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Anarchy Vs. Government

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Jrs, consider two of your statements:

First, anarcho-capitalism would probably only arise AFTER many, not all, people had come to an agreement on major issues.

Second, most people choose not to involve themselves in situations where they have no personal stake even though they may have an opinion about it. They are deterred from intervening by considering: the financial cost; the risk to their personal safety; the possibility that they could be wrong; and the possibility that they could be subject to criminal penalties or civil liability. I think that these factors would apply almost as strongly under anarcho-capitalism as under a government.

The monopolistic character of government results in placing some government officials above the law when acting within a certain range of their official capacity. Some opportunistic people will seek out those positions of power. There they expand government power for their gain or glory.

Observe the contradictory views. On the one hand, as expressed in the first quote, you claim that people can be expected to “come to an agreement” and avoid intervening because of the costs, risks, not wanting to get involved, etc. On the other hand, as expressed in the second quote, you claim there are opportunistic people who will intervene, who will take the risks and pay the costs to acquire power and cause government to descend into tyranny.

You pick and choose between these assumptions depending on which part of the argument you are making. When you argue for anarchy, you present the view that people can be counted on to stay out of trouble. When you are attacking government, you present the view that people can be counted on to cause trouble.

Either this is a blatant contradiction, or you are a determinist who believes the presence of government causes irrational behavior while the absence of government causes rational behavior. Either way, your arguments are false.

If someone violates natural law as a result of acting on his whims, then either USG or one of its competitors may punish him.

They MAY punish him? It’s optional? Please elaborate.

Independent of this discussion of anarcho-capitalism versus government, I believe that no one is obliged to take any positive action. All obligations are negative, that is, obligations to avoid doing things which hurt other people.

I would certainly hope that some defense agency would choose to enforce the law. And failure to do so could cost them some of their clients.

I see. Let’s dissolve government and just hope for the best. Your argument for anarchy is essentially wishful thinking.

How, under anarchy, would such laws against abortion be overturned?

.....

What mechanism is there for removing a "competing government legislator" that passes improper laws?

See my answer above about diversity of views. Since it would not be in the interest of a defense agency to have a policy of enforcing erroneous "laws", their constitutions should provide some means of removing officers who promote such policies. Also they should avoid selecting arbiters who misunderstand or misapply the law.

Once again, you pick the assumption that supports your case. Since you are defending anarchy here, you go with the notion that people can be counted to act in their interests and avoid selecting bad arbitrators. You know, the same people that can be counted on to make any government descend into tyranny.

Even the most rational, honest men can disagree to the extent of refusing to accept arbitration. In the absence of an institution that holds the power to make the final call, such disagreements are settled only through armed conflict.

.....

... what happens when rational, honest men disagree under government versus anarchy.

If one of the disputants misunderstands the facts or the law and also refuses arbitration, then I would question whether he could be correctly characterized as rational and honest. In any case, if he chooses to fight against the administration of justice, then he will probably get what he deserves.

I see. You assume that the party who is actually rational will magically have the power to give the other party “what he deserves“, and the party that is not truly rational will be magically disarmed so that he is powerless to resist “what he deserves“.

This, then, is how anarchy resolves disputes between men. The one who is in the right can (probably) be counted on to overpower the one who is in the wrong and give him “what he deserves“. You do indeed believe that right makes might.

This means that injustice is impossible, or at lease highly unlikely. Those in the wrong will (probably) never have the power to harm those that are in the right.

This is another example of choosing the assumption that is needed for your argument. Since you are arguing in this case for anarchy, you choose the assumption that the rational will prevail and the irrational will “get what he deserves”. If you were arguing against government, you would argue that the irrational will inevitably gain power and the rational will suffer tyranny.

How is this different from those people who choose to resist the government because they have a sincere but mistaken belief?  Take your example of the fanatical abortion protestors who persist in attacking abortion clinics and doctors. Government finds it necessary to use force against them.
How is it different? Well , let’s see. In one case two men disagree and settle it by force, wherein one “gets what he deserves” and somehow, magically, we can “probably“ count on it being the one who is not truly rational -- versus -- government, after due process and a trial, uses retaliatory force against someone who initiates the use of force against abortion doctors -- and since both situations involve the use of force, you see them as the same?

Conclusion:

You cannot have it both ways. Your argument for anarchy fails because it entails either contradictory views of human nature or it counts on determinism. Both are false.

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AisA, your caricature of my position is laughable. :confused:B)

"Virtue," in the Objectivist definition, is "the action by which one gains and keeps [a value]."

That is, virtue tends to cause one to be successful.

That is, put crudely, right makes might.

Generally, absent a prior agreement and assuming each defense agency thinks that the other is acting in good faith, then they should try to find an arbiter in whom they both have confidence. This could be done by exchanging lists of acceptable arbiters. If there is at least one who is on both lists, then one of those in the intersection would be selected at random. Otherwise, one would be selected at random from the union of the lists.

Who enforces this rule?

This is not a law. It is my suggestion; and if adopted, it might become a tradition. The two sides are free to use another method, if they so choose. However, failure to agree to a reasonable method or to propose a reasonable alternative would likely be taken as a sign of bad faith. Once one side has concluded that the other side is acting in bad faith, then they must choose between force and retreat.

Observe the contradictory views. On the one hand, as expressed in the first quote, you claim that people can be expected to “come to an agreement” and avoid intervening because of the costs, risks, not wanting to get involved, etc. On the other hand, as expressed in the second quote, you claim there are opportunistic people who will intervene, who will take the risks and pay the costs to acquire power and cause government to descend into tyranny.

There is no contradiction between:

1. hundreds of millions of americans normally mind their own business; and

2. there are a few thousand politicians who seek power and, in doing so, expand the functions of the government.

It is also important to notice that part of the reason that the politicians do what they do rather than minding their own business is that the existing system protects them from criminal or civil liability for most of their official actions.

Since you are arguing in this case for anarchy, you choose the assumption that the rational will prevail and the irrational will “get what he deserves”. If you were arguing against government, you would argue that the irrational will inevitably gain power and the rational will suffer tyranny.
The reason that there is a difference is because: anarcho-capitalism is based on an appropriate use of retaliatory force; while government is based on the initiation of force.

You gave the Objectivist definition of government as follows:

A government is an institution that holds the exclusive power to enforce certain rules of social conduct in a given geographical area.

The EXCLUSION requires initiating force. You gave an argument in this thread (Post #3) which attempted to disprove that fact. But I refuted it in Post #35 and following.

Your argument for anarchy fails because it entails either contradictory views of human nature or it counts on determinism.

This is another misrepresentation of my position.

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AisA, your caricature of my position is laughable.
Then demonstrate that it is a caricature. Smiley faces are not an argument.

"Virtue," in the Objectivist definition, is "the action by which one gains and keeps [a value]."

That is, virtue tends to cause one to be successful.

That is, put crudely, right makes might.

Joseph Stalin used the virtue of murder and dissent to achieve the value of totalitarian control and was thus a very successful dictator. Would you say that right made might in this case?

Who enforces this rule?

This is not a law. It is my suggestion; and if adopted, it might become a tradition. The two sides are free to use another method, if they so choose. However, failure to agree to a reasonable method or to propose a reasonable alternative would likely be taken as a sign of bad faith. Once one side has concluded that the other side is acting in bad faith, then they must choose between force and retreat.

So there is the essence of anarchy. If you think the other side is acting in bad faith, you have the right to open fire.

There is no contradiction between:

1. hundreds of millions of americans normally mind their own business; and

2. there are a few thousand politicians who seek power and, in doing so, expand the functions of the government.

The contradiction is not in the existence of the two groups. The contradiction is in the way you portray the behavior of the groups when you are arguing for anarchy versus arguing against government.

When you argue against government, these “few thousand politicians” are portrayed as sufficiently power-hungry to leap tall constitutions in a single bound, able to plunge any country into tyranny (you do not mention the fact that they cannot do this without the “hundreds of millions of Americans“ electing them repeatedly). Yet, when you argue for anarchy, these power-hungry politicians are not mentioned. Even though they are free to set up any kind of “competing government” they wish, you apparently think they will transform into rational citizens and abandon their lust for power.

Equally contradictory is the notion that under government, those “hundreds of millions of Americans” can be counted on to elect the few thousand evil politicians and vote for them and their irrational policies over and over and over again until the country descends into tyranny; but under anarchy, these same hundreds of millions of Americans can be counted on to suddenly stop supporting evil policies and mind their own business.

It is also important to notice that part of the reason that the politicians do what they do rather than minding their own business is that the existing system protects them from criminal or civil liability for most of their official actions.
And under anarchy, not only will these politicians be free “from criminal or civil liability for most of their official actions“, they will not even have to get elected to start making laws. Nor will they have to convince hundreds of other lawmakers to vote for the laws they propose to make. Nor will they have to worry about some pesky court declaring their law invalid. Nor will they ever have to stand for re-election. Yes, that will rein in the power-hungry politicians.

The reason that there is a difference is because: anarcho-capitalism is based on an appropriate use of retaliatory force; while government is based on the initiation of force.

You gave the Objectivist definition of government as follows:

QUOTE(AisA @ Post #9 of "Welcome To The Debate Forum")

A government is an institution that holds the exclusive power to enforce certain rules of social conduct in a given geographical area.

The EXCLUSION requires initiating force. You gave an argument in this thread (Post #3) which attempted to disprove that fact. But I refuted it in Post #35 and following.

I did indeed give a detailed argument against the notion that there is a right to compete with government . Here is the central point of that argument:

The right to compete in the use of retaliatory force would mean, among other things, the right to determine what constitutes the initiation of force. The initiation of force often takes the form of a threat. For instance, a mugger says, “I have a gun in my pocket. Give me your money or I will shoot you”. Even though there was no physical contact, even though he didn’t actually shoot you, the mugger has initiated the use of force. Thus, the right to compete in the use of retaliatory force would mean the right to determine what constitutes a threat.

It would mean that person “A” could decide that a threat consists of a suspicious look and bulge in one’s pocket that might be a weapon. It would mean that person “A” could decide that the proper response to such a threat is to shoot first and ask questions later.

No one can claim the right to carry a gun and unilaterally decide who is a threat and how to respond. Such an action is itself inherently threatening and constitutes the initiation of force. By prohibiting such action, government is prohibiting the initiation of force. Thus, there is no such thing as the right to compete with government.

Even if the would-be competitor is perfectly rational and enforces only rational laws, the fact remains that you have granted the same right to the less-than-rational. If one man can declare his intent to create and enforce his own laws -- and if there is no central agency to act as the final arbiter of disputes -- then any man can do the same.

Now let’s examine your alleged refutations. You began with the following.

"The police and military, agents of the government, carry guns and unilaterally decide who is a threat and how to respond. Thus your position implies that government itself initiates force."

When I pointed out to you in post 36 that this is blatantly false, that no policeman in this country is free to unilaterally start using force any way he pleases on whomever he pleases, that he is not free to start shooting, say, panhandlers, because he considers them threatening., you changed the subject in post 39 by saying:

"There is no more reason to assume that the official government will legislate natural law and its agents enforce it, than to assume that that will be the case for one of the competing 'governments'."

After I pointed out this change of subject in post 40, you asked for a definition of “unilateral”, and I gave you one:

Unilateral in this context means decided or acted on by only one involved party irrespective of any other party’s position. My original statement was: No one can claim the right to carry a gun and unilaterally decide who is a threat and how to respond. Such an action is itself inherently threatening and constitutes the initiation of force.

You followed with this:

"The question here is what is a "party". If each competitor of USG is just one party, then I would regard USG as one party. So its actions are equally unilateral."

Then I said:

You are dropping context. The party we were discussing is the individual. I said an individual does not have the right to unilaterally determine threats and how to respond to them. When you say that “governments act unilaterally” you are ignoring the fact that the government consists of many different individuals, none of which has the right to use force unilaterally.

You responded:

"Many competitors of USG will be groups with a complex structure (just as USG has). So if "party" means an individual, then those competitor's agents are not acting unilaterally."

So what is the result of all this back and forth? Nothing has been refuted. The fact that some of the competing governments may consist of more than one individual is irrelevant. The relevant fact is that anarchy grants any man the right to declare himself a “competing government” and proceed to establish and enforce whatever laws he wishes.

The right to compete with government would give individuals the power to use force as they wish -- and that constitutes a threat. Monopolizing the use of retaliatory force negates that threat and is thus not the initiation of force.

You have attempted to circumvent this fact -- that anarchy permits anyone to use force as they please -- with statements like this:

"No one may create laws. No one may enforce arbitrary "laws". Not even the government. Positive "law" is not valid. Only natural law is valid."

And:

"If someone tries to enforce a 'law' of his own invention which is outside of natural law, then he is violating someone's rights and others may use retaliatory force against him."

But you propose no mechanism for enforcing these edicts. If a “competing government” attempts to enforce “a 'law' of his own invention”, your only proposed solution is to hope that a better “competing government” will prevail in a shoot-out. And since, according to you, there is no positive obligation for any government to act, you do not even promise that there will be an effort to suppress the bad “competing government".

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Joseph Stalin used the virtue of murder and dissent to achieve the value of totalitarian control and was thus a very successful dictator.

Sarcasm does not communicate clearly. If you have a comment, it would be better to say it straight out. Notice, I did NOT say that virtue/vice were the SOLE determinant of success/failure.

So there is the essence of anarchy. If you think the other side is acting in bad faith, you have the right to open fire.

In this case, the other side is threatening to use force as well as acting in bad faith. So this should qualify as an emergency where self-defense would permitted even under your law. And I would not expect the defense agency to use more force than is necessary any more than a police unit would under USG.

But the difference between us is that you would have USG attack even when the other side is acting in reasonably and in good faith. So your position is the more violent one.

Yet, when you argue for anarchy, these power-hungry politicians are not mentioned. Even though they are free to set up any kind of “competing government” they wish, you apparently think they will transform into rational citizens and abandon their lust for power.
As I said in Post #50, "Since it would not be in the interest of a defense agency to have a policy of enforcing erroneous 'laws', their constitutions should provide some means of removing officers who promote such policies. Also they should avoid selecting arbiters who misunderstand or misapply the law.".

A politician who pushes his defense agency to commit acts of aggression would cause it to come into an otherwise unnecessary conflict with a coalition of other defense agencies. Since this would probably be suicidal for the defense agency, it would be in its interest to prevent such a person from gaining power in it. If he was acting on his own, then he would simply be treated as the criminal that he is.

Equally contradictory is the notion that under government, those “hundreds of millions of Americans” can be counted on to elect the few thousand evil politicians and vote for them and their irrational policies over and over and over again until the country descends into tyranny; but under anarchy, these same hundreds of millions of Americans can be counted on to suddenly stop supporting evil policies and mind their own business.

This has to do with the economics of how a person in that majority makes a decision. When you are voting, you are often faced with either no choice (a single candidate) or two bad candidates. Even if there is a range of candidates including a good person, it may not be economically feasible for you to study them sufficiently to select the good one. Also since there is no obvious connection between the vote you cast and any good or ill that results for you, you may be tempted to indulge your whims or to vote based on deceptive ideologies (which you cannot afford to investigate sufficiently to debunk).

When you decide to hire a defense agency, the costs and benefits will all be summarized in your agreement with the agency. Your friends and relatives and the news media can advise you about others' experiences with that agency -- in particular, whether the information in its agreement is accurate.

The right to compete in the use of retaliatory force would mean, among other things, the right to determine what constitutes the initiation of force.
Consider a person who makes a judgment that another has initiated force and chooses to retaliate.

Anarcho-capitalism says he should be punished if and only if he is wrong.

Statism says he should be punished if and only if he is not a duly authorized official -- a policeman (with a warrant signed by a judge, where appropriate).

What matters? Reality or social status?

If a “competing government” attempts to enforce “a 'law' of his own invention”, your only proposed solution is to hope that a better “competing government” will prevail in a shoot-out. And since, according to you, there is no positive obligation for any government to act, you do not even promise that there will be an effort to suppress the bad “competing government".

There are no guarantees in life. Under government, the police could ignore your complaint or the public prosecutor could choose not to prosecute. Or the legislature could choose not to recognize the crime against you as a crime. Or the judge or jury could choose not to convict the offender.

But at least under anarcho-capitalism, you can try to find a defense agency which will help you.

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Joseph Stalin used the virtue of murder and dissent to achieve the value of totalitarian control and was thus a very successful dictator.

Sarcasm does not communicate clearly. If you have a comment, it would be better to say it straight out. Notice, I did NOT say that virtue/vice were the SOLE determinant of success/failure.

It was not intended as sarcasm. It was an example from reality. It appeared to me that you cited your “right makes might” theory in an effort to justify why we could expect the party “in the right” to prevail when anarchy results in gang warfare. The example with Stalin shows why this is not necessarily the case.

So there is the essence of anarchy. If you think the other side is acting in bad faith, you have the right to open fire.

In this case, the other side is threatening to use force as well as acting in bad faith. So this should qualify as an emergency where self-defense would permitted even under your law. And I would not expect the defense agency to use more force than is necessary any more than a police unit would under USG.

Go back and look at the example. It is a hypothetical standoff between USG police and a “competing government”. It is not an emergency.

In any event, you have already admitted, more than once, that in such situations there is nothing to do but use force or give up. Why are you trying to deny it now?

But the difference between us is that you would have USG attack even when the other side is acting in reasonably and in good faith. So your position is the more violent one.
Under a proper government, everyone would know that only the police may arrest people and only after meeting some minimal standard of evidence. Those that disagree with the police may hire private investigators and turn over any additional evidence they may find to the police. But they would not be allowed to use force based on their own interpretation of the evidence.

Is this not the essence of the whole debate? You wish to give people the right to use force, as long as they “act reasonably” and only enforce “natural law”. How, then, are we to determine what is reasonable and which laws are proper?

Anarchy says those who are able to muster the most force will determine what is reasonable and what laws are proper. Indeed, under anarchy, “might” determines what is “right”. Those who can pay for more defense will be better defended than those who cannot; and the rights of those who cannot pay anything can be violated at will. Who will stand up for them? Is this what you consider fair and just?

A politician who pushes his defense agency to commit acts of aggression would cause it to come into an otherwise unnecessary conflict with a coalition of other defense agencies. Since this would probably be suicidal for the defense agency.  it would be in its interest to prevent such a person from gaining power in it.
You have already admitted that under anarchy there is no way to resolve disputes except by force. In the event of a stand-off, the choice is to fight or retreat, right? How many people would want a defense agency that consistently retreated versus an agency that consistently chose to fight for its clients?

This has to do with the economics of how a person in that majority makes a decision.

When you decide to hire a defense agency, the costs and benefits will all be summarized in your agreement with the agency.

Politics is a derivative of ethics, not economics. So, for example, the people of Massachusetts are going to seek defense agencies headed by people like Ted Kennedy and John Kerry to enforce, among other things, bans on gun ownership; they are not going to seek defense agencies whose constitutions have a second amendment.

The feminists will seek defense agencies that side with women in any conflict with men; they will seek a defense agency whose constitution guarantees equality of economic results, not equality before the law.

The environmentalists are going to seek defense agencies that enforce the rights of trees, not the rights of man.

Many Muslims are going to seek defense agencies that enforce Islamic Shari’ a, which provides the death penalty for crimes like adultery and homosexuality, which forbids women from attending school or going to a doctor and makes a wife essentially a rightless creature beholden to her husband.

The fundamentalist Christians are going to seek defense agencies that impose the death penalty for abortion doctors, jail sentences for genetics researchers and censorship of broadcasts to remove profanity and nudity; they are not going to seek defense agencies whose constitutions have a first amendment.

The animal rights advocates will seek defense agencies that protect the rights of your pets, with jail sentences for those who eat meat; they will seek defense agencies whose constitutions declare the inalienable rights of the non-human. And so on.

Do you honestly expect these groups to abandon their agendas when government is abolished?

The right to compete in the use of retaliatory force would mean, among other things, the right to determine what constitutes the initiation of force.

Consider a person who makes a judgment that another has initiated force and chooses to retaliate.

Anarcho-capitalism says he should be punished if and only if he is wrong.

But anarchy gives us no mechanism for determining if he was right or wrong, except a shoot-out between those that have an opinion on the matter.

Statism says he should be punished if and only if he is not a duly authorized official -- a policeman (with a warrant signed by a judge, where appropriate).
First, statism is not “any advocacy of government”. Statism is the doctrine that man’s life and work belong to the state, a notion that you know I disavow. What I advocate is constitutionally limited, representative government. I will use the term “limited government “for shorthand.

Under limited government, even if he is a duly authorized official, he may face punishment for being wrong. So the “only if” part of your statement is false. Being a duly authorized official does not grant one the freedom to use force in any manner one pleases. How many times do I have to say that?

Limited government does say that if you are not a duly authorized official you may use force only in emergencies, and then it is subject to review by government.

Have you stopped to think about what the proper use of retaliatory force involves and requires?

It requires legislators (or someone) that pass laws defining criminal behavior. It requires police and detectives to respond to crimes and investigate the circumstances. It requires standards of evidence that must exist before an arrest can be made. It requires grand juries that must review the evidence and approve any attempt to prosecute a suspect. It requires protection of the rights of the accused, including the right to counsel at the state’s expense. It requires arraignment courts, bailiffs and bail bondsmen. It requires prosecutors and sentencing guidelines. It requires jails and prisons; it requires wardens and guards. It requires crime scene teams and technicians. It requires crime labs and crime technicians. It requires medical examiners. morgues, autopsy rooms, fingerprint analysts, DNA sequencers, blood typing machines, microscopic inspection techniques, fiber analysis, voice analysis, and a whole host of controls on custody of evidence. It requires judges, juries, and strict rules of evidence that put the burden of proof on the prosecution, that demand a presumption of innocence until proven guilty and that prohibit consideration of irrelevant facts. It requires that proof of guilt be beyond a reasonable doubt, as determined by a unanimous verdict of a jury, chosen with the accused’s participation. It requires warrants, subpoenas, the right to face one’s accusers and the right to call witnesses on one’s behalf. It requires appeal courts and appellate judges.

All of these things (and some I have no doubt missed) are involved in the proper administration of justice. You propose to trash all that – just junk the whole system – and let an individual “make a judgment that another has initiated force and choose to retaliate”?

Or are you telling me that you believe every defense agency is going to establish all of the proper elements of a criminal justice system, with all of the same rules, the same types of labs and instruments, the same sort of officials, the same procedures, the same standards, the same punishments, the same rights of the accused and the same laws? Do you actually believe that? I cannot imagine that you actually believe such a thing.

The criminal justice system is designed to minimize the chance of error, particularly the error of convicting and punishing the wrong man. I, for one, do not wish to live without the existence of such a system.

I do not wish to be hauled out of my bed in the middle of the night by the Environmental Police, who observed me cutting a tree and sentenced me to jail for it.

I do not wish to be stoned to death by the Muslim Police on suspicion of adultery.

I do not wish to have my wife killed by the Christian Police because she sought an abortion.

Granted, I may be able to get my defense agency to fight this stuff, but I should not have to do that. And I cannot believe that you would want to, either.

What matters? Reality or social status?

What truly matters is that we have a ban on the initiation of force and an institution to enforce that ban, rather than leaving everyone free to use force against anything they perceive to be a threat, as long as they can summon enough guns to defeat those who disagree.

If a “competing government” attempts to enforce “a 'law' of his own invention”, your only proposed solution is to hope that a better “competing government” will prevail in a shoot-out. And since, according to you, there is no positive obligation for any government to act, you do not even promise that there will be an effort to suppress the bad “competing government".

There are no guarantees in life. Under government, the police could ignore your complaint or the public prosecutor could choose not to prosecute. Or the legislature could choose not to recognize the crime against you as a crime. Or the judge or jury could choose not to convict the offender.

But at least under anarcho-capitalism, you can try to find a defense agency which will help you.

Possible errors on the part of government do not justify granting everyone the right to use force as they see fit, constrained only by the possibility that someone with more force on their side may disagree and win a shoot-out against them. That substitutes the law of the jungle for the rule of law. I do not understand why you would wish to do such a thing.

I can give you one guarantee: Granting everyone the power to use "retaliatory force" against what they define to be crimes -- giving that power to Muslims, environmentalists, fundamentalist Christians, feminists, gun banners, leftists, illegal immigrants, animal rights advocates, union organizers, anti-government militias, racists, homeless advocates, the bigoted and the biased -- will be the end of civilized society.

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Joseph Stalin used the virtue of murder ...

.....

It was not intended as sarcasm.

Now you have me confused. How do you figure that murder is a virtue? Do you really think that Stalin's life was improved by his habit of killing innocent people?

...  we could expect the party “in the right” to prevail when anarchy results in gang warfare. The example with Stalin shows why this is not necessarily the case.
Stalin did not rise to power in the context of anarchy. He manipulated the bureaucracy of the Communist Party and the Soviet government it controlled.

Anarcho-capitalism has some prerequisites: a general understanding and acceptance of capitalism; and either a rough balance of power among many defense agencies (as a system of checks and balances) or voluntary restraint by the dominant defense agency(s) (perhaps USG?).

It is a hypothetical standoff between USG police and a “competing government”. It is not an emergency.

What? Are you serious? Someone is holding guns on you (and perhaps your client); and has shown by his actions that he cannot be trusted; and you say this is not an emergency?

In any event, you have already admitted, more than once, that in such situations there is nothing to do but use force or give up. Why are you trying to deny it now?

I am not "trying to deny" anything here. I was saying that the defense agency would not just "open fire", if they could use lesser forms of force like pushing or grabbing or using a taser.

You wish to give people the right to use force, as long as they “act reasonably” and only enforce “natural law”.
It is not mine to give or withhold. The right of self-defense is theirs already. Neither USG nor anyone else should violate it.

Those who can pay for more defense will be better defended than those who cannot; and the rights of those who cannot pay anything can be violated at will. Who will stand up for them?

You sound like those who go around saying "People, Not Profits!".

Anyone who wants to help others is free to do so.

How many people would want a defense agency that consistently retreated versus an agency that consistently chose to fight for its clients?

I have no need for a "defense" agency to help me commit aggression. In fact, I would rather not be associated with such an agency.

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Politics is a derivative of ethics, not economics.

.....

Do you honestly expect these groups to abandon their agendas when government is abolished?

You are missing the point I was making. I was saying that people cannot afford to do the research necessary to vote in a way which would implement their ethical beliefs. And most people cannot afford to study philosophy in order to form rational beliefs about ethics. So many people choose to absorb them from the culture uncritically.

On the other hand, choosing a defense agency is more like choosing a model of automobile or a brand of gasoline. You can make the decision rationally (if you so choose) based on information which is readily available to you.

But anarchy gives us no mechanism for determining if he was right or wrong, ...
The epistemological problem is present in any system. Under government, one has to understand the whole society. Under anarchy, one only has to understand one's neighborhood. See my response to the previous quote.

First, statism is not “any advocacy of government”.

Sorry, I wanted a word like "government-ism" and the only one of which I could think was "statism". "Capitalism" seemed inappropriate because it would beg the question of whether it meant anarcho-capitalism or governmental capitalism.

Under limited government, even if he is a duly authorized official, he may face punishment for being wrong. So the “only if” part of your statement is false. Being a duly authorized official does not grant one the freedom to use force in any manner one pleases.
He MAY face punishment if wrong, but he probably will not. What super-government is going to force the government to punish its errant officials? When there is an uproar about some outrage, government may go thru the motions of cleaning house. But as soon as things calm down, they go back to their habit of covering up their sins.

Have you stopped to think about what the proper use of retaliatory force involves and requires?

.....

You propose to trash all that – just junk the whole system – and let an individual “make a judgment that another has initiated force and choose to retaliate”?

USG is free to continue to use that system. And people are free to choose USG as their defense agency, if they want that kind of system. An individual who chooses to dispense with that system and act summarily does so at his own risk.

The criminal justice system is designed to minimize the chance of error, particularly the error of convicting and punishing the wrong man.
It is designed to create the appearance of dispensing justice. How well it actually works, I do not know. Even if it works as advertised, the positive "law" it is enforcing is often in conflict with natural law.

Granted, I may be able to get my defense agency to fight [abuses by other defense agencies], but I should not have to do that.

Someone has to pay the cost of protecting you from the crazies. Having a government does not eliminate that cost although it might redistribute it.

Granting everyone the power to use "retaliatory force" against what they define to be crimes ...  will be the end of civilized society.

I am not "granting" them anything. They already have the capability to use force. The only issue before us is: How will we respond when someone uses that capability?

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Anarcho-capitalism has some prerequisites: a general understanding and acceptance of capitalism; and either a rough balance of power among many defense agencies (as a system of checks and balances) or voluntary restraint by the dominant defense agency(s) (perhaps USG?).
How is such a balance of power to be achieved? What constitutes “voluntary restraint”?

.

What? Are you serious? Someone is holding guns on you (and perhaps your client); and has shown by his actions that he cannot be trusted; and you say this is not an emergency?
Why do you continue to drop context? In the example, no one has their guns drawn. The police of the competing government show up to arrest the man. The USG police are there to prevent the arrest. No one in the example “has shown by his actions that he cannot be trusted”. No one's life is in danger. Where do you get this stuff?

The question was, what happens next? You said, “However, failure to agree to a reasonable method or to propose a reasonable alternative would likely be taken as a sign of bad faith. Once one side has concluded that the other side is acting in bad faith, then they must choose between force and retreat.”

So I said: “So there is the essence of anarchy. If you think the other side is acting in bad faith, you have the right to open fire.”

Now you are trying to turn this into an argument over whether or not the situation is an emergency, i.e. whether it is a situation requiring the immediate use of retaliatory force to stop an initiation of force. This is a smoke screen.

In any event, you have already admitted, more than once, that in such situations there is nothing to do but use force or give up. Why are you trying to deny it now?

I am not "trying to deny" anything here. I was saying that the defense agency would not just "open fire", if they could use lesser forms of force like pushing or grabbing or using a taser.

You are quibbling over wording that is irrelevant to the principle involved. In a dispute between defense agencies, if one side thinks the other is “acting in bad faith”, they may use of force to resolve the situation in their favor. The only other alternative is to retreat. True or false?

You wish to give people the right to use force, as long as they “act reasonably” and only enforce “natural law”.

It is not mine to give or withhold. The right of self-defense is theirs already. Neither USG nor anyone else should violate it.

Oh come on. You are trying to evade the issue by quibbling over wording. Try it this way then. You say people have the right to use force as long as they “act reasonably” and only enforce “natural law”. (You do say that, do you not?) How, then, are we to determine what is reasonable and which laws are proper?

Anarchy says those who are able to muster the most force will determine what is reasonable and what laws are proper. Indeed, under anarchy, “might” determines what is “right”.

Now, are you going to respond to that? Is that not, in fact, how anarchy works?

Those who can pay for more defense will be better defended than those who cannot; and the rights of those who cannot pay anything can be violated at will. Who will stand up for them?

You sound like those who go around saying "People, Not Profits!".

Anyone who wants to help others is free to do so.

Right, and everyone is free to violate the rights of those who cannot afford a defense agency. How cavalierly you abandon the principle of equality before the law. How little concern you give to the fact that you may one day find yourself unable to afford one of your defense agencies.
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Do you honestly expect these groups to abandon their agendas when government is abolished?

You are missing the point I was making. I was saying that people cannot afford to do the research necessary to vote in a way which would implement their ethical beliefs.

Once again, you ignore the question.

It is not a mere accident that the fundamentalist Christians voted overwhelmingly for Bush and the environmental activists voted overwhelmingly for Kerry. They had no problem doing "the research necessary to vote in a way which would implement their ethical beliefs".

And most people cannot afford to study philosophy in order to form rational beliefs about ethics. So many people choose to absorb them from the culture uncritically.

On the other hand, choosing a defense agency is more like choosing a model of automobile or a brand of gasoline. You can make the decision rationally (if you so choose) based on information which is readily available to you.

Why do you evade my questions? Do you honestly expect those groups to abandon their agendas when government is abolished? It is a simple enough question.

One of the constant errors that you make is context dropping. You take every sentence and clause and evaluate it out of context. Once you find a sentence or clause that you can argue against, you grab that sentence or clause, eliminate its context, and post a response.

You ignore the balance of the context. You ignore the actual argument. You ignore questions. You ignore examples. I do not know whether you are doing this consciously or have simply habituated it. But it makes it virtually impossible to have a rational discussion.

I exposed your context dropping twice in post #47. Once case involved the issue of whether or not individuals have the right to unilaterally define and respond to threats. The other involved the issue of what happens to disagreements between rational men under anarchy. You did not respond to either one. You just acted as if it had never taken place.

I am going to expose the details of your context-dropping one final time. Here is the complete context of one of our exchanges:

You claimed that to maintain its monopoly on force, government must initiate force to prevent competition. You noted that in post #3, I offered a proof that this was not true, but you claimed to have “refuted it in Post #35 and following”.

So I copied and pasted this alleged refutation and my responses to each point to demonstrate that nothing had been refuted, that the following statement was still true:

The right to compete in the use of retaliatory force would mean, among other things, the right to determine what constitutes the initiation of force.

You responded to that with the following:

jrs said:  Consider a person who makes a judgment that another has initiated force and chooses to retaliate.

Anarcho-capitalism says he should be punished if and only if he is wrong.

I said:  But anarchy gives us no mechanism for determining if he was right or wrong, except a shoot-out between those that have an opinion on the matter.

Here is your response to that:

But anarchy gives us no mechanism for determining if he was right or wrong, ..

The epistemological problem is present in any system. Under government, one has to understand the whole society. Under anarchy, one only has to understand one's neighborhood. See my response to the previous quote.

You take part of my sentence, ignore the rest of the sentence, completely ignore the context, completely ignore the subject we were discussing and switch to a different subject. No progress in any discussion is possible when such tactics are used.
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Under limited government, even if he is a duly authorized official, he may face punishment for being wrong. So the “only if” part of your statement is false. Being a duly authorized official does not grant one the freedom to use force in any manner one pleases.

He MAY face punishment if wrong, but he probably will not. What super-government is going to force the government to punish its errant officials? When there is an uproar about some outrage, government may go thru the motions of cleaning house. But as soon as things calm down, they go back to their habit of covering up their sins.

Here is another fallacy. You make unsupported assertions and just leave them as though they are self-evident. Do you have any actual evidence to support the above?

Have you stopped to think about what the proper use of retaliatory force involves and requires?

.....

You propose to trash all that – just junk the whole system – and let an individual “make a judgment that another has initiated force and choose to retaliate”?

USG is free to continue to use that system. And people are free to choose USG as their defense agency, if they want that kind of system. An individual who chooses to dispense with that system and act summarily does so at his own risk.

Once again, you did not answer my questions.

So you have no problem with an individual that does not bother with a criminal justice system because he is doing so at his own risk? What about the risks to the people he uses force against? Are you not at all concerned about the risks to them? Oh, I know what you will say to that. “Anyone who wishes to help them may do so.”

The criminal justice system is designed to minimize the chance of error, particularly the error of convicting and punishing the wrong man.

It is designed to create the appearance of dispensing justice. How well it actually works, I do not know. Even if it works as advertised, the positive "law" it is enforcing is often in conflict with natural law. 

More unsupported assertions.

My statement that the criminal justice system is designed to minimize the chances of error was accompanied by an extensive list of its features, its participants, its safeguards, and its avenues of appeal. Your statement that it is designed to create the appearance of dispensing justice is accompanied by nothing that supports it -- it is just true because you say so.

Granted, I may be able to get my defense agency to fight [abuses by other defense agencies], but I should not have to do that.

Someone has to pay the cost of protecting you from the crazies. Having a government does not eliminate that cost although it might redistribute it.

The issue is not the cost. Are you unable to see that? What difference will the costs make if you rot in the Environmental Police jail for twenty years?

Granting everyone the power to use "retaliatory force" against what they define to be crimes ...  will be the end of civilized society.

I am not "granting" them anything. They already have the capability to use force. The only issue before us is: How will we respond when someone uses that capability?

Another example of how you take a piece of a sentence and respond to it, oblivious of the context, completely ignoring the point being made, neither agreeing with it or refuting it or even acknowledging that it exists.
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AisA: You keep heaping abuse on me because you do not like my style of argument. I do not appreciate this. Please stop.

You accuse me of evasion and berate me for not responding to some of your questions or points. Remember that I am not obligated to respond to anything you say. My objective here is to make the case for anarcho-capitalism, not to cater to you. Here are some of the reasons that I do not always respond:

1. I simply do not have the time or energy to respond to all your points;

2. many of your points are repetitious and I feel that I have already answered them;

3. some of your questions appear to be rhetorical or the answer should be obvious to any reasonable person;

4. some of your questions are loaded, that is, they assume some "fact" which is false; or

5. I feel that the response would take us too far from the main point, that is, it is a derivative issue.

You accuse me of making unsupported assertions. I plead guilty. This is my style. It is more efficient. I am not constructing a mathematical proof. If you accept my point because you know it to be true already, then I have avoided wasting space with an unnecessary explanation. If you do not accept it, then I assume you will ask: "Please explain this." or "Please provide an example." or "What do you mean by this?".

If you really want me to answer a question, then I suggest that you say: "Please answer: [question]?". Make sure that the question is brief and self-contained (no nasty context to worry about). Then I will try to answer, although I cannot guarantee that, for the reasons I stated above.

When I quote you (or myself), I do so to establish a context for my point. I am NOT making a commitment to answer any point or question of yours which appears in the quotation.

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How is such a balance of power to be achieved? What constitutes “voluntary restraint” [by the dominant defense agency]?

I do not know how a balance of power could be achieved. The dominant defense agency, if there is one, should voluntarily restrain itself by obeying natural law. Otherwise, it would make itself into a government.

In a dispute between defense agencies, if one side thinks the other is “acting in bad faith”, they may use of force to resolve the situation in their favor. The only other alternative is to retreat. True or false?
True. I already said this.

You say people have the right to use force as long as they “act reasonably” and only enforce “natural law”. (You do say that, do you not?) How, then, are we to determine what is reasonable and which laws are proper?

They have to obey natural law as well as enforcing it. Consult Objectivist epistemology and ethics.

...  under anarchy, “might” determines what is “right”.
Might determines who wins UNDER ANY SYSTEM. Natural law determines what is right.

Do you honestly expect these groups [the crazies] to abandon their agendas when government is abolished?

No.

Do you have any actual evidence to support the above?

Notice the Brazilian man who was wrongly killed recently by London police who mistook him for a terrorist. The police issued false statements which tended to excuse themselves. These were exposed by leaks to the media.

So you have no problem with an individual that does not bother with a criminal justice system because he is doing so at his own risk? What about the risks to the people he uses force against?
I do not want people to carelessly use "retaliatory" force against others. I think that the danger of being prosecuted, if they are mistaken, should be sufficient to deter all but the crazies, who cannot be deterred, from taking this course.

My statement that the criminal justice system is designed to minimize the chances of error was accompanied by an extensive list of its features, its participants, its safeguards, and its avenues of appeal. Your statement that [the criminal justice system] is designed to create the appearance of dispensing justice is accompanied by nothing that supports it ...

I have not seen a proof that these features are optimal for the purpose of avoiding errors. The constitution and laws which establish these features are adopted because politicians believe that they will appeal to their constituents. Or is it your contention that most politicians are statesmen who only have the good of our country at heart? Certainly they are ignorant of Objectivism.

Granted, I may be able to get my defense agency to fight [abuses by other defense agencies], but I should not have to do that.

.....

The issue is not the cost [of protecting me from the crazies].

When you say "I should not have to do that", you are saying that you do not want to bear that cost. But the cost is for your benefit. So it would be wrong to shift it to anyone else.

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AisA:  You keep heaping abuse on me because you do not like my style of argument.  I do not appreciate this.  Please stop.

When you drop context, switch subjects in mid-stream and ignore questions and examples, you leave me no choice but to point it out. Please answer: What else would you have me do?

I am not going to stand by when you take a statement out of context to make it appear as though I am making a ridiculous claim – such as the way you did in making it appear that I believed “government magically makes the use of retaliatory force unnecessary” (see post #47). You cannot expect me to let such a misrepresentation go unanswered.

You accuse me of evasion and berate me for not responding to some of your questions or points.  Remember that I am not obligated to respond to anything you say.  My objective here is to make the case for anarcho-capitalism, not to cater to you.
Sorry, there is no intent to berate.

To make the case for anything requires one to answer certain questions about it. For instance, it would be inappropriate for me to make my case for government while ignoring your contentions that government initiates force and always slides into tyranny. I would not be justified in ignoring those contentions on the grounds that, "I am not obligated to respond to anything you say."

Here are some of the reasons that I do not always respond: 

1. I simply do not have the time or energy to respond to all your points;

2. many of your points are repetitious and I feel that I have already answered them;

3. some of your questions appear to be rhetorical or the answer should be obvious to any reasonable person;

4. some of your questions are loaded, that is, they assume some "fact" which is false; or

5. I feel that the response would take us too far from the main point, that is, it is a derivative issue.

1. Remember that you may take all the time you need. You don’t have to answer everything within one day, at least not as far as I am concerned.

2. If a question has already been answered, say “Asked and answered, see post # XX.

3. Yes, rhetorical questions need not be answered, but if they are not, one is justified in assuming that you agree with the point of the question. Obvious questions are easy to answer.

4. An improper or loaded question should be exposed, not ignored.

5. Then please label it as such and I will either accept or explain why I consider it essential.

You accuse me of making unsupported assertions.  I plead guilty.  This is my style.  It is more efficient.  I am not constructing a mathematical proof.  If you accept my point because you know it to be true already, then I have avoided wasting space with an unnecessary explanation.  If you do not accept it, then I assume you will ask: "Please explain this." or "Please provide an example." or "What do you mean by this?".
This does not make sense in the cases where you offer an assertion in direct contradiction to my position. In such cases, it is obvious that I will not agree with your assertion, so there is no reasonable expectation that you can save words. If I say, “I believe X to be true for reasons Y and Z”, you cannot simply say, “No, X is false, period” – and expect me to let it stand at that.

For instance, I state that the criminal justice system is designed to minimize errors, and I provide a fairly lengthy list of its features that contribute to that – then you respond with the assertion that it was“designed to create the appearance of administering justice”. In such situations, it is obvious that one should supply some support.

If you really want me to answer a question, then I suggest that you say:  "Please answer: [question]?".  Make sure that the question is brief and self-contained (no nasty context to worry about).  Then I will try to answer, although I cannot guarantee that, for the reasons I stated above.
Okay, except that I cannot agree that there is such a thing as a question that can be answered out of context.

When I quote you (or myself), I do so to establish a context for my point.  I am NOT making a commitment to answer any point or question of yours which appears in the quotation.
I am not sure what this means. Please answer: Are you saying it is acceptable to ignore both the content and the context of the quote?
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In a dispute between defense agencies, if one side thinks the other is “acting in bad faith”, they may use force to resolve the situation in their favor. The only other alternative is to retreat. True or false?

True. I already said this.

Thank you for answering. This means that under anarchy, force may be used not only in retaliation against those who initiate it, but also against those you perceive to be “acting in bad faith”.

...  under anarchy, “might” determines what is “right”.

Might determines who wins UNDER ANY SYSTEM. Natural law determines what is right.

Why do you say this? In a dispute between two rational me, under government, the one who wins is the one who convinces a jury or a judge that they are correct and the other side is wrong. “Might”, in the form of physical force, has nothing to do with it.

Do you honestly expect these groups [the crazies]to abandon their agendas when government is abolished?

No.

Thank you for answering. Since these groups will not abandon their agenda, they will surely gravitate toward defense agencies that enforce improper laws.

When there is an uproar about some outrage, government may go thru the motions of cleaning house. But as soon as things calm down, they go back to their habit of covering up their sins.

Do you have any actual evidence to support the above?

Notice the Brazilian man who was wrongly killed recently by London police who mistook him for a terrorist. The police issued false statements which tended to excuse themselves. These were exposed by leaks to the media.

Go HERE for a review of the various statements. Note that the disputed statements -- that the victim was wearing a bulky jacket, that he jumped the turnstile and that he refused to stop for the police, came from private citizens, not the Metro Police.

Note also that the leaked material is coming from the Independent Police Complaint Commission, which is investigating the shooting, independent of the police.

Yes, it is true that the the Met initially had questions about the wisdom of involving the IPCC in the investigation. But they had reasons. Go HERE for details.

The bottom line is that there is no cover up. The incident is being investigated by a government agency independent of the police.

More important, though, is the fact that even if you uncover evidence of one police cover-up, that does not prove that all police, under all possible governments, are destined to cover-ups.

So you have no problem with an individual that does not bother with a criminal justice system because he is doing so at his own risk? What about the risks to the people he uses force against?

I do not want people to carelessly use "retaliatory" force against others. I think that the danger of being prosecuted, if they are mistaken, should be sufficient to deter all but the crazies, who cannot be deterred, from taking this course.

I’m afraid I do not see the deterrent. In the Bible belt of the south, the largest defense agencies will undoubtedly be ones controlled by Christians who oppose abortion; they will demand the arrest and punishment of abortion doctors. Who will defend the abortion doctors against this in, say, Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia? What will “deter” the fundamentalist Christians from jailing stem cell researchers in these areas?

My statement that the criminal justice system is designed to minimize the chances of error was accompanied by an extensive list of its features, its participants, its safeguards, and its avenues of appeal. Your statement that [the criminal justice system]is designed to create the appearance of dispensing justice is accompanied by nothing that supports it ...

I have not seen a proof that these features are optimal for the purpose of avoiding errors.

The features may not be perfect, but certainly, the rules of evidence – placing the burden of proof on the prosecution, ruling out hearsay evidence, etc, are all epistemologically sound principles that decrease the chance of error.

The constitution and laws which establish these features are adopted because politicians believe that they will appeal to their constituents.
In some cases, yes. But proper, yet unpopular, rules and procedures also get passed. The Miranda warning protecting the rights of the accused is very unpopular in some areas of the country. The notion of a suspect “getting off” because evidence was obtained improperly is even more unpopular.

Or is it your contention that most politicians are statesmen who only have the good of our country at heart? Certainly they are ignorant of Objectivism.

No, I would agree that many (if not most) politicians are scoundrels. The fact that we retain so many of our freedoms is a testament to the power of our Constitution.

Granted, I may be able to get my defense agency to fight [abuses by other defense agencies], but I should not have to do that.

.....

The issue is not the cost [of protecting me from the crazies].

When you say "I should not have to do that", you are saying that you do not want to bear that cost. But the cost is for your benefit. So it would be wrong to shift it to anyone else.

You misunderstand me. What I “should not have to do” is defend myself against those that should never have been permitted to use force on me in the first place.

An abortion doctor should not have to defend himself against a force-wielding, Christian police. A developer should not have to defend himself against a force-wielding Environmental police. Etc.

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When you drop context, switch subjects in mid-stream and ignore questions and examples, you leave me no choice but to point it out. Please answer: What else would you have me do?

If I commit a fallacy, then you should point it out ONCE and only once. However, not answering your questions or responding to your points is not a fallacy.

"Switching subjects" is just that -- talking about a different issue. It is NOT a fallacy. Ignoring your questions and examples is NOT a fallacy. So it is not appropriate for you to criticize me for them.

If there is a subject which I have passed over which you still want me to address, then simply repeat your question. Perhaps putting it in different words and making it brief and self-contained will make it more likely that I will answer it.

The rationality of the various “competitors” is irrelevant. Even the most rational, honest men can disagree to the extent of refusing to accept arbitration. In the absence of an institution that holds the power to make the final call, such disagreements are settled only through armed conflict. Anarchy has no other answer.

Whether there is one government or many defense agencies, either force or the threat of force is the final resort when dealing with people who will not be reasonable and will not accept the judgement of a judge or arbiter. Having a government does not magically make the use of retaliatory force unnecessary.

I am not going to stand by when you take a statement out of context to make it appear as though I am making a ridiculous claim – such as the way you did in making it appear that I believed “government magically makes the use of retaliatory force unnecessary” (see post #47). You cannot expect me to let such a misrepresentation go unanswered.

I am sorry that I gave the impression that you were talking about irrational men when you were talking about rational men.

However, as I said in Post #50, "If one of the disputants misunderstands the facts or the law and also refuses arbitration, then I would question whether he could be correctly characterized as rational and honest.". I believe that truly rational men would not "disagree to the extent of refusing to accept arbitration".

To make the case for anything requires one to answer certain questions about it.

The resulting weakness in my case is my problem. You should limit yourself to saying "jrs has not yet answered [the question].".

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3. Yes, rhetorical questions need not be answered, but if they are not, one is justified in assuming that you agree with the point of the question.

No. Since I have made clear that I cannot answer all your points, you may not logically assume that my silence means agreement.

I do not want to wait for days working on an ever longer reply without posting anything.

Are you saying it is acceptable to ignore both the content and the context of the quote?

No. I am saying that the quote should be used only to help interpret the meaning of my point. It should not be construed as establishing a standard which my response must meet.

Why do you say [that might determines who wins UNDER ANY SYSTEM]? In a dispute between two rational men, under government, the one who wins is the one who convinces a jury or a judge that they are correct and the other side is wrong. “Might”, in the form of physical force, has nothing to do with it.

Under government, it is the overwhelming might of the government which determines that the side it favors will win.

Do you have any actual evidence to support the above?

.....

...  even if you uncover evidence of one police cover-up, that does not prove that all police, under all possible governments, are destined to cover-ups.

So it would be pointless for me to search for other examples of cover-ups? Then what kind of evidence do you want?

What I “should not have to do” is defend myself against those that should never have been permitted to use force on me in the first place.

How do you propose that USG should prevent the crazies from using force on you in the first place?

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When you drop context, switch subjects in mid-stream and ignore questions and examples, you leave me no choice but to point it out. Please answer: What else would you have me do?

If I commit a fallacy, then you should point it out ONCE and only once.

Even if you continue to commit it?

However, not answering your questions or responding to your points is not a fallacy.  "Switching subjects" is just that -- talking about a different issue. It is NOT a fallacy. Ignoring your questions and examples is NOT a fallacy. So it is not appropriate for you to criticize me for them.
As long as you declare an intent to throw out unsupported assertions, switch subjects in the middle of the discussion, ignore any of my points you choose, ignore my questions, ignore my examples, AND demand that you not be criticized for doing so, any discussion with you is a waste of time.
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Natural law (the law implied by ethical principles) is ethically binding on everyone. Positive law (the commands of the state) is ethically binding on private entities only to the extent that it coincides with natural law.

Please answer: Do you agree? If not, what is the extent of your disagreement and why?

Whether natural law forbids an action by Alan which only directly affects Alan and Bob and their properties depends on the choices, circumstances, and histories of Alan and Bob, but does not depend on positive law.

Please answer: Do you agree? If not, what is the extent of your disagreement and why?

Even if you continue to commit it?

No. I meant once per instance.

I do not mean to stifle your evaluation of my position, I just do not want you to harp on the same past errors of mine over and over. If you point out what you think is an error, then I will either agree with you and retract it or explain why I do not think that it is an error (always assuming that the volume of such cases is not overwhelming).

If I do not correctly answer one of your points or questions due to a fallacy or for any other reason, then you may, of course, continue to list it as unanswered.

As long as you declare an intent to throw out unsupported assertions, switch subjects in the middle of the discussion, ignore any of my points you choose, ignore my questions, ignore my examples, AND demand that you not be criticized for doing so, any discussion with you is a waste of time.
You still have available the implied criticism of repeating the question or point. For example:

How do you propose that USG should prevent the crazies from using force on you in the first place?

AisA has not yet answered this question.

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  • 1 month later...

I am sorry to have left this forum and this debate for so long. The last time this discussion happened I had to do some real self evaluation to regrasp where I stand. I now pose this socratic puzzle in an attempt to finally switch my position back to minarchism.

I can't get passed seeing this triad of conflicting beliefs:

1. Objectivists believe that you have no moral obligation to serve society or the state (or easier said, they don't believe in duties).

2. Objectivists believe that a state is morally necessary.

3. It is possible for no person to even want to participate in government, meaning that no person would want to make laws (legislator), or enforce laws (police man/judge). Also every person may opt not to provide any funds to that state.

Thus it is possible given those three premises that a state is morally necessary and that no person has any moral obligation to create it. How can that be so?

Nimble

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Nimble, I wouldn't state #1 and #2 quite the way you did. I'd re-state it thus:


    <li>Individuals have no duties
  1. Government is necessary in society.
  2. So, what if nobody is interested in government ???

Before I attempt to answer the quandry, I'd like to ask if that re-statement is just as good a representation of the quandry? or, is there something missing in the re-statement?

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Nimble, I wouldn't state #1 and #2 quite the way you did. I'd re-state it thus:

    <li>Individuals have no duties

  1. Government is necessary in society.

  2. So, what if nobody is interested in government ???

Before I attempt to answer the quandry, I'd like to ask if that re-statement is just as good a representation of the quandry? or, is there something missing in the re-statement?

Well, I usually don't like rewordings of what I write, mostly because I am suspicious of a loss of intention, when people change words. However, I would say that this is fairly good rewording of what I said. I believe that individuals have no duties to others, no obligations of time or effort that is. I am almost to th point of believing that government is necessary, but not there yet, however I know that is the Objectivist stance. Lastly, yes what if no one is interested in government, could you imagine Dagny or Hank wanting to be a Senator and give up their dreams of metal and railroads, just because it is something that society needs?

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What makes government jobs so bad that people will not want to become policemen, soldiers, judges, etc.? The same quandry could be posed for any other profession, thus:

  1. Food is essential
  2. What if nobody wants to become a farmer?

Some people avoid government because they see it as immoral as it is today. However, if it is a moral job, why would people avoid it?

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What makes government jobs so bad that people will not want to become policemen, soldiers, judges, etc.? The same quandry could be posed for any other profession, thus:

  1. Food is essential

  2. What if nobody wants to become a farmer?

Some people avoid government because they see it as immoral as it is today. However, if it is a moral job, why would people avoid it?

The difference is that you have a moral obligation to feed yourself, you don't have a moral obligation to be in government. So that critique does not hold.

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The difference is that you have a moral obligation to feed yourself, you don't have a moral obligation to be in government.
I don't like the phrase "moral obligation". However, that aside, I translate your statement as...

"The difference is that you have a moral obligation to feed yourself, you don't have a moral obligation to protect other people's rights."

However, you do have a "moral obligation" to protect your own life and property.

If nobody will trade food for your work, you have to grow your own. If nobody will trade government work for your work, you will have to defend yourself. Fortunately, there will be enough people who like detective work, policework, soldiering...

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