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Anarchism vs. Minarchism

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PeteyRimple
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I do believe I have the right to take the law into my own hands.

Then so does anyone else in regard to you - and that includes the type of people whom I don't suggest you rub the wrong way and toward whom you had better show proper deference. They are prepared to pay far, far more than you are for "protection and retaliation" services and they are not too concerned with the niceties of civilized legal procedures.

Oh, wait, I'm sorry. You said that only you had the right to take the law into your own hands. It doesn't apply to anyone else and not in regard to getting even with you. Is that right?

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While you're busy, here is something to think about. Assume that you have a defense contract with Tannahelp and the alleged thief Smith has a defense contract with Burnsco. If Tannahelp seizes Smith, they are initiating force against Smith just in case he is actually innocent. Whether or not Smith is later found guilty of the alleged charge, Burnsco has a contractual obligation to defend Smith against attack, so Tannahelp must initiate force against Burnsco to prevent their successful defense of Smith. Your "free market of force" always results in initiation of force, even if you assume this putative "right to vigilantism", and this alone negates the supposed moral superiority of anarchy.

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Don't we kind of have rival gangs now, for instance Canada and the US? If we are worried about rivals I guess your argument would imply we need world government.

And where/how was that established?

The fundamental point you are missing is that gov't is subject to restraint. Recognizing the danger of force and the threat it poses to individual rights, an ideal constitutional limited gov't is strictly limited to protecting those rights. Various procedures are implimented to reduce the liklihood that gov't will overstep its proper bounds, e.g. checks and balances, separation of powers, courts, etc. Ours obviously is not ideal, but it is certainly vastly better than Somalia - and the means exist to change it for the better via rational persuasion.

What restraint governs private gangs other than "might makes right" and whoever has the most guns wins? Hasn't that in fact been basically the story of history *until the advent of limited gov't*? When was the last war between Vermont and New York or Albany and Utica?

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Don't we kind of have rival gangs now, for instance Canada and the US? If we are worried about rivals I guess your argument would imply we need world government.

And where/how was that established?

Not neccesarily, the only thing that would be needed is a universal understanding of individual rights in order to avoid state vs. state warfare and looting. The principle of limited government, at least as far as the founding fathers was concerned, is that as you go up the ladder, each level of government has less power and more restraint by the constitution. State and Local municipalities would obviously deal with the vast bulk of court and law enforcement issues, assuming that interstate crime would be handled by the federal government. A world government would be a redundancy, and the absolute abomination that is the United Nations is proof positive that it would never work in practice.

As for commerce, I don't think that the federal government should have it's interstate commerce powers, nor do I support the state or local municipalities trying to manipulate the market with taxes punishing behavior or subsidies rewarding it. You could make an arguement that we have rival gangs in American politics right now by virtue of the current economic pressure group warfare, but this can be solved by getting the government out of the regulation of the economy business. Further this is a separate issue dealing with Property Rights, which is a separate right, though equally as vital as Liberty and Life.

Edited by dark_unicorn
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I'm just going to let you know that PeteyRimple won't be back from vacation until Monday, and I am pretty sure this debate forum is for 1vs1's.

Looks like this particular debate is not 1 on 1, so feel free to contribute. Since Petey started it, it's up to him to decide who may respond to him.

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Again let me start with Ayn Rand’s definition of government. “A government is an institution that holds the exclusive power to enforce certain rules of social conduct in a given geographical area.”

Rand doesn’t specify how large or small that geographical area is. So why couldn’t it be my house or the land I’m standing on? And why couldn’t that institution be a private protection agency or myself? My point is, the types of legal enforcement that would exist under anarchism satisfy Rand’s definition of government.

The problem with actual government , the state, or what Rand probably had in mind, is that it forces people to turn to it for justice (think of the French government coming to your house and saying, we are your law enforcers now), as opposed to who they would voluntarily seek for justice. The “alleged right to vigilantism” that I uphold is really just the actual right never to be coerced. Once again, by maintaining a monopoly on the use of retaliatory force, the state necessarily initiates force and is hence immoral.

But what I assume you guys are worried about is the absence of objective law under anarchism. Hopefully I can dispel some of those worries. First off, an enormous amount of historical and anthropological data confirms that law is older than the state. Also some historical examples of objective law arising on the market include the medieval law merchant which arose precisely because states, with their mishmash of conflicting rules and regulations, were not providing a specified, coherent body of commercial law. Come to think of it why would we need a state to guarantee the objectivity of law? What about objectivity in science? We don’t have a special elite calling themselves the “science government” taking it upon themselves to determine what are objective criteria for science. Another point, from the argument that “everyone must submit their disputes to an objective arbiter”, it does not follow “there is an objective arbiter (i.e. the state) everyone must submit their disputes to.” To argue along those lines is to commit a compositional logical fallacy. A final point: it’s likely that a standard law would arise on the market for the same reason the market has converged on other standards, such as the standard that all ATM cards are four-sided (to use Roderick Long’s example).

But what, under anarchism, will guarantee that people will enforce laws that resemble libertarian principles? Quite frankly: nothing. As long as people have free will lots of things are possible. But there is nothing guaranteeing that under government libertarian principles will be upheld or established. The better question is: under what system, market anarchism, or limited government, should we expect libertarian principles to be more likely upheld? I think market anarchism has limited government beat. Under limited government we have a constitution you might reply. I’d like to point out that the Soviet Union had a constitution; little good that did them! I’d like to point out that when the Supreme Court determined that Andrew Jackson’s removal of the Cherokee from their homeland was unconstitutional, Jackson responded: “Well they’ve made their decision, now let them enforce it!” The point is that a constitution guarantees nothing, it’s just a piece of paper. What matters is that there are institutional incentives that place restraints on the abuse of power. Market competition in law enforcement and adjudication is actually the logical conclusion of the idea of checks and balances and a separation of powers, if you really come to think of it. Another advantage of market anarchism is that it internalizes the costs of law enforcement, meaning if you want a rule enforced, you gotta pay for it. This will probably establish a consumer demand that peaceful relationships between citizens are maintained (which is really all libertarianism is) because going beyond mere protection of the peace costs more money. In reality though, the only thing that can guarantee that individual rights are upheld, is a universal recognition of their validity. This is true for societies with government just as much as it is true for anarchist societies.

I would like to conclude with some quotes from the legal scholar Harold Berman describing in his book “Law and Revolution” two of the things that have led to the deterioration of law in the West in recent times:

“Law in the twentieth century, both in theory and in practice, has been treated less and less as a coherent whole, a body a corpus juris, and more and more as a hodgepodge, a fragmented mass of ad hoc decisions and conflicting rules…The old meta-law has broken down and been replaced by a kind of cycnicism.”

“The source of the supremacy of law in the plurality of legal jurisdiction and legal systems within the same legal order is threatened in the twentieth century by the tendency within each country to swallow up all the diverse jurisdictions and systems in a single central program of legislation and administrative regulation.”

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First off, an enormous amount of historical and anthropological data confirms that law is older than the state. Also some historical examples of objective law arising on the market include the medieval law merchant which arose precisely because states, with their mishmash of conflicting rules and regulations, were not providing a specified, coherent body of commercial law.

Petey, at this point, it strikes me that you are repeating yourself a bit. I think people have already raised objections to your points which I'm not sure you've answered.

Take above. This strikes me as shameless context dropping. In what context did this type of law arise? What types did arise vs. those that didn't? What was the status of threat of physical force at the time (both from internal sources and external sources)? etc.

It is fallacious to claim that because some law can develop in a "market for justice" that all law can. Several people have already raised that point.

Second, since I'm a big integration-of-principles-back-to-reality sort of guy, I'm wondering what your explanation is for the fact that we don't really see in history the evolution of an advanced, division-of-labor society out of lawlessness? What I see lots of examples evolving out of lawlessness is feudalism or tribalism. Isn't this the natural course of the "protection racket" sort of society, that anarchism must necessarily be? In fact, nations seem to have evolved from feudal lord and kings who were in essence the leaders of large protection rackets?

My assertion woudl be that anarchistic markets for justice are merely an early primitive form of social evolution. You have hardly made the case otherwise.

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Rand doesn’t specify how large or small that geographical area is.
Because size doesn’t matter. Objectivists do not argue that there must be only one world government, just that there must be only one government in a location -- wherever a particular society is. This is both for purely practical reasons (stretching resources too thin) and the principle of being able to know what law you are subject to. Under anarchy, you can’t know what law you are subject to, since you might have one law and your neighbor might have a very different law.
The “alleged right to vigilantism” that I uphold is really just the actual right never to be coerced.
But vigilantism is coersion. Calling out your goon squad to attack your neighbor because of some perceived insult is coersion.
But what I assume you guys are worried about is the absence of objective law under anarchism...

First off, an enormous amount of historical and anthropological data confirms that law is older than the state.

This is partly false and partly irrelevant. An enormous amount of historical data shows that objective law was first created by the state of Sumer. Primitive tribal laws are not enforced by a highly organised state in the western sense, but they are nonetheless enforced by small local governments (the tribal council, the village elders). And more to the point, Somali-style “law without government” is not suitable for a civilized society. It is beyond question that primitive man operated without the benefit of government and every man defined his own law, where power determines which particular law would prevail at a given time -- this is precisely the reason why government is needed, to prevent the complete decay of civilization, as we’re seeing now in Iraq and Somalia, most prominently. The fact that men used to live as savages does not mean that we should do so now.

You are right: the essential flaw of anarchism is the lack of objective law. Your argument mistakenly puts the emphasis on the so-called “free market of force”. The real, core issue is, what principles are enforced?

Come to think of it why would we need a state to guarantee the objectivity of law? What about objectivity in science?
You really don’t know? Because ultimately, law is based on *force*, which in the extreme case is taking a person’s life. Science is based on reason, and never force.
Another point, from the argument that “everyone must submit their disputes to an objective arbiter”, it does not follow “there is an objective arbiter (i.e. the state) everyone must submit their disputes to.”
There is no such argument. Rather, in order to live a rational life in a free society, an objective arbiter of disputes is needed which will control the use of force; and everyone must submit their disputes to it.
But what, under anarchism, will guarantee that people will enforce laws that resemble libertarian principles?
Right there you’ve identified the problem: laws that resemble ‘libertarian principles’ would be horrible, since there are no real principles of libertarianism. Compared to modern government, a government that lived by the credo “the government should not initiate force” would be an improvement in some respects. But libertarian philosophy is so shallow that it take no time at all to find those areas where libertarianism has nothing to say, and yet the questions are fundamental to law and rights. For example, what should copyright and patent law be? Libertarianism has nothing at all to say about that. Libertarian ideas achieve a semblance of coherence only when you are dealing with matters of agreement, for example contracts. When it comes to disputes external to contracts, libertarianism has nothing to offer except shallow promises such as the idea that somehow, the unregulated use of violence will naturally cause man’s rights to be respected.
Another advantage of market anarchism is that it internalizes the costs of law enforcement, meaning if you want a rule enforced, you gotta pay for it.
Interesting that you would point that out. With a proper government (funded voluntarily) all men's rights are protected, rich and poor alike, and not just the rights of those who have paid a protection-squad.
In reality though, the only thing that can guarantee that individual rights are upheld, is a universal recognition of their validity.
Bada boom. And now you have identified a major flaw of anarchy: it is workable only in a Utopic society. By contrast, under the rule of objective law, what guarantees that individual rights are upheld is a prevailing recognition of their nature and validity. The Objectivist view of limited government works not just when everyone is a perfect Objectivist, but even works with there are second-handers and thieves, whose actions are controlled by the objective rule of law.
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Because size doesn’t matter. Objectivists do not argue that there must be only one world government, just that there must be only one government in a location
Size doesn’t matter, that was my point. I was saying that because Rand does not specify the extent of this geographical location it could be someone’s home or the space they are occupying, and that institution enforcing rules of social conduct could be me or the private protection agency I have hired. If you grant that there doesn’t need to be world government then you allow for international anarchy, but then why not allow inter-state anarchy, or inter-city anarchy, or inter-individual anarchy? Look at it this way, what we have now is anarchy and what we call states are just outlaw protection agencies forcing us to fund them and come to them for services. Repeat: states are outlaw protection agencies.

Under anarchy, you can’t know what law you are subject to, since you might have one law and your neighbor might have a very different law.

But that is exactly what happens now where you have one country with its laws and another country with their laws. Yet we manage to do relatively ok. War does not break out every time there are conflicts between US citizens and Canadian citizens, we’ve developed ways of cooperating (i.e. international law). If nations can do that (for the most part) why can’t individuals? And like I have said and will keep on saying, there are historical precedents where the market itself created a set of objectively defined laws because states were not providing them.

But vigilantism is coersion.

Well if you have defined vigilantism that way I concede your point. I too do not believe vigilantism is morally permissible. What I meant by vigilantism in earlier posts was turning somewhere else besides the government for justice, and I mean justice, not using your “goon squad” to attack anyone that gives you a funny look. It’s absurd to think any market anarchist has ever condoned that. To quote Roderick Long: “Market anarchists have no objection to the idea that actions based on correct views of justice have a right to a monopoly against actions based on a mistaken view of justice. What Market Anarchists deny is the further inference that this monopoly is best achieved through a monopoly agency or institution.”

The real, core issue is, what principles are enforced?

Precisely! But neither under anarchy nor under government will it ever be guaranteed what principles are enforced, the question is under what system are disputes more likely to be resolved in a peaceful manner and according to objectivist (or libertarian) principles. And in my previous post I stated reasons why I think anarchism beats minarchism in this respect.

an objective arbiter of disputes is needed which will control the use of force; and everyone must submit their disputes to it.
But right here you have just committed the fallacy I was pointing out. Just because I need an objective arbiter to control the use of force and resolve my disputes it does not follow that there is one arbiter “everyone must submit their disputes to.”

And now you have identified a major flaw of anarchy: it is workable only in a Utopic society.

The only thing providing a guarantee that rights will always be respected is a universal recognition of their validity. That’s a fact, not some utopian fantasy. What’s Utopian is to think that such a society would ever exist. What market anarchism and limited government need is a prevalent recognition of the nature and validity of rights. You concede that that would be possible and necessary under limited government. I say the same for market anarchism.

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But that is exactly what happens now where you have one country with its laws and another country with their laws.
That is because (usually) Spain does not attempt to enforce Spanish law within the US. Whereas with anarchy, this is exactly what you would have -- some foreign protection agency coming in and enforcing its customer's "law" against you.
What I meant by vigilantism in earlier posts was turning somewhere else besides the government for justice, and I mean justice, not using your “goon squad” to attack anyone that gives you a funny look.
If you think that such an attack will serve justive, what's to stop you?

I hereby carp on the following point. You are trying to fly before you can crawl, taking on the problems that anarchy has with both enforcement and with the law itself. You cannot enforce the law until you have the law. I would like you to satisfactorily address the question "What is the law?" before again touching the question of enforcement. Start by addressing the question of patents and copyrights.

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Size doesn’t matter, that was my point. I was saying that because Rand does not specify the extent of this geographical location it could be someone’s home or the space they are occupying, and that institution enforcing rules of social conduct could be me or the private protection agency I have hired. If you grant that there doesn’t need to be world government then you allow for international anarchy, but then why not allow inter-state anarchy, or inter-city anarchy, or inter-individual anarchy? Look at it this way, what we have now is anarchy and what we call states are just outlaw protection agencies forcing us to fund them and come to them for services. Repeat: states are outlaw protection agencies.

What this sliding scale of size does is obliterate the context and concept of jurisdiction. There are only certain aspects that nations negotiate between themselves, but they have complete jursidiction within social interactions within their borders, on certain other aspects. What you do NOT have is two separate nations (states, cities, etc) asserting jurisdiction, on the same aspect, in the same geography. You can have a heirarchy of jurisdictions, but not overlapping jurisdictions. This is the context you continue to drop. At a minimum, the juridiction must encompass, a single social interaction, i.e. there cannot be a law for you and a law for me, when it comes to an interaction between us. To the extent that we can prenegotiate a relationship, then we establish a jurisdiction for just us (as long as it doesn't violate a different level of jurisdictsion heirarchy). But there are a multitude of daily possible interactions that are not prenegotiated, one on one (criminal law is such an example). How do you propose that such a standard will arise?

But that is exactly what happens now where you have one country with its laws and another country with their laws. Yet we manage to do relatively ok. War does not break out every time there are conflicts between US citizens and Canadian citizens, we’ve developed ways of cooperating (i.e. international law). If nations can do that (for the most part) why can’t individuals? And like I have said and will keep on saying, there are historical precedents where the market itself created a set of objectively defined laws because states were not providing them.

No it's not. US has jurisdiction in the US, and Canada has jurisdiction in Canada. There is no confusion as to what law is the law when I'm in the US. The problem David is bringing up is the fact that Canada doesn't claim jurisdiction in the US, and vice versa, but your social interaction sistuation is exactly that. You and I have a social interaction, but we haven't agreed before hand who's law will preside over the interaction. Now what?

And like I said and will keep on saying, the fact that, in a given pocket of legal heirarchy, laws can arise by the effect of the market, i.e. of trading or negotiating does not in any way imply that the whole heirarchy can arise that way. A monopoly level of force existed at some part in the heirarchy that protected the pockets of market develpoment. You have yet to show me a historical example that shows the whole system arising from anarchy.

It’s absurd to think any market anarchist has ever condoned that. To quote Roderick Long: “Market anarchists have no objection to the idea that actions based on correct views of justice have a right to a monopoly against actions based on a mistaken view of justice. What Market Anarchists deny is the further inference that this monopoly is best achieved through a monopoly agency or institution.”

Market anarchists may not condone goon squads, but that matters little if the social system they propose will lead to them wether they want them or not. THere's a ton of historical evidence that shows that anarchy leads to primitive tribalism. The mafia, warlords, etc. I at least have an example of a complex division of labor society forming from government (the US). Point me to the same from anarchy.

Your quote is gobbledygook. What is a "right to a monopoly against actions..."? We don't have a monopoly agency now either. I have a miriad of agencies that represent me in a structured heirarchy. We have everything from Nations all the way down to townships, and even individual contracts between parties. What we do have is a concept of juristdiction (a single party which owns the monopoly on judgement of a single type of interaction) which your concept inherently drops. YOu explain to me who has jurisdiction in a single social interaction that hasn't been prenegotiated according to your system.

Precisely! But neither under anarchy nor under government will it ever be guaranteed what principles are enforced, the question is under what system are disputes more likely to be resolved in a peaceful manner and according to objectivist (or libertarian) principles. And in my previous post I stated reasons why I think anarchism beats minarchism in this respect.

But right here you have just committed the fallacy I was pointing out. Just because I need an objective arbiter to control the use of force and resolve my disputes it does not follow that there is one arbiter “everyone must submit their disputes to.”

Please stop using Objectivism and Libertarianism as synonymous. They aren't even close. It is libertarian thinking that leads to this sort of reasoning. "the free market is great, the free market works for everything, including government." which is where anarchists come from.

The only thing providing a guarantee that rights will always be respected is a universal recognition of their validity. That’s a fact, not some utopian fantasy. What’s Utopian is to think that such a society would ever exist. What market anarchism and limited government need is a prevalent recognition of the nature and validity of rights. You concede that that would be possible and necessary under limited government. I say the same for market anarchism.

I agree that govt doesn't necessarily guarantee rights, but I can guarantee that anarchism doesn't. It isn't a debate about both being inherently empty of rights, and which works better, given rights. The vessel of governement may or may not be able to hold individual rights. The vessel of anarchy is full of holes.

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That is because (usually) Spain does not attempt to enforce Spanish law within the US.
Have you ever heard of imperialism or expansionism, something that states engage in quite often?

some foreign protection agency coming in and enforcing its customer's "law" against you.

That's just fine as long as that customer's company enforces a just law.

If you think that such an attack will serve justice, what's to stop you?
Other people and other protection agencies.

"What is the law?"

I'll use Lon Fuller's definition: "The enterprise of governing human conduct by rules."

Edited by GreedyCapitalist
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Have you ever heard of imperialism or expansionism, something that states engage in quite often?
Remember that we're engaged in a normative discussion of what law should be and not a descriptive historical study of past barbarism. Yes, it's true that Nazi Germany tried to take over Europe, that Russia did take over vast numbers of countries, etc. etc. Please go back and re-read what you said that caused me to point out that Spain does not enforce Spanish law in the US. You seemed to be arguing that the existence of multiple nations was proof of the viability of anarchy. I pointed out the flaw in your argument (as did Kendall). So what part of the argument do you not now comprehend?
That's just fine as long as that customer's company enforces a just law.
I hereby request, demand and beseech you to address the problem of competing just claims. Customer A declares that for him, copyright law protects written works for 30 years; customer B declares that for him, copyright law protects written works for life plus 50. 31 years after B published his bestselling novel Kant Noodled, A starts to sell copies on the cheap, paying no royalties. A and B demand that their goon squads enforce their "law". War ensues. Please address the central question which you are conspicuously avoiding, the determination of what the law actually is. Please do not address any other questions until you have faced this particular piece of reality.
Other people and other protection agencies.
As in, might makes right? If I have a powerful enough goon squad, I can write my own ticket, right?
I'll use Lon Fuller's definition: "The enterprise of governing human conduct by rules."
I'm stunned that you were able to make Fuller sound like a legal positivist.
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I'll use Lon Fuller's definition: "The enterprise of governing human conduct by rules."

I'm somewhat confused about this aspect of your argument - who created those rules, to whom do they apply, and how are they objective and not arbitrary?

Another argument you put forth also has me confused:

First off, an enormous amount of historical and anthropological data confirms that law is older than the state. Also some historical examples of objective law arising on the market include the medieval law merchant which arose precisely because states, with their mishmash of conflicting rules and regulations, were not providing a specified, coherent body of commercial law.

First off, you say 'state' rather than government. As far as I can tell, the law merchant you mention was a form of government, with the added problem of a lack of enforceabilty in any manner other than boycotting the non-complier. Law applied in this manner would likely result in geographical pooling of people who share the same views and use the same protection agency, putting that agency in power the same way a state would be - or at least putting a unified system of law in place, even if enforced by several different agencies. Perhaps I'm simply misunderstanding the idea of market anarchy? It seems to me that any person wandering into this geographical area with a different view of justice would soon find himself at the mercy of those who lived there, unless the coutering protection agencies were willing to start a gang war to resolve any problems.

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It's gonna take me time to come up with a real good response for Kendall and David, I wanna make sure it covers all your basic points. So for clarity let me ask, are these the problems you see with anarchy:

1.) The problem of two jurisdictions in the same area.

2.) Just because some laws can arise on the market doesn't mean they all can.

3.) Market anarchism will lead to "good squads" and "warlords".

4.) Under anarchism might makes right.

5.) Under anarchism determinate law is not possible.

6.) What is to happen when two people have competing claims under anarchy?

So Kendall and David, please let me know asap if these are the main points you want me to address in my next post.

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I am not going to reply in a debate form, however I would like to point out that the Objectivists here have switched back and forth on whether this is a descriptive debate or a normative debate.

I notice you point out practical questions of anarchy and then infer that anarchy is somehow morally unsound. But when practical problems are pointed out about states on Petey's side, you reply this is a normative debate, so refering to real mistakes that real governments make and continue to make, won't help Petey. But somehow mistakes that his theoretical anarchist society makes, somehow disprove him...it doesn't make sense and I think it is low to treat him that way, since he doesn't even understand the little ins-and-outs of Objectivism. And you are playing debate games with him.

If you are going to allow details about anarchy to be subject to scrutiny, then examples of real governments should be allowed in the argument as well.

As for anarchy only working under a Utopian society, it seems as if an Objectivist government is Utopian as well. Out of how many thousands of years of government have we even seen one that respects rights? None. Even our own government started with noble roots and was heading in the right direction, yet the very nature of government led it completely away from Objectivist principles.

I would argue that an Objectivist government can not exist for any extended period of time before collapsing back into some statist country or pseudo-welfare state.

Thanks

Chris

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I don't want you to cover every little point, I want you to cover one point, the one that I see as being most important. And that is, what is the law? (I'm hoping for something more informative that a Fuller-morphed-into-Hart sound bite). This question includes: what are the injunctions -- the things you may not legally do to another person of his property -- and please focus on non-obvious issues, not just "don't kill, don't steal". If you have problems with grasping this issue, we can refine the question. I've pointed to copyright and patent law as one area to consider; defamation is another; law pertaining to abandoned property is a third. To be included in this is discussion of remedies -- supposing a person is guilty of theft, what exactly is the remedy. And finally, you need to discuss procedural law. For example, in finding guilt or innocence, is the burden on the accused to prove innocence or is it on the accuser to prove guilt (remember that it currently actually goes both ways, depending on jurisdiction); are their any standards for defining "legally obtained evidence" or is any evidence whatsoever, gottem by whatever mean "just fine"; and is there a standard for treating illegal evidence? Can the accused be forced to testify against himself; is there any penalty for perjury? Does the accused have the right to bring an attorney or other representation?

The point is that properly constructed government (monopoly government) has to answer these questions, and has answered these questions, but once answered, you can predict the relationship between law and your actions (that is, either you have or you have not broken the law). This result is because there is a single law, which can be known by all. That guarantee does not exist under anarchy, and instead you have the possibility of each individual defining his own law which he can declare "protects his rights", and forcibly defending his supposed rights directly or through an agent. Thus I could decide that you have no right to an attorney, my mere allegation of your wrong-doing is sufficient to force you to appear before my court, and if you don't have the economic wherewithall to mount a forcible defense of what you perceive to be your rights (to only be taken for just cause, to have an attorney to defend you, and the right to presumption of innocence), you will be rather SOAL. If you think that that is an acceptable outcome, they you could just say that and we can be done with it; if, on the other hand you think that is an utterly appaling outcome, I want to see how you intend to make law uniform.

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To make things more conceptually coherent, I’ll list off what I understand to be the main objectivist arguments or “worries” about market anarchism and add my response to each.

1.)How would there be a uniform law under anarchy?

Uniform law would arise because people would have incentives to create rules that facilitate cooperation. And with the exception of a few deranged individuals most of us have the capacity for cooperation and reciprocity. (I refer you guys to Matt Ridley’s “The Origins of Virtue”). This innate capacity for cooperation in most of us is what made the division of labor, and society for that matter, possible. And societies existed long before monopoly governments came about. And as I have already pointed out there are historical examples of laws arising through market incentives (the law merchant) and other countless examples of markets convening on other standards (i.e. four-sided ATM cards or…. a common currency!).

2.)How under market anarchism can there be a resolution of competing claims?

Well if two protection agencies have a dispute they have two options: violence or peaceful resolution. I predict that peaceful resolution would win the day because it’s less expensive and creates a bad reputation for those companies. And if wars broke out they would probably be less frequent and less deadly than wars between governments. To paraphrase Roderick Long: “the bloody history of the world is the result of governments purchasing violence at less than market price.”

3.)Under market anarchism won’t “goon squads” prevail?

Possibly. However I could just as easily ask “under government won’t dictators prevail?” or “under government won’t interest groups prevail?” It’s important to point out that I have never said that a society of bloody savages without a government is better than a society of peaceful law-abiding citizens under limited government. What I have said is that for any society the imposition of government is a negative. Market anarchism would not work in a society like Somalia, but neither would limited government. Likewise, in the West, especially the U.S., market anarchism would probably have a good chance of working out, or at least a better chance. And the same goes for limited government.

4.)Under market anarchism doesn’t might just make right?

If we mean by what is morally right, of course not. (Remember not to get “is” and “ought” confused). But if we mean by might who has the most power in society, or if we mean society itself, then yes might will determine the positive law. But that is true in any society with government or not. Unless you Objectivist-Limited-Government advocates have enough power in society, your state will fail. Right or wrong it’s society or the people with the most power that decide what the law of the land is. The only thing guaranteeing that some types of laws will exist as opposed to others is what values prevail in society. The only thing that will lead to a free society is education.

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I need to read through your post in detail, but a question come to mind after a first read. Do you think that it is at all important for a person to know what restrictions he is subject to, before the fact, or is it okay to operate in a manner that for whatever reason you happen to think is an okay way to act, and then if it turns out your act was deemed to be breaking the law you just take your punishment? If you think that you should be told in advance what acts will cause someone to initiate force against you, then how does one know what acts are legal versus illegal?

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yet the very nature of government led it completely away from Objectivist principles.

Tragically incorrect. The massive acceptance of altruism-collectivism by the governed led it completely away from Objectivis principles.

A proper Objectivist government can keep a nation free as long as a majority of the population understand rights. Considering that currently in America the people who reject altruism-collectivism number less than 10%, I'd say the system is proven to work fantastically well.

mrocktor

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PeteyRimple asks,

"1.)How would there be a uniform law under anarchy?"

This is a stolen concept. Law presupposes a gov't which enforces it. (Without enforcement there is no law).

In other words, if there is law, there isn't anarchy.

"2.)How under market anarchism can there be a resolution of competing claims?"

"Market anarchism" is a contradiction in terms. If you have anarchism, you can't have a market. A market presupposes the existence of law which presupposes the existence of gov't. Some entity has to enforce the rules of the market.

"3.)Under market anarchism won’t “goon squads” prevail?"

Of course. That's the very definition of anarchy. It is the absence of law and therefore the rule of gangs.

"4.)Under market anarchism doesn’t might just make right?"

Anarchism is the rule of might vs. the rule of rights.

Continuing to point out that gov'ts have and do violate rights is beside the point. The alternative is not between anarchism and rights-violating gov'ts. The alternative is all the various ways that rights can be violated - which includes anarchism - and the establishment of a gov't based on objective law for the sole purpose of protecting rights.

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I'm not sure about Petey Rimple and if he gave up on this, but if it is okay with everyone I would like to take his place in his absence, and I'll hand the debate back to him when he returns.

This is a stolen concept. Law presupposes a gov't which enforces it. (Without enforcement there is no law).
I really hope we aren't going to argue semantics, and base everything on the way you define them. Law is a system of enforced rules, I concede that. But I do not believe that by definition law assumes one all powerful government to enforce it. The simplest counterexample is the fact that multiple agencies (countries) exist now that enforce different laws in different areas, just as would exist under our theoretical anarchy, which is under scrutiny.

"Market anarchism" is a contradiction in terms. If you have anarchism, you can't have a market. A market presupposes the existence of law which presupposes the existence of gov't. Some entity has to enforce the rules of the market.

Again you fall back on the definitions you came up with, and again I am going to not allow you to make assertions that weren't debated on in here. A market is anything in which people are allowed to trade. Trade exists with or without governments, thus so do markets. And I covered above how law doesn't presuppose one sole government.

Of course. That's the very definition of anarchy. It is the absence of law and therefore the rule of gangs.

Again you fall back on definitions rather than looking to reality. If you assert that anarchy equals gangs by definition there really isn't much of a debate here. Just a bunch of Objectivists making circular arguments because you have already defined it in a manner in which you can't possibly lose your point.

Now if we can lay off having a purely definitional debate, I will make a positive claim for anarchy and then I will try to address David's questions.

*****PLEASE NOTE****** I am in limbo right now as to my beliefs on anarchy, but I would like to continue this debate for my own personal sake. These views are partially in the spirit of playing devil's advocate, and in the spirit of exploring Ojbectivist thought.

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