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Capitalism and the Proper Role of Government

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Well, yes, but we all have different interpretations of what that is, is the whole point. Does he then reject limited government and want an "Objectivist dictatorship" then, with EC as the sole interpreter of the objective understanding of justice?

Nope. I want Laissez-Faire Capitalism as it has been properly defined, and think that it should be the law of the land regardless of anyone's opinion on the matter including my own. Please stop with the straw-man attacks on what I have been saying.

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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

Enforcement doesn't (necessarily) imply violence. It implies submission or compliance ("ensuring observance of or obedience to.") The purpose of the executive function of a legal order is to ensure submission and compliance both to the judicial process itself and with its verdicts. This can be done by a variety of means and may or may not include violence as one of them. Fact that they were deprived of that method by the very institution I am criticizing doesn't seem to pose too much of a problem for my argument.

I think enforcement DOES necessarily imply force. I'm not sure I see how "enforcement" implies submission or compliance. They are on the other side of the equation, so to speak. Enforcement seeks submission and compliance, but submission or compliance comes from the side that is the target of the enforcement. The "stick" (force) is always present as a result of not complying.

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There is a big difference between a trade association and governance -- there is no force involved in a trade association whereas there is force involved in a legal code or governance. When a company voluntarily agrees to abide by the TC/P IP protocols in order to have access to a network of computers, this is strictly voluntary and the network is not using force when preventing non-compliant companies from using their network. The network is private property, and they can set the terms of using their network. If a company does not want to comply with the TC/P IP protocols, they cannot us that network, but they can start their own network, and no force is involved. Those operating within the TC/P IP protocols cannot force non-compliant companies or individuals to comply or go to jail. With compliance with the law is involved, force is always at root. Not complying with the law means severe punishments, such as fines or jail time if one does not comply. And one is not free to opt out of a legal code whereas one is free to opt out of a trade association.

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This misconstrues what I was saying in that paragraph. I was not asking whether a market legal system could do what limited government can do, and then just concluding that it could without reason. Here I was responding to the "people disagree" argument, and you are correct that this takes for granted defense services on the free market are possible.

But I get what you are saying. You are basically saying that in post #73 I have taken for granted that there could be such thing as defense services on the free market. It's desirability is not the question here, but the possibility of the system. You say it's a stolen concept because certain terms apply only to the context of a single monopoly government. And you're right that in most of post #73 I have taken for granted exactly that. But earlier in the discussion the "stolen concept" argument was addressed, as well as the "the free market presupposes a government" argument in #41. And you responded to that. But response consisted of admitting my point, then just repeating the original assertion without adding anything, then you started going on about mixed economies. I did address the issue of the meaning of "constitutionalism" and its applicability to a market legal system in #73 (5th paragraph.)

Yes, I understand that you were, in #73, responding to the "people disagree" argument.

If pigs could fly, they would, and they would thereby gain all of the advantages of being able to fly. Therefore pigs can fly? Or, even if they haven't yet, it is possible that they can? Or, at least, if we can imagine them flying, then it is possible that they can?

Yes, "in most of post #73 [you] have taken for granted exactly that ["that there could be such thing as defense services on the free market"]. That is begging the question.

No, you did not resolved the issue of the stolen concepts that you are depending on in #41. I did not concede what you conveniently seem to think that I conceded when I agreed with you that governments and markets evolve together - as opposed to some chicken or egg dilemma.

True, it is not the case that there first has to be a government that fully and consistently recognizes and protects rights and then and only then can a market come into existence. And it's not true that first there must exist a market, fully free (somehow), so that there is a means to provide for a government. Again, they evolve (and decline) together. They are mutually dependent. Some rights have to be at least implicitly recognized and protected to have a government (not a ruling gang) or a market in anything. If, and to the extent that there is no government that recognizes and protects individual rights, then there is not a market, nor can there be, to that extent - a market is a sphere of voluntary trade, and a market can only exist because its voluntary nature is protected. If rights are not recognized, respected and protected, there there is no market within that sphere. But that doesn't mean that there are no spheres where rights are recognized and protected, even implicitly, and within which therefore there are (or can be) markets, and therefore the means to support a government. We have a mixed economy. The point should be obvious. There is (still) a market for abortion services in this country. A few decades ago, there was not.

Your address of the issue of '"constitutionalism" and its applicability to a market legal system in #73 (5th paragraph)' is one of the concepts you are stealing. "Constitutionalism" - constitutional government - can exist without government because, well, it just can, it's desirable, it's possible, we can imagine it?

If you are going to argue for and give support for a "market" of "protection services," then you have to stop stealing concepts (markets, laws, law codes, countries, etc.) that only have meaning in the context of government, and you have to stop begging the question. "Have to" logically. The onus in on you. Your arguments will be DOA, but you have the right, and the logical obligation, to present them, something you've not yet done. Flesh it out (as Paul Birch did, even if his efforts do not satisfy you) just what you are arguing for, but, again, without stealing concepts and begging the question. Prove, attempt to prove, that you're not arguing for an arbitrary construct by grounding it in reality. You cannot do so, but at least it your effort would be a proper attempt as opposed to cashing in on concepts you have already rejected the basis for and on begging the question.

In #79 I did reply to the assertion that "there can be no such thing," and provided a concrete example of a market in defense services. This seems like a silly objection. We are talking about the division of labor as applied to protection. It is no different with a single monopolist government. There are various professionals, police officers, investigators, soldiers, judges and jurists, etc. Are you saying you literally can't imagine someone offering to someone else to protect them or defend them in exchange for a payment of some sort? Surely we can imagine this. If not, then I'm asking you to. That is all that is necessary. You can say we shouldn't do this with defense and protection services, but then now we are not talking about the possibility of this arrangement, we are talking about its desirability (including its workability), especially as compared with limited government, which you admit is the next step.

Sure, and I provided a concrete example of a "market" for aggression services.

"Division of labor" is stolen from the concept of market which presupposes a government that enables there to exist a market.

"It is no different with a single monopolist government." If pigs could fly...therefore they do fly.

"Police officers," "[law] investigators," "soldiers," "judges," and "jurists," "etc." - all stolen to conveniently apply to a context in which they do not and cannot apply. Sure, you can use the same words, but they would refer to completely different things: non-governmental, non-market players in something you might call a "society," or "country," etc, "voluntarily trading with others." All would exist in a "market" for "protection services" because...well because if we but try, we can imagine it?

"Imagining" offers you no argument. Disney could create a very imaginative cartoon with flying pigs (or elephants). So? It proves only that we can create things in our imagination that cannot exist in reality.

"Its desirability" assumes its "workability" - which presumably means its consistency with the principle of rights - and its "workability" presupposes reality. If one holds the facts of reality in mind, then its not even possible to imagine that someone could run off the edge of a canyon, stay suspended in mid-air for moments in defiance of gravity, fall hundreds or thousands of feet, smash into the canyon bottom, pancake flat, but then get up, dust themselves off and take chase again after the Road Runner, but Disney makes it happen in cartoons using imagination with Wile E. Coyote. It's cute; it's fun; it's imagination. But it is proof of nothing.

What I think is wrong with this question is you are not really saying "there can be no such thing" as in it would be an "arbitrary construct" if anyone could offer and exchange defense as a service. Obviously this is not arbitrary because you can perceptually see various exchanges happening, and then abstract out to various kinds of exchanges that could be made, and then isolate the various laws that prohibit certain exchanges from being made. So aside from the hyper-rationalistic "a free market presupposes government" that I address above, I think this argument is saying something different. What makes me think this is that you also asked in #123 right after you introduced this question, 'Has there ever been anything approximating what he thinks should be "competing protection agencies" with no government?' What I think this is saying is something more like objections offered in the past of human history to various other types of government. For instance, industrialized countries haven't been around all that long. There was a time when people said every civilized country (or just about every civilized country) is a monarchy. You will find people in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries saying: look, all the civilized countries are monarchies. Democracy would never work, there can be no such thing as a democracy. And by saying "there can be no such thing," they didn't mean they literally cannot imagine someone casting a ballot, and some other people counting them and then declaring a winner, etc. They just meant that it would have these various bad results in the long run, they just thought it would completely fall apart into chaos in a matter of months, etc. But then if you're going to say that, you have to provide a reason.

No, I am really saying, '"there can be no such thing" as in it [is] an "arbitrary construct"." Within a market (which requires government to exist) there can exist an exchange or market for defense services, such as private security services, etc, which do currently exist. But such services, just as do individuals when they resort to using force in self-defense, have to function within the law, are governed by law, by the government.

I don't know why you keep using "democracy" as though I (or others here) have suggested that it's the proper form of government. America was founded as a constitutional republic, not a democracy. There's no objective requirement that everyone, or even most, people think that something should be or should not be lawful. One is not required to convince a thief that he has no right to what he is stealing. One meets his initiated force with force in order to protect rights.

If you think that those who say that what you're advocating, so-called "anarcho-capitalism" are just short-sighted fools unwilling to open their eyes to the possibility of a "market in defense services," then what do you expect them to do? Take it on your word that such is possible, dismissing the contradictions, the arbitrary assertions? We all should accept the arbitrary as possible until and unless we can disprove it?

I think that a better analogy (as opposed to advocates of monarchy denying the possibility of a "workable" democracy) would be people saying that flight is not possible. Some did not agree that flight was impossible, for good reasons, and proved that flight was indeed possible.

Like it or not, the onus is on you. You will have to stop begging the question and stealing concepts and demonstrate that what you think to be possible is actually possible.

As far as Paul Birch, who by the way also supports the establishment of a state church (no I'm not claiming this is proof against his other positions, though that's more fairness than I have been afforded), several libertarians have already replied to his articles. He is basically also repeating the same point that have been replied to. He complains that there is no "final arbiter." He complains that "there will be no legal uniformity." He complains that there will be "absolute guarantee" of anything. He conflates uniformity on the market with a government and says then a government will re-emerge (thus contradicting his earlier claim that there would be no legal uniformity.) I have addressed these points already in this thread.

Yes, you're right that Birch supports the establishment of a state church is irrelevant.

And "several libertarians have already replied to his articles" is not an argument.

I pointed to Birch's articles because I saw that he at least attempted to flesh-out just what a "market" of "protection services" might be like, and I thought he did a rather good job and that it would help those involved in this discussion, if they were interested in reading them. (I've read David Friedman's book, The Machinery of Freedom, but many years ago and do not remember much of anything from it.)

Like it or not, you are stuck with the fact that there can be no market without government to protect rights. It is not that the problem is different interpretations of justice; it's a problem of different enforcement of different interpretations of justice. The problems with government are not the result of a lack of competition (of enforcement of different interpretations of justice), but a result of bad philosophy - just as the establishment of the United States of America was the result of good philosophical ideas. Politics depends on Ethics which depends on Metaphysics and Epistemology. There's no getting around that, and so the solution to the problems with government lies in philosophy, not in a "market for competing defense services."

And so we continue to go in circles.

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Enforcement doesn't (necessarily) imply violence. It implies submission or compliance ("ensuring observance of or obedience to.") The purpose of the executive function of a legal order is to ensure submission and compliance both to the judicial process itself and with its verdicts. This can be done by a variety of means and may or may not include violence as one of them. Fact that they were deprived of that method by the very institution I am criticizing doesn't seem to pose too much of a problem for my argument.

There is an insuperable problem here for this argument. It does not properly identify the referents of the concept of "force".

Being able to trade is beneficial. For the ostracized or the target of a boycott not being able to trade is detrimental. The refusal to deal with the target may even be described as retaliatory if it is in response to some action by the target. But a retaliatory and detrimental refusal to deal with the boycotted is not force, it is a negotiating position and attempt at persuasion which scrupulously respects the rights of everyone involved. It is an attempt to gain the consent of the target of the persuasion. Force and the threat of force is necessarily physical because physical force is the only way to compel a man to act without his consent.

In order to restore victims or to serve retribution in defense of rights it is necessary to use physical force or the threat of force on the initiator of force. A law defines what retribution or restoration corresponds to certain acts. A legal system is the collection of such laws and the methods used to try cases and the rules of evidence and appeal. A government puts a legal system into practice by supplying officials and officers with the physical ability to enforce the law over a specific bounded geographic area.

Force is not synonymous with violence because there is indirect force. Indirect force is both threats of violence and deception that results in physical possession of a physical good by someone other than the rightful owner. Laws are indirect force because of the threat of the retribution specified for the outlawed action.

edit: Laws without physical force to back them up are merely customs, traditions, or codes of etiquette.

Edited by Grames
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While I am against the idea that a person can be forced to think, and that this would be evil to try, Avicenna had an interesting thing to say about the Law of Non-contradiction and the issue of force in the same statement, since some people here evidently don't know the difference between voluntary compliance with an industrial standard and force of defense agencies:

"Those who deny the first principle should be flogged or burned until they admit that it is not the same thing to be burned and not burned, or whipped and not whipped."

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As a question, to whomever, from my traditional position of ignorance:

I don't think it's ultimately sensible to speak of law without governance, or law without enforcement. I don't think that there's an actual market without those laws which allow people to trade uncoerced. And so an anarchic market of defense, or laws, or government doesn't work in my estimation -- I don't think that anarchy is an ideal, or would exist "in nature" very long (as long as it would take for someone to organize a big enough force to institute his own idea of government).

That said, governments can be organized in a multitude of ways. In a democracy, in theory, all of the people "are the government" to some extent. Therefore, could a society be designed with a body of laws under which various arms of "the government" -- perhaps even down to the individual level -- competed with one another to provide the best possible defense services for that society? (Assuming that they were constitutionally-bound only to provide that defense according to the objective principles of law and justice as defined by that constitution?)

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Therefore, could a society be designed with a body of laws under which various arms of "the government" -- perhaps even down to the individual level -- competed with one another to provide the best possible defense services for that society? (Assuming that they were constitutionally-bound only to provide that defense according to the objective principles of law and justice as defined by that constitution?)

First of all, I don't think it is possible to "design a society" -- a society is what happens when people live together and deal with one another, and the idea of "designing a society" is smuggling in a collectivist notion. Second, the whole idea of "competing governments" or "competing agencies of force or counter-force" is what is being discussed in this thread. I don't think it is possible because of the difference between a voluntary association based on standards (like this forum) versus agencies of force who would use force to get compliance on those who disagree with it and want to violate their laws. That is the whole contention of those of us who are saying no there must be a monopoly of force, for the reasons I gave earlier about knowing ahead of time if an action is going to be punishable with force or not. "Competing agencies of force or counter-force" would negate that entire principle of knowing if an action will bring force upon one or not, so it couldn't be worked out.

With that said, however, there is a sense in which different jurisdictions do "compete" and that is people are free to leave those areas where force is not being used objectively (clearly defined ahead of time and protecting individual rights). For example, one is free to leave Cincinnati and move to Chicago, if the government of Cincinnati begins to violate rights to a large extent and this cannot be stopped sufficiently well by either voting or taking the government to court. But I don't think there is such a things as giving people even more freedom if the government is already upholding and protecting individual rights. The Founding Fathers of the USA came up with a great Constitution to reign in the government, and would have been hard pressed to come up with anything better. We can see the mistakes, such as an unclear "Commerce Clause" and maybe we wouldn't make that mistake, but once freedom is established, what else can the government do?

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There is an insuperable problem here for this argument. It does not properly identify the referents of the concept of "force".

Being able to trade is beneficial. For the ostracized or the target of a boycott not being able to trade is detrimental. The refusal to deal with the target may even be described as retaliatory if it is in response to some action by the target. But a retaliatory and detrimental refusal to deal with the boycotted is not force, it is a negotiating position and attempt at persuasion which scrupulously respects the rights of everyone involved. It is an attempt to gain the consent of the target of the persuasion. Force and the threat of force is necessarily physical because physical force is the only way to compel a man to act without his consent.

In order to restore victims or to serve retribution in defense of rights it is necessary to use physical force or the threat of force on the initiator of force. A law defines what retribution or restoration corresponds to certain acts. A legal system is the collection of such laws and the methods used to try cases and the rules of evidence and appeal. A government puts a legal system into practice by supplying officials and officers with the physical ability to enforce the law over a specific bounded geographic area.

Force is not synonymous with violence because there is indirect force. Indirect force is both threats of violence and deception that results in physical possession of a physical good by someone other than the rightful owner. Laws are indirect force because of the threat of the retribution specified for the outlawed action.

edit: Laws without physical force to back them up are merely customs, traditions, or codes of etiquette.

Haha Grames, I hate to interrupt your victory lap, but are you even paying attention? Feel free to point out where I ever said force should not be used to ensure compliance with the law. Who in the world are you arguing against here? Some other person who said force shouldn't be used?
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I think enforcement DOES necessarily imply force. I'm not sure I see how "enforcement" implies submission or compliance. They are on the other side of the equation, so to speak. Enforcement seeks submission and compliance, but submission or compliance comes from the side that is the target of the enforcement. The "stick" (force) is always present as a result of not complying.

You seem to be making the same mistake as Grames above. You seem to be confusing here your normative conception of enforcement with enforcement as such. Enforcement just means securing compliance with the law. A variety of methods can be used to do that. That is a positive statement. That physical force ought to be used is a normative judgment of what the proper method should be. In saying that the concept of enforcement itself necessarily means physical force, you are smuggling the normative judgment in.
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Therefore, could a society be designed with a body of laws under which various arms of "the government" -- perhaps even down to the individual level -- competed with one another to provide the best possible defense services for that society? (Assuming that they were constitutionally-bound only to provide that defense according to the objective principles of law and justice as defined by that constitution?)

But how is that any different from what I'm arguing? How are you going to get people to agree to the constitution in the first place? Just write it down on a piece of paper? Of course that is neither necessary or sufficient, as I've pointed out. Britain is a constitutional system with an unwritten constitution, Soviet Russia had a written constitution that was meaningless. A constitution is not some miraculous and self-enforcing external force that somehow transcends society, it is only existent in terms of the actual patterns of social activity that constitutes it.
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Is that where you think I said force should not be used?

No, it is where you said "Enforcement doesn't (necessarily) imply violence. "

Enforcement requires force, but not necessarily actual open violence. Arguing against the necessity of violence is arguing against a strawman.

All laws are indirect force against would-be and actual lawbreakers whether those lawbreakers are violent or not, and whether they surrender peacefully or not.

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No, it is where you said "Enforcement doesn't (necessarily) imply violence. "

Enforcement requires force, but not necessarily actual open violence. Arguing against the necessity of violence is arguing against a strawman.

All laws are indirect force against would-be and actual lawbreakers whether those lawbreakers are violent or not, and whether they surrender peacefully or not.

Yeah, that's what I'm talking about. Enforcement doesn't necessarily imply force, it implies compliance. No one is arguing that force shouldn't be used in enforcement.
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Requiring compliance from someone who is not giving it willingly requires nonviolent threats of violence or actual violence. Only violence is violent, but both involve making someone act without his consent. Compelling someone to act without his consent is the definition of force. Enforcement necessarily implies force.

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Requiring compliance from someone who is not giving it willingly requires nonviolent threats of violence or actual violence. Only violence is violent, but both involve making someone act without his consent. Compelling someone to act without his consent is the definition of force. Enforcement necessarily implies force.

No, it just requires telling him you will do something in order to make him comply. Insofar as violence is one way to get someone to comply, then that is a way enforcement can imply it, but not necessarily so, as there are other things one can do. I don't know why you want to argue over something so stupid.
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No, it just requires telling him you will do something in order to make him comply. Insofar as violence is one way to get someone to comply, then that is a way enforcement can imply it, but not necessarily so, as there are other things one can do. I don't know why you want to argue over something so stupid.

What is that "something" that you are telling him you will do? What other ways can ensure legal compliance besides threats of and use of physical force when it is morally and legally justified to do so?

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You seem to be making the same mistake as Grames above.

No, I'm pretty sure I'm not making a mistake at all. The distinction between "enforcement" and what you are suggesting, which is essentially telling or requesting, is that force is necessarily the stick behind the request or demand to comply. That doesn't mean that force has to be used in every instance of seeking compliance, it means that in every instance of seeking compliance force is the ultimate measure to be taken behind whichever other method is used to gain said compliance. Enforcement necessarily requires a "you will do this or you risk X happening to you whether you consent to X or not." I'm not smuggling anything in, I'm recognizing 26 years of experience in "securing compliance with the law".

Edited by RationalBiker
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No, I'm pretty sure I'm not making a mistake at all. The distinction between "enforcement" and what you are suggesting, which is essentially telling or requesting, is that force is necessarily the stick behind the request to comply. That doesn't mean that force has to be used in every instance of seeking compliance, it means that in every instance of seeking compliance force is the ultimate measure to be taken behind whichever other method is used to gain said compliance. Enforcement necessarily requires a "you will do this or you risk X happening to you whether you consent to X or not." I'm not smuggling anything in, I'm recognizing 26 years of experience in "securing compliance with the law".

Right, enforcement is "you will do this or you risk X happening to you whether you consent to X or not." But the X is a variable that can be filled in with various methods depending on one's judgment according to various standards.
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But the X is a variable that can be filled in with various methods depending on one's judgment according to various standards.

In which all of these "various methods" (none of which you have expanded on) require force as the backbone in order for the concept to be called "enforcement".

Please explain these other various methods.

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In which all of these "various methods" (none of which you have expanded on) require force as the backbone in order for the concept to be called "enforcement".

Please explain these other various methods.

No I mean, force need not necessarily stand as the backbone, that seems like smuggling in a normative judgment into the concept. The various other methods could be anything really, I'm not specifying, I'm just saying the goal of enforcement is compliance. Force is obviously the typical method, but it isn't the only one in existence, or the only one historically used in every society. Namely, there can be boycotts and ostracism, as previously mentioned. I'm not really following why we rat-holed into this or of what significance this is, only that Grames apparently thought, or still thinks, I was somehow saying force shouldn't be used because he doesn't like the Law Merchant, even though the only reason force wasn't used in that code is because the government had a monopoly and was not responsive.
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