4 votes

From farmer to MarcMadness; Further thoughts on anarchism

Our conversation was lost in a deluge of comments, so I start anew:

You suggest the following definition for government:

The group of people who control and make decisions for a country, state, etc.

You claim my definition is not the one most people use.

I disagree. I use a different definition not because this one is not in the dictionary, but because it is not what is meant by most people by government, though they may like to think it is. And I can explain why:

Say you have a country full of people. Everyone agrees on a certain course of action. A decision is, therefore, made, and everyone acts in agreement. They are in control of what is happening in the country. This shows why your definition of simply a group of people controlling and making a decision is inadequate. Why? Well, in my scenario, there is no government mentioned and none needed, but it fits your definition of a group of people controlling and making a decision. In fact, it is the only possible non-deceptive definition of a group of people controlling and making a decision: Complete unanimity. If there is any disagreement, then the group has not made a decision, and to speak otherwise is deceptive.

What is the missing element which makes the dictionary definition deceptive? It is precisely the presence of people who disagree. It is assumed that they will be forced by some group to submit to the decision of the rulers. It is assumed, and you go on to mention the contradictory notion of the "consent of the governed." That is to say, a man who disagrees, who thinks it is wrong to do what the rulers have decided he should do, "consents," i.e., gives his permission to be forced to do what he thinks is wrong to do. Thus, "consent of the governed" is contradictory, and its presence in your explanation of your deceptive definition is further indication of the deception under which you have fallen.

That is my point. My point is precisely that one has to think clearly and understand the true nature of the situation instead of relying on deceptive definitions---which are in common use precisely because of their deceptive nature.

The true nature of what one means when one talks about government is that there are rulers who are allowed to do things that would be evil and illigitimate, i.e., force others to do things simply for the convenience of the rulers, but that those evil actions are magically made OK because they are attributed to "government." That is what "government" truly is. It is not just people controlling themselves and making decisions. It is not a group of people at all. It is an idea about a group of people. The idea I explained before and have explained here.



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Obvious farce

Group A share the following:

We in this group see criminals injuring innocent victims and we call all those criminals the government.

Group B share the following:

We in this group see ourselves as the government while we perpetrate criminal injury upon innocent victims and we call the group of people who find ways to escape our injury anarchy.

Group C (not many people here):

We in this group see criminals for what they are and we see the competitive ways of escaping criminal injury as a competitive form of defensive government.

Joe

Perhaps

It would be prudent to simply call things what they are.

When someone injures innocent victims, call them criminals.

When people call themselves government and perpetrate criminal activity, call them criminals.

Well, when I get to Group C I realize we may be in some agreement here. Government can be whatever people conceive it to be.

"competitive ways of escaping criminal injury" - I actually like this phrasing quite a bit. Because government should not (and isn't) a "monopoly on force." When people can voluntarily form and choose their governments, or whether or not to be a part of one at all, there is no "monopoly", and this is the proper conception of government.

http://lionsofliberty.com/
*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

panarchy

This option of choosing a government is also called panarchy, and it's consistent with the NAP.

So if you're a proponent of the NAP and of homesteading property rights -- then your beliefs are consistent with anarcho-capitalism and with voluntaryism and with voluntary governments.

I think the goal of a libertarian is to educate people to make them want to uphold the NAP. What would result from this is the abolishment of the state and the emergence of anarcho-capitalism. Anarcho-capitalism allows for voluntary governments as well as voluntary socialism.

Fair enough

For me, the NAP is not the starting principle, it is the logical conclusion of a philosophy that respects individual rights, and is able to distinguish them from crimes. Aggression or interference with one's non-interfering actions are the only things that should be considered crimes.

"I think the goal of a libertarian is to educate people to make them want to uphold the NAP. What would result from this is the abolishment of the state and the emergence of anarcho-capitalism. Anarcho-capitalism allows for voluntary governments as well as voluntary socialism."

I generally agree with this though I think it's a bit backwards. I don't like when ancaps says "oh this or that system works *within* anarcho-capitalism. Well, it's not "within" - if anything, it's side by side with. Anarcho-capitalism explicitly calls for justice to be handled by "defense agencies' and "private courts". A doctrine of free association would dictate that people may form whatever systems they choose - this includes anarcho-capitalism as a possibility.

http://lionsofliberty.com/
*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

Think about it

Think about it -- isn't a government by consent to enforce natural law -- identical to a private defense agency and private court?

With both systems you opt in and out by contract and they uphold the NAP and property rights. The only difference are the details of the contracts that people are consenting. A voluntary commune is truly an ancap society -- but they just don't realize it. Whenever you consent to something that would initially be viewed as aggression -- it ceases to be aggression -- it doesn't violate the NAP any longer. Consent negates aggression.

Voluntary socialists actually believe in private property and then they consent to sharing all their stuff. Boxers believe in non-aggression and then they consent to punches inside the ring -- which doesn't violate the NAP because consent negates aggression. The same way that taxation is only theft if you don't consent to it.

It all starts with NAP and private property with consent set at zero, and all the other possible social organizations are derived from this starting point by tweaking the consent variable. The consent variable can change at anytime (or when your contract expires), which is how you can opt in and out different governments or social structures.

In this system, a socialist is really an ancap with a different contract! The key is that he agrees not to trespass against non-socialists.

Social system of non-aggression/private property:

  • Ancap: consent = 0
  • Government: consent > 0
  • Socialist: consent >> 0

Tweaking consent/contracts does not change the nature of the initial social structure of non-initiatory violence, NAP or private property.

closer...

"Think about it -- isn't a government by consent to enforce natural law -- identical to a private defense agency and private court?"

Identical, no I wouldn't say identical, but similar in the fact that they are institutions formed voluntarily.

"With both systems you opt in and out by contract and they uphold the NAP and property rights. The only difference are the details of the contracts that people are consenting. A voluntary commune is truly an ancap society -- but they just don't realize it. Whenever you consent to something that would initially be viewed as aggression -- it ceases to be aggression -- it doesn't violate the NAP any longer. Consent negates aggression."

A voluntary commune is not an ancap society - "communes" and "capitalism" are not the same thing. Consent negates aggression, but it doesn't create "capitalism".

I think it's silly for people to focus on an economic system, and not on a rights system.

"Voluntary socialists actually believe in private property and then they consent to sharing all their stuff. Boxers believe in non-aggression and then they consent to punches inside the ring -- which doesn't violate the NAP because consent negates aggression. The same way that taxation is only theft if you don't consent to it.

It all starts with NAP and private property with consent set at zero, and all the other possible social organizations are derived from this starting point by tweaking the consent variable. The consent variable can change at anytime (or when your contract expires), which is how you can opt in and out different governments or social structures."

If people choose, on their own property, NOT to have a free market system within that property, it is not capitalism. It is not a "free market". Unless, of course, we start creating new definitions of words once again.

"In this system, a socialist is really an ancap with a different contract! The key is that he agrees not to trespass against non-socialists.

Social system of non-aggression/private property:

Ancap: consent = 0
Government: consent > 0
Socialist: consent >> 0
Tweaking consent/contracts does not change the nature of the initial social structure of non-initiatory violence, NAP or private property."

We agree on principle, but do you not see how the distinction of "anarchy" and "capitalism", and their promotion as the "only way" that other systems can live "within" completely alienates other people who you might otherwise be able to teach about individual rights?

http://lionsofliberty.com/
*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

Capitalism is a rights based

Capitalism is a rights based system as well as an economic system. It's about the enforcement of property rights and voluntary exchange, and it punishes violations of the NAP.

"Communes" and "capitalism" are not the same thing...If people choose, on their own property, NOT to have a free market system within that property, it is not capitalism.

I don't think it's possible not to have a free market system in a voluntaryist society. You can agree to interact via a socialist/communist contract, but this is still a free market system because all exchanges are voluntary.

Excellent post. If people

Excellent post.

If people contractually opt into a police surveillance state and brain chip with no freedom of speech and every bill of rights protection removed, that is not a free state of being. To say that this is freedom is to remove the substance of the word and replace it purely with procedure. This a similar fallacy that radical pro-democracy advocates make, that something is justifiable because a majority voted for it. Do we believe in objective liberty or not?

Do you support rights or do you support contract law process? Substance or procedure? Capitalism or tribalism?

Ancient Phoenicians = Government = Capitalism

Ancient Israel = Anarchy = Tribalism

Bushmen of Kalahari = Anarchy = Communism

Ventura 2012

Offers as opposed to dictates?

Here are offers:

http://www.nationallibertyalliance.org/comment/1452#comment-...

In peace people choose to find the ways that work to avoid being criminals and being victims by choice.

Joe

I agree and what I find weird

I agree and what I find weird is that he's read a lot of Rothbard and still doesn't get it.

Another problem

within the libertarian movement. In the midst of a discussion, instead of trying to come to an agreement on meaning, people with throw their hands in the air and say "he just doesn't get it."

Yes, I've read a lot of Rothbard, and appreciate his work in many areas. Does that mean I have to agree with every single thing he has ever said.

I've come to realize more that his "hate the state" attitude can contribute to greater tyranny. If we always shout and say government is tyranny and allow government to be defined by those that use it for coercion and the infringement of individual rights, than certainly that is what it shall be.

When we then go and tell people the only solution to the problems is to get rid of government, they look at you like you have seven heads.

To hate all government is akin to hating all corporations. They are merely groups of people coming together. Governments can do terrible things, so can corporations. They can both do good things as well, when properly conceived.

When a government is conceived on rights infringements, as the modern conception of government surely is, it will surely continue more rights infringements.

If you remove the government and have "anarchy" today, but have the same society that doesn't understand or respect individual rights, surely rights infringements will continue. So it certainly stands to reason to focus on the philosophy of the individuals at hand, as opposed to the specific system those individuals would set up to defend individual rights, by they a government of consent, defense agencies, whatever.

http://lionsofliberty.com/
*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

I think this is the reason

I think this is the reason why Rockwell and Rothbard use the word state instead of government. To distinguish between institutionalized violence and a voluntary organization.

Governments can do terrible things, so can corporations

Corporations can only do terrible things with the sanction of the state. When someone wants to sue a corporation for rights violations, the state prevents this because it views the action of the corporation as legal.

I think it's very important to view problems from the perspective of the who is violating the NAP (either directly, or indirectly by aiding and abetting).

I agree with your point that the state is not the only problem, but the people who consent to it and support it are also a problem and they need to be educated.

They use the word "state"

and they also use it as a synonym for "government." I just heard 2 interview Rockwell conducted with Tom Woods and Bob Wenzel when he used the words as synonyms throughout, so he is making no distinction whatsoever.

Corporations can do terrible things even without state sanction. Of course state sanction is what often allows them to get away with it. Corporations - just likes states and individuals - could do terrible things in any sort of society - the only question is how to ensure justice when they do so.

Clearly the current model does not do this.

"I agree with your point that the state is not the only problem, but the people who consent to it and support it are also a problem and they need to be educated."

We're getting close... :).

The "state" and "the people who support it" are not even separate things, they are the same thing. The state does not manifest itself from the netheworld and seek out people who support it. The people who support it - in this case the large majority of the world population - essentially *are* the state. It's the bad philosophy which leads the state to manifest as a rights-infringing organization.

If people did not hold this bad philosophy, it would manifest itself much different (if at all, depending on your view)

http://lionsofliberty.com/
*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

supporters of the state

Do you think this is the reason why so many people support the state - because they are born into it?

https://sites.google.com/site/waterlime/fivemonkeys

Farmer

Thanks for posting this separate thread - indeed, I did miss your reply in the deluge. I'll try to go point by point.

'Our conversation was lost in a deluge of comments, so I start anew:

You suggest the following definition for government:

The group of people who control and make decisions for a country, state, etc.

You claim my definition is not the one most people use."

Well, I didn't suggest it, Merriam-Webster did. Let's cross-reference the Oxford dictionary:

The governing body of a nation, state, or community:
an agency of the federal government

So that's two of the most well-known dictionaries that use the same general, commonly-held definition of government.

"I disagree. I use a different definition not because this one is not in the dictionary, but because it is not what is meant by most people by government, though they may like to think it is. And I can explain why:

Say you have a country full of people. Everyone agrees on a certain course of action. A decision is, therefore, made, and everyone acts in agreement. They are in control of what is happening in the country. This shows why your definition of simply a group of people controlling and making a decision is inadequate. Why? Well, in my scenario, there is no government mentioned and none needed, but it fits your definition of a group of people controlling and making a decision. In fact, it is the only possible non-deceptive definition of a group of people controlling and making a decision: Complete unanimity. If there is any disagreement, then the group has not made a decision, and to speak otherwise is deceptive."

Again, it isn't *my* definition, it is the commonly-held definition. Dictionaries are merely reporters of what society already uses, not the dictators of definitions.

Again, you are taking what modern governments - which are indeed tyrannical by making decisions for a collective who does *not* consent to them - and allowing them to define the entire concept of government. This is akin to equating self-defense with aggressive violence. If 500 adjoining private property owners agree to form a government - a system for enforcing naturally law, that is voluntarily funded and in which the governed literally - not figuratively - consent. To deny people the right to form a government if they so choose is to deny freedom of association.

"What is the missing element which makes the dictionary definition deceptive? It is precisely the presence of people who disagree. It is assumed that they will be forced by some group to submit to the decision of the rulers. It is assumed, and you go on to mention the contradictory notion of the "consent of the governed." That is to say, a man who disagrees, who thinks it is wrong to do what the rulers have decided he should do, "consents," i.e., gives his permission to be forced to do what he thinks is wrong to do. Thus, "consent of the governed" is contradictory, and its presence in your explanation of your deceptive definition is further indication of the deception under which you have fallen."

It is not the dictionary definition that is deceptive. Taking commonly held definitions and then changing them to fit a certain narrative is deceptive, and this is where well-intentioned anarchists misstep.

"That is my point. My point is precisely that one has to think clearly and understand the true nature of the situation instead of relying on deceptive definitions---which are in common use precisely because of their deceptive nature."

This is backwards thinking. To use a different definition than that commonly held is to distort meaning, which confuses people. When people here "no government", they think "no law, no order." Which is because they use the commonly held definition of government.

Would you deny people the right to create their own systems of law and order? Would you use violence to prevent them from doing so?

"The true nature of what one means when one talks about government is that there are rulers who are allowed to do things that would be evil and illigitimate, i.e., force others to do things simply for the convenience of the rulers, but that those evil actions are magically made OK because they are attributed to "government." That is what "government" truly is. It is not just people controlling themselves and making decisions. It is not a group of people at all. It is an idea about a group of people. The idea I explained before and have explained here."

What you describe here is tyranny, and indeed is the modern conception of government. But we shouldn't let the worst examples of something distort definitions. If "rulers" or what have you are not beholden to the same laws as those governed, thatis anarchy.

http://lionsofliberty.com/
*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

Example?

> If rulers are not beholden to the same laws
> as those governed, that is anarchy.

Give me one, just one, (specific, actually existing) example of something anyone would call government in which the rulers are beholden to the same laws as those governed.

George Washington sent his army out to track down the manufacturers of whiskey who refused to pay tribute. What had they done to be under this burden? Answer: Nothing but try to make an honest living and be in a vulnerable minority of profession. First of all, George Washington did not have to try to make an honest living, but even if he did, do you think he would be targeted for tribute? Would he send his army out to kill himself? What you are saying just doesn't make a lick of sense.

Ron Paul tried it, actually. He suggested that when they wanted to give congressional medals, the congressmen themselves should bear the burden of paying for the medals. Ron Paul said he would make the first contribution. He said that they should do that because it would be against the rules for Congress to use other peoples' money for that. Do you think they were going to be subject to the rules? Guess what? Ron Paul's was the *only* contribution. You say, "Well that's tyranny!" But it's not. Those are even special rules for the Congress, and they're not going to follow those. Why would they? Out of the goodness of their hearts? Who is going to make them follow the rules? Do you think they are going to be subject to the rules for regular people? I tell you there is much less chance of that, and there is one universal example: Do you think the rulers themselves have to make a financial contribution to support their activities, like regular people have to do? No. And you can't give me an example of government where they do. If they were supporting their own activities like regular people, you would not have government.

What you are saying is *impossible.* Think about it. Those who claim a *special* position to enforce the rules (the rulers) are expected to follow the rules?

When is the last time you saw a cop give himself a speeding ticket. What you are saying is essentially equivalent to that. It's like people who think the Supreme Court is going to provide some kind of limitation for Congress or the President. No. When faced with a conflict between the ruled and the rulers, there is precious little motivation for the rulers to decide in favor of the ruled, and there is no possible enforcement. The ruled have already consented, that is they have given up their freedom. It is not partial. There is no limitation. What is there to limit the rulers? Nothing. That is what it means to be in the ruling caste. And this idea that they are going to follow the laws is crazy. What is there to make them follow the laws? Nothing.

I know you and Josf want your *special* definition of government. And I know you have a dictionary definition that supports your deception. But neither of you can give anything but an abstract nonexistent example of anything that anyone would identify as government that actually fits your definition and not mine.

example?

"Give me one, just one, (specific, actually existing) example of something anyone would call government in which the rulers are beholden to the same laws as those governed"

How about right now? Today, police officers can be charged with murder, theft, etc. You can say they often aren't charged when doing so under the cover of law, and this is true, and those cases should be pointed out. But those bad cases don't define every single aspect of the system, any more than the cases where they are truly brought to justice.

Greek city-states were a real-life example of how governments could be formed through consent by private property owners.

Your examples are straw men, they are examples of bad philosophy and bad government. They are not proof that any time human beings decide to create a government that only badness can result. Even today, the government does both good and bad things - the problem is that even the good is financed through coercion, the "hidden gun."

"And this idea that they are going to follow the laws is crazy. What is there to make them follow the laws? Nothing."

What makes defense agencies follow the laws under anarch-capitalism? Wait a minute, there are no laws under anarcho-capitalism, so maybe that's a moot point.

When you have government by consent, nobody has "special rights". Anyone can withdraw their consent from the government, just as they can from a "defense agency."

"If they were supporting their own activities like regular people, you would not have government."

No, you just wouldn't have tyrannical government.

"What you are saying is *impossible.* Think about it. Those who claim a *special* position to enforce the rules (the rulers) are expected to follow the rules?"

This is so easy to turn around. What rules are "defense agencies" expected to follow?

When there is a government of consent, nobody has a "special" position to enforce anything. All individuals have the right to enforce natural law, through whatever means they choose, including forming something called a "government" in order to do so.

Would you use force against those who wished to create a government?

"When is the last time you saw a cop give himself a speeding ticket. What you are saying is essentially equivalent to that. It's like people who think the Supreme Court is going to provide some kind of limitation for Congress or the President. No. When faced with a conflict between the ruled and the rulers, there is precious little motivation for the rulers to decide in favor of the ruled, and there is no possible enforcement. The ruled have already consented, that is they have given up their freedom. It is not partial. There is no limitation. What is there to limit the rulers? Nothing. That is what it means to be in the ruling caste. And this idea that they are going to follow the laws is crazy. What is there to make them follow the laws? Nothing."

Right, because we don't have a properly conceived government, and we have a society where people have bad ideas about philosophy. Will their philosophy magically change when you remove the government?

"I know you and Josf want your *special* definition of government. And I know you have a dictionary definition that supports your deception. But neither of you can give anything but an abstract nonexistent example of anything that anyone would identify as government that actually fits your definition and not mine."

So the guys using the commonly-accepted, dictionary definitions of a word are the ones who want a "special" definition, not the ones whose definition is only understand at the Daily Paul and on Rotbardian forums. Got it.

http://lionsofliberty.com/
*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

No example?

So "what we have now" is your example? You have a specific example where a police officer murdered someone, acting as a police officer, and was charged with murder.

So, for example, Lon Horiuchi murdered Vicki Weaver, and then he was charged with murder? Where and when? Yeah, I can charge him with murder, but you are suggesting that the FBI is going to do it. Give me an example.

You have no example. If a police officer is charged with murder, it will be precisely because he was not acting as an enforcer for government, and you know it.

So you can go on about "commonly-accepted" definitions, but in practice you know I am right.

Or a soldier murders someone on the battlefield acting under the authority of government, and he is charged with murder? These are not straw-man examples. They are happening every day.

It's not that they "aren't often" charged under the cover of law. If they are acting as an enforcer for government they are *never* charged, and they never can be, because what they are doing is supposed to be made magically OK. That is what is commonly understood by your having given consent. That is the *definition* of government.

"Give me ONE example....

TODAY...of a cotton field not being picked by slaves." - Random unhelpful guy in 1859."

If you want government to be something that does nothing but violate rights, then keep driving home that that is what it is, and always will be.

When we identify the problem - the violation of individual rights - we can then see the problem. But then you want to go to everyone with that problem, and say "THE ONLY SOLUTION IS TO ABOLISH ALL GOVERNMENT", and they rightfully say "whoa, what? No laws at all? I can't have my publicly funded school and city council?"

The fact is, they CAN have those things and be perfectly consistent with individual rights if they are funded through the consent of private property owners, even if you tell them they can't.

To deny people the right to form a government - a system of law and order - is a tyranny of its own. To promote it as the only way individual rights can be respected is to confine the "liberty" movement to the edges of society, where it shall remain so long as 'anarcho-capitalism" is promoted as the be-all, end-all, the "only way forward."

Who cares what kind of examples there are? I can easily say "give me ONE Example of anarcho-capitalism today where individual rights are respected. YOU CANT DO IT"

That wouldn't change the fact that people have the right to form an anarcho-capitalist community, so long as they don't force others into that system. The same holds true for any government people might choose to create.

The problem lies in the hearts and minds and their beliefs about individual rights - not in whatever specific system is in place.

http://lionsofliberty.com/
*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

matter of time

There *were* cotton fields in 1859 which were not being picked by slaves. There is no problem there. Lots of examples, and you know it.

> If you want government to be something
> that does nothing but violate rights,...

It has absolutely nothing to do with what I want. It is the definition.

That's right, when someone says, "I can't have my publicly funded school and city council?" they are correct in assuming they can't have them and be consistent with individual rights. Because exactly what they mean is that they want others forced (without their consent) to pay for it. Exactly what they mean by "publicly funded" is "getting something for nothing" or "having it legitimately stolen from others." That "legitimacy of stealing" is exactly the kind of thing for which one needs government, and you know it.

Government is not a "system of law and order" even according to your dictionary definition. What, you won't allow me to offer a correct definition, but you can make up your own wrong one?

For the record, I have not suggested "forcing" anyone to do anything. I have not mentioned security agencies or agencies of any sort. I have made no mention of a "system" of any sort. These are all ideas that have nothing to do with what I've said that you have produced completely on your own and attributed to me.

Such behavior is more than deceptive. It is dishonorable.

In any case, I have made my point. You disagree, but I see no option for your position. In the mean time, you will have to live with yourself and your behavior.