"I’ve included transaction logs at the bottom of this message. Review the vendor’s dishonest actions and use whatever means you deem necessary to bring this person to justice." We need the government! Please, come find the guy who took all of our illegal drug money and give it back to us so we can continue to say you aren't necessary.
"Given the right flavor of influence from our community, we can only hope that he will decide to return the coins with integrity as opposed to hiding like a coward." Yes, you bad guy, you should do the right thing and think of the community not your self-interests by giving back your illegal gains back to the guy named Dead Pirate Roberts (that's totally his real name).
"Whoever you are, you still have a chance to act in the interest of helping this community." In the interest of the community?! Bwahahahaa!
"I will fight here by your side, even the greedy bastards amongst us." Like everyone on the site?!
"The only way to reverse a community’s greed is through generosity." Just like Ayn Rand said my brothers!
Then I come here and not a single person on here even notices the massive hypocrisy and lack of self-awareness. Amazing.
To illustrate this a bit better, perhaps using an example that you probably agree with Libertarians on: just because libertarians believe drugs should not be illegal, does not necessarily mean they believe drug use shouldn't be discouraged or treated. It is not hypocritical to fight for drug decriminalization but then seek rehabilitation programs for your drug addicted friends. That is in no way acquiescing to the need for drug control -- it is using a different tactic to fight a problem both sides may very well agree exists.
Similarly, it is not hypocritical to want the government to stay out of currencies, but still want a method of punishing thieves. You may believe other methods don't work (just like there are a lot of red voters who think its naive to think not putting drug users in jails works), but that doesn't make the other position inconsistent.
ANARCHO CAPITALISTS say that we don't need government for anything and the private market will provide it. True, with smart contracts the theft is infeasible, but it was not always so. These exchanges didn't use smart contracts. And there are other crimes than theft of bitcoins.
When crimes occur the question is, who considers them crimes? Appealing to the person to PUT THE COMMUNTY AHEAD OF THEIR SELF INTEREST kind of admits that the system failed a whole community which got screwed by an individual.
As for MINARCHISTS, they always have a copout that they want SOME government. But it's not clear how much or what it should do. Everyone has a different idea or no idea. And even minarchists and Objectivists tout the self reliance and the individual over the community. So why should this individual give stuff back? It was their fault for not securing their site properly. The individual can only be punished BY someone, and then it becomes communities hunting individuals.
Is there any historical precedent for anything like this actually working?
Potential victims of crimes can shop around for the legal system that they prefer, and those who intend to commit crimes can do the same. Generally this "shopping around" cannot be done retroactively; there are a few exceptions to this however.
The way that you pick the one that you wish to be associated with is to change your physical location. This has traditionally been an intuitive system (so intuitive that many people experience difficulty when trying to imagine alternatives) however it does not necessarily work well when there is no geographic relationship between victims and perpetrators.
Think about how exciting that would be! I, for one, look forward to this possible Mad Max-style libertarian future... I mean who doesn't like improvised body armor with lots of spikes and things?
Most people believe that monopolies are not economically efficient for producing "ordinary" goods and services, but for some reason they don't believe the same is true for laws and law enforcement. I don't see much of a difference. Certainly the production of laws and law enforcement is not an easier task than the production of food.
These three things regulate the space between households. The government, however defined, must monopolize them because otherwise you give tremendous power to the hands of private corporations. At least with a government there are political constraints that there are not with a corporation.
However the argument over monopoly I don't think comes down to this. I haven't yet met a libertarian who thought that murder should be legal absent a contract to the contrary, nor have I yet met one that thought that big business should be able to control all roads and exclude whoever they want from travelling. If you would argue these things, I suppose you'd be the first at least that I have met.
The disagreement I think is actually a disagreement that hasn't really been brought to in much of the Libertarian community. The problem with monopolies are scale and power problems and these are the same problems with government in the US today as well. We want to prevent monopolies by decentralizing power in the marketplace. The desire I think is to do the same in government space. So the argument is over a decentralized government model vs a heavily centralized government model.
I think if folks came to realize that that is exactly what is desired, it would be easier for Distributsts and Libertarians to make common cause. After all, does it really matter whether a city is formally private or public sector? What does matter is that government power is distributed and that it is held most strongly where it is closest to the people.
I'm not sure if that's rhetorical or not, but I'll respond. I call myself a libertarian, but as has been discussed elsewhere, lately, that's a pretty broad umbrella -- what I've found in lieu of libertarianism is Constitutionalism, and that despite its flaws, as a system of governance, the Constitution does a pretty good job of setting up exactly what you described - a distributed power system where it is held most strongly closest to the people.
That said, it is decidedly not what we have now. (What I believe are) Abuses of the Interstate Commerce Clause, the General Commerce clause, etc., have set up a VERY top-heavy government, where we're in an odd situation that simultaneously allows for states to legalize marijuana while the federal government simultaneously considers them felons.
Moreover, I think that the real reason we haven't seen any real challenges there is because the federal government has backed off on prosecutions, and I (alert, conspiracy theory) personally believe that it's not in the interest of justice that they don't prosecute, but because the wrong prosecution could lead to the massive outflux of power from the federal government if the Interstate Commerce Clause is returned to its originalist meaning.
> ...personally believe that it's not in the interest of justice that they don't prosecute, but because the wrong prosecution could lead to the massive outflux of power from the federal government if the Interstate Commerce Clause is returned to its originalist meaning.
It's more than that. Before the two states fully legalized the basic status quo was that the average state prosecuted more marijuana possession crimes than the Feds did. The Feds are in an awkward position of really wanting to do something but simply being in no position, practically speaking, to fill the hole in power these two states left. They keep drafting policies that allow them to prosecute whoever they want while claiming to respect the state. But the problem is that they can't do enough to make a difference. To an extent there might be a backlash it would come at effectively no gains for their position.
BTW, I am a Distributist, which bears some surface similarity to some parts of Libertarianism (and I think the more moderate Libertarians end up reinventing a large chunk of Distributism in the quest for working solutions).
Distributism and Libertarianism have some important similarities regarding a desire for a weak state, with power held close to the people but they are very different in some basic ways. For example, the definitions of things like freedom and self-ownership are so far apart they don't really reconcile very well with Libertarian thought.
(Freedom may be thought of as the right to control how one works and thus a positive freedom, instead of freedom from restraint or even freedom of contract. That also means that micromanagement is almost universally seen in Distributist circles as evil whether it is by a private or public sector authority. Self-ownership: we own our deeds and reputation and hence ourselves vs. a general principle of individual autonomy.)
The other likely area of disagreement is when it comes to encouraging widespread ownership of property. Distributists see this as a legitimate role of government because property == power. I haven't yet seen a Libertarian espouse that such is a legitimate goal of government.
Another is food, which most people agree is more efficiently produced by a competitive market than by central planning.
> The government, however defined, must monopolize them because otherwise you give tremendous power to the hands of private corporations. At least with a government there are political constraints that there are not with a corporation.
And yet, what I'm saying is precisely that private enterprises would lead to a better society not just for me, but for the vast majority of people as judged by their own personal subjective preferences. That includes most people who oppose by suggestions.
> I haven't yet met a libertarian who thought that murder should be legal absent a contract to the contrary
I haven't yet met a person who thought that. So why exactly do we need government to "make murder illegal"?
> nor have I yet met one that thought that big business should be able to control all roads and exclude whoever they want from travelling.
Depends what you mean by this. I personally believe that if you own a road, you should be able to exclude others from using it. A polycentric legal system, like any other system, would lead to a convention or set of conventions for what constitutes "property rights" that is economically efficient.
> So the argument is over a decentralized government model vs a heavily centralized government model.
This obviously comes down to your definition of "government." In the broadest dictionary sense of the word, yes, it could refer simply to any mechanism that arranges the affairs of a group of people. When I use it, I intend to imply that I am talking about states, namely nation states and the subdivisions thereof. Lots of anti-state libertarians have offered detailed definitions of what constitutes government in this context. Murray Rothbard defined the state as an organization that claims monopoly legal authority over a region and funds itself at least partially through (compulsory) taxation. I prefer David Friedman's more enlightening definition. He defines a state or government as an organization which most individuals in a region exempt from their normal perception of personal "rights." If a random person attempts to forcefully take money from you, chances are you will fight to resist, or at least consider it a wrongdoing, and most of the rest of society would be on your side (assuming the evidence is conclusive). But when government forcefully takes money from you, you probably won't be very upset, and probably won't resist even if you are upset. And the majority of society will not consider this a misjustice.
> After all, does it really matter whether a city is formally private or public sector?
I think it does, because the "private sector" (assuming you mean a competitive market) will be more economically efficient.
That seems like a rather extraordinary claim with no supporting evidence other than maybe a brief period of time in Iceland.
If nothing else, those things are different from other products and services in that the demand is particularly inelastic and is tied up with human emotions in a way that doesn't really fit the naive "rational actor" model.
Being things that people want that other people produce is evidence that something can be considered a product. The extraordinary claim is that there isn't anything at all special about something that nearly every civilization has treated in a special way.
Whether that does or does not have anything to do with libertarianism, you can decide.
Perhaps the most famous examples of legal systems exceeding traditional spatial and temporal bounds can be found in the aftermath of WWII. Adolf Eichmann for example was kidnapped in Argentina by Mossad agents and smuggled out of the country. This could be considered, in effect, a violation of of the Argentinian legal system's monopoly on law and order within the borders of Argentina.
Does that have anything to do with libertarianism? I don't know; I don't really care. It's just an interesting example of monopolies on laws and law enforcement not being hard and fast. History is full of such examples.
Not a libertarian here, but one example regarding this might be medieval Iceland where such shopping around was encouraged and even the basis of the system, as was taking things into one's own hands and perpetrating blood feuds.
Interestingly the difference between "murder" and "manslaughter" in Iceland had nothing to do with intent but rather that if you killed someone that was manslaughter, but if you failed to report it to the family of the victim properly in a timely manner, or you tried to hide the fact, then it was murder (and a far, far more serious crime).
But then I suspect there's a reason why at that time, Iceland didn't have cities.
To fill the gap left by a non-functioning police department, neighborhoods have started banding together to hire private security firms. This (of course) isn't a direct correlation, but from the numerous friends I have in the Detroit area, the difference is pretty stark. They feel safe, the 'police' forces are smaller and more dedicated and, perhaps the biggest difference, the private security firms actually "respect us as customers, instead of treating us like cattle in the way of whatever grand mission they're on" (copied and pasted from an email with a friend).
I've read a number of articles on the subject, but while I can't find any of the ones I meant to reference, I did find this one, which I just skimmed through, and it's pretty neat all around:
This video is a good introduction to the ideas presented in the book http://youtu.be/jTYkdEU_B4o
Thanks to government, my landlord can't kick me out without due notice, big guys with weapons can't "protect" me for a fee, and I can travel for free wherever I want on well-maintained roads without paying arbitrary fees.
If your point is that agriculture made most people worse off than their hunter-gatherer predecessors, I probably agree, but that choice is long past.
There are, practically speaking, no ungoverned areas. The ungoverned areas are either unsurvivable due to circumstances unrelated to the existence of governments (like the oceans and Antarctica), and the otherwise survivable areas that briefly don't have governments (like Somalia) are undesirable due not to a lack of government, but because of events which caused both undesirability and lack of government (like poverty or armed ethnic conflict). Of course, plenty of people have argued that Somalia actually improved during its period of "anarchy."
Of course, this line of argument is pretty silly. You could, following this same logic, ask where someone would like to move where murder does not occur. Again, the only places where murder does not occur are not survivable by humans, or are undesirable for other reasons (like living in an abandoned missile silo, or in solitary confinement). Yet I would still claim that a society without murder would be a good thing.
> Thanks to government, my landlord can't kick me out without due notice
Why would a polycentric legal system not be able to provide a system where landlords can't kick tenants out without due notice?
> big guys with weapons can't "protect" me for a fee
That's not true. If you have enough money, big guys with guns can and will absolutely protect you. In fact, a lot of armed security and even what we could call "law enforcement" is done by privately contracted firms, because public police forces are ridiculously inefficient and ineffective. The same goes for arbitration and courts.
> and I can travel for free wherever I want on well-maintained roads without paying arbitrary fees.
Firstly, you do pay arbitrary fees for the roads you drive on, or at least the roads in your tax jurisdiction. In fact, the average person pays a lot more than what is economically efficient, because road funds inordinately subsidize industries like the freight industry. A usage fee is a far more economically efficient way to fund roads, and even government roads which also collect usage tolls tend to be a lot more well maintained. Secondly, the "who will build the roads" criticism of libertarianism is so exhausted that it has become a running joke for many libertarians. I can discuss it more if you like, or point you to several "libertarian FAQs" that should address most of your road- and infrastructure-related concerns.
In short, as far as how people actually live, it is far less governed and far more Aristotelian than the US is. A few observations:
1. The poor have better nutrition in most of Indonesia than in most of the US. They also have, due to fewer formal protections on squatting, more secure housing since the only reason to tear down squatters' homes is actually building something new.
2. Police corruption protects the poor. if you are driving a car and strike a motorcyclist, that's a much bigger deal than hitting another car. Similarly evicting squatters from one's land so you can build something else requires paying off the cops fairly heavily.
3. That is not to say the poor have it easy here. Access to clean drinking water that is long-term safe after boiling is not common. But hey, given West Virginia, I suppose it's hard to complain.
4. Self-employment is the norm. 70% of the population is self-employed. Also income inequality is significantly better than in the US.
5. Indonesian material culture, even for the poor, is relatively luxurious by American standards (aside from things like big screen tv's). There are a lot fewer mass-produced goods and a lot more hand-made things. There's also a hands-on labor culture here which is very, very different from the big machine automation culture of the US.
6. Actual traffic laws in practice amount to "drive safely" and instead of banning this practice or that practice (texting etc), the rule is that police corruption protects the victim.
7. Police corruption is not without limits. If a police officer accepts a bribe in an unacceptable area (allowing illegal logging, for example), the officer will be prosecuted and likely jailed. There's a very hard line between corruption that everyone expects and indeed relies on for the regulation of society and corruption that is unacceptable and prosecuted.
But a big part of this is that Indonesia has a decentralized government to an extent that Americans would have trouble understanding. For example, metropolitan area of Jogjakarta is like a province or state, except that the treaty that brought the city into Indonesia specified that the Sultan would retain the hereditary position of Governor. So nobody gets to vote for the head of the executive branch of Jogjakarta DKI. Instead they have the Sultan who is well-loved by all there and has a very good reputation throughout Indonesia.
Was the soviet union good? millions dead, censorship of other ideas, huge leaps forward in quality of life on some axis, killed more nazis than the allied forces, forced the usa to get to space -> which meant some of the technology people living in the ex-soviet union exists now, it's existence encouraged the granting of worker rights/higher pay through fear of similar upheaval.
I would point you back to Aristotle's "Politics" actually where he comes up with a theory of government as follows (heavily paraphrasing):
1. Men and women come together to form the social basis of society, namely the procreative household. This is the vehicle by which culture is passed on, and it is the economic center of the society (pre-industrialization at least). Consequently the procreative household is the engine of both culture and society, and the goal of the economy is to nourish the household.
2. Households come together and address their common problems by forming organizations to do this. This is the basis of the polis.
(As an aside, Aristotle was not particularly hostile to same-sex sexual relationships, but saw marriage purely as a heterosexual institution due to the cross-generational imperatives. Also he had a very naive view of how gender power relationships actually worked in Greece.)
Now, viewed from this perspective (and it is pretty much the total basis for all pre-industrial society everywhere), you have government being a union of married child-raising households (since adoption is a replacement for procreation where that is not possible). Law then exists to address the common problems between households, both in terms of violent crime and contract issues, but also shared commons and infrastructure.
Now, this is very different to 20th and 21st century America and Europe. Government is not a union of isolated individuals, but if mini-state/businesses in the form of households. This sense of government formally passed from the US with the passage of the 19th Amendment but had been falling apart for a few decades prior under pressures from industrialization, and vestiges continue to be suppressed even today (one example is the argument over same-sex marriage, but another is the general hostility towards self-employment at the hands of Congress).
A government which is a union of households, which respects near-total autonomy of the household is far weaker than a government which subjects the household to scrutiny by CPS, undermines retiring with the kids with social security, requiring most kids to go to public schools, and so forth because the union-of-households government cannot interfere to form culture.
There are common problems that exist in a domain that a government must address. There is a social imperative to government. The real question is over the scope and nature of that government. Is government to be a social contract of individuals (but it's really a super-intrusive form of adherence contract since the individual can't really individually negotiate it)? Or is it a more limited institution in the service of households, not individuals?
I think when you look at it, that's the real choice (i.e. between a Lockean/Humean government and an Aristotelian one), not between a government and anarchy. People always invent government.
EDIT: sorry for the Latinate words, but the meodsetla calls.
But Iceland was a country of laws and they solved a lot of problems based on such a distributed executive in ways we might find funny today.
For example consider search and seizure law. The law didn't focus on who you couldn't search but rather who you had to search. My recollection of the Gragas was that the rules were that you had limits on the size of the search team and you had to search consecutive estates (i.e. no picking on who you thought was guilty, but you had to search every estate between the two you thought were likely perpetrators). This meant, effectively that you had better narrow it down before starting.
Now there were other interesting crimes. Failing to baptize a baby within the time mentioned by law was nearly the equivalent of murder and certainly the equivalent of infanticide..... (As was, if I remember right, eating horse meat.)
One data point, in a homogenous and relatively isolated region does not a grand idea make.
Well, in some locations you might be able to buy 'protection' from a number of different organised crime groups. While it's not exactly a historic precedent, the Millet system also had some similiarities.
Sure there are universal human rights, but that's still new and many countries don't honor them: minorities are often denied basic human rights, some countries still have the death penalty, etc.
Here is a handy chart: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_inequality...
You're claiming that no improvements can be made to a society that haven't already been tried in some other society. This is an absurd claim.
No, because there aren't any.
I'm asking for actual evidence that there is a current place where this libertarian ideal exists, and is better than the government we already have in place here in the USA. If you don't have any examples then it is still just internet fantasy talk and not of much use.
Christ. Some days I love reading HN and other days I feel like I'm looking through a window to a childishly naive bizarro world.
If that's not how the libertarians envision it, and you can actually choose what government you want by actually moving into one governments influence (so you are without the influence of another) then what you describe is basically Europe. Is Europe the libertarian dream?
(Ironically, in Europe there is the problem of too many inhabitants of poor more liberal (corrupt/lawless) countries migrating to rich euro-socialist countries)
Certainly some restaurants will only be available in certain regions, either because physical distance makes providing the service impractical, or the restaurant chooses to only serve customers in one region.
It's also very possible that one region won't have any restaurants of a certain type which you like (there weren't any Indian restaurants where I grew up in rural Missouri). If that is sufficiently important to make you move to another region, then you are free to. Of course, you are also free to open an Indian restaurant in that area.
But there is no restriction (other than economical) on the number of restaurants that can simultaneously offer services to one particular region.
I do not see how this is any better than the admittedly imperfect current system.
If we were to use your logic, the fact that there exist companies susceptible to market failures would mean that we should get rid of corporations entirely, even though there are valid reasons to justify the creation of corporations. The conclusion is absurd because the logic is absurd.
Similarly, the conclusion that markets efficiently allocate economic resources does not lead to a conclusion that markets can, by themselves, fairly allocate other types of resources (to say nothing of non-resource allocation functions of government).
Instead of looking at a bad government and saying that the problem is government, you need to look at the bad government and realize that the problem is that it's not good government, and then fix the government to not suck. I won't claim it's always easy but most things worth having are not easy otherwise everyone would already have them.
I haven't developed this thought fully, but I wonder why there are a lot of governments today, despite the fact that one or a few of the largest ones could easily conquer the rest, at least in traditional military conflicts. Why doesn't the US completely conquer and annex Mexico, for instance? The Texas national guard wouldn't have much trouble crippling the Mexican military. But this is only considering the parts that enjoy economies of scale, like weapons manufacturing.
Of course, a more rhetorical approach to this criticism is that even if it happens, you're basically left with a government.
Though I feel it isn't a main point (and giving this reasoning doesn't prove a monopoly will form) I will point out that on the ground sending a patrol to an area is inherently more efficient the more customers you have in that area and that this is a large part of police labour. I'll also point out that once a local monopoly/oligopoly forms if you wish to start a competing company you need to either accept the large capital investment of starting the company for 1/4~1/2 the area (say city) or alternatively you are surrounded by a larger force that has a reason to want you out.
As to whether or not monopolies will form (while in no way proof) I will offer as example that generally throughout history establishments of force (gangs, organised crime syndicates, city states, warlords, tribes, governments) seem to exert the majority of their force in areas of control and it is only at the edges between two of these powers that you have a choice between these powers (and often the area is more dangerous because of it).
As to why governments today aren't on a rampage. I will point out that these governments have effectively formed coalitions or come under the protection of larger allies to allow them to have sole or mostly sole control over their people (A situation that would not necesarily be as nice for a lot of the people if the governments were instead local monopolies on force with no obligations to the populous). Lastly I'd point out that many smaller countries complain about the US/China/Russia as bullies on the international stage and that they have bought force against "startup" force companies (tongue in cheek, obviously) such as say terrorists.
I realise you might be saying the cost of aggression is prohibitive, but I'd say it's the fact that the large players can't advance without being destroyed (MAD) that keeps the system somewhat stable. I'd also point out that the number of countries changes and that generally it seems like there is a trend to consolidation, even if it's playing out over decades/centuries.
>Of course, a more rhetorical approach to this criticism is that even if it happens, you're basically left with a government.
I don't disagree, but it would not be likely to be a government that the majority would want more than the current system (at least in first world countries, as I'm sure you'd agree). What it comes down to for me the fact that the market for force doesn't have as strong external/internal checks and balances. So it would (I believe) likely deteriorate to something worse than what we have now, before moving slowly back through the steps to something approaching our current systems.
I understand the public services part of the idea, but the public services is not what I hear libertarians complain about.
What I hear complains about are the public restrictions, and their enforcements.
Suppose I live in Birmingham Alabama, and I do not want to be mugged. I would want to subscribe to the restaurant that offers me protection from muggers. But these muggers are smart, they subscribe to the restaurant that do not do anything to muggers. What happens now? Will my restaurant use force to protect me from them, infringing on the rights of the muggers? Or will they simply not be able to offer such a service? The result of that would be that a mugger simply is an outcast as no restaurant would openly service muggers?
That's a very common and intelligent question that immediately gets raised. I believe that such a restaurant would not exist, at least for very long. Assume that it does exist. Firstly, every customer of that restaurant is also vulnerable to being mugged without consequence, which many muggers might quickly realize is not ideal. Secondly, every other restaurant would probably use force to protect its customers from the muggers, like you ask here:
> Will my restaurant use force to protect me from them, infringing on the rights of the muggers?
I don't tend to use the concept of "rights" in my arguments, but if you please, then yes, the anti-mugger restaurants would infringe on the right of the mugger to mug people.
> The result of that would be that a mugger simply is an outcast as no restaurant would openly service muggers?
Restaurants would probably service people who have mugged, but not in the sense that they would enable the mugger to mug. Perhaps a serial and unrepentant mugger would eventually be completely outcast, but more likely, they would receive punishment for mugging and either stop mugging or suffer lots of punishment (e.g. forced reparation or imprisonment). That brings up the notion of prisons in a polycentric legal system, which is another big subtopic. But in short, I do think that prisons could and would exist in such a system.
I'm sorry, a competitive market of private organizations trying to lynch me gives me control... how?
Because you don't pay for the services you don't want, unlike with government. Government can decide to come after you and hurt you, after a lifetime of taking a large portion of your income. Again, it's just like any market. Obviously one individual doesn't have direct control over what bread a supermarket stocks, but a competitive market of grocery stores will lead to grocery stores stocking bread in an attempt to meet the demand of its customers. In that sense, you clearly have more control over your local break market than you would if all grocery stores were controlled centrally by government.
That sounds like the current state of all governments, unless you're one of the tiny portion of society that gets to decide what government does.
> It removes even the illusion of democratic control and makes you subject to the whims of others, especially if they have more money.
I don't desire democratic control or the illusion thereof. In fact, democratic control "makes you subject to the whims of others, especially if they have more money," so I don't understand why you implied a difference between the two.
When you don't even know whether there is another group(s) trying to deter you it's that much less clear whether you should refrain from that action or not. Even when you can identify a threat vigilante group, would they really start a war with your group over a single person? Just as in international politics, the answer is not obviously yes.
As I understand it, libertarians believe that justice can be attained through the adversarial institution of the market.
That is, by everyone greedily fighting within the bonds of normal commerce, a just (but likely not equal), situation will arise.
The gaping hole in this scenario is that those who are greedy and, say, losing or just not getting what they want from the normal framework, have every incentive to cheat in this competition. By lying, by hacking opponents computers, by assassinating opponent or whatever.
I understand also that some combination of collective pressure and private enforcement is supposed to stop that from happening, sure. But all this is supposed to happen automatically, it's not an "ideal" but supposedly how things. Well, clearly things didn't work this time and given that Zed's comment on greed actually tags it.
"everyone is greedy" is not a good characterization of libertarianism; there are plenty of libertarian social benefit groups; a good example that ties into the OP is "sean's outpost" which is a bitcoin-based organization providing for the homeless in Pensacola and running up against a lot of adversarial actions by the state. Libertarian and libertarian-leaning groups (such as the Institute for Justice) regularly advocate against the state shutting down private social benefit groups helping the less fortunate.
libertarians sometimes espouse the "everyone likes to be efficient" pro-market argument, but there are libertarians (like myself) that find that to be weak in the light of indivdiuals being irrational.
the core libertarian philosophy though really takes the "markets are moral because they are voluntary transactions" argument.
You are saying because not all libertarians are actually greedy, they don't believe everyone is greedy.
If were to rephrase the statement as "everyone seeking individual good will result in a collective good", I don't see you really disagreeing.
The problem is that we already see people seeking individual good in a truly vicious and unfettered fashion and public harm that brings (say, Mexican drug gangs fighting it out).
Worse yet, the market itself requires regulatory aspects to make it work. You don't simply roll into a digital equivalent of a barter economy and call things an improvement. There's a lot that good governments do to make this kind of thing happen, and just because it's transparent when it's working right doesn't mean the government doesn't warrant credit and it doesn't mean it was an easy task to make it work right (especially when there are so many examples of governments doing this poorly with negative follow-on effects).
You're confusing "price" for "value", they are very different things. The libertarian argument is not necessarily predicated on the market (and not just of commodities and goods, of charities and services, of creative expression, of ideas, etc) being efficient, but the market being moral.
The corollary argument is that in most cases government is immoral, hypocritical, and in many cases inefficient at managing all sorts of this wide array of goods. (note the careful choice of qualifiers)
The distinction between an anarcho-capitalist and a libertarian, is that a libertarian will outline a specific role of government - generally: to manage situations where force or coercion (specifically, the threat of direct force) are used. Thich covers "child labor" and certain, non-squishy aspects of "human dignity" like chattel slavery, physical torture, etc. An anarcho-capitalist thinks that these should also not be entrusted to a single monopolizing entity.
This is also clearly the case with centralized government law.
It's one thing to complain about the government; I mean, you'd practically not be a red-blooded American if you didn't bitch and moan about the government. But providing options that are actually better should be a precondition for a switch to something else.
As far as checks and balances I think it would be fair to say they are not working exactly as originally constructed. But that doesn't mean they're not working well, and it doesn't even mean that the original Framers would necessarily disapprove.
The government wasn't even 20 years old before the Supreme Court went off in a fairly original direction with Marbury v. Madison after all. Jefferson wasn't really sure he had the authority to complete the Lousiana Purchase (but did it anyways, small-government sympathies and all).
And it should go without saying that a strict interpretation of things like the Fourth Amendment would be hopelessly, hopelessly outdated in 2014 if it hadn't been for the principle of the Constitution itself being a "living document" with weasel words strewn everywhere just waiting to be reinterpreted at some point down the line.
And my point is that I disagree. :)
Please explain to me what prevents it from degenerating into such.
It's also the case that those fews well-informed and articulate libertarians who are engaged in politics never seem to be the ones who actually run for anything. Look at the Libertarian candidates for public office in the US over the years. Would you want a "ferret activist" as Lt. Governor of California? You could have had, complete with ferret in hand in his official election photo in the ballot handbook.
Libertarianism is an orientation and an armchair pursuit.
Libertarianism = Freedom.
Communism = Freedom.
Liberals = Freedom.
Conservatives = Freedom.
North Korea = Freedom.
USA = Freedom.
Seriously what country isn't free? Who is against freedom?
But based on my understanding this either ends up fully reinventing the public sphere under some (weird) definition of private sector (not-for-profit, incorporated, resident-owned cities) or else it cedes power to rich, powerful corporations. After all the limits of what a contract may cover is a social, and therefore political decision, right?
As a Distributist, I see Libertarians as seeing a real problem and coming up with a weird solution to it. The problem is not to reduce the subject-matter scope of government (I actually think this should be expanded slightly to include running of infrastructure that is physical-monopoly territory provided that services are not provided by the government), but to reduce the geographic and demographic scale of government entities. I.e. rather than move government into the "private sector" (which becomes an empty formalism), bring government back close to the people. Empower local government and shrink central government.
Ahahahahaah! That's the same as not having laws! And even then, what you're saying is they believe someone should bring this guy to justice...and then do nothing to him. Then it's not justice. You're killing me my friends. Just killing me here.
While I personally like law and order, when the choice is mob justice or a police state, there are some definite advantages to mob justice.
I agree, the American government (on all levels) seems to be particularly dysfunctional, so it makes sense that many Americans would look at it and conclude that government writ large is bad. Combined with the American propensity for introspection and self-criticism, the very real observation that American government is bad leads to the (imho erroneous) conclusion that all government is bad, ignoring the fact that most western governments, while flawed, are nowhere near as flawed as yours is.
I think that is because your provinces have actual positive jurisdictions of sovereignty, as opposed to the very weak protections our states have.
> For all its warts, our government mostly works: healthcare is pretty good, education is pretty good, regulations are generally not onerous, taxes are pretty low, crime is pretty low, etc.
For example, there is no "Canadian Health Care System." Rather there is some federal money that goes to provinces as long as they don't do anything horribly out of line, and the provinces get to set up their own systems.
Just my two commie copeikas...
Consequently, the ones who are left out of the resulting parties are nearly by definition outliers. If one studies statistics, one of the things you'll learn is that in anything that has even a faint resemblance to a Gaussian distribution, the outliers are always more diverse than the main body. So on those fringes, you can always find some real nutcakes, along with a group of people whom you may merely find eccentric but forever bear the burden of being tarred by association with the loonies.
(It isn't necessarily the best plan to judge a fringe belief by an even more fringe set of loonies; for every stone you might be inclined to toss at the "other side", it's worth bearing in mind you've got a matched loonie on your side. Naturally, the loonies are the loudest, everywhere.)
I claim to be libertarian, but probably even more accurate would be call me a Classical Liberal - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_liberalism (Albeit not every bit of that; 18th century Classical Liberalism can not be simply blindly applied today, but I think it's closer than later philosophies, or, perhaps, ironically more appropriate for the 21st century than the philosophies of the 20th, which I think were too greatly influenced by the accidents of the Industrial Revolution, which fade as we continue through the Information Revolution.) Anyways, following through that on Wikipedia would probably give a helpful perspective on the general ideas, moreso than a loud loonie. There is an actual respectable intellectual tradition here, even if it is not the one currently in favor.
> The use of the word libertarian to describe a new set of political positions has been traced to the French cognate, libertaire, coined in a scathing letter French libertarian communist Joseph Déjacque wrote to mutualist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon in 1857, castigating him for his sexist political views.
I'm nearly as far away from libertarian as one can be, but no - it's not the same as not having laws.
Example: Old (American) West-style "frontier justice" where a bunch of townspeople form a posse or a lynch mob or whatever to right some (real or perceived) wrong.
(edit: I do understand that this is only one possible scenario, and not what all or even many libertarians want)
For an illustration of this, check out the very first scene of the TV series Deadwood. There's a lynch mob outside the sheriff's office, and they want to kill the person in the jail. The sheriff fends them off so he can legally hang him instead.
The creator originally wanted to do a series on ancient Rome, about the birthplace of civilization. The studio wanted a Western. He said, oh, perfect, that works, too.
Edit (since I cannot reply directly, apparently): why is it not credible?
Can I start citing the X-Files or Star Trek? How about a broadcast of the Nancy Grace show?
If the result is the same (the prisoner dies), does it matter whether a legal authority performs the killing, or whether a mob does? I think it does.
You may not agree with the legal authority's process or laws, but at the very least it is written down.
HN hides these links to prevent very quick back-and-forth. Either wait a few minutes or click the 'link' link.
If multiple such groups have the "right" then you have either a coalition state or tribes with warlords, but even that only really changes the level of jurisdiction.
It seems to me that some libertarians try to claim theoretical victory by defining their legal enforcement to be a private contractor or somesuch, but as soon as they do that they've simply re-defined the government to be that private contractor (or whoever is controlling them) instead. There's still a state and still governance, whatever you happen to call that particular rose.
You can make the same argument without being an ass about it.
Politics is a rather uninteresting tangent here, brought up really only to start a flamewar.
Seriously, who gives a shit about the political opinions of drug dealers? I don't know where my dealer stands on economics, taxation, or civil rights, and I don't have any reason to care.
Not sure if that makes it right but people will be people.
If you rip off drug dealers, you should expect them to call for heads. Using this as the basis for a political flamewar is just straight-up trolling.
But a guy who has actually lost people's money, put them at risk of reprisal from drug dealers, helped people (potentially young people) commit major crimes, enabled future addicts, and potentially is lying about the security flaw to steal all this money while spouting hypocritical contradictory statements...is a fucking hero.
Bravo! You win the ultimate hypocrite award of the century!
Zed, I want to make myself clear, here: I have absolutely nothing to say whatsoever about whatever substantive claims you might be making. I'm just telling you to stop being a asshole about it.
But fuck it, I told you pretty much the exact same thing almost 3 years ago, and you haven't changed since then. It's not your message that turns people off, it's your delivery. I still suspect it's a calculated ploy for pageviews and name recognition.
For what it's worth, this is Responding to Tone, or DH2[#]
FTA: So if the worst thing you can say about something is to criticize its tone, you're not saying much. Is the author flippant, but correct? Better that than grave and wrong. And if the author is incorrect somewhere, say where.
> I'm just calling him out for being a jackass.
This is actually DH0, Name Calling.
I'm criticizing the behaviour, not the person. If you can't call out poor behaviour, you can't expect civil communication.
What you're doing is kidding yourself. You already know that zed shaw, being zed shaw, could care less about what the fun police has to say about the way he expresses himself.
> If you can't call out poor behaviour, you can't expect civil communication.
This news forum provides a mechanism that allows users to collectively rank posts by voting on them. Zed's comment on this article happens to be the top ranked one. Respectfully, I would submit that the majority of people who have seen it value the information content of his post more than they are offended by the way that he delivered it.
Could he have expressed himself in a more PG13 fashion? Sure he could have. Could he have made his point more politely? I don't think anyone would argue against that. But that's not Zed.
Frankly, I think it's a bit presumptuous of you to appoint yourself the civility police and harass people for the way they say things without actually engaging with what they are trying to say. Luckily for us, Zed doesn't actually care what you think. But I don't believe that it is either constructive or in the spirit of this venue to encourage an environment that attacks people for how they say things, rather than what they say. I think that the losses from such an overly sensitive environment, given the diverse range of cultures and personalities this board attracts, would far outweigh the gains.
>I think it's a bit presumptuous of you to appoint yourself the civility police
I've done no such thing. By claiming I'm not allowed to criticize someone's behaviour, you're doing the exact same thing you're condemning me for.
>and harass people for the way they say things
Telling someone to stop being an asshole when they're being an asshole isn't harassment by any reasonable definition of the word.
>without actually engaging with what they are trying to say.
I don't care what he's trying to say, and I'm explicitly not engaging in that facet of the discussion. If somebody was standing on the street corner grabbing passerby and shaking them while shouting, "don't take on more debt than you can pay!", I'd tell them to stop being an asshole, too.
> I don't believe that it is either constructive or in the spirit of this venue to encourage an environment that attacks people for how they say things, rather than what they say.
You're quite simply wrong. Look at any of the low-value, one-line comments that get downvoted to oblivion for saying something along the lines of, "this sucks". You can say, "this sucks" in a way that adds value, and you can say it in a way that detracts value. Saying, "this sucks because of xyz" is simply more valuable than saying "this sucks because of xyz and you're all a bunch of morons for disagreeing".
What I am criticizing you for is failing to understand that, at least in this specific case, your sensitivities do not in fact align with those of the community. And also for name calling someone who has contributed more to the hacker community in this past year than you have in your life.
Zed Shaw's comment is at the top of this thread. That is data, that you cannot continue to ignore while still claiming to speak for the community. Hacker News has a very effective system for burying comments that the community deems offensive and inappropriate. If the community was truly offended, then this post would be buried, or dead, not at the top.
> Telling someone to stop being an asshole when they're being an asshole isn't harassment by any reasonable definition of the word.
You mentioned upthread that this is not the first time you have had this discussion with Zed. And you continue to emphasize that you are not interested in what he says, but just criticizing him for how he says it. How many times do you have to repeat the same conversation for it to constitute harassment? How many self-righteously morally outraged people like you do you following him around and littering his threads with meaningless ad hominem criticism think it will take before he decides it's not worth it and just leaves? Do you really think Hacker News would be a better place without Zed Shaw?
> If somebody was standing on the street corner grabbing passerby and shaking them while shouting, "don't take on more debt than you can pay!", I'd tell them to stop being an asshole, too.
What I'm trying to explain to you is that, in this case, you're the person on the street corner, Zed is the passerby, and I still think it would be rude to call you an asshole, though I will continue to point out that if your attempts are genuinely in an effort to better our community, it would be worth carefully considering whether they are in fact in the community's best interest.
My tone is simply a reaction to the tone of arrogance and superiority most objectivists and commenters take. If you don't want to be ridiculed, then don't write like a arrogant douchebag with zero self-awareness. Those kinds of people are due a large dose of insulting and "tone".
> You can make the same argument without being an ass about it.
> It's funny how me pointing out the stupidity and bullshit of a group of criminals makes me an asshole...
You completely missed their point, how you can't see that is beyond me.
Try defending against the accusation itself instead of taking the stance that the accusation is always automatically invalid.
I was attempting to show that his response was a strawman.
After further reading I'm guessing his entire online personality is an act though so the topic seems to be worthless discussing.
No, being an asshole while calling something bullshit is being an asshole. A ^ B |- A. You can say something's bullshit without ridiculing people. Zed's problem isn't that he says unpopular things, it's that he seems to try to be as rude as possible in saying them.
Saying something's bullshit isn't necessarily rude. Saying something's bullshit and anyone who disagrees with you is an idiot|hypocrite|moron|asshole is.
The truth of that statement still depends on what the issue is. There are some beliefs you really do have to be stupid or disingenuous to espouse.
BTW - Love your L?THW books. Thanks
The 'monopoly of laws' to which the parent refers are the ones like those against home distillers -- such that you're allowed to buy a distillation device, you're allowed to buy corn, you're allowed to buy sugar, yeast, etc., but you're not allowed to put them altogether to make whiskey, despite that you're allowed to buy whiskey.
Another example is the Lacey act, which, if construed narrowly enough, might make it illegal to eat a steak, or to fish, or to hike through the woods.
Even the most staunch of minarchists wouldn't generally repeal the 'base' laws, which are those laws that, if violated, infringe upon the rights of others. Libertarians do not, for example, suggest that murder should be legal -- everyone has the right to life.
Gun control is the nearest example I can think of, so pardon me if it doesn't fit the archetype 100%, but there are literally more than 20,000 laws on the books pertaining to guns, despite the fact that each of those are just derivatives of laws already on the books. Using a gun to steal is expressly against the law, and may carry a different penalty in many jurisdictions than just 'stealing'. Why? Stealing is already illegal, and the manner in which it's done carrying a different penalty likely is just a scheme to enforce mandatory minimums to fill the prisons.
Alternately, laws which are predicated upon arbitrary distinctions, such that a person with 9 ounces of pot gets away scot free, while a guy with 10 ounces of pot must serve an obligatory 5 year prison term.
You're of course welcome to hate libertarianism as much as you like, but if you're original post was sincere, you're woefully ill-informed on the subject.
Edit: Re-reading, I completely misinterpreted the OP's use of 'monopoly of force', and ended up making an altogether unrelated argument. That said, I consider my point both salient and well-researched, so I'll let it stand.
The set of laws is not really the problem then. Literally everyone agrees that "government should be as small as possible", the problem is that no one ever agrees as to how small that can possibly be.
As soon as you're accepted the state, the "men with guns" whom the libertarians trot out as their boogeyman, the existence of a judicial system and police, etc. then the libertarians are suddenly not that far different in practice from many other parties and are even closer in theory (since apparently everyone agrees that courts and police are OK now...)
How close or far away Libertarianism is from more statist methodologies is outside the scope of the point I was trying to make, but if I were making a point, it's that yes, they are closer together than his lawless society (which couldn't be further apart) suggests.
It's getting to the point that when one says they're a libertarian I'm not even sure what that means at first. :-/
As for the 'strong property rights' comment, you clearly haven't yet met a libertarian socialist. ;-)
 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian_socialism
That there are legal concepts/ideas/etc. that would allow government to regulate something is usually a given, especially in our globalized world where you might buy something online made 3 states away (so that the Federal government is clearly in the lead).
The conceit is that just because government can get involved doesn't mean it's a good idea for government to get involved. In fact it's practically axiomatic here that the 'proper' level of government involvement in laws, regulation, etc. is the minimum needed to do the job and that government interaction beyond that level is actively harmful. Even the Democrats tend to toe this line, their disagreement generally comes at the level of "minimum needed" (e.g. there was a push for single-payer option before ObamaCare was finalized as that was felt to be the only way to really meet the goals intended).
A way to look at this from a European perspective might be the role of the European Union: should the EU government be as powerful as possible? Or should virtually all of the lawmaking power reside with the member states?
You know, even if you were/are/will become right, laughing at someone else's ideals benefits no one. It just deepens the abyss that separates logic from political differences.
Anyway, I guess the point is that Libertarianism has some different views but the main takeaway is about having more choices and a more lightweight state.
But even so, you certainly saw it in recorded history when government was weaker. "Highwayman" used to connote a very scary idea, something that is most relevant in modern history to those driving in convoys in Afghanistan or Iraq.
Another very good example was the actions of the FLN in French-run Algeria starting in the 1950s, where they actually more or less incited that "war of all against all", and did so from an organization that was not very centralized at all.
Is there any evidence that humans ever weren't large enough to worry about common property? I mean populations evolve, not individuals, right? And even families have common property within the household, right? If humans are social creatures, then it seems to me that this view of history can't be right because humans have always formed governments as required by our social nature.
> But even so, you certainly saw it in recorded history when government was weaker. "Highwayman" used to connote a very scary idea, something that is most relevant in modern history to those driving in convoys in Afghanistan or Iraq.
But bandits have almost always been a reaction to the formation (often by distinct government policies) of a destitute class. You see a major increase in banditry following the confiscation of the Monasteries under Henry VIII, for example, because this was instrumental in creating the destitute masses that would power the English Industrial Revolution.
The FLN is a good example of the use of a war of all against all as a tactic to weaken governments. I don't think it is a good example of what happens without strong government though. A much better example would be blood feuds in medieval Iceland, or in weak government areas today.
Blood feuds though are complex institutions. They don't really form a war of all against all. Rather they form a way for bad behavior to be punished. If a man in Papua feels that his wife has dishonored him and kills her, her brothers will likely do the same to him. This will spin around until everyone gets tired of it and decides to reconcile with some sort of settlement.
As Jesse Byock has pointed out, one can see significant evidence that in medieval Iceland, the blood feud was an institution which provided a similar form of social control and stabilization to what we might think of as law and order. In short, blood feuds are law and order by a different means.
Well, yes, as long as you keep going back in the geological record (I won't say historical record since written language would seem to have required a dense-enough population).
> If humans are social creatures, then it seems to me that this view of history can't be right because humans have always formed governments as required by our social nature.
Well even at the family unit level you mention, there would be government (by head-of-household, whoever that was). In areas with multiple families you'd likely have common property which would need it's own form of government (warlord, popular tribal chief, what-have-you). But that's getting back to my original argument.
I think we might actually be in agreement; the key to me seems to be that the Hobbesian nightmare doesn't occur when a populace and its government are organically grown. There's no reason you'd see all-vs.-all in history simply because there was always some form of government.
Hobbes's nightmare seems to come from the collapse of government among a mass of people, and its subsequent power vacuum, which results in subsequent in-fighting (or invasion from abroad). There are multiple examples of this in recorded history as well.
> But bandits have almost always been a reaction to the formation (often by distinct government policies) of a destitute class.
I don't think anyone would argue that destitution increases crime and violence against the weak. It's easier to have morals when you don't have to die of hunger due to your principles.
Likewise I think your point about blood feuds is spot on, but then we need to recognize that it has become government (as you say, law and order by a different means).
The idea that the "war of all vs. all" would be transient (until some form of stable governance sets up) is probably the thing which keeps Hobbes from being as much of a nightmare. But it also wouldn't really make those who live through the transient feel any better about it.
Watching Bitcoin from a detached and neutral position is absolutely pure entertainment.
"Hey y'all, let's make a web page for transferring money and drugs!"
"But I'm not very good at programming."
"No worries, there's CRYPTO!!!!!"
"Oh excellent, we'll sure screw over our oppressive government now! Down with the rule of law!!"
"Uh boss, someone just untraceably and anonymously stole all of our untraceable and anonymous money!"
If you're not rolling on the floor laughing, you're missing out on life.
Being right and/or smart and/or recognized doesn't, and shouldn't, give one an excuse to be a dick.
It's not being an asshole to tell someone they're being stupid when they do something stupid. These guys just lost several million dollars via their illicit drug-trading website. They don't need a pat on the back from zedshaw.
I'd agree if he limited his mockery to those people, but his comments are full of broad generalizations and target also honest people with ideas different than zed's.
I don't even say I agree with those ideas, though I find the concept of crowdsourcing law worth serious exploring instead of dismissing outright (there are some serious people, like Robin Hanson, discussing this ). It's easy to laugh off things you don't understand.
To be honest, I'm yet to see a single case of a person who truly understands an idea and then proceeds to sneer. For me, seeing one laughing at other peoples' ideas is a clear sign that the person doesn't know shit.
 - http://hanson.gmu.edu/regprivlaw.html
Being a a__h___ and being right aren't mutually exclusive. :)
Sidenote: BTW, now that we're talking, if you have a coworker at Google who can get this comment removed from my channel, I'd appreciate it. I reported it as hate-speech like a month ago or something.
For posterity's sake - http://i.imgur.com/6kpYvcM.png
I'm sure Google gets like a million of these a day. I'm probably in some queue somewhere.... and I've never dated a white girl. ;-)
It seems like you should be able to just delete the comment and block that asshole. If you've tried that and it doesn't work, I'll escalate.
For some reason, I'm only allowed to report it. =/
EDIT: I was able to block the user, but the comment remains it seems.
Not that there aren't multitudes of other problems in their schemes.
I'm yet to see a person who truly understands an idea and then proceeds to laugh it off just like that. For me, it's a good indicator that the person laughing doesn't know shit, and doesn't even try. It's easier to make people you disagree with feel bad about themselves than to actually engage with their arguments.
(note I'm not referring to the drug dealers who lost money, but to the off-hand dismissal of ideas many honest people hold)
Wealth of the networks (instead of monopolistic centralism base upon territory, population and gov 300years old model Wealth of the Nations/States).
Move forward. Even it is not possible eventually to have a complete monopoly of the law, except in the case of a dystopian totalitarism.
for those that do not know the story..
Frank Zappa disarmed someone that tried to shoot him and than refused to call the cops
at least when criminals exchange cash for illegal goods, there's always the possibility of in-person retribution since you know who you're dealing with.
in anonymous situations for illicit goods, you don't know who you are dealing with, who you can trust, and whose kneecaps to break if they cheat you. so hey - stick to cash for the illegal stuff.
let the rest of us have bitcoin for convenience.
On the other hand, there's nothing that's not funny about seeing a hardcore libertarian find whiny refuge in the clichés of Communism:
> Being a part of this movement might be the most defining thing you do with your entire life. Don’t trade that for greed, comrades.
And, whatever you do, don't start thinking I'm to blame for this unbelievable fuckup that wouldn't have been possible in the first place if I hadn't done something stupid! No, it's all that guy's fault.
So, you know, an atrocious and unconscionable doctrine appealing only to people who have some serious problems with thinking of other people as people, yes, but hypocritical? Nah, not so much.
There is no such thing as an objectivist libertarian. Maybe you should learn what you're talking about before hating. Objectivism and libertarianism are separate opposing things. The Objectivist position on libertarians is very negative.
Also that some similar groups dislike each other does not imply that all groups which dislike each other are similar.
> What was Ayn Rand’s view of the libertarian movement?
> Ayn Rand was opposed to the libertarian movement of her time.
The comment was in response to a statement saying that Rand spoke against libertarianism, which was true.
> [Belshan] used the term libertarian in a discussion of free will and in opposition to "necessitarian" (or determinist) views
The use of the word "libertarian" in free will debates is separate from political libertarianism.
But it's worse than that:
> This essay is cited as the first to use the term "Libertarian." For Belsham it was a term of abuse. Liberty was nearly synonymous with libertine, a description of a person with no responsibility.
> Belsham dismisses the ideas of the Libertarians, citing the foreknowledge of God, as did Hobbes and the religious leaders Luther and Calvin before him.
> Belsham is a Necessarian, as he describes his fellow determinists.
So, what are you talking about?
In other words, the libertarianism of today is by and large anarcho-capitalism rebranded.
The word has multiple meanings. He used a different one. How is that relevant? It's like you cited the first use of the word "mouse" (animal) when we were talking about computer mice.
And your comments don't make sense. Rand strongly criticized anarcho-capitalism, you say libertarians today are largely anarcho-capitalists, and yet you seem to be disagreeing with the Objectivism/libertarianism divide (though it's hard to tell what your position is).
In the Venn-diagram of libertarians, Ayn Rand fans, and Murray Rothbard adherents, the area of the cross-section is non-zero.
Ayn Rand wrote for over two decades about how Objectivism was specifically opposed to the anarchy that is at the core of libertarian belief (formed by Rothbard & Co.).
You need to read up on subjects more before you try to talk about them with authority.
> Here we have a group of objectivist libertarians
wild conjecture? you bet.
> who believe that there should be effectively no laws other than the law of economics and self-interest
please, tell me, what else do they think? perhaps next you can tell me what i think, i'd love to hear it.
> We need the government! Please, come find the guy who took all of our illegal drug money and give it back to us so we can continue to say you aren't necessary
that's funny, you've quoted one thing, and decided it means the opposite. if he wanted government, he'd have called the police FBI. no, he is calling the victims of the crime to exact justice. there is no centralised government or organisation being called upon. it's the self interest thing you mentioned earlier.
> In the interest of the community?! Bwahahahaa!
i don't get what's so funny about that - do you find the word community funny? silk road is a community. they buy and sell drugs, which is obviously illegal as hell, but it is still definitely a community.
> "I will fight here by your side, even the greedy bastards amongst us." Like everyone on the site?!
whoa soldier! making a generalization or assumption about a one or two people is.. understandable. but calling thousands of people greedy because they trade illicit substances? i'm not sure my brain can cope with much more wild conjecture.
> "The only way to reverse a community’s greed is through generosity." Just like Ayn Rand said my brothers!
so.. this guy is a freedom fighter now? wat.
> notices the massive hypocrisy
what exactly would that be? drugs are illegal - yes, but are they morally wrong? does taking them somehow devalue a persons worth or their opinion? on the other hand, i think everyone will agree that taking something that does not belong to you is morally wrong. so, i'd love it if you could clarify what you mean here.
secondly, on hypocrites - if ted bundy told you not to kill someone, would you disregard his advice because "oh my god why should i listen to him, he kills people all the time". or perhaps if lance armstrong gave you cycling advice, you'd ignore it because he took performance enhancing drugs?
If these guys decide to band together to exact some form of "justice" against the thieves, then isn't that a form of "government"? Aren't they making a kind of de facto law?
More generally, there seems to be some sort of "code" that evolves out of any given community. And, if everyone agrees on acceptable conduct or behavior in order to participate in the community, then how is that different from, say, a democratic government? Here, of course, I'm speaking of an actual democratic government, not what we currently have in the U.S.
It depends on what kind of "justice" it is. Anarchist libertarians define government as a group of people that routinely initiate violence against other people, or routinely steal from other people.
That means, if you are protecting somebody from violence, or protecting someone's property from theft, you are not government. If you grab a thief and return the stolen goods to the rightful owner, you are not government. If you won't allow a known thief on your property, or otherwise refuse dealing with a thief, you are not government. If you prevent theft by exposing or shooting the thief, you are not government.
However, if you exert some kind of retributive justice on the thief, like, take all stuff from him, and shoot him in the back, that makes you a criminal (by definition, not necessarily in the eyes of the people), and if you do so routinely, that makes you a government. Likewise, if you force random people to pay for the incarceration of the thief, that makes you a government.
And, of course, there then must be some form of "policing" as well as an agreed upon penalty when a violation occurs.
>if you force random people to pay for the incarceration of the thief, that makes you a government.
The people who pay in a "democratic" society (presumably via taxation) aren't random, right? In theory, they have an interest in laws that, say, prevent theft of their property. Likewise, in a community like SR2 people are "forced" to pay via additional fees that SR2 must levy (whether stated explicitly or not) in order to police, prosecute, etc.
>if you exert some kind of retributive justice on the thief, like, take all stuff from him, and shoot him in the back, that makes you a criminal (by definition, not necessarily in the eyes of the people),
I'm not sure how we get to a definition of what's criminal without it referring back to what's acceptable to "the people". Again, we can hold out things that appear to be obvious (like theft), but even that can be gradated.
I'm not trying to split hairs. In fact, it seems that some of the definitions of libertarianism seem to do just that when drawing contrasts with other forms of government. It all sounds great when speaking on an individual basis, but whenever collective activity is involved (as it invariably will be), it seems to break down. That is, something is needed that at least approximates a form of what we'd recognize as government.
If you do think that Silk Road 2 has some form of government, what kind is it? That is, how do they define and maintain their code of behavior? An oligarchy of old and influential users might claim to have authority; DPR 2 might act as a monarch; a majority of users might claim that everyone accepted a "social contract" just by joining Silk Road. But a de facto agreement among members on how to behave isn't enforced: it's de facto, so it happens to be the case, but it could change as easily as it formed.
Oh so good, all your defenses do nothing but point out the deeper contradictions in the statements. Seriously go back and read your replies to my replies. They're even funnier.
well, i'm glad you made it to the ted bundy part, but i can only assume you read one out of every 8-10 words, as that last bit was about hypocrisy in general (and why it's pointless to claim someone is a hypocrite in order discredit someone's argument). in no way was a "slippery slope" argument invoked.
Here's an equally worse argument. If I took a knife away from Ted Bundy, when I encountered him walking around a park at night, wouldn't that be immoral, because taking things that belong to other people is wrong? If I took a syringe of enhancement drugs away from Lance Armstrong, as we both prepared for a race, wouldn't that be immoral.
Your Bundy example implies that the only reason one would or would not kill someone is whether they listen to Ted Bundy. That's a ridiculous mockup. Personally, if Bundy begged me not to kill someone, I'd assume the person was his accomplice. As for Lance, cycling advice isn't moral advice, and it would be perfectly reasonable to refuse to have anything to do with someone, because you found them morally reprehensible. In fact, taking cycling lessons from Lance at this point would simply reinforce the notion that what he did was not seriously wrong and this make one complicit.
In any event, since you are bandying the word "morality" around, let me bring up the issue of "moral authority." If someone's moral authority is suspect, one should not, in general, look to them for moral guidance.
given the recent news regarding pot - i'm pretty sure that assumption was a safe bet.
my first example is ridiculous. that is the point. no sane person would do that. i went less over the top with armstrong. he's obviously a very skilled cyclist, and knows a lot about it. if he offered me cycling advice i would probably listen to it. facts are facts and are independent of who says them.
But go ahead and demonstrate you don't think for yourself by laughing with him being wrong.
I'm not following how you are drawing the conclusion that this is a call for government. It seems more like a call for 'street justice' to me. Much of the rest of the your post is based on this assumption. What I took from that post is more akin to a mafia boss saying 'take care of the problem' in an effort to maintain plausible deniability if caught, but everyone involved knows the real meaning is to track down and kill the guy.
He is basically saying if you are reading this and you were affected its in your best interest to participate in catching this guy and 'persuading' him to give us the bitcoins...
he isnt appealing to government or some over arching entity or morality.
Clearly, you're an ultra-liberal. That's fine, but you don't have to be illogical, come on.
'political power should be viewed with greater skepticism than any other form of indirect power'
No, what I find actually amazing is that despite all that you still believed you could make a meaningful comment.
What he has to say about things outside the realm of development in particular probably isn't going to be considered high-quality and tactful by the likes of you and me. But that's okay, because that's not why I've read/watched him and why he has lots of upvotes.
The troll doth protest too much, methinks.
You know, what passes for politics these days.
I am, however, strongly condemning the approach he's taken to discussing the topic.
In fact, your claim of strawmen is actually a straw man argument (and also so funny).
It can, if the people you're arguing with now aren't the same people you're quoting.
- "whatever means necessary" can mean using illegal (contra legal ?) means to intimidate the guy who stole the bitcoins.
- "Given the right flavor of influence from our community" Again without explicitly saying what the right flavor is, he is asking the community to do what they think is right.
The rest of your post does not go against libertarian or anarchist principles. But it does fall in line with a skewed version of those terms.
I am not defending the silk road here. It is contrary to many of my principles. But your post does feel like a straw man attack.
Libertarians believe the government should enforce property rights. However, they don't believe the government should make person decisions like who to love or what to eat. Note that only you own yourself, so any harm someone does to someone else or their property is considered an offense requiring action.
Also, objectivism is not a prerequisite philosophy for libertarianism. All that is required is the non-aggression principal and voluntarism.
Libertarianism is a broad and not well-defined term. It incorporates various groups of people that believe in property rights, and believe that government should be "small". Non-existent government is as small as it can get, so most people consider anarcho-capitalism to be a flavor of libertarianism. I use the term "anarchist libertarian" to point out that I am talking about the specific 0-government flavor of libertarianism.
> All that is required is the non-aggression principal and voluntarism.
But if you define libertarianism like that, anarcho-capitalism becomes the only legitimate form of libertarianism. Minarchists do not respect the non-aggression principle, they mostly suggest that people should be forced to pay for the police / military, and most of them do believe in retributive justice. The non-aggression principle, if followed consistently, implies 0 taxes, and 0 government.
Between you and Miguel Icaaza there's enough 'Bitcoin schadenfraude' to power a small town.
I also have never done drugs, have never drank alcohol, never smoked, and don't plan to ever and tell people to do the same as me. I believe that drugs and alcohol destroy people's lives and that anyone pushing others to take them are evil people who want to rob another person of their humanity and potentially cause them a life of suffering.
The dividing line for me is that while I think drugs are insanely harmful to people, making them illegal causes more suffering than if you controlled them and treated addiction medically.
There's a lot of folks on SR, or whichever is the latest online drug market, selling good quality and relatively safe soft drugs. They are able to earn reputation in a community allowing users to have a low risk way to obtain the drugs they would seek out regardless. This, to me, is a step in the right direction. Why would you be against this?
So the health concerns worry you. Have you ever considered the health effects the stress of a modern lifestyle on people, especially if they are poor. It's a tradeoff but I think there are definitely people (myself included) who get an overall health benefit from some drugs if it allows them to relax and escape their daily reality temporarily. All we have in our lives is our experiences ultimately.
I am convinced light use of Cannabis, Psilocybin and even Ketamine have all helped with my depression. Far more damaging to me were the SSRI anti-depressants my doctor seems so keen to hand out. I have never had the same difficulty stopping any of the 'illegal' drugs I use compared to coming off SSRI anti-depressants. Not to mention the horrible side effects of SSRIs when you are on them.
Go for it, it'll either make you less of a tool or cause you a life of suffering. Both sound good.
I guess it's just people stealing money then, so they should get over that. Not everyone agrees with allowing people to keep their stuff.
I think Bitcoin is a fantastic exercise in educating people about personal responsibility, and in particular responsibility within a community. The current structures that govern and police our societies don't look very stable right now (yes, even in western societies). Anything that teaches people (sometimes harsh) lessons on personal and community responsibility is a good thing and necessary to soften the blow of the gradual (or sudden?) collapse of industrial societies.
On the other hand, I have known more than my fair share of drug dealers. Almost without exception, they are just as likely to steal as deal. And every dealer I know has gotten robbed on the street at some point, if not regularly. The drug supply chain is lawless and rough, and not much of a community model. So to see some of these same dynamics playing out online isn't actually that surprising to me.
Then again, the ability of many humans to believe completely illogical bullshit is astounding.
I don't oppose governments. I oppose some of their laws.
Most ordinary people oppose laws--half the country opposes the ACA, the other half opposes the Patriot act. Perhaps libertarians oppose more laws than the average person, but opposing laws and advocating full-on anarchy are two very different things. There is no hypocrisy inherent in calling for the repeal of some laws and calling for the enforcement of others, because this is what Democrats, Republicans, Greens, Libertarians, and all the rest of them do 7 days a week.
You reference Ayn Rand in jest but it is worth pointing out what she and other libertarian thinkers have actually said about the role of government:
> Such, in essence, is the proper purpose of a government: to make social existence possible to men, by protecting the benefits and combating the evils which men can cause to one another. - Ayn Rand
> The free society has an indispensable role for government. The law, in a society of free people, protects the life, liberty, and property of all persons alike, ensuring peaceful conditions within the community. Government performs as an impartial umpire, by interpreting and enforcing the previously agreed upon rules. - Ludwig von Mises
> A government which maintained law and order, defined property rights, served as a means whereby we could modify property rights and other rules of the economic game, adjudicated disputes about the interpretation of the rules, enforced contracts, promoted competition, provided a monetary framework, engaged in activities to counter technical monopolies and to overcome neighborhood effects widely regarded as sufficiently important to justify government intervention, and which supplemented private charity and the private family in protecting the irresponsible, whether madman or child -- such a government would clearly have important functions to perform. The consistent liberal is not an anarchist. - Milton Friedman
In fairness to you, there are some libertarian thinkers who have been more on the anarchist side (Murray Rothbard comes to mind). But there is nothing inherent in libertarianism that would require libertarians to adopt an anarchist position, and in fact most libertarian thinkers have taken a very positive view of government when it enforces those laws that libertarians think are important.
What I'm trying to say is, libertarianism isn't the same as anarchy, and most libertarians aren't working to destroy the government. They're working to change it, to make it better, the same goal that conservatives or liberals or anybody else has. And there's nothing inherently hypocritical about repealing drug laws but keep prosecuting thieves.
This insulting style of persuasion has been shown to backfire. Here's a study on this effect - Negative Persuasion Via Personal Insult: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/00221031679...
An individual directly insulted by a communicator attempting to persuade him will show a “boomerang effect” by increasing the extremity of his initial attitude position
You might be correct, but you're increasing the libertarianism in the world, not decreasing it.
People ought to step back from their beliefs about whether they right, and instead argue in such a way that, whether they are right or not, they advance the state of knowledge. Insults and ridicule don't do this! Insults can change people's beliefs, but usually in the opposite way we intend, and only by inflaming emotion, not based on any evidence about the world, so they're a tool wielded with equal efficacy by both the correct and the mistaken.
Creationists, racists, and all the others we know to be wrong can all belittle and insult their opponents too. Only by sticking to the best kinds of disagreement (http://www.paulgraham.com/disagree.html) can we make progress, because people whose beliefs are wrong can only make flawed arguments. Those who are correct already hold the advantageous ground, so fight there, not in the quagmire of flamewars!
More generally, people aren't usually especially at fault for being wrong, so they don't deserve insults. I must be wrong about some percentage of my beliefs, as must you. Any libertarian is likely to be right about something that you and I are wrong about.
This HN article didn't need to be a flamewar about libertarianism. Even if you're right, you're opponents will likely respond with a similar tone, and you don't need libertarians belittling you about your views on economics or whatever. It won't change your mind, just as your insults don't change theirs.
If a libertarian is to doubt his libertarian ways, it'll be through the same way we might ever be persuaded about something. First, probably, we'll learn that someone we like and respect holds the view, and we'll realize it's a position that reasonable people can hold, not just idiots or bigots or sociopaths. Then we'll learn there's nuances that we'd not encountered before - maybe we'd only heard strawman versions of its arguments before. Then we'll shift slightly such that it seems like it applies in some limited situations. And so on, and maybe we'll hold a new belief after that.