive stages bit by bit.

The Neo-Aristotelian libertarian philosopher Roderick Long points this out, and reminds us of the question that vexed some 17th century philosophers of "Which do you need first, intelligence or language?" If we had intelligence first, we could develop language, but you might think we need language in order to have intelligence (in order to think in terms of concepts.) And so you were either committed to believing that both burst onto the scene fully formed simultaneously (as if created by God), or that there was some sort of infinite past where humans always sort of existed as intelligent and linguistic beings. Of course that is just rationalistic nonsense. Intelligence and language-speaking aren't "all or nothing" kind of things. Biologically, we tend to think that hominids have done a little bit of one, a little bit of the other, and just gradually built up to the present form.

[my bold] Again, what market? Why are there warring gangs now, such as with drug dealers or cartels? Why were there the turf wars in Chicago, for instance, during prohibition? Because the government does not or would not recognize the legitimacy of competing governments?
Well, on this, I don't think this line of Socratic questioning gets us anywhere new. Since I answered the "what market" question earlier, it seems here like you think I was claiming that gang warfare only exists because we lack anarchy, but I don't know how you would get that. We have government now, we have gang warfare now. Did government get rid of gang warfare? No, of course not. At the same time, if we had a market for defense services, could there be gang warfare? Well, certainly so, we would have to grant that it's possible. The question is then what social framework, institutions, and incentives would there be that best provide legal objectivity and effectiveness in protecting individual rights? I don't think there would be any argument that drug cartels, organized crime during prohibition (or even now), and so forth were created precisely by the government, due to the incentives and frameworks it imposed on society. Now, I don't think this is a strike against limited government, since it would not have such prohibitions, but it can't really be considered a strike against market defense services either.

This is the fundamental flaw of Libertarianism, of taking Rand's non-initiation of force principle as some self-evident axiom (i.e., "most [even if not all] people agree that initiating force is wrong") as the only basis required for a proper government, denying the need of moral philosophy (which rests on metaphysics and epistemology) in order to have a proper government and society. (See Peter Schwartz's "Libertarianism: The Perversion of Liberty")
Now you are just arguing against libertarianism’s lack of philosophic basis, or libertarianism in general, but since no one suggested anything about this, I don't know why you bring this up. We are just critiquing Thomas' essay in the OP. Edited by 2046
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Certainly, throughout history markets and governments have evolved together. The issue is not one of "the chicken or the egg."

There is no market unless it is voluntary (free from initiated force). As markets (spheres of voluntary exchanges) evolved, the requirements of government (of protecting rights) evolved, from, say, simple means of identifying and protecting rights involved in short-ranged value exchanges to more complicated means of identifying and protecting rights involved in long-ranged value exchanges (i.e., contracts). To the extent to which governments have protected rights, there is a market; to the extent that governments have not protected rights, there is no market, at least with respect to, or sanctioned by, the government. Sure, there are and may be "black markets," but "black markets" exist only to the extent that government fails to enforce its bans. "Black markets" have no protection via the government.

The essential issue is that there is no market except to the extent that individuals are free from the initiation of force - unless and to the extent that there is a government that protects rights. That's the whole (and sole proper) purpose of government - institutionalized force used to combat the initiation of force and therefore create a sphere of freedom (from initiated force).

As Dr. Binswanger said, "there is no free market until after force has been excluded."

The reason I mentioned Libertarians is that it is their view - that freedom (or liberty) is a self-evident, axiomatic, or intrinsic value with no need of philosophical validation - that has given rise to any discussion at all about the possibility of competing protection agencies absent a government with a monopoly on force: Everyone (mostly) wants and values freedom as a self-evident good. Competition leads to improvements. Therefore we need competing "governments" (within the same geographical area) to ensure freedom. But for a relative few tyrants, it seems, everyone wants and values liberty, and were there a market for "protection agencies" with no government monopoly on force, then the incentives for freedom would be on the side of ensuring the protection of rights.

You have said that you are playing devil's advocate and that you only want to help Objectivist respond better (to the "anarcho-capitalists"). What then is your response to the idea of competing governments (or so-called "protection agencies") within the same geographical area?

Objectivists have some obligation to shoot down the arbitrary idea of "anarcho-capitalism"? Why? There have been experiences with various governments through history and today, with some giving rise to increased freedom. Governments can and have, at times, done well in protecting rights. (Why? What is it that really gives rise to a right's respecting and protecting government?) But where and when has there ever been anything approximating "anarcho-capitalism" to indicate that there could be a "market" for "protection agencies" (of rights) with no government monopoly on force and which would lead to and ensure the protection of rights?

There are many countries in the world, each with its own government, all in "competition" with each other. If competing governments were the key, were to create the right incentives for the protection of rights, then why has it not done so?

Edited by Trebor
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Well I don't really feel like this added anything new to our discussion. This just seems like you're repeating the same things without having really addressed the outstanding objections, and it's bad because it doesn't really give us a glimpse into the substance of what Objectivism presents for anarchists to deal with. Again, the anarcho-capitalist can agree that there is no market without a functioning legal order, and no functioning legal order without a market, but you didn't really respond to the explanation above, that these things arise together. It doesn't follow from that they "presupposes" each other, in the sense that you can't have one without the other, that only a single monopolist organization can produce security, or that it should. Instead of elucidating why legal objectivity necessitates monopoly, instead what we get is just argument from repetition.

Now you want to say that all libertarians have these certain views that you listed, that "freedom (or liberty) is a self-evident, axiomatic, or intrinsic value with no need of philosophical validation." Now certainly there can be some libertarians, and indeed a lot of them are dimwits, but I mean like, what do you do when a libertarian doesn't agree with that? There certainly are libertarians that would say liberty is not a self-evident conclusion, or that libertarianism needs no philosophical validation, or that liberty is an intrinsic value, so now that you've constructed a straw man to knock down, what do you do when your opponent doesn't agree with this? Then you've kind of put yourself into a corner. It seems kind of odd, given that there are libertarians that base their account of rights on neo-Aristotelian, even Randian accounts. Yes, if they hold these skeptical and mystical positions, we can argue against them. But after they've been corrected as to the proper philosophic content, then you still have to argue what this leads to limited government and not market production of security.

Of course, you don't have an obligation to argue against anything, you can choose not to argue at all. But if you do argue, you are required to substantiate your points. But if you're intention was, like the OP, to enter the debate and create an argument for limited government over anarcho-capitalism, then you can't just declare that it's a conclusion and it's settled and not provide reasons for your conclusions, and fail to deal with objections that may be raised.

Now you did bring up a substantive argument, so let's address that. You're saying, well look, you said competition on the market can bring about objectivity and uniformity of law, but we have all sorts of countries in a state of anarchy vis-a-vis each other, and yet we don't have a libertarian world that protects rights, so what now? First, we should not that there actually is a good deal of uniformity, stability, and predictability regarding international law, because there are countless numbers of trades and contracts being formed all the time. Some anarcho-capitalists may cite that it was actually in response to the bad state-produced laws regarding international trade that the law merchant and admiralty law, as well as some of the more libertarian portions of the common law that arose to deal with these complaints, which the governments were unresponsive to.

But we should be clear that I don't think anarcho-capitalists would say that competition itself will necessarily protect everybody's rights, especially not without a libertarian law code being present. Just that, they would say, such a law code can be produced by a competitive market, and does not require, or may even be hampered by, a single state or government producer and enforcer. Again the argument can be turned back, and say, look, there are various states and governments in existence, so why hasn't a totally rights-respecting one emerged to protect all the rights of the people inside its area? Obviously, then government is flawed. Well no, it's a specific kind of government that has to be formed, and it's a specific kind of legal order that that capitalist limited government contains. Also with the libertarian society that has defense services on the market, that it's a specific kind of governance, and it's a specific kind of legal order that this society contains. It's just not been made clear in this thread why those shared set of norms can be constructed by a single government entity on the one hand, but are somehow denied to cooperation in the market process on the other.

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[Mod note: Merged post from another topic. -- JASKN]

The problem with this glorious idea of the "freedom" of capitalism is that free markets are impossible without the state (I've heard many an Objectivist quick to point out they aren't anarchist.) Without mechanisms of the state (courts, laws, etc.) to ensure that contracts are enforced and real property ownership is recorded in a central, commonly agreed-upon repository, "free" market transactions of even the most basic kind would never occur. And because the state is necessary to create and maintain the framework for a free market, the state will always be susceptible to manipulation by "free" individuals who want to tilt the rules to their advantage. The problem of economic and political freedom is not that some socialist is trying to redistribute money to the poor - it is that successful money makers work hard to change the rules regarding who to redistribute money to... themselves. They try hard to change the laws - the necessary framework within which free markets operate. This goes on simultaneously with the normal competition within the market. And sadly, it's a feature, not a bug, of capitalism. And it can't be solved by "more freedom".

No matter how "fair" you think you can make any law in this utopian Objectivist society, there will always be someone ready to make it a little more fair for themselves, and you can't stop it. So as the saying goes... if you can't beat 'em join 'em.

Regulated capitalism is the only true capitalism that will ever exist.

Edited by JASKN
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So let me get this straight -- you are against free market capitalism that is guarded by clearly defined laws, because there will always be a small group of gangster "businessmen" who try to subvert those laws in various ways. But, you aren't against a closer step down the road leading away from individual rights, by granting the rule of law itself (the government) freedom to "regulate" (aka control) businesses, and by doing so control individuals?

There will always be scumbag humans who will try to screw over the stellar individualist humans. The solution isn't to throw your hands up and say, "Well let's just do this regulating instead and hopefully it will stop the scumbags!" The solution is to figure out the best way for honest individuals to interact with each other in a society. That is, you have to think of individual rights first, because there is no society without the individual. Regulating business puts the state's interest (ie. a small group of politicians) before the individual's right to do what he wants to do with himself and his property (so long as it isn't infringing on another's self or property). That is why regulation is wrong and shouldn't be considered a solution to the "problem" of society.

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Well I don't really feel like this added anything new to our discussion.

Playing devil's advocate again...

I'm only trying to help us Objectivists respond better.

Again, you've said that you're playing devil's advocate and that you only want to help Objectivist "respond better" (to the advocates of or arguments for "anarcho-capitalism"). I take that (your "playing devil's advocate") to mean that you are not really the devil (metaphorically), that you do not really agree with the advocates of or the arguments for so-called "anarcho-capitalism," but that you are only playing the role of the "devil" for argument's sake, in an attempt to inform or educate others to the correct view. Your claim that you only want to "help us Objectivists respond better" lends support to that take and indicates that you too are an Objectivist, that you agree with the Objectivist position that a government with the monopoly on the use of force is necessary in order to protect rights.

You obviously (to me at least) think that Objectivism or Objectivists have failed to argue convincingly against "anarcho-capitalism."

What then do you think is the proper argument against "anarcho-capitalism"?

Edited by Trebor
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Well, I would agree with Eiuol earlier in the thread, that raising the spectre of gang warfare and suddenly turning into Platonists about how only the philosopher-kings can produce good laws doesn't really seem to work, and that we should at least read and pay attention to the objections and counter-arguments raised, as they deal with these arguments. I know Ayn Rand had the "you take it from there" statement, but I don't think that works because the libertarians don't flinch from this question, they simply do take it from there and deal with it. And this is part of why we end up looking like jargon-using dogmatists in an echo-chamber on this. It's not like there have been any scholarly or academic responses to these things, yet we just keep quoting the same articles and same arguments while ignoring anything raised against them. I think much better was Rand's argument about "lynch law" versus objective law, which disqualifies most theories of anarcho-capitalism. So what I am saying is that responding to the jurisdictional part of the topic will be most fruitful, that we should explain why you must have an objective theory of morality, and why this leads to constitutionalism, and discuss the requirements of legal objectivity and see if we can advance any reason why a market can or can't produce such things.

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There will always be scumbag humans who will try to screw over the stellar individualist humans. The solution isn't to throw your hands up and say, "Well let's just do this regulating instead and hopefully it will stop the scumbags!" The solution is to figure out the best way for honest individuals to interact with each other in a society.

Yeah we've already figured this out. Its called America.

Regulating business puts the state's interest (ie. a small group of politicians) before the individual's right to do what he wants to do with himself and his property (so long as it isn't infringing on another's self or property).

You're definition of "state" is not the accepted definition. I'm not sure you're entitled to redefine our language as you see fit. The state is the representative of a collection of individuals. (When you start a war with a state, do you kill some small group of politicians or do you attack the armed citizenry?)

And the state has already claimed "all" property, so there is no property left on this planet for this thing you call "self". Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the earth is all out of that natural resource. That is unless you want to band together and steal it by force? But Objectivists would never do such a thing would they?

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Well, I would agree with Eiuol earlier in the thread, that raising the spectre of gang warfare and suddenly turning into Platonists about how only the philosopher-kings can produce good laws doesn't really seem to work...

Holding that it is philosophy (fundamental ideas and therefore values) that determines history (including the kind of government societies embrace) does not imply a requirement for philosopher-kings. And gang warfare is a legitimate concern.

... and that we should at least read and pay attention to the objections and counter-arguments raised, as they deal with these arguments. I know Ayn Rand had the "you take it from there" statement, but I don't think that works because the libertarians don't flinch from this question, they simply do take it from there and deal with it.

So, because the libertarians don't flinch from the question means that Rand's "you take it from there" is unsatisfactory?

Religionists don't flinch from the irrationality of their belief in the existence of a supernatural being. Therefore arguments against God are unsatisfactory? To whom? To those who hold an arbitrary belief? So what?

And this is part of why we end up looking like jargon-using dogmatists in an echo-chamber on this. It's not like there have been any scholarly or academic responses to these things, yet we just keep quoting the same articles and same arguments while ignoring anything raised against them.

But this is where I do think that Binswanger gets to the heart of it: there is no market without the protection of individual rights. A market for a market is a contradiction. "Anarcho-capitalism" is an arbitrary construct. (I assume that you disagree.)

With respect to the "chicken or egg" (seeming) dilemma that you mentioned previously - without an existing market, there is no wealth to fund and maintain a rights protecting government, but without a government, there is no market, and therefore (somehow) they evolved together - it's a false alternative. There can be a mixed economy after all, an inconsistent recognition and protection of rights. To the extent that rights are recognized and protected, there is a market (even if delimited and hampered), and wealth (less than could be), to support a government, even an inconsistent one (mixed economy). The problem with a mixed economy is that it's an economy in transition, on principle, to totalitarianism. The need for consistency is due to the value of liberty. (I watched the recent Brook debate with David Callahan, co-founder of Demos. Callahan, as have others, said that the mixed economy has worked, and worked well, for many decades now. What's wrong with a mixed economy? And for that matter, what's wrong with slavery? Even slavery "worked" for some time?)

I think much better was Rand's argument about "lynch law" versus objective law, which disqualifies most theories of anarcho-capitalism. So what I am saying is that responding to the jurisdictional part of the topic will be most fruitful, that we should explain why you must have an objective theory of morality, and why this leads to constitutionalism, and discuss the requirements of legal objectivity and see if we can advance any reason why a market can or can't produce such things.

Okay, so the questions are:

• Why must there be an objective theory of morality?

• Does an objective theory of morality lead to constitutionalism?

• Can a "market" produce an objective theory of morality and lead to constitutionalism?

Correct?

To be clear, just what is the "jurisdictional part of the topic" which you think it would be most fruitful to address? The idea of multiple governments (or "protection agencies" with no one having a monopoly on the use of force) within the same geographical area?

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And the state has already claimed "all" property, so there is no property left on this planet for this thing you call "self". Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the earth is all out of that natural resource. That is unless you want to band together and steal it by force? But Objectivists would never do such a thing would they?

Instead of me picking apart your posts, why don't you clarify your broader points? What exactly are you trying to say?
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