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Capitalism and the Proper Role of Government

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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.

I don't know what you're talking about here. I don't know why you got whether or not philosophy determines history out of that, or what that has to do with philosopher-kings. So I think you are confused here.

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?

Haha, now Trebor, you seem to enjoy this tactic of selectively quoting things and responding in interrogative form, as if to suggest the person said something other than what they said, but don't you think responses like this do a disservice to your case?

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?)

See now, I think you're not even responding to the arguments with this kind of thing. A market for a market doesn't make sense, yes, good thing nobody said anything like that. What we did say, however, is hey, let's discuss making defense services marketable. "The Market for Liberty" is the title of a book about defense services on the market. I don't know, I didn't make up that title, at best we can just agree it's a bad title and move on.

Now you want to say that it's a false alternative, and that there is various mixed economies. Okay? That's exactly what I responded with. That it isn't "all or nothing" in terms of a market order and a legal order, evolving side by side. This is basically the same mistake the classical economists make with regarding goods and services in holistic classes, such as "diamonds" or "water," instead of specific marginal units. So markets and legal systems that define property titles have evolved in marginal units over time. If you say something rationalistic like "A free market presupposes X, therefore a market for X is a contradiction, therefore X has to be produced by a single monopolist," then you can add basically anything you want to that: food, clothing, shelter. Certainly a modern economy is impossible without paper, is a market for paper a contradiction? Then you say mixed economies are bad, and provide an argument to convince me of that. Okay? What does that have to do with this question? I think you're confused and I'm wasting my time.

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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

So, a carefully controlled agency of force is necessary for a society not to break down into gang warfare. This is the role of the government, with clearly defined areas of operation and carefully controlled operations, generally via a constitution specifically spelling out what the government is permitted to do.

I want to concretize "gang warfare" with an example. The government of the "Articles of Confederation" period before the current U.S. Constitution was too weak, and the result was geographical gang warfare in the form of the states conflicting with each other. Note that this example is actually from a pre-capitalist time period when the country was composed of independent farmers and the limit of heavy industry was building big wooden ships. Government came first in this case.

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Historically, capitalism did not arise until there existed governments that would ban the use of force to settle arguments. In other words, the proper role of government had to be there first, or there would be no free market. So, I have to agree with Harry Binswanger's point to that effect. In all the preceding time periods, force was always the thing to turn to when there was a disagreement between those who wanted to impose their views on others. There had to exist an agency of counter-force that was strong enough to take on all enemies of freedom. Richard Salsman recently made this point in a Forbes article on capitalism, stating that capitalism as a form of a social-economic system is only about 250 years old. It took many, many centuries for reason to take hold culturally, and centuries after that before the right idea of the role of governments to take effect; the greatest being the United States of America. The idea that the proper protection of individual rights would somehow spontaneously arise with a patch-work of force issuers is ludicrous -- it never happened and never would happen. We don't see it happening in the real anarchies that do or did exist around the world; there always arose a gang stronger than the rest that took over the area and formed a dictatorship of some kind. When the force wielders are "free" to wield their force without objective controls, this happens. By "objective" I mean pre-specified as to when and where force can be used, and clearly stated laws governing the use of force, and upholding and protecting individual rights.

Those who claim that Objectivism doesn't provide the proof that gang warfare would erupt without such controls do not understand philosophy, history, or human psychology of the force wielders.

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That historically capitalism arose with a certain governmental legal order does not necessitate that a single monopoly government "has to be there first" in order to have a free market for all the reasons mentioned above, and you guys haven't even touched the objection to that argument. Just repeating your conclusions in different form doesn't help. Again, no one is saying there doesn't need to be an agency of counter-force, the question is just whether this agency of counter-force should claim people can only come to it for protection. That proper protection of individual rights has spontaneously arisen is exactly what has happened historically. What else does "spontaneously arise" mean, except from people using their reason and cooperating? There is no world government, there is no commands for the proper protection of individual rights handed down from God, just men using their reason and cooperating. Do you think every law in existence just came into existence with government one day deciding it? No, the law evolved over centuries from many competing jurisdictions. You say there always arose one gang stronger than the rest that took over an area and proclaimed only they can control it, yet isn't this exactly how the state arose, so this argument hardly seems to have any merit. You say force wielders would be free to use force without objective controls, but again, this is a straw man because we don't have to say they should be able to use force without objective controls, just that objective law can be produced by the market. Why do Objectivist somehow turn into people incapable of directly responding to or addressing any points on this issue?

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You say force wielders would be free to use force without objective controls, but again, this is a straw man because we don't have to say they should be able to use force without objective controls, just that objective law can be produced by the market. Why do Objectivist somehow turn into people incapable of directly responding to or addressing any points on this issue?

But this would be a government. There is no way to control the force wielders without the objective control over the use of force, specified jurisdictions, and clear laws in place so people know what they are dealing with -- and all of this would mean a government.

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But this would be a government. There is no way to control the force wielders without the objective control over the use of force, specified jurisdictions, and clear laws in place so people know what they are dealing with -- and all of this would mean a government.

But why no reasons provided why this would mean a single monopoly government? As it stands, this is an assertion without support. All I'm saying is that you must provide reasons. You haven't once argued why a market can't provide objective control over the use of force, have specified jurisdictions, or clear laws, for instance; you've just asserted that it would be the case. I'm sorry that's not an argument.
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But why no reasons provided why this would mean a single monopoly government?

Project what the anarchist ideal would mean in real-time if it were actually implemented. Each person would be "free" to choose their own agency of force (presumably for self-defense, according to the anarchists). In practice, this mean that there would be no specific area of operations designated by geography, since it would be like an insurance policy that overlaps as to area of operations. So, when one drove a block away from one's house to go to work, one would be dealing with a different agency of force from the one that was being dealt with at one's home. Every time one cross a boundary, one would be dealing with yet another agency of force. And one would never know what agency of force one was dealing with, because the decision as to what agency of force was operating on which private property would be a matter of privacy. So, as one is driving back and forth to work, one may well be dealing with a thousand agencies of force, each with it's own rules and regulations, each with the power of force to enforce its edicts onto anyone in that territory. If you don't see this as a nightmare situation, then you are not thinking about it very clearly. Without jurisdiction being established ahead of time, and no agency of force to keep them all in line, there could well be road blocks at each intersection, issuing orders as to who could be where and under what circumstances -- enforced at the point of a gun. The United States system of government prevents this from happening, because it limits the jurisdiction of local governments. Without this overriding agency settling matters of passage, it would be like dealing with Medieval local gangs enforcing their will at every crossroads. So, the need for it to be ultimately a monopoly on the use of force is so that one knows what one is dealing with and doesn't have to worry about check-points at every crossroads.

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But why no reasons provided why this would mean a single monopoly government? As it stands, this is an assertion without support. All I'm saying is that you must provide reasons. You haven't once argued why a market can't provide objective control over the use of force, have specified jurisdictions, or clear laws, for instance; you've just asserted that it would be the case. I'm sorry that's not an argument.

What is a market? A broad, objective definition is offered by Wikipedia:

A market is one of many varieties of systems, institutions, procedures, social relations and infrastructures whereby parties engage in exchange. While parties may exchange goods and services by barter, most markets rely on sellers offering their goods or services (including labor) in exchange for money from buyers. It can be said that a market is the process in which the prices of goods and services are established.

This is not in genus-differentia form, so it is not fully usable yet. I checked (by searching and using the index) Riesman's opus Capitalism, he does not offer a general definition of a market either. Therefore I will make one up:

A definition of a market

Genus: human social relationships

Differentia: involving the voluntary exchange of material values

A market by definition has no such thing as a final authority commanding what exchanges ought to be made because that would destroy the voluntary element required for a market. A government by definition is precisely that final authority, and is the institution tasked with making the resort to force to command involuntary compliance with the law. So much for the voluntary aspect, there is also a dissimilarity in the types of values exchanged.

The justice sought by the law does have aspects of both restorative justice and retributive justice. To the extent that the object of the law and the government is the provision of retributive justice there is not an exchange of value at all. and the value of retributive justice is not a material economic good that ought to be bought or sold.

Ayn Rand offers a definition of a government in the essay "The Nature of Government":

"A government is an institution that holds the exclusive power to enforce certain rules of social conduct in a given geographical area." (emphasis hers). Note that this is an objective definition: it says nothing about what ought to enforced and in particular it does not rely on a prior theory of rights to identify a government. With this definition we can identify the reign of King Hammurabi, the Athenian democracy, the Roman republic, and the Soviet Union under Stalin as forms of government and then attempt to distinguish better from worse.

Genus: institution

Differentia: exclusive enforcement of social conduct in a geographic area.

An institution is a more formal human social relation than required by a market, so human social relationships is the genus common to both.

My conclusion: A government cannot derive from a market because markets do not have involuntary participants, but involuntary compliance of some participants is the sine qua non of a government.

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Are there no "specific area of operations" with insurance policies? Of course there are specific areas of operation designated by the property and "geographic area" that the client has insured. If a client buys insurance against crime, then the "specific area of operations" is the property that the client has insured against crime. It seems like you want some kind of decree from above that X police can only operate in X area, and go no further, but this is entirely arbitrary. Rather than arbitrary political districts, there would be objective areas of operation: those voluntarily chosen by clientele.

You say that if I drove a block away I would be dealing with a different defense agency. Well, not necessarily. It would seem weird if you are saying literally every person in existence has a different defense firm, as if there are 8 billion people, then there are 8 billion "agencies of force" you have to deal with. But of course that would be impossible. There would be any given number of firms that customers support with their patronage. Does this mean if I drive a block I will "deal with" a different one? I don't even know what that means. Do I "deal with" "yet another" fire or life or car insurance agency every block? I have a hard time imagining what you mean by this, or why this is a problem.

In driving back and forth from work, you might encounter "thousands" of "agencies of force," each with different rules that you could never know. Oh my, sounds terrifying as you imagine it. But again, I have no idea where this is coming from. You might encounter some police men on your way to work. You might pass by them on the highway. You might pass by them on the walk into your office building. You might even show your ID or check in with some guards as you enter. How exactly is this a problem?

You say you are afraid that you could never know all the rules and regulations that you would be subject to. But again, libertarians argue, without being addressed by you thus far, that the market has the incentives for producers to converge on a uniform set of legal standards, just as, for example, there are uniform standards for cell phones or credit cards. You don't need one monopoly agency for uniformity, or clarity, or an agreed-upon structure for a product. Certainly, these features of legal objectivity are required according to the Objectivist premise, but all it succeeds in proving is that what’s required is a set of standards, not a set of specific organizations. If there are no barriers to entry, so long as one has these set of standards, then what exactly is the problem?

Further, we can say not only does the market have economic incentives to produce a uniform, agreed-upon, and clearly known body of law, and that these are requirements for objective law, then objective law poses a more serious problem for governments. Governments, isolated from consumer demand, have an incentive to over-produce laws. Legislative bodies, federal, state, and local, sign into law these huge telephone-book-sized piles of laws, and they are constantly churning these things out without even having read them. Just with Congress, leaving aside the state and local governments and the executive regulatory agencies, just what Congress passes alone, you couldn't possibly read through it all. Even if the content of these laws were excellent and totally objective, which we can't count on, you can never know the laws. Do you right here and now know all of the laws that apply to you? Of course you don't, no one can, no one can read through all the laws that apply to them in a lifetime. This is exactly the "nightmare situation" that you describe, and it is what you are living in now. Some regulatory agency that wanted to can find some law that you've broken at any time, and there is no way for you to know ahead of time what this is (businessmen often hire teams of lawyers to cover them from this.) If there are so many laws, and they are constantly being produced and constantly changing, all to the point where no one can know what they are, then this is the functional equivalent of there being no uniform, clearly known, and settled body of law. Libertarians would point out that under a private legal system where changes in law occur as a response to customer demand, such problems are much less likely. The incentive structure of the market is superior in regards to producing these very standards that you claim to want, and a single monopoly government turns out to be more subject to violating those standards.

Lastly, you say there will be "local gangs" and "check-points at every crossroads." But again, why would you have to worry about these things? If local gangs are threatening you, it is defense services that you would seek, so it's hard to see why defense services would be the cause of the local gangs. We have local gangs now too, so again, there will always be criminals, the question is which institutional framework is the better method of dealing with them. As far as check-points at every crossroads, why would the free market cause such a consequence? No one would set up a "check-point" at "ever boundary crossing" because that would be stupid. Certain areas might indeed have check-points, they might be more exclusive and harder to get into, like private areas today are. But public and more open areas, especially commercial areas would never be able to do such a thing because they stand to gain by providing more open and convenient access by customers. It is consumer demand that drives production. If consumers demanded a check-point at every crossroad, then so be it, it is their property. But there is a huge incentive not to do that because that would shut down the entire economy, so why would this be a plausible issue to have to deal with? If you think that there would be "thousands" of gangs roving around preying on travelers, like a scene out of Robin Hood, then I can see how you could come to such a conclusion, but as we can see the premise is questionable for the kind of crime faced in modern society.

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A market by definition has no such thing as a final authority commanding what exchanges ought to be made because that would destroy the voluntary element required for a market. A government by definition is precisely that final authority, and is the institution tasked with making the resort to force to command involuntary compliance with the law.

This is another argument popular among Objectivists for some reason, but it doesn't seem like a good one either. The problem is that there is no "final authority" or "final arbiter." There's no legal finality. With a single monopolist government, if I appeal all the way to the Supreme Court, it's over and done. But under a libertarian legal order, there is no final court, I could just keep appealing until I got the decision I wanted. It seems as though you would never get anything settled, as any court's decision can be appealed by a further court, until forever. If there's no way to bring any dispute to an end, then that means nobody can "command what exchanges ought to be made" or (if I can interpret that charitably) that property titles will never be stably settled, and that the market process would break down into arbitrariness. Objective law would thus be impossible on the market, a single monopolist government is therefore a solution to this defect.

Well this is partially what I mean when I say I don't understand why Objectivists suddenly turn into Platonists about this subject. Since you mention Reisman's Capitalism, this is sort of like his critique of the charge of "market failure" in that markets often lack "perfect competition," which he calls "Platonic competition." So in answer to this, we can distinguish between two senses of what it means to have a "final authority" or legal finality. The concept could be interpreted Platonically or realistically. Platonic legal finality is where disputes are settled beyond the chance of any further possible raising of them, that at a certain point there is simply nothing you can do to push the issue any further, it is just over and done, once and for all. Realist legal finality is where disputes, in practice, do fairly reliably get brought to an end, that, by and large, most of the time, people have a strong incentive not to keep raising it, that it is solved generally to the satisfaction of the people involved. There's no iron-clad guarantee, but it has the incentives to be fairly reliable in this regard.

So this distinction is important because the notion that a single monopolist government provides legal finality that a market-based legal order cannot relies on an equivocation between these two senses. It's certainly true that a market-based legal order lacks Platonic legal finality. But how is this any different from a single monopolist government? The point here is that there is no such thing as a "final authority" in this sense, not under limited government, dictatorship, anarchy, or the current US system. Not under capitalism, socialism, monarchy, theocracy, tribalism, there is no such thing anywhere on God's green earth. Defense services on the free market can never absolutely guarantee with absolute certainty that something is solved once and for all, forever, but neither can any single monopolist government, or any system possible or actual.

Take the case where if we have dispute, the court decides in your favor, so I appeal all the way to the Supreme Court, they decide in your favor too. Are my options over? No, I can go to Congress and try to get a new law passed, or a new constitutional amendment passed, or try to get new Supreme Court judges appointed that are more favorable to my point of view, I can start a massive media campaign, or public information campaign, start a protest movement, write books, go on TV, practice civil disobedience, etc. and try to convince the public to do something different, try to change public opinion, try to change the philosophy, try to get the law overturned and shame the Supreme Court into voting differently. There are other branches too. Sovereignty does not reside at any single point in the governmental structure, any ruling by one part can in principle be appealed, or overruled, or simply ignored, by another. I can elect a different President, but he can also be impeached. I can vote in a new Congress. Or at the very most, I can foment a revolution and overthrow the government. There are always things I can do. What are the chances of success of these things might be more or less depending on the situation. Of course, it all depends on the situation, on the state of public opinion, etc. no different from a market legal system.

So government does for the most part provide realist legal finality, and I'm not going to for the most part be motivated to do a lot of these things, and they get solved well enough. So what is possible in the real world is that an existing pattern of institutions and practices proves stable and self-reinforcing, that people act in ways that give one another an incentive to keep cooperating, for the most part. Certainly no legal system can function unless most disputes end up getting practically resolved one way or another, we're not disputing that. What I'm saying is that in real world legal systems (monopolist or competitive), most disputes do not go unresolved forever, not because there is some Platonic "final authority," but because the patterns of activity in which most of the participants engage or acquiesce don’t allow the indefinite continuation of disputes. This sort of legal finality is perfectly compatible with defense services on the market.

My conclusion: A government cannot derive from a market because markets do not have involuntary participants, but involuntary compliance of some participants is the sine qua non of a government.

Now I have no idea what you are saying here. What do you mean "derive from"? Do you mean, "is compatible with"? If so, then government, as you define it, isn't compatible with the market because of its exclusivity (unless all participants voluntarily choose it as their agent to enforce social conduct.) Its exclusivity is what makes it incompatible with the market, not its ability to enforce rules of social conduct (obtain involuntary compliance.) Of course there are involuntary participants in a market. The criminal, who does not voluntarily submit to the rules that obtain on the free market, can be made to involuntarily comply with those rules respecting the person and property of others, thus preserving the operation of the free market economy. A supply of defense services on the free market would mean enforcing rules of social conduct (obtaining involuntary compliance) without holding the exclusive power to enforce those rules.
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This is another argument popular among Objectivists for some reason, but it doesn't seem like a good one either. The problem is that there is no "final authority" or "final arbiter." There's no legal finality. With a single monopolist government, if I appeal all the way to the Supreme Court, it's over and done. But under a libertarian legal order, there is no final court, I could just keep appealing until I got the decision I wanted. It seems as though you would never get anything settled, as any court's decision can be appealed by a further court, until forever. If there's no way to bring any dispute to an end, then that means nobody can "command what exchanges ought to be made" or (if I can interpret that charitably) that property titles will never be stably settled, and that the market process would break down into arbitrariness. Objective law would thus be impossible on the market, a single monopolist government is therefore a solution to this defect.

This attempt to understand the argument is not wrong but it falls short of realizing the full scope of the problem. There are such things as crimes, for which no mere reassignment of property is a proper response. The lex mercatoria was silent on murder.

Well this is partially what I mean when I say I don't understand why Objectivists suddenly turn into Platonists about this subject. Since you mention Reisman's Capitalism, this is sort of like his critique of the charge of "market failure" in that markets often lack "perfect competition," which he calls "Platonic competition." So in answer to this, we can distinguish between two senses of what it means to have a "final authority" or legal finality. The concept could be interpreted Platonically or realistically. Platonic legal finality is where disputes are settled beyond the chance of any further possible raising of them, that at a certain point there is simply nothing you can do to push the issue any further, it is just over and done, once and for all. Realist legal finality is where disputes, in practice, do fairly reliably get brought to an end, that, by and large, most of the time, people have a strong incentive not to keep raising it, that it is solved generally to the satisfaction of the people involved. There's no iron-clad guarantee, but it has the incentives to be fairly reliable in this regard.

So this distinction is important because the notion that a single monopolist government provides legal finality that a market-based legal order cannot relies on an equivocation between these two senses. It's certainly true that a market-based legal order lacks Platonic legal finality. But how is this any different from a single monopolist government? The point here is that there is no such thing as a "final authority" in this sense, not under limited government, dictatorship, anarchy, or the current US system. Not under capitalism, socialism, monarchy, theocracy, tribalism, there is no such thing anywhere on God's green earth. Defense services on the free market can never absolutely guarantee with absolute certainty that something is solved once and for all, forever, but neither can any single monopolist government, or any system possible or actual.

Legal finality is not the kind of concept can be subjected to hairsplitting over realist and Platonic versions. There is finality or there is not. What is Platonic about the "Platonic competition" Reisman identifies is the omission of actual competitors from the concept of competition. (See numbered page 425 in Capitalism). Legal finality means nothing other than that each individual case has a resolution available to it, an end to the proceedings. Leaving the matter open until all the parties are exhausted which creates a de facto end to a case is a subjective standard, the subjectivity being "which of the participants is the most stubborn or has the most money?". That has nothing to do with justice based on rights. Dueling with pistols at twenty paces also creates a realist finality, but a combat between disputants is the ultimate in subjective dispute resolution methods.

Take the case where if we have dispute, the court decides in your favor, so I appeal all the way to the Supreme Court, they decide in your favor too. Are my options over? No, I can go to Congress and try to get a new law passed,

Ex post facto laws and bills of attainder are deprecated world wide to varying degress, and in the U.S. are flatly unconstitutional and forbidden to both Congress and the states.

or a new constitutional amendment passed,

This is going outside the legal system and won't effect the final judgment of your legal dispute but at most render it moot (ex: a slave petitions for freedom and loses, yet still becomes free when the 13th amendment goes into effect.)

or try to get new Supreme Court judges appointed that are more favorable to my point of view,

A political dispute, not a legal one. At any rate, the same case will not be heard twice because double jeopardy is prohibited by the fifth amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This will not help your particular case.

I can start a massive media campaign, or public information campaign, start a protest movement, write books, go on TV, practice civil disobedience, etc.

All that extra-legal struggling will never have any effect whatsoever on the final legal outcome of your case because of the prohibitions on ex post facto laws and double jeopardy.

Sovereignty does not reside at any single point in the governmental structure, any ruling by one part can in principle be appealed, or overruled, or simply ignored, by another. I can elect a different President, but he can also be impeached. I can vote in a new Congress. Or at the very most, I can foment a revolution and overthrow the government. There are always things I can do. What are the chances of success of these things might be more or less depending on the situation. Of course, it all depends on the situation, on the state of public opinion, etc. no different from a market legal system.

None of "these things" fall within the bounds of the judicial legal system. You are literally at the level of equating "sex, cigars, and Jesus Christ" as circular (from the example given in OPAR).

Now I have no idea what you are saying here. What do you mean "derive from"? Do you mean, "is compatible with"?

No, I mean a market cannot police itself. A merchant's law is inadequate to punish murderers or thieves.

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2046 and the other anarchists on this list are barking up the wrong tree. After listing all the things that can be done to settle an injustice brought upon you by the current legal system, you claim that is not enough. There would be no such guarantees under anarchy, since there would be no governing authority. Grames pointed out all the legal authorities that would render your quest moot for a given particular case; though, of course, it could be thrown out if the laws change -- i.e if illicit drugs were legalized tomorrow, they may well go and release everyone not committing a violent crime with regard to those drugs usage / selling.

There is no way to change some of the injustices until the basic philosophy of the country changes and we have freedom once again. In the mean time, be careful of what laws you break that you think are unjust. But anarchy comes down to whoever has the most ruthless force agency, who would take over and install a dictatorship.

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This attempt to understand the argument is not wrong but it falls short of realizing the full scope of the problem. There are such things as crimes, for which no mere reassignment of property is a proper response. The lex mercatoria was silent on murder.

Sorry I didn't respond to something you never mentioned. Okay. Yes, there is much more to be said on the topic. I think it would be strange if you were saying that we can't figure out the proper response to a crime, e.g. murder is. Nobody claimed otherwise with regard to the law merchant, I'm pretty sure I just used it as an example of a uniform market-produced law system in response to inadequately uniform government-produced law system.

Legal finality is not the kind of concept can be subjected to hairsplitting over realist and Platonic versions. There is finality or there is not. What is Platonic about the "Platonic competition" Reisman identifies is the omission of actual competitors from the concept of competition. (See numbered page 425 in Capitalism). Legal finality means nothing other than that each individual case has a resolution available to it, an end to the proceedings. Leaving the matter open until all the parties are exhausted which creates a de facto end to a case is a subjective standard, the subjectivity being "which of the participants is the most stubborn or has the most money?". That has nothing to do with justice based on rights. Dueling with pistols at twenty paces also creates a realist finality, but a combat between disputants is the ultimate in subjective dispute resolution methods.

This amounts to another mere assertion that misses the point entirely. Nobody is saying that we ought to "leave the matter open" until it is settled by "exhaustion," "stubbornness," or "who has the most money," the point is that no system whatsoever can provide some kind of transcendental finality apart from the actual existing institutions in society in which people engage in. If someone is not exhausted, or is stubborn, or has lots of money to spend on advancing a cause, then there is nothing outside of these institutions and patterns to stop them. There is nothing magical about legal finality. So there's no difference in what you complain about between now or under any other possible or actual system in existence.

Ex post facto laws and bills of attainder are deprecated world wide to varying degress, and in the U.S. are flatly unconstitutional and forbidden to both Congress and the states.

You can change the Constitution.

This is going outside the legal system and won't effect the final judgment of your legal dispute but at most render it moot (ex: a slave petitions for freedom and loses, yet still becomes free when the 13th amendment goes into effect.)

Changing the constitution doesn't count because it's "going outside of the legal system"? Last I checked, the Constitution provides within itself the means of changing it. So this sounds like an arbitrary moving of the goalposts.

A political dispute, not a legal one. At any rate, the same case will not be heard twice because double jeopardy is prohibited by the fifth amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This will not help your particular case.

Law doesn't exist in some Platonic realm, outside of the political system it is implemented by in the real world.

All that extra-legal struggling will never have any effect whatsoever on the final legal outcome of your case because of the prohibitions on ex post facto laws and double jeopardy.

You can change the Constitution.

None of "these things" fall within the bounds of the judicial legal system. You are literally at the level of equating "sex, cigars, and Jesus Christ" as circular (from the example given in OPAR).

Again see the previous three points.

No, I mean a market cannot police itself. A merchant's law is inadequate to punish murderers or thieves.

Bare assertions.
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2046 and the other anarchists on this list are barking up the wrong tree. After listing all the things that can be done to settle an injustice brought upon you by the current legal system, you claim that is not enough. There would be no such guarantees under anarchy, since there would be no governing authority. Grames pointed out all the legal authorities that would render your quest moot for a given particular case; though, of course, it could be thrown out if the laws change -- i.e if illicit drugs were legalized tomorrow, they may well go and release everyone not committing a violent crime with regard to those drugs usage / selling.

There is no way to change some of the injustices until the basic philosophy of the country changes and we have freedom once again. In the mean time, be careful of what laws you break that you think are unjust. But anarchy comes down to whoever has the most ruthless force agency, who would take over and install a dictatorship.

I'm sorry, I have no clue what you're saying here. What "all the other anarchists" what "list"? I claim what is not enough, about injustices? Huh? I claimed your argument wasn't enough, and I still don't see any attempt to respond in here. By the end here, you're just arguing from repetition. Who says there should be "no governing authority"? What about the points raised?
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Who says there should be "no governing authority"? What about the points raised?

Sorry if I wasn't clear, but your position and that of the other anarchists I have discussed this with on this forum and elsewhere are totally contradictory to your claim that there would be no government. No government, but there would be jurisdiction; no government, but there would be courts; no government, but the bad guys would be dealt with by the force of arms; no government, but there would be a governing authority; no government, but adequate protections against injustices being done by the force wielders; no government, but justice would be served; no government, but one could appeal decisions rendered by the blank out...etc, etc..., etc. I am tired of arguing with you and will no longer reply to you regarding the need for a government.

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Sorry if I wasn't clear, but your position and that of the other anarchists I have discussed this with on this forum and elsewhere are totally contradictory to your claim that there would be no government. No government, but there would be jurisdiction; no government, but there would be courts; no government, but the bad guys would be dealt with by the force of arms; no government, but there would be a governing authority; no government, but adequate protections against injustices being done by the force wielders; no government, but justice would be served; no government, but one could appeal decisions rendered by the blank out...etc, etc..., etc. I am tired of arguing with you and will no longer reply to you regarding the need for a government.

But you haven't demonstrated that any of that is contradictory. One could appeal decisions rendered by the... courts? Why did you write blank out there? Why not make an effort to understand the position? I don't get it...
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So, the need for it to be ultimately a monopoly on the use of force is so that one knows what one is dealing with and doesn't have to worry about check-points at every crossroads.

This response here seems to bet merely suggesting that a market for justice would be inefficient. For one, you do seem to be discussing the matter as though it *is* a market, rather than establishing that it doesn't matter how efficient it might be, it's still a bad choice. You mention running into hundreds of potential agencies of force, which I grant might occur. But then you mention also that you'd have to deal with a variety of rules and regulations. That's not really a good point, because you practically described the Internet. How is it that you can get to work (if you work remotely) if there are hundreds of thousands protocols of communication possible? I find it fascinating how standards do arise in such situations so that people are able to cooperate efficiently. History of the Internet would suggest that if you want efficiency, there should not be a government monopoly. So, what you explained is wholly unconvincing. Why do you *need* a government monopoly on force to ensure that there can only be one standard in place, established by the government. The Internet works fine, even if you and I are using *completely* different software or even hardware.

I want to understand the topic better, but that sort of response doesn't help much.

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History of the Internet would suggest that if you want efficiency, there should not be a government monopoly. So, what you explained is wholly unconvincing. Why do you *need* a government monopoly on force to ensure that there can only be one standard in place, established by the government. The Internet works fine, even if you and I are using *completely* different software or even hardware. I want to understand the topic better, but that sort of response doesn't help much.

A market place of voluntary cooperation is definitely more efficient than a government run monopoly, and that is why I am for capitalism. Capitalism makes it possible for people to cooperate voluntarily, which works well in the market place. The problem with having a "free market" of force is that we are talking about force, and one does not want there to be a free market of force -- of different agencies of force competing with one another, because the standard would not be individual rights, but rather he who wields the most force wins. This is why force must be keep under objective control -- which, as I have said before -- the use of force must be spelled out ahead of time and must be carefully watched and controlled, which means a monopoly on force so that one can deal with it. If you want a free market when it comes to justice, then presenting the right ideas of how to best uphold individual rights is that market place. In other words, one can challenge certain laws and present ideas as to how to best control the force wielders. Also, being a lawyer is a free market, and writing court briefs for court rulings, etc. But having hundreds if not thousands of agencies of force that one has to deal with, as you concede could happen, would be a nightmare.

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because the standard would not be individual rights, but rather he who wields the most force wins. This is why force must be keep under objective control -- which, as I have said before -- the use of force must be spelled out ahead of time and must be carefully watched and controlled, which means a monopoly on force so that one can deal with it.

You seem to be ignoring outright the points presented against this case, and just repeating your point over and over without responding. We are not saying:

1. That the standard should not be individual rights.

2. That he who has the most force should win.

3. That force should not be kept under objective control.

4. That the use of force should not be spelled out before hand.

5. That the use of force should not be carefully watched and controlled.

I don't know why you keep repeating these points as if we're denying them. We have just said that:

1. You have not proven (or even attempted a proof) why these things necessitate a single monopolist government.

2. That you have not proven (or even attempted a proof) why these things cannot be produced on the market.

You have simply stated that the market can't produce them, and therefore there would be gang warfare. We get it already. Let me spell it out, and you can correct me where I have framed the debate wrongly:

The objection is that defense services on the market are incompatible with objective law. Critics envision that a patchwork of competing agencies will be clashing and chaotic because each will have its own set of standards and procedures. Without one single government to impose a uniform set of reliable and just procedures, then these critics foresee that there will be various criminal bands imposing force on people unpredictably according to nothing by pure whim.

The argument is like this:

1. Individual rights require objective law (a premise supplied by Objectivist ethics and politics.)

2. Markets can't produce objective law (an un-supported assertion.)

3. Therefore there must be a single monopolist government to protect individual rights.

We do not reject or object to premise (1). We are simply arguing over premise (2). It's not like you have to agree with these projections of chaos and gang warfare and then say, because I'm an amoral nihilist of some sort, I simply just do advocate gang warfare and whim-worship. Surely there are "various and sundry anarchists" who advocate whim-worship and all kinds of nonsense, and surely these anarchists would be in opposition to Objectivism. But that doesn't prove the case against defense services on the market, because it's not like that's the only position you can take. Specifically, there are advocates of market-based defense services who don't oppose objective law, who don't oppose legal uniformity, who do want reliable and just procedures to place the use of retaliatory force under objective control. They disagree that the market can't provide objective law, and they see a single monopolist government as problematic for this kind of law. Unless you deal with their responses and objections, then it will be difficult for the Objectivist case for limited government to succeed.

I mean, this is like various leftists' arguments for government regulation:

1. Standards of safety and quality are required for goods and services (an premise based on the desirability of the general health and welfare of people, totally compatible with Objectivist ethics.)

2. The market cannot produce standards of safety and quality (an un-supported assertion.)

3. Therefore government has to step in and regulate business.

How do we Objectivists usually respond to this? We don't deny premise (1), that people should just ingest un-safe food and products and just shut up and like it. No, we challenge premise (2), we point out that regulations aren't necessary to obtain standards of safety and quality, and that people are held responsible for damaging others' property or person. I'm just exploring that premise (2) here, and asking, can the market produce objective law? It would seem that if it can, then the "there will be gang warfare" argument fails because it is predicated on there not being objective law. So you can't use that to explain why there wouldn't be objective law, because that is the premise that it depends on, and thus it would be circular. Does this clear things up, or are we just going to get argument from repetition again?

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But having hundreds if not thousands of agencies of force that one has to deal with, as you concede could happen, would be a nightmare.

Same could be said about if the food industry were no longer government regulated. There could be hundreds if not thousands of agencies of food inspection! Imagine if roads were fully privatized. You could pass hundreds if not thousands of privately owned roads on your way to work, with varying traffic rules. There could be roadblocks between each road! This would be chaos. Therefore, roads should be run by a government monopoly.

Edited by Eiuol
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Sorry I didn't respond to something you never mentioned. Okay. Yes, there is much more to be said on the topic. I think it would be strange if you were saying that we can't figure out the proper response to a crime, e.g. murder is. Nobody claimed otherwise with regard to the law merchant, I'm pretty sure I just used it as an example of a uniform market-produced law system in response to inadequately uniform government-produced law system.

People disagree about the proper response to all sorts of crimes. Should there be a death penalty? Where should the boundary be between felonies and misdemeanors? The way this is currently sorted out is that differing legal systems have separate geographical jurisdictions, and the governing set of laws is determined by the location at which the crime is committed. Any other way of doing it contradicts the principle of equality before the law by creating classes and castes of people to whom different laws apply.

This amounts to another mere assertion that misses the point entirely. Nobody is saying that we ought to "leave the matter open" until it is settled by "exhaustion," "stubbornness," or "who has the most money,"

Yes, you are. It is implicit in the very premise of multiple legal systems whether you acknowledge it or not, and even whether you understand it or not.

the point is that no system whatsoever can provide some kind of transcendental finality apart from the actual existing institutions in society in which people engage in. If someone is not exhausted, or is stubborn, or has lots of money to spend on advancing a cause, then there is nothing outside of these institutions and patterns to stop them.

Precisely. Which is why there should be made to exist such an institution—a single legal system—in a geographical area. Multiple legal systems is the opposite and makes impossible the objective resolution of any dispute, all disputes go on until subjective exhaustion is reached.

There is nothing magical about legal finality.

There is nothing Platonic about it either.

So there's no difference in what you complain about between now or under any other possible or actual system in existence.

I think you are here denying there is such a thing as legal finality. But it does exist, we have it here in the U.S. today. It has not always existed in other places or other times in history, so there must be conditions for it to be possible. Those conditions are the difference. One such condition is the abolition of the monarchy (or at least its power) and titles of aristocracy.

Speaking of aristocracy, forming an aristocracy would be the immediate effect of bringing about "one law for me, another for thee". It happens even before the civil war breaks out.

You can change the Constitution.

The prohibition on ex post facto laws is there for a damn good reason. Any constitution that would contemplate not banning them is utterly disregarding the principle of objective law. When you casually toss such bombs around it makes me think you are arguing for arguments sake and not in favor of objective law.

Under objective law as described by Ayn Rand "All laws must be objective (and objectively justifiable): men must know clearly, and in advance of taking an action, what the law forbids them to do (and why), what constitutes a crime and what penalty they will incur if they commit it." An ex post facto law is a retroactive law: even if you know what the law is today and comply with it, it is possible tomorrow that the law will change and make you a criminal for what you did yesterday.

The ban on ex post facto laws is an example of a meta-law: it is a law over the lawmakers. If there are multiple governments sharing a geographical area then which or who gets to enforce the law on the lawmakers? No one, or rather whoever can by force of arms.

Changing the constitution doesn't count because it's "going outside of the legal system"? Last I checked, the Constitution provides within itself the means of changing it. So this sounds like an arbitrary moving of the goalposts.

Constitutional law creates the legal system by specifying how the legislative, judicial and executive functions of government are to be implemented.

Law doesn't exist in some Platonic realm, outside of the political system it is implemented by in the real world.

Law is within the category of politics, and yet is not the whole of it.

You can change the Constitution.

If you want to get rid of constitutional bans on ex post facto laws, bills of attainder and double jeopardy then you do not actually know the concrete measures that implement objective law and make it possible. You cannot without contradiction maintain that you are in favor of objective law and also be against any means for enforcing laws against non-objective laws.

Bare assertions.

What is with this "assertions" crap? Can't you remember two posts back? Markets are voluntary, governments are all about involuntary enforcement. Because they operate on contradictory principles they not compatible. People need both and neither is hierarchically before the other.

The topic of the thread is specifically government and capitalism, not just government and markets. For the abstractions of capitalism to exist (corporations and limited legal liability, mass capital formation, widespread rule of law making it possible to trust strangers with your money) a government is chronologically required to exist first.

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People disagree about the proper response to all sorts of crimes. Should there be a death penalty? Where should the boundary be between felonies and misdemeanors? The way this is currently sorted out is that differing legal systems have separate geographical jurisdictions, and the governing set of laws is determined by the location at which the crime is committed. Any other way of doing it contradicts the principle of equality before the law by creating classes and castes of people to whom different laws apply.

This is a good point, and I'm glad you brought it up because that affords us an opportunity to address this as another faulty argument often used in these debates. Let's call this the "people disagree" argument, and I'm going to have two responses to it. The first one is going to be an extension of what I've already been saying in regards the accusations that there would be lack of legal uniformity on the market, the second one will attempt to show that the conclusion isn't necessary on its own grounds. This is something that was also used by Locke in his critique of the "inconveniences of the state of nature" and why we should form a government, which seems to have been influential on Rand. So it goes something like this:

If you don't have a single monopoly government, then everyone is just sort of free to going around and impose their own interpretations of justice, and things won't be equally applied, and this requirement of objectivity is breached. People, after all, do have different interpretations of justice, people disagree about what crimes should be, and also the proper response to all sorts of crimes. People have different interpretations of the natural law, says Locke, or different interpretations of what is permissible to do. Even when people can sort of grasp intuitively the general principles, like murder is a crime, theft is a crime, beating someone over the head is wrong and should be punished, etc. or even when people do have a rational understanding of the natural law, people still disagree about how to apply them. After all, just look at this forum. People here may agree on general principles, but don't ever seem to agree on how to apply them. So therefore, this is a problem with a market-based legal order, which having a single monopoly legislature is designed to fix.

So the worry is that competing providers of legal services in a market legal order will have conflicting interpretations of justice. Do we have to deny this in our response? No, no doubt they will. Certainly this is a pervasive feature of the human condition. But how is this different from a single monopoly government? Having differing opinions of the requirements of justice is part and parcel of human nature, as Locke himself demonstrated in his Letters Concerning Toleration, since the answers to these things aren't self-evident, or given to us by a pure rational intuition from the noumenal self, or what have you. That's going to be true of a market-based legal system, and it's also going to be true under a single monopoly government. Ordinarily, the people in government, the people administering the monopoly system, will disagree with each other about the interpretations of justice. It seems pretty clear that not everyone in the US government is unanimous on interpretations of justice. But also amongst the American people, they all still have differing interpretations of justice. So how exactly is this any different? The whole point of having a constitutionally limited government, with checks and balances, is that the agents who administer the system will have conflicting interpretations of justice. There would be no point in having distinct branches of government limiting each other, or having the people limit the government through the franchise, if unanimity on questions of justice could be expected. So it's not as though there cease to be differing interpretations of justice under a single monopoly government.

But we might imagine the response being, well sure, but there's a way of dealing with them under a single monopoly government. Under our system, we have a series of constitutional restraints, you have various checks and balances and so forth. Certainly. But why do you assume that's not the case under a market-based legal order? Under a market-based legal order there are constitutional restraints, and various checks and balances too, that is, there are various institutions and incentives for people to do things. The point of constitutional design is that the government is supposed to be structured in such a way that people have an incentive to work together and reach some reasonable solution rather than fighting it out when they have differing interpretations of justice. So there are also incentives in a market-based legal order for people to work together peacefully rather than fighting it out. In fact, you could argue that they have more incentive, because with defense services being provided on the free market, it's harder for anyone to externalize their costs, thus people are less likely to choose violent conflict instead of coming to a consensus.

So a market-based legal system should not be seen as the absence of a government, or governance, or law, or order, or separation of powers, or checks and balances, but the market legal order should be seen as a kind of constitutionalism. When we speak of constitutional restraints we are presumably not talking merely of words written on a piece of paper. Such paper prohibitions are neither necessary (look at Britain) nor sufficient (look at Soviet Russia) for actually operative constitutional restraints. What matters is a nation's 'constitution' in the original sense of the actual institutions, practices, and incentive structures that are in place. So a constitution in that sense has no existence independent of the actual behavior and interactions of actual human beings. The Platonic illusion I referred to is the habit of thinking of "separations of powers," and "checks and balances," as though these structures existed in their own right, as "external limitations" on society as a whole. But in fact those structures exist only insofar as they are continually maintained in existence by human agents acting in certain systematic ways. A constitution is not some impersonal, miraculously self-enforcing robot. It's an ongoing pattern of behavior, and it persists only so long as human agents continue to conform to that pattern in their actions. In both market defense and limited government, then, the working of the system will involve different parties trying to enact their several conceptions of justice. The best system is not one that eliminates such conflict, since no system can eliminate it, but one that does the best job of providing its constituent agents with an incentive to resolve their disputes 1) peacefully, and 2) in a manner consistent with individual rights. The question is which does a better job of this: markets or governments? Regarding the assumption that there would be less legal uniformity on the market than with a single monopoly government, we can refer back to my previous posts, and to Eiuol's post.

Now there is also another objection to consider against the "people disagree" argument. So let's go back to the original complaint. People are all patronizing different defense agencies on the market, the problem is that people have different views. Like you mention, some people believe in the death penalty, some people think abortion is murder, some people think that if you violate certain religious laws you should get your hand chopped off, etc. So you've got all these defense agencies trying to enforce incompatible codes of law. Now perhaps you find the argument above persuasive, and grant that yes, okay there are economic and legal incentives not to just be fighting it out constantly, that as a matter of prudence people would not necessarily just resort to shooting each other all the time. But there would be no stable rule of law, it would be an arbitrary environment then. And there would just be various groups, maybe not attacking each other, but this still wouldn't be a nice world to live in. Instead, let's form a limited government where we all agree that, yes we have these differing views of what justice and a just society looks like, but where we have these periodic elections, and we all agree that as long as the democratic process is fair, and basic liberties are secured, that we will abide by the results and try to build a consensus. And if people don't like it, they can try to elect somebody else the next cycle. Sounds fair, right? We're just going to not use violence to solve our problems, but we're going to just form this single institution and work things out by letting people at separate geographic locations vote, and have this federated legal structure, and so forth, and that's why we should form a limited constitutional government of the sort we currently have, or at least were intended to have.

Well what's wrong with this then? What I'm going to counter-argue then, is that if you have a society that is capable of doing that (even though let's be clear that no government ever emerged in that kind of nice, peaceful and voluntary fashion, but that's a side-point), but if they are capable of doing that, then why are the same people in a market-based legal order going to patronizing such defense agencies that will just be shooting it out constantly? After all, the defense services on the free market just respond to consumer demand. So if you're willing to say: Okay yes, we have different views from each other, you may think abortion is murder, I may think prohibitions on abortion amount to legalized rape, but I'm not going to physically attack you and hire people to shoot you down, so let's just be reasonable and settle this at the ballot box. If you're that reasonable of a person, then it's unclear why resort to a single monopoly government is necessary. A society that can settle things peacefully through the ballot box, even though there may be disagreements on some issues, why couldn't they also do the same thing through the market, where there's also not all the other problems that comes along with democracy? If the vast majority of individuals can agree that they should settle these issues not through arbitrary uses of force, but rather through various generally agreed-upon sets of orderly procedures (such as is provided by periodic elections), if this does indeed describe a particular population, why would we expect such people, as consumers, to patronize defense agencies that routinely used arbitrary force? Why wouldn’t the vast bulk of reasonable customers patronize defense agencies that subjected their disputes to various generally agreed-upon sets of orderly procedures, such as interlocking arbitration agreements? Why wouldn’t the market-based constitutional framework function as an orderly mechanism to settle matters of different views of justice, whereas having one single state that decides for everybody would? Doesn't seem to make sense on its own grounds.

Yes, you are. It is implicit in the very premise of multiple legal systems whether you acknowledge it or not, and even whether you understand it or not.
But this isn't an argument. I certainly am not aware of implying "matters should be left open until everyone is exhausted." I'm pretty sure I explicitly said the exact opposite. Saying "yes, you are" isn't an argument, so this doesn't help us.

Precisely. Which is why there should be made to exist such an institution—a single legal system—in a geographical area. Multiple legal systems is the opposite and makes impossible the objective resolution of any dispute, all disputes go on until subjective exhaustion is reached.

My whole argument was to show that this is a non sequitur. Your two sentences here, again, don't help us. Let us focus in on this, because I think this might be a fruitful area to advance the discussion.

What you're saying is this:

1. No system whatsoever can provide some kind of transcendental finality apart from the actual existing institutions in society in which people engage in. If someone is not exhausted, or is stubborn, or has lots of money to spend on advancing a cause, then there is nothing outside of these institutions and patterns to stop them.

2. There should be made to exist such an institution (or institutions.)

3. That institution should be (or must be) "a single legal system—in a geographical area" or a single monopoly government.

Here I am not disagreeing with (1) or (2), I am saying (3) is a non sequitur and has not been shown to follow from (1) and (2). What do I think is the source of this jumping to a conclusion that isn't necessitated by its premises? I think there is an unmentioned minor premise, maybe we can call it (2b), and that is something like this: If we have a government and we decree henceforth "we guarantee X," then X will be so. Whereas if we don't, then X won't be so. Thus, the conclusion will be that (3) is the only way of guaranteeing (1). After all, either we "guarantee it," or we "leave it open," right? Either we "guarantee it" or we leave it up to "exhaustion," "stubbornness," or "who has the most money," i.e. some kind of haphazard, random process.

If we look at this more broadly, the notion of a "guarantee" granted by a single monopoly legal system that there will be legal finality, and anything less will lack it, depends on a kind of magical view of government. (I don't mean here just to invoke ordinary mysticism for rhetorical effect, I mean literally an "incantional" view of government, as in a kind of "alakazam, let it be so," view of government.) Ordinarily this is not a failing of Objectivists or libertarians, but a failing of statists that we all are eager to jump on in any other context and point out. Often when statists complain about any Objectivist or free market solution to anything, e.g. "Who will build the roads?" "Who will help the poor?" "Who will fix the schools?" and so forth, there is the assumption that the government "guarantees" certain things will happen because, after all, the government passes laws and decrees that say "this shall be so," as though its saying-so is what made it happen. And so you often hear people say, okay, well maybe under an Objectivist or libertarian system, some combination of private enterprise and private charity would get rid of the problem of poverty, but there's no guarantee that will happen. Whereas, if you have a government where the poor have a "right" to welfare, then there's a guarantee.

But the question is, what are they picturing here? I mean, the government can guarantee something and yet it doesn't happen. The government has been guaranteeing help for the poor for quite a while, so if there's still a poverty problem, is it just that they haven't issued the right guarantees? Maybe they just haven't worded the laws correctly, or something? But there's this assumption first of all, that says something is guaranteed to happen if the government says so, and it won't happen if the government doesn't say so. But, as we point out in these arguments, there's no reason to believe that is the case.

As I explain in that selection you quoted, the government isn't something apart from the people in it. So, as we often say, we will "leave something up to the market," i.e. we leave something up to a variety of imperfect people with various incentives to do various things. If we "leave it up to the government" we also leave it up to a variety of imperfect people with various incentives to do various things. The notion is fallacious that the law or the government occupies some Archimedean point outside the patterns of social activity that it constrains, when of course it is actually constituted by such patterns. So the question is not "Shall we 'guarantee it,' or shall we leave it up to this haphazard random process?" The question is that, given that there is no and can never be any kind of Platonic "guaranteeing it," then these two ways of handling it both have something in common (they're both just people doing things with whatever framework of incentives and institutions they have), then you just have to ask which incentives are more reliable, and to make differentiations on "better or worse."

Both will have realist legal finality, and both will come with various other consequences, and so, the typical argument against coercive monopolies that plays out in any other scenario applies here, there are a lot of reasons to think that the incentives of a coercive monopoly judge in all cases is less reliable to the ends given, e.g. just the fact of having a coercive monopoly means that you are insulated from certain kinds of negative feedback of your decisions. If your customers can't go anywhere else, then you lack certain reasons for keeping things efficient, keeping prices low, keeping your behavior in line, etc., that the customer-base loses to the extent that it is a captive customer-base, and all the consequences that follow from that. Is the market perfect? No, again this Platonic ideal is denied to us. But that the point is that legal finality, or any kind of social cooperation, doesn’t in fact require a government "external to the participants," because there cannot be such a thing as a social institution of any sort existing "external to the participants," thus there is no reason why if realist legal finality is available to a government, then it isn't denied to market-based legal order either.

I think you are here denying there is such a thing as legal finality. But it does exist, we have it here in the U.S. today. It has not always existed in other places or other times in history, so there must be conditions for it to be possible. Those conditions are the difference.

I am denying any legal finality? Maybe you didn't read this paragraph from before:

So government does for the most part provide realist legal finality, and I'm not going to for the most part be motivated to do a lot of these things, and they get solved well enough. So what is possible in the real world is that an existing pattern of institutions and practices proves stable and self-reinforcing, that people act in ways that give one another an incentive to keep cooperating, for the most part. Certainly no legal system can function unless most disputes end up getting practically resolved one way or another, we're not disputing that. What I'm saying is that in real world legal systems (monopolist or competitive), most disputes do not go unresolved forever, not because there is some Platonic "final authority," but because the patterns of activity in which most of the participants engage or acquiesce don’t allow the indefinite continuation of disputes. This sort of legal finality is compatible with defense services on the market.

One such condition is the abolition of the monarchy (or at least its power) and titles of aristocracy.

Speaking of aristocracy, forming an aristocracy would be the immediate effect of bringing about "one law for me, another for thee". It happens even before the civil war breaks out.

Good thing no one's saying anything like that. But good knock-down of that straw man. Now if I wanted to follow in the Grames tradition of making unsupported conclusions I would say this: You didn't get rid of "one law for thee, another for me" in your transition from monarchy to democracy.

The prohibition on ex post facto laws is there for a damn good reason. Any constitution that would contemplate not banning them is utterly disregarding the principle of objective law. When you casually toss such bombs around it makes me think you are arguing for arguments sake and not in favor of objective law.

Under objective law as described by Ayn Rand "All laws must be objective (and objectively justifiable): men must know clearly, and in advance of taking an action, what the law forbids them to do (and why), what constitutes a crime and what penalty they will incur if they commit it." An ex post facto law is a retroactive law: even if you know what the law is today and comply with it, it is possible tomorrow that the law will change and make you a criminal for what you did yesterday.

The ban on ex post facto laws is an example of a meta-law: it is a law over the lawmakers. If there are multiple governments sharing a geographical area then which or who gets to enforce the law on the lawmakers? No one, or rather whoever can by force of arms.

[...]

If you want to get rid of constitutional bans on ex post facto laws, bills of attainder and double jeopardy then you do not actually know the concrete measures that implement objective law and make it possible. You cannot without contradiction maintain that you are in favor of objective law and also be against any means for enforcing laws against non-objective laws.

What in the world are you going on about here? Please point out where I said I wanted to get rid of any of these things, or that we ought to. The point is in regards legal finality, that no "final authority" in the Platonic sense exists, and that we don't need a monopoly government in order to have realist legal finality, that most disputes do not go unresolved forever, not because there is a “final arbiter,” but because the patterns of activity in which most of the participants engage or acquiesce don’t allow the indefinite continuation of disputes, and that there's nothing that precludes free market defense from this kind of realist legal finality. I used the illustration that there is always something we can do, even in the present system. One example of such a thing was that we can change the Constitution, but that the success of these things depends on the incentives and the structures of the institutions the legal and political order is made up of. I never said I wanted to get rid of bans on ex post facto laws, bills of attainder, and double jeopardy, or that we ought to, or that the legal order of a free society should do that. Are you just not paying any attention, or do you think attacking straw men like this helps your case? I literally do not think I have ever had any debate with you where you didn't jump to some far out conclusion and start hacking away at some straw man. I mean, I am honestly reproducing all your arguments (you know that is the only way to actually rebut a point, right?) so why should I be treated differently?

What is with this "assertions" crap? Can't you remember two posts back?
Well, for some reason, you seem to like posting one or two sentence responses in the form of conclusions without showing us how you arrived at them. You do this quite often in other threads too. You do know that these kinds of things don't count as arguments, right? Yes, I can remember two posts back, but you apparently decided to cut off in your quotation the entire section where I responded to that point, and just reproduced your conclusion without explanation. Okay, but that's not an argument.

Markets are voluntary, governments are all about involuntary enforcement. Because they operate on contradictory principles they not compatible. People need both and neither is hierarchically before the other.

The topic of the thread is specifically government and capitalism, not just government and markets. For the abstractions of capitalism to exist (corporations and limited legal liability, mass capital formation, widespread rule of law making it possible to trust strangers with your money) a government is chronologically required to exist first.

See this is a great example of an unsupported assertion. Why is a single monopoly government chronologically required? We don't know, we just know the conclusion: that it is, that capitalism can't exist without a monopoly government, and that's it. That's all we're told here. I'm sure you have a good reason for it. I just don't want to take it on faith, I'm sure you'll accept my apologies for not wanting to do that. But since that is what the thread was designed to discuss, maybe you'll let us in on all the supporting premises of that conclusion? In any event, since it's not the first time that argument (the "a government is chronologically and/or conceptually required in order to have a free market" argument) was raised in this thread by both Trebor and Thomas vis-a-vis the Binswanger article, and I already posted the objection to it, maybe you'll respond to that instead of repeating unsupported conclusions.
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One thing you anarchists are evading, aside from the fact that everything you describe as would supposedly happen under "anarcho-capitalism" would be a government, is that there can be no market for force -- that force and trade are opposites. One does not trade value for value when one kills a hold-up man aiming a gun at oneself saying your money or your life. You, as the victim, gain nothing by killing the hold-up man. A "market of force agencies" means that you are attempting to say that counter-force is adding a value to your life. Yes, it is something that has to be paid for, but it is not the gaining of a value, but rather the expenditure of resources to protect oneself and to kill hold-up men, while gaining no value in return, since one has no more values added to one's possession after killing the hold-up man. This is contrary to a market place, where value for value is exchanged, and one gains a value in the trade by one's estimation.

Besides, the only rational form of justice is an eye for an eye -- of using force against force in a specific manner to eradicate the force wielder initiating force equal to the values loss during the initiation of force. One doesn't nuke everyone, and one doesn't just fine everyone. And the application of this counter-force has to be carefully controlled to insure justice and that it is only used against force wielders. If there were hundreds of agencies of force that one would have to deal with on a daily basis, one would have to argue or persuade every one of them regarding issues of justice; or if they got out of control, then one would have to fight every one of them with force in order to protect oneself from them. So, having ultimately only one agency of force to deal with is actually a virtue when it comes to issues of justice. You can deal with that one agency and be done with it, without having to appeal to dozens or hundreds of such agencies in one's daily life; which makes it very efficient, in the long-run.

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One thing you anarchists are evading

I presume "you anarchists" included me, but I don't take that position. Arguing against your points doesn't mean I disagree with your conclusion.

You never addressed my point that there really isn't any reason to suspect there would be chaos. Any system develops standards that allows multiple participants to cooperate. If there was some sort of anarcho-capitalist society, I do think standards would develop. Why would that still be wrong? If there were only two agencies, that wouldn't be very chaotic, would it?

I'd rather explore what could go wrong if you presume standards could exist and all that other stuff which would exist in markets. I have no reason to discuss the *efficiency* of having a market on force-wielding. I haven't read all of the above posts, but I think it was mentioned that absolute finality to judicial decisions is important. With competing agencies of justice, there isn't any kind of point to literally lay down the law. In a sense, justice would end up being a matter of consenting, because if you didn't like the decision, there would *probably* be one agency out there who would back you up and try to get you a preferable decision. I'm not saying war would occur, I only mean to imply justice won't be carried out. A government gets around all that, and would have to operate differently than a market. The government would make an absolute point where justice *must* be carried out regardless of anyone's consent or satisfaction.

Edited by Eiuol
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