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I think you guys need to stop repeating things spoken by the "high priests" of objectivism, and start thinking abou the conclusions the philosophy requires.  I'm totally in agreement with the philosophy, while you are arguing for its violation... and you don't even see it!

Ah, its all clear now. Another proprietor of the TOC's fallacious doctrine.

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Don Galt (no relation), said:

Please explain to me why we should alll be living for the benefit of you, or Piekoff, or any would be cult leader

I believe the barely subtle implication there is that "Piekoff" [sic] is a cult leader, and we are all cultists.

I'd gladly welcome the forum moderators exercise their "monopoly on the use of force", and ban this freaky anrachist.

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DonGalt,

This is actually a VERY simple idea to grasp (If you are honest and willing to try to understand it)

Imagine a group of people on a deserted island, say 31 people.

They simply decide that 2 will be policemen, 3 will be jurists, and the other 26 will be the legislative body.

You decide this is not for you.

Who are you to then say that the other 30 have no right to freely associate and form this government??????

(i understand all of what you say about the united states government enacting all those bad laws - NOBODY HERE IS DEFENDING THEIR RIGHT TO DO THAT. Ayn Rand said clearly - "There is no 'right to enslave'.")

But here, objectivists are merely asserting that they have a right to form a PROPER government for the boundaries in which they live.

I am sure that ABSOLUTELY everyone here would agree that you are free to not participate in - or pay taxes to - that government. Your piece of land would not be taken either.

BUT - you would not be "FREE" to violate the other people's rights - or you would be open to receiving - THEIR CHOSEN FORM OF PUNISHMENT.

They would, of course, not be open to the option of violating your rights, either. (Just as we Americans can't go onto an Indian Reservation and murder one of them with immunity). ****Key Point****

You would benefit from the existence of the other 30, but this isn't really the point.

They wouldn't possibly do anything to harm you, either - if they were objectivists.

Even if they DID harm you, their laws WOULD punish them.

You CANT lose anything by having a government that abides by proper principles.

You can only gain.

****THe fact that a 100% proper government has never been formed is COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT.

And, I will also admit that the fact that a perfect ANARCHY has NEVER even come close to being BENEFICIAL TO ANYBODY is irrelevant.

What is relevant, is that we are not EMPIRICISTS, or SKEPTICS, who would have to try anarchy with any wide range of people(some psychopath, some mentally ill, some mystical, and some communist, - to know that it would not work.

And what is most relevant is, I repeat, WHAT RIGHT WOULD IT BE OF YOURS TO RESTRICT OUR FREEDOM OF ASSOSIATION AND METHOD OF DEALING WITH PEOPLE WHEN THEY DECIDE TO INITIATE THE USE OF FORCE?????????????????

It is anarchists who propose to violate rights, not objectivists.

Talking about what happened in Somalia, Iceland, and also the United States is IRRELEVANT to a discussion about PRINCIPLES.

over and out

TODD

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Don Galt (no relation), said:

I believe the barely subtle implication there is that "Piekoff" [sic] is a cult leader, and we are all cultists.

I'd gladly welcome the forum moderators exercise their "monopoly on the use of force", and ban this freaky anrachist.

Notice that his posts are nearly a year old. He has already long since been banned. But you're welcome. :(

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Government cannot have a monopoly on the use of force without violating others rights. 

Actually, the opposite is the case. If the gov't doesn't have a monopoly on the use of force, then anyone who wishes to, on whatever grounds they arbitrarily decide, can initiate force against others.

A proper gov't is based on protecting rights. If it is doing that then there are no grounds whatever for someone to object to it - unless they want to violate rights and they know that the gov't will stop them

That is the fundamental contradiction in anarchism. (There are other fallacies in it, but that is the most basic.)

Fred Weiss

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Also incorrect.  Said government would not be funded by those people who do not believe in a free lunch.  Said government would be funded by those who want the services of the government (police, military, objective law court system.)  You don't pay for the service, you don't get the service. 

This is interesting and something I have never seen addressed in the Objectivist literature. So if a person chooses not to pay for gov't protection or simply cannot afford it, are they then free to enforce justice on their own (assuming of course that they follow the same laws and principles as everyone else)? It would seem that that would lead to anarchy, yet the alternative is that someone who did not pay up would have no way to defend his/her rights at all.

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So if a person chooses not to pay for gov't protection or simply cannot afford it, are they then free to enforce justice on their own (assuming of course that they follow the same laws and principles as everyone else)? It would seem that that would lead to anarchy, yet the alternative is that someone who did not pay up would have no way to defend his/her rights at all.

The government should retaliate against all deliberate, criminal violations of rights because a crook on the loose is a threat to EVERYONE and not just to his victim.

When it comes to non-criminal, accidental, and inadvertent violations of rights that are dealt with under civil law, it only concerns the parties involved and prosecution of a case is optional. For civil cases, the plaintiff should pay to bring suit and, if he prevails, the loser should pay the costs for him.

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The government should retaliate against all deliberate, criminal violations of rights because a crook on the loose is a threat to EVERYONE and not just to his victim.

When it comes to non-criminal, accidental, and inadvertent violations of rights that are dealt with under civil law, it only concerns the parties involved and prosecution of a case is optional.  For civil cases, the plaintiff should pay to bring suit and, if he prevails, the loser should pay the costs for him.

It would seem that many objectivists spend so much time thinking about philosophy that you forget about the sciences that might help you achieve the kind of world you would want to live in.

It sounds like all arguments against Anarcho-capitalism from the objectivist point of view are more or less based on the assumption that having more than one protection agency would cause them to get violent with each other.

Rather than just depend on this assumption we should look into it in depth. Open, legitimate firms that put time and effort into maintaining a good reputation have many huge competitive advantages over underground gangs.

This is why the bootleggers of the 1920s fell from power so quickly after prohibition was lifted, because gangs are not competitive.

If there was only 3 competing defense firms, there would be the very real possibility of the type of chaos that I'm sure you all associate with anarchy. But if there are +100 firms, or even a lot less than that there is almost no risk of such a thing happening, because if a few start fighting, than they would rapidly lose power and resources(fighting is expensive) and a few other firms could step in and steal all their customers.

If the current performance of police departments is any indication than any private firm with more than 1000000 clients would be well above their optimum size. This means that in America, the number of defense firms would be a lot closer to 100 than three.

Each firm would have a slightly different understanding of the law, but this would not really matter. It is much more cost efficient for them to solve their differences through a simple bargaining process.

If you want a much more detailed description of the process I would suggest you read The Machinery of Freedom by noted economist David Friedman.

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Additionally, a proper government that has a monopoly on the use of retaliatory force is not an initiator of force. The people that formed the government voluntarily created it because they recognize the fact that government is necessary.

How does government enforce its monopoly without initiating force?

Government is necessary because anarchy results in gang warfare- each gang, its own mini-statist regime.

Why should a group of men who impose a monopoly on the use of retaliatory force not themselves be considered a gang or statist regime?

You claim govt monopoly of force is an INITIATION of force because DEFENSIVE force would be required to maintain the monopoly. This is an obvious contradiction. Initiation and defense are OPPOSITES.

How does government’s enforcement of its monopoly on the use of retaliatory force qualify as “defensive force”? A citizen who uses appropriate retaliation independently of the government has not initiated force against the government and therefore cannot be considered a proper target for the use of government force.

Actually, the opposite is the case. If the gov't doesn't have a monopoly on the use of force, then anyone who wishes to, on whatever grounds they arbitrarily decide, can initiate force against others.

How does that differ from the status quo? We have a government now, and private thugs still initiate force every day and in every part of the nation.

A proper gov't is based on protecting rights. If it is doing that then there are no grounds whatever for someone to object to it - unless they want to violate rights and they know that the gov't will stop them .

Actually, prohibiting a citizen from engaging in proper retaliatory force is a violation of that citizen’s right to self-defense. Thus, there are moral grounds for objecting even to minimalist government.

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Actually, the opposite is the case. If the gov't doesn't have a monopoly on the use of force, then anyone who wishes to, on whatever grounds they arbitrarily decide, can initiate force against others.

A proper gov't is based on protecting rights. If it is doing that then there are no grounds whatever for someone to object to it - unless they want to violate rights and they know that the gov't will stop them

That is the fundamental contradiction in anarchism. (There are other fallacies in it, but that is the most basic.)

Fred Weiss

In the purely theoretical sense, this makes sense, but in the practical world this post made no sense what so ever. You might as well have just typed lasagna a bunch of times as your refutation of anarcho-capitalism.

You are basing your description of government on the wild assumption that government can be controlled and that it will behave the way you want it too, and that it can be affective at anything.

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...prohibiting a citizen from engaging in proper retaliatory force is a violation of that citizen’s right to self-defense.  Thus, there are moral grounds for objecting even to minimalist government.

You are stealing the concept of "proper" in your reference to "proper retaliatory force", since that presupposes an objective body of law and procedures which must govern it - to avoid it becoming vigilantism.

And also when you refer to "moral grounds" in this instance, the actually proper "moral grounds" for retaliatory force must include the protection of the rights of accused. Without that, again, it is just vigilantism.

The contradiction therefore is entirely on the side of anarchism - the claim that you are upholding rights by maintaining your "right" to violate them with impunity. In this instance the rights you are violating are those of the accused.

Once again, we are involved in tedious discussions of the anarchist fantasy which has no reference in reality or any actual examples of its rational implimentation. What evidence we do have - of actual anarchy - reduces your point to the kind of blood feuds and inter-tribal warfare which we can witness even today in some primitive parts of the world. Of course, like Marxists arguing for their fantasies, these are never the "real" examples of how it would "actually" work. It's all very convenient.

Fred Weiss

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Once again, we are involved in tedious discussions of the anarchist fantasy which has no reference in reality or any actual examples of its rational implimentation. What evidence we do have - of actual anarchy - reduces your point to the kind of blood feuds and inter-tribal warfare which we can witness even today in some primitive parts of the world. Of course, like Marxists arguing for their fantasies, these are never the "real" examples of how it would "actually" work. It's all very convenient.

Fred Weiss

Iceland was anacho-capitalist for +300 years. And Somalia is currently developing into one (in the years since clinton left it alone).

But can you give an example of a government behaving as a benevolent defender of rights for very long at all before deteriorating into an institution of legitimized coercion?

It is totally ridiculous to think that such a thing as government, something that holds a monopoly on force, can exist without attracting the worst powerfreaks of humanity in large numbers.

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You are stealing the concept of "proper" in your reference to "proper retaliatory force", since that presupposes an objective body of law and procedures which must govern it - to avoid it becoming vigilantism.

There is no objective body of procedural law. Substantative law, yes. Procedural law, no.

If you disagree, you can start by telling me whether a constitutional amendment should be ratified by 3/4ths of the states or 2/3rds of the states. After that, I have about 10,000 more procedural questions you can address.

And also when you refer to "moral grounds" in this instance, the actually proper "moral grounds" for retaliatory force must include the protection of the rights of accused. Without that, again, it is just vigilantism.
Governments may ignore procedural due process, and a stateless legal system may observe due process.

The contradiction therefore is entirely on the side of anarchism - the claim that you are upholding rights by maintaining your "right" to violate them with impunity.

Your argument fails because you've incorrectly jumped from a possibility (retribution in the absence of a state may violate rights) to a necessity (retribution in the absence of a state will violate rights). No anarchist is claiming a right to retribution over and above the objective standard.

Once again, we are involved in tedious discussions of the anarchist fantasy which has no reference in reality or any actual examples of its rational implimentation.

Everything was new once. Liberal federated democratic republics were considered equally fanciful in the 16th century.

- Josh

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No anarchist is claiming a right to retribution over and above the objective standard.

This again is the same stolen concept. If you acknowledge that there is an objective standard (for proper retribution), then one should advocate implimentating and enforcing it - and not leaving it up to personal whim

Everything was new once.  Liberal federated democratic republics were considered equally fanciful in the 16th century.

Anarchism isn't new. The problem isn't that anarchism hasn't existed. It has (and does). The problem is that anarchists always deny that those represent what they are advocating. So how are they going to get what they (claim to) want - unless again they steal the very concept which they reject and are denying, i.e. the necessity of enforcement?

Fred Weiss

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This again is the same stolen concept. If you acknowledge that there is an objective standard (for proper retribution), then one should advocate implimentating and enforcing it - and not leaving it up to personal whim

Who said anything about personal whim? The policies would more than likely be standard issue within the defence agency itself. Moreover, your argument continues to fail for the same reason I mentioned above: you haven't established why the possible failure of anarchism is a necessary failure of anarchism, nor why the establishment of a state necessarily solves the problem.

Anarchism isn't new.  The problem isn't that anarchism hasn't existed.
Again, neither did liberal federated democratic republics at one time. Would you have opposed them then because they had never been proven? Many people did, but that's not a terribly convincing argument. The classic conservative "We've always done it this way!" isn't exactly a convincing argument in philosophy.

Moreover, your objection to anarchism isn't even ethics-based. What would you say to someone who object to free market capitalism on utilitarian grounds?

It has (and does). The problem is that anarchists always deny that those represent what they are advocating. So how are they going to get what they (claim to) want - unless again they steal the very concept which they reject and are denying, i.e. the necessity of enforcement?

Who's denying enforcement?

- Josh

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Who said anything about personal whim?  The policies would more than likely be standard issue within the defence agency itself.  Moreover, your argument continues to fail for the same reason I mentioned above: you haven't established why the possible failure of anarchism is a necessary failure of anarchism, nor why the establishment of a state necessarily solves the problem.

I'm saying that in order to make any sense anarchism presupposes - and must presuppose - the very thing it is purportedly arguing against, namely, the necessity of a final authority which enforces the law. If you have a final authority which enforces the law then you don't have anarchism.

Moreover, your objection to anarchism isn't even ethics-based.  What would you say to someone who object to free market capitalism on utilitarian grounds?

I don't have any problem with someone objecting to free market capitalism anymore than have a problem with someone objecting to free speech, the separation of church and state, trial by jury, the right to own property, etc. I only object when they attempt to impliment those beliefs and violate our rights in the process.

Fred Weiss

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You are stealing the concept of "proper" in your reference to "proper retaliatory force", since that presupposes an objective body of law and procedures which must govern it - to avoid it becoming vigilantism.

You are presupposing that whatever gang has banished all competition in protection services also has a monopoly on what constitutes "proper retaliatory force.”

And also when you refer to "moral grounds" in this instance, the actually proper "moral grounds" for retaliatory force must include the protection of the rights of accused. Without that, again, it is just vigilantism.

Where is the proof that a monopoly in protection services must necessarily provide better safeguards of the rights of the accused than a set of competing protection agencies?

The contradiction therefore is entirely on the side of anarchism - the claim that you are upholding rights by maintaining your "right" to violate them with impunity. In this instance the rights you are violating are those of the accused.

Not at all. My right of self-defense ends precisely where your own property rights begin. Neither I, nor any other proponent of market anarchism, has proposed that one man’s “self-defense” means riding roughshod over the rights of others. (Although I think this does hold true in regard to Miss Rand’s theory of war.)

Once again, we are involved in tedious discussions of the anarchist fantasy which has no reference in reality or any actual examples of its rational implimentation. What evidence we do have - of actual anarchy - reduces your point to the kind of blood feuds and inter-tribal warfare which we can witness even today in some primitive parts of the world. Of course, like Marxists arguing for their fantasies, these are never the "real" examples of how it would "actually" work. It's all very convenient.

Very well, let us contrast what you call the “anarchist fantasy” with a real world example of “limited government,” i.e. an instance of a state which does not (or did not) violate individual rights. Come, now. Bring forth your “actual,” “objective,” “non-force-initiating,” “limited” monopoly government.

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You are presupposing that whatever gang has banished all competition in protection services also has a monopoly on what constitutes "proper retaliatory force.” Where is the proof that a monopoly in protection services must necessarily provide better safeguards of the rights of the accused than a set of competing protection agencies?

The United States vs. the Sudan.

Fred Weiss

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That argument would be more effective if the comparison had involved two monopolies (US vs. Canada) rather than just one (US vs. Sudan).

Thanks for your thoughtful response, Dr. Odden. May I suppose that the point you're making is that the ruling military junta in Khartoum does not have complete control over the entire territory of what is generally recognized as the Republic of the Sudan? If so, two points come to mind here:

1) Just what government does have *total* control of the territory over which it claims sovereignty? Does the government of the United States have unchallenged authority over the underground drug market? Over the market in prohibited weapons sales? Over income tax evaders? Over employers of illegal aliens? Over under-the-table political contributors? Indeed, anyone that follows the underground economy must notice its phenomenal growth despite the breast-beating claims of establishment yes-men to the contrary.

2) In what respect is the military junta in Khartoum *not* to be considered a proper monopoly? Does it officially *allow* competing governments (or rather protection agencies) to operate within the same areas that the junta lays claim to? As a folk art retailer looking for African sculptures, I visited Khartoum in 1990 yet found no evidence of any free market in protection services. The entire city was under the rigid grip of a single authority: the military-Islamist elite that had seized supreme power a year before. (Although, I must admit, that the regime was powerless to prevent me from engaging in a back room, illegal exchange of Sudanese dinars for US dollars at a rate different from what was officially dictated.)

Perhaps this is what you meant, Professor Odden: Sudan is an anarchy because it cannot enforce monetary exchange controls. In that case, several hundred other nations must also be considered anarchies.

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Ergo, some monopolies in protection services provide better safeguards of the rights of the accused than other monopolies.

Oh, do the warlords in the Sudan (or in Somalia or in Afghanistan) have monopolies? I thought good ol' anarchist "competition" prevailed and whichever "agency" won this week's battle in this or that region had the "protection racket" in that area? (That is, until next week's battle).

Tell us why this isn't the way that anarchism will work.

Fred Weiss

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Oh, do the warlords in the Sudan (or in Somalia or in Afghanistan) have monopolies? I thought good ol' anarchist "competition" prevailed and whichever "agency" won this week's battle in this or that region had the "protection racket" in that area? (That is, until next week's battle).

Tell us why this isn't  the way that anarchism will work.

I believe you have answered your own question, Fred. If a warlord has a monopoly, there is by definition no competition and therefore no free market in protection services. If you think that "good ol' anarchism" means winning a battle and taking over the protection racket in an area, then you must believe that the United States is an example of anarchism. For taking over the protection racket is precisely what the U.S. did after winning battles against Indians, Mexicans and Southerners.

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Thanks for your thoughtful response, Dr. Odden.

You are welcome. BTW, we needn't stand on ceremony.

May I suppose that the point you're making is that the ruling military junta in Khartoum does not have complete control over the entire territory of what is generally recognized as the Republic of the Sudan?
No, because that leaves open the interpretation that they have almost complete control, which they don't. More accurately, they have marginal control.

1) Just what government does have *total* control of the territory over which it claims sovereignty?

As I just indicated, this is a non-issue. You seem to be confused about the concept of "control". North Korea would be the best example of a total-control regime, but even then they do not have total control, because many people manage to escape to freedom. I don't see how your question is relevant. Your argument appears to be that only a perfectly successful fascist dictatorship has a monopoly on force, and that if any crimes occur then the government does not have a monopoly on force. Since there are no such situations, what lesson do we draw from that? None.

Now if you would look back at your response to Fred, you will see that you accepted the position that the US has a monopoly on force; given that, plus the fact that a theft has occurred in the US and the implication of your question emphasizing the total nature of this control, then you should understand that you are contradicting yourself by assuming that the US and Sudan both do and do not have monopolies on force.

2)  In what respect is the military junta in Khartoum *not* to be considered a proper monopoly?
Because it is neither proper, nor a monopoly.

Does it officially *allow* competing governments (or rather protection agencies) to operate within the same areas that the junta lays claim to?

It does allow competing governments in its territory. Don't obsess about what's official: the de facto is as important as the de jure. And again, your assumptions regarding the infallibility of the state in forcing all of its citizens to obey all laws is simply wrong, and irrelevant.

As a folk art retailer looking for African sculptures, I visited Khartoum in 1990 yet found no evidence of any free market in protection services.
I think it's generally agreed that Khartom is the safe haven in that country, which is why so many refugees from the south head north.

Perhaps this is what you meant, Professor Odden: Sudan is an anarchy because it cannot enforce monetary exchange controls.  In that case, several hundred other nations must also be considered anarchies.

No, I would say that Somalia was and perhaps is anarchy (I reserve judgement regarding the last 6 months). I don't offhand know of a specific term that identifies the Sudanese type of situation, other than a general term like "mess" or "hellhole". Recall that the question is about Sudan, not Khartoum. I will grant you that the militaro-Islamicists have a monopoly on force in Khartoum, so we're obviously talking about Dar For and the southern provinces.

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