Comment: Good Questions

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Good Questions

Anarchism suffers from a lack of good articulation. It seems to take the form of hatred of the state, and doesn't offer a good actual alternative.

We have the non-aggression principle on one hand. But, the state exists because without a 'gang' going around enforcing 'rules' people initiate violence against each other. The state generally emerges because the productive non-violent people see it as a way to prevent the wholesale initiation of violence in society.

People from Bastiat to Rand have asked why the productive continue to work when the state that robs from them would be broke without their support? The answer is a tangible fear of being robbed worse in the alternative. Sometimes the state creates the illusion of this menace, but at times - particularly when states are first formed - the menace is quite real. Feudal lords protecting against marauders and gothic tribes is a perfect example. Of course, they end up fighting each other.

The issue is that even under ancap, there is still a sort of common law - it might be decentralized - but people as a whole acknowledge a process of justice and due process and generally the principle of non-aggression. People like Stefan Molyneaux I think seem to believe that we just need to embrace non-violence religiously, and this will solve the problem. Others like Walter Block, antithetically, seem to think that in ancap punishments will be so severe that it will uphold the social order. Steal or trespass, and an individual will shoot you. Well, no need for a state to enforce property law now. Gary North seems to think that a sort of common law theocracy will do the trick, a sort of religious order that doesn't rely on government, but is based on very strict behavioral codes that the society enforces in a decentralized manner. Think Salem witches.

I think the issue is that society does require law and justice. This requires organization. You have a set of rules, a due process, a concept of judgment and punishment. It can be done in a decentralized non-monopolistic way. However, the alternative to people initiating violence by whim with one another is a common organization - a common consensus however achieved on law and justice.

This is an intellectual thing, this set of laws requires wisdom, experience, careful thought and consideration. The ideas, in other words, are concrete, fixed, in a given context.

Either everyone naturally concedes to the common law - which again, is possible - or one group agrees to it, to the natural law, to the non-aggression principle - and everyone else just takes what they can get.

If your village is surrounded by three nomadic tribes, and your village has law - non-aggression principle - and they just decide to come rob you because they think they're tough - you have a right to apply your law to them in the form of a just declaration of a state of war.

Now imagine your tribe lives mostly at peace with other tribes, mixed together, along a river bend. If your tribe abides non-aggression, and the others are lawless, you would still apply the outcomes of your justice system upon them.

Thus, you are imposing your law, like a monopoly, upon them. This is the state.

The only alternative is that they possess a different system of justice, and you build a compromise on how, where and when different systems apply. One way that's easy is territory. Well, 'we' don't like the way they do law on the other side of the river, but by going over there we accept their way of doing things and will abide the outcomes of their courts rather than our own.

It is deep psychology, and in fact essentially logical, that human behavior is predicated on expected outcomes. Interpersonal relations especially. Commerce and trade imply expected outcomes. Different cultures have vastly different understandings of what trade means. If outcomes vary too wildly, there is no peace. This is part of what causes barbaric behavior. People initiate force because they don't have any hope that they can predict the outcome of an interaction, or that the rules governing that interaction will be arbitrary or even malicious.

Thus, it's even sort of 'justifiable' that one set of law would emerge over a given territory and people. Until everyone has equal expectations, then there's one standard for what initiation of force actually is, then everybody is represented equally by the system of justice. Thus the concern over form of government, and constitution.

You already agree, Granger, I'm sure, but you know, what the heck.