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The Utilitarian Argument for a State and where it Fails

Most arguments for the existence of a State structured society boil down to a single premise - through the existence of a State, violations of Natural Law can can be minimized. For instance, “there will be less theft,” “there will be less murder,” and so on. On the whole, it is argued that, folks will be better off. This is the Utilitarian Argument for a State. Let's explore.

The following figure demonstrates the proposition. In the absence of a State, society would arrive at a Natural Equilibrium where the inherent – yet informal – organization would result in some baseline level of violations against Natural Law – which can be assumed to be measured in some arbitrary units of value (i.e. money, emotional value, etc - shown as blue).

When a State is put in place, money, sweat, tears, etc must be extracted from the populace to sustain its existence. Under the influence of a State, by Le Chatelier's Principle, the equilibrium level of Natural Law violations will be shifted – for the better or for the worse. Under a State, both of these must be assigned a value and, subsequently, added together. If the summed value falls below the Natural Equilibrium, the State could be said to be ”worth it” (shown in dotted green) from the perspective of a cost-benefit analysis – whereas the red dotted line represents the case where the sum exceeds the Natural Equilibrium, and so, is ”not worth it”.

In other words, if the State costs more and/or causes more harm than otherwise would be experienced by the People in its absence, it is not worth having.


[Note: The plot is normalized to the Natural Equilibrium level – such that “worth it” appears as a reduction in cost (a negative number) and “not worth it” shows up as an additional expense (a positive value).]

The Utilitarian Argument contends that the State can be kept on the green side of the Natural Equilibrium. I turn to the words of Common Sense:

"How came the king by a power which the people are afraid to trust, and always obliged to check?

...the provision is unequal to the task; the means either cannot or will not accomplish the end, and the whole affair is a Felo de se: for as the greater weight will always carry up the less, and as all the wheels of a machine are put in motion by one, it only remains to know which power in the constitution has the most weight, for that will govern: and through the others, or a part of them, may clog, or, as the phrase is, check the rapidity of its motion, yet so long as they cannot stop it, their endeavours will be ineffectual: The first moving power will at last have its way, and what it wants in speed is supplied by time."

~ Thomas Paine, February 1776

It's a striking result to plot the US Incarceration Rate versus the Gross Federal Debt.

However, the criticism goes philosophically deeper than the question - “Can the State be limited?” Fore, before a State is established, the questions must be answered: 1) Are the objectives sought to be achieved by establishing a State worth taking people's money, often involuntarily (by theft), to fund said objectives? 2) Does the group of people seeking to establish the State have the authority to subject the remainder of the population to its rule?

The first question can be restated as - “Is it acceptable to violate Natural Law in order to potentially prevent violations of Natural Law?” - or - “Is it acceptable to steal from your neighbor because, otherwise, some “other people” would have stolen more?” This is a question that you must answer for yourself - but please take into account the words of Frederic Bastiat:

”Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.”

~ Frederic Bastiat 1850

And, a play on Gandhi - When everyone seeks to screw everyone else through use of the State, in the end, everyone ends up screwed.

In any case, the second question still must be faced - Does the group of people seeking to establish the State have the authority to subject the remainder of the population to its rule? This question is not that different than that faced by the likes of Isaac Newton, John Locke, and later, Thomas Paine concerning the issue of divine right. Amanda Read wrote at washingtontimes.com:

Newton observed that when it comes to dispensing with laws, the king has no authority to ignore laws which are against mala in se (that is, laws against crimes that are wrong in themselves based on absolute principle). “The King cannot dispence with a law made for securing the liberty or property of the people,” wrote Newton.

This realization, if taken to its logical conclusion - that the king has no inherent right to do away with those of the people - leads one to conclude that - a king is no better than a common person - and for politicians, the same necessarily holds true. This question has been answered before.

While some may contend that a group of adults can get together and establish a State under a unanimous contract that binds a community to its rules, and while adults can certainly engage in binding contractual agreements among each other, at what age, for instance, does such a community define an age of consent whereby any individual younger is subject to its rule against their will? Mind you, this is not simply a question of parental authority over children born to them. Hardly so.

Once a contract is established through the unanimous consent of the adults in the community, would the contract be changeable? Or, would it be permanent? If it's changeable, who would have the power to legislate? For example, would unanimous consent be required for every change? Or, would majority consent suffice? Or, would an elected group be trusted with that power (I mean responsibility)?

Whether he said it or not, the quote often attributed to Thomas Jefferson rings of truth:

”A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.”

If the contract is permanent, well, there arises another serious concern. Consider a youth one year younger than the age of consent established by the adults of the community. Now, suppose one year passes and the young one – while of consenting age – is still early enough in years to still be dependent on his or her parents. Is such a person that does not consent to the permanent rules established the prior year bound to follow them? In reality, if the rules were permanent, it would not matter if the child was one year younger than the age of consent or still yet to be born during passage. They would be reduced to nothing more than the slaves of their forefathers.

I'll leave you with Jefferson's words to Madison in a letter, September 6, 1789:

The question, whether one generation of men has a right to bind another, seems never to have been started either on this or our side of the water. Yet it is a question of such consequences as not only to merit decision, but place also among the fundamental principles of every government. The course of reflection in which we are immersed here, on the elementary principles of society, has presented this question to my mind; and that no such obligation can be transmitted, I think very capable of proof. I set out on this ground, which I suppose to be self evident, that the earth belongs in usufruct to the living; that the dead have neither powers nor rights over it. The portion occupied by any individual ceases to be his when himself ceases to be, and reverts to the society. If the society has formed no rules for the appropriation of its lands in severality, it will be taken by the first occupants, and these will generally be the wife and children of the decedent. If they have formed rules of appropriation, those rules may give it to the wife and children, or to some one of them, or to the legatee of the deceased. So they may give it to its creditor. But the child, the legatee or creditor, takes it, not by natural right, but by a law of the society of which he is a member, and to which he is subject. Then, no man can, by natural right, oblige the lands he occupied, or the persons who succeed him in that occupation, to the payment of debts contracted by him. For if he could, he might during his own life, eat up the usufruct of the lands for several generations to come; and then the lands would belong to the dead, and not to the living, which is the reverse of our principle.

The Utilitarian Argument for a State fails to hold up to scrutiny – not only in a practical sense, either, but in a very human sense. For instance, how long will divine right be allowed to persist?



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ChristianAnarchist's picture

I think that a "king" can

I think that a "king" can protect rights at the expense of the wealth of the masses but ONLY if that "king" is me...

I submit my offer to be king of you all... (I promise to behave...)

Beware the cult of "government"...

Cyril's picture

BUMP.

BUMP.

"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

F. Bastiat actually nailed it at least THRICE :

F. Bastiat actually nailed it at least THRICE :

1) "The Superman Idea"

http://bastiat.org/en/the_law.html#SECTION_G063

"[...] The claims of these organizers of humanity raise another question which I have often asked them and which, so far as I know, they have never answered:

If the natural tendencies of mankind are so bad that it is not safe to permit people to be free, HOW IS IT THAT THE TENDENCIES OF THESE ORGANIZERS ARE ALWAYS GOOD? Do not the legislators and their appointed agents also belong to the human race? Or DO THEY BELIEVE that THEY themselves ARE made OF A FINER CLAY THAN THE REST OF MANKIND?"

2) "Then Why All This Talk About Universal Suffrage?"

http://bastiat.org/en/the_law.html#SECTION_G064

"[...] But these organizers desire access to the tax funds and to the power of the law in order to carry out their plans. In addition to being oppressive and unjust, this desire also implies the fatal supposition that the organizer is infallible and mankind is incompetent. But, again, if persons are incompetent to judge for themselves, THEN WHY ALL THIS TALK ABOUT UNIVERSAL SUFFRAGE?"

3) Conclusion : "And Now That The Do-Gooders..."

http://bastiat.org/en/the_law.html#SECTION_G076

"[...] Away, then, with quacks and organizers! Away with their rings, chains, hooks, and pincers! Away with their artificial systems! Away with the whims of governmental administrators, their socialized projects, their centralization, their tariffs, their government schools, their state religions, their free credit, their bank monopolies, their regulations, their restrictions, their equalization by taxation, and their pious moralizations!

AND NOW THAT THE LEGISLATORS AND DO-GOODERS HAVE SO FUTILELY INFLICTED SO MANY SYSTEMS upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: may they REJECT ALL SYSTEMS, AND TRY LIBERTY; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works."

"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 enjoyed The Law...

I think I'm going to read it again here before long. I haven't read it since the first time - when Dr. Paul suggested it during the 2012 Red Party Primary.

The best defense against government encroachment is a virtuous

population. If they don't violate one another's rights then the state is at best useless, and at worst the biggest remaining threat to rights. Unfortunately we are not all virtuous and none of us are virtuous at all times. The best defense against big government is a virtuous population, no wonder government constantly works to promote corruption.

It would be nice to be able to quantify some of these numbers. My gut conclusion is the opposite of most of yours- the state has the potential to prevent more infringements of rights than it violates, though I would say we are now at the tipping point in the USA. In rural America the state violates more rights than it protects. As one goes towards the big cities it protects more than it violates simply because there is so much more private crime.

I think you did a bit of hand-waiving on the second question. Your answer is based on the premise that delegation and symmetry and "self-ownership" are the only valid ways of looking at things. Most of the population does not have that view so arguing based on the idea they are valid sort of skips a step.

Localism is for people who can still sleep at night even though somebody they don't know in a city they have never been is doing things differently. ("Localism, A Philosophy of Government" on Amazon for Kindle or Barnes and Noble ebook websites)

This is the "People are bad...

therefore a subset of same said people should be put in charge of the rest" argument.

When a State is formed, according to your experience, who ends up in charge of it? Good people? Bad people?

In rural America the state violates more rights than it protects. As one goes towards the big cities it protects more than it violates simply because there is so much more private crime.

In rural America, we don't have "Stop and Frisk" policies. In rural America, we don't have handgun bans. What world are you living in?

...on the second question. Your answer is based on the premise that delegation and symmetry and "self-ownership" are the only valid ways of looking at things.

What is the other way of looking at it - the State owns you?

Have a gander at this short article - "Other People" - if you would, and get back to me.

And that argument is still valid, it just never really gets

addressed. The "subset" of those people would in the best case be those that the majority of their fellow citizens thought were good at governing themselves and hopefully just in doing the same for us all.

But for your "other person" argument I will bring it home. I am much more capable of self-government now at 52 than I was at 22. I may have thought I was totally ready then, but I see now I needed some outside structure and restraint. The truth is that populations vary and in any large population there will be a subset that will always need restraint to minimize their violations of the rights of others, some will have a phase where they need restraint and will "grow out of it" or get saved and change their ways and there are other subsets who are just responsible people and if all people were like them then maybe we would not need a government. That is the mix.

But you asked a question, when a state is formed, who winds up in charge of it, good people or bad people? Well, when America was formed, good people wound up in charge of it for a while. Now bad people are more likely to wind up in charge of it so that I would rather be governed by names drawn at random from my local phone book than our current federal delegation. I think we have a captured and corrupted two-party system which actually weeds out the fairest and most honest people. That is not what I see in local government though.

In local government I see places pretty much getting the government they deserve. Places where the population has a lot of virtue they elect good people and things run smooth. In places where the population is corrupt, the government is corrupt. Too bad we have a national party system where the bad ones get bailed out by the rest of us because they are in the same party. But those are specific things that can be dealt with by changing the way we send people to the ballot. Local government works pretty justly, central government has a tendency to bring out the worst in us.

I don't think the state owns us, nor do I think we "own" ourselves. Both state and individual are accountable to some higher moral order bigger than we are. I'd say we are the stewards of our own lives, not the owner of them. We did not create our own life did we? http://localismaphilosophyofgovernment.blogspot.com/2013/02/...

Localism is for people who can still sleep at night even though somebody they don't know in a city they have never been is doing things differently. ("Localism, A Philosophy of Government" on Amazon for Kindle or Barnes and Noble ebook websites)

Incorrect sir...

The "good people" were never in charge of this State. Don't believe me? Take it from someone who was there.

https://archive.org/stream/secretproceedin00convgoog#page/n8...

Who gets to decide who needs extra structure and who doesn't? You? Politicians? What makes you or them so special? Divine Right? Are you or the politicians ordained by a god to micromanage everyone else? Do people own themselves? Or, does the State own them?

As the saying goes - Shit in one hand and wait for good people to be in charge of the State in the other and see which one fills up first.

Washington, Adams, Jefferson vs. what we have now

I know they were far from perfect, but yes as sinful man goes I do think we had better people in charge before the two-party system had time to get corrupted. Even if the Constitution was wrong that does not change. Who would your rather have, Washington, or Bush? Jefferson or Obama?

Localism is for people who can still sleep at night even though somebody they don't know in a city they have never been is doing things differently. ("Localism, A Philosophy of Government" on Amazon for Kindle or Barnes and Noble ebook websites)

I would rather have none of the above...

I don't need a master. Do you?

And you still haven't answered my question. If people do not own themselves, who owns them?

If there is a Creator, then the Creator owns us. If there is no

Creator, if we are here by chance, then there is no single reference point for morality and the term "owner" has no true meaning as far as attaching it to any "rights" may go. If we are here by chance then no one "rightfully" owns us, not even ourselves. In such a case all claims of ownership are arbitrary, as would be any moral based truth claim. The only law is the law of the jungle when it comes right down to it.

Are we so wise and so familiar with said Creator as to know His will as regards to where the limits of government ought to be, if indeed government itself is even desirable in His eyes? No. And so we grope about best we can, seeking the truth of the matter. Both state and individual in this classical Western view are ultimately accountable to God for what they did with the time they were given. Neither is "sovereign" in the absolute sense of the word, only in regard to other entities like itself perhaps.

I consider whoever I am working for my "master" as far as my work life goes. It is a philosophy which has served me well and has made me a desirable employee who to some extent can choose my own "master". And the "masters" know this and often treat me accordingly. It has taken a lifetime to get to this position, and I had to humble myself along the way, but it feels good being here.

I don't consider government my "master" in the same sense. Yes they make the rules, but if I feel like those rules are against the whatever Mandate from Heaven that government should have I protest those rules and seek to have them changed. If others see it my way, I can eventually win. If none do, perhaps the problem is with my view of the matter, or I need to change my location to a place where those closer to my own view have a stronger voice.

That especially applies to what areas of life I consider "rights". That is, things the state should recognize are outside the scope of its authority and not subject to majority vote. The first ten of the "Bill of Rights" is a fine example of these, though as it mentions, not a complete list.

Localism is for people who can still sleep at night even though somebody they don't know in a city they have never been is doing things differently. ("Localism, A Philosophy of Government" on Amazon for Kindle or Barnes and Noble ebook websites)

Believe in free will?

To put it bluntly, you're just dancing around the issue and blowing smoke.

First of all, I don't believe in any god.

...there is no single reference point for morality and the term "owner" has no true meaning as far as attaching it to any "rights" may go

Natural Law is derived from behavior in the absence of a coercive government. If I stole something from you, would you feel wronged? If I hit you in the face, would you feel wronged? If I smashed your car with a baseball bat, would you feel wronged? Put under similar circumstances, would any other individual feel the same way?

Etienne de la Boetie may ask, why does a captured bird lament? Why does any animal, for that matter, resist capture with all the fervor they can muster?

Why are those behaviors universal among conscious animals?

Are we so wise and so familiar with said Creator as to know His will as regards to where the limits of government ought to be, if indeed government itself is even desirable in His eyes? No.

Do you have a hotline to heaven? Even if a god existed, does that necessitate a government by any rational argument? No.

I consider whoever I am working for my "master" as far as my work life goes. It is a philosophy which has served me well and has made me a desirable employee who to some extent can choose my own "master". And the "masters" know this and often treat me accordingly. It has taken a lifetime to get to this position, and I had to humble myself along the way, but it feels good being here.

I'm glad your master's pet your ego like they might a puppy dog.

I've never cowered before a boss, and have always stood up for what I believe. Rather than being treated like a servant, I get treated like a man.

You don't seem to have any moxy.

From the Discourse of Voluntary Servitude:

Two Spartans, one named Sperte and the other Bulis, volunteered to offer themselves as a sacrifice. So they departed, and on the way they came to the palace of the Persian named Hydarnes, lieutenant of the king in all the Asiatic cities situated on the sea coasts. He received them with great honor, feasted them, and then, speaking of one thing and another, he asked them why they refused so obdurately his king’s friendship. “Consider well, O Spartans,” said he,“ and realize by my example that the king knows how to honor those who are worthy, and believe that if you were his men he would do the same for you; if you belonged to him and he had known you, there is not one among you whomight not be the lord of some Greek city.”

“By such words, Hydarnes, you give us no good counsel,” replied the Lacedaemonians, “because you have experienced merely the advantage of which you speak; you do not know the privilege we enjoy. You have the honor of the king’s favor; but you know nothing about liberty, what relish it has and how sweet it is. For if you had any knowledge of it, you yourself would advise us to defend it, not with lance and shield, but with our very teeth and nails.”

Relish in your servitude. For you know what it means to be free.

That especially applies to what areas of life I consider "rights". That is, things the state should recognize are outside the scope of its authority and not subject to majority vote. The first ten of the "Bill of Rights" is a fine example of these, though as it mentions, not a complete list.

The only reason there is such a thing as the Bill of Rights is because some of the founders believed in Natural Law and the philosophy of self-ownership. This is a contradiction in your stated beliefs.

Your arguments are very weak, sir.

Blowing smoke? It is the classic view that all of Western Civ.

believed for hundreds, if not over a thousand years!

Speaking of blowing smoke, basing a system of law on "feelings" fits the bill. "Feelings" make a good caboose, but a very poor engine. If you had the affection of a girl I wanted, I would "feel" wronged. If you had a position in the tribe that I felt should have gone to me, I would "feel" wronged. You make my point. Without God there is no fixed standard for morality and thus no basis for transcendent "rights".

The Founders did read Locke, but the Declaration of Independence shows that they believed that Natural Law had a Lawgiver. It says men are "endowed by their Creator" with rights. They did not say that men had rights because they had self-ownership. They said man had rights because their Creator gave them rights. That was the basis for their argument that men had rights and in their time it was so well and commonly known that they did not even feel the need to justify the assertion. They described it as a "self-evident" truth.

A caged bird wants to be free, but a dog wants to run with a pack, and a goat wants to follow the herd, and other birds join a flock. You are just selectively picking out examples from the natural world and using it to re-enforce your own desires. Nothing wrong with that, but its not "law", it is not binding on me. You may feel it is wrong for the weak to be dominated by the strong, the strong may feel that it is wrong for the weak (or even rival genes) to use up valuable resources and keep the kind from improving. Examples of both can be found in the natural world.

Now I never claimed that the existence of God necessitates a government. What is does is permit a government to exist on a basis other than the two extremes of "the state owns you" and "the individual is sovereign". You may not like that possibility, but that does not make it impossible, or even less likely.

The Spartans were not "free". They were part of a fascist state which set their path from cradle to grave. They were slave owners themselves. They are no example to cite for liberty, a virtue which they neither possessed themselves or allowed others under their domination to possess.

I think you would consider my arguments stronger if you understood them, and you would understand them better if you wanted to understand them.

Localism is for people who can still sleep at night even though somebody they don't know in a city they have never been is doing things differently. ("Localism, A Philosophy of Government" on Amazon for Kindle or Barnes and Noble ebook websites)

It's the universality that makes the argument hold...

That's why I included the final question stating would any individual feel the same way. For instance, would any individual feel wronged if he or she was unable to marry a man? (Taking the example from Telfire below). However, would any individual feel wronged if they got raped?

Universality.

On the other hand, you said that if no god exists then self-ownership does not exist. With that logic, one could, erroneously, conclude that a woman, for instance, doesn't own her body. So, in the absence of a god, she could be raped at will by anyone?

A right can be defined as a just claim. As far as I'm concerned, and most others as far as I know, only one person has a just claim on one's own body, life, and fruits of labor.

Natural Rights do not need a god to exist for them to exist, either.

But human feelings are not universal, therefore the arguement

does not hold. The one doing the raping may consider it a valid way of spreading their genes around and keeping the other tribe in check. They may consider that the woman will come to appreciate them in time. If the victim gets Stockholm syndrome they may even buy into it themselves.

My claim is that in the absence of a God, there is no transcendent basis to say that rape is a better or worse way to spread ones genes than caring monogamous relationship, as long as it works as well. We humans may have preferences, but those preferences are not universal. They are within us. What is right or wrong then becomes a matter of enforcing our preferences. When a stronger tribe comes along, they will enforce theirs.

A right can be defined as a 'just claim' as you say. My argument is that absent an absolute moral reference point there is no basis to determine which claim is "just" and which is not. We all FEEL our claims are just, even when our feelings conflict. We feel it is wrong for the strong to prey on the weak, others feel weeding out the weak improves the kind.

You are making an assertion about self-ownership, which is not the same as an argument. Ditto on natural rights not needing a God.

Localism is for people who can still sleep at night even though somebody they don't know in a city they have never been is doing things differently. ("Localism, A Philosophy of Government" on Amazon for Kindle or Barnes and Noble ebook websites)

99% of the time they're not universal...

but it's that other 1% that matters.

They are within us.

The best thing Jesus ever said was - "The kingdom of God is within you."

If folks wouldn't try to externalize it so often, we wouldn't be facing all this tyranny.

Name one person that would like to be tortured to death (cutting off fingers and such). Name one person that likes rape (it's impossible to do - as consent/willingness negates the claim). Name one person (in the absence of insurance benefits) that would enjoy finding out their car had been stolen. Name one person that would enjoy being beat with a whip from time to time and forced to pick cotton against their will.

But, never mind, universality doesn't exist in that regard. [/sarcasm]

So are yours

Whether or not someone feels wronged is a ridiculous litmus test for whether they have been violated. It is entirely debatable between people, and on top of that I don't care how wronged you feel by gay people getting married as it's none of your business.

Your mentality is very loosely thought out at its fundamentals. It is dependent on very rigid (and narrowly accepted) definitions of several words and always turns into an argument over the definitions of those words.

I got my point across...

And, it's really not a weak way to state the argument when it's laid conditionally on universality.

Actually, it's not that different from the words of Boetie:

...it is fruitless to argue whether or not liberty is natural, since none can be held in slavery without being wronged, and in a world governed by a nature, which is reasonable, there is nothing so contrary as an injustice. Since freedom is our natural state, we are not only in possession of it but have the urge to defend it. Now, if perchance some cast a doubt on this conclusion and are so corrupted that they are not able to recognize their rights and inborn tendencies, I shall have to do them the honor that is properly theirs and place, so to speak, brute beasts in the pulpit to throw light on their nature and condition. The very beasts, God help me! if men are not too deaf, cry out to them, “Long live Liberty!” Many among them die as soon as captured: just as the fish loses life as soon as he leaves the water, so do these creatures close their eyes upon the light and have no desire to survive the loss of their natural freedom. If the animals were to constitute their kingdom by rank, their nobility would be chosen from this type. Others, from the largest to the smallest, when captured put up such a strong resistance by means of claws, horns, beak, and paws, that they show clearly enough how they cling to what they are losing; afterward in captivity they manifest by so many evident signs their awareness of their misfortune, that it is easy to see they are languishing rather than living, and continue their existence more in lamentation of their lost freedom than in enjoyment of their servitude. What else can explain the behavior of the elephant who, after defending himself to the last ounce of his strength and knowing himself on the point of being taken, dashes his jaws against the trees and breaks his tusks, thus manifesting his longing to remain free as he has been and proving his wit and ability to buy off the huntsmen in the hope that through the sacrifice of his tusks he will be permitted to offer his ivory as a ransom for his liberty?

How would you state it?

In a world governed by

In a world governed by nature, justice has no meaning. To the victor go the spoils. Survival of the fittest. You are ruled over de facto. I'm not sure why this is difficult for you to understand. Justice and being "wronged" are not a universal or natural concept. They are human feelings. If you think they're worth defending, you need someone or many someones to defend them. Most people refer to that as "government".

I'm not sure why this is difficult for you to understand...

Observe nature - from which Natural Law is derived. How common is intra-species homicide in nature? A lion with a full belly won't kill you willy nilly (only if it perceives you as a threat).

What was the number one cause of unnatural death during the 20th Century? Democide.

Why are there so many deaths involved with the drug trade? Are people robbing their grandmas for liquor money on a regular basis? How did Al Capone get so much flow during the 1920s?

What is at the root of these problems?

Less than 5% of people are deranged killer types. I think the other 95% can handle them without the extremely violent and deadly State.

I'm not sure why this is so difficult for you to understand.

It's not hard to understand,

It's not hard to understand, it's just a bunch of disjointed thoughts that have nothing to do with what I said.

Also, intra-species homicide is very, very common. If I let my cats outside they will come back with dead birds. They're not eating them, they play with them for fun. Also, people have been known to have been raped by bears.

Very interesting

The first time since I became an ancap that someone has brought up a legitimate argument for the existence of the state. "Can purposeful infringements on natural rights bring about a situation where natural rights are infringed less than they otherwise would be?"

I think the answer to this is a resounding yes. No matter the natural equilibrium, it would be possible for someone or a group to forcibly enforce a more efficient model. Though, extreme care and effort would be required. Probably more care than is possible in reality.

Further, you snuck a surprise in your conclusion, I thought for sure you were gonna say the argument holds. For so eloquently explaining it, I figured you held the belief. Well done.

And you're absolutely right on your 2nd question conclusion. You should clarify that you don't mean moral authority, but literally, is there a claim of authority? Can it be enforced. Well, contracts by people that have since died can have no claim to authority, the dead people cannot enforce them.

"Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito."

"Can purposeful infringements

"Can purposeful infringements on natural rights bring about a situation where natural rights are infringed less than they otherwise would be?"

I think the answer is a resounding no.

The vulgar utilitarian examines first order consequences. But we don't live in a world of first order consequences.

You can similarly ask "Can purposeful arrangement of cats result in an orderly echelon of cats?" The answer is yes, for about two seconds. Or can purposeful arrangement of playing cards result in a standing structure?" The answer is yes, but nothing you want to live in.

The ephemeral order you create comes at the cost of greater disorder later.

If all you have is clay, you don't build skyscrapers and expect them not to collapse.

If all you have is humans, you don't build societies based on the violation of rights, and expect the power to violate rights not to be expanded and the use of that power expanded and concentrated.

So sure, you can create political power and then fabricate a Constitution which is supposed to constrain it, but we know historically that the ink wasn't dry before the Alien and Sedition acts were passed violating the Constitution and the Supreme Court arrogated the power of judicial review in Marbury vs Madison, in violation of the Constitution, and Jefferson himself used the public purse for the Louisiana Purchase which he didn't even pretend was Constitutional.

It's a testimony of the gullibility of the people and the mendacity of the ruling class that we have believed for so long that the government is remotely lawful.

What is happening now isn't that the government is going off the rails, it's that more and more people are becoming aware that there haven't even been any rails for over a century.

I just learned "echelon" and "ephemeral"

Thanks friend. Those are both useful words I hadn't fully known.

I'm totally with you. It amazes me that 10 years ago, I was saying "Vote Bush!" Nowadays, that just seems so alien to me.

In this age of information, will they be able to censor the information fast enough to suppress the inevitable response? I do say the response is inevitable.

Can they maintain the illusion of rails?

"Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito."

They will try

I don't know if humanity can survive. By humanity I mean 'not animals'. They wish to make us into our collectivist evolutionary past. The alphas mate and the betas work, fight, and are consumed for the alphas. But this is a dead end.

War is the continuation of politics.

Capitalism is the continuation of evolution.

There are only two options.

Capitalism will defeat politics or capital will own politics.

If the state lives, humanity will die, it's only a matter of time. If the state dies humanity may escape this rock.

Humanity is the animal with the least collectivist mating strategy that is still social. It is no accident we are in the position we are and still fight this battle. The battle is older than humanity.

The bad guys, the ruling class, are fighting for the ants, the sheep, the wolves. Alphas über alles. Masters and slaves.

In a sense we are fighting for monogamy. 'Family values'. Individualism. Capitalism. (as we understand it)

That's not a bad book title.

The Illusion of the Rails

Faithkills, I won't sue you if you won't sue me. Actually, I wouldn't sue you anyways. It's a race to the market.

"Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito."

And...

Hayek would have a different objection. It is *impossible* for any group to have all the information needed to know the parameters of a more efficient model. This is because that information is dispersed among many people making individual decisions in their own interest, and (according to Hayek at least) that turns out to be the most efficient "model."

If it is correct that *local and private* information leads to the best allocation of resources on the whole, then it is impossible to gather that information in order to even match the best decisions for enforcement.

I definitely retract my "resounding yes"

My line of thinking was, of course there was some way that could increase efficiency

However I hadn't considered that to gain the information to use that efficiency is impossible to do better than the market itself.

That's a good argument.

"Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito."

It's not that different from the Uncertainty Principle...

The measurement creates uncertainty in the result. To probe a system is to introduce a perturbation that otherwise wasn't there.

Just the same, once a market is manipulated, the market is no longer the market it was without the manipulation. New variables have been introduced which affect its behavior. Thus, observations made in the absence of the perturbation may not reflect what will be observed in its presence. Also, the greater the manipulation, the greater the distortion.

Now you're talking my language.

That's so interesting because I always thought Mises's and Rothbard's approach was similar to Einstein's theory of reletaivity. They all made a priori logic central component of the theories. Now there's quantum mechanics parallels too? Awesome.

It's funny, I don't watch much TV, but I did watch Breaking Bad. Then once my friends said when we were talking about chemistry,"You're like Heisenberg. You know a lot about chemistry." And I asked why, they said "because he's a chemist." I was confused and I said, "No he wasn't, he was a physicist with quantum mechanics." They had never heard of Werner Heisenberg, even though that's who the Breaking Bad character was named after, and I didn't realize they were talking about the character, not the actual guy.

"Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito."