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On Definitions and Straw Men

Last week’s episode of the Lions of Liberty Podcast featuring my interview with Shayne Wissler regarding his essay “Against Anarchism” has generated a lot of discussion, particularly over at The Daily Paul forums. Wissler certainly advocates against conventional libertarian wisdom regarding the concept of anarchism, and as many libertarians have adopted the “anarchist” label, it comes as no great surprise that controversy would ensure.

Though I’ve never self-identified specifically as an “anarchist”, I have devoted significant time on this very website to exploring the ideas surrounding how individual rights could be upheld in an anarchist society – aka a society without a formal system of government. I even devoted an entire episode of the Lions of Liberty Podcast to discuss anarcho-capitalism with Robert Murphy.

The reason for this is that, as an advocate for a society where individual rights are understood, respected, and defended, I have an open mind towards any individuals who have some sort of vision for how such a society could be implemented. I’ve provided air time for Wissler and Murphy, as well as others such as Fred Foldvary and Adam Kokesh, in order to continue pushing forward this dialogue. I have the utmost respect and admiration for all advocates of individual liberty, even those with which I share serious disagreements.

I’ve noticed that one of the major disagreements in the present discussion regarding anarchism centers around definitions, particularly the definitions of the words “anarchism” and “government.” Many principled individuals in this discussion will find agreement on the general ideas being discussed, but will vehemently dispute the definitions of these words. I have even been chastised for “copying and pasting” these definitions from that vile tool of fascism known as “the Dictionary.”

How can one engage in meaningful debate when using wildly different definitions for their words? It is a fool’s errand, which is why definitions are so vital to meaningful dialogue. But where do dictionaries get their definitions from? Do they speak from Authority, arbitrarily dictating definitions to the compliant masses?

No, rather dictionaries report on the commonly used and accepted definitions of words. If a dictionary defined a rock as a “a fruit that grows on a banana tree” and a banana as “solid mass of densely packed minerals”, the creators of said dictionary would be rightly mocked, and nobody would take it seriously.

According to Merriam-Webster, one of the most highly regarded dictionaries, “anarchism” is defined as:

: a belief that government and laws are not necessary

: a political theory holding all forms of governmental authority to be unnecessary and undesirable and advocating a society based on voluntary cooperation and free association of individuals and groups.

This definition doesn’t necessarily dictate whether anarchy is a “good” or “bad” thing, merely that it precludes the concept of “government.” One can certainly envision a society without government where individual rights are respected, as many self-proclaimed anarchists do.

As for the definition of “government”, Merriam-Webster provides this:

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

: a particular system used for controlling a country, state, etc.

: the process or manner of controlling a country, state, etc.

Most anarchists will claim that the above definition applies, but must also include the qualification that governments must violate individual rights in order to exist. In their view, anyone who advocates for government at all, even governments formed voluntarily on private property, simply must be created without consent, and must violate individual rights. No explanation is given for this, outside of “this is the way it has been, is, and always shall be.”

At this point, some will then proceed to make arguments against “the State” or “government” as if Wissler is actually advocating for tyrannical government – for systems that do violate individual rights, and do function without the consent of the governed. This is what is known as a “Straw Man” argument. I again turn to that tool of tyranny, Merriam-Webster:

: a weak or imaginary argument or opponent that is set up to be easily defeated

At least among principled libertarians, it is very easy to combat an argument for tyranny. It is not difficult to point out how systems that violate the rights of individuals are in direct opposition to the principles of individual liberty. But even a cursory analysis of the arguments laid out in Shayne Wissler’s essay or our interview will reveal that he is not only opposed to such systems, but vehemently advocates against the typical “minarchist” arguments for coercive systems often found in libertarian circles.

Indeed, Wissler’s ideas fall far outside the “libertarian mainstream.” Upon conducting this interview I was well aware that the ideas would be met harshly by many in the libertarian community, and I welcome the healthy debate surrounding the ideas. I will even admit that the first time I saw the title of his essay, “Against Anarchism”, I scoffed and thought to myself “Oh this one should be easy to refute.”

But I still took the time to analyze Wissler’s actual arguments, instead of immediately lashing out against the arguments that I thought or wished he would make.

If the “liberty movement” is to make any headway in the world, it’s advocates must embrace reasoned dialogue, and learn to reject faulty straw man arguments. Additionally, we must work with the actual definitions of words as they are used in society, not just the definitions that only people who have read the collected works of Murray Rothbard – someone who anyone familiar with this site will know I have been a fan of – will understand.

Consider this a plea – a call for reason and intellectual debate. “Liberty” will never be advanced through the use of confusing definitions or straw man arguments, and any honest advocates for individual liberty should reject them outright.

This article was originally published at Lions of Liberty

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Often is the case.

I can offer a viewpoint.

The viewpoint offered travels through the medium of exchange to someone.

Someone receives the viewpoint offered and I know about this fact because the receiver of the viewpoint feeds back a FALSE version of the viewpoint offered.

That is a STRAW MAN.

The genuine viewpoint exists within the actual man.

The false version of the viewpoint exists in a utopian fantasy created by the creator of the Man of Straw.

The creator of the Man of Straw owns the Man of Straw, but the creator of the Man of Straw claims (falsely) that the genuine flesh and blood man IS the Man of Straw.

No amount of information offered by the genuine flesh and blood man can alter the Man of Straw constructed by the creator of the Man of Straw who attaches the false version of the flesh and blood man.

So...

Person 1 is a flesh and blood member of the entire body of people, and this individual offers a viewpoint with words.

Person 2 is another flesh and blood member of the entire body of people, and this Person alters the viewpoint offered by Person 1, creating, constructing, and then attaching a Man of Straw onto Person 1.

No amount of words offered by Person 1 can change the Man of Straw created by Person 2.

It is unreasonable, illogical, and outside of common sense, to suggest that Person 1 can ever change, improve, or replace the false Man of Straw with an accurate account of the actual viewpoint offered by Person 1, since Person 2 already confesses a capacity to ignore the actual viewpoint of Person 1, as Person 2 creates a false version of the viewpoint of Person 1.

That is the Man of Straw.

Having that out of the way, there is an offer of words offered by the man who was labeled (by people) as The First American Anarchist; having to do with the Topic subject matter on the meanings of words.

http://www.anarchyisorder.org/CD4/Lay-outed%20texts/PDF-vers...

Quote______________________________
24.
Theorize as we may about the interpretation of "the Constitution," every individual does unavoidably measure it and all other words by his own peculiar understanding or conceits, whether he understands himself or not, and should, like General Jackson, recognize the fact, "take the responsibility of it," and qualify himself to meet its consequences. The full appreciation of this simple but almost unknown fact will neutralize the war element in all verbal controversies, and the binding power of all indefinite words, and place conformity thereto on the voluntary basis! Did any institution-makers (except the signers of the "Declaration") ever think of this?
______________________________________

So...

Let me let you define words and if we can agree then we can proceed in keeping the record straight, without one of us placing false words in the other's mouth.

If someone defines government to be the same thing as crime, then that is what they mean, they mean that government is their word for crime.

If someone defines anarchy as the absence of government, then they define anarchy as the absence of crime WHEN they define government as the same thing as crime.

If anarchy is a method by which crime (government) is no more, then anarchy is the method by which crime is no more, according to that one individual who defines words that way.

Who stands to gain from who when words are counterfeited on purpose?

Who decides to create the Man of Straw?

Joe

Marc here are the definitions

that we typically use.

1: Government is an organizing body.
2: State is a entity claiming a legitimized monopoly of violence in a region.

We conflate these words in common usage often, I know I do, but when we are discussing these issues these are the best uses.

So while a state can be a government, a government doesn't need to be a state. A board of directors or a proprietor or a steering committee can be a government.

Now you don't have to accept these definitions, but then tell us what words you prefer for 1 and 2.

Some people deliberately refuse to define their terms and this indicates that they don't want to be tied down with clear concepts which in turn means they know what they intend won't look good if exposed.

So if you want to have an honest debate, either use the accepted terms or define your own.

The definition we care about is 'monopoly of force'. If you don't like 'state' then give us your own word.

Then:

If you're a minarchist then get about defending the monopoly of force.
If you're an anarchist then get about arguing a monopoly of force is always bad.
If you aren't sure then at least you know the right questions to ask.

Or you can do like your guest and pretend this isn't what the debate is about and say 'there's no such thing' as a monopoly of force. Because that's absurd, there are entities that claim and execute a monopoly of force and that is what states are. Further the monopoly of force is the mother of all other monopolies.

Your guest deliberately misapplies Rothbard's understanding that there aren't natural market monopolies to somehow mean someone can't pick up a gun and force people to buy or not to buy. Rothbard's point was that monopolies only exist because of guns.

Helfeld is honest and has integrity enough to admit what he believes. Your guest could do as well.

Question for Faithkills

Actually, I decided to make a new thread for this one....

Do have a right to a monopoly on force in your own home?

http://www.dailypaul.com/322895/do-you-have-a-right-to-a-mon...

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

Yes

See how easy a straight answer is:) You should try one sometimes.

"Your house, your rules" as they say.

That doesn't mean you may invite people onto your property and shoot them however, if that's what you mean.

But you can certainly ask guests to disarm before coming on your property and they can decide to assent or not.

Now if it's not actually your house that is a different issue. Did you steal the house? (ie 'public land') Then you can claim a monopoly of force, and they certainly do claim a monopoly of force, (again falsifying your guests assertion that they don't exist) but it's an illegitimate claim.

You don't have a valid right to defend stolen goods from the people you stole them from.

Semantically using the word monopoly here isn't appropriate. You can say you have a monopoly of yourself but this isn't what people mean by monopoly. I only point this out because while I understand what you wanted people to understand 'monopoly' to mean here, I expect you will later use this conflation to say I agree with monopolies.

One is a set, but all sets aren't just one. Because I agree with one, doesn't mean I agree with all sets.

Ok....

Now we're getting somewhere...

"Your house, your rules" as they say.

Ok, so what about 2 houses with adjoined property? May they institute a "monopoly on force" on their conjoined properties in conjunction with one another?

That doesn't mean you may invite people onto your property and shoot them however, if that's what you mean.

It's not what I mean, nor have I suggested as such.

But you can certainly ask guests to disarm before coming on your property and they can decide to assent or not.

agreed...

Now if it's not actually your house that is a different issue. Did you steal the house? (ie 'public land') Then you can claim a monopoly of force, and they certainly do claim a monopoly of force, (again falsifying your guests assertion that they don't exist) but it's an illegitimate claim.

Agreed, I am only referring to legitimately acquired property, not property that someone simply points at and claims "this is my jurisdiction!"

I should qualify, I am not saying that modern governments do not attempt, in a way, to *claim* a monopoly on force, rather that they are not consistent in doing so, nor do they actually do so in practice. That being the case, that is why I see a problem with using that term as a part of the anarchist-minarchist dichotomy (and I see a problem with the dichotomy overall).

You don't have a valid right to defend stolen goods from the people you stole them from.

Agreed, nor have a claimed that this would be valid in any way.

Semantically using the word monopoly here isn't appropriate. You can say you have a monopoly of yourself but this isn't what people mean by monopoly. I only point this out because while I understand what you wanted people to understand 'monopoly' to mean here, I expect you will later use this conflation to say I agree with monopolies.

I am using the word in the same terms you do in regards to government's illegitimate claim of a monopoly on force.

To be clear, I don't think *any* individual, or group of individuals, has a monopoly over the enforcement of natural rights. For example, I cannot kidnap children and keep them as slaves on my own property just because it is "my property".

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

Yes

Ok, so what about 2 houses with adjoined property? May they institute a "monopoly on force" on their conjoined properties in conjunction with one another?

Although again with the caveat that you are seriously torturing the word 'monopoly', yes. This is just another way to say that you and your neighbor legitimately own your property. You may dispose of it as you see fit.

And again because no enforcement is perfect it's absurd to claim anything that isn't perfectly enforced doesn't exist. Monopolies exist and do so in spite of imperfect execution on the part of imperfect human beings. It's your guests assertion that monopolies don't exist, so I recommend you disembark that particular sinking ship and let your guest try to bail.

Laws are not perfectly enforced. This doesn't mean there are no laws. I don't perfectly clean my house, this doesn't mean I didn't clean my house, nor that the concept of cleaning is invalid or useless.

To be clear, I don't think *any* individual, or group of individuals, has a monopoly over the enforcement of natural rights. For example, I cannot kidnap children and keep them as slaves on my own property just because it is "my property".

Great! That sounds like ancappery to me. So why all the semantic folderol?

ok...

This is just another way to say that you and your neighbor legitimately own your property. You may dispose of it as you see fit.

So it is ok for one property owner, as well as two adjoining property owners...is there a specific number of property owners where this right is no longer legitimate? Because this is the city-state concept.

And again because no enforcement is perfect it's absurd to claim anything that isn't perfectly enforced doesn't exist. Monopolies exist and do so in spite of imperfect execution on the part of imperfect human beings. It's your guests assertion that monopolies don't exist, so I recommend you disembark that particular sinking ship and let your guest try to bail.

It's not just that enforcement isn't perfect, it's that government doesn't even consistently attempt a monopoly. If it did it wouldn't invade other countries on the pretext of enforcing rights within their "sovereign" monopoly, nor would it allow self-defense.

If a government creates a "monopoly on food", but still allows people to produce their own food, is there really a monopoly at all?

Great! That sounds like ancappery to me. So why all the semantic folderol?

You tell me. I'm not the one trying to call forms of government anarchy, nor am I trying to say anarchy can include forms of government.

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

Definitions

1. There's nothing wrong with this definition per se, but I wouldn't conflate *any* organizing body with government. A corporation is not a government. A board of directors is not a government. Do you think most people think that it is?

2. This argument has been addressed repeatedly.

The problem is with the "we" you are referring to. The "we" are those who live in a libertarian bubble and use our own definitions of words, ones that the rest of the world doesn't use, and then try to communicate with the rest of the world using those same definitions. How do you think that works out?

As for #2, "tyranny" or "tyrannical government" would be a better, more accurate term than simply "state."

"If you're a minarchist then get about defending the monopoly of force.
If you're an anarchist then get about arguing a monopoly of force is always bad.
If you aren't sure then at least you know the right questions to ask."

Translation: Use my terms, and squeeze yourself into one of these categories, or I walk off the field of debate.

"Your guest deliberately misapplies Rothbard's understanding that there aren't natural market monopolies to somehow mean someone can't pick up a gun and force people to buy or not to buy. Rothbard's point was that monopolies only exist because of guns."

He doesn't "misapply", he disagrees in an upfront matter. So why don't you address the points he has made in regards to why he disagrees?

This reminds me of when I was a kid, and I would ask my parents why, and they would respond "because I said so."

Make an argument, not an assertion.

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

I did

Guys with guns force people to buy and not buy all the time. What about that is controversial?

This is called falsification. When you make a universal claim, then all you need is a counterexample. That's the argument.

He said there is no such thing as a monopoly of force, when he lives in a world shaped by monopolies of force. If he says there are no cats all I have to do is show him a cat. It he wants to say that cat isn't a cat, that's up to him, not me. If you want to do it for him.. well good luck with that;)

Translation: Use my terms, and squeeze yourself into one of these categories, or I walk off the field of debate.

Cut the crap.

I gave you the definitions to be helpful, but I invited you to define your own terms if you don't like them. I didn't try to squeeze you into anything except an honest statement. Clearly that isn't your strong suit recently.

At this point you are being deceitful, as evidenced by the blockquote. There's increasing reason to suspect that you don't want to define your terms for a monopoly of force because the monopoly of violence is exactly what you endorse.

There's nothing wrong with thinking this, people do, Ron Paul does, Jan Helfeld does, but at least they have enough integrity to state their position and defend their position.

"Monopoly on force"

Wissler's point, which I tend to agree with, is that there no true "monopoly on force" only attempts to do so. In many ways modern governments attempt to institute a monopoly on force; in other ways they abdicate the fact that they do not hold a monopoly on force (by allowing self defense, by invading other countries in the pretense of defending "human rights" etc).

At best a government can attempt to claim a monopoly on force.

As far as the quote, I was referring to your definitions of "anarchism" and "minarchism", and we need to break down this monopoly of force issue more (which is why I started the new thread).

At this point you are being deceitful, as evidenced by the blockquote. There's increasing reason to suspect that you don't want to define your terms for a monopoly of force because the monopoly of violence is exactly what you endorse.

You accuse me of being deceitful in the same breath as you completely mischaracterise my positions. Point me to where I've endorsed a monopoly on violence.

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

That's an absurd claim.

So we don't need the word 'monopoly' then right? Because it's impossible to perfectly enforce monopolies? So there are no laws? There are no regulations? Come off it. Let this guy try to defend this nonsense, you have enough on your plate.

At best a government can attempt to claim a monopoly on force.

Very good! Now if only someone had said that to begin with.. oh wait, it's how I started this.

2: State is a entity claiming a legitimized monopoly of violence in a region.

And then:

You accuse me of being deceitful in the same breath as you completely mischaracterise my positions.

What positions?

I've been trying to get you to choose a definition so you can actually express a concrete position. (that you can't later wiggle out of due to claiming you meant a different definition)

You said I was trying to box you into a definition of my choice. That's a 'deliberate untruth', choose your own word for that too. There's plenty to select from. I like deceit. You may prefer lie.

But I'm beginning to suspect at this point this may be futile. Your whole modus operandi seems to be conflation. It seems that you don't define terms so you never have to make a coherent argument.

Point me to where I've endorsed a monopoly on violence.

Did I say you did?

But yes I begin to think at this point because you hide behind conflation, god forfend make actually take a position that isn't camouflaged by a word you won't define, that you do endorse it.

Would it be too much to ask for you to actually state whether you endorse or condemn it?

If you haven't decided what you think, then fine. Maybe you're just being vague because you don't like not being able to articulate an actual position because you don't yet have one on the topic of a claimed monopoly of force in a region call it what you will.

But indeed, I do now suspect you have a position and you just think it's too weak. If so maybe you should trust that nagging logical intuition.

You said I was trying to box

You said I was trying to box you into a definition of my choice. That's a 'deliberate untruth', choose your own word for that too. There's plenty to select from. I like deceit. You may prefer lie.

You gave me 2 definitions of "anarchy" and "minarchy" to choose from, and I see problems with both definitions.

And then we have the continued accusations that I am deceitful, as if I am some sort of tyrant trying to sneak my fascist ideas into this haven of liberty.

Please.

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

You make baby Mises cry

I see problems with both definitions.

FFS man what are your definitions?

And then we have the continued accusations that I am deceitful, as if I am some sort of tyrant trying to sneak my fascist ideas into this haven of liberty.

You expressed an untruth. My speculations as to motive are just that, but they are my speculations to have, pending further data.

Your guest opposes anarchy, which itself opposes rulers, so your guest likes the idea of rulers, at least of some flavor. You seem tempted by your guests arguments, but I suggest you shouldn't be. We aren't going to buy some sort of state that isn't a state.

Honest minarchists argue for a state. Plenty of people in this category.

Honest anarchists argue against a state. Plenty of people in this category.

Dishonest people have a tendency not to admit what they think. And yes I admit that I smell a whiff of this here.

I'd like to have reason to think otherwise.

Definitions

I already gave the definition of anarchy in this post.

I'm not a minarchist - minarchists advocate for arbitrary, forced government over certain geographic reasons. At least the minarchists I've encountered. I would define minarchism as arbitrary government that limits itself to areas of defense and law. Which is nothing I've ever advocated for (well maybe in my naive youth, pre DP)

You expressed an untruth. My speculations as to motive are just that, but they are my speculations to have, pending further data.

What, explicity, "untruth" did I express?

Your guest opposes anarchy, which itself opposes rulers, so your guest likes the idea of rulers, at least of some flavor. You seem tempted by your guests arguments, but I suggest you shouldn't be. We aren't going to buy some sort of state that isn't a state.

I'm "tempted" by arguments that use reason and proper definitions of words. If you think my guest "likes the idea of rulers" than, you clearly have not made any attempt to take in the arguments laid out, so why should I take your attempts at dialogue seriously with that very obvious fact?

Honest minarchists argue for a state. Plenty of people in this category.

Honest anarchists argue against a state. Plenty of people in this category.

How about I honestly advocate for freedom of association? Which means if people want to live in anarchy, they should be free to do so on their own property, and if people want to join together and form an organization for defending natural law, or any other mutually agreed upon rules, they should also be free to do so.

From my conversation on here, there are not many people in this category.

Dishonest people have a tendency not to admit what they think. And yes I admit that I smell a whiff of this here.

Will you admit that people have the right to form the type of associations described above.

If so, you aren't *really* an anarchist, you are for consensual forms of government that do not violate rights.

Or, you are opposed to them, and you really *are* an anarchist.

So which is it?

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

Sure

I stand for freedom of association. I do not think it is the right of any person to act against such unless their rights are being transgressed.

If your government doesn't claim and execute a monopoly of force then I don't consider that a state, I consider that a mere government. That's why I started by offering (not cornering you into using) some definitions.

If your government doesn't try to coerce anyone I have nothing to say against it. As a matter of fact there will always be governments of some flavor or form. So long as it doesn't try to exclude or prevent people from securing a different government, then it's just society and people ordering themselves.

Now, contrary to your guests assertion anyone has a right to withdraw or 'secede'. It doesn't mean they have the right to violate anyone's right just because they do so. It simply means they canceled the contract.

And to be clear 51% of your neighbors taking a vote does not constitute you signing a contract, nor does your parents taking a vote constitute you signing a contract, nor does a couple hundred men over two centuries ago signing a piece of paper constitute you signing a contract.

If your neighbors take a vote and you don't want to abide it there are plenty of valid ways to encourage you to move or conform. They can cease association with you, refuse to have commerce or truck with you.

Now if they forcibly prevent someone else from selling or buying from you then they are engaged in monopoly and that aggression justifies a counter in kind.

I'll start...

with where we disagree, as we're on par up until...

Now, contrary to your guests assertion anyone has a right to withdraw or 'secede'. It doesn't mean they have the right to violate anyone's right just because they do so. It simply means they canceled the contract.

Can any contract simply be 'cancelled' , regardless of terms? Terms of secession should be laid out in any contract, and any *person* can secede, but there are situation where physically removing one's property would violate the rights of others who had a previously existing contract.

And to be clear 51% of your neighbors taking a vote does not constitute you signing a contract, nor does your parents taking a vote constitute you signing a contract, nor does a couple hundred men over two centuries ago signing a piece of paper constitute you signing a contract.

If your neighbors take a vote and you don't want to abide it there are plenty of valid ways to encourage you to move or conform. They can cease association with you, refuse to have commerce or truck with you.

Neither of us have advocated for such thing.

Now if they forcibly prevent someone else from selling or buying from you then they are engaged in monopoly and that aggression justifies a counter in kind.

I don't know if I'd use the term "monopoly" here, but yes, this use of force is clearly illegitimate.

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

Yes any contract can be cancelled

Otherwise it's just a decree, and then my signature is superfluous.

I totally agree terms of 'secession' should be laid out, but if they are not then there is no forfeiture. The default is certainly not, "if you want out I get to kill you."

Removing your property should never be a violation of a proper contract. A sound contract involves transfer of ownership in some fashion such that if one party abrogates it, the property is returned or retained, depending on the situation.

Which of course doesn't prevent people from writing idiotic contracts and signing them, but under free law no one would enforce those. If I'm a free market judicial outfit I'm not going to adjudicate any conflict that could have been avoided by having a proper conflict up front, and I suspect this will be the model, but I somewhat digress.

So if I secede and try to set up a 'theocracy' per your guest, then yes that will violate the rights of people when I try to impose whatever foolishness my theocracy advocates on my neighbors. But this isn't controversial and is in fact the anarchist position.

If I contract with your (government? state? firm? see how not defining terms makes for muddy conversations?) and there is no forfeiture clause and you get mad when I no longer require your services you are in the wrong if you aggress against me.

If I agree to forfeit $10k, or my whole house, if I cancel, ok.. but then why would I ever do that? Your 'state' may claim whatever the forfeiture I am stupid enough to be signatory to. But good luck finding stupid people to do that.

You really have two problems with your idea of liberty being compatible with a state. (and again I can only guess because you refuse to define terms)

One is the deont or moral problem, how do you justify an asymmetrical 'right' to aggression?

Two is the practical problem of why would anyone go along with a new state? Once people no longer believe that it is somehow legitimate for other people to rule them, why will they acquiesce? You can try to force them but you will find what rulers have always found, you will make losses unless you get people to go along willingly.

Words in mouths

No one ever said "if you want out we kill you", nor that removal of property would be the answer. At worst th secede would have to sell his property, or simply leave it unattended if he wished to do so. What he cannot do is tear out sewer lines or block access to mutually shared utilities.

Why is it "mine?" This is a discussion of what people should be *allowed* to do, not what one is allowed to *force someone to do.

When did my guest suggest setting up a theocracy?

I've defined my terms. You just don't like the definitions.

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

Where?

If you did then it should be easy for you to list them. I don't see them and I'm not going to put words in your mouth.

In any case I would love any definitions you posed. Then we could discuss principles and concepts rather than the vague fog of words for which the connotation changes to suit the argument.

Your guest specifically used seceding to set up a theocracy as his example. Which is by the way an example meant to color the conversation. Rather than say you don't have a right to secede, he says you don't have a right to secede to set up a theocracy, which of course is intended to get people to have an emotional reaction not a rational reaction.

At worst th secede would have to sell his property, or simply leave it unattended if he wished to do so. What he cannot do is tear out sewer lines or block access to mutually shared utilities.

Agreed but this isn't controversial. Assuming of course the sewer lines are shared and he his doing so would affect other people, and assuming in general a lot of possible contractual arrangements aren't in effect.

Is it your understanding that people haven't thought these things through?

Breaking your stuff on my property that I consented to be there isn't what we are talking about when we say secession.

So lets try to narrow it down to some case we may disagree or find we do not disagree.

If I wish to cease commercial association with you, cease transferring any property between us, do not attempt to damage your property in my possession (without agreed to recompense), do not even attempt to repatriate your property if doing so would harm you (again without agreed to recompense) like you ripping out mutual sewers example, what would make that problematic in your understanding?

Simply I come to the strange conclusion that all your 'public goods' monopolies are inefficient and over priced and poor quality. Though I was economically ignorant and agreed to use them at first, I later read some Rothbard and Mises and Hazlitt and concluded the evidence on my 'tax' bill wasn't just my imagination. You guys actually do suck. So I don't want to pay you anymore, and for sake of argument I was never stupid enough to buy property a neighborhood that has a socialized monopoly on roads. So I have access and can hire a service to collect my sewerage, garbage, or whatever, and I can install water tanks, solar panels, etc. You guys are so inefficient that it's actually cheaper for me to do so. So I'm going prepper in place.

Tell me would this secession justify coercion? Or can you tell me a case where secession would justly be met with coercion?

O.M.G....

I defined them in THIS VERY POST we are discussing. Am I supposed to copy and paste from my own post because you don't want to take the time to listen to the actual arguments being presented?

Nonetheless, I push on...

Agreed but this isn't controversial. Assuming of course the sewer lines are shared and he his doing so would affect other people, and assuming in general a lot of possible contractual arrangements aren't in effect.

Clearly it is controversial, as there is much push back in these forums.

Is it your understanding that people haven't thought these things through?

Yes.

Breaking your stuff on my property that I consented to be there isn't what we are talking about when we say secession.

Good! So what are "we" talking about when we say secession? If you can't remove your property completely, than it isn't a 100% secession.

If I wish to cease commercial association with you, cease transferring any property between us, do not attempt to damage your property in my possession (without agreed to recompense), do not even attempt to repatriate your property if doing so would harm you (again without agreed to recompense) like you ripping out mutual sewers example, what would make that problematic in your understanding?

Nothing! And if you'd listened closely to the arguments presented in the essay and interview, you would understand that.

Simply I come to the strange conclusion that all your 'public goods' monopolies are inefficient and over priced and poor quality. Though I was economically ignorant and agreed to use them at first, I later read some Rothbard and Mises and Hazlitt and concluded the evidence on my 'tax' bill wasn't just my imagination. You guys actually do suck. So I don't want to pay you anymore, and for sake of argument I was never stupid enough to buy property a neighborhood that has a socialized monopoly on roads. So I have access and can hire a service to collect my sewerage, garbage, or whatever, and I can install water tanks, solar panels, etc. You guys are so inefficient that it's actually cheaper for me to do so. So I'm going prepper in place.

Well, now the discussion is utilitarian, and whether or not something "works" efficiently is an entirely separate issue. I'd like to advocate for a world where people can try all sorts of governmental (and non-governmental) systems, and the systems that work best will likely prove the most successful. I advocate for nothing more, nothing less, only that within any of these systems natural law must be upheld.

And if you were never "stupid enough" to enter into such a system, then no problem!

See how easy this can be?

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

You don't cut and paste

Because there's nothing to cut and paste. FWIW I suspect you will never define your terms because it would allow coherent discussion.

But if you wish to prove me wrong, please define your definitions of government, state, and monopoly.

Good! So what are "we" talking about when we say secession? If you can't remove your property completely, than it isn't a 100% secession.

You seem have a rhetorical fetish with perfection. Specifically you seem to like to hand wave on things because things aren't 100% or perfect or 'perfectly enforced'.

If I get a divorce but I still have joint custody of the kids it doesn't mean I'm not divorced. If I quit my job but still help out when something goes wrong and no one else knows how it doesn't mean I didn't quit.

I'd like to advocate for a world where people can try all sorts of governmental (and non-governmental) systems,

I'd like you to do that too. But you are being very sketchy about what you mean by 'government', whether it's distinct from a 'state', and whether it will claim 'monopoly'. So those terms are important.

I pray we at least don't have to play semantics with 'violence' or 'force', but I wouldn't be surprised at this point.

This is why I started with suggested definitions. Again I don't care if you use them, but before I know if I agree with your 'government' I want to know what you mean by 'government'.

Since you've resisted defining terms.. for pages now.. I'm am rather well on the road to suspecting I won't want anything to do with your 'government'.

And by all means if you want to float out some novel idea hybrid state/government/firm just do that already.

Faith

What terms do I need to define for you that I have not already defined in this post? I'm not going to copy and paste from this post into the comments if you're too lazy to read what I wrote the first time?

This seems to be a recurring problem here - you want to argue against what you think is being advocated for, without taking the time to actually analyze what is.

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

No I want to know what it is.

The fact you won't be clear should make anyone suspicious, it should make you suspicious. I can't imagine you typically refuse to define terms. I can't imagine you haven't chided someone else who refused to.

'State', 'government', 'monopoly'.

You listed some dictionary definitions but didn't say you accepted them, in fact indicated you thought they were problematic.

When someone who understands as much as you do keeps conflating terms I have to think it's intentional even if subconsciously. Why do you conflate government and state? Why do seem to apologize for states? What is is about states that you're not sure can't be safely got rid of?

You know the only part of these definitions I care about is the legitimized claim of exclusive and ultimate right to use force.

That force is used is human nature.

That someone says no one else may do so in some sphere of activity or geographic region is the problem.

And the fact that they cannot perfectly enforce it is a specious objection. The people who die from their imperfect attempts don't care that someone else got away. The fact that they do at all sets up the inevitability of the pulpit/media/school indoctrination to accept the ruling class as legitimate.

If you have an attachment to the word 'state' fine. And you can set up a 'voluntary' state (which is an oxymoron but w/e) But as soon as you violate someone's rights you show what you are. While practically you may keep your people in line for some time, morally you are the aggressor. If your 'voluntary' state exists in a world otherwise free, you won't last too long. There will be emotional (relatives of your subjects) and pecuniary profits to be made from your deposition.

I've not refused to

Define anything. Despite your repeated attempts to,argue against straw men that I haven't created, I'll give it one last attempt.

Government: an association of individuals that formally identifies, enforces and adjudicates law in a specific region.

I wouldn't define a "state" any differently, though I know you will include that it must "have an arbitrary, coercive regime" of some sort to be a "state."

Monopoly: a structure in which a specific provider supplies a certain product or service.

I don't have an "attachment"to any specific work, I have an "attachment" to using reason and logic to discover and describe ideas.

You continue to argue against straw man arguments however, which is counting to prove you have no interest in serious discussion, so I'm not sure why I bother.

When you decide to take the time to actual examine and attempt to refute the actual arguments as presented, I'll be happy to pick up the discussion again.

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

"Did I say you did?"Yes,

"Did I say you did?"

Yes, right here:

"At this point you are being deceitful, as evidenced by the blockquote. There's increasing reason to suspect that you don't want to define your terms for a monopoly of force because the monopoly of violence is exactly what you endorse.

Neither I nor Wissler at any point endorse a "monopoly on force" arbitrarily imposed over a given region. Government's may try to claim one in many ways, but no governments are consistent in doing so.

So why do you continue to presume that I endorse such a thing?

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

For someone who likes semantic games

You aren't very consistent with them.

Yes I do have that suspicion and said so. My suspicions are mine. Should I have the suspicion but keep it secret?

There's a difference between saying you are under suspicion of murder and calling you a murderer:)

In any case being under suspicion of being a minarchist doesn't typically have consequences as unpleasant as being under suspicion of murder. There are many minarchists I respect.

But yes I keep having this suspicion about you for reasons stated, but it's not a capital offense if you do.

Though you did finally (huzzah!) make a positive statement that you do not approve of a monopoly of force just now, so I don't know what to think.

Brain explosion! Huzzah!

Though you did finally (huzzah!) make a positive statement that you do not approve of a monopoly of force just now, so I don't know what to think.

I don't approve of illegitimately enforced monopolies.

In a sense, people could have a "monopoly" on their own property, by instituting a certain defense or legal system, but even in that case, if rights violations are taking place on that property and being aided and abetted by the property owner (or even if not), the property owner cannot claim "I have a monopoly here! Stay off my property!"

Question: Have you read the essay? With the amount of time you've spent debating me here you could have read it twice over, so perhaps it would be worth your time so you are aware of what you are actually arguing against.

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

This is what I get

for being lenient about word misuse. And I did say I knew you would do this.

Monopoly means you exclude someone else from commerce. That is distinct from ownership.

Monopoly means you are claiming ownership of all commerce and therefore exclude that which you don't like, or which competes with your own.

Monopoly is the antithesis of the right to free association or disassociation.

Monopoly/monopsony assert you may only have this form of association with me.

So saying you have a monopoly of violence in your house is muddled because it's your house. Real monopolies of violence claim authority to vitiate rights to association in an entire area that they don't have legitimate claim to.

The state neither owns you nor your house so has no valid claim to coerce you or make claims against your house.

You can buy a park and say only Joe can sell beer at a festival on your park. If you steal a park and do the same you are engaging in monopoly. If you say I own all the parks and do the same you are engaging in monopoly. If you collude with other legitimate park owners to only allow Joe to sell beer at festivals you are engaging in what Keynesians have tried to redefine 'monopoly' to mean, but we both know it won't work, because it isn't backed by force. (at least I assume you don't believe in natural monopolies anyway)

Question

You didn't answer my question...did you read the essay?

I ask not because I think it will necessarily change your view, but it will at least give you a better idea of the point of view Wissler and myself are coming from on this.

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

Monopoly

The state neither owns you nor your house so has no valid claim to coerce you or make claims against your house.

"The state" as you define it certainly does not, and has no valid claim in that sense.

But what about when we are solely talking about private property? You agreed that it would apply to one property owner, and two adjoined property owners, so by extension this would have to apply to 500, 100, even 10,000 property owners. Is this an accurate representation of your view?

As a side note, no I don't believe in natural monopolies.

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