35 votes

What is the single most expensive ingredient in beer? Guess.

The Beer Institute points out that “taxes are the single most expensive ingredient in beer, costing more than labor and raw materials combined.” They cite an economic analysis that found “if all the taxes levied on the production, distribution, and retailing of beer are added up, they amount to more than 40% of the retail price” (note that this may include general sales tax and federal beer taxes, which are not included in the estimates displayed on the map). Last year, we did a podcast with Lester Jones, Chief Economist at the Beer Institute on tax treatment of beer, which is worth a listen.

http://taxfoundation.org/blog/map-beer-excise-tax-rates-stat...

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Yes - Turn your home into a

Yes - Turn your home into a place of production by HOMEBREWING. My 1100 O.G. Belgians cost seven bucks a gallon.

In light of the fact that constitutions don't effectively restrain the state, how is a limited state achievable?

Brew your own.

Grow your own. Stop spending so much with the system.

beephree

A little silly to

complain about a tax on beer, when it is probably among the most reasonable forms of taxation and least intrusive compared to the alternatives. Unless you're an anarchist, and therefore likely retarded, you would realize some funds have to be raised for public goods and most other ways would be worse and more intrusive.

Hmm. Where does...

...the state get the authority to tax anything, beer or otherwise? Surely not from the consent of all the people paying it. Holding a vote doesn't give them authority, any more than a group of drinking buddies voting to force you to pay for all their drinks or even a portion of them gives them authority to really force you.

Naked,

brutish, violence.

Government is the militant entity that establishes dominance over a society then grants itself the ability to harm with legal impunity.

It claims the power to take everything you hold dear and is under no obligation to provide anything in return.

According to your Bible

from God.

In reality, from the fact that their collective judgement is the source of all law, peace and order.

Possibly, both.

Not sure which...

...parts of the Bible you're specifically thinking of there. God 'allowed' people in the OT to go about marrying multiple wives, demanding kings instead of a loose association of judges, not because he condones these things, I would say, but because he allows people to learn the consequences of their actions if need be.

In the New Testament, I see Christ and Paul, etc. tolerating human governmental claims of authority when it would hurt their mission to do otherwise; and yet they were perfectly willing to disobey these authorities when their mission required it, and suffered the consequences as a result in many ways. But I see no reason that people desiring to live in Liberty would be discouraged from doing so when able, without compromising their mission. I highly doubt a Paul or Christ, if they had come across a voluntarist Christian society, supporting one another out of Love, free from the dictates of Caesar, that they would have chastised them and told them, 'you need to institute an authoritarian government, pronto!' :)

So in short, I'd contest the idea that the Bible forbids or discourages horizontal voluntarism/anarchism when achievable.

As for collective judgement, it sure doesn't have a good track record of upholding justice and morality. Some group of people thinking they have a special status to go around stealing, kidnapping and murdering others, and the rest of the people sometimes going along with it under duress, out of fear or from being in some kind of status quo bias or Stockholm syndrome or 'social proof' psychology -- this is not a good thing, at least from my perspective, however much we might want to dress it up with ideas of authority and patriotic duty.

I've visited remote Christian communities which function not with some authoritarian central government, but out of serving each other in Love, meeting together, praying, sharing their needs, and volunteering their time and resources to help one another. No need for coercive taxes or fees -- voluntary donations. Wasn't utopia by any means; but in hindsight, that was almost like a bit of heaven on earth compared to the usual statist savagery masquerading as 'civilization'.

If we

just take whatever passages we don't like an ascribe them to propaganda, we're left with nothing. Anyone can play that game.

Not sure...

...how I was calling any passages propaganda. Certainly whatever hermeneutic you have as your foundation will give you a particular framework of understanding how all revelation 'holds together'. My hermeneutic is the Person and Love of the Servant, Christ; and I see nothing in His work or teaching which would discourage people from opting to live in Liberty, in Love if they can. We may have to abide by giving a Caesar what is Caesar's for a season in this difficult world, but I see no admonition to never take up an opportunity to live without a Caesar.

Romans 13

13 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. 4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. 5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.
Love Your Neighbor

8 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,”[a] “You shall not covet,”[b] and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”[c] 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

---

This can be interpreted to mean mere respect for the law and legitimate government, rather than an endorsement of every state or an injunction to submit to clearly evil states in committing evil (USG, Soviet Union, etc.). But I can't see any interpretation that would suggest mild commercial taxation on spirits could be violently resisted in a righteous way.

You can go the heretical route and just disclaim Pauline Christianity, or you could render all of Paul moot, claiming his words are practical propaganda for early Christianity and not inspired. That is more or less disclaiming Paul.

Anarchism just isn't going to jibe w/ Pauline Christianity. Maybe you can persuade me where I'm mistaken, but I have to imagine the best you could do is show me a contradictory verse. That highlights the main problem with departing from Orthodoxy. Since contradictory verses exist, you end up with Kony being as authoritative as the Pope.

A few...

...observations here:

- nowhere in that passage does it say or suggest that if you find an opportunity to live without taxes or statist government that you should seek to establish such things anyway

- just because this particular church was in a situation where it was best for their mission to live peaceably and abide by local taxes, etc. does not mean that all people, in all situations must seek to impose taxes and statist government on themselves.

- Paul, himself, through his years of ministry (read Acts and 2 Cor. 11), including after he wrote these very words in Romans, turned around and deliberately disobeyed and eluded authorities when their commands and edicts would stand in the way of his mission; either he was a hypocrite, or there is some distortion of the meaning of Romans 13 going on by the apologists for authoritarianism (I think the latter)

- if any government action can be disobeyed if it does not actually follow the purpose of rewarding good and punishing evil, then if there is a chance to establish a new, separate society that recognizes that voluntary governance is most likely to actually fulfill this role, why should they opt for involuntary governance which is less likely to fulfill that purpose?

- these hierarchical principalities and powers allowed by God to exercise authority extend into the spiritual, angelic realms. Satan himself is described as the 'prince of the powers of the air' (Eph 2:2), 'the prince of this world' (John 12:31). It is clearly not the intent that we are supposed to submit to a fallen angelic power, and should likewise be clear that we are not to blanketly submit to fallen humanity in all things.

I think the mistake here is to turn a particular admonition to submit in a certain historical circumstance into a global prohibition of even trying to establish a voluntary governance.

And finally, one does not have to advocate violent resistance or not paying taxes, to advocate voluntary governance emerging in its proper fashion and time.

- nowhere in that passage

- nowhere in that passage does it say or suggest that if you find an opportunity to live without taxes or statist government that you should seek to establish such things anyway

Never argued it did.

just because this particular church was in a situation where it was best for their mission to live peaceably and abide by local taxes, etc. does not mean that all people, in all situations must seek to impose taxes and statist government on themselves.

The passage doesn't seem to mention a particular situation. No one has argued anyone is required to impose taxes if they don't want to. But it clearly suggests that government as such is legitimate and that resisting the taxes of such a government is wrong.

Paul, himself, through his years of ministry (read Acts and 2 Cor. 11), including after he wrote these very words in Romans, turned around and deliberately disobeyed and eluded authorities when their commands and edicts would stand in the way of his mission; either he was a hypocrite, or there is some distortion of the meaning of Romans 13 going on by the apologists for authoritarianism (I think the latter)

But his particular actions are one thing, whereas his statements are another. The actions fit particular circumstances, the statements are very clearly applying to government and taxes in a general sense. Like I said, the best you could attempt here would be to discredit Paul or discover contradictions. I expected at least contradictions of teaching rather than the rather more weak attempt to draw a general teaching out of a particular action. Paul may have felt it was worth breaking laws to preach the gospel. That wouldn't derive any teaching against law as such!

if any government action can be disobeyed if it does not actually follow the purpose of rewarding good and punishing evil, then if there is a chance to establish a new, separate society that recognizes that voluntary governance is most likely to actually fulfill this role, why should they opt for involuntary governance which is less likely to fulfill that purpose?

It doesn't say people can't voluntarily go found their own societies. That is what the Christians were doing in many ways. But the claim that tax on beer is wrong morally and to be resisted is in contradiction to Paul's teaching.

these hierarchical principalities and powers allowed by God to exercise authority extend into the spiritual, angelic realms. Satan himself is described as the 'prince of the powers of the air' (Eph 2:2), 'the prince of this world' (John 12:31). It is clearly not the intent that we are supposed to submit to a fallen angelic power, and should likewise be clear that we are not to blanketly submit to fallen humanity in all things.

No, not in all things, but in legitimate law and taxes we are not to resist violently or try to overthrow all government.

I think the mistake here is to turn a particular admonition to submit in a certain historical circumstance into a global prohibition of even trying to establish a voluntary governance.

That might be so if it were such a statement of situational or practical behavior. But from the text of the statement it clearly isn't. It isn't at all unclear.

And finally, one does not have to advocate violent resistance or not paying taxes, to advocate voluntary governance emerging in its proper fashion and time.

Sure, you can peacefully do anything you want if you're not violently resisting the law. That might be an interesting discussion, but has nothing to do with Paul's injunction to respect the law and the legitimate taxing authority.

Thanks for...

...the good discussion! :) Mind you, don't read this as my dogmatic conviction -- yet -- as much as it might sound like it. I'm still on the minarchist/anarchist fence but am musing out loud from the anarchist perspective to test it out in my mind.

Never argued it did.

You had said, "Anarchism just isn't going to jibe w/ Pauline Christianity."

Was contesting that this general conclusion should be drawn from Romans 13, since submission to de facto, current authority does not block all paths that arrive at a better place of no statist authorities, or of anarchism/voluntarism. And once a society has voluntarily chosen that there will be no state in their midst, that new rule of no state could be seen as the Romans 13 governing 'authority' to be submitted to. Step outside of submitting to natural law, and watch out -- the agents allowed or authorized to carry the sword, us individuals, will punish evil and reward good. And if we abuse that role, we are violating the natural law and will face similar consequences from those who actually are defending natural law.

The passage doesn't seem to mention a particular situation. No one has argued anyone is required to impose taxes if they don't want to. But it clearly suggests that government as such is legitimate and that resisting the taxes of such a government is wrong.

Authority is only really legitimate if it upholds the natural law of Love, which is the highest command and duty from the highest authority, Himself. Any agent, in any level of societal hierarchy, which steps out from under his own obligation to submit to this highest authority is, himself, in violation of Romans 13, and must be prepared to face the consequences that violation of it will bring. Any attempt by such agents to steal from others is a violation of the natural law and is therefore not legitimate. The only 'tax' that is truly due is the right of every person to be loved by their neighbors as themselves, according to that highest law of Love. But such a 'tax' can never be collected by force, or it would not be love -- only by persuasion and spiritual conviction.

By the way, worship of Christ does not demand that we take Paul as the end-all of revelation concerning Christ and His Servant Kingdom. Just as the partial truth and revelation provided to the Hebrews of old must be viewed in the later context of Christ, Paul's own understanding of what partial truth and revelation he had, and his understanding from within his societal context and the murkiness of his still viewing 'through a glass darkly', must yield to yet fuller revelations of the meaning of Love, of reality. So even if Paul himself did not hold a politically voluntarist viewpoint this does not mean that God would not desire us to evolve into a higher understanding of Love, natural law being the ultimate authority.
I won't belabor the other points for now... Mulling this over some more. :). But I appreciate this critique of my ramblings and half-baked thinking-out-loud-on-the-fly.

I'm not objecting to your philosophy.

Unless you're claiming a social organization is illegitimate or unchristian if it taxes beer. That's neither reasonable nor biblical.

Taxes are...

...taxes. Marrying two wives is marrying two wives. There are better ways to seek out than merely going by what corruption has been tolerated by God in allowing man the freedom to learn the consequences of his actions. Back then polygamy was the cultural norm. Taxes are still a cultural norm now. That does not mean they should be.

I actually also see a bit of an implied message in Christ's words 'render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, and unto God what is God's' -- my mind immediately jumps to think 'but what is Caesar's is really God's', and I have a feeling this is what we were being left to think in our own minds with that statement. Also, in his discussion of Pilate's authority, it's very plain that this is really an illusion, an aberration -- in reality there is no authority except God's free will and His grace in allowing room for our free wills to act as well. So you could call every evil act 'authorized' by God, by agents he has 'authorized' -- not because He wills those evils, but because He authorizes our wills, which are free to choose. I think Romans 13 must also be read in this light, of what God's authorization or allowance of authority really means.

Edit: ah it just clicked -- maybe Romans 13 can be seen as Paul saying 'hey guys, God has allowed these other guys in this time and place to carry swords to punish people (whether or not their claimed authority is really in sync with His will, His goodness); don't think that just because you are Christians and resisting their abuses that God will step in to save you from any harm.' Of course, Paul would have to be careful how he worded such things in case the authorities ended up reading his epistle. Perhaps there was a certain amount of reading between the lines also intended here for this particular audience.

Also check out...

Judges 21:25:

In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

Later when the people in 1 Samuel 8 demand a king, Samuel and God frown on this and warn them about what this will bring, including taxation, as negatives:

4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, 5 and said to him, “Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.”

6 But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” So Samuel prayed to the Lord. 7 And the Lord said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. 8 According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even to this day—with which they have forsaken Me and served other gods—so they are doing to you also. 9 Now therefore, heed their voice. However, you shall solemnly forewarn them, and show them the behavior of the king who will reign over them.”

10 So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who asked him for a king. 11 And he said, “This will be the behavior of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots and to be his horsemen, and some will run before his chariots. 12 He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his fifties, will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and some to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. 14 And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants. 16 And he will take your male servants, your female servants, your finest young men,[a] and your donkeys, and put them to his work. 17 He will take a tenth of your sheep. And you will be his servants. 18 And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the Lord will not hear you in that day.”

19 Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, “No, but we will have a king over us, 20 that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.”

A mature, sober reading of this passage

elicits the moral lesson that a people who fail to govern themselves and live morally will appeal for order to a competent authority to impose the desired order, and this authority will collect its rightful due for providing that good to the people who are unable and unwilling to govern themselves. This does not condemn the government, it simply describes it and warns the people of the consequences of either choice. Behave morally or require outside government. That will always be the choice. Perhaps what the story overlooks (or perhaps it doesn't) is that the need for a King is often the norm and the rational decision when dealing with a moral anarchy. Whether this is due simply to human nature or to a moral breakdown or a certain size of a society and the consequent social atomization, distrust and lack of accountability/obligation, who knows. It is certainly no invocation not to have the King. Just a wise word of caution.

You

can certainly read or attempt to read a heterodox political theory into the Bible, where no political authority is legitimate and every person is his own law before God. This kind of parody of every man his own priest, i.e., every man his own government, is certainly useful for comedy, but has no validity or precedent in any orthodox Christianity. But if you want it, you are welcome to it!

Not to...

...bombard you with replies on this, Bill; but I think I've boiled our discussion down to the following:

- Romans 13 does not contradict or forbid Christian voluntarism/anarchism

- Romans 13 is at least exhorting a particular church in Rome to abide by the local de facto power and is at most giving a general Church-State doctrine for all people, in all times; but regardless of which is correct, this does not at all clash with upholding anarchism as a better type of governance to achieve. This would only perhaps set boundaries for the means by which you would achieve it.

- I would go on to differentiate between de facto power (which God allows through authorizing free will and historical consequences) and the actual highest authority and natural law from God which is over any such power. Powers are just people, individuals or groups making claims of status, which are not legitimate if they are not in line with the Greatest Commandments.

I agree with your points

but your points here aren't the original matters of contention.

It may be perfectly good, moral and Christian to live like the Amish or the Mennonites. At the same time, if Pennsylvania imposed a tax of 5% annual to the Amish for the fact that they are protected by Pennsylvania law from outside interference, they would not be in line with Paul's statements to refuse this obligation. It's really not an unreasonable obligation, the Amish are in fact getting real tangible protections from the state and national government. If the Amish country was simply up for grabs to outside powers, it would be occupied and expropriated very quickly.

While I deeply admire the Amish way of life and voluntarist society, I also recognize that it exists at the pleasure or displeasure of the surrounding society, and with the protection of its violence. It is receiving a free good, defense, in exchange for the surrounding society gaining the feeling that it is doing something noble, and has a national cultural resource in these people.

If the surrounding society suddenly decided that was no longer a good trade off, the Amish would have to start using violence to defend themselves or else cease to exist. If they were not able to so defend themselves, and needed to rely on the surrounding society, then by rights they owe the tax imposed on them. That is what Paul and all sensible people recognize as the legitimacy of government and taxes. That doesn't mean all amounts of government, or unlimited taxes and obligations are equally legitimate, but it does show that the government that protects you from arbitrary violence is also right to collect it's fee for doing so.

If you forfeit that protection, you are just prey for anyone, government or individual, and haven't got any right to anything you can't privately hold with force. The stable order that government provides is a real good, and it is not free. To try to evade its cost is just free riding. To evade it violently is just to be your own government, in effect, at war potentially with every other individual or government, and entirely and solely dependent on your own resources and willing allies.

I understand...

...your arguments and am going to study this out some more.

In terms of pacifist Christians, though, paying taxes for defense would be like paying taxes for abortions; it would still be an evil to them which necessitates them choosing to follow God instead of man, just as Peter and Paul did when choosing between submission to men commanding them to violate their mission for the gospel, or obeying God's call.

I know that this has historically driven some Christian anarchists and pacifists to live below the minimum income level for taxation, so as to avoid paying for any form of killing.

I am not a pacifist, but while I recognize that abiding by taxation might be the right thing to do, voluntarily, for several reasons, I don't think this means that taxation itself is legitimate, because it is still theft.

Turning the other cheek being the best thing for you to do does not legitimize the action of the one doing the cheek-slapping. :)

I wonder if it would be possible to have a voluntarist community with no 'Pennsylvania' surrounding it at all? Or why could the 'Pennsylvania' itself not be voluntarist (not pacifist necessarily)?

Do you not see the inherent contradiction

in pacifist Christians resisting the cost for their defense... with violent resistance?

Your admiration of pacifists is wonderful. But for people who actually want to live and survive and thrive in the world, and not be doormats for the evil, they will not be pacifists, they will defend themselves with violence. They will do this collectively as the best way to provide the stable order they desire.

If you want to argue pacifism as Biblical and morally imperative, I won't argue against you. But pacifism is emphatically not anarchism. The question is whether self defense, individual or organized, is unchristian. Traditional orthodoxy does not claim it is. So if you want to promote an unorthodox interpretation of Christian doctrine which claims all self defense is immoral and everyone must turn the other cheek, you're free to do so.

Ah I think...

...you must have missed where I said I am not a pacifist. :) I was meaning more a situation where a voluntary society has individuals who choose to defend such society but who also respect those neighbors who don't, for whatever reason. No taxes necessary; just voluntary defense from each person contributing as a minuteman if they so choose. Out of love they will act to defend those who cannot defend themselves, whether due to physical or psychological or spiritual inability.

I was just looking at the Romans 13 idea of submission and paying taxes as a 'turning of the cheek' to the de facto power. Am pointing out that there is a difference between saying how someone should react to an abuse by the state (i.e. submit, for whatever prudent reason, or disobey because of obeying God over man, etc.) and actually legitimizing that abusive action as good. In other words just because Paul is acknowledging that God has allowed this Roman Empire to exist and to enslave and to tax for whatever reason, in the name of rewarding good and punishing evil as the Romans see it, and is exhorting the church in the heart of the Empire to go along with this to avoid whatever negative repercussions, doesn't equate to an endorsement of the Roman Empire's taxation, etc. as really legitimate, per God's higher law.

If God has allowed a gang or a mafia to be the de facto power in an area, and they come and demand payment for their 'protective services' or else, I might be advised for the sake of my business or my family or my church to go along with the demands, the local de facto 'law', in order to be able to continue to function, or to demonstrate love in the face of aggression. This advised submissive attitude towards those whom God has allowed to be the de facto power, does not legitimize the actions, the theft on the part of this power.

I think you

gravely misstate and misapprehend the ancient conception of the inherent justness of government and the order it provided. You won't find any anarchists back then. Real gangs were too actual a threat to risk losing the protection of ordered states. There was no indulging in idle fantasies about a world without them.

Humanity was a bit too close to savagery to forget the benefits of a state for the civilized. When man is more or less a tame house pet that he sees no danger other than the state, I guess at that point he can have such fantasies. But sadly he is all too weak to risk facebook downvotes or lose his corporate job to advance his fantasy then.

Kind of ironic.

Seems a bit off the track to

appeal to Christ's example of pacifism to justify non pacificsm or half pacificism. If Christ is the example, embrace pacificsm, not lukewarm anarchy that serves no one but the powerful and eliminates justice for the weak.

As for the minutemen you describe, they are a government. You describe them as purely voluntary, but the institution is based on violence and so could turn that violence against those they defend for a fee. If not in the first generation, then in the next. Nothing prevents this violent institution from extracting a fee besides its own voluntary restraint. Somehow you imagine this monastic order of warriors should self sacrificially serve the accumulation of wealth and political power that would grow under its protection, even to insolence, for the sole sake of love for their ingrate obesity, which is a perfectly reasonable expectation of what would grow under such an ascetic devotion to protect a voluntarist sort of NAP regardless of the unjustice it reared, on axiomatic grounds

Kind of an absurd mordbidly comic sort of image, for which I thank you.

lol :)

For a moment I thought your comment was going to turn into a Star Wars episode, with Jedi knights leaping out of the text. :)

Like I said, I'm testing this out, on the anarchist side of the fence to see what it looks like. Sometimes you have to get into the weeds of something to really vet it, so I appreciate your acting as the guy on the minarchist side of the fence teasing me about my explorations in good humor while trying to warn about what you see as dangers.

But this begs the question -- how far away on the other side of the fence, the 'statist'/'archist' side are you finding yourself these days, Bill? Are you walking toward the fence, or away from the fence? You don't have to spell it out here, but would be interested in hearing your view of a proper restraint on authoritarianism, given the failures we see all around us in that regard.

Yeah, actually I think I'll give you whatever last word you want here, and then leave this cantina before I get thrown out or they all democratically vote to force me to buy their beers.

It's come up on other threads, comments, posts

I think a wide distribution of influence and property is a good thing, an end. I am open to a variety of means for achieving that. For me realism is paramount, what can actually be accomplished. Drawing pictures of ideal social systems without reference to actual conditions and historical circumstances seems to me to be an exercise in futility.

I think subsidiarity is an end, with political units being as small as possible, local and dispersed. I put some of the things I value as ends in What We All Believe.

On the other hand, I think there is a place for some kind of efficient, limited apparatus for providing a military defense of the overall order, on a larger scale. The fewer bureaucrats, politicians and other sorts of parasitic parties the better.

The trouble would be to make it so that this apparatus couldn't take over and subvert the rest of the order. Could it be composed of independently loyal, local units that come together under some order only if attacked from the outside? Ancient constitutions did allow a temporary resort to one set of conditions in unique circumstances, with the rest of the power centers of the civil order restoring the balance when the danger is averted.

Of course, we are not ancient societies, and have a different world we live in. Power is very concentrated in a very small elite in our global world order with the masses fed on a strict diet by the media, which is part of the apparatus of the economic and political elite.

I think what's really lacking today, startlingly lacking, paradigmatically absent, is any over arching sort of non political body that transcends politics and business and provides an educational and moral guidance, so that there is a semi-stable set of views that pervade the whole society and give it form, prevents it from being led into acceptance of concentrated power, whether in private hands or public bodies.

It would be based on trust, ideally it would have characteristics of an altruism, limits on wealth, political power, etc. Some kind of foundational charter that makes it socially taboo for anyone involved in this sort of position to benefit greatly from it. A body that can neither be bribed, like politicians vying for a temporary office, nor be able to abuse it's power to accumulate massive wealth.

I shared some thoughts on a third power center re-emerging in my post http://www.dailypaul.com/311591/if-not-anarchism-what-a-thir...

Aside from a strong, robust and lasting institution for disseminating a body of strongly held beliefs about the correct limits of political and economic power, there needs to be a properly ordered structure of incentives that best limits to tendency to move away from these beliefs, which may go against natural tendencies.

Incentives that best maintain distributed political power could be Swiss canton style bodies of independent, armed and trained local military units separate from the national military, or even composing it's broader infantry, which have loyalty to their individual cantons or counties. Independently able to amass sufficient force to make it highly costly for the separate, limited military apparatus to try to play the master.

Incentives to prevent the lean, streamlined national military apparatus from desiring political power -- a proper code, training, an service oriented ideology, strong taboos against breaking honor, and sufficient compensation to prevent desire to loot, systems to weed out anti social and predatory types from the beginning, and a strong political-cultural bias/taboo, rooted in the beliefs, that see military and political power as separate.

Some kind of proper code of conduct and training for those who enter the military order that goes beyond just taking orders from politicians; they are loyal to the code of their own order, not to the commands of whoever happens to take political power.

An equally strong cultural and moral bias against private economic power to control politics in ways that undermine over-arching moral principles and fundamental political tenets. There should be a strong disdain and shunning of buying political influence through lobbying, bribery, political parties, and for profit, corporate owned mass media. Whether it is technically illegal, or simply socially impossible due to a unified opposition and boycott, is somewhat academic. Where there's a will there's a way.

I sympathize with the Distributists of a century ago, with some of the ideas of the syndicalist anarchists, with minarchist/constitutionalism, and with some of Hoppe's better ideas.

I'm not committed, still exploring the political landscape, what's actually viable and what isn't, and keeping in mind the impact of future technological change, the emergence of this new service-economy, automation, the disappearing middle class, the emerging global economic elite, the vast disparity of wealth and the "coming apart" described by Charles Murray; the technological disparity which mirrors the wealth disparity caused by technological change.

In other words, the drone world is not the same as the musket world, and they have different implications for the practical resulting levels of equality.

The emerging mass disparity in wealth, balanced by the democratization of information.

And always keeping my mind open to non naturalistic possibilities, however remote. An avenging, celestial military coup is always a welcome possibility.

I put some of my own thoughts down on the two posts I referenced, and will list any others below. I am more of a student of history and what sort of things worked in the past than a theorist.

A companion to the post above about a third center of power would be this shorter post: http://www.dailypaul.com/311746/fear-and-power

The importance of trust: http://www.dailypaul.com/300421/trust (short piece) - Trust is why there needs to be such a non aligned, altruistic center of power that has moral stature. Nassim Taleb's ideas about skin in the game fit in nicely here. When those with moral stature also have skin in the game and are first to suffer, or even positively excluded from benefiting from corruption, trust becomes more possible. In the absent of trust, public goods will not be funded. If there is general distrust and alienation, political power will always become abused for private purposes.

If we combine a strong political culture skepticism and distrust of political authority, with systems for providing accountability to power, incentives against abuse, fail-safes, and have an external sort of educational power center who's power is rooted in moral stature and influence, not force, you have proper grounds for trust where trust does need to exist, in those properly limited functions of government: Restraining the power of any one individual or group to abuse the human dignity of others and create destabilizing, intolerable conditions that cause revolutions and civil war.

Anarchy and Utopia: http://www.dailypaul.com/292833/anarchy-utopia-and-immanenti...

Very long analysis of political movements: http://www.dailypaul.com/300401/what-is-a-political-movement...

Thanks! :)

Lots of great stuff there to chew on.

Not to open a whole other thread within the thread within thread, but it's interesting that the APM technology, if realized, would bring with it the democratization of control of matter, manufacturing, to the extreme local level of control, just like the digital information revolution's effects you mentioned. I wonder if these elite will allow that cat out of the bag, though, like they did with the Internet.

Thanks again.

Thanks for a good discussion

Thanks for a good discussion and apologies as always for my needless, ungallant barbs of sarcasm, arrogance and dismissiveness : ). You never fail to be a good sport and to respond patiently, fairly, without condescension or closed mindedness. That's why I've liked you from so many months ago, when I was first rude on a thread to you. You never engage in that kind of lower discourse, never return it in kind, and set an example for everyone, while I plunge the depths of spiritual profanity worse than any carnal sins. It is the pride of obsession with what I imagine to be intellectual rigor, but for all I know could just be personal blinders. Stranger self delusions have happened. But for now I'm gonna stick with my story of intellectual rigor co-existent with spiritual failure.

Never...

...would be stretching it just slightly :) -- appreciate it, though. And sometimes hyperbole or sarcasm or rough-around-the-edges wit mingled with truth is just what is needed to shake someone out of their comfort zones.

Have a blessed Easter Sunday!