31 votes

Walter Block Schools Jan Helfeld

I am not sure why Jan hasn't posted this debate yet. If he wants to post it under his name later, I am happy to remove this post. I should add a thanks to EPJ for posting this and bringing it to my attention.


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Block On LRC


"I was indeed in a debate with Jan Helfeld. (Thanks to Tom Woods for making this available to the LRC blog: http://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/walter-block-debates-ana...). Mr. Helfeld defended limited government libertarianism, or minarchism; I took the position that anarcho-capitalism was the only just and viable system. At the outset, I thought we would have a respectful debate, a civil one, where we each treated the other in a polite manner. ‘Twas not to be. Although we had agreed beforehand not to interupt each other, my debating opponent violated this stipulation more than a half dozen times. And not only was he impolite to me, he treated the moderator of the debate in the same manner. Toward the end of our acrimoneous debate I asked for a ruling from the moderator, Daniel Rothschild. Mr. Helfeld was adamant that no such ruling could be made. He expressed this opinion of his in the most vociferous manner. When, finally, Daniel offered his decision, Mr. Helfeld abruptly cut off the debate, no gentleman he. It would appear that at least this minarchist does not abide by third party verdicts. Nevertheless, I have offered to debate Mr. Helfeld for round 2 on this topic. I did so since I think it important to make the case that while minarchism is obviously an important step in the right direction, anarcho-capitalism is the ultimate goal for libertarians who respect the NAP. We are now discussing the format. If we can agree on one, I’ll keep you all posted."

4:57 pm on May 13, 2014

"Bipartisan: both parties acting in concert to put both of their hands in your pocket."-Rothbard

The egotism of the

The egotism of the people...huge reason why the movement doesn't succeed.

They take everything as a slight, and never forgive everyone over it. They obsess over "winning" instead of learning.

Plan for eliminating the national debt in 10-20 years:

Overview: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/my-plan-for-reducin...

Specific cuts; defense spending: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/more-detailed-look-a

When all the an caps say the professor won,

And all the minarchists say that it was a draw, or it was the mods fault, or they both talked to much off topic, or they didn't answer each others questions, or it was a waste of time, etc...

What does that tell you about this debate?

Before you answer that, remember the point of a debate is to convince those with an open enough mind to accept your position as being superior to that of your opponent.

If the answer you were going to give went something like "It means that an/caps don't listen to reason" than I suggest you stop caring about trying yo change their minds.


I know both of these guys. I

I know both of these guys. I am a limited government guy like Jan. I for one am tired of weak moderators in these debates. I don't find any clear winner of the debate. I found both men got a little too much wrap up in ego. The point is not to make the other fellow wrong but instead to help him be right.

Walter make a good point to think about and that is world government. We might need such a thing if we had to be concerned about other worlds and their governments but certainly not under the circumstance of how governments have been perverted by those in power.

The primary principle is not NAP but it is instead the command "Survive"

Mike Benoit

Jan just gets taken to class

Jan just gets taken to class by tha professa

Jan appeared

more and more red-faced as time went on.

TKO to Mr. Block

One thing I enjoyed about the debate

One thing I enjoyed about the debate was that Walter was the calm and logical one, Jan was crying about the rules, trying to interrupt, and getting emotionally worked up, and being quite rude to both professor Block and the moderator.

this was well done

Jan didn't do so well against Larkin. He did better here. Very interesting debate.

Please subscribe to smaulgld.com

Walter Block for the win...Or Jan for the loss?

A lot of people in the comments are surprised with the outcome?

C'mon people there is a reason people like Stefan Molynuex and Larken Rose own it in debates. It's not because they are amazing debaters. Well maybe Stefan is, but he does not need to be in order to defend anarchism. Anarchism is not hard to understand or to defend. Especially these days. The statists supply anarchists with ENDLESS reasons.

Walter didn't defeat Jan...

Jan DEFEATED himself for simple reason he doesn't fully understand NAP. To his credit though, neither does 99% of the world. Even on the DP there are tons of statists still....

Jan crushed Larken Rose on

Jan crushed Larken Rose on NAP

Ventura 2012

thanks for sharing your opinion.

I disagree....

And I would put money that minarchists no matter what the actual outcome was will say Jan won. And same visa versa with anarchists. Gotta love all our opinions.

Chill man. Just because Jan doesn't understand NAP doesn't make him a bad guy. I still like him. As I always say, 10% statist is better then 100%.

he understands it very well.

he understands it very well. He understands that it exists contextually, with exceptions for exigent circumstances. This is a basic legal principle.

I thought Jan lost the debate to Molyneux...I'm not that biased.

Ventura 2012

Man, Jan really had a tough

Man, Jan really had a tough time defending himself. I'm not an anarchist, but there's no doubt in my mind Walter Block came out ahead in this one.

I could have done without all the bitching about who is / is not interrupting, though.

Classic Retort From Block

"Implied contracts aren't worth the paper they're not written on."

"Bipartisan: both parties acting in concert to put both of their hands in your pocket."-Rothbard

Remember, you always choose

Remember, you always choose to be.

Plan for eliminating the national debt in 10-20 years:

Overview: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/my-plan-for-reducin...

Specific cuts; defense spending: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/more-detailed-look-a

What is Jan's EXPLANATION for implied consent?

Walter asks Jan the same questions over and over. Jan says "you give implied consent..." Walter follows up and says "How do you explain implied consent? And asks about an analogy about walking through Harlem."

Jan's ANSWER to this "how question," is "you give implied consent...."

So in essence, Jan presumes his position, and when asked to justify the logic, he skips that process, and just restates his presumed conclusions.

Folks, that is not logic, and that is not "debate" if all you do is state conclusions and demand that they are correct with no logical justification or distinction.

But watch out guys, you might find yourself hanging off of a flag pole or hanging off a life boat soon; Jan's major source of logical explanation; an extreme situation that has PROBABLY NEVER HAPPENED in all of history.

It's also important to note

It's also important to note that implied consent is a convenience for all parties, it does not trump explicit consent or explicit dissent. The whole thing falls apart when I see the mugger walking up and say:

"Whoa there Nelly! I know most people round these parts consent to being mugged for some reason, so I can sort of see hows you might make the wrong assumption about me. But just so there isn't any trouble, you should know I do not consent, capice pardner?"

Now muggers are muggers and putting him on notice won't change anything in and of itself, but at this point there is no longer any illusion about what the transaction is.

Ethically, since the government cannot produce anything, and must steal everything it has, any property claim it makes is invalid per se. Now it's usually either unfeasible or impossible to figure out who actually does have a valid claim. But the one entity who logically cannot have a valid claim is the state.

That's an easy one

If you go into a place every day and are mugged and don't call the law, you are implying consent in every way a person possibly can. If you have to be there and aren't permitted to leave, then you're just a slave and not a consensual party.

That's not the case in society. We're all here voluntarily, either we moved here or were born into a place with rules. This would be true even under a purely voluntary contractual state, which many American commonwealths were -- unanimous, constitutional orders with agreed upon sets of rules.

So if someone is mugging you, you call the law. If the law is mugging you, and you don't like the law you were born into, you are free to leave it behind. If you aren't free to leave, there is no consent. If leaving is unaffordable to you, no one is obligated to pay for your travel, anymore than they would be if you didn't want to follow the rules of private law community after coming to age of maturity.

One problem is you aren't

One problem is you aren't free to leave. You have to ask permission and if you are permitted, then they will take a third or more of your stuff for the 'privilege' of being allowed off the farm.

Another problem is you don't get to be free, you just get to choose another master. This is not implied consent.

Another is.. why do YOU have to leave? What moral right does the mugger have to tell you, well if you didn't want to be robbed you wouldn't have lived in the neighborhood where I usually do my mugging. Most people just hand it over, if you are in my area that must mean you implied consent to be mugged.

You don't have to leave,

You can stay and follow the rules, same as you would if born into private law community, or you can leave, same as you would a private law community.

No one owes you a living, faith. Don't be a free rider! Stop trying to force others to support you on their property. Stop trying to live off the social welfare of collective force.

If you work up a little courage and self respect, you won't need to hide behind the shelter of the state.

There's a whole world out there for pioneers. The ocean is full of green islands. Your fate is what you make it. Chart your own course. Be your own man. Do what a true anarchist would do. Ween yourself for the State teet. Pick yourself up by your bootstraps. Get out from behind Mommy State's aprons.

Yes, it might be dangerous, there might be gangs out there. But your are a free man and can handle gangs. You don't need the government's protection. Do you.

[]D [] []V[] []D

don't be afeard. do you.

What are you talking about?

We aren't asking anyone to support us. We just don't want to be robbed. In all events implied consent is only a standin for explicit consent or repudiation of consent. We do not consent to be robbed.

There certainly are gangs. They run protection rackets everywhere in the world. We are tired of being robbed by them. That is the point.

You know what I'm talking about.

You hiding behind Mama state's skirt. Free riding on taxpayer provisioned defense from gangs outside our borders, and inside. Hiding behind those borders instead of hiring protective services and paying your own way in the world. Free riding on all the other public services and goods you use. Benefiting from violations of non-aggression and what you yourself call slavery. Makes you wonder how you are at peace with your conscience.

If you had been born into a private law society, you'd have had a choice to make at the age of maturity: pay the dues, agree to the laws, or become unable to contract or own property and leave. That's the same choice you had when you turned 18 in America, if less explicit. The only difference is when the laws of America were made, part of the rules were a system of amending the law by majority vote, which those who lived here consented to and which those who immigrated here consented to. You were born into that system, and now want to rationalize your free riding. You'd be pulling the same crap in a private law society, probably as a communism or socialist anarchist, because you have a free rider mentality.

You want to mooch off others, it's crystal clear, and you'd have that same problem anywhere you went. Your need to think you're smarter than others has led you to adopt cult ideologies to rationalize your desire to free ride off others. Of course, you lack the courage to actually free ride or go it alone, and so pay taxes and don't leave state protection. The free riding mentality is too cowardly to risk anything, the way the pioneers who created America did. Those were the guys who made the laws you implicitly consented to when you came to maturity and didn't leave their country.

You want to nullify their laws and heritage, their patrimony to their descendants by means of a pretense that you aren't bound to follow the law of the land, while free riding on the material wealth they passed down from that system.


We're not free riding on anything. You are the free rider, on the blood, sweat, and tears of your fellow man. The audacity of the thief who generously doesn't take everything from the victim, calling them a 'free rider' is astounding.

You're just a mugger who takes our clothes and gives us an old newspaper to wrap ourselves in and says we would be 'free riding' by taking the newspaper if we dared complain about being mugged in the first place. To add insult to injury, you also don't let me buy newspapers from anyone else.

A detainee in a concentration camp isn't 'free riding' by accepting food.

Economically we're talking about monopoly, and you, having set up a monopoly, you insist because I am forced to buy your inefficient, overpriced, inferior quality carp, that I consent to the arrangement.

Like all monopolies the problem isn't that no one else can or does provide every single thing you provide and better, it's that you do not allow it. It's only made worse because you insist on providing 'services' that no one wants.

Good word!

Heartfelt apologies for all the times I've mugged you.

Do you guys really believe your own BS?

Now I know statists aren't good with the logic as they seem never able to present any premises for statist bullshit so let me help you out despite any personal disadvantages having never taken formal courses of instruction in logic:

Premise: All humans act.
Premise: All human action is intentional.

Conclusion: All humans consent to their own action.

Now, let's add in some statism:

Premise: All humans act.
Premise: All human action is intentional.
Premise: For every action there is a reaction.

Statist Conclusion: All humans expressly consent to their own action and implicitly consent to all outcomes.

Did you say call the law? Did you miss the part where Jan said he objected to characterizing taxation as mugging. Blocks mugging analogy demonstrates that if you aren't mugged because you have implicitly consented then what are you going to report? If you haven't been mugged because one implicitly consents to all outcomes there is no crime.

You: Hi, I would like to report a non-crime.
911: What seems to be the problem?
You: I have been coming to New York everyday and each day I have been mugged taxed.

Obviously for any government which derives all power from the people, people must also possess a power to tax. So we would not call it being mugged because if one implicitly consents, it is called being taxed. Makes no difference whether it is an individual doing the taxing or a group of individuals because all must possess a power to tax in order to delegate any such power.

Regarding the absurdity of implicitly consenting to all outcomes or reactions ... are more examples required to demonstrate the absurdity? I am asking here because to me the absurdity is self evident but providing tons of examples to illustrate the absurdity is no problemo.

For a libertarian, it's more like:

Premise: All humans act.
Premise: All human action is intentional.
Premise: For every action there is a reaction.
Premise: All reactions are not knowable, predictable, or desired.
Premise: Initiation of force is illegitimate.

I have intentionally omitted any conclusion suggestions so people can think for themselves.

The debate was posted to youtube right after.

Also saying block "schools" Helfeld is a bit much. Considering they are only 1% degree of difference in thought. Jan should interview Rand -- now that would be a schooling. When someone thinks they know something and little knowledge reveals they know little to anything .

I could agree with the sentiment

but when people post Rand or Ron Paul videos the thread titles are often sensationalized. If it is perfectly ok to sensationalize Ron or Rand threads I see no difference here.

Right but

When was the last time you saw a Ron Paul "schools" Judge Napolitano or something to that effect. These guys aren't that different, one just prefers anarchy and the other does not. And i would say that Block, who gets his salary from our tax dollars with his very cozy phd job, didnt come close to schooling anyone. And he whines like a little girl about being interrupted every time jan murmers a sound.

Gary Johnson


What I enjoyed about the debate

was that the behavior of the states and the security agencies were indistinguishable and they were indistinguishable conceptually. They were just little states with the same incentives as big states.