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Is limited government a delusion?

Butler Shaffer writes:

"There is an innocence, born of years of institutional conditioning, that leads most people to believe that the destructive powers of the state can be limited by the drafting and adoption of constitutions."

Click here to contine reading his article The Delusion of Limited Government

Discuss.

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Is it deceptive

No, I don't think limited government is misleading of the mind or deceptive. I think anarchy is, as much as I would like to push as far as possible towards that "voluntary non-violent" free market ideal. It seems to me, outlawing government would be a change in name only. To expect society to operate with the absence of a governing structure or a “just” and competitive system; seems as though it would be “representatively” lop sided.

The complete abolition of government appears to defy what we observe in nature. In our families we find a governing structure, hanging out with a group of friends, tribes, slaves, royalty, church, even siblings, on and on over and over a natural social hierarchy. How is this "deluded"? I don't think anarchy can be maintained, people just aren't equipped with angel wings, especially not when society becomes more populated and complex.

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To expect society to operate with the absence of a governing structure or a “just” and competitive system

But statelessness would involve a just and competitive system! It is a government system that is not competitive (cause it's a monopoly)!

In our families we find a governing structure, hanging out with a group of friends, tribes, slaves, royalty, church, even siblings, on and on over and over a natural social hierarchy.

How is hanging out with friends, church, siblings, a governing structure?
I guess it might depend on how you are defining the term government.

I don't think anarchy can be maintained, people just aren't equipped with angel wings, especially not when society becomes more populated and complex.

a) Why would people need to be "equipped with angel wings" for anarchy to work?
Remember, courts and police and would be provided by private firms. So, there would be more order in anarchy than under the current system where courts and police are provided by a tax-funded monopoly!

b) what does the size of the population have to do with it? I think voluntary cooperation works best regardless of size. Don't you?

The absence

of government, for any significant length of time, is more of a delusion.

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"The Federal Reserve Banks should simply be regarded as governmental agencies." -Murray Rothbard
"I now call the Federal Reserve the fourth branch of government." -Ron Paul

Historically this seems to have been true

But must it always play out like that in the future?

What if say in a 100 years 80% of the population realizes that the State is unnecessary? Why couldn't statelessness be maintained then?

Nothing is impossible.

The Romans tried to create a Republic, got off to a pretty good start...and it deevolved into an empire.

The Founders did the same thing, unfortunately with similar results, from the look of things. But what they designed had a lot of strength and virtue.
I believe it was flawed, but successful up until the age of Lincoln.

It's not impossible. Stop heckling the concept of something that already has at least a partial record of success.

Anarcho-capitalists cannot even point to one single temporary success story. I reject the supposition that the Althing was an anarcho-capitalist society. It was a limited government--a parliamentary institution.

I'd like to see anarcho-caps try their theory someplace and succeed, but it hasn't been done yet. I would recommend beginning on an uninhabited island.

SUPPORT OUR FOUNDERS' AMERICA
Support the Constitution of the United States

SUPPORT OUR FOUNDERS' AMERICA
Support the Constitution of the United States

Ouch!

That is a very interesting point. Some people would probably say that the US Constitution proves its success.

But I disagree--as soon as it was implemented the violations of it began!

Yes, not impossible, but what about highly unlikely?

I myself do not think it's impossible (which I think it a silly assertion), just highly unlikely because of the incentive structure that a government puts in place. As Shaffer states on this subject:

"One would have thought that a group of people who believed in "free markets" would be astute enough to recognize the self-interest motivations that underlie all human behavior; and would further perceive that creating an instrumentality of coercive power would be far too dangerous a temptation to place before men and women. No more than should a bowl of candy be placed before a group of children with the expectation that it not be touched, should we expect political systems to be immune from mischief."


Anarcho-capitalists cannot even point to one single temporary success story.

Yes, but what's your point? That because it hasn't existed in the past, it can't exist in the future? That is a non-sequitir.

Ron Paul doesn't seem to

Ron Paul doesn't seem to think so.

Anyway, it isnt a delusion but it is a struggle that requires vigiliance. It worked relatively well up until the civil war and then here and there for a while afterwards. The thing we need to realize is that there is no quick fix and that we need to get in the trenches to fight tooth and nail.

By the way, people look at the USA and act like it is inevitably moving towards totalitarianism. However, if you know anything about the criminal justice system you will know that due process restrictions on police and courts advanced substantially and in a positive direction in the 20th century.

Ventura 2012

That is an interesting point re: justice system

By the way, people look at the USA and act like it is inevitably moving towards totalitarianism. However, if you know anything about the criminal justice system you will know that due process restrictions on police and courts advanced substantially and in a positive direction in the 20th century.

You think so? From, what I've seen I would say just he opposite. Ex, Patriot Act, Habeas Corpus, FISA, etc. What do you say to that?

Notice I said 20th

Notice I said 20th century(pre-W. Bush). Even with the things you listed, the original FISA bill was an imperfect step to prevent privacy violations. This is not to say that things were perfect back then. However, there was a time before the 14th amendment was applied to the states when state police did literally whatever they wanted. A substantial body of case law(Miranda, etc) has invented procedural due process. Conservatives don't like it, but it does act as a shield against police intrusion.

Ventura 2012

AH OK.

I misread you.

Great piece..... makes you think

Turning over our freedoms, and our thinking to ANY government, no matter how "restricted" is where we make our mistake. Freedom MUST be constantly fought for and NEVER taken for granted. So there is never a day when you can sit back and say.... "Whew, now THAT's done". or those who want power will always fill the void.
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"Not armies, not nations, have advanced the race; but here and there, in the course of ages, an individual has stood up and cast his shadow over the world." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6pAcBXt2j8

Thomas Jefferson: “Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever."

Viva La Revolucion!
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