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Friedman vs. Helfeld: Debate whether no government is better than limited government

Friedman vs. Helfeld: Debate, whether no government is better than limited government


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the magical limited government unicorn.

ah sure, "limited government" would be great, for some and not for others. there's just one problem with that 'limited government' *theory*... yes, theory... for there is no such thing as 'limited government' or 'governed government'. what, exactly, governs a government? a larger government? what limits that government? and so on..

So... can you explain in full detail how a government is "limited" or gets "governed"? who "governs the government" and so on and so on, repeat forever...

Also, are people corrupt? is the government made of people?

"limited government" is a theory that has been PROVEN TO FAIL over and over again throughout the centuries and will fail again and again throughout the next. the government has NEVER once stayed "limited" by any constraint that "the people" have placed upon it.

"limited government" is the magical unicorn of statists.

I use Blue Wave, but don't expect one of THEIR silly taglines.

I don't get it...

"What exactly governs a government?" We The People, are given the responsibility of limiting our own government. If you think this is impossible then how do you ever expect to limit government to nothing?

"'limited government' is a theory that has been PROVEN TO FAIL over and over again throughout the centuries." History has shown that people creating central power structures is the standard progression of human societies. No government is / must be even more "regulated" than a limited government. This won't and can't happen naturally as some will always want their problems solved for them. Doesn't the fact that almost every (I would argue all) society on the planet has some form of government provide a copious supply of historical examples proving that no government will never work?

Additionally, just because something eventually fails doesn't mean it never worked. More specifically, if a limited government functioned for a time, as ours did, but eventually fails as the state becomes bloated that doesn't negate the fact that it worked for a time. I just had to put a roof on my house this year but the roof worked well for 30+ years. Me needing to put a new roof on in 2013 isn't evidence that roofs don't work.

As I see it, all of the arguments you use against limited government is even more true of a society with no governments. Also, notice I didn't have to make reference to any mythical beasts and didn't arrogantly demean you or your position.

NOTE: I am not advocating violence in any way. The content of the post is for intellectual, theoretical, and philosophical discussion. FEDS, please don't come to my house.

conflict of interest

Agreed, and to add to what you said...

What is the incentive for an institution who is the ultimate arbiter in resolving conflicts, when disputes arise between itself and others?

From Hoppe:

...the government is the ultimate judge in every case of conflict, including conflicts involving itself … instead of merely preventing and resolving conflict, a monopolist of ultimate decision-making will also provoke conflict in order to settle it to his own advantage.

That is, if one can only appeal to government for justice, justice will be perverted in the favor of government, constitutions, and supreme courts notwithstanding. Indeed, these are government constitutions and courts, and whatever limitations on government action they may find is invariably decided by agents of the very same institution under consideration.

Jan Helfeld's picture

social responsibility

Rational people are willing to VOLUNTARILY put in some time and effort to preserve and buttress a social organization that provides them many benefits like a limited government does. They are also grateful to the people that made it possible, in the past(founding fathers) and present(the Ron Pauls of the world).

Jan Helfeld

holiday responsibility

Rational people are willing to VOLUNTARILY put in some time and effort to preserve a holiday organizer that provides them with so many gifts like Santa Claus does. They are also greatful to the people that made it possible, in the past(the popes) and present(the Grinchs of the world).

Cyril's picture

There's better, more valuable, than too much government or none

There's better, more valuable, than too much government, or no government at all:

it's language, when spoken, written, and read properly AND literally.

That's precisely the most precious universal thing that liars, frauds, criminals, and wanna-be / future tyrants will attack, spoil, and debase first, and as hard, as deeply, as they can.

Once it's done, the Corrupt State with its Perverted Law can rule as it wishes over its victim populations, become its disposable commodities.

Loads of human commodities, for serving only a select few who put themselves at the top of it - the new Brute-State.

Then : exit Logic, exit Natural Laws, exit Individual Freedoms, exit Justice, in all : exit Humanity.

Next : say hello to Arbitrary Thought Police, and other Inhumane Horrors of Man eating Man - by the tons, ready to spring in full.

I thought we should know, by now.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LTI_-_Lingua_Tertii_Imperii

'HTH,

"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.

http://Laissez-Faire.Me/Liberty

"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

Cyril's picture

P.S. I bring this up because...

P.S. I bring this up because it's hardly ever done, compared to the number of times anarchy vs. minarchy vs. etc is discussed (not that I refuse the latter).

And I have the weakness to believe that might finally be worth to see it more relevant than people did, so far.

E.g., by someone special to us, I think :

http://archive.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul120.html

"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.

http://Laissez-Faire.Me/Liberty

"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

I will get a lot of down

I will get a lot of down votes, but I have determined that anarchists are not very bright and naive...

If you disagree with me on anything you are not a real libertarian...

to be fair...

anarchy existed long before people grouped up into cartels and called themselves "government".

I use Blue Wave, but don't expect one of THEIR silly taglines.

So just to be clear...

You do in fact believe Ben Swann (self-professed anarchist) "is an idiot"?

I think we should stop with insulting each others intelligence right now. That's a sure-fire way to close down any healthy debate, particularly on something non-trivial as self-ownership, what that truly means and its implications.

If men are good, you don't need government; if men are evil or ambivalent, you don't dare have one.

Who did I call an idiot? The

Who did I call an idiot? The anarchist position is quite frankly ridiculous and naive.

I don't care who is an anarchist, I find the position naive and not very bright.

But you are more than welcome to articulate why I am wrong..

If you disagree with me on anything you are not a real libertarian...

Nice backpedal

What "anarchist position" exactly would that be? Perhaps if you'd elaborate I can better accommodate you. Before you just said "anarchists are not very bright and naive." Tell me more about this "anarchist position" you find ridiculous, naive and not very bright.

If men are good, you don't need government; if men are evil or ambivalent, you don't dare have one.

I stand by my statement that

I stand by my statement that anarchists, which means their positions ate not very bright. I feel the same about liberals..

The whole position of no Government and that law of nature will just work itself out. You can go to Somalia if you like anarchy... or go to the deep jungles in Brazil until the industry comes and starts cutting your tree houses down.

If you disagree with me on anything you are not a real libertarian...

Actually, you just need to look back in our history

The problem that arises with zero government is that you will, in fact, get a defacto government. It may not last long or have any real sway over history but it will last long enough to commit sin after sin. Think about lynch mobs back in the "wild west". Spontaneously a leader will rise from the ranks of the people and lead them to murder. True democracy at its finest.

Imagine you are new to a town. Looking for work to make a living; start a family; and then settle down. The future for you is looking bright. Then somebody is murdered or their cattle are rustled or some other major crime happens. And this crime just happened to happen when you arrived. It MUST have been the new guy! COME ON GUYS! LET'S GET HIM!

You plead your innocence, try to tell your story to any ear that will listen. You beg for your life. Let me prove I didn't do it you cry out as the noose is placed around your neck. The last thing you hear before the lights go out for good is the sound of a swat, four hooves moving away, and the stretch of the rope. Justice has been served, the villian has been punished, and the perpitrator smiles in the mob as you swing.

This is why a limited government was needed. Not that people couldn't govern themselves but that they couldn't be trusted to govern others on the spot. With the limited government out founders envisioned you were provided protection (in theory) from the mob. You were allowed your defense so that real justice could be metered.

No, there is not a philosophy today that is the whole answer becasue each philosophy has its mega flaws. However, our founders had a good thing going. They trusted us to adjust their laws to ensure the nation stayed free and to correct anything they did not think of. Alas, human nature being what it is, we failed them in this task and today we reap the rewards of that failure.

Is anarchy the answer? Not by a long shot. Is our current form of government the answer? Of course not. Should we go back to the original constitution as written by the founders? Not a chance. What we should do is take the lessons we've learned from history and make that document better. Change the constitution where it needs adjusting; say changing the second to simply read "A person's right to keep and bear any and all arms shall not be infringed".

me too

me too

Ventura 2012

deacon's picture

Why,

because they do not believe in another lording over them?
They do not believe another has authority over their own bodies?
D

If we deny truth before your very eyes,then the rest of what we have to say,is of little consequence

No because they believe

No because they believe people are all angels..and conflicts will always be dealt with civilly...

Ask Buddhists how anarchy worked out for them, or the Africans before they were taken and sold as slaves..

If you disagree with me on anything you are not a real libertarian...

That is completely untrue.

You are the utopian who thinks just a "little" govt will take care of the worst parts of human behavior. Anarchists know and accept that bad things will happen, and are accepting of whatever those things may be. It's the price of true freedom... Accepting that bad people will do bad things. I am confident that violence that comes from government dwarfs the violence of individuals perpetrating violence against each other .Using violence (govt) against others to make sure violence doesn't happen to others is circular logic that holds no water.

I'd rather have a bottle in front o' me than a frontal lobotomy
www.tattoosbypaul.com
www.bijoustudio-atx.com

hows your circular logic working for you?

Well

With a government atleast you know where the bad people are :P

Is this the "anarchist position" you spoke of?

THIS meaning anarchists "believe people are all angels"? What anarchist has ever said that? I agree that is a naive belief but it's certainly not any mainstream anarchist viewpoint that I'm aware of.

And just so we're on the same page...

Anarchism literally means no rulers (AN = no or non | ARCH = ruler). Anarchism is based on the libertarian philosophy of self-ownership, volunteerism and the non-aggression principle taken to their end conclusion.

No where does that imply or assert that anarchists believe people are all angels. Is it possible you can just be mistaken about what you think anarchism means?

If men are good, you don't need government; if men are evil or ambivalent, you don't dare have one.

We are on the same page. No

We are on the same page. No rulers, means no government. Somalia is a perfect place for you.

Tell me what happens if someone kills your loved one? You go for revenge? How does it work? Do you have contracts in anarchy land? What happens when another country that is not run by anarchists come and takes your land away?

And BTW, why do you think they took africans and made them slaves?

If you disagree with me on anything you are not a real libertarian...

Slavery was the result of ignorance and opportunity

First off, I’m absolutely dumbfounded why you would chose slavery, one of the most repugnant examples of government sanctioned human injustices to argue a pro-government position. I sure hope you can see the irony in that. But hey, whatever. Here’s my answer:

Slavery, like countless other injustices throughout human history, was the product of ignorance (in this case a superiority complex on the part of the slave owners) and opportunity. So what’s you’re reason for slavery and how does that build a case against anarchism? I can’t wait to hear it.

P.S. You set the direction and asked the question so let's please try to stay on point and handle one issue at a time. I hope you find this reasonable.

P.P.S. Since you haven't refuted my counter argument that anarchists DO NOT "believe people are all angels" I will assume you've capitulated on that point. Please confirm. Also, keep in mind that ability to answer questions or defend a position is YOUR basis for determining if a someone is "bright" or not.

If men are good, you don't need government; if men are evil or ambivalent, you don't dare have one.

"First off, I’m absolutely

"First off, I’m absolutely dumbfounded why you would chose slavery" You are really just proving my point.

Rather than giving you a history lesson in slavery, I suggest you begin to learn about the different types of slavery, like indentured servants, so I don't have to type all the stuff again. There were some slaves that volunteered, some were paying off debt, others were forced by capture.

They picked parts of Africa because they were NO Government to protect the people there from involuntary capture. That is why, and that is why they didn't pick Mexico, which would have been much closer and more convenient to get people from. This alone is the prime reason why I reject people like yourself that promote anarchy. You are too naive to think that everyone around you will be angels and that individuals can protect themselves against foreign or domestic armies .

It's just that anarchists have not thought through their positions. like liberals.

If you disagree with me on anything you are not a real libertarian...

Thanks for sparing me the history lesson

Issue #1 -- Earlier you asserted:

"No rulers, means no government. Somalia is a perfect place for you."

Next you asserted (emphasis mine):

"They picked parts of Africa because they were NO Government to protect the people there from involuntary capture. That is why...THIS ALONE IS THE PRIME REASON why I reject people like yourself that promote anarchy."

Somalia = No government = No protection from slavery

Got it! That is your premise. So my question to you is, if your statements are true then where are all the shiploads of Somali slaves happening right now? Did you get your Somali slave, because I didn't get mine? It must be a very slow boat. Surely since we're not all angels we must be expecting our shipments to arrive.

BTW - I STAND VERY FIRM ON MY EXACT WORDS THAT "SLAVERY WAS THE RESULT OF IGNORANCE AND OPPORTUNITY". Remember, this was YOUR QUESTION and YOUR POINT that you were trying to make and I gave you a DIRECT ANSWER that I'm sticking to without edit. Likewise, I'm sure you've "thought through your position" and wouldn't want to elaborate or modify your words at all.

Moving on to issue #2...

You claim anarchists are not bright because they cannot defend their position or answer questions. With that in mind, you keep insisting anarchists "believe people are all angels" and yet you've offered ZERO evidence to support this claim. This, even after I already spelled it out for you: Anarchism = no rulers = no government.

How does anarchism equate to "believing people are all angels"?

This is my third attempt to have you explain your premise. It's not the anarchist fault you're having such a difficult time coming up with any other possible reason why anarchists would hold a no-government position. In your mind it seems, why else could someone possibly support a no-government position unless they naively believed people are all angels.

What you're doing is conflating and then creating a strawman argument against it. Again, that's not the anarchist fault.

I look forward to your reply.

If men are good, you don't need government; if men are evil or ambivalent, you don't dare have one.

I don't why I even started to

I don't why I even started to waste my time with this. In any event good luck with your anarchy...

If you disagree with me on anything you are not a real libertarian...

I know exactly why you started it

In your mind there’s only one possible way anarchism can work and that’s if the entire population were “angels”. Likewise, you’re assuming anarchists must either naively believe this to be true, or they haven’t thought through the consequences of anarchism. If that were the case you’d be correct, however that’s your false conclusion and assumption you’re projecting on anarchists. And since believing anarchists are simple minded you thought you could poke fun at them without being challenged, like a schoolyard bully.

I’m truly very sorry to see you giving up so quickly. If you haven’t noticed I’ve been using the same Socratic method Jan uses during his interviews, trying to get the other side to think about their own words and what they’re saying. And just like many of Jan’s interviews you’ve become frustrated and decided to walk out. That’s unfortunate.

Look, I’m not trying to be a jerk for the fun of it. I’m trying to help you see anarchism from my perspective. Don’t you still want to learn? I’ve been on your side before and know exactly where you’re coming from. Trust me when I tell you that choosing to be an anarchist did not come easy for me, not without a lot of careful thought and self-reflection. Heck, go back and look through my old posts if you don’t believe me. I’ve been registered on this website well over 5-1/2 years and a lurker from its beginning. My transformation is open for the world to see.

Since I’m not sure we’ll be able to continue this conversation let me go back to my last post and tell you where I was going with it.

You brought up slavery to make a point. You challenged me to explain why I thought “they took Africans and made them slaves”. I gave you a direct answer that involved two components; ignorance and opportunity. I then challenged you with your own question. In response you gave me an answer explaining Africa was the better choice over Mexico because of a lack of government protection. That’s called OPPORTUNITY! That’s only one component and when I challenged you why we don’t have boatloads of Somali slaves today I think you quickly realized that your logic was missing an extremely critical piece; IGNORANCE!

Here’s the truth. The reason we don’t have widespread slavery today is NOT PRIMARILY due to a lack of OPPORTUNITY. You’re wrong about that. If that was true, the US has the most powerful military in the world and there’s plenty of tribal people around to take advantage of. Nope, THE PRIMARY REASON humanity has largely abolished slavery is because we are no longer IGNORANT in that respect to a large degree. Our beliefs and attitudes have changed to a greater understanding. We have evolved as a species.

You have accused anarchists of not thinking through their positions and here’s your own example (your “prime reason”) where you have completely ignored the most important reason why slavery is no longer a major issue. Opportunity was and is not the major reason slavery ended, it’s ignorance.

I keep harping on this point because I believe it’s critical to understanding where anarchists are coming from. Anarchists strongly believe in the libertarian principle of self-ownership. You either own yourself completely or you don’t, there’s no middle ground, like a Boolean true/false switch. To deny this is to imply someone or something else has a higher claim on your life (i.e. your property). Under that definition government is a form of slavery, albeit a soft form of slavery but slavery nonetheless. Thus, from enlightenment we know slavery is wrong and it largely exists out of IGNORANCE!!!

So let me leave you with this final thought. Opportunity will always exist but how long does ignorance last? And while you’re thinking about that, please consider the fact that we are pioneers in this new information age. Never before in human history have we had such rapid interaction on a globally massive scale. To ignore the significance of this game-changing fact while looking back at history would be very unwise.

If men are good, you don't need government; if men are evil or ambivalent, you don't dare have one.

It's perhaps worthwhile to note that...

You're not making any sense.

Your implication is that the Africans were enslaved because they were anarchists (which was not the case) and/or because the Europeans who enslaved them were not anarchists (which is true, but not very flattering for your position).

So, what you are saying is that you prefer to have rulers, and the more ability those rulers have to enslave others, the better. It doesn't sound like we're on the same page to me.

The temporary absense of tyrants without opposition is not anarchy. You don't get anarchy without anarchists. I doubt there are ten people in Somalia who reject authority and the idea that some people should rule over other people.

You didn't answer one single

You didn't answer one single question I asked you. Which is why I find anarchists not so bright. They can't defend their position.

Again, tell me what happens if someone kills your loved one? You go for revenge? How does it work? Do you have contracts in anarchy land? What happens when another country that is not run by anarchists come and takes your land away?

And BTW, why do you think they took africans and made them slaves?

If you disagree with me on anything you are not a real libertarian...

??

I wasn't trying to answer any questions or make any defense.

I was trying to help you by pointing out that your comments (and questions) don't make any sense.

(Nonsensical comments do not require any defense. Related questions are irrelevant and not worth answering either.)

And BTW, the Europeans made slaves of the Africans because they were uncivilized thugs who were too lazy to live honest lives and build a civilized society. Consequently, they decided to force others to do work for them. (I mean this is the definition of slavery; I feel like I'm giving an explanation to a three-year old.) The idea of government was present in both groups---the Africans and the Europeans. The Africans were no-doubt also uncivilized thugs who would have done the same thing to the Europeans if they had the ability to do it. There was no anarchy involved, it was nowhere in the picture yet. It happens that the Europeans were better organized, had better weapons, etc., in short the Europeans had more force at their disposal. But it had nothing to do with anarchy. If you had a well-organized group of anarchists, and a bunch of thugs tried to enslave them, they would not be enslaved. This happened on April 19, 1775, the anarchists being the British colonists in New England and the thugs being the British regulars. The difference is that the anarchists, were they in possession of superior force, would not use it to enslave others.

Note the comment/explanation of Levi Preston: We went after those Redcoats because we had always *governed ourselves* and we always meant to. They didn't mean we should. In other words, he rejected the idea that someone should rule over him. He was determined to be self-governing. That is the definition of anarchy.

Of course, after April 19, 1775 the non-anarchist, slave owning thugs like Washington and so on showed up, and the flicker of human civilization died. The flicker was strong enough, however, that the historical rhetoric surrounding it has inspired people for more than two hundred years now. The revolution which John Adams recognized, which was won in the hearts and minds of those colonists two or three generations before the first shots were fired at Lexington, was lost simply because there were too few anarchists and they didn't have enough force to defend themselves against the overwhelming force of the uncivilized world around them.

So I hope it's clear that there are two fundamentally different issues. Civilization versus barbarism (government) and weakness versus strength. They can play out in various combinations. Just because the civilized people are small in number and weak, and have been historically, is no reason to embrace barbarity.

It's also no reason to keep spewing out nonsense and asking irrelevant questions.